Tag Archive for Tips and Tricks

What A Beautiful Outside Can Do For Your Home’s Inside

GRH_BlogPost_How Great Landscaping Says Come Inside

Creating an inviting landscape not only ensures a positive first impression with buyers, but may also increase your home’s value and lead to a quicker sale. You don’t have to spend a lot to make big improvements in your home’s curb appeal. Keeping your lawn manicured – mowed and edged – and trimming bushes and trees is an inexpensive way to make a positive impression on buyers. You’ll also want to remove any dead or diseased plants and ensure beds are weeded and freshly mulched.

Before beginning any landscape project, make a plan. And if you live in a neighborhood with restrictive covenants requiring approval by a landscape committee, be sure to follow proper procedures to avoid spending money on projects that you may be forced to undo later. A project plan will also help ensure that you make wise choices and stay within your budget.
Use color and depth to create visual interest, and select a variety of plants that bloom or change color throughout the year so your yard will be attractive regardless of the season. If your yard is open to your neighbors’ yards, a street, or public areas, consider screening to create a more private space. This can be accomplished naturally with evergreen trees and bushes, or with an attractive fence.

Sometimes what you remove from a yard can be as important as what you put in. If the front of your home is obscured by overgrown trees or bushes, remove them or trim them back to help buyers get a clear view of your home. Remember that the goal is to create a welcoming first impression that says, “Come in!”

Trends in Landscaping:

  • Low maintenance vegetation: less lawn to mow, helps keep weeds in check.
  • More trees: enhance beauty and provide shade.
  • Decks, patios, and terraces: an outdoor living space for entertaining and relaxing.
  • Outdoor lighting: provides enticing views of your home and landscaping at night.
  • Irrigation system: costs more but simplifies lawn care and is attractive to buyers.

’Tis the Season … to Decorate

Holidays decorations

The holiday season is about the only time we can indulge our decorating fantasies. Whether your dream décor is over the top or simple and elegant, the following will give you ideas to make your holiday fantastic.

  • Pinterest is a great source for inspiration and home for the latest design trends. For example, during Halloween, we saw painted pumpkins (even gold-leafed) used as flower centerpieces. For Christmas and Hanukkah, we’ll see more clever ideas for reimagining and repurposing holiday décor items.
  • The DIY trend continues: Make your own Christmas ball garland by stringing your favorite ornaments on fish line, twine or ribbon. It works beautifully on your fireplace mantle or stair railing (but don’t forget to leave spaces for hand holds).
  • Last year the emphasis was on mercury glass, but this year there’ll be a reversion back to natural materials that focus on a central theme such as a classic winter wonderland.
  • Consider clusters of beribboned ornaments on tabletops and use flameless candles and strings of lights to brighten up darker corners.
  • Advent calendars are making a comeback – in an unexpected and fun way. Stretch a string across your fireplace and hang 24 numbered and handmade paper cones containing small gifts and candies. The kids can pull off one a day from December 1 to 24.

Seven Tips for Surviving the Holiday Road Trip


The holidays are a time of candy canes, presents, and, of course, long car trips to visit family and friends across the country.

Surviving a road trip can be a challenge even for adults – but with kids? Well, you just have to prepare ahead. Following are some tips to get you started:

1. Smile through the “Daddy I have to go,” moments by packing toilet paper and bringing a potty chair.

2. For babies, attach colorful mobiles that are out of reach but within visual range of their car seats. They’ll be happily occupied for hours.

3. Encourage toddlers to pack their own backpacks for the trip with their special toys and stuffed animals.

4. Take pictures at rest stops or even in the car to relive those funny moments.

5. Kids love car games. For rural trips, get the kids to watch for white cows or barns or tractors. In urban areas, you can play the license plate game, watching for out-of-town vehicles or trying to figure out vanity plates. Twenty questions can be fun too.

6. Bring good-for-you snacks such as fruit and cheese. You’ll feel better when you reach your destination if you and the kids haven’t binged on candy for eight hours.

7. And don’t forget about you. Bring your own stash of goodies to enjoy when everyone else is asleep. And do take turns driving. It’s safer and will make the trip much more enjoyable for everyone – even the driver.

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How to Choose the Right Neighborhood

Small House

Location, location, location — is the popular saying regarding real estate.

Most home buyers start by looking for a suitable area. The following tips will help you find a neighborhood that feels like home:


Set priorities about things that matter most to you and your family:

  • Is safety a prime concern?
  • Are you looking for vibrant nightlife?
  • Do you need to live close to work?

The best purchase is usually a trade-off among several desirable elements.


These factors will help you gather more information regarding a neighborhood’s style:

  • Are there good local schools? Whether or not you have children, good schools increase property values.
  • Is the area close to services such as hospitals, public transportation, shopping, parks, and recreational and cultural sites?
  • How safe is it? Check with local police, and look in the newspaper for crime-watch statistics.
  • Friendly neighbors? Are people outside their homes, working in their yards or walking their dogs? Neighbors who interact with one another create a safer and more pleasant environment.
  • Is the area popular? Ask your Realtor, and check the number of “for sale” and “sold” signs.
  • What is the neighborhood’s price range? Have average property values gone up, gone down or stayed the same? Areas about to become trendy are often found on the fringes of highly desirable locations.
  • Is there vacant space nearby? What kind of development is planned for it.

Now that you’ve gathered more information, how do you begin? Let Guidance Realty Homes guide you toward finding the latest information about neighborhoods.Our Real Estate agents are valuable sources of information that can help you decide between two neighborhoods that on the surface, may seen very similar. Finding the right neighborhood definitely requires some homework, but it definitely will be worth it. If your future home happens to be in Orlando-Florida, NY Metro area, Maryland or Northern Virginia, Guidance Realty Homes can help. Guidance Realty Homes’ buyers receive a commission rebate of the purchase price by using our agents. Plus, buyers can also receive an additional $350 appraisal credit when financing online with Guidance Residential


How to Pick Out Your Perfect Home


When you find your dream home, it’s only natural for your heart to beat a little faster. But you still need to get the best value for your dollar. Following are six ways to make you a happy and savvy homebuyer:

1. Find the Right Real Estate Agent:

An agent can be your most valuable asset. Word of mouth is good, but if you’re interested in a particular location, take note of sold signs in the area to find a real estate agent who has special knowledge of the neighborhood.

2. Make a List of Needs and Wants:

Prioritize them because you likely won’t find a house with everything. Lenders, agents and Mortgage/Housing Corporation have online checklists that will help you focus on the important things.

3. Define What Value Means to You and Your Family and Follow Through:

If you believe you’ve found the right neighborhood, don’t just proceed with an offer. Make personal visits on different days and times. Talk to the neighbors and research the facilities and schools in the area.

4. Look Closely at the Boring Things:

Updated wiring in an older home is a great plus, and a basement that’s been flood-proofed is all-important in certain areas. However, that shiny, new siding you see could be hiding a not-so-new problem.

5. Energy Efficiency:

Power is only going to cost more in the future, so look for an energy-efficient home. Some homes have an energy rating tag on the electrical panel. Look for a high rating. If there isn’t a rating tag, ask to see previous utility bills.

6. Don’t Overbuy for the Neighborhood:

Sellers may feel their $100,000 kitchen renovation should net them a 90% return, but if the neighborhood comprises modest 1970s bungalows with small kitchens, you may have trouble getting back the premium you paid when it comes time for you to sell.


Picking out your perfect home can be both exciting and terrifying at the same time. So, stay grounded in reality. When determining your wish list you should always consider the potential resale value of your new home. After all, this may also be the biggest investment you’ll ever make. If you are looking for knowledgeable agents in Orlando-Florida, NY-Metro, Maryland and Northern Virginia, look no further.  Guidance Realty Homes agents can help you navigate the waters and can show you a variety of choices that fit your unique needs. Buyers who use our agents receive a commission rebate off the purchase price plus an additional $350 appraisal credit when financing online with our affiliate Guidance Residential.


7 Easy, Low-Cost Ways to Transform Your Home

Home Decor

Searching for easy ways to spruce up your abode? Following are some ways to transform your home for less than $10.

Turn Your TV Into Art: Newer television sets can easily display family portraits, vacation photos or your favorite scenery with the touch of a button. Just upload to the gallery, add music if desired and enjoy.

Paint It Up: Add a splash of color to a boring old chair or bring new life to a table with bold bright colors.

Sign Your Name: Decorations don’t need to be expensive. Use a template or vinyl letters to showcase your favorite quote. Simply select a blank spot on the wall or furniture to instantly apply a thoughtful expression to your daily life.

Stop to Smell the Roses: Bring a little of the outdoors inside with the creative use of flowers, grasses, leaves, pinecones or even rocks. They add interest and color to any décor.

Cover Up: Use old wrapping paper, string and ribbons to transform plain cardboard boxes into ultra-colorful organizers.

Soft Spots: Create soft spots with the help of a semitransparent scarf draped over a lamp, table or armchair. Use different colors to create ambiance.

Create Interest: Re-purpose old jewelry, buttons and other knickknacks by adding interest to throw pillows, pull strings or other ordinary items around the home. Sew on or thread together using ribbons and lace.

For more home décor and home improvement tips and tricks, click here.


First Impressions Count: Make Your Home Really Stand Out

First impressions at house showings are everything; when there is an excess of inventory on the real estate market, you need to make your home the one buyers just have to have ­ you must be the standout. Here are some ways you can do that.

Give your Realtor talking points say what’s good about your home. Maybe it’s in a prime location with access to great schools and amenities, has a bustling nightlife, or enjoys a private, quiet setting whatever you think is great about your home.

Show you care about your home make it loved, and make it show. Make sure that your house is sparkling clean for every showing and impeccably maintained.

Get rid of any trash and clutter ­ open up your home to make it feel more spacious and sell yourselves as conscientious homeowners passing down a family treasure.

Don’t let anything in or outside of your home be in disrepair because you’ll give the impression that this is a home not worth caring about.

As maintenance goes, painting is your number one best property maintenance investment – it’s relatively cheap, covers neglected surfaces, and gives everything a fresh, clean topcoat. There is just no better bang for your home improvement buck.

Cleaning your home for every showing is absolutely critical to selling it at a favorable price.


How to Give Your Home Curb Appeal

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Most home buyers make up their minds about your house in the first 30 seconds after pulling up outside. So it’s vital that you make the outside of your home as attractive as possible if you want to get the best price possible. Start now with a Guidance Realty Homes real estate agent who can connect you with experts in home staging as well as home improvement.

After all, a neat, tidy and well-cared for home will beat a rundown, shabby house any day. Here are some easy tips.

Mow the lawns and keep the flower beds neat: This will give buyers the impression they can move in right away without maintenance headaches.

Add colorful flowers: Invest in some planter plots and fill them with beautiful blooms to give extra impact to your home’s entrance.

The front door: Make sure it’s freshly painted to look bright and inviting. Polish the doorknob and street numerals, too.

Screen unsightly areas: Lattice or bamboo screens are available cheaply and will block any ugly vistas.

Move the toys: While it’s OK to have a child’s bike outside in a family-friendly area, remove any toys strewn over the yard.

Get that manicured look: Add mulch or compost around flowerbeds to make your garden and plants look cared for and healthy.

Keep it clean: Use a power-washer to give your walkways a clean, fresh look.

Essential repairs: Make sure there are no loose shingles or guttering.


How to Make Your Home Appear Much Bigger

Blog #6

One thing that most buyers are looking for is space. They want to know they’re going to have room for everything (and everyone) and they’re not going to grow out of their house too quickly. So here are some ways to make your house seem bigger than it really is.

Get rid of clutter

This is probably the most important secret to increasing the illusion of space. Remove items you don’t need from surfaces, particularly in the kitchen. Keep shelves tidy and not stuffed with books and ornaments.

Paint the walls

Use white or neutral colors to make rooms appear light and spacious. Use tones of a neutral color such as brown or gray to avoid visual clutter and make your décor feel more harmonious.

Consider off-site storage

If you’re running out of room for your possessions, move some of them into a storage unit while your house is on the market. Alternatively, have a yard sale to get rid of unwanted items — or donate them to charity. Otherwise, your house might look as if it’s not spacious enough for a family.

Remove some furniture

Potential buyers need to be able to walk around your house without bumping into chairs and tables. Put some furniture into storage until you move. Leave a path through your rooms that buyers can walk through.

Organize closets

Make sure you’ve tidied your closets. Invest in an organizing system, if necessary. Remove clothing that you’re not likely to wear from your closets.

Clean up the garage

People want to know they can fit a car (or two) in the garage and still have room for storing their possessions. So clear out your garage and neatly organize everything that must stay in there.

Mirrors and drapes

Place mirrors in strategic places and remove fussy window treatments to enhance the illusion of space.

Small space doesn’t mean you have to be cramped. So, if you want to make your home appear much bigger, get some free advice from Guidance Realty Homes real estate agents. Luckily, they’ll be able to connect you with home improvement specialists and qualified stagers to make your living space look and feel larger than life. Did we mention that it’s Free? Connect with our listing specialists and make the most of every square foot of your home to captivate homebuyers.