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Latest News Blog

It's getting increasingly colder out there as we head into the heart of winter. And if you haven't taken a moment to winterize your home, there's no...
So you’re getting ready to buy a home and you have noticed there are a few things you would really like to have fixed before you move in. The question is,...
It is so tempting to use flowery language to sell your home to potential buyers. But did you know that there are certain words that actually hurt more...
We all have well-meaning friends who want to help when we consider buying or selling a house. But friendship doesn't mean you should take their...
Many of us fantasize about clearing all the junk from our homes, to de-clutter and simplify our lives. Some take that thought further and flirt with...

6 Ways to Clear the Clutter

No one likes clutter. But how do you fix the problem?

Some people love to clear out drawers and closets, to organize. But most of us don't. Often that's because we don't know where to start or how to do it.

If you might sell your home soon, you'll have to move items out of those closets, utility shelves and basements so you can show your house.

Here are six (somewhat) painless ways to clear out the excess and the cobwebs.

Where to begin?

HGTV.com suggests the "front door forward method. Start at the front door and move to the right around the house, decluttering as you go. Start each session next to the last area you cleared."

Get rid of "things that don't fit ... either in size, taste or style. This can be anything from furniture to clothing," Simplify 101 says. "If it no longer suits your taste, you now have a great excuse to let it go!"

In the kitchen, money.usnews.com recommends you throw out "anything with an expired date or that has gone stale. Use this time to also get rid of any cookbooks you haven't cracked open in the past year, and any strange kitchen gadgets you really don't have a use for."

Overflowing drawers

Go through your drawers because that's where we tend to put unwanted items.

"Empty out your drawers, and sorting them by whether you're keeping, tossing or donating them," Lifehack.org advises.

Gifts you never used should be donated. Rather than have them take up space, give them to someone who'll actually use them.

Declutter like the pros

Consider this idea from Trulia.com: Instead of a one in, one out approach, go with the one in, three out policy.

"When you bring in anything new, three items in the same category (clothes, jewelry, toys, etc.) must be donated, recycled, or trashed."

Need help on where to start? Set up your free consult with Cassidee Reeve, a Top Producing agent at NP Dodge, who offers an interior and exterior walkthrough when she advises home sellers. 402.706.2901.

Five Do-It-Yourself Skills for Inside Survival

You don't have to be a professional builder or contractor to know how to fix basic things in your home. Even if you're an amateur, don't let a leaky toilet or drafty window get you down.

1. When a toilet leaks, "The problem is usually a bad flapper ball, the valve that opens when you press the handle to flush. The cure is easy: Buy a replacement, read the directions on the back of the package, install it," Rismedia.com says.

2. It's both crucial and simple to change air filters in your house.

"All you need to know is where the filters are located on your unit, and the measurements of your filter. The general rule is to replace your filters quarterly," TheMortgageReport.com says.

"However, if you've recently made home repairs which created dust, or if you have dogs or cats that shed, you may want to change your filters as often as once every six weeks."

3. Got a window that lets in the cold or the heat? You may want to caulk around the window to better seal it.

"For a long-lasting seal, choose permanently waterproof, flexible, shrink proof, crack proof silicone caulk," HouseOfBrokersRealty.com says.

"Next, remove old caulk with a utility knife and make sure your surface is clean and dry. Cut the nozzle of the caulk tube to your desired bead size and run a line of caulk. Finally, smooth the line with a wet finger."

4. To lower your water heater temperature requires a simple dial adjustment.

"Savings resulting from turning down your water heater temperature are based on two components: reduced standby losses (heat lost from water heater into surrounding basement area); and consumption (from water demand or use in your home)," Energy.gov says.

"Set too high, your water heater can waste anywhere from $36 to $61 annually in standby heat losses and more than $400 in demand losses."

5. If you suspect you have a gas leak, call your utility company. But you also should know how to shut off the gas.

"The shut-off valve is usually located outside at the meter, "Huffington Post says, "and will require an adjustable pipe or crescent-type wrench to operate."

Let Cassidee Reeve, a Top Producing Agent at NP Dodge, help find your new home. Pack your toolbox and give her a call today at 402.706.2901.

4 Mistakes Homebuyers Make in a Seller’s Market

Right now, Omaha is in the middle of a seller's market. That means houses rapidly leave the market almost as quickly as they enter, and often for a higher price than the seller originally listed.

So what's a buyer to do?

Well, if you want to nab your dream house in a seller's market, there are pitfalls to avoid. Here are four big mistakes homebuyers often make in a seller's market:

Wait too long

"Just as impulse-buying a home is risky, analyzing a home purchase to death in a seller's market is inadvisable too," Trulia.com says. "To give yourself more leverage, be prepared to make a quick offer by having your finances in order — get a preapproval if you can."

Not lead with your best offer

In a seller's market, buyers must make their strongest offer right from the beginning and make it fast.

"Most sellers have the luxury of waiting to get the price they want, not to mention they could receive multiple offers at one time," SanibelRealEstateGuide.com says. "Therefore, you should present your best initial offer, giving the seller a reason to work with your offer over another."

Not get loan pre-approval

Getting pre-approved for a loan before you even look at homes Show the seller you're serious.

"The preapproval process involves submitting a mortgage application, complete with supplying verifying documents," Trulia.com says.

Not be ready and on-call

"Have your agent set you up a new listings alert,"  ActiveRain.com advises. "If a listing comes to market on a Wednesday, don't wait until Saturday to see it. Always assume that other interested buyers are seeing the home on day 1 and making an offer on day 1!"

It's definitely possible to find your next dream home even in a seller's market so long as you approach your purchase ready and with urgency.

Your new home awaits! Contact Cassidee Reeve, a Top Producing Agent at NP Dodge for help finding that perfect home today, 402.706.2901.

5 Easy Ways to Give Your Backyard ‘Curb Appeal’

We all know the importance of curb appeal when you try to sell a house. But "curb appeal" is about more than just your front yard. What have you done lately to spruce up the backyard, particularly your deck or patio?

Here are some projects to pretty up your patio that won't break the bank.

1. Define your outside space.

"Deciding what spaces you need – dining area, cooking area, shady lounging area, play area – and clearly defining them can make a big visual impact on a yard," BobVila.com says. "Doing this can be as inexpensive as repositioning the furniture and accessories you already have."

2. DIY additional seating

Choose furniture you can assemble yourself to add patio or deck seating. "You can find ready-to-assemble furniture at your local home improvement store. It's less expensive than pre-made furniture," the Huffington Post explains.

"Ready-to-assemble furniture is usually light and easy to move around as well, so you can arrange it around your small yard without any hassle."

3. Build your own planters

"An easy way to add color to your backyard without incurring the expense of creating a full-fledged garden is to build your own planters," OutdoorTheme.com advises. "Pallet wood is an inexpensive option but you can also re-purpose wood that you may have in your garage or basement."

You can paint the planters any colors or patterns you want and plant any number of inexpensive plants in eye catching colors.

4. Attach your flowers and greenery

Are flowers or potted plants the issue on a small patio or deck? Huffington Post suggests you replant them in pots and adhere them to nearby walls. Not only does this help your patio or deck blend into the landscape, it frees up room in a small yard.

5. Four quick fixes for poor flooring

• Update old floors with removable deck tiles

• Cover a stained patio floor with a colorful rug

• If you have a concrete patio, BobVila.com says to consider "coating the surface with masonry stain in a color of your choice or lay slate tiles over the concrete with a thin-set mortar." Either option will set off your patio in a big way.

Need help to best highlight your patio before you sell? Contact Cassidee Reeve, a Top Producing Agent at NP Dodge, for help at 402.706.2901.

4 Inexpensive kitchen upgrades

Your kitchen can bring you some bang for your buck when you sell your house.

The kitchen often serves as the heart of the house, where families spend much of their time talking, visiting and eating.

Even if you love your kitchen, there's usually at least one renovation or improvement you've considered. But if you want to sell your house, which investments are worthwhile?

"The average minor kitchen remodel costs over $20,000 and returns over 80 percent of its cost in additional home value," TheMortgageReports.com says.

1. Cabinets – One of the least expensive ways to renovate is to repaint or stain your kitchen cabinets and swap out the hardware. This is much less expensive than completely replacing your current cabinets.

2. The sink – "Materials for sinks include stainless steel, porcelain-over-cast iron, solid surfacing, quartz and others, and each has their advantages. Sinks are configured in one-, two-, and three-bowl models with varying sizes and depths to each," according to TodaysHomeowner.com.

"They can also be under-mounted below the countertop, integrated with the countertop in the case of solid surfacing, or designed to drop in. Clearly, there are a lot of options and there are many finishes to consider.

"Remember that your sink is not only there for function, but can also be as much of a statement piece as you want."

3. Counter tops – Although granite tops are much sought after, you don't have to spend a fortune for beautiful counter tops.

Look "for remnant granite (pieces left over from other projects) or buy a butcher-block or even concrete countertop, which can be stained to match the space," Trulia.com recommends.

"Use more expensive materials, like granite or marble, on smaller spaces to give impact to the space, without a higher price tag."

4. Appliances – Bankrate.com advises to give old appliances a facelift. "If your kitchen appliances don't match, try ordering new doors or face panels from the manufacturer," the website says.

"Many dishwasher panels are white on one side and black on the other. It can be as simple as removing a couple of screws, sliding the panel out and flipping it over."

Ultimately, whatever renovations you undertake are up to you and should be done with your own pleasure in mind.

"If your home needs upgrading and you're deciding on a worthwhile project, consider a minor kitchen remodel," NerdWallet.com says. "By completing this small renovation, you could enjoy a more beautiful kitchen and recoup a large portion of your investment."

Need help deciding which areas of your home need to be renovated before you put it up for sell? Set up your free consult with Cassidee Reeve, a Top Producing Agent at NP Dodge, at 402.706.2901.

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