Surviving A Home Renovation

You’ve picked a great contractor or decorator. The crew is coming in on Monday to do the work. You can hardly wait to see the renovated kitchen, new hardwood floors, or freshly painted living room.

But there’s one thing that can put a damper on all your enthusiasm. The work itself.

Dust. Loud noise. Renovation debris. Work people tracking dirt in and out of your home. It can all add up to a not-so-great feeling about the renovation.

That’s why it’s important to have a discussion with your contractor or decorator before the work begins so you understand how the work will actually be done, and so you can set some ground rules.

Here are some key questions to ask: What are the names of the people on the work team? What are their hours? Who will be in charge of the work team when you are not on site? What steps do you take to reduce dust and dirt in the home during the project? Is the job area cleaned up at the end of each day? What is your policy regarding smoking and eating on site by your work team?

Getting answers to these questions upfront will help avoid unpleasant surprises.

Selling Your Home And Buying Another – Quickly

What if something unexpected happened – a relocation, perhaps – and you needed to sell your current property quickly and find another home? What would you need to do to make that happen, especially when you don’t have a minute to spare? Focus on the following three steps:

1. Prepare your property for sale
If you’re selling your home, you want to make it as attractive to potential buyers as possible. Depending on your property, this may involve getting minor repairs done, doing some light renovations (such as painting the foyer), eliminating as much clutter as possible, and making sure your home is clean and neat.

2. Get a pre-approved mortgage
A pre-approved mortgage is simply a certificate from your bank or lender that states how much money you qualify to receive. Getting a pre-approved mortgage is a good idea for two reasons: It gives you confidence when shopping for a new home, because you’ll know exactly how much home you can afford. And, it gives the seller confidence that you’ll be able to secure a mortgage for the purchase price you’ve offered.

3. Find the right real estate professional
The right real estate professional can make the entire process of selling your current property and buying your next home quick and easy. He or she can help you determine the right listing price and show your home to prospective buyers. At the same time, your real estate professional can show you properties that fit your budget and other criteria. So there’s no need to panic. If you have to sell your home and buy another one quickly, focus on these three steps to help ensure everything works out fine.

How Much Is Your Home Worth?

Your home has both a personal value and a market value.

When you think of your home as a place where a family is raised and memories are built, then it’s like those popular MasterCard commercials on television: Your home’s value is “priceless”.

But when it comes to how much your home is worth to potential buyers, then things get much less sentimental. It’s the “market value” of your property that determines how much it will sell for, not your personal feelings.

Market value is simply the price that similar properties in similar areas are currently selling for. If you were to list your home on the market today, you could expect to get somewhere close to that figure.

Even if you’re not planning to sell your home in the near future, it makes sense to get an update on its fair market value. Your home is an investment – and you should know how much that investment is worth.

There may also be circumstances where you might have to move quickly. Knowing the market value of your home will help you make quick – and better – decisions.

Be “Pet Smart” When Selling Your House

Some people just don’t appreciate pets, and all the sights, sounds, and smells that go with them. So, to keep potential buyers focused on your house, and not your pet, follow these simple tips:

  • Wash and put away the pet toys and food bowls.
  • Refresh the kitty litter.
  • Check your yard for doggie doo.
  • Use room or carpet deodorizer.
  • Send your pet on vacation during showings.

You love your pet. But it’s your house that you’re trying to sell.

Reading the Relevant Factors

The more varied the opinions of economic experts, the more we are required to do our own homework when making real estate decisions for the future. This is especially true when there are varying degrees of optimism and pessimism about the nation’s economy. Many homeowners use interest rates to measure the health and viability of real estate. But the national economic outlook is not the only relevant factor in the health of the real estate market in your area.

Educated real estate investors look beyond the macro economic outlook to local factors that impact their investment. For example, the stability of local employment and consumer spending has a direct impact on the supply and demand for homes and condominiums and therefore their prices. New housing developments in a local market also impact the supply, creating “buyer’s markets”.

As you evaluate the value of your investment or try to predict the future value of a potential purchase, be sure to understand both the national economic environment and the specific factors of your local community.

Top 5 Ways to Impress Home Buyers

Remember when you found your current home? You walked in and got the feeling it was a great fit for you and your family. Now that you’re selling your house, you need to make that same impression on the next potential buyer. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Clean and de-clutter
    Make sure your kitchen, bathrooms, and floors sparkle. Use old-fashioned elbow grease or call in professional cleaners to get the job done. Can you walk into your walk-in closet? Does your car barely fit into your garage? Start packing early and put your seasonal and personal things into storage. Make your rooms and cupboards look spacious.
  2. Repair the little things
    Put on your home inspector‘s hat and walk through your house. Make a list of the items that need attention and arrange for repairs. Focus on your entry-way, drywall, paint, sticky/squeaky doors, leaky faucets, flooring and countertops.
  3. Help buyers see themselves in your house
    Remove your family photos and personal mementos. If you’re a collector, pack up your collection. Buyers have difficulty picturing themselves in your house when your personal items are on display.
  4. Let the light in
    Bright homes often have a higher resale value. Get your windows cleaned, inside and out. (Consider hiring a professional.) Pull back blinds and draperies to let natural light in. If you still have some dark spots, add floor or table lamps to the area.
  5. Groom your yard
    You wouldn’t go to a job interview without being well groomed, so make sure your yard is groomed for viewings. Trim your hedges and shrubs. Cut the grass. Pull weeds and cut back any greenery that covers walkways.

Look Underneath the Hood

As anyone who has ever purchased a used car will tell you, looks can be deceiving. To get a true picture of the quality of the product, you have to “look under the hood.”

What does this have to do with shopping for a new home?

When you find a property you like on the market, it’s easy to fall in love with its appearance and features. However, there may be issues you won’t notice, such as foundation cracks that need repair or a furnace that’s due for replacement.

That’s why you need to “look under the hood” by having a qualified home inspector review the property.

Navigating the Real Estate Maze

Have you ever tried to make your way through a maze at an amusement park or farm field? If you don’t know the layout, it’s probably going to take you a long time to find your way through. You’ll hit a lot of dead ends, go around in circles a few times, and maybe even become frustrated before you finally find your way out.

The same can be said about buying or selling a home.

Real estate transactions are probably not something you do every day, so you’re not as familiar with their “layout”. As a result, the process of preparing your home for sale, getting it listed, dealing with viewings and buyers, and negotiating offers can potentially be very stressful… so stressful, in fact, you might be discouraged from making a move!

That’s why finding a real estate professional who knows your local market is so important. He or she knows the maze and can guide you through it.

That real estate professional can answer your questions, show you how to make the process less stressful (and even fun), and can help ensure everything goes smoothly.

Dealing With A Home Inspection Issue

As you may know, it’s common to include a home inspection as a condition of an offer you make. It protects you from issues that you might not otherwise see during a viewing.

What do you do if the home inspector finds something wrong? The inspector might find a leak in the foundation, or windows that are old, drafty and need replacing.

Must you pass on a property that you otherwise like?

Not necessarily. Just because the home inspector discovered a deficiency doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t purchase the home. You should, however, bring the issue up with the seller.

Your REALTOR® will do that on your behalf, and look after your interests.

In many circumstances, your REALTOR® will be able to negotiate an agreement that is satisfactory to everyone involved. This will usually be in the form of a reduction in the sale price to cover some or all of the costs of the repair, or a requirement to have the seller get the repairs done before you move in.

So don’t worry if the inspector finds something wrong. Chances are you can still get the home and have any issues dealt with to your satisfaction.

Home Shopping And The Four-Legged Stool

What kind of stool is most likely to keep you from toppling over when you sit on it? Of course, two-legged stools won’t even stand on their own. Three-legged stools are okay, but still unstable. Four-legged stools are rock solid.

What does that have to do with shopping for a new home?

Well, if you want to find the right home quickly and for the best price, you need to have four things in place – the four legs of the stool. They will help ensure the experience goes smoothly.

The first leg is your wish list. You need to have a clear picture of the type of home you want. A bungalow or two stories? How many bedrooms? A large deck? Don’t forget about what’s in the area. Need to be close to major highways for ease of commuting? Need good schools and playgrounds within walking distance?

The second leg is a pre-approved mortgage. Getting the financing handled upfront takes the guesswork out of what you can afford. Sellers and their REALTORS® are more likely to take any offers you make more seriously too.

The third leg is realistic expectations. Of homes that sell, 99% sell at or near their current market values. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a good deal. It does mean you’re unlikely to find a “steal”. Fortunately, there are likely several wonderful properties available within your price range.

The final leg of the stool is a great REALTOR®. Choosing the right real estate professional is crucial to making your home shopping experience less stressful and more productive.

So when you’re hunting for a new home, make sure you start with a stable “four-legged stool”. It will dramatically increase your chances of finding a home that fits your needs and budget.