How To Prepare Your House For Sale

Prepping and staging a house. Every seller wants her home to sell fast and bring top dollar. Does that sound good to you? Well, it’s not luck that makes that happen. It’s careful planning and knowing how to professionally spruce up your home that will send home buyers scurrying for their checkbooks. Here is how to prep a house and turn it into an irresistible and marketable home.Here’s How:
Disassociate Yourself With Your Home.

Say to yourself, “This is not my home; it is a house — a product to be sold much like a box of cereal on the grocery store shelf.

Make the mental decision to “let go” of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours.

Picture yourself handing over the keys and envelopes containing appliance warranties to the new owners!

Say goodbye to every room.

Don’t look backwards — look toward the future.

De-Personalize.
Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can’t see past personal artifacts, and you don’t want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can’t do that if yours are there! You don’t want to make any buyer ask, “I wonder what kind of people live in this home?” You want buyers to say, “I can see myself living here.”

De-Clutter!

People collect an amazing quantity of junk. Consider this: if you haven’t used it in over a year, you probably don’t need it.

If you don’t need it, why not donate it or throw it away?

Remove all books from bookcases.

Pack up those knickknacks.

Clean off everything on kitchen counters.

Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use.

Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.

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Find Your Niche & And Dare To Risk

With the recent Facebook pie-in-your-face IPO still ringing in our ears, it might be wise to dwell on what constitutes taking the “right risk” for you. Like it or not, risk taking will always be an inesapable part of our everyday lives. Whether you are changing jobs, investing, or beginning a new relationship you will ultimately be confronted with some risk. But here’s the kicker question: How do we know if the risk is right for you?

In a recent interview, Robert Michael Fried, best selling author of Igniting Your True Purpose and Passion, offered “the risk is right when it will help you close the disparity or gap between who you are and where you want to go. When your outside view of the world reflects your inner voice, you are will on your way to taking the right risk.”

Make no mistake about it – it takes courage to take the right risk, but the greatest rewards go to those who take them. So if we don’t take any risks in life, we lessen the risk of getting hurt – but we don’t live life to the fullest either.

As Seneca once pined, “It’s not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that things are difficult.”

That being said, Fried offers up 7 jumpstarting steps to take the right risk:

  1. Listen to your heart. Follow your heart, not just your reason. You seldom go wrong when you listen to your own inner voice.
  2. Get out of your comfort zone. Golden opportunities often lie just outside our comfort zone. Have the courage and fortitude to grab that brass ring.
  3. Avoid analysis paralysis. Do your homework, but ultimately you need to take action.
  4. Somehow the biggest risk is not to risk at all. Don’t wait for your ship to come in… row out and meet it.
  5. Don’t wait for the perfect time. There will never be a truly perfect time to act. In life, you generally learn more by doing than waiting. The perfect time to act is now!
  6. Face your fears. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Have the courage to work through your fear and use it to propel your spirit and rekindle your focus.
  7. Live in the present. Make the present the primary focus in your life, not the past or the future. Remember, life is a gift; that’s why they call it a present. The present moment is all you’ll ever have in your life.
  8. Take the leap. Aristotle once said, “Courage is the first of all human qualities because it is the one that guarantees all others.” Have the courage to take the leap and close the gap between your dreams and reality.niche

How to Buy and Sell a Home at the Same Time—Without Losing Your Mind

Ah, to be a first-time home buyer again: How easy it was to buy a home when you weren’t carrying another mortgage on your back!
If you’re looking to graduate from first-timer to repeat buyer, you know things are about to get much trickier. Unless you’re a bona fide house collector, you’ll have to sell your home in order to buy anew—adding a whole separate layer of anxiety to what you already know is a stressful home-buying . 
In an ideal world, you’d buy a new home, move, and then, and when all the dust settles, deal with the turmoil of selling. But for most people, that’s totally unrealistic. Not only does it cost significantly more, since you’ll be paying two mortgages, but sellers might be quick to judge if you’re holding on to your current home. Another words if it’s NOT on the market. 

You can do this! If selling and buying simultaneously is the only way to go, here’s what you need to know to make sure both processes go as smoothly as possible.
Know the market first.
Before you start seriously searching for a new home—or put your current home on the market—make sure you have a solid understanding of the housing market in your area (and the area where you’re planning to buy). Is the market weighted toward buyers or sellers?
Only then will you be able to fully strategize. As is so often the case, the best plan of action may differ depending on exactly who has the power.
That doesn’t mean to find one house you like and call it a day: Find multiple suitable options. That way, you’re less likely to find yourself in trouble if your purchase falls through—your newly sold home won’t leave you stranded.
Similarly, make sure to hire an appraiser and price your old home fairly. Now is decidedly not the time for delusions of grandeur: Two extra months on the market because you couldn’t humble yourself to lower the price means two months you’ll be paying double mortgages. Two very long months…
Plan your schedule carefully…
Should you buy first, then sell—or vice versa? Both have their risks and rewards. Selling first makes getting a mortgage easier, but it also means you’ll need to find a temporary place to live. Buying first means moving will be easier, but it also skews your debt-to-income ratio, making it harder to qualify for a new mortgage—not to mention the difficulty of juggling two monthly house payments.
“It’s like walking a tightrope ! Your finances will be on the highwire, too. When determining whether you should sell or buy first, think beyond “How can I make the move as easy as possible?” Instead ask: “Can I handle two mortgages? What if my home sells for less than its listing?”Whichever option you choose, make sure you’re prepared to accept the consequences: having to store your stuff and rent temporarily, or undergoing the financial burdens of dual mortgages.
… but don’t rely on timing
When buying and selling a home simultaneously, “there are so many external circumstances. “I’ve yet to see it really work smoothly and efficiently.”
Remember: You’re not the only party in this equation. For every seller there’s a buyer, for every buyer a seller. While things might appear to be working smoothly when viewing your master plan from above, that doesn’t take into account the variabilities of other people. 

Closings are rife with delays. Your buyers might have difficulty securing their mortgage; your home inspector may bring up issues that need to be fixed before you can move in.
“You’re relying on the seller of the place that you’re buying to be ready to move in concert with the buyer of your house.
So even if you’ve planned to sell your home first and are prepared to rent while buying, know that even the best-laid plans go awry—and you might end up juggling both mortgages. Preparing yourself for this (however remote) possibility ahead of time will ensure a smooth transition.
Know your financial solutions.
For those who choose to sell first, the process is relatively straightforward other than the additional cost of a rental between homes. However, there is the option of a rent-back agreement, where you negotiate with the lenders and buyers to be able to remain in the property for a maximum of 60 to 90 days—often in exchange for a lower selling price or rent paid to the buyers. This can relieve some of the pressure of finding a new home, giving you additional time to house hunt.
But if you’re buying first, talk to your Realtor about ways to decrease your financial burden and risk. Here are the two most popular options for buyers:
Contract contingency: Buyers can request that their new home purchase be dependent on the successful sale of their old home. If you’re looking in a competitive market, this may not be a good option; however, if the seller of your intended home has had difficulty attracting interest, this may be a good deal for all parties involved—assuming you can convince them that your home will sell quickly.
Bridge loans: 

Bridge financing allows you to own two homes simultaneously if you don’t have deep pockets for a second down payment. This option is especially attractive if you’d planned to sell your home first and use the proceeds to buy the second. It functions as a short-term loan, intended to be repaid upon the sale of your original house.
Don’t let fear rush you!
If your home has sold but you haven’t found a new place to live, don’t let anxiety push you toward a bad decision. Sellers should pre-emptively plan on a short-term rental “so they don’t feel stressed or pushed into something that they would not normally be interested in,” he says. “They shouldn’t make a purchase because they felt like they were pressured from the time constraints.”
Found the perfect home right on schedule? That’s great. But don’t feel like you have to compromise on things that are important to you just because you need to find a home. Conversely, don’t accept a bid that you feel is too low just because your finances are strained by two mortgages. 

If you have a temporary apartment set up, you’re less likely to compromise.Certainly, selling and buying a house simultaneously will be stressful—but carefully considering and planning for the risks and hurdles can mitigate the stress.

Lead Paint: Do You Have It in Your Home?

Lead poisoning is a serious health issue for both children and adults. It can affect anyone, even affect a fetus in the womb, if the mother inhales or ingests lead from paint.
And if you think you can’t come into contact with lead paint, think again. If you live in an older home, your walls, doors, trim work, and handrails may be covered with lead paint. And even if the original paint has been painted over many times, you may still be at risk for lead poisoning. Old paint that chips off can pose a problem, as can dust from lead paint that is sanded down.A Short History of Lead in the Home

Lead is a highly poisonous material, and lead paint is not the only culprit. Before the dangers of lead were fully recognized, however, many commonly used materials like paint and gasoline were made with lead. Lead is everywhere and, unfortunately, you can’t see it or smell it. Lead can be found in:
House paint made or used prior to 1978
Plumbing materials like faucets and pipes in homes

Dirt and soil

Utensils, plates, and other serving ware made from pewter

Some batteries

Paint and art sets for children

Items like fishing sinkers and bullets

Furniture and toys that were painted prior to 1976

Some painted toys and household items that were made in countries other than the United States

Small figurines

Health Problems Caused by Lead Paint

If lead paint chips are ingested or dust from sanding off old layers of paint is inhaled or swallowed, lead poisoning may result. Lead poisoning can cause these symptoms and complications:
Lack of energy
Frequent headaches

Insomnia

Constipation

Abdominal pain (usually from ingesting a large amount of lead)

Moodiness and irritability

Problems paying attention

Behavioral issues

Hearing difficulties

Damage to kidneys

Lower IQ

Delayed physical and mental development

Affected senses

Adults may experience:

Pain in joints and muscles
Concentration and memory deficits

High blood pressure levels

Problems with nerves

Reproductive issues

Know Your Lead Paint Risk

Every home, before it can be bought or sold, must have a lead paint disclosure that states what the owners know about the history of the home and the presence of lead-based paint. You can check the disclosure on your home to see if there is any known history of lead-based paint use in the house.Getting the Lead Paint Out
Paint samples from your home can be tested to determine if they contains lead. Though there are do-it-yourself home tests available, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends lab tests as the most reliable method. If you are concerned that you or your children have been exposed to lead, ask your doctor about blood tests to check for signs.
If tests confirm that there is lead paint in your home, the best thing to do is get rid of it … safely. Here are some ways to address the situation:
Remove lead paint. Professionals can strip or sand away lead paint from your walls, and take care of dust and other lead contaminants that may be left behind. For a very small area, you can do it yourself, but use paint thinner or other wet methods to avoid dust.
Cover up lead paint. Don’t just paint over it — you need to seal in lead paint and its dust and flakes with a special sealer.

Replace trim containing lead paint. If you have a door, windowsill, or other trim pieces that have been painted with lead paint, remove them carefully to avoid creating dust and replace them with lead-free materials.

How to Successfully Buy a Home in a Tight Seller’s Market

If you’ve decided to buy a home this spring ,good luck to you ! Your challenge will be not just finding a home you like, but also beating out all the other home buyers who like it and want to make an offer on it, too.

The number of homes for sale is low nationwide, particularly in the price ranges desired by first-time home buyer’s.. The latest figures from the National Association of Realtors show that that there was only a 4.4-month supply of homes for sale in February, which is lower than the six-month supply that indicates a balanced market. One-quarter of February’s transactions were all-cash sales, according to the NAR, and investors bought 18 percent of the homes that were sold.

“A well-priced home in good condition will usually move very quickly and often have multiple offers.That means that if you want to end up with a nice home, you need to be strategic. Expecting to find the home of your dreams by nonchalantly walking into a few open houses or pursuing some online listing’s is not realistic in this seller’s market.

Finding a good real estate agent who knows when and how to negotiate is crucial in today’s market. While everything is negotiable in real estate, sellers are often less inclined to deal if they have other offers waiting in the wings. Plus, if you’re a buyer,working with an agent usually costs you nothing because the seller pays the full commission.

These days, most would-be buyers come to an agent with a list of homes they’d like to see based on their online research. While that often serves as a solid starting point, a quality agent may find additional options. After buyers have seen a few properties,skilled agents can typically gauge what they’re looking for in a new home and may have other properties lined up. “It’s advisable to listen to your Realtor”.

Here are nine tips to help you get the house you want this spring.

Get your finances in order first. Several months before you intend to start looking, you should get copies of your credit reports. to make sure you’re in a financial position to buy. Shop for mortgage financing before you start looking at houses. “I will not take anybody to see any house unless they have a preapproval letter or proof of funds.

Move quickly once you find the house you want. That often means rushing out to see new homes within hours of them being listed and writing up an offer immediately if you like the house. Things are gone in a matter of hours.. “You really have to move fast.”

Don’t make snap judgments based on listing photos. A house that doesn’t look appealing in photos  could still be a great house. Homes being sold by an estate or homes with tenants inside often yield particularly poor photos. Plus, photos fail to convey the feeling of a home or the floor plan. “Unfortunately, the pictures don’t tell a true story. “You have to be willing to look past some of the pictures.”

Be realistic about the inspection and repairs. The more competitive the market, the less likely a seller will be to make repairs, though some sellers may lower the price if the inspection reveals expensive defects. The purpose of the inspection isn’t to get the seller to repair every small problem but to find out for sure that the house is what you thought it was. “They’re not buying a brand-new home.“What we are looking for are major defects we were not initially able to see in the walkthrough.”

Start with your best offer. A competitive market is not the right environment to negotiate a bargain. You may get only one chance to make an offer, and your offer may be one of several the seller will choose from. “You really need to come in with your highest and best offer. ometimes adds an escalation clause, offering to pay up to a certain amount in cash if the appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price. Another type of escalation clause offers a specified amount above the highest offer received, usually with a cap. Remember that the offer includes not only the price, but also your financing package and other terms such as the closing date and contingencies.

Write a personal letter to the sellers. Some sellers are interested only in how much money their home sale will yield, but others love their home want it to go to a new family that will love it just as much. If you really like a house,include a personal letter and a family photo with your offer. “It doesn’t work for everybody, but I have seen it work for many, many people,” Hebert says.

Make a big earnest money deposit. The expected size of the earnest money deposit, and the rules about when you get it back, vary by locality. But sellers often see a larger deposit as a sign that you’re serious about the deal.

Make a backup offer. Many prospective buyers don’t want to make an offer on a house that has a pending contract. But deals fall apart over inspections, financing and other terms. If you found the perfect house, you can make a backup offer that will put you in first place if the initial buyer walks away.

Consider waiving or shortening contingencies. Most offers are made contingent on the buyer getting a mortgage, the appraisal being equal to the purchase price and the buyer approving the inspection.. Waiving any one of those contingencies can be risky, but may be the right move in some circumstances.You can also beat other offers by shortening the time periods, such as promising to do the inspection or get financing sooner – assuming you can make those things happen. “If you can shorten your contingencies, you can make your offer look better to a seller. “Nobody wants to wait three weeks for a deal to fall apart.”

 

White clock with words Time to Sell on its face                                                     Hot-sellers-marketimg_2320

Online Presence & Marketing 

Real Estate Marketing is not something you do once. It is something you must do on a continual basis. Think of marketing as the “eating right and exercising” part of your business. Just as you can’t eat an apple or go to the gym once and expect to drop 10 pounds, tone all your muscles and gain energy, you can’t do any marketing activity once and expect incredible results. No matter how good you are at selling real estate, you will only be successful if you can market effectively,too.Are you a real estate agent? Does social media scare you?

Realtors are some of the best marketers in an offline person-to-person environment. You’re incredibly brilliant at getting to know your clients on a very personal level, getting involved in your community, and connecting with your local market.

What you’re not very good at is applying this to your social media.(Well, most of you aren’t!).

The best real estate marketers think of social online like they do social offline!

Social media provides a way to further connect with your local clients and groups and boost your real estate marketing efforts. Social can build trust, and spread your marketing through friends of friends.

But how do you do it? Instead of using Facebook to keep up with the Jone’s. Create a business page. Keep your personal timeline and business page separate. Time is money. Stop wasting time on people and their problems. Start learning how to build your future. You only live once, do your best now !

Learn how to use Facebook to market your real estate listings.

Learn how to use Google Plus and Analytics, Adwords , you tube. One day at a time focus on learning something to improve your business and your pocket $$$.

Most of these sites have video tutorials to show you step by step how to improve your online presence and build your future. 

Remember that business is all about serving others. Clients are the only ones who will put money in your bank account. The more a business focuses on serving them, the more successful it will be. The more people know about you and your skills , the more money you can earn. Dedicating your experience and service’s is rewarding. Eventually your efforts of learning start to pay off. 


 

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words.

When selling a home, the right photography can easily make or break a listing. With the vast majority of real estate searches taking place online and in the comfort of potential buyers’ homes, it is imperative to ensure that your listing features high-resolution, quality photographs that accurately represent the property. It can be a fine line — you certainly don’t want to market the house as much grander than it actually is, particularly if it is a distressed property or if there will be work needed upfront, but you also don’t want potential buyers to bypass the listing because of bad photography.

  • High-resolution.
  • Crisp and clear (with no blurriness).
  • Light and bright (not too dark and not overly exposed).
  • All encompassing (showing as much of a room as possible within the frame).

Professional real estate photographers can get quite pricey, very quickly. However, there are several photo apps available that can do wonders for a standard picture taken with your average digital camera — and may even save you money on professional photography! There are also amazing photo apps , your smart phone & laptop comes equipped with photo editing ! When in doubt of use “you tube” will gladly teach you the know how’s !  Pictures are worth a thousand words.

32465026-Venice-landmark-Burano-island-canal-colorful-houses-church-and-boats-Italy-Long-exposure-photography-Stock-Photo

Marketing and Real Estate Agents

If you’re a seasoned real estate professional, you likely know that your online presence is essential to your success or failure when it comes to generating new leads and clients for your business. So we are going to bypass the typical online marketing tips about having a website, starting a blog, and creating a Facebook page. Instead, we are going to share some more specific strategies that you can use to market yourself and your real estate business. Ones that already assume you have a website, blog, and Facebook page.

1. Use Responsive Web Design

Because of the continued rise of website visitors using mobile devices, the need for a mobile-friendly site becomes more important. This is why responsive web design is a must for your real estate business.

What is responsive web design? It is simply a design that is fluid—as a visitor’s browser size changes, so does the design. This usually means that a site with the basic main column and sidebar design on a desktop will be displayed with the sidebar below the main column of content on a mobile device.

2. Create Local Content

Creating content that is helpful for home buyers and sellers is a must. Both buyers and sellers tend to spend a lot of time researching the buying and selling process, especially if it’s their first time.

In addition to covering the basics, you’ll also want to invest in creating content for the locations you cover. People moving to a new area will be interested in fun facts, statistics, schools, neighborhoods, events, and so forth. If your website offers them content on these topics, they will ultimately be introduced to your services.

3. Capture Emails

Have you heard the term ‘the money is in the list’? It’s become a very popular saying in marketing circles – and how true it is. Creating your own customer database – building it organically through email data capture rather than buying in lists (that are often poor quality and out of date) – is a valuable marketing goldmine and I cannot stress just how important it is in helping to sustain your business.

4. Ask for Reviews

You can’t be shy about asking for reviews, especially ones that could be extremely valuable for your business. Anytime you receive an email or phone call where a client expresses praise for your service, use the opportunity to ask them for a review

responsive web design

 

Why Pricing A Home for Sale is So Crucial..

Marketing your home gets it to the people. Pricing gets the people to the home !

Selecting the right price is crucial to maximizing your profit with a quicker sales time. Therefore it’s crucial to understand how pricing attracts people and when most buyers will be most open to viewing your home. Check out the charts below to understand the process better.

To Whom Is It Crucial?

It’s important to understand the selling process involves more than just the buyer. It also involves two other very important components:

The Home Inspector: After an offer has been accepted, but before closing, your home will most likely be inspected. Usually, the home inspector will identify and locate deficiencies in your house that may need a price adjustment, based upon the severity and the nature of the deficiency(ies). Pricing a home will need to take into consideration the price of needed repairs.

The Appraiser: Likewise, once there is a binding Purchase and Sale Agreement, your home will be appraised. If you price the house too high, even with an agreement by the buyer to purchase it for the amount, the appraiser many not concur. Therefore the finance company will not approve a mortgage loan for the whole amount. Alternative sources of financing will need to be obtained.

A Little Overpricing Hurts A Lot

Interested buyers

Accurate pricing is crucial. Research shows that if potential buyers perceive your home is overpriced by as little as 5%, half will lose interest. Price your home at 10% higher than the perceived market value, and 6 times the amount will lose interest.

Conversely though, place your home at a 10% discount under the perceived market value, and interest only increases 25%. A significant 15% price reduction will only increase interest by 50%.

When Most Buyers Come

pricing is crucial

Since research shows most quality buyers come within the first 30 days, it’s imperative to price your home accurately from the start. You’ll lose that initial interest of qualified and motivated buyers if you price your house improperly or employ an ineffective marketing plan.

Miss the initial surge of interested buyers within the first 30 days and you become subject to more low ball offers because of a perceived desperation factor.

 Understanding how buyers buy, what attracts them and when they will come. Marketing your home gets it to the people. Getting people to the home is pricing !

BUYING LAND 

BUYING LAND
In this section, you’ll learn how to evaluate a piece of land, estimate the real development costs, and avoid common legal pitfalls when purchasing. We’ll also cover the basics of wells, and septic systems, and other site development issues you should understand before purchasing vacant land.

GETTING STARTED
Once you have a preliminary house design and budget in mind, your next step toward creating your new home is often to find the right piece of land. With vacant, undeveloped there are a host of other issues that affect the cost of development, and what can and cannot be built. Often the biggest surprise is the site development costs, which can be jaw-dropping read more

LAND BUYING CHECKLIST

Use this general checklist when evaluating a piece of land. A quick run through the checklist may remind you of questions to ask the seller, agent, lawyer, title company, town officials, or outside experts, if necessary. It will also help you remember budget items that are often left out. read more

IS IT BUILDABLE
?
It is notillegal to sell an unbuildable lot – or a lot not suited to your use. For example, the lot may be approved for a two-bedroom home and you may want to build four bedrooms. First and foremost, you need to determine if the lot you are considering can be used as you envision. The laws about what can and cannot be built on a piece of land vary enormously from area to area. read more

ZONING

Local governments establish zoning ordinances in order to regulate land use in accordance with goals set by the local planning board. The goal of land use planning is to promote a livable, and economically viable community, balancing the needs of homeowners, businesses, agriculture, recreation, and other community priorities. A title search can establish who owns a property, but will not tell you anything about its zoning status read more

SEPTIC SYSTEMS

For city folks, water magically appears at the tap and wastewater just as easily flows off to somewhere far away. In rural and semi-rural areas, however, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to handle one or both of these vital functions literally in your own backyard. Problems with either the well or septic systems can pose serious health risks and lead to big repair bills. It becomes the homeowner’s job to ensure that there is an adequate supply of clean drinking water and a well-functioning septic system read more

WATER WELLS

The lot you are considering may already have a well drilled, may have a shared well with one or more neighboring lots, or no proven water source at all. Wells can vary a great deal in depth required, flow rate, and water quality. Before buying a lot with a well in place, you should get the reported flow rate in writing and an up-to-date water quality report readily available from most municipal health departments read more

SITE PREPARATION

A piece of land that looks gorgeous to the buyer’s eye may look like trouble to an experienced builder. Issues such as soil type, the presence of ledge, high water tables, and poor drainage are just some of the issues that can complicate construction and drive up costs read more

SITE DESIGN ISSUES

What is the perfect building site for you is highly subjective. Some like windswept mountain tops with dramatic views, others like shady hollows. Some like open fields, others mature woods. Ideally, a house should be designed to fit the building site – or a building site found that is a perfect fit for the house design you have in mind read more

QUESTIONS TO ASK

In looking at land, there are many questions to answer before making an offer. Start with the most important questions (Can I build on the lot and use the lot as planned?) so you can quickly weed out parcels that will not meet your needs. If you are working with a real estate agent, start with him or her. However, important questions should also be put to the proper authority or professional – such as town officials regarding permits, setbacks, zoning rules, and on-site sewage. Do your research prior to making any offer !