According to studies, colds and flu bugs are passed from one person to another more often in the home than in any other location, including school and the workplace. Of food-based bacterial infections, 65% are picked up at home.
What can you do to reduce the risk?
Obviously, keeping rooms clean is important. But, according to The Lung Association, you are 200 times more likely to pick up a germ in the kitchen than in any other room, including the bathroom! So give the kitchen priority when cleaning.
Most people know to keep countertops, sinks and toilets clean and sanitized. But when was the last time you cleaned your computer keyboard, children’s toys, bedside tables, and door knobs? Experts say these areas have among the highest concentration of bacteria in a home!
When it comes to airborne viruses, such as those that cause the flu, be sure to use a tissue when coughing or sneezing. When a tissue is not readily available, use the shoulder of your sleeve or inner elbow, rather than your hand.
By taking some simple precautions, experts say you can reduce your, and your family’s, risk of getting a cold, flu or bacterial infection by as much as 50%.
If you plan on putting your property on the market, it can be tempting to list it for a very high price in the hope that some buyer will say “yes”. But that rarely happens.
In fact, it is more likely that your property will sit on the market for a long time with no takers, and home buyers and their agents will quickly lose interest in even seeing it.
The fastest way to sell your property for the highest price possible is by listing it as close to its fair market value as possible. That’s the price similar homes in your area have sold for recently.
The good news is that the fair market value of your home may be higher than you think. So if you’re considering making a move within the next few months, ask a good Realtor® to drop by and do an informal appraisal. That will give you a clearer idea of what your property will sell for in today’s market.
Shopping for a house is as much a lifestyle decision as it is a financial one. After all, unless you’re a professional real estate investor, you’re not just buying a house – you’re buying a home.
Sure, there are important financial matters to consider, such as mortgage rates, payments and resale values. But when deciding whether or not to make an offer, you also need to think about how that home will impact the quality of your life. So, it’s important not to let an attractive list price distract you from considering a home that has features that may be worth paying a little more for. You should determine the lifestyle features that are important to you and your family and factor them into the purchase price of any home. For example, have you considered the value of:
- A large kitchen and a comfortable recreational room with a wet bar? Perfect if you entertain a lot.
- A quiet room or cozy alcove? Ideal if you like to read, sew, build model airplanes, or surf the net.
- A backyard with the right combination of sun and shade? Priceless if you love to garden.
- A relatively flat, rather than inclined, driveway? Great for a game of one-on-one basketball with the kids.
- A spacious deck or patio area? Hours of enjoyment for the BBQ fanatic in the family.
- Parks, recreation centres, and schools within walking distance? A real time-saver if you have children.
- Local green space and trails? Ideal if you have a dog to walk or are a jogger.
Taking these “lifestyle factors” into account will put the asking price into perspective, and help you determine how much the home is really worth to you.
There are lots of reputable home improvement businesses that rely upon “person-to-person” marketing to get new customers. Unfortunately, there are also some undesirable contractors whose plan is to relieve you of your possessions and/or money while performing substandard, overpriced services that are void of any guarantee. Below is a short list of uninvited proposals you may encounter. Always remember that if you didn’t ask the sales representative or contractor to come to your home, you should exercise caution when providing personal information or access to your home.
- Painters, window cleaners, carpet cleaners, etc.
- Lawn and yard care services
- Roofing and other repair services
- Anyone with a “free” offer or an “in the area” special
Caution is the best approach when dealing with strangers. Some scam artists want to know details about your home security, so accomplices can break in later.
- Do not let an unknown person into your home without an appointment previously arranged through an office or service department.
- Ask for references or check the company through your local Better Business Bureau.
- Always ask for identification, including an employee number and a supervisor’s phone number.
It’s a buyer’s market. It’s a seller’s market. You’ve probably heard these terms before. But what do they really mean when you’re considering buying or selling a home?
A buyer’s market exists when the supply of homes in a particular market exceeds the demand. Since there are more homes for sale, and fewer buyers, homes tend to stay on the market longer and prices may drop.
As a home shopper, you would have more time to look for a home, and more negotiating leverage.
In a seller’s market, by contrast, there are more buyers looking around than there are homes for sale. This would be an advantage when selling a home because the demand would likely cause the home to sell more quickly and for a better price.
As a home shopper, however, you would have to make decisions more quickly, since others may be interested in the same properties.
As you can see, each market has its pros and cons – for both buyers and sellers.
Luckily, a Realtor® who understands your local market can help you navigate through either market condition and help get you into your next dream home.
When you prepare your house for sale, you want to make every room look stunning. But, for any number of reasons, that isn’t always possible. You may not have the time or resources to redecorate or “stage” your entire house. So if you have to choose just three rooms to focus on, which should they be?
According to studies, home buyers base over 50% of their overall impression of a home on three rooms: the front entrance area (or foyer), the kitchen, and the main family room. So it pays to focus your efforts on these key areas.
To begin, make the front entrance area look as spacious as possible. Remove coat racks, shoe mats, and other items that may make the space seem smaller than it is.
Then, make sure the kitchen is as clean and uncluttered as possible. Remove any unnecessary appliances and other items from the countertops. Touch up cupboard areas where the finish has chipped or faded, and consider upgrading the hardware.
Finally, make sure the family room feels spacious and comfortable. You want a potential buyer to imagine relaxing there, with his or her family.
When shopping for anything — clothes, CD players, even homes — it’s natural to look for a bargain. We all want to pay the lowest price possible.
However, this attitude can get in the way of finding, and getting, the home we want. In fact, many people miss great opportunities because their price expectations are too low.
Find out what the current market price is for the type of home you’re considering. Then set your expectations accordingly. If you do, you’ll stand a much better chance of finding the home of your dreams.
A home inspection isn’t just useful when buying a home. It can be invaluable when selling one, too.
A home inspection can detect previously unknown problems that you may wish to address before putting your house on the market.
For example, let’s say an inspection reveals that there is a small crack in the foundation. Getting this fixed in advance could help prevent the “buyer turnoff” or price reduction that could result if the buyer’s inspector were to discover the problem first.
A home inspection is a vital part of the buying process.
It protects you from unknowingly purchasing a house that has serious deficiencies – and thereby turning what was initially a dream home into a nightmare.
So what actually happens during a home inspection? Here are a few snapshots of what to expect.
- There is no quick way to properly inspect a house. A thorough examination by a qualified home inspector will take at least two hours, and possibly longer.
- Don’t just wait around. Accompany the home inspector during the examination.
- Expect the inspector to check the house inside and out, top to bottom. The inspection should include a trip to the roof, a visit to every room in the house, a crawl into the attic, a look inside electrical outlets, and more. (If all of these are not done, ask why.)
- An inspection is a lot like a doctor’s examination. It should check every system of the house for potential problems: structural, electrical, heating and cooling, roofing, ventilation, grading (to ensure that water drains away from the house), and plumbing.
- Ask questions during the inspection. Learn all you can about the maintenance of the house, what needs to be repaired and other issues. If there are problems, find out if they are serious or relatively minor.
- When the inspection is complete, you should receive a comprehensive written report. If you don’t understand something, don’t hesitate to ask.
There are several options for dealing with deficiencies, including asking the seller to make required repairs or asking to renegotiate the price based on the cost of repairs.
Read any Top 10 list of things to do to prepare your house for sale and “Get rid of the clutter” is sure to be on it.
But how important is cleaning up really? Does your home have to look immaculate, like it’s been torn from the page of a decorating magazine? Can’t the average buyer look past a little clutter and see the value of your home for what it really is?
The answer lies in psychology.
Clutter – a disorganized garage, an overstuffed closet, a disheveled basement – can make people feel uneasy and even edgy. In a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, clutter was even linked to depression.
In addition, clutter can create a feeling of hesitancy, even inertia. “At the sight of clutter people shut down,” says organization expert Cathy Philips. “They don’t want to do anything”. But you want a home buyer to do something – make you an offer!
Clutter can also draw attention to the wrong things. Instead of a big double garage, for instance, a buyer’s attention may be focused instead on boxes, lawn equipment and bikes piled in the corner. Clutter can instantly turn a great selling point into a turnoff.
And if all that isn’t enough, clutter has the knack for making everything seem smaller. A big spacious closet can look downright claustrophobic when stuffed to the ceiling with shoes, clothes and boxes.
So don’t underestimate the psychology of clutter. According to research by HomeGain, getting rid of clutter ranks as one of the best investments you can make in preparing your home for sale, averaging a 594% return on your investment.
Looking for more ways to sell your home faster and for more money? Call today.