Capitol Hill Realtor: What You Need to Know About Home Inspections

May 16th, 2014

If you’re buying or selling a Capitol Hill home, you will want to obtain a home inspection. Capitol Hill Realtor Michelle Buckman wants to you to understand what you can expect when you get a home inspection. Here’s what you need to know:

  • You can choose your home inspector, but make sure that your inspector is licensed and has certifications from the National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. (NAHI).
  • Home inspection considers hundreds of items during an average inspection, including the home’s exterior, steps, porches, decks, chimneys, roof, windows, doors, attics, electrical components, plumbing, central heating and air conditioning, basement/crawlspaces, and garages.
  • Home inspections are intended to point out adverse conditions, not cosmetic flaws.
  • Inspectors may point out termite damage and suggest that you get a separate pest inspection.
  • You should attend the inspection and follow the inspector throughout the inspection so you can learn what’s important and what’s not.
  • Home inspectors work for the party who is paying the fee; however, they are bound by a code of ethics to act as an unbiased third party to the real estate transaction.
  • It’s your choice whether or not to share the inspection report with others. If you’re a seller, you don’t have to disclose the report to buyers, but you must disclose any failure in the systems or integrity of your home.
  • Inspectors are not responsible for the condition of the home. Inspectors don’t go behind walls or under flooring, so it’s possible that a serious problem can be overlooked.
  • The final written report should be concise and easy to understand.
  • Don’t be deterred from having a home inspection. A home inspection can save you money in the long run, and it’s required by many lenders, particularly for FHA loans.

For more information about home inspections, please contact Capitol Hill Realtor, Michelle Buckman. Michelle Buckman has the experience you need to help you sell your Capitol Hill real estate. Representing W.C. & A.N. Miller, a Long & Foster Company, and Christie’s Great Estates properties in Capitol Hill, and the surrounding Washington DC area, Michelle works with a full range of very satisfied clients.

Selling a Washington DC Home: 5 Big Things You Can Control

April 30th, 2014

When selling a Washington DC home there are some things you can’t control – such as the location of your home or that annoying neighbor. However, there are 4 big things you can control: price, curb appeal, space, and updates. And what you do with these things matters.

  1. Set an appealing price. Many homeowners think their home is worth more than it really is. Your Realtor, Michelle Buckman, will be able to help you to set an appealing price for your home. Michelle will base the price on the condition of your home, neighborhood comps, assessments, and the Washington DC Real Estate market.
  2. Create curb appeal. This is your buyer’s first impression of your home; so make it a great one. Show attention to detail, and make your home stand out from the neighbors. Make sure the outside of your home, yard, and driveway look clean and well maintained. Sweep the sidewalk and driveway, power wash your house, wash your windows, and paint (if needed). Make sure street numbers are readily visible from the road. You’ll also want to have fresh, colorful flowers in the front garden or in containers at the entry.
  3. Add space with storing and staging. The reason most people move is because they want more space. Bulky furniture and clutter will make your home appear smaller; rent a storage unit and put away all out of season clothes, toys, and home decorations and accessories. De-clutter tables and countertops, and keep closets empty – or as empty as possible.
  4. Update the kitchen and baths in your home. Replace the most dated features in your kitchen – countertops, cabinet pulls, or appliances. In the bathroom, replace an outdated vanity, remove old wallpaper and repair or replace cracked tile. Re-grout the sink and tub. Bathrooms are so personal that they can easily turn buyers off. Invest in new towels, bathmats and a shower curtain.
  5. Freshen up the paint. Painting is expected by buyers, but don’t repaint the same colors that you chose 10 years ago – pick an updated neutral, and remember to paint the trim.

For more information on selling a Washington DC home, please contact Michelle Buckman. Michelle will help you showcase your home’s best features.

Washington DC Realtor: 5 Ways to Save Energy and Boost Resale Value

April 16th, 2014

Washington DC Realtor Michelle Buckman explains 5 tried and true ways for homeowners – especially those with older homes – to save energy and money, while boosting the resale value of their homes.

  1. Get an energy audit of your home. Conducted by a professional, energy audits will show you where energy is being wasted in your home, so you can make a smart decision on how to remediate those energy losses.
  2. Replace your home’s windows and roofing. Old drafty windows should be switched out for energy-efficient windows. If the energy audit shows that your roof is a problem, a new roof is in order.
  3. Seal windows, vents, and any other cracks or gaps in your home. Follow that up with insulation – especially in the attic and around the foundation.
  4. Replace your old siding with new vinyl siding, using ENERGY STAR-rated underlayment and corner wrap to protect your home from moisture.
  5. Replace your old furnace and air conditioner with energy-efficient units.

For more information from a Washington DC Realtor, please contact Michelle Buckman. Specializing in real estate in the Capitol Hill, Cleveland Park, Chevy Chase and Northwest DC areas, Washington DC Realtor Michelle Buckman will help you with buying or selling your Washington DC home, for the best price possible.

DC Realtor: Make the Most of Your Entryway

March 30th, 2014

The first area buyers experience when they come into your home is the entryway, and what they see sets the tone for the rest of your home. DC Realtor Michelle Buckman has some tips for how you can make the most of your entryway.

Define your entryway space. If you have a vestibule entryway with a separate doorway, archway, or change in flooring types, these instantly define the entryway space. However, if your entry is part of another room, you’ll need to define it with color, plants, a rug, mirror, and (depending on size) some furniture.

Create a sitting and staging area, with a table and chairs or bench. When you place information about your home on that table, you encourage buyers to stop a minute, maybe take a seat, and visualize your home as their home.

Add storage space and reduce clutter with furniture. A coat rack, or wall unit with hooks organizes sweaters and jackets. A bench offers a place to remove and store shoes.
Define a landing. Place a rug – or even better – paint a rug on the floor that creates the illusion of a rug.

Above all else, DC Realtor Michelle Buckman advises sellers to think of their entryway as a way to personally welcome buyers to their home. Keeping your entryway open and inviting will encourage buyers to think of your home as theirs, and encourage them to see your beautiful home.

For more information about making the most of your entryway, please contact DC Realtor Michelle Buckman. DC Realtor Michelle Buckman has the knowledge and experience to sell your home quickly, and for the best price.

Selling a Washington DC House: Be Smart about Remodeling and Updates

March 15th, 2014

There are definitely some home remodeling and other updates that pay off when selling a Washington DC house. While living in your home, you want to make those changes that will help you enjoy it to its fullest. However, you need to temper spending with an eye on your return on investment (ROI), and an understanding that you could end up pricing your home out of the neighborhood market.

Here are the average returns on investment for remodeling projects in Washington DC, according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report for 2014:

Attic bedroom: 98.6 percent
Backup power generator: 70.3 percent
Basement remodel: 90.7 percent
Bathroom addition: 72.5 percent
Bathroom Remodel: 98.5
Deck addition (composite): 90.6 percent
Deck addition (wood): 112.3 percent
Entry door replacement (fiberglass): 89.1 percent
Entry door replacement (steel): 125 percent
Family room addition: 83.4 percent
Garage addition: 80.8 percent
Garage door replacement: 114 percent
Home office remodel: 62 percent
Major kitchen remodel: 91 percent
Master suite addition: 83 percent
Minor kitchen remodel: 99.9 percent
Roofing replacement: 89.7 percent
Siding replacement (vinyl): 99.2
Sunroom addition: 64.4 percent
Two-Story addition: 95.3 percent
Window replacement (vinyl): 93 percent
Window replacement (wood): 93 percent

For more information on remodeling and updates when selling a Washington DC house, please contact Michelle Buckman, Realtor. Not only does Michelle know all the best updates and contractors, she will help you showcase your home’s best features to enhance the return on your remodeling dollars.