8 Mistakes to Avoid on Your First Real Estate Investment

Investing in the real estate business is not that simple. Otherwise, everyone in the real estate business would be a millionaire. There are lots of mistakes that first-time real estate investors make that you should be aware of. Many of these are avoidable when you apply sound knowledge and common sense. Here is a list of common real estate investment mistakes that many first-timers make and how to avoid them.

  1. Lack of research

Before many people buy a television or a car, they ask a lot of questions, compare many models, and try to determine if their purchase is worth the money. The effort that goes into buying a home should even be greater. There are also research considerations for different types of investors, whether you are a land developer, flipper, personal homeowner, or a landlord. Not only must you ask a lot of questions about the property, but you must also ask about the neighborhood that the property is located. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Is the property built near a commercial site, or are there prospects for long-term construction in the vicinity?
  • What is the motivation for selling?
  • What is new in the property and what must be replaced?
  • What did the owner pay for it and when?
  • Is the property placed in a flood zone or a problematic area such as are prone to termite or radon problems?

Knowing this information will prepare you for any eventualities and help you know what to expect in future.

  1. Doing everything alone

Real Estate Agent

Trusted Savvy Real Estate Agent, Patricia Wagner

Many investors think they know a lot and that they can close a real estate deal on their own. You may have completed several deals on your own in the past, but remember, things may not go very well in a down market. And if this happens, there is no one you can turn to for help to fix a real estate deal that went sour. Thus, you should make friends with experts and tap every resource that will help you make the right purchase. Your list of experts should at least contain an insurance representative, an excellent attorney, a competent home inspector, a savvy real estate agent, and a handyman. These people should be capable enough to inform you of any flaws in the home or neighborhood. And the attorney should be able to alert you in the case of defects in the title or easements that may come back to haunt you in future.

  1. Wrong location

In the real estate business, location is key since it determines the property prices, market, types of properties, the tenants’ pool, the rent, availability of other rental properties, laws, and regulations, etc. Although it may be easier for you as a first-time investor to go to your local market because of the knowledge you already have, don’t exclude the option of an out-of-state investment if your local market is not suitable for investments at the moment. So, study your local market thoroughly to determine if it is amiable to buy and manage an investment there. If it isn’t, consider markets beyond a 25-mile radius where it is more profitable.

  1. Heart over head

When buying a home, 90 percent of your purchasing decisions are based on your emotions, and only 10 percent relies on logic. Since this is your home where you will raise your family, this is understandable. However, when it comes to investing, making your heart determine your purchasing decision is a mistake to avoid at all costs. If you let your sentiments cloud your judgment, you are more likely to over-capitalize on your purchase instead of negotiating for the best price and outcome for your investment plans. Thus, always buy an investment property based on research analytics. Ask yourself whether it is the best location that will attract high-quality tenants and whether it will provide the returns and gains you require.

  1. Buying too big

As a real estate investor, you will usually learn by doing. So, as a first-time real estate investor, don’t jump in with a large investment property. Purchasing a large-income property such as multi-family home costs more and is more expensive to manage. Thus, experts advise you to start with smaller, less luxurious properties such as a single-family home or apartment which you can afford to purchase without going bankrupt and which will teach you the skills you need for managing a property and being a landlord. After mastering these skills, you can raise your game by purchasing a new property every two to three years.

  1. Underestimating the costs

As a first-time real estate investor, opt for positive cash flow rental properties. The factors that determine cash flow are rental income and costs. Thus, it is crucial to get the most accurate estimates of the expenses. As a new investor, you may undervalue the costs involved in finding the right tenant or forget about the repair costs, and these will lower your profits. The best solution is to get realistic, research-based estimates for purchasing, running, and managing your investment property.

  1. Choosing bad contractors

Unprofessional ContractorIt is an expensive mistake to use multiple contractors to do your job. Flipping houses is quickly becoming a popular trend in real estate investing. Thus, it is vital to find contractors who will do a professional job, clean up the site, and finish the job on time. The means of finding the right contractor for your rental or fix-flip project will determine your success.

  1. Choosing wrong partners

Real estate investment partnerships can prove to be very beneficial for you as a new investor especially if you have limited knowledge or financial resources. However, they may also be deadly traps. Thus, as a new investor, don’t be ready to enter into any partnership just for the sake of having someone to share the risks with or buying a bigger property. Instead, choose your partners carefully among proven experts and professionals, and they must be people you can trust.

Real estate investing is a profitable business, but is not as simple as it looks. There are many things to learn, and you will need to work with many experts and professionals with a good reputation to gain prowess and attain your financial goals. So, tread carefully and follow this expert advice and you will be on your way to the top.

5 Ways the Housing Market Could Change in 2017

The end of 2016 was volatile, unprecedented, unexpected and excruciating for real estate investment. After the stunning election win by President Trump, many people with careers or livelihood attached to the housing market had no idea what expect or how his campaign promise of America first would effect real estate trends. Not withstanding the unexpected win by a man who knows the market so well, there was a lot of social unrest in pockets all over the United States well before President Trump ran his campaign, during and after his inauguration. All of those things need to be taken into account. Also, there are other economic factors that can make a difference. For example, by the end of 2016, people working in the market were weary about members of the millennial generation and if they would even bother purchasing property.

Before getting into the predictions, it is important for anyone reading to know that real estate operates on a double cycle. It operates seasonally, and it also swings over several years. Currently there is growth, and there was growth in and at the end of 2016. The Trump administration has been dedicated to thinning out restrictions for lending, and he has done a wide cut down on a variety of regulations, which will make it easier for people wanting to buy property to get a loan. There are a myriad of predictions and speculations on the Internet, but it is hard to grasp onto reliable sources because of media bias. Here are 5 predictions on the ways the housing market could change, and they are compiled from a few different sources, which seem to be pretty objective.

Affordability Will Lessen

According to Forbes’ prediction of property trends, the wages in larger cities is expected to grow, but those people with a median income will find a disparity when they look to purchase houses. The housing market in larger cities is truly ironic. The wages grow, and people have money to spend, but very few will be able to afford to live in the comfort of a new home. Additionally, this was beginning to happen before 2017 or President Trump. For a while now, people wanting to purchase a home for the first time are growing frustrated because all of the low to medium priced housing is becoming increasingly unavailable. Ten years ago it would not have been a problem for prospective buyers to able to purchase a slightly better home if the affordable ones were scarce or unavailable because all they would need to get was a subprime loan. Now, an extremely high credit score is needed. Waiting for starter homes to be built is one strategy, but even if the builders are more active, work longer and have a higher staff, they are unlikely to make any significant contribution of starter homes to the market for the remainder of 2017.

Increased Population Density Will Lead People to the Suburbs

Cities will continue to become more dense, and when major city populations increase in density it lead people to want to live more spread out and move to the suburbs. Highly populated, dense cities are often havens for crime, large, disruptive classrooms for families with children, long commutes and traffic jams are just few things that are going to lead people into the increasingly popular real estate trend of city fleeing. In addition to everything listed above, densely populated cities, especially in their urban areas are also expensive to live in. Houses are more expensive in a major city and trying to find a nice place to rent at an affordable price is difficult. All large, dense cities can do is ramp up mass transit and increase taxes too. All of these reasons and more are why there will be an increasing property market in the suburbs in 2017.

Credit Availability Will Improve Later in 2017

For the most part, the Trump Administration is not set to deal directly with housing, which is why there is a Presidential Cabinet, President Trump has made it very clear that he and his team plan to roll back the regulations laid out in the previous administrations Dodd-Frank Act. This allows Trump Administration to force banks to lend more freely to a range of different buyers from all walks of life.

2017 Will be the Fastest Market on Record for Growth

2017 Housing MarketDespite some of the bad news for home buyers regarding price, there are other dynamics seeing increases. The 2017 market is expected to break the 2016 property market’s record for being the fastest market. An average home stayed on the market just 52 days in 2016, and buyers using Redfin averaged 83 days searching for a new home, which was seven fewer days than the previous year. Agents have also noted there has been a noticeable increase for short term tours. Same-day tours rose over 25 percent and are expected to grow even more in 2017. People want to buy, and they appear to be serious about.

Rising Rates

Usually, housing does some heavy lifting for the Gross Domestic Product. Housing can be depended on to account for around 15 percent of it, but it has not been pulling its weight recently though. That is because there is a looming property market bubble. Sometimes raising interest rates will help ease some of the tension, so the Federal Reserve decided to raise interest rates in 2017 by first implementing an increase December of 2016, and there are two more expected to follow later in 2017. The effect it will have to buyers will be negative. Higher interest rates make it harder for people to buy, and if they do buy, it makes their payments higher based on the interest rate alone. Nele Richardson, the Redfin Chief Economist, says people should not worry too much. He says a 4.3 percent increase on a traditional mortgage is still a good deal compared to historical interest rate hike.

There are so many factors that real estate trends use to calculate. Good advice would be to proceed with caution considering considering he has barely been in office half a year. Listen to advisors and continue to read more articles like this before deciding to make a paramount purchase.

Baby Boomers: Here’s How to Sell Your Home to Millennials

While it is true that Millennials are living at home longer than previous generations, that doesn’t mean that they won’t eventually want to buy their own home, just like every generation before them. Considering there are 83 million Millennials in comparison to only 75 million Baby Boomers, they represent the largest pool of home buyers in the US.

Millennial HomeownerIt’s important to understand, however, that Millennials are going to value totally different things than what may have motivated you to purchase your home. The large yard and garden that you may have fallen in love with may seem like a huge burden to a tech savvy Millennial who may also be concerned about the environmental impact of using so much water to tend it. Some things that younger home buyers are placing a high value on, you can’t change, such as whether you live close to an urban area, in a good school district or close to a coffee shop.

On the other hand, if you do happen to live in a good urban school district and close to public transportation, shopping and a coffee shop, then you are in prime Millennial territory and that’s the demographic you are most likely to sell your home to – possibly at a large profit. In that case, you want to maximize the draws that have already been handed to you on a silver platter by creating a Millennial-friendly space and marketing through favored Millennial mediums. Here are 4 ways baby boomers can best market their homes to younger home buyers.

Tech it up

While you may still be using a flip phone, younger generations are far more tech savvy and are looking for homes already using advanced tech. Installing the latest home tech doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, but will generally go a long way to help sell your home to younger buyers. Some examples of modern tech you can install relatively inexpensively are a learning thermostat, smart smoke/ CO2 detector, smart locks and a video doorbell. Most of these will run you under $200 each, but will probably generate far more in a sale, particularly when installed collectively.

Low maintenance exteriors

Young home buyers are far more likely to want to spend more time at home playing video games than gardening and mowing a lawn. You can combine attractive features by installing a smart watering system that won’t turn on if it has just rained. This will appeal to younger buyers on many levels. It’s tech savvy, saves them the trouble of watering and it’s environmentally friendly by way of cutting down on water usage. While you may love tending your extensive garden, if you live in a Millennial-friendly area, you may want to tear it up and replace it with a more low-maintenance xeriscape garden or even a rock garden.

Energy EfficientGreen – energy efficient interiors

Today’s young home buyers are not just concerned with energy costs, they are also concerned with environmental impact. Most real estate agents recommend not doing major renovations when getting ready to sell your home, since the new home buyers will want to put their own imprint on their new home. It is common, however, to do some minor upgrades such as painting and replacing worn flooring and possibly even older kitchen appliances. Repainting with low VOC paint will go a long way to impressing young buyers, as will energy star appliances, energy efficient doors and windows and even solar panels. If you have old carpeting or vinyl flooring that needs to be replaced, consider replacing it with bamboo or some other material that has a high green rating or low environmental impact.

Use the internet

Young home buyers are hugely internet and tech savvy and that is where they are most likely to turn when looking for a home. While not all home buyers will begin their search online, 92% of home buyers will use the web at some point during the home search process. Just listing your home online is not enough, however. Younger demographics also rely heavily on social media, so you can also use social media to give yourself an edge over competing sellers. In addition, to simply listing your home, offering a video tour or even an aerial view of your home via drone will go a long way toward creating more interest in your home among younger buyers.

The Difference Between Property Value and Depreciation

Buyers can locate a property and purchase real estate without the services of an agent. However, many contract the services of a real estate agent in part for their market knowledge and industry expertise. Real estate agents can provide their valued clients with the best service possible by educating themselves about all aspects of the sales process and even the property ownership process. Buyers who are looking for a personal residence as well as investor clients who are looking for a long-term real estate investment are generally concerned with the value of the property. This concept, however, is often confused with how a property depreciates and what this means in the real estate world. By gaining a better understanding of these two common terms and how they impact different buyers, you can position yourself to better serve your clients.

Understanding Property Value

Home ValueYou and your clients may be well aware that the value of real estate does not generally remain stagnant. It can increase and decrease frequently based on a wide range of market conditions. Property value is most commonly determined by a real estate agent or an appraiser in part by reviewing local market comparable data. You likely are already familiar with this process of finding properties of similar size and condition in the neighborhood where a potential listing is located and making reasonable adjustments based on condition, special features, layout and more. The value of a property is important during the sales process to determine a fair offer to make to the seller, and it also is important to a buyer during his or her years of home ownership. For example, it will be used to determine the property taxes owed on the property each year, and it also will be used to calculate the equity in the home.

Exploring the Meaning of Property Depreciation

This is a term that has two distinctive meanings in real estate. Its most common meaning relates to a decline in the value of a property. When the market rates adjust downward, the real estate value declines. The other term is less commonly known, and it may be a factor that investors are more concerned with. The Internal Revenue Service allows investors to use property depreciation as a tax deduction. This is one of the least well-known real estate investment benefits, but it can be a true financial advantage. It gives investors the opportunity to offset their tax liability and to maximize gains. The value of the property is capitalized over the expected life span of the property. The IRS sets the expected life of assets for you. In addition, significant property improvements can also be depreciated for additional financial benefit.

What These Terms Mean to a Personal Residence Buyer

When talking to your clients about these two factors, it is important to remember who your client is and what his or her primary interests may be. The value of the property is most significant factor that will affect a personal residence buyer. This type of client wants to ensure that they get a fair price on the property. When talking about the property, you may discuss property value appreciation rates in the local area. Ensure that they understand there are no guarantees that values will continue to appreciate at a specific rate. However, this information can be beneficial to them as they decide which property to proceed with.

Why They Are Important to Investor Clients

Both of these factors are important to investor clients for different reasons. Investors typically want to ensure that the property cash flows on a monthly basis. The sales price they negotiate on the property will dictate their loan amount and monthly loan payment. In this way, the sales price plays a major role on the overall monthly cash flow that the property can generate for them. Many investors want to project a specific minimum return on investment. This includes tax benefits as well as the appreciation rate of their property and their ability to build equity. The tax benefits are directly impacted by depreciation. Because this factor is based on the value of the property, the two factors are intertwined. In addition, a higher value generally increases the amount that can be depreciated each year, or in other words, it offsets the owner’s tax liability on the property. You can help your investor clients to better determine their overall return on investment by focusing their attention in part on these key factors.
Understanding the different real estate terms that your clients may have questions about is critical. They are contracting you for your real estate services as well as your expertise in this area. It is important that you know what these terms mean and that you have a practical working knowledge of how they affect buyers’ decisions and financial goals.

The Essentials to Styling Your Home to Sell Quickly

When listing a home on the market, it’s important to do everything in your power to ensure it sells as quickly as possible. Not only will sitting on the market for a protracted period of time leave your money tied up in the home, but it can also make your property seem less appealing to prospective buyers. Here are some of the best steps you can take to make your home sell quickly.

Update Paint and Flooring

New Painted WallsMany homes that have been in the hands of the same owner for many years have slowly fallen out of date in terms of interior decor. If you want your home to sell fast, it’s important to update its appearance before listing it. Fresh paint and new flooring will be relatively inexpensive, but they will make your home much more appealing to potential buyers. Look through some home magazines to get a sense of what the preferred styles are at the moment, as these will typically be what buyers are looking for.

Arrange Rooms to Create the Illusion of More Space

Some homeowners, especially those who sell without the help of an agent, make the mistake of showing their homes with the furniture arranged as it usually is. While this may be the most comfortable arrangement of furniture you have found, it probably isn’t the best for styling a home to sell. Try rearranging the furniture and decor in your living spaces to make them look larger. In your living room, for example, position couches or loveseats near the edges of the room to create a large, open space in the center, as this will make the room look larger than it actually is.

Get Your Lighting Right

As minor a matter as it may seem, home lighting plays a large role in how potential buyers will view your property. Dim, outdated lighting will make your home seem less inviting. Modern lighting that illuminates your spaces more thoroughly, on the other hand, will tend to appeal to home buyers. At the moment, bright but cool lights are very much in style.

Pay Special Attention to Your Kitchen

Because it is used multiple times every day, a home’s kitchen is one of its most important spaces. Buyers will be looking for a kitchen with modern styling, so be sure you can give it to them. This can be as simple as updating paint or wallpaper, but there are also several other steps you can take. Replacing countertops, sinks or cabinet hardware, for example, will help to improve the appearance of the space.

Enhance Your Outdoor Space

Outdoor SpaceIn the process of styling a home ahead of putting it on the market, some homeowners focus entirely on their indoor areas and ignore the outdoor elements of their properties. This is a major mistake, as the outdoor part of your property will be the first thing a buyer sees upon arriving. Make sure that your yard is well-trimmed and tastefully landscaped. You may also consider laying down fresh grass seed or fertilizer before listing your home in order to make your lawn appear fuller and healthier.

Get Photo-Ready

When a potential buyer first sees your home, chances are he or she will be looking at an online listing. If you want to make your home stand out from the pack, be sure you’re ready for a professional real estate photographer to take great pictures in your living spaces. One good way to ready your home for this process is to carefully position small decorative or accent pieces on shelves while keeping tables largely clear. Ideally, the pictures of your home should make it look friendly, inviting and livable. For this reason, it is rarely a good idea to list a home with photographs of empty rooms, as this will make it harder for buyers to visualize themselves living in it.

Focus On Your Entryway

Houses are a lot like people in that those who are seeing them for the first time form opinions very quickly based on their appearances. This is why your home’s entryway is such an important space if you want it to sell quickly. Upon entering your house, a potential buyer should form a positive impression immediately. To help this happen, you can install tile or hardwood flooring or position a table with a tasteful decor piece or two by the door. The exterior of your entrance should also be striking, with good-looking lighting fixtures and door hardware in place.

There’s never an absolute guarantee that your house will sell quickly, but with proper styling you can vastly increase the chances that it will. Remember as you prepare your home to look at it through the eyes of a prospective buyer, rather than as someone who has lived there for years. By understanding what a buyer will be looking for, you can style your house to appeal to the person who is hunting for a new home.

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How to Prepare Your Home for a Spring Sale

Spring is a peak time in the real estate market. If you’re selling your home, having a few months to prepare can make the difference in how appealing it is to potential buyers and quickly your home sells. Here are some valuable suggestions on steps to take to ensure your home sells for the price you want.

Real Estate Snap ShotPlan A Home Inspection

When you’re selling your home, it’s a good idea to have an inspection done for any potential issues before you place it on the market. If problems are uncovered once you list your home, it could take longer to sell and cost you more money to make necessary improvements.

Research Homes For Sale

One of the biggest decisions is whether to sell your home or buy another home first. Research home prices in the area in which you plan to move. A realtor can assist you with market prices and how fast homes are selling in your region, so you’ll have an approximate idea of how long it will take you to find a new home. A realtor can help you with the financing during the transition phase of the sale.

Talk To Several Realtors

You should interview different realtors to find out what they can offer in your price range. Don’t automatically choose the realtor that says they’ll sell your home faster than anyone else. The realtor should provide you with a market analysis and be familiar with the local area in which you plan to buy your next home.

Early Spring Cleaning

Everyone has items that clutter their home. Before your house goes on the market, do a thorough cleaning and get rid of the clutter. Potential owners want to envision themselves living in your home and don’t want to see your family photographs or children’s art projects and toys scattered around the house. Put away kitchen items you use everyday when you’re having a showing.

Make Improvements To Your Home

Expensive renovations to your home isn’t always an option, but aesthetic improvements will make your home appealing to buyers. Give interior walls a fresh coat of paint. Replacing old light fixtures and ceiling fans or replacing bathroom fixtures and grout will give your home a new appearance.

You could find local contractors who don’t charge a lot to make cosmetic improvements such as painting kitchen cabinets or refinishing floors to spruce up the interior. Determine what your budget must be to make the necessary improvements and how much time will be needed to get everything done.

Begin Packing

Packing months before your home goes on the market may not sound feasible, but it’s a good time to go through your attic and basement and give away or sell items you won’t need. Items you won’t need right away can be packed and put aside.

Put items aside to host a Spring sale as the time gets closer for you to move. Packing away unnecessary items give your home a larger appearance, and potential buyers can determine where they want to place furniture when they move in.

Make Your Home Sparkling CleanCleaning

Make sure everything inside and out is clean and sparkling. Furniture should be polished, floors should be clean, and carpeting should smell fresh. Before you put your home on the market, have a cleaning company come in to give your home a thorough cleaning and have your carpets professionally cleaned.

Return On Your Investment

You probably don’t want to spend a lot making home improvements before you sell, but making upgrades can give you the most ROI. For example, if your floors are vinyl tile, you may upgrade to laminate or hardwood floors. Older appliances can be upgraded to newer, more energy efficient brands. Replacing older appliances with stainless steel models are a plus. Wood-grained counter tops can be replaced with granite or quartz.

Check Out Homes in Your Area

When you’re selling your home, a little homework goes a long way. Look at listings in your area. Find out how long the homes have been on the market. Look at houses in a similar price range with amenities that match your home. Researching the local market will give you an idea of what upgrades you need to make to your home and what your asking price should be.

Curb Appeal is Essential

Some buyers decide whether or not they like your home when they see it for the first time. Mulch your plant beds, trim excess growth from shrubs and trees, make sure your lawn is manicured, and make sure the exterior of your home looks welcoming. Small touches like painting the trim and front door or potted plants on your front porch can give it the “wow” factor.

Although you may have to spend money for a Spring sale of your home, by making necessary improvements, you’re more likely to get a good return on your biggest investment.

Tips for First-Time Home Sellers

Selling a home is more complicated than buying one. Home sellers need to balance their desire for a quick sale with a wish to get the best price for their home. Logistically, you need to deal with coordinating the purchase of a new home with the sale of the old one. Just when you are busiest with trying to juggle selling and buying and issues involved with moving and perhaps even a new job, you need to keep your home spotlessly clean and uncluttered for showings. The tips below will help you sell your house successfully, minimizing the stress involved and leading to a timely sale at a good price.

Get OrganizedOrganize

To avoid getting overwhelmed and perhaps missing some crucial task or piece of paperwork, you need to keep good records and an up-to-date to-do list on which you write down every task that needs to be done, the time by which it must be finished, and the person responsible for it. Schedule a regular time every evening to review the list with your family and make sure everything is on track.

Pricing to Sell

You’ll be working closely with your agent to set a realistic asking price for your house. Although the key to pricing is looking at previous data on sales of comparable houses, you should also visit nearby open houses to get a sense of the competition. Don’t be fooled by asking prices. Anyone can ask a fortune for a dump, but that doesn’t mean a buyer will pay that much. Price realistically in terms of what buyers have actually paid for houses of roughly the same size in the same neighborhood. You don’t need to price a house under market value either, as that may cause buyers to wonder what is wrong with it. Instead, aim for a price similar to comparable properties.

Prepare to Move

Before you put your house on the market, you should do the groundwork for moving out of it. Some potential buyers want to close quickly and you don’t want to lose a potential sale because you aren’t ready to move out. This means two things. First, you should begin looking for a new house before the listing of your old one goes live. Second, you should start preparing to move by donating things you don’t intend to keep to charity and organizing remaining items to make packing go more smoothly when you need to do it.

Create Curb Appeal

You only have a few seconds to create a good impression with a potential buyer. This means that your house should look great from the outside. Pressure washing will make the exterior of your house and your driveway sparkle. Keep the lawn neatly mowed, leaves raked, or snow shoveled, as buyers may request showings on short notice. Brighten up the front landscaping with colorful flowers in summer or cheerful evergreens with bright berries in winter. If you have a busy schedule, consider hiring a service to keep your yard in pristine condition while it’s on the market.

Repair Minor Issues

If you have been living in a home for several years, it won’t be in pristine condition. There may be stains on the carpet, scuffs on wood floors, scratches on counter tops, or chips in the paint. Although you may not want to invest large amounts of money in a house you will soon be leaving, the more minor issues you can fix, the easier it will be to sell the house. Steam cleaning carpets, polishing floors, touching up minor scuffs and scrapes, and replacing grout and caulking can make a house look newer and “move-in ready”, things that will appeal to buyers.

Cleaning to Sell

Cleanliness takes on a whole new meaning when you are trying to sell a house. It’s no longer just about sanitation. What matters is that things shine and sparkle to create a “new house” feel. Start by having the interiors and exteriors of all your windows cleaned. Next, clean drapes, blinds, and moldings. Carpets should be vacuumed, tile mopped, and wood polished. Mirrors, counter tops, appliance surfaces, door handles, switch and outlet covers, and fixtures should be spotless. Wash all bedding and use cedar blocks to freshen your closets. Many experts recommend hiring a cleaning service to do a one-time deep clean the day before your house goes on the market. If you are really busy, consider scheduling a professional cleaner to come in once a week to keep your house spotless.

Smells Don’t Sell

Smell matters as much as appearance. Pet odors, mildew, or other scents can drive off buyers. Don’t use air fresheners, plug-ins, candles, or scented potpourri as many people may find those objectionable. Clean with baking soda to reduce odors. Run lemon or orange peel through a disposal to reduce odors and consider a colorless bleach tank drop in for toilets. Use cleaning products with a light citrus scent. After cleaning, open up all the doors and windows to air out the house; nothing smells as fresh as real fresh air. Freshen up linen closets with cedar blocks or odor absorbents. For persistent smells, consider buying or renting an ozone machine.


Your final step in getting ready for your first showings is decluttering. The less stuff you have in the house, the more open and spacious it will appear. Removing personal touches will also help buyers imagine how the house will look with their own personal items in place. Clear off counter tops and banish personal collections and mementos to the garage or a storage unit.

You are not alone as a house seller. Your agent is an expert who has helped many home sellers in the past and can provide advice through every step of the selling process. The more closely you work with your agent, the more smoothly the selling process will go.


How to decorate for the holidays when your home is for sale

The holidays are a time to deck the halls and celebrate the ones you love, but what to do when the “home for sale” sign is up and you have to keep up appropriate appearances? Contrary to what many may think, the holidays are actually a wonderful time to warmly invite potential buyers in and show off your home’s most attractive features. It may take some careful planning and paring down, but with thoughtful effort you can turn the holidays into your home’s best selling point!  Here are some simple tips for decorating your home while it’s on the market during the holiday season.

1. Remember That Less Is More:

When staging a house for sale it’s always advised to err on the side of elegance, rather than clutter. While the cheerful bustle and chaos of the holidays are usually welcome additions in the home, you may have to reduce the clutter and stick to carefully selected ornaments and heirloom items that highlight your home’s most beloved accents. Be wary of putting up religious-themed decorations, as these may be off-putting to potential buyers, and be mindful of distracting knick-knacks.

2. Make Use Of The Winter Greenery:Christmas Greenery

Evergreen wreaths, pine cone centerpieces, and garlands tied with bright red ribbons make for time-honored and universally appealing holiday decor, and are as easy to acquire as they are lovely. Front doors, stairway banisters, fireplace mantles, and even mailboxes can benefit from a little holiday sprucing up (no pun intended), and will instantly brighten your home’s appearance.

3. Stick To A Palette:

A great rule of thumb when decorating your home for sale is to note the interior color schemes and decorate within those hues and textures. For example, if your living room is mostly white try to select appropriate ornaments and accent pieces in colors that will blend and compliment, such as golds and silvers. For more eclectic rooms stick with classic cranberry and forest green tones, always keeping mind the less-is-more mantra.

4. Avoid Colorful Lights, And Keep Them Classy:

Let’s face it, few things are more fun than festooning one’s house with lights that twinkle in all colors of the rainbow. But when looking to decorate for the holidays it’s generally best to implement simple white lights and string them with an eye for drawing attention to particularly attractive architectural highlights or specific points of interest. Additionally, make sure you string your lights evenly, following a clean and discernible pattern. Keep lawn ornaments at a minimum, and always make sure the holiday lights are on and in working order when the house is being shown.

5. To Tree Or Not To Tree:

Christmas trees are the centerpieces of the holiday home, and few would dream of forgoing them even when showing off a home for sale. The good news is you can certainly enjoy your favorite holiday tradition, so long as you stick to a few easy–but necessary–guidelines. Just as you want to decorate within a room’s color scheme, it’s also best to select a tree that suits the room’s space in similar fashion. Try to stay away from gaudy tree ornaments, loud or mismatched garlands, and multi-colored lights, opting instead for a specific theme (silver and gold, red and gold, icicle lights, Victorian bows, etc) and trimming the tree accordingly.

Cookies6. Put Out Some Holiday Treats:

Indulging in your favorite holiday goodies is arguably one of the best parts of the season, and there’s no reason you can’t share that joy with prospective buyers stopping by. Cookies, confections, nut assortments, cider, and hot chocolate are all easy and delicious items that will make your guests feel pampered and at home, which may just influence their decision in regards to buying yours! If you’re concerned about food allergies or gluten sensitivities, keep a few special recipes on hand you can whip up and add to the spread as a thoughtful touch.

7. Pay Attention To The Little Things:

Scents, sounds, and temperature all play a part in how your home influences visitors to look and leave or linger and enjoy. Try not to overwhelm the house with heavy, clashing scents a’la candles and plug-in mists, but instead opt for a pot of simmering mulled cider on the stove or single burning candle in the front hall in a subtle vanilla or evergreen scent (if you know you’ll be present, of course.) Music can similarly add or detract from the atmosphere; classical, light jazz, and of course the cherished Nutcracker Suite all lend a particularly delightful touch without overwhelming your guests’ personal tastes. Pay attention to the temperature of your home as well, as nothing is more inviting than a cozy escape from the outside chill. Keep the thermostat at a pleasantly warm temperature, and if you have a fireplace and know you’ll be present while the house is being shown invite guests to warm their hands by the fire.

There are many ways to decorate for the holidays without deterring prospective home buyers. Simple color schemes, elegant lighting, and a few hospitable touches go a long way in creating the kind of environment that encourages guests to enjoy the comforts and unique features that made your house a home.

Bring 7,000 People to Your Showing – on Facebook

Social media has certainly taken the world by storm. 10 years ago, select college students had access to the social media giant, Facebook. In 2016, more than one billion people are active on Facebook alone. Because of this internet accessibility, people use Facebook to share pictures of their families, friends and lifestyles. Facebook is also used to stay in the know regarding peers and long-lost friends and family. With so many eyeballs on one website, it only makes sense for entrepreneurs and businesses to maintain an active presence on Facebook. Building a strong brand and engaging future clients are some of the best tactics for any business to make. Within the real estate world, realtors are beginning to see the power of Facebook and how the different avenues in this portal are highly valuable. Thanks to Facebook Live, you can be like a North Carolina realtor who brought 7,000 people to her showing. There are a few ways you can create a thriving Facebook presence that brings business straight to the front step of the home you’re selling.

  1. Post Regularly

Facebook ShowingThere are tons of different pages, friends, friend requests and content grabbing the attention of the Facebook user. Because there is such an overload of content, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. One of the best ways to stand out is to make sure you post content on a regular and consistent basis. If people know when and where to find you, they’re more likely to stay engaged. Consistency is a major thing because if people see that you’re unable to commit to a posting schedule, they’ll easily move on to the next best thing. Treat your Facebook page with consistency. It’s in your best interest to do so.

  1. Create High-Quality Content

In addition to posting regularly, it’s vital to produce high-quality content. Infographics, informative YouTube videos and behind-the-scenes footage of you at work are great pieces of content to post to your page. Use discretion and make sure everything you’re sharing is professional. Make sure your pictures are clear, vivid and edited well. Make sure the graphics and information you post are consistent with your brand. Don’t mix your personal life with your Facebook page. Create a great logo and find colors that can be interspersed throughout your branding. These techniques help you with visibility and continuity.

  1. Greet and Invite People

If you plan on doing a Facebook Live showing or event, announce it in advance. When you announce it in advance, you’re more likely to get more people to tune in. Once you’re live, make sure to greet people as they come in. Give people a few minutes to get logged in before you start a home showing or share information. Once people are logged in, don’t be shy about asking people to share the broadcast with their followers. The more your broadcast gets shared and viewed, the better off you are.

  1. Create Good Title and Description

Facebook is one of the best marketing portals to take advantage of, and you can start using it without any cost. It doesn’t get any better than free publicity. Knowing this, it is very important to remain intentional about the names of your videos and the description you give. When you give this information, it gives users a better understanding of what they’re getting into. Use proper hashtags so that your content shows up in the Facebook search engine. If people are looking for a home in your area, they should be able to place the city name, along with keywords involving real estate and find your content. Be discoverable. Even though Facebook might seem daunting because of the one billion people on this platform, it’s actually easy to dominate once you remain consistent in these areas.

If you are intentionally creative and captivating in your execution and delivery of your content, you’ll easily and consistently attract new clients to your business. Before long, clients turn into dollar signs. Dollar signs become profit and you’ll be celebrating all the way to the bank!

7 Reasons to Use a Realtor to Sell Your Home

With so much real-estate information available on the Internet alone, it’s not unheard of to sell your home without a professional by your side. Although this concept sounds appealing to homeowners, it might end up as a detrimental feature to the selling process. In fact, it’s critical to have a realtor by your side as you sell a home. Take a look at these top reasons why a realtor is your greatest selling asset.

  1. Neighborhood Expertise

Sold Home For Sale Real Estate Sign and Beautiful New House.You may know the favorite eateries in the neighborhood or where the best playground is located, but realtors
have greater knowledge of their particular territory. They’ll have the latest school-quality information that’s
incredibly important for parents moving into an area. Crime data, economic predictions and other information is also the business of any good realtor. With this information, realtors can show off the home with more value than just the amenities and included square footage. Selling a top-rated school system gives the home a boost on its asking price before buyers even walk in the door.

  1. Industry-Trend Knowledge

Realtors are also valuable resources for industry knowledge. In the next year, a certain neighborhood might go up or down in price based on a new business renovation occurring a few miles away. This information helps the selling realtor because he or she can place indirect pressure on buyers to place a bid now rather than later. Without a professional by the seller’s side, some lucrative opportunities might be overlooked. As a result, a home might have a final price that’s well below what it’s truly worth based on the industry knowledge that’s exclusive to realtors.

  1. Negotiating Skills

Realtors take many classes on their trade, including how to properly negotiate. These professionals are trained to be fair but persuasive. A negotiation is partly a psychological game where the professional convinces the buyer that a particular home is perfect for their needs. Most homeowners aren’t professional negotiators, which makes a poor deal a possibility. Allow the realtor to discuss the price, and homeowners will see a higher number in most cases. Negotiations can go up or down in price, but the realtor will always know the proper limits in either direction.

  1. The Paperwork Alone

There are stacks of paperwork to generate, read and sign as you sell a home. This process alone can be overwhelming for most homeowners. The realtor usually has a team at the office who can put together the information without much effort. They know the normal and specialized paperwork that must be included with your particular sale. As a result, no areas will be overlooked on closing day. If homeowners attempt to write up the paperwork on their own, they might sign away their rights with missing sections or poorly worded paragraphs.

  1. Ethical Sales

Similar to a doctor’s oath, realtors also pledge themselves to ethical practices during any sale or purchase. They cannot lie, cheat or deceive their clients as their hired consultant. In fact, they can’t treat the buyers poorly either. These ethics mean that your property transaction will be free from any arguments or frustrations. If a house inspection turns up with major structural problems, the realtor is trained to handle that situation with objective ease. As a result, these clients will move forward with their home dreams as challenges arise that the realtor can deal with at a moment’s notice.

  1. Their Connections With Others

Selling a home can be tough in some neighborhoods or economic times. As a solution to a difficult sale, realtors can turn to their industry connections. Other realtors might know of a buyer who’s looking for that type of property, but they weren’t aware of this home on the market. Industry contacts can be a valuable resource for realtors and sellers as a home moves through the escrow process. In many cases, an insider’s knowledge allows a sale to take place faster than it would otherwise.

  1. Knowing When to Bow Out

With all of the effort in the world, some homes simply sell faster than others. If your home has been on the market for several weeks, realtors know when to pull it. A home that remains on the market for too long tends to look unattractive to buyers. People wonder if there’s something wrong with the property. Realtors can remove the listing and add it again in a few weeks. Although sellers may not appreciate the waiting time, the new listing might spark more buyers than before.

Realtors will routinely take classes and update their skills over the years. If you’re on the lookout for a professional, interview several people before committing to one person. Ask him or her about their license and continuing education. Reputable realtors will have several classes in their background and a few possibly scheduled in the future. These experts will have the skills to sell your home to the highest bidder.