How to Sell Your House in the Sluggish Winter Months

It’s not peak selling season, but these smart strategies will help you make sure your home looks good even when the weather is dreary. Here are a few tips to help you sell your home this season.

Crank up the heat

Cold houses don’t sell. If potential buyers shiver at your open house, they aren’t likely to stick around, let alone make an offer. This isn’t the time to save on the heating bill. Keep the thermometer at least at a steady 70 degrees. A cold house sends the wrong message. It doesn’t need to be hot; it needs to be not cold.

Get shoveling

Don’t let a little snow come between you and the next owner of your house. Get shoveling, and make sure the walkway is clear. If someone has to slip and slide their way into your house, you’ll lose the battle before they cross the front door.

Moreover, if you want buyers to attend your open house, make sure they have a place to park. This task can be challenging as snowbanks and drifts accumulate. Don’t clear just the driveway — shovel out some spaces on the street as well. While you are at it, make sure you don’t wind up with big piles of dirty snow near the front door. If they are concerned about breaking a leg, then they are not paying attention to your house in a good way.

Decorate, but don’t go overboard

Some Realtors suggest stripping a house of all holiday decorations to avoid turning off potential buyers. But that sends the wrong message. After all, buyers are trying to get a feel for whether your house could become their next home. If your house is cold, empty and sterile, that sends the wrong message.

This is not the time to go nuts with plastic lawn ornaments. It might be the season to stow Santa and his reindeer out of sight in your cellar. Better to focus on some lighter, classier touches, such as wrapping a garland around the banister on the stairs or putting up a wreath. It really makes the entryway pop.

Become a weather freak, and stay flexible

One thing you can’t control during the winter is the weather. It’s time to start tuning into The Weather Channel, at least while you’re trying to sell your house. When planning an open house, it’s better to be prepared for weather changes. If a big storm is headed your way, maybe it’s a good idea to reschedule for a new day or push a morning open house into the afternoon. Even if you can lure a few buyers out in the storm, a dark and dreary day is probably not the best backdrop for showing off your house.

Safety Tips When Selling Your Home

Once you decide to put your home on the market, you’ll likely have to endure a steady stream of homebuyers in and out of your home. From open houses to showings, your simple abode has to be open to potential buyers in order for you to sell it as quickly as possible. But as the seller and homeowner, you might be worried about your personal belongings, privacy or lack thereof.

Before you open your doors to strangers, here are a few safety measures to help you protect your home while it’s on the market.

Do not allow more than one group of buyers at any given time

Most thefts happen during open houses or showings since there are too many people inside the house. A group of people may distract the agent by showing interest on the property while the others take off with your personal belongings and valuables. In order to prevent this from happening, it would be best to advise your agent to entertain one group of buyers at a time.

Hide the valuables

Hiding your valuables is one of the simplest and most effective ways of preventing theft. Keep your jewelry, collectibles and any other items that someone might be able to snatch unnoticed.

Once you have decided to sell your home, we suggest that you keep all your valuables in a safety deposit box. This way, you’ll feel more at ease knowing that your valuables are safe.

Do not leave mail in the house

Most sellers may think that leaving mail in the house may not be a big deal, especially if they are neatly stacked on the kitchen counter. Wrong! You might be surprised to learn what potential buyers can figure out about you through these mail.

Buyers can tell if the IRS is after you or if you’re late on your mortgage payment. They can also find out how much you owe on your credit card bills through the mail. Armed with that information, you may have a pretty good idea how much the buyer is willing to offer.

Best Things About Buying a House in the Fall

If you’re in the market for a home, you’re probably wondering if you missed the boat by not purchasing a home during the spring or summer. After all, that’s the best time to buy a property, right? Not necessarily.

The cooler days are starting to set in and the days are getting shorter, but fall may be a good time to go house hunting. In fact, Fall is a season filled with great deals.

Still not convinced? Here are 4 reasons why fall can be a great time to buy a house.

Less competition

Real estate market ebbs and flows just like the season. Potential buyers start looking at houses as the sun comes out and slows down by the end of the summer. At this point, families who want to be home before school starts are no longer shopping. That means that there aren’t as many buyers as there were in spring and summer.

With fewer buyers out there, you don’t have to go on a bidding war just to get the home you really want.

Home for the holidays

The holidays are coming quickly. While some people are busy with their holiday shopping, you might want to take this time to go house hunting. Getting settled in your new home for the holidays can height your holiday mood. Since you have a new home, why don’t you host this year’s event and invite your family and a few friends over?

Year-end tax break

Buying a property during this time of the year allows you to take advantage of tax breaks, including property tax deductions, prepaid interest deductions, FHA and PMI mortgage insurance premium deduction and mortgage interest deductions.

More attention from your agent

With the reduced activity at this time of the year, you can enjoy additional attention from your agent. They can respond more quickly and spend more time discussing about certain things as their client load starts to dwindle down.

4 Ways to Relieve Moving Stress with Kids

4 Ways to Relieve Moving Stress with Kids

Moving to a new home can be difficult for everyone, especially for the children. You might be prepared for some whining, crying and door slamming once you tell your kids that you are moving across town or across the country and that they have to say goodbye to their friends.

Try these tips to help dial down the drama and make the process less stressful for everyone.

Discussing the move with kids

Prepare your kids by informing them early about the move. Let them know when things are happening and why. If possible, tell them about the move several months in advance. That gives enough time to process the information.

Share information about your new home, state or town and encourage questions. Try to answer them completely and truthfully. It is also a good idea to visit the new home and town with your kids before the move.

Focus on the positive

Children tend to think about the negative side of moving. This is especially true if the relocation means separating from someone they love and depend on – friends, relatives, teachers and coaches. This often results in feelings of sadness, anxiety or even anger.

To make the move easier, try to focus on the positive aspects of what awaits in your home. Tell them that is a great opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. It is also a chance to learn and live in a new city and be exposed to new cultural traditions.

Allow their angst

When children deal with moving, they often become sad or angry. You shouldn’t attempt to hype a move in the hopes of distracting the kids from their negative feelings.

Acknowledge their sadness about leaving their friends behind. Encourage them to have a good cry, if that’s what’s needed.

Try to involve the in the move as much as possible

Some kids may have trouble understanding why you need to move, especially if they were not involved in the decision-making process.

Although children may not have veto power over the move, involving them in the planning can make them feel like participants. Plus, they won’t feel like it is being forced on them.

Cheap and Cheerful Ways to Update Your Kitchen

A good kitchen can serve your family for decades. If your kitchen dreams are bigger than your budget, it is important to make smart choices as to where to save and where to splurge.

If you are tired of your lackluster kitchen, then go ahead and make a few changes over the weekend. Remember, giving your kitchen a new look doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Use these ideas to give your kitchen a dashing revamp without putting a hole in your wallet.

Paint your kitchen cabinets

One of the easiest and cheapest ways of creating a new look is by painting your kitchen cabinets.

If you have plain white walls, a splash of color is exactly what your kitchen needs. If your cabinets are looking dab, you can spruce them up with a fresh layer of paint.

Update your lighting

Extravagant lighting fixtures can be costly. But if you can’t afford them, you can always go for the inexpensive ones.

Stylish new pendant lights can become the new focal point of the room. They’re stylish, beautiful and most importantly, they won’t break the bank.

Upgrade accessories

You may not be able to swap out those horrible cabinets but that doesn’t mean that you can’t transform your kitchen from a space you dislike into space you truly adore.

If you are on a tight budget, it is important to make the most out of the little details like kitchen accessories. Open counters and shelves are a great opportunity to practice the art of display. Display pantry items with pretty packaging or prop up a few wooden boards on your counter.

Add new curtains

If you wish to save money, you can buy the fabric and sew new window dressing yourself. To keep your kitchen up-to-date, make sure to choose the fabric with solid colors or a simple, timeless print. 

Real Estate Listing Tips That Will Get Your Property Noticed

According to studies, 90% of home buyers begin the process of searching for a home online. If you want to sell your house quickly, then you need to put some thoughts into your online listing. In today’s competitive market, you need your listing to standout. Anything that can spark a buyer’s imagination can ignite a sale.

Here are some real estate listing tips that will get your property noticed. Use these tips to give potential buyers a reason to fall in love with your home.

Take good quality photos

As mentioned above, home buyers start looking for home online. Listings without pictures are often passed up. If you want to get your listing noticed, make sure that you take good quality photos and showcase the best aspects of your home. The goal is to make a good first impression among potential buyers. Listing photos provides the perfect opportunity to make a great first impression.

Today’s smart phones take decent photos. But if you want to sell your house fast, it is best to use a DSLR. Listing photos attract a lot of attention. If you can provide good quality photos, the better.

Write compelling listing description

Your words can be extremely powerful when it comes to selling a house. Write real estate descriptions that will get their attention. Describe the property in an inspiring and compelling way. Talk about the primary features of the property such as location, size of the property, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, and any recent updates or renovations.

Share your listing on social media

Living in the digital age, social media is now a part of our daily lives. Millions of people from all over the world use log in to their social media accounts on a daily basis. If you want to reach more people, we recommend that you share your listing on social media.

By simply posting on Facebook and asking for leads on who might be interested can be an effective way of finding that elusive client.

Create a virtual tour

Living a fast paced life, people are always busy. They want to make sure that the property they are eyeing on meets their expectations before visiting in person. Creating a virtual tour allows potential buyers to see all aspects of your home. It gives potential buyers an accurate, comprehensive preview of the property.

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 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.

How to Sell Your House to Millennials

Millennials are growing up, settling down and looking to buy their first home.  According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors, millennials represent the largest share of homebuyers at 34%. They are dominating the housing market in many parts of the country.

If you are planning to sell your home, consider marketing it to this generation. Use these tips to ensure that your home will appeal to millennials.

Create an online listing

Once upon a time, home buyers would browse through the newspapers to check out the listing books in real estate offices in the hopes of finding their dream home. Today, however, homebuyers start their search online.

Millennials grew up with technology. They rely on their smartphones on almost everything. They use it for ordering food or hailing a cab. They also plan on using it for looking for their future home. They want to be able to view homes, communicate with the listing agent, and make an offer with their fingertips. Also, make sure that you include good quality photos with your listing. They want to see what the house looks like. This way, they can decide whether or not the property is worth considering.

Make sure the house is move-in ready

Millennials are in search of homes that are move-in ready and fully updated. Due to the increase in student loan debt and stagnating wages, many of them don’t have enough money left to handle repairs and home improvement projects after closing. As such, they

If you want to meet or exceed a millennial’s expectations, you need to deliver a move-in ready home. Staging is also of great importance. They want something that resembles homes that are featured in magazines.

Location matters

Location is an important consideration when buying a house. Millennials want to live in a house that is close to the things they want to do and also close to their work. Research shows that 65% choose the location of their future home based on how far it is from their workplace. They want to be close to work to save on travel expenses and commute time.

More than the perfect home, many of them are in search of the perfect neigborhood. This is especially true for those with children. If your house is near schools, park or playgrounds, be sure to mention it. They are more likely to consider your home if the neighborhood is suited to what they are looking for.