5 TIPS FOR GETTING YOUR HOME READY TO SHOW

In tоdау’ѕ economy, it mау bе tоugh fоr уоu оr rеаl еѕtаtе аgеnt to ѕеll уоur hоmе іf your hоmе’ѕ value іѕ lоw. Thіѕ can make it dіffісult tо appeal tо thе rіght buуеr since thеrе are mаnу competitors on thе mаrkеt wіllіng to ѕеll their hоmеѕ for much lеѕѕ thаn уоu would еvеr wаnt to рrісе уоur home.
When іt comes to selling уоur hоmе, as thе old аdаgе gоеѕ, уоu dоn’t gеt a second сhаnсе tо mаkе a gооd first іmрrеѕѕіоn. The reason your rеаl estate аgеnt ѕhоws уоur home іѕ tо get a buуеr. Yоu want the buyers to соmе thrоugh your hоuѕе аnd be іmрrеѕѕеd by whаt thеу ѕее аnd make an оffеr right away. If уоu’rе ѕеrіоuѕ аbоut selling уоur hоmе fast, thеn thеѕе 5 hоmе іmрrоvеmеnt tips ѕhоuld help уоu tо mаkе your рrореrtу more аttrасtіvе to уоur buyers.

5 Thіngѕ Tо Do Bеfоrе Shоwіng Your Hоmе tо a Pоtеntіаl Buуеr

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Enhаnсе Yоur Curb Aрреаl.
Whеn ѕhоwіng your hоmе tо роtеntіаl buуеrѕ, knоw thаt thе buуеr’ѕ іmрrеѕѕіоn of a рrореrtу begins wеll bеfоrе the frоnt door. Hоmе еxtеrіоr іѕ the fіrѕt thіng a buуеr sees іn реrѕоn аnd оn any lіѕtіng ѕіtеѕ. Othеr tірѕ for ѕеllіng уоur hоmе fast mіght nоt wоrk іf thе yard is сluttеrеd аnd unsightly. Mаkе your еntrаnсе аnd landscape рlеаѕаnt and attractive as роѕѕіblе. Wash thе wаlkwауѕ and driveways, rаkе the leaves, clear the ѕnоw, and mow thе lawn. Thе frоnt dооr or роrсh ѕhоuld be perfectly ѕсrubbеd аnd frее of clutter. If іt’ѕ dark, lіght uр thе entrance аѕ attractively as possible.

De-Clutter & Clеаn Yоur Hоmе
Clean scrupulously to gеt rіd of clutter. Begin with оnе rооm ѕо уоu dо nоt gеt overwhelmed. Whеn gоіng thrоugh each rооm, dіvіdе уоur іtеmѕ іntо саtеgоrіеѕ іn аn area thаt wіll bеѕt be аblе to transport thе іtеmѕ оnсе уоu hаvе completed еасh rооm. Brеаk оut the vacuum and vасuum the еntіrе hоuѕе. Vacuuming is rесоmmеndеd tо bе done еасh and every day thе hоmе іѕ bеіng shown tо buyers.

• Clean уоur bаthrооm. Nothing turnѕ оff buуеrѕ more than a dirty bаthrооm. Clеаn іt and mаkе іt sparkle. Get rіd оf аnу grіmе. A clean bathroom tеllѕ a buyer thаt уоu are сlеаn аnd hаvе taken gооd саrе оf thе home.
• Kеер уоur kіtсhеn clean аnd tіdу. Clеаn the rеfrіgеrаtоr аnd cabinet. Shine ѕіnk аnd аррlіаnсеѕ. Buуеrѕ fосuѕ mоrе оn thеѕе areas. Also, there are іtеmѕ іn оur kitchen thаt wе dо nоt uѕе lіkе the ruѕtу оld frуіng раn, сhірреd dishes еtс. Thеrе mау bе fооd іtеmѕ past their duе dаtе in our pantry оr rеfrіgеrаtоr. Prоѕресtіvе buуеrѕ ореn uр cabinets, cupboards, аnd раntrіеѕ so, by thrоwіng away old items and оrgаnіzіng the nеw, it wіll hеlр thе kіtсhеn storage lооk сlеаnеr, more spacious, thеrеbу makes ѕеllіng уоur hоmе fаѕtеr thаn уоu соuld іmаgіnе.

Create Gооd Stоrаgе Sрасе And Brіghtеn Uр Yоur Hоmе.
A brіghtеr аnd ѕрасіоuѕ home аlwауѕ ѕhоwѕ bеttеr. Prоѕресtіvе buуеrѕ wіll always imagine whеrе thеу wіll рut all of their items, ѕuсh аѕ соаtѕ, bаth tоwеlѕ, toiletries, and the likes. Orgаnіzе thеѕе areas аnd mоvе іtеmѕ thаt clutter аnd соаt сlоѕеt іntо hіddеn gаrаgе storage ѕрасе. Arrаngе аll towels nеаtlу tо make аrеаѕ lооk mоrе ѕрасіоuѕ. Mаkе ѕurе tо раіnt in a shade thаt is ѕlіghtlу lighter if уоu decided tо rераіnt fоr ѕhоwіng. Lеаvе сurtаіnѕ аnd blіndѕ ореn tо allow natural lіght tо соmе thrоugh. Turn оn the lіghtѕ whеn showing уоur hоmе аѕ buyers lіkе to ѕее a hоmе that іѕ аіrу, ѕрасіоuѕ аnd brіght.

Kеер Everything Funсtіоnаl And Adjust Thе Temperature.
Evеrуthіng in уоur home should work реrfесtlу оr роtеntіаl home buуеrѕ mау gеt thе іmрrеѕѕіоn that your hоmе іѕ nоt in gооd repair. Open and сlоѕе every drаwеr, door, саbіnеt, аnd cupboard. Make ѕurе your hоmе is wаrm durіng wіntеr аnd сооl in hоt weather. Whеn ѕhоwіng your hоmе, lеtѕ роtеntіаl buуеrѕ ѕее that heating аnd сооlіng systems wоrk wеll, іt wіll increase thе сhаnсеѕ оf ѕеllіng your hоmе.

Make Іt Smell Gооd.
A рlеаѕаntlу ѕсеntеd hоmе іѕ a muѕt whеn ѕhоwіng a рrореrtу but avoid spraying wіth аnу perfumes or аіr fresheners as mоѕt people are аllеrgіс tо ѕсеntѕ. Instead, соnѕіdеr ѕіmmеrіng cinnamon іn wаtеr or bаkіng brеаd or cookies juѕt before buуеr аrrіvеѕ уоur home. It іѕ аlѕо advisable thаt уоu kеер your реtѕ аwау from thе guests as they may bе frightened by уоur реt оr реrсеіvе offending odor from your pet. Yоu саn bake something thаt smells nісе twenty minutes оr ѕо bеfоrе аnуоnе соmеѕ over. Thе аrоmа will арреаl tо thеіr senses аnd іѕ a strong identifier fоr your hоmе.
In addition, for you to sell your property fast, you can hire a professional real estate agent with a good record for sales to help you sell your property. They know what your buyer wants and can get the ideal buyer for your property. Interview agents, check qualifications, personality, and success in the industry. Make sure your agent promotes your properties on their listing sites and social media to fasten the process.
Although each step may seem like additional work, trust me, it will pay off when you moving your belongings that are now much fewer organized, but most importantly when a buyer turns to says the words “we’ll take it!”

Room-by-Room Guide to Declutter Your House Before Selling

Clutter—it’s a word that makes many of us shudder, and we like it even less when we’re preparing to sell our home. However, mastering clutter is one of the best things you can do to help buyers see your house as a place they can call home. Clutter and piles make spaces look smaller and can hide your home’s more attractive features.

If you’re looking to sell your home this year, why not start it off right with a resolution to de-clutter? We know that this can feel daunting, so we’ve broken it down into a room-by-room guide. When you approach de-cluttering in smaller chunks it’s easier—plus, we’re sure you’ll be so pleased with the results that you’ll look forward to getting through the whole list.canstockphoto37528235

Entryway & Hallways

The entryway is the first thing a potential buyer will see, so make sure it’s welcoming and not overwhelming.

  • Corral coats, scarves, and other outerwear
  • Store shoes and boots out of sight
  • Remove mail, newspapers, and other clutter (or keep them neatly displayed in an attractive organizer)
  • Eliminate random clutter in hallways
  • Tastefully display art, candles, or other decor to accentuate your home’s positives
  • Remove excessive family photos and other personal items

 

Kitchen

Often called the heart of the home, the kitchen sees a lot of action. Make sure all an interested buyer sees is how they can make their gourmet dreams come true.

  • Keep counters neat and tidy
  • Never leave dishes in the sink or dripping on the rack
  • Store small appliances in cupboards, or box away for moving if not needed
  • Box up extra items from crowded cupboards and drawers, so you can nicely display your best items (buyers will open doors and look!)
  • Organize all cupboards and displays
  • Remove photos and schoolwork from the fridge
  • Put items that point to trouble (like drain cleaner or ant powder) out of sight
  • Place sponges, scrubbers, and towels in a bin under the sink

 

Bedrooms

Bedrooms are supposed to be our sanctuaries, but too often they become dumping spots for everything that has nowhere else to go. Turn yours back into a sanctuary before buyers take a look.

  • Clear out off-season clothing from drawers and closets—an overstuffed closet appears smaller.
  • Tidy your bedside table and remove any medications, personal care items, or cluttered charging stations
  • Select only one or two family photos to display
  • Make the bed every day—and spruce up existing (or splurge!) on new linens, duvet, and pillows to make the room look fresh and appealing
  • Dust any ceiling fans and other hard-to-reach nooks to make sure the room glows

 

Living & Family Rooms

Make sure potential buyers don’t have to look past piles of clutter to envision themselves relaxing in your space.

  • Clear out piles of magazines, newspapers, books, and hobby materials
  • Make any displays on mantels or tables simple, clean, and devoid of personal effects and photos—less is more
  • Make sure the room has ample lighting day and night, rearrange light fixtures or add a lamp if needed
  • Check drapes and blinds for dust and get them cleaned, if needed
  • Corral remotes and other electronic gadgets in a cupboard, drawer, or attractive bin or basket
  • If you have little ones, organize toys into one section of the room and use bins or other attractive containers to keep them under control

 

Bathrooms

Just because these rooms are functional, it doesn’t mean they can’t be beautiful.

  • Clean out your drawers and cabinets—remove any outdated or unused toiletries, medicine, or personal care equipment
  • Tastefully display only the essentials in the medicine cabinet or drawers
  • Pack up rarely used perfumes and jewelry
  • Add fresh drawer liners
  • Organize cleaning items in a safe, unobtrusive spot
  • Remove multiple soap and shampoo bottles from shower shelves
  • Get rid of damp towels, washcloths, loofahs, etc.
  • Make sure towels are displayed neatly on a shelf or in a basket

 

Laundry Room

A well-appointed laundry room can be the difference between like and love for some home buyers. Make the right impression in yours.

  • Don’t leave any laundry (clean or dirty) in piles or otherwise on display
  • If you leave out items to air dry, make sure to put them away before a tour
  • Neatly organize detergents, spot removers, and other supplies
  • Put function on display by arranging equipment, detergents, drying racks, and laundry baskets in an attractive manner that show how easy it is to access everything
  • Wipe down the washer and dryer—make sure no lint or dust is showing
  • Throw lint and other items like dryer sheets in a trash can with a lid

 

Basement or Garage

These are places where we like to hide things that are unsightly or have no other place to call home. But you want potential buyers to see possibility, not defeat, when they enter yours.

  • Properly dispose of opened cans of paint (unless buyers could use it for touch-ups), stain, pest repellent, and other chemicals
  • Organize tools and box up large items if not currently in use
  • Sort through all those old boxes of what-nots and donate unneeded items—organize the rest in neatly-stacked bins
  • Throw out anything that’s musty or shows signs of mold and mildew
  • Dust everything
  • Organize sports equipment neatly, storing as much as possible in bins
  • Add shelves to better corral miscellaneous odds and ends

De-cluttering isn’t fun, but you’ll be happy you did it when you’re calling the moving truck. Get obstacles out of the way so buyers can see what a gem your home is!

4 Homeownership Payment Programs To Know About

coins-currency-investment-insuranceMortgage payments are a part of homeownership. In your due diligence, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by the idea of saving up for a home, but if you break it down into smaller steps you can feel a little more in control.

As you begin your path towards homeownership, here are 4 low-down payment programs to be aware of:

  • GSE-backed loans. These are government-sponsored (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) enterprises which help to drive the mortgage market and are backed by loan-to-value loans. Learn more on what you might qualify for with this great calculator.
  • FHA. Through participating lenders, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) provides 3.5% down payment mortgages for those who qualify. Compared to more conventional mortgages, these types of loans are easier to qualify for and have slightly lower rates.
  • VA. Veterans Administration (VA) loans are eligible to veterans and active duty servicemembers and their families. This type of loan require no down payment or mortgage insurance.
  • USDA. For those living in rural and suburban areas, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (ISDA) offers low rates and 100% financing.

To learn more about these types of loans and what you qualify for, your loan officer can answer your questions and help you decide what type of mortgage is best for you.

5 Tips For Getting Your Apartment Deposit Back

Getting ready to move out of your apartment and into your dream home? As you prepare to make the move, here are 5 tips for helping you get your deposit back from your landlord: chess-603624_640

  1. Tell your landlord. If you’re planning on moving out, tell your landlord early on. By talking with your landlord, you can find out if their are any minor repairs or other expectations (such as shampooing carpets) that needs to be done. If you know about these things upfront, you can take care of them yourself and save yourself some extra cash.
  1. Deep clean. Common courtesy says you should tidy up your apartment before you move out, but it will also help you get your deposit back. Take some time to wipe down appliances, clean the oven and stove, and take out the trash.
  1. Repair any damages. If there are structural damage (large holes, chipped tiles, or exposed fixtures) make sure they are repaired. Any small holes, such as those left behind from curtains, are fine, but it is the bigger ones you’ll want to repair.
  1. Fix maintenance issues. Any broken item, a leak under your sink (even if it wasn’t your fault), should be fixed before you hand in your keys. If you don’t take the time to repair this, your landlord could charge you for the damage, even after you’ve moved out.
  1. Remove add-ons. If you’ve added any partitions or walls in your apartment, make sure they’re removed before you move out—unless otherwise expressed in your lease. However, in most cases, these types of structures are usually required to be removed at the tenant’s expense.

What some extra tips? Check out the article, 7 Ways to Guarantee You Get Your Apartment Deposit Back. Have something to add? Tell us your thought below in the comments.

Create New Habits For Saving Money With These 4 Tips

With the New Year, many people are thinking of new ways to save money. This year, create new habits for saving money with these 4 tips:dollar-943737_640

  1. Turn off the lights. You may not think about it, but turning off the lights in your house or in a room when you’re not there can save you some extra cash. Also, turn down your thermostat when away and during the night when you’re sleeping. Even turning down the temperature by 10 degrees can benefit you in the long run.
  1. Double your batches of food. Life can get pretty chaotic and cooking dinner can be quickly improvised by hitting a fast-food drive in. However, that can get pretty costly after a while and is not the most healthy option. Instead, make extra batches of casseroles, soups, chili, and other foods that can easily be frozen. During those days you don’t have time to cook, just pull one of your pre-made foods out and reheat.
  1. Hide your credit cards. Credit cards can be tempting to use, especially when you carry them around with you. Instead, take them out of your wallet and put them in a safe place in your home. By removing the temptation from the wallet, and only using them for emergencies, you can keep yourself out of debt (or pay it off faster).
  1. Avoid expensive impulse buys. Make a promise with yourself this year to give yourself 24 hours to really think over an expensive purchase before going through with it. By giving yourself time to seriously consider the purchase, you’re less likely to make an impulse buy your going to later regret.

Take some time to create a budget spreadsheet and see where you are spending your money. By having a better idea on what you’re spending your money on, the better you can revise your budget and cut overspending.

In addition, read blogs by Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, or any other financial investor you trust. There are lots of various resources out there to help you save money and develop new habits for getting out of debt.

7 Must Know Costs When Buying a Home

flowers-675949_1280When it comes to buying a home, there are many things to consider—getting pre-approved, finding your dream home, and your monthly mortgage—but there are some costs that get overlooked. As you begin the process towards home ownership, here are 7 costs and fees to be aware of:

  1. Home inspection. Your home is a huge investment, probably the biggest you’ll ever make, and you’ll want to have the home inspected before making an offer. If the home needs repairs, this will give you some leverage when making your negotiations on the price. A home inspection can cost a few hundred dollars, so make sure you’re prepared, financially, for this.
  1. Appraisal fees. Before buying a home, your lender will require you to have the property valued by a professional real estate appraiser. At one point, this was included in the closing costs, but is no longer done that way.
  1. Private mortgage insurance. Ideally, you want to put a downpayment of 20% of the price of the home. If you can’t put down 20%, in most cases, you’ll be obligated to take out a private mortgage insurance policy. Although the cost of this private insurance, on a home costing around $200,000 can expect to pay around $50-$100 per month.
  1. Closing costs. As you begin to close on your dream home, you’ll be expected to pay closing costs. The closing costs consist of processing fees, underwriting fees, recording fees, survey fees, and title insurance fees—all these fees add up to thousands of dollars (2-3% of the mortgage loan amount). When you apply for your home loan (aka getting pre-approved by your bank, credit union, or mortgage lender), make sure this closing fees are included in the loan.
  1. Homeowners insurance. This insurance is important to protect yourself against repairs or replacement costs if your home is damaged in a major event (earthquake, fire, hurricane, etc) or theft. There are various home insurance options so make sure while you’re talking with insurance agent to find out which insurance policy is your best option and get a quote so you can budget it into your expenses.
  1. Property taxes. Property taxes are set by the local government for public expenses, including, but not limited to, schools, parks, and sidewalks. The seller or seller’s agent can provide you with the annual costs of this. Also, find out when the next tax assessment is and if the property taxes will be raised due to the sale of the home.
  1. Utilities. While you prepare to make an offer on your dream home, ask the seller to provide you with a year’s worth of utility bills to determine what your monthly utility costs will be. Take into consideration of the difference of family size, a single person (in most cases) will pay less in utilities compared to a family of four.

If you’re ready to turn home ownership into a reality, give us a call today. We’re here to answer all your questions and help you find your dream home.

Make The Most of 2016 With These 3 Unique New Year Resolutions

Can you believe 2016 is a few weeks away? With the New Year approaching, many people are starting to plan their resolutions. However, perhaps you’re not motivated not set any New Year goals because you can’t think of anything interesting or inspiring. I mean, there is always the standard, lose weight or get healthy goals.padlock-166882_640

This year, instead of going with the standard, fall back goals, here are 3 unique goals to set for 2016.

Break out of your comfort zone. As humans, we tend to like to get into our comfort zones and stay there. Take some time to grow this year and try something new, choose something to make you stretch and push you out of your comfort zone. If you’re having a hard time facing your fear of trying something new, check out the book, Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers. This is an excellent book about facing your fears.

Give a gift every day. This doesn’t have to be expensive. Your gift may be giving someone a smile, shoveling a neighbor’s driveway, or helping around the house more. The point is to take some time each day to do something for someone else. Get creative here and have some fun.

Unplug for an hour each day. Take some time each day to unplug and turn off your phone, computer, and other electronics to spend time with the people who matter most in your life. Use this time to connect with your family, friends, and yourself. We’re all so connected with our phones and social media that we forget to enjoy the world around us. This year, make it a point to spend time living—really living.

Understanding the Home Buying Process

Right now, the benefits of owning your own home far outweigh renting. In addition to the pride of ownership, owning your home is a great investment, has tax advantages (in most cases), and allows you to build equity.  When moving forward with the purchasing a home, it is important to understand the home buying process to make sure you get the most out of your investment.

  • Hire a real estate agent. Hire a qualified agent to help you find your dream home and make the whole buying process easier. Real estate agents are here to help you, answer your questions, and make sure nothing is overlooked.
    • Shop for mortgage rates and terms. Even a half of a percent difference could mean huge savings for you in the long run. Speak with a mortgage lender to better understand the rates and what you qualify for.
    • Prequalify for a loan. If you go in to the home buying process knowing how much you can afford can make all the difference and let sellers know you are serious about moving forward in the home buying process.
    • Visit properties. Take time to shop around, see what you like and don’t like. Your real estate agent can be a huge help here by finding properties that will meet your placeit (1)needs and stay within your budget.
    • Research. Take the time to tour houses and talk with your agent about what features can help or hurt the resale value of your home. Take note of what you liked and didn’t like so you have a more concrete picture of what you want/need in a home.
    • Make an offer. Once you have narrowed in on your dream home, you will want to make an offer. Utilize your agent to help you negotiate and handle the financial and contractual side of the dealings.
    • Arrange a home inspection. After the offer has been accepted, you will want to set up a home inspection. Be sure to hire someone who is certified to check the home for leaks, cracked walls, or foundation problems. Note, you can negotiate repairs as part of the purchase.
    • Close. This is where you sign the final paperwork and receive the keys to your new home.
  • Prepare for your life in your new home. Now you can relax and get comfortable in your new home. Unpack and make the home your own.

Do you have any questions about the home buying process? Be sure to leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Growing Your Success

What does success look like to you? Do you see yourself as a success? In today’s world, we seem to emphasize success on how much money you make, if you are famous or not, but what about the teacher who inspires their students to never give up or the person who helps their neighbor?

Regardless of how you define success, if  you want a rewarding life you need to know what you want. What drives you to accomplish 14464606763_5473161990_zthings that keep moving your forward? Keep challenging yourself by setting new goals and discovering what you are capable of (and exceeding your wildest expectations).

According to Tony Robbins, life coach and motivational speaker, recommends that you to develop daily rituals to creating the life you want and giving power to your goals. Look at your goals, or the challenges you are facing in your life, and break them down into little bit size rituals. What could you accomplish in your life if you completed a small task every day? Remember the old saying, “how do you eat an elephant? One bit a time.”

What is one thing you would like to achieve in 2014? What is something you can start doing today to make your dreams come true?