Category Archives: curb appeal

Making Your Move Light by Rightsizing Your Stuff

Where will we put all of our stuff?”

This is one of the foremost questions on homeowners’ minds when they’re making a move. Whether it’s a relocation from a suburban to a city environment, or downsizing for a more comfortable retirement, “stuff” can cast a big shadow. To lighten the burden before the big day, it can be helpful to “rightsize” for your move far in advance. Not only will rightsizing save you time, money, and energy as you transition to a new home, it can also help you learn how to evaluate what you really need versus what you’ve been hanging onto for no good reason.

If you’ve compared your current floor plan to your new one, you’ve probably already made the determination that some things must go. But how do you winnow the pile? Here’s a set of criteria you can use to rightsize your possessions:

1. Is this right for the weather? If you’ve lived in places with severe winters ansnowballbbq1d you’re heading for a zero-snow climate, recognize what doesn’t fit and let it go.

2. Is this right for the lifestyle? Your massive outdoor grill and patio furniture may be a waste if you’re settling into a city high-rise. The same might even be said of a second car or recreational vehicle.

3. Is this expensive to move? Some items cost more to move than replace. This is especially true if the item forces you to upgrade the size of your moving truck.

4. Is this something I really use? If you’re in a storage space looking at stuff you haven’t touched in six months or a year, you probably don’t need to transport it to your new space. 

5. Is this going to look out of place? Sometimes a new house will make old furnishings and objects seem tacky or trashy. Imagine where you’re going to move it and see if you can do without.mismatched furniture

Once you’ve decided something should go, it’s a simple matter of deciding if it’s a “sell,” “donate,” or “ditch” item. While the income from selling items may be appealing, be sensitive to how much time you have before the move. If time’s short, gifting items to friends, charity, or even the dump is a reasonable way to go.

Ready to look for your rightsized home? Let us help: Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX VILLAGE SQUARE REALTORS  973-509-2222 ext. 1126   RealEstate@TheNicholasTeEam.com

Good and Bad Signs in a Neighborhood

Like most things in real estate, neighborhoods are constantly changing in value. In some cases they can improve rapidly and decline gradually, but more often than not they change slowly, over time.

Ideally, you want to buy property in neighborhoods as they’re appreciating. You certainly don’t want to pay top dollar in a neighborhood which is in decline. So how can you tell which direction things are heading?

Home values over time are one way to tell, but they tend to lag behind the trends. Values reflect what the current situation is… they don’t predict the future.

While you definitely want to observe a neighborhood first-hand at different times of day and night, here are some other indicators of neighborhood value trends:

Positive indicators:

– Homes are receiving multiple offers

– Schools are well-rated and in demand

– Young families and creative types are moving to the neighborhood

– Older couples choose to remain in the neighborhood as they age

– Commercial properties are quickly redeveloped and leased

Negative indicators:

– The number of homes converted into rentals has increased

– Homes remain on the market longer

– Companies are relocating away or shutting down offices

– Commercial spaces are vacant for long stretches

Sometimes you can spot the potential in a bad neighborhood, but it often means you have to put up with the bad neighborhood for a long time before reaping the rewards. It’s a good idea to evaluate neighborhoods with these indicators in mind. Neighborhoods you have traditionally regarded as “good” or “bad” may have (or be under) significant change.

I am more than happy to help you with neighborhood research! Talk to me today to begin your hunt:

Preserve Your Home’s Value with these Cleaning Projects

Whether your home is two years old or a classic concrete block ranch from 1950, you can help your house hold its value and scream curb appeal with a few simple fair weather cleaning projects. Keeping a home in shape in a little like good dental hygiene… routine attention prevents major renovation!

With the sun shining, here are the top projects you should schedule before settling into vacation mode. Stay on top of these at least once a year and you’ll not only help your home shine, but you’ll fend off the threat of more costly repairs and replacements in the future:

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  1. Power wash. Blast off mold, oxidized stains, kicked up mud, and the grim insect life which can build up over the course of a year. This is good not only for your exterior walls, but also driveways, patios, and panel fencing (both sides, please!). If you don’t own a power washer, you can usually rent one affordably. Be careful with power washers, though, as they can also strip paint when dialed up and used improperly. If power washing isn’t your bag personally, hire someone with a track record to handle this wet-and-wild job.
  1. Gut the gutters. Freely flowing gutters prevent a host of problems. Dig out the muck and you’ll be certain that water isn’t backing up under your roof or running down to the foundation. While you’re working, check the downspouts for cracks and corrosion. Be sure to run water through the clean gutters to see if there are any holes you may have missed while inspecting the clean gutters.
  1. Wash the windows. This is an inside and outside approach, because if you want to maximize the light your house lets in, you need to get the panes from both directions. Start with the outside. While power washing can sometimes be harsh on window seals, using a hose with a green/garden safe cleaning fluid is a good way to start. Once you’ve take care of the outside, remove and wash any indoor window treatments (blinds, drapes) and do a thorough job with the glass. Some people like to use old newspaper as it makes an excellent eco-friendly alternative to rolls of paper towels.
  1. Shore-up sheds and garages. Start by discarding. A year or even a season can result in piles of unwanted objects or half-used containers of questionable chemicals. Be ruthless in what you keep. Once you’ve identified the must-keep items, haul them out and clean the interior of the shed or garage. Replace items mindfully.

Here are a few ideas to help make your yard unique and stand out this summer:

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We love to sell clean homes! If you think your house is at maximum curb appeal, why not find out how much it’s worth?  Get in touch with The Nicholas Team, Barbara and Gregg at the office  973-508-7363 or email us realestate@thenicholasteam.com

Be sure to visit our website for more infomration and to see what’s on the market in your neighborhood and “LIKE” us on Facebook for daily updates and tips for buying, selling and maintaining a home.

Do Homes expire? Understanding Functional Obsolescence

Sometimes a perfectly nice home in fine shape simply won’t sell. Fresh paint, fine curb appeal, a solid neighborhood, priced right… and no offers. Sellers are baffled and irritated. “But I’ve been living in this home ten years! There’s nothing wrong with it!”

Often the culprit is “functional obsolescence.”

Never heard of it? You’re not alone. Investopedia defines it this way: “A reduction in the usefulness or desirability of an object because of an outdated design feature, usually one that cannot be easily changed. The term is commonly used in real estate, but has a wide application.”

Functional obsolescence can creep up on a home owner, as when a built-in technological feature is no longer useful. Some homes in the 1960s and 70s had old solid-state intercom systems for communicating between rooms. What was cutting edge then is a retro eyesore now. Built-in entertainment center kiosks or furniture are also a good example of this, maybe a mauve/pink kitchen was updated inthe 80s?

Home owners can unknowingly introduce functional obsolescence with poor renovation choices. Renovations should always be made with an eye on the possibility that a home will be sold down the line, but occasionally an owner will ignore this. Take, for example, the massive kitchen renovation which takes an unreasonable bite out of the dining or living room. Try to think like a buyer- will a young new family be OK with a smaller dining space for a family meal prepared in a gorgeous kitchen?

Inconveniences an owner has put up with over the years can be classified as functional obsolescence as well. If you have a second floor without bathrooms or a bedroom which must be accessed by walking through another bedroom? That’s a design flaw that can bite you when it’s time to sell. (Creative staging  will be needed when it comes time to sell).

Sometimes it is something out of our control; neighborhoods can introduce a degree of functional obsolescence as well. When an smaller, older home on a large lot is dwarfed by modern homes with more space, the home itself may lose appeal or value in buyers’ eyes.

If you’re thinking of selling or buying, you should be familiar with the idea of functional obsolescence. Either you’ll want to eliminate the problem or you’ll need to realize the problem will be an issue for you should you choose to sell one day.

We can help buyers and sellers see homes with an objective perspective. If you’re curious about where your home fits in this market, contact us today:  realestate@thenicholasteam.com