If you’re thinking of making a move within the next few months, there are two important things you need to know.
The first is the market value of your current property. That’s the amount your home will likely sell for in today’s market. When you know its market value, you’ll have a better idea of how much money will be available to invest in a new home.
The second is an overview of what’s available on the market. Which of the homes currently available for sale meet your criteria with respect to the type of home, its special features (such as a big kitchen or pool), the area, etc? How much are these homes selling for?
With those two pieces of information, you’ll be able to make a better decision.
How do you select the best moving company for your needs?
- Ask for recommendations.
- Beware of fly-by-night operations. They may seem like a bargain, but you get what you pay for.
- Request a written estimate and contract. (Beware of movers that just give you a price over the phone.)
- Confirm they are covered by insurance, and clarify their policy regarding lost or broken items. Make sure you receive a copy of their insurance certificate.
- Finally, always ask what circumstances would result in extra charges being applied. The number one complaint received about movers by the Better Business Bureau is unexpected extra charges.
You’ve heard the term “curb appeal”. It refers to the first impression a buyer gets when he or she first arrives at your home and looks at it from the outside.
That first impression is critical. But there is a “second” impression that is also very important. That’s the impression buyers get when they open your front door and look inside. Make sure that everything looks great from that perspective too — clean, bright, uncluttered and welcoming.
Say you’re a homeowner wanting to sell your two-level, detached home. You sit down and make a list of things that need to get done to make your property as attractive as possible to buyers.
You consider the backyard. “Hmm,” you think. “Doesn’t our deck need a new finish and our flowerbed need new edging stones?”
Then you think about the living room. “The carpeting is old. We really should replace it.”
Then you step into the kitchen and think, “Our kitchen cabinets look worn. We should get a contractor to quote on replacing them. Maybe we should install a brand new shiny sink and faucet too. That should increase the resale value of our home, shouldn’t it?”
Before you know it, you have a long list of updates, repairs and renovations that you think should be done before listing and you haven’t even reached the second floor!
It’s easy to get carried away with a list of repairs and upgrades that need to be done to prepare your home for the market. But, you don’t want to end up spending more money than you’ll ever get back from the eventual sale. So, how do you determine what improvements you should be making in order to get your property ready to be listed?
That’s easy. Talk to a good real estate professional.
A real estate professional can inspect your property and advise you of the repairs and upgrades you need to make. A real estate professional will know what buyers are looking for, and will also have a good idea of the return on investment you can expect from a particular improvement.
A real estate professional may also be able to recommend reputable tradespeople and other professionals to assist you in making those improvements.
So go ahead and make that long list. Then, let’s review it, so you can make an informed decision on how to get your property ready for sale.
If you want to sell your current property and purchase your next dream home, you might be concerned that the closing dates need to be on the same day.
You might be worried about losing a property if the closing dates overlap, or being put out on the street if the dates are far apart!
For the most part, these concerns are unfounded. Thousands of properties change hands every day and usually everything works out just fine. In fact, it’s amazing how often closing dates actually do match!
But what happens if the closing date of the home you want to buy is days or weeks earlier than the closing date of your own property?
Most lenders anticipate this situation and offer something called “Bridge Financing.” This is a special loan that allows you to purchase the property with the earlier closing date. When your current property closes, the bridge financing ends and your new mortgage – if you need one – begins on the new home.
Alternatively, if the home you want has a later closing date, your real estate professional can help you explore options, such as finding a short-term rental.
Let’s face it. Selling your home is as much an emotional decision as it is a practical one.
Sure, in some ways, a property is a “product”. You want to sell that product quickly and for the best price, so you can buy your next dream home.
A home, however, is also a place filled with memories and emotional attachments. You’ll think of the rec room where the kids’ birthday parties were held; the dining room where you had countless family dinners; and the backyard deck where many afternoons were spent enjoying the sunshine.
That’s why managing the emotional side of selling your home is so important. Here are some tips:
- Have your kids draw pictures of the fun they’ll have in their new home.
- Remind your kids that they’ll be able to stay in touch with their old friends, while making new ones.
- Visit the areas where you’d like to find your next home. Walk around. Get a sense of what it’s going to be like to live there.
- Consider taking a keepsake with you from your old home to help ease the transition.
In the nautical world of pleasure boating, there is a specific process to follow to ensure a fun day on the water. Skip one of those steps and you risk having a miserable experience.
The same holds true when buying a new home. There is a process to follow to ensure everything goes smoothly. Here are the basics.
Find a good real estate professional. Preferably someone who knows the area.
Determine what you can afford. Get a pre-approved mortgage.
Make a wish list. What kind of home are you looking for? View the right properties. Pick those that closely match the criteria on your wish list.
Make an offer. Your real estate professional can help you make an offer that gets you the home you want at the right price.
Get a home inspection. This is a must.
Get the paperwork done. Your real estate professional, lawyer and lender will typically handle all the transaction paperwork for you.
Prepare for the move. Find a good mover. Don’t forget to arrange for telephone, internet, change of address and other details.
Follow this process and your move should be smooth sailing.
“Staging” is about setting up and decorating each room of your home so that it looks as attractive as possible to potential buyers. Studies show that a property is more likely to sell quickly and for a better price if it is effectively staged.
Even if you haven’t heard of staging before, you probably already know the basics, such as eliminating clutter and making sure everything is clean and “guest ready.”
However, there are some home staging “secrets” by staging professionals that you may not know. Here are a few examples:
Increase horizontal surface space. Make sure desks, countertops, coffee tables, end tables, etc. are as free of items as possible. Give the impression that there’s lots of room available on horizontal surfaces.
Flowers. Fresh flowers or flowering plants placed in a couple of rooms, such as the kitchen and living room, can have a dramatic impact on how inviting that room looks. Just don’t overdo it.
Don’t be daring when you paint. You may love the idea of a bright yellow and green combination in the family room, but not everyone will share your daring sense of style. If you paint, stick to neutral shades.
Less is more. Be brutally honest about the amount of furniture you have in each room – including wall hangings. Is there a desk, side table or other piece you can put away in storage? Think about ways to make each room more spacious. Space is king!
Ultimately, the best staging advice is to use your common sense. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer as you walk through your home. Ask yourself, “What changes will make this room even more attractive?”
Lifestyle is a very important criterion when shopping for a new home. After all, a home and its surrounding area are the places where much of your lifestyle is going to be experienced.
So when considering a new home, think about the lifestyle to which the property is going to lend itself. Ask yourself:
- How much entertaining do we do?
- How important is it to have good schools located nearby?
- How long will the commute to work be?
- How big of a backyard do we require?
- Do we need a rec room?
- How easy will it be to get to golfing, dance lessons, baseball practices, movies and other activities my family and I enjoy?
- How important is it to be in a quiet area?
- Do we want a local park nearby for jogging, playing with the kids, and walking the dog?
This list is just an example. Ideally, you’ll create your own list of questions to ask yourself when considering a particular home.
You’ve spent a couple of weekends viewing homes. You’ve found a few that you like, but none were quite “it”. Then, finally, you visit a property that seems perfect for you. It has most of the features you’re looking for in a new home. You quickly fall in love with it.
But it’s not yours yet. You have to make an offer. The amount you offer will play a huge role in whether or not you get the home, and the price you’ll pay.
At this point, you might be tempted to put in a really low offer in the hopes that you’ll get a bargain.
But that’s usually not a good idea.
First, the seller (working with his or her REALTOR®) probably knows the current market value of the property. So your low-ball offer will not make a good impression.
Secondly, there might be another offer that comes in at the same time — one that’s closer to the listing price — and you might risk losing your chance to buy the property. So be cautious with the low-ball game. Chances are, you’ll lose. A good REALTOR® can help you make the right offer for the property you’re interested in purchasing.