August 21, 2017
One of the best things you can do to ensure you get the home you want is to arrange for financing before you go shopping. This is often referred to as getting “pre-approved”.
Getting pre-approved simply means that your lender has calculated how much of a mortgage they’re willing to offer you, depending on your down payment and current financial situation.
There are two advantages to having a pre-approved mortgage. First, you know exactly what you can afford when shopping for a new home. Second, when you make an offer, you’re likely to be taken more seriously.
September 5, 2017
When you’re shopping for a new home, you may come across properties that require repairs or renovations. Are these houses worth the added expense? Will you get your money back if you decide to sell the house in the future?
According to market studies, certain renovations and repairs do add more value to a home than the repairs typically cost. These include kitchen and bathroom renovations, new or improved landscaping, and electrical and plumbing repairs.
September 18, 2017
You obviously have experience purchasing a home. But you may not have had an opportunity, yet, to be on the other side of the transaction: putting your house on the market and entertaining offers.
Offers, in particular, can intimidate first time sellers (even those who have bought and sold a few times). After all, the stakes are high. If you don’t accept the offer, deciding to counter-offer instead, the buyer may lose interest. If you take the offer, you may do so at a lower price than you could have otherwise negotiated.
Let your REALTOR® help you steer clear of both those dangers.
An offer is typically presented by the buyer’s REALTOR®, who will give you the proposed price. He or she will also explain any conditions, such as “conditional on a satisfactory home inspection”. Regardless of the conditions, always ask if the buyer has arranged for a pre-approved mortgage.
Now comes the tricky part. Do you accept the offer, reject it, or counter-offer? As your REALTOR® we can work together to ensure you make the right move. Ultimately, your goal is to sell your house for a price that is comparable to what similar homes in the area have sold for recently.
October 2, 2017
When preparing your home for sale, you want to make sure every room looks its best. But pay particularly close attention to the kitchen. Many buyers will spend a lot of time determining whether or not it meets their needs. In fact, some buyers will even form an impression about the entire property based primarily on how they feel about the kitchen!
How do you make it look its best?
Start by making sure your kitchen appears as roomy as possible. Put away all countertop appliances, even the toaster and the coffee machine, so that the counter space is completely clear.
Check that your cabinets and pantry shelves aren’t stuffed with dishes, foodstuff and other items. While that’s normal in most family homes, it doesn’t promote the image of plentiful storage space. Clear out as much as you can. Make sure what you leave behind, especially food items, is stored neatly.
Got a junk drawer? We all do. Empty the contents into a box and stow it away.
Of course, you want to ensure that the kitchen is clean and shiny. The area in and around the sink is critical. There are some excellent specialty cleaners available that will remove even the most stubborn stains in a stainless steel sink. (Never use steel wool or other abrasive cleaners. They leave unsightly scratches.)
If you have a window over the sink – a great selling feature – make sure it’s especially clean. You can be sure that buyers will linger for a few moments to look through it.
And, finally, don’t forget the space under the sink. Make sure that the space is as clean – and empty – as possible.
October 16, 2017
Moving day is traditionally such a hectic and emotionally charged experience that there are even reality TV shows about it.
Does it have to be that way? Is it possible to ensure that moving day goes smoothly?
Picking a good moving company, or making similar arrangements to transport your belongings, is the obvious place to start. But here are some other tips you might not have considered:
Put pets in a kennel for the day. Pets may get excited by all the activity and tend to get in the way, or may hide where you can’t find them.
Have healthy snacks available. Vegetables, fruit, nuts, juices and water are all natural energizers.
Hire a babysitter for the kids. It’s going to be a long day for them.
Call your mover the day before. Confirm exactly when they will be arriving and be sure they’ll be bringing a large enough truck.
Clearly mark boxes that contain items you’ll need immediately. Think about the clothes, cookware, computer accessories, toys and other items you’ll want to find easily during the first week in your new home.
Plan ahead to make your moving day drama-free. Unless, of course, you want to be on a reality show!
October 30, 2017
It’s no secret in the real estate world that the more attractive your home looks to potential buyers, the more likely it will be to sell quickly and for a good price. So, obviously, you want to do everything you can to ensure your home “shows” well.
But before you invest in a major renovation or other costly improvements – which may not be necessary – consider these low-cost tips first.
Paint. This is the easiest and most cost-effective way to make a room or other area of your home look bright and new.
Potted flowers. Flowers always brighten up a space. And if they’re potted, you can place them anywhere – in the foyer, outside the front door, even on the back deck.
New mats. Mats get worn and stained so easily. Place new mats at all entranceways.
Obvious repairs. A squeaky fence gate. A dripping faucet. A broken floor tile. People notice. Get these repaired.
Upgraded lighting. Improve the lighting in key areas of your home, such as the basement, which tends to be darker.
These tips won’t cost much and are relatively easy to implement. Yet, they can have a dramatic affect on how well your home shows.
November 13, 2017
There’s an old expression: Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. It refers, of course, to putting a problem or issue in the right perspective. Some things just aren’t worth worrying that much about – the molehills. However, there are other things that you do need to be concerned about – the mountains.
What does all this have to do with buying a home?
It’s difficult to find a property on the market that is absolutely perfect and has no issues whatsoever. Even if you find a home that you fall in love with and that meets all your requirements, there are bound to be one or two areas of concern. That’s normal.
The trick is to determine whether a particular concern is a mountain or a molehill. For example, say you want a home with four bedrooms, but find one with three. That may seem like a big problem. But if you look closer, you may find that one of the rooms in the finished basement can easily be converted into a comfortable spare bedroom.
That particular issue is really a molehill, and shouldn’t prevent you from putting that home on your shortlist.
On the other hand, say you want a home in an area with local parks for your kids and a sidewalk out front. If a property you’re considering doesn’t have those features, you might not think it’s a serious issue. But consider how difficult it will be to take young kids for a walk and decide where you think they’ll play. You may actually have a mountain in front of you.
So, when shopping for a home, you need to understand which are minor issues that can be easily dealt with, and which are major issues that will seriously impact your enjoyment of the home.
November 27, 2017
You’re probably familiar with the term “home staging”. It involves cleaning, de-cluttering, reorganizing, and decorating specifically in order to make your home more attractive to potential buyers. Furniture stores do something similar when they “stage” a bedroom suite in a showroom.
Most sellers focus their staging efforts on the inside of their homes. But the outside is important too. After all, a property’s exterior is the first thing potential buyers see. So you want to make sure that the first impression is a good one.
Here are some ideas on how to make sure that happens.
When preparing your home for sale, imagine you’re a potential buyer and take a walk around the outside of your property. Do you like what you see? Are there issues that concern you? Try to be as objective as possible.
You may notice, for example, that the deck is faded and worn, some of the border stones around the flower bed are chipped or missing, or the fence gate squeaks. If you notice these things, so will potential buyers. So, consider getting these minor problems repaired.
As you inspect your yard, pay particular attention to sheds and other areas around your property where rakes, shovels, garbage bins, bikes, toys and other items tend to accumulate. Just as you would unclutter the inside of your home before a showing, you should also make sure the exterior areas of your property are as uncluttered as possible.
Then explore simple ways you can make the exterior of your property look even more attractive. For example, giving your hedges, shrubs and other evergreen plants a trimming, can dramatically improve the look of your yard. Planting flowers or placing flowerpots at key locations, such as near the front entrance can also have a big impact.
December 11, 2017
Painting the outside of your home traditionally takes more time and expense than a comparable area on the inside. You have to deal with ladders, more paint and, of course, the weather. So when preparing your house for sale, you don’t want to do any exterior painting unless it is really necessary.
How can you tell? Walk across the street and cast a critical eye on your house. Can you notice areas where the paint is chipped or faded? If so, then so will potential buyers. It’s worth your while to invest in getting a fresh coat of paint on these areas. The good news is that painting, whether on the exterior or interior, is the least expensive way to make your home look more attractive — and therefore more desirable to buyers.