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.

Quick and Easy Ways to Winterize Your Home

As temperatures start to drop, many of you are probably taking steps to ensure that your family stays warm and comfortable throughout the winter. While cranking up the heat seems like the best way to keep your house warm, it can be quite expensive.

This blog post will help you prepare your home for the cold weather. Here are 4 quick and easy ways to winterize your home while saving money.

Install a programmable thermostat

The furnace typically runs 24/7 during the winter. Installing a programmable thermostat keeps your home at a comfortable thermostat while saving money and energy.

A programmable thermostat allows you to program the thermostat to be at a lower temperature in the morning and then set it at a higher temperature in the afternoon. In addition to saving money and energy, it also simplifies your morning routine.

Check for air leaks

Air leaks will allow heated air to escape. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5 to 30% of your energy use. This will prevent your home from being the cozy, energy-efficient home you want.

Inspect the doors and windows to ensure that there is no air leakage. Make sure that the weather stripping around the doors and windows are in good condition. Inspect the threshold under each door.  Make sure to caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air.

Run fans in reverse

Most people will only turn on the fan when they feel hot. But fans can actually come in handy during the winter.

Reversing your ceiling fan direction will make the room feel warmer. When you turn on the fan, cooler air is drawn upwards while warm air is pushed back down. This allows you to set the thermostat at a lower temperature without sacrificing comfort.

Insulate your pipes

Nothing is more relaxing than taking a steamy, hot shower in winter. However, your pipes are in danger of freezing and bursting in winter.

Insulating your hot water pipes will prevent heat from escaping through your pipes. Since insulated pipes deliver hotter water than uninsulated pipes, you can raise water temperature by 2 to 4°F; thus, saving you money and energy. It also prevents pipes from freezing and bursting. Pipes in the garage, crawlspace, and attic are in danger of freezing. Insulating them is essential to prevent broken or leaky pipes.

Tips for Staging Your Home for the Fall Season

Fall is one of the best times of the year to sell your home. The kids have already gone back to school. Most families have returned from their summer vacations, and people aren’t busy yet for the holidays.

Staging your home is one of the most important steps of the selling process. It allows potential buyers to see the property’s true potential. This also makes it easier for them to envision themselves living in that house.

Use these staging tips to help you sell your home faster and for top dollar.

Warm up your walls

Fall is the best time to give your home the seasonal refresh it needs. One of the best ways to revive your home’s interior is by giving the walls a fresh coat of paint.

Paint your home with shades of brown, yellow, orange, and red to reflect the warm colors of autumn. Whether your want some subtle color or something a little more eye-catching, fall colors will do the trick.

Less is more

Fall is a great time to redecorate your home. Now that winter is fast approaching, a lot of people are taking steps to make their home warm, cozy and inviting. Some would go all out on the throw pillows, pile on the plaid and display vases of fall foliage throughout their home.

While it is a good idea to add some autumnal touches to your home, having too much decors can take the focus out of the house and its best features. Try not to go overboard with the decorations. Remember, less is more when decorating your home.

Let the natural light in

Fall is officially upon us. Before you know it, winter season and freezing temperatures are on their way. When the weather is cold and the sky is dark and cloudy, we tend to feel more tired and depressed. As such, getting the most out of that natural light is vital.

Often, natural light is trapped by the windows. Avoid heavy, light-blocking window treatments. Instead, use window treatments and curtains that are made of lightweight fabrics and light colors. They’ll help bring natural light in while still giving your privacy. Don’t forget to clean your windows as well.

 

Tips for Listing and Selling Luxury Properties

Tips for Listing and Selling Luxury Properties

Selling a house isn’t easy. It is a stressful and time-consuming task. But the level of stress and difficulty increases if you’re selling a luxury home.

Here are tips for listing and selling luxury properties.

Know your target audience

Not everyone can afford a luxury house. After all, these properties cost millions of dollars. In order to sell your home fast, you need to know who your target audience is and market your property to this particular demographic. Also, gain insight into the worldview of your potential buyers.

Use good quality photos and videos

When selling some of the highest-priced homes available, you really need to invest in good quality photos and videos. After all, luxury homes deserve professional photos. Spend the money needed to invest in the best quality marketing materials. Don’t scrimp on the photos.

You need to consider that some buyers may be coming from across the country to view your home. They want to make sure that the property is worth the trip. As such, many of them will want to check on the listing before they schedule a viewing. You need good quality photos that feature the best parts of the house. If possible, include a video tour of the house. This will help make your listing standout.

Price it right

Having the right listing price is one of the most vital elements in the sale of a luxury home. Luxurious properties have features like intricate security system, wine cellars, extravagant home theatres, and high end fixtures. All these should be taken into consideration when pricing the property for sale. The location and neighborhood also needs to be understood if you want to get the best price for your property. The price needs to be spot on if you want to sell your home fast and for top dollar. A real estate agent can help you with this task.

Hire a good real estate agent

There are a lot of licensed real estate agents out there, but many of them don’t have a clue when it comes to selling luxury properties. Considering the value of these properties, you want to find someone who will guide you through the selling process and help you achieve your end goals. You want to find an agent who is experienced and knowledgeable in selling luxury properties.

Effective marketing

Selling luxury properties is a lot different from selling regular houses. You need to market its features to the right buyers, sell it at the right price, and have a clear and focused strategy in place. You want to put forward a positive image of the home.

Valuable-Tips-When-Upsizing-to-a-Larger-Home

Valuable Tips When Upsizing to a Larger Home

Every family is unique and there is no one-size-fits all. For many families, there will come a time when their current home becomes too crowded, like they can no longer fit. A studio apartment may be fine for a newly married couple. After a few years, however, family members are jostling for space in the cramped kitchen and living room.

Upsizing your home seems like a wonderful idea. It provides more space for your growing family. But since moving to a more spacious house means bigger expenses, it requires an appropriate amount of reflection and deliberation.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when upsizing to a larger home.

Know how much you can afford

Most people consider upsizing their lifestyle as soon as they get financially comfortable. But as a homeowner, you know that buying a house is a big financial obligation. This can be a big deal since you’ll be paying for a bigger mortgage and taking on more debt.

Before you go house hunting, we recommend that you review your finances and determine how much you can borrow. The last thing you want is to find yourself in a big financial nightmare.

Think long-term

Whether you’re planning to start a family or your job has allowed you to buy a bigger property, it is always best to consider your family’s needs. Find a house that will be big enough to accommodate the needs of your growing family.

If you have kids or you’re planning to have kids, we highly recommend that you buy a property in a good school district. Of course, you want to make sure that your kids get the best education that they deserve. Also, we recommend that you look into the crime rate in the area. You want to make sure that the neighborhood you are moving into is safe and secure. You need to think long-term since you are likely to live in that house for several years.

Keep your current home in great shape

We know that you’re excited to move into a bigger house. But have you decided what you want to do with your current home? If you are planning to sell it, tackle repairs and make sure that it is in tip top shape before putting it on the market. Remember, the overall condition of your house will affect its resale value. Keeping your house tidy and in pristine condition will help you sell fast and for top dollar.

Top Tips for Downsizing Your Home

Top Tips for Downsizing Your Home

Moving from a large home to a smaller place can cause anxiety and stress. Whether you’re moving in with your significant other or to a downtown apartment, you will have to say goodbye to some of your personal belongings.

With smart design strategies and careful planning, you can make the most of your small space. Here are some tips for downsizing your home.

Start thinning out your belongings

You can’t bring all your belongings to your new home. A couple of months before the move, we suggest that you take a moment to list down all of the things you can’t live without. These are the things you should bring with you to your new home.

For most people, the list includes medications and toiletries, kitchen and bathroom supplies, sentimental items, jewelries, collections, photographs, electronics, family heirlooms, important documents and personal belongings. Those that didn’t make the list can go. You have the option to sell, give out or donate the things you no longer need or use.

Get an early start

Don’t wait till the last minute to pack your things. If you do, you’ll end up stressed and exhausted. Start packing as soon as you decide to move out. Try to tackle one room at a time to make the packing process smoother and easier.

Think multi-purpose

If you’re considering getting new furnitures for your new home, make sure you choose multiple furniture pieces. Instead of trying to squeeze as much furniture in one space, think quality and multi-purpose. For instance, choose a side table that can double as a study table. Another option would be to get an ottoman that has storage space.

Create more storage space

Now that you have managed to trim down your possessions, your goal is to ensure that everything has its own place. Make use of all the available storage you can get your hands on – under-bed storage, wall-mounted shelving, ottomans with storage etc. Also, create more storage space by making use to the vertical space. Create shelves and cabinets to accommodate your belongings.

 

Clear Signs You’re Not Ready to Buy a House Just Yet

Buying a house is a dream a lot of people share. Being a homeowner gives them a sense of accomplishment and provides a sense of security for their family. But unlike shopping for things, a house is one of the biggest purchases we’ll ever make. You want to make sure that you’re ready for it and that you do it right.

Before you start shopping for a house, you need to make sure that you are financially prepared to take the leap. Otherwise, you may find yourself stuck in a financial nightmare.

There are a number of warning signs that may indicate that you’re not ready to buy a house just yet. Here are some of them.

You haven’t saved enough money for a down payment

In order to buy a house, you need to come up with at least 5 to 20% down payment. That’s a lot of money and may take a while to save. Let’s say you were able to save enough money for a down payment. But you need to understand that the expenses don’t just stop there. There are a lot of fees you need to factor in into your budget – home inspection fee, appraisal fee, moving fee, closing fee, moving expenses, repairs, monthly utilities.

Before you take the plunge and buy a house, you need to make sure that you’ll have enough money left in your bank account to get you through your day-to-day expenses.

You don’t know how long you’ll stay

Buying a house is a big financial obligation. Most home loans are set to 15 to 30 years. That means you’ll be tied to your home for that long. If you’re not certain what your plans are for the next 5 to 10 years, then you may want to put off buying a house.

If you want to be homeowner, then you need to think long term. There is no point in buying a house if you’ll just move across the country in a year or two.

Your credit is not that great

Your credit score is one of the first things lenders look into when you apply for a home loan. In order to qualify for a low down payment and low interest rate mortgage, you need to have a credit score of at least 580.

It is possible to get approved for a mortgage with less than stellar credit score, but with other compensating criteria like higher interest rates or having at least 6 months of cash reserve in the bank. So if you are planning to buy a house in the near future, check your credit score and take steps to improve it.

You have a heavy debt load

Owning a house is a big financial responsibility. If most of your income goes to debt payment, then you may want to put off your plans of buying a house. If you buy a house, then you’ll need to pay your mortgage every single month in addition to your debt. Plus, there is no chance that lenders will approve your mortgage application if you have a high income to debt ratio.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Fixer-Upper Home

With more and more homes in the market during this time of the year, potential buyers can choose from a vast selection of houses. Most buyers have an idea what they want in a home. They have already listed down some features they want and in need for their future home. But those who are on a tight budget are hoping to buy for a fixer-upper, get a great deal out of it and then transform it into their dream home.

If you are planning to buy a fixer-upper home, then this blog post is for you. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of buying a fixer-upper. We encourage you to read this post and weigh the pros and cons before making a final decision.

PROS

Blank canvas

A fixer-upper is an excellent choice for buyers who are looking to revamp the house into their heart’s content. You don’t have to settle in a house that reflects its previous owner. Here, you can call the shots as to how the house will eventually look.

Fewer competitors

Not everyone is willing to put on additional work. In fact, most buyers are looking for houses that are in move in-ready condition. If you have made up your mind about buying a fixer-upper house, then you are likely to have less competition. This provides a great opportunity to negotiate and snatch a bargain.

Lower price

Fixer-upper are properties that need some love. Since future owners will have to spend money to fix and improve the house, it is usually sold at a very low price.

CONS

Remodelling costs

If you think you can save money by buying a fixer-upper home, think again. In order to make the house liveable and up to your expectations, you’ll need to spend a huge sum of money and put in countless hours of work. You may have to redo the kitchen, upgrade the bathroom, remodel the rooms etc. This may take a few months to finish, so you need to consider your budget before you purchase a fixer-upper.

4 Things You Should Never Say When Buying a House

Buying a house is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. Sometimes, these emotions cause us to blurt out things we aren’t supposed to say. Later on, we end up regretting saying those things.

There are some things you should never say until you have signed on the dotted line. Here are some of them.

We’ll get pre-approved for a mortgage later

Sellers and real estate agents prefer to work with prospective buyers with pre-approval in hand. This is an assurance that you are serious about buying a house. Plus, it signals that you are a qualified buyer. A pre-approval gives you an idea how much you can afford. It also gives you a competitive advantage against other home buyers, especially in a multiple offer situation.

If you tell the seller or the seller’s agent that you still have no plans of getting pre-approved for a mortgage, then this is an indication that you are not a serious buyer. You also have to consider that it may take a while to get pre-approved. Once you find the home of your dreams, it might be too late.

I can afford to spend $XXX,XXX

When buying a house, a little mystery goes a long way. At this point, your goal is to have your offer accepted. There is no need to disclose how high or low you are willing to go. If the seller or seller’s agent knows about it, then your offer could be at a disadvantage.

When making an offer, just tell the agent how much your offer is and shut up. Don’t give away any more information. Let them decide whether or not it is a fair offer. If it’s not, then they’ll come back asking for more money. Until then, keep your mouth shut and stick to your offer.

I love this house!

Sometimes, potential buyers tend to get too excited when they find their dream house. But by expressing how excited you are to buy this property, you’re giving the sellers to a chance to snag more money. Try to keep your emotions in check while looking at properties. This will help you maintain a strong negotiating position. If you find a house you’re interested in, discuss it with your agent later on. These discussions should be done in private.

We’re not in a rush to buy

Real estate agents earn by commission. Unless they sell a house, they won’t get paid. We understand that some of you are still in the house hunting process, and you are still looking out for the right property. But if you utter these words, then you’ll be considered as a low priority client. Don’t expect the agent to show you around, knowing that he/she won’t get anything in return. After hearing these words, the agent has already lost interest.

 

4 Ways to Supercharge Your Home’s Online Listing

Today’s homebuyers start their search online. They would go online and look for their dream home at the comfort of their home. Given the number of sellers who decide to promote their property online, you need to make sure that your listing quality is good, especially if you want to sell your home fast. The better your listing looks, the faster it will be to sell your home.

Here are 4 ways to supercharge your home’s online listing. Use these tips to improve your listing quality and sell your property in the soonest possible time.

Upload good quality photos

In the age of the internet, listings with photos perform better than those without. Potential buyers use your listing photos to gauge whether or not they like your home. These photos will attract potential buyers; thus, making your listing more competitive. The key is to capture a set of attractive photos that will complement your online listing.

When selling your home, you want to make sure it looks its best. As such, we highly recommend that you stage the rooms before taking photos. Tidy up the room and make sure that everything is in order. Focus on the strengths of the property and skip rooms that detract from the overall impression you are trying to give. For best results, make sure you have a good quality camera. Any modern DSLR camera is recommended for this purpose.

Be descriptive

When selling a property, you want potential buyers to envision themselves in your home.  Tell people about all the great features of your home. Tell people about the lovely outdoor space, the newly renovated kitchen or the brick patio for BBQs. Make sure you’re actually providing value in your descriptions.

Sell them the dream neighborhood

The location is one of the most important things to consider when buying a house. Future owners can change certain features they don’t want in your home, but they can’t change the location and the neighborhood it is in.

If your home is located in a good neighborhood, we recommend that you mention it in your listing. Are there restaurants, boutiques, hospitals and schools nearby? Are there outdoor amenities like a community pool, bike paths or hiking trails near your home? Can you walk to public transportation? Let potential buyers know about it. Remember, you’re not just selling a house, you’re also selling a neighborhood.

Include your contact details

You created an online listing to reach potential buyers and to sell your property fast. But your listing will be of no use if buyers can’t get a hold of you.

When creating an online listing, make sure you include your contact details, your email address, as well as your availability. Make it easy for potential buyers to contact you.