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4 Maintenance Skills Aspiring Homeowners Need to Master

Being a homeowner entails a lot of responsibilities. This includes taking care of your home and making sure that it stays in tip top shape. Some maintenance tasks require the assistance of a professional, but there are a number of things you can do to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Here are 4 maintenance skills aspiring homeowners need to master. Master these skills to keep your home in the best condition possible. Plus, it will help you save lots of money down the road.

Changing air filters

According to the U.S. FDA, indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air. You may not realize it, but there are lots of pollutants inside your home. Dust, dirt, pet dander, mold, pollen, chemicals, and the list go on. These pollutants get trapped in the air filters.

During the summer and winter months, your HVAC system is running round the clock. That means, the air inside your home is being re-circulated again and again. When the air filter is dirty, these pollutants will be blown back into your home and will be floating in the air. Make it a habit to change your air filters every 30 to 90 days. Not only will it improve indoor air quality, it will also help extend the life of your HVAC system.

Unclogging drains

If you notice that the sink is draining slower than usual or there is standing water in the tub, you probably have a clogged drain.

Clogged drains can be a serious nuisance, which is why you need to address the problem fast. You can clear up even the most stubborn clogs with a little practice and some simple tools.

Cleaning gutters

Most people don’t give their gutters much thought until they stop working properly. Your gutters are designed to keep water away from your home. When it’s clogged, water can’t run through them and will collect in the roof. Eventually, it will cause damage. When there is too much water on the roof, it will drip down the side of your house.

The last thing you want is to deal with water damage due to clogged gutters. Make sure that you clean your gutters regularly to ensure that they are working properly. You may also want to consider putting a gutter guard to prevent leaves, twigs, and other debris from accumulating.

Repair a leaky faucet

Every homeowner will experience plumbing problems at some point. Leaky faucets are one of the most common problems homeowners face. Often, they tend to ignore the problem thinking it isn’t a big deal. But if left unattended, you’ll be wasting a lot of water. Also, this can lead to a bigger, more complicated problem. Learn how to fix a leaky faucet. It’s a simple task that anyone can handle.

House Hunting Tips for Parents with Young Kids

House hunting is one of the most exciting parts of the home buying process. You get to look at different houses while searching for your dream home.

If you have kids, it is always best to leave the children at home when you’re house hunting. But there are some instances when you really need to take the kids with you. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to make the process as stress-free as possible.

Here are some house hunting tips for parents with young kids.

Keep the kids busy

Most kids get bored easily, especially when they have nothing else to do. They would ask you again and again if it’s time to go. Younger kids may even throw a fit. To prevent this from happening, we highly recommend that you bring your child’s favorite toy or an iPad. This way, they’ll have something to keep them occupied while you go around and look at the property.

Most kids can play for hours on end on their iPad. Just give them the iPad and let them sit on one corner. By keeping them busy, you can maximize your time on the property and have time to really look at the property.

Time it right

Choosing the right house is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. You want to really look at the property. You also want to list down the features, so you can compare them later on. But you can’t do that if you have tired and cranky kids in tow. This can ruin your house hunting experience.

If you really need to take the kids with you, it is best to go schedule the viewing early in the morning or late afternoon. You want to make sure that the child is well rested. Otherwise, he/she may start throwing a temper tantrum.

Bring some snacks

Kids can get grumpy when they’re hungry. Before heading out for the day, make sure that you pack some snacks so your kids have something to eat when they get hungry.

Choose snacks that healthy and kid-friendly. Granola bars, sandwiches, bananas, and cookies are great options for kids. Don’t forget to bring water as well. With the weather getting warmer, you want to make sure to keep the kids hydrated.

Look at the neighborhood

House hunting can be boring for kids. After all, they have no business being there. After looking at houses, you may want to drive around the area to see if there are parks, playground or sports field in the area.

This will give you an opportunity to observe the neighborhood. Plus, it’s a great way of showing the kids how amazing your new neighborhood is. They’ll feel less anxious about moving and feel more at ease in their new home town.

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 remodeling 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.