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The Commonwealth Blog

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

9 Ways to Save on Renovations

Home renovations are unquestionably expensive. When looking to cut corners on prices, it’s important for owners to be careful that they don’t cut the quality of work on their house. We’ve put together nine great tips to help you save money while truly enhancing and improving your home.

Seek Architect or Contractor Consultations

Before you’re ready to bring in a contractor, you need to have set ideas about what you want done in your home. Even if you’re going the DIY route, you’ll probably want (or need) advice from experts. While there’s plenty of resources to help you learn different techniques, sometimes it’s better to have in-person, hands-on advice. Either way, it can reduce a several-thousand-dollar fee to several hundred.

Architects are often willing to do a one-time consultation, usually based on a flat fee. It should include visiting your home to review a specific problem, some insights, and a sketch (or more) of possible solutions. These can then be brought to your contractor to clarify your needs.

Contractors may or may not offer consultations and/or mentorship, but when they do, it’s often for an hourly fee. This opens the door to professional insights and in-person training for handling the parts you want to change, all without needing to hire a contractor and their team for the full project.

Hire for Off-Season Work

Spring and summer – and in some cases, early fall – are the prime seasons for home improvement. The weather is often warm enough to keep the house open while working, and the daylight hours are longer than in winter. However, demand for contractors is much higher and so are their prices. If it’s feasible, wait until the off-season to work on your project. You can save thousands of dollars in the process.

Consider Sweat Equity

“Sweat equity” refers to sharing in some of the labor of your project, even though you’re hiring a contractor. You can do this in several areas, including early on (e.g., handling the demolition yourself) or daily (e.g., handling the cleanup yourself). Depending on the size of the project or how long it will take to complete, this can save you a thousand dollars or more.

Aim for Long-Term over Short-Term Goals

Given just how much money is involved in these projects, it’s no surprise that many home renovators want to skip the pre-primed, pre-painted materials in favor of unfinished ones. That lets them save now, but you need to think in terms of long-term maintenance. For instance, in terms of siding, pre-sale finishing is handled in a controlled place, with no elements like wind or moisture to interfere in its application. That makes it stronger, and it will last longer before you have to refresh that paint. Only needing to worry about one paint job in the next twenty years allows you to save one to three thousand dollars over that time.

Think Efficiency over Size

When you’re looking to add more space, the secret may not lie in knocking out a wall to extend a room. Instead, redesign the interior storage options. Cabinetry that takes up too much space can be changed out for more space-sensitive solutions, especially custom ones suited to the contents they’re going to contain. They can also be put in more optimal locations to help the room feel larger, all without actually having to change the size of the room itself. This will save tens of thousands of dollars, and may even cut the cost of the project in half.

Utilize Your Contractor’s Unused Materials

Contractors often end up with unused material from previous projects, and unlike the aversion to reusing materials pulled from a home, these fresh materials pose no liability and can be shaped to suit your needs. Depending on the size of the project and the materials in question, this can save around ten thousand dollars versus buying a new stock of material for your project.

Use Light Tubes instead of Adding Windows for Natural Light

If you have a room against an exterior wall but doesn’t have a window, adding a window to let in natural light is naturally tempting. However, that’s not the only way to enjoy sunshine. Light tubes, sometimes referred to as light pipes, are a type of optical wave transmitter that fit between roof rafters. As the name implies, it carries natural light to rooms that don’t receive any. It can save around a thousand dollars over the installation of double-paned, insulated windows.

Consider Posts and Beams over Additional Foundations

This tip requires you to look at local ordinances, so be sure you know what kind of construction is required for making additions to your home. Generally, when you’re making a small addition, it’s cheaper to do it without adding a foundation. Instead you use posts and beams, much like when you’re adding on a deck. If local code permits this kind of construction, it can save five thousand dollars.

Don’t Move Plumbing

When redesigning a kitchen or bathroom, you may imagine your sink, shower, tub, or toilet in a completely different place than where they are now. Unfortunately, that’s usually what stacks up the price because all the underlying plumbing has to change, too. If you need to, or decide that’s simply how you’ll be happiest, this is another point where you need to think of long-term savings – pay to upgrade the piping. If you’re having to change things up anyway, the new plumbing will be more efficient and durable.

Bonus Tip: Not Everything Is Trash

While it’s true that most contractors won’t reuse materials removed during demolition and renovation, that doesn’t make everything you’re getting rid of is trash. According to This Old House, roughly 85% of a house can be reusable. Depending on condition, you can donate just about anything that DIY enthusiasts might be looking for to Habitat for Humanity. They’ll resell it at one of their 400 ReStores nationwide, which helps fund their work. You can find their closest affiliate or ReStore program at Habitat’s website. There’s no cost to you, and you can deduct the value on your taxes.

Home renovations are already expensive enough. Trying to find ways to cut costs or make corrections mid-project can be even more expensive. Have a solid and realistic plan beforehand, including knowing how and when you want to save.  Be sure you take advantage of these tips to help mitigate some of those costs without compromising on the quality of your results.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Tips for Being an Extraordinary Agent

 It might be a buyer’s market right now, but as an agent, it’s your job to help a seller pass their keys to a new owner while getting exactly what they need. This can be an extremely stressful process for them. They’re going to look to you for help and reassurance. The tips we’ve provided in today’s post will help you take your assistance to the next level.

Provide Guidance about the Selling Process

Be ready to step in and let sellers know what their next step is, even if that means telling them where they need to start. If they think they have the right idea, but don’t, you should be ready and willing to gently correct them. The point is to make the process as quick and painless as possible, while still getting them the best price.

Arrange for Legal Advice as Necessary

There’s a lot of advice that you can give, but that doesn’t make you a lawyer. Be sure you understand the limits of what you can speak to, while also building relationships with real estate attorneys that you recommend. This can build trust with your clients, as they see you’re willing to do things the right way. Real estate law can include drafting various types of contracts necessary throughout the process, so don’t stick the seller with a generic form if that won’t cover their needs.

Determine the Listing Price

As the agent, you’re the person who understands the market best. Commit to doing up-to-date comparative market analyses and remember that sellers may be comparing your documents to another realtor’s. They want to know what a truly competitive listing price will be.

Stage the Property

You know what’s going to influence buyers most, whereas the seller might think in terms of what appeals to them about their own home and yard. Amp up the curb appeal, ensure the home is clean, and stage every room for the utmost success. That can include tactics like making part of a two-car garage show off it’s potential for being a workshop, adding flowers and a rocking chair to the porch to make it look cozy, or placing mugs for coffee and books on the recliner by the window to stage it as a reading nook.

Arrange for Photos and Videos of the Property

Media is essential when selling a property, so don’t let sellers skimp on how it’s accomplished. Professional photos and videos can make a world of difference when appealing to buyers browsing online. Keep mobile devices in mind and consider new media options, too. For instance, 360-degree photo or video can bring a home to life in an engaging way, as can drone videos taken from above the home.

Promote the Listing Online

You have access to a host of tools and resources that your sellers haven’t even thought of. List the home in online listing sites in addition to your agency’s site to amplify how the home can be found by potential buyers. These should offer photos of the property’s exterior and interior, in addition to other forms of media you have available.

Find Interested Buyers


Don’t be afraid to do a little legwork! Be proactive in finding the best possible buyers for the listing. This is another way to help make the selling process move along, rather than staying sluggish or stagnant. Sellers will be happy to know that you’re doing everything you can to make selling their property a reality.

Hold Open Houses and Private Tours

While photos and video engage digitally, there’s nothing quite like actively being in the home. Sellers probably need you to take the lead here, so be sure to remind them to have the home clean on the right days. Be ready for all types of questions from visitors, especially on a private tour. Take steps to understand what’s going on in the neighborhood and community at large, especially if there’s anything that could be of concern. That includes neighboring properties that are an eyesore.

Lead Contract Negotiations

Negotiations are the point when it becomes a tug-of-war between what the “best” price is – a buyer wants the lowest, and the seller wants the highest. Of course, your seller may have other considerations, like a quick or delayed settlement. As the expert, you need to represent the seller’s best interests during these negotiations.

Remember, selling a home can be a stressful process for home owners. As their agent, your expertise is key to providing an experience that is as smooth as possible. Using our tips can help establish a positive working relationship, ameliorate any problems, and ensure both buyers and sellers walk away happy. It can solidify your relationship and is likely to raise the likelihood you’ll get referrals.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Make a Splash with Your Pool this Summer

 

 

As summer begins, it’s time to think about outdoor swimming. Pools are hotter than ever in 2018, with design trends that exude luxury and modernity. You don’t have to get a basic concrete or tile pool anymore; there are dozens of options to create a truly unique backyard landscape and enjoy the outdoor elements. Enjoy the summer warmth in New England with a gorgeous backyard landscape with a pool at the center, an oasis in the heat and humidity.

These are the trends in pool entertainment, creating relaxation and fun for family and friends:

Miniature Pools

Not everyone has room for a full-sized pool, but they still want to enjoy the comfort of cooling water in their backyards. These mini-pools are less 150-square feet and fit perfectly into a city backyard. You can add powered resistance for exercise (as there is less space for laps) or a small wading area for little ones.

Infinity Pools

They’ve been on trend for a while, but they’re not going anywhere—infinity pools are capturing homeowners’ eyes and wallets. If you have a backyard that overlooks a body of water, you can blur the line between where the pool ends and the surrounding landscape. You previously only saw these pools at luxury hotels, but they’re now a viable option for those who want a modern aesthetic.

“Smart” Pools

In the increasingly growing Internet of Things (IoT), almost anything can become automated, including your pool. Imagine heating your pool while you’re out at a restaurant, so it’s warm when you get home. If you’ve forgotten to clean your pool on vacation, you can do it with a touch of a button on your smartphone. Pool maintenance is much easier than it’s ever been before.

Waterfalls and Firepits

For a centerpiece of your pool, consider a waterfall or firepit. A controlled waterfall creates relaxing sights and sounds, while a firepit accent can be a great way to enjoy a poolside summer night. Fire and water don’t have to be separate with poolside fire pits. These are more design flourishes than essential parts of the pool, but they can be the final touch to your backyard design.

Natural-Looking Pools

You may think of the traditional blue vinyl liner when you think of pools. Pool design is trending toward the use of concrete and natural materials in place of vinyl. The shift is partially due to the prevalence of these materials in other elements of exterior and interior design. Homeowners also want a more natural look that’s inspired by the natural landscape and utilizes readily available materials.

If you’re thinking of putting a pool into your backyard this summer, work with a landscape designer to create an environment that makes you feel at ease. Your oasis should have the elements you need to relax or exercise, spend time with friends or have a family reunion.

Monday, May 14, 2018

How to Make the Most of Your Powder Room

 

While powder rooms certainly aren’t the biggest room in your house, they can be the focal point of style and elegance in your home. A half bath is a place guests often visit in your home, the perfect place for you to show off new décor and explore creative interior design ideas. Even if you prefer a more neutral palette in the rest of your home, you can go a little more extreme in your powder room.

When you’re selling your home, a distinct smaller bathroom can be the turning point for a buyer. The extra half-bath with unique features, fun elements, and smart design attracts additional buyers and can increase your selling price. Here are some of our favorite ways to spice up your powder room:

Choose a Dramatic Paint Color or Bold Wallpaper


In a small space like a powder room, you can get away with a fanciful print on wallpaper or a bold color choice. An inspired impact is fantastic in a powder room. If you’re thinking of selling soon, make sure your choice isn’t too extreme as to discourage buyers. Consider a graphic wallpaper or a turquoise paint color for a unique spin on the normal.

Pick Your Favorite Trend


A powder room is one of the best spots to have a coherent theme. Think of how children’s bedrooms may have cowboy, princess, or space themes—apply this to your half-bath. Maybe you love a farmhouse chic aesthetic, or you’re into the bohemian style. You can try a floral theme or maybe model it after a favorite book or movie. Have fun with your theme but ensure it’s still accessible to your guests and future buyers.

Exciting Hardware


Due to the smaller space and lack of shower/bath, upgrading the hardware in a powder room is often inexpensive. Instead of keeping with the basic chrome, consider a bolder chunky gold look, brass, or gunmetal fixtures.

Beautiful Lighting


There’s nothing more important in a bathroom than lighting. Not only do you need accurate lighting for makeup, but it can enhance a powder room design. Fix it an extra sconce (for three) and choose fixtures that work with your theme. Fewer fixtures in a powder room will allow you to spend more than on a larger bathroom.

Whether you’re planning on keeping your home for the next few decades or selling in the next few months, the smallest room in the home can be the most impactful. Don’t be afraid to use dramatic style, high-quality materials, and boldness you wouldn’t elsewhere. It might seem like a risk—but it’s one that will pay off in your home style and when it comes time to sell.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Don't Neglect Your Garage When Selling Your Home: 6 Tips for Staging

 

Did you know that nearly a third of home buyers think that the garage is one of the most important rooms in the house? According to a 2017 report from Realtor.com, it’s the fourth most important room for buyers 25-54, and the third most important room for buyers that are 55 and older. That means that when you’re trying to sell your home, you can’t afford to close the garage up and hope buyers either won’t pay attention or won’t care about the mess. We’ve put together some tips to help you stage your garage and make it an appealing feature of your home.

Declutter and Organize

The cliché about garages is that they’re constantly messy, sometimes to the point that they’re used for storage and not for cars. However, you want buyers to be able to envision themselves in the space. Since you’re getting ready to move, take the time to get rid of clutter before buyers start viewing your home. If you’re not taking it with you, it doesn’t need to take up space. Next, be sure to organize everything you’re keeping. Don’t make piles, and don’t stack boxes. Utilize peg boards and overhead storage to free up more floor space. This will also make it easier when you move, but as a bonus, it can show off organizational opportunities for the buyer.

Be Sure It’s Clean

You wouldn’t let buyers see a messy kitchen covered in grease and spills, so don’t do it with your garage either. Be sure you dust and sweep out any dirt, grass, or other debris, like salt from winter roads. If equipment or vehicles are muddy, be sure to clean them, and take the time to remove any grease stains on the floor.

Be Sure It’s Safe

If buyers visit with kids or pets in tow, you don’t want to put them at risk by irresponsibly leaving out dangerous chemicals or tools. Ensure there’s no exposed wiring and that organizational furniture like cabinets and shelving are secured.

Keep It Well Lit

Buyers are visiting your home with the express purpose of taking a look around, so don’t make it difficult for them. Replace any burnt out lightbulbs, then make sure it’s easy to see. If it’s still dim, consider adding more lighting.

Freshen Up the Paint

Chances are, you’ve worked hard to spruce up other areas of your house. Curb appeal is paramount, but the interior paint and flooring will make just as big an impact. Take the time to add a fresh coat of paint, which can make the space seem larger. Plus, you can consider dialing up the appeal of your property with a flooring update, such as a concrete stain.

Make It Inviting

Above all, buyers should feel welcome in your space. That may mean adding elements like art to hang on the walls, or it may mean staging one part of a two-car garage as a workshop area. You want buyers to be able to envision themselves living there.

Remember, you may not think much about your garage, but potential buyers will be paying close attention to all aspects of your property. Make sure the garage is just as appealing as other areas of your home. Our tips will help you get started.

Monday, May 7, 2018

10 Tips for Home Buyers to Get the Most Out of Open Houses

If you read a few descriptions about homes for sale, you’ll quickly realize that they’re trying to paint a perfect picture about the property. Open houses give you the chance to check out the reality of the situation and gain some insight into what you’d be getting for your money, whether you already have a Realtor or not. We’ve put together ten tips to help you make the most of your outing.

Wear Appropriate Clothing

Remember that you’ll be spending a fair amount of time walking around as you explore inside and outside the property. That means that while you may want to make a striking impression on the agent hosting the open house, you need to wear something comfortable. At the same time, you don’t want to make a bad impression by wearing clothing that may make it seem like you can’t afford the home.

Have a Plan for Browsing

It helps to arrive early to try and beat the crowd, especially since you’ll have a little time to have the agent to yourself if you want to ask any questions. What’s more, you can take an afternoon to visit more than one open house in the same area. Having a plan lets you do all this at your own pace.

Give Yourself Time to Look Around

You don’t want to rush your way through a property, since you’ll miss the elements that may make you think the property definitely is (or isn’t) the one you want to purchase. You may want to take a look around the neighborhood as well. If you’re planning on visiting more than one property, be sure you’ve given yourself enough time to visit each, including travel.

Be Polite to the Host

You may not want to hear a sales pitch, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the agent hosting the open house. Be sure you sign in, and avoid criticizing the property while you’re there. Don’t arrive at an open house at the last minute, when the hosting agent is ready to head out.

But Don’t Give Anything Away

Chatting with the hosting agent can be a great way of gathering information about the property but bear in mind that the agent will probably also be trying to gather information about you. They may be trying to gauge how serious you are as a buyer, or they may be gathering information that puts them in a stronger position during negotiations. Don’t share information about your income or when you need to move. This information is better saved for the buyer’s agent who will represent you.

Keep an Eye on Features

Buying a home is about more than just getting the square feet you want. Be sure you’re looking for elements that you want in the perfect home (e.g., the size of closets) and don’t be afraid to bring a tape measure to check whether your furniture will fit.

Look Out for Property Issues

You don’t want to be surprised by outdated plumbing, wiring, cracks in the foundation, or areas where water will pool. Keep an eye on the landscaping too. You want to avoid buying a home that will obviously require costly changes or repairs in the future, and if you decide you want the home anyway, knowing they’re there will put you in a stronger position.

Take Photos or Video, But Only with Permission

Photos and video are a great reference for you later when you’re considering different properties. However, many times an open house is actually still being lived in. Respect the current owner’s privacy and ask before you pull out your camera.

Don’t Be Nosy

Similarly, being at an open house doesn’t give you permission to go through the current owner’s belongings. If a room is closed, ask if you can look inside. Don’t rummage through drawers, and don’t peek inside medicine cabinets or other sensitive places.

But Do Pay Attention to What Others Are Saying

Other potential buyers are technically your competition, but they may also know something about the area that you don’t. Pay attention to their reactions to the home to see if they noticed something you didn’t.

Open houses can provide the perfect opportunity to get a feel for a property that you’re interested in and its neighborhood without having to worry about a hard sell. The ten tips will help you make the most of your experience and help to keep you in a strong bargaining position.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Kitchen Design Trends that Will Inspire You to Remodel

It's difficult to find remodeling inspiration in a landscape of lookalike kitchens. Everywhere you go, you see the same boring granite, white cabinets, and subway tile. Why renovate to just look like every kitchen on the block? If you want to set your home apart and live in a kitchen you truly love, renovate it the way you want. Explore some unique design trends that inspire you to cook and live in your kitchen space. Here are some of our favorite ideas that will stir something deeper in you and inspire your kitchen to remodel:

Multipurpose Islands for Work and Play

Kitchen islands have been a popular trend in kitchen design for decades, but the innovation is in using them for activities and storage outside of culinary duties. Islands are great for homework use, toy storage, as a bookcase, and so much more. Don’t limit your island to kitchen duty; it can have many uses in your family’s everyday life.

Two-Toned Cabinetry

All-white and all-black kitchen cabinets are passé. Two-toned cabinets add visual impact and create warmth and life in your kitchen space. Consider a white and blue combination, or gray and black, for a contemporary/modern finish. With two different colors, you can add texture and depth to your kitchen that it never had before.

Quartz Instead of Granite

Granite’s been a mainstay of the kitchen countertop world for years, but it requires more maintenance than quartz and has less range. With technological advances, quartz can mimic other natural materials like marble but is far more hardy and anti-microbial. A neutral colored quartz countertop with some beautiful particulates or subtle veining will set your kitchen apart.

Extra Deep Drawers

Build your kitchen for utility with extra deep drawers where you need them for dishes, pans, and other necessities. You can also purchase add-ons, like drawer organizers and pegboard, to keep everything organized and tidy.

Mixing Different Metals

In a classic design, the rule is only to use one metal finish in any space: gold, silver, bronze, and not mix anything. In today’s modern design, mixing metals can add visual interest to a kitchen, using matte finishes for some design elements and shiny for others. You still want to aim for a coordinated look with your metals, such as blending bronze and brass to create depth.

Exciting Flooring Options

Kitchen flooring has been boring for a long time: linoleum, tile, even hardwood, are rote. Consider going with a patterned flooring option or an exciting alternative option like cork or bamboo to incorporate some drama and boldness into your kitchen. Ensure that the floor design incorporates with your other elements, talking to the other colors and textures in your kitchen.

Utilizing Concrete

Concrete is a highly customizable countertop material, as you can choose its shape, color, and appearance in the kitchen. When done correctly, concrete can become a focal point of your space, providing more tactility and warmth than granite or quartz options. For true control of your countertop experience and excellent recyclability, concrete is the future.

It’s easy to get bored with kitchens when you see the same designs on HGTV and in IKEA every week. Get some stimulation from these cutting-edge trends that will help you start a renovation project in your home. Don’t stick with the ordinary; get inspired.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Helping Clients Overcome Common Challenges

Helping Clients Overcome Common Challenges

No matter how seasoned you are as a Realtor, you’ll have challenges with certain clients. Even if you’re getting frustrated, try to put yourself in your clients’ shoes and educate them instead of losing your cool. Being a real estate agent isn’t an easy job, and it’s your responsibility to have the knowledge and skills to reassure your clients in difficult situations. Here are some common challenges you’ll face with your clients and how you can help them:

The Client Who Knows Everything

Some people enter a real estate relationship thinking they know more about your business than you ever could. Your experience and credentials may mean nothing to them, and they’re unlikely to listen to your opinions and advice.


There’s nothing inherently wrong with a knowledgeable client, but it’s important to work with them. Make an appointment in a coffee shop or other neutral setting and try to talk it through, trying to use your experience and their knowledge together. If you can make this work, this kind of client can have the most realistic expectations since they understand the industry.


The First-Time Homebuyer

This client likely needs the most guidance when buying a home. Some first-time homebuyers will listen to your every word, or they’ll be texting you all hours of the night. New homebuyers can be a boon for referrals, but the challenging rests in educating them about the complexities of the purchasing process, including budget, closing costs, and other processes.


Work in depth with first-time homebuyers to help them feel prepared and get them organized. Give them to-do lists, referrals for local contacts like movers and mortgage brokers, and give them advice every step of the way. Use your empathy and patience, and these clients can turn from a challenge into a blessing.


The HGTV Addict

Some people have just watched too much reality TV and think it’s what happens in everyday real estate transactions. No matter how much Househunters or Flip or Flop they’ve binged, it’s important to slow them down. Help them understand most buyers look at more than three or four homes before deciding.


These clients may act similarly to the “client who knows everything,” and it’s okay to support their excited attitude. It’s important to ensure that you’re following your process and meeting all the necessary checks when you purchase a home with a client. You want this client to end up with the perfect home they’re envisioning from reality TV.


The Super Thrifty Client

You might not realize you have this buyer at first. Some people want a good deal and don’t understand negotiation. They’re determined to make unrealistically low offers, which can ruin their chance of getting their dream house. You can resolve this challenge with education and by instilling trust.


Sit down with your client and discuss negotiating tactics with them. Make sure they have a budget they’re comfortable with, so they’re not just lowballing every property on which they put an offer. A conservative offer can be a good approach, but it has to make sense for the property and be well-researched. If not, you can alienate the seller and reduce and further cooperation.


With the right tactics, you can manage your clients’ expectations and help them overcome their challenges. Every buyer needs some help with their purchase, and you can be their resource to overcome their issues.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Spring Cleaning to Get Your Home on the Market

It’s a real estate adage that spring is one of the best times to list your home. Buyers often search for a new home before the summer heat sets in and the school year starts up again. It’s also the time to get your house ready to sell by removing excess stuff, beautifying your home, and selling things you don’t need.

When inventory rises and other sellers start looking to sell their homes too, you’ll want your home to stand out in the market. Improve your odds of selling this spring by polishing up your house with these tactics:

Pack Up

It probably sounds weird to pack months before you might move, but it’s always good to get organized. Don’t put away the things you need every day, like dishes and everyday clothing. Pack away your storage closets, winter clothes, and sort through things you no longer need. You’ll also figure out if you need a storage locker or facility for when you put your home on the market.

Donate and Sell Excess Clothes and Home Goods

Once you’ve sorted through the clutter, you’ll find things you no longer want to keep. You can donate and sell these clothes to thrift stores like Savers and donation centers like Goodwill. Not only will this process help you clear away items from your home, but you could make money and do your civic duty in the process. You’ll have less to pack away and store when you eventually move.

Start the Cleaning Process

After a long winter, there’s a lot to clean in any home, especially if you’re going to sell it. Start with cleaning your drapes, curtains, and blinds. Most window coverings are dry clean only, so consider sending them to your local dry cleaners. You can wash blinds in a soapy bathtub to remove dust, cobwebs, and other debris.

Vacuum any carpet and thoroughly sweep and mop hardwood floors to freshen your space. If your floors need it, you can polish or refinish them, depending on the type of surface. A clean home is the one the first steps toward getting your house ready for market.

Choose a Qualified Realtor

One of the most important elements of selling your home in the springtime is finding an experienced listing agent. In a buyer’s market, a good Realtor will help you market your home and sell it for the highest price. Seek recommendations from friends and family for local agents with experience in the area who can provide you with a detailed market analysis.

Prepare for the spring real estate market today by getting your home prepped. With a clean and significantly emptier property, you’ll be ready to list when the time is right. Choose the right Realtor, and you’ll be on your way to success when listing.

Monday, April 23, 2018

How to Find a Great Real Estate Deal in a Hot Market

How to Find a Great Real Estate Deal in a Hot Market

In a hot summer real estate market, it might seem impossible to find a good deal on a home. However, with the help of a seasoned Realtor and some simple tips, it’s possible to secure a good investment when buying your home. The key is thinking like a flipper.

You won’t succeed if you’re looking for the newest, most renovated homes in the neighborhood. Being picky about your house isn’t the right tactic. Flexibility is necessary to score in a hot market, so prepare to compromise on the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, or the lot size or shape. When you think like a flipper, you can find a great deal on a property, build instant equity, and shape it into your dream home.

Here are our tips for finding that fantastic offer you can’t turn down:

Get to the Property First (or Last)

In real estate, getting there early is important. Sometimes it’s not the highest offer that gets accepted, rather the first. Be quick about making an offer when you see a property you like. Have your pre-approval from the bank ready and email alerts from your Realtor with new properties on the market.

Another approach is making offers on properties that have been on the market for a long time. If a house hasn’t sold for over 90 days, the owner might part with it for a discount, as they may make multiple mortgage payments or just be desperate to sell the property.

Search for Bank-Foreclosed Listings

When an owner stops paying his or her mortgage for an extended period, the lender will repossess the home and evict the tenants. The bank will then list the property and attempt to recoup its losses. While a foreclosure is a sad event, it can represent a great opportunity for one of the best deals in real estate. Banks want a quick deal on these properties, so you can step in and make an offer below market value.

Many foreclosed homes need some serious TLC, including repairs and renovations. The foreclosure process can take years, so you must be ready to tackle the renovations inside. Your Realtor should have the inside track to foreclosures in the area, so you can check them out.

Drive Around Your Preferred Neighborhoods

There’s nothing as simple and effective as getting out on the road and finding homes you want to purchase. Drive through the neighborhoods and streets in which you want to live and make a note of houses that look a little more run down, empty, and uncared for by their owners. One of your best avenues is approaching absentee owners. Find public records online or at City Hall, and you can locate small landlords through Craigslist listings.  You can contact the owners and make an offer even if a property isn’t on the market. With leased properties, contact the landlord and see if they are interested in selling when leases are up.

Sheer Volume

Locating a great real estate deal will not happen with your first offer. The perfect opportunity is a numbers game. You might have to make offers on a dozen homes before you get one accepted. Use all available resources to find homes, including your Realtor, For Sale by Owner websites, driving around neighborhoods, and surfing the MLS. You can filter these listings down into locations and homes you’re interested in and then make offers.

Even in a hot real estate market, you should be able to find a great deal by following these tips. Think like a flipper, consider bank-foreclosed properties, and be prepared to make offers when the moment is right. With enough properties at your disposal, you’ll discover a fantastic deal and start building equity.

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