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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.

moving with cats and dogs

How to Move if You Have Cats and Dogs

Most pets are not big fans of change. They easily get anxious when they are introduced to a new environment or when there’s unexpected activity in their home. If they have a choice, they would stay in a place where they are already settled in. But once their pet parents decide to relocate, they have no choice but to move with them.

Whether you’re moving across the country or just across town, here are some tips to make moving with your pets as smooth and as stress-free as possible.

Introduce a crate

Most pets do not spend much time in crates. To make moving day a lot more comfortable for your four-legged friend, make sure they get acclimated to their crates in the weeks or months leading up the big trip. You can also provide treats to help your pet develop a positive association with the crate.

Attach an ID tag

It’s a good idea for your pet to wear a collar and an ID tag. If your pet is microchipped, make sure it is updated with your new address and is working properly.

Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian

If you are travelling by air, you may need to secure a health certificate from the vet. Be sure to get a copy of this a month before your moving day.

If you are moving across the country, then you’ll need to find a new vet once you have settled into your home. Ask your vet if he/she can suggest a good vet in your new hometown. It is also a good idea to get your pet’s health record from the veterinarian. This way, the new vet can provide the best care for your pet.

Be consistent

Pets feel stressed when they are placed in new surroundings. That said, you want to help them adjust quickly. Once you have moved in to your new house, be sure to keep your feeding, exercise and bedtime schedule consistent. If your cat is used to outdoor time, arrange for that. If your dog is accustomed to using a doggy door, set one up in your new place.

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.

4 Smart Tips to Make Moving in Winter Easier

Winter is a great time to move. Since most people are out on vacation or busy with holiday get-togethers, you can get great deal with moving companies. However, moving house during the winter is not without challenges. Snow, ice, and freezing temperatures can make the moving process even more difficult.

Here are 4 smart tips to make your winter move easier.

Keep an eye on the weather

Winter weather can be unpredictable. Even if the sun has been shining all week long, a blizzard may suddenly pop up just as you’re pulling away in your car.

Check weather reports from time to time and make sure to follow it up until the moving day. Keep the radio on until the movers arrive so you get the latest updates. Anticipate any weather challenges and adapt to them.

Keep the heat on

You might be tempted to have your utilities disconnected prior to moving day, but please resist the urge to do so. On moving day, you’ll be opening and closing the door many times as the movers carry your boxes. This will send cold air into your home. Without the heat, everybody will feel cold and uncomfortable. You’ll want to keep the heat on on moving day.

Protect your belongings

Some items are especially vulnerable to cold temperatures. Electronics and other cold-sensitive items should be kept indoors for as long as possible and should be transported in a heated vehicle to avoid damage. Objects that are made of wood should be insulated during a move. These items can warp when exposed to freezing temperatures. Books and other documents will also need additional care. Place them in waterproof bins and make sure that they are sealed tight before they get loaded onto the moving truck.

Clear snow

We understand that you have a lot on your plate right now, but make sure that you shovel snow prior to moving day. Snow and ice can be slippery. Clear the snow to prevent anyone from getting hurt. You may also spread rock salt on the ground to slow down the re-icing process. If snow is falling, we suggest that you mix calcium chloride with the rock salt. This will make snow and ice melt faster.

Why You Should Tackle Home Repairs Before Listing Your House for Sale

Spring and summer is the busiest time of the year in the real estate market. Because of this, most homeowners choose to sell their home during this time of the year. If you are looking to sell your home, we highly recommend that you tackle some repairs and home improvement projects before you do so.

Here are 4 reasons why you should tackle home repairs before listing your home for sale:

Add value to your home

Small home improvement projects like repainting the walls, repainting the kitchen cabinets and pressure washing your home’s exterior always pay off. These projects will only cost you a small amount of money and a few hours of your time, but these home improvement projects will help boost the value of your home.

An attractive and well maintained house will increase its perceived value. It will attract lots of potential buyers and get better offers as well. Plus, buyers will be willing to buy your house at your asking price knowing that it it’s in tip top shape.

Sell your home faster

Home buyers are looking for a house that is in move-in ready condition. They don’t have time to tackle repairs after moving in to their new house.

By handling repairs early on and assuring buyers that your house is in good shape, there’s a good chance that your home will sell fast and for top dollar. Properties that are in poor condition are likely to linger on the market.

Reduces the risk of losing the deal

Most buyers get a home inspection before pushing through with the transaction. Even if you don’t tell them about certain issues, potential buyers will be able to find out about it later on. With these issues showing up on the home inspection report, potential buyers may think twice about buying the house. Worse, some may consider backing out of the deal.

By anticipating any problems the buyer may have with your home, buyers will be able to focus on the positive features rather than the negatives.

Save money

We all know that handling repairs can cost you money, but fixing issues before putting it on the market will help you save money. For instance, a leaky faucet is one of the easiest home maintenance tasks to perform. If you ignore it and potential buyers find out about it, this will leave a bad impression on potential buyers. Some of them may think that the house hasn’t been properly maintained, and there are a lot of problems that are yet to be discovered.

Many common repairs are inexpensive and easy to fix. The amount of money you’ll spend to tackle these repairs will be far less than having to pay a contractor later on when potential buyers find out about these issues.

Tips for Staging Your Home for Spring Showings

Spring is one of the busiest times of the year for real estate. If you are planning to sell your home this spring, now is the perfect time to start preparing your home for selling. Since inventory almost always rises in spring, you want to start early to get ahead of the competition and make sure that your home is market ready before people starts putting out a for sale sign on their lawn.

Spring season brings blooming flowers, warm weather and plenty of opportunities to stage your home.  Freshen up your home and bring potential buyers in with these easy ideas.

Declutter

When it comes to selling a house, less is more. Try to pack as much stuff as possible. Clean off the closet, cabinets and counter. Leave a few things and make sure they’re organized. By doing so, it will be easier for you to pack your things once you sell the house. If everything is clean and in order, buyers will be able to see how much storage space you have.

Spruce up your home’s exterior

Now that the sun is shining brightly, people are likely to notice the fallen leaves and other debris that were left over from the winter. Pull out dead plants and weeds that have popped up, clean the garden and spruce up your yard for spring. A well maintained lawn will can add color and vitality to your home.

Since curb appeal plays an important role in the home selling process, we recommend that you freshen up your front door as well. Give it a fresh coat of paint to make it look like new. Not only will it attract potential buyers, it will also set the tone for the entire showing.

Do some repairs

Most buyers are hoping to buy a house in excellent condition. There is nothing more frustrating than spending a fortune on your dream home only to find out that you need to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on repairs.

Before putting your home on the market, we recommend that you take care of necessary repairs. You’ll find it easier to sell your home if it’s in top condition, and even make more money out of it.

Do some spring cleaning

A good spring cleaning is a worthwhile exercise. Since it involves deep cleaning, serious de-cluttering and re-organization, it provides a great opportunity to clean and wash difficult to reach places and other areas that are often neglected. Since the doors and windows have remained closed all winter, this is the perfect time to air the house.

Clean every areas of your home before putting it on the market. A clean and well-staged home will make your home appealing to prospective buyers and may even help you sell more quickly.

Important Parts of Your Home to Deep Clean This Spring

Spring is the best time to take care of some home maintenance tasks and give your home a thorough cleaning. While certain areas in your home will receive spring cleaning attention, there are certain parts of your home that tend to get overlooked.

Let’s take a look at some of the most overlooked germy spots in your home. Make sure you that you deep clean these areas this spring.

Kitchen shelves and cabinets

Those Chinas in your kitchen cabinet have probably been collecting dust. When was the last time you cleaned your shelves and cabinets? We recommend wiping down your cabinets and re-organize your glassware, silverware and cooking supplies as well.

Clean and organized kitchen shelves and cabinets will not only make your whole kitchen look better; cooking and preparing meals for your family will also be more fun and enjoyable.

Curtain

Most people don’t realize how dirty their curtains are until they really begin to look at them. Curtains catch a lot of dust. Sometimes, they even get cobwebs on them too. If your curtains have been up for several months now, now is the best time to change them or maybe remove them altogether.

Closet

If you’re like most people, you probably buy some pieces of clothing every now and then. If you do, chances are you’re closet is almost full by now. While  cleaning your room, you might want to tackle your closet as well.

Get rid of clothes you haven’t worn for a few months or will no longer be using in the coming months. After all, the season has changed. It’s time to swap out your wardrobe as well. This task can be overwhelming, but it’s actually beneficial. For one, it would be easier for you to organize your closet. Since you have more space in your closet, you’ll have more reasons to shop. Sounds like a great idea, right?

Stove

The stove is probably one of the most used appliances in your kitchen. Since you use it every day, it is probably one of the dirtiest as well. Unless you’ve developed the habit of cleaning your stove after cooking, chances are there are some stains or traces of food on the stove. Give them a good scrubbing. Cooking will be much more enjoyable with a clean and squeaky stove.

Refrigerator

There are probably some stale and old foods in your fridge. Since you’re in the process of deep cleaning your kitchen, we suggest that you take a look at your fridge and throw away old foods. While you’re at it, remove the shelves and clean them as well.

4 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

updating your kitchenWhether you’re getting ready to sell your home or simply aiming to freshen it up, experts agree that there are lots of things you can do to increase the value of your home. Keep in mind, though, that not every home improvement project yields great results.

Just because you spent $10,000 on renovation, it does not necessarily mean that you’ll be able to recover the cost when it’s time to sell. The key is to know where to spend.

Experts share their brightest ideas for adding value to your home.

Give your home a facelift

You don’t always have to spend a fortune just to boost your house’s value. Create a good first impression by making sure you have a clutter-free driveway. Repainting your front door or installing a new door knob is also a great option. Aside from the exterior, it is also advisable to keep your home tidy on the inside. By doing so, buyers will believe that you have a well-maintained and well-loved home.

More space and light

Right now, buyers want a wide open floor plan and rooms with as much natural light as possible. Open floor plans typically involve combining your living, dining and kitchen areas.

If you have a small house, it might be a good idea to knock down that kitchen island or a non-structural wall. This gives the illusion of a larger living area.

Take care of little repairs

You may be accustomed to that missing grout in the toilet or that drippy tap, but potential buyers may see it as a flaw. Instead of envisioning themselves relaxing in the living room, their thoughts are now occupied as to how much it would cost to repair them.

Take care of these little repairs and keep your home in top shape. After all, it is your responsibility as a homeowner.

Make your kitchen really cook

When viewing a home, potential buyers make a beeline for this room. It’s known as the heart of the home for a good reason.

Giving your kitchen a facelift is a good investment, and if done correctly, it can give you as much as 100% recoup on your investment. You can modernize the look of your kitchen by simply repainting your kitchen cabinets or replacing tired-looking handles.

Things You Need to Do Before Selling Your Home

Things You Need to Do Before Selling Your HomeMost people don’t’ have a clue as to where to start when selling their home. Since your house is your biggest investment, you want to make this right.

If you are planning to sell your home, do pay attention. In this blog post, we’ll give you some important guidelines on what you need to do before listing your house. Read on and get your home ready to sell.

Hire an agent

For some, selling their home without an agent may seem like an attractive thought. That’s understandable since they’ll be able to keep the commission that an agent usually collects. However, with the lack of experience in the real estate industry, you need someone to guide you through the process.

Selling a home can be daunting. With all the time-consuming tasks and the nitty gritty details, it can end up consuming all your time. A real estate agent can take the work off your hands. He’ll advertise your home, answer inquiries from prospective buyers, handle the negotiations and even help you get a better deal.

Find the papers

Before you exert an effort cleaning and renovating your home, it’s probably a good idea to locate all the important documents you’ll need to present to your listing agent and prospective buyers. Having these documents on hand, you can prepare yourself for inquiries that might arise regarding the property. The best part is, people would think that you have everything under control even if you don’t.

De-personalize

Now that you’re putting your home in the market, you might want to get rid of anything that would remind potential buyers that you once lived there.

Start by packing as much personal items and photos as you can. Those marks that show how tall your kids have grown have to go as well. You should create an environment whereby buyers can envision themselves living there, and they can’t do that with your personal belongings still there.

Create a good first impression

You only have once chance to make a good impression. So, don’t ruin it.

Start by sprucing up your house’s exterior.  Maintain your lawn, plant some colorful flowers and repaint your front door. Buyers won’t be interest to look at your home if it doesn’t look appealing on the outside.

Tips for Buying Your First Home

It’s not a secret that home buying is a complex process. One simple mistake can cost large. That being said, it is important to plan ahead and arm yourself with research before going out there and buy your first home.

While the thoughts of granite counter first time home buyerstops, big bath tub and white picket fences might be dancing in your head, you don’t want to take wake up from a dream holding a bill that would leave a hole on your household budget.

Get the most out of your money with these home buying tips.

Go online

Roughly 80% of home searches begin on the Internet. You can search through thousands of listings and browse through photos of the house and neighborhood using your laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Considering that you already have a good idea of the type of home you’re looking for and made a list of the features and amenities you want in a home, you’ll be halfway to homeownership by the time you get to your real estate agent’s office.

Hire a real estate agent

When buying your first home, a real estate agent will be your insider to the world of home buying. He/she will help you find the home that suits your needs, handle the negotiation and guide you in the complicated process of home buying.

You want someone who can give you expert advice and is readily available when you need his/her services. Ask a few friends, colleagues or family members for referrals.

Get pre-approved for a home loan

Getting pre-qualified and pre-approved for a mortgage are 2 different things. Getting pre-approved means that the lending company has checked your financial information and has given you a good idea how much you can borrow.

Now that you know how much you can afford, you can spend your time and energy looking at houses within your budget.

Limit viewing

The average number of homes that buyers should see in 1 day is 7. Although, it’s physically possible to see more than 10 houses in a day, there’s a good chance that you won’t remember specific details about any of them.

Provide your real estate agent with a list of your want and needs. This way, he/she will only show you houses that fit your parameters.