Friday, November 18, 2016
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Selling your home during the holidays can be advantageous for many reasons - less competition with other homes for sale, buyers are more serious, decorated homes may show better, relocation buyers or family from out of town may be thinking of moving into the area. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you choose to put your home up for sale during the last few months of the calendar year -
- DECORATE your home with the holidays in mind - tastefully add holiday decor to your home, while ensuring buyers can still envision their own family enjoying holiday celebrations in your home next year.
- Keep your home at a COMFORTABLE TEMPERATURE for showings. It can get cold during winter months, so ensure your thermostat is set at a comfortable temperature to make your home feel cozy and inviting. If the home is too cold, buyers may not stay long enough to really get a sense of the home's layout and desirable attributes.
- CURB APPEAL should be a top priority - keep leaves off the ground, maintain the exterior, ensure walkways are free of debris and ice.
- Make sure LIGHTS are in good working order inside and out. There is less sun during these months and you want your home to feel bright and comfortable during the darker days.
- PRICE TO SELL. A home that is priced low for the market will make buyers feel merry! You don't need to slash the list price too much below market value, but ensure it is attractive to potential buyers. Buyers looking during this time of year are serious and they know that more inventory is coming soon after the beginning of the new year.
- DAILY MAINTENANCE - keep the house ready for showings. Vacuum well and often to avoid the presence of tracked in mud, snow, leaves and other debris.
- WORK WITH BUYERS' AGENTS on showings - while you remain in control of when you make your home available for showings, try to make it convenient for buyers to see your home. People understand this is a very social time of year and will work with you to arrange for convenient showings.
If you've decided that you really need to sell during the holidays, I hope that you receive a holiday gift of a quick and easy sale of your home.
Monday, November 7, 2016
Who would think that new construction homes need independent third party inspection? On the surface one would think that new homes should have no defects because of the fact that they are brand new. County inspectors inspect them don’t they? Builders are all meticulous aren’t they? Well the answer to both questions is “not always”. In homes that are not inspected, many defects go undiscovered until they cause a problem sometime down the road. County code inspectors are very busy and may not always as thorough as they should be. And builders may be rushing to get the house built so they can move on to the next. Furthermore, the different trades on the job may undo/compromise each others work. And yes, some honest mistakes do happen, everyone is not perfect in the work they do.
Here is a short list of some of the items I’ve found in new construction homes.
- The crawl space drain is not installed properly which resulted in 6 inches of standing water in the crawl space.
- Cut sewer pipe resulting in raw sewage in the crawl space.
- Insulation not installed in the attic and crawl space.
- Improper venting of gas water heaters/furnaces which could have resulted in carbon monoxide buildup in the dwelling.
- Heat ducts full of construction debris and water laden ducts from laying in standing water in the crawl space.
- Improperly installed siding which would have allowed water to penetrate the structure and cause rot.
- Improperly cut framing from plumbing pipe installation.
- Improperly installed roofing materials which may have resulted in roof leaks.
And the list goes on….!
Sure many home builders give the buyer a one year warranty but it would be much better to find the problem before you pay the builder and move in. I have done numerous one year warranty inspections which uncovered issues that were present when the home was brand new. These home buyers would have benefited greatly by having their new construction home inspected. Not all builders willingly rectify problems uncovered at the one year mark, often blaming the owner for lack of maintenance. Furthermore, the builder may not be in business in a year … so much for your warranty.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many very fine builders out there and yours may very well be one. Why take the risk? An independent inspection of your new home is cheap insurance, which should give you, the buyer, peace of mind.
Scott Says... Contributed by Scott Wagar, Scott Wagar Home Inspections
Thursday, November 3, 2016
What's the best way to show appreciation and improve relationships with family, friends and anyone you associate with each day? Express gratitude. Aesop, the ancient Greek storyteller, said, "Gratitude is the sign of noble souls." While we may appreciate something a person has done for us, our gratitude often goes unexpressed or unnoticed. When someone goes above and beyond to help you out, acknowledge their efforts and show your appreciation with one of these thoughtful suggestions.
- Give Food - freshly baked cookies and pies, whether you made them yourself or bought them from the local bakery, are a nice way to show someone you appreciate them, or to say "Thanks" for a good deed. Why? Everyone loves food. Find out their favorite treat and deliver it in person.
- Write a Note - Nothing expresses gratitude better than a heartfelt, handwritten note card. You don't have to be a poet or have perfect penmanship. Just write from the heart and say why you're thankful.
- Return the Favor - If someone did something nice for you, return the favor. Did a neighbor pick up your newspaper and mail while you were gone on vacation? Pick up their newspaper and mail when they go on vacation, or offer to lend a hand if you see they need help.
- Pay it Forward - When someone does something nice for us, it's natural to pay that generosity forward. If the person in front of you at your favorite coffee place buys your coffee, say "thanks" and pay their generosity forward by buying coffee for the person behind you.
- Deliver Flowers or a Colorful Plant - Brighten someones day and show you appreciate them with a bouquet of flowers or a colorful, easy-to-care-for plant, such as lavender, aloe, jade, ferns and snake plant. All of these plants are resilient in case the recipient doesn't have a green thumb.
- Give Them Something Useful - Never underestimate the power of a useful and thoughtful gift. If you know the person well, thank about their interests - what do they like or enjoy doing? For example, if they garden, get them a pair of gloves to say "thanks" for their help. If they love wine, buy them a bottle of their favorite wine. They'll know how grateful you are and will appreciate you personalizing the gesture.
- Give a Gift Card - Gift cards are ideal for those you may not know well, but have some ideas about their daily life. If they're into cooking, get them a gift card from the local kitchen store. If you know the person spends a lot of time in their car zipping around town, get them a gift card from a local coffee shop so they can enjoy a beverage on the go.
- Sing Their Praises on Social Media - When you write a message on a connection's profile, the comment will be shared with their family, friends and colleagues. Sing their praises by tagging them in a post thanking them for their help. When people within your networks see it, they can "like" the status, which will make the person feel appreciated.
- Donate Money to Charity in Their Name - If you want to say more than "thank you," and the person has everything, donate to one of their favorite charities, in their name. Either browse for favorite organizations on their social media pages, or ask them directly for the name of their preferred charity. They'll not only enjoy the gesture, they'll also appreciate you listened to them and respected their interests, which helps to build relationships.
2016 Buffini&Company Used by Permission
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Selling a home is an emotional process for many sellers, especially for those who have lived in their homes for a long time. While a majority of sellers who downsize do so when they retire, there are many reasons home buyers seek a smaller home. Perhaps you want to save more money with a smaller mortgage payment or you don't want the maintenance that comes with a large home. Whatever your reasons for scaling down, you may also be focused on selling for a profit to pay cash for your next home and stash some extra money in savings.
Near term plan to move: Here are a few tips to get your home prepared to sell -
- Clear the clutter - since you'll be moving to a smaller space, you'll want to sift through your belongings and sell, donate or toss anything you can live without. Your new home may not have the storage available to save items that have outlived their purpose.
- Update the interiors - depending on the age of your home, you may not have to undertake an expensive renovation. Instead, update your appliances, make repairs and never underestimate the revitalizing power of a coat of paint.
- Hire a professional stager - if you're selling in a competitive or high-end market, a professional stager can bring out the best in your home to set it apart from similar homes on the market.
Preparing for a future move: If you think a move might not be for a few years, here are things you can do now to prepare your home for when you're ready to list.
- Upgrade - many buyers pay attention to homes with unique value-adds, such as upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms. So focus on those eye-catching projects as you prep your home for sale. Keep your receipts, as they may provide a tax benefit when you sell.
- Look for ways to save energy - today's buyers are interested in money-saving, energy-efficient features, so install energy efficient windows, replace outdated furnaces and water heaters and insulate the attic or basement, if you have one. You may be able to get a tax credit and even save up to 25% on your utilities.*
- Keep up with routine maintenance - the better condition your home is in, the more you may be able to sell it for. Plus, routine maintenance helps to prevent expensive repairs following a buyers home inspection.
* Source: US Department of Energy, Energy.gov
Adapted from Buffini & CompanyRMMK October 2016