Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Home Staging Tips From The Pros

Proper home staging could mean a quick sale and higher selling price if done right. It's more than just tidying up and cleaning every room. Here are five ways you can leave a positive impression on potential buyers.
Eliminate Clutter -- Clear the clutter from around your home. It's easy to overlook things you see everyday, so try to look at all spaces with fresh eyes. Consider having a friend come over to help point out unnecessary items. Even larger things like coat racks and side tables can make a room feel smaller.
Clean Out Storage Spaces -- Open up space in kitchen and bathroom cupboards, closets and other storage areas. Pack up items you don't regularly use, and put them out of sight or donate them. When these areas are completely full, potential buyers could think that your home doesn't have enough storage.
Clear the Way -- Make sure potential homebuyers can move through your house easily. Remove furniture that blocks the natural flow of traffic or hinders sight lines into other rooms.
Remove Personal Items -- Family pictures, children's artwork and other personal items should be removed or pared down to avoid adding distraction. Personal belongings can also make it hard for potential buyers to imagine themselves living in the space.
Remember Curb Appeal -- Make a strong first impression by sprucing up your front yard and entryway. Replace the house numbers and exterior light fixtures if necessary. Keep the lawn mowed, the yard free of clutter and toys, and the plants well maintained.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Are Your Renovations Adding or Subtracting Value?

Home renovation reality shows have inspired many homeowners to consider costly upgrades for their own homes. While many home improvement projects are worthwhile, it's important to know which ones are worth it from an investment standpoint.
Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind when you're deciding on a renovation project.
Value Added (or Subtracted) for Future Buyers
Think of your renovation project in terms of what will appeal most to potential buyers, even if you're not considering selling anytime soon. Converting a garage into a living space or eliminating a bedroom or a closet may cause future buyers to cross your home off the list; these spaces are among the most important to potential homeowners.
Many buyers won't even look at homes that lack the right number of bedrooms, and a garage ranks as one of the most popular amenities in newly built homes.
Project Payoff
Be cautious when undertaking large-scale renovation projects. While smaller DIY touch-ups and proper home staging can yield big dividends for sellers, large projects may not always pay off.
Remodeling magazine's 2016 Cost vs. Value Report showed that replacement projects, like changing a front or garage door, offer serious gains.
Which large projects pack the most punch when it comes to adding value? Two-story additions, master suite upgrades and major kitchen remodels top the list.
Your Neighborhood's Market Conditions
Consider the resale market in your neighborhood before deciding on a renovation project. This is particularly important if you're considering large-scale projects, like a full kitchen renovation or converting an attic space into an extra bedroom.
Every neighborhood has a price threshold of what buyers are willing to pay, so a $75,000 kitchen remodel may not be worth it in a neighborhood where home values top out at $200,000.

Kathlyn's Tip
Before starting any renovations to prep your home for the market, contact my office for a consultation. I can use my real estate expertise to guide you in deciding which renovation projects will give you the most bang for your buck in the Houston market.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Spring Break Staycation!

Jean-Luc and I enjoying the penguins at Moody Gardens in Galveston

Spring break is fast approaching! Here are my favorite ways to enjoy a staycation in the city.

I'm looking forward to taking Jean-Luc to Moody Gardens in Galveston for the live penguin encounter where you can also explore their aquarium and rainforest. Afterwards, we'll indulge in a seafood feast at Miller's Seawall Grill with its beautiful beachfront view and the best flounder with crabmeat stuffing on the island! 

For more fun Galveston excursions, stroll the Historic Strand District in downtown where kids and adults can enjoy a sundae or banana split at the old school soda fountain in Star Drug Store. On Pier 22, you can tour the Tall Ship ELISSA and board the Seagull II at the Texas Seaport Museum for a one-hour harbor cruise

Back in the city, Houston's Museum District rolls out the red carpet for families during spring break offering exciting exhibits with free admission on select days/times. The always popular Children's Museum hosts an "Xtreme Spring Break" (March 12-20) featuring magic shows, Ninja warriors, a BMX block party, and the chance to take a spin in a huge hamster ball! 

Kathlyn's Tip: Plan a Thursday outing to the Museum District when the Children's Museum has free Family Night entry on March 17 from 5-8 pm. The nearby Health Museum also has free family admission on Thursday, March 17 from 2-7 pm. And the Museum of Fine Arts is free all day long on Thursday with special Spring Break activities for the kids from 11 am-2 pm.

Just in time for spring break, the newly renovated Burke Baker Planetarium reopens on March 11 at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Be sure to take time to walk through the Cockrell Butterfly Center too. Pack a cooler and you can go from the museum to Miller Outdoor Theatre on Friday, March 18, when their season of amazing entertainment under the stars kicks off with the GuGu Drum Group from Shanghai at 8 pm.

For indoor activities, Brazos Bookstore is throwing a Spring Break Kick Off Party on Saturday, March 12 with a sing-a-long story time at 10:30 am followed by party time where kids receive their own "It's a Small World Passport" to get stamped at shops in nearby Rice Village. Come back on Saturday, March 19 for an internationally-themed Spring Break Finale Party and story time starting at 10:30 am. 

If you're in the Memorial area, Blue Willow Book Shop hosts story time for toddlers and preschoolers every Thursday at 10 am. On March 19 at 10 am, Blue Willow presents "Page to the Stage," where actors from Main Street Theater will read from the Junie B. Jones book series. 

Finally, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo runs through March 20 - be sure to check out my recent blog post for tips.

Happy Spring! 


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Why I Love Houston: Let's Rodeo

Welcome to my Why I Love Houston Series, where I share my favorite Houston experiences and excursions. My goal is to make my hometown of Houston more accessible to the ever-changing mix of folks adopting our amazing city as their home base and reminding natives of the hidden gems throughout H-town.

Why I Love Houston...It's Rodeo Time 

Jean-Luc and I getting into the rodeo spirit!

March means rodeo time! The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo kicked off last weekend with trail riders making their trek down Memorial Drive in the midst of all the urban hustle and bustle and the festive downtown parade celebrating all things cowboy and cowgirl. From March 1-20, NRG Park transforms into a giant fairground with carnival rides, cattle, country music, and chicken fried everything. 

From big name bands to a massive Ferris wheel, there's plenty to entertain the young ones and the young at heart. If you plan a family outing to the Rodeo, take advantage of Value Wednesday when select seats are $10 for the rodeo and a concert. For just the Livestock Show and Carnival, adults pay $5 on Value Wednesday and kids and seniors get in for free. There's also $2 games, rides, and select food options in the Kids Country Carnival from 11 am - 4 pm which includes a petting zoo, tractor pull, pig races, and mutton bustin' - where aspiring young cowboys and cowgirls try to stay on a sheep for 8 seconds. 

For a date night or girls night out, visit the Champion Wine Garden featuring award-winning wines and live music. 
And be sure to view the inspired artwork from talented students who participate in the Rodeo's school art program which awards generous scholarships every year to area youth. 

Wondering what to wear if it's your first rodeo? Houston has many options for going western. 

Locals have long flocked to Texas Junk Company in Montrose which is open most Fridays and Saturdays to check out the selection of secondhand boots and attire. Cash and checks only! 

For a brand new pair of Wranglers, Cavender's has locations all over the city or go high-end at Pinto Ranch in the Galleria area. 

If you prefer a vintage look, head to the Heights and rummage through the racks at Retropolis and Replay on 19th Street. Stop in Casa Ramirez for Mexican dresses and tops that would pair perfectly with the Rodeo's Go Tejano Day on Sunday, March 13, featuring traditional folk dancing and mariachi bands. 

See y'all there!