12 Must-Do Home Maintenance Tips For Spring

Ah, spring! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the windows are finally open! Now is definitely the time to take a realistic look at your home’s exterior (and all that goes with it), and do the necessary cleaning, or make repairs or replacements. Winter can be harsh, but springtime is all about […]

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Managing Your Mulch and Making the Right Choice for Your Garden

You may still be in the clutches of Old Man Winter, but for many areas of the United States, spring is just around the corner! Who knows a seed catalog or two may have already made their way to your mailbox. Either way, it’s never too early to begin planning your flower and vegetable gardens. […]

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The Internet Can’t Replace Your Agent

We live in the information age; the Internet offers advice on every topic and real estate is no exception. With more and more home buyers starting their home search online, they are bombarded with advice and information – it can be easy to think that you can learn everything you need to know just by reading articles online.
The truth is your real estate agent does much more than answer your questions and open doors with a special key or code. A professional real estate agent will be there every step of the way. They have the experience necessary to navigate the complicated home buying or selling process and solve common hiccups that present themselves in every real estate transaction, therefore you don’t have to handle it alone.
Your real estate agent is a local professional. Your agent is someone who will work hard on your behalf and with others involved in the transaction to see it through to a successful conclusion. They have a network of professionals who will work as a team to help you through the process. These include such professionals as lenders, title reps, escrow officers, transaction coordinators, home inspectors, contractors, and handymen, among others.
Most importantly, your agent is your ally in the home buying or selling process. They negotiate for you – armed with experience and understanding of customary charges, costs, and terms. If you are a buyer, they will ensure that the price you pay for the home is fair for the condition and neighborhood.  Whether buying or selling they will negotiate repairs, if needed and make sure you are protected with the proper contingencies among other issues.

Negotiation ImagePhoto credit: www.imindq.com

Yes, the Internet offers lots of great information, but the most important step you can take when buying or selling a home is hiring a local professional real estate agent. Their knowledge and expertise can’t be found by reading an article or two online.

Tips for Buying and Selling at the Same Time

Either buying or selling a home can feel stressful at times, it can be even more overwhelming if one is trying to do both at the same time. The good news is that this happens all the time and by following a few simple tips, both buying and selling can be a seamless process.

Tips for Buying and Selling at the Same Time

The good news is that you’re planning to move anyway. Before you list your home for sale, why not start packing now? Take personal items and excess furnishings and pack them up and move them to storage. Not only will your home look larger and neater, but you are also getting a start on the move.

Photo credits: Pixabay Packing Boxes
StorageNext, make sure your agent understands the timeline and requirements. There are many standard contingencies which can protect you from owning two homes at once or none at all. Not only can the purchase of your new home be contingent on successfully closing on your current one but you can also reverse the process and ensure you find a replacement before the close as well.

Finally, get the entire family involved. Be excited about the change and create a moving plan in which everyone has a task and there is a plan for the move itself. By taking a few initial steps, moving can be fun and easy.

Happy family on the floor with cardboard boxes moving in their new home - isolated
Photo credit: Expatica.com

 

 

 

Top 7 New Year’s Resolutions for Home Sellers

With the start of the New Year, thoughts naturally turn to change. If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to sell your home, then making the right resolutions can help you sell your home quickly and for the best possible return. Here are the top 7 New Year’s Resolutions for Home Sellers:

1. Move Up Spring Cleaning – The time to do your spring cleaning is now. Declutter, depersonalize and make the home look roomier.  Don’t forget your closets.  Closets that are bursting at the seams with stuff scream to buyers that you do not have enough room for storage.

Closet-before-and-after-1024x782 photo credit: Whiskey Riff

2. Stage Your Home – Whether you hire someone or do it yourself, this is the time to rearrange your furniture to make your rooms look bigger and brighter. A well-staged home spends less time on the market and can even help you walk away with more money.

HomeStaging PhotoPhoto credit: therealestatecoconut.com

3. Think it Through – Before you spend money on renovations and upgrades, think carefully and don’t overspend by guessing. Seek advice as needed.

4. Take Care of Neglected Repairs – This is a great time to hire a handyman or break out the tool belt to take care of deferred maintenance and take care of minor repairs. By taking care of them now, you can save yourself money because once there is a home inspection all repairs might be required to be done by a licensed professional, so if there are things you can take care of yourself, now is the time to do it.

5. Interview Real Estate Agents – Hiring a real estate agent is critical to your success. Take the time to interview a number of agents and choose the right one for YOUR needs.

6. Check out the Competition – Go see homes listed for sale in your area and adjust your timing, staging, and pricing based on the market.

7. Prepare Mentally – Selling a home can be stressful. Be prepared for low offers, picky buyers, drop-by agents and odd terms that may arise. Prepare yourself now so you will take them in stride when you’re on the market.  Your real estate agent should be able to help prepare you for what to expect during the selling process and beyond.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Investment – To Rent or Flip?

There are a wide variety of ways to invest in real estate; one can make money in any of these options, one can also lose their money. To be successful in real estate investing, it’s critical that you identify what skills you have and your tolerance for risk. Then choose a type of investment that works for you and repeat that model.

Investors can make great profits by both flipping properties as well as holding them as rentals. The difference really boils down to a few considerations. First, what kind of income are you seeking? Active or Passive? Actively buying, fixing and flipping properties is quick cash that requires careful timing and effort. Rental properties on the other hand offer passive long-term income which accumulates over time. Additionally the property value increases during this time. The downside is that one must invest time in property maintenance and tenant management.

The second concern is risk. Flipping a property is not traditional investing where one buys and holds an investment. Flipping is really speculation. When buying a flipper, one must carefully gauge the cost of refurbishment, remodeling and the cost of the holding time into the price valuation, then carefully market the home and realize the profit. Any number of variances can go wrong which could cause the value to drop and profits to reduce or even disappear, such as a delay in remodeling or a slow real estate market.

Both types of investments can bring nice profits. Determining what’s best for you and your talents is important in choosing the best option for your financial goals.

Tips To Beautify Rooms In Your Home

 There’s no place like home, so why not beautify your home, and make it a cozy place you can stay in? Let’s dive into some techniques that can help you showcase the best features of every room in your house. Just a touch of color, texture, and personality can transform your home into something new. Here’s a few tips that aren’t a lot of hassle:

flat screen television on TV stand

ADD SOME COLOR

Going with a neutral scheme can never go wrong, but if you’re feeling like your room is a little drab, don’t be afraid to go with a bold color. You can do an accent wall that compliments the current color scheme or use your furniture or accent pieces to bring a touch of color. Color doesn’t have to mean clutter, you can keep the rest of the room simple and add the dramatic touch with a few elements.

USE SOME MIRRORS

Bringing in some mirrors can add light and room to your space. Using mirrors in staging is known to help the room look like it’s much bigger than it is it. Add a few accent mirrors, preferably right across the room from a window, to brighten up your space and keep it from feeling too tight and small.


PLAY WITH ACCESSORIES

We get it, furniture can get expensive, but there is so much you can do with a room just getting creative with accessories. Get some unique decorative pieces and let your room tell a story around them. Hop down to your closest antique store and grab some pieces that are bold. You can also hop into Hobby Lobby or TJ Maxx, they have beautiful and unique decorative pieces that are incredibly affordable.

ADD SOME GREEN

Nothing gives a space some life like some life, literally. Add some plants to your rooms, lots of green ones that are easy to keep alive, to add a unique touch to the room. You’d be surprised how much a room looks “finished” when you add a beautiful tree to the corner of a room.


EMBRACE THE LIGHT

The natural light, we mean. Don’t block out your windows with heavy drapes or hide them behind furniture. Decorate around your room in a way that compliments the windows and brings the natural light in.

ADD TEXTURE

Use fur throws or pillows, use patterns in your fabrics, etc. Don’t be afraid to add unique textures throughout the home. It gives your eyes something to land on as it’s looking around the room. You can even use metallics. Don’t over-do it, because then it can get overwhelming. Just get a few textures that compliment each other and put them in clever places around your room.

REMOVE CLUTTER

A tip you’ll hear often, nothing brings the best out in a room then getting rid of all the clutter and junk. If you have a hard time walking around your room or finding things, it may be time to get a few boxes and start cleaning out the things that don’t really belong.

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Fireplace Design Trends

One of my favorite things to do in the winter when I get home from work is to put on my pajamas, turn on the fireplace and get cozy – even if I am still working on my laptop while sitting on the couch.  I know that the long evenings of the winter months invites families to stay home and enjoy the warmth of their own home. Naturally, attention turns to the fireplace as both providing extra heat and as the focal point of the room. New technology and environmentally friendly design has brought contemporary updates that are sleek, fashionable and playful.

  • Finishing – Fireplace finishes have changed. New products such as the Cool Wall Series open a wide variety of design options by allowing a cool surface as a backdrop for finishes.

  • Wood – Wood burning fireplaces are back in style. Decorative spaces for wood storage are adding architectural interest.

  •  Larger Openings – One of the leading trends in fireplace design is enlarging the viewing window of the fireplace. A simple retrofit of an existing fireplace can make a huge difference in the look of any room.

  •  Corner Fireplaces – This popular feature of the 1990s is back with modern updates. Two or three sided fireplaces with sleek styling and elegant accents, such as wood or metal, are providing a centerpiece for rooms.

  •  Fireplace Walls – Linear fireplaces that stretch the length of the wall is one trend showing up in model homes across the country. Monotone colors and clean lines finish this modern trend.

Eliminate Pet Odors In Your Home!

Eliminate Pet Odors In Your Home

 

Eliminating bad odors from your home is incredibly important, you want to make sure you’ve removed them before putting it on the market. Often times, the first thing buyers notice upon entering your home, is how it smells. If there is an odd odor, it will instantly put them off. No matter how beautifully staged and presented it is, strong odors or stale air can make your home unappealing to prospective buyers. Opening windows and exhaust fans will only go so far in removing foul odors, but won’t generally eliminate it completely. To ensure you don’t lose potential buyers, follow these odor eliminating tips to ensure your home smells and feels fresh and new.
Don’t Use Artificial Freshening Sprays

Don’t make the mistake of spraying artificial room freshener sprays in hopes that it will remove the bad odor. Deodorizers will quickly fade, and only mask the smell, sometimes in an overwhelming way. If a buyer walks into your home, your air freshener can cause a reaction, like a runny nose or a headache, and will make them suspicious of an underlying foul odor. Instead of trying to mask it, locate the actual source of the bad odor and get rid of it.
Best Pet Carpet Cleaners for Accidents

We all love our furry friends, but unfortunately, they can get your home pretty smelly. Whether the smell is on the carpet, furniture, or even on the walls – it’s essential to have it removed. Most odors stem from accidents. You always want to attend to the accident right away. Blot them with a paper towel and use mild dishwashing liquid to help remove the odor. Once completely cleaned, blot again with fresh paper towels to dry the spot. If the accident is not recent, use an enzyme cleaner to eat the bad bacteria. Another great idea is to use activated charcoal. It is a form of carbon that has been activated to make it extremely porous. You can get activated charcoal meant for pet odors at most pet stores.
Green Cleaning Products

Using natural odor eliminators is a great green alternative to most of the chemicals sold at stores. One of the most recommended products is to use baking soda. You can place an open box of it in a room to help absorb unwanted smells. It also helps to remove musty aroma in dark spaces, like a basement. On top of being used to remove pet odors, it also works great for cigarette smells. If you don’t wish to use baking soda, most pet supply stores will have green cleaning products that help remove odors, while still being safe for your household.

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8 Ways A Great Real Estate Agent Can Change Your Life

A real estate transaction can be an exciting thing to experience, but it can also be nerve-wracking and stressful. Your experience will largely depend on the circumstances surrounding your transaction and, perhaps more importantly, the agent you’re working with.

A great agent will not only get you over the finish line to the best of their ability, but they can also change your life for the better. Here are eight ways:

person hanging keys to man's hand standing next to girl

1. They’ll show you they care

In today’s fast-paced world, it seems like everyone’s attention is in short supply. A great real estate agent will show you that’s not always the case, by listening and caring about you and your needs. Not only will being a good listener help an agent do their job, but it’ll also show you that even in business, there are still people out there who care.

2. They can save you a lot of money

There’s an old expression, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” Hiring a great agent can save you literally thousands of dollars, as the right agent will not only negotiate effectively, but also know what pitfalls to look for as the transaction moves along, saving you money in the process.

3. They can help you see things in a different way

One of the most overlooked aspects of hiring a great agent is just how much of an effect they can have on your perspective. For instance, you might think that you’re looking for something in particular, but a great agent can take what you asked for and find something that’s even better than anything you’ve ever considered. A great agent is like an expert matchmaker.

4. They’ll do more than help you buy or sell a home

A great real estate agent will go above and beyond for you. They’ll help you find contractors, give recommendations on design (if you’re open to them), and even help you navigate the restaurants in your new neighborhood. Great agents provide so much value because they want to be your go-to resource for anything to do with real estate.

5. They can find you something that no one else can

Great real estate agents aren’t necessarily miracle workers, but they’re close. A great agent will surprise you with something no one’s ever thought of before, whether it’s finding a property that you didn’t know about, or a solution to an otherwise complex problem. A great agent is proactive and instead of sitting around waiting, will make things happen for you.

6. They can take a lot of stress away

One of the best things about a great real estate agent is the peace of mind that comes from working with them. There are lots of things that can go wrong during a real estate transaction, and a great agent knows this and will not only anticipate issues ahead of time, but will shoulder the burden and solve problems for you, making it a low-stress experience.

7. They’ll go to battle for you when it counts

The right agent is like a general you can depend on when the going gets tough. From searching for the right property or buyer, to negotiating, to pushing the deal through despite all obstacles standing in the way… a great real estate agent won’t back down from adversity and will battle for your best interests at all times.

8. They can become a friend for life

Maybe your real estate agent is already your friend, but if not, with a great agent you might eventually become one. Real estate is much more about relationships than it is about individual transactions, and great agents know this. They also usually have the kind of infectious personality that you always want to be around. So don’t be afraid to form a lifelong friendship with your real estate agent, it could truly change your life.

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