4 Ways to Prepare Your House for a Home Inspection

So you have finally received an offer for your home. Congratulations! The next step in the process is a home inspection.

A home inspection is a visual inspection that determines the present condition of the house. Passing a home inspection is an important step to complete to sell your home. If major issues are discovered during the inspection, the buyer may either negotiate for a lower price, ask you to tackle repairs or back out of the sale.

Here are 4 ways to prepare your home for a home inspection.

Get a pre-sale inspection

If you haven’t had your house inspected before, you’re probably anxious about the issues that may pop up during the inspection.

Have your home inspected before putting it on the market. This will help you determine the actual condition of your property. Plus, it gives you a chance to tackle repairs early on. All issues should be dealt with right now to prevent delays later on. If you have no plans of making repairs, consider adjusting your asking price.

Be on time

Home inspectors will come on time. Many of them will even arrive 15 minutes earlier, so make sure that you’re all dressed up and ready to go before the scheduled time.

Most inspectors will start examining your home’s exterior. The last thing you want is for him to be walking around the house while you’re still dressing up. Get up early on the day of the inspection. If possible, be out of the house before they arrive.

If you have pets, it is best to have them taken off the premises. If that’s not possible, secure them on a crate.

Prepare the documents

If you did some remodelling projects, upgrades or repairs in the past, you need documents to back up your claim. Prepare documents showing roof repairs, HVAC inspections, kitchen renovation etc.

Make sure all areas are accessible

Aside from examining the house, the inspector will also check on the different systems in your home. This includes your plumbing, electrical, and HVAC system. He will also be checking the attic, basement, under the sink, electrical box etc.

In order to do his job thoroughly, ensure access to critical areas of your home. Get rid of any clutter or possessions from areas that may need to be inspected.

Home Staging Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Sale

When preparing your house for sale, it is important to stage it to bring out the best in your home. In today’s competitive market, you need all the advantage you can get to make a good first impression on potential buyers. Your goal is to help them envision themselves living in that house. But sometimes,

Here are 4 home staging mistakes that can sabotage your sale.

Over-staging your space

We understand that you want your house look its best. However, you shouldn’t go overboard with the decorations.

Less is more is the mantra you should keep in mind when staging your home. Try to get rid of as much items personal belongings as you can. This way, potential buyers can see how big of a storage space you have, not how much stuff you have in there. Also, the more furniture you have, the more cramped and cluttered the house will look.

Dark rooms

Dark walls can create drama and ambiance. However, this won’t work in a small space. Dark walls, tend to absorb light; thus, making the room look smaller than it actually is. Nothing puts off a potential buyer than a small and cramped space.

Make your room look more spacious by painting the walls a lighter color. White, beige, light gray, and blue are great options for small rooms. Clever use of colors can trick the eye into thinking a room is more expansive than it is. Also, keep the curtains and window treatments open during the day to get more natural light in.

Being too safe

Neutral colors are great since they appeal to a wider audience. However, that doesn’t mean that everything should be white, beige, cream or ivory.

When staging, you want your house to look appealing and attractive. Your goal is to make potential buyers to love it. Otherwise, you are less likely to see an offer on your home. We’re not suggesting that you go crazy on the color scheme, but try to add some pops of color into your home. Feel free to add some brightly colored pillows, carpet, vases etc.

Pushing all the furniture against the wall

Although it’s a common layout option, try to resist the urge to push all the furnitures against the wall, especially if you’re restricted on space. This will make a small living room look more cramped. No matter how small your living space is, make sure that you place the furniture a few feet from the walls.

For large living rooms, pushing the sofas against the wall will be a problem since the seating area will have to be spread too thin. If you have a guest, then you’ll have to converse with them from 15 feet away, which is kind of awkward. Try to arrange the furniture in a way that conversations can be made without shouting across the room or craning their neck.

Home Fixes You Must Complete Before Listing Your Home for Sale

If you are looking to make the most money for your home, you need to tackle some issues before listing your home for sale. Leaving repairs for a buyer is not a smart thing to do. Not only will buyers negotiate for a lower price, you may also have a hard time selling your home.

Here are 4 home fixes you must complete before selling your home.

Improve curb appeal

If you want to sell your home fast and for top dollar, make sure that the property looks good on the outside.

Your home’s exterior is the first thing potential buyers will see. Often, homebuyers will make a decision about whether or not they are interested in the house by just looking at it from the outside. They are less likely to be interested to see what’s on the inside if the exterior looks messy, unkempt, and disorganized.

Power spray your home’s exterior, repaint the front door and mailbox, plant some flowering plants, and keep the lawn mowed. These are just some of the things you can do to make your home more appealing and inviting.

Paint walls and ceilings

If you are looking for an easy and inexpensive way to refresh the look of your home, consider painting the walls and ceilings.

Red, pink or blue are great colors, but not everyone will love it. Paint the walls a neutral color to make your house more appealing to the greatest pool of prospective buyers. They need to be able to envision themselves in that house. Potential buyers may have a hard time doing so, especially if they can’t get past the red master bedroom.

Kitchen improvements

The kitchen is one of the most used rooms in the house. Today, homeowners don’t just use it for preparing meals. Many of them would use the kitchen to entertain their guests and bond with their family. If you have the budget for a renovation, the kitchen would be a great place to start. A spacious kitchen with huge counter space would be much appreciated by potential buyers. Some would even be willing to pay more for a kitchen with updated appliances.

Flooring fixes

The flooring is one of the first things prospective buyers notice when they enter the house. An old, dingy, and smelly carpet is sure to put off buyers.

Most homes come with wood flooring. Before putting your home on the market, we suggest that you get rid of that old carpet and get that wood floor refinished. Hardwood floor is one of the features buyers are looking for in a home. Not only will it give off a classic and elegant vibe to your home, it will also add value to your property.

Home Staging Secrets to Draw Buyers In

Selling their property fast and for top dollar is a dream most sellers share. In order to achieve that goal, you need to create a warm, attractive house that potential buyers can call their home.

Here are 4 home staging secrets you can use to draw buyers in and sell your house fast.

Less is more

When staging your home for sale, less is more. As you prepare to put your house on the market, we suggest that you pack up your things and get rid of all the things you no longer use or need. The same goes with your furniture.

You don’t need a lot of furniture to make your home attractive. In fact, it does the opposite. Too much stuff will make your house look smaller and cramped. Whisk away some of your furniture and just leave a few core pieces behind. The house will look more spacious and organized this way.

Make it bigger

Let’s face it. Not all of us live in a big house. Some are having a hard time fitting all their belongings in a small space. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to make a room appear bigger.

To create the illusion of spaciousness, opt for a lighter colored wall and flooring. Another option is to put some shelves near the ceiling. Not only will it provide additional storage space, it also draws the eyes upward; thus, making the room look bigger than it really is.

Home lighting

Proper lighting plays a huge role in the comfort and liveability of your interior space. Lighting also has an effect on the perceived size of the room. In fact, rooms that aren’t well lit feel smaller and cramped. No one wants to live in a house with dark and cramped rooms.

Find ways to bring in full-spectrum lighting to your interior space. Clean the windows and pull back the curtains. Let as much natural light in. Also, increase the wattage in your lamps and light fixtures. Remember, great lighting makes a staged home look warm and welcoming.

Use color creatively

Colors, when used correctly, can liven up your house. So don’t be afraid to incorporate colors into your interiors. You can paint an accent wall to breathe life into your living room. Another option is to add some accessories for a pop of color. From decorative pillows to art pieces, accessorizing will make your house look more attractive.  Make sure, though, that you paint the walls a neutral color.

4 Ways to Save on Closing Cost When Buying a Home

Buying a house isn’t cheap. It usually costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition to your down payment, you also need to set aside money for other fees. Closing cost, home inspection, appraisal fee, home insurance, and property tax are just some of them.

Closing cost is equivalent to 3% to 6% of the purchase price. Considering the amount of money that is associated with buying a house, some of you are probably looking for ways save money elsewhere. The good news is that there are some things you can do to reduce closing cost.

Here are 4 ways to save on closing cost when buying a home.

Ask the seller to sweeten the deal

A desperate seller and a struggling market provide the perfect opportunity to negotiate a deal with the seller. Besides negotiating the price, ask the seller if he/she is willing to pay for the closing cost or at least a portion of it. $1,000 to $2,000 may not see much, especially if you’re buying a house that costs a few thousand dollars, but you can use the money on other things.

Negotiate fees with the lender

A lot of money is on the line with closing cost. The good news is that they aren’t set on stone. In fact, fees charged by the lender can be negotiated.

Loan officers or mortgage brokers are usually paid a loan origination fee for bringing business to the company. If you are working with a lender, try to ask him/her if there are any aspects of the fee that can be waived.

Review the loan estimate

Once your mortgage application gets approved, you’ll be provided with a detailed loan estimate. This includes a breakdown of all the fees you’ll be paying. It is important to review the document carefully and keep an eye out for fees with similar names. To prevent unnecessary fees, take time to go through each item with the lender and ask what each fee covers.

Shop around

Most buyers shop around for mortgage rates when buying a house. If you are looking to save money, you may also want to speak with some local lenders about closing cost.

Get quotes from multiple lenders to see if you can find a cheaper option. Compare offers from different lenders to see who offers the lowest rate. If one lender offers a lower rate, ask the other if they can match it. Go ahead. Pit those companies against each other.

Mistakes to Avoid with Real Estate Listing Photos

The vast majority of people rely on the internet. Most people would go online to find answers to their questions, do research, find restaurant suggestions in their area, and even find their dream home.

According to the National Association of Realtors, 84% of homebuyers turn to the internet as their first step in the home buying process. They would scroll though hundreds of online listings in the hopes of finding their dream home. Considering the supply of homes on the market today, you need to make sure that your listing photos shine. Otherwise, your property may end up lingering on the market.

Avoid these photography mistakes when listing your property.

Skipping the pre-planning stage

Listing photos are one of the most important factors that will determine how fast you can sell your house. You can’t just grab a camera and start snapping some photos. It requires a little bit of planning and staging. Clean and organize the house as if you are about to show it to a potential buyer.

Staging a mess

When selling a house, you want to present your house in the best light possible. As such, you want to make sure that the house is clean and clutter-free before you start taking photos. Capturing the mess can be a deal breaker for potential buyers, and will prevent them from inquiring further.

Blurred photos

People love looking at beautiful things. If you want to capture the attention of prospective buyers, make sure that you use good quality photos in your real estate listing.

Although most smartphones today take decent photos, it is best to use a good quality camera when taking photos of your property. If you have the budget, we suggest that you hire a professional photographer. This way, you can be sure that you’ll get amazing photos. Good quality and visually appealing listing photos will help you sell your home fast.

Using fish eye lens

When used properly, fish eye lens can actually make images more interesting. Fish eye produces a strong visual distortion. Some people use it in the hopes of making a small room appear bigger. In most cases, however, it makes the space look smaller and distorted.

But when it comes to real estate, you want your photos to appear as realistic as possible. Stick with traditional lens instead.


4 Ways to Increase the Value of Your Rental Property

With interest rates at their lowest levels in 50 years, more and more people are venturing into the world of real estate investment. Investing on an income property is a huge commitment, but it can bring large financial rewards if handled properly.

Learn how a rental property can lead to big money in your bank account. Here are 4 ways to increase the value of your income property

Improve curb appeal

Just like buying a house, tenants would usually drive by the property before they commit to renting. If they don’t like how the property looks from the outside, they won’t be interested in renting the house.

Simple improvements such as repainting the front door, installing window shutters or replacing the house number can go a long way towards improving curb appeal. Not only will it make your property more attractive from the outside, it can also increase the value of the house.

Invest on energy efficient appliances

With the rising cost of monthly rent, tenants are looking for ways to save money elsewhere. Prospective tenants will be happy to know that they can save money on monthly utility bills since the rental property is equipped with energy efficient appliances.

Heating and cooling account for about 48% of the energy use in a typical American household. Investing on a newer, more energy efficient HVAC unit can cost you a huge sum of money upfront, but it will add value to your property. According to the NAA’s Amenities Survey, you can generate an additional 16% in rental income by investing on energy efficient appliances.

Update your pet policy

Nearly all pet owners consider their pets as family members. Unfortunately, most landlords do not allow pets in their rental property. If you allow pets, you’ll appear to a wider market. Because of the increased demand, you may be able to charge slightly higher rent.

Make sure the property is well-lit

Cramped, dark living spaces are a quick turn off for most, if not all, renters. Dark rooms will look smaller and less welcoming. Make sure that the house is well-lit inside and out. Don’t forget to turn on the lights on before it gets dark. During showings, open the blinds and curtains to let the natural light in.

Best-Kept Secrets to Selling a House Fast in Any Market

Spring is just around the corner. As the weather starts to warm, some of you are probably preparing to put your home on the market.

Selling a house is no walk in the park. But there are some things you can do to ensure that your property is sold faster. Here are some best-kept secrets to selling a house fast in any market.

Enhance your home’s curb appeal

Go outside and take a look at your home on a buyer’s perspective. If you were a buyer looking for a lovely house, will you be interested to buy it? If you answered yes, then that’s great! If you answered no, then you need to take steps to enhance your home’s curb appeal.

Most buyers will judge your home based on what they see from the outside. If the house is clean and well-maintained, buyers will think that the house looks clean and organized on the inside as well. If it’s cluttered and messy, buyers may think that the owners failed to take care of the house, and that there may be a lot of issues.

Repainting the front door, power washing the exterior, and planting some colorful flowers can go a long way towards improving your home’s curb appeal. Not only will it help attract potential buyers, it will also boost the value of your home.

Stage the house

When staging your house, you want to make sure that it looks its best. That said, you should highlight the best features and downplay its weakness. Clean the house thoroughly and get rid of clutter. Re-arrange the furnitures. Accessorize. Stage your house in such a way that potential buyers can envision themselves living there. Strike a balance between clean and lived-in.

In order to sell your house fast, you need to make sure that it appeals to a wider audience. Violet may be the color of the year, but some buyers may cringe upon seeing a violet-themed living room or bedroom. Paint the walls a neutral color and give potential buyers a chance to decorate the house to their liking.

Price right from the start

Most sellers make the mistake of pricing their house above the market value in the hopes of getting the most money out of their property. Unfortunately, this is a big mistake that will cost you big later on. You see, new listings get the most attention. Since most buyers are already on the hunt for their dream house for months, many of them are on the lookout for new listings. If you don’t get to sell your house in a month or two, people are likely to think that there is something wrong with the house.

Given that selling a house is time-consuming and stress-inducing, some sellers are forced to lower the price of their house just for the sake of selling it. Some buyers would take advantage of the situation and may lowball their offer, thinking that the seller is desperate to sell. As a result, you lose a big chunk of money in the end. If you want to sell your house fast and for top dollar, make sure that you price it right from the start.


How to Prepare for a Home Renovation

You have probably thought of renovating your space. We all know it isn’t cheap, but it does provide several benefits. Not only will it help bring your house back to life, it can also boost your property value. Plus, it can improve the comfort and functionality of your home.

If you are considering having your home renovated, this blog post is for you. Prepare your home for renovation with these tips.

Set a budget

Knowing what you want to do and achieve in a remodelling project is the easy part. Knowing how much your remodelling dreams will cost is the tougher question.

Before you get started, it is important to establish a spending limit. This is one of the most important steps you need to take before you start envisioning your dream space. By determining how much you can afford, it will be easier for you to make a realistic plan for the project. The last thing you want is to end up having a huge debt due to poor planning.

Find the right contractor

Home renovations can be costly. Often, these home improvement projects cost thousands and thousands of dollars. As such, you want to make sure it’s done right. In order to get the most out of your remodelling project, you need to hire the right contractor.

Choosing the right contractor can mean the difference between a job done right and an utter nightmare. Ask family members, friends, relatives and colleagues for referrals. Also, make sure that you interview candidates and look at their credentials to ensure that they are the best person for your renovation job.

Renovate for the future

When planning for renovation, always think long term. You may not be interested in selling the house now, but there may come a time when you need to move or upgrade to a bigger house. Your goal is not just to beautify your home, but to increase the value of your home as well.

Kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor living renovations can give your home value a boost. Make sure, though, that you keep your budget in check. Otherwise, you may not be able to recoup your investment in the future.

Find a temporary place to live in

Your home will soon be a renovation site. It can pose numerous dangers for children and pets. You can’t have them roaming or running around the renovation site. As such, it might be best to find temporary place to live in. This is especially beneficial if the project will take a few weeks.

Clear the property

If it’s a major renovation, it is best to clear the property. Pack away as many belongings as possible. Start packing your things once you decide to have the house renovated. Since this will be time consuming process, it is best so start early. Tackle each room one day at a time. Get rid of things you no longer use or need. Also, find a place where you can place your belongings temporarily. If it’s just a minor renovation, simply empty the room that needs to be renovated. Make sure that you cover furniture that may be damaged by dust.

Should You Buy a House Before You’re Married?

Before, serious couples would mark their commitment with one another through marriage. Today, however, more and more couples are electing to live in together before marriage. Many of them purchase their home together before walking down the aisle.

Rising rental costs, low mortgage rates, and the ability of deducting mortgage interest from income taxes make the idea of buying a house appealing to most people. According to a survey that was conducted by MONEY, 40% of millennials think it is a good idea to buy a house together before getting married.

Thinking of buying a house with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t.

You could break up

No matter how much you love your partner right now, purchasing a property together is a big risk. People change over time. One of you may fall out of love.

What do you plan to do if things don’t work out? Would you sell the house and split the proceeds of the sale? If you have a solid relationship, then we recommend that you get married first.

It’s a big financial obligation

Buying a house is a huge financial obligation. You’ll need to pay off your loan 15 to 30 years. When you co-sign a home loan together, you’ll both be responsible for paying up the entire amount. You want to make sure that your partner is capable of holding his/her end of the bargain. Otherwise, you’ll be held responsible.

Laywer fees aren’t cheap

Buying a house with your partner is a big financial risk. As such, you need to take steps to protect yourself.

Things could get ugly, so make sure that you put everything in writing. We’re not being pessimistic, but you need to prepare for the worst-case scenario. You both should hire a lawyer and draft a good and airtight co-habitation agreement. This document will protect you from unnecessary cost and litigation in case you co-habitation breaks down.

Lawyer’s fees aren’t cheap. Considering how much money you’ll be putting towards down payment, along with the added fees associated with homeownership, you may find yourself deep in debt.

There could titling issues

Our laws are suited for married couples acquiring assets. Titling will be handled for you if you’re married. For unmarried couples, however, titling can be complicated.

How you title the property dictates what happens to your share later on. If you take title as Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship, each party gets 50% of the property. If you sign as Tenants in Common, you can stipulate that one of you owns a larger share of the property. If the title ends up in one person’s name only, it means only one person is buying the house. The other person has no rights to the property.