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Ultimate Home Seller’s Checklist

Posted By Mclain

Selling a home is just as arduous as buying a home. It takes a lot of planning and preparation to be able to sell your home with a smooth and easy escrow. But most importantly, it is ideal to plan ahead of time in order to get the best price possible out of the sale of your home. This can essentially be done by properly staging your home and making it look the best and most presentable way possible.

That being said, if you’re a homeowner who is looking to sell in the near future, it’d be best to start preparing your home for about half a year in advance. In order to help you out, we have curated a checklist for you to ensure that once you’re ready to list your home for sale, your home would be ready as well.

 

1. Find the right help

As mentioned above, selling a home is an arduous process. In order to ensure that this runs as smoothly as possible, it is crucial that you are able to find and hire the right people from the start. This is especially true if you are a first-time home seller.

Real estate agents are professionals whom you can always ask questions and seek advice from. Of course, you can always browse the web to look for answers but asking a real estate agent will be a lot easier. On top of that, you are guaranteed to be provided accurate and up-to-date answers as no one would know your real estate market better than your agent.

You can also ask your real estate agent to help you with completing the rest of this checklist within an ideal timeline.

 

2. Strategize a timeline

More than just preparing your home, the actual date of when you list your home will gravely affect how the rest of your home selling process will play out. Typically, homes should be put up for sale during summer or spring. This is because most home buyers find it ideal to move during these seasons over fall or winter.

However, it is important to note that each real estate market is different. Although this may be true for most, it may not apply to your specific market. Therefore, it is still best if you would seek the advice of your real estate agent.

 

3. Examine your home and conduct research

Before you even begin thinking of a price range, asking for an appraisal, or even placing a price on your home, it’d be best to conduct some research first.

The best way of doing this is by conducting a CMA or a Comparative Marketing Analysis. This method assesses the value of your home by comparing it to other similar properties within the same neighborhood or market. You can always ask your real estate agent to provide the report to you.

The value of your home will depend on a lot of aspects. On top of your home’s condition, one major aspect of determining the value of your home is the competition or the current condition of the market as well. If there are a lot of homes listed in your neighborhood, then chances are, you might have to lower your home’s value and vise versa.

At the same time, the location of your home is also taken into consideration. The type of neighborhood and the facilities that are located within your area plays a role in this as well.

 

4. Prepare your home for listing

Getting a pre-approved loan simply means that a lender has verified your finances and has agreed to provide you with a loan under certain conditions. Most homebuyers skip this part but it is actually a step that you should always accomplish as soon as possible.

Under this item on your checklist, you must prepare your proof of income, proof of assets, credit history, employment history, as well as other supporting documents that can help lenders verify your status and identification.

This step is important as this will provide you with more information and a better insight into what your ideal budget should be.

 

5. Browse through properties

This is the part where you spend and shell out money.

If you’re planning on hosting an open house, you can begin by making improvements to your home. These can be either small improvements or major improvements, depending on your home. From giving your home a brand new paint job to replacing your roof, these improvements can be costly.
This would also work to your advantage once your home gets inspected.

Although it is optional, you can also hire someone to stage your home. Open houses are crucial because this is where most of your serious buyers will visit your home. It is important that you are able to make your home as presentable as possible.

If you are not confident in your skills in staging your home, then it’d be best to ask your real estate agent for their recommended professionals to help you stage your home and impress your potential buyers.

Staging might look simple but there are a lot of details that go into staging your home. From ensuring that your home is depersonalized as possible to removing any unnecessary furniture and decoration, these minute details can possibly turn off an interested buyer.

 

Final Thoughts

These four steps are crucial to ensure that you make the most out of this process. Although they are not necessary, if you have the capacity and resources to take on these steps, it would definitely work to your advantage.

You have to remember that it takes patience and a lot of work to sell a home. The best way to avoid the stress of an ugly escrow is to plan ahead and seek the help of a professional real estate agent.

The Ultimate Home Buyer’s Checklist

Posted By Mclain

Buying a home is probably one of the biggest commitments any person can have. When you’re purchasing a home, it’s not the same as buying any other merchandise wherein you can return it or have it exchanged easily should you decide later on that you no longer like it. On top of that, it’s also probably the largest financial asset for most.

This is why it is important for every homebuyer to best prepare themselves for this journey. In this article, we take a dive into the checklist of every homebuyer so that they can have a smooth and better home buying experience.

 

What to expect when preparing to buy a home?

Planning is the key to a successful and smooth escrow. This is especially true for first-time homebuyers.

Once you have decided that you’re ready to take that big leap and move into your own home, the idea of purchasing your first home can be an extremely exciting journey. From looking at available properties on the market to deciding on which neighborhood you’d want to settle in, there are plenty of things that you can look forward to.

However, it can also be scary and full of anxiety for some.

This is because every first-time homebuyer will soon realize that the journey from committing to purchasing a home and actually closing an escrow to move into a home takes a lot of work and time.

From learning the legal and real estate terms to choosing a real estate agent and meeting a lot of potential sellers and lenders, there is a lot of work that needs to get done before you can even begin thinking about moving into a new home.

So it is best that before you start creating your checklist, you have your expectations managed.

 

What should be the items on my checklist?

1. Create a definite budget

Before you get ahead of yourself, the best way to start your home buying journey is to determine how much you can afford. There are already a lot of factors and elements to this process that you would want to try and eliminate any deterrent that you can right from the start.

By creating a definite budget, you are already forming a mindset of what your realistic and ideal home should be like. When you’re further down the road of this process, you won’t be distracted by features or properties that are outside of your budget.

It is also important that when you’re trying to determine your budget that you create room for some allowance. This is because there might be some unexpected costs along the way and you wouldn’t want this to cause any delays. At the same time, once you move into your new home, the last thing you’d want after all that energy and time invested in this process is to stress over your financials.

 

2. Find a real estate agent

Finding a real estate agent is a crucial part of your home buying journey.

Your real estate agent should be someone that you trust as they will essentially be handling your biggest investment. This is why it’s important that before you even begin looking at homes or applying for a mortgage, you need to start by looking for a real estate agent.

Your real estate agent is your biggest ally in this journey. They are the guide and they will help you reach your goal and find your new home. From recommending neighborhoods and properties to preparing all of the documents that you need to cross the finish line, your real estate agent is your partner.

 

3. Get a pre-approved loan

Getting a pre-approved loan simply means that a lender has verified your finances and has agreed to provide you with a loan under certain conditions. Most homebuyers skip this part but it is actually a step that you should always accomplish as soon as possible.

Under this item on your checklist, you must prepare your proof of income, proof of assets, credit history, employment history, as well as other supporting documents that can help lenders verify your status and identification.

This step is important as this will provide you with more information and a better insight into what your ideal budget should be.

 

4. Browse through properties

In this digital age, there are a lot of ways you can browse through properties online. There are a lot of real estate agents who post their listings online. You can browse through the MLS to check for listings.

You can also have your real estate agent give their recommendations to you. As they know you well and the real estate market even better, they would have a great insight on which properties that are currently listed will be ideal for you.

At the same time, if you have some neighborhoods in mind, you can always go and visit those neighborhoods to see if there are any properties up for sale.

 

5. Attend open houses

Once you were able to browse through the properties, the next step is to visit those properties.

Open houses are great venues to meet and interact with the seller’s agent and to scout the properties. Some properties may look differently online as they do in person. Take this opportunity to inspect the property as well as ask the seller’s agent any questions.

 

6. Make an offer

After you have selected a home that you like, the next step is to make an offer and submit it to the seller. Your agent will help you prepare all of the documents that you need. These documents will include your offer, the contingencies, disclosures, as well as a timeline.

It is best to prepare yourself for negotiations once your offer has been submitted.

 

7. Ask for a home inspection

Although some sellers might already have a home inspection report ready for you, it is still advisable that you hire your own home inspector before fully committing to a home. A home inspection will reveal any issues that the property has.

Not only will this help you prepare financially for the repairs but it can also provide you with ammunition should you need to renegotiate with the seller.

 

8. Get an appraisal

This step is mandatory if you’re securing a loan to pay for the property. Typically, the lender will have the property appraised by a professional to verify the amount of the loan that you’ll be receiving from them.

 

9. Negotiations

Having to renegotiate a deal is something that most home buyers try to avoid because it can delay the close of the escrow as well as become extremely stressful. However, if there are any serious issues revealed through the home inspection, then this is something that you should definitely take on.

If there are serious repairs that need to be done to the property, you can either ask the seller to lower their asking price or shoulder the cost of the repairs.

 

10. Close the sale

Once you’re done with the negotiations, all that is left is for both parties to sign and submit the necessary documents and you’re ready to move into your new home.

Tips for Visiting Open Houses

Posted By Mclain

Attending open houses is an exciting experience for most homebuyer’s journey. However, for some, it can also be extremely nerve-racking and awkward.

For one, you’re about to find out if this listing that you’ve been interested in is as good in real life as it is on paper. At the same time, you’re entering someone’s home while trying to critique it. But most importantly, if the home turns out to be great, an open house is a great opportunity for you to make a good impression on the seller’s agent as well as scope out your competition.

So how exactly is one supposed to make the most out of an open house visit?

 

Tip #1: Make a list

Before you even visit an open house, it would work to your advantage if you already have a list of the things that you are looking for. These are not just random things that you are looking for but are rather your must-haves.

At the same time, it would also work to your advantage if you have a list of the things that you don’t want in your future home. You can think of them as your dealbreakers. This way, it’ll be easier for you to critique or judge a home based on the items on your list.

 

Tip #2: Prepare some questions

Another great way to make the most of your open house visits is to prepare some questions. Usually, the owners are not around during open houses and the seller’s agent is the one hosting the open houses.

You can ask the seller’s agent about specific features of the home. You can also ask them about the information that is listed in the presentation should one of them be ambiguous or maybe you can ask them about the neighborhood. Either way, having a set of questions before visiting an open house can also help you gauge the different houses that you’ll be visiting.

 

Tip #3: Make a great first impression

Again, open houses aren’t just meant for the sellers to impress you, it’s also meant for them to scope out interested buyers. If a property is located in prime real estate, chances are, there would be several interested parties and you would have to beat out the competition to actually get the property.

One of the best and easiest ways to do this is by dressing appropriately. Now, we’re not telling to you dress up for a party, but try your best to look as decent and as professional as possible. This is because you would want to prove to the seller’s agent that you are a serious buyer.

 

Tip #4: Leave an impression

Not only is it important to create a great first impression, but it is also important to leave one as well. You have to be memorable for all of the right reasons.

You have to remember to be courteous with the seller’s agent. Be engaging and don’t be afraid to ask questions. The more valid questions you ask, the more they’ll believe your interest in the home.

You can also try and have a conversation with the agent. You can talk to them about your real estate aspirations or what you’re looking for as well as the story behind it. You can even take it a step further and ask about their background as well.

All this rapport will help place you in a better position once the negotiations start.

 

Tip #5: Make notes on each home

Depending on your homebuying journey, you can end up visiting several open houses. This can be a lot to keep track of. That is why you have to make notes on each home that you visit.

The best way to remember the features of a home is through pictures. Just remember to be mindful when taking and sharing them. It should be understood that these pictures must not be shared online for the rest of the world to see. At the same time, it’d be best to ask for permission first before you take any photos.

However, it would also help you to jot down actual notes. If you notice something that you don’t like but isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker then make note of that. Maybe you weren’t looking for a home with a huge staircase but one of the open houses you attended made you change your mind about it. These notes will be helpful once you’re done visiting open houses and making a decision on which home is the best fit for you.

At the same time, if you notice something that you feel would give you an advantage during negotiations such as a crack on the wall that wasn’t disclosed, or maybe the roof isn’t as good as it was made out to be.

 

Final Thoughts

The home buying process is an extremely emotional process. On top of that, it is also mentally and physically exhausting. Visiting open houses is no exception.

Not only is it time-consuming but you would also encounter a lot of people through this process. Whether they’re just curious about a home or serious buyers who you’ll end up competing with, it can be overwhelming. However, with the right amount of preparation, you can easily take this process and actually enjoy it.

What Homeowners Should Know About Appraisals

Posted By Mclain

Whether you are buying or selling a home, you will encounter the words home appraisal at some point in your homebuying journey. For most homebuyers, a home appraisal can be scary as it can dictate whether the bank will approve or disprove their loan applications. However, knowing how home appraisals work as well as what to expect from this process can be extremely helpful.

In this article, we’ve broken down what every homeowner should know about appraisals.

 

What is a home appraisal?

A home appraisal refers to the process by which a licensed appraiser provides his or her opinion of a home’s value through conducting a thorough inspection of the property. The appraiser’s opinion will be combined with research to help them further analyze the value of the property. Some of the research in this process can involve data from recent sales of comparable homes in the same area or neighborhood as well as the current market conditions.

Overall, these will allow the licensed appraiser to form his opinion which will then help the bank or lender verify if the loan the homeowner is applying for should be approved or not. This is because the opinion of an expert is required in order for the bank or lender to fully assess the risk of approving the loan.

 

Why do I need a home appraisal?

As mentioned above, lenders will require a home appraisal as it will help them gauge the risks and verify the loan you are applying for. This is because lenders approve loans based on the appraised value of the property and not its listing price.

Therefore, it is a means for lenders to verify if the amount of loan you’re applying for does not exceed the appraised value of the home and that they would not be over-lending. On the other hand, if you are selling a home, the home will serve as collateral for the loan and can help reassure lenders that in case you default on the payments, they will still get their end of the transaction.

 

How much do home appraisals cost?

Typically, home appraisals will cost you around $300 to $400. However, the cost of the appraisal will depend on the area of the property as well as the size of the property. This means that if you’re living or looking at properties that are huge complexes and are located in metropolitan areas, then you should expect it to cost you more.

 

How do home appraisals work?

A home appraisal usually starts when the licensed appraiser contacts the homeowner to schedule his visit after being requested by the lender to do so. On the date of the inspections, the appraiser shall then conduct a thorough inspection of the property.

Once the inspection is done, the licensed appraiser shall then conduct research to gather more information on the property and its external environment. This research will include an analysis of the comparable homes in the neighborhood or recent sales in the neighborhood.

Other external factors that can affect the final appraised value of a home can also be the market conditions. For example, if the property is a newer home in a great up-and-coming neighborhood, then the appraiser might increase the appraised value of the home.

 

What do appraisers look for?

During the inspection, the appraiser will check and consider each and every factor that could play a role in determining the overall value of the property. This means that the appraiser takes into consideration the condition of the necessities such as the heating and cooling systems of the home.
Another factor that plays into the overall appraisal value of a home is the upgrades done to a home. Upgrades such as a fully functional patio, a well-maintained porch, or even the appliances in a home.

This means that you should focus less on the design and decorations of your home and focus more on the integrity of the home.

 

How do I prepare my home for home appraisals?

Every homeowner’s goal is to get great value from a home appraisal. Therefore, it is crucial to prepare one’s home before the inspection. Here are some of the ways you can prepare:

 

Curb appeal

Before you start focusing on the interior of the home, you must first focus on making a great first impression. The reality is, the first impression of the appraiser will not be formed once he steps into your home but rather, it happens once he parks his car outside of your home.

This means that you need to clean up your home’s exterior. Whether it’d be mowing your lawn, touching up the paint job, or even cleaning your walkway. You have to remember that often, a home’s exterior is a great indicator of a home’s interior.

Deep Cleaning

The importance of cleaning your home cannot be stressed enough when preparing a property for an inspection. This is because although an appraiser will focus more on the integrity of a home, this can still be subjective.

Furthermore, a dirty home can also make the impression that your home is not well-maintained and that there is a huge possibility of a pests infestation.

Look for Small Fixes

The reality is, as much as you would want to upgrade anything and everything that you can in your home before the inspection, it will always be a gamble. If you invest in remodeling and upgrades and you end up failing to get the value you were expecting, you have already incurred losses.

Rather than focusing on these major upgrades, you can choose to focus your efforts on small and quick fixes. These can be a fresh paint job, sealing small carks or holes, or even replacing broken doorknobs and broken windows.

All these small fixes can make a difference in the overall appraised value of your home without having to spend a huge amount of cash.

How to Know You’re Getting a Great Deal for a Property

Posted By Mclain

It is every homebuyer’s goal to successfully get their dream property for a great deal. However, everyone knows as well that this is a lot trickier than it seems.

The home buying process can be arduous and be filled with negotiations. It can be extremely emotional as well. On top of that, you’re dealing with making the commitment of making one of your life’s biggest investments.

All of these can eventually lead you to have buyer’s remorse. The minute your offer gets accepted and you sign the contract, you’ll start doubting the decision that you just made. You will start second-guessing if your offer was too high and if the property is worth the money you’re paying for.

The best way to avoid experiencing buyer’s remorse is through research and preparation. Here is a list of tips you can use to help you determine if the property you’re eyeing is a great deal.

 

#1 Define what a “great deal” means to you.

Every great victory starts with a great plan. In order to strategically score the dream of your home for a great deal, you have to first define what a great deal means to you.

Is it being able to get a home for 20% less its current market value? Is it finding a home in a specific neighborhood that is within your allocated budget? Could it be having the owner accept your initial offer? Or is it winning over the negotiations?

Real estate deals are always complicated and encompass a lot of different aspects. You are the only person who can precisely define what a great deal means to you as this will depend on what your personal goals and aspirations are in your life. Better than your real estate agent, you have to be decisive on what your priorities are.

 

#2 Look at comparable properties.

Comparable properties are the properties that are found in the same area or neighborhood with the same size, condition, and amenities.

This means that if you are looking for a 1,500 square-foot property with 5 bedrooms and a patio, then any property within the same area or neighborhood with the same lot size, number of rooms, and patio is a comparable property.

However, if you are unable to find a property that is comparable to what you are looking for, you can also do your research on the neighborhood. You can use the current market prices of other homes in the area to gauge the market value of your chosen property.

You can even try and visit other homes to see what the inside of their homes looks like. From there, you will have more information to determine if the property you’re looking at with its current condition and features is either overpriced or underpriced.

Additionally, you can always ask your real estate agent to help you with your research on comparable properties. Real estate agents can help you with their CMA report or their Comparative Market Analysis report.

 

#3 Check if the property is “for-sale-by-owner” (FSBO).

When you find a property that you are interested in, one of the first things that you should do is to check if the property is under FSBO.

When pricing a home, a seller’s agent’s commission is usually factored into the pricing of the property. Therefore, if a property is under for-sale-by-owner, then it should have a lower price in order to compensate for the fact that the owner will not have to pay any agent’s commission. The average commission of a seller’s agent is around 2.5% to 3%.

Another reason for checking this is that if a property is under FSBO, chances are, the owner was the one who decided on the price of their home. As homeowners, we can be easily attached to our home and assume that it is worth millions of dollars when it isn’t. This can lead to the property becoming overpriced.

 

#4 Ask yourself if you can afford it.

One of the easiest telltale signs of whether a property is a great deal or not is if it is within your allocated budget.

The reality is, you can keep on negotiating and throwing offers for a home and ultimately get it for a considerably lower price but if it outside of your budget, it will still not be a great deal. The last thing you’d want to do is to end up in your dream home only to have it taken away from you because you couldn’t pay off your mortgage.

The best way to stop this from happening is to be clear about your finances with your real estate agent. Be decisive about what your maximum budget is and allow your agent to find you the best deal that you can.

 

#5 Ask for your real estate agent’s opinion.

You hired your real estate agent for a reason and that is because they are experts.

It is highly likely that even without seeing the rest of the neighborhood property prices, your agent will already have a good estimate of the price of a property. Most real estate agents focus on certain areas and choose to become neighborhood experts which is why they should be familiar with all of the factors that play a role in determining the price of a property.

They are familiar with the market conditions as well. Utilize them and trust your real estate agent’s opinion.

How to Prepare Your Home for Showings

Posted By Mclain

For every homebuyer who is aspiring to sell their current home, the process starts with hiring a professional real estate agent. Once you have found the right real estate agent, your journey to selling your home officially begins. But with a saturated market, how do you increase your chances of being able to sell your home faster than your competition?

Just like with any other competition, you can increase your chances of winning through an ample amount of preparation.

When your home is officially listed in the MLS for sale, it is to be expected that potential buyers would want to see your home in person. As the seller, this is the perfect chance for you to showcase your home and its unique features. And in order to further increase your chances of selling, here are a few tips on how to best prepare your home for showings:

 

#1 Focus on the Curb Appeal

Most homeowners only tend to focus on the interior of the home and are completely oblivious as to how much the exterior of their homes affects the sale. It all starts from the exterior of your home. Once a potential buyer reaches your home, this is the first thing that they notice and you only get one shot at creating a great first impression.

This means that if you have a front lawn, you have to ensure that everything looks properly trimmed and well-maintained. This could also mean having to repaint your home’s exterior to fix any patches that are showing. Everything down to minute details such as your front doorknob.

All these little things already help your potential buyers build an initial impression of what is to be expected for the interior of your home.

 

#2 Remove any Odors

Odors can be a huge turnoff for potential buyers. Whether it’s an odor coming from your floor carpets or furniture. Maybe you cooked something in your kitchen the night prior to the showing and the odor is still lingering, or maybe you have a pet at home. Any foul odor can completely ruin a sale and scare away buyers.

This rule doesn’t only apply to foul odors, it also applies to scents such as an air freshener or a scented candle.

Although some may think that this enhances their chances of selling, it may actually backfire. Some buyers may not like the scent that you chose or even worse, some buyers might think that you are overcompensating and are trying to mask a foul odor.

 

#3 Deep Clean Every Inch

When you’re preparing your home for a showing, you don’t simply clean it, you have to deep clean every inch of your home. From your walls to your furniture, windows, appliances, and floors.

You have to ensure that your home is ready for the most observant buyer possible. You can clean one corner of your home and highlight it the most but once a buyer notices even the smallest of detail that isn’t clean, you already run the risk of a buyer backing out.

Furthermore, it is also key to maintain this throughout the entire selling process. You can’t simply clean your home once and just wait for it to be sold. It is possible that it will take weeks or even months for your home to be sold. Therefore, this process should be done and repeated every single time there is a showing.

 

#4 Showcase Features

Once you have ensured that your home is clean, it’s time for you to focus on the key features of your home.

For most homeowners, the highlight of their home is the kitchen. If you have a large kitchen space then that’s definitely something you should highlight. Just ensure that all of your pantry items, pots, and towels are organized and that your countertop is clean and shiny.

For others, the highlight of their property can be their backyard. You can be creative when showcasing your backyard. Try to bring it to life by placing some furniture and really demonstrate to the buyers how they can utilize the space.

 

#5 Depersonalize the Space

As hard as it is, it is recommended that homeowners shouldn’t be physically present in the property for showings. The simple reason for this is that your buyers should feel comfortable to voice out their concerns and criticize the property. If the owner is around, they might feel uncomfortable and uneasy.

The second part of depersonalizing the space is to try and remove any personal item from the property. From picture frames with family photos to your kids’ trophies and medals, the goal here is to allow your buyers to imagine living in your property.

The more a buyer is able to imagine themselves living in your home, the easier it’ll be for them to decide and commit.

 

#6 Make Quick Fixes

The smallest of things can turn off your buyers. Taking the extra steps to make small repairs in your home can mean a huge difference.

You can start by checking if all of your doors are working properly. Are all of the locks and knobs working? Then you can move on to your windows. Are there any broken glass or panels that need to be replaced? Then you can move on to sealing or repainting any small crack or patch.

Making these small repairs can help you sell your home faster and at a much higher price.

Home Maintenance 101

Posted By Mclain

Becoming a homeowner is a lot of responsibility. Whether you own a 3-bedroom home or a 10-bedroom home, you still have to exert effort into maintaining your home because it is your biggest investment. For most, home maintenance can be a daunting task which is why most choose to put it off until the damage has been done. This is especially true for first-time homeowners who have zero to little experience when it comes to home maintenance.

If you are worried about incurring additional expenses, maintaining your home doesn’t have to be outsourced all the time. There are plenty of ways you can help maintain your home without spending extra on hiring people to help you.

 

#1 Clean your exhaust fans

Exhaust fans are vital in every home. They help get rid of foul odors and excess moisture in your home. If left unchecked, it may not be able to do its job efficiently. When this happens, you run the risk of having molds in your home. Ideally, you should check and clean your exhaust fans once a year. Be sure to check both exhaust fans in your kitchen as well as your bathroom to ensure that all the smell and moisture that builds up in those areas are well swept out by the exhaust fans.

 

#2 Check your drains

From time to time, our drains get clogged. Most of the time, our drains get clogged over time and not instantaneously. Once you start noticing your drains are slow, manage it immediately. Don’t wait for your drains to be completely clogged. It may be easier to use a drain cleaner than manually unclogging the drain with a wire but it can also damage your drains.

 

#3 Check the gutters

Gutters are essential as well to every home. Your gutters allow rainwater to flow properly through your home while protecting your roof as well. Ideally, gutters should be checked and cleaned twice a year. However, this will depend as well on the weather and seasons. If left clogged or unclean, the debris clogging your gutters may cause water leakage in your home. If you have a one-story home, then cleaning your gutter should be feasible with a ladder. Just ensure that you’re taking extra precautions when doing so.

 

#4 Maintain your roof

Roofs are just one of those things that you will eventually have to replace in your home. Most homeowners try to push off roof replacement as it can get extremely costly. However, maintaining your roof well can prolong its lifespan. A well-maintained roof can help you save money as well as this will help with your cooling and heating systems at home. Moreover, a well-maintained roof will also ensure that you are safe from any water damage.

 

#5 Check for foundation cracks

Another crucial part of a home’s maintenance is checking for foundation cracks. As part of your maintenance, go outside your home and inspect your home’s foundation. Try to look if there are any cracks in the concrete. If you know for a fact that you are going to sell your home in a few years, this is more crucial for you as any small crack can affect the resale value of your home. Should there be small cracks, try to remedy them as much as you can. However, if you happen to see cracks that are troublesome, it’s best to contact a professional and have it checked by a structural engineer.

 

#6 Repaint your home

If you’re a first-time homeowner, it is not uncommon to think that fixing a paint job for your home is purely for the visual side of it. Your home’s exterior is what can get people interested in buying your home should the time come for that. However, this is inaccurate. Ensuring that your home’s paint job is pristine prevents and protects your home from rotting and water damage.

 

#7 Replace the batteries of your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors

There are a number of incidents that can cause fires at home. Having a fully functional smoke alarm can prevent that from happening. This is why it is important to ensure that the batteries of your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors are constantly being replaced at least once a year.

 

#8 Prevent termites infestation

Termites can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare. This is especially true for homeowners with wooden homes. Not only with this decrease the value of your home should you choose to sell it in the future, but this can also pose a safety risk. Should termites find their way to your stairs, one can easily fall or trip. To check for termites, it’s best to start in your basement or to inspect places that are not reached by sunlight. Inspect the wood there by poking it to check if it’s flaky or hallow. Try to seal off as well any gaps where the termites might go through.

Disadvantages of Downsizing

Posted By Mclain

More and more homeowners are now inclined to downsize. There are numerous benefits to downsizing. For one, it’s cheaper. It’s cheaper in the sense that a smaller home will cost less and therefore, leave you with a smaller mortgage. It is also cheaper in the sense that you will have less space to maintain. Your monthly utility bills will also be cheaper as you’ll be using fewer appliances and such. It will be a lot easier to maintain. You’ll have less space to clean and will therefore have more time to spend doing the things you really enjoy.

That being said, downsizing is not for everyone. As great as it sounds, there are also a number of disadvantages to living small. Sometimes, bigger is still better. If you’re someone who is on the fence about downsizing, we’re here to clarify the valid disadvantages of downsizing.

 

#1 Less Storage

The main disadvantage of downsizing is that you will definitely have less space for your storage. If you are someone who is used to having a lot of storage space, then transitioning to a space that’s smaller may be a bit too difficult for you. This is especially true if you own a lot of items that are precious to you. If you downsize, you might want to consider this as you will eventually have to let go of a majority of your possessions to have everything fit into your new home.

 

#2 Cash Flow

Although it was mentioned above that one of the main reasons people choose to downsize is because of financial reasons, that may not always be the case. In order for that to happen, you would ideally have to sell your current home faster and at a high price. You would also need to be careful about choosing where you will move. Different neighborhoods and communities have different real estate markets. If you’re thinking about moving into an expensive neighborhood, then that would definitely affect your cash flow. Remember to consider these things and to adjust your expectations accordingly.

 

#3 Fewer Rooms

Smaller homes will more or less have fewer rooms. This means that you might not be able to accommodate guests. You can no longer entertain out-of-town guests in your home. Whether it’d be having friends over for dinner or hosting dinner parties at your home, it’ll definitely feel cramped. Moreover, if you’re used to your family members visiting you over the holidays, then you might have to reconsider if you really want to downsize.

 

#4 Social Status

Let’s face it, we live in a world where “bigger is always better”. Although this may not be the case at all times, it is still a belief that most are conscious of. Downsizing regardless of the reason may be looked down upon by society. It may be perceived immediately as you not having enough funding to maintain and live in a huge and comfortable home. This type of thing may be something that you value or worry about. If you are not comfortable about being in a situation as such, maybe you should also reconsider if downsizing is for you.

 

#5 Change in Lifestyle

Downsizing isn’t merely moving from one home to another. It is also a change in lifestyle. If you’ve lived in a huge home all your life, it may be challenging for you to switch to a small one or two-bedroom home. You have to be mentally and emotionally prepared as well to adapt to the changes of downsizing and living small. If you know that you or your family is not comfortable with changes then it’s definitely something that you should consider as well.

 

Final Thoughts

Moving from one home to another is already an emotionally and physically taxing process. You are saying farewell to a home you have lived in for years and are now adjusting to a new neighborhood or possibly a city. If you consider all of that, then add on the number of changes and adjustments that you have to make with a much smaller home, it can be extremely difficult. Downsizing isn’t simply a trend. There are a number of reasons as to why more and more people have now downsized, but it is also equally important to weigh in the cons and disadvantages of downsizing when making a decision.

Why You Need to Hire a Real Estate Agent

Posted By Mclain

You’ve decided that you’re going to purchase a home. It’s an exciting time for you and your family. In a digital age when everything can be accessed and bought online or through the internet, more and more homebuyers are now considering buying a home on their own. This can be especially true for homebuyers who are looking to save on additional expenses. Although one can buy a home without a real estate agent, there are a lot of advantages to hiring a real estate agent. On top of having an additional person help you find your dream home, you might even end up saving more money when you have a real estate agent.

In this article, we discuss the advantages of hiring a real estate agent and why you need one in purchasing your next home.

 

#1 Best value for your money

Having a real estate agent comes in handy in ensuring that you get the best value for your money. When purchasing a home, we all have a working budget. By hiring a real estate agent, you won’t have to guess if the home you’re currently looking at is a great option for your budget. Through experience and knowledge, a real estate agent will be able to determine if a home is priced appropriately. Real estate agents are aware of certain home features that are great investments. Furthermore, they know how to best conduct research on a home. They are familiar with the neighborhoods in the area and have great insight into the current market conditions in the area.

 

#2 Access to Homes

As mentioned above, real estate agents are experts and are therefore more familiar with the neighborhood. This is a great reason to hire an agent because this means that they have more access to home listings in an area. Real estate agents are most often neighborhood experts. They know the local market. And although you can access home listings online, there are still a number of home sellers who opt to not list their homes online and keep their business private. Having a real estate agent can give you more access to these listings.

 

#3 Faster Process

If you’re someone who has tried going through this process, you would know that the home buying process can get extremely tedious. It can take up a lot of your time and unless you can dedicate a huge portion of your daily hours to this project, it can take you a really long time to move forward. On the other hand, having a real estate agent means that you have someone who is completely dedicated to helping you go through this process. Their job is to constantly attend open houses and events to potentially find your dream home. Moreover, real estate agents can assess a home faster and can therefore save you time from thinking about a home that is underqualified.

 

#4 Better Negotiation

Not everyone is able to find the perfect home. Every home buyer should know that there will always be a compromise involved in this process. Having a real estate agent makes it easier for you to negotiate when things are not completely what you expected. Real estate agents are more familiar with the red flags in every home listing. They are more familiar with the necessary repairs needed upon a home inspection and how much these repairs would cost. Furthermore, they know the proper steps to getting home repairs done and would be more experience in negotiating with the owners or seller’s agent. This will ensure that you are going to get the value of what you’re paying for.

 

#5 Handling Paperwork

If there’s one thing that is guaranteed with the home buying process, it is that there will be a lot of paperwork involved. From deeds to affidavits, to request for repairs, handling the paperwork alone can take up a lot of your time. Not having a good understanding of the paperwork can delay your buying process and push back your timeline. On top of that, organizing all of the paperwork to ensure that you have everything can also be a huge hassle. A real estate agent can help you stay on track by ensuring that you have everything you need to push through with the process. Given that they are more familiar with the process, they know which documents are needed and which signatures have to go where.

 

Final Thoughts

These are only a few of the many reasons why hiring a real estate agent to help you find your dream home is the smart decision. If your main reason is to save on money, then it’s probably time for you to reconsider this option. The amount of money you’ll spend paying your real estate agent’s fees and commissions may end up costing you a lot more trying to find and do everything on your own.

Common Pitfalls When Selling a Home

Posted By Mclain

Selling your home can be an extremely challenging process and this is especially true for first-time sellers. Most first-time sellers fail to recognize the amount of time one has to dedicate in order to successfully sell a home. On top of that, it’s is also an emotionally taxing process. Imagine having strangers come into your home, which you’ve grown to love over the years, and have them criticize it? This goes for both first-time and seasoned sellers. Selling your home will always be challenging and one simple mistake can make or break a deal.

However, this process can be a lot easier if you are aware of the common mistakes and pitfalls most homeowners encounter when trying to sell their homes. Once you are able to anticipate these problems and mistakes, you will be able to handle them better should you encounter them. In this article, we listed the common mistakes and pitfalls most homeowners encounter when selling a home. Read on to learn more.

 

Pitfall #1: Letting emotions get the best of them

As mentioned above, this process can get extremely emotional. For most homeowners, their home is their most prized possession. Other than the financial aspect, over some time, a home can hold a lot of memories that we’ve shared with the people that we love. It is not impossible that we are now emotionally attached to our home. When strangers begin to criticize your home, it can be rough. But again, just one wrong response can break a deal.

So how do you keep your emotions in check? There are two ways to go about this. The first option is to recall your experience when you were the buyer. Buying a home is just as stressful and exhausting as selling a home. This mindset will help you empathize with the prospects. The second option is to change your mindset. Once you have decided to sell your home, instead of thinking of yourself as the homeowner, switch your mindset to that of a businessperson. Treat it as a business transaction. This will help you stay rational throughout the process.

 

Pitfall #2: “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO)

Another pitfall most homeowners commit is opting to sell their own homes instead of hiring a real estate agent. Most homeowners choose to sell their own homes because they don’t want to pay an agent their fees and commissions. Although that may be true, what usually ends up happening is that these homeowners spend money as well trying to market their property. Hiring a great agent can save you from committing all of these mistakes.

On top of that, they know the market better. Their market and industry knowledge can allow you to sell your home faster. They know when a prospect is the right prospect or not. A great real estate agent is also the best mediator. You wouldn’t have to deal with as much emotional stress as the real estate agent becomes the rational party in the transaction.

 

Pitfall #3: Unrealistic Pricing

One of the most common pitfalls of homeowners is setting an unrealistic price for their home. In fact, if you were to ask real estate agents, most of them would tell you that overpricing your home is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when trying to sell your own home. If you have experience buying a home with an agent before, you would be familiar with a CMA or comparative market analysis. Chances are, your buyers will also be getting the CMA report from their agents.

Overpricing your home can easily break the deal. Most first-time sellers do not recognize the advantage of pricing your home on the lower end. Pricing your home on the lower end can attract more buyers. When there are a number of buyers, negotiations start. And when the negotiations start, you now have the upper hand. This, ideally, will lead to the price of your home increasing.

 

Pitfall #4: Skipping Major Repairs

Lastly, most homeowners tend to skip making major repairs to their homes before selling. They are not willing to spend extra money on making repairs in a home that they won’t be living in. Although on paper that makes sense, skipping on major repairs can actually have major repercussions as well. For one, this can easily turn off prospects. Imagine walking into a home and seeing that there are broken windows or heating systems. When you’re trying to sell your home, your goal is to make it the most presentable version that you can. Major repairs can also delay the sale of your home as buyers would be waiting on them to get fixed before moving on. On top of all that, having major issues with your home can give the buyers the upper hand when it comes to negotiating. This can ultimately lead them to ask for a lower price. Therefore, skipping on making the repairs will only cost you more in the long run.