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Why You Should Hire A Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Why You Should Hire A Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

 

The prospect of selling your home can start a lot of wheels turning in your brain... Especially the wheels that think about your finances and budget.  At first glance, it may seem like a good idea to sell your home without the help of a real estate agent... Cutting commission costs should put a little extra money in your pocket, right? And, really, though, what exactly is the real estate agent doing that you can't do yourself?  Well, for starters...

 

 

Paperwork

 

 

There is a lot of paperwork involved in selling a home, and real estate agents not only know what paperwork needs to be filled out, they also know the rules and regulations that must be followed with the filling out of the paperwork.

 

Experience

 


A seasoned agent has likely experienced any number of complications surrounding  real estate transaction, and they can help you along with the entire process.  Although there are plenty of life experiences that are impossible to predict, an experienced agent can help anticipate problems before they occur.

 

Negotiations

 

 

A home is our most emotional possession.  The memories associated with a home can often make the sale a very difficult process for homeowners.  A real estate agent, though empathetic, does not have the same emotional connection to a home that an owner does, and, therefore, they are able to remove themselves from the emotional aspect of a sale, which can be integral in negotiating a deal.

 

Pricing

 

 

Your local real estate professional has an extensive knowledge of the local market, and they can recommend a price range at which to list your home.  A seller is always free to list their home at whatever price they choose, but a real estate professional can help a seller understand what a reasonable expectation can be.

 

Current market conditions

 

 

The real estate market is ever-changing, and it varies from community to community.  Because an agent’s livelihood is based upon a thorough understanding of the market, they can prove to be extremely helpful in determining the state of the market for your home’s price range, availability, and demand.

 

Recommendations

 

 

Because seasoned real estate agents have years of experience in the field, they are familiar with local professionals related to the selling of real estate, including inspectors, handymen, painters, appraisers, and more.  They can recommend a few of their favorites, should you find yourself in need of a service.

 

Advertising

 

 

Agents not only have access to the many websites that buyers use to find homes; they also have access to the Multiple Listing Service in your area, which allows every local agent to find your home quickly and easily. 

 

Staging

 

 

Staging is only one of the many aspects of a listing that help a home sell, but with the help of an experienced agent, you can make sure that your home is easily seen by potential buyers as “their home.”

 

Scheduling

 

 

Scheduling showings is another way that a seller’s life is made easier by a real estate agent.  Showings, inspections, appraisals, and more will need to be scheduled during the time your home is on the market. An agent works as the middle man between all these people and the seller, often making it as easy as the click of a button to confirm or decline an appointment. 

 

Answering Questions After Closing

 

 

An agent does not cease being a resource for sellers after closing day.  Agents work hard and generate much of their future business through referrals.  Because their business relies so much on recommendations from past clients, a good agent will always be available to answer any questions you may have, no matter how long it is after they were actively representing you.

 

 

Overall, there are a LOT of confusing aspects of a home sale, and knowing that you have an experienced ally in your corner through it all can make a HUGE difference to not only your mindset as the deal moves forward; it can also help you be sure that you are getting the best deal possible.



8 Tips for Restoring an Old Home

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

8 Tips for Restoring an Old Home

 

 

It’s hard to argue that old homes seem to be loaded with a unique character, and each one is different.  Older homes have a charm about them that is almost impossible to mimic with a newer home.  The draw to restore old homes comes from these principles, and they are well-founded.  Even those who prefer newer homes to live in can’t seem to resist the “Before and After” looks of an old home restoration.  That being said, the task of restoring an old home isn’t for everyone.  However, if it is something to which you would like to commit (after much careful and realistic consideration), these tips may prove themselves helpful.

 

 

Remember: Restore, not Replace

 

An older home is given its character by its unique features.  The high ceilings, the crown molding of the cabinetry, the old brass door handles, the windows that stretch almost to the floor.  Your goal is to update the necessities but maintain the integrity of the old home.  Rather than replace those old windows with newer, more energy-efficient ones, consider resealing the panes or installing efficient storm windows to the exterior of the window frame.  Rather than buying new, more tightly-fitting and tidy wood flooring, consider sanding and refinishing the original wood floors.  The goal of restoring an old home should be to honor the home’s structure and character, while modernizing it through decorating, appliances, and energy efficiency.  Additionally, original doors and windows mean a lot to an old home’s value. 

 

Don’t Give in to Fads

 

Open floor plans are wonderful.  It’s no wonder that they came into the scene with a wave of popularity and have maintained that status for a long time.  When buying an old home, it can be tempting to knock down walls to give that old home an open floor plan… However, despite their seemingly never-ending reign at the moment, their time, too, will pass.  Open floor plans didn’t exist in most older homes, and, therefore, they don’t really do a whole lot to maintain the integrity of the old home. A great alternative to completely changing the floor plan is widening doorways between rooms.  Here, you can utilize almost all of your home’s original framing while giving the flow of the home a lot more flexibility. 

 

Save the Flooring!

 

If at all possible, save the original hardwood flooring that you found under the carpet in the living room.  Yes, it’s old, discolored, and possibly damaged, but it can turn out beautifully.  Regardless of whether or not you plan on hiring a professional to restore the floors for you, you should still have one come for a consultation.  Old carpet backing often contained asbestos, and you want to be sure that you don’t have any on your floors before you begin sanding. 

 

Clean the Tile

 

Before you go all-out on tearing out that old tile, give it a really, really good scrubbing.  It can be easy to look at old tile and think:  A. WOW- Outdated, and B. GROSS- Very dirty.  However, with the right cleaning supplies,  you can get that old tile to shine again, and after looking at the refreshed tile for a week or so, you may be struck with an amazing idea for a beautiful restored room!

 

Keep the Cabinets

 

It can be tempting for those buying an older home to want to rip down the old cabinets in the kitchen and replace them with tidy, clean, and fresh newly-made substitutes.  However, the melamine and MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) cabinets that are readily available are not made to last in the long-term.  Your cabinets, however rough they may look now, were made to last for many years. Strip them, sand them, and refinish them.  The work put in will pay off exponentially. 

 

Keep Counters Authentic

 

If you plan on updating the counters in your kitchen or bathroom, stick to a material that was available in the period your home was built.  A Formica kitchen top will not have been in a home that was built in 1902.  By using materials that were available in the time your home was built, even if the material wasn’t originally used in the home, you are keeping the time frame cohesive throughout the home. 

 

Refinish Sinks and Tubs

 

Just like with everything mentioned on this list, these things lend an awful lot to the character of your old home.  There are many ways that you can modernize a bathroom while maintaining an original restored sink and tub. A new coat on porcelain might cost a few hundred dollars, but it will cost less than gutting your entire bathroom and having a new bath/shower installed.

 

Don’t Bite off More Than You Can Chew

 

The thought of restoring an old home can be enticing to many individuals, but before you jump in to that task, be sure to do your research and due diligence.  A home with a good solid structure and that requires mostly cosmetic updates, though still very time-consuming and difficult, is worth restoring much more than a home with foundation or pest issues.  Before signing the paperwork, it’s a good idea to consult some professionals to discuss what exactly would need to happen for the changes you are wanting to make.  From there, you can better assess whether or not that particular home is right for you.


Overall, the main thing that a Buyer should be concerned with when considering whether or not to Buy an old home is honesty to one's self.  A buyer needs to be aware enough to realize that a project rarely gets completed without hiccups, and that there is a lot of work and time invested when re-doing an old home.  If it is something that you decide you are capable of, just remember to have fun while doing it!

 

 

 

How to Hire the Best Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage


How to Hire the Best Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home


Selling a home is an overwhelming task, and one thing any seller shouldn't worry about is whether or not their agent is qualified to sell their home.




Use the Internet!


Narrow the list of potential agents in your area by simply doing a bit of online research into their online marketing.  In today's digital world, in which most people are using their phones to look at homes, it's of the utmost importance that the agent you hire focuses on quality photography and social media marketing.  You will be able to significantly narrow your list of potential agents just by dismissing all of them who don't utilize professional photography and social media marketing, making your search for an agent that much easier.


Ask to See Their Credentials


There are plenty of designations and credentials beyond the required education that a person must acquire to become a real estate agent.  An agent who has these credentials, such as Realtor® (member of The National Association of Realtors®) or ABR (Accredited Buyer's Representative), has displayed a genuine committment to their industry and education.  You should strive to hire an agent who has at least a few of these designations, because their having acquired those titles indicates a level of commitment and professionalism within their industry.


Work with a Full-Time Agent


When individuals are first breaking into the real estate industry, they often can only work part-time as an agent to still have a steady source of income as they establish themselves in their new career.  Hiring a full-time agent usually means that you are working with a committed and experienced agent who has only one career to focus on.  This allows them to dedicate more of their time to their career, meaning that they are dedicated to achieving success (which includes selling your home)!


Even if you have found who you consider to be the perfect agent, it's always encouraged that you meet with a few of the other front-runners, because you never know how you will click with someone.  Even if you meet the best agent in the area, you might end up not liking his or her personality.  In case that happens, make appointments with a few agents and see who you like the most, and weigh that with the different professional practices they use to maximize your listing's chances of selling quickly and for the most money.


9 Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

9 Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make

 

Buying a home is a complicated process, as it should be.  After all, the biggest purchase of your life should probably require necessary measures, time, and “getting all your ducks in a row.”  While it may be understandable that the process of buying a home is intensive, this certainly doesn’t help homebuyers navigate the housing or lending markets.  There are many mistakes that can potentially be made by home buyers, and some, in particular, tend to be made by first-time homebuyers.  Between the stress, misinformation or lack of information, and excitement of buying a first home, there are a lot of errors that can be made along the way.  Assembled here are a number of such examples, in hopes that they may get first-time homebuyers to think about these issues and how they may avoid them.

 

 


Not Attempting to Gain a Better Understanding of the Process

 

No one expects a first-time homebuyer to know the ins and outs of the housing and lending markets and processes.  The first thing a first-time homebuyer should realize is that it is okay that they not know everything; in fact, it’s okay to know nothing at all.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions.  Many first-time homebuyers make the mistake of not asking enough questions during the process of buying  home, for a number of reasons.  Being sure about the processes involved in buying a home help to ensure that a Buyer is truly happy with their purchase in the long run.  Actually, one of the best ways for first-time homebuyers to begin the process of buying a home is assembling a list of questions they have for both the real estate agent and the lender. 


Thinking You Can Do It Alone

 

When in doubt of how to complete a certain task, the best thing to do is consult a professional.  The same is true when someone is looking to Buy a home.  Meet with a few real estate agents and see how they suit you.  If one doesn’t quite click with you, there is nothing wrong with moving on to a different agent.  You should feel comfortable and confident in your real estate agent, because they will be helping you through the process.  It will be a lot more enjoyable if you are paired up with someone with whom you feel comfortable.   Your real estate agent can recommend a few lenders for you to contact, so that you can begin determining which of those individuals you will choose to work with.   It is important that you feel confident in your lender and his or her professionalism, trustworthiness, and abilities.  After all, he or she will be helping you finance your biggest investment.

 

Not Making Your Goals Clear

 

When speaking with both your real estate agent and your lender, it is important that you make your goals clear.  While your real estate agent can help you decide which characteristics of a home are most important to you, you need to be honest and open during these conversations.  Your agent will know the right questions to ask you to help you decide what you are looking for, but only if you make it clear that you need help and don’t know where to start.  Your lender needs to know what your financial goals are to help you decide what kind of loan you should be getting, as well as what price range of home you should be looking for.  It’s not just about what you can afford with your income; it’s about what you can afford with your income and other financial goals, such as saving.

 

Failing to Take Saving into Account when Budgeting

 

What you can afford doesn’t simply boil down to what you are comfortable paying each month when considering other expenses.  You should also be considering planning for your future and saving money when determining what you can afford.  Too often, this aspect of a budget is overlooked by first-time homebuyers.


Not Knowing (or Ignoring) What You Can Afford


The excitement of owning a home often overtakes first-time buyers, leading them to neglect assessing what they can afford, as well as what their budget means to what kind of home they will find.  While it’d be nice if our first homes were all our final homes, and we could afford our dream house right off the bat, that’s just not realistic.  Too often first-time buyers get mixed up in their ideas of their “perfect home” and their “perfect for right now” home.


This concept is also important for first-time buyers to consider for a different reason.  Often, buyers who have never owned a home before realize that their budgets are limited and decide that they will purchase a home that needs a lot of work, a “fixer-upper” and make it their own on the cheap.  Assuming that a fixer-upper is cheaper than buying a move-in ready home is naïve and, often, inaccurate.  Even professionals who know what they’re doing can end up sinking a lot of money into a home that needs work.  If you are considering purchasing a fixer-upper as your first home, make a list of all the projects that will need to be done for you to update the home, do a little research, and start weighing the actual costs.  Don’t forget, also, that most of the time, any single project ends up costing more than expected, because projects usually hit snags along the way.


Failing to Acknowledge that Needs/Wants will Change over Time

 

While it is important that buyers consider that their first home will probably not be their forever home, it is also important to realistically analyze how long they think they will be in their house.  A third-floor condo may be great for right now, but if a Buyer is planning on getting a dog in the near future (while they are still planning on being at that residence), they should be considering the two flights of stairs for every trip outside with their dog. 


Becoming Distracted by Over-the-Top Features

 

It may be extremely cool that a house you looked at has a wine cellar or pool in the backyard.  However, if you don’t have the money to ever have the ability to stock that wine cellar, or if you don’t have the money or means to maintain that pool, neither of those features will retain their “cool” factor.  First-time homebuyers often make the mistake of becoming enamored with special features of a home, even if they are impractical or out of the range of what can be afforded.

 

Not Hiring an Inspector


Even if an inspection is not required by your mortgage lender, get one.  Even if the home is being sold as is, get one.  Even if the cost will come our of your pocket, get one.  Regardless of the circumstances, you should make an effort to know what exact home you are purchasing.

 

Changing Finances During the Home Search

 

Your pre-approval or pre-qualification is considered from the current financial situation you were in when you sought it out from your lender.  The numbers will change if your financial situation changes.  Change jobs, and your qualifications change.  Get a car loan, and your qualifications change.  Take out a line of credit to furnish your new house, and your qualifications change.  Make a late payment, and your qualifications change.  It is so very important, during your Home Search and especially during the period of time between signing a contract and closing on a house, that none of your financial situations change. 


Overall, there are so many things that can be done wrong when buying a house.  Without experience in the process, it’s very difficult to know what to do and what not to do.  That’s why it’s so important to learn all you can and be honest with the professionals you are dealing with. 

 

Did we forget something?  Let us know in the comments!

Home-Buying Dictionary: Words and Definitions to Know for Anyone Buying a Home

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Home-Buying Dictionary

 

Words & Definitions to Know for Anyone Buying a Home

 

Buying a home is a complicated process, and first-time homebuyers, in particular, can find the process overwhelming.  Anyone who has bought a home can attest to the fact that there are many steps to buying a home, and that there is a lot of room for mistakes to be made during the process.  This prospect is daunting enough to a first-time homebuyer, and to make things more complicated, they often are faced with a feeling of ignorance due to not being familiar with the common phrases and definitions that are associated with real estate transactions.  This is a beginner’s guide to real estate terms that are important to know.

 


Acceptance

Acceptance happens when the party who received an offer accepts its terms and thereby creates a contract between the two parties.  If a Buyer puts forth an offer to purchase real estate and receives acceptance from the seller, the contract is begun.  Likewise, if a seller counteroffers the buyers’ original offer, and the buyer accepts the terms of the counteroffer, acceptance has been reached and the contract is binding.

 

Appraisal

An appraisal is an estimation of a home or property’s market value.  Appraisals are completed by licensed appraisers, and they look at comparable homes that recently sold near the home in question.  Appraisals are typically ordered by lenders during the home financing process to ensure that the investment the lender is considering is a worthy one.  If the appraisal results indicate that the home’s value is less than the loan amount, the lender may refuse to finance the loan.

 

Closing

The closing date is when the ownership of the home is transferred from the seller to the Buyer.  A closing takes place at a title company, where both buyer and seller will settle all credits and debits before signing the paperwork to transfer ownership of the home.  The certificate of title, abstract, and deed are prepared by an attorney, and the buyer signs the lender's mortgage paperwork.  The closing date is typically established during the negotiation stage of buying a home, but it is subject to certain criteria that could cause the date to change.  The closing essentially finalizes the original contract entered into by the buyer and seller.

 

Closing Costs

Closing costs are expenses other than the cost of the property in the transaction, and they are paid during the closing.  Closing costs can be incurred by either the Buyer or seller.  Closing costs typically include such expenses as the escrow fees, the real estate agent commission, the attorney fee, the appraisal, the inspection, the attorney’s fee, and more.  Some closing costs are tax-deductible, so be sure to save your closing statement and have it handy, come tax-time.

 

Commission

The commission is the money typically paid by the seller to a real estate agent as compensation for finding a Buyer and completing the sale.  The commission can be a flat fee or a percentage of the sale price, depending on the agency agreement.

 

Contingency

Contingency is a word that means that a certain condition must be met before a contract is legally binding.  When a contract is contingent on something, a provision in the contract clearly states that some or all of the terms of the contract will be altered or voided by the occurrence of a specific event, usually by specific dates leading up to the closing.  For instance, a contingency clause in a contract can state that if the Buyer doesn’t approve the inspection report for the property, the buyer can back out of the contract.  The two most common contingencies in the home buying process are that the home must pass the inspection and the borrower must be approved for the loan.

 

Counteroffer

A counteroffer occurs when a seller has made an offer on a property that rendered a response of a different offer from the seller.  When a counteroffer is made on real property, it essentially nullifies the original offer, giving the Buyer a chance to refuse and not be accountable for their initial offer in any way.  A counteroffer is intended to begin negotiations for a transaction to occur, depending on the amount and terms agreed upon by both the buyer and the seller.

 

Disclosure

A disclosure is a legal document that a seller is required to sign when listing their home for the purpose of disclosing any major physical defects in the house that they are aware of, as well as the presence of lead-based paint, radon, or other potentially hazardous materials, conditions, or contaminants.  A Buyer, before asking their agent to prepare an offer for a home, should ask to see the disclosures to make sure that there are no major hazards within the home that would prompt them to not move forward with the purchase.  When putting in an offer, a buyer will be required to sign the disclosures to acknowledge that they have read and understood them. 

 

Downpayment

The downpayment is the amount of money to be paid by the Buyer to the seller upon signing the closing paperwork.  The buyers’ loan amount is the downpayment subtracted from the purchase price from the home.

 

Earnest Money

Earnest money is a deposit made to the seller from the Buyer.  An earnest money deposit is intended to show the sellers the buyers’ good faith in their offer and intent to proceed with the transaction.  If the sale goes through, the earnest money deposit counts toward the downpayment of the home.  Unless the offer to purchase expressly states that the earnest money will be refundable if the sale does not go through, the buyer typically forfeits the earnest money in the event that the contract is not executed.  It is important to note that an earnest money deposit is not necessary to offer; it is simply to imply good faith to the seller.  Furthermore, it is not necessary that earnest money be money at all; it can be in any form that is deemed acceptable by both buyer and seller.

 

Escrow

Escrow typically refers to the escrow account, in which funds are held until the occurrence of a sale, afterwhich the funds are released to a designated individual.  Typically the escrow account holds money from the Buyer for the lender; the escrow account will store the mortgage payments, which can consist of the principal, interest, and insurance. 

 

Home Inspection

A home inspection is usually ordered by the Buyer in a real estate transaction for the purpose of obtaining a report on the home’s condition.  A home inspection is carried out by a licensed inspector, who, after completion of inspection, provides both buyer and seller with a report detailing any concerns, repairs, maintenance, or potential issues that exist within the home. 

 

Home Warranty

Sometimes offered by a seller to give their home a competitive edge in the marketplace, a home warranty covered the costs of repairs to specified parts of the home over a specified period of time.  The home warranty, if offered, is provided by the seller as a condition of the sale.  However, a Buyer can request a home warranty and write it into their offer on the home.

 

Homeowners' Association

A homeowners’ association is an organization made up of residents in a neighborhood who are concerned with managing and maintaining common areas of a subdivision or condominium complex.  Many homeowners’ associations require a monthly or annual fee from residents of the neighborhood that contributes to the maintenance of those common areas.  The association is also responsible for enforcing any covenants and restrictions that apply to homes in the neighborhood.

 

Homeowners’ Insurance

Homeowners’ insurance is a form of insurance specifically to protect a home and its possessions from damage.  A lender will require some documentation of homeowners’ insurance while processing your loan, because the lender also wishes to protect his investment in your home.

 

Mortgage

A mortgage is a lien on real property given by the Buyer to a lender as security for money borrowed.  The loan term, interest rate, and type of loan within the mortgage is typically decided upon by an in-depth assessment of a client's finances and current situation with the help of a lender.  

 

Multiple Listing Service

The Multiple Listing Service is a computer-based service commonly referred to as the MLS.  It provides real estate agents a number of services and benefits.  Agents use the MLS to disburse their listings to other agents, so that any agents working with buyers can easily see if the property is something that their client would be interested in.  An agent can also look to the MLS to get comparable properties to help the seller decide on a fair and reasonable asking price for their home.  The MLS isn’t just a tool for agents, however.  The MLS also serves as an exporter of listings and their information to other websites that the public has access to, such as REALTOR.COM or Zillow.

 

Offer

When you find the home that you would like to purchase, your real estate agent will prepare an offer to be submitted to the seller.  This offer contains the date of your offer, a description of the property, the amount of your earnest money deposit, the amount of money you are wanting to pay for the property, financing details, your name and address as well as the seller’s name and address, the closing date, and any other special requirements or contingencies you’d want to ask for.

 

Pre-Approval

Pre-Approval takes place after pre-qualification, and it tends to be a much more complicated and involved process than pre-qualification.  For pre-approval, potential borrowers will complete a mortgage application and supply the lender with all the documentation necessary for them to complete an extensive examination of your credit and finances.  After this analyzation, the lender can tell you the specific mortgage amount for which you are approved, meaning that you will have a more concrete idea of what homes you can look for.  With pre-approval, potential borrowers then receive a conditional commitment in writing for an exact loan amount, even if the potential Buyer hasn’t yet found a property they’re interested in.  Pre-approval usually happens after finding a home on which to make an offer, but it can be done during the Home Search.  Doing this step earlier can actually give potential buyers an advantage with a potential seller, because it’s one less step that must be completed for the contract to continue.  Once a buyer has found the home they are wanting to purchase, they only need to fill in the property information and they are ready to proceed with funding.

 

Pre-Qualification

Pre-qualification is the initial step in the mortgage process, and it should be done prior to beginning the Home Search.  The process of getting pre-qualified allows you to discuss any goals or needs you may have with your lender, and your lender can explain your various options and give his or her recommendations.  The pre-qualification process begins by supplying your lender with your overall financial situation, including debt, income, and assets.  The lender then analyzes your situation and can give you an idea of the mortgage amount you will likely qualify for.  Often, the pre-qualification process can be done simply, quickly, and over the phone or online.  The reason that this step should be done before the home search begins is because it allows buyers to look only at homes in their price range.  Often, without prequalification, a Buyer will fall in love with a home outside of their price range, and will subsequently be let down by every home that comes on the market, no matter how perfect or lovely the home may be. 

 

Restrictive Covenants

Private restrictions limiting the use of real property. Restrictive covenants are created by deed and may "run with the land," binding all subsequent purchasers of the land, or may be "personal" and binding only between the original seller and Buyer. The determination whether a covenant runs with the land or is personal is governed by the language of the covenant, the intent of the parties, and the law in the State where the land is situated. Restrictive covenants that run with the land are encumbrances and may affect the value and marketability of title. Restrictive covenants may limit the density of buildings per acre, regulate size, style or price range of buildings to be erected, or prevent particular businesses from operating or minority groups from owning or occupying homes in a given area. (This latter discriminatory covenant is unconstitutional and has been declared unenforceable by the U.S. Supreme Court.)

 

Survey

A map or plat made by a licensed surveyor showing the results of measuring the land with its elevations, improvements, boundaries, and its relationship to surrounding tracts of land. A survey is often required by the lender to assure him that a Building is actually sited on the land according to its legal description.

 

Underwriting

The process by which a lender decides whether to make a loan to a potential home Buyer based on an in-depth analysis of credit, employment, assets, and other factors and the weighing of this risk to an appropriate rate, term, and loan amount.

 

Zoning Ordinances

Zoning ordinances are the regulations set forth by local government that dictate what kind of property use can be utilized within a certain property.  For instance, some zoning restrictions will prevent property being utilized as farm land.  Zoning ordinances also are regulatory forces regarding Building permits and what kind of improvements can be made to property.

 

While this isn't a complete list of every term that a Buyer will be exposed to during the Home Search and purchase process, it provides a basic knowledge of terms, at the least.  It is important for homebuyers to ask questions during the process, if ever they feel confused about what is happening or like things are too moving too fast.  Choose an agent that you are comfortable with and who suits your personality.  During the lending process, too, it is important that you choose a lender with whom you feel comfortable with and who gave you the best options for your situation.  Never be afraid to ask questions, because professionals in the industry know that there is a lot to know.  They have no problem helping you along the way.

What to Do After You Buy a House

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

You Bought a House!  …Now What?

 

There are some things that you can do when you move into a new house to improve the life of your appliances and fixtures and improve security, among other things.  Some of these things are common sense ideas, and some of them probably wouldn’t be brought to mind unless specifically identified.  For those who haven’t moved in many years, as well as those who are first-time homebuyers, remembering to take all these important measures when you move into a new place can be overwhelming, so we compiled this list of things that new homeowners should be doing when they move into a new house.

 

 


Change the Locks

 


 

The first and most important thing you should do when you move into a new place is change the locks on all the exterior doors.  You may know and trust the previous owners of the home, but you can never know how many other people may have a spare key.  It’s always best to have a locksmith scheduled for day one in the new house.

 

Transfer Utilities

 

 

After your closing, you will want to transfer all the utilities into your name.  If you are wanting to have cable or internet in your home, you will want to schedule the installation as soon as possible, so that you will have those services when you move in. 

 

Home Insurance

 

 

You will want to be sure to have your home insured as soon as possible, because no one plans that their home should catch fire or be hit by a bad storm.  Talk to your insurance agent about what coverage plans work best for you and your needs, and it’d be a good idea to talk to a few other agents to see what they would recommend and what their rates would be, comparatively.

 

File Important Documents

 

 

When you get your closing statement, make two copies of it, and file the original in a fireproof safe or at your safety deposit box.  The copies can be kept in a home binder to help you keep track of all the documents with your new home.  In this binder, you can keep copies of any important paperwork, as well as things like paint swatches and receipts. 

 

Contact Your Accountant

 

 

There are many costs that come along with buying a home, and some of those are deductible on your next year’s taxes.  Take one of the copies of your closing statement to your accountant, and he or she should be able to tell you what expenses you can use to your advantage when filing taxes next year. 

 

Photograph It

 

 

Before you begin moving things into your new home, photograph each room, fixture, and appliance.  You probably also want to photograph your possessions; at the very least, you should photograph your most expensive possessions.  No one likes to think about the worst-case scenario, especially on an exciting day like the first day in your new home, but the fact of the matter is that accidents do happen, and you should be aware of what was in your home, so keep those photos in a safety deposit box or store the files in the cloud.  To be sure that you are photographing the right things, call your insurance agent to ask his or her advice on what to focus on.

 

Get Familiar with Your New Home

 

 

Take a good walk around your home and familiarize yourself to all the important places and things.  For instance, it’s important that you locate your home’s main water shut-off valve so that you will be able to minimize damage in the event that a pipe bursts.  Label all the breakers on your breaker box.  Check that there are no leaks in your plumbing and under your sinks.  Check your attic to see if you need to add more insulation to save on heating and cooling costs.  Make sure that all home maintenance projects that need addressing sooner, rather than later, are close to being addressed.  As you are doing this, make a list of everything in your new home that needs updated or repaired, and then rearrange the items on that list in order of importance.  To go one step further, add dates for when you would like those tasks completed to the list to keep yourself on track and make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything.

 

Pest Control

Before you move into your new home, you should consult a pest control specialist to have him or her come to your house to inspect for any possible infestations or pest issues.  They can also do a preemptive spray for common bugs.  Especially if the previous owners of the home you are moving into had pets, you should ask a pest control specialist about having your home sprayed for fleas.

 

Deep Clean

 

 

You want to walk into your new home and feel excited; you certainly don’t want to walk inside and wonder how many germs are hanging around from the previous owner.  This is why it is important to deep clean your home before you move in.  If you wish to do the deep cleaning yourself, that’s fine, but if you wish to focus on other things during the move, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a professional to come clean for you.  Here is a list of what you should be focusing on while cleaning:

-  Carpets

 Steam clean any and all carpeting in your new home… After running over the floors with a vacuum a few times, of course.

-  Floors

Even if you don’t have carpets, be sure to do a deep clean on all your flooring surfaces, even behind the refrigerator.  A newly scrubbed floor will make your new home truly feel like yours.

-  Kitchen

Everyone knows how quickly a kitchen can get dirty… and not just cluttered or messy, but downright gross.  That’s a great reason why you should do an extreme deep clean of your kitchen when you move in.  You don’t want to be thinking of someone else’s germs as you’re cooking your first meal in your new home.

-  Bathrooms

Similarly to kitchens, bathrooms tend to be havens for germs and all things unsanitary.  Give your bathroom a complete scrub-down, including wiping the walls down with a damp cloth.  You will feel so much better knowing that the bathroom of your new home is fresh.

 

Air Conditioning and Furnace

 

 

When you move into your new place, one of the first things you should do is change your air filters.  This can save a lot of money on heating and cooling, as well as giving you a definite time of when it was most recently replaced so you can get set up on a regular maintenance schedule.

To ensure that your furnace and air conditioner have a long life, it is important to have them routinely serviced.  As a new homeowner, you never know for sure how often and how recently the heating or air conditioning systems have been serviced.  It’s also a worthwhile endeavor, because it can mean saving on your energy bills, as well!

 

Change Address

 

 

Before you move in, you will want to submit a forward request to your post office, so that the mail addressed to you at your old address will be re-routed to your new address.  It’s also important that you let other service providers, friends, and family know of your new address, as forward requests are only good for so long.  Once they expire, mail addressed to you at your old address will be sent back to the sender.  Most importantly, you should let your bank, credit card company, employer, service providers, and friends and family know of your change of address.

 

Smoke Detectors & CO Monitors

 

 

When you first move in, you will want to change the batteries in all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.  Even if the batteries inside them are still good, it’s recommended that you use those batteries elsewhere and put new ones in your detectors.  This way, you will easily be able to keep track of the schedule to change their batteries, since they will all have been changed on the same day.  

 

Get Moving!

 

 

No one, I repeat, no one, enjoys moving.  It may be exciting to get a new home, but the task of packing and unpacking all of one’s possessions is not exactly a walk in the park.  We have put forth some resources to help those looking to move in the near future.  To see our tips on moving, click here.

 

Enjoy Your New Home

 

 

The most important thing you can do when you move into your new home is enjoy the excitement that comes along with it.  Don’t get overwhelmed with the home buying process or the moving process.  These lists serve as a tool to help home buyers be more proactive and feel that they are more organized and in control of the mania that can come along with a home purchase.  At one point during closing day and the days that follow, allow yourself to just enjoy the excitement!

 

 

 

 

While this list is helpful, it is not meant to be comprehensive, as with all of our posts.   Hopefully it helped you think of a few things you should do when closing day comes around.

2017 St. Louis Housing Forecast

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

2017 St. Louis Real Estate Forecast

 

2016 was a great year for real estate, and, as we look ahead to 2017, there are general predictions that can be made, both nationally and locally.  While national trends always have an effect on local markets, that doesn’t mean that what happens nationally will apply to anyone’s local market across the board.  However, to better understand and expect what’s to come in your local market, it’s important to keep in mind what’s happening nationally.

 

 

Realtor.com® has presented a comprehensive list of expectations for the 2017 national housing market.  In this forecast, they have indicated some important trends.  Over the last few years, the real estate market has been growing rapidly.  This trend is expected to slow in 2017, but, although that seems alarming to the state of the housing market, it actually indicates that the market is finally stabilizing.  The national real estate market is expected to slow in 2017, but it is also expected to maintain moderate growth.  Nationally, home prices are expected to increase 3.9%, and existing home sales are expected to increase 1.9%.  These are both great announcements for sellers, because it translates to the fact that sellers will be, generally, getting more money for their homes in the coming year.  For buyers, there may be indications that the time to Buy in the US is earlier in the year, because interest rates are expected to reach 4.5% this year.  Realtor.com® is also forecasting that home ownership rates will stabilize at 63.5% after bottoming out at 63.9% in 2016.  They are also forecasting that new home sales are expected to grow 10%

 

There are certain trends that are driving the 2017 market predictions.  For instance, there will be a surge in buyers, leading to a seller’s market, due to the fact that many people will be looking to Buy homes this year.  There are two major demographics expecting to drive the market, Millennials and Baby Boomers.  Millennials have reached an age where they are thinking about marriage and children, leading them to desire home ownership over rental.  Baby Boomers, on the other hand, are thinking about downsizing, now that they are looking toward retirement and their kids have grown and left their homes.  These two huge groups will comprise the majority of the market this year.  Also predicted by Realtor.com® is that there are expected to be fewer homes on the market, leading to fast-moving markets.

The above information, predictions, and statistics all provided by Realtor.com® (http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/top-real-estate-trends-2017/)

 

Looking forward to 2017 on a local level is best done by looking back to the numbers for the end of 2016 by St. Louis REALTORS®.  Anyone close to the housing market can tell you that November is historically a slower month in home sales, but that was far from the truth for November 2016, when home sales jumped an incredible 31%.  Comparatively, 1,438 homes sold in November 2016, while in 2015, 1,094 homes sold.  Even with strong sales, home prices remained affordable at $164,500, despite a slight increase from the previous November, when the median sales price was $150,000.  The amount of time that homes were on the market also decreased from 172 to 117 in November 2016 from November 2015.

 

According to John Gormley, St. Louis REALTORS® CEO, there are two trends that drove this jump in sales for November 2016.  St. Louis is maintaining a level of affordable housing, and buyers are also concerned about rising interest rates, driving them to take the plunge and enter the market.  “Those two drivers served as the underpinnings of our whopping double-digit home sales growth in November.  We’ve discussed the remarkable housing affordability in St. Louis throughout 2016.  Obviously, buyers have been listening and paying attention to the Federal Reserve’s public comments about raising interest rates,” says Gormley. (http://www.stlrealtors.com/wp-content/uploads/November2016HousingReportpressrelease.pdf).  As indicated by the national predictions, it is likely that these circumstances will continue driving trends for 2017, as well.

 

As for the 2017 outlook, it looks strong, but if there’s anything that November 2017 taught us, it’s that sometimes the best predictions can be wrong.  “It’s true no one knows exactly what interest rates will do in the coming year, but there’s a good bet they won’t be going down.  So, if you’ve been waiting to Buy a home, it’s time to jump off the fence as mortgage rates are expected to increase at least two or three times next year,” Gormley continues.  “What that means for buyers in St. Louis is that it’s time to engage a St. Louis REALTOR® to find your home and lock in the best rate now, so you can Buy the home you want at a price you can afford.” (http://www.stlrealtors.com/wp-content/uploads/November2016HousingReportpressrelease.pdf).

The above information, predictions, and statistics all provided by St. Louis REALTORS® (http://www.stlrealtors.com/wp-content/uploads/November2016HousingReportpressrelease.pdf)

 

 

Southern Illinois' 2017 Housing Forecast

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Southern Illinois Housing Market Forecasts for 2017

 

2016 was a good year for real estate, and the trends tracked in that year are giving housing market and financial forecasters a lot of good information regarding the trends that will come with this new year.

 

By looking at the trends that were happening in 2016, we can get a better idea of what will happen in 2017.

 

 

Buyers in Illinois were extremely motivated in November, and because of that, sellers benefitted.  To start out 2017, the trend seems to be indicating an increase in Illinois home sales.  Home sales in Illinois during November 2016 gained momentum, as indicated by double-digit increases in annual home sales.  Statewide home sales are up 14.8% in November 2016 in comparison to November 2015.  Also rising are the gains in median home prices, meaning that there aren’t just more homes selling as of lately, but that the price at which those homes are selling is increasing, as well.  Statewide, median home sale prices are up 7.9% from November 2015 to November 2016.

 

Also trending in an exciting way is the time that a home spends on the market.  In November of 2015,  the average amount of time that a home spent on the market before selling was 68 days in Illinois.  In November of 2016, however, homes only spent an average of 62 days on the market before selling. 

 

From 2015 to 2016, available housing decreased 14.7% in Southern Illinois.  While at a glance, this number may seem like a bad thing for the housing industry, all that it means is that the market is great for sellers.  There are a number of reasons for this, from the demand increasing due to an increased amount of Millennials purchasing homes, an increased number of Baby Boomers buying smaller homes, the largest wage increase going to people ages 35-34, and an infinite number of other reasons.  This trend, in particular, is a driving force of the other trends happening in the market.  Where there is a discrepancy in supply and demand, there is always a group benefitting from that difference. 

The above information, predictions, and statistics all provided by Illinois Realtor® (http://www.illinoisrealtor.org/node/4142) and Realtor.com® (http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/top-real-estate-trends-2017/)

 

On an extremely local level, it’s worth noting that St. Clair and Randolph counties are reporting record numbers of year-to-date home sales in November.  In fact, these two counties have seen more homes sold in November 2016 than the total of the previous five Novembers

 

As far as the amount of time that a home is on the market before it sells, St. Clair County saw a 26% decrease during November 2016 from November 2015.  As for Monroe County, there was an incredible 53.8% decrease in the days on market!

The above information, predictions, and statistics all provided by the Realtor® Association of Southwestern Illinois (http://www.618realtor.com/local-news-and-resources/metro-east-housing-stats/)

 

Although this information may seem frightening for those looking to Buy a home this year, this information should be taken with consideration.  The market may be benefitting the sellers a bit more than the buyers, but that doesn’t mean that buyers are seeing negative consequences of the market.  It simply means that currently, there’s a seller’s market in local real estate.  As the President of the REALTOR® Association of Southwestern Illinois, Mike Gross puts it, “Now is a great time to take advantage of the unique opportunities of the Metro-East Housing Market… Interest rates are anticipated to inch higher, median home prices are stable, and homes are selling at a faster pace than years past, and sellers are seeing the benefits.  At the same time, buyers are still able to purchase homes at affordable and stable prices.  The Metro-East offers so many great opportunities to build a future.” (Realtor® Association of Southwestern Illinois, “Metro East Housing Stats” http://www.618realtor.com/local-news-and-resources/metro-east-housing-stats/)

 

According to Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economic Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois, the median price of homes sold in Illinois is expected to increase any level from 2.1 to 6.9 percent this year.  The National Association of Realtors® expects home sales in the US to grow modestly in 2017, which would be indicative of the market stabilizing, a great sign for the housing industry.  Although local market trends are so much more important than national ones in regards to what home buyers or sellers should be worried about, there is often a slight correlation, if not with all trends, then with some.  From the way sales nationally and locally went in the real estate industry for 2016, 2017 seems like it’s on the right track.

The above information, predictions, and statistics all provided by the Realtor® Association of Southwestern Illinois (http://www.618realtor.com/local-news-and-resources/metro-east-housing-stats/)

 

2017 really does seem like the right time to Buy or sell in Southern Illinois!

Contact The Linda Frierdich Group of Century 21 Advantage today to discuss your real estate needs!

618.719.3134 IL | 314.649.0221 MO

YOURHOMERESOURCE.COM

goteamlinda@gmail.com

17 Tips to Make Moving Day a Breeze

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

17 of Tips to Make Moving Day a Breeze

 

No one, I repeat, no one, enjoys moving.  Sure, there are some great things that come along with a move.  The excitement of getting a new home, new neighbors, and new opportunities can be amazing to experience.  The prospect of packing up and subsequently unpacking your entire life, however, is a daunting task.  There are some things that you can do to make the whole process easier on yourself, and we have compiled a list of our best ideas.

 

 

 


Make a List


Make a list of everything that needs to get done in the weeks ahead of the move.  Make this checklist 2 months before the move, so that you feel more confident and organized as moving day approaches.  It’s easy to think that you will be able to keep all the tasks straight in your mind, but the fact of the matter is that you will forget some of the things you need to do.  Furthermore, making the list often helps you remember things that you forgot to put on the list as moving day approaches.

 

 


Packing Made Easier

 

This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but failure to do this one tip can cause a lot more frustration, time lost, and feelings that you are going into a move unorganized.  Keep all your packing supplies in a laundry basket, so that you can easily carry it from room to room when the desire to pack strikes you.  This basket should contain:  zippered plastic baggies, sharpies, labels, colored markers (if you are color coordinating your boxes), plastic shopping bags and newspapers for cushioning, boxes of a variety of sizes, and any other supplies you have found to be helpful in packing.

 

 

 

Pack and Label the Essentials

 

It can be tough to pack up your entire home and feel like you are doing so in any manner that is remotely organized or planned.  Most often, homeowners get to their new house and become overwhelmed with a feeling that can be summed up with the phrase, “Where do I begin?”  (The same can often be said for those homeowners who are preparing for a move).  To see a list that we have compiled of all the things you should be thinking about having easily accessible on your first day in the new house, click here.

 


 

Mark Boxes Well

 

Obviously, you should be writing the contents on the outside of every box you seal.  You should also be labeling boxes with what room the contents will belong in, so that you can get a handle on some organization even when you are carrying boxes into your new home and stacking them where there’s space.  Also consider these possible labels:  Fragile, First-Night, Do Not Load, and Load Last.  These specific labels help minimize the risk of things getting broken, misplaced, or crammed in the back of the truck when you really need the box’s contents right when you get to the new house.

 

 

Moving Electronics

 

Take a picture of the back of your electronics before you begin unplugging all those cords.  This will make setting it back up so much easier when you get to your new place!

 

Keep cords and hardware for electronics all together.  For cords and cables, toilet paper tubes standing up in a shoebox often work great to keep your cords organized and untangled.  The box then simply gets labeled with the name of the electronic equipment it belongs to.  For other kinds of hardware, consider using plastic baggies with zippers.  They help keep everything together, and can be clearly labeled so they don’t get confused with other objects.

 

 


Heavy Items

 

For your heavy items, such as books, consider using your rolling luggage to move these items.  For one thing, using the bags you already have can save work, space, and money, since they have to be moved anyways.  Utilize their space and ability to be transferred by rolling rather than carrying.  Your back will thank you for this trick.

 

 

General Tips for Moving that we have found to be SUPER helpful…

 

Be sure that you drain any lawn or home equipment that holds oil or gas before you attempt to move those pieces.

Thaw your refrigerator two days before the move if you are taking it with you when you go. 

 

Use Styrofoam plates in between your nice set of plates to keep them from breaking

 

Brown paper bags can work just as well as newspaper for glassware and other fragile items

 

Wine boxes work extremely well for moving glassware in a safe and organized way

 

Connect necklaces and bracelets through toilet paper or paper towel rolls to keep them from tangling during the move.

 

Use labeled zippered plastic baggies for any hardware that has to come out of furniture or other objects for the items to make it through the move.   This will keep them from getting lost or mixed up with other objects’ hardware.

 

Cover toiletries in plastic wrap and then screw their lids on.  Do this regardless of how tightly they seem like they are on.  It hardly takes any time, and the hassle it could save from an accident is totally worth the extra time and effort.

 

Use a slow cooker to store spices in to keep them safe and to utilize the space.  Double win!

 

Cover drawers in plastic wrap (tightly) so that you don’t have to unload and pack up every drawers contents.  You just have to remove the plastic wrap and put the drawers back in the furniture in their new location!

 

Keep any hanging clothes on their hangers, just fold them into a trash bag, cinch it at the hanger tops, and carry them by the hangers.  This will make unpacking the bedroom and closets so much easier.

 

This list may not contain every great moving hack, but these are the ones we found most effective... And we hope you will, too!

The Sellers' Guide to Hosting an Open House

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Open House: The Sellers’ Guide

 

Open houses increase both foot traffic inside a home and online activity on that home (assuming your real estate agent is marketing properly and effectively).  There are many who would argue that open houses are less than effective for selling a home, but they, at the very least, spread the word that your home is for sale.  There are a few things you can do to make sure that, after your open house, attendees are talking about it.

 

 

 

 

Curb Appeal: Impress Immediately



You want to be sure that the first impression that those coming to your Open House have is a solid and positive one.  The best way to do that is to make sure that your home has great curb appeal.  “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression” is a cliché that certainly rings true here.  Clean siding, tidy and trim lawn and landscaping, no clutter, simple decorations, upkeep, and some accents of chic style and color can do a world of good.  In the warmer months, focus on healthy, neat, and bright landscaping to draw eyes to your home; during the colder months, ensure that your home’s exterior is lit extremely well, keep your pathways clear, and clean the outside of your home and landscaping before the treacherous weather of winter hits.  To see a more definitive list of ways to boost your home’s curb appeal, click here.

 

 

Lock Your Valuables

 

We’d all like to expect the best of people, but that doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen.  Be sure that any valuables you have are safely locked away before your open house.  Any money, important documents, banking information, jewelry, guns, and anything else dangerous or of value should be in a secure location before you vacate the home for an open house.  This is the most important thing you should do for a successful open house, because finding an interested Buyer won’t seem quite as important if some of your valuables have come up missing since that day.

 

 

Light it Right

 

 

This is something that sellers should be doing every time there is a showing at their home, as well as when their marketing photographs are taken.  Turn on all the lights in the house.  Well-lit homes appear bigger and leave a more positive, lasting impression on visitors.  No one enjoys picturing themselves living in a dark or poorly-lit home.  This is important to be done at all times of the year, but becomes especially true in the colder months of the year when the days are shorter and there is less natural light flowing into the home than during the summer months.  Be sure that the exterior of your home is well-lit as well, as that will impact the first impression visitors get from your home.

 

Installing brighter lightbulbs can go quite a long way in how well your home is lit.  This is a fairly cheap project to take on prior to an open house, and it could prove to be incredibly effective in how people feel walking through your home.

 

Clean all windows and change dark window treatments, because you should be trying to let in every bit of natural light that you possibly can.  Sheers are fine, because they filter out very little of the natural light, but any heavier curtains should be taken down and replaced with sheers.  If you can’t replace them with sheers, the best thing to do is take them down all together, rather than let them block the light from entering your home.

  


De-Clutter

 


 

If you are planning on living in your home at the same time that your home will be listed for sale, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to consider consolidating some of your belongings, and possibly even renting a storage unit.  Too much furniture or clutter in a home doesn’t just make your rooms appear smaller, it also distracts the potential buyers, and they will end up focusing more on the stuff than the home itself.  That is something that should be avoided at all costs.  Here are some specific things you can do to help simplify your home before listing it or hosting an open house:

 

Take everything off your refrigerator:  Take all pictures and magnets off of your refrigerator and give the outside (and inside- some buyers DO look!) a good cleaning!

 

Simplify your decorations:  Opt for decorating that is simple and chic, despite whether that fits into your style or not.  Too many decorations are distracting to potential buyers, but a simplified decorating style can help suggest the decorating potential of the home to buyers who may lack the vision to see the home has to offer.

 

Remove any unnecessary furniture from your home:  Consider putting your excess furniture in a storage unit so that your rooms appear larger.

 

Tuck away garbage cans:  Garbage containers can clutter a room since they often sit in the middle of a room.  If their presence in the room during the open house is unnecessary, consider tucking them away under a cabinet or in a pantry.

 

Clean and organize all closets:  Closet space is incredibly important to many buyers, and you can help yours look more spacious by cleaning them out and organizing them.  Consider packing away unnecessary clothes, purchasing closet organizers, and purging closet contents prior to your open house.  Space utilization can make a small space a lot more appealing to buyers.

 

Consider storing area rugs:  While area rugs can be so beautiful, they can actually make a room look smaller.  Furthermore, if they are laid over wood flooring, you’d be much better off letting the hardwood show instead.  This is an important talking point for almost all buyers, so showing off your hardwood can be a really great idea!

 

 

Air It Out

 


 

This may seem like a silly thing to suggest, especially during the winter months, but it is, nevertheless, an effective suggestion.  Homeowners tend to get used to the smells in their homes, but visitors can immediately smell them.  Even if you don’t own pets, you should open the windows in your home for at least thirty minutes the morning of your Open House, but make sure that you leave enough time for your home to warm back up.  And, while on the topic of the temperature in your home, there is an ideal temperature for showings and open houses.  During the winter, 70-72 are the proper temperatures, and during the summer, 70 is appropriate.

 

 

Remove Personal Items from Your Home

 


 

Before your open house, remove the pictures and portraits of your family and friends, and other personal items that may be distracting or speak more to your personality than others.  For instance, sports teams decorations, family portraits, and anything that could be considered offensive or inappropriate to others.  This also goes along with the idea of simplifying your decorations, and as a suggested replacement for some of those decorations that you take down, consider installing mirrors instead.  Mirrors give the illusion of expansion, making your room feel bigger than it is, and they also reflect light, making your rooms brighter.

 


Kitchen and Bathrooms Should Shine!

 

 

The two rooms that, above all others, should be sparkling clean and fresh are the kitchen and bathrooms.  Other rooms in your home get messy and dusty, but the kitchen and bathrooms get dirty.  They need the most attention from you, for two main reasons.  For one, a Buyer wants to feel like they are buying a home with a kitchen or bathroom that has never been used.  There should be no trace of past residents left over in ether room, because that means that there is germy evidence of your stay in that home.  For another, these rooms get more dirty than other rooms in the house, and that is in the back of every buyer’s mind who comes to your open house.  Counter that notion with a sparkling clean space that will make them feel like, if they Buy your home, they will be coming into a seemingly brand new place.  Be sure that all countertops are clear in the kitchen and the bathrooms.  Put everything in a drawer, cabinet, or tuck them away in a storage basket out of sight.  Remember to close the toilet lids before your open house, as well!

 

 

Set the Table

 


 

For the dining area in your home, consider setting the table with simple and chic place settings.  This helps buyers see themselves entertaining or even sitting down to dinner by themselves.  A fork and knife, linen napkin, and even one dinner plate per place would suffice.  Top off your staged dining room with a bundle of fresh flowers in a vase on the table for a really beautiful setting.

 

 

Deep Clean

 

 

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it still needs to be mentioned: Clean your home very well before your open house.  Dust, sweep, mop, vacuum, de-clutter, wash windows and mirrors, and attend to anything that needs attention.  Steam cleaning your carpets is never a bad idea, but it is especially suggested if you have kids or pets.

 

If you find stains or marks on any of your walls as you are cleaning, a great tool to help remedy them is the Magic Eraser.  A little bit of water and a magic eraser can work wonders on stained walls!  Don’t underestimate the effect small messes, like wall stains, can have on the impression buyers get from your home.

 

 

Make Yourself Scarce

 


 

Having the homeowners present at an open house (or any showing, for that matter) can make buyers feel awkward and pressured.  It’s important that you vacate your home during an open house, so that buyers can walk through without feeling like there is something to be expected of them, allowing them to get a clear and precise impression of your home.

 

 

Remove Pet Supplies

 

 

Just as the owners should vacate the home for the open house, so should their pets.  Not everyone likes pets, and no matter how often you wash your pets, there is still a strong chance that someone who is not used to the smell of pets in their home will be able to smell pet odor.  This is even more likely if your pets are still in the home!  Be sure that you tuck away any pet toys, beds, and accessories before your open house as well.

 

 

Finish Any Projects You’ve Begun

 


 

If you have started any projects around your house and left them unfinished, be sure that they are finished before your open house.  Seeing half-finished work at an open house is a red flag to some buyers that your home will have repairs that were done with shoddy workmanship.  This will also be a talking point of your home after they leave, and wouldn’t you rather them be talking about some of the good things about your home?

 

 

Do Your Share of Marketing

 


 

Your real estate agent, if you’ve picked a good one, will be advertising your open house on social media before the event takes place.  If you aren’t already doing so, follow their page, so that you may see the posts they make pertaining to your listing.  When you come across their open house advertisement for your home, share it to your own page, and don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family to share it, as well.  This can get the advertisement out to hundreds or thousands more people, increasing the probability that you will have a good turn-out for your open house.  You never know, one of those family members or friends may just know someone who is looking for a house, and it could be a match!

 


There are many things to consider before hosting an open house in your home.  The most important thing to consider is what you would want to see if you were looking for a home.  If you keep that in mind, everything should fall into place.  If you’d like to see further references for selling or showing your home, check out The Linda Frierdich Group’s Pinterest page, Go Team Linda, and be sure to follow the board “Help for Sellers.”

 

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Contact Information

Photo of The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group Real Estate
The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group
Century 21 Advantage
103 S Main St
Columbia IL 62236
IL: 618.281.7621

138 Concord Plaza Dr
Saint Louis MO 63128
MO: 314.649.0221
Fax: 618.281.4311

Linda Frierdich is the area's premier real estate professional, offering services in St Louis, Kirkwood, Webster Groves, Crestwood, Ballwin, Arnold, Fenton, Oakville, Columbia, Waterloo, Millstadt, Valmeyer, Dupo, Belleville, O'Fallon, Mascoutah, Fairview Heights, Smithton, Ruma, Hecker, New Athens, Edwardsville, Collinsville, Caseyville, Shiloh, Swansea, Monroe County, Madison County, St Clair County, and Randolph County.  Her team focuses on resale homes, new construction, first time home buyers, condos, farms, land sales, subdivisions, lot sales, single family, multi-family, commercial, foreclosures, bank owned property, military relocation, and building. This site offers options to search real estate in Columbia Illinois and other areas. We offer buyer and sellers services second to none!

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Contact Us

Our offices are located at:
103 South Main, Columbia, IL 62236
- or -
138 Concord Plaza Dr, Saint Louis, MO 63128

618.444.4255
FAX: 618.281.4311