A Few Harmful Home Improvement Habits

Home Ownership is most everyone’s dream … and maintaining this valuable asset is on-going! Interestingly, owners may overdo it with it comes to the upkeep. This Old House recently spotlighted some of these over zealous activities.

  1. Light bulbs that are too bright … exceeding a lamp of light fixture’s recommended wattage can be dangerous, particularly with incandescents or halogen lights. Too-high wattage may cause a fixture and/or its wiring to overheat and may lead to a house fire.
  2. Over scrubbing a sink … abrasive cleansers, those with grit or grain to them, can scratch the sink and wear away the finish, dulling it. Use a cleanser like vinegar or lemon juice and avoid daily cleansing.
  3. Planting trees near driveways or walkways … will put your slab at risk. Keep smaller trees at least 10 feet from any paved areas and a radius of 20 feet for taller trees.
  4. Excessive mulch around plants or trees … will suffocate plants and prevent water from percolating into the soil. Have mulch no thicker than 3 inches.
  5. Over doing it with can lights … recessed lighting, when not properly sealed, is known to cause excessive air leaks, especially in vaulted ceilings or below attics. Another rule of thumb is to use as few recessed lights as you can. A ceiling of lights is a deterrent to a home and not appealing.
  6. Painting a home … layers of paint is detrimental, especially on an older home. Many of these homes have layers of thicker oil-based paint, which becomes brittle with age. Prior to painting your exterior, carefully power-wash, sand areas in need and use 100% acrylic-resin exterior paint.
  7. Fertilizing too much … undue amounts of fertilizer will actually spur more weeds to grow! Several lawn experts recommend fertilizing twice a year, late summer and fall. By following these guidelines, you are also giving consideration to the environment. Water runoff from lawn fertilizers leads to an overgrowth of algae, polluting local waterways.

Loretta DiTirro is a licensed Realtor Listing Homes to Sell and Working with Home Buyers in Denver and the West Metro Corridor. You may contact her at lorettaditirro@gmail.com or 303-594-1520,

A New Living Space Brings New Energy to Your Life!

This is the time of year when thoughts of Selling a Home are on the mind of some home owners. When meeting with a Seller(s), it’s interesting to hear the “why” behind an anticipated move. Many times, it is simply to make a Change. As a Realtor, this is Exciting to hear. Change is healthy and, many times, brings a Positive Energy flow into many other areas of their lives. These being a Purpose, Excitement … a sense of Moving Forward. If this resonates with your life, Thrilling times are ahead!

Preparation for the sale of your home begins with what will be brought forward to your new home. If, for example, you are downsizing from the family home, it’s time to hand off all mementos of your children’s. What about antiques, pictures, clothing, china, etc. from your ancestors or you no longer use? Perhaps your children or relatives may want them. If not, feel satisfied they’ve served their purpose and let them go. Remember … you’re moving forward to a fresh beginning!

It’s always exciting to visit clients about 3 months after their move. The energy in their home is Electric … as well as within them. Not surprising to hear about new jobs, positive changes to their health, a new hairdo and/or clothing, weight loss … the list is endless.

If you are giving thought to a move and find yourself hesitant due to fear of the unknown … you’re normal. However, by keeping in mind your End Result, Awesome Happens!

Loretta DiTirro is a licensed Realtor whose area of concentration for Listing or Selling homes is the Denver Metro and West Corridor. If you’d like to schedule time with her to discuss your real estate needs, send an email to lorettaditirro@gmail.com or call her at 303-594-1520.

 

 

 

 

The Art of Negotiating a Contract to Buy Real Estate!

As the Seller, and Listing Agent, of my home I have a new found appreciation for the emotional side of the transaction! Buyers and Sellers would be mindful to use integrity during the process, especially when negotiating a Contact to Buy and finding resolution at time of inspection. Look for Win-Win solutions, keeping the end result at the front of your mind.

Points to ponder prior to submitting a contract …

  • Offering a low ball purchase price does not mean the Sellers will counter your offer midway. They, in fact, do not have to counter at all.
  • Sellers choose to move for many reasons and may not want to share this information. Rarely will this have an impact on the transaction.
  • Multiple offers are a reality. If, as a Buyer, you definitely want the home, offer incentives to the Sellers. For example, allowing Sellers an option to remain in the home for a period of time after the closing at little, or no, cost, or offering a larger earnest deposit. Be creative. Find benefits for the Sellers!
  • Negotiate prices for personal property After Inspection Resolution. Sellers will be more receptive.

Presenting a solid contract, some with creative twists, up front will be appreciated. Games are for children … leave them at home!

Loretta DiTirro is a licensed Realtor providing Real Estate expertise in Denver and West Metro. Loretta welcomes your questions and comments. Send your email to: lorettaditirro@gmail.com.

Are Home Buyers Really Equipped to Purchase a Fixer- Upper?

Often time first time home buyers look for ways they may save money when purchasing a home. Thought is given if they want a home that is remodeled, or one that is move-in condition however, may need a few upgrades that may be done over time or a home that needs considerable work and being offered at a lower cost. Buyer beware … fixer-uppers can end up costing you far more in the long run! Give consideration to some things prior to purchasing the fixer-upper.

  1. Location is primary on most home buyers list of wants. If you would find a home in need of extensive repair/updating, be certain this is a home you will remain in for a period of time. Take time to look at other homes in the area to determine values based on the condition of the home. Your home should become an investment and this will require time and money if it’s in need of repair/updating.
  2. How much money is set aside for repairs. This is Not the time to borrow money! Before purchasing the home, get estimates. From these, you’ll have realistic numbers to review and then decide if this is the right home for you. Even seasoned contractors know that surprise expenses may crop up so these, too, should be factored into the equation.
  3. How handy are you?!? Determine your skill level … and be honest. A good inspector or contractor are excellent resources to use when evaluating repairs/updates. If you plan on doing these yourself, what tools do you own. What will you need to rent? Will city permits need to be pulled? Find out as much information as you can Before making a purchase. And remember … surprise expenses most likely will still crop up.
  4. Cosmetic issues are those you can live with until you have the cash to change something. If it is a structural issue, these will need immediate attention. You’ll also want to contact your lender if you are dealing with a structural problem. Some do not loan money on a home with a structural issue. These may become quite costly  to repair and require the expertise of a structural engineer.
  5. How healthy is the market where you want to purchase? If you’re purchasing in a buyer’s market, you may very well get a home requiring some updates and at a lower price and stay within budget. If it’s a seller’s market, you’ll be paying more for a home so your margins decrease. As long as you’ve done your homework, have the money for repairs and capable of doing some of the work yourself, a deal may be found!

Loretta is a licensed Realtor providing services to the Denver and West corridor markets. She may be reached at  lorettaditirro@gmail.com.

When Buying a Home Remember to Check Out the Neighborhood

Once you have found your new home, take time to check out the neighborhood. This is where you will be spending your personal time and is as important as the home itself!

Do You Prefer a Walking Community? Neighborhoods that offer amenities within walking distance are preferred in today’s market. Take time to ‘walk’ the area to find out what’s in a comfortable walking distance from the home. If restaurants, shopping, book stores, public transportation, etc., are important, be certain they’re close by.

Local or Private Schools are another item of importance for families. If you’ll be new to the area take time to visit schools, check websites for school ratings, find out if there is a waiting list, associated costs to attend the school … and ask the neighbors. The Denver Metro area has a good number of local and private schools and many are highly rated.

Is the Neighborhood Children and Pet Friendly? Drive and/or walk the neighborhood in the evening and you’ll quickly learn if folks have pets. They’ll be walking them, with children in tow on bicycles. Some neighborhoods are in transition, which is a positive. More often than not, neighborhoods welcome families and soon others are moving into the area. You should also check out the proximity to parks. It speaks volumes if you see children and animals enjoying the outdoors. Take time to talk with some of these folks. Most often, they will be your new neighbors and will welcome you to the area.

Check Local Websites for Crime Statistics. Most police departments have websites that note recent criminal activity or where sex offenders reside. This is not something you leave to your Realtor, friend or other family member to check. You and/or your family’s safety is important. The information is available so take the time to ensure there are no surprises should you decide to purchase a home in a specific neighborhood.

Loretta DiTirro is a licensed Realtor with a focus in the Denver and West Metro areas. If you would like a private consultation, email her at lorettaditirro@gmail.com.

Ideal Time for Fall Home Projects!

Fall is on its way … cooler temperatures, sunshine is greeting us later in the morning and leaves are finding their way onto yards! It’s an excellent time to complete projects that are important when maintaining your homes value.

  • Clean Gutters & Downspouts. Colorado is notorious for record snow falls and then bright sunshine the next day … melting the snow in record time. Be certain the gutters are free of debris so that water has a clear passage to the ground. Ice dams may cause damage to roofs, gutters and create leakage into the home.
  • Do a Quick Inspection of the Roof. Check the flashing around your chimney, skylights and pipes. If you don’t feel qualified, hire a roofing company. These repairs are easily managed and not something to overlook. This will help ensure no melted snow or water finds its way to the inside of your home.
  • Turn off Exterior Water Faucets/Taps. Remove any attached hoses and cover the faucet with an insulated cap … many home improvement stores carry these items at a nominal cost.
  • Winterize Pipes. If you have pipes located next to an exterior wall, wrap them with an insulated product to ensure they won’t freeze. If they are located under a sink, keep the cabinet door slightly ajar which will add heat to that space and ensure they won’t freeze.
  • Service and Clean the Furnace or Boiler. Hire an HVAC company to check your heating system before freezing temperatures greet us. An annual cleaning and replacement of filters should be customary.
  • Hire a Chimney Sweeper. If you have a wood burning fireplace, hire a Chimney Sweeper to clean out the soot, check for cracks and ensure the flue is in working condition. Chimney fires are real and can be avoided.
  • Check Your Insulation. A primary reason for high heating bills is poor insulation. Though this may be costly, it’s well worth the money. You’ll save on heating bills and your home will be warmer at a lower temperature.
  • Painting the Exterior. Cooler temperatures and milder weather makes fall the best time to paint the exterior of your home. Harsh weather can create additional problems to the exterior of a home. If paint is needed, Paint your Home!

Loretta is a licensed Realtor who primarily sells home in the Denver West Corridor ~ The Highlands, Wheat Ridge, Golden, Arvada and Lakewood. If you would like a private consultation with her she may be reached at lorettaditirro@gmail.com.

Affordable Home Updates that Increase the Value!

Whether selling your home, or simply wanting to tweak its interior, there are changes you can make without spending a lot of money. Change will create Positive Energy. By making a few simple tweaks you, too, will feel the shift in energy!

  1. Tweak the Kitchen. The most noticed perk to a kitchen is new hardware. Opt for something all together different ~ mixed metals or colors, silverware, round vs. oblong. Perhaps add a stand to display your favorite cookbook, or a cherry red bowl filled with lemons, limes, apples. Find some unique. brightly colored dishtowels, a round rug or one with a unique pile. Gourmet cook? Find a large, colorful dish for your most often used seasonings and oils. Boutiques are great for carrying ‘word art’, such as Dream, Inspire, Enjoy. This is the hub for your family and friends … change is welcomed!
  2. Fresh Paint … New Colors! Opt for a new color scheme. Forego the stark whites for more subtle colors that will add warmth, making your artwork Pop. If you dare to be bold, a few select walls will do this for you. Nothing adds greater appeal than freshly painted walls!
  3. Add a Touch of Black. Used sparingly throughout a home, black adds a bit of flair, sophistication, allure to a room. A pillow or two, a pair of chairs, table, framing, a throw, all add splashes that will immediately catch the eye. Go bold and paint your front door a shiny, gloss black and the entire front of your home will Pop!
  4. Update the Entryways. Throw out those old, faded greeting mats! Replacing them with simple mats works best. Now step inside each doorway and give thought to how you and others want to be greeted. Is it time for a new rug, artwork, mirror? Do you have a place to hang your keys? Keep it simple and easy to walk through … adding or changing just one item will make a difference.

Simple, but thought out, change brings about new energy. Take time to walk through your home to see what tweaks you can make in a short amount of time and at a minimal cost. Then … Just Do It! 

Loretta is an award winning Realtor, with a focus on Listing or Selling homes in the Denver West corridor. This includes areas such as The Highlands, Wheat Ridge, Applewood, Golden, Arvada and Lakewood. If you would like a private consultation to learn your home’s value, you may contact her at lorettaditirro@gmail.com.

 

A Man’s Cave is Becoming a Must Have for Many Home Buyers!

When Buyers are shopping for a new home, most often they begin searching with a defined list of Must Have’s. In turn, each person has added one or two personal items … perhaps not noted, yet, in the mind. Interestingly, a Man Cave is at the top of many personal lists.

Today’s Man Cave hardly resembles what was once a room in the lower level of a home or perhaps found in the corner of a garage. It’s high tech, brightly lit and the walls lined with expensive collections, such as, sports memorabilia, art work or rare books. Depending on the theme, other items may include game tables, wall mounted trophies, cabinets or bookshelves for collectibles and gun collections and loading equipment.  Many also include a bar, second kitchen with separate fridges for wine and beer … an ideal gathering place for adults.

Leather sofas and chairs are at the most common pieces of furniture selected for this area. The fabric itself provides comfort and coziness when in use, plus leather is easy to dress up or down, making this an Ideal choice for your Man CaveHardwood flooring, area rugs and good lighting will compliment the decor. And those items best kept from this room? Children’s toys. Let those clutter the floors of any room Except the Man Cave!

Loretta works with both Sellers and Buyers in the Denver Front Range cities and communities. These include The Highlands, Sloan’s Lake, Wheat Ridge, Golden, Arvada and Lakewood. If you would like to talk with her about Selling Your Home or Buying a Home, you may email her at lorettaditirro@gmail.com.

Improvements that Increase Your Home’s Value

Curb appeal is Very Important to buyers when deciding if they want to view your home … or buy it. This means it should be in prime condition! They are a few exterior improvements you still have time to do before the snow flies and each increase the resale value of your home.

Replace your Front Door. This is the first item they touch as they enter your home. Adding a color of depth, such as red or black, are attractive to many buyers. A beautifully stained door will enhance the value even more.

Well Kept Yards. Take a walk around your home and see what areas may need extra care or what may need to be removed. Poorly stacked wood, old tools, broken chairs should be removed or cleaned up.

Fencing. Is your fencing in good shape, is the gate in working condition, are all sections standing? Or … do you need to have one installed to hide the neighbor’s interesting collections? A privacy fence is very important to buyers and add to your bottom line!

Paint the Exterior. Freshly Painted is music to a buyer’s ear … and welcomed to their eyes. Chipped paint can turn off buyers in an instant.

Update your Windows. This upgrade will provide you with about an 80% resale value and one of the top 5 Must Have’s for buyers. Even if you are not selling your home, this is one of the best energy savers in a home.

Power Wash … driveways, sidewalks and decks. This is one of the most cost effective ways to clean the exterior to an almost new condition!

Remember that each of these will catch the eye of buyers … while adding to your home’s value!

Loretta DiTirro specializes in Selling and Buying homes in Wheat Ridge, Applewood, The Highlands and surrounding cities along the front range. If you’d like a private consultation to determine your home’s value, please contact her at lorettaditirro@gmail.com.

 

Landscape Tips to Increase Your Home’s Value

What does your Landscaping say about your home? If you’re thinking about Selling your home, this is one of the most important ways to increase your property’s value … and quickly! A gorgeous design results in an increase of at least 5 to 7% … or more. Not only is one of the most valuable home improvement you can make, it is also one of the easiest.

1. Match Your Landscape so it Looks Good with your Style of Home. If your home is Traditional, formal gardens and/or raised beds work well. English or cottage gardens work well with Tudor or Victorian homes. More Modern designed homes blend beautifully with prairie grasses, rock gardens and plenty of greenery.

2.  Design with a well thought out Plan. Keep your design simple, without the need to fill every space with something. Begin by selecting a good mixture of shrubs and perennials, how much greenery/lawn will be included and add a few well-designed points of interest. These may be a waterfall, large boulders, art work or generously sized flower pots. Don’t be afraid of color however, select those that work/blend together and enhance the beauty of your home.

3. Bloom All Season.  Diversify your plants! Seasonal blooming is important. Remember to have selections for Spring, Summer and Fall. Your shrubs with brightly colored leaves in the Fall and evergreens in the Winter all add value to your home. Buyers will notice this balance and they’ll think about how beautiful the home will be during each season.

4. Plant Trees! A few trees can make an Enormous difference to the sale price of your home. Studies have shown that tree-lined streets added between 10 to 15 percent to the sale price compared to neighborhoods with fewer trees. Trees are eco-friendly, removing carbon dioxide from the air, add shade which cools a home and are great stress relievers. People simply enjoy looking at trees and relaxing in their shade.

5. Edge Your Lawn. An edged lawn is a neat lawn – it appears well maintained and healthy. Also edge along driveways, sidewalks and garden beds. This tells a prospective buyer how meticulously you have been with your home’s upkeep and will know the rest of the property is as well kept.

Landscape is the one improvement that will boost your home’s value and you’ll get the largest return on your investment. Just remember … Keep it Simple and in line with the style of your home.

Loretta DiTirro specializes in Selling and Buying homes in Wheat Ridge, Applewood, The Highlands and surrounding cities along the front range. If you’d like a private consultation to determine your home’s value, contact her at lorettaditirro@gmail.com.