On Your Mark: How to Get Ready for Spring Home Buying Season

home buying in the spring season

The real estate market heats up in spring. Sellers list and buyers start looking. Today’s real estate market is very competitive, however. There are fewer listings than there are buyers. This means you have to be quick, qualified, ready to make an offer and competitive. Let’s examine what you need to do to be successful.

Get Pre-Approved Before Spring

You need to be pre-approved for your loan, of course. Why get pre-approved months in advance? In most cases, there are ways to massage your circumstances to get you approved to borrow more, or to get a better rate.

If you are due for a raise, ask your boss if you can get it now, so that you can document the higher income when you go into contract.

Find a local bank, mortgage company or a broker. Your loan agent should be experienced and have a broad knowledge of loan programs. Have your lender run your credit; there are almost always surprises in the credit report. Sometimes those surprises can cost you thousands of dollars. Uncover surprises very early in the process so you can work on them.

If you are tight on cash, stop spending and start saving. That extra buying power just may be enough to win you the deal.

If you are due for a raise, ask your boss if you can get it now, so that you can document the higher income when you go into contract.

The bottom line: See your mortgage advisor now, not later, so that person has the time to help you qualify for more or pay less.

Be Prepared to Sell Yourself

You know you are special, but the seller of your dream home doesn’t. We assume that every seller just wants the most money. That’s not true. Sellers is not just selling a piece of real estate – they’re selling their home; perhaps one they’ve raised their children in.

A buyer’s letter can often swing the deal, even if you are not the highest bidder. Why do you want the home? Will you be raising your children there? Do you need to be close to aging parents? Why does this home work for you?

Write your story, and when the time comes, the sellers will see you as more than a mystery buyer. That might be all you need to get your new home.

Interview Agents – And Let Them Interview You

An experienced, competent real estate agent will qualify you as a buyer. It’s more than just a loan approval. Your agent should determine that you are ready and willing to buy any one of the homes that he or she shows you. If not, the agent is wasting his or her time, your time and the sellers’ time. If your agent isn’t qualifying you, you might have the wrong agent.

Decide Where You Want to Live

What is most important to you? Commute to work? School district? Access to shopping? You want to be successful not just at buying a home, but living there for as long as you want. If you hate the neighborhood, you won’t be happy. Think this one through – what is really important to you?

Drive through neighborhoods you’ve identified at different times of the day and on weekdays and weekends. The personality of a neighborhood changes at times. Make sure you’ll be comfortable there.

Refine Your Needs and Wants List

Bedrooms and bathrooms are only the beginning. Do you need a separate family room? A formal dining room? How important is architectural style to you? How about yard?

In fact, no house is perfect. Everyone personalizes their home and makes it their own over time. You will, too. If the location is good and the basic amenities you want are there, the rest are just details that you can add later. Make sure that you know what’s really important and you will be happy in the long run.

Shop in Your Price Range

Finally, be realistic about what you can afford. Shop for homes in your price range. Everyone wants a deal – that’s human nature. It would be wrong to say your chances of getting a screaming deal on your first home are zero, but they are very, very close. In this market especially, you will likely have to pay a fair price for the home you want.

Long after you’ve forgotten what you paid for the home, you will remember the memories you’ve created there and you will cherish your sanctuary from the world. Happiness in the long run depends more on buying the right home and making it your own than it does on what price you pay.

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Source: https://www.realestate.com/articles/news/how-to-prepare-for-spring-home-buying-season

March 21, 2018   No Comments

Your Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

With the days lengthening and weather warming, spring is a good time to get outdoors and tackle some larger home projects. With the threat of winter storms past, you can look for damage and make any needed repairs, as well as prep your home and garden for summer. We spoke with an expert to get some tips on what to watch for this season, from proper irrigation to mosquitoes and termites (oh my!).

March 20, 2018   No Comments

5 Tips To Refresh Your Home For Spring Time

It may still be snowing in some parts of the country, but spring is almost here. Before the flowers start budding outside, refresh the inside of your home to give your interior spaces that springtime glow.

Bring the outdoors inside

Adding fresh plants or flowers to an otherwise ho-hum space can spice things up in the blink of an eye. Even if you don’t have a garden full of fresh flowers to choose from, greens make a lovely addition to your living room, or even an eye-catching centerpiece for your dining room table. Better Homes and Gardens suggests gathering a few fresh fern fronds for dramatic texture and rich color.

Don’t be afraid to add color

One of the easiest ways to perk up your space is to invest in a gallon of paint, call in reinforcements to help you out, and go to town with brushes and rollers. If you’re not incredibly adventurous when it comes to color choices but still want a pick-me-up, try going with a warmer, creamier version of the neutrals you already have; a creamy barely-yellow adds so much more warmth and interest than stark white.

You could even paint an accent wall a bold, fun color and use that space to showcase some of your favorite art or family portraits for your own personal art gallery. ForRent.com suggests incorporating bright colors in a breakfast nook or one of the smaller spaces of your home or apartment. It’s less of a risk than painting your entire kitchen or living room, but still packs a punch.

Reorganize your bookshelves

If you’ve got a fantastic library, now is a great time to take everything off the shelves, blow the dust off the covers, and reorganize. You might even consider artfully stacking books in different directions, some horizontal and some upright. Apartment Therapy reports some pretty impressive results simply by arranging books by color for a uniquely eye-catching display.

Photo by Craig Conley via Wikimedia Commons
Update window treatments

Spring is a great time to trade in your richly-textured drapes for lighter, breezier, more summery colors. If privacy isn’t a huge issue in a space, try adding light, breezy sheer curtains on a thin, minimalist rod. You’ll love how much the change automatically brightens your space. You might also consider substituting your ordinary blinds with Roman Shades. They’re a classier way to control light and privacy, and to update your style.

Make your entryway welcoming

Upgrade (or thoroughly clean) your front-door mats and add a wreath to your front door. This could be a fun DIY project for the entire family. Make sure you have an efficient landing spot just inside your front door — a place to drop keys and hang up a coat or jacket before coming inside. This is also a great place for a fun mirror and a flower arrangement. Your home’s entryway often gives guests their very first impression of your home, so make it shine with your family’s personality and a touch of style.

Photo by The McClouds via Wikimedia Commons

Written by Realty Times Staff
Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice/item/1015736-20180309-5-tips-to-refresh-your-home-for-spring-time?rtmpage=

March 9, 2018   No Comments

7 High-Tech Investments To Include In Your Next Home Improvement

Are you planning to remodel your home? Do you want to make it more functional, comfortable, and add some more value to it? With these high-tech improvements, you can achieve all of those goals.

These are investments that will significantly upgrade your home, your level of security and change your way of life, while decreasing your impact on the environment, saving energy and money at the same time.

1. Solar Panels

One of the best and useful high-tech investments when it comes to home improvements are solar panels. Their benefits are wide and numerous, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they are becoming an increasingly common investment with many homeowners. Apart from their environmentally-friendly and sustainable characteristics, they also bring high energy-efficiency and significant savings to your household.

Solar panels work on the basis of sunlight absorption and its conversion into electricity, and with them, you can cover the majority of your home’s electricity demands. With the development of the industry and the market, panels are becoming more and more efficient and able to absorb sunlight.

Solar storage batteries are also an important part of your solar system, complementing it to make your investment even more profitable and your home more energy-independent and efficient. They function as a safety net for cloudy weather and during the night. They will absorb and store the sun’s energy so that it can be used when there is no direct sunlight for the panels to absorb.

2. Digital Lighting

Digital lighting brings about comfort, convenience, but also efficiency and savings. With this home investment you can digitally and remotely manage the lights around your house. You don’t have to get up to flick the light switch, or even go upstairs to turn off the light you accidentally left on. This way, apart from making your life more comfortable, digital lights also make it easier to save energy and money.

he basis of this high-tech addition are LED bulbs. They can be any color you want, livening up your house, but more importantly, they are energy efficient. As opposed to the regular incandescent light bulbs, they convert much more electricity into light, which means they waste very little to no energy. They will last up to 25 times longer and therefore save you money on utility bills along the way.

Image courtesy of Scott Lewis on Flickr, published under CC BY 2.0
3. Smart Glass

Smart glass or switchable glass is a highly innovative, modern and multifunctional technological development. If you are renovating your house, and especially if you are changing or upgrading your windows, this is something you should seriously consider. It eliminates your need for curtains, blinds or shutters of any kind while maintaining your privacy.

Smart glass is an automated and programmable glass that prevents anyone from seeing inside, while still allowing the sun’s rays to shine in and keep you warm. The glass can be clear, translucent or completely dark and blocking the sun. This way it can keep your indoors cool during hot days. Additionally, and maybe most importantly, the glass has automatic sensors which can regulate the amount of light that comes in.

Image courtesy of Shtiever on Wikimedia Commons, published under CC BY-SA 3.0
4. Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat is an indispensable high-tech investment and should be incorporated in any home. It is a simple and affordable addition, yet a very significant one. It regulates and manages the heating and cooling in your household better and more efficiently.

It can be programmed for the best performance and optimal temperature, as well as controlled remotely through smartphones, for example. When there is no one home, they will lower the temperature or turn off, turning back on when you enter the house. And here is another benefit of these smart devices. They can be connected to other smart gadgets around the house, such as smart locks, so that they turn on when the door unlocks.

Image courtesy of Lindalnpijn on Wikimedia Commons, published under CC BY-SA 3.0
5. Smart Locks

With this intelligent addition, your house doors will automatically lock behind you, so you don’t have to worry whether you forgot to lock them. Smart locks can also be operated remotely, so you can lock or unlock the door in case you want to let someone in when you’re not home. These locks record all activity, and for added security, it will alert you whenever someone unlocks it.

Image courtesy of Scott Lewis on Flickr, published under CC BY 2.0
6. Surveillance Cameras

Having a security surveillance camera is the best way to record any activity in or around your house. Whether it is to keep intruders away from your home, or to monitor the activity within your house, you cannot go wrong with this investment.

Cameras, too, have developed and become smart, so now you can receive instant alerts to your phone of any suspicious activity, as well as monitor your household remotely, whether to keep an eye on your children, or to make sure everything is in order while you’re away.

Image courtesy of Sturm on Wikimedia Commons, published under CC BY 2.0
7. Vacuum Baseboards

This innovative addition to your home is also known as a central vacuum system, and it will upgrade the level of convenience as well as functionality in your household.

Vacuuming is hardly anyone’s favorite chore, especially if you live in a big house with many rooms. It takes up a lot of your time, you have to plug it and unplug it constantly, while getting tangled up in cords and hunching too long over the vacuum. This innovative solution solves all of those problems.

Vacuum baseboards, also known as vacuum units or sweep inlets, can be installed anywhere around your house, wherever you deem it convenient. They are then connected to the central vacuum system, which can also be installed in any place that is most suitable for you, such as the garage or under the stairs. When it’s time for cleaning, simply turn on the main switch and the central system will suck the dust and dirt through the inlets.

Image courtesy of Travelarz on Wikimedia Commons, published under CC BY-SA 3.0
Invest (in) Smart

Whether you are planning a remodel or are in the process of it, including some or all of these smart, high-tech investments would be a simple but a significant improvement. Many of them will go a long way towards making your house energy-efficient, some will increase your security, and some will help you with your everyday routines, making both you and your house more functional.

These investments are affordable, and will additionally save you money. Give them a try and you will see immediate change and long-term benefits.

Written by Matt James

Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice/item/1015614-20180302-7-high-tech-investments-to-include-in-your-next-home-improvement?rtmpage=

March 7, 2018   No Comments

Eight Must-Do’s Before You List Your Home For Sale

The Spring selling season is on, and if you’re considering listing your house, it’s time to get it in tip-top shape. You may think your home is already listing ready right now, but a real estate agent may not agree. These eight activities will help you put your best house forward.

Clean up that yard

You can’t underestimate the power of curb appeal. An unkempt yard, chipping paint, even a mailbox that’s seen better days can turn off a potential buyer – or turn one into a bargain hunter. And you don’t want either.

“Your home’s curb appeal is the first thing buyers see when they drive up to the property. Buyers immediately start assessing the exterior and landscaping, forming a knee-jerk first impression,” said Professional Staging. “This initial reaction is very powerful. It instantly sets the tone of the tour and will have an effect on how buyers perceive the rest of the property. If their first impression is a negative one, then the rest of the home will suffer for it. The state of a home’s exterior usually matches the interior. If the grass is long or patchy, the paint on the house is faded or peeling, and there are cracks in the driveway, then buyers are going to be very wary of what other kinds of maintenance issues could be awaiting them inside and in places that they can’t see. These issues instantly translate to dollar signs and stress for home buyers, so it’s likely they will move on to the competition to avoid them both.”

Consider your door

Chances are, you don’t look much at your front door because you come in and out of the garage. A buyer approaching your house will notice if your door isn’t pristine and may project the lack of pristine-ness onto the rest of the house. A fresh coat of paint is inexpensive but the impact is dramatic.


A cluttered house can mask its best qualities and also make potential buyers feel like it’s not as spacious as they want it to be. “Resist the urge to roll your eyes at this one,” said Family Handyman. “It is imperative that your home looks livable. Potential buyers may not be able to see past your clutter. Think of it this way – don’t move things you no longer want or need. Make decisions now and your house will sell faster and your move will be easier. Take one room, or even part of one room, at a time and dive in. Recycle or shred paper. Donate books, toys, clothing and duplicate household items. If you’re getting frustrated and you can’t deal with one more stack of papers or shoebox of old photos, put them in a plastic tub, label the tub and stack it somewhere out of the way.”


You want your home to be memorable, but for the right reasons – not because of your wall full of crosses or bookcase overflowing with antique figurines. Pack them away to neutralize the space. “The next step on your declutter list? You want to remove any distractions so the buyers can visualize themselves and their family living in the property,” Kipton Cronkite, a real estate agent with Douglas Elliman in New York, told Realtor.com. “He says that includes personal items and family photos, as well as bold artwork and furniture that might make your home less appealing to the general public. The goal is to create a blank canvas on which house hunters can project their own visions of living there, and loving it.”

Light bulbs, handles, and hardware, oh my!

Burned-out bulbs, loose handles, and hardware that’s worn, scratched, or rusted is easy to take care and can help your place look finished.

Give everything a good dusting

Look up! How’s that ceiling fan? You’d be surprised how a little thing like a dusty fan can impact a buyer and turn them into a non-buyer. Get out that duster and hit all the corners and window sills you never notice. And then clean all those windows so when you open all the blinds and drapes to let the sun shine in, the light doesn’t get blocked by smudges and fingerprints.

Walk through your home like you’re seeing it for the first time

Come in through the front door and examine every inch of the house. You’ve probably been ignoring little things that have just become part of the landscape. A scuffed baseboard here. A broken switchplate there. Even the pile of shoes in the front hall that you don’t even notice anymore. Potential buyers will, and these little things could be enough to turn them off.

“Once you’ve decided it’s time to sell your home, start to look at it with an objective eye,” said Family Handyman. “If you were the potential buyer, what red flags would you see when you walked around your house and yard?

Clean out your closets, your cabinets, and your pantry

Don’t fool yourself into thinking people won’t open doors and drawers and look through everything (Side tip: Hide your valuables before showings, just to be safe!). You don’t have to worry about being judged for your fashion sense—although, you might want to pack away those ‘80s parachute pants! You should be more worried about whether buyers will walk away because they think there isn’t enough closet or storage space, or it’s not efficient space.

You have to pack anyway since you’re moving, so start early. Empty out closets, cabinets, and storage areas so the space looks sufficient and nicely organized. For closets, the idea is to make them look filled, but not overfilled. Create space between hangers and fold other items neatly on shelves. Make sure there is ample space for shoes because, let’s face it, this could be a deal breaker for some people.

Written by Jaymi Naciri

Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/sellersadvice/item/1015645-20180305-eight-must-dos-before-you-list-your-home-for-sale?rtmpage=


March 7, 2018   No Comments