Category: Selling your Home


PatioAround mid-winter, most of us begin pining for that casual, outdoor lifestyle that comes back with the sunshine and warm temperatures. While that’s not a reality many of us can enjoy quite yet, this is a great time to start planning those patio upgrades that will make lounging in the sunshine as cool and comfortable as we imagine.

Start by doing everything you can to bring the outdoors in with upgrades like larger windows, French doors, and window coverings such as Roman shades or plantation shutters that allow you to maximize light and sight lines. Then start planning how to bring the indoors out with patio furniture that’s sturdy and stylish enough to entice you out to the patio.

One of the most effective ways to add the perception of square footage to your home is to form an outdoor living space. To create that illusion, a patio cover is key. It adds months of access to your new outdoor space, and really helps to protect that new furniture.

There are many patio-cover options these days, and the right choice for you is dependent on what your outdoor lifestyle is really like.

Here are six great options to get you daydreaming about the sunny days to come:

Solid Shingles: This solid choice is just that-solid. Solid patio covers built as a simple addition over the patio use the same shingles the roof does and deliver a polished version of an outdoor living space. Gabled construction adds an architectural element to the home’s exterior, lending style and value. Solid patio covers are ideal if you entertain outdoors often or take family meals on the patio fairly regularly. If winter storage of your patio furniture is an issue, a solid patio cover is a great choice.

Solid Metal: All the same benefits apply here, but where the solid shingle look is great for more traditional architecture, we love the sophisticated look that a painted metal top can bring to a more contemporary or transitional home. It creates a real opportunity to expand square footage using fabrics, rugs and furnishings that look like they may belong inside. Thanks to the advancements in indoor/outdoor furnishings and materials, you can maintain the same palette on the patio that you have going on in your interior space.

Black and White PatioSolar Panels: Trending these days are eco-chic solar panel patio covers that let in a little light, but also collect energy. This obviously offers the most tangible return on your investment from the energy savings alone, but the forward thinking and contemporary styling are a definite upgrade when it comes time to sell your home.

Lattice: The open lattice look doesn’t offer all the cover of some other options, but the filtered sunshine and the chance to add a little green to the architecture with a climbing vine are almost instantly soothing. You can actually purchase open lattice patio covers already constructed in wood or aluminum. Make sure to opt for the aluminum if you’re considering that climbing vine. Otherwise, prepare for a bit more maintenance or to embrace a “weathered wood” aesthetic.

Wooden PatioRetractable: Our current favorite, retractable patio covers bring all the casual style of the open-lattice or pergola look along with some of the comfort and protection of a solid cover. The option to choose the fabric, pattern and color lets you take a little more control over the styling. A quick pull lets the sunshine in, and another gives you a little shade when the temperature climbs-versatility at your fingertips.

Shade sails: These are another great choice for more casual and contemporary outdoor spaces. They also let you bring in a playful splash of color to brighten up the garden area. Best of all, they’re super flexible-you can easily move them with the path of the sun, or to different areas of your outdoor space. It all depends on your mood, livability and entertaining needs.

Patio By WaterAre you considering one of these patio cover options? What are your top priorities in an outdoor living space?

Kerrie Kelly is the author of the DIY design book Home Décor: A Sunset Design Guide. Kerrie is an award-winning interior designer who writes on outdoor décor for Home Depot. Home Depot’s large selection of windows, including those for a patio, can be found at www.homedepot.com/b/Doors-Windows/N-5yc1vZaqih.

Kerrie Kelly, ASID, Realty Times Feature Writer 01/22/2015
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Sometimes when everything goes right we have trouble accepting that fact. Perhaps nowhere is this phenomenon more clearly illustrated than in the case where a seller receives a good offer right away.

The annals of real estate are well stocked with stories of sellers who refused to take a good, but not perfect, first offer, and who then waited a long, long time before finally accepting something else at a considerably lower price. And most agents who have been around for a while know to shudder when a good strong offer is made almost at the outset of a listing; for the seller’s reservations are almost inevitable. “Did we list it too low?” “If someone will offer this much so soon, maybe we should wait a while and see if we can get more.” Etc.

When we read of Silicon Valley listings routinely selling at 15% above list price, and when we’ve just recently come through a period when multiple-offer situations were commonplace, it is understandable that such thoughts come to mind. Nonetheless, they are generally unfounded, especially if the market is anywhere near “normal”, as ours is today.

As an antidote to the ill effects of the “curse of the first offer”, a couple of observations might be kept in mind.

First, the fact that an offer is received early in the listing period — even in the first few days — doesn’t mean that the property has been listed too low.

It is easy to overlook how very efficient the residential real estate marketplace has become. Modern multiple listing systems (MLS) provide agents, and thus their buyer clients, with virtually instant access to information about existing inventory and about what has newly come on the market. In the old, old days a buyer’s agent did not become aware of new listings until “the book” (i.e. the compilation of MLS listings) was published. There might have been a lag time of ten days or more from the time the listing was taken.

Today, a good buyer’s agent will have electronically entered a “profile” of his client’s needs and price range into the system. Then, whenever he logs on to the MLS, he will be notified if a listing has been entered that matches that profile. In a low-inventory market such as we have had recently, buyers’ agents will log on a half-dozen times a day, or more, to see if an appropriate new listing has been entered. Moreover, in most systems the buyer’s agent is able to place the buyer himself on a similar notification.

The point is that potential buyers learn quickly of the existence of an appropriate new listing. Thus a flurry of activity at the outset of the listing does not necessarily imply a too-low price; rather, it reflects the efficiency of the system.

Secondly, an early first offer does not imply that the seller should hold out for full price.

We all know that there is typically a bit of a dance in the pricing and negotiating for a property. Sellers, with the concurrence of their agents, will usually list their property for an amount that is both higher than what they believe its value to be and higher than what they would be satisfied to receive. Why? Because they know that buyers almost always want and expect to pay less than the listed price

However, when an otherwise acceptable offer comes in near the outset of a listing period, sellers are frequently tempted to hold out for full price, or much closer to it than would normally be expected. Caution should be exercised in this regard.

For one thing, as we have noted, exposure of the property to buyers occurs pretty quickly nowadays, and sellers shouldn’t assume that there are going to be more, much less higher, offers as the listing period progresses.

Secondly, there often can be a transactional benefit to “leaving something on the table.” A real estate transaction is a process. These days, with inspections and disclosures, there are almost always “second negotiations” during the course of escrow. A buyer who feels ground down in the purchase negotiation may well be more difficult to deal with as other issues arise.

Bob Hunt, Realty Times Columnist 12/30/2014

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