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John Cotten's Blog

By John Cotten | Broker in Austin, TX
  • Weekend Projects to Improve Your Home Value

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Austin, Remodel & Renovate in Austin, Design & Decor in Austin  |  November 8, 2012 10:58 AM  |  296 views  |  No comments


    Whether you want to sell your home this fall, next year, or in five years, there are some great projects to help you improve your home’s value that you can do today!  But choose wisely.  Some projects won’t add to your value while others can substantially help increase it.  Most real estate experts agree on one thing, if you put in your own sweat equity into some weekend projects, your more likely to add value.

    Update Your Cabinets

    The kitchen is the heart of the home and it’s important to keep it updated.  According to HGTV, you can expect to recoup a large percentage of your investment on a kitchen remodel.  However, you may not have the budget to install new cabinets so why not consider painting them.  A couple of cans of paint and new hardware can make cabinets look brand new.

    Touch Up Your Paint

    A fresh coat of paint in any room will make your house more appealing.  And the best part about it is that paint is one of the cheapest and easiest things you can do to makeover a room.  Be wary of bright colors or trying to paint too many colors.  Consider the most universally appealing shades and neutrals.

    Upgrade Your Lighting

    You don’t have to spend a fortune on light fixtures.  You can find economically-friendly options at any home improvement store and install them yourself.  You should also replace your lower wattage light bulbs with higher wattage ones.  The brighter bulbs will cheer up any space and make it appear larger.

    Improve Your Curb Appeal

    It never hurts to improve your home’s curb appeal.  Spend some weekends replacing your mailbox, cleaning or replacing your front door, and touching up exterior paint.  Don’t forget about your landscaping as well.  Pull any weeds and trim back shrubs.  If you have some bald spots in your lawn, consider adding flowering shrubs or replace with sod.
    If you want to do a bigger project, adding a deck can help add value to your home.  HGTV says that homeowners can typically recoup 65% to 90% of their investment by adding a deck.  It’s definitely a project you will want to do yourself to add the most value for your cost.

    These are just a few projects you can take on yourself that can help increase the value of your home.  If you are curious about your home’s value, contact Texas Capital Properties today for a FREE comparative market analysis of your property today!

  • Cheap Ways to Stage Your Home to Sell

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Austin, Remodel & Renovate in Austin, Design & Decor in Austin  |  August 10, 2012 6:55 AM  |  210 views  |  No comments

    First impressions are everything when you want to sell your home.  Not everyone can afford to hire a professional “stager” to prepare your home to sell, but there are some cheap ways to do it yourself.


    1) De-Personalize – This is the easiest and cheapest way to stage your home.  Simply remove some of your own clutter and mementos.  It’s important not to distract a potential buyer from seeing a hundred photos of your family around.

    2) De-Clutter and Organize – If you’ve lived in your home awhile, you’ve probably started collecting a lot of stuff.  That stuff can create a lot of clutter, especially in smaller homes.  Go around your home and start organizing and getting rid of the clutter.  That includes clearing off the kitchen and bathroom countertops.  You’ll want potential buyers to see the space available in the home – not the lack of it.

    3) Rearrange Rooms – How you live and how you show a home can sometimes call for completely different furniture layouts.   Move furniture around to create space and walkways.  Remove any bulky furniture and put it in storage.

    4) Neutralize Rooms – For the cost of paint and supplies, you can neutralize any room.  A red wall in your bedroom may coordinate with your bedding, but many buyers will be turned off by it.  If you don’t want to do a full paint job around the house, be sure to make necessary touchups.  It’s better to give the appearance of fresh paint than to have dirty and scratched walls throughout the home.

    5) Deodorize – Homes have their own unique smell and because you live there you may not be aware of it.  A smelly home will not create a great first impression for potential buyers.  If you aren’t sure if your home smells, ask a neighbor or friend to stop by and get their opinion.  You can clean and deodorize with air fresheners to create a warm and clean environment.

    6) Create Curb Appeal – Remember that the first impression is everything when selling your home.  You want potential buyers to feel invited when they pull up to your home.  Mow the lawn, replant flowers, remove dirt and debris from the sidewalk and gutters, and pressure wash the exterior if it needs it.

    Thinking of selling your Austin or Houston home?  Find out your Austin home value and Houston home value today by contact Texas Capital Properties.

  • Green Remodeling Tips for the Kitchen

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate in Austin, Going Green in Austin, Design & Decor in Austin  |  August 1, 2012 5:48 PM  |  203 views  |  No comments

    Are you looking to do a Green Kitchen Remodel? If so, check out these eco-friendly remodeling tips for your next project!

    1) Look for Eco-Friendly Countertops

    The greenest countertops will be made of recycled material. Consider countertops from IceStone – made from 100 percent recycled glass and cement. PaperStone® is another brand that is known as a sustainable countertop material. Whatever you choose, using environmental products can be cost-effective, eco-friendly and beautiful.

    2) Ditch Your Old Fridge

    The refrigerator is second among home appliances in energy consumption – next only to air-conditioners – so if your model is 10 years or older, it’s about time for a replacement. Look for models with Energy Star logos that will help you maximize your energy and dollar savings without compromising refrigeration.

    3) Opt for Energy-Efficient Lighting

    Fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps use up to 75% less energy than comparable incandescent lamps. In fact, according to EnergyStar.gov, a single CFL bulb will save $30 to $40 during its expected lifespan of 10,000 hours.

    4) Make Recycling a Part of Life

    Make it easier for yourself to incorporate recycling as a part of daily life. Most cabinet manufacturers offer options for lower cabinets that include pull-out recycling bins to keep contents organized and out of sight. You can even get surface-mounted bins to go underneath holes in countertops. Then you can just sweep food and trash right in.

  • Home Improvements on a Budget

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Austin, Remodel & Renovate in Austin, Design & Decor in Austin  |  October 5, 2011 3:01 PM  |  537 views  |  No comments

    Whether you are thinking about selling or just want to improve your home, here are some tips to increasing your home’s value on a budget.

    One of the simpliest and cost effective ways to increase your home’s value is to paint. Neutral colors will appeal to the most potential buyers.

    Hire a home inspector to do a full report on your home from foundation to roof.  Finding hidden problems now can definitely save you money in the future. It will also help your home’s value by taking care of any issues that may arise when you try to sell.

    Not only will sprucing up your landscaping add curb appeal but will help your home’s value if you go to sell.  Finding plants and trees that are native to your area will help you conserve water and ultimately save money on maintenance.

    You only get one chance to make a first impression, especially if you are thinking about selling.  Hire a cleaning company to give your home a full scrubbing from top to bottom. Clear out any clutter to make your home feel more spacious.

    You don’t need to completely remodel your bathrooms, but updating on a small scale will help increase your home’s value.  Replace outdated fixtures and wallpaper.

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