Archive for Real Estate

Selling Your Home: A Primer on Staging

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ID-10068401The mere fact that many people are looking to buy a house at any given time should mean that selling yours should be a relative cake walk. However, this is not the experience of many sellers. You place your home on the market, only to see it sit there without offers, or have a parade of potential buyers come through, with the same result. Although there is no set formula that guarantees a quick home sale at anideal pricethere are lots of strategies that may facilitate a quicker sale. Unless you have a home that looks like it came out of an interior design magazine, which most of us do not, staging is one such strategy that can up the appeal factor of your abode.

Why Stage?

First, let’s discuss why you should seriously consider staging.  Many surveys by various organizations have found that staged homes often sell more quickly and for more money—a much desired combo for a seller. Much advice has been doled out to house hunters over the years. One of the best is looking past what is to see the potential, to see what could be. However it is a nugget of wisdom hard to put into practice. By and large, potential buyers see what is right now. They will form strong impressions the second they start that walkthrough. Although they know that none of the furniture will remain there and that they can change the carpet or repaint the walls, buyers still long to picture themselves within the home they are viewing. You need to do as much as you can to create a home that they can see themselves in now.

Consider Working with a Professional

Working with a professional stager can be a great idea. Even if you don’t think it is in your budget, an initial consultation on just one room can give you a bunch of great ideas to apply to the rest of the house. If you can afford to go the professional route, you will definitely succeed in creating an appealing home that will garner much more interest. Professional stagers know exactly what to fix and can serve as an objective party to assess the true condition of your home.

Cleaning and De-Cluttering are the Core

Creating a spotless space free of junk is at the heart of any successful staging strategy. Clean like you were expecting your judgmental mother-in-law to come and inspect every room. Hiring a professional cleaning crew may be a worthy investment. Get rid of all the clutter. Not only is it unsightly, it creates the illusion that you lack storage space. Rent a storage unit if need be. This is also a great opportunity to get rid of items which you no longer use. When it comes to clutter, evaluate the furniture in each room. Could you stand to move some stuff out to create a more streamlined, spacious look?

Wall Colors and Flooring are Key

The colors of your walls and the conditions of your floor are two things that will really stand out and set the tone for the overall appeal of the home. You may absolutely adore that bubblegum pink bathroom or black accent wall in your bedroom, but one of the key aspects of staging is to create a space with the broadest appeal possible. Repaint with more neutral tones. If your carpet is a bit worn, or a more eclectic shade, lay down new carpet in a more neutral shade or consider laying down hardwood. At the very least, get a professional cleaning.

Staging does not have to be an expensive endeavor, though you may need to spend a bit to really get your home in a good shape. However if it means getting more money for your home, you will recoup the costs easily.

About the Author:Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about all things home improvement and real estate. If you are looking for carpet installation Phoenix AZ, check out the link for more information.

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December 19, 2013 |  by  |  Home Improvement, Real Estate  |  Comments Off

4 Tips for Buying a Fixer Upper

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If you are trying to decide between buying a fixer upper or a rennovated home consider a few key factors before making your purchase. How much money do you have to invest in the project? Going into heavy debt to invest cash in a money pit might be the biggest mistake you ever make in your life. Rein in your enthusiasm and be realistic before deciding to invest in a fixer upper.

Be Ready to Invest

Paying for a full or partial renovation poses a stiff challenge for any aspiring homeowner. The tough part about investing in a fixer upper is that few have ample cash flow after making a down payment and paying steep closing costs after buying their home. Consider using credit cards for smaller scale projects. You can also borrow against your stock portfolio, life insurance policy or 401K retirement plan if you need to boost your cash flow quickly for a significant investment. Borrow wisely because the interest on this borrowing is not tax deductible and you do not want to go broke just trying to salvage your new home.

Get Ready to Work

If you want to fix a home up you will need to do some of the fixing yourself to cut costs. Pitch in to keep any surplus increase in home value for yourself. If you can put on vinyl siding, replace windows, put together decks, install trime, paint, spackle and hang cabinets you can save yourself a small fortune and re-invest that money into faster moving vehicles, or simply pad your savings account with the cash.  Watch your contractors closely if you are not exactly handy; unncessary delays and costly mistakes can cancel out your financial gains if the project exceeds its budget.

Select Prospering Projects

Seek out fixer uppers which require cosmetic improvements to get the biggest bang for your buck. Floor refinishing, drywall repairs and paint touchups return much in market value because these adjustments cost much less than big ticket projects like adding a third bedroom or family room to your home. These add ons typically cost much more than their return in market value so think long and hard about making such an investment to bring your house in line with your neighbor’s homes. Resist the urge to over improve. Your remodeling projects should boost the value of your home by 10 to 15 percent above the median sale price of homes in your neighborhood.

Crunch Numbers

Assess your prospective fixer upper to decide what work needs to be completed. Tabulate the total cost to improve the home by adding all labor and materials estimates. Figure out the home’s market value by assessing comparable home real estate prices in the surrounding area.  Subtract the total costs from the home’s market value and take away another 10 percent for unforeseen extras you will add as the project progresses. Your offer is the figure left after doing these calculations. Make sure to include an inspection clause in your real estate contract so you can either cancel the deal or ensure that you are making a wise investment.

Kelli Cooper, writing for Kanetix, is a freelance writer who blogs about all things real estate.

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December 14, 2013 |  by  |  Real Estate  |  Comments Off

5 Tips for Showing Your Home

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ID-100152400Are you excited to sell your home quickly? Skilled home sellers know to make the presentation all about the buyer. Resist any silly urge to rush the buyer through their thinking process. Give someone all the time they need to make their decision. Remember that you want the individual to visualize themselves owning the home. Make them feel at home the moment they step through the front door to increase the likelihood of making a sale.

Create an Inviting Mood

Home buyers want to feel comfortable in their potential new digs. Create an inviting, relaxing mood by using soft music to put individuals at ease. Consider lighting your fireplace and turning on any water fountains to blocking out any traffic noise. Altering your home environment is a little trick of the home selling trade which can increase your close rate quickly. Buying couples might find a romantic angle appealing. Place 2 champagne glasses on a table by your fireplace to play up the romantic ambiance.

Serve Up Something Tasty

Attract buyers to spend more time in your home and look around by offering them something to eat. Desserts, water, finger sandwiches, cookies and soft drinks can entice people to stick around a bit longer than originally intended. Most folks tend to follow their stomach if free food is offered up. Use this to your advantage by giving buyers something delectable to chew on while they think through your offer. Provide a waste receptacle for trash and utensils, cups and plates for neat eating.

Resist the Urge to Play up the Scent

Blow out the incense and open up the windows if you want to impress buyers. Avoid spray or plug in air fresheners too. Many people are allergic to different odors. The well-intended candle might just turn off someone who does not care for such a smell. If in doubt go with fresh air.

Find an Agreeable Temperature

Turn on the heat if it feels cold enough to wear a sweater. Trying to save on your energy bill can turn off a buyer and result in a missed sale. Use air conditioning in warm, humid environments. Adjust the temperature so that the heat or air conditioning does not kick on during a showing. Some system can be loud and distracting when they fire up. Set a comfortable temperature to influence buyers to linger around. Using this approach can keep them inside on a particularly hot or cold day.

Welcome Effectively

Make the buyer see themselves as the owner of the house. The individual is no longer a guest. Let buyers keep on their shoes unless cultural or religious reasons dictate otherwise. Avoid insulting an individual by requesting them to remove their footwear. Give the buyer all the time necessary to make a decision. Leave the high pressure, fear-based approach to amateur, desperate sellers. Leave the house so the buyer can discuss the home with their partner or think through the decision without you breathing down their neck. Creating space can help the individual make a confident decision.

About the Author: Ryan Biddulph shares tips to help you show your home. If you are looking for a place to live in Kentucky he suggests searching Bowling Green Real Estate for sale.

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October 24, 2013 |  by  |  Real Estate  |  Comments Off

Real Estate Investing 101

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Investments are a great way to build wealth and foster financial freedom. When it comes to where you can put your money, you have numerous avenues available to you. Investing in residential real estate is an attractive option for many, but it is much more involved than simply buying a piece of property and collecting a rent check every month.  While I cannot possibly cover everything here, the information that follows will hopefully give you a solid start in educating yourself about this endeavor.

Focus on What You Know

Chances are, if you are thinking about investing in real estate, you know a little something about this world; maybe you have experience managing an apartment complex or you performed contractor work on fixer-uppers. If you have experience in a particular type of property, it is probably a good idea to focus your investments there. Your knowledge will put you ahead of the curve and you will benefit for your expertise in numerous ways.

Pick the Right Real Estate Agent

No matter what type of properties you are looking for, you will likely benefit from the experience of a seasoned real estate agent. You should pick someone who has also invested in the area. They can offer valuable advice on establishing rents, ideal properties and good locations. To vet them, ask for contact information of other investors they have helped. Make sure anyone you pick has a team of professionals they can refer you to, such as property managers, accountants, attorneys, inspectors, mortgage brokers and insurance advisers.

Start Close to Home

The more familiar you are with an area, the easier it will be to assess important factors related to whether or not your investments will prove profitable. When starting out, it is probably a good idea to invest in properties that are close to where you are currently living and by close, an area that you are in frequently and are very familiar with, not somewhere that is just close but you never actually spend time in. Familiarity with the area of your investment properties can help you keep a close eye on market trends, whether the area is growing or declining and the like. This will help you make better decisions, such as knowing whether or not that new property on the market is a steal that you should grab right away or pass on.

Cheap Does Not Always Mean Profitable

It is natural to want to spend as little as possible and make as make as much profit as possible when it comes to any financial endeavor, but this mode of thinking can get you into trouble, especially when it comes to investment properties. While you want to get a good deal, do not operate with the mindset that the cheaper you get a property for, the more profit you will make. This may not be the case; if you buy a bad property for whatever reason, it may end up costing you dearly if you cannot rent it out or you need to spend tons of money fixing serious problems. You need to carefully crunch numbers and take a variety of factors into account when deciding on the best properties and while cost is of course an important consideration, it is far from being the only one.

Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who has covered a range of real estate topics from investment tips to how to find your dream home. If you are thinking about getting into the investment property game, a real estate investing course may be something to consider

October 22, 2012 |  by  |  Real Estate  |  Comments Off

3 Important Considerations When Applying for a Mortgage

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A house is no small expense. Most of us do not have hundreds of thousands of dollars just lying around waiting to be spent. Mortgages make the dream of home ownership possible. It is going to be a major expense and it is important to prepare yourself for the process of acquiring one so you can get the best deal. Here are some important considerations for applying for a mortgage.

Make Sure Your Credit Report is in Order

Your credit score gives lenders a very revealing picture of your relationship with money and will determine your interest rates. The interest rates for different score tiers may not seem significant on the face of it, but when large amounts of money are involved, such as in a mortgage, it can make a significant difference in monthly payments and the total cost you end up paying back to the bank.

Check your credit report at least several months before you plan to apply for a mortgage to check for any inaccuracies that may impact your score. If you do find any, it can take several months before your credit score reflects the resolved issues. You are entitled to one free credit report per year for each of the three major credit bureaus, which you can get at a site like, among others.

Get Quotes from as Many Lenders as You Can

Applying for a mortgage may be tedious and stressful; you may also be nervous about getting approved. Factors such as these may tempt you to take the first offer you get so you can get it over with. But, rushing to take the first mortgage may mean not getting the best rate you can. Shop around and seek out quotes from multiple lenders. Normally, multiple inquiries for credit can negatively impact your score but when you are researching financing for mortgages, student loans and auto loans, you have a 30-day window to make unlimited inquiries without it negatively impacting your score. Take advantage of this window.

Avoid Taking on New Debt and Pay Down Current Debts

A major factor in getting approved for a mortgage is how much current debt you are carrying and more importantly, your debt to income ratio. If you plan on applying for a new loan, avoid taking on any major debts such as a car loan. Keep new credit cards to a minimum. If your current credit card balances are more than 30 percent of your available credit, pay them down as best you can; if you have money sitting in savings that you can spare, it might be better used towards paying down debt so you can improve your credit rating and get a better mortgage. Avoid consolidating debt right before you apply for a loan—moving debt around right before a mortgage can signal financial instability.

Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys writing pieces that help people find greater success in their personal and professional lives. If you are in the market for luxury real estate near the beach, Sildy Cervera is your go-to person for luxury condos in Miami.

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August 30, 2012 |  by  |  Real Estate  |  Comments Off