Bill Aibel's Blog
“Curb appeal” is a term that worries many sellers who are concerned that their house doesn’t have what it takes to woo buyers when they pull up to your driveway. Some aspects of curb appeal aren’t always in your control, such as the neighborhood your house is in, the state of sidewalks and roads, and eyesores like outdated power lines.
However, there are many things you can do to make your house stand out amongst the rest in a positive way. Better yet, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to achieve curb appeal.
In this article, we’re going to give you 6 inexpensive ways to increase the curb appeal of your home to woo potential buyers.
1. Match your landscaping to your home architecture
We all have our own preferences when it comes to bushes, trees, and plants in our yard. However, some landscaping decisions work more fluidly and naturally with the architecture of your home.
A good way to achieve this is by planting things that are native to your area and avoiding expensive trees that are in fashion one year and out of style the next.
2. Paint your trim, shutters, and front door
Sprucing up these accent items will improve the appearance of the entire exterior of your home. Don’t be afraid to choose bright and bold colors, so long as they match the color and style of the rest of your home.
3. Buy a new mailbox and house numbers
For less than $40 you can buy a new mailbox and house numbers that will give your home a sense of newness. Like with the other items on the list, go with options that match the style of your home.
4. Upgrade the lighting
Although the lights might not be on when people come to view your home, they will certainly notice old lighting. Make sure walkway lights are standing straight, equidistant from one another, and clean.
Installing or updating your porch light is also a good way to up the curb appeal when potential buyers get to your doorway.
5. Photograph the home at the best time
Since most home buyers begin their house hunting online, your first opportunity to show off your home’s curb appeal is in your listing photos.
While there is no set rule to the best time of day to photograph your home, you’ll want to avoid harsh glares or extremely overcast days. Try shooting after sunrise, sometime before noon, in the late afternoon, and just before sunset (the golden hour). Then review your photos and find the ones that show off your home the best.
6. Wash or pressure wash your home
Before spending hundreds on landscaping, take some time to wash the exterior of your home. Viewers will look at your house first and foremost, and dirty siding won’t win over any hearts.
You can use soapy water and a long-handled brush, or you can rent a pressure washer for as little as $30.
24 Grozier Road, Cambridge, MA 02138
62 Kensington Park, Arlington, MA 02476
If you’ve been considering taking the next step toward homeownership, you’ve likely heard about FHA loans. Offered by the Federal Housing Administration (hence, “FHA”), these loans are great for a number of people hoping to purchase a home but who don’t have a large down payment saved.
There are many misconceptions about FHA loans since they’re often advertised by large, private mortgage lenders but are technically a government program. In order to clear up some of the confusion, we’ve provided answers to some frequently asked questions regarding FHA loans.
Read on to learn about FHA loans and how they might help you purchase a home.
Who issues an FHA loan?
FHA loans aren’t issued by the government. Rather, they’re issued by private lenders but insured, or “guaranteed,” by the government.
Since lenders want to make sure they’ll see a positive return from lending to you, they typically want you to have a high credit score and a large down payment (typically 20%). However, not everyone is able to meet those requirements. In this situation, the FHA is able to help you acquire a loan by giving your lender a guarantee.
Are there different types of FHA loans?
Yes. In fact, there are nine distinct types of loans guaranteed by the FHA. These include fixed rate mortgages, adjustable rate mortgages, refinance loans, reverse mortgages, VA loans, and more.
What do you need to qualify for an FHA loan?
It’s a common misconception that you need to be a first-time buyer to qualify for an FHA loan. However, if you have previously owned a home that was foreclosed on or if you’ve filed for bankruptcy, the foreclosure and bankruptcy have to be at least three years old.
You’ll also need to demonstrate a stable employment history, usually including two years of employment with the same employer.
Finally, the FHA will ask you for your current and previous addresses, the last two years tax returns, and the W-2 forms from any of your recent jobs.
What is the most I can borrow with an FHA loan?
The FHA sets mortgage limits on loans depending on the state and county you’ll be living in. For a single-family home, the limit ranges from $275,000 to $451,000. So be sure to check the limits for your state and county.
Can you refinance an FHA loan?
Refinancing a loan is a great way to receive a lower interest rate or to shorten the term of their mortgage to save in the total number of interest payments. In fact, the FHA typically only allows refinancing when it will result in lower interest payments on a loan.
What is the minimum credit score needed to qualify for an FHA loan?
While you don’t need excellent credit to qualify for a loan, the FHA will require you to have a score of at least a 580. You can check your score for free online from a number of companies, such as Mint or Credit Karma. Be aware, however, that scores vary between credit bureaus. So, it’s a good idea to check your FICO score once per year, which is the score used by mortgage lenders.
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