Friday, March 29, 2013

How to get your Home ready for an Open House

The Spring is here and many home buyers will turn their Sunday drives into a house hunting experience, stopping at open houses along the way. Want your home to stand out on the trail? Here is a checklist to  follow when preparing for an open house:

1. Eliminate half of your belongings as clutter can cost a sale. Rent a storage unit or portable pod for extraneous pieces of furniture or knickknacks. Another idea is to ask a friend if you can borrow some space in his or her garage.
2. Use "home wash" (hose attachment available at home improvement stores) to clean the outside of the house.
3. Clean rain gutters as well as outside windows and screens.

4. Make sure the front door is inviting. Paint the door if needed. Also, replace any outdated outdoor lighting fixtures.
5. Buy new house numbers if the old ones are dated or faded. Be sure buyers can see the new ones from the curb.
6. Buy a new welcome mat.

7. Organize all closets and drawers. Buyers might look there.
8. Make any necessary repairs so that buyers don't have to add that to their list of expenses.
9. Rearrange furniture to make rooms appear as large as possible.

10. Make every surface shine, from ceiling fans to baseboards. Don't forget interior windows, mirrors and floors.
11. Scrub every inch of the kitchen and bathrooms.
12.Depersonalize each room, removing photo frames and posters or artwork.

13.Buy new linens and pillows if necessary. Be certain they are a neutral color.
14. Buy air neutralizer and spray it often.
15. Let go emotionally of your home, and get ready for an offer!
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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Cleanup

Most of us tend to hibernate for the winter, dressing in layers and restricting activity to movies on the couch under a cozy blanket.  Spring is upon us, and with that comes a new boost of energy and the urgency to tackle some Spring cleaning.  The outside of your house is  probably looking as weather-beaten and gray, so here are a few tips from the TLC network that will help you to spruce things up in your yard.

Squeaky-Clean Windows- Start with the outside windows before taking the show inside, or you won't be able to tell whether they're actually clean or not.  You'll want to tackle your screens first, in preparation for those perfect, sunny, breezy spring days that just call out for open windows. Take the screens off and take them outside for a gentle bath with a hose. If they're especially icky, you might want to rub them with some soapy water and a brush -- that old, dead fly is exactly the kind of depressing winter sight we're trying to get rid of.

Get those leaves out of the gutters- Post-wintertime, there are a lot of things you know you're supposed to do but don't actually feel like doing. Cleaning your gutters is probably one of them, but you do not want water damage to your house and doing this the ultimate defense. Once you're on that ladder, you're going to need to get rid of all the leaves, twigs and other gunk that's made a home in your gutter.

De-leaf and De-clutter the Lawn- Get ready for a lush lawn and a flourishing garden by getting rid of the soggy, old leaves choking your flowerbeds and grass. Have a few extra dollars in the kitty? Splurge for a landscaper to come out for the day. You might be able to get your raking, tilling and grass seed replenished for a decent price.

Sort it out- For a lot of people, the garage is like a big, cluttered closet -- you throw in all the unwanted stuff you can't find a home for, shut the door and hope it will magically disappear. Before you start organizing, you'll need to assign and arrange areas: Perhaps there's a hobby area in one corner and workshop equipment in another. Decide where these will go, then move on to figure out how to store everything. The more organized your garage is, the easier it will be to make use of all that you will need when working (or playing) outdoors.

Before you know it, the sun  is shining, the flowers are blooming, and the birds are chirping.  Hopefully, these tips will have you well on your way to enjoying your yard with your family!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How to find a "Tech-Savvy" Realtor®

Technology has changed a great deal over past decade.  It seems like only yesterday that people were getting their first cell phones, and now you can't seem to glance in any direction without someone texting, talking, tweeting, and so on. What does consumer technology mean to you as you venture into the world of real estate? It means you need to be working with a Realtor® who understands the implications of such technology on the real estate market. It means you need a tech savvy agent!

How do I know if an agent uses the latest technology?

The first thing you can do is find his/her website.  If you cannot find it easily, chances are that others won't be able to, in turn, leaving a home you may be listing lost in cyber space.The agent's site should be simple to use and have a nice design.  A poorly designed web-site can scare buyers (and sellers) away and will effect you depending what side on the transaction you are on.

Social Media engagement is also something to look for in a tech savvy Realtor®. Interaction in the social sphere shows that he/she knows how important online communication is to buyers and sellers.  A good agent should use outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social media sites to promote and your home or prospect homes if you are the buyer.

Lastly, a solid home search option is key in a tech savvy agent. Research shows that 95% of all home sales begin with online search. If you’re Realtor’s search option is difficult to find, or even worse- nonexistent, then you are definitely not working with a tech savvy Realtor.

In all, finding an agent that uses the latest technology is not very difficult, but you just have to know what you are looking for!
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Friday, March 15, 2013

The Next Steps in Building an Addition

Once you have carefully weighed the factors in putting an addition on your home and the decision to proceed has been made, you should develop a home addition plan. Now is the time to develop your home addition idea by incorporating things from a wish list into the actual home addition floor plan.
Here are a few steps you can follow:

1. Establish an overall project objective- Address your wants and needs; the addition of more living space is normally main objective, but storage, traffic flow, improved access, aesthetic appeal, the addition of modern elements, and entertaining are other considerations. Remember that kitchen and bathroom bring the most significant increase to overall market value.

2. Evaluate the site- Closely evaluate the site where the construction will take place.  Determine what landscaping features or existing outbuildings to keep or remove. Consider visual elements; sun exposure, shade, and air flow.  Also, check with your local building authority to ensure there are no building code restrictions as to what can be built.

3. Locate a contractor- Finding a reputable contractor will be the most important part of this project.  Ask friends, relatives, and people you trust for recommendations.  There are also websites such as Yelp, Angie's List, and that will help you make a decision.  Some of these sites even allow you to view references, licensing/insurance/certification credentials, customer feedback, company profile pages, and photos of recent projects online.

4. Formulate a cost estimate- Work closely with your contractor to develop a home addition cost estimate for your project.  Map out a budget for each of the elements that will go into this project.

Once you have followed these steps, you are on your way to breaking ground.  A home addition can be a big project to take on, so remember  to stay calm, use professionals, and keep an open mind for any bumps along the way!
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Questions to ask before Building an Addition

When it comes to planning for a home addition, there are two key factors to consider.  Emotional factors as well as financial play important roles in the decision making process. The following offer examples of each and should put you on track for making the right decision:


  • Neighboring home market values – consult with a real estate professional about what additions or improvements will positively affect your home in regards to your particular neighborhood. Is the neighborhood desirable to buyers, or otherwise?
  • Investment – what will the home addition cost; will the addition yield a good cost vs. increased value ratio?
  • What financing will be necessary – a common home improvement loan or a home equity loan?


  • It is your first home; are you attached to it?
  • What is its proximity to place of employment, schools, and shopping.
  • Did you raised your family there; do you want to pass it to your children someday?
  • Have you developed bonds with neighbors?
  • Do you desire the addition for aesthetic purposes; to make the home more to your liking?
  • How much stress and disruption will you be willing to endure during the construction process?
Once you have answered these questions, you should be able to determine if an addition is right for your family and your home.  Friday's blog will outline how to develop a plan, formulate costs, and locating a contractor.  Stay tuned!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Can't Miss Tips for Moving with Kids

Moving your home with young children can be hectic, to say the least. Here are some tips that will help take the stress and hassle out of moving as a family:

Before The Move:

Tell your kids where you are moving and why.
Make a list of the benefits of moving that your children will be able to understand.
Use maps and pictures as illustrations to make the move more concrete.
Involve your child in planning his/her new bedroom. Draw pictures and include them in the process

During the Move:

Have your children create a special mark or symbol for the boxes containing "their stuff." Whether it's stickers or a drawing, this will allow your children to feel involved in the move.
Pack a special bag to carry with you to your new home containing your kids' favorite toys and activities so they will have access to most the important items right away.
Bring snacks.
Unpack the kids' bedrooms first so that they can go to sleep while you stay up organizing your new home.

After The Move:

Plan a family welcome ritual for your new home. 
Resume daily routines, like mealtime and bedtime as quickly as possible to provide consistency.
Help your kids feel comfortable in their new bedroom.  
Explore your new neighborhood together. 
Take the initiative in introducing your children to new friends, but make sure to keep in touch with people from your old neighborhood.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Getting a Head Start in Today's Red Hot Real Estate Market

There is no denying that today's Real Estate Market is red hot.  Interest rates are low, rents are  high, confidence is up, and inventory is scarce. Want to get in on the game? Here are a few tips to get you started:


Do your research. To see what you are up against, ask your broker for a detailed breakdown on exactly the type of property you are looking for.  Knowing the stats and prices will have you ready to negotiate.

Check your credit history. Interest rates are low, but the loan process is very thorough.The better your credit score, the more money you will save on your loan.  Make sure your record is flawless.

Get pre-arpproved. In such a rabid market, you will want to be ready to make an offer on that house you love.  A pre-approval will need to go along with that in order for Sellers to take it seriously.


Stage ahead of time. An open house may be the first selling event at your home, but don't forget that the pictures are what peaks interest in your home and starts the whole selling process.

Touch up or update paint. New paint is the most cost effective way to freshen up a room.  Get rid of all the scuff and dirt marks in order to leave spaces feeling fresh and clean.

Ditch the personal effects. It is important for buyers to feel comfortable, not like they are invading someone's personal space. Your best bet is to ditch the wedding and graduation photos.  You can, however, leave out a few candids to keep your home feeling warm and friendly.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Making the most of Space in a Small Home

Short on space in your home?  Here are a few things you can do to maximize the space in your home:

First, by simply rearranging the furniture in your house and even getting rid of some furnishings you don’t use or could do without, you can free up a lot of space, making your home look and feel bigger. Try moving around sofas and coffee tables in your living room to get the most out of your space and push beds against the wall in bedrooms to free up more open space.

Change Colors
You may find it hard to believe but the right paint job can make your home look more spacious. Light colors make a space look larger, so by painting your walls in whites, creams and other light colors, you can make your home seem bigger. Mirrors can also be used to give the illusion of more space in a room. Plus, they reflect light back into the room, making it look brighter and more spacious.

Think Tall
When it comes to storage, think vertically. Rather than taking up space on the floor, invest in tall storage units as they draw the eye upwards making the ceiling seem higher as well as providing more storage space than shorter cupboards and dressers. Clutter chokes up a house, making it seem crowded, small and claustrophobic, so keep your house clutter-free to keep it feeling airy and large.

If you want to create more space in your home, you could consider converting either the attic or the garage into an extra room. This is a particularly good option for people with large families who need another bedroom or even another bathroom or living room. Attic and garage conversions can add a lot of space to your home as well as increasing its value, so if you do decide to sell in the future, you’ll get a better price.
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