Before You Put Your Home on the Market…

The decision to sell your home is a very important one, and should not be taken lightly. To that end, here is a loose timeline of what you should do before the “For Sale” goes up in front of your house:

As soon as you get the idea to sell your home, start going to open houses in your neighborhood. This will accomplish several things: you will hopefully get to see homes in “showing” condition – decluttered and clean, which will serve as examples of how your home should look. You will also meet local realtors, who you may decide to hire to market your home and more importantly, you will have actually seen the interior of homes, and then their sale prices, so you will have an educated idea of what your home is likely to sell for in the current market. The price you are able to get for your home is intimately connected to what your neighbors get for theirs. This is a good time to start interviewing realtors, as well.

6 months before – perform any updates to the house. Securing proper permits and contractors can take time. Be sure you have consulted your realtor of choice on this decision – if your home is in a falling market, it may not make sense to make major alterations to your home.

3 months before – have a yard sale! Be sure to announce your impending move to all the relatives whose junk you’ve been storing in your attic/spare room/basement that it is on the auction block if they do not retrieve their items!

1 month before – paint and deep cleaning. Keep all paint tones neutral, and personally, I believe colors should be consistently “warm” or “cool” throughout the house. Put away all personal pictures, replacing them with inexpensive pieces you might find at Pier 1 or Burlington.

1 week before – professional photos are taken for realtor website and local MLS.

Listing Day – your home is officially on the market, and shows beautifully. Good luck!

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So you’re ready to own…

 

Tips on finding and buying your first property.

 

Most of us,  sometime in our adult lives,  get tired of renting and decide it’s time to put down some more permanent roots.  So you’re finally ready to buy!  Let’s take a look at what you need to do to find the home of your dreams.

  1. First Things First – Get a Preapproval!

It is important that you know how much you’re comfortable spending and how much the bank is going to charge you for the loan.  That would be your mortgage.  Would you go to a cash restaurant without knowing how much money you had in your wallet?  Shopping without a mortgage preapproval is the same thing.  Just like a restauranteur will call the police if they present you with a check, and you don’t have the money to pay,  you will be mad and annoyed at yourself if after weeks of looking,  you fall in love with a house,  only to discover it is well outside of your price range.  In addition, even if you can afford the home,  in the time it can take to secure the pre-approval, you may lose your dream house to a buyer who had all their ducks in a row and can move forward.  Not to mention, you would have run the poor realtor (possibly someone as nice as me!) around for nothing.

 

  1. Discover Your Favorite Neighborhood

Do you want a rural,  suburban,  or more of a citified environment?  Do you want to be able to walk to a store or public transportation? Are you an outdoor person who looks forward to planting tomatoes in the summer?  Or do you want as little land as possible to have to maintain?  If you have kids, or plan to have them soon, do you see kids riding their bikes or skateboards?  Is everything behind iron gates, or do kids casually throw their bikes on the front lawn?  Do you see tons of cars parked or very few late model luxury vehicles?  These observations can give you a good idea of the type of neighborhood you’re looking to move into.

 

  1. Now You’re Ready to Shop

Once you’ve narrowed the neighborhoods down,  start attending open houses in the area.  You will be able to find them on such popular real estate websites such as realtor.com,  zillow and trulia.  If you meet a particular realtor who you are impressed with,  let them know you’re in the market and ask if they can assist you in your search.  Just keep in mind that in most areas of the country, a realtor you meet at an open house represents the interests of that particular owner,  not yours.  So regardless of how nice that realtor is to you,  if you meet them at an open house,  and you are interested in THAT house,  get your own buyer’s agent.  The buyer’s agent is compensated by the seller and will cost you nothing,  but if you deal with the listing agent, they are not working in your best interest.

 

  1. You’ve Found “the One”

Ask your buyer’s agent for comparable homes that have recently sold,  or “comps” to arrive at an appropriate offer price.  Do heed the advice of your buyer’s agent.  Bidding too low may turn off the seller, or put you in 2nd,  or even 3rd place in relation to other bids from other buyers.  It is tough to win a house coming from so far behind. After you have the acceptable offer, hire your inspector, and if that goes well, you’re ready to sign on the dotted line!

 

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