5 Tips to make your house more sellable

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Are you wondering whether now is a good time to sell your home?  Maybe you are thinking about downsizing because all the kids have moved away or upsizing as your family grows?  Either way there are several things that are truly important when it comes to getting your home sold quickly.

1. Clean, clean, clean!

There’s a huge difference in living in a clean house and in living in a house that has been cleaned to sell.  When looking at a home, all the corners where that tiny bit of dust has accumulated on the baseboard, the edge of the wall the dog leans against, the slight water stain on the shower door are some of the things that will subconsciously lead a buyer to think that the home has not been well-maintained.

The key here is that these tiny things create a subliminal message to a buyer that they don’t even notice.  Will a buyer purchase a house that is not spotlessly clean?  Of course they will but it will take longer to get it sold and the house will sell for less money.

2. Paint

Customized rooms with extremely bright or dark colored paint, wallpaper, or wall fixtures can make a house feel like a home for the current homeowner, but often can be a turn off for home buyers.  You want a buyer focused on the house itself, so painting in neutral colors will keep them from focusing on the decor and direct them instead to the floor plan and room sizes.  An added benefit is that fresh paint makes the house look clean and well-maintained.

If you already have a single neutral wall color, consider painting the trim to freshen the look.  Doorways tend to show paint wear faster than other areas because of the higher traffic.

3. Budget Minded Kitchen Updates

Maybe you always planned to overhaul the kitchen or bathroom with a major remodel but never found the time.   There are some small, inexpensive changes that can be done.  Replacing the hardware on cabinets, upgrading light switches, and changing outlet covers are a few examples.  Let’s go a little further and change out the beat-up looking trash compactor for a pull-out trash drawer or a wine fridge. Do you have a giant fluorescent light fixture in the ceiling framed in oak? Take a look under the diffuser panels and see how easy it would be to remove that and turn it into an interesting and updated light fixture.

4. Bathroom Updates

Like the kitchen, simple updates make a difference.  Light switches, cabinet hardware, and light fixtures can change the entire feel of the space.

5. Curb Appeal

Remember to take a close look at the outside of the house too.  Here’s another opportunity to clean it up!  Even if the paint is in good condition, make sure that it is also clean.  Wash the house to remove dust from the siding.  Make the windows sparkling clean both inside and out, tidy up the landscaping and draw the buyer to the front door.

These are just a few ideas that make it easier to sell your home faster for more money.  If you want more specifics for your own home, just call 661-375-7325 for an expert no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

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When Should Buyers Engage in a Direct, Cash Sale?

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There’s a lot of hype about conducting your real estate transaction without using a local, licensed agent to help you.  Yes, you can buy a house or vacant land all on your own, but experience shows that you usually end up paying more and having unintended challenges along the way.

A licensed REALTOR® is responsible for making sure that you get the outcome you are expecting.  That’s not to say that it will always be the outcome you expected from the beginning, but it is to say that you should understand the consequences of the decisions you make throughout the process.

All too often, folks tell me about their transaction after the fact and lament the fact that they “didn’t know what they didn’t know.”  I got into a conversation with Jim and Gloria when I was on vacation recently.  I was strolling around the RV park in which I was staying for the evening when we started chatting as I was passing their site.  They shared with me that they had been living there for the past three months because the people they were buying their home from kept delaying completing the sale because.  Jim and Gloria were feeling pretty frazzled by that point because they had just found out that they were delayed again for at least 10 more days.

We talked about their situation and I helped them draft an amendment to their contract that would put some consequences on the seller for failure to complete the transaction.  I also explained that if they refused to sign the amendment, Jim & Gloria could cancel the sale and get their money back from escrow but they would still be out the cost of inspections.

Just the 15 minutes we spent together made them feel much more relieved! They told me at the beginning of the conversation that they would never try to buy a house on their own again and were telling everyone they ran into that they needed to hire a REALTOR®!

My purpose is to make sure that every client is clear about their options in every step of the transaction and is able to make their choices each step with full understanding of the consequences and possible results.

If that’s the kind of experience you want, call me at 661-375-7325 and let’s talk about what’s important to you about moving.

What if you Thought About Time Differently?

We’ve become a society that is always in a hurry.  We typically rush from one thing to the next and often try to multi-task while we do.  When I ask most people how they feel about time, the answer is often that they feel it is completely out-of-control.

What if you knew that multi-tasking was actually shrinking your brain?  It’s true!  There have been scientific studies to prove it.  Most folks believe that multi-tasking makes them more productive, but in reality it makes us dumber and even more so over time.

There are plenty of other ways to kill brain cells and but this thought of multi-tasking my be new for you.  So, once you get onboard with the concept, what can you do about it?

Become deliberate in your activities.  Introduce periodization into your day in order to gain the greatest level of productivity. That is set specific periods of time to accomplish specific types of tasks.

What types of tasks?  There are basically three ways to spend your time if you are in business for yourself.  (This is also true for employees that want to move up in the company.)  Probably the time block that is biggest is the one that you spend working in your business or profession.  It’s what most people think of first when they think about dividing their time.

A second type of time block is time spent working on your business or improving your skills as an employee. This could be additional education, for example.

The most important category of time, and often most ignored for self-employed people is personal time.  This is the time that is set aside for rest, relaxation, time with family, vacations, etc.  All those activities (or lack of activity!) that help to recharge our batteries and keep us at our most productive.

Because this kind of personal time is so important to our overall well being, it is what should be scheduled first!  Try sitting down with a calendar and marking out in different colors time you have committed for each of these types of tasks.  Take your personal time first and see how much better you feel and more productive you are.

If you have ever wondered why it is that I typically do not work on Sundays, now you have your answer!  Sundays are my primary time to rest, relax and recharge.

What’s your favorite activity that is just for you?

How Much Shopping for a Mortgage Should You Do?

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Does getting a mortgage feel like rolling the dice?

How much shopping around for a mortgage should you do?  The short answer is enough to feel comfortable, but that doesn’t really address the question.

The reason for shopping for anything is to satisfy yourself that you got a good deal.  When it comes to buying your home, especially true for first time buyers, there is a lot of integrated complexity and the mortgage process is often overlooked.  Because I’m not a lender, I’m not going to tell you about all the intricacies from  that perspective but  instead from the purchase and real estate consultant perspective.

As your real estate consultant, I focus on helping you get clarity around what’s really important to you when it comes to buying your new home.  And yes, part of that is getting the best possible deal both on the purchase price and terms and for the mortgage but if what’s truly important to you about having your new home is being in a place where you feel comfortable, that feels like “home” to you, then sometimes a compromise in the financial aspect is what’s needed.

Shopping for a mortgage, especially going the online route for a home purchase, may offer what seems like the best deal.   You may save money by shopping around but does that help if you ultimately don’t get the house of your dreams?  Online mortgage companies are more concerned about high volume than they are about personal service.   Often times,  your mortgage may take  longer than it should to process causing you to fail to meet your contractual deadline for mortgage approval.

Another common obstacle in the mortgage process is the Appraisal.  Although the lender orders the appraisal, they do it through an Appraisal Management Company who then puts it out to bid for Appraisers.  It is quite possible to end up with an out of area Appraiser that does not have full access to local comparable properties that are required to accurately appraise the property you are purchasing.  This means that your Appraisal could come in below the purchase price you have contractually agreed to and require you to bring in additional cash to close the gap between the appraised value and purchase price or potentially to lose the home of your dreams if you are unable to do that.

It’s also important to be aware that there are two contractual requirements regarding the Appraisal, one is value but the other is time.  If you fail to meet your contractual obligation for either of these requirements, you are also at risk of losing your dream home.

By this time in the process, you have already spent about $1,000 on inspections and Appraisal of your own hard-earned money that you will simply lose if you are unable to complete the transaction.

Generally your best bet when it comes to getting financing for your new home is to talk to your qualified professional Real Estate Consultant first, and get their recommendations for best choice of lenders.  Using a lender that your Consultant has confidence in based on experience also may help to secure your purchase offer over that of another when your Consultant is able to make a good case for your lender to the Seller’s agent.

It’s not just about getting the cheapest mortgage.  It’s really all about getting a complete package that is affordable financially and gets you moved into your new home.

If this raises more questions than answers for you or if you are thinking about moving and want to talk more about that, feel comfortable calling 661.375.7325 to get all your questions answered.

Your friend in real estate,