Friday, November 30, 2012

Moving Tips


1. Allow yourself plenty of time. Estimate how long it will take you to pack everything and then double (at least) that number. You’ll need plenty of time to discard, sort and pack your things.

2. De-clutter first. Flylady.net suggests that you make piles of items to donate, give away, or throw away. Try groups like Freecycle or Craigslist to give away items you don’t need or can’t take to a new home.

3. Arrange for donations of the things you are recycling. Organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters or Vietnam Veterans of America will come to your home to pick up usable clothes and household items.

4. Buy enough packing tape before you start.

5. Pack one room at a time and don’t start the next room until you’re finsished. It’ll keep you organized and allow you to tackle the move in smaller steps.

6. Label, label, label. This may seem obvious but it can fall by the wayside during a busy move. Write down the contents and the destination room on every box. A helpful tip from Good Housekeeping: Be sure to label boxes on all four sides so you know what’s inside when they’re stacked.

7. Wrap your breakables with clothing. It reduces waste and isn’t as messy as newspaper.

8. Time it! To make things more fun and focused, time your packing by room to see how fast you can get it done. Check out flylady.net for more suggestions.

9. Use free boxes. They abound in places like supermarkets, local warehouses and pharmacies. You’ll be saving money and reusing boxes all in one go.

10. Enlist the help of family and friends to make the time go by faster.

11. Keep it light. Avoid accidents by making sure all boxes are less than 50 pounds.

12. Add handles. MarthaStewart.com shows how you can cut triangle handles on the sides of boxes for easy lifting.

13. Keep all your important info in one place. RealSimple.com suggests a moving binder.About.com suggests a “last in, first out” box. Remember to keep birth certificates, school, records, mover estimates, new job contracts, utility company phone numbers, recent bank records, current bills, phone lists, closing papers, maps, and more in a safe place.

Source: Reader's Digest

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

13 Tips to Sell Your Home


We’ve all heard about how “bad” the real estate market is. But what’s bad for sellers can be good for buyers, and these days, savvy buyers are out in spades trying to take advantage of the buyer’s market. Here are 13 thing you can do to help sell your house.

1. Audit your agent’s online marketing. 92% of homebuyers start their house hunt online, and they will never even get in the car to come see your home if the online listings aren’t compelling. In real estate, compelling means pictures! A study by Trulia.com shows that listings with more than 6 pictures are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers as listings that had fewer than 6 pictures.

2. Post a video love letter about your home on YouTube. Get a $125 FlipCam and walk through your home AND your neighborhood, telling prospective buyers about the best bits – what your family loved about the house, your favorite bakery or coffee shop that you frequented on Saturday mornings, etc. Buyers like to know that a home was well-loved, and it helps them visualize living a great life there, too.

3. Let your neighbors choose their neighbors. If you belong to neighborhood online message boards or email lists, send a link to your home’s online listing to your neighbors. Also, invite your neighbors to your open house – turn it into a block party. That creates opportunities for your neighbors to sell the neighborhood to prospective buyers and for your neighbors to invite house hunters they know who have always wanted to live in the area.

4. Facebook your home’s listing. Facebook is the great connector of people these days. If you have 200 friends and they each have 200 friends, imagine the power of that network in getting the word out about your house!

5. Leave some good stuff behind.
We’ve all heard about closing cost credits, but those are almost so common now that buyers expect them – they don’t really distinguish your house from any of the other homes on the market anymore. What can distinguish your home is leaving behind some of your personal property, ideally items that are above and beyond what the average homebuyer in your home’s price range would be able to afford. That may be stainless steel kitchen appliances or a plasma screen TV, or it might be a golf cart if your home is on a golf course.

6. Beat the competition with condition. In many markets, much of the competition is low-priced foreclosures and short sales. As an individual homeowner, the way you can compete is on condition. Consider having a termite inspection in advance of listing your home, and get as many of the repairs done as you can – it’s a major selling point to be able to advertise a very low or non-existent pest repair bill. Also, make sure that the little nicks and scratches, doorknobs that don’t work, and wonky handles are all repaired before you start showing your home.

7. Stage the exterior of your home too. Stage the exterior with fresh paint, immaculate landscaping and even outdoor furniture to set up a Sunday brunch on the deck vignette. Buyers often fantasize about enjoying their backyards by entertaining and spending time outside.

8. Access is essential. Homes that don’t get shown don’t get sold. And many foreclosures and short sale listings are vacant, so they can be shown anytime. Don’t make it difficult for agents to get their clients into your home – if they have to make appointments way in advance, or can only show it during a very restrictive time frame, they will likely just cross your place off the list and go show the places that are easy to get into.

9. Get real about pricing. Today’s buyers are very educated about the comparable sales in the area, which heavily influence the fair market value of your home. And they also know that they’re in the driver’s seat. To make your home competitive, have your broker or agent get you the sales prices of the three most similar homes that have sold in your area in the last month or so, then try to go 10-15% below that when you set your home’s list price. The homes that look like a great deal are the ones that get the most visits from buyers and, on occasion even receive multiple offers. (Bidding wars do still exist!)

10. Get clued into your competition.
Work with your broker or agent to get educated about the price, type of sale and condition of the other homes your home is up against. Attend some open houses in your area and do a real estate reality check: know that buyers that see your home will see those homes, too – make sure the real-time comparison will come out in your home’s favor by ensuring the condition of your home is up to par.

11. De-personalize.
Do this – pretend you’re moving out. Take all the things that make your home “your” personal sanctuary (e.g., family photos, religious d├ęcor and kitschy memorabilia), pack them up and put them in storage. Buyers want to visualize your house being their house – and it’s difficult for them to do that with all your personal items marking the territory as yours.

12. De-clutter. Keep the faux-moving in motion. Pack up all your tchotchkes, anything that is sitting on top of a countertop, table or other flat surfaces. Anything that you haven’t used in at least a year? That goes, too. Give away what you can, throw away as much as possible of what remains, and then pack the rest to get it ready to move.

13. Listen to your agent. If you find an experienced real estate agent to list your home, who has a successful track record of selling homes in your area, listen to their recommendations! Find an agent you trust and follow their advice as often as you can.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Listing a House

Selling a home can be daunting. These are the benefits of listing your home with me:
  • Listing with me is free
  • I will make the process easy for you
  • I know the local market
  • I will show your home
  • I will offer you suggestions on price
  • I will offer you suggestions on staging
  • I will do a thorough walk through with you
  • I will keep you informed as we go along
My honesty and integrity will take your home from "For sale" to "Sold."

Friday, November 9, 2012

Staging

The Real Estate Staging Studio tells us the basics in staging a home for sale:

Staging a House: What 99% of Homeowners Don't Do

When you decide to sell your home, it's really no longer your home; it's a house, a commodity for sale. It's competing with the other houses in your neighborhood, and if you want the best price, you need to show it in its best light.

But 99% of sellers still treat their house as a home. As a result, their houses usually take longer to sell and put less money in their pockets.

That's where staging comes in.

Staging a house - what does it mean?

Many homeowners know they should declutter, but staging a house involves much more than packing up and tossing extra "stuff."

Staging is a production, and the staging expert is the director. The house is being staged to look like a model home: cozy, comfortable, colorful and inviting, with a personalized look to make it stand out from the rest of the other houses on the market.

Staging isn't just decorating. It's choosing the right props, moving or getting rid of furniture that makes the space look smaller, and creating focal points in main living areas.

Visit a new development and walk through the model. You can picture yourself living there, right? You should say, 'Wow!" You see yourself, your family, your friends lounging in the living room, watching TV, sitting around the candlelit dinner table. You imagine relaxing in the yard, the bathtub, the gorgeous master bedroom.

You leave with a positive impression created by properly placed furniture, color-coordinated accessories, beautiful rich linens and table settings -- everything evoking a cozy, inviting feeling.

This reaction is the holy grail in staging a house.
Staging techniques

Beyond repainting and cleaning, staging a house takes it to the next level by making it look bigger, brighter, cleaner, and accentuating the positive aspects of the property. It's all about creating a sense of possibility and potential, about creating an inviting space to inspire buyers, to generate a mood befitting the property.

Look at your home critically. What's the best feature of each room? How can you best accentuate that feature? What kind of feeling should buyers experience when they walk in, and how can you create that feeling?

The Real Estate Staging Studio goes room by room, inside each closet and kitchen cabinet and yes, even underneath the kitchen sink, to make the house more attractive to the greatest number of buyers.

When we work with you to stage a house, we'll help you change your mindset from "home" to "commodity." We'll tell you exactly what to do to declutter, hide, move, toss, rearrange, repair, replace, and stage. You may love that couch or TV, but if we think it's tired, worn or wrong for the house, we'll tell you it needs to go. We'll help you to depersonalize the space, identify the best repairs and show off your home as the best on the block.