Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 1/28/2019

If you’re in the market to buy a home soon, you probably have a long list of things to look for. You also are most likely focused on savings and shopping around for the best mortgage rates. You may know everything that you should do when you’re buying a home, but has anyone told you what you shouldn’t do? Read on to discover some of the worst practices of people searching for a home. 


Lack Of Research


You need to search for a home before you even set out to look at properties in person. While you’ll want to work with a realtor, you should know what you want before you start working with him. Your agent will be able to set up alerts for you that enable you to see properties put on the market as soon as they become available. This search will be tailored to your wants such as a large yard, master bathroom, or separate dining area. If you understand what your needs will cost you in relation to your budget ahead of time, working with a real estate agent will be a more fruitful experience.


Not Letting Your Real Estate Agent Do Their Job


Real estate agents are experts in the housing market. Your agent will research prices and help you to understand what a reasonable offer on a property will be. Your agent has the tools to get you the information you need to make an informed offer on a property. Sellers get insulted if an offer is well below the asking price. Trust that your agent knows what he’s talking about. 


You’ll have a close relationship with your agent throughout the house hunting process. You’ll need to make arrangements with your agent to go to open houses and home showings. Your agent will accommodate you to the best of his ability. All you need to do is communicate with them. 


Not Looking Beyond The Online Search


If you are out and about and see a property for sale that interests you, don’t assume that it’s out of your reach. Sometimes the online searches miss things. A property may include (or not include) something that you’re looking for. You can take down the address where you saw the “for sale” sign and speak with your real estate agent about it.


Skimming Over Properties


When you have the opportunity to look at a property, really take the time to view it. You can miss a lot of details by quickly going over a property due to your first impression. There’s a lot of things that you may not see if you don’t look at the details of a home as you walk through it.       





Tags: house hunting  
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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 1/21/2019

When you hire a house cleaner or maid service, you expect that your house will be neater and cleaner. There are certain rules that you should follow to keep your house maid happy. Your maid is not there to clean up after you for absolutely everything you do in your home. You need to give your cleaning person the tools to do his or her job well. 


Here’s What You Should Do Before Your Cleaning Service Arrives


Pre-cleaning before you are paying someone to clean your house may seem counter intuitive. They are there to clean for you, right? The problem is that the more your cleaning service has to clean, the longer that it will take. This means that the messier your house is, the more expensive that it will be for you to have your home cleaned. Here’s what you should do before the maid service gets to the home:          


Clean Up Your Dirty Dishes


You should take the time to load your dishwasher and clean up your sink a bit. It can take a lot of time for your house keeper to take care of these small things that should be a part of your daily tasks. 


Do Your Own Laundry


It is advisable for you to take care of your own laundry if you have the time to do it yourself. Doing laundry could take your house keeper hours of time. They could use that time to do other things like dust, scrub, and deep clean your home. 


Put Away Your Own Things


Do you have leftovers in the kitchen that need to be put away? Are there clothes on the floor of your bedroom? Do the kids‘ toys need to be put away? Some of these tasks can be done simply by you in a matter of minutes instead of by your house keeper.


The bottom line is that you don’t want your house keeper to see you as a slob. While they are more than happy to clean your home, they aren’t your personal servant. Also, your house cleaner probably isn’t showing up to your home daily. You want to keep up your clean home in between professional cleanings. 


What You Should Let The Housecleaner Do


Your house cleaner is there to help you complete certain tasks around your home. In fact they really want to do certain things in your home to help you get a deep clean that you wouldn’t otherwise have. Your housekeeper wants to help you with:

 

  • Vacuuming
  • Scrubbing
  • Deep cleaning your bathroom sink
  • Cleaning your toilet
  • Deep cleaning your kitchen
  • Mopping the floors  

How To Assist Your House Keeper


There are a few things that you should do to help your housekeeper do their job well. These tasks include:


  • Keep pets out of the way
  • Tell your housekeeper exactly what you need
  • Make the maid aware of any special tasks you need to be completed 


If you cooperate with the housekeeper, hiring a cleaning service can be one of the best time-saving decisions for you for a cleaner home.  




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 1/14/2019

Deciding whether to submit an offer to purchase a house may prove to be difficult. Fortunately, we're here to help you weigh the pros and cons of submitting a homebuying proposal so you can make the best-possible decision.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you determine whether now is the right time to submit an offer to purchase a residence.

1. Evaluate Your Budget

If you believe you've found your dream home, you should take a look at your budget. That way, you can verify whether you'll be able to afford this residence both now and in the future.

Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start a house search. If you meet with banks and credit unions, you can learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal. Then, you can select a mortgage that allows you to pursue a house with a budget in hand.

2. Consider Your Homebuying Criteria

You want to discover your dream residence as quickly as possible, but it is paramount to find a house that you can enjoy for years to come. If you have a list of homebuying criteria, you may be able to quickly determine whether a residence is right for you.

As you craft homebuying criteria, think about what you want to find in your dream residence. For instance, if you've always wanted to own a house on a beach, you can narrow your home search accordingly. On the other hand, if you would like to own a home that has an above-ground swimming pool but can live without this feature if necessary, you should include an above-ground swimming pool as a low-priority item on your homebuying checklist.

3. Assess the Housing Market

The housing market often fluctuates, and a buyer's market today may shift into seller's favor tomorrow. If you analyze the housing market closely, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one. You then can decide whether to submit an offer to purchase or hold off on providing a homebuying proposal until housing market conditions improve.

To distinguish a buyer's market from a seller's market, it generally is a good idea to look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. You also should find out how long these residences were available before they sold. By reviewing this housing market data, you can assess the demand for houses in your city or town.

Lastly, as you debate whether to submit an offer to purchase a residence, you may want to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional is happy to provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. As a result, a real estate agent can help you perform an in-depth evaluation of a home and determine whether to offer to buy this house.

Make an informed decision about whether to submit an offer to purchase a residence – use the aforementioned tips, and you'll be better equipped than ever before to decide how to proceed with any house, at any time.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 1/7/2019

Preparing your house to sell can mean different things in different markets. You want your home to be competitively priced and attractive to the buyer, so you put some extra effort into staging and end up with no takers. What happened?

Despite what you see in decorator magazines and on television, sometimes less is more, way more when it comes to staging your home.

Here are some areas to watch out for when following staging “advice.”

  • Over the years, real estate agents have shared the notion that freshly baked cookies or bread evoke a warm and welcoming atmosphere. But unless you're offering the treats to share, leave the baking to the shop down the street. The idea has run its course and appears to be just what it is—a sales tactic that might backfire on you.
  • In the same vein, don't light scented candles all over the place. What seems delightful to you may be overpowering to your potential buyer. They may be wondering just what you're trying to cover up. Instead, open the windows and air it out. Or use an odor-removing spray with a "fresh" or "linen" scent.
  • Don’t cover the windows. Don’t buy new blinds, new drapes, new valances, or sheers. Just don’t! Your windows should be as lightly-dressed as possible. Remove or pull up shades to let the dazzling sunlight stream through the clean glass. Chances are, your buyer has different taste from you, so spending money on new window coverings would be a lose-lose!
  • Leave the music and television off. Since you don't know your buyer's taste in music any more than you know their taste in candles, allow the home's everyday sounds to become music to the buyers' ears.
  • Don’t decorate every surface. It’s easy to do when using magazines or home décor shows as your guide, but savvy buyers want to see the nitty-gritty surfaces. They want to know what they’re buying, and not worry about what you’re covering up with all that stuff.
  • During holidays or events, don’t overdo the celebratory decorations. These become distractions and may turn off your buyers.
  • If you've painted a room a deep shade of red or purple, consider painting it light and bright before your open house. Regardless of how popular they are in theory, homes with darker shades don't sell as quickly as lighter hues.• Don't leave family portraits and very personal items hanging on walls or filling display spaces. You want the buyers to imagine themselves there, not to see you.

When staging your home for sale, opt for less, not more. Less furniture, fewer window coverings, and limited décor give your home its best chance. For more ideas on home staging, talk to your local real estate agent.





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 12/31/2018

If you plan to sell a house for the first time, it pays to think about how you'll price your house. By doing so, you can establish a competitive price for your residence and boost your chances of a fast, profitable home sale.

Now, let's take a look at three pricing tips that every first-time home seller needs to know.

1. Perform Housing Market Research

Although you may have bought your home in the peak of a buyer's market, it is important to note that the real estate sector constantly fluctuates. This means the value of your home today is unlikely to match its value from a few years ago.

Before you price your house, you should take a look at a variety of housing market data. This information is readily available and will enable you to take an informed approach to the real estate market.

For example, a first-time home seller should examine the prices of available houses that are similar to his or her own. With this housing market data, a home seller can find out how his or her residence stacks up against the competition.

It also helps to review the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. That way, you can determine whether you're about to enter a buyer's or seller's market and set realistic pricing expectations for your residence.

2. Conduct a Home Appraisal

A home appraisal is exceedingly valuable, particularly for a first-time home seller who is uncertain about the value of his or her house.

During a home appraisal, a property appraiser will examine a residence's condition, as well as various housing market data. Then, this appraiser will provide a comprehensive report that includes a property valuation.

By completing a home appraisal, a first-time home seller can receive expert property insights. Plus, the appraisal enables a home seller to identify a property's strengths and weaknesses.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a housing market professional who is committed to client results. As such, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to help a first-time home seller set the right price for his or her house.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with a home seller and learn about his or her property selling goals. This housing market professional then will provide extensive housing market insights to ensure a home seller can establish a competitive home price from day one.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent provides throughout the home selling journey, either. A real estate agent will set up home showings and open houses and do everything possible to help a home seller optimize the value of a residence. Also, if a home seller has questions, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them at any time.

Take the guesswork out of pricing your residence – use the aforementioned tips, and a first-time home seller can establish a competitive price for his or her home.