Are You Ready For Your Interior Home Inspection?

It’s in a seller’s best interest to make sure their home is as ready as possible for inspection. All homes that have been lived in usually have a bit of damage from simply living in it.  After your home has been on the market and someone is interested in buying it, you have to pass the inspection.  Home inspection seems nerve-wracking but they are necessary before any sale. There are a few things you can do to be prepared for the day when the interior of your home is being inspected. 

Heating, Cooling, Water Heater: Each should have a date of their last inspection on them. If not, they could be flagged by the inspector.  If you can’t find a sticker, have your Realtor give you the name of a licensed contractor to come to have a look to see if any repairs or changes should be made and make sure all are running properly. 

Bathrooms: How is the grout in the shower, around the sink and in the tub looking? This one is an easy remedy if you see any cracks – match the grout color and fill in the damaged areas.  Make sure any pipe work that was performed meets legal standards and guidelines. For example: If you put in your own custom shower, note that the inspector will check below the surface to make sure that the membrane was installed properly and there isn’t water leaking below the shower that could damage the sub-floor and drywall.  The inspector will flush all the toilets and listen for any leaking sounds. Often you will just need a flapper valve if you hear a sound.  Cheap fix. 

Electrical: Test your outlets. For as little as $10, an outlet tester can be picked up at a home improvement store. An inspector will try every single one in your home. Be sure the cover plates are not cracked – another cheap and easy fix.  Every light fixture should have a working bulb and your smoke detector should work. 

Plumbing: Fill all your sinks part of the way and then pull the plug to see if they drain normally. Did it take a long time to fill the sink? It might be because you have low water pressure and is often a really easy fix. Occasionally, this could be an indication of a bigger problem within your plumbing system. It’s best, at that point, to hire a professional to come to see before an inspector. Check inside cabinets under sinks for moisture or around the valves.

Kitchen Appliances: Repair any that may need to be fixed as the inspector will run the dishwasher, the stove, oven, garbage disposal, vents, and fans. If you bought a new appliance while you lived in the home and installed it yourself, mistakes may have been made during setup. Check the water and drainage lines from a new dishwasher or refridgerator

Windows & Doors: Each window should be able to open, close and lock. If you find any hard movement, it can be easily fixed using spray silicone from the hardware store. Repair any caulking around the doors and make sure all the knobs/deadbolts are working properly. 

The Bottom Line: This is just a quick checklist of some of the things that you, as a homeowner, can look for and fix before an inspection inside your home.  Some of the issues may need the help of a professional.  The best advice we have heard is if you want the inspection to go smoothly, have your home inspected before it even goes on the market. This way, anything you can’t fix yourself, you will have time to find a reasonably priced contractor instead of rushing and paying top dollar after the fact. 

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Facebook Can Sell Your Home

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Take advantage of Facebook to sell your home — and be certain that the  Realtor you choose is social media savvy. The Facebook universe is voluntarily giving up its demographic information daily and 1.5 billion members can be directly reached. 

Video: Currently Facebook is fond of videos versus still images, which means the powers-that-be are at work with the algorithms of the platform that make the decision as to what a user will see on their newsfeeds, and video is at the top right now. Giving a tour of your home either live or prerecorded focusing on the best selling points of your home should be one of the first things posted. Invest in a photographer/videographer, it will pay off in the end.

Photos: Hiring that photographer/videographer will come in handy for these. People love pictures. Plain texts on Facebook rarely get the views that a post with a beautiful photo gets. Take advantage of the fact that social media users are visual beings and are attracted to properties they see while casually scrolling through Facebook. 

Post with a link within the text: In other words, put up one of your beautiful photos, with a short, well-worded text and the link at the end to click. Facebook wants us to stay on its platform and not navigate away. If the picture is the link to the MLS listing, the weight for the algorithm will be weighed much lower and miss newsfeeds. 

Facebook ads: Put aside a little money beyond the costs of advertising in your local classifieds, and consider buying a Facebook ad that goes to a web page showcasing your home.  The precision is incredible – you can target users according to various criteria, including location, gender, age, education, workplace, etc. Best of all? You don’t need to spend a lot of money on an ad. Start low – even just $5. 

The Bottom Line: Embrace Facebook for home selling. Over 90% of homebuyers start their hunt online and they will never even get in the car to go see a home for sale if the online presentation is not compelling. Write posts about what made YOU buy the home. Make the posts personal and detailed. Facebook’s ability to target posts and ads to your core demographics are invaluable.  69% of Realtors use Facebook because it works. Find that Realtor


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Selling A Home in January

Unfortunately, many people assume incorrectly that homes do not sell in the winter. Spring wins as people believe it is the best time to sell, but a good realtor will tell a seller that putting their home on the market in January to beat the competition.  After the holidays, people are back at work and looking online for their next move, and with the mindset of so many sellers to wait until Spring, the home on the market in January will have less competition. 

Real Estate becomes flooded come spring and summer and is dominated by high supply and high demand, meaning a home becomes one of the many for sale. Think about selling in a period of high demand but low supply, and being one of the few and standing out from the crowd and with less risk of getting lost in a market overload in the Spring. 

Redfin, a real estate organization, took a look a home sales from 2010 through 2014 to determine how well homes sold based on the season. The findings were surprising for many people, because they went against the standard assumption that winter was a time to avoid trying to sell a home. They found that, indeed, homes did sell best in spring, but only by a small margin. The next best time to sell a home turned out to be winter, followed by summer and then fall. Winter home sales were only one percentage point lower than the figures for spring, with summer trailing quite a bit behind.

The buyers are more serious in the cold, dark months of January and February. It’s not so hard to go house hunting in the beautiful months in Spring and Summer, but to go out in the frigid temps to look at homes means that buyer is motivated. 

January is the most popular month for corporate transfers. People who are transferring for work are highly motivated buyers and are limited to the time they can spend looking for a house. Take advantage of this situation, especially if living in an area with corporate headquarters, or major employers. 

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Skilled Staging and Selling Homes

unwrapping a package

Prospective home buyers never like walking into an empty house where they can’t imagine themselves living. There should always be furniture and accessories to make the house, feel like a home. Hiring a professional Stager can help lessen the time a home is on the market as well as boost the offered price. The best Stager will create an environment that will help the buyer feel the “at home” feeling and never even consciously know exactly why!

It’s always hard on the sellers. They have loved their home and don’t see what a “stranger” in their home sees. Buyers like everything “spelled out” for them and may not be able to see that the dining room is really a family room. Or windows with different treatments may make the room look brighter and bigger. Rearranging furniture to balance and maximize a sense of space in rooms is key to the staging process. Too big a cozy couch that the seller loves could possibly dwarf the room it’s in. Sellers don’t often see that boxing up knick-knacks and family pictures can actually add more value to a room.

Many sellers are told to paint walls in a classic ivory and beige color scheme. That’s fine, but putting a twist on that to stand out from other homes on the market is a great idea. This way, at the end of the day, after a buyer has looked at many homes, they can easily call it to mind. The overall goal is to make each room feel fresh and inviting and easy for buyers to envision themselves and their belongings in. Grey, a very light blue, pale serene turquoise, charcoal, yellow – all accented with white are always pleasing. A skilled Stager will put a seller on the right path.

The Bottom Line: The seller’s goal is to have the house that potential buyers remember. The home that makes they can feel and see themselves living in. Open all the doors. Get rid of old window treatments. Rip up carpeting. Take down and box family photos. Fake plants, fake food and blow up mattresses are a turn-off.  Buyers open closets and cabinets! Remember to make sure they are organized and clean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Detach Emotionally From Your Home For Sale

Thinking about selling your first home? Besides the fact that it will take a lot of time and energy, it may be very emotionally challenging. To have buyers come into your home and open closets, cabinets, and drawers, walk through your bedrooms and look behind furniture, and then to criticize the home you have loved is not easy. Eventually, there will be a buyer who wants it and will inevitably offer far less to buy it than you have it listed as.

The first hurdle to overcome after you have made the decision to sell is to let go of your home emotionally. Start looking at it as a positive financial opportunity and distance yourself from all the aspects of the property that you have created memories. It will be hard to pull your heart away from remembering the moments that you painted, decorated and picked out “just the right carpeting” for your child’s first bedroom. Acknowledge that selling your home is going to be stressful and emotional upfront and that will enable you to make good decisions going forward.

Think of your home as a product that you are selling. This should help you detach emotionally. Start removing personal items like pictures, knick-knacks, etc. to begin staging which will make it feel less like your home. If you put special hardware on cabinets and can’t imagine parting with them, replace them. A good Realtor will give you great recommendations to help make your home more neutral – maybe painting or pulling carpet – all of which will help you to see your home as a product and will help you emotionally.

It’s common for a seller to overprice their home when they are emotionally attached. The price of your home needs to be based on the market and the comparable properties, not the value you, someone with memories, puts on the home. After a Realtor helps you with the price, don’t get offended by offers that don’t meet your calculations. If a buyer makes a low offer, it’s good to know that there is someone who loves your home enough to even make an offer. Let your Realtor negotiate and learn what the seller likes and dislikes (which may hurt your feelings) so you are able to keep your emotions out of the selling process.

The Bottom Line: Make sure you are truly ready to sell your home. Make a list of the pros and cons of why you want to move and evaluate. Have an experienced Realtor help you once you have made the decision and realize that sentimental value does not translate to monetary value so you will need help pricing your home accordingly. Keep your emotions in check, make a clean break and put your energy and time into making your new house the home of your dreams!

 

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Fall Home Selling

It’s always been said that Spring is the best time to put a home on the market to sell. But, Fall might just be a perfect time and often homes can sell faster at this time of year.

Buyers are more serious in the Fall. During the Spring months, there are many homes on the market giving buyers more time to look at them in great detail and be more particular. Once September arrives, there aren’t as many homes listed, the competition is less, and buyers are more rushed to buy, close and move in before the holidays and even Winter weather becomes an issue.

Curb appeal is still so important. Be sure to rake dead leaves and debris in your yard. If there is overgrown vegetation blocking windows, remove it and cut bushes and tree limbs. Put bright mums in pots at the front door and plant in gardens where it looks empty from pulling the dead Summer flowers. Leaves in gutters should be removed often.

The days are shorter, the sun sets lower and earlier in the horizon so be sure to turn the lights all over the home before a showing. Pull up the blinds, open the shutters, push back the drapes on every window.  Make sure each room is bright! Closet lights, appliance lights – anything to make the home shine! Many buyers want a showing after work so it will most likely be dark outside.

Be sure to have the furnace, boiler and even the fireplace checked.  Nothing would be worse than a cold Fall day and buyers come in only to discover that there are heating problems. Additionally, having a roaring fire in the fireplace might be just the ambiance needed for buyers to “see” themselves in the home.

Price the home to sell in the current market. A skilled Realtor will help set the price using the comps in the neighborhood coupled with the time of year – which does not necessarily mean the home should be priced lower, but priced right. The home might sit on the market longer as we head into the Holiday & Winter Season making it even harder to sell if it’s priced too high.

The Bottom Line:  There will be fewer showings when putting a home on the market to sell in the Fall. The good news is that the buyers that are looking are more serious and motivated. Most importantly, find a Realtor that has a great track record of selling homes, no matter the season. Do the homework, ask neighbors, friends and search online to find the most experienced Realtor.

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