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WHAT TO NEGOTIATE WHEN BUYING A HOUSE

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned veteran, the negotiation part of the transaction can be a little daunting and stressful. However, it is necessary to ensure you are getting the best possible deal for your money. So, what should you negotiate when buying a home?

  1. Closing costs. Your closing costs are determined by a variety of factors, but you can expect it to be between 2% to 5% of the purchase price. Ask the seller to cover some or all of the closing costs upfront or request a closing credit that can be used to make specific updates and fixes to the home.
  2. Furnishings. Love how the seller has furnished and decorated the home? Buyers often negotiate keeping couches, fixtures, landscaping items, patio furniture, appliances, and more. And many sellers agree, wanting to make the home more appealing.
  3. Inspection and closing timing. Buyer offers that include a quick inspection and close timeline are often more attractive to sellers who have been going through the process for far too long. Just ensure you allow yourself ample time to get your financing in place and complete proper, thorough inspections.
  4. Home warranty. Sellers will often agree to pay the premium on the home warranty at closing and then hand it off to the new homeowner, who is responsible for the deductible on any future claims.
  5. Repairs. Your inspection may uncover small or large repairs needed to bring the home up to standard. You can negotiate to have these items fixed before closing or ask for a price reduction to cover the costs.
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HOW TO FIX 5 COMMON BATHROOM ISSUES

Homeownership has plenty of perks. You can make changes whenever you want, but that also means you are responsible for making any fixes that you want (or need)! Instead of calling the local handyman every time something small goes awry, you can try out these quick fixes for common bathroom issues that arise while saving yourself some money along the way.

1. Shifting Toilet Seat

Is your toilet seat wobbling every time you sit down? Sometimes, there are visible bolts to tighten, but that just doesn’t fix the issue. Many are unaware that you can actually purchase a toilet seat tightening kit. Most home improvement stores will carry an inexpensive kit, usually around $10. Rather than investing in a new toilet seat, you can save time and money by picking up a kit the next time you’re out.

2. Slippery Shower

There are two main options to remedy a slippery shower. If you have a geriatric family member, a shower chair may be the best option to provide security. These chairs can be as affordable as $20 and can offer peace of mind when it comes to the safety of your loved ones. If chairs aren’t for you, a non-slip bath mat will keep you from falling in the shower and cost as much as a few coffees.

3. Clogged Shower Head

Do you normally have great water pressure, but now your shower feels like a slow leak? Your shower head is likely clogged from a build up of minerals in your water. Instead of calling the plumber or heading to the store to buy toxic chemicals, you can use ingredients already in your home to fix your problem. All you need to do is fill a sandwich bag halfway full with white vinegar, submerge the shower head into the vinegar in the bag, and tie the bag to the piping and allow the head to soak overnight. When you remove the bag, you should wipe the head to remove any excess and then your shower should be back to normal pressure.

4. Slow Drain

Before calling a professional, consider trying a Zip-It tool. You can find one at your local hardware store for around $5, but you have to be willing to deal with a little bit of gunk. The tool is placed in the drain and pulls out whatever is clogging it, usually hair and soap. If you can get past that, you’ll save yourself the price of a plumber.

5. Leaking Water Valve

Instead of heading to the store for a replacement water supply valve, try tightening the packing nut on the valve. A quick video search online will show you which nut to tighten, and it will only take a few minutes. Now you’ve saved time and money!


While these are easy fixes to do yourself, selling your home isn’t nearly as easy to DIY. Call me today if you are ready to put your home on the market! 719-536-4581

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10 STEPS TO DECLUTTER YOUR KITCHEN

We are all thankful for the many drawers and cabinets in kitchens today, but they make it easy for us to hide our clutter instead of getting rid of it. If you have reached the point where you can no longer open a door in your kitchen without having something fall out, it is time to declutter your kitchen. Follow these steps and you can begin a clutter-free life, starting with your kitchen!

1. Sort through your utensil drawer. Toss out any broken or unused utensils.

2. Open your pantry and get rid of anything that is expired. Take the time to organize your shelves by food type. Have a shelf for canned items, a shelf for boxed items, and so on.

3.  Throw away any old or expired spices in your spice cabinet/rack.

4. Organize your Tupperware cabinet. If you’re like most people, this is probably the most disorganized area of your kitchen. Toss out any broken containers and any lone containers or lids. If the majority of your Tupperware fits those categories, toss it all and start fresh. Many containers on the market today have stackable/attached lids to help you stay organized.

5. Work your way from the outside to the inside of your refrigerator. Remove any old papers, coupons, or notes from the outside of your fridge. If it is something you don’t want to part with, like a card or invitation, place those in a box for safekeeping. Now that the outside is cleaned, declutter the inside as you did your pantry. Pull everything out and get rid of any expired food or drinks. Wipe down your shelves and replace the items you’re keeping, organizing them by type as well.

6. Clean off your sink and counter area. It is so easy to use the counter as a place to collect clutter, so take the time to go through each item and decide if it stays or goes. Consider buying an organizational tray for your cleaners and soaps, but find a home for everything else. Counters are much more beautiful without clutter.

7. If you have a medicine drawer or cabinet in your kitchen, clean it out. Throw away empty boxes and expired meds.

8. Find your dish towels and designate a drawer or shelf to keep them in. Sort out the ones you no longer use and toss them or keep them as cleaning rags.

9. Get rid of the cups you no longer use. We are all guilty of hanging on to collectible cups that remain untouched for years after we bring them home. If you don’t use them, donate them to a local shelter in need or toss them.

10. Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us have a junk drawer in our home – very often in the kitchen. Empty it and only replace the items you need and use. The sauce packets that have been there since you moved in are not going to be used now if they haven’t been used yet.  Try to only keep items that you use often, like batteries or small tools.

If your looking for a new kitchen of your dreams, call us today: 719-536-4581

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LONG-DISTANCE HOUSE HUNTING

Regular house-hunting isn’t always easy, but adding distance into the mix can present challenges you don’t have when looking a few neighborhoods over for a new home. While it may not be a walk in the park to buy a home from far away, it is possible. If you find a great agent and follow these steps, you can take away some of the stress that comes with moving long-distance.

1. Start Your Research

Knowing what is in your neighborhood is something we tend to take for granted. You know where the best sushi place is and exactly what grocery store is closest to your home for those last minute runs. When moving to a new neighborhood, especially in a new state, it is key to decide what is important to you when it comes to proximity. Does your new house need to be near a park for your kids? Do you need to be 5 minutes from the closest Starbucks? You’ll also want to look into crime rates and school ratings if you have children. Researching your potential neighborhoods will help you feel better about choosing a new home that may be far away.

2. Use Technology To Your Advantage

Google Maps may not be constantly updated, but checking out an aerial view can give you an idea of what your neighborhood looks like if you don’t have the opportunity to travel right away. Getting the lay of the land is just another way to feel comfortable about your new neighborhood.

3. Have a Travel Budget

Even if you have a great agent showing you as many homes as possible, you need to plan for the possibility of making more than one trip to your future home state if you want to see it in person. While you may have adjusted your budget already to purchase a home, consider factoring in travel costs so you aren’t stressed about eating out or gas money during your trips – that way you can focus on finding your dream home.

4. Decide Your Non-Negotiables

Choosing a home from out of town already comes with challenges. If you’re heading in to check out houses and have a weekend filled to the brink with potential home tours, it will make your life easier if all of those homes meet your requirements. Instead of seeing all homes that ‘might’ fit, have your agent remove any houses that have a non-negotiable feature – whether that is no backyard or not enough bathrooms. It will make the most of your time and remove some of the stress of seeing homes that aren’t for you.

Let us at The Wheaton Team be your agents to find you the right neighborhood that fits all your needs.

Call today: 719-536-4581

info@TheWheatonTeam.com

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HOW TO DECIDE IF YOU SHOULD REMODEL OR MOVE

After living in a home for several years, it can be easy to discover things you may not be crazy about. While some things can be a quick fix, there may be major changes that make you wonder if it is worth the investment. At this point, you’re probably asking yourself if you should remodel or just find a new home. As you have probably realized, this isn’t always an easy choice. There are many factors that go into this decision. Here are some things to consider when deciding what will work best for you.

1. Determine which is more cost-friendly

While both options will have costs, one will have more than the other depending on your situation. Some of the costs of selling include agent commissions, moving costs, minor repairs, the costs of a new home, and potential upsizing costs. The costs of remodeling can include permits, architectural plans, materials and labor, and any other additional costs incurred in the process.

2. Look into the current housing market

Depending on whether your local real estate market is hot, it might make more sense to just sell if houses are selling quickly around you. By talking to a real estate agent, you can find out what to expect in terms of days on market, average sales price, and other important factors when it comes to selling a home.

3. Decide if your roots are deep 

Is your home more than just a home to you? If you and your family are actively involved in the community, remodeling may work best for you. On the flip side, if there are better schooling or job opportunities in a different neighborhood, or you already spend hours a day traveling to those locations, selling may be a better option.

4. Decide if a renovation can solve your problems

Take the time to decide if the problems with your home are fixable. Is it really the house, or do you dislike your neighborhood? Do you have to spend an hour driving one way to work? Do you need a lot more space? If your answer to questions like this make you realize renovations won’t solve your problems, consider that it may just be time to put your home on the market.

5. Consider the ROI on your remodel

Calculating your return on investment will help you determine two things – first, if a remodel will cost you less than selling your home. It will also help you determine if you will be able to make your money back on a remodel if you choose to sell in the future. Look into the Cost v. Value Report for the last year, which can guide you on the most and least cost-effective improvements.

If these considerations make you realize it is time to sell your home, give The Wheaton Team a call today! 719-536-4581

info@thewheatonteam.com

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CHILD & PET-PROOFING YOUR HOME

You’ve just finished spring cleaning, and summer is approaching quickly. Summer means longer days and later nights, and usually more traffic in your home. With play dates, game nights, and bonfires, there are likely to be more guests in and out of your home than usual. While fun is the priority, safety should be as well. To keep the little ones, children and pets included, safe in your home, follow these steps so you can enjoy a safe summer (as well as all the other seasons):

1. Protect your belongings

This has two benefits. If you have items that are important to you and could easily break, it is best to store them away so they don’t get damaged and no one gets hurt from the broken item in the process.

 

2. Make off-limit areas

If you want to prevent children and pets from going places you don’t want them, consider installing safety gates. Placing gates in front of staircases and rooms with more breakable items can prevent both children and pets from falling or accessing those items you don’t want to injure crawling little ones.

3. Secure furniture

Sometimes when we get new furniture, we don’t think those extra safety screws included to attach the furniture to the wall are necessary. Sadly, accidents involving falling furniture occur much too often because safety anchors are not installed. If you have any furniture that could be pulled down by a child, pick up anchors at your local hardware store. Dressers, televisions, and bookshelves are all items that can easily be pulled down from a child trying to climb onto them.

4. Use child-proof locks

Kitchens are filled with items that can become dangerous for both children and pets in an instant. Knives, spices, and cleaners can all stay safely out of the hands (and paws) of children and pets by installing child-proof locks on all the cabinets that need to stay off-limits.

5. Don’t buy poisonous plants

The first step in avoiding poisonous plants is finding out which ones can be toxic to children and pets. While most plants are kid-friendly, many can be dangerous to pets, even those you wouldn’t think could be, such as the Aloe plant.

6. Protect outlets and cords

While our lifestyles continue to become more wireless by the day, children and pets are still at risk in homes where items are plugged in. Ensure that your outlets are guarded and wires are hidden or blocked off. Not only can you prevent risk of shock, but you can also protect the items you have plugged in – like that television that you don’t want to come crashing onto the floor!

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TRENDS TO TOSS

With millennials making up nearly 40% of the home buyers on the market today, up-to-date style is a huge consideration in the buying process. When nearly half of your potential buyers have likely scrolled through Pinterest or watched HGTV more times than they can count, it is important to keep in mind that they are going to be style-conscious. While you don’t need to do a full home renovation, getting rid of some outdated trends will help your home appeal to a larger buyer pool. Here are some trends to toss (and avoid altogether during staging) if you want your house to be marketable in 2019!

Curly Ironwork

One of the biggest trends today is sleek and modern design. Curly ironwork and other chaotic decor can be distracting. Avoid having large metal pieces of decor or art in your home during open houses.

Faux Props

Some faux plants add the perfect touch to a home, but in many cases, faux is not the way to go. Faux fruit and some faux plants look unnatural and dated. Replace the fake with something authentic – which will never go out of style.

Tuscan Furniture 

You may have invested more money than you planned in heavy drapery and cherry wood furniture to have the bedroom of your dreams, but Tuscan decor is out of style. Instead of completely removing your bedroom suite, take down your drapes and paint your cherry wood black. Add silver or gold fixtures and you’ve got a modern bedroom.

Window Treatments

A major key to selling your home is making it look as open and inviting as possible. There is no need to invest in expensive window treatments, and if you already have, take them down during showings. Large treatments can hold on to lingering smells and can instantly date a room. The only treatments you should leave are simple panels or wood blinds. Allow your windows to do what they’re meant to do – let light in!

It is important to know your market. It is my job to help you. If you want more details on what the target buyer is looking for in our market today, give The Wheaton Team a call!  719-536-4581

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***REPAIRS TO MAKE BEFORE SELLING YOUR HOME***

So you’re ready to put your home on the market and to you, everything looks great. Unfortunately, much of the wear and tear on your home becomes unnoticeable when it is something you see everyday. While you may not think about the one light switch that doesn’t work or the chipping paint in the guest bedroom, now is the time to take a step back and look at your home with fresh eyes. When you decide to sell your home, the first thing you should do is make any repairs you can to save yourself money in the long run. Here are a few repairs to cross off so you can get the best deal for your home!

1. Paint Your Walls

Re-painting the rooms that need a fresh face is the cheapest way to update the appearance of your home. Consider using light, neutral colors to appeal to a broader group of buyers. If the room is too dark or has chipped or dirty paint, make it look brand new with a coat of paint.

2. Make Minor Kitchen Repairs

Even if your kitchen isn’t large and spacious, a full renovation might not make sense financially. If your agent doesn’t advise you towards a renovation, consider making minor repairs instead. Paint what needs painted and install new fixtures where necessary. If your appliances aren’t operating properly or are in awful shape, you will need to replace them.

3. Update Your Bathroom

The first priority is making sure your bathroom looks clean. If the toilet looks old, replace the seat to give it a fresh new appearance. Replace any tiles that may be missing, clean the grout, and remove old wallpaper that may still remain. This is a room you should consider painting if need be to make it appear bright and clean.

4. Fix The Exterior

The outside of your home is the first thing buyers will see, so it is important that it looks good. Touch up the yard with sod as needed, remove any junk that may be in the yard, and make sure your fencing doesn’t have any missing parts or boards. Mow your grass and consider renting a power washer to make your siding look brand new.

5. Maximize Lighting

The goal is to maximize light so you can maximize the appearance of space. Light does a great job of making rooms look larger than they are. Update your fixtures, ensure that your windows appear clean and new, and add mirrors across from light sources to reflect even more light.

6. Ensure Functionality

Potential buyers are going to want everything to work. Do a full walk through of your home, checking all light switches, doorknobs, and locks. Repair or replace anything that doesn’t work as it should. The less issues that arise during the buyer’s home inspection, the better chance of you maximizing your profit during the sale.

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DIY SHIPLAP FOR $40

Thanks to Chip & Joanna Gaines, shiplap is filling homes across the country, and for good reason. Shiplap can give you a beautiful feature wall without having to choose an accent color you may not be crazy about in a few months. If done wisely, it doesn’t have to be expensive either. Here is a guide to create your own shiplap without breaking the bank.

What You’ll Need:
Nail Gun & Nails
Table Saw*
Compound Miter Saw*
Stud Finder
Underlayment Plywood
Construction Adhesive
1/8 Inch Tile Spacers
Spackling Paste
250 Grit Sandpaper
Paint (With Primer Included)

*Your local home improvement store where you purchase your plywood can typically cut your boards into planks if you do not have these tools at home. Make sure your boards will collectively be long enough to fit the wall you plan to shiplap.

Step 1: Prep Your Planks

Measure the wall you plan to shiplap and make sure you get enough plywood to cover the wall. You get to decide how wide you want your planks to be, but 6 inch planks are a great size for any home. Be sure to cut the final full-length planks into a variety of sizes so that you can achieve that staggered shiplap look.

Step 2: Hang Your First Row

Use your stud finder to locate the studs in your wall. This is where you’ll be nailing the boards in. Prep your first plank by applying the construction adhesive to the back of the wood. Lay that plank flush with your crown molding to ensure your planks will lay straight on the wall. Once in place, nail the plank twice, once on top and once on bottom, along the stud that the board is covering. Fill in the top row with as many pieces as needed.

Step 3: Use Your Spacers

Before placing the second row, use your spacers to ensure there will be an equal gap between planks. Be sure to do this for each new row of planks.

Step 4: Fill Nail Holes

Use your spackling paste to fill in all the holes you’ve created. Once it has dried, you will need to sand down the hardened paste to create a flush surface with the wood.

Step 5: Time For Paint

If your paint doesn’t have a primer included, be sure to prime the wall first and then apply your first coat. Use a second coat if needed!

You now have the perfect focal point in whatever room you’ve added your DIY shiplap wall to, all for the price of a week’s worth of coffee!

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HABITS OF A TIDY HOMEOWNER

We all have that friend whose home seems to be spotless, no matter the time of day. You could swing by for a morning coffee or stop over for dinner, and it always looks like someone just cleaned. Can you imagine if your house could be like that? Well, it can! Tidy homes are created out of habit. Here are 5 habits of people with tidy homes, so that you too can have a house that looks like a magazine feature all the time.

1. Having A Schedule

Letting clutter accumulate is the easiest way to get a messy home. If you are waiting until the mess is unbearable, you’re going to be overwhelmed by it every time. By creating a cleaning schedule, you can manage the cleaning of your home instead of avoiding it. Create tasks for each day, like a day for dusting and a day for vacuuming, so you are doing a little bit of deep cleaning every day.

2. Create Lists

Break down everything in your home that needs to be cleaned on a list. By creating a list, you will be able to cross off what you complete as you go. This visual helps you to stay on track and feel like you’re accomplishing your goals.

3. A Place For Everything

Organization is the key to a tidy home. If every item in your house has its own home, cleaning will be much easier. This especially helps to prevent junk drawers or counters overflowing with random household items.

4. Get Rid of Clutter

If a junk drawer is already overflowing in your house or you have a closet where you’ve been stuffing items with no other place to go, it is time to purge. Follow Marie Kondo’s advice and get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy – especially clutter.

5. Baskets are Best

While it is important to maintain organization when using them, baskets can be extremely helpful to organize and reduce clutter – especially if you have children or pets. While it is easier to manage our own clutter, it can be difficult to put every toy or childcare item away properly when we are in a rush. By having decorative baskets throughout your home, you can quickly clear out an area if you have guests coming over without scrambling to put all those items where they are meant to go. It is important to add basket organization to your cleaning list, that way they do not become just another ‘junk drawer’ of sorts.

Work on creating these habits in your own home and soon enough, you’ll be the one who doesn’t mind when your friends stop by at any hour!