This may sound obvious, but selling a house sometimes comes down to just how appealing your home is to potential homebuyers. The attributes that make your house attractive to buyers can include price, the condition of your home and its curb appeal, as well as details like the number of bathrooms, bedrooms and whether the home appears dated. Discerning buyers typically want to walk into a house and immediately feel at home. How quickly you sell your home ‒ and at what price ‒ may depend on your ability to create that I’m-already-at-home feel.
Here are 10 easy home remodeling ideas that can help transform your home sweet home to the gotta-have-it house of your buyer’s dreams.
1. Replace the garage door.
The surprise most home sellers discover ‒ often too late ‒ is that most sellers won’t fully recoup the cost of a renovation when they sell their home. When it comes to getting some bang for your renovating buck, however, the garage door is one suggestion to consider; it also can give a boost to your home’s curb appeal.
2. Upgrade the front door.
A relatively inexpensive yet effective home improvement idea is a new front door ‒ one of the first things a home shopper will notice when they view online photos or arrive for a showing. For example, a new steel door can be both eye‒catching and energy efficient ‒ a boon for cost-conscious buyers-to-be. Or you could consider the pricier installation of a grand entrance ‒ perhaps a new front door with dual skylights ‒ which can help increase the attraction from upscale buyers.
3. Re-face the house.
Another way to help increase your home value is by improving the exterior of your home. A good pressure washing may cost a few hundred dollars and can reduce or remove the unsightly dust, grime and mildew that often clings to exterior siding. For a house with more exterior wear, new siding is a pricey project but one that can help add a dramatic boost and take years off your home’s exterior appearance.
4. Maintain your lawn and refresh landscaping.
You only have one chance to make a great first impression ‒ which is why renovations affecting curb appeal make our list. Home improvements that help add value and appeal to buyers include standard lawn care and landscape maintenance. Consider it a smart investment that can eventually turn out to be money well spent when you’re prepping your house for sale.
5. Refresh the kitchen.
For many homeowners, the kitchen is where guests and family gather, making it one of the top house renovation ideas that come to mind when preparing a home for sale. Still, a major kitchen renovation may not be worth the cost when it comes time to sell; however, smaller, cost-effective upgrades can help make the kitchen more attractive.
Consider replacing laminate countertops with granite and replacing a sink and faucet, for example. Leave cabinet boxes in place but replace out-of-date doors and hardware ‒ or hire a professional to give doors and drawers a fresh coat of paint. Finally, you can replace older appliances with slide-in, energy-efficient, stainless steel models. It’s your call as to whether spending money on these kitchen redo’s is feasible; think about your individual circumstances and what your goal is for selling your home. It also may be helpful to contact your homeowners insurance representative, to make sure that any renovations you’re considering will be covered.
A savvy refresh doesn’t have to include all kitchen elements. Instead, to help save on cost, pick and choose the features that can make the greatest impression within your space.
6. Deep clean and declutter.
When it comes to selling a home, you want to make a great first impression. Messy playrooms, cat or dog odors (even if Fido isn’t home), or an unmade bed can all be a turnoff to potential homebuyers.
That may be why many real estate agents suggest their clients declutter and deep clean before listing their house for sale. While the main living spaces should take center stage, potential homebuyers may open your cabinets, drawers and refrigerator, so be sure to give them a good once-over, too.
7. Hire a professional home stager.
When it comes down to it, the buyers who can envision themselves living in your home are the ones most likely to buy. That’s why staging your home to sell is such a popular tactic. A professional home stager will suggest removing personal items like photographs and excess furniture. Many professionals suggest storing or removing a quarter to half of your possessions, including sofas, bookcases, knickknacks, books and even clothes in your closet.
Still, removing excess stuff is just the start. Stagers may rearrange furniture to highlight features like the fireplace, a view or unique architectural details. They may even suggest that you use a rental service to bring in items to dress up your home and will arrange for that service if you decide to take that advice.
A professional home stager will often cost several hundred dollars, but the investment can help a home sell faster ‒ and often at a higher price than similar homes. To get the biggest bang for your staging buck, stagers recommend focusing on the living room, master bedroom and kitchen, in that order.
8. A fresh coat of interior paint.
Paint has the power to entirely transform a home, particularly if it’s been a while since you upgraded your color scheme or if you happen to love eclectic colors. Neutrals are typically a safe bet ‒ they can create that clean slate feel that give home shoppers a greater ability to see their own belongings in your space.
9. Optimize lighting.
High-quality lighting can help make a room feel larger, more modern and more inviting to potential homebuyers. For daytime showings, open curtains and blinds to bring in as much natural light as you can. Take advantage of accent lighting throughout the day and evening to emphasize art, a reading nook or any other interesting features in your home. If your home still feels dark, try strategically placing a mirror to reflect light and help make a room appear brighter. Alternatively, you can help brighten your space by bringing in a stylish floor or table lamp.
If your fixtures are dated, new dining room and foyer chandeliers can bring a more modern vibe to your space.
10. Make small repairs.
You may be accustomed to the inconvenience of that torn window screen or leaky showerhead but, to a new potential homebuyer, they may be red flags, prompting them to stay alert for any other necessary but unmade home repairs they’ll have to consider when it comes time to make an offer.
Help get ahead of potential problems by doing a walkthrough, looking for any damage or necessary repairs. Then, consider hiring a handyman for the day. To really head off problems, consider hiring your own home inspector to help alert you to unexpected issues you can repair before homebuyers start walking through your home.
Before You Move, Review Your Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage
Selling your home is a good time to review your homeowners coverage. Learn more with us at:
The trees in your yard can enhance your property, provide shade and offer abundant environmental benefits. However, trees can also pose a safety hazard to your family and your home if they are not properly inspected and maintained.
Trees can present a particularly significant danger during a storm. Wind, lightning, snow and ice can all transform a tranquil row of trees into an imminent threat to your property. Proper tree maintenance involves more than pruning and trimming overgrown branches. These are some of the key steps you can take to protect your trees and prevent them from becoming a safety hazard.
Steps to Take Before a Storm
When performing maintenance on the trees in your yard, please make safety a priority. If you are unable to safely prune or remove trees and limbs, contact a professional tree-care service or arborist to help you do so. It may be a good idea to consult with a professional if the trees in your yard already display any of the following characteristics:
Your needs can change as you encounter different milestones. Has your insurance coverage kept up with your life?
If you've experienced a big shift or have something planned for the future, you may need to adjust your policy accordingly.
Want to make sure you have the right protection? Review this list of events to see if you should make updates to your insurance coverage.
Life is full of changes. Reach out today to discuss your recent or upcoming milestones.
Are you ready to spend more time outside? As the weather warms up, you can shift your eye to home improvements for your outdoor space.
A welcoming area can be the perfect place to relax during spring and summer days. And not only can upgrades increase your home's value, but they can also inspire you to keep up with regular maintenance.
From entertaining to unique lighting, here are this year's trends in outdoor living.
Want to make sure you have the right protection for your property? Or are you looking for more home improvement inspiration? Get in touch today.
Are you prepping for a move? You might be wondering if you should make any changes to your home or auto insurance.
While updating your paperwork might not be your top priority right now, doing so can keep you and your belongings protected during and after your move.
You can start by adding your new address to your policy. Here are some other key things to consider.
Your homeowners insurance premiums will differ when you move, even if you’re staying in the same area. Changes in home size, construction materials, natural hazards and property crime rates all affect policy costs. Reach out about your premium ahead of your move so you can budget accordingly.
Consider whether you have enough coverage for all the furniture, electronics and other items you acquired since you purchased your policy. It’s easy to underestimate the value of your stuff.
Also, replacement cost coverage is more valuable than actual cash value coverage and may be worth the upgrade if you don’t have it already.
Are your belongings covered while moving? Consult your policy or get in touch to find out. You may be able to purchase coverage from your movers or add it to your policy if you need it.
Your auto insurance premiums could also increase or decrease when you move. The risks of driving in your new location and parking at your new home may change because the weather, traffic and crime may be different.
If you’re moving states, premium changes can be more pronounced. One reason is that minimum coverage laws vary by state. Changing location also means you’ll need to re-register your vehicle.
Finally, avoid changing or canceling your current policies too early so you don’t have gaps in your protection.
Do you have questions about your coverage while moving? Get in touch today.
When thinking of the cause of a kitchen fire, it is common to think of cooking. But not all kitchen fires start because of cooking hazards. Non-cooking related fires commonly involve refrigerators, freezers or dishwashers.
The following tips can help prevent non-cooking related fires from occurring in your kitchen.
What to Do If a Kitchen Fire Flares Up
By exercising caution at all times in your kitchen, you can help reduce the risk of a kitchen fire. But if a fire does flare up, you need to be prepared.
If you're planning a home renovation, you may want to call your insurance agent first because this decision can impact your homeowners insurance. Some home renovations will change the amount of coverage you need, while others could even help you qualify for a discount. We cover six common scenarios that could affect your insurance, so you can plan ahead.
1. Building a New Addition
When you expand and improve your home, you could likely increase its replacement value. This is the cost to repair or rebuild your home. Some additions that could increase your replacement value include: adding a second-story bedroom, expanding the living room or building a new garage.
After building a new addition, or making updates or other improvements, you may need to increase your coverage because the value of your home, and the cost to rebuild it will likely have increased. Most insurance companies require your Coverage A or dwelling coverage limit be at least 80 percent of the replacement value of your home.
Your insurance agent can recalculate your home value to determine whether you'll need more coverage because of the addition or improvement.
2. Building a Pool
If you're looking to add a pool, you will want to contact your insurance agent to review coverage for changes to your property's value, as well as any increase in risk. When people are swimming and running around the pool, there's the chance for an accident. If someone gets hurt, they could try to hold you responsible for damages. This can apply even if the accident isn't your fault.
Check with your agent to see whether your existing policy covers a pool and if you need to increase your liability coverage. This coverage can help pay damages to injured persons and provide for a defense if you are sued as a result of their injuries.
You should also ask your agent what steps you can take to keep your pool safe so you can avoid accidents.
Adding a fence with a lock is a smart move. You could also add lights with motion sensors or a pool alarm to discourage trespassers. Consider skipping the diving board, because this increases the chance of an accident and your insurance cost.
Calfee Insurance wants to help you protect the things that matter to you. We offer a wide breadth of products so you can be covered at home and on the road.
3. Adding a Deck
A new deck is another improvement that can add value but also risk, especially if the deck is attached to a second story or higher. You should let your agent know that you've added a deck, so he or she can adjust your policy as necessary.
4. Renovating the Kitchen
Upgrading the kitchen can significantly increase the value of your home, especially if you switch to higher-quality counter tops, appliances and new flooring. You should contact your agent to see if you need to increase your insurance coverage.
If your contractor upgrades the plumbing or electrical wiring as part of the renovation, ask your homeowners insurance agent if you qualify for a discount or if your coverage needs to be adjusted. These upgrades can reduce the chance of flooding water damage and fire, so check if your insurance company has discounts that can help to reduce your premium.
5. Finishing the Basement
Finishing your basement can also increase the value of your home. That means, yet again, you may need more homeowners coverage. Flooding can be a concern, especially for the lowest floor in your house. It is important to note that most homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage caused by floods. Ask your agent to review your coverage and look to see if there are steps you can take to help prevent future damage, like installing a sump pump.
6. Redoing the Roof
Before you redo your roof, ask your insurance agent whether this could qualify for a discount. Some companies offer a discount when you reinforce the roof or use stronger roofing materials that are wind, hail and leak-resistant. Your agent can explain how to qualify. At the same time, redoing the roof could increase your property value, which means you might need more coverage.
It is a good idea to contact your agent when you’re considering making home renovations. Their knowledge and expertise can help you get the most out of your discounts while making sure your home is adequately insured.
Millions of students in the U.S. are learning from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, and many parents may be feeling the stress of juggling working from home and guiding their children’s educations.
As the weeks at home with your kids continue to add up, you may have come across some unique or especially difficult challenges with this new setup. Here are a few recommendations to help guide you through some of the challenges that parents are facing during this time:
You may have made a daily or weekly schedule when your child’s school first closed its doors due to
COVID 19. Perhaps it worked well for the first week or two, but by now, that schedule may need adjusting as you and your family have settled into your temporary routine.
The truth is, creating a schedule for the entire week may not be feasible. Instead, during breakfast each morning, take a few minutes to talk with your kids about the day ahead and what schoolwork they need to accomplish ‒ and when. Encourage stability and regularity as much as you can. Setting daily expectations for your kids and making sure they meet them by the day’s end will help them stay disciplined.
In some schools, students aren’t allowed to use smartphones in classrooms. The same should be true at home, at least when they’re completing their schoolwork. Keep them focused on their education by limiting phone use to non-study time. This is likely to get harder as more weeks roll by without your kids having face-to-face interaction with their peers. Consider using screen time as a reward for an assignment well done or completed early.
Tip: Stay aware while your children are studying at home by looking out for unusual phone, digital or social media activity.
Equipping Kids for Success
Your kids need certain equipment and internet access to learn online. It’s a big challenge for some families, but help is becoming more available. For example, Everyoneon.org maintains a list of sources where students can access affordable computers and broadband.
Keeping Kids Connected
You may be concerned about your children feeling isolated from the social connections they normally have at school. While you don’t want screen time merging with school time, easing up a bit on your screen time rules and limits (if you haven’t already) may be the best way to get through this time.
Allow children to interact with friends via video to help them maintain the relationships they’ve built in the classroom. Partner with other parents to plan virtual play and activity dates. Supporting these connections can be vital to your children’s learning and will help to provide some balance in their lives.
Networking With Parents
Connecting with other parents has obvious social benefits. As the coronavirus pandemic wears on, networking can be a good way to learn about the approaches other parents are taking with at-home education and what successes they’ve had. Plan virtual events to talk with other families and share with each other how you are making it through this time.
Education is important, but the mental and emotional health of your children is even more critical. Check in throughout the day to make sure they’re doing okay. If something’s wrong, take time to stop what you’re doing and work with them to deal with their fears and concerns.
6 Home Organizing Projects to Keep Your Children Busy While You're Working From Home During COVID-19
While many of us are adjusting to social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, parents are juggling their daily work activities with caring for their children. If you are working from home (WFH), you may have calls to make, emails to send or a video call to dial into while you try to keep your kids safely occupied.
There is a bright side to sheltering in place while working from home, and it’s not just the cozy family togetherness. You can get a jump on some of the home organizing projects on your to-do list, while helping your children learn how they can pitch in to help.
Get together as a family to brainstorm potential projects. Let the kids come up with some of their own, weighing in on what they want to do. Consider creating a schedule and come up with little rewards they might get ‒ such as extra screen time after finishing a big task or a project, one-on-one time with a parent, a walk around the neighborhood, or time playing catch.
Here are some organizing ideas that can help occupy the kids while you’re working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Home Office
Looking for a fun way to get the kids to help clean your home office? Let them shred paper! Just note that it’s not recommended to recycle or toss financial documents, as these can contain personal information that can be used for identity theft.
Different documents should be held for different amounts of time, usually 1 to 7 years, though some should be kept forever. Double-check your shred pile for these types of documents before your kids start shredding them. If your children are old enough to use a shredder, give them a proper tutorial to make sure they know how to use it safely and supervise if necessary. Better yet, let them tear up the paper with their hands. Just make sure they know they have to pick up any bits of paper they drop and toss them in the trash.
Bikes, balls, holiday decorations, lawn equipment and gardening supplies might be, piled up in your garage, even with a car parked inside it. Let the kids get some fresh air while you’re WFH and sort through their outside toys. Have them decide what to keep and what to donate or throw away. Discard broken or nonworking items like deflated balls, broken sporting equipment or a cracked bike helmet. Discovering boxes of sidewalk chalk and the forgotten scooter can also give them something to do after organizing.
3. Spice Rack
While you make dinner or continue to WFH in the next room, let the kids organize the spice rack. They can organize alphabetically or by spice type ‒ baking, green spices, salts, etc. It’s also a good time to weed out empty bottles and make sure that the contents of remaining bottles are not past their expiration date.
With the kids at home full time, they may be scattering their toys around the room more than usual. While you’re WFH, have them use this time to set aside any broken items and less-loved toys that might make another child happy. Throw out the broken toys, and box up any that can be donated.
Kids grow quickly, and their clothing from last season may no longer fit them. To clear out these wardrobe items, have your kids put on a fashion show to let you see what no longer fits. At the same time, this can be a good time to plow through email on your laptop while in their room, either sitting at their desk or on their bed. It’ll take time for the kids to change into different outfits, and they can hang up or fold the clothes in between. Keep a bin or bag ready for donations.
Pantry organizing can take several routes. Kids can inventory what goods are in the pantry and start a shopping list for future trips or deliveries. They can throw out expired food and wipe the cabinets clean (a great way to introduce them to the task of spring cleaning!). Kids who like to cook could use the ingredients they find to plan recipes. Some websites can even recommend recipes based on the ingredients you have on hand.
Letting the kids do some home organizing while you’re work from home doesn’t have to be a chore. What’s more, if you’re thinking of selling your house in the near future, you’ll be in a better position to begin that process of decluttering.
Organizing can be an educational process, even if your kids don’t know that you’re trying to teach them something. After they get into the swing of things, they may not even want a reward, since they’re having so much fun. Plus, seeing the results of an inviting toy pile, a pantry with lots of promise or a closet full of clothing that fits is a reward in itself.
Remember, especially in times like these, Calfee Insurance cares and is here for our customers when they need us. If there is anything we can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact us at 508-540-2601.
It’s no surprise that this year’s top home trends are all about practicality and comfort.
And while you’ve probably already taken steps to improve your space over the last few months, there could be a few more ways to make the most of your property.
Whether you have safety in mind or you’d like some design inspiration, take a look at the most exciting home trends for 2021:
Colors and Moods
Did you see Pantone’s color of the year for 2021? It’s actually two colors: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating (a vibrant yellow) are together described as “a marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness.”
And speaking of warm and comforting, natural wood is also on the rise. When it comes to design, 2021 is all about mixing traditional and modern for a cozy feel.
Connecting With Nature
Feeling cooped up at home has motivated people to get closer to nature. You can tap into this trend by buying indoor plants, adding earth tones to your living room, freshening up any outdoor space you have, or going big with a brand new deck, porch or landscaping project.
Smart Features for Health and Safety
Smart and wellness-oriented features such as touchless faucets and flushers, motion sensor lighting, bidets and heated floors will continue to be in demand this year.
This trend began a few months ago and will unsurprisingly continue in 2021. Both homeowners and homebuyers want separate rooms for work, Zoom, play, exercise, intergenerational living and more.
Accomplishing this can be as simple as buying room dividers. Or, you can go big and renovate an existing open floor plan or add a new room or wing to your house.
Do you have questions about how a home update will affect your coverage? Just need to check in? Reach out anytime.