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Doug Reynolds' Blog

By Doug Reynolds | Agent in Sacramento, CA
  • 7 Tips for Staging Your Sacramento Home

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Sacramento County, Design & Decor in Sacramento County  |  March 21, 2013 2:45 PM  |  450 views  |  No comments

    Here's a great article i found that will work for any Seller in the Sacramento area that is getting their house ready to go on the market.  I often have seller clients ask me what they should do to prepare the home.  Read below for a great article that points you in the right direction.

    staging - www.SellWithDoug.com - Doug Reynolds Real Estate

     

    By: G. M. Filisko

    Published: March 19, 2010

    Make your home warm and inviting to boost your home’s value and speed up the sale process.

     

    1. Start with a clean slate

    Before you can worry about where to place furniture and which wall hanging should go where, each room in your home must be spotless. Do a thorough cleaning right down to the nitpicky details like wiping down light switch covers. Deep clean and deodorize carpets and window coverings.

    2. Stow away your clutter

    It’s harder for buyers to picture themselves in your home when they’re looking at your family photos, collectibles, and knickknacks. Pack up all your personal decorations. However, don’t make spaces like mantles and coffee and end tables barren. Leave three items of varying heights on each surface, suggests Barb Schwarz ofwww.StagedHomes.com in Concord, Pa. For example, place a lamp, a small plant, and a book on an end table.

    3. Scale back on your furniture

    When a room is packed with furniture, it looks smaller, which will make buyers think your home is less valuable than it is. Make sure buyers appreciate the size of each room by removing one or two pieces of furniture. If you have an eat-in dining area, using a small table and chair set makes the area seem bigger.

    4. Rethink your furniture placement

    Highlight the flow of your rooms by arranging the furniture to guide buyers from one room to another. In each room, create a focal point on the farthest wall from the doorway and arrange the other pieces of furniture in a triangle around the focal point, advises Schwarz. In the bedroom, the bed should be the focal point. In the living room, it may be the fireplace, and your couch and sofa can form the triangle in front of it.

    5. Add color to brighten your rooms

    Brush on a fresh coat of warm, neutral-color paint in each room. Ask your real estate agent for help choosing the right shade. Then accessorize. Adding a vibrant afghan, throw, or accent pillows for the couch will jazz up a muted living room, as will a healthy plant or a bright vase on your mantle. High-wattage bulbs in your light fixtures will also brighten up rooms and basements.

    6. Set the scene

    Lay logs in the fireplace, and set your dining room table with dishes and a centerpiece of fresh fruit or flowers. Create other vignettes throughout the home—such as a chess game in progress—to help buyers envision living there. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.

    Make your bathrooms feel luxurious by adding a new shower curtain, towels, and fancy guest soaps (after you put all your personal toiletry items are out of sight). Judiciously add subtle potpourri, scented candles, or boil water with a bit of vanilla mixed in. If you have pets, clean bedding frequently and spray an odor remover before each showing.

    7. Make the entrance grand

    Mow your lawn and trim your hedges, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before showings to make your lawn sparkle. If flowers or plants don’t surround your home’s entrance, add a pot of bright flowers. Top it all off by buying a new doormat and adding a seasonal wreath to your front door.

    clear skies,

    Doug Reynolds

     

    www.BHGshortsales.com

  • Lock your front door??? There's an app for that!

    Posted Under: Tech Tips in Sacramento County, Remodel & Renovate in Sacramento County, Design & Decor in Sacramento County  |  January 8, 2013 3:46 PM  |  913 views  |  No comments

    Here's a cool article from written by Mike Elgan of Houzz.com.  The future is slowly creeping into our houses.  I can't wait until there is an app to have my kitchen make me a banana split.

    Smart Phones Hold the Keys to Front Doors

    Knock, knock. Who's there? A brand-new generation of hardware and app combos that let you play doorman from anywhere

    The smart phone has become the mother of all electronic devices for one very simple reason: You always have it with you. And that's why a phone is a great place to put all the stuff related to your door. For example, you can virtualize the key, the peephole, the doorbell and other elements of the door, and put everything on your phone to be used from anywhere over the Internet. 

    There are major advantages for doing this (besides laziness). For example, you can send a key via email to unlock your door. You can hear knocks on the door or the ringing of the doorbell even when you're not at home. And you can see who's there even when you're not. 

    Three new products take electronic door stuff to the next level. All of them are crowd-funded projects still in development. But if everything goes according to plan, you'll be able to buy all of them, and at an affordable cost, by summer 2013.

    home electronics UniKey Keyless Entry System

    UniKey Keyless Entry System »

    Some phone-based door products enable you to use your phone much as you would a key. You walk up to the door, pull out your phone instead of your key, then unlock the door with your phone. 

    One offering in this category is the UniKey, which uses Bluetooth wireless technology to unlock the door. You just touch the UniKey deadbolt, and it unlocks if your phone is within a few feet of the lock. (Anyone can lock the door without a phone.)

    But the UniKey system also does another neat trick. From the UniKey app, you can send an electronic copy of the "key" — for example, if you want to let a friend into your house while you're away, you can send the key over the Internet, then the friend can use it to unlock your door. You can also revoke keys using the app and send keys that work only during certain hours of the day. 

    Pricing hasn't been announced for the UniKey, but the company says it will be less than $199.

    home electronics Agipy Lockitron Keyless Entry System

    Agipy Lockitron Keyless Entry System - $149.00 »

    A company called Agipy is working on a very convenient smart phone lock called Lockitron. Rather than being a replacement deadbolt, the Lockitron fits over your existing deadbolt and turns it phyiscally when you send the command from your phone. The box runs on AA batteries, and the smart phone app will tell you when they need replacing. You can also turn the lock by hand. 

    Lockitron connects through your home's Wi-Fi network, which means you can unlock the door from anywhere in the world over the Internet. And the Lockitron does a few more neat tricks. It can sense you approaching by detecting the Bluetooth signal from your phone as you approach the door, and will unlock the door automatically. It also has a knock sensor; when someone knocks on the door, you get a message. You can also grant access to others by sending them permission over email. 

    Lockitron was actually rejected by the crowd-funding site Kickstarter, so the developers did their own crowd-funding effort and raised a small fortune. They expect deliveries of the product by summer 2013.

     

    home electronics Edison Junior DoorBot Smart Doorbell

    Edison Junior DoorBot Smart Doorbell - $169.00 »

    Another crowd-sourced phone-controlled door project is called DoorBot. 

    The DoorBot, made by a company called Edison Junior, installs next to your door with four screws. It has a doorbell and a camera, and runs on AA batteries that last a year, according to the company. The camera is infrared capable, so you can even see who's at the door at night. 

    The way it works is that when visitors ring the doorbell, your phone alerts you and you can see who's there, even when you're not at home. And you can speak to them through your phone. 

    Perhaps best of all, the DoorBot is designed to work with the Lockitron, so not only can you see and speak with whoever's at your door, but you can let the person in, too.

     

    clear skies,

    Doug Reynolds

     

    www.BHGshortsales.com

  • Easy Ways to Transform a Room

    Posted Under: Curb Appeal in Sacramento County, Remodel & Renovate in Sacramento County, Design & Decor in Sacramento County  |  June 2, 2011 3:53 PM  |  1,518 views  |  No comments

    Here's a quick, design article for homeowners wanting to spruce up a room or looking for some direction after just purchasing.  Spring is always a great time to update and change a room around the house.  Or, you might be a seller looking for some ideas on how to change that eyesore into a selling point...Enjoy the article form Rismedia.

    clear skies,

    Doug Reynolds

    www.BuyWithDoug.com

    Easy Ways to Transform a Room

    RISMEDIA, Thursday, May 26, 2011— Updating a living room or family room doesn't have to mean giving it a complete makeover. A few simple changes can transform a tired room into a fresh space in no time.

    Give your windows better treatment
    • Replace heavy draperies, which can look outdated, with a more contemporary alternative. Faux wood, honeycomb blinds, roman or vertical shades—there are a lot of options to dress up your windows. Many online companies will send you samples so you can see how the different options will look in your particular space.
    • Lighten things up with sheers. The soft folds of billowy sheers allow more light to come into the room, but still offer some privacy. Sheers in lighter colors also make the room appear larger and serve as a color-coordinated highlight at the same time.

    Use mirrors to add visual interest
    • Instead of the hanging a large mirror in a traditional space, such as above a couch or fireplace, modernize by hanging several smaller mirrors. Create a grouping of mirrors with frames that have the same color, but different sizes, shapes and textures.
    • Hang a large mirror between two windows to give the illusion of having more windows in the room.

    Replace an outdated furniture item
    • Update your coffee table or entertainment center. These larger pieces are often the focal point of the room, so changing them out can put the entire room in a whole new light.
    • Look for items that are both functional and easy to assemble. For example, Z-Line Designs furniture includes an instructional DVD with each item, so you can easily assemble pieces that are traditionally complicated to put together. Their ready-to-assemble mounts and stands for flat panel TVs can update any room in a flash. For more information, visit www.z-linedesigns.com.

    Freshen up accessories
    • There's no need to re-upholster a sofa or its matching chairs. Swap the current accent pillows out for some new ones. Try a new, complementary color or add a pattern or fun texture to a solid background.
    • Switch out your centerpieces. Replace a silk flower arrangement for a tray with pillar candles on it. Update the framed photos with new pictures and new frames. Look around the house for a few interesting pieces that can be put to new use—what can you do with a stack of interesting books or a grouping of pretty bowls?

  • 3 essentials to make a house a home

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Sacramento County, Remodel & Renovate in Sacramento County, Design & Decor in Sacramento County  |  May 11, 2011 12:48 PM  |  982 views  |  No comments

    Here's a recent article i found from Inman News discussing what homeowners are striving towards in turning their house into a "Home." I found it interesting and pretty accurate. What are your thoughts?

    clear skies,

    Doug Reynolds

    www.SellWithDoug.com

    3 essentials to make a house a home

    By Tara-Nicholle Nelson, Inman News

    Space and light: Most people know they want or need a certain amount of space, and increasingly, buyers seek out homes with the "right" directional exposure and amount of windows for optimal natural light. But this craving for space and light is just as frequently subconscious, and is often wrapped up in the package of a desire for a "floor plan with good flow."

    In fact, many buyers don't know this is their hot button until they fall instantly in love with a home that has it, without knowing exactly why, or they walk into a home that meets their requirements on paper but is so chopped up and dark that it causes them to spontaneously yelp, as a client of mine once did: "I would cry!" (i.e., if she lived in this particular place). Wall height and color can also contribute to the emotional impact of a home, on this score.

    Lifestyle-easing and -enhancing features and amenities: This is where Le Corbusier's "order" comes in. Housing consumers crave for their homes to fit and improve and make easier their lives, and this is increasingly so as the technology and design solutions to the challenges of daily life evolve. Clutter is a lifestyle problem that causes people to be less effective at doing the things they want to do, and can even cause relationship discord and psychological depression.

    So, people want their homes to have a place for everything and help them keep everything in its place. They also want gadgets and custom spaces and conveniences that fit well with the things they (and their family members) have to or want to do with their lives.

    Outdoor kitchens, spa bathrooms, heated driveways, and even office nooks and closet systems all fall within this realm. And so does location -- real estate consumers want their home's location to either make their life better (e.g., good schools, desirable neighborhood hot spots, beautiful natural surroundings, quiet neighbors) or easier (e.g., close to work or public transportation) or both.

    Style and beauty: Generally speaking, housing consumers want their homes to help them live more beautiful lives. We seek out homes -- or we seek to add to our homes -- with a style that reflects who we think we are (or, more often, who we want to be).

    This is aligned with de Botton's reference to homes as guardians of our identity. We want our home's aesthetics to either reflect or effect our own personal sense of what is beautiful, whether that be the wrought-iron curlicues and pink stucco or stark, modern minimalist concrete and wood, and to saturate our lives more deeply with that beauty, by living there.

    To be clear, these are broad categories that contain our human, even American, wants in terms of the physical aspect of our homes for ourselves -- above and beyond the real estate characteristics we believe will create status or engender the envy of our friends. You know, the things every self-respecting celebrity real estate reporter relates by rote -- e.g., Cher's 9,000-square-foot Hawaiian hacienda.

    The more you read Architectural Digest, the more obvious it will be to you that the higher end you go, things like architect, designer and extreme gadgetry also earn status and swanky real estate street "cred."

    But while there may be a status element that factors into what we normal folk want from our homes, this is less and less important in the minds of today's homebuyers and even renters who -- if anything -- want to flaunt their frugality and the sustainability of their real estate decisions.

    What do real estate consumers really want from their homes, outside of financial perks? They want their logistical problems solved and their lives made easier, more convenient and more beautiful. And that's a good standard for what makes a good home.

  • The Granite Look for Kitchen Countertops Is Just a Spray Away


    Here's a really cool new product i just came across that many new homeowners will probably love.  Basically you can change your laminate counter tops into looking like granite for a fraction of the cost.  Read the article and then check out the company's website to see if this project would be a great fit for your kitchen.

    clear skies,

    Doug Reynolds

    www.BuyWithDoug.com

    The Granite Look for Kitchen Countertops Is Just a Spray Away

    Laura Serino April 4, 2011

    Updating the kitchen is probably the costliest project on most home owners' lists. If it's not in the budget, we hear all about the quick fixes you can do in your kitchen. Paint the walls! Update the hardware! Buy a new faucet! But if you've lived in a kitchen with yellow laminate countertops before (guilty) then you know sometimes it's those big, expensive fixes that even paint and a new light fixture can't solve.

    But, thanks to CasaSugar.com, we’ve found this neat new product, Countertop Transformationsfrom Rust-Oleum, which offers an affordable DIY solution. It’s a coating system to give your laminate countertops the look of natural stone products, like granite. Check out some of these before and after pictures. Though this project can be done in a weekend, it's not your typical $20 bottle of spray paint, but instead comes with a full kit (tools included) that costs $250--still much cheaper than new granite countertops.

    Before you commit to it, check out CasaSugar's test run, which has great detail and gives it high marks. But in a nutshell, here's how it works:

    • You'll first scuff up your counter surface with the kit's sanding tool.
    • Next, using a roller brush, you’ll apply the adhesive base coat.
    • Then you’ll spray a wetting agent onto the counters to keep the surface wet for the rotary chip dispenser, a nifty little tool that scatters decorative chips that will give the counters that stone look.
    • When you're done scattering the chips, you'll use a scraping tool to remove any excess, and then sand the surface again with a provided tool until your counters are nice and smooth.
    • Then you’ll run a wet rag over everything before applying the protective top coat, and ta-da! Your counters will be ready to use in 48 hours.

    TIP from CasaSugar: If you want to replace your sink, now is a good time. It's hard to get an even edge if you try to install one after.

  • 8 Tips for Adding Curb Appeal and Value to Your Home

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Sacramento County, Home Selling in Sacramento County, Design & Decor in Sacramento County  |  February 7, 2011 1:55 PM  |  935 views  |  No comments

    Here's a great article i just came across.  It's perfect for seller's, home owners or even potential buyers that might need some good ideas for getting started with their soon to be home.  Give it a read.  It just might give you some inspiration...

    clear skies,

    Doug Reynolds

    www.SellWithDoug.com

    Pat Curry, March 25, 2010 Appraisers and real estate agents offer advice for adding curb appeal that both preserves value and attracts potential buyers.We asked real estate agents, appraisers, home stagers, landscape designers, and home inspectors which curb appeal projects offer the most value when your house is on the market, both in terms of its marketability and dollars. Here is what they told us:

    1. Paint the house.

    Hands down, the most commonly offered curb appeal advice from our real estate pros and appraisers is to give the exterior of your home a good paint job. Buyers will instantly notice it and appraisers will note it on the valuation.

    “Paint is probably the number one thing inside and out,” says Frank Lucco, managing partner of Houston-based IRR-Residential Appraisers and Consultants. “I’d give additional value for that. If you’re under two years remaining life (on the paint job), paint the exterior because it tends to show wear badly.” 

    Just make sure you stay within the range of accepted colors for your market. A house that’s painted a wildly different color from its competition will be marked down in value by appraisers.

    2. Have the house washed.

    Before you make the investment in a paint job, though, take a good look at the house. If it’s got mildew or general grunge, just washing the house could make a world of difference, says Valerie Torelli, a California real estate agent with a background in accounting.

    Before she puts a house on the market, Torelli often does exterior makeovers on her clients’ homes, a service she pays for herself to get higher selling prices. Overall, she says her goal is to spend less than $5,000, with a goal of generating an extra $10,000 to $15,000 on the sale price.

    Torelli specifies pressure-washing—a job that should be left to professionals. Pressure washing makes the house look “bright and clean in addition to getting rid of unsightly things like cobwebs, which may not be seen from the yard but will detract from the home's cleanliness when seen up close,” she says.

    The cost to have a professional cleaning should be a few hundred dollars--a fraction of the cost of having the house painted.

    3. Trim the shrubs and green up the yard.

    California real estate agent Valerie Torelli says she puts a lot of emphasis on landscaping, such as cutting down overgrown bushes and replacing them with leafy plants and annuals mulched with beautiful reddish-brown bark. “It runs me $30 to $50,” says Torelli. “Do you get a return on your money? Absolutely. It sucks people in."

    You also don’t want bare spots. Take the time to fertilize the yard, throw out some grass seed, and if need be, add some sod.

    4. Add a splash of color.

    It could be a flower bed of annuals by the mailbox, a paint job for the front door, or a brightly colored bench or an Adirondack chair. “You can get a cute little bench at Home Depot for $99,“ Torelli notes. “Spray paint it bright red or blue and set it in the yard or on the front porch.”

    It’s not a bad idea, but don’t plan on getting extra points from an appraiser for a red bench, says John Bredemeyer, president of Realcorp in Omaha. “It’s difficult to quantify, but it does make a home sell more quickly,” Bredemeyer says. “Maybe yours sold a couple weeks faster than the house down the street. That’s the best way to look at these things.”

    5. Add a fancy mailbox and house numbers.

    An upscale mail box and architectural house numbers or an address plaque can give your house a distinctive look that stands out from everyone else on the block. Torelli makes them a part of her exterior makeovers “I’ve gotten those hand-painted mailboxes,” she says. “A nice one runs you $40 to $50.” Architectural house numbers may run as high as a few hundred dollars.

    6. Repair or clean the roof.

    Springfield, Va.-based home inspector and former builder Reggie Marston says the roof is one of the first things he looks at in assessing the condition of a home. He’ll look at other houses in the neighborhood to see if there are a lot of replaced roofs and see if the subject house has one as well. If not, he’ll look for curls in the shingles or missing shingles. “I’m looking at the roof for end-of-life expectancy,” he says.

    You can pay for roof repairs now, or pay for them later in a lower appraisal; appraisers will mark down the value by the cost of the repair. That could knock thousands of dollars off your appraisal. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2010-2011 Cost vs. Value Report, the average cost of a new asphalt shingle roof is about $21,500.

    “Roofs are issues,” Lucco says. “You won’t throw money away on that job. You gotta have a decent roof.”

    Stains and plant matter, such as moss, can be handled with cleaning. It’s a job that can often be done in a day for a few hundred dollars, and makes the roof look like new. It’s not a DIY project; call a professional with the right tools to clean it without damaging it.

    7. Put up a fence.

    A picket fence with a garden gate to frame the yard is an asset. A fence has more impact in a family-oriented neighborhood than an upscale retirement community, Bredemeyer says, but in most instances, appraisers will give extra value for one, as long as it’s in good condition. “Day in a day out, a fence is a plus,“ Bredemeyer says. Expect to pay $2,000 to $3,500 for a professionally installed gated picket fence 3 feet high and 100 feet long.

    8. Perform routine maintenance and cleaning.

    Nothing sets off subconscious alarms like hanging gutters, missing bricks from the front steps, or lawn tools rusting in the bushes. It makes even the professionals question what else hasn’t been taken care of.

    “A house is worth less if the maintenance isn’t done,” Lucco says. “Those little things can add up and be a very big detractor. When people say, ‘I’d buy it if it weren’t for all the deferred maintenance,’ what they’re really saying is, ‘I’d still buy it if you reduce the price.’”

  • Low-VOC Paint Protects Health, Pocketbook

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Sacramento County, Design & Decor in Sacramento County  |  January 24, 2011 3:54 PM  |  954 views  |  No comments

    Low-VOC paints are kind to your health, and they won't break the bank, either. Learn more about these eco-friendly ways to brighten a room.

    VOCs health hazards

    Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are solids and liquids that convert easily to gas or vapor at room temperature. VOCs are contained in many paint products and have been linked to a variety of health problems--watery eyes, headaches, asthma, respiratory diseases and cancer.

    Common paint VOCs

    Common VOCs in paint include ethylene glycol (the same chemical compound found in antifreeze), formaldehyde, benzene, and a variety of other flammable or toxic chemicals. The paint’s materials safety data sheet (MSDS) lists the hazardous materials the product contains. Laminated MSDS sheets are usually displayed in paint stores, or you can download them from a paint manufacturer’s website.

    VOC regulations

    Current EPA regulations limit VOCs to 250 grams/liter in latex paint, and 380 grams/liter in oil-based paint. Low-VOC paints, now available from most major manufacturers, clock in at less than 50 grams/liter in flat paints, and 150 grams/liter in gloss paints. Some go even lower, hitting 25- or even 10-gram/liter benchmarks.

    A paint that has 5 grams or less/liter can claim “zero-VOC” status.

    Low-VOC price

    Painters shy away from low-VOC paint, thinking it’s more expensive than the stuff that’s hazardous to their health. In fact, low-VOC and zero-VOC paint are comparable in price to any paint that’s comparable in coverage.

    Price is determined by how much bang you get from a gallon. Benjamin Moore’s zero-VOC Aura paint sells for almost $60 per gallon, not because it’s zero VOC, but because it is self-priming and requires only two coats to cover a room. Benjamin Moore’s low-VOC line, Ben, costs about $35 per gallon, comparable to other VOC-laden premium paints. 

    Tints and VOCs

    Even if you buy low-VOC paint, you can unwittingly raise toxic levels by adding tints tainted with VOCs. Low-VOC tints are available, so ask for them when lightening or darkening paint.

    clear skies,

    Doug Reynolds

    www.SellWithDoug.com

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