Why You Need To Work With A Buyer’s Agent

The home buying process can be exciting and fun, but also complicated, stressful, and overwhelming. Maximize your chance of success and minimize the amount of time spent trying to keep track of all the details by working with a buyer’s agent. There is a plethora of benefits to using a buyer’s agent, and here are the top four!

They can find the right properties for you. When starting your search, generally you will already have a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves for your new home. Your buyer’s agent will have access to extensive search resources and all the new listings hitting the market, so they can ensure you are looking at homes that meet most, if not all, of your criteria.

They know the background. Experienced buyer’s agents have a breadth of knowledge on different neighborhoods in the area. They can let you know what similar homes in the area have recently sold for, if there are any new commercial projects on the horizon, what the nearby schools have to offer, and more.

They are in your corner during negotiations. A buyer’s agent is your advocate when it comes time to put in an offer and negotiate. They have your best interest in mind, understand what you are looking for, and can help you get the best price and terms for the home.

They provide trusted recommendations. Buyer’s agents that have been in the business for several years have likely built strong relationships with professionals in other parts of the industry. Turn to your agent when you are ready to find a home inspector, moving company, lender, and more.

THE PRICE IS RIGHT: What You Should Know About Pricing Your Home

One of the most daunting parts of selling your home is deciding what to price it at. You don’t want to price too high and get little to no traction but you don’t want to price too low and undervalue your home. There are so many things to take into consideration, so we’ve outlined the top things you should do before you list.

Enlist the help of a local expert. Local agents have years of experience in the market you are selling in, plus have a lot of industry expertise to bring to the table. They will factor in the unique offerings of your home and neighborhood and your wants and needs for the sale of the home to help you properly price.

Research homes for sale in your neighborhood. It’s always a good idea to do a little recon on homes for sale in your area. View current and past listings online to find homes that have similar features and were built around the same year as yours to get an idea of prices. Open house in your neighborhood? Take time to pop by in person and get a feel for what their home has to offer at what price.

Remove the emotion. Whether it’s your first or fourth home, it is the setting of so many amazing memories and holds a special place in your heart. Unfortunately, emotional attachment to your home can cloud your judgment when pricing it. Try to place your personal feelings about your home on the back burner and focus on tangible features of your home that add great value.

Eye-catching Ways To Decorate With Plants

Using plants as décor is a great way to add a little color and a natural, bright feel to any room. There are endless types of plants to choose from and various ways to display each one, but here are a few of our favorite combinations.

Geometric pots. Find geometric pots or planters of various sizes and plant small succulents of different styles and colors in each one. Then group a few pots together on a window sill or shelf or use them individually to adorn a side table or center of the dining room table.

Long, hanging plants. Purchase a larger, draping plant like eucalyptus, fern, or ivy and hang it from the ceiling using a macramé plant hanger or place it on a high shelf or ladder. These plants are perfect for the corner of your living room or room with a large, plain wall that is in need of a little pop of color.

Plant corner. Have a large corner in the dining or living room and need ideas on how to fill it? Consider turning it into a small plant sanctuary. Select plants of all different sizes, heights, colors, and style and purchase either matching pots or a mix of designs. Consider the use of a stool or small table to create additional levels and strategically place each one in the corner.

Air plants. Air plants are universal and can be included in DIY wall art, hung from the ceiling or on the wall inside geometric metal prisms, or placed inside beautiful glass terrariums alongside other plants and colorful rocks or sand.

Happier Hardwood Floors

Tips for cleaning your beautiful hardwood floors and keeping them looking great.

Hardwood floors make for a beautiful, stunning addition to your home. However, they can bring new cleaning and maintenance challenges that aren’t present with carpet. Here are some tips for simple, efficient, and thorough hardwood floor cleaning.

Make the job easier
Place mats on either side of your exterior doors and always remove your shoes before entering your home—and make sure your guests do the same. Protect the floors by placing felt (or similar) protectors on the feet of your furniture, and use area rugs to designate play areas for the kids. This will reduce extra dirt, dust, and floor scratches.

Weekly cleaning
Sweeping with a standard broom will remove some dirt and dust, but not as much as a mop, wipe, or broom that’s been treated with a dusting agent such as a Swiffer. You could also invest in a vacuum that is designed for hardwood floors. Just be sure that the vacuum won’t leave scratches!

Deeper cleaning
Regular sweeping will remove most dirt and dust, but occasionally you’ll need to give the floors a deeper cleaning to remove the dirt and grime that builds up in your floors’ seams. Use a wood-cleaning soap to thoroughly mop your floors, but make sure the mop isn’t sopping wet—you don’t want to leave standing water.

Spots and scuffs
Most of the marks that occasionally show up on your floors, such as scuffs from rubber soles on boots and shoes—can be wiped away with a rag or very fine steel wool.

Five Tips For Selling Your Home In A Hurry

There are a lot of factors that will determine how quickly your house is sold, and it’s important to tackle the factors you can control. If you’re still living in your home while trying to sell it, these are a few simple ideas that can help speed up the home sale process.

1. De-clutter

Buyers want to step into a prospective home and imagine the possibilities. That’s a lot easier to do when a space is airy and clutter-free. Get rid of the clutter that’s just taking up space in your home, and it can totally transform how a buyer sees the property.

2. Offer an incentive

Don’t break the bank for add-ons that don’t make financial sense in the long run, but there are some reasonable expenses you can use to entice buyers, such as offering a home warranty.

3. Focus on flow

Now that you’re working toward a new home, it’s important to position your furniture for easy movement through the space, rather than how you personally like it arranged. Position your furniture so that it’s natural to flow from one room to the next.

4. Take care of your to-do list

There’s probably a list of small repairs that you’ve been putting off for a while, like fixing a dripping faucet or touching up paint on some walls. Make those repairs so that the home is more move-in ready for buyers.

5. Commit to cleanliness

Just like removing clutter, keeping your place clean can go a long way toward appealing to buyers. It’s especially true in the kitchen—no dishes in the sink or coffee rings on the countertops!

Revamp Your At-home Workspace

Nothing ruins a workday like not having a designated, comfortable place to work from. And when you are working from home, whether it be temporarily or indefinitely, setting up a great workspace gets even tougher. However, your productivity and body will thank you if you take a few steps to upgrade your desk setup. Here are some ideas!

Seating

Purchase a chair that offers great spine support and has adjustable height, armrests, and back. If a new chair just isn’t in the budget, there are many seat pillows and cushions available that are designed to attach to an office chair and encourage you to sit properly and help support your lumbar.

Desk

Adjusting your desk height to fit your specific needs can be tricky, but necessary. If you are able to, investing in an adjustable-height standing desk is ideal because you can adjust your desk for different tasks, such as typing, writing, and reading documents. If you are unable to make that purchase, consider installing a keyboard tray to lower your keyboard or raising your chair to ensure your wrists are above your keyboard. If you are experiencing neck pain, that may be a result of your monitor height. Purchase a laptop or monitor stand or use normal household items like books or a box.

Lighting

Poor lighting can cause a lot of strain on your eyes and may decrease energy levels. If you are unable to work in an area with natural light, find a LED desk lamp that can be adjusted as needed. These come in all shapes and sizes and LEDs bulbs have a long lifespan and are energy-efficient.

Give Your Deck A Facelift

Hanging out with your family or hosting friends on your old, dingy deck is not very appealing. Lucky for you, refreshing it doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Try your hand at the makeover ideas below!

Restore your decking. Depending on the shape it’s in, sometimes all your deck needs is a little love. If it’s still fairly new, your deck might just need a deep cleaning and a new coat of sealant. There is a multitude of deck finishing and cleaning solutions on the market to choose from to achieve this. However, if it’s more worn down, the rejuvenation process may be a bit longer, including searching for larger repairs, tightening any hardware, giving it a good cleaning, applying a stain, sealant, and paint, and more.

Add lighting. Ambient lighting can completely transform your outside space into a relaxing, cozy oasis. Consider adding solar lights that don’t require a plugin or battery replacement. The lights turn on automatically when the sun sets, making your deck come alive. You can also consider paper lanterns, rope lights, mason jar lamps, or small twinkle lights, depending on the style and mood you’d like to set.

Build a privacy screen. Privacy screens come in all styles, shapes, and sizes. Consider purchasing and installing bamboo fencing or lattice panels for a quick and easy solution. Or, if you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can build a wooden frame and grow climbing plants or vines or stretch outdoor fabric in between. Whichever route you end up choosing, make sure you get the most out of your efforts by evaluating all lines sight before building.

Homebuyer Incentives: A Few Do’s And Don’ts

When you’re selling your home, adding some extra perks can help you find a buyer quickly. An incentive is essentially a marketing spend for your home sale. But you want to make sure your marketing dollars are being used effectively, so consider these do’s and don’ts:

DO recognize your home’s flaws, and offer an incentive that compensates. Buyers will look at extremely dated decor or appliances as a big looming expense, so you can alleviate their anxiety with a warranty or repair/renovation allowance.

DON’T use an incentive to try to get buyers to bite on an inflated sale price. If your home isn’t priced properly, it’s unlikely that an incentive—even one with significantly monetary value—will hide that fact. You’re better off revaluating your pricing, rather than spending big on an incentive.

DO consider homebuyer incentives when there’s close competition. If there are other listed homes in the area with similar features and pricing, an incentive can be a winning factor.

DON’T forget to check on the legality of your incentive offers. The laws on incentives can vary greatly between states, so work with a knowledgeable, trustworthy real estate professional to ensure that your homebuyer incentives are above board.

Upsizing Your Home

Unfortunately our homes don’t always grow with us. What may have initially worked fine for a single person, a young couple’s starter home, or a family with a newborn can quickly become too small as families expand and multiple generations live under one roof.

Remodeling and adding to your home is one option for creating more space, but it can be costly, and the size of your property may be prohibitive. That’s when moving to a bigger home becomes the best solution.

Where Do You Need More Space?

The first thought when upsizing your home is to simply consider square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms. But it’s important to take a more critical approach to how your space will actually be used. If you have younger children (or possibly more on the way), then focusing on bedrooms and bathrooms makes sense. But if your children are closer to heading off to college or starting their own families, it may be better to prioritize group spaces like the kitchen, dining room, living room, and outdoor space—it’ll pay off during the holidays or summer vacations, when everyone is coming to visit for big gatherings.

Moving Outward

If you need more space, but don’t necessarily want a more expensive home, you can probably get a lot more house for your money if you move a little further from a city center. While the walkability and short commutes of a dense neighborhood or condo are hard to leave behind, your lifestyle—and preferences for hosting Thanksgiving, barbecues, and birthdays—might mean that a spacious home in the suburbs makes the most sense. It’s your best option for upsizing while avoiding a heftier price tag.

New Home, Better Living

When you’re house hunting, focus on the things that will improve your quality of life.

There are so many factors that go into a home buying decision that it can make your head spin—especially if you’re in a competitive market where time is of the essence. The desire to purchase a property makes it easy to look past issues that could detract from your enjoyment of the home and cause some regrets down the road. That’s why when you’re weighing your options, quality of life should always be the top priority.

Location Is Part Of Lifestyle

Buyers often focus on “must haves” that can be added via renovation, but will downplay factors that are impossible to change. For example, if you work and spend much of your free time in the heart of a busy city, a house in the suburbs may mean more space for the same price, but it could also mean long commutes and a major hit to your nightlife. A centrally-located condo might be a better option.

On the other hand, if you’re a weekend warrior who looks forward to skiing, hiking, and mountain biking trips, living outside the city may be perfect—you’re that much closer to the trails when you wake up on Saturday morning. It’s a cliche, but it’s true: Location, location, location.

Big Homes Aren’t For Everyone

If you love entertaining friends and family, a big house makes perfect sense. You’ll have all the space you need to prepare meals and throw big parties, and your guests won’t have any trouble finding parking.

But a big home also means more cleaning and maintenance—more lawn to mow, more bathrooms to scrub, more things that will break and need fixing. Before you dive into an alluring big home, consider your tolerance and enthusiasm for the upkeep. For some, a smaller home or a professionally-maintained condo are better options.