Monthly Archives: March 2014

Preparing to Sell Your Home

Posted on March 26, 2014 in Buying a Home

Selling your home is a big deal, especially if it’s your first home.  There are a lot of different things that go into preparing a home for sale, and that’s where a good real estate agent can really help you.  A good realtor will go over your home carefully and help highlight areas that will need to be repaired before the home can be sold.  This will help you make your home more attractive to potential buyers and help ensure that you get your asking price or very close to it.  Of course, there are some things you can do to your home before you meet with a realtor so that a lot of the work is already done.

Get Your House ReadyClean house.  This one is pretty obvious, but if you’re still living in the house while it’s being shown to potential buyers, make certain that it’s clean.  You want buyers to see your home at its best, so dust, vacuum, and straight up every time a potential buyer is coming over.  Some realtors will ask that you leave the home while it’s being shown, so make certain you have some advance notice so you can do any last-minute cleaning before you step out.

Repaint any areas that need it, both inside and out.  In fact, you might even want to give the whole house a quick repaint, although that’s not always necessary.  But if the outside of the house doesn’t look very good, you’ll definitely want to put a new coat of paint on it.  The same goes for any interior area that has markings on the wall or areas of drywall that have been repaired.

Replace any broken windows, mirrors, or light fixtures.  All of these little details will be noticed, so make certain you take care of them before the house is shown.

Have the carpets professionally cleaned.  This is especially important in homes with animals and in high-traffic areas like entryways and hallways.  Do your best to get all of the stains out.  For homes with tile or linoleum, be sure to mop them regularly while the house is being shown.

Remove anything that may be controversial.  This may sound odd, but displaying your personal opinions on things like religion, politics, and other controversial issues can make potential buyers subconsciously walk away.  If you have something in your home that might make certain people uncomfortable or angry, consider putting it away.  Of course, some realtors, such as gay and lesbian real estate agents, may work to bring only like-minded clients to your home, so this can also be a selling point.

The First Impression of your Home MUST be Good

Posted on March 19, 2014 in Buying a Home

If you’ve put your home on the market, one of the first things your real estate agent should do is give you an honest, objective opinion of your home.  This isn’t because he or she wants to point out all the flaws in your house or imply that you haven’t taken good care of your home.  This appraisal is because first impressions are absolutely vital in the real estate market.  If a potential buyer steps out of the car and sees a home with an unkempt front yard, chipped paint, and other problems, it doesn’t really matter what the inside looks like—that first impression will most likely have killed any chance of a sale.

curb appealThis first impression, usually referred to as curb appeal in the real estate world, is often what makes the sale.  People will take a look at the home as they drive by or drive up and say something like, “oh, what a cute house!”  That’s what often seals the deal even before they see the inside.  That cute front door, well-maintained lawn, and other exterior factors are what often sticks in a person’s mind.  Of course, if the interior is run down, the best exterior in the world won’t make the sale.  However, a horrible exterior can kill a sale before potential buyers even walk in the door.

So what do you need to do to have great curb appeal?  Here are a few things to work on:

  • Make sure your lawn is mowed.  You may need to mow your yard once a week or so if you have a lot of people looking at the house.  This will always keep it looking perfect.
  • Bag the clippings, too, so the yard doesn’t have cut grass all over it.
  • Make sure your flowerbeds look good.  Remove any dead plants and weeds.
  • Trim your hedges and bushes so they don’t look like they’re growing out of control.
  • Keep your yard tidy by keeping children’s outdoor toys put away.
  • Repaint or do touch-ups on the porch, the front door, and any part of the home that can be seen from the street.
  • Trim the trees.  Remove dead limbs and cut any low-hanging branches that might scratch cars or hit someone’s head.
  • Remove anything that’s an eyesore.  This includes anything on your porch that might look old or out of place and anything in your front lawn.
  • Clean the windows.  You’d be surprised at how much better this makes your house look.
  • Don’t forget that your car may also be seen by potential buyers.  Even though it’s not a part of your home, they may subconsciously take its state into account when looking at your house.  If your car isn’t presentable, consider putting it in the garage or parking it in such a way that the best side is presented to the potential buyer.

If your real estate agent doesn’t talk to you about curb appeal, be sure to bring it up.  It might seem a little silly to think that someone will decide to buy your house based on their first impression of it, but you’d be surprised.

Tips on Getting Your First Mortgage

Posted on March 13, 2014 in Buying a Home

Many first-time homebuyers aren’t prepared for the amount of time, work, and energy it takes to get a mortgage. They think that finding the perfect home is the hard part, but that’s actually the fun and easy task. Once you sit down to start getting your financing in order, you may be shocked at what it takes. Here are a few tips that will help you be better prepared for getting your first mortgage.

Your Real Estate Agent• Ask your friends, family members, and co-workers for recommendations on a lender or mortgage broker. Just because a lender offers a really low interest rate may not make them the best. Some lenders will go out of their way to find solutions for you while others will not. For your first mortgage, you may want that extra help.

• Watch mortgage rates and ask your lender or loan officer if you can get that rate locked in or if you should pay points to get a lower rate. You may also want to pay attention to the market as a whole to see if it’s a good time to buy houses.

• Decide how much you can comfortably afford to borrow. If your monthly mortgage payment all but wipes out your bank account every month, you may find yourself losing your home. Also remember that you’ll have to pay insurance, property taxes, and other costs associated with your home that you may have not had to pay in your previous lodging.

• Save up your money so you can make a down payment. While some lenders can get you a mortgage without one, it will save you a lot of money in the long run because you’ll have less principle that’s subject to interest. If possible, save up enough so that you can pay 20 percent of the total purchase price as a down payment.

• Have all of your paperwork together when you first walk into the loan officer’s office. You’ll need things like tax returns, copies of recent pay stubs, bank account information, and information about things like stocks, bonds, and other sources of income. Having everything ready to go will make the process that much easier.

Remember that getting a mortgage is a process and that your loan officer or mortgage broker is there to help you with any questions you may have. However, following these tips can help you navigate the process with less stress.