Prepare Your Home to Sell

Are you about to sell your home or thinking about it? Before you go ahead and take the plunge you should do whatever you can to prepare your house so that you get the best possible price. If you make a systematic survey of your property and follow it up with some simple cleaning, repairs and alterations it can make a big difference. The difference can add up to thousands of dollars so it pays to pay attention to this preparatory work. Let’s take a look at what is involved in getting a home ready for sale.

There is an old expression “The first impression is the last impression.” So, put yourself in the place of a prospective buyer and ask yourself what impression would this buyer get if he or she looked at your house? Try to keep the viewpoint of the buyer in mind and then correct any item that would spoil the impression or put someone off. This is the general idea, and now let’s take a more detailed survey of what has to be done.

As I said, “the first impression is the last impression,” so it is good to begin with the exterior of the home because this is what the potential buyer will see first.

Mow your lawn, trim the edges of the lawn and tidy up all the landscaping around the house. Your house may look beautiful but if it is framed by an untidy lawn and garden people will get a bad first impression. In some cases they may not even get to see your house because shrubs and bushes are covering everything. So get out the lawnmower and trimmers and get to work, or get your landscaping service to give your yard a through tidying up.

When you are finished with the garden work, put away all tools, garbage cans, hoses, toys and other materials. Put them neatly into your tool shed or garage.

Continuing with the exterior of the home, make a survey of important structural items. Are there any broken tiles or shingles on your roof or siding? If so, fix them. Similarly, make sure that the gutters are aligned properly and the windows and door are clean and tidy. And if necessary paint the front door and windows.

What about your driveway? Does it need to be resurfaced or resealed? If the answer is yes then get this work done, and while you are at it make sure your patios, terraces or decks are in good condition and tidy as well.

Once you have the outside in good shape, go inside and work on the key areas of the interior.

In your foyer or entry hall make sure you have bright light bulbs in the foyer light fixtures. If necessary, repaint the walls using a neutral color. Clean the windows, woodwork and carpeting and place some natural scents throughout your home. Don’t worry if you have to spend some money on paint or cleaning, you will recuperate it and more when you sell your house.

The living room is one of the key areas of any home and you should make it look welcoming by discarding worn furniture and moving extra pieces to a storage area. Clear away magazines, books and other objects that create a cluttered, disorganized look. If the room is too dark, then add more lamps and keep the curtains open.

Once you are satisfied with the living room, walk into your kitchen and look around. Unless your appliances are new, it would be a good idea to get your oven and stove professionally cleaned. Clean all your other appliances and wax or polish your floor. As in the living room, take away magazines, appliances, and other objects that give a cluttered look.

Another key area which comes under a lot of scrutiny is the bathrooms. Clean them thoroughly and fix leaky faucets and bad plumbing. The sinks, bathtubs, commodes, tiles and shower curtains should be impeccably spotless. Place color coordinated towels in the bathrooms and get them looking like model bathrooms.

Do you have a family room? Make it look inviting by cleaning it and removing extra objects that create that messy look. If you have a fireplace, then clean it. Treat the finished basement as a second family room and if you have an unfinished basement, make sure that the floor is well-swept. Clean the water heater and put strong bulbs in all light fixtures.

In your bedrooms the main thing is to make them appealing by neatly arranging your clothing. Your closets will look bigger if you remove your off-season clothing and store them somewhere else. You are going to move anyway, so you may as well get them packed up now. It may be more difficult to straighten up your children’s bedrooms, but ask your kids to clean up their rooms and get them looking neat and presentable.

If you have other areas that are not covered by this survey, the same principles apply: Look at them as if you are a prospective buyer and make the adjustments that will create the best possible impression.

Don’t be afraid to invest time or money in preparing your house for sale. Always remember, You have one chance to make a good first impression so take the time, effort and if necessary money to get your house looking the best you can, you will be rewarded for your efforts. So, if you are serious about selling your home, roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Palos Verdes La Cresta Home Sales in 2009

The La Cresta area straddles both Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates, making it fairly unique as far as home sales go. La Cresta home sales dropped in 2009 as did the median sales price. This makes it one of the few areas on the Palos Verdes peninsula to see a decline in single family home sales from 2008. The median price fell a relatively sharp 20 percent in the past year. There have been no newly built homes sold here for a number of years and only a handful of those since the beginning of 2004, so this was not a factor in the recent price drop. Regardless of this, the values of homes have risen at a solid pace since 2000, when the median price was $988,000. This coming year may be the year that the number of sales and the median prices reverse their downward trend here.

There have been two escrow closings this past month and there are currently three homes in the escrow process. This could be an encouraging sign with respect to the number of sales. In 2009, there were 25 closed escrows. The La Cresta homes in escrow have a median sales price of just under $2,300,000, which is clearly a positive indicator of the market direction for price. All three of the homes in escrow were built before 2000, so it isn’t newly built homes that are skewing the recent results. If this pace continues, 2010 may very well be the year that La Cresta home sales gain altitude and start closing the gap in prices from the peak year of 2007. The number of sales reached a peak in 2002 at 69 single family home sales, therefore, it will be a while before we return to those days when there was a lot more sales activity.

Choosing Roll Up Blinds For Your Home

There are many ways of decorating your home to make it much more functional. Most people are not only concerned with the style and look of the items they use in decorating their homes, but also with their function and practicality. For example, instead of getting expensive and decorative curtains, some people will simply choose roll up blinds, an obvious change in outlook as far as home decorating is concerned.

Roll up blinds, despite their plain appearance, can definitely be appealing and elegant. A lot of homeowners are not only purchasing them for their simplicity and low cost, but also for their versatile functions. Moreover, not only can they be used indoors, but they can also be installed outdoors.

There are many kinds of roll up blinds available. It is very important that before you purchase one particular kind, you should already have an idea of which type of material you really want to use. Since roll up blinds come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials, having an idea of what you want can help you in picking the one that is best for your home. You may choose roll up blinds that simply conform to your personal preference or you can base your decision on the overall design of your room. As long as your blinds are a good fit for your windows and match the furniture which you have in your room, you should have no problem making the right choice.

You also need to consider the functionality of your roll up blinds. Make sure that before you purchase them, you have them tested. Also, make certain that the blinds do not get tangled up and that the strings are easy to adjust. By testing your blinds first you will avoid possible problems later when you have already installed them in your home.

Roll up blinds can also be easily adjusted to control the amount of sunlight entering your room. You can limit the sunlight that enters your room or you can roll them up completely to let in as much light as possible.

Lastly, in choosing your blinds, it is important to find a material that is guaranteed to be durable and easy to maintain. There are several types of roll up blinds, including those made of wood, of bamboo and of plastic. When buying blinds, make sure that the material you choose not only complements your room but that it is also strong enough to last for a very long time.

Grain Flakers For Home Use – How to Make Your Own Rolled Oats Or Other Grain Flakes

A grain flaker is simple a device that crushes (or flakes) a grain between several rollers. A grain flaker is also often referred to as an “oat roller,” since it is usually used for flaking (or rolling) oat groats to make rolled oats for oatmeal. We’ll use the terms interchangeably in this article. Oat rollers have long been popular in Europe, and they are increasing in popularity in the U.S. among those looking to feed their families wholesome, unprocessed food.

Oat rollers come in both electric and hand-powered varieties; however, for home use, hand-powered oat rollers are most popular, as electric oat rollers can run upwards of $400, and hand-powered oat rollers are not difficult to crank, and rolling enough oat groats (unprocessed oats) for breakfast or a batch of oatmeal cookies only takes a few minutes.

Grain flakers can roll a variety of grains including wheat, oats, rye, barley, and quinoa. These grains can often be purchased in the bulk section of natural foods stores, and are becoming increasingly popular at regular grocery stores as well. Whole grains can also be easily purchased online. Grains in their whole form usually only cost pennies per serving, making flaking your own grains a very economical option.

Although several different grain flakers are available in the U.S., they all have several parts in common. There is a hopper on top, where you will place your oat groats or other grain. The hopper feeds the grain down into the rollers, where the grain is squished. The flaked grains then fall into a catching container below and are ready to be used.

Most oat rollers also require very little maintenance. Occasionally brushing off the rollers will usually be enough.

When selecting an oat roller, you may want to take the following into account:

  • Capacity – How large are the hopper and catching container? A small hopper and catching container will mean you will need to be frequently adding and removing grain while flaking.
  • Throughput – How quickly can it flake the grains? Generally, larger rollers will flake grains more quickly than smaller rollers.
  • Adjustability – Can it make different thicknesses of flakes? Some grain flakers are also capable of producing flour.
  • Price – Hand-powered grain flakers range in price from $100 to $140 for the Marga Mulino, all the way up to $150 to $230 for the FlicFloc.

Grains that have been freshly rolled still retain all their nutritional value, which is one of the reasons more and more people are starting to use grain flakers in their homes. Rolled oats from the store have lost most of their nutritional value either through oxidation or though the steaming process intended to destroy a grain’s enzymes and increase its shelf life.

Fresh rolled grains are also naturally delicious. Oatmeal made from freshly flaked oat groats is rich and creamy and is often a hit with children as well.

In summary, flaking your own grains is easy, economical, wholesome and delicious.

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