Sarasota FL Real Estate Blog by Ellen Gesell, Realtor

Clean Faster With These Cleaning Shortcuts

No one enjoys spending more time than absolutely necessary on cleaning. These cleaning shortcuts will show you how to get the satisfaction of a clean house without spending all day achieving it.

Map a cleaning route

For a one-story house or an apartment, start with a corner room and work inward. If you have a two-story house, start with a room at the top corner of your home and work your way in and down. Clean each room completely before moving on to save energy and time wasted from walking back and forth.

Break up chores

Instead of spending an entire day or weekend cleaning, clean half the house, or one story of a two-story, on one day or afternoon. Clean the other half or other story on another afternoon. Reserve a block of time for the attic, basement or garage.

When to hire a professional

Consider hiring a professional window...

Top 5 Home Improvements That Increase Your Home's Value

With all the home improvement ideas out there, discovering the ones that’ll increase your return on investment can be difficult. The bathroom and kitchen are the hubs of the home and improving these will instantly add value to your property. These two areas are always an excellent place to start your home improvements. However, if your kitchen and bathroom already look great and are in excellent condition, there’s no reason to disturb their aesthetics. Instead, implement these five budget-friendly home improvements throughout your home to boost your home’s value.

Hardwood flooring

Updating the floors is one of the best home improvements you can do to increase your home’s value. However, you don’t have to tear apart the entire house to receive these benefits. Instead, focus on larger and/or weathered areas to highlight your home improvements. Replacing old carpet or tile with modern options, such as hardwood or mosaics, will bring an immediate rise in property value.

Refinish hardwood floors for a cost-effective home improvement

Update fixtures

Some of the best home improvements can be done throughout your entire house without having to tear or rip anything apart. Old fixtures...

We Were Sued Because We Didn't Know The Basic Rules of Seller Disclosure

Seller disclosure is a tricky maze to navigate. If you've recently decided to put your home on the market, you might feel hesitant to reveal problems (minor though they might be) which could discourage potential buyers. But not revealing them could get you in a world of legal trouble.
So how much do you really need to disclose? And how detailed do you need to beWe'd love to give you a concrete answer. But disclosure laws vary by state—and even by city. So here are some basic rules to govern how and when you disclose any problems. (Just remember to do your research on local regulations, and check with your Realtor® and/or real estate attorney so you can know you're totally covered.)
In general, sellers should disclose any known facts about the physical condition of the property, existence of dangerous materials or conditions, lawsuits or pending matters that may affect the value of the property, and any other factors that may influence a buyer’s decision.
But how can you possibly know what might influence a buyer's decision? Maybe a window leaks a little bit when it rains or the basement just barely floods every now and then. Do you really need to disclose it? After all, you've learned to live with those things, so the buyer should be able to deal with them, too, right?
Wrong answer! Especially if you want to avoid a lawsuit down the...

Tips to Save Energy and Add Value

When it comes to energy efficiency, look for smart features and expertise to help you save energy and money and add value to your home.

1. Begin with a Right-Sized Home.

If the home you buy is simply too large for you or your family’s needs or plans, you stand a good chance of wasting energy through excessive heating and cooling costs. If it’s too small, you’ll feel cramped and uncomfortable. It’s a big investment, so seek balance and buy it “right” from the outset. 

2. Purchase Energy Star Appliances Such as Your TV, Dishwasher, Washer and Dryer, and Microwave.

And especially the refrigerator, as it alone contributes about 10 percent of the energy use in a home. Also, unplug electronics not in use or turn off power strips to avoid phantom charges. 

3. Install Efficient Lighting Such as Compact Fluorescent (CLF) or LED Bulbs in Every Fixture.

Lighting accounts for about 6 percent of an energy bill each year.

4. Get an Energy Audit and Have Tests Performed to Identify Ways of Improving Your Efficiency.

You can always upgrade your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system as well as your thermal envelope, which includes insulation, windows, and doors  and the seals or weather stripping around them. Visit energy.gov/energytips...

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