When you’re buying or selling a home, there are so many details to look after that it’s easy to miss something. One thing you don’t want to forget is insurance.
Once your property has sold, you’ll need to contact your insurance company to let them know the date that ownership of your property will be transferred (the “closing date”). They’ll arrange to cancel your insurance once you’re no longer the owner of that property.
If you’ll be taking possession of your new home, and leaving your current property vacant for a period of time, you’ll need to make sure both properties are insured. This may also apply to a condominium even if the unit is completely empty. (Contact your insurance company to ask about continuing liability coverage while discontinuing the insurance on contents.)
When you purchase a new home, don’t leave the insurance to the last minute. Contact your insurance company right away. Make sure they are aware of all the features of the new home that may reduce your premiums, such as alarms, and wired-in smoke detectors.
What to Look For-- Room by Room
When viewing a home for sale, many buyers look at the property from a “macro” perspective. They ask themselves questions like: “Is it large enough?”; “Are there enough bedrooms?”; “Is it in a nice neighborhood?” While those questions are important, it also pays to consider a potential new home from a “micro” perspective.
Here are some things to consider:
Living room and family room. Are they large enough to fit all the furniture? Are the rooms conducive to family get-togethers and entertaining? Do you need a separate living room and family room?
Kitchen. Is it important to have enough space to eat comfortably in the kitchen as well as the dining room? Does the kitchen have all the cupboard and other storage space you need? Will your fridge fit?
Bathroom. Is the main floor bathroom uncomfortably small? Does the ensuite bathroom have all the features you desire, such as a large tub and/or separate shower? Do you need double sinks?
Bedrooms. Is the master bedroom large enough to fit the bed and other furniture? Does it have the closet space you need? Are the other bedrooms large enough for your needs? (It’s a good idea to get the measurements of these rooms as it can be difficult to judge measurements during a viewing.)
Storage space. This is particularly important if you’re shopping for a condo. Does the storage space or locker have the space you need?
Closets. Are there enough closets for your needs? Is there a linen closet?
Garage. Homeowners use the garage for more than just cars. If you plan to use this space for storage or hobbies, check that the garage will be suitable for those purposes.
Want more tips on selecting your next dream home? Call today! 724.601.5646
Pat Mrkonja, RE/MAX Select
How Long Does It Take to Find a New Home?
If you’re planning to look for a new home sometime in the future, you may be wondering how long the process will take. How much time should you set aside for viewings? How many of the listed homes should you see?
One factor that impacts the home shopping process is how clearly you know what you want.
For example, if you’re certain you want a three bedroom backsplit, in an upscale neighborhood, then the process is going to be fairly simple. You’re just going to view properties that closely meet those criteria.
But if you’re the kind of person who simply says, “I’ll know it when I see it”, then you’ll need to look at several homes on the market. That means carving out plenty of room in your schedule for viewings.
As your REALTOR®, I can help you understand what’s available on the market and which homes are worth seeing. I can also help you determine how long the process will likely take, and show you ways to make the process go more quickly and smoothly.
Goal Setting 101
This is traditionally the month in which people set goals for the following year. But, unfortunately, most people who set goals - especially New Year’s resolutions - never achieve them.
How do you beat the odds? Here is the rundown of what the most popular experts advise.
Tony Robbins recommends that you, “Decide what you’re absolutely committed to achieving, take massive action, and notice what’s working or not. Then, keep changing your approach until you’ve achieved what you want.”
Jack Canfield, co-author of the Chicken Soup For The Soul series, says, “Write your goals down in detail and read that list every day. Then ask yourself, what can I do today to move closer to achieving one of my goals?”
When you’re feeling discouraged, motivational guru Zig Ziglar provides this simple truth: “You do everything better when you’re thinking positively than when you’re thinking negatively.”
And, although most are not superstar authors, social scientists who study goal achievement recommend that you focus on no more than five goals at a time, and mix performance goals such as “Lose 10 pounds” with learning goals such as “Learn how to cook five new nutritious meals.”
So, set a goal and achieve it. This is your year!
notable, quotable... quotes!
“Success doesn’t come to you. You go to it.”
“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”
“Whatever the mind [of a person] can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
Little Touch Ups That Make a Big Difference
You are probably already aware of the major things you need to do around your home to get it ready for sale. These include getting rid of clutter, doing minor repairs, and making everything clean and tidy so every room is as much of a showcase as possible.
But there are a myriad of little touch ups you can do that you may not have thought about before… touch ups that can make a big difference in how attractive your home looks to potential buyers.
Here are just a few:
Paint or replace the mailbox.
Add a couple of flowering plants to key areas, such as the dining room, living room, and just outside the front door.
Patch up any minor cracks in the driveway and walkways. (If there is a major crack, consider getting it repaired by a professional.)
Put out the welcome mat. Literally! If it's not clean and completely free of stains, replace it.
Clean your stainless steel kitchen sink using a special stainless steel cleaner and brightener. The effect will be dramatic; the sink will look like new.
Use a special spot cleaner to lift any stains from carpeted areas.
Replace plain or out-of-style light fixtures in the main areas of your home, such as the hallway and living room. Without spending a fortune, you can make a big difference in how these areas look.
Consider replacing the hardware on the doors and drawers of old kitchen cabinetry. That, along with some touch-up paint or varnish on worn areas, can make your older kitchen look young again.
These simple ideas can have a big impact on first impressions, yet they don't cost much to implement, and you can probably do most of them in less than a day.
Want more tips on making your home appealing to buyers? Call today.
Plan Your Move Well In Advance
One of the most common mistakes made by home buyers and sellers is not arranging for moving day well in advance. Even if you've just put your property on the market, or are only in the beginning stages of shopping for a new home, you should start planning for moving day now. If you don't, you might find yourself scrambling to make arrangements, which can be – to put it mildly – stressful.
Start now by researching moving companies and making a short list. You should also find economical sources of boxes, bubble wrap and other packaging materials you may need.
If you plan to do some or all of the move yourself, don't assume that uncle Ned is going to help you. Get rock solid commitments from any family or friends who have volunteered to be there on moving day.
Check Your Credit Report
Have you seen the humorous TV commercial that features someone lamenting the consequences of not having checked his credit score?
Of course, having something negative on your credit report is nothing to laugh about. When shopping for a home, it can even get in the way of securing a good mortgage.
If you don't know what your credit report says, it's relatively easy to find out. Just visit the websites of Equifax or Trans Union. You can order a copy of your credit report from either of these companies for a reasonable fee.
If there is any incorrect information about you – which isn't uncommon on credit reports – you can request an immediate correction.
If there is derogatory information that isn't a mistake – such as a few late payments – you're entitled to have your side of the story included in your credit report. For example, if you were unemployed for a few months, and that's the reason you were behind on a few bills, then it may be helpful to let lenders know.
When to Consider a Less-Than-Ideal Home
Obviously, when you’re searching for a new home, you want to find one that is ideal. It should be your next dream home. However, sometimes it pays to consider at least some properties that don’t meet all your criteria. After all, you never know whether one of them is actually your next dream home - in disguise!
Say you’re looking for a home with a beautiful kitchen - the kind you envy on TV cooking shows. Then, you view a property that has everything you need - except that big kitchen.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Can you fix it? Perhaps some redecorating or a renovation can turn that so-so kitchen into one you’ve always wanted. Take some time to imagine the possibilities.
2. Can you live with it? The kitchen might not have everything you want. It may be smaller than you’d hoped. But, can you make it work? Can you compromise a little given that the home has so many of the other features you want? Perhaps you can live with a smaller kitchen - that still looks great.
If you need help considering the possibilities and understanding your options, call today.
Smart Packing Tips for Moving Day
The last thing you need after a long moving day is to discover that a valuable item was damaged. That’s certain to dampen your spirits when you’re just getting settled into your new home. Here are some packing tips to help ensure that doesn’t happen:
Avoid worn-out or damaged boxes as they are more likely to tear open during a move.
Pack glass and similar items in bubble wrap or foam chips – but not too tightly. Include just enough to ensure there’s no rattling.
Use small boxes for heavier items. A big box of books is difficult to lift. (Experts say a box shouldn’t weigh more than 50 lbs.)
Use anti-static packing materials for sensitive electronics, such as computers, cameras, and flash-drives.
Purchase specialty packaging for items such as dishes, musical instruments, and valuable clothing. It’s worth the investment.
Don’t pack a box so full that there’s a bulge.
Wind and tie electrical cords.
Finally, if possible, personally carry irreplaceable items (such as family photographs) with you to your new
What a Buyer is Thinking While Viewing Your Home
Ask any good salesperson for an effective selling technique and he’ll probably say something like, “Understand the buyer. Try to figure out what she’s thinking.
That’s good advice for you to consider when you’re putting your home up for sale. You need to imagine what a buyer might be thinking while viewing your property, so you can prepare your home more effectively for that sale.
Here are some things buyers may be wondering:
Is this the type of home we’re looking for? Does it have the ideal number of bedrooms, etc.?
Are the rooms spacious enough for our needs?
Are there any repairs or other maintenance issues that need to be addressed?
How old is the property? Is there anything major, such as a furnace, that will need to be replaced soon?
What is the neighborhood like? Will we be happy living in this area? Is it safe?
Is this home going to fit our lifestyle? Is there an area for the kids to play? Is there ample room for entertaining? Is the dining room large enough for dinner with family and relatives?
Of course, these are only a few of the many questions a buyer may have while viewing your home.
The more you can anticipate these questions and prepare your home accordingly, the better the chances that you’ll sell it quickly and for a good price.
For example, remember that clutter will make a room appear smaller. So, make sure to de-clutter your home – especially the smaller spaces and cupboards.
If your house is in a desirable neighborhood, create a list of area features (i.e. local parks, access to public transit, walking paths, etc.) to help buyers appreciate the value of living there.
Basically, when you’re preparing your home for sale, think like a prospective buyer!