Thursday, April 18, 2019

Here's How to Spring-Clean Your Entire House In a Day

When the weather starts to warm up, it's a sign to bust open your windows—and, perhaps less exciting, your cleaning supplies cabinet. 

Yes, it's already that time of year again. 

Don't know where to start your spring cleaning project? 

Use this to-do list, which includes all the spots you've likely neglected for the past year (speaking from personal experience, here) and how to tackle them like a pro. 

Here's to spring cleaning the entire house in one day.

1. Your Cabinets
  To ensure this heavy-duty cleaning appliance gets all the tomato sauce stains off your dinner plates, you have to clean it too. First, remove any bits of food on the bottom. Then, run a cycle with a specialty cleanser, like a Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Cleaner pac, once a month.

2.  Your Windows
Instead of just wiping down the inside, make sure you take to the outdoors with Hope's Perfect Glass Cleaner during spring cleaning season to remove spots and smudges you don't usually have time to tackle. Pro tip? Wash them on a cloudy day to ensure that the sun won't dry the cleanser before you're done wiping.

3. Your Counter Tops
The first step to preventing granite stains: Seal your countertops as soon as they're installed. You'll know they're sealed properly when water beads and forms droplets on the surface. To maintain, have them sealed again a year later and make sure you wipe up accidental spills as soon as they happen.

4. Wood Floors
Even though you might think you should mop your wooden floors every week, this chore could ruin them. Instead, you should only wet-clean them once every one to two months with Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray, and spot-clean as needed. Then make sure you use trivets or saucers under plants to avoid water damage and use furniture protectors to avoid scratches.

5. Your Bedding
Read: Your pillows and comforter — since you should be washing things like pillowcases and sheets every two weeks. These fluffy sleeping accessories should be thrown into your washing machine (just read the manufacturer's label first!) two to three times per year.

6. Your Stainless Steel
What's the point of having stainless steel in your kitchen if it's not bright and clean? To make your surface sparkle again, Adam Kamens of Amuneal Manufacturing Corp. suggests using a specialty spray, like Homax Stainless Steel Magic Aerosol, once or twice a week. Make sure you don't put on too much or you might leave the surface grimy.

7. Your Tiled Surfaces
Marty Hoffman of Hoffman Brothers Floors suggests cleaning bathroom and kitchen tiles with a cleaner that has "neutral pH" on the label. You can also mix baking soda and water for a homemade cleaner: Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into 2 gallons water and mix very well. Then apply the liquid with a string mop or sponge mop. For grout, use the same baking soda and water mixture, but for tough stains, call in the pros.

8. Your Refrigerator
This means the outside and inside. Pull out all of your fridge's interior shelving and wash them with warm soapy water. Then wipe down the surfaces that can't be removed on the inside with a sponge before putting shelves back in their place.

9. Your Area Rugs
The good news: You don't have to clean these things every single year. Philip Costikyan of Restoration by Costikyan says you should clean them every four or five years — or every ten years if a rug is not walked on much. Over-cleaning contributes to wear and tear. But you can treat stains at home with club soda. Stains caused by pets, coffee, orange soda, red wine, and anything with dye or an acid base are the hardest to remove, and the key is to act quickly.

10. Your Dishwasher
 To ensure this heavy-duty cleaning appliance gets all the tomato sauce stains off your dinner plates, you have to clean it too. First, remove any bits of food on the bottom. Then, run a cycle with a specialty cleanser, like a Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Cleaner pac, once a month.

Monday, April 15, 2019


Utah Realtor Paula Higman Reviews Best Remodeling Remedies for Return on Investment
Park City, UT (March 2019) -- Park City Realtor Paula Higman, of the Higman Real Estate Team, lists the top four tips regarding remodeling before selling a home.

“Remodeling projects are known to create the most return on investment,” said Higman. “Certain projects, however, are always more fun and yield the greatest cost recovery, including the following four.”

No. 1: Replace the roof. The best remodeling project that will increase a home’s value and has the greatest cost recovery is putting on a new roof. In fact, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) estimates the median cost of new roofing at $7,600, but has the percentage recovered at resale at 105 percent.

“When selling a home, first impressions are crucial, and enhancing curb appeal with a new roof can entice potential buyers, particularly with an eye-catching color that complements your home,” noted Higman, who offers free home evaluations.  

No. 2: Install wood floors. The NAR further estimates that the median cost to complete a new wood floor is $5,500, and the percentage recovered at resale is an impressive 91 percent. The trend of late in wood flooring is light colors, such as gray and blonde woods. “However, dark-stained wood floors are still in high demand, especially when coupled with light furniture and white cabinets,” added Higman.

No. 3: New garage door. New and stylish garage doors can also amplify curb appeal and impress prospective buyers, as it’s one of the first things they notice when looking
at a home. The NAR calculates the median new garage door cost at $2,300, and the percentage recovered at resale at 87 percent. Homeowners today are largely choosing garage doors that are energy efficient. “They are also opting for contemporary or decorative garage doors,” stated Higman.

No. 4: Make minor kitchen improvements. This can help the homeowner recoup more than 83 percent of the total cost of a minor kitchen remodel. “I recommend swapping out any outdated hardware and faucets, re-staining the hardwood floor and/or refacing cabinets and drawers,” concluded Higman.

About Paula Higman, Higman Real Estate Team, Engel & Völkers Park City
Paula Higman works with families and individuals, first and second home owners, skiers, outdoor lovers, and people who can afford the luxury lifestyle. She is also a

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

How I Best Represent My Home Sellers

As a real estate agent, I have an obligation to you my client to do everything I can to smooth the process of selling their home. I am your advocate, the professional you are turning to for help. I want to be the agent you can not only trust, but will do all I can to get the most money for your home in the least amount of time with the fewest headaches along the way.

Because some home sellers know so little about the sales process, it is easy enough to do the bare minimum and get by as an agent, but I will never build my business by doing the least possible. I will do my best – cover all the bases of a smart sales process – I will gain a reputation for great work, and enjoy the referrals that come along with that reputation.

Smart home sellers understand there is a big difference from so many of the “post and pray” real estate agents that do not much more than put a sign in the yard, place it in the MLS and pray. You deserve a lot more than this.

My job as a Realtor:

1. Price The Home Correctly.

Pricing a home properly is bar none the most important thing you can do as a Realtor. Exceptional Real Estate agents avoid giving in to the desire to say what will make sellers happy just to attract business. Top notch Real Estate agents will price each home using their training, understanding of the market and comparable sales.

Understanding how to price a home is one of my most valuable skills. I sell homes for close to the original listing price. I have a reputation for pricing homes accurately and not telling you what you want to hear to get a listing. This is one of the lowest things anyone in my profession can do and violates the code of ethics we are supposed to follow.

As a seller, you should be aware that pricing a home too high can cause major issues in the sale. Buyers may avoid it, and if they avoid the home/lot long enough, it will develop a bad reputation. 

Even with a competitive price, buyers will be likely to low-ball you after a period of time. Ultimately you may sell the house for less than what you would have if you had priced it correctly, to begin with. The seller loses out, and the agent’s reputation suffers.

2. Market The Heck Out of The Property.

Marketing is one area where your Real Estate agent should shine. Your agent should be taking great pictures of the property – hiring a professional photographer if necessary. The photography on your home is absolutely one of essential elements in selling homes today. I can tell you first hand how appalling it can be seeing some of the photos real estate agents post of their client’s homes. What is probably even worse is the sellers who never bother to look!

The internet will be where home buyers discover your home. If your homes pictures are lousy, you will lose out on a significant amount of traffic.

Your Real Estate agent should be well versed on how to get the word out using all available marketing channels, not just the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Ideally, your Realtor should have a website that draws traffic and showcases all their properties for sale. They should also be using social media, like Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and other platforms, to spread the word. All of these online options take some time for an agent to develop, but will ultimately strengthen their business and help their client’s homes get sold.

The Real Estate agents marketing material should be top-notch, from photographs to videos to the brochures used to market the home. Investing in a quality Real Estate agent who understands how crucial the marketing is will reap substantial benefits.

3. Communicate Properly.

A seller needs to know what is going on with the sale of their home/land. I will regularly update my customers on the feedback from showings and about anything else that may concern them. Even if there are no offers, keeping in touch lets a seller know that you are doing something – and worth paying for.
I will return your calls or emails promptly.  In my mind, all phone calls or emails should be returned within an hour unless you are already with another client. There is no excuse for poor communication. Staying in touch is something all sellers have a right to expect from me.

4. Make Sure The Buyer is Qualified.

Anybody can say they are interested in buying a house. Not everyone can get pre-approval for a home loan, though. I will make sure that buyers are pre-approved – not just pre-qualified. There is a big difference between mortgage pre-qualification and pre-approval. Pre-qualification does not include an analysis of the buyer’s credit report, verify income, or employment, which will be key factors in whether they can get a mortgage.
A pre-qualification in most instances is not worth the paper it is written on. You want buyers who have already submitted all information, including a credit report, and been given the go-ahead for a loan. As long as nothing changes with their financial situation or their credit, they should be able to get approval and buy your client’s home.

5. Negotiate The Best Terms.

I will go out of my way to fight hard for the best terms and conditions for you me client. This, after all, is what I get paid to do. I will never think about their pocket book but what makes the most sense for you my client. 
I will advocate for my client, I will always strive for the best possible terms for the transaction. Everything in Real Estate contracts is negotiable, when warranted I don’t hesitate to counteroffer with a price that is more favorable to my client. I have the negotiation skills necessary to get the job done right.
If a client wants adjustments to contingency dates or closing times, these should be negotiated appropriately. A good agent will understand the real value of each element to the customer. Pushing to get clients everything they possibly can is what the best of the best do on a regular basis.

6. Attend The Home Inspection to Represent The Seller.

I will attend the home inspection. By being there for the inspection, I get to hear all the feedback from the inspector first-hand. 
I will keep track of everything that is said and keep things in perspective should the buyer ask for concessions based on the inspection. Some requests may be reasonable. Others may not. When I am there and can see everything in person, I can protect a seller from unreasonable requests.
Here is the perfect example: A home inspector says during the inspection that the roof has 3 to 5 years left before it needs to be replaced. The translation after a home inspection from the buyer to the seller is that a new roof is needed immediately. Sometimes what the home inspector says and what is written in his report are two different things.
When I am present, I can see and hear first hand what exactly the issues are. Some buyers will exaggerate everything in the hopes of getting a closing cost concession or the seller making repairs. Home inspections often become the second place of negotiations.

7. Attend The Home Appraisal.

I will attend the home appraisal, so I can answer the questions the appraiser has and make sure they understand the facts about the home. Appraisers need feedback from me the person who knows the house to do their job. I will be there to help clarify any confusion. In many instances, I will be the best qualified to answer an appraiser’s questions.
For example, the appraiser could be looking for all the recent updates, among other things, that have been made in the home. Major updates are certainly something that can influence the value of your home. This something the agent should be there to point out. Updates are the kind of thing that can have a significant bearing on the outcome of the appraisal.

8. Finalize Loose Ends For Closing.

Selling a house involves a lot of work. There are so many little details that must be taken care of, which is one of the big selling points for my services. As the closing draws near, i will  take care of all the loose ends for you. Taking care of the smoke & carbon monoxide detector certificate, final water/sewer readings and any other issues is part of the package I offer . I do more so you don't have to.
Selling a home can be very stressful, but when you have a top shelf agent in your corner who is taking care of the little details, the burden can be eased just a bit. 

Final Thoughts

In summary, the traits you should be looking for in a real estate agent consist of these attributes:
  • Honesty above all else. I will put YOUR needs before my own.
  • Professionalism. From the dress to manners, I am the extension of you to everyone I encounter in the home sale journey.
  • Excellent communication skills – I will stay in touch with with you.
  • Strong negotiator – I am a tiger, not a pussy cat.
  • Creative marketer – I am not the agent that does the bare minimum. I have a comprehensive marketing plan.
  • Exceptional company and personal reputation – Myself and Engel & Völkers are looked up to as leaders.
  • Experience and proven results – I have the knowledge and expertise to guide you in unforeseen circumstances. 


Free Home Evaluation

Free Home Evaluation...