3 Moving Tips for Home Sellers

Selling your home and relocating to a new residence may seem difficult. Fortunately, we’re here to help you take the guesswork out of packing up your belongings and moving to your new house.

Here are three moving tips that every home seller needs to know.

1. Make Reservations with a Moving Company.

After you sell your house, you’ll want to make reservations with a moving company as soon as possible. By doing so, you’ll be able to ensure that you can get movers to your house before you need to have all of your belongings out of your residence.

Remember, the longer you wait to book a moving company, the less likely it becomes that you’ll be able to find one in time for your upcoming move. But if you take a proactive approach to your move, you’ll be able to book a moving company with plenty of time to spare.

Don’t forget to shop around for a moving company too. This will ensure that you won’t have to break your budget to employ friendly, professionally trained movers to help you transport your belongings from Point A to Point B.

2. Clean Out Every Room in Your House.

Although you’ve already devoted plenty of time and resources to keep your home clean and neat as you tried to sell it, you’ll want to conduct a final sweep of every room before you move.

Cleaning out your entire home will enable you to double-check to ensure that you’ve packed up everything and reduce the risk that you’ll leave something behind. Plus, doing a final sweep will enable you to locate and get rid of any forgotten items that you won’t need at your new address.

Spend some time cleaning out your home, and ultimately, you’ll be better equipped to pack up all of your belongings and avoid the risk of forgetting items hidden in your attic, basement or other areas of your house.

3. Disconnect All of Your Home Services.

Contact your electric utility provider, phone and internet services provider and other utility services companies to inform them about your upcoming relocation. This will enable you to cancel services or transfer them to your new address.

When it comes to disconnecting services, be sure to give your service provider as much notice as possible. For instance, calling your internet services provider to cancel your services on the day of your move could be problematic, as you may need to return equipment.

However, if you reach out to a service provider at least a few weeks before your move, you can plan accordingly.

Furthermore, if you ever have concerns or questions about moving, your real estate agent may be able to help you. This professional can offer moving recommendations and tips and might even be able to put you in touch with expert movers in your area as well.

Start getting ready for your upcoming move now, and you can streamline the process of vacating your current residence and relocating to a new house.

Set Up Your Home for a Quick Sale

Who says a home seller should be forced to wait many weeks or months to sell his or her residence? Instead, devote the time and resources to get your home ready for the real estate market today, and you can boost your chances of a quick home sale.

Ultimately, there are many ways to set up your residence for a quick sale, including:

1. Establish a Competitive Price

The first 30 days your home is available on the housing market are critical. But if you establish a competitive home price from the get-go, your house could sell just days after it hits the market.

To determine the right price for your home, you’ll first want to evaluate the prices of residences similar to your own. By doing so, you’ll be able to assess your house relative to the competition and set a fair price for your residence.

Also, consider how homebuyers may evaluate your residence when they first see it. If you examine the homebuyer’s perspective, you’ll be better equipped to understand your house’s strengths and weaknesses and establish the right price for your home.

2. Focus on Improving Your Home’s Curb Appeal

What does a homebuyer think of your residence when he or she views your house for the first time? Your house’s curb appeal may impact your ability to enjoy the benefits of a quick home sale. If you spend some time enhancing your residence’s curb appeal, however, you may be able to speed up the home selling process.

Simple home exterior improvements such as mowing the lawn and painting the front door could make a world of difference for home sellers. These enhancements may help your residence stand out from the competition and enable your house to generate widespread interest in no time at all.

3. Declutter and Depersonalize Your Home

Make it easy for homebuyers to envision what life would be like if they purchased your home by decluttering and depersonalizing your residence.

Taking down family photographs and putting away personal belongings may seem like a time-consuming process, but removing these items from your residence will enable homebuyers to look at your house as more than just another property. In fact, decluttering and depersonalizing your house will empower homebuyers to view your residence as a home that they could enjoy for years to come.

Selling a home can be challenging, but a real estate agent can help you overcome a wide range of home selling hurdles. This professional understands what it takes to accelerate the home selling process and will do everything possible to help you promote your residence to the right homebuyers consistently. Plus, your real estate agent can help you establish a competitive price for your house, find fast, effective ways to boost your residence’s curb appeal and more.

Commit the necessary time and resources to prep your house for the real estate market. That way, you can ensure your residence stands out from others that are available and improve your chances of a quick home sale.

When Should You Take Out a Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit?

No homeowner wants to borrow more money. However, if you’re experiencing hard financial times or looking for a way to fund a home improvement project, there are ways to borrow money with your home as collateral.

In this article, we’re going to talk about home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOC). We’ll explain how they differ and break down their benefits and risks.

Before the bubble

Before the financial crisis of 2007-2008, many homeowners were borrowing readily based on the equity of their home. Interest rates were low on home equity loans, encouraging homeowners to leverage their portion of homeownership.

During the recession, however, all of that changed. People owed more money on their mortgages than their homes were worth, and banks became reluctant to lend.

In recent, years, however, house prices have been creeping back up, and banks and homeowners alike have gained confidence in the equity of their home.

As a result, a growing number of homeowners are turning back to home equity loans and lines of credit as a source of low-interest financing.

So, what exactly are these loans and credit lines?

The difference between a home equity loan and a line of credit

A home equity loan is a lump sum of money that you borrow which is secured by the value of your home. Typically, home equity loans are borrowed at a fixed rate. Lenders take into consideration the amount of equity you have in your home, your credit history, and your verifiable income.

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a bit different. Like a credit card, you are able to borrow money as you need it via a credit card or checks. HELOCs often have variable interest rates, which means even if you’re approved for an initial low rate it could be increased. As a result, HELOCs are better suited for borrowers who can withstand a higher leverage of risk and variation each month.

Is now a good time to borrow?

If you’re a homeowner, there’s an understandable temptation to use the equity you’ve built over the years to your advantage. In some cases, home equity loans and HELOCs can earn you better interest rates than other forms of borrowing.

However, as with other loan types, it’s important for homeowners to realize that HELOCs and home equity loans are not the same as having cash in your savings account.

Another danger that borrowers face is the potential for foreclosure if things go badly. While most lenders won’t seek foreclosure after a few missed payments, your home has been put up as collateral for repaying the loan. Most lenders will choose to sell a defaulted loan to a collections company rather than seek foreclosure.

Ultimately, the best course of action is to avoid borrowing unless it will help you out financially in the long term. However, for those with high home equity who may, for one reason or another, need to borrow, a home equity loan or line of credit might be the best choice.

Stress Reduction Tips for Home Sellers

Even though most of the details of selling your home are usually handled by other people — hopefully competent professionals — it still can be a stressful experience.

Major life changes are a “mixed bag” when it comes to the effect they have on your mental equilibrium. On one hand, change can open up new doors of opportunity and give you a fresh lease on life. On the other hand, it forces you to step out of your comfort zone and deal with the element of unpredictability.

While every situation is different and there’s no panacea for the stress that accompanies life transitions, here are a few strategies that will help make the road less bumpy.

  • Choose an experienced real estate agent or Realtor who will provide the guidance, day-to-day support, and expertise you need to avoid many of the pitfalls and frustrations of selling a house. If you know you’re in good hands, you’ll have less of a tendency to worry about how things are going. The ideal real estate agent will instill confidence in you, provide you with regular progress reports, and do everything they can to make sure the sales process and other logistics keep moving forward and staying on track. They’ll also provide you with good advice on how to effectively stage your home to improve its marketability.
  • Go with the flow. Accept the fact that you’ll need to keep your home immaculately clean, every day, to make the best possible impression on prospective buyers. There are also plenty of other tasks and challenges you’ll have to deal with along the way. Sometimes it helps to remind yourself of the famous serenity prayer written by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr back in the 1930’s: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
  • Get enough sleep every night: Nothing undermines one’s coping ability, patience, and resourcefulness more than struggling against a sleep deficit. Getting enough sleep, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of eight hours a night, is more crucial to one’s physical and mental well-being than many people realize. When you prioritize getting a full night’s sleep, you’ll generally be able to think more clearly, keep setbacks in their proper perspective, and do a better job of rolling with the changes.

Exercising, meditating, and hanging out with supportive friends and family are other methods of helping to keep your stress level manageable while navigating the challenges of getting your house sold and moving on with your life. While it’s not necessary to continually look at the world through “rose-colored glasses,” it is always beneficial to cultivate an optimistic state of mind as you wait for the right house buyer to come along.

The Essential Bathroom Cleanup Guide

Your bathroom can quickly become one of the dirtiest places in the house even after a deep clean. Knowing the most important places to focus on in the bathroom can make or break the appearance of your bathroom. Read on for some tips to help keep your bathroom spic and span. 

Toothpaste Causes Gunk And Build Up

You don‘t want toothpaste gunk to get ahead of you. Use all-purpose cleaners to quickly wipe away any toothpaste. Use baking soda or some other kind of abrasive cleaner to get up any stubborn toothpaste that won’t come up. Remember not to use abrasive cleaners on any surfaces that may scratch easily.

Keep The Toilet Tidy

The toilet is one of the more difficult areas of your home to clean. Keep ahead of the dirt in the toilet by spraying the bowl down with an all purpose cleaner or vinegar and water. The bowl can be sanitized easily with 1/4 cup of bleach or commercial toilet cleaner.

The Shower: Where You Get Clean

You need to get your shower in good shape so you feel clean once you get out of the shower. A gunky shower head can cause hard water due to lime build up. Attach a bag of vinegar over the shower head with a rubber band. Leave it on the shower head for 1 hour. Then, turn the shower on to flush with water. 

In the tub, make a baking soda and vinegar paste, or use an all-purpose cleaner to remove soap scum and grime. Any rust stains can be removed with a stain-fighting cleaner.  

Surface Clean Up

The different surfaces of your bathroom require different cleaning methods. For most surfaces, a damp mop will suffice to start. Many cleaning products can scratch or ruin certain materials so it is always best to err on the side of caution. A mild detergent can be used to help get rid of any dirt and grime on most surfaces. 

Marble and granite can be vacuumed first to remove any debris. You shouldn’t use any sort of wax or acidic product to clean these types of stone. 

Tile can be wiped with mild detergents and flushed down with water. You want to avoid using any harsh cleaning products that can ruin the tile. Wax and polish are no-gos on tile surfaces.

The best way to keep your bathroom clean is to do frequent quick cleanings. You don’t want to wait for dirt and grime to build up before you bother taking the time to tidy up the area.     

                 

What To Know Before You Install A Fence

Building a fence on your property can be a great way to secure privacy, add curb appeal, or give your kids and dog a great way to play safely. There are a few things that you should know about building a fence before you take the project on. You need to be sure that everything is in place so that the project will go smoothly. 

Know What You Want

If you know the purpose of the fence, you’ll need to decide on the type of fence that will best serve what you’re looking to achieve. If you live in an area governed by an HOA for example, you may need to get clearance just to start the project. The Association may have rules and regulations as to what type of fence they’ll allow you to put up. Many variables should be answered before you leap into the project of building a fence. 

Decide On The Materials The Fence Will Be Made From

Once you know the type of fence you need, you’ll choose what that fence will be made of. If you get a wood fence, that may require a bit more maintenance than other types of fences. Materials you can choose from include:

Chain link

Vinyl

Wrought iron

Aluminum 

There are many advantages and disadvantages to these materials so do your research and discover which one will be best for you. You can even mix and match fencing materials. You may be able to use one type of fencing material in the front of your home and another kind of fencing in the back. You can get as creative as you need to be.       

Use Natural Borders

If fencing isn’t your thing, you can create borders around your property using natural barriers like shrubs, bushes, or trees. Using natural barriers is a surefire way to add curb appeal and gain some privacy as well.

Research Fencing Types

As with anything in your home, a little research can go a long way. You want to take the time to see what the best kind of fence is for you to put up. Another thing to do before you put up a fence is to talk with your neighbors. You don’t want to start a big project that will be right on their property line and get them upset with you. Depending on the nature of your neighborhood, you may even need a written agreement with your neighbors before you build a fence.     

Small Upgrades That Make A Big Difference For Seniors

While there are plenty of weekend projects to take on that would be more satisfying to complete than “age-proofing” your home taking the time to make these upgrades will make your home more accessible. Both to older family members visiting and even for your future self. These small changes will make a big difference and you might just find them helpful for your life now!   

Replace doorknobs with handles. It’s easy to take what, to us, feels like the simplest of actions for granted. The twisting action of a doorknob can be difficult and even painful for arthritic hands. This is a quick project and one that can add a fresh new look to the doors in your home. IF you’re looking to switch things up or modernize your home opt for a different, more modern finish for your hardware. Bronze and satin finishes are very popular choices.   

Turn a first-floor office into a guest bedroom. And move the office upstairs. Stairs can be an issue for those with limited mobility. Be proactive now by establishing a first-floor bedroom that can be easily accessed by older guests staying the night and by you down the line. Having a bedroom on the first floor can save you the cost of installing a chair lift down the line if stairs become a serious obstacle.

Install a hand held shower head. This is a shower feature that really is useful for the whole household, even the dog. But choosing a model with a sliding tube and optional side mount for the handle makes for an easier experience for those with limited mobility. It allows the ability for the shower head to be reached when sitting and also to be placed within arm’s reach without having to stretch overhead.

Railings along stairs, ideally on both sides. When mobility and balance are an issue stairs can become dangerous. If your staircases don’t already have railings installed this is an ideal feature to add. Make note of the dimensions of each of your sets of stairs and research what sort of style would best fit that area of your home. This is a project that adds an element that is seamless to a home and doesn’t stand out. In fact, you may find guests of all ages will appreciate this addition.    

Less furniture in each room. Keeping less furniture in a room makes it easier to navigate a room and ideally fit mobility aids like wheelchairs and walkers. It also can bring new life to a room as well as make it feel more open and spacious. Keep only the most necessary elements to a room and take out shelves or bulky furniture designed to hold and/or hide knick-knacks. Make each element in the room really count. You’ll have a much more chic, magazine-esque room on your hands when you’re finished.

Choosing the Right Home For Your Family is a Process

When you decide to make an offer on a home, your mind may be flooded with dozens of questions and concerns — several of which may involve money matters, while others are about the condition of the house.

However, if you’ve had the house professionally inspected and made sure your income is sufficient to absorb monthly expenses, than you’ve already taken steps to prevent or at least minimize future challenges.

Since buying a home is such a big investment and there are so many emotional factors that could influence your decision, it’s essential to stay focused, adhere to a budget, and be aware of what you need in order to be satisfied with your purchase.

The Financial Side of Things: Even though a mortgage broker or loan officer may approve you for a large mortgage, only you can determine whether you’d be comfortable making those monthly payments. In  addition to the cost of your mortgage, property taxes, and school taxes, there are also other expenses to consider and include in the equation. If you’re moving into a larger house, for example, the cost of heating and/or cooling your home may be higher than you’re used to. Poorly insulated houses can also have a negative impact on home energy costs.

Another key factor to think about when you’re figuring out the affordability of a potential new home is property maintenance, the cost of HVAC service, and miscellaneous expenses, such as appliance repairs, plumbing leaks, and electrical services. Some neighborhoods, residential developments, and condos also require a monthly Homeowner Association (HOA) fee, which can potentially put a burden on your cash flow situation. A good rule of thumb, of course, is to avoid spending beyond your means. While nobody would dispute the logic of that advice, it’s often a lot easier said than done — especially on an ongoing, consistent basis.

Non-Financial Priorities: The only way to know what you truly want and need in a new home is to clarify your goals, requirements, and wishes. Making lists, discussing it with your partner, and visiting lots of homes for sale will help give you the ideas, the inspiration, and helpful points of comparison you need. Online real estate listings and home improvement websites can also provide a wealth of practical ideas.

In addition to having enough bedrooms and bathrooms to meet your family’s needs, it’s also important to feel comfortable with the quality of the school district, the amount of noise in the neighborhood, and the traffic level on nearby streets. Proximity to recreation, shopping, and other amenities can also make the difference between your ideal home and one which doesn’t quite make the grade. Privacy (or the lack, thereof) is also a major issue which can impact your satisfaction with a real estate purchase. While it’s good to approach home buying with a sense of optimism, the best time to weigh all the pros and cons is before you sign the final papers at the closing table!

Should You Hire A Pro To Do Your Home Staging?

To sell your home, one of the essential things for you is to stage your home. While the price of your home is often dictated by the market and your own surroundings, the people who are going to buy your home ultimately need to have some attraction to it.

The question is- can you stage your home yourself, or do you need to leave the home staging to the professionals? Either way, you may need to spend a little bit of cash in order for the home staging to actually work well. 

Declutter

The first step in the home staging process is for you to declutter the home. Get rid of anything that’s taking up space, or making the home appear “junked up.” No one can picture themselves living in a cluttered home. 

Hire A Maid

If you’re doing the home staging yourself, one of the most important aspects of getting your home ready is making it clean. A maid service can provide that deep clean that you may not have time to do yourself. This service is definitely worth the investment to make your home presentable to potential buyers.

Professional Home Staging Is Pricey


Professional home staging can cost quite a bit, (we’re talking thousands of dollars.) You can do a lot yourself to stage your home. You don’t need to spend top dollar in order to have your home staged appropriately. Just know that homes that are staged correctly (whether professionally or by you) sell for more.

Staging Gives Buyers Vision

It may be hard for buyers to envision a room any other way than how you currently have it set up. People may not be able to picture a chair in the corner or a bed in a different position. You can play around with the furniture in your home to make the rooms look best. 

Add Some Paint

One of the easiest things that you can do to stage your home is to paint it. Even if you simply put a fresh coat on the doors, it can really add some appeal to the home. If you have the time, you should paint the rest of the home’s interior as well. Buyers are most attracted to neutral colors. If you have any rooms that are oddly colored, or looking rough due to age, some paint can really bring life into the home.  

Make Each Room Inviting

When potential buyers walk through the home, you don’t want them to simply skim the house without checking out each individual room. See what draws you into the room, whether it be lighting, a fireplace, or an ornament on the door. Any of these small touches can make a big difference when you stage your home.