Friday, December 27, 2013

Organizing after Christmas

After Christmas you might find yourself with a bigger mess than before. These tips will help you get organized in the new year.

If you have a fake tree, you'll need to find a good place to store it. Always keep the box it came in, you might just be able to put it back in. Many of the newer models have just a few parts and are very easy to get back in the box.
Ornaments can be tricky, as you don't want them to break. Use bubble wrap or even wrapping paper to individually wrap them so they don't touch. We've had pretty good luck with this tactic over the years, and very little ornaments have gotten broken.
You can also look for special containers to put ornaments in their own compartments for storage.

New Toys (for the kids)
If you have kids, chances are you have lots of new toys to find homes for. This might be a good time to rearrange rooms and buy some new storage units. For the time being, make use of all the boxes you now have left over from gifts. Sort toys by type, getting the kids involved so they know where their toys are suppose to go.
This is also a good time of year to sort through toys your kids don't play with anymore. Get rid of anything they really don't want or need, and give it to kids who need it more. You could donate them to doctors offices, churches, or the salvation army.

New Toys (for the adults)
This one is a bit more tricky, as you can't always just throw your new stuff in a box. But just like the kids rooms, you might have to do some rearranging in the house. You might also need to buy new storage units such as shelves or cabinets. Not only will it get you more organized, but it will add nice decoration to your house as well.

Above all, make sure you take it one step at a time. While it only took a day or two to make this mess, it's going to take a little more time to clean it up. Pick a project and work on it until it's done, then move on to the next.
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Boost Curb Appeal at Christmas

Christmas is the perfect time of year to boos the curb appeal of your home, especially at your entryway. Here are some simple ways to do so:

Add a winter prop

A woven basket hung on the door with fresh greens and a standing sled can help create a charming scene and create the feeling of "home."

Light Lanterns or candles

Lanterns and luminaries are both functional and attractive either along walkways or on the porch, regardless of the season. Those that you buy now can be used year-round. 

Hang a holiday wreath

Nothing could be simpler than hanging a  wreath on the front door. You will find a wealth of options at your local nursery.

Use garland

Garland is another easy way to add some holiday curb appeal.  Use it to wrap around columns, drape over railings and frame doorways. You’ll find fresh varieties at your local nursery and garden center. Natural is always more appealing.

Add traditional holiday color

Want to add some traditional color? You can’t do much better than a potted poinsettia.  Again, these are easy to find at your local nursery and look great when bunched together.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

5 things I wish you knew (from your Realtor)

1. Want to sell quickly? Price it just under the market.

Sellers are optimistic on the value and price of their homes in today's market, but buyers are not. Your challenge as a seller is to price the house so that it is compelling.  For example- if homes are selling for around $350,000 in your neighborhood, price yours at $339,000.
If you think you are leaving money on the table, keep in mind that the longer a house is on the market, the less likely you are to get fair value.  If you're turning around and buying a home, and you already have cash in hand thanks to a fast sale, that puts you in a very powerful position.

2. The preapproval letter is just the beginning

The preapproval letter is just one of the first refreshment stations of the homebuying marathon, not the finish line. It is not the time to start running up the cards and opening new lines of credit to buy things for their home-to-be. Just before closing, a lender will re-examine a prospective buyer's financial situation -- complete with a recent copy of the credit history and other updated information.  If those numbers change for the worse you are looking at a higher interest rate or even a denial of the loan.

3. Selling a house usually takes longer than you think

Here's the breakdown:

• Getting your home in shape: two weeks

• Average time on the market (varies widely with location and price): 2 1/2 to three months

• Negotiating after an offer: one week

• Preparing to close (assuming a traditional transaction): 30 to 45 days  

4. Smell does matter

A buyer needs to walk in and have it look good, feel good and smell good. Here's a checklist for getting your home "show" ready:

• Home: Clean. (And smelling good.)

• Temperature: Heated (or cooled) for comfort.

• Lights: Left on to welcome guests.

• Snacks or soft drinks: A nice touch.

5. We don't make as much as you think

Chances are the agent you hire to sell your house -- or find a new one -- isn't getting as big a cut of the deal as you might think. Usually the two sides (seller's agent and buyer's agent) will split the total commission, but then those agents, in turn, each split their share with their broker. The idea that agents are getting all or even half the commission is a big misconception.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Selling your home in the winter

While spring might be the busiest time of the year for real estate transactions, homes get bought and sold every season of the year. Here are some tips for selling your home in the off-season.

Snow Staging

It gets cold and snowy during the winter, so make sure that you stage the outside of your home accordingly. Shovel the driveways and be sure to clear ice away from walkways and doors. Buyers want to feel safe and comfortable when they're looking around.  Try to highlight the house with tasteful winter-themed decorations like Christmas wreaths and aesthetically-pleasing lighting. Houses for sale in the winter tend to show especially well when they're decorated for the holidays as it creates a warm feeling.

Keep your home well lit

It can get dark pretty early, so consider putting your outdoor lights on a timer. That way, when prospective buyers show up, the house will look bright and cheery instead of dark and dreary.  The same goes for the lighting inside of the house. Make sure that the heat is on before buyers arrive and that the place is clean, smells fresh and is warm. Try and impress a buyer from the moment they pull up and step into your home.

Make your home stand out from the competition

During the winter months, there may not be as many buyers but there also aren't as many sellers. Often times, off-season buyers need to move quickly, whether due to job relocation or major life changes, so be ready for them. Find a Realtor who will consider adding a video to your listing or creating a small website to showcase your home.
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