Our latest articles
December 30, 2016
Although it may seem obvious that houses need repainting when the paint is rotten, peeling off, and shabby, repainting the exterior of a home can be expensive, and homeowners often struggle with the decision whether or not to repaint the entire house—and if so, when.
Here are some tips on how to know whether it’s time to invest in a new coat of paint for your home’s exterior:
- Peeling or Significant Cracking.Cracked and peeling paint is unpleasant to look at, but it also provides an opening for pests and weather damage.Paint provides an important seal on woodwork and other building components, so once you see signs of serious damage, especially damage that reveals the surface underneath, it’s time to repaint.
- “Chalking.” As paint breaks down over time, it may begin to crack, peel away, or develop a powdery texture. This breakdown is known as “chalking,” and it’s often a sign of old or overly weathered paint. While not all chalking requires repainting, if your house’s exterior paint has significant chalking, it’s worth consulting an expert to see if repainting is required.
- Dirty & Stains That Won’t Come Clean. Exterior paint lasts longer when homeowners clean the house on a regular basis, washing or cleaning away accumulated dirt and stains. However, not even the most attentive cleanings can keep paint looking perfect forever. Permanent stains and streaks can leave your home’s exterior looking sad—but it’s nothing a fresh, well-applied coat of paint can’t cure.
- Planning To List Your Home For Sale. Although nothing can guarantee that a house will sell, or sell quickly, a fresh coat of paint improves a house’s curb appeal and increases the likelihood that buyers will want to come inside and see more. Before you put your house on the market, consider repainting the exterior (as well as the inside surfaces) to give your house a cosmetic boost.
Repainting does more than merely improve your home’s outward appearance; fresh paint helps seal woodwork and other structural components, increasing their life and reducing the chance of pests, rot, and other problems. Don’t wait too long to repaint; not only does waiting require you to live in a dirty, ugly home, but it increases the chance of expensive damage and the likelihood that repairs will involve far more than just repainting. By contrast, a new coat of paint will make your home attractive, more pleasant to live in, and also easier to sell.
December 29, 2016
If you list your home for sale with a real estate agent, the listing agent should schedule (and host) the open houses for you, but if you list your home For Sale By Owner (or “FSBO”) the responsibility for planning—and hosting—open houses falls on you. Since most homeowners don’t have much experience holding open houses, here are some tips for getting the most from your FSBO open house:
- Hold Your Open House On A Weekend. Plan in advance, and hold your open house on Saturday or Sunday – the days when buyers are most likely to be looking. Also, find out when local real estate agents normally hold their open houses, and schedule yours for that day of the week whenever possible.
- Advertise (And Put Up Signs). People can’t visit your open house if they don’t know it’s happening. Advertise the open house online, on social media, and in the local newspaper’s “open house” or real estate section. Don’t forget to put up signs in front of the house and in your neighborhood (if allowed) on the day of the open house as well.
- Prepare The Property—Inside & Out. Before the day of the open house, make sure the house is sparkling clean, clear away clutter, and make sure the yard has curb appeal. Houses make a better impression, and usually sell much faster, when freshly cleaned and staged.
- Treat Your Visitors Like Welcome Guests. During the open house, greet guests at the door, offer a brochure or flyer with details about the home, and make sure they feel welcome. Offer to answer questions, and be willing to show potential buyers through the house, but don’t hover—many buyers prefer to walk through a house on their own, without the pressure of a seller looking over their shoulders.
- Dress And Act Professionally.Homeowners who look and act professional during an open house tend to inspire more confidence in potential buyers, which may increase the likelihood of those buyers making an offer on your home. You wouldn’t want a real estate agent showing up to host your open house in worn-out jeans—and you should expect no less from yourself!
- Follow Common-Sense Safety Rules. It’s normally a good idea to have at least two people present during open houses, for safety reasons. Put valuables in safes (or remove them from the home), and call police if someone or something threatens your safety (or that of your home).
Even if you follow these tips, your house may take some time to sell—especially if there are lots of properties on the market in your area. However, with proper planning and preparation, a successful open house can dramatically increase your chances of finding the perfect buyer for your home.
December 19, 2016
Whether you want to sell your home or simply improve your home for your own enjoyment and personal comfort, timely replacement of old front doors can give your home a physical and economic boost. Although most homeowners realize an old front door detracts from a house’s appearance, worn or ill-fitting entry doors can also let heat escape and let in drafts, increasing energy costs. Here are some tips to help you decide if it’s time to replace the front door of your home:
- Trouble Opening, Closing, and Locking (or Latching). Over time, doors and doorframes can become warped or worn, and hinges may start to sink or bend. Cracks and fractures can also develop in wood or fiberglass doors. Once this happens, the door may stick, have trouble opening or closing, or even refuse to latch.
- Signs of Water or Insect Damage.Once weather or pests cause visible damage to a door, it’s time for replacement. Termites and other pests can damage the structural integrity of exterior doors, and water can cause wood to swell and crack. Don’t waste time trying to repair a visibly damaged door; install a new one for maximum energy savings and security.
- Tarnished or Broken Locks, Knobs, or Hinges. It’s sometimes possible to clean or replace the broken or tarnished hardware without installing a whole new door, but sagging hinges and ill-fitting locks may also impact the structural integrity of the door itself. In those situations, it’s time for a door replacement.
- Dents, Scratches, and Serious Cosmetic Flaws. Replacing the entry door is one of the simplest ways to give your house a facelift, improving its curb appeal and charm. New, clean entrances make houses look more modern and inviting, and can make a significant difference in the way that you – and prospective buyers – feel about your home.
Whether you’re planning to sell your home or simply increase your own enjoyment (and possibly reduce your energy bills), take a look at the entry door for these and other signs of potential problems. If your door is damaged, hard to open, or outdated compared with the rest of your home, you may want to consider replacement, especially before you list the house for sale.
If you want to sell, but don’t want to bother replacing doors, windows, and other old or broken systems in your home, consider selling your house to an investor like 4 Brothers Buy Houses. We purchase homes “as-is,” for cash, and never request repairs before closing. Click here to get a fast, no-obligation quote today.
December 14, 2016
*Market information courtesy of RBIntel.com
October 2016 Housing Sales and Market Update For Washington, D.C. & Surrounding Area
In October 2016,Median Housing Prices Remained Close to Last Month’s Figures, With Increased Sales Volume, But Fewer New Listings.
In October 2016,the median home sale price in the Washington D.C. area was $400,000 – only $1,000 difference from the September, 2016 average.Sales volume increased by 4.5% over October 2015’s numbers. The year-to-date median sales prices of homes in the Washington D.C. area is up by 0.6% overall, with the greatest year-to-date increasesseen in Prince George’s County and Falls Church City.
Falls Church Citycontinues to hold the title of “region’s most expensive location” (by average prices), with October median sales prices of $702,500 (5.6% higher than last year’s prices); Prince George’s County remains the most affordable, with October median sales pricesof $267,137.
New Listingsand On-Market Inventory Declined in October 2016.
According to figures published by RBIntel.com:
On-sale housing inventory at the end of October 2016 was 18% lower than this time last year, and 6.4% lower than September 2016’s figures. These decreases apply to all housing types, with single-family detached homes, condominiums, and townhomes all showing decreases in on-market inventory.
New sales listings also decreased in October, with only 5,398 new properties coming on the market last month – a 12% decrease from September’s new listing numbers (and 20% fewer new listings than came on the market in October 2015). As with inventory, the decreases were seen in all available property types.
October Saw a Decrease in Average “Days on Market” For Listed Properties.
The median days-on-market for listed properties in Washington D.C. and the surrounding counties in October 2016 was 23 days –just one day less than September’s figure, but four days lower than the average DOM in October 2015. Reductions in DOM are not uncommon when inventory decreases; with fewer houses to choose from, the available properties often sell faster due to increased scarcity.
FairfaxCity was the slowest regional market in October (median days-on-market: 36), and Washington D.C. remained the fastest-moving area for a second month in a row, with amedian DOM of 12.
Sales numbers vary from county to county, and even among neighborhoods. The speed and success of a housing sale is dependent on many factors, from listing price to home condition and comparable listings in the area. Your personal experience may vary, but knowing the average numbers is still helpful when making plans to sell your home, either through a realtor or to an investor.
December 5, 2016
The holidays are approaching fast, and winter storms aren’t far behind. Snow, ice, and freezing rain are winter travel hazards, but they also create dangers for your home.
“Ice dams” are dangerous lumps of ice that often build up along the lower edges of roofs—where the roof meets the gutter—during the winter. Dams are formed when melting snow flows down the roof and resolidifies as ice along the edge of the roofline. This occurs when warm air rises up through the roof from the attic, melting the underside of the snow that accumulates on the house. The melted snow trickles down the slope of the roof and refreezes along the eaves, which are naturally colder than the portion of the roof above the attic.
Over time, ice builds up along the eaves, blocking gutters and downspouts and often also forcing newly melted snow back up beneath the roof, causing leaks and other damage to your home.
Although ice dams are dangerous, you can prevent ice dams from forming and damaging your home. Here are some simple tips to spot, prevent, and keep your home safe from ice dams during the winter months:
- Don’t Let Snow Build Up On Roofs. Use a broom or snow rake to remove new snow from your roof as soon as it’s safely possible after snowfalls (or hire a professional snow removal service). Ice dams form more easily on roofs with flatter slops, so if your roof is not steep, you must be extra vigilant when it comes to removing extra snow and ice.
- Seal And Insulate Roofs Properly. Ice dams result from warm air leaking upward through the roof. You can prevent this (and lower your heating bill into the bargain) by installing adequate insulation, venting roofs properly, and ensuring roofs are properly sealed to prevent warm air from leaking into the attic from the living space below.
- Install Metal Roofing, Drip Edges, or Waterproof Membranes. Replacing old shingle or tile roofs with metal roofing or metal drip edges near the eaves can help prevent ice dams from forming and pushing water back up beneath the roof. Waterproof membranes beneath your roofing can also help prevent damage from ice dams, melting snow, and other water-related leaks. However, be aware: not even metal roofing can stop ice dams from occurring in every case, especially on roofs with flatter slopes.
No matter how well a roof is vented and insulated, smart homeowners inspect the roofline regularly during the winter months, removing extra snow and ice and paying attention to icicles that block or overhang eaves and gutters. A little time taking care of your roof will help ensure that your roof takes care of your family (and your belongings) too.