Crystal's Blog Corner

4 Ways to Save When Selling Your Home

10/14/2019


Selling your home can be a thrilling and very lucrative experience. But for the first-time home seller, it can also be nerve-wracking and deflating. 

That’s because selling the largest investment of your life can be counterintuitively expensive. Getting your home ready to be scrutinized by strangers takes a lot of cash and elbow grease.

As the saying goes, it takes money to make money. However, there are some easy ways to cut down on your front-end expenses to make your home sell more profitable. Let’s look at five of the best.

Stage Your House Yourself

Professional home staging is expensive. The average cost of staging a home is just over $1,000, and renting furniture can add more. That’s the bad news. The good news is, you can do a lot of home staging yourself.

At base, the art of home staging is simply making a home as appealing as possible to prospective buyers; there’s a reason that real estate agents say that people “buy with their eyes.” You want to show your home in the best possible light, and help buyers envision the potential of your living space. That’s easier for a trained, objective expert to do, but you can get a great result if you follow a few general rules.

If you hired a professional stager, they’d likely deep clean your home before they staged it, so start with that. Clean the floors, walls, windows, appliances, and trim; if your home needs a lot of work, hiring a professional cleaning crew might be a good investment.

Next, consider that the key to a beautiful photo or film is the lighting. Remove all window coverings, like blinds or drapes, to admit natural light

Now consider your furniture. If it’s out-of-date or in poor condition, put it in storage or throw it out. Even if your furniture is up-to-date and in great condition, keep in mind that having too much furniture crammed into space is just as bad as not having any at all. You want to have enough furniture in your home to make it warm and inviting, but keep enough open space so that prospective buyers can project their own tastes onto the home.

The “less is more” rule definitely applies here; above all, make sure your home doesn’t look cluttered.

Pre-Sale Inspection

A pre-sale inspection can save you money and a lot of potential stress. If you wait until the buyer’s inspection to discover problems with the house, that could mean choosing between a price reduction or paying for a list of repairs on the buyer’s timeline. 

The average cost of a pre-sale inspection is just over $300 and covers everything from the roof, foundation, plumbing, HVAC systems, the chimney and fireplace, and exterior features of the home like sidewalks. 

Discovering problems with your home ahead of time allows you to perform repairs at your own pace, shopping around for the best contractor rates, instead of having them done in a panic. 

It’s also a great marketing advantage. Telling prospective buyers that your home has undergone a pre-sale inspection, followed by repairs and remediation, encourages them to bid with confidence.

Low-Cost Repairs

Even if your home doesn’t require any major repairs, freshening it up a little can pay huge benefits when it hits the market. And we’re not talking about a new roof or an in-ground pool; some of the most effective repairs are also some of the cheapest.

A Fresh Coat of Paint

A new paint job can make a home look warmer, cleaner, and brighter; it’s also a job that can be done in a weekend, for the cost of paint, some drop cloths, and a few rollers.

If you decide to paint the interior of your home before you put it on the market, choose your colors carefully. Though white may seem like the obvious choice, it can seem harsh and institutional and shows dirt easily. Opt for a softer, off-white tone for more aesthetically pleasing walls. 

White does work for ceilings, though. Painting the ceiling a lighter color than the walls makes the ceilings seem higher, which makes the entire room seem larger. Just remember to invest in high-quality paint; the smoother, more uniform texture makes a big difference.

Clean Carpets

Carpets can take a beating in a busy, family home, and worn or stained carpets can make a huge negative impression on prospective buyers. But a lot of staining, matting, and apparent wear can be cured by a thorough cleaning.

Even if your carpet still looks good, it might have a faint odor that you’ve become nose-blind to, so deep cleaning is always a good idea.

The easiest way to thoroughly clean your carpets is to rent a steam cleaner. Make sure you follow the directions and don’t use too much cleaning solution, which can leave an unsightly residue. Afterward, opening windows and using fans can speed up the drying process. 

Fixing the Roof

A new roof isn’t exactly “low cost,” considering it can be the single most expensive home repair of all, but if you do have roof problems, it’s better to deal with it before you put your home on the market, rather than let it become an issue down the road.

In 2017, the U.S. Census found that Americans spent an average of $6,800 to replace their roofs. Considering that 50% of that cost is labor, you could assume that the materials for replacing your roof cost about $3,400. 

If it’s a relatively simple matter of replacing shingles, you can cobble together the expertise from YouTube and some DIY books, you could probably repair your roof yourself. You could do the first part of the work and remove the old shingles yourself, before having pros install the new ones. Either way, you could get yourself a shiny new roof far below the average sticker price of $20,000.


SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by Ben Mizes

USDA Loans: They’re Not Just for Homes in the Boonies

9/30/2019
USDA Loans: They’re Not Just for Homes in the Boonies


Have you checked out USDA loans? If you’re a low- or moderate-income homebuyer who doesn’t have a lot of money for a down payment and who needs lenient credit requirements, you (or your lender) are probably focused on FHA loans. But if you haven’t taken a look at USDA loans, you may be missing out on an incredible opportunity.

If you’re saying to yourself, “But USDA loans are only for homes out in the sticks,” we get it. It’s true that the loans were designed to help buyers in rural areas. But “rural” is a broader term than you may know. 

On the USDA website, you can enter an address in the search bar and check if it's eligible, or you can drop a pin in a location to find out whether USDA financing is available in the area. We tested a couple of locations with interesting results: Frisco, TX, currently the fastest-growing city in the nation, is not eligible for a USDA loan, but Prosper, just to the north and is called, “The next Frisco,” is. The popular Valencia, CA masterplan north of Los Angeles is not eligible, but areas of Santa Clarita, the city in which Valencia is located, are. 

For single-family homes, there are two main options for USDA loans: 

 

USDA Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program

There is no down payment required for this type of loan and the low minimum credit score requirement—scores as low as 620 make the cut—make it even more attractive for buyers. 

Your income must fall within the “moderate” category, which is defined as an amount below 115% of the area’s median income. You can check by state and county here. Loans are for 15 or 30 years, and there is no limit to the amount of square footage on eligible properties. 

 

USDA Single Family Housing Direct Home Loans

This program is intended for low-income homebuyers. Down payment requirements are low, and subsidies can take the down payment to zero. “Payment assistance, also known as a subsidy, is granted to eligible very low- and low-income homeowners who obtain a Single Family Housing Section 502 Direct Loan from USDA Rural Development,” said the USDA

“The borrower signs RD Form 3550-12, Subsidy Repayment Agreement, at loan closing. The agreement outlines the subsidy repayment terms, the requirement to repay all or a portion of the subsidy received over the life of the loan (i.e., subsidy recapture), and how subsidy recapture is calculated.”

Loans are for 33 or 38 years, and income limits are strict; you can see individual county limits here. In addition, the USDA mandates that properties generally be 2,000 square feet or less. The direct loan typically requires a 640 minimum credit score.


SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by Jaymi Naciri

New Savings Trick: Paying Your Rent With a Credit Card

9/27/2019
New Savings Trick: Paying Your Rent With a Credit Card

 

Should you pay your rent with your credit card?


Nowadays, consumers can pay most of their bills with a credit card," said Experian. “Even stores that used to require cash or debit cards allow credit cards. But one hurdle remains - rent. Many tenants still have to use old-school checks to pay rent, even when credit cards are almost universally accepted elsewhere.”

It’s true, landlords are among the last to embrace credit cards. But that doesn’t mean it will always be that way. It might only take one conversation to get him or her to see the benefits of making the switch, like having a faster and easier way to collect rent instead of trekking to the mailbox or post office box every day, waiting for a check to arrive. 

If your landlord won’t budge, you can always use a service like Plastiq, which allows you to pay with a credit card, even in places where they’re not accepted. Of course, you’ll want to keep in mind that there is a 2.5% fee for this service.

The key to making rent payments with a credit card is taking advantage of bonus offers and points. “Many cards offer sign-up bonuses if you spend a certain amount with 90 days and for some people, that minimum can only be reached if they pay rent with the credit card,” said Experian. “If you sign up for a credit card with a $200 bonus if you spend $5,000 in three months, putting your $900 rent payment can help you reach that minimum spend.”

The combination of bonuses and points help you earn rewards for things like travel and gifts, and may also be able to be redeemed for cash. “Credit card blogger Keith Rosso bought a $60,000 Tesla with a credit card last year using the Chase Ink Business Preferred,” said CNBC. “That earned him 3 points per dollar on the purchase, which outweighed Plastiq’s 2.5 percent fee. Depending on how he redeemed those rewards, he estimated that they could be worth as much as $5,000.”

Two of the top cards in terms of rewards are the Discover it® Cash Back, which offers up to 5% cashback “at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.” There is a 1% bonus on other purchases. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has a more tiered cash-back bonus structure, with as much as 6% back, up to $6,000 (then it drops to 1%) and a $250 bonus.

Managing your credit card

Once you have secured a credit card with a rewards structure, you’ll want to use it to its best advantage. Pay attention to the small print; American Express isn't the only card with tiered rewards. It may behoove you to use it everywhere you can if you’re at least getting a 1% cashback reward, but, if you’re planning to use it more sparingly, get the best bang for your literal buck. It may be that you get a higher percentage of cashback at restaurants, so perhaps you reserve the card for when you eat out. You’ll also want to check with your lender if you are thinking about buying a home so you don’t ding your credit by taking out a new credit card or running up your balance. 

Look for added extras and stacked bonuses, too. There are often special bonuses for using cards at gas stations, and if there is one connected to your supermarket, you may be able to save money on gas once you get to a certain threshold with your grocery spend. 

Once you do buy a home, you can pay your mortgage with your cash-back card and continue racking up those points. This couple “paid $100,000 of their mortgage with a credit card and earned $2,000 in rewards.” 

They also found a creative way to get around that 2.5% fee for using Plastiq; “Plastiq waives the fee on $1,000 in purchases for every person you refer to the service who makes a qualified payment over $500,” they said on CNBC. “This strategy worked so well for me because I have referred almost 300 people now with my website. At $1,000 in fee-free dollars per referral, that is $300,000 in fee-free payments I have earned.”

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by Jaymi Naciri

Can’t Afford to Buy a Home? Have You Looked Into Down Payment Assistance?

9/5/2019


What’s the No. 1 reason renters fear taking the leap to homeownership or don't even think the leap is possible? That pesky down payment. Even with an FHA loan that requires a minimum of only 3.5% down, the idea of setting aside several thousand dollars is daunting at the least (and, in many cases, darn near impossible).

 

A survey from Apartment List shows that most millennial homebuyers can’t come up with the funds for a down payment. “Seventy-two percent of millennial renters who plan to purchase a home cite affordability as a reason that they are delaying homeownership, with 62 percent pinpointing a lack of down payment savings specifically,” they said. “Forty-eight percent of millennial renters have zero down payment savings, while just 11 percent have saved $10,000 or more.”

Down payment assistance programs can fill in the gap, but many buyers don’t even know they exist. “Down payment assistance can come from many different sources— including federal, state, county, city and nonprofit agencies—and aren't always well-publicized,” said U.S News & World Report. Anyone who is interested in down payment assistance is encouraged to check with their real estate agent or lender, but doing your own research is key. 

In Texas this week, Wells Fargo & Co., NeighborWorks America, and the Business & Community Lenders of Texas rolled out the NeighborhoodLIFT program, a new down payment assistance program promoting sustainable homeownership in the northern part of the state. This program is so new that some industry professionals might not even know it exists.

NeighborhoodLIFT offers up to $15,000 in down payment assistance plus homebuyer education to eligible families in Dallas as well as Tarrant County. Eligibility is based on income. In addition, “Military service members and veterans, teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians may reserve down payment assistance grants of $17,500 and earn up to 100% of the area median income,” said NBCDFW.

How to find down payment assistance:

1. Do a national search.

You’ll be surprised how many programs you can find. “Do you even know that down payment assistance (DPA) programs exist? You’re in good company if you don’t,” said The Mortgage Reports. “These programs help homebuyers with loans or grants that reduce the amount they need to save for a down payment. And there are more than 2,000 of them nationwide.”

2. Check out statewide programs. 

From the HUD site, you can search by every state plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to see which programs are available for you. 

3. Now take it local.

Don't forget to check for programs in your city. The City of Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department (HCIDLA) offers up to $90,000 in financial assistance for first-time, low-income homebuyers. In Memphis, there is a zero-interest deferred loan that provides funding for first-time homebuyers’ down payment and closing costs for eligible homebuyers through its Division of Housing and Community Development (HCD). In Miami, you may be able to get a forgivable zero-interest deferred MDEAT Homeownership Assistance Program (HAP) loan; the program was designed “to increase the number of first-time home purchases for low-to-moderate-income residents living in Miami-Dade County.”

4. Search by your profession. 

If you’re a current or former member of the military, you likely already know about VA loans. Did you know they require no down payment? 

The Neighbor Next Door Program is another good one. This program for law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and teachers requires only a $100 down payment for eligible homebuyers. Because the program is tied to the idea of revitalization, homes in these communities are offered to eligible buyers at a 50% discount. Buyers must commit to living in-home for at least three years. 

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES by Jaymi Naciri

4 Top tips for selling your home

9/3/2019

If you are looking to sell your house, and it has been on the market for a while? Are you asking “why isn’t my house selling”? Make sure you have taken the tips below into account:


Curb Appeal


Make sure you have hit these points:

  • Is your lawn mown?
  • Are your flower-beds tidy?
  • Are your fences painted?
  • Are your windows clean?
  • Are your gutters clean?

Remove personal items

When it comes to people viewing your house, buyers want to see a blank canvas and be able to see where they can make their personal touches.

That dog bed and dog toys should be put away or hidden out of view. The homework from the night before should be in the children's bedrooms.

Your collection of 2000AD comics should be in a cupboard.

Odors & Cleanliness at the property

Before you start offering viewings, make sure you have checked the list below and carried out a few of the tasks:

  • Drains
    Make sure you have cleaned all of the drains in the property, including flushing the sinks and toilets through with cleaner.
  • Windows
    Make sure you clean all the windows in the house, including conservatories and porches.
  • Vacuum
  • Vacuum the house all the way through, moving the sofa and the chairs for a thorough cleaning.
  • Dust
    Make sure you dust the doors, basically any and all surfaces should be cleaned and dusted

Inviting

Make the property is inviting. Light some lightly scented candles or bake some cookies an hour before the viewing. This will allow buyers to get that homey feeling when they walk in.

Conclusion

If you make your house look as presentable and clean as possible, it will allow you to sell your home much quicker than if you were to present it in the day-to-day state that you usually live in it.
You could always hire a professional cleaning service, the most effective way of getting at those chores that you just don’t like to do or see.

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES by James Stevenson

Selling Your Home Soon? Get That Outdoor Kitchen in Order!

8/31/2019





Getting ready to list your home and looking for some a smart update to make before it hits the MLS? If your indoor kitchen is already nicely updated and shows well, an outdoor kitchen might be the answer. 

According to REALTOR magazine, outdoor kitchens continue to be a “major draw. The appeal of outdoor living continues to be important to homeowners, and the outdoor kitchen is at the center of that,” they said. “The latest American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey shows that outdoor kitchens are among the most wanted kitchen features in new architectural projects.”

In fact, almost 50% of the architects who responded to the survey “reported the popularity of outdoor kitchens is still growing,” and not just in “warmer climates like Florida, Texas, and California—outdoor kitchens are also taking hold in colder areas like the Northeast.”

The problem with outdoor kitchens is they can get pricey. “Outdoor kitchens are known for being expensive,” said HGTV. “Factor in durable, weather-resistant materials, quality appliances and electrical and plumbing installation, and you may feel like you're tackling a full kitchen renovation.”

There are ways to keep costs down, though. Figuring out the secret sauce so you spend just the right amount to attract interest and get a good return on your investment instead of overspending is key. 

Watch for sales

You may think it’s a poor time to add an outdoor kitchen because we’re heading toward the end of the summer, but it’s actually a great time to buy a grill. “To get a deep discount on a gas grill or charcoal grill, the best time to buy is in September and the Fall,” said The Spruce Eats. “You have to wait until the summer grilling season is truly over and stores are eager to get all remaining grills out the door.”

While you’re at it, look for deals on patio furniture and things like fire pits, too. Staging your outdoor area is a good way to help buyers picture themselves living there, and the bonus is you get to take your new stuff with you!

Stay away from custom

Custom built-ins can make your costs skyrocket. “First, consider purchasing a pre-made outdoor grill island or bar-style structure,” said HGTV. “This can help to eliminate what can be costly custom improvements like concrete countertops and stone bases. It's also a great solution for homeowners who would like to take the grilling station with them for a future home.”

Search, search, search

Don’t limit yourself to big box stores when looking for materials. “Look to reuse-it centers and salvage yards for inexpensive outdoor kitchen cabinets, countertops, building supplies, apartment-size appliances, and other materials you can upcycle to flush out your budget-friendly outdoor kitchen,” said Better Homes and Gardens

DIY that sucker

If you’re a little bit handy, or just good at following directions, you can create an amazing grill island that looks like a custom job. “If you have a space for it, this DIY grill island is the perfect outdoor kitchen,” said DIY & Crafts. “You can have this one built in a weekend if you have a few friends that will help with the heavy work. It can be covered in stone when it’s finished, which gives it a wonderful appearance or you could cover it in brick or another material. This is a pretty simple one to build and is sure to save you a bundle over having one professionally built.”

Be smart about adding water and power to your island

"Running gas lines, electricity and water to an outdoor island is fairly expensive," said DIY Network. “If you're on a tight budget, you might want to consider using propane bottles to fuel your grill."

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES by Jaymi Naciri

Why This Might Be the Time to Buy a Condo

8/23/2019



Is a condo in the cards for you? Or have you crossed it off your list because it’s too hard to get a decent loan? We have some good news. 

New guidelines from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) means more homebuyers may be eligible for a government-backed mortgage. That could mean a lower down payment and easier qualifying than what is required for conventional loans for condos. 

“The federal agency released new guidelines Wednesday for the types of mortgages it will insure at condominiums,” said the Los Angeles Times. “Just 6.5% of the 150,000 condominium developments in the United States were previously eligible for FHA-backed mortgages. But the FHA will start backing mortgages for individual units and will have greater flexibility to react to changes in market conditions.”

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), “The changes, many of which NAR has championed for over a decade, should yield thousands of new homeownership opportunities and help alleviate affordability restraints impacting markets across the country.”

Condos are often a more affordable option than single-family homes, which is what can make them so attractive to first-time buyers. The low-maintenance level is also an important factor. Because condos typically have homeowner’s associations (HOA), front-yard maintenance is usually taken care of, and there are generally no yards to worry about. 

Some homebuyers look at HOAs as negative because of what they consider to be strict rules governing what they can and can’t do, and also because of the fees. But, the truth is that most master-planned communities today have HOAs, which means the same rules and fees will apply. 

“HOA fees typically can range from about $200 to $300 a month; other factors may contribute to how much the fee will be, like your location, unit size and available amenities,” said Magnify Money. Monthly condo association fees can go as high as $700 or more, also depending on the amenities and services provided.”

You’ll definitely want to do a strict comparison between any condo you’re considering and a single-family home. It may turn out that you can get more for your money with a home that’s not in a planned community and therefore doesn’t have fees. Or, the converse may be true. Even with HOA fees, a condo may be the better buy simply from an affordability standpoint, but also because it's newer, has more space, or is in a better location. 

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by Jaymi Nacari

Which Type of Loan Is Best? We’re Doing an Apples-To-Apples Comparison.

8/18/2019
Which Type of Loan Is Best? We’re Doing an Apples-To-Apples Comparison.



FHA. 30-year conventional. 15-year term. With so many loan options out there, how do you know which is best? There is not one across-the-board winner because everyone’s situation is different. But there are pros and cons of each that might make one loan work better for you. We’re comparing and contrasting some of the most popular options to help you make the best choice when buying a house. 

30-year fixed-rate conventional

This is a 30-year loan with rates that are fixed every month. These loans follow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines and are not backed by the government like FHA loans.

Pro: With set payments, there’s no need to worry about rising rates. Loans are available for a range of buyers, with options like HomeReady and Conventional 97 that offer as little as 3% down. Also, there is no upfront mortgage insurance fee like you have on FHA loans.  

Con: You have to pay PMI if you put less than 20% down. There also may be higher credit score requirements than FHA loans.  

15-year fixed-rate 

A 15-year fixed-rate option also has fixed rates for the life of the loan. If you’re the type who wants to pay your home off more quickly, this could be a good choice.

Pro: You pay far less interest over the life of the loan and pay off your home in half the time. 

Con: Monthly payments are higher.

FHA

FHA loans are federally insured, which is why down payment and credit score requirements are more relaxed. 

Pro: FHA loans require as little as 3.5% down. Credit score requirements are also lower than conventional loans. You can typically qualify for a loan with a 3.5% down payment at a 580 score, and may be able to get a loan with a score as low as 500 if you have 10% down. 

Con: You’ll have to pay mortgage interest, which you can’t get rid of unless you refinance. FHA loans also come with an upfront mortgage insurance fee.

Adjustable-rate

“An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is a type of mortgage in which the interest rate applied on the outstanding balance varies throughout the life of the loan,” said Investopedia. “Normally, the initial interest rate is fixed for a period of time, after which it resets periodically, often every year or even monthly. The interest rate resets based on a benchmark or index plus an additional spread, called an ARM margin.”

Pro: Rates are often lower during the introductory or fixed period than what a borrower can get with a fixed-rate loan, making homeownership more affordable initially. 

Con: Once the ARM gets past the fixed period, monthly payments can skyrocket, leaving owners unprepared and possibly in danger of defaulting. 

USDA loans 

Looking to buy in a rural area? You may qualify for a USDA loan. USDA-eligible homes may also be located in some suburban areas. You can check eligibility on their website.  

 Pros: USDA loans offer low or even no down payments and low-interest rates. Rates can be as low as 1% with subsidies on direct loans.

Cons: Household income is capped and a mortgage insurance premium is required for down payments under 20%.

VA loans

Veterans Administration (VA) loans help military members and veterans purchase homes.

Pro: VA loans tend to have the lowest average interest rates, and loans are available with no down payment. In addition, there is “no monthly mortgage insurance premiums or PMI to pay,” according to VAloans.com.

Con: They’re not available to the general public, and veterans must meet a list of conditions

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by Jaymi Naciri

 

How to Avoid the Top 3 Emotional Mistakes Most Sellers Make

8/16/2019

GET YOUR HOUSE READY FOR THE NEXT OWNERS:

Transitioning a principal residence is an emotional, financial and physical challenge. While the journey is different for everyone, the home transition process is the same and needs to be anchored in hope, humility, and humor.

Be warned… as most Realtors® know, when it comes to life’s major stressors, selling a home and moving, even once, lands in the top 5, along with death, divorce, illness, and loss of a job. The good news for sellers is that you can rely on a good Realtor to help you through but understand you must also help yourself. I refer to it as “emotional ivy”. Like English ivy clinging to brick, your “emotional ivy” – the way you’ve made your house a home throughout the years – is so pervasive that it affects every decision you make about the upcoming move. You’ll have to rip the “ivy” out of every nook and cranny and off each surface to which it clings and that’s not easy.

The top 3 emotional mistakes most sellers make as they get ready to list are:

1. Not being able to let go of personal items.

Some of us refuse to let go of our things, even if we really don’t want them or use them. We look at some items and think “work of art”, while someone else thinks “garage sale”. According to the LA Times, most households in America have over 300,000 things stored in them and many people also rent off-site storage units filled with more stuff. Bottom line: we are all treasure hunters and ultimately you are the decision-maker on what to keep or let go, but one thing I know for sure is the BUYER doesn’t care about any of it. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your house is the exception to the rule and a buyer will look past your things.

2. Not removing your personal footprint.

Remember, it’s important to remove personal photos, tombstones, diplomas, and the like because all that does distracts the buyer.

3. Not understanding what the BUYER values.

The buyer wants the ability to move in and do nothing for one year. Think white, beige or light grey walls, with white trim and ceilings. New carpet and floors in pristine condition. Here is a simple key to understanding the buyer: they will walk through and give themselves less than 10 minutes to decide if this could be “it”. Many will only devote four to five minutes and make a snap decision – yes or no. This means they will fly through the rooms in a minute or two and if they are distracted and a few things seem odd or cause them to pause, you have lost their attention. You do not want to leave the impression that it’s too big a “project” for them to consider or pay for.

Remember, touch everything you own once. Clean and sort the entire house and remove your personal footprint. Our “stuff” produces a great amount of stress, anxiety, and expense when we try to pack, store and move it. A smart seller will realize they have four choices when it comes to every item in the home:

1. Pack it
2. Sell it
3. Donate it
4. Dump it

Procrastination and delayed decision-making is not a strategy. Remember that you are staging your home to sell while packing for your move at the same time.

Read more about how to Brace for Impact in my book: SMART MOVES: How to Save Time and Money While Transitioning Your Home and Life. Be A Smart Mover!

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by Carol Carter

Six Creative Ways to Drum up Interest in Your Home

8/13/2019

Six Creative Ways to Drum up Interest in Your Home

A perfectly updated home at the right price in a highly coveted neighborhood may sell right away, but what about the rest of the homes that hit the market? You should be able to depend on a well-connected, experienced real estate agent to create a solid marketing plan, network with fellow agents, and hold open houses. But is there something you might be able to do to help get your home sold? There sure is.

Organize a block party

If you live in a neighborhood where everyone knows each other, fantastic! Get everyone together on the street and offer to serve drinks or dessert in your house so you can make sure everyone comes on in. If you’re not super friendly with them, a block party is a great way to get to know the neighbors you’ll soon be leaving—and maybe uncover someone who’s interesting in finding a new place in the same neighborhood.

Have an estate sale

A garage sale may attract mainly ultra-bargain shoppers, but an estate sale…that’s another story. Not only do you have an opportunity to sell some of the items you don’t intend to take with you to your next home, but you may find a potential buyer, too. If you don’t have enough items to sell, enlist a few neighbors. They might be more than willing to haul over their old sideboard and china set for a chance to get it sold with minimal effort.

Show off the goods

Have a newly renovated kitchen you want to show off? Nine out of 10 property purchases are decided by women, so invite the neighborhood moms over for wine and hors d’oeuvres. You never know who will fall in love with your kitchen island and decide they need to move.

Let your neighbors know on Nextdoor

Depending on how your neighborhood Nextdoor is run, your post may be flagged and taken down. But, before that happens, you just might be able to zero in on a prospect or two—before you even list your home for sale!

Rent a gaming truck

For a couple of hundred bucks, you can rent a gaming truck to park in your neighborhood. Invite all the moms to hang out inside with you, where they can ooh and ahh over your home while the kids are occupied and having fun in the truck.

Ask your neighbors to put the word out

Turning your neighbors into an extension of your real estate agent’s marketing team is easy. After all, they care about who their future neighbor will be, right?

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by Jaymi Naciri

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