Carol George's Blog
Although your real estate agent will do the lion's share of the work involved in selling your home, there are several things you, the homeowner, can do to help move things along.
By making sure your home is always ready to be shown at a moments notice to prospective buyers, you will be helping to "tip the scales" in the direction of a faster sale. Since making a great first impression is crucial to the sales process, it's important that your home always looks its best -- both inside and out. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you decide to put your home on the market.
Order versus chaos: Every time your real estate agent sets up a showing of your house, it's an opportunity to attract and engage potential buyers. When your house and property look organized, clean, and well cared for, it sends a series of positive messages to prospects.
Admittedly, it can be a little bit of a hassle to keep your house looking (and smelling) immaculate all the time, but doing so can definitely work in your favor when it comes to making a great impression and getting your house sold faster.
To the extent that it's possible, try to eliminate or significantly reduce anything that could be described as "clutter." Clutter can include anything from excessive furniture and wall hangings to knick-knacks on your shelves and too many containers on kitchen countertops.
The ultimate effect you want to achieve is one of spaciousness, tastefulness, and organization. Anything which detracts from those desirable qualities could potentially work against you. As the classic 1980s TV commercial for a well-known dandruff shampoo reminds us: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression!"
Remember curb appeal: Actually the real first impression happens before prospective buyers even enter your home or step on your property. In many cases, it occurs before they even get out of their cars!
Making sure your house and property look as impeccable as possible from the street can help attract potential buyers and put them in a more receptive state of mind. Maintaining a manicured, clutter-free lawn, highlighted by a few splashes of floral color, can be an effective way to create eye-appeal and make a positive first impression.
One thing home sellers are either unaware of or forget about is the fact that prospective buyers sometimes do a preliminary "drive by" before picking up the phone and calling your (or their) real estate agent to schedule a showing. If they do not like what they see from their car, they probably are not going to take the next step and arrange a full tour of your home.
When you come to the realization that every person who drives by or visits your home is a potential buyer, you'll be more motivated to take care of the many details that either attract of send away prospective buyers.
Buying a new television can be a daunting task. With technologies changing so rapidly, it can seem like you need to take a new crash course in the latest tech trends every time you buy a new product.
However, a TV is an investment that you’ll get a lot of use out of if you and your family spend a lot of time in the living room. And, since most new televisions come equipped with apps like Netflix and Hulu, it’s worth taking time to learn which one is suitable for your family and that fits within your budget.
In this article, we’ll give a brief breakdown of the latest trends to help you choose the right TV for your living room.
At one time, the size of your television was the best indicator of price. But these days you’ll find TVs that are the same size but vastly different prices. That’s because TVs now contain a number of features related to audio and video quality, and smart TV capabilities like apps and games.
However, screen size still does matter when it comes to video quality, fitting the layout of your living room and your personal preferences. If you aren’t sure what size you’ll need, try visiting an electronics store and standing as far back from the tv as your couch or sofa. You can also try this at a friend’s house who has a similar setup to you.
Remember that having a huge TV isn’t always the best option if you’re in a small room. For most living room setups, the ideal size is somewhere between 55 and 65 inches.
Many of us have a collection of DVDs somewhere in our house that we save for a rainy weekend. It might surprise you to know that the quality of a DVD is lower than most streaming videos on the internet these days.
Video quality is based on a few factors and one of them is resolution. Screen resolution has improved exponentially in the recent years. What resolutions are available?
4K or Ultra HD - The current gold standard of screen resolutions is 4K, which contains a whopping 8 million pixels.
1080p or HD - Still one of the most common resolutions, 1080p can be found in many recent models and can look at sharp as 4K televisions.
720p - Only the smallest and most inexpensive televisions are still using 720p resolution sizes. However, if you only use your television for watching cable channels, it should be noted that many major networks broadcast in 720p.
To effectively “future-proof” your TV, 4K is your best option. It is slowly becoming the standard for video and will last the longest without looking antiquated.
There are other aspects of picture quality than resolution. The way the TV is lit os one consideration. Most TVs on the market today are LED-based. In LED TVs, a backlight produces the light for each pixel. One exception is OLED TVs in which each pixel is producing its own light.
The jury is still out on which is better, but OLED seems to have a leg up on LED.
The other things you’ll want to consider are a curved screen, Smart TV capabilities, BlueTooth, and the number of HDMI ports. These are all dependent on your preferences, but it should be noted that as TVs evolve, you might not have access to some newer apps.
The sellers of your home will not be present during a home inspection. It constitutes a conflict of interest. In fact, in some cases, you may never actually get to meet the occupants of a home you’re considering buying. There’s ways that you can get in touch with the sellers. That’s through your realtor. It is a good idea to ask the sellers of a home plenty of questions that may concern you. It will help you to make a more informed final decision on the home you’re considering buying. Getting these answers also can help you to know what to expect once you actually live in the home. Unless you’re buying a short sale or a foreclosure property, you’ll have likely have this opportunity to ask questions. Most of the things that you’ll ask the seller will be a bit more open-ended. Here’s some ideas of what you might want to ask the sellers of a home:
Have you ever had water in your basement?
While the home inspection can reveal traces of mold and mildew, the fact that water comes into the basement on a regular basis is a problem. Other questions related to this would be, “Do you have a sump pump?” If there are any major signs of water damage, you can ask that it be repaired before you even buy the home.
Have you had any structural problems repaired? Are there any cracks in the walls?
The seller will answer these questions honestly, allowing you to better assess the condition of the home.
Has your roof ever leaked? When was the last time the roof was replaced?
The typical roof on a home lasts about 25-30 years. If the roof was replaced more recently, you won’t have to worry about it for years to come. The home inspection will also reveal a lot about the roof and any water damage that may have occurred.
How do the heating and cooling systems work in the home? How much do you typically spend on these utilities?
You should find out from the occupants how well the heating and cooling systems work in the home and if there are any problems that have been found. You can also get an idea from the previous owners of how much money you can expect to spend on gas, oil, and electricity in the home. Your home inspector will also give the heating and or cooling systems a good inspection and let you know if he sees any potential problems with the unit.
Have you made any recent improvements to the home?
A bonus to any home purchase is if a seller has made any major recent upgrades to the home. Everything that the sellers have done from replacing windows to updating the kitchen to replacing the roof is all things that you won’t have to worry about until a much later date.
Asking questions during a home inspection is always a great idea. It’s also even better if you get an idea of the condition of the home from the sellers themselves. The bottom line is that when you’re buying a home, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions!
Ready to sell a house for the first time? Ultimately, selling a house can be challenging, particularly for those who are unfamiliar with the real estate sector. But with the right home selling guidance, you should have no trouble getting the best price for your house, regardless of your property selling experience.
Now, let's take a look at three vital tips for first-time home sellers.
1. Consider Your Home in Relation to the Housing Market
Although you've likely enjoyed your residence for an extended period of time, you might have no idea how your house compares to similar homes in your area. Fortunately, a first-time home seller who assesses the real estate sector closely can find out how his or her residence stacks up against the competition and plan accordingly.
Check out the prices of available houses in your city or town. By doing so, you may be able to define a "competitive" price for your home based on the present housing market's conditions.
Also, don't forget to analyze the prices of recently sold homes in your area. This housing market data can help you determine whether you're about to enter a buyer's market or a seller's market.
2. Conduct a Home Appraisal
A home appraisal gives you the opportunity to gain expert insights into the current condition of your house. After the home appraisal is finished, you can decide if property repairs are necessary to upgrade your residence before you add it to the real estate market.
Hire an experienced home appraiser to complete your property appraisal – you'll be glad you did. This home appraiser likely understands the ins and outs of examining a house's interior and exterior. As such, he or she will go above and beyond the call of duty to provide you with comprehensive insights that may help you find ways to differentiate your house in a competitive housing market.
In addition, evaluate the results of a home appraisal closely. These results may prove to be essential, as they can empower you with the insights you need to enhance your residence both inside and out and boost your chances of optimizing the value of your house.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is happy to work with a first-time home seller and help this individual achieve his or her property selling goals.
Usually, a real estate agent will help a first-time home seller establish realistic property selling expectations. He or she will provide honest, unbiased home selling recommendations to help a first-time seller minimize stress throughout the property selling journey as well.
With support from a real estate agent, a first-time home seller may be able to accelerate the property selling cycle too. A real estate agent will even respond to a home seller's concerns and questions time and time again.
When it comes to selling a house for a first time, there is no need to worry. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips for first-time home sellers, and you can seamlessly navigate the property selling cycle.
What should be on your calendar?Each home is unique and will require different types of maintenance. But in general, most homes share characteristics that can be applied to your situation. We'll break up maintenance into two categories: safety and upkeep. Safety For the well-being of you and your family, be sure to add these items to your list:
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors checked (monthly)
- Smoke and carbon monoxide batteries changed (every 6 months)
- Fire extinguisher checked (every 12 months)
- Test door and window locks (every 12 months)
- Inspect your HVAC filters (every 3 months)
- Clean the drains of your sinks and shower (every month)
- Test seldom used objects like spare bathroom sinks and toilets (every 2 months)
- Clean refrigerator coils and vent (every 6 months)
- Replace water filters in refrigerator, sink, etc. (every 6 months)
- Clean your gutters and drainage system (every 12 months)
- Repair ripped window and door screens (every 12 months)
Seasonal maintenanceIf you live in an area that has significant climate changes throughout the seasons, then there are an whole host of maintenance tasks required to prepare for the change of weather. Some common tasks include:
- Turning off outdoor water to avoid frozen pipes
- Replacing door screens with glass
- Cleaning, installing, and uninstalling air conditioners
- Sealing or repaving walkways and driveways
- Cleaning chimneys
- Dusting off heaters
- Inspecting your roof shingles