Stinky Homes Equal Stinky Home Prices

Young man closing nosa against stinky smellSo, you’re ready to list your home?  There’s no doubt, you have a huge “to do” list in preparation for the upcoming parade of picky perceptive prospects to come waltzing through your door to inspect every last nook and cranny.  It’s for certain, every inch of your home will be noticed, but there’s one very important detail that can’t be seen that you will want to pay close attention to; the smell of your home.

Every home seems to have a unique aroma all its own, and the people who live there seem to be acutely unaware.  This is the reason many people don’t even think about the smell when they are readying their home for the market.  Strong odors, even those that are thought to be pleasant, can be offensive to your guests.  When these guests are looking at your home to consider purchasing it, these objectionable odors can actually have a negative impact on your negotiations. That’s right!  A stinky home can lower the value of your home in the eyes (or the nose) of the beholder.  To avoid this downfall, consider the following tips to get your home in “sniff-proof” shape!

  1. Air it out!  Nothing works better to free your home of unwanted odors than a dose of old fashioned fresh air.  As much as possible, open the windows and doors and let nature do the work.
  2. Stop smoking! If you or any family members smoke, do not smoke indoors.  Smoke is one of the smells that many people, especially non-smokers, react very negatively to.
  3. Groom the pets! We all love our furry little family members, and some of the odors that we have become accustomed to don’t bother us.  This is not true for visitors.  Pet odors should be alleviated by keeping pets bathed and pet areas clean and disinfected.  Sometimes, it is easier to do this by keeping the pets limited to one area of the home while your house is listed.
  4. Paint the walls! Walls tend to hold odors in the home.  A fresh coat of paint goes a long way in eliminating stale odors of smoke, food and pets.  It’s also great for staging!  Don’t forget to stay with a neutral shade.
  5. Clean the carpets! A professional carpet cleaner can treat spots, deodorize, and have your carpets looking better in no time.  This is also an inexpensive way to enhance the overall look of your home.
  6. Stop cooking! Well, let’s not go overboard.  Don’t completely stop cooking.  However, it is a good rule of thumb to keep your home in “show-ready” condition.  This includes odors, so stay away from strong odors like fish, bacon, onions and garlic.
  7. Don’t overdo on air fresheners and candles! Sometimes “more” is too much!  Strong odors from candles and sprays can be overwhelming and just as offensive as bad odors.  A lightly scented apple pie candle or a little lavender oil in a diffuser may be just right.
  8. Keep it clean! Keeping your home clean, dusted, swept and mopped while showing it is half the battle.  A home that is cleaned often will smell more pleasant and will look better too.

For more information on preparing your home for the real estate market, contact us here at the Jackie Ellis Team.  Call 561-965-1225 or visit us at www.JackieEllis.com.

Average Summer Temperatures

Straw hat, bag and sun glasses  on a tropical beach

Palm Beach County has some of the most beautiful year-round weather than any other tropical destination in the United States.  While the summer months are a little hotter than fall, winter, and spring, the hottest temperatures do not last that long.  And with the ocean breeze and amazing views we have here in Palm Beach County, there really isn’t too much to complain about….not even during the warmest months!

On average, temperatures reach 90 degrees in July and August, up from an average of 88 degrees in June and September.  Of course, humidity can change the way 90 degrees feels, especially with the scattered showers which are common throughout summer.  Spending more time in the swimming pool or playing in the ocean waves is the perfect solution to this “problem.”

If you’d rather not be outdoors during the heat of the day, no sweat!  Morning and evening temperatures are pleasant with average lows at 74 degrees in June and 76 degrees in July.  If you do want to be out and about in the heat but would rather opt for cooler activities, it would be the perfect time to visit the many museums and cultural centers our area has to offer.

And, if you’re in the market for a new home or would like to consult with us regarding listing your current home, there has never been a better time!  Contact us here at the Jackie Ellis Team. Call 561-965-1225 or visit www.JackieEllis.com.

Declutter Your Life with These 9 Steps

close up of file folder

Do you find it easier to focus and accomplish your daily “to do” list when your space is clean and organized? If you answered “yes” to this question, you are not alone. Studies show that most of us are more productive and are better able to focus when we cut the clutter out of our home and out of our lives. To declutter your work or living space, try this 9 step process:

  1. Make a Plan: As the old saying goes, “Plan your work, and work your plan.” In other words, write it all down and set goals. Once you’ve got it all down on paper, it’s time to implement the program. You’ll want to include the steps below in your process.
  2. Schedule Decluttering Sessions: Getting it all on paper is the easy part! In order to actually get the work done, you will need to set aside specific time to work. It’s amazing how much you can get done by just setting aside one hour per day.
  3. A Place for Everything, and Everything in its Place: Your detailed plan should include all the ways you want to organize your belongings. Making sure that every item you own has a specific place to be stored will keep you organized in the future.
  4. Room by Room: Be very organized and systematic with your plan.   Commit to doing one room at a time from start to finish. You’ll learn a lot about the process by completing the first room, and you will be able to see your progress. This will also keep you motivated!
  5. Use the 4-Box Method: Four cardboard boxes will keep you organized. Label them “KEEP,” “DONATE,” “TRASH,” and “STORAGE.” This system helps with the decision making process as well as with organization. Once everything is put into the prospective boxes, half the battle is over!
  6. Purchase Inexpensive Shelving: This is a life saver when it comes to having a place for everything. To further enhance the organization of your belongings, painting the back of the shelving in a dark or contrasting color makes it easier to find items.
  7. Invest in Inexpensive Storage Cubes, Tubs, and Boxes: Simple storage solutions are available everywhere today. These little designer cubes and boxes even add some flare, texture, and color to your room. Again, if you want a place for everything, this is the way to go.
  8. Dividers in Drawers: Dividing the space in your drawers will help you with keeping small items in place. Dividers work well in kitchen and bathroom drawers as well as in your nightstand and living room side-table drawers.
  9. Labels: Use labels where you are able to. You wouldn’t want to stick labels on your nice living room furniture, but cute labels on storage cubes and shelving can come in handy. Even if just temporary, putting labels up will help everyone in the family become accustomed to the new system.

Implementing this 9 step process will have you well on your way to a more organized way of living. Your home or office will look great, and you will be sharp and focused! And when you’re ready to put your home on the market, your decluttering will already be done. As always, we are here to help you with all of your real estate needs. Don’t hesitate to contact us here at the Jackie Ellis Team. Call 561-965-1225 or visit www.JackieEllis.com.

Moving Toward Homeownership: Special Programs for the Military

House, Veteran, Military.
House, Veteran, Military.

Military personnel, past or present, now have special programs they can utilize when it comes time for purchasing a new home.  Of course, we are all familiar with the VA loan and the low (or no) down payment requirement.  But there are other programs which offer assistance with closing costs and down payments.  Some of these are grants and do not have to be repaid.  These special programs are designed with military families and veterans as the focus. Here are of few of the special programs we have found….

The Dream Makers Grant

This grant is designed to cover down payments and closing costs of the first time homebuyer.  The grant is open to Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard, and Veterans who have not owned a home within the past three years.  Special income restrictions are in place.  For more information on The Dream Makers Grant, visit www.pentagonfoundation.org.

Military Housing Assistance Fund

This fund was created to assist military personnel qualify for non-military loans.  Unlike the VA loan, FHA or Conventional loans usually require a down payment and closing costs may be inflated compared to a VA loan.  Qualifying military workers and veterans can receive grants to cover these costs through the Military Housing Assistance Fund.  For information on the MHAF, go to http://usmhaf.org.

The VA Loan

No list of military programs for home ownership would be complete without the VA Loan.  This loan is offered by the Department of Veteran Affairs.  Of course, it is strictly for use by military members or veterans.  Insured by the federal government, these loans usually require no down payment.  Qualifying for a VA loan is less rigorous and credit score requirements are less strict.

The VA Specially Adapted Housing Grant

The VA Specially Adapted Housing Grant offers up to 50 percent of the home value for special accommodations for veterans with special needs or disabilities.  The funds can be used for new construction or to modify an older home.  Learn more about this program at http://www.benefits.gov/benefits/benefit-details/4733.

To find more state and local programs that are available to service members and veterans, websites such as www.grantwatch.com and www.grants.gov are reliable sources.  Funds and grants for men and women who serve our country can be found with a little research online.  As always, if you’re ready to move toward homeownership, contact your real estate professionals at the Jackie Ellis Team.  Call 561-965-1225 or visit www.JackieEllis.com.