Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

March 24, 2019

Self-Sabotage: How Not To Sell Your Home!

We give plenty of advice on the right things you can do to make your home approachable, attractive, and sellable to potential buyers, so here at Meridian Realty Group we thought we’d put together this mildly serious and mostly tongue-in-cheek list of things NOT to do if you want to sell your house.

Here are 25 things you definitely should never do if you ever want to sell your home:

1. Have 10 cats and never change their litter.

2. Paint the exterior of your home with neon orange poster paint.

3. Let your lawn grow to jungle-level height and play velociraptor sounds when anyone approaches.

4. Invite 100 of your favorite circus performers to camp in the backyard for free.

5. Decorate for Halloween . . . in January.

6. Go to Goodwill, buy everything, and stick it all in your closets.

7. Four words: 24/7 Dance Party!

8. Aspire to have the world’s largest collection of free roaming roaches.

9. Remake the front of your house to be a replica of your face ala Mount Rushmore.

10. Dig a moat by hand and fill it with alligators. Let them get hungry.

11. Remove all exterior doors and replace them with those beaded curtains everyone used in college dorm rooms.

12. Get larger windows. In fact, replace all your walls with sheets of transparent single-pane glass.

13. Is there oil in your front yard? How will you know unless you dig for it?

14. Rewire your house so that random handles, doorknobs, and beds give “fun” shocks.

15. Four more words: Real Live Ninja Hedge!

16. Rent out your home on weekends for meetings of your local Angry Loud Complainers About Nothing Society. Make the contract unbreakable and lasting in perpetuity.

17. Replace your shingles with singles.

18. Replace your shingle singles with Pringles.

19. Intermingle your shingle singles and your shingle Pringles while singing a jingle.

20. Hire a large man to walk around your home at the top of every hour shouting “This is Sparta!” whilst wearing nothing but gladiator underwear.

21. Install an escalator that’s always out of service. Direct people to the elevator instead. Make sure the elevator is always out of service too.

22. Four more more words: Fireworks Every Fifteen Minutes!

23. Convert your staircase to a slip and slide.

24. Put a “FSU - Go Seminoles!” sign in the front yard.

25. Four final words: Walls Filled With Mayonnaise!

If you read this list and think to yourself “But what if I actually DO want to sell my house? What do I do then?” there’s a simple answer, with only one response:

1. Call Meridian Realty Group at (352) 547-4929 today!

Posted in Tips for Sellers
March 17, 2019

Top Five Reasons to Move to the Ocala Area

If you’ve been considering a move to North Central Florida (Marion County and surrounding), but are weighing the pros and cons, Meridian Realty Group wants to help with that decision! Here are five great reasons to move to Ocala.

1. You like horses? We’ve got horses!

Did you know that Ocala is the horse capital of the world? Ocala and Marion County are home to over six hundred thoroughbred farms as well as the 500-acre Florida Horse Park, an official training site for the US Equestrian Team and a venue filled with regular horse-related events with an international scale.

2. So much land!

You’re probably sick of McMansion homes on tiny lots in big cities where you can pass a roll of toilet paper to your neighbor between your bathroom windows, and we don’t blame you. With plenty of acreage, and lots of space, you’ll finally be able to stretch your legs without hearing Bob and Margaret fight over the TV remote again.

3. An unrivaled local art and vendor scene

The number of farms, artisans, craftsmen, and professional hobbyists living in North Central Florida means that you’ll never be far from a farmer’s market, independent fruit or vegetable stall, or craft fair. You can support your local economy and enjoy some amazing homegrown food, works of art, and more!

4. In the middle of everything

Theme parks, national parks, zoos, beaches - all of these fantastic attractions are only a hop, skip, and a tiny drive away. The best part of North Central Florida is that it’s, well, central! Whether you want to head into Orlando, check out Gainesville, visit Crystal River, or visit Daytona Beach, you’ll find it all within reach.

5. The last bastion of reasonable home prices

With the average home prices being lower than the urban areas of Florida, you’ll get more bang for your buck, more square footage for your simoleons, more property for your pennies . . . okay, you get the point. Meridian Realty Group is ready to work with you to establish your parameters and find you that perfect affordable home.

Ready for your big move? Contact Meridian Realty Group today if you have more questions about the life, culture, and economy of Ocala and all of North Central Florida!

March 10, 2019

For Sale By Owner: Myths and Misconceptions

DIY enthusiasm is huge in today’s world thanks to YouTube tutorials, how-to guides, and shows that hearken back to Bob Vila.

Want to install a sink? Do it yourself!

Need to replace your brakes? Do it yourself!

Building a laptop? Do it yourself!

It’s not that simple when it comes to selling your home, although you might not know it from all of the “self-help” articles out there. There are several hard lessons to learn that will cost you time, money, and energy . . . or you could just read this! Here are three myths and misconceptions about selling your home on your own:

Myth #1: Selling without a Realtor® will save you money.

On its face, this seems reasonable. If you sell it yourself, you won’t have to pay the seller’s commission that a real estate brokerage would charge, saving potentially tens of thousands of dollar, right? Wrong.

Houses sold by owner will sell slower than a house sold by an established brokerage, which means that the market fluctuates, your price will drop, and any savings you might have seen will be eaten up quickly, costing you more money in the long run. This doesn’t even consider the fact that the online valuation tools FSBO sellers use are usually inaccurate, resulting in either pricing your home too low and losing money or too high and losing a potential sale. So, instead of saving tens of thousands of dollars, you’ll have lost both time and money.

Myth #2: It’s easy to market your home for sale.

Everyone has that one house in their neighborhood that has the “For Sale” sign from Home Depot in its front lawn with the phone number scrawled across it desperately in black Sharpie. Ask them how easy it’s been to market their home, and they’ll tell you. Craigslist? Filled with dead ends and people who don’t show up for showings, wasting your time immeasurably. Facebook? Who knows how the algorithm will affect your ability to showcase your home to your 280 friends, none of whom want to buy it anyway?

Not only do real estate agencies have access to databases of homes for sale that target thousands of people who are looking for a home just like yours, but they know how to properly market your home. A qualified broker will take high quality photos, stage your home to appeal to the broadest possible audience, and use resources to which you don’t have access. When your whole job revolves around showing homes to people who want to buy those homes, it’s the real estate agent’s prerogative to be a true expert.

Myth #3: An agent is only out to make as much money as possible for themselves and the other agents.

This might be one of the most frustrating myths out there. The real estate agent’s job is to get you the best deal in the market. Does an agent make money off of a sale? Of course! It’s their job, but they get rewarded the better they do their job. That’s why commissions are a percentage of the final sale price and not a flat fee. Agents are motivated to help you, because helping you helps them.

Beyond that, though, selling your home can be a personal journey. A good Realtor® will be equal parts your agent, your therapist, your friend, and your advisor - you develop a connection with them that means you’ll return to them for future real estate needs. It becomes a mutually beneficial relationship that can last decades, and that goes well beyond something as simple as “making money.”

Real estate is a specialized profession, and those who go through the process to be educated and licensed are experts in the field. Who wouldn’t rely on that expertise to sell their home, getting the best deal, the best marketing, and the best result? (It’s a rhetorical question, but the only answer is obviously someone who doesn’t actually want to get a good price for their home. Obviously.)

Posted in Tips for Sellers
Feb. 28, 2019

Don’t Make These Typical Home Buying Mistakes!

You’d think that buying a house would get easier the older you get. Sure, you’ll probably make a few mistakes the first time you buy a house when you’re young, full of hope and promise for the future, but by the time you’re on your second or third house, older and hopefully wiser, shouldn’t you be a pro? Surprisingly not. Over our years of experience, we’ve seen mistakes in home buying that changes from generation to generation, and some of them aren’t as easy to avoid as you’d think. Let’s break it down from the oldest to youngest generations.

The Silent Generation (Ages 74+)

While our oldest living generation is unlikely to start the homebuying process, it does happen occasionally, and it’s rarely a good financial decision. Even if they’re planning on getting out of the cold and moving to Central Florida, there are a wide range of options that might be better for both short-term and long-term planning than a 15- or 30-year mortgage. The biggest risk taken by this generation tends to be poor financial planning for their future, including being taken advantage of with so-called “reverse mortgages”.

Baby Boomers (Ages 55-73)

In many situations, baby boomers have paid off a house completely and will sometimes make the mistake of buying a second one as well as a vacation home. Eventually, they fall in love with the vacation home’s location and want to move there permanently. This leaves them stuck with a mortgage they don’t want in an area where they don’t want to live anymore. We recommend starting off slowly with a vacation home, and exploring temporary rentals or time shares until making the choice to move permanently. Relocating can be costly and hard to do again once you reach a certain age, so prudence is a good idea.

Gen X (42-55)

This generation tends to overestimate their budget. They’re ready for a big home with all of the amenities they dreamed of in their 20s, so they are willing to consider a bigger mortgage than they should. While this might not be a problem at first, twenty or thirty years down the road it could present a whole host of difficulties.

Millennials (24-41)

The youngest home-buying generation finds itself in a financial trap many times by getting Adjustable Rate Mortgages (link this to ARM post), or ARMs. While this is initially appealing because of the low interest rate at first, once it starts increasing, unless their income increases on the same scale or better, it can turn into a challenge to make the monthly mortgage payment. ARMs have a lot of risk and no guarantees, and we usually recommend that a fixed rate loan is a better option for a buyer’s first mortgage loan.

Generation Z (6-23)

The only houses they’re probably buying are in-game purchases and action figure and doll sets, but if we were to guess what future issues might arise for Generation Z, it’ll involve the volatility of emerging cryptocurrencies, which will seem attractive because of their low barrier to entry and capabilities without using banks or loan companies to finance the purchase of a home. Or maybe their biggest problem will be building fences strong enough to keep the zombie hordes out. Only time will tell.

Whether you’re considering purchasing your first home, or you’ve bought a dozen, it’s important to use caution and to seek out the input of an expert before any purchase this size. Here at Meridian Realty Group, we can advise you on the best way to invest in a home that can help you avoid the many pitfalls of buying and owning a home. Contact us today with your questions.

Posted in Tips for Buyers
Feb. 18, 2019

What is an Adjustable Rate Mortgage and Should I Get One?

Unless you have a tree in your backyard that literally grows money, it’s likely that when it comes time to purchase a home, you’ll need to secure financing. And depending on your budget, credit score, and potential future earnings, you might be considering an ARM, or Adjustable Rate Mortgage, because it offers a low initial interest rate. But is it right for you?

Since the rate of an ARM is lower than the rate of a typical 30-year fixed rate loan, more and more home buyers have been considering ARMs for their home purchases, especially as a first-time buyer. There are important considerations that you should keep in mind before making this decision, though, and here at Meridian Realty Group, we want to help you make the right choice.

What is an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

Simply put, an ARM is a mortgage where the interest rate adjusts over the course of the loan. Unlike a fixed-rate mortgage, where you’ll know what interest rate you’ll have for the next thirty years, an ARM has an initial period of extremely low interest rates that’s usually followed by an annual adjustment based on current market conditions. This means that your interest rate is likely to go up regularly after the initial period and you have no control over it beyond knowing how high it can go.

Now that you understand what an ARM is, should you get one? It depends on the answers to a few questions:

Are you planning on selling this home within 5-10 years? If you have a concrete plan in place to divest yourself of this home within the initial interest rate period, an Adjustable Rate Mortgage might be the right choice for you. Many younger generations tend to move more frequently for career changes, educational opportunities, and more, so loans with low initial interest rates make more sense.

Is this going to be your forever home? Do you plan to raise a family and have your family raise their family in this house? Is this is a home you’re custom building from scratch and want to stay in the family for generations to come? In that case, a longer, fixed rate mortgage is lower risk and easier to manage financially.

Are you motivated enough to implement a strategy that pays down your principal on an accelerated level? If you have the financial stability and discipline to use the lower initial interest rate to make massive payments towards the principal, you could benefit from an ARM while also decreasing the length of your mortgage.

Is your future income growth uncertain? If you don’t reasonably anticipate that your income levels will grow, you should consider a mortgage that you can plan for. An ARM has the risk of fluctuating wildly, leaving you grasping for ways to pay your mortgage in the future.

As you can see, it is a complicated decision to go with a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage for your home purchase. While we’d recommend searching for that money tree instead, if you can’t find one, give us a call so we can help you make the right choice for you!

Posted in Mortgage Tips
Feb. 10, 2019

Five Hints That You Should Move To A New House

Whether you’re living in a starter home, or the family home after all the kids have grown up and moved out, there are always subtle hints that it might be time to move on. Selling your home and moving on to a new one can be a difficult choice at times, but here are a few glaring signs that are hard to miss:

 

1. Your House Is Too Small

If you bought your home when it was just you and your spouse, and now you have three kids, two dogs, a cat, a bird, Grandma, and that weird neighbor kid whose parents never seem to notice he’s missing all living under one roof, it might be time to upgrade. Extra bedrooms, extra bathrooms, a game room, a man cave, a home office - just think of the possibilities of moving to a larger house! There are plenty of great options out there, and depending how long you’ve been in your current home, you might be able to make it work pretty easy financially.

2. Your House Is Too Big

The kids have all grown up and have homes of their own. The dog is too old to run around and mostly sleeps at your feet. That weird neighbor kid still comes over, but he does chores, so you don’t mind. You and your spouse only use 20% of your house and the rest only gets any use on holidays. This is a great time to downsize and trade in your home for something that’s a little more intimate, a little more cozy, and maybe somewhere the weird neighbor kid can’t find you anymore.

3. Living There Is A Burden

Maybe 30-year old you thought that a three-story house was an amazing idea because of the potential for a top-floor studio where you could paint, but 50-year old you had knee surgery and haven’t painted anything in ten years. There’s nothing wrong with going from a multi-level home to one that’s only single story. Alternatively, maybe the home started off as a fixer-upper, and as the years have gone by, has turned into a money pit. It’s nowhere near being fixed, it’s dangerous to live there, and the emotional and financial stress of keeping the home is unhealthy for you. Don’t let your pride keep you somewhere that’s no good for you!

4. The Neighborhood Has Declined

If you begin to notice the signs of a neighborhood beginning a downward spiral, whether it’s increased crime, urban blight, or that weird neighbor kid living in a cardboard box on the street, it might be a good time to get out while you can. Unfortunately, when a good neighborhood becomes a bad one, home prices can drop like a stone, so if you’re the last to notice, you might also be the one who takes a loss on your home.

5. You’re Not Happy In Your Home

A home is supposed to be the one place where you feel safe and happy. It should be the respite from all the stress in the world, and if you’re realizing that your home, for whatever reason, is causing you more strife than happiness, it might be time to move on (this also applies to relationships, but we’re real estate agents, not therapists). If you begin to fantasize about moving to a new home, stay up late at night feverishly looking through real estate listings, and have dreams of your home accidentally being destroyed by an errant meteorite crashing into it, it’s time to listen to your gut.

Whatever the reason you might have for looking for a new home, chances are if you’re reading this article, there’s something telling you it might be time to find a new place to live. Lucky for you, we can help! Call us today to find out how we can help make that dream a reality.

Posted in Tips for Sellers
Jan. 19, 2019

Want to rent, but afraid of getting ripped off? Read this post.

As younger generations - Millennials, Generation Y, Generation Next, and Sugar Free Crystal Pepsi (oops, one of those is wrong) - find it more difficult to put together the money for a down payment to buy a home, many of you are renting instead. It’s important to be careful, though, as tech-savvy as most people under the age of 30 are, you’re very prone to some common and easily avoided rental scams. Here are a few ways to protect yourself when looking for rental property:

Step One: Check the listing carefully.

Before spending any time looking at the home or apartment, review the listing details and the photos meticulously. Does the listing have enough information, or does it feel overly vague? Does it leave out important details or information or sound highly generic? Those can be some signs that it may not be legitimate. Are the photos good quality, or are they TOO GOOD? Scammers will sometimes use stock photos or pull photos from real estate websites - if you see an MLS watermark, it’s definitely worth avoiding.

Step Two: Ask to see the property.

If you’re getting a runaround about seeing your potential new home before paying any type of deposit or application fee, that’s a bad sign. If the person with the ad doesn’t immediately suggest that you come by and see it, and if they try to pressure you into signing something before you see the place, that’s a huge risk. One common scam is to convince a renter to sign a lease for an apartment or home that’s different from the ad, and while you’d have some legal protection from being defrauded, it could be your word against theirs and cause quite a bit of difficulty.

Step Three: Trust your gut.

Let’s say you see an ad for a great property and when you call the number, the person on the other end tells you that it’s available and you can sign a lease immediately with no application fee and no background check. Pop quiz, hot shot - what do you do? Answer: You run. You want someone who wants reliable tenants, not an anonymous person on the other end of the phone who’s willing to sign a lease without any verifying information. That’s a huge indication that your deposit will vanish into thin air without a home to show for it.

You should never pay any amount beyond a basic application fee before you have managed to confirm that the space is available, you’ve confirmed that the person you’re dealing with is officially associated with the property and able to make decisions on its behalf, and you’ve signed a contract that makes you the legal tenant of the exact apartment or home you’ve seen.

Step Four: Look for these other red flags.

  • Is the person you’re talking to out of the country so they can’t meet in person or show you the place? Red flag.
  • Do they want you to pay a finder’s fee regardless of the apartment you find? Red flag.
  • Is the rent they’re asking for way too cheap for the area? Red flag.
  • Do they want you to wire money? Big ol’ honking red flag.
  • Do they keep asking you to visit your grandmother? Those are just your parents. May or may not be a red flag.

Renting a home can be an easy process if you use a little common sense, avoid anything that sounds too good to be true, and especially if you use a reputable Realtor like Meridian Realty Group. Look through our website for our most current rental listings, always available for a viewing at your convenience!

Posted in Tips for Renters
Jan. 15, 2019

You’ve Got Mold: Is It Time To Panic?

Let’s face the truth - we live in Florida, which is a damp, humid, sticky swamp of a state. There’s moisture everywhere - in the summer, you can’t even walk outside without sweating like one of those old men who sit in the sauna at the gym (although hopefully you’re wearing more than the tiny hand towels they wear). And where there’s moisture, there’s a risk of mold.

Anywhere that moisture has a chance to settle, you have a risk of finding mold inside your house, from sink drains to showers, kitchen sponges to laundry rooms. Outside, you’ll find it on walls, brick and concrete walkways, and even in the yard. It’s everywhere!

What should you do when you encounter mold? First, don’t panic. Here are some tips to consider when encountering mold in your home:

1. Be cautious.

Any mold, whether it’s black, white, green, or another color, has the potential to make you feel sick and exacerbate the symptoms of asthma or allergies. Take some steps to be safe by wearing a mask, using rubber gloves when dealing with it, and working in well-ventilated areas.

2. Clean it up.

If you can pinpoint the source of the mold and clean it up with some bleach and water (one cup of bleach per one gallon of water is a good ratio), then you’ll be fine. Fix that dripping faucet, leaky pipe or hole in the roof, clean up the mold, and you shouldn’t see it again. Bathrooms are the biggest offenders, with shower drains needing regular cleaning to ensure that mold won’t build up.

3. Take preventive action.

Mold can’t grow if you don’t give it the space to grow. Keep your home well-ventilated, clean, and dry. A properly functioning and regularly maintained HVAC system will go a long way toward keeping your home mold-free. Check problem areas in your garage, laundry room, kitchen, and bathroom. Keep your exterior walls of your home clean, and pressure wash them regularly. Most importantly, keep your eyes peeled for excess moisture that can be a mold breeding ground.

4. Get rid of any porous surfaces that have been affected.

While those Febreze commercials make it look easy to cover up mold and mildew scents by spraying a few puffs of chemically enhanced spray, it’s not a good idea for your home. If you have mold on furniture, carpet, or drywall, or any other surface that is absorbent, get rid of anything porous that is affected. It might not be fun to throw away a rug or a couch that has mold damage, but it’s a lot less fun to get sick from the mold, we promise.

5. Don’t fall for scam artists when it comes to black mold

Black mold is not toxic. It’s toxigenic, which means it is capable of producing mycotoxins, which are organisms that are capable of making you sick. And while black mold is uncommon, treat it with the same respect you’d have for any other mold - wear gloves and a mask and clean it up, but most importantly, find the source of the moisture and put a stop to it!

6. Use a professional when it’s the right decision

If your home was damaged by a flood or hurricane, you may have severe mold infestation, and in those limited situations, use a professional service to clean your home. This is especially important if you’ve suffered from any type of extended power outage, as mold can flourish without a central air system keeping the air in your home dry. Mold remediation companies can not only remove the mold from visible surface areas in the home, but from within your HVAC air handler and duct system as well. Thankfully, in most situations involving mold, a small mold growth can be carefully and intelligently handled by you, bleach and water, and a little safety.

Do you have questions about selling your home after finding mold? We can talk to you about any necessary disclosures and legal requirements to make sure your home still sells without a hitch. Contact us today!

Jan. 7, 2019

Are You Getting Your Money’s Worth Out Of Your Realtor?

If Walmart started offering discount surgery services in its superstores, right next to the money orders and hair salon, would you consider it even for a second? The savviest readers are immediately shaking their heads and laughing, but there are a few of you thinking “What could be so bad about that?” And luckily for those few, we’ll dive right in and help you with that one.

There are some professions out there where the amount of money you pay is proportionally related to the quality of service, attention to detail, and overall effectiveness, efficiency, and professional results. What this means is that as a general rule for some specialized fields, the more you pay, the better product/service you’re going to get.

Obviously, this isn’t true in the world of retail. Retail has always been, since the dawn of time when a caveman named Grog sold rocks outside a cave to lazier cavemen who didn’t want to look for them, about finding a product for as cheap as you can and then marking up the price as high as possible to earn a profit. Amazon and Walmart only stay in business because when you’re dealing with millions of transactions, you can have a one percent profit margin and still pad your pockets easily.

But, beyond retail, when you’re dealing with specialized services, the price you pay is directly tied to the quality of what you get. Would you go get your annual physical and medical check-up from a guy driving around in a van with “Free Exams” painted on the outside? Are you going to get your prescriptions filled from a guy driving around in an ice cream truck who takes cash? (Weirdly, it’s the same guy - he needs to get a new line of work). Of course not!

Real estate is the exact same situation. Using the lure of a smaller commission to attract sellers, discount real estate brokerage firms offer a promise that is literally too good to be true. The trade-off happens immediately - instead of a professional, hands-on agent who puts the time and effort in to sell your home properly, you get a brokerage that puts their time at a premium. This means agents at a discount brokerage can’t afford to spend the time they need to properly manage a real estate listing or sale transaction, and if the agents can't spend the time needed to help you, who will? Often it's inadequately trained assistants who have even less motivation to do a professional job than the agents, who are in the difficult position of having to close as many fixed-commission sales as possible. This 'head 'em up and round 'em out' approach can result in error-filled transactions that frustrate sellers and title companies, cause problems with banks and underwriters, and delay sales for days, if not indefinitely. Is this really the experience you want? Is this how you feel that your needs as a seller should be prioritized? (They’re rhetorical questions, of course, but the answers should be a resounding “No!”)

We get it. It’s easy when looking at the commissions charged by Realtors to think that a discount brokerage firm would be the way to go. Well, it’s easy until you do a little research and find out that professional real estate firms like Meridian Realty Group will on average get higher prices for your home, with fewer errors in the process, fewer risks of problems with the title or loan and fewer chances that you’ll pull out your hair in frustration at the unprofessionalism and lack of respect you’ll receive as a seller.

A discount brokerage firm only succeeds if your home is one of ten homes it sells that month - you’re nothing but a number to them. In contrast, here at Meridian Realty Group, we succeed every time we help one of our clients get a great price on their home, work with them one-on-one throughout the closing, and gain a new friend in the process.

Give us a call today to find out more about what we can offer you and your family.

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Dec. 22, 2018

Five Ways To Boost Curb Appeal On A Budget

We’ve all been there. You’re ready to sell your house and make a little extra money to put into savings, catch up on bills, pay off those student loan people who keep calling, or buy a personal jetpack from Elon Musk. You’ve had your house on the market for a month now, for sale by owner, with very little interest, and you know you have to make some changes if you’re going to sell your home.

But then there’s that whole adage that everyone knows: “You have to spend money to make money.” And while that might be true to selling air conditioners and cars and Elon Musk jetpacks, it’s not necessarily true when it comes to improving the curb appeal for your home. There are plenty of ways that you can punch up the look of your home on a minimal budget and increase interest from potential home buyers.

Step One: Clean It!

A clean home is going to sell better than a dirty home. Get on your hands and knees, get out that toothbrush, and make those baseboards shine! Eliminate the dust and dirt on the inside, and then it’s time to focus on the outside. Get a razor or a squeegee (does that word look weird to anyone else?) and make your windows sparkle. Rent a pressure washer or borrow your neighbor’s when he’s at work (We asked him. He won’t mind.) and get rid of the years of grime and dust and dirt on the exterior of your house, your front porch, your driveway, and even your mailbox. Make it look new again!

Step Two: Plant Some Flowers!

Some pops of bright color in the front of your house can draw the eye and really improve your curb appeal. Pick colors that complement your house colors (no orange and blue even if you are a diehard Gators fan) in pleasing ways, and plant some flowers along your front walkway or porch. Worried about not having a green thumb? That’s okay - you’re only trying to keep these flowers around long enough for someone to buy the house. After that, it’s on them to keep the plants alive. If you live in the Ocala area, stop by the farmer’s market for cheap flowers to plant that are in season and will flourish in the Florida weather (or lack thereof).

Step Three: Replace The Small Stuff!

Just like when everyone noticed that Grandma got a diamond nose ring, replacing the small stuff can make all the difference. Go to your local hardware store and get new hinges, door plates, and lights for the front of your home. Switch out your house numbers for brand new shiny clean ones. Replace the mailbox. Put new lights in along the sidewalk. All of these minor flourishes can be easy on the budget but have a big impact to the drive-by potential buyer.

Step Four: Cover Up The Ugly!

The plan is this: Make the home you want to sell look perfect to a prospective homebuyer. Clean what you can clean, replace what you can replace, and cover up what needs to be covered up. They’ll see it all eventually, but this is a first impression, and when it comes to selling your house, first impressions are everything! So put a trellis in front of that AC unit, put the garbage cans behind the house or in the garage, and move the lawn decoration your husband insists on putting out every year to the dumpster behind the local 7-11.

Step Five: See It From Their Perspective!

Before your curb appeal adventure can be concluded, you have to put yourself in the shoes of the people who may want to buy your house. A little play acting can be fun - pretend to have British accents, wear that hat your mother-in-law gave you that looks hideous, and roleplay. Drive by your home on all sides and see what stands out. As you park, what do you notice? Are there any ugly sights? Weird smells? Items that seem out of place? Does your home look cozy and comfortable? Lived in and loved? If you can approach your own house as a potential buyer might, you’ll be likely to notice a few changes that you can make that will make a huge difference in the long run.

When it comes down to it, the best way to sell your house is to have an expert with you. A Realtor from Meridian Realty Group knows what works and what won’t, and can work with you to take your curb appeal to its highest potential, getting you one step closer to that Elon Musk jetpack. Contact us today!

Posted in Tips for Sellers