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Voting, Remodeling, & Utilities, Oh My

By Tanya Jones, President – Galveston Association of Realtors

Voting begins with the Primary Elections on March 6. If you are not registered to vote, you have until Feb. 5 to do so. You can pick up a registration form at the library, a government office, or download one from You must be registered 30 days prior to an election. Register now, so you can participate in Early Voting.

I would like to use this weekly opportunity to answer your real estate questions, so please send your questions to: Thanks!

Q: We are thinking of remodeling our kitchen and maybe the master bath. We plan on staying for about two years and then selling. Is there anything we should keep in mind when remodeling?

You want it to be something that you and your family will enjoy for the next two years, but you want it to appeal to buyers when you get ready to sell. I would suggest you keep the permanent things like cabinetry, countertops, flooring, tile, etc. in neutral colors. If you’re fond of vibrant, bold colors, then add that with your accessories like towels, rugs, and paint. I lost a sale due to the color of the granite in the kitchen. If a buyer really doesn’t like blue, and the tile floor is blue, they may see that as too big of an expense right off the bat. But please research what’s ‘in’, so you don’t end up with the latest and greatest green shag carpet. Don’t go ‘cheap’ if you don’t have to. Those nicer appliances make a good impression on buyers. KEEP IN MIND that the kitchen is likely the most important room when it comes to selling. You might consider consulting with a designer, and remember your GAR Realtor is a good resource for what’s popular with buyers in your area right now.

Q: I own a commercial building that I want to sell. It has been vacant for quite a while and the utilities have been off. Will I have to turn the utilities on before I can sell it?

Most Realtors will use the Commercial Contract provided by Texas Association of Realtors or Texas Real Estate Commission for this type of transaction. This contract states: Seller, at seller’s expense, will turn on all utilities necessary for buyer to make inspections, studies, or assessments. You may want to get utilities turned on in advance as there are occasionally other issues to deal with when utilities have been off for some time. There may be exceptions.

Tanya Jones, 2018 President of GAR, is a Realtor with The House Company Real Estate Brokerage and can be reached at or 409-789-7222.

This article originally appeared in The Galveston Daily News.