Century 21® http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog Real Estate Blog Mon, 05 Oct 2015 16:01:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.1 3 Essentials for Your Home Appraiser http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/3-essentials-for-your-home-appraiser/ http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/3-essentials-for-your-home-appraiser/#comments Mon, 05 Oct 2015 16:01:34 +0000 http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/?p=9883 The home appraisal is an integral part of the home selling process. It helps to determine the “market value” of a property so buyers neither overpay for a house nor get it for a “steal.” The appraisal breaks down into three parts, though this can vary by state:

● Inspection
● Comparables (how other homes in the neighborhood are valued)
● Final report

As you prepare for a profssional home appraisal, here’s what you can do to ensure you get the best possible report and value for your home.

Keep Up Appearances

Ensure the following when an appraiser comes to assign a market value to your home:
● A healthy and hospitable appearance
● Proper drainage away from the foundation and/or basement
● Egress windows in all bedrooms for fire safety
● For homes built before 1978, no lead-based paint concerns
● Handrails on all stairs and steps
● A properly functioning heating system that provides ample comfort
● A roof in good condition

Though home appraisers won’t put a “black mark” in their books for the messiness of your home, it does help to have it organized. They’ll be able to see some of the high selling points if they’re not covered under clutter.

Provide Necessary Paperwork

Appraisers absolutely must have all of the paperwork available about your property before they arrive. If they don’t get this information from your lender or broker beforehand, then you should have it in a folder, ready to hand over. This information includes:
● Major improvements
● Age and condition of the roof, HVAC system and major appliances
● Permits for any DIY projects

The more information they have on-hand about your house, the better they can value it.

List Only Essentials

Never list extra square footage in your overview to the appraiser. While you may think your basement or attic counts as square footage, this isn’t always the case. If you’re unsure, it’s best to hire a home inspector or REALTOR® to advise you on acceptable square footage. You should also take care to provide accurate square footage for individual rooms. While you might be tempted to add a few extra square feet here and there, your appraiser has no problem looking up the actual numbers — and it could hurt you in the end.


Home appraisals aren’t just for sellers; they’re for homebuyers and refinancers too. In the case of a buyer, a buyer’s lender will generally have a different appraiser look through the home and perform an independent assessment. If the buyer’s assessment doesn’t match up against the seller’s, discrepancies may be addressed as needed. It also helps to see where potential problems may lie before listing your home, in case you need to make repairs.

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MASH for Adults: What Type of House Should You Have? http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/mash-for-adults-what-type-of-house-should-you-have/ http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/mash-for-adults-what-type-of-house-should-you-have/#comments Sat, 03 Oct 2015 07:10:34 +0000 http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/?p=9872 Do you remember MASH, the game you used to play in grade school to predict your future? We’ve created the adult version to help you find out the type of home that may be right for you. Grab a pen, think of a number, and start playing!

How would you describe your style?

  1. Eclectic
  2. Modern
  3. Traditional
  4. Chic


How do you feel about work?

  1. I’d rather be traveling the world.
  2. It’s fine, but I prefer nightlife.
  3. It teaches responsibility.
  4. It’s great, if you make a lot of money.


Which home exterior do you prefer?

  1. Blue paint
  2. Red brick
  3. White siding
  4. Tan stone


Where would you like to live?

  1. On a beach
  2. In a city
  3. In the suburbs
  4. An exclusive development


Which is your ideal vacation?

  1. A beachside retreat in the Caribbean
  2. A night out on the town in a bustling city
  3. A family-friendly trip to an amusement park
  4. An extravagant European tour

Now add up your scores! (Answer 1 = 1 point, Answer 2 = 2 points, etc.)

If you scored…

5 – 8  = You should live in a bungalow!

The perfect home for you may be a beachside bungalow! You love to travel the world and spend most of your time on a beach. Your home is filled with treasured items you’ve picked up over the years. Who cares about matching? Everything you own reflects a memory, a piece of you, or a part of the world.

9 – 12 = You should live in an apartment!

You’re a natural urban dweller, and we couldn’t take that away from you! You may have been born for the bright lights of the big city, and you don’t care if that means living in a smaller space. You’re willing to sacrifice square footage for experiences in a metropolis, so you’ve developed a minimalist style to decorate your abode. You aren’t too attached to your items, but instead, are attached to your city.

13 – 16 = You should live in a house!

You may love peace and quiet, and what better place for that than the suburbs or the country? Family comes first for you, which is echoed in your design style. You care about practicality first, and you understand the difference between “needs” and “wants.” But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have sentimental attachment to items. You proudly decorate your home with artwork and items made by family members.

17 – 20 = You should live in a mansion!

You favor a big, pristinely decorated space, so a mansion may be right for you. You love extravagant items, like a large mirror or brightly-colored furniture. And everything you own matches, which means you have a home that your friends fawn over constantly.

For entertainment purposes only.

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Avoid These Common First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/avoid-these-common-first-time-home-buyer-mistakes/ http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/avoid-these-common-first-time-home-buyer-mistakes/#comments Tue, 29 Sep 2015 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/?p=9878 Buying a home for the first time can be cumbersome. You’ve never done it before, so it’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed. Luckily, we’ve pulled together some of the common mistakes first-time home buyers make. Learn from them, and you may have a smoother home buying process.

  • Forgetting About Costs:

Your mortgage will probably not be the only cost when it comes to buying a home. Smaller costs like property insurance, taxes, electric and water bills, and other fees may start to pile up. Before buying a house, you may need to look further into your savings to figure out if you can pay for all of these additional charges.

  • Looking for a Home Before the Loan:

Once you find a house and decide to buy it, you don’t want to spend time wondering if you can afford it. Knowing your budget, and that you are a qualified buyer before you begin your search may make the process easier and more efficient. Once you decide that it’s time to buy a home, get pre-approved for a loan.

  • Not Hiring Professionals:

Moving isn’t as simple as packing up your stuff and renting a van. It takes a village to move into a new neighborhood. Your team can only be as good as your weakest link, so you may want to ensure that you have only the best players. Get your home buying team in place before starting the search.

  • Being Too Picky:

There’s nothing wrong with knowing what you want when it comes to buying a home. But if your “must-have” list get too long and too specific, you may end up looking for your perfect house for a very long time. Also, remember that you can make changes once you move in. It may be wise to take the time to figure out what you really need versus what you want. If you are unsure where to start, our checklist may help!

  • Lacking Vision:

Some of the open houses you attend may not look move-in ready. But plenty of homes have hidden potential. When you look for a home, try to look past the 70’s shag rugs and lava lamps. Imagine what the home will look like after you’ve moved in with all of your own belongings, or try to envision the structure of the home without the stuff inside it. This will be an important skill, especially if you’re looking to buy a fixer-upper as your first home.

  • Ignoring the Future: 

If you plan on living in this house for a long time, you may want to think ahead. You may decide to have kids in a few years, and then you’ll have to worry about another set of questions. Will there be enough bedrooms? Is the house located in a good school district? These may be things to think about when buying your home.

So whether you’re just starting to think about buying your first home, or you’ve already spent some time looking, there may be a lot to learn from this list of mistakes.

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5 Sneaky Storage Tips for Small Spaces http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/5-sneaky-storage-tips-for-small-spaces/ http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/5-sneaky-storage-tips-for-small-spaces/#comments Wed, 23 Sep 2015 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/?p=9863 Shh…we’re sharing some sneaky storage tips. According to Psychology Today’s Sherrie Bourg Carter, messy homes make people feel overwhelmed, anxious, and helpless. As she says, mess leads to stress. Your home should feel like a sanctuary, not a penitentiary. These storage tips may make your home feel cleaner and more organized.

Fold Everything Down:

We’re not talking about folding your clothes (which will also save you space), but instead, we mean thinking about installing a desk or a kitchen table that can be folded when it’s not in use. Bring the furniture back out when it’s time for Thanksgiving or poker night.

Use Multi-Purpose Pieces:

One clever way to make more space in a small room is to implement items that serve two purposes: like a hollow ottoman or a trunk. They will be there taking up space either way, so why not fill it them up to tackle two problems at once?

Set Up Built-In Shelving:

You may be able to save space with built-in shelving. These shelves usually don’t take up as much space as bookshelves, and you can use them to line an entire wall from floor to ceiling! Use them to store books, collections, toiletries, and other things that are taking up space in your home.

Hang Out in Your Kitchen:

One of the trickiest storage problems in small kitchens is finding space for all of the pots and pans. They take up too much space in a cupboard, so hang them from the ceiling instead. It will add to the decor of the room, and it might be easier to find what you’re looking for when you’re in the middle of a brilliant cooking concoction. Similarly, you can hang cups and mugs from under-shelf hangers, which may free up more space in the cupboards for plates, bowls, platters, and other things that stack.

Set up a Creative Corner:

Anyone in a small space may tell you that creatively filling every single space can be difficult. For a small room that is already full (but still needs more storage) look into corner shelves. Don’t cut corners—use them!

Filling your home with hidden storage may be a great way to tuck all of your items away and keep your home organized. Take everything out of the closet or junk drawer and start using these stealth storage solutions.

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6 Ingenious Kitchen Projects to Make It Feel Bigger http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/6-ingenious-kitchen-projects-to-make-it-feel-bigger/ http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/6-ingenious-kitchen-projects-to-make-it-feel-bigger/#comments Wed, 23 Sep 2015 12:00:51 +0000 http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/?p=9850 Does your kitchen feel cramped? If you want to create the illusion of a bigger kitchen without remodeling or tearing down walls, don’t fret. There are plenty of creative hacks for organizing your small kitchen. Here are some ideas:

#1 Declutter!

It’s possible that the reason your kitchen feels small and cramped is that you’re keeping a lot of stuff in it. Cookbooks, pots and pans, vases — these can all clutter the space. Take the time to clear off the counters and workspaces. To take the next step, declutter cabinets and shelves. Get rid of dishes that you rarely use and toss pots and pans that have rusted over time. This is a good opportunity to make room for new items or just free up space in general. Don’t forget about your floor space. If there are shoes or other items that don’t belong in the kitchen, now is the time to move or remove them.

#2 Add more white.

A dark color scheme can make small spaces feel more cramped or narrow than they are. If you have the budget, think about repainting your walls white or a lighter shade. If your cabinets are white, then transition the color onto your walls. If your cabinets are a different color or retain their natural wood grain appearance, now is a good time to paint them white. It creates a seamless, open feeling in your kitchen.

#3 Install additional lighting.

The more light in a space, the brighter and more open it feels. When you combine light with white, the light is reflected and makes the walls seem further away. Just make sure to install soft lighting. If you can, make the most of natural light during the day with windows. You can replace a single-pane glass window over your sink, for example, with its more efficient, double-paned alternative. It creates just as much natural light and increases your home’s efficiency. The cost of a replacement window is about $500 depending on the size you’ll need.

#4 Remove barriers.

Your island, bar stools or hanging lamps may also be the reason your kitchen feels cramped. Islands are great for baking bread or preparing meats, but if you rarely use yours, why keep it around? The same goes for barstools — keep them aside and pull them out when needed. Replace hanging pendant lamps with recessed lamps so you can avoid hitting your head. The kitchen shouldn’t have too much going on at once, so keep it focused on the essentials: countertop, sink, stove and refrigerator. Everything else should be open floor space.

#5 Do you need all the cabinets?

Do you use all of the cabinets in your kitchen? If you have cabinets around the entirety of your kitchen, there’s a chance their color and depth will make your kitchen feel smaller. If you don’t use them all, think about removing a few. If you do use all of your cabinets, think about replacing some with open shelving or putting in glass doors. As previously mentioned, white paint is also good for making the room feel less cramped.

#6 Geometric patterns help.

Geometric patterns can make your kitchen feel bigger. Stripes, in particular, can help draw the eye and make the room feel larger or taller than it actually is. Add a runner or rug with a geometric pattern. Or, if you have the budget, replace your current flooring with geometric tiles. The cost to install a ceramic tile floor averages between $900 and $2,300 depending on the square footage of the kitchen.

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Find Out Which Emmy Nominated TV Series You Should Call Home http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/find-out-which-emmy-nominated-tv-series-you-should-call-home/ http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/find-out-which-emmy-nominated-tv-series-you-should-call-home/#comments Thu, 17 Sep 2015 14:30:24 +0000 http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/?p=9860 This year was a great time for television, and that means the 67th Emmy Awards are likely to be fun to watch. Have you ever pondered which Emmy-nominated show fits your personality best? Take this quiz to find out!

Where would you like to live the most?

  1. An estate
  2. A castle
  3. A white house
  4. A big city apartment
  5. A home on the beach


Which word best fits your decorating style?

  1. Opulent
  2. Rustic
  3. Minimalist
  4. Vintage
  5. Eclectic


Which is your favorite activity?

  1. Throwing dinner parties
  2. Watching fights
  3. Planning takedowns
  4. Drinking whiskey
  5. Spending time with family


Which would be your dream job?

  1. Not working
  2. King
  3. Politician
  4. Advertising executive
  5. Real estate agent


Which drives you?

  1. Reputation
  2. Honor
  3. Power
  4. Money
  5. Family



If you chose mostly 1’s, you belong in “Downton Abbey.” You embody class, and you’re always aware of the impression you give off. You like to host formal events (mostly so you can show off your formal dining room). You find comfort in antiques and collecting pieces that have a story. Each room of your home is full of items from different periods of history, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you chose mostly 2’s, you belong in “Game of Thrones.” You are a tough person, and you love battle scenes almost as much as you love dragons. You like to decorate with darker colors and love the cool touch of stone walls. Your favorite space is probably your living room, where you claim the best chair every day (despite others trying to steal it from you). Winter is coming, but you don’t mind the cold.

If you chose mostly 3’s, you belong in “House of Cards.” You know what you want, and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get it. You are full of passion and drive, and you don’t like distractions—which is why your home is full of neutrals. You’re a minimalist through and through, so you decorate with cool steel accessories and light-colored walls. You won’t let anything slow you down!

If you chose mostly 4’s, you belong in “Mad Men.” You are flashy, creative, and hardworking, which shows in your home. You strive to find the perfect accent pieces to bring any room to the next level. A bright purple lamp here, a teal pillow there, and your regular house becomes a stylish home.

If you chose mostly 5’s, you belong in “Modern Family.” There is nothing more important to you than family—not work, power, or even friends. The first people you turn to when you have a problem are your parents, siblings, and kids. This is echoed in your decor, because you choose comfort over style. Some might say you have a typical suburban house, but to you, it’s much more than that—it’s a place to display your family photos and creations for everyone to admire. And, yes, you still have your thirty-year-old’s artwork on the fridge…

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Your Fall Home Improvement Checklist http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/your-fall-home-improvement-checklist/ http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/your-fall-home-improvement-checklist/#comments Thu, 17 Sep 2015 05:00:57 +0000 http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/?p=9854 Cooler weather, changing leaves, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and great outdoor activities: It’s officially fall. It’s time for fun activities like apple picking and foliage-filled walks. It may also be an ideal time to spruce up your home before the cold weather comes. But what do you need to do? Our checklist may help you keep track of all of your fall home improvement projects.

What to do Inside:

  • Check your heater
  • Clear vents and chimneys
  • Take out window screens
  • Re-seal any drafty windows or doors
  • Take steps that may prevent pipe freezing
  • Reverse ceiling fans (so they run clockwise)
  • Check the water heater
  • Complete any fireplace maintenance

What to do Outside:

  • Close the swimming pool if you have one
  • Inspect and fix the roof
  • Buy a snow blower
  • Get rid of dying summer plants
  • Clean the gutters
  • Drain hoses and cover outdoor faucets
  • Empty gas from the lawn mower

Follow these steps, and you may be prepared for everything facing you this winter. As they say, winter is coming, and you don’t want to be caught unprepared.

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5 Affordable Ways to Upgrade Your Bathroom http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/5-affordable-ways-to-upgrade-your-bathroom/ http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/5-affordable-ways-to-upgrade-your-bathroom/#comments Mon, 14 Sep 2015 16:15:17 +0000 http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/?p=9847 When you’re planning a remodel, the bathroom is not always the first area you think of. However, if your bathroom is causing you strife, you may be able to make some simple, fast, and affordable changes to upgrade it. You don’t need to do anything drastic like replacing the whole shower. Your bathroom may look like it appeared right off of your Pinterest board with just a few changes.

Draw Attention to the Mirror

The mirror is one of the key focal points of a bathroom. If your bathroom mirror isn’t that exciting, there’s a simple fix. Look for an interesting frame that will cause the mirror to pop. This may draw attention away from the less interesting parts of the room.

Coordinate Your Accents

If you choose one metal for all of your accents, you may be able to maintain a consistent aesthetic. Pick silver, gold, bronze, or platinum for drawer handles, towel racks, light fixtures, faucets, and even toothbrush holders. Little changes may tie everything together nicely.

Try Accent Tiling

Tiles can be expensive, especially if you want something fancy. If you choose to use pricey tiles, stick to just one area of the bathroom like the floor, the countertop, or the inside of the shower. Arrange the fancy tiles that you love in an interesting pattern around the plainer ones.


The simplest step is often forgotten. If your bathroom is feeling dingy, it might be because you haven’t updated your caulk or grout. Clean, white lines around the tub and sink may make a huge difference, and it’s a quick and inexpensive fix.

Refinish the Tub

If your bathtub is causing you stress, you don’t necessarily need to replace it. Instead, look into a cheaper option: refinishing it. You may be able to do the entire thing by yourself. It could take some time and effort, but it may also save you money.

These five tips may help you makeover your bathroom…without breaking the bank.

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Seller Checklist: Staging Your Open House http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/seller-checklist-staging-your-open-house/ http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/seller-checklist-staging-your-open-house/#comments Tue, 08 Sep 2015 18:36:09 +0000 http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/?p=9841 An open house may be the best way to show potential buyers your listing. A house might look nice in a few photos but not so nice in person, or vice-versa. So how do you put on the kind of open house that is likely to leave you with an offer? Our Open House Checklist can show you what to do (and what not to do) to increase your chance of putting on the best and most successful open house.

What to do before the open house:

You need to take your place from lived-in to open-house-ready. At a loss for where to start? Follow these suggestions!

  • Clean, clean, clean.
  • Work on your landscaping.
  • Get rid of any personal items (especially family photos).
  • Declutter the house—no knickknacks, please!
  • Plan the open house for off-hours, like weekends.
  • Create an info packet about the house.
  • Put up signs advertising the event.
  • Clear out the driveway so there is room for guests to park.
  • Manage the temperature so the home is not too warm or too cold.
  • Set out some fresh-cut flowers or other plants.
  • Turn on all of the lights and open the curtains.

What not to do for the open house:

Everyone has different preferences, but the following things may have an adverse effect on potential buyers. Avoid these mistakes when you’re planning your open house.

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to fix broken objects.
  • Don’t hover.
  • Don’t put on music.
  • Don’t run out of copies of the info packet you made.
  • Don’t have an overwhelming smell—whether that be cleaning products or cookies.
  • Don’t let your pets stay around during an open house.
  • Don’t leave any room or area in the house off limits.

The main objective of your open house should be to make prospective buyers envision your home sweet home as their own. If you follow these tips (and avoid the mistakes) you may be able to create an open house that does just that.

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Back to School: Home Office Essentials http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/back-to-school-home-office-essentials/ http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/back-to-school-home-office-essentials/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 12:00:50 +0000 http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/?p=9837 Back to school season is in full swing, and that means your kids will be coming home with more and more homework. They will need a productive space to study, and your home office can be a good option. But the office may need a few essentials before it’s ready for the school year.

Get Good Lighting

Studying in the dark can strain your eyes or put you to sleep. To avoid the likelihood of snoozing during study time, you’ll want to have adequate lighting. Add a small desk lamp, a floor lamp, or a brighter bulb in your overhead lighting.

Create Comfort

Your kids will ideally spend a lot of time studying in the office. Make it comfortable. Invest in a good chair or a lumbar support cushion.

Keep Supplies Within Reach

Your kids may need pens, pencils, paper clips, glue sticks, and all of the things on their long back to school shopping list. Try to fit the necessary supplies in arms reach. Set up pencil holders on the desk surface, or dedicate a drawer to school supplies. If they can simply grab what they need, they’ll be likely to save time and stay on track.

Be Organized

People are more productive when they work in an organized space. So instead of throwing supplies and papers anywhere, make sure everything has a place. Invest in folders, binders, and a file cabinet (and make sure the entire family uses them).


Creative work is done best in a visually pleasing space, so don’t skimp when it comes to interior design. Personalize the space and make it one where your family actually enjoys spending time.

Get your home office in shape. Your entire family may be more productive as a result.

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