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Archive for June, 2012

Tips for Buying or Selling at the Same Time

When you are buying a property while selling a property your real estate agent is more important than ever. A qualified and competent agent should be able to give you an accurate estimation of the price your current property may trade for, which is crucial if the sale of the property is contingent on the purchase of another.

Follow the same basic rules when selling your home: get organized by disposing or donating unused items, stage your property, and pack anything you don’t need on a daily basis in preparation for a move.

Get a home inspection and make any necessary repairs for your potential buyers and a pre-approval letter to give to sellers of a property you may be interested in. Any proactive and preventative steps you complete will expedite both the home selling and buying process.

When listing your home be realistic with potential offers and ask for a closing date that fits your schedule.

Perhaps, if the property you are purchasing is contingent on the sale of your current property, you can ask your buyers for an early closing date. If you have yet to find a property to purchase, you may ask for a later closing date so you won’t have to rent in the interim.

No matter what your circumstances are, organization, pre-planning, in-depth knowledge of your finances, coupled with a skilled and experienced real estate professional, are vital aspects to the process.

Categories: Finance

Check for the basics throughout your house

Do you have emergency numbers next to the phone?
■ Is there a stepladder handy?
■ Are electrical outlets exposed? They can be covered
if unused.
■ Are extension cords frayed? Replace them.
■ Do you check electrical outlets to be sure they’re not overloaded?

■ Do you know where the circuit breaker or fuse box
is? Do you have spares?
■ Do you know how to turn off the electricity and gas
in an emergency?
■ Is your hot water heater set at 120° F or below?
■ Do you have fresh batteries in the smoke detector
and the carbon monoxide detector?
■ Is your fire extinguisher ready to use?
■ Are your floors non-skid?
■ Are your floor coverings and rugs secure?
■ Do you have protective screens in front of fireplaces?
■ Are candles kept away from walls and curtains?
■ Do interior doors have safety release locks so they
can open from either side?
■ If there are small children in your home, are
windows and screens secure?
■ Is lead-free paint used on all surfaces?
■ Are furnaces and flues regularly inspected and
cleaned?
■ Are guns unloaded and locked up?
■ Does everyone know two ways to exit your home?

Categories: Finance

How to prepare for Power Outages


Extreme weather conditions often cause power outages, often for long stretches of time. Whether you lose power for days, due to weather, or even for just a few hours because of a faulty power line, here are some tips to be fully prepared in emergencies.

Buy emergency supplies BEFORE disaster strikes, when items are easily accessible. Purchase items such as flashlights, matches, batteries, candles, lanterns, and lots of bottled water. Battery-powered space heaters may also come in handy. Consider getting a car cell phone charger to ensure continued battery life in your phone. Visit a camping store for food supplies in addition to your local grocery store for canned goods and non-perishable food.

Don’t forget a manual can opener and disposable plates and utensils. Basic tools, extension cords, blankets and extra batteries should be included in your emergency supplies. Place all these items in a conveniently located waterproof container. Include a list of emergency phone numbers, such as your utility company, local fire and police department.

5 Top Tips To Get Your House Ready To Sell Fast

Home stagers can make a number of small changes to a property that can dramatically shorten the time it spends on the real estate market while also increasing the final sales price.

1. Make sure that showing appointment isn’t just a drive-byJust because there’s a showing booked on your home doesn’t mean the potential buyer will actually go inside. Imagine you’re a home buyer and your real estate agent has 10 houses to show you today. When you drive up to what could be your dream home, you see a broken railing and children’s toys strewn across a weed-filled lawn. You don’t have any time to waste, so you’re probably going to say, “Let’s move on,” skipping the showing appointment entirely.

Curb appeal not only attracts potential buyers who happen to be driving by, it also helps draw prospective buyers into your home once they already have a showing appointment booked with their agent. When a property looks unkempt, it scares off potential buyers (unless they’re looking for a tear-down at a rock bottom price). To enhance curb appeal:
• Cut the lawn and ensure fallen leaves and weeds are removed. Keep walkways and driveways freshly swept.
• Add planted urns or hanging plants to the entrance area.
• Repair or replace any obvious defects to the front door/hardware, mailboxes, railings, address sign or lights.
• Move garbage and recycling containers from the front of the house or tuck them neatly in a garage or shed.
• Pressure wash the exterior and decks. If necessary touch-up up paint.

2. Stash your keepsakes and keep your home clutter-free De-cluttering is essential, especially when you remember that many people move because they feel too crowded in their current homes. Your treasured collection of decorative plates, figurines or stuffed animals will look like clutter to most potential buyers. Tackle one area at a time so de-cluttering isn’t so overwhelming.

You’ll probably have to go through each closet more than once to get its contents down to the absolute essentials, but it’s worth the effort. Try setting a timer for 60 minutes and it will no longer seem like an endless task. Consider that any time you spend now on this task will make packing and moving that much easier.

Rent a storage locker so you can keep your beloved items while you’re selling the house, and then have them delivered to your new address after your move.

3. Avoid scaring buyers away with a To Do listYou don’t want potential buyers focusing on one flaw after another during a showing. No one wants a list of projects or problems to deal with when they’re buying a home. You want them to fall in love with your home and imagine themselves living there not thinking about how much less they should offer you because of everything they’ll have to do.

Try to be very objective and do a walk through to spot problems. You might want to ask a highly critical friend or relative to do this for you because when you live somewhere too long you become blind to the problems.

Look for chipped paint on the door frames or scuffs on walls that need touch ups. Glue down any peeling wallpaper.

Ensure all electrical outlets and light switches have un-cracked covers. Repair or replace broken tiles, dripping taps and moldy caulking. These little things make a big difference in the buyer’s mind!

4. Color is your friend when it’s time to sell a houseWhite walls often look cold and sterile, unless you warm the room up with accent colors and patterns. If you have to repaint a home’s interior or some rooms in a home, choose a pleasing color palette that allows each room to flow nicely into the next. All colors should go together.

Try to repeat one signature color throughout a home. A feature color in one room can be repeated as an accent in the others, through vases, artwork, throws or decorative pillows.

Bring life to a neutral decor with cut flowers or a potted orchid for example.

5. Make a big impact with a little artBy strategically using art, you can enhance a home’s perceived value, draw the eye away from tiny flaws, give an otherwise uninteresting space a focal point and replace personal memorabilia.

Don’t just hang something on the wall where an old picture hook happens to be. Position art so that the center is 60″ up from the floor. Make sure the size of the piece is appropriate to the size of the wall. Art with a large frame on a small wall can make the entire area seem smaller. Avoid religious art or anything edgy that might offend potential buyers.

These are just a few of the many things that can be done to improve your home’s appearance and to make it more appealing to home buyers. While the steps can be time consuming, the results are worth it.

Categories: Finance

Monthly Home Maintainance Series


HELPFUL HINTS FOR INDOOR AND OUTDOOR PLANTS

For an environmentally safe insecticide boil five or six chopped garlic cloves in a gallon of water until soft. Add one tablespoon of biodegradable detergent and let sit for a day before spraying on plants.

A spray bottle of two parts vinegar and one part water is good for getting rid of slugs on your garden plants.

For indoor and outdoor plants clay pots are better than plastic. Clay pots allow the plants to breathe and are cooler for the plant roots.

When you change the water in your aquarium save it to use on your houseplants. They will love it!

A paste of baking soda and water will remove most stains from your plastic garden furniture.

When planting flowers, first scrape a bar of soap across your fingernails to keep them from getting soil stained.

Sprinkling pepper in the garden will repel cats and other critters from digging or lying on your plants.

You’re more likely to kill your houseplants by over-watering than under-watering. Once a week is sufficient for most houseplants.

Brown edges on your indoor plant leaves may mean not enough humidity. You can water them until they die but if the air is too dry (especially with the heat on in the winter) watering the roots won’t fix the problem. If you don’t want to buy a humidifier, place your potted plants on top of a large plate of fine gravel. Keep the gravel plate filled with water, which will evaporate and create moist air around the plants.

Categories: Finance

Top 10 Projects That Add to Your Home Values

1.Conquer Clutter: cleaning and de-cluttering is by far the most cost-effective way to add value to your home. Your home will look larger and more livable AND makes a great first impression on homebuyers.
Buyers want to see a clean, neutral space where they can envision their own belongings.
2.Add Insulation: energy-efficient upgrades have two advantages, they add value to your home and they save you money in the long run.
3.Build a Fence: adding a fence to your property can enhance its appearance, give you extra privacy. Remember to check your local zoning codes!
4.Finish the Basement: If you’re willing to take on a major remodeling project, finishing your basement.
5.Repair and Clean the Gutters: While they’re certainly not a home’s most exciting feature, gutters should be at the top of your list of exterior updates.
6.Add Outdoor Lighting: If you have a patio or deck that doesn’t get much use, start making it more welcoming by installing outdoor lighting.
7.Tidy your Lawn: When it comes to adding value to your home, curb appeal is key! Reseed any bad areas and, season permitting, plant some colorful flowers.
8.Maximize Storage Space: Real estate professionals agree that ample storage space tops most homebuyers’ wish lists. Closet organization systems can be customized to fit most closets and you can often install them yourself.
9.Update Fixtures: Simply replacing old fixtures and hardware can give an outdated bathroom or kitchen a stylish, contemporary look.
10.Upgrade Appliance: The kitchen is one room where upgrades almost always bring a large return on investment. One way to improve your kitchen is to simply replace your old appliances. Stainless steel is the current standard.

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