Here’s a tip: If your closets look like they can’t fit another thing inside, buyers are going to assume your house doesn’t have enough storage. And storage is, oddly, as important to most buyers as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
The storage factor is just one thing to consider when selling your home. We’ve compiled our top five home-selling secrets, and would love to talk with you more about prepping your home to sell. Reach out any time for more information.
Plus: if you haven’t done so yet, check out our Name Your Selling Price website, where you can enter the price you think your home is worth. We have a large inventory of buyers, and if we find a buyer interested in your selling price, we will let you know.
Your trusted neighborhood specialists, Indy’s Home Team (317) 413-7711.
In the attached, we show you Six Homeowner Hacks that will keep your home looking clean and smelling fresh.
Thinking of selling soon? We love talking about local market conditions and what’s going on in our neighborhood. Call or email us at any time to discuss your home’s value.
Your trusted neighborhood specialists, Indy’s Home Team/Keller Williams (317) 413-7711
Name Your Selling Price Smart Home Price 7 Seller Tips
Searching for a place to live with plenty of single people? DatingAdvice.com recommends Carmel.
How about a safe spot to retire? BadCredit.org says crime is rare in Carmel.
Or maybe you’re starting a family and want to settle down somewhere kid-friendly. Livability.com suggests, you guessed it, Carmel has plenty for kids to do.
Indianapolis’ posh suburb ranks high on seemingly every list that various websites like to release to drive traffic to their brands.
Most of the websites pick Carmel by analyzing statistics, data such as age, income and crime. A few, such as CNN Money Magazine, send out reporters to visit top-ranking cities before releasing a ranking. Most just rely on the data.
Mayor Jim Brainard said city officials don’t even know about the rankings until the websites are ready to release the lists.
He thinks the lists promote brand awareness for the city — locally, nationally and internationally. He uses them to promote Carmel when trying to lure new businesses.
But for many, the lists are just a quick way to pass a few minutes online.
Here are the accolades the city has received the past two years.
1. Safest small cities for retirement.
What: BadCredit.org ranked Carmel the eighth-safest city in which to retire this year. The study used data from the FBI’s 2013 Uniform Crime Report. Carmel reported 764 crimes in 2013: 20 violent offenses and 744 property-related offenses. The website concluded your chance of being a victim in Carmel is 0.9 percent.
2. Best small cities for singles.
What: Carmel ranked the 11th-best city for singles in a list compiled by DatingAdvice.com this year. The website looked at population numbers and CNN Money Magazine’s list of best places to live. It concluded there are 31,793 singles in the city. The site also recommends taking your date generically to a park, museum or boutique or, very specifically, to the Simply Sweet Shoppe. You can never go wrong with chocolate.
3. Best small cities.
What: Nerdwallet ranked Carmel the ninth-best small city in the United States this year. Carmel topped the list a year earlier. The website noted Carmel’s charm, affluent neighborhoods, growing population and outstanding schools.
4. Best places to live.
What: CNN Money Magazine named Carmel the third-best city in which to live in the United States in 2014. The ranking was based on population (83,897), median family income ($124,686), median home price ($294,000), average property taxes ($3,317) and job growth (17.1 percent).
5. Best places to live, redux.
What: 24/7 Wall Street named Carmel the 12th-best place to live in the United States in 2014. The website lauded Carmel for its labor force, employment growth, low crime and high income. However, the report’s authors didn’t much care for the city’s night life, nature parks and other sources of entertainment.
6. Safest suburbs.
What: Movoto ranked Carmel the safest suburb in the United States, by analyzing crime statistics. Carmel reported 819 crimes in 2012, with 11 violent and 808 property-related. There were no murders.
7. Best cities for kids.
What: Livability.com named Carmel the sixth-best city for kids in the United States in 2014. Aside from the usual statistics, the website noted 34 percent of households have school-age children. And, it surmised, they might enjoy the city’s water park at The Monon Community Center or a day at the Museum of Miniature Houses.
1. Living In Indianapolis Means You’ll Have More Room In The Family Budget
As amazing as it is to have a big family, the budget can get pretty tight. But in Indianapolis, your family will be able to save a ton on the important things seeing as the cost of living is 11.8% less than the national average. And, based on an index of 100, Indianapolis’ cost of living comes in under the average at 99 for health care, 94 for groceries, and 91 for utilities.
2. You’ll Be Able To Buy Your Family’s Dream Home
One of the best parts about Indianapolis’ cheap cost of living is just how affordable the housing market is. The median cost for homes in Indianapolis is $119,900, which is a whopping 34% less than the national average of $188,900.
3. Get Ready For Beautiful Summers
While Indianapolis definitely has some cold, snowy winters, the summers make it all worth it. The weather is perfect in the summer, with temperatures averaging in the high 70s and there are plenty of gorgeous sunny days to soak up all the city has to offer.
4. Rest Assured Your Children Will Be Getting A Great Education
Indianapolis has some great schools that range from public, to private, to magnet, to charter schools. On GreatSchools, 17 of the public, private, magnet, and charter schools in the area rank a 7 or higher on a scale from 1-10. Schools like the Ernie Pyle School, Speedway Junior High School, and Cardinal Ritter High School are just some of these amazing schools. Additionally, the average student-to-teacher ratio in Indianapolis is 17:1, which is right on par with the national average, meaning your child will get plenty of care and attention throughout their academic experiences.
5. There Will Be Job Opportunities Galore
Glassdoor ranks Indianapolis as the 19th best place in America to find jobs, so if you’re headed to Indianapolis and are on the search for a job or looking to branch out into a new career path, you’re definitely coming to the right place.
6. Your Kids Will Have Plenty Of Chances To Be Active
Indianapolis has tons of opportunities for your kids to engage in youth sports and athletics. There are plenty of youth leagues in the area, including football leagues, soccer leagues, baseball leagues, and basketball leagues. Check out the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis for some great health education, nutrition, and athletics programs for kids. There’s also extensive youth programs at the Indiana Sports Corp, such as the CHAMPS Grant Program, Geared for Health: Sports Equipment for Kids, Big Ten Basketball Middle School Curriculum and the Marathon in 51 Days program. Plus, the Indiana Sports Corp events often include opportunities for youth in fitness and education.
7. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Will Be A New Favorite Trip
One of the best parts of living in Indianapolis is being so near to one of the best children’s museums in the state: the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. There are tons of educational opportunities for children of all ages, both permanent and traveling exhibits, that range in topic such as space travel, geography, culture, science, and creative arts and theater opportunities. Everything here is hands on and encourages children of all ages to learn and explore! Stay in touch with the museum to find out when there’s free or reduced priced admission, as well as free workshops, exhibits, and performances throughout the year!
8. The Indianapolis Museum Of Art Will Make Your Children Little Picassos
The Indy With Kids Program at the Indianapolis Museum of Art is a great way to get your children interested in art. There are family-friendly spaces all throughout the museum that encourage children of all ages to explore the world of art, as well as provide them with opportunities to create some art themselves! The program has everything for children and families, such as gallery games, tours, drop-in art activities, classes and workshops, as well as special art events.
9. Get The Freshest Produce at Indianapolis Farmers Markets
Indianapolis is home to several amazing farmers markets, including Indianapolis City Market which has excellent selection of produce and baked goods and is filled with awesome vendors and merchandise. There’s also the Locally Grown Gardens grocery store, which always has delicious and fresh fruits and veggies, offering a range of natural and organic grocery foods.
10. Make Science Rad At Rad Science’s Skatepark Physics Exhibit
The Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis has some pretty epic exhibits for kids. There’s even a well-known Skatepark physics exhibit that allows kids and teens to explore an awesome skatepark while also learning the physics behind the art of skating. You can take lessons, watch expositions, and learn about physics simultaneously!
11. Indianapolis Has Acres Upon Acres Of Awesome Park Space
Indianapolis has a TON of park space: there are 192 parks in Indianapolis. Check out any one of the recreational parks and areas, such as Eagle Creek Park, Krannert Park, or Riverside Regional Park. The parks have everything from traditional playgrounds, to large open fields, to splash pads for kids!
12. Get Dramatic At The Young Actors Theater
The Young Actors Theater in Indianapolis provides a great space for kids and teens interested in theater and the arts. With plays going on all throughout the year, children and teens have the opportunity to explore their creative genius while meeting other budding actors, artists, singers, and musicians.
13. Check Out The Game Room For Teens In Rhodius Park
Not all cities have safe spaces where teens can hang out with friends and socialize, but Indianapolis is different. There’s the Game Room in Rhodius Park that is a place for teens and the young at heart to play foosball, ping-pong, bowling, laser tag, arcade games, and more. It a teen’s dream hangout spot.
14. There’s No Better Time Than Story Time At Books & Brews
Indianapolis is a hub for early childhood education. One such example of opportunities for kids to start learning early on is the Children’s Story Time at Books & Brews, a cafe, bookstore, and (yes) bar for all to enjoy! There’s a weekly, free storytime for children of all ages that’s always a family favorite (and the delicious coffee and beer for Moms and Dads don’t hurt either).
15. The Urban Chalkboard Reinvents Family Time
A new concept of a “play cafe” for children is starting to sweep the Indianapolis area, and The Urban Chalkboard is one of these spaces. Children and their caregivers are encouraged to explore a variety of unique play opportunities at the Urban Chalkboard, a “cafe-like” area that was designed by two PhD students who focus on Early Childhood Development. The space takes into consideration all different types of play that encourages development of young children, such as a soft area for children under 18 months, a kitchen, a wooden structure, teepee, train table, and reading nook are just a few of the spaces available.
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For home owners who are putting their house on the market, they may want to take a closer look at their kitchen. It can become a deal-breaker for buyers.
“Dated kitchens—just like bathrooms—are a major barrier for resale,” says Michael Shaw, leader of operations at Centennial360, a custom home builder and renovation contractor in Saskatoon, Canada. “Buyers want modern amenities and styling, and most aren’t interested in renovating post-purchase.”
For landlords looking to rent out the space, the same applies too.
“Renovating your kitchen can make the home more appealing and allow it to command a greater rental price,” he says.
But kitchen remodels are known for being pricey. Even a minor upgrade could cost upwards to $20,000. Rest assured, not all kitchen redesigns have to be expensive. A few strategic kitchen renovations can make your money stretch and still have a big impact, all for under $500.
For example, painting the cabinets white may make for a modern redo. The cost of the paint will be about $150 for the cost of the paint. Add in about $100 more for new cabinet hardware and the kitchen can take on a drastically different look for under $300.
A new backsplash may add more style to the kitchen space too. For example, a mosaic subway tile may add more of a modern twist. One company called SimpleMat can help DIYers install a backsplash without the use of mortar too. The cost is about $170.
Take a look at the kitchen’s lighting too. Buyers love bright spaces so make sure there is ample light. Also, consider adding an LED undercabinet light to add a glow onto the kitchen cabinets. The cost is about $40.
For a really dated countertop, home owners may be best off spending the money to replace it. Quartz is especially on-trend nowadays. Or in a pinch, home owners could try a top coating over their current countertops. Rustoleum’s Counter Top Coating is about $40 for a tint-base.
We love our pets, whether they be dogs, cats, hamsters, capybaras, hedgehogs, or pygmy goats—but that doesn’t mean that potential buyers want to see said pets (or any evidence of them) when looking at a home they’re thinking of buying.
“Pets are either an attractive distraction, so cute they distract prospective buyers from looking at the real estate, or completely the opposite—smelly, frightening, or otherwise off-putting,” says Diane Saatchi, an East Hampton, NY, real estate broker with Saunders & Associates.
Don’t want your precious property to be known as “that dog house”? Well, you need to pet-proof your place when preparing and showing it for sale. Here’s how, in six simple steps.
1. Check your insurance
Although you know your pets would never hurt anyone, they could scratch or bite a potential buyer whom they mistake for an intruder on their territory. You could be held liable for any harm your pet causes, so make sure your homeowners insurance covers you for incidents like these.
However, some insurers will not cover anyone who owns what they deem vicious or aggressive breeds, such as pit bulls; and if they do provide coverage, it could be expensive. If you have such a dog (and even if you don’t), it’s best to keep him out of the house during a showing.
2. Prepare your yard
Buyers will walk around your yard, a stroll that will be ruined if they step in poop or turn an ankle where your dog likes to dig.
Perform a poop patrol before each showing. Double-bag the waste before disposing, so your garbage cans don’t smell when buyers walk by. Fill all holes and sprinkle grass seed on top.
Before putting your house on the market, make sure your yard is a green oasis—not a brown-and-yellow dustbowl created when pets pee on grass. You can try to aerate and seed bare spots. But if that doesn’t work fast enough, you can replace ugly patches with new sod. Then, train Travis the Titan Terrier to use an out-of-the-way spot for his business. Or take him for very long walks.
3. Remove the odors
Removing the odors pets leave behind is one of the biggest challenges. It’s easy to clean and tuck away kitty’s litter box. But it’s way harder to erase years of piddle from rugs and hardwood.
If a bacteria-eating pet odor remover doesn’t banish all traces of cat or dog urine, you might have to hire a professional service to clean carpets or rugs. (Perhaps you should consider this whether you are selling your home or not.) Often, however, the odor returns, so if a carpet continues to reek, replace it before buyers trek through.
Clean turtle, hamster, and guinea pig cages frequently, to prevent odors. And make fish tanks sparkle; a daily swipe with an eraser sponge will do the trick.
4. Clean up the hair
Not only does a layer of pet hair on floors and sofas make your home look messy, it can trigger allergies and send potential buyers sneezing and wheezing out the door.
Before each showing, vacuum and dust to remove any settled hair or dander. Or, consider buying a vacuuming robot (such as a Roomba) that you can schedule to suck up hair several times a day. They actually work.
If your pet sheds, brush him frequently outside, so the hair doesn’t fly around the house. Bathing can help minimize shedding, too.
5. Hide the evidence
Like kids, pets (or rather, their caretakers) tend to accumulate lots of stuff—leashes, collars, toys, water bowls, food, cute sweaters, and costumes for Christmas and Halloween (ladies and gentlemen: It’s canine Ken Bone!). But no matter how adorable you may think it all is, to buyers, it’s just clutter.
Make sure you stow pet paraphernalia in a cupboard or closet. Put dry food bins in a laundry or mud room. Wash pet beds to remove odors and dirt, and only display them if they’re attractive.
6. Say goodbye to your pets (just for a while!)
If you decide to leave your dogs or cats at home, either crate them or confine them to a special area of the house, and make sure your real estate agent knows where they are. Keep them busy with interactive toys or long-lasting treats, says Chris Rowland, CEO of Pet Supplies Plus, based in Livonia, MI.
“Even purchasing a new exciting toy or treat just prior to company coming may keep them more preoccupied,” he says.
But it’s best for everyone if you can find a playdate for your pet before a showing, or to send him to Grandma’s for an extended stay. But remember that pets have emotions, too—especially when it comes to change in their routines.
When you stow their toys, move their water bowl, or put them in a crate when strangers inspect their home, some pets will feel confused and anxious. So before making any major changes in the life of a dog or cat, talk to your veterinarian, who can help you ease your pet’s transition to a temporary new home.
As a residential housing developer, I felt like I could do it all—visualize a project, stand for hours on permitting lines, then run all the crews needed to build the house. But I was hiding a secret: If you put me in a room filled with backsplash tiles, or threw a book of paint chips in my lap, I froze. Interior design is simply not my thing.
So for each project, I hired an interior designer who made the choices I couldn’t. Together, we’d mix and match, discuss the pros and cons, and eventually select the elements that made my projects beautiful and unique, IMHO.
But finding the right designer for you can be daunting, especially when there are so many to choose from. (About 68,000 interior designers work in the U.S., according to the American Society of Interior Designers, or ASID.) In fact, finding a great designer involves as much alchemy as legwork.
In the end, feeling comfortable and respected is the most important ingredient in a successful partnership with a designer. Here’s what you need to know to find the right one.
1. WHAT DOES AN INTERIOR DESIGNER DO?
An interior designer does more than just select colors for walls or find a rug that ties the sofa to the drapes; that’s more the domain of a decorator. An interior designer considers how you’ll use a space—the contours, angles, and proportions of the space; the sustainability of materials; and your particular taste and style.
Designers also have a network of trusted contractors, retailers, and artisans who help turn your dreams into reality.
Of course, some clients say, “Wake me when it’s done,” and rely on interior designers to do everything so long as it stays within a budget. But most clients want a true partnership with their designer—a free exchange of ideas and the ultimate say about what goes in their home.
“Discuss your expectations upfront—work style is key,” says Olga Odeide, ASID director of industry partnerships. “Some people want to see a variety of options. And some designers are more open to input from clients than others.”
2. HOW DO INTERIOR DESIGNER CHARGES?
Ah, there’s a question for the ages, because interior designers have many different ways of charging clients. Some charge an hourly rate, from $80 to $119 on average, according to HomeWyse; some charge a flat fee for the entire project; some take a percentage of the total project even if you find a $40 throw pillow on your own; and some combine hourly fees with project percentages.
The take-home lesson is to make sure you have a contract that states clearly the scope of work and what/when/how compensation is expected, so problems don’t come up later.
3. HOW DO YOU FIND INTERIOR DESIGNERS?
Finding one is not much different from finding any subcontractor to work on your building or remodeling project. Although anyone can call himself a designer, the highest-qualified interior designers have a college degree in design and have obtained a NCIDQ Certification given by the Council for Interior Design Qualification.
Call the ASID: The association maintains a database of members who meet the group’s educational and work experience standards.
Contact design schools: Many design colleges have placement services for graduates.
Seek referrals: Ask family, friends, and co-workers for names of designers they loved working with. When you have a few names, check out their online portfolios and pay particular attention to before and after shots.
Visit decorator show houses: Usually in the fall, charities put together show houses where designers create rooms that showcase their style and talents.
Flip through magazines: While you’re binging on a Netflix show, browse Pinterest or flip through magazines, and pull out designs and accessories that make you drool. Contact the designer of record. Even if you can’t find the designer, or his price is astronomical, you’ll have visuals to explain to someone else what look you’re going for.
4. HOW DO YOU INTERVIEW A DESIGNER?
During your initial interview:
- Ask about the designer’s education, experience, and professional affiliations such as ASID membership.
- Discuss what other services the designer can provide. Can she manage the job if you’re away on vacation? Will he pick up and deliver items
- What visuals will the designer provide? A style or sample board with fabric swatches, paint chips, and pictures of furniture? Scale or elevation drawings? If you’re a visual person, basic drafting drawings will suffice. But if it’s hard for you to imagine the finished product, then detailed elevation drawings will help.
- Discuss the designer’s payment structure.
- Talk about the best way to communicate with the designer—telephone, email, text? And ask how long she will take to return messages.
The biggest question: How will we get along? If you don’t feel the spark during the interview, you probably aren’t talking to the right designer. If the designer isn’t asking questions about your style, thoughts, and dreams for the project, she probably won’t magically learn listening skills when the project is underway.
Some people forge lifelong relationships with interior designers, using the same person for their primary residence and vacation homes. Some people can’t wait for one project to end and never lay eyes on their designer again. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with this person, so make sure to find one you click with, who values your ideas and responds to your concerns.
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