Tips for sellers: Upgrade the kitchen, downgrade the personal stuff

Tips for sellers: Upgrade the kitchen, downgrade the personal stuff

NEW OLEAR BANNERWhile the key to a man’s heart may be through his stomach, the key to selling a home is often through the kitchen!

Do your countertops appear outdated? How about your appliances? If you answered yes, then it’s probably a good idea to spend a few dollars for an upgrade before putting the home on the market. How do the walls look? A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color can also go a long way. Fortunately, of the money you spend to freshen up the kitchen, you’ll probably get 85 percent of it back in the sale price … not to mention the other benefit of a quicker sale.

Another tip to help sell your home more quickly is to remove a lot of your personal items — such as family photos and heirlooms — so that potential homebuyers can easily picture themselves living there. You may also want to enlist the help of a professional home stager for pointers on getting the full value of your home when you decide to stick the “for sale” sign in the ground.

The Olear Team is extremely knowledgeable of the home selling process and can share numerous tips that will help ensure a quick and profitable sale. Please contact us today for more information!

Entire neighborhoods, home sellers, benefit from the efforts of nonprofit organizations

Entire neighborhoods, home sellers, benefit from the efforts of nonprofit organizations

NEW Olear cover photoPreparing your home for sale may entail a little elbow grease to get the place into tip-top shape, or pretty close to it. But some of those repairs may require expensive tools that you don’t have and simply don’t want to invest in. There is an alternative — the University Heights Tool Library!

According to its website — — the Tool Library is a nonprofit program set up to lend tools out to community members to help them maintain and fix up their homes and gardens. Tools can range anywhere from hammers, screwdrivers and shovels to power drills, circular saws and sanders. Open to homeowners and renters in Buffalo and surrounding areas, annual membership in this innovative community beautification program is just $10!

And speaking of the University Heights neighborhood, the University Heights Collaborative is another community based group of residents working together to maintain and enhance the quality of life in their neighborhood. Organizational committees include beautification, business involvement, communication, Neighborhood Watch and landlord outreach. More information can be found on their website at

Western New York is fortunate to have such progressive community organizations that truly take an interest in keeping our neighborhoods beautiful by fostering cooperation and collaboration among neighbors. When everyone pitches in, everyone wins, and housing prices increase as a result!

For more information on readying your house for sale, please contact The Olear Team today!

Primer is the key to a successful paint job

Behind every stunning paint job is the primer that lays beneath it. Primer ensures that the paint sticks to the walls and retains a uniform appearance throughout. Also, be sure to clean and repair any surfaces before applying the primer.

From Home Depot:

Step 1: Tint primer for best results

Most primers can be tinted, and tinting will ensure good coverage for the finish coat. But too much tint will dilute the primer and reduce its efficiency. Ask your store associate for assistance determining exactly what you need.

Step 2: Spray roller or brush

Dampen your roller or brush to get off to a fast start. Use water for latex paints, paint thinner for alkyd or oil-based paints.

Step 3: Cut in corners

Pick your starting point and cut in (apply paint at all corners or places where walls, moulding and ceilings meet) the corner with a 2-inch sash brush or a corner pad. Cut in the first 3 to 4 feet along the ceiling, too.

Step 4: Roll on Primer

Apply the primer using a 9-inch roller with the appropriate nap. Start with a single vertical strip at the cut-in corner.

Step 5: Paint a “W” pattern

Roll the remaining wall in 3′ x 3′ sections, working from top to bottom. Lay the primer down in a “W,” then fill in the gaps without lifting the roller.

5 Low cost upgrades, with potential High returns

When putting your house on the market, it is vital to have it shown in its best possible light. The key however, is figuring out how to achieve this without breaking the bank. Consumer Reports provides the following agenda, for finding that perfect balance.

  1. Freshen up the bath: $300-$1,000
  2. Paint the rooms- selectively: $100 (DIY)-$1,000 (Pro)
  3. Clean up, clear out; smells and clutter: $0 (DIY)-$2,500 (Pro)
  4. Enhance the exterior: $150-$7,500
  5. Spruce up the kitchen: $300-$5,000

For complete descriptions on each, as well as potential returns, check out the following link from Consumer Reports here.

5 Significant Home Improvements for Under $500

Thinking of home improvements that could be done around our homes is easy; but figuring out which ones will improve the look of the property- and for the right price- is the real challenge. Our friends at RISMedia have compiled a list of the top 5 home improvements for offering both appeal and return. To read the article in its entirety click here; the abbreviated list is as follows:

  1. Improve curb appeal
  2. Paint the front door
  3. Paint the interior walls
  4. Update the lighting
  5. Install new toilets

Saving on Kitchen Renovations


Anyone with a kitchen that’s older than this century has probably entertained thoughts of a redo, although just mentally adding up the potential cash outlay may be enough to send the project straight to the back burner. But never fear: Careful shopping and creative money-saving strategies can help move a kitchen update from the to-do list to reality.

As you might expect, careful shopping for the big-ticket items will yield the most significant savings. Paring 10 percent or more off the cost of cabinets and appliances will leave a lot more cash in your wallet than purchasing, say, a discounted light fixture or faucet — though small savings can add up too.

To get your shopping off to a good start, step away from the professional appliances. They can be real budget busters. The good news is that quite a few of the major home-appliance manufacturers have mimicked the pro look, delivering robust styling in sleek stainless steel at steep savings. Since these appliances are designed for the home market, they may even have amenities that some pro versions lack such as easy-care, sealed-unit gas burners and self-cleaning ovens.

Consider your Needs

Moving beyond appearance, keeping your lifestyle and culinary needs in mind when shopping for appliances can help save some bucks. If most of your meal preparation consists of plating takeout or heating prepared foods, a multi-burner, high-BTU cooktop or double oven will likely offer way more firepower then required. This could be a good place to scale back.

Keep an eye out for appliance options and extras, and skip the ones you won’t use or don’t need. For example, a lot of refrigerators come equipped with external water dispensers — some even offer a choice of cubed or crushed ice. It’s a neat feature, but one that wouldn’t get a daily or even weekly workout in some households. Finding a model without these goodies would benefit your bottom line.

Mix it up with high-low

When it comes to cabinetry, home remodelers can learn a lesson from clothes-conscious fashionistas, who have always found ways of making a statement with a kind-to-the-budget blend of high and low. Just as the well dressed and the beautiful can make headlines by pairing a Gap T-shirt with a couture skirt, savvy kitchen remodelers can create a stir at home by mixing and matching items from big-box stores and boutiques.

Architect Mark R. LePage, AIA, president and partner in charge of operations at Fivecat Studio in Pleasantville, NY, recommends dressing up simple, budget-conscious IKEA cabinets with decorative high-end knobs and pulls.

Pairing IKEA cabinet boxes with custom wood doors and drawers is another one of his money-saving strategies, as is using open wooden shelving in place of lower cabinets. LePage likes to shop at commercial kitchen-supply houses for open stainless-steel shelving and rolling carts, which make versatile and smart-looking storage units. Though low cost, they tend to play nicely with upscale kitchen elements.

Plywood can be beautiful

Sealed plywood cabinets are an affordable option, according to LePage. Made of wood veneer layers from trees like spruce, birch or tropical hardwood, plywood often has a bold, distinctive grain and can be decorative as well as durable.

Cabinet savings can go more than skin deep. Instead of ordering units equipped with built-in rollouts and dividers, consider retrofitting them from the array of less-expensive, ready-made items available through storage specialty shops, catalogs and big-box stores. It’s also fun to improvise your own in-cabinet storage solutions: Stamp your kitchen with personal style by combining storage bins, boxes and baskets in a mix of sizes, colors, textures and materials.

Resist temptation

Cutting cabinetry costs may make it tempting, and possible, to splurge on an extravagant countertop. Resist the temptation. There are lots of ways to get good-looking and well-functioning counters at a smart price, especially by aiming for that high-low blend. Use pricey materials such as stone or wood sparingly and focus them on specific workstations for tasks like baking or chopping. Top the remainder of your counter space with less expensive surfaces (e.g., laminates).

LePage suggests dressing up laminate countertops with wood or stainless-steel edging for a custom look. He also likes to create counters by repurposing salvaged materials such as stone, stainless steel or wood.

Consider tiles over slabs

For those who love the look of natural stone like granite, marble and even alabaster, tiles are typically more affordable than the bigger, thicker slabs that must be custom cut to fit. Ranging in size from petite mosaics to 12-inch squares and even larger rectangles in a seemingly unlimited variety of colors and patterns, stone tiles are a versatile option for counters, floors, backsplashes and beyond. Again, there are almost endless mixing-and-matching options, with the luxe-looking natural stone employed sparingly as accents, borders, or to create pattern on a surface otherwise dominated by wood, ceramic tile or another less expensive material.

DIY your backsplash

The backsplash can be a place to let your imagination — and your do-it-yourself chops — run wild. Applied to the walls, sheet metal such as copper, galvanized aluminum, stainless steel or traditional tin ceiling panels can add a touch of bling to the room. LePage likes using broken colored glass for a lively and nontraditional backsplash mosaic. You can also recycle your broken pottery shards, tile scraps, and other ceramic odds and ends into a pique assiette pattern, reminiscent of the playful works of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.

With a combination of careful shopping, imagination, flexibility and creativity, you can plan your way to an affordable new kitchen.