Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Creaking floors, inexplicable cold drafts and eerie sounds usually don't top the list of dream house features. Here are 10 haunted houses you wouldn't want to live in. Full Article


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Moving Day Timeline

When you’re planning for a move, keep in mind that almost everything will take longer to do than you expect. The best way to keep on track is to plan ahead and stay organized.  Full Article

Eight Weeks:

  • Line up Movers
  • Look into truck rental prices or tips if you are doing it yourself
  • Make an inventory of everything you own
  • Make piles of what goes into the truck, car or trash
  • Consider where you want to place place your furniture in your new home
Six Weeks:
  • Clear out our closets
  • Have a yard sale
  • Transfer your children’s academic records to their new school
  • Transfer medical records to your new doctor.
Four Weeks:
  • Reserve a truck or trailer for a DIY move.
  • Confirm the booking with your moving company.
  • Arrange to have the movers come over two days before moving day, if they are packing for you
  • Get boxes and packing tape, if you are doing it yourself
  • Start packing out-of-season clothing and other items you won’t need right away.
  • Fill out change-of-address cards at the post office.
  • Notify friends, family, the bank and your insurance agent of your new address.
Three Weeks:
  • Arrange to have the utilities disconnected a few days after the move.
  • Get the utilities set up at your new residence.
  • Start packing room by room
  • Arrange for a babysitter on moving day if you need one.
  • Reserve the freight elevator in your building for moving day.
Two Weeks:
  • Arrange to move plants and pets
  • Get rid of items you’re not allowed to move, such as gasoline and propane
  • Line up helpers to assist with loading your rental truck.
  • Consider hiring a plumber or electrician to disconnect appliances you plan to move
  • Keep Packing... 
One Week:
  • Open your new bank accounts if you’re making a long-distance move.
  • Drain gas and oil from any power equipment you’ll be moving
  • Pack a bag of first-night essentials, including a broom, dustpan, garbage bags and light bulbs.
  • Finish packing and keep the vacuum handy
Moving Day:
  • Supervise the move.
  • Strip the beds
  • Disassemble furniture
  • Ensure that everything gets on the truck.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

8 Home Flaws That Buyers Can Overlook

No house is perfect. No matter how hard you look or how many homes your real-estate agent shows you, getting everything you want when buying a home — and getting it in perfect condition — is impossible.
After shopping around for the lowest mortgage rates, you don't want to walk away from a house you like because it needs a few minor repairs, real-estate experts say. The price of the repairs should be factored into what you're paying for the home, and mortgage lenders can help you pull money out of a home sale.
So before you decide to cross a house off your list, here are eight minor home flaws that shouldn't deter you from buying a home. Full Article
  1. Unappealing Paint: This is one of the easiest and cheapest fixes, especially if you do it yourself. Don't let someone's poor taste in paint colors persuade you not to buy. 
  2. Outdated Wallpaper:  It will take work to remove old wallpaper, but doing so is cheap. 
  3. Tired Kitchen Cabinets: Cabinet refacing can be done inexpensively and make your old cabinets look new.
      • Wall to Wall Mirrors: They might have been hip in the 1970s or '80s, but now they are eyesores that can be removed and replaced with paint.
      • Drab Window Treatments: They may be one of the first things you notice when you walk into a house. You can either offer them to the old owners, or throw them out and buy whatever you want to replace them. 
      • Broken Air Conditioner or Furnace: While buying a new one is a major expense, some fixes are inexpensive. A pump for a boiler, for example, may cost a mere $250, so having to fix one shouldn't necessarily stop you from buying an otherwise good home.
      • Lack of Closet Doors: Such an inexpensive fix it would be silly to walk away from a house because there arent' any closet doors.
      • Discolored Bathroom Grout: Buyers who see this may mistake it as the sign of a moldy house. While mildew can lead to problems, have the home inspector check if it's something that can be fixed with a little scrubbing.

        Wednesday, October 17, 2012

        How to Manage a Multiple Offer Market

        While we continue to wait on a complete market recovery, positive signs are beginning to materialize. One of them is receiving multiple offers. Handling a multiple offer situation is exiting but stressful. But, with the right guidance I can make it as manageable as possible. My main piece of advise is to keep the communication going with all parties involved. Full Article

        • Begin With The End in MindEverything begins and ends with the listing presentation. It is where the tone of the transaction is set. Start with explaining why properly pricing the home is so important. The homes that are receiving multiple offers are priced properly according to the market. I also encourage agents to support their documentation with national news. Discuss what is happening across the country and explain how that impacts their sale from a local level. This will lend credibility and prevent future push back.
        • Maintain Focus- When reviewing offers, keep  sellers focused on what matters most. Rather than looking at homes within their neighborhood that are still sitting on the market, guide their attention towards the homes that have actually sold. Help them make an apple-to-apple comparison of their property, rather than placing hope in a transaction that hasn’t actually taken place.
        • Gain Clarity- It can be very difficult for all parties to take a step back and evaluate the details in a multiple offer situation, especially when the home has been on the market for a significant amount of time. It is human nature to get excited and want to jump at the ‘highest and best’ offer. However, taking a deep breath and truly analyzing all of the details may show that the best looking offer is not necessarily the highest offer.  Sometimes the terms, (closing date) are as important.

        Tuesday, October 16, 2012

        Housing Boom

        The long-battered housing market is finally starting to get back on its feet. But some experts believe it could soon become another housing boom. Full Article 

        MySecretAgent is a top flat fee/ for sale by owner brokerage. 

        Monday, October 15, 2012

        Open House Sign

        This is what our open house sign looks like. Here are some tips on holding an open house. 

        Mortgage Checklist

        Thinking of buying a new home? Review this mortgage checklist first:

        1. What is your mortgage limit?

        • List all your expenses in your current budget. 
        • Estimate potential homeowner expenses and include them in your budget. 
        • Estimate your monthly payments using an online mortgage calculator. 
        • Calculate your debt to income ratio to determine your mortgage limit. 
        • Decide on how much of a down payment you will make. 
        2. Check your credit. 
        3. Determine the type of loan that works best for you. 
        4. Choose a lender. A lender is critical to the cost and success of your home purchase. 
        5. Get pre-approved. Get a Good Faith Estimate of fees as a part of your pre-approval. You will have to supply the following:
        • Paycheck stubs in the last 30 days
        • W2 tax return 
        • Recent credit card statements
        • Bank statements in the last 90 days
        6. Lock in your interest rates
        7. Bring all documentation to closing

        Friday, October 12, 2012

        Ways To Add Curb Appeal

        If your home's curb appeal makes a great first impression, everyone -- including potential homebuyers -- will want to see what's inside. Check out these simple, low-cost improvements that you can do in a day, a week, or a month.


        Thursday, October 11, 2012

        Home Selling Tip: End Your Listing Price in "000"

        To make your home show up more often in search try ending your listing price in "000". For example if the price of your home is $375,000 a buyer may search in the $250-$375 range AND $375-$400. Just something to think about. Here are more tips on selling your home.

        Wednesday, October 10, 2012

        Organize your Laundry Room

        Certain rooms of the house have more resell value than others do. Therefore, when it comes time to sell your home, you want to pay close attention to these rooms. You may not think much of your laundry room but it is a selling point, especially if it is clean, organized and has storage. 


        Tuesday, October 9, 2012

        Easy Home Winterization Projects

        Below is a list of easy projects to winterize your home.

        • Seal the DraftAccording to the Energy Department, drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use.  Place a rolled bath towel under a drafty door, or you can purchase a draft guard to place on your door. 
        • Change Furnace Filters- It is important to replace or clean your furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Dirty filters restrict air flow and increase energy demand. 
        • Install Storm WindowsInstalling a storm door can increase energy efficiency by 45%, by sealing drafts and reducing air flow.
        • Water Heater- Turning your water heater down to 120 degrees or lower will reduce your water-heating costs by 6% to 10%.
        • More Tips

        Monday, October 8, 2012

        Importance of Photos

        Today more than ever, it's the photos that sell a home, as buyers spend evenings and weekends on their couches poring over slide shows on iPads or laptops. Your photos will make a difference making your home stand out over the rest. Take the time to declutter the your home to take photos. Right after snapping the photos place the items back in the room but at lest the photo will entice buyers. Here are a few more tips in selling your home.   Full Article