9 Easy Ways to Make Your Patio Pop!

patio tipsSpring is finally here, and several people around the nation will begin working on their yard and garden. But what about your patio? It’s time to start thinking about what you want your patio to look like and what function you want it to play!

There are so many things you can do to make your patio accent your yard and garden instead of the other way around. Make your patio work for your yard this year instead of always feeling like you are working for it!

Here are 9 quick and easy things to do to make your patio this pop this year!

Tone It Down– If your yard has a good variety of plant types and textures, then you want your patio to be a little more toned down. You don’t want to try to add too many additional types of patterns to an already diverse setting because it can become very overwhelming and too jarring to be relaxing.

Say Hello To Your Biggest Fan! If you have a structure overhead to help shield you from the elements you may also be shielded from the refreshing summer breeze. This could warm you up during the summer months rather than help cool you down. One way to counter this is by installing a ceiling fan if possible. This will not only help get the air moving and help keep you cool but it is also an added light source!

Light Up Your Life – When creating a beautiful patio, why not consider using exterior lighting? It not only helps keep you safe at night and illuminates your pathway, but it can also help create gorgeous ambience!  It’ll help cast light on your dinner plates after the sun has set as well as make the light source decorative and fun looking.

Bring Nature to Your Patio– Tie your patio together with the rest of your yard! You don’t want your patio to come to an abrupt end when it hits your yard and garden. By placing decorative potted plants on the patio you can make your patio and yard flow together nicely despite how large or small your patio is. Try putting your favorite plants and succulents in beautiful pots of all shapes and sizes to give your patio life and a chic look!

Over the Garden Wall – Trellises are a simple and easy way to soften the edges of your patio. By choosing the height, spacing, and type you can easily find a design that fits the needs you have. They also provide a nice way to add a flowering vine to your yard!

Consider Using Your Front Yard – Front yard patios are not all that common, but that doesn’t mean you have to let all that space go to waste! Instead, move your patio to the front! It will give you a place to easily entertain your guests and neighbors and can accent your home beautifully. Using mid-height flower planters will provide you with an elegant and beautiful privacy wall and will also give you more space to plant!

Get Creative – If you have a partially enclosed patio or a patio that is protected from the elements then it’s time to decorate it! Accent it with cushions, pillows, accent rugs, decorative pots, and more so that it has the feel you want. Add in favorite pieces of art – just make sure they are properly shielded from the elements! Add a photo frame or two of your latest vacation. Make your patio a space that you’ll never want to leave!

Make Your Patio Multi-Functional – Make your patio have more then just the typical use. Make your prep station work as a breakfast bar as well. Allow one side for seating so that you can eat your breakfast or lunch out there while having a larger table for dinner and dinner parties! Not only will you have a prep-table and a serving area but also a great place for you and your closest friends to gather for small get-togethers!

Introduce the Element of Water – Water features, even a small one, provide a soothing sound and a calm environment. Birds and butterflies also find themselves attracted to these water features to drink from and bathe in. Allow these beautiful water elements to become a focal point in your yard to help you attract and appreciate the beauty of nature!

You don’t have to take part in all 9 of these ideas in order to create a vibrant, welcoming patio that will be the envy of all your neighbors! Feel free to employ one, two, several, or all of the tips to get that patio you’ve always dreamed of!

Speaking of dreaming, now is the time to find that dream home you’ve always wanted! We can help! Just call us at (618) 791-5024 or at (618) 791-9298 or visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com today to find that home you’ve been dreaming of living in!

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Selling Your Home? Here’s What Your Home Inspector Will Be Looking For

how to pass home inspectionAre you thinking about selling your home?

If you’re at that stage of homeownership, you are probably busy contacting the right people, straightening up your rooms, and de-cluttering your home from piles that you might otherwise not have ever touched.

But do you really know what’s necessary to help your home get a passing grade for potential homebuyers?

If you’re unsure of what your home needs to look like in order to sell (or to sell for the amount you would like), don’t fret! Just look at our checklist below to see what your home inspector will be looking for during your home inspection!

Your Yard

One of the very first things that potential buyers will notice about your home is your yard, so be sure that you ready it properly! The inspector will check for proper grading drainage and for any evidence of standing water or leaks. Your trees and bushes should be in good condition, and your landscaping should be well-kept. Remember to double-check that your driveways, sidewalks, patios, and railings on your stairs are in good condition as well!

Exterior Surfaces

Next move to your surfaces outside! Make sure that your paint or stain on your home has no stains or flaking and that your vinyl or aluminum siding has no dents or damage. Your professional inspector will be able to locate any large cracks in your stucco or masonry veneers as well.

Windows and Doors

When it comes to your doors and windows, you will want to make sure you did your seasonal homework! Doors and windows will need to be secured, have no cracks or decay, and be caulked and weather-stripped. Remember, damaged screens, broken windows, and visibly neglected features are a major turnoff to potential buyers!

Your Roof

Take a look at your roof! Do you see any broken, damaged, or missing shingles? Does your roof have any cracks or splits? That could be evidence that you need to get it repaired! Your inspector will also check for decay and stains on your soffits and fascia, your gutters, and much more! Don’t forget to check your chimney, if you have one, for any damaged bricks or cracked joints!

The Attic

When your inspector checks out your attic, he or she will be looking for evidence of decay or damage to the structure and stains on the underside of your roofing. He or she will also be checking for sufficient insulation that is functional and properly installed, along with proper ventilation, and any plumbing, exhaust, or appliance vents ending in the attic.

Interior Rooms

To make sure that you’re the bedrooms, offices, and family rooms of your home are ready for potential buyers to see, make sure that you don’t have any stains or significant cracks in your walls and ceilings and that your doors latch properly and easily. Check your paint for cracks and that your flooring is in good condition, too. Your inspector will also check for adequate heating and cooling in each room and that all electrical outlets work properly.

The Kitchen

When it comes to your kitchen, your inspector will check that there are no leaks in the pipes under the sink, that your water flow in the sink is adequate, and that your cabinets are in good condition and that the doors and drawers open and close properly. You will also need to ensure that your dishwasher drains properly, has no leaks, and that it operates correctly.

Your Bathroom(s)

Whether you have one or multiple bathrooms, you will need to be prepared to impress your inspector. He or she will be looking for a working exhaust fan that doesn’t end in your attic space, adequate water flow and pressure in all of your fixtures, proper drainage in your shower, tub, and sink, and that your toilet operates properly, too. Be aware of any and all leaks; if there are any leaks present, please contact a plumber beforehand to correct the issue.

The Basement

If you’re not a fan of basements or not in your basement often, you will need to take extra care of it before the inspector comes! Make sure that your basement shows no evidence of moisture, has no exposed foundation or stains or major cracks, and has no damage from insects. Your insulation and rim and band joints will be checked as well.

Please remember that this checklist shouldn’t be solely relied upon as a home inspection report and that you shouldn’t consider it as a substitute for a professional home inspection. This list is also not a complete list, so please be sure to contact a professional home inspector for a proper inspection!

If you’re ready to sell your home in search of your dream home, then what are you waiting for? Pick up the phone right now and call us at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 or visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com. We will find you your dream home and help you sell the home you have now!

Springtime Is Here! The 11 Tips You Will Need to Make Your Yard Beautiful!

how to make yard beautiful in spring

It’s that time again – it’s time to start your springtime gardening! There is always a lot of basic gardening and clean up required to start off with, but all your hard work will pay off.

 Just like any other project you want to start off with a set out plan before you go shopping for plants for your yard. This can help ensure you save money as well as get the yard that best fits what you want.

You always want to start with what you have before you move to what you need! Here are 11 great tips to help you with all your gardening endeavors!

Fruit Trees (Late Winter, Early Spring) – If you currently have fruit trees, then late winter and early spring is the time to trim them. Fruit trees need to be thinned every year to help keep the tree healthy and to make harvesting easier. Make sure you trim your tree before any new growths start to develop for the best results!

Winter Mulch (Early Spring) – If you used mulch to protect your plants during winter then now is the time to remove it! Only remove it if the danger of extreme temperature changes is over. If you remove it too early then your plants could be hurt from the cold temperatures. Remember to keep some mulch handy just in case an unseasonably late cold front comes through.

Roses (Early Spring) – Now is the time to put your gardening gloves on and start pruning your rose bushes! In most regions you will want to do this before or just as new sprouts are starting to emerge. Trimming them gives them stronger, healthier shoots that will produce more roses. This will also help them resist diseases better. Careful not to prick yourself!

Trees and Shrubs (Early, Mid-, Late Spring) – The cool, moist spring time conditions are ideal for adding shrubs and trees to your yard. There are many advantages to adding trees and shrubs to your yard. Trees and shrubs can actually add value as well as beauty to your property and they can shade your house during the hot summer months! This helps bring down your summer’s energy bill. Plus, if you select fruit bearing trees, they will also provide food to you and your family!

Cool-Season Annuals (Early or Mid-Spring) – There are two kinds of annuals: annuals that like it warm and those that like it cool. For a little pre-spring color try planting some of the cool-season annuals like pansies, snapdragons, calendula and sweet alyssum. These plants can take a little frost! One thing to keep in mind is that cool-season annuals will fade with the summer heat. When this happens you can simply replace them with the heat-loving annuals like petunias or nasturtiums.

Ornamental Grasses (Early Spring) –Like the other plants you will want to trim back your ornamental grasses before or just as new growths are starting. This is also the time to divide your ornamental grass, if you want to. By dividing the grass this will give you more plants to work with if you want to use it in another place.  Make sure to leave the cut grass readily available as birds will love to use this for their nests!

Overgrown Perennials (Early or Mid-Spring) – Older perennials thrive if you divide them! Make sure the perennial you have can do this before digging yours up. Splitting some perennials like bleeding hearts or peonies can actual set the plant back rather than help them thrive. Splitting the Perennials you can will help the plant grow because it will no longer be over crowded. This will also give you more plants to work with or to share with your neighbors.

Seeds (Early Spring) – If you start growing the seeds indoors then it can help speed the process up by a couple weeks versus growing them outdoors. If this isn’t an option then follow when your seeds tell you to plant them but make sure you sprinkle the seeds in moist, loose soil. Most unused seeds can be stored in the freezer until next spring!

Vegetables (Early or Mid-Spring) – Check to see what kind of temperatures your vegetables like. Cool-season kinds can withstand a bit of frost but make sure if the temperature drops too much to cover them to keep them from dying.

Mulch (Mid-spring) – When the soil has dried out it is time to break out the mulch. Spread the mulch about 2 inches deep over the soil. Mulch helps protect your plants by holding in moisture during the hot summer while helping to prevent weeds from growing.

Make Records (Early, Mid-, Late Spring)- When you notice that there are holes in your garden or perhaps not enough color variation then the best way to fix this is with a photo! A photo will help you remember where and what color you need to add. Even if you think you have a good enough memory to remember where to plant it a photo will ensure that no mistakes are made. You can take this photo with you when you go to buy more flowers to fill in your garden as well as how to know where the new plants go in your garden.  Add these new additions in autumn so they are ready for the next year.

Now you are ready to make your yard shine but make sure to stop weeds while they’re small!  This prevents them from developing stronger roots as well as prevents them from seeding which means fewer weeds for you in the long run. This will keep your yard looking beautiful even longer and without unnecessary work.

Still looking for that home that’s perfect for you? Let us help. Call us at (618) 791-9298 or at (618) 791-5024 or visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com and let us help you get that perfect home you’ve always dreamed of!

Top 15 Fun Things To Do in St. Louis

fun things to do in STLAre you moving to the St. Louis area soon? Congratulations! You will soon be learning why St. Louis has been deemed one of America’s most livable cities and how historically rich the city and the area around it are!

Whether you’re already living in the area, have lived here for a little while or several years, or are moving here soon, you don’t have to worry about ever being bored! While St. Louis is relatively small compared to other cities like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, you’ll find a plethora of activities and events to enjoy with friends and family alike. Check out our favorite 15 things to do in the Lou below!

1. Go to the Top of the Arch – When you think about the city of St. Louis, you will more than likely picture the Arch towering majestically over the cityscape. Why not bring yourself up to the top and check out the city at a bird’s eye view? Take a 630-foot ride to the tip-top of the Arch, and you will see lines and lines of buildings and lights. Once you’re done, go below the Arch to check out the museum, which recounts the settlement in St. Louis and the explorations of the west.

2. Cheer For the Home Team – St. Louis is definitely a city that’s passionate about its sports. During the spring and summer months, buy a ticket to a Cardinals baseball game in Busch Stadium, and check out the St. Louis Rams in the Edward Jones Dome during football season. You can’t enjoy St. Louis to the fullest, though, without going to a St. Louis Blues hockey game at the Scottrade Center. There’s nothing quite like hearing someone honk 3 times and hearing everyone shout, “LET’S GO BLUES!”

3. Visit the Zoo – The St. Louis Zoo is one of the nation’s top zoological parks and houses thousands of animals. Take the Emerson Zooline Railroad for a ride around the park. Check out fun areas including Big Cat Country, Penguin & Puffin Coast, the Interactive Stingray Pool, and so much more. The best part? It’s free! Just be sure to grab a fun souvenir or two before you leave.

4. Embrace the Night Life – Nighttime in the city is always hopping and fun in the Lou. Check out Laclede’s Landing or Washington Avenue for blocks and blocks full of awesome bars and dance clubs. Visit Soulard, the oldest neighborhood in the city, for your music fix. If you’re into swing dancing, be sure to stop by Grandel Theater every Tuesday night and dance the night away with Lindy Hop St. Louis.

5. Check Out Forest Park – Perhaps one of the best parts of St. Louis, Forest Park encompasses 1,371 acres of land situated right in the center of the metropolitan area. In fact, it’s about 500 acres larger than New York City’s Central Park! Enjoy all that Forest Park has to offer including its scenic walking and biking trails, the St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum, the St. Louis Science Center, the zoo, the Muny, and the Jewel Box, a flower conservatory that’s a popular venue for special events!

6. Feel the Rush of Adrenaline at Six Flags – Just to the west of St. Louis is Six Flags! Zip around loops on The Batman, face harrowing curves and dips on the Screaming Eagle, go on a water adventure on Thunder River or at Hurricane Harbor. You can also see live shows and concerts, meet your favorite cartoon characters, and so much more! Go with a group for a discount or grab season tickets for you and your loved one.

7. Sample Some Beer at the Local Breweries – Beer is a big part of the city, so be sure to take time to visit the historic Anheuser-Busch Brewery where you can sample a variety of premium brands of beer and even visit with the Budweiser Clydesdales! Another place to stop is Schlafly Bottleworks; you’ll get a free brewery tour, and you can enjoy sampling different styles of beer, listening to live music, and eating delicious food at the Schlafly Tap Room.

8. Run Wild at the City Museum – Before you skip to the next activity, you should know that the City Museum isn’t actually a boring, ho-hum museum. It’s a unique location that’s pretty much an absolutely enormous playground for people of all ages. Filled with caves, slides, and lots of things to climb on, the City Museum is full of wonderful activities to do, including interacting with over 10,000 sea creatures, venturing through the Museum of Mirth, Mystery, and Mayhem, and wandering through tons of fun mazes and exhibits. Make your own work of art in Art City, play on equipment at the very top of the towering building, or feel the rush of adrenaline as you zip down a three-story high slide.

9. See the Animals at Grant’s Farm – Can’t get enough animals? Visit Grant’s Farm for an up-close and personal experience like no other! You’ll see African elephants, tortoises, bald eagles, deer, cattle, fennec foxes, buffalo, ostriches, and so much more when you stop by for a visit. See shows, take tours, and don’t forget to check out the carousel!

10. Discovery Something New at the Science Center – Located in Forest Park, the Science Center is a definite must-see to add to your list. Find out about animals, see a life-sized animatronic T-Rex and other dinosaurs, and marvel at the wonders of our solar system! You can even build your own arch! Don’t forget to check out the Omnimax Theater for unforgettable shows shown in a manner like no other!

11. Feast on the Foods of St. Louis – You can’t live in or near St. Louis without having tried some signature foods. Go to restaurants on The Hill to try delicious toasted ravioli. Visit a local pizza parlor to savor St. Louis style thin-crust pizza. Swing by Dooley’s Beef N Brew House for mouth-watering bbq. Top it all off with scrumptious frozen custard at Ted Drewes at the end of the night.

12. Enrich Your Life with the Arts – Love the arts? You’ll love St. Louis! Visit the Art Museum in Forest Park and wander through the many halls and coves of the museum. You can find numerous amounts of famous paintings, sculptures, and so much more! If music is more up your alley, then you’re in for a great treat. Grab some tickets to one of the many shows at the St. Louis Symphony for a breath-taking show.

13. Jam to Some Live Shows – There’s always happening in St. Louis on the live band scene. Check out some live music at places like The Pageant or the Scottrade Center. See outdoor acts at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater or catch touring acts at the famous Blueberry Hill.

14. Get Lost in the Missouri Botanical Gardens – For plant and outdoor lovers or just those seeking some peace or a new kind of adventure, the 79 acres of lush gardens, landscape architecture, greenhouses, and conservatories that make up the Missouri Botanical Garden are just what you need! The oldest botanical garden in the nation, the Missouri Botanical Garden features a Climatron, which recreates a real rainforest experience for you to talk through, peaceful Japanese gardens, and fun and educational Children’s Garden. There’s always something fun and new to do here!

15. See Live Theater – Love drama? Don’t start it – just go watch it in St. Louis! You can get your Broadway fix at the Fabulous Fox Theater when you see plays, concerts, and dance troupes perform. For an enjoyable outdoor experience, come to The Muny, the nation’s largest outdoor amphitheater dedicated just to musical theater!

Need to find your dream home close to St. Louis? We can help! Just call us at (618) 791-5024 or at (618) 791-9298, and we can help you find the perfect home for you! Be sure to also check us out online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to see what we can do to help you find that one perfect place for you!

Looking for a Vacation Home? 5 Tips to Consider Before Purchasing

vacation home buying tipsHave you ever thought, “Gosh, if I could just live here, life would be perfect!” or “I need a vacation from this weather; I should move to X”? Well, you most certainly aren’t alone! Many people think about buying a second home or vacation home!

In fact, this trend doesn’t show any sign of slowing down or stopping at all. People, especially those in their 40s, 50s, and beyond are much more active than the generation before them and are finding ways to have fun, and, of course, in households in which both spouses work, income is more disposable than ever on a secondary home!

Are you considering buying a second home? Check out these 5 tips before you decide to purchase!

Location, Location, Location – There’s a reason that location is mentioned three times! Location is absolutely crucial when it comes to purchasing your secondary or vacation home (or any home, for that matter).  Keep your interests, hobbies, and your personal tastes in mind when looking for your vacation home, and keep in mind how far you’d mind traveling to get to your secondary home and when you would retreat there, be it for a few weekends at a time, every other month, or during a certain season.

The Price Tag is Pivotal – Money can’t buy you happiness necessarily, but the cost of your secondary home can certainly affect your jubilance! Keep in mind that up and coming communities tend to be less expensive than those well-established vacation locales. Before you set your heart on a certain home in a certain area, go ahead and jump in your car and look for different home options. If you’re still stuck on a certain location, try spending at least a few weeks there to make sure it’s what you really want.

Know Exactly Where You Want To Go – You might have an idea of where you want to live, but it’s essential that you know more specifics on where you’d like your vacation home to be. Would you like it to be near a lake or right next to a lake? What would you want to do there? Would you want to retire to this location? You might need a while to truly decide the exact location you’d like your vacation house to be, but it’s definitely worth it in the end!

What Will Your Home Look Like? It’s important to envision what your vacation home will look like. Do you want to have a small cottage by the ocean? How about a small cabin in the woods? Another thing to keep in mind is what you will use this home for. Is it for just you and your immediate family, or will it be used for large get-togethers with friends and extended family? Keep this all in mind when you settle on a property!

Take Your Time – It’s no easy feat to look for a vacation home, even if the Internet does make things easier. Regardless, don’t rush into your purchase! A little cabin in the woods might look fantastic at first, but if you rush into it, you could really regret your purchase. Think about your long-term goals and go from there.

Looking for your vacation home? We can help! Just give us a call at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 or visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to see how we can help you!

8 Curb Appeal Ideas to Attract Homebuyers

curb appeal tipsPerhaps the most important question you need to ask yourself right now if you’re selling your home is, “What will be the first thing that potential homebuyers will see?” Quickly after you ask that question, you should additionally ask yourself if the things that will attract or deter them from your home.

Usually, the first thing that homebuyers will notice when looking for homes is your front yard, the color of your home, the landscaping, and if the home has an attractive exterior. They won’t be able to see the new kitchen appliances you have or the gorgeous, original hardwood floors that are throughout your home. If your curb appeal is subpar, the homebuyers won’t even bother coming through your front door to check out the inside of your home.

But what’s a homeowner to do? Well, don’t fret and continue reading – we have 8 tips that will help you improve your curb appeal and attract homebuyers to your lovely abode pronto!

Reevaluate Your Exterior Paint – Before you even begin on your yard work, look up and check out your home’s exterior. Is the pain cracking, dingy, or old? Is it incongruent with the colors that are present in the neighborhood, or does it not matchup with the style of the home itself? If so, you might want to reevaluate your home’s paint color. If nothing else, do consider pressure washing your siding or brick; it’ll look just like new after you do so!

Keep Your Accents Fresh – Whether your house is adorned with shutters, columns, or planters, be sure that all the accents are in good condition. If there is any damage to your planters, driveway, fences, or exterior lighting, be sure to address them and repair the damaged areas.

Take Note of Walkways – Next on the list are your walkways and entryways. Are the sidewalks cracked and old? Are the stepping stone paths broken? Are weeds sprouting up in the cracks in your driveway? Consider giving extra attention to these areas. Pull the weeds, and fix any broken areas. Additionally, power wash these areas to make them look just like new once more. You’ll notice a difference right away!

Pick Up Your Toys – Curb appeal is associated with how you and your family live your lives day in and day out. Make sure that you don’t leave any objects out on the lawn, or your potential homebuyers could draw up opinions about you and how you care for your home. When you’re finished with gardening tools, put them away immediately. The same goes for your children’s toys – be sure to teach them to put them away when they’re done playing with them. This will help prevent your lawn from appearing unkempt.

Love Your Lawn – Now it’s time to look at your lawn. How do your plants, grass, and surrounding areas look? Does your lawn look beautifully-kept or like a scraggly eyesore to the unbiased eye? Be sure to pull weeds where you can and fix unsightly areas in your yard, and consider employing new landscaping in your yard if it looks a little, well, sad in the landscaping department.

Out With the Old – This may seem kind of crazy, but even the simplest things like your mailbox or house numbers can turn a buyer off. If you’ve lived in your home for a while now (or if your mailbox has seen better days), replace your old mailbox and house numbers with new, more inviting ones!

Add a Pop of Color – Does your home need some extra color? Add an instant pop of color with planters filled with seasonal plants at your front door, in your yard, or at the sides of your garage. The plants will make future homebuyers happy to see what else is inside!

When trying to revamp your curb appeal, remember that it doesn’t have to be difficult or cost you al lot of money. If you’re having trouble attracting homebuyers, try the 8 tips above to help, or go ahead and give us a call at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298! You can also visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to see how we can help you sell your home and get the dream home you’ve always wanted!

Keep Your Home From Looking Like a Haunted House to Potential Buyers

haunted houseMany residents in the country enjoy decorating their home for the Halloween season. It isn’t unusual to see doors with spooky wreaths and spiders on them, bushes covered with tons of cobwebs and spiders, and maybe even a few headstones here or there in the front yard.

But what if your home looks like that ALL of the time, regardless of the season? If you’re trying to sell your home, you could be easily be scaring away any potential buyers.

Homes with high curb appeal will typically demand higher prices from a potential buyer, and it almost always takes less time to sell. Of course, the way a house looks from the curb can add thousands of dollars to its value. Maintaining and giving your home a little extra love will definitely help!

But what will give your house the most curb appeal? Just follow these seven tips to help your house from becoming “that creepy house” everyone knows and avoids!

Tip #1 – Time For a Facelift: Before you do anything else to enhance your curb appeal, wash off the dirt, mildew, and general grunge from your home’s exterior. Just a simple bucket of soapy water and a long-handled, soft-bristled brush can remove the dirt and dust on the exterior. Power washers are wonderful at cleaning and revealing the true colors of your home (and your sidewalks!). Be sure to wash your windows inside and out, take down the cobwebs, and hose down your downspouts as well. Don’t forget your garage as well!

Tip #2 – Consider a Paint Job: A new coat of paint or two can really enhance curb appeal. Buyers will notice it instantly, and appraisers will value it. For your best bet, try to match the paint you already have. A home that’s painted a wildly different color from the rest of the competition will usually be marked down in value.

Tip #3 – Raise the Roof! What’s one of the first things potential buyers notice? Your roof! If you have missing, faded, or curled shingles, you’re doing your home no favors! Be sure to hire a professional to replace the roof if it needs it! Sometimes, even cleaning a rooftop of the years of moss, dirt, lichens, and algae will make it look like new, but don’t do it yourself! Call a professional to care for your roof properly!

Tip #4 – Spruce Up the Yard: A neat yard is a happy yard! If your lawn could use some extra attention, try putting in some fresh mulch, pruned shrubs, and beautiful flowers and plants around the house, patio, or trees. Surround your trees and bushes with gorgeous reddish-brown bark mulch – it will give your yard a rich feel to it! Take out the weeds, keep the sticks picked up, and maybe consider potting some pretty flowers and displaying them on your porch. A great yard will do wonders for your curb appeal.

Tip #5 – Use Splashes of Color: You don’t have to go crazy with color – even just a little bit of color will please the eyes of a potential buyer! Plant a tulip border in the fall that will bloom next spring. Place some pretty petunias by your mailbox. Place a colorful Adirondack chair on your patio or front porch. Go ahead and paint your front door red or blue. Just these small touches will help grab a potential buyer’s attention and can help to sell your house more quickly.

Tip #6 – Fence It In: If you don’t have a fence consider investing in a beautiful picket fence to frame your yard. It will add some punch to your property, and appraisers will give extra value to a fence that’s in good condition. Already have a fence? Clean it up and be sure it’s in good condition. Consider giving it a new coat of paint, tighten loose latches, and replace broken gates if you have any.

Tip #7 – Maintain The Exterior: Nothing drives a would-be buyer faster than a home with hanging gutters, an overgrown lawn, missing bricks from the front steps, or peeling paint. When not maintained, these items can damage your house AND decrease it in value by 10%. If you’re looking to sell your home, you should first take care of some maintenance chores such as refastening sagging gutters, resealing cracked asphalt, replacing cracked windows, straightening your shutters, and repointing bricks that have lost their mortar.

Trying to sell your home? Want to ensure that your home doesn’t look like it belongs in a Scooby Doo ghost town? Come see us! We can help you sell your home and get you that house you’ve dreamed about having! Just call us at (618) 791-5024 or at (618) 791-9298 or visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to see how we can help you!

10 Simple Ways to Maximize Storage in Your Home

storage tipsDo you often feel that you have too much stuff in your home and not enough space to store it all in? Do you feel that your home has become more and more cluttered lately?

Well, no need to worry or run out to rent a storage unit! Just follow these 10 simple tricks to find some additional storage space in your closets, shelves, cabinets, and more!

May the Odds Be Ever Stacked in Your Favor – Do you have large gaping spaces in your closets or armoire and lack any shelving? That’s just empty space BEGGING to be used! Transform your gaping, unused space into a usable storage unit with shelves to store everyday essentials! Stackable units and baskets are usually available in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, and they are typically a cheap, simple way to solve your storage problems. Just remember to measure before you buy anything!

Two Hanging Rods are Better Than One – Do you need some extra space in that closet? If so, try putting in a second hanging rod! This will work wonders for storage issues, especially if you don’t have a wardrobe totally consisting of long dresses or coats. What a perfect, simple way to double the hanging space in your closet!

Baskets, Baskets, Baskets – Do like to store small things on shelving? Here’s an easy trick to keeping them all in one place – gather them all together and put them in a basket! You can stash all sorts of things in baskets such as video games, collections, remote controls, and even slippers! Not only will you be able to see all the contents at the same time, but you will also put the entire space to good use AND it’ll look much less cluttered, too!

Go Ahead, Be LAZY! What’s round, spins, and is totally awesome for parties and storing items easily? A Lazy Susan! These little beauts allow you to have easy access to items that would normally be tucked away in the back and hard to get to! All you have to do is spin that wheel! If you’re storing smaller items like cans and spices in your cabinets, try getting a two-tiered Lazy Susan to help you out even more!

Hang Those Pots Up! Want to really free up your kitchen? Try a hanging pot rack! This is a great way to empty out entire cabinets and drawers and to make your kitchen have a fun, distinct, and aesthetic look! You can try in-wall or ceiling-mounted versions of the rack. You’re sure to find the perfect one to suit your kitchen!

Don’t Underestimate the Cabinets – If you take a look at your kitchen cabinets, you should notice that there’s some hidden space on the top of them. Well, guess what? The tops of cabinets can often provide some wonderful “hidden” storage, and we’re not just talking about plants either! Store small items like light bulbs, vases, and other things you don’t really need all the time on the top of your cabinets. You can also place the items in colorful baskets on top of your cabinets so you can keep track of where they are (and maybe add a pop of color in the kitchen!).

Make Some Adjustments – It might sound like such an obvious statement, but don’t forget about those adjustable shelves of yours! Even just a few minutes of adjustments and rearranging could solve all of your storage problems… for FREE! You might also want to consider having some extra shelves made to fit your cabinets so you can have more layers of storage for smaller things like mugs.

Think Tall – What’s a really easy way to find a bit of extra storing? Rearranging how you store things! Try stacking your trays, cookies sheets, and platters vertically instead of horizontally to save some space. You can even find tray divider inserts at a local hardware store to help you keep them standing up!

Don’t Ignore the Doors! Do you hang shelves to store things on your walls? Chances are that you do. But there’s one thing you might have been ignoring this whole time when it comes to finding storage space – your doors! Try looking for hooks, racks, and even shoe pockets to store your shoes, dolls, and any other objects you’ve run out of room for!

No Monsters Under the Bed! Forget about feng shui – go ahead and use the space underneath your bed to store some items! But don’t just shove stuff down there – get some thinner storage units that have wheels on them for easy access to off-season clothing, shoes, or whatever else you can stash! Just remember to protect your items from dust!

So what are your tricks for maximizing storage space? Go ahead and tell us on our Facebook page! If you want more tips or are searching for a home with even more space, give us a call at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 or check out our listings and more on our website at www.dianamasseyhomes.com!

The 6 Vital Tips to Prepare Your Home for the Fall Season

how to decorate seasonally without going overboardFall is finally here, and people across the nation are preparing their homes for the new season with fall decorations and are saying adios to their flip flops and swim suits for the year and breaking out the sweaters and boots.

While it’s important to ready the look of your home and yourself for the season, it’s much more imperative to take care of your home and make sure that the house itself is ready for the change in season and the (somewhat) steady decline in temperatures.

Do you tend to forget to prepare your home for the colder months? No problem! We have six vital tips to help ensure that you, your family, and your house are all ready for the change in season!

Out With the Old, In With the New (Filter, That Is) – What’s the top reason that heating and cooling systems in homes fail? Changing the filter! Some experts feel that filters should be changed every single month, but you’re probably better off inspecting it each month and switching it out every three months, that is, once every season.

Why do this? Well, not only will you help ensure that your system will run nice and smoothly, but you will also improve the air quality in your home, reduce energy usage, and save a little extra money on your electric bill!

Give Your Thermostat Some Love – That’s right. You should really give your thermostat some extra TLC when the seasons change. Be sure to clean its heat sensor, contacts, and contact points; it will ensure that it’s running the best it can. Additionally, if you’d like to save some money on your energy bill, do your best to keep your thermostat between 68 and 72 degrees during the day and a smidgen lower at night. If that’s a bit too cold for you, you can always cuddle up with your favorite blankets and sip some hot chocolate!

The Vacuum IS Your Best Friend – If you really dread cleaning and the very thought of dragging out that big ol’ vacuum already has you searching for an excuse to avoid cleaning, then you might want to keep reading. Cleaning similarly to how you did during spring cleaning can prove to be beneficial for your health AND your wallet! Vacuum your ceiling fans, vents, baseboard heaters, ducts, and cold-air returns to not only keep your heating and cooling system in tip-top shape but to also rid yourself of a great deal of dust (which can cause respiratory problems and further aggravate allergies, by the way!). Trust us, you’ll be glad you did it.

Pay Attention to Your Windows and Doorframes – Are you enjoying that autumn breeze you feel in your home? Well, if you ARE and you don’t have your windows open, that you might really want to fix that on the double! Inspect your doorframes and windows to ensure that they are tight and in good condition. Make sure that you cannot feel any drafts coming through your windows or doors. If you do, you might want to spend some time fixing the leaks with some caulking or weather-stripping before it gets too cold. Remember, the draft may not bother you now, but it’ll be much worse on you (and your wallet) come wintertime!

Pretty Your Home Up! All work and no play makes your house awfully dull! After you clean and ready your house for the season, go ahead and take some time to make it reflect the season in artwork, fabrics, and design. Add a colorful wreath to your front door and some fun gourds and mini-pumpkins inside and outside your home. Display pieces of art that reflect the fall season, display a cornucopia on your dining room table, or simply change the slipcovers off your couch to reflect the colors and vibe of the fall season! Don’t forget the spice or pumpkin-scented candles!

Need more tips ‘n’ tricks to help your ready yourself and your home for the fall season? Why not give us a call at (618) 791-5024 or at (618) 791-9298? We can give you tips to ready your home for the season or even for a sale. Don’t forget that we’re online! Visit us at www.dianamasseyhomes.com for dream homes near you!

Need To Sell Your Home? Consider Repainting Your Walls!

home selling tipsWe all know that your curb appeal is what attracts potential home buyers to your home, but do you know what can turn them off just as soon as they enter your home? Bold, dark, and overwhelming paint colors!

If you want to sell your home and your house is lavished with dark or bold paint colors, consider repainting your walls to impress your potential buyers and have them biting at the bit to buy your house!

But which shades of color should you go for? How do you go about selecting the perfect paint colors for your home when there are so many different shades to choose from? Simple! Just follow the below tips for a good guideline to selecting the colors that work best for you!

Think Like a Buyer – It can be very difficult to think about your home objectively, but it’s one of the best strategies that you can employ when trying to shape your home in the customer’s liking. Try putting yourself in the potential buyer’s shoes to decide which colors need to be changed in your home. Remember, you want the buyer to focus on the amount of square footage in your home, the house’s unique architecture, and how great you are at keeping the interior well-maintained, NOT on the wall color! Your buyer needs to think, “I can see myself living here today!” instead of, “I’ll have to paint every single room in this house – it’s too much work for me!”

Keep Your Colors Neutral – So how do you take your potential home buyer’s focus off the walls and onto the square footage or anything else you’d want them to see? Why, by choosing neutral colors for your walls, of course! But before you groan and cry out about injustice to your creative, color-loving side, keep in mind that neutral colors do NOT necessarily mean shades of white or beige. Neutral colors can also include subdued, welcoming shades of brown, gray, and green! Just keep in mind which colors would coordinate the best with what you already have in your home to make your home feel larger and more updated.

Stage Your Home For Success – There’s no doubt that the housing market’s conditions aren’t the best still. In these difficult, competitive times, sellers need to go above and beyond of what it typically takes to prepare their homes for selling. The easiest, most cost-effective way you can do this is by staging your home, and a huge part of that is painting your walls the aforementioned neutral hues. The next most effective thing you can do is to de-clutter your home (no one likes to see messy bedrooms, offices, and closets!). Even experts feel that if the home is staged it will sell more quickly and for higher prices than the homes that aren’t staged.

Want to sell your home? Need more tips on how to stage your home? Have no fear! Just call us at (618) 791-5024 or at (618) 791-9298 or check out our website at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to see how we can help you!