info@oneflatfee.ca 604-725-1000 Value of properties sold as of Jan 23, 2021: $707,245,050

Category: Real estate

When Should You Sell Your Home If You Are Planning to Move?

As a home seller, you might be unsure as to the best time to sell your home if you are planning a move. Deciding when to put your home on the market in advance, can help you to plan your move more easily and can enable you to be successful in the sale of your old home.

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If you are planning to move in order to rent or buy a new home and sell the old one, you have to be prepared to deal with a complicated situation that could take months to resolve. Working with a qualified real estate agent can help ease the burden of the process. However, it is also up to you to do the research in advance so that you know what you’ll be getting into.

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There is no one perfect time to sell your home when you are planning to move. When you sell your home will depend on your own unique circumstances and financial situation. However, taking the time to consider selling your home in advance can help you to discover when the right time is to sell.

While you may think that you don’t need to contact a real estate agent until you are ready to make the move, contacting an agent at least several months before you make a decision to move is your best bet. A real estate agent can help you to work through the process of making your move possible. The first step is to start with research.

Start With Research

The first step of the process should be to research the local market conditions and gather as much data as possible on your own. By involving an agent, you can obtain guidance on whether the current market will allow you to sell at the true market value. In addition, an agent will also be able to guide you on creating a successful marketing plan for your home that is designed to help your home sell quickly.

Unless, there is a major factor that impacts the timing of the sale, such as debt, you should opt to sell your home at a time when favorable market conditions are available for the sale. Your real estate agent may actually recommend that you wait on the sale and rent out home instead in order to get the best possible returns on the sale of your home.

Consider Your Expenses

Determining how the money from the sale will be spent will play a major decision in when you should sell. As a person with significant debts or one that is looking for better options in another city, the timing of your sale can have a big impact on your future.

If you plan to buy a new home in a new area, work with a real estate agent in order to determine just how much money will be needed for a downpayment on a new property. As a homeowner you should really think carefully as to whether buying a new home is in your best interest. For retirees, this picture may depend significantly on your expenses and if you can afford to meet your obligations.

Jane Bryant Quinn of AARP suggests several options for retirees. “You can use part or all of it to buy another house or condo, with or without a mortgage. That pot of money is now tied up. You could tap it at some point in the future, by taking a home equity loan or reverse mortgage, but that probably isn’t your plan.” says Quinn. “Alternatively, you can put the proceeds into a mix of bank accounts and mutual funds and tap those savings and investments for rent.”

As advice for all home sellers, you should also plan for temporary housing in the event that your home sells quickly so that you have a place to go. If the selling market in your area is quite competitive, you may want to have your Realtor negotiate with the buyer in order to obtain a longer escrow. This option will give you more time to find a place to move to.

Rising Rents

If you are selling your home in order to rent, it is important to keep in mind that rental prices may be on the rise in your new desired location. If you want ensure that you are not priced out of the market before you can sell your home and free up funds for rent, you should discuss your situation with a real estate agent.

Rising rents can also have the reverse impact and actually make it easier for you to sell your property. High rents mean that buyers may reconsider renting and instead want to move in home ownership. “Every time there’s an increase, it triggers the decision processes on whether [renters] should go into the market and buy. Getting more buyers into the market, especially first-timers, can help sellers feel more comfortable about their prospects. “It allows others to move up the chain in the market.” said Budge Huskey, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

Plan Carefully

Regardless of the manner in which you do it, selling a home when you are planning to move is stressful. However, working with a real estate agent to develop a solid plan that gives you months to prepare for the sale is the best way to ensure that you are not scrambling to get things in order when the time comes.

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What to Do in the Months Before You Put Your Home on the Market

Selling a home is a complicated process that requires planning in order to be success. Know what you are getting into before you get started.

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You’ve decided to sell your home. However, you are not quite ready to put it on the market. Selling a home is a complicated process that requires a concerted effort. Have you done everything that is needed to enable a smooth process for selling your home?

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Before you call a Realtor, there is some prep work that needs to be done. Your Realtor’s job is to help you sell your home. Therefore, in order to allow your Realtor to focus on this important task, you must make sure that everything is in order.

As a homeowner, you may want to leave everything up to your real estate agent. However, if you want the process to move at a faster pace, it is important that you get involved.

Find Important Documents

The first step to getting ready to sell your home is to find the paperwork that will be needed as a part of the sales process. You should make sure that you have the following documents on hand:

  • operating manuals for appliances;
  • warranty information on items that will stay behind in the house;
  • key documents in regards to the title, survey, mortgage and insurance on the property.

As you search for these documents, you may find that you need to order copies from local agencies or update the information on these documents. Take care of these issues well in advance so that you don’t have to waste time on this once you contact a real estate agent.

Obtain Estimates

The next step is to obtain estimates for repairing old, worn out items in your home. Pick items that buyers are likely to be concerned about (such as old appliances or worn out furniture). By obtaining estimates, you can gain traction during the process of negotiations later on in the selling process.

There is a high likelihood that if a home has clear issues that need to be addressed, a buyer will likely want to factor those issues into the terms regarding the purchase of the home. In order to avoid ending up in a situation where the buyer is the only person with estimates regarding repairs, obtain your own estimates in advance.

Clean Your Home

Cleaning your home is an absolute must before you have a Realtor come take a look at the property. If you want the Realtor to get a realistic impression of your home, he or she can not do that while there is junk piled everywhere.

Cleaning your home to get it ready for sale means that you should make major changes. This includes packing up the personal effects that are currently lying about your home. You should also make sure that you pay attention to commonly neglected areas such as attics or garages. You should wash the windows and the exterior of the home if they haven’t been cleaned in years.

Your agent will want to hold a couple of open houses as soon as possible, which is why you shouldn’t list your house until it’s ready for showing. This means you’ll probably be swamped with last-minute touch-ups and clean-ups to get the house ready.” says Rick Hazeltine of Realtor.com.

In addition, a home that has not been cleaned is unlikely to attract many buyers unless the price is a serious low ball offer. Therefore, if you want to make the best first impression on a real estate agent, cleaning your home is important. In addition, a thorough cleaning initially can make it easier to keep up with the routine chores once the sales process is underway.

Arrange for a Pre-sale Home Inspection

Failing to arrange for a pre-sale home inspection is one of the most common mistakes that first-time sellers make. A pre-sale home inspection can allow you to obtain insight into the trouble areas of your home that will immediately attract the attention of buyers. By performing a pre-sale home inspection, you will have the opportunity to make repairs to the home before the sales process begins.

Once you have addressed all of these issues, it is time to start searching for an agent. Look for an agent by using referral from family members, friends and colleagues.

Having an experienced agent represent you is critically important; especially with the online shift that is occurring in the real estate industry. Marketing a home has become sophisticated and it requires a skilled, professional marketing strategy. A good real estate agent can identify the notable features of your home which will help you maximize the way you showcase those features.” says Monte Mohr of tenneseedreamhomes.com.

Get Recommendations

After you have taken the initial steps to find a Realtor, get recommendations from the agents that you interview in order to determine what changes you should make to your home. A real estate agent might suggest renovations or minor fixes that could improve the appeal of your home. You should work with a real estate agent whose advice you trust and is someone that has demonstrated experience with top-producing sales numbers.

Selling your property does not have to be stressful if you take the time to prepare. By learning what to do in the months before you put your home on the market, you can avoid some of the pitfalls that are common among inexperienced home sellers. In addition, you will also make the process of selling your home faster and easier for your real estate agent.

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How to Select the Right Neighborhood for You and Your Family

As a potential home buyer, you want to make sure that you are not only getting the best value for your money. You also want to ensure that you will be satisfied with your location as the resident of a new community.

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When you decide to purchase a home, you have to make a decision as to where you want to live. Several factors may play into your decision, including both practical and emotional reasons. Selecting the right neighborhood for you and your family should be done with care. Here are tips to help to pick the right neighborhood for your next home.

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As you explore various locations to buy a home, you may have a lot of ideas in mind. Maybe you want to pick your dream location for your home. You may actually prefer just to find a safe neighborhood that has great schools and a decent commute time to work. Whatever your reasons for deciding on a particular location, you must sort out your priorities as you search for a neighborhood to live in.

As you ponder your situation, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have teens or young children living in your home?
  • Do you have preferences as to the noise level of the area?
  • Do you want a lot of land or parks and other green spaces to enjoy?
  • Are you concerned about having a short commute to work?
  • Will the neighborhood have your preferred amenities (shopping, daycare, groceries, dining, etc)?
  • What style of home do you want?
  • What is your budget?

As you write down the answers to these questions, a clearer picture will emerge of your must-have elements for your new neighborhood. Some of the items may end up on your list only as features that you would like to have but are not deal-breakers.

Families

If you have teens or young children living at home, a primary concern when selecting the right neighborhood for your family should be the quality of the local school system. If you are planning to enroll your children in a private institution, you must also consider the distance between the new neighborhood and the school in order to shuttle back and forth between after-school activities and other events.

Make sure that you research local public and private schools. You should also research daycare programs in the area. Crime statistics are also important to look at for the safety of your family. The majority of real estate websites will be able to break down crime statistics by zip code in order to give you an idea as to how safe the area is in comparison to national statistics. If you would like more in-depth details on a particular area, you can ask your Realtor for assistance.

Setting

As you select a neighborhood for your home, you should envision what it would be like to live in that neighborhood. You may wish to select a neighborhood based on the style of homes offered. You should also consider whether you prefer an urban or more rural setting for your home. The proximity of the neighborhood to an urban area may have a large impact on the average square footage of a home. Also some areas may have mostly single family homes available, as compared to other neighborhoods that may have a larger percentage of multi-family homes.

You must also consider whether or not you want to live in a historic neighborhood or housing development. Both types of communities often come along with regulations that are put in place by local community associations that must be adhered to. In addition, this may also mean that you are required to do repair work on your home, as homes in historic neighborhoods may be of older stock.

Daily Routine

As you select your new neighborhood, you also want to think about your daily routine. Do you want to be able to walk places? Do you want a short commute to work? Ask your real estate agent about the public transportation options that will be available in your neighborhood, as well as, access to major roads and highways.

“Diversity, population and neighborhood characteristics are all important aspects that make a big difference on a neighborhood.” says AJ Smith of Credit.com. “Investigate how the neighborhood has grown in recent years, who lives there, and how many people to do determine if it is somewhere you would fit in or stand out.”

By talking to people that have lived in the area, you can get a more accurate idea of what it will be like to live there as a resident. This is vital insight that can not be obtained simply by looking at neighborhood descriptions online. You can also use these experiences to determine if the neighborhood meets your expectations in terms of taste. Some home buyers may require more luxurious accommodations in order to be satisfied. Others may find the restrictions of planned communities not to be their preferences.

Budget

Budget will likely play a huge role in determining your final decision on the right neighborhood for your new home. However, working with a real estate agent can really help to illuminate the differences between two neighborhoods of relativity equal value. There is always a risk that when you select a neighborhood, you won’t get everything on your wishlist. But when it comes to making sure that you stay within your budget, compromise is important.

Opt for the features of the neighborhood that will guarantee a safe and enjoyable stay in your community while skipping out on those neighborhoods that are so pricy you will spend more time worrying about your finances than enjoying your new lifestyle. Plus, as you get to know the neighborhood, you may find that there are hidden amenities that you may have not been aware of.

Buying a property in the right neighborhood is a process that must be done with care. Talk with your real estate for more tips on how to select the right neighborhood so that you can be happy with your decision.

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Room for Improvement: What’s Worth DIY, and What’s a Risk too Big to Take?

When you’re looking to buy a house, you won’t always find a place that satisfies every need on your home-buying checklist: in fact, it’s rarer to find a home that’s absolutely perfect. Homes that are a little bit imperfect can still be perfectly good buys, especially if the flaws can be fixed with a bit of DIY effort. However, you don’t want to sign yourself up for a long and grueling home improvement plan on top of your new mortgage. Some projects are a snap, while some are just not worth the time, effort, and most of all – cash.

Consider Your Resources First

Even the smallest of improvement projects need resources, so consider what you have available. You don’t want to sign up for a home improvement project that will bury you in work and stress from the moment you move in. If you’re an experienced technician or have good industry contacts to have things done professionally, you’re already a few steps ahead of the crowd. However, if you and your housemates all work forty-hour weeks, are in a new neighborhood with no knowledge of reliable contractors, or just don’t have the money to start, you’re starting behind the curve, and are paying mortgage on an inferior house right from the get-go. Really keep in mind what you’re prepared for, before you think about signing that mortgage.

Improvements Made Easy: When a Fixer-Upper Is Easily Fixed

Not all home improvement projects mean that you’ve got to call in the bulldozers, and not all home improvement projects need to be done professionally. Smaller projects can easily be done at home by someone with patience and determination, and will save you plenty of cash while still being able to enjoy your new home.

Consider, for example, a humble tiling job. Ripping up some ugly kitchen tiles and revamping the room with something a bit more stylish is an easy DIY project that fits easily inside a weekend, and won’t wind up making the home unusable in the process. Walkthroughs and tutorials are plentiful on YouTube and home improvement blogs alike, and you’ll find plenty of support and advice from the DIY community in their comments and forums. This project is medium-skilled, has few dangers, and isn’t likely to damage the home if left unimproved or if improved incorrectly: it’s a perfect DIY for nearly any new home owner, and can easily be excused as a minor imperfection when considering buying a home. Once you’ve gotten one DIY project complete, you’ll always find yourself hungry for more: suddenly, that overgrown yard doesn’t look so tough to tame into the garden of your dreams, and that ugly tub in the bathroom is easy enough to replace with a stylish free-standing ceramic number, or even a standing shower. You’ll find yourself not only improving the flaws that you originally saw, but improving your new home even further beyond that – increasing its resale value more and more as you go.

Even a project that requires a professional’s touch isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker as far as whether or not you should buy a home. If you’re really in love with a home’s look and all it’ll take to make things perfect is a professional knocking down a wall or two, you’ll find that it’s well worth the added price. Do your research, and investigate contracting companies around your home’s new area. You may wind up finding a company that you can really stick with for years to come, throughout all your home improvement projects.

When That Fixer-Upper Has too Many Flaws

Unfortunately, not all flaws can be easily dismissed when you’re out to buy a home. There are some home improvement needs that are just too severe and too resource-intensive to justify signing up for their responsibility, especially when you can’t safely enjoy your new home. If a single project will have you kicked out of the house for months on end, it’s time to reconsider the investment.

Electrical and plumbing issues are not only bothersome on a convenience level, but can also be very dangerous to anyone living in your home. Bad plumbing can damage the home’s structure (if it hasn’t already), and poor electrical work can potentially start fires. A home that has issues with pests –termites, cockroaches, rats, etc. – is unsanitary and unsafe for even the most devoted of animal-lovers. If your new home has issues with any of these items (a seller or real estate agent is legally obligated to inform you of them, lest you unleash judiciary wrath upon them down the line), it’s not just a home improvement project: it’s a big problem, and one that you may not want to get yourself tangled up in.

If you’re still determined to buy a particular home despite these glaring issues, demand that the seller or real estate agent take steps to sweeten the pot for you. Often, they can legally be given the financial responsibility for funding repairs, especially when it comes to issues that fly in the face of safety regulations: faulty electrical work, slapdash plumbing, insect or vermin, and so on. Don’t let yourself back down on these demands, as they’re well within your rights as a buyer – and believe us, a real estate agent or seller knows that they’ve got a house that gravely needs improvements on their hands. Real estate agents often have connections with local contractors to provide improvement services at a discount rate, and will be all too happy to sign you up with them to seal a sale. A good seller or agent will work with you on negotiating prices and demands. Remember: buy smart and buy safe, and don’t sign up for a home that you can’t really throw yourself behind improving.

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Maximizing Your Housing Budget in a Buyer’s Market

How much house can you really afford? Is the market in the right spot for your budget? If these and other similar questions are running through your mind, don’t worry – you’re in good company. More and more buyers are trying to stretch their budgets farther, but most don’t understand the right way to accomplish this goal. To find out how best to go about this approach, let’s spend a little time talking about how you can make the most out of your savings and equity in a buyer-friendly market.

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Buying a home is far from an easy affair in most cases. However, working on a budget – and not having a strong plan of action to get the most out of your assets – adds unnecessary layers of difficulty to the process.

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Making the right call on a home requires a lot of consideration – even in a buyer-friendly market. Figuring out if the neighborhood is good enough for your family, how close schools are for the kids, and a lot of other concerns all deserve a reasonable spot in the conversation. Unfortunately, it’s hard to properly address these issues if you’re forced to work within the constraints of a budget that’s far too strained. With this in mind, here’s a few tips and tricks that can help you lessen the burden of an overworked budget and ensure that don’t get locked out of your dream home.

What Exactly Is a Buyer’s Market?

Before getting too deep into the discussion, it’s important to cover exactly what a buyer’s market is, and why it’s the best possible time to acquire a new home. As the experts over at Investopedia point out, the reason why buyer’s markets are so favorable to shoppers like yourself all boils down to supply and demand.

Essentially, this market situation represents an excess of viable housing options, thus giving you – the buyer – more leverage than that owned by the overabundance of sellers. Working with your realtor and gauging the current amount and quality of homes in your area can help you lock in on when to make a move into a buyer’s market that’s in full swing.

Step One Starts with Your Credit

Before you rush off to start viewing homes – or if the market isn’t in quite a favorable position yet – Michele Lerner of Bankrate.com suggests focusing on your credit. It’s no big secret that the best way to extend and enhance your budget or approved loan amount comes with raising your credit score as much as possible.

While it might not be the most dramatic tip or tactic ever offered up, it’s a variable that’s well within your control when you start breaking down the home buying equation. If you can reduce overall debt, pay down outstanding loans, and build a positive track record with your creditors, then walking in to the bank and getting the mortgage amount that you need moves away from the realm of wishful thinking and much closer toward reality.

Get Tough on the “Must-Haves”

Another smart tactic to employ when you’re working on a budget comes in the form of doing a home needs audit. Yes, it’s nice to have lofty goals for your dream home, but being realistic and hitting on the essentials first is the best way to get the most out of a new home in a flexible real estate market.

Do you really needed a heated pool? What about the four-car garage? Trimming down on these excessive features now can help put you on a path that leads to a better overall home later. As your budget expands down the road, you can start to worry about these luxuries. Until then, focusing on finding the right amount of living space, a good location, and the other essentials can help you squeeze the maximum amount of value out of your budget in the present.

Explain Your Needs to Your Agent

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the balancing act that goes into trying to take advantage of a buyer-friendly market and staying on budget, Money Crasher’s Valencia Higuera points out that there’s nothing wrong with reaching out for a helping hand. Specifically, Higuera suggests giving a call to your trusted real estate agent.

By connecting with a person who’s been around the block plenty of times – both literally and figuratively – you can hone in on the homes that fit your needs and constraints, all while saving yourself from a few unnecessary headaches and sleepless nights. In some cases, this expert can even clue you in on potential homes you might have missed that can fit your needs, as well as other ideas that help you get even more out of a beneficial real estate market.

Be Creative with Your Potential Home Choices

The whole point of entering a buyer’s market on a budget is to utilize approaches that go against the grain, so don’t put any limits on your ability to think outside of the box. Exploring the possibilities held within fixer-uppers, looking for homes that haven’t generated much interest (and therefore command far less terms of price), and even trying your hand at foreclosure auctions are all examples of this method.

Naturally, you’ll want to move forward with caution and patience to avoid unnecessary hang ups – like a protracted bidding war on a home. However, if you can find the happy medium between these precautions and a willingness to embrace new opportunities, experts like Higuera note that the sky’s the limit in terms of purchasing power potential.

Don’t Worry about Anyone Else

When you’re finally ready to start putting these tips to good use, there’s one last thing you need to consider before sending out offers and inquires: Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks. At the end of the day, Higuera explains that comparing yourself to others simply isn’t a viable way to accomplish your real estate goals.

Working on a budget or dealing with a smaller approved loan amount than you expected isn’t anything to feel bad about; it’s just the way things are for some homebuyers. Once you embrace this willingness to relax and work with – and not against – your budget, there’s nothing that can stop you from finding a home that fits your needs, especially when the market favors you and other buyers.

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Get Ready for the Big Day: Your Step-by-Step Home Moving Checklist

So you’ve signed that mortgage contract, sold your old place, and are ready to move into your new home. As moving day approaches, a certain amount of stress is expected; however, don’t make it harder on you and your family than it has to be. Check out our comprehensive moving checklist to ensure that you stay on track, stay motivated, and have everything ready to go by the big day.

Now’s the Time to Downsize

After you’ve signed all the paperwork on your new home, it’s time to consider what you really want to bring with you. With a few months before the real packing adventure begins, try going through your storage and closets to see if there’s anything you need to sell, give away, or toss. There’s no better time than now for some spring cleaning, and you’ll thank yourself when it comes time to load boxes onto the moving vans.

Go through your home’s closets and see if there are any clothes in good, wearable condition that you’d like to donate to organizations like Goodwill, or to local homeless shelters. Old and threadbare clothing and towels can be donated to animal shelters, to be turned into blankets or used for cleaning supplies. Don’t let the donations stop there: as moving day draws closer, go through your supplies as well. Any unexpired, nonperishable food or supplies that you’re not going to use up before moving day and don’t want to bring along on the ride will usually be taken by local food cupboards and shelters.

Larger items like furniture and electronics can be both simpler and more complicated to get rid of. They’re usually easy enough to give away for free, but if you want any cash for them, be prepared to push hard and wait. If you’d like to make some money off your cleaning efforts in general, a yard sale will usually take at least a few items off your hands. You can also try your local Craigslist, but some items sell quicker than others on this site: if you’re strapped for time and want the item gone fast, you’ll need to post it as a free offer or donate it locally.

If you have children, encourage them to go through their toys and books for things they’d like to donate or sell – however, don’t push the issue too hard if they’re resistant. A move for a child is a big deal indeed, and emotions may be running high. Consider sweetening the deal by letting them keep any money they make off the sale of old items…but, if they want to use it on more toys, ask them to wait until the move is over. A similar note goes for partners and spouses, as well. Just because you’re both adults doesn’t give you free reign to clean out their closet for them.

Research Moving Companies

Any given city will have an array of moving companies eager to help you move your items, so it’s on you to do your research and find the best company for your needs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and expect answers. Are they licensed to drive out of state? How long have they been in business, and how long are their employees trained? What kind of liability policies do they have for lost or damaged items? These are all vital pieces of information, and are definitely things you want to get out of the way sooner, rather than later.

Doctors, Schools, and More

As moving day ticks closer, you’ll want to be sure that you’ve got everything in order for your arrival in your new town – and that potentially means finding some new doctors, new schools, new hairstylists, and more. For doctors and veterinarians, ask your current practitioner if they have any recommendations in your new area for doctors accepting new patients. For schools, call your children’s new school district to get the facts on enrollment deadlines and needed paperwork – you definitely don’t want to stress your kids out further by messing up their school schedule (though they might think otherwise).

There are a few schools of thought for, you guessed it, when you should move your children during the school year. Moving during summer break is much less disruptive to their academic schedule, but can end up making them spend a summer alone, without the opportunity to mingle with kids their own age and acclimate to their new surroundings. Moving during the school year can drop them right into a new social group from the get-go, but this disruption can upset and stress a child far more than the alternative. Moreover, they may wind up missing a long-awaited event at their school – such as prom or graduating with their friends. If a move during the school year is unavoidable, consider making arrangements with a local friend or family member for the child to briefly return to their old hometown for the duration of said event. However, do not under any circumstances promise this to your child if you are not absolutely confident in your ability to deliver on it.

Moving Day Is Coming

While it may not be your idea of a fun time, don’t slack when it comes to packing things up. About two months before the move, start packing up your lesser-used items: holiday and seasonal supplies, decorative furniture and items, and so on. As the weeks creep on, start boxing up more frequently-used items, until the day arrives and you’re (hopefully) left with a few overnight supplies to throw into a backpack and head out the door. Packing is stressful, certainly, but being behind schedule is more so, and rushing can result in lost or damaged items. Make checklists and calendars for all household members in accordance to what they can handle: a teen can generally be trusted to pack up their room, while even a grade schooler who’s eager to help should likely be given some assistance in their duties.

When moving time comes, be prepared, be ready, and don’t stress too much if things don’t go as planned. Wrenches can be thrown into even the most foolproof of plans, so it’s best to take any setbacks running. It’ll result in a low-stress – and maybe even a little bit exciting – move for you and yours.

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Do Open Houses Really Help Sell Homes?

If you’re selling a home, tradition dictates that you and your family hold an open house and invite a group of potential buyers in to take a look at the house for themselves. On the surface, it seems like a great idea. However, does this staple of the real estate sales process really help sell homes? To find out whether or not this tactic is worth your time, let’s reach out to some of the most notable voices in the real estate community. This way, you’ll have all the info you need to get your home on the market and sold as efficiently as possible.

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There’s a lot more that goes into an open house than one might think. Making sure every square inch of the house is spotless, providing refreshments to your guests, and spending time rubbing elbows is just the start of things. Before you commit to all of this work, it’s a good idea to take a moment to delve into the conversation surrounding this process. Otherwise, you might find yourself wasting time, money, and energy on something that won’t help get your house off the market.

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The open house is a tradition that dates back to the formation of the real estate industry. With your agent by your side, this tool was once the focal point of any home sale. Despite its status as an iconic piece of the real estate puzzle, some experts aren’t quite sold on the process anymore. Others simply view this rising discussion as a matter of pinpointing the nature in which this method should grow and adapt to the needs and requirements of the modern marketplace.

Answering the Question at Hand

As Ellen Miller of Angie’s List explains, the answer unfortunately doesn’t boil down to a simple “yes” or “no” anymore. The role of the open house has definitely diminished over time, but it still can be an extremely effective tool – if it applies to your current situation. The point is that not every homeowner should hold an open house, but those that do can be doing a great service to the buyers in their area. Naturally, knowing how to apply this information to your prospective home sale and real estate market requires an acute understanding of the current outlook on open houses.

The Benefits of Holding an Open House

In terms of gauging the benefits of an open house, the obvious place to start is by noting that this type of an event can provide a venue for the next owner of your home to come and see the property in person. However, the modern benefits of inviting these buyers in for a visit go much deeper than getting an offer on the spot.

Essentially, Miller points out that the true value of the open house comes in the form of gathering information. Today’s homebuyer combs over every piece of information available about a potential purchase, so having them stop in for a few minutes can help keep this knowledge gathering trend going. In some cases, the open house serves as a “confirmation” session of sorts, giving these shoppers a chance to ensure that everything in the ad or listing is as it appears.

Sometimes, the agents representing buyers in your area attend these events, providing yet another avenue for spreading the word about your home. For the markets that are saturated with sellers, having this extra exposure can be especially useful when it comes to differentiating and expanding the opportunities for making a sale later on down the road.

Understanding the Concerns

On the other side of the spectrum, there’s also several things that can inhibit the effectiveness of an open house. Specifically, Realtor.com’s Chrystal Caruthers points to the rise of digital tools and services as the primary cause for poor open house turnouts. Homebuyers have added a de facto additional step to the purchasing process – the online preview – that holds a massive amount of sway over whether or not the property is worth visiting. Simply put, it’s hard to expect much out of your open house if you aren’t providing slideshows, virtual tours, and other online offerings to the buyers in your area.

What’s Right for Your Home?

As you can see, there’s plenty of variables that can affect your decision regarding the viability of an open house. Everything from how much time and effort you’re willing to put into the process to what’s trending within your local real estate marketplace deserves to come up in the conversation. If it feels like you’re getting overloaded just talking about the prospect of an open house, don’t be afraid to connect with a trusted real estate expert. These individuals have the years of experience and understanding of the current industry needed to help you figure out what’s right in terms of getting your home out in front of potential buyers.

Making Sure You Maximize the Potential of Your Open House

If you and your real estate agent decide that an open house is the right choice to help sell your property, then it’s time to start talking about how you can get the most out of this experience. According to Marcie Geffner of the National Association of Realtor’s Realtor Magazine, the first step circles back to the aforementioned all-important online presence. Without a strong digital front, reeling in interested buyers moves from a probable outcome to virtually impossible.

Once you’ve squared up the slideshows, listings, and other Internet-based assets, it’s time to prepare for the big day. While you’ll naturally need to guarantee that your home is spotless and hospitable to guests, being friendly and inviting with these guests is just as important. If possible, have the neighbors over so that these viewers can rub elbows with the community and get a feel for what the atmosphere of the neighborhood is like.

Should you exchange contact info or business cards with any of the people stopping in for a visit, Geffner goes on to suggest that you and your real estate expert take this opportunity to offer up a sincere thanks for their time. Outside of making a positive impression, going the extra mile on this front also keeps your property firmly entrenched in the conversation and generates a sense of urgency among these prospective buyers.

Today’s take on the open house is far from the golden standard that once dominated the real estate industry. However, that doesn’t mean that inviting these shoppers into your home isn’t a good idea. With what you’ve learned here, as well as a willingness to offer up a meaningful and informative experience to these browsers, you’ll have everything you need to truly capture the value found in the open house process.

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10 Things You Need to Know about Purchasing a Foreclosed Home

Purchasing a foreclosed home is a great opportunity for families and investors alike who are looking for a good deal. However, the process is far from a simple affair. To get you started off on the right foot, let’s connect with some trusted industry sources and cover the 10 things you absolutely need to know if you’re in the market for a foreclosed home.

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Leaky roofs, liens, and a variety of other factors play into the sale and acquisition of foreclosed and abandoned homes. Avoiding the numerous pitfalls that plague and hinder other buyers, as well as minimizing your risk, starts with a smart and educated take on the process.

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Stepping away from the standard new home market and venturing into the world of foreclosed homes isn’t for the faint of heart. While there’s no arguing this point, that doesn’t mean that you should completely avoid this type of home purchase. As long as you can put the following tips and tactics to good use during your search for the perfect foreclosure opportunity, you’ll be well on your way to tapping into the underappreciated potential of this portion of the real estate market.

Figure out What Kind of Property You’re Dealing with

Before doing anything else, the team over at HomeFinder.com suggests finding out what kind of foreclosure you’re dealing with. Generally these kind of sales come in four different varieties: Short sales, auctions, real estate owned (REO), and government controlled sales.

Short sales provide an owner who hasn’t been regularly making mortgage payments to recoup some of the debt owed by selling the home below market value. At auction, the highest bidder takes the home, while those houses that failed to sell end up as REO properties. Finally, government controlled sales go through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and a variety of any other federal agencies.

Ask about “As-Is” Policies

Once you’ve figured out what kind of sale you’re dealing with, it’s time to delve into the particulars of a potential purchase. As Adam Verwymeren of Fox News explains, learning what the house needs, as well as what – if any – types of renovations or repairs come included in the sale price can help you steer clear of biting off more responsibility and work than you can chew.

Be Ready to Make a Competitive Offer

For those who are ready to start talking numbers, be wary of lowballing or pushing too hard for a “dream deal.” As the buyer, you do have a certain amount of leverage, but that doesn’t preclude you from making a realistic offer. If you’re not willing to work within the realm of a reasonable sale, don’t be surprised when the agency on the other side of the table brushes you off in favor of other potential suitors.

Patience Is a Virtue

Verwymeren goes on to note that once you’ve made your offer, understand that patience is most definitely an integral part of the process. Whether you’re waiting on a response from the seller or dealing with the frustration that comes with a rejected proposal, keeping your calm and focusing on the opportunities still in front of you is the best way to deal with the any bumps or stops along the way.

Get Your Side of the Equation together ASAP

Of course, there’s a lot you can do to help keep your patience from being tested unnecessarily. During a review of the foreclosure purchase process, the experts at Bank of America noted that getting all of your ducks in a row before you even start browsing these properties is well worth your time. Having a firm idea of what you can afford, what your lending provider will cover, and how much you’re willing to invest in the property all enhance the accuracy and relevancy of your search, while also cutting down on wasted effort.

Skipping a Home Inspection Is a Major Gamble

Considering the very nature of foreclosed homes – often being in disrepair or even abandoned – it’s safe to say that everyone interested in these properties enlists the services of a home inspector before signing on the dotted line, right? Unfortunately, a surprising number of buyers simply assume that everything is good to go after doing a quick walkthrough.

However, skipping the home inspection is like playing with fire. An issue hidden in the walls or deep within the foundation could lead to a series of major repairs just to make the home habitable, let alone aesthetically pleasing. For this reason, you’re much better off hiring a professional for an in-depth inspection and including these costs in your overall planning process.

Check the Title

One of the most overlooked tools at your disposal comes in the form of checking the title on the home in question. As the Team at Bank of America takes great care in pointing out, looking into this verified and accurate document can help avoid any legal hiccups involving unique or binding lien arrangements, as well as unexpected deed issues – especially when dealing with REO properties.

Be Ready for the Repair Bill

Looking a little bit farther on down the line, Bankrate.com’s Holden Lewis offers up a key piece of advice regarding the expenses that come with a foreclosed home. Essentially, when you start talking about repairs, your best bet is to hope for the best, budget for the worst, and expect the unexpected. Home inspections can definitely help alleviate most of the unknown, but dealing with properties that have been subject to everything from neglect to structural damage can lead to some strange situations and unforeseen circumstances.

Turnaround Time on a Sale Can Vary Dramatically

As far as the period after a sale goes, Lewis echoes the need for the patience you found in the search and inquiry phase of this process. Gauging timeframes and turnarounds when dealing with brokers, banks, and especially the government is far from an exact science and often prone to a myriad amount of variables. Sometimes the paperwork goes through the system like lightning; other times you’re in for a bit of a wait. However, knowing this ahead of time can help keep your expectations grounded in reality.

It Pays to Work with an Expert

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is the fact that you don’t have to walk this path alone. While there’s nothing wrong with embracing the challenge of buying a foreclosure on your own, there’s also no shame in leaning on the years of experience and guidance offered by real estate experts and professionals.

These industry players have all the tools needed to navigate the sometimes tricky waters of purchasing a foreclosed home, so seeking peace of mind and a helping hand from a trusted source makes plenty of sense for most buyers. When paired up with the rest of what you’ve learned here, there’s nothing that can stop you taking a foreclosed property and turning it into something truly special.

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Room for Improvement: What’s Worth DIY, and What’s a Risk too Big to Take?

When you’re looking to buy a house, you won’t always find a place that satisfies every need on your home-buying checklist: in fact, it’s rarer to find a home that’s absolutely perfect. Homes that are a little bit imperfect can still be perfectly good buys, especially if the flaws can be fixed with a bit of DIY effort. However, you don’t want to sign yourself up for a long and grueling home improvement plan on top of your new mortgage. Some projects are a snap, while some are just not worth the time, effort, and most of all – cash.

Consider Your Resources First

Even the smallest of improvement projects need resources, so consider what you have available. You don’t want to sign up for a home improvement project that will bury you in work and stress from the moment you move in. If you’re an experienced technician or have good industry contacts to have things done professionally, you’re already a few steps ahead of the crowd. However, if you and your housemates all work forty-hour weeks, are in a new neighborhood with no knowledge of reliable contractors, or just don’t have the money to start, you’re starting behind the curve, and are paying mortgage on an inferior house right from the get-go. Really keep in mind what you’re prepared for, before you think about signing that mortgage.

Improvements Made Easy: When a Fixer-Upper Is Easily Fixed

Not all home improvement projects mean that you’ve got to call in the bulldozers, and not all home improvement projects need to be done professionally. Smaller projects can easily be done at home by someone with patience and determination, and will save you plenty of cash while still being able to enjoy your new home.

Consider, for example, a humble tiling job. Ripping up some ugly kitchen tiles and revamping the room with something a bit more stylish is an easy DIY project that fits easily inside a weekend, and won’t wind up making the home unusable in the process. Walkthroughs and tutorials are plentiful on YouTube and home improvement blogs alike, and you’ll find plenty of support and advice from the DIY community in their comments and forums. This project is medium-skilled, has few dangers, and isn’t likely to damage the home if left unimproved or if improved incorrectly: it’s a perfect DIY for nearly any new home owner, and can easily be excused as a minor imperfection when considering buying a home. Once you’ve gotten one DIY project complete, you’ll always find yourself hungry for more: suddenly, that overgrown yard doesn’t look so tough to tame into the garden of your dreams, and that ugly tub in the bathroom is easy enough to replace with a stylish free-standing ceramic number, or even a standing shower. You’ll find yourself not only improving the flaws that you originally saw, but improving your new home even further beyond that – increasing its resale value more and more as you go.

Even a project that requires a professional’s touch isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker as far as whether or not you should buy a home. If you’re really in love with a home’s look and all it’ll take to make things perfect is a professional knocking down a wall or two, you’ll find that it’s well worth the added price. Do your research, and investigate contracting companies around your home’s new area. You may wind up finding a company that you can really stick with for years to come, throughout all your home improvement projects.

When That Fixer-Upper Has too Many Flaws

Unfortunately, not all flaws can be easily dismissed when you’re out to buy a home. There are some home improvement needs that are just too severe and too resource-intensive to justify signing up for their responsibility, especially when you can’t safely enjoy your new home. If a single project will have you kicked out of the house for months on end, it’s time to reconsider the investment.

Electrical and plumbing issues are not only bothersome on a convenience level, but can also be very dangerous to anyone living in your home. Bad plumbing can damage the home’s structure (if it hasn’t already), and poor electrical work can potentially start fires. A home that has issues with pests –termites, cockroaches, rats, etc. – is unsanitary and unsafe for even the most devoted of animal-lovers. If your new home has issues with any of these items (a seller or real estate agent is legally obligated to inform you of them, lest you unleash judiciary wrath upon them down the line), it’s not just a home improvement project: it’s a big problem, and one that you may not want to get yourself tangled up in.

If you’re still determined to buy a particular home despite these glaring issues, demand that the seller or real estate agent take steps to sweeten the pot for you. Often, they can legally be given the financial responsibility for funding repairs, especially when it comes to issues that fly in the face of safety regulations: faulty electrical work, slapdash plumbing, insect or vermin, and so on. Don’t let yourself back down on these demands, as they’re well within your rights as a buyer – and believe us, a real estate agent or seller knows that they’ve got a house that gravely needs improvements on their hands. Real estate agents often have connections with local contractors to provide improvement services at a discount rate, and will be all too happy to sign you up with them to seal a sale. A good seller or agent will work with you on negotiating prices and demands. Remember: buy smart and buy safe, and don’t sign up for a home that you can’t really throw yourself behind improving.

Read more

Room for Improvement: What’s Worth DIY, and What’s a Risk too Big to Take?

When you’re looking to buy a house, you won’t always find a place that satisfies every need on your home-buying checklist: in fact, it’s rarer to find a home that’s absolutely perfect. Homes that are a little bit imperfect can still be perfectly good buys, especially if the flaws can be fixed with a bit of DIY effort. However, you don’t want to sign yourself up for a long and grueling home improvement plan on top of your new mortgage. Some projects are a snap, while some are just not worth the time, effort, and most of all – cash.

Consider Your Resources First

Even the smallest of improvement projects need resources, so consider what you have available. You don’t want to sign up for a home improvement project that will bury you in work and stress from the moment you move in. If you’re an experienced technician or have good industry contacts to have things done professionally, you’re already a few steps ahead of the crowd. However, if you and your housemates all work forty-hour weeks, are in a new neighborhood with no knowledge of reliable contractors, or just don’t have the money to start, you’re starting behind the curve, and are paying mortgage on an inferior house right from the get-go. Really keep in mind what you’re prepared for, before you think about signing that mortgage.

Improvements Made Easy: When a Fixer-Upper Is Easily Fixed

Not all home improvement projects mean that you’ve got to call in the bulldozers, and not all home improvement projects need to be done professionally. Smaller projects can easily be done at home by someone with patience and determination, and will save you plenty of cash while still being able to enjoy your new home.

Consider, for example, a humble tiling job. Ripping up some ugly kitchen tiles and revamping the room with something a bit more stylish is an easy DIY project that fits easily inside a weekend, and won’t wind up making the home unusable in the process. Walkthroughs and tutorials are plentiful on YouTube and home improvement blogs alike, and you’ll find plenty of support and advice from the DIY community in their comments and forums. This project is medium-skilled, has few dangers, and isn’t likely to damage the home if left unimproved or if improved incorrectly: it’s a perfect DIY for nearly any new home owner, and can easily be excused as a minor imperfection when considering buying a home. Once you’ve gotten one DIY project complete, you’ll always find yourself hungry for more: suddenly, that overgrown yard doesn’t look so tough to tame into the garden of your dreams, and that ugly tub in the bathroom is easy enough to replace with a stylish free-standing ceramic number, or even a standing shower. You’ll find yourself not only improving the flaws that you originally saw, but improving your new home even further beyond that – increasing its resale value more and more as you go.

Even a project that requires a professional’s touch isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker as far as whether or not you should buy a home. If you’re really in love with a home’s look and all it’ll take to make things perfect is a professional knocking down a wall or two, you’ll find that it’s well worth the added price. Do your research, and investigate contracting companies around your home’s new area. You may wind up finding a company that you can really stick with for years to come, throughout all your home improvement projects.

When That Fixer-Upper Has too Many Flaws

Unfortunately, not all flaws can be easily dismissed when you’re out to buy a home. There are some home improvement needs that are just too severe and too resource-intensive to justify signing up for their responsibility, especially when you can’t safely enjoy your new home. If a single project will have you kicked out of the house for months on end, it’s time to reconsider the investment.

Electrical and plumbing issues are not only bothersome on a convenience level, but can also be very dangerous to anyone living in your home. Bad plumbing can damage the home’s structure (if it hasn’t already), and poor electrical work can potentially start fires. A home that has issues with pests –termites, cockroaches, rats, etc. – is unsanitary and unsafe for even the most devoted of animal-lovers. If your new home has issues with any of these items (a seller or real estate agent is legally obligated to inform you of them, lest you unleash judiciary wrath upon them down the line), it’s not just a home improvement project: it’s a big problem, and one that you may not want to get yourself tangled up in.

If you’re still determined to buy a particular home despite these glaring issues, demand that the seller or real estate agent take steps to sweeten the pot for you. Often, they can legally be given the financial responsibility for funding repairs, especially when it comes to issues that fly in the face of safety regulations: faulty electrical work, slapdash plumbing, insect or vermin, and so on. Don’t let yourself back down on these demands, as they’re well within your rights as a buyer – and believe us, a real estate agent or seller knows that they’ve got a house that gravely needs improvements on their hands. Real estate agents often have connections with local contractors to provide improvement services at a discount rate, and will be all too happy to sign you up with them to seal a sale. A good seller or agent will work with you on negotiating prices and demands. Remember: buy smart and buy safe, and don’t sign up for a home that you can’t really throw yourself behind improving.

Read more