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11 Spring Home Buying Tips

Ahh, it's springtime at last. It’s truly a busy time of year for everybody, but things really start buzzing in the real estate market in the spring.

If you’re ready to do some house-hunting this spring, we would like to pass along some tips you'll want to know to help you prepare.

Keep these pointers in mind for Springtime hone buying success:

Know when the market heats up in your target area. Although the calendar may indicate it's springtime, the weather may or may not reflect the season. In other words, expect the springtime home buying season to vary due to geography and climate.

If you know you’re going to be house-hunting in the springtime, it's a good idea to start getting ready during the winter months. Nothing makes home buying more difficult than having limited choices. Preparing far enough in advance helps improve your chances of finding the home of your dreams.

Do your research. The internet is an invaluable tool for home buyers. There is a wealth of information available on the web, including background information on towns, neighborhoods, schools, and homes. The key to successful internet research is knowing what you want. Start by prioritizing your needs and wants, but also be sure to list your must-haves, such as being close to schools.

Work with a neighborhood specialist. In real estate, like in many businesses, everything is local. Working with a REALTOR® who really knows the neighborhood(s) you’re interested in is a huge advantage. Your REALTOR® will help you out with finding a home that meets your needs and will also offer insights you may not have even thought about. It’s a win-win!

Trust, but validate. You’ve found a great house in a prime location. But are you sure you have all your bases covered? That's where a thorough and objective home inspection comes into play. We all tend to overlook things when projecting a ‘big picture,’ and we may think a house is absolutely perfect.

So before you fall in love with a house, remember to focus on the "now" when it comes time to have it inspected. Be realistic about what you can fix and what you cannot. Rely on the advice of your REALTOR® and professional home inspector.

Be ready to pay list. In a hot ‘sellers’ market, you’re likely to end up paying very close to the property’s list price. Your REALTOR®will help with information about comparable sales in the area and can guide you with regard to fair pricing.

Strike while the iron’s hot. A competitive market is no place to dilly-dally. If you’re well prepared, don’t be afraid to make the offer. If you don’t, chances are someone else will.

Stand out. Be sure to have your ducks in a row when it comes to having the financing required to back up your offer. Be prepared to offer earnest money to show you’re a serious buyer and be ready for negotiations to offer something that places you above the other buyers. A small concession on your part can make the difference.

Remember to be objective. It’s very easy to get caught up in emotions when buying a new home, so keep your priorities in mind and trust your gut. And remember, your REALTOR® is available to advise you.

Here are a few other random items to consider:

1. Drive around the neighborhoods you like before you start really shopping. Visit businesses, restaurants, the grocery store, etc. and you’ll find out a lot about the area.

2. Make time to clean thoroughly, paint the interior (if needed/desired), and do basic repairs (and change locks or re-key) before move-in.

3. Every house is going to have drawbacks, but make sure you’re not ‘settling.’ It’s not the end of the world, but regretting a house purchase is a pretty big deal.

Following these easy tips will help to assure you’ve found the home of your dreams -- or at least a home you and your family are happy living in.


Additional resources:

the balance: How Can Buyers Buy a Home During a Spring Home Buying Frenzy?

Zillow Porchlight: 10 Tips For Spring Home Buyers


8 Things To Know When Selling Your Home

Are you getting ready to sell your home? The process can certainly be exciting, yet overwhelming at the same time. Selling a home involves many details to consider and keep track of, which can be a bit stressful if you're not prepared. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to make the home-selling process go smoothly for you.

Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:


Hire a REALTOR®. Having a trained, experienced REALTOR® by your side when selling your house can be a huge help. He or she is able to tap into marketing resources and expertise to sell your house with a lot less headache and hassle. You should be comfortable with the REALTOR® you’re working with, so don't feel guilty about shopping around for the right one.

Stay objective. You’ve made this house your home, but when it comes time to sell, it’s best to think of the process as a business transaction. In that light, it is important to create the most favorable image of your home as possible. So you may have to put aside your tastes, preferences, and memories to achieve your ultimate goal of selling it.

Create curb appeal. First impressions are super important. Take the time and effort to spruce up the home’s exterior. A well-maintained appearance can make a huge difference, and may transform a drive-by buyer to a call-the-number buyer. It’s worth the work.

Pricing. It is essential to price your home correctly, and this is one area where a REALTOR® can make a huge impact. A professional REALTOR® knows important details about the market, your neighborhood, and even your house! He or she will guide you toward a fair asking price which will make your home a competitive value for prospective buyers. Keep in mind that it is uncommon to receive your original asking price for your property though.

Disclosure. State and local regulations vary, but in most jurisdictions, it is compulsory to disclose certain known issues about your property. This includes things such as previous damage to the property; existing damage or operational issues with major systems (i.e., HVAC and electrical); and structural faults like sunken and/or cracked foundations. These issues may be discovered during the assessment and inspection phase as well. Your REALTOR® can provide you with expert guidance and recommendations for affordable repairs if needed.

Tidy up for the showing. First of all, make sure to thoroughly clean your house. Remember, first impressions count and most homebuyers visualize themselves owning a clean and tidy house. Remove clutter and knick-knacks from shelves, cabinets and window sills. Consider painting the walls and/or redecorating if your personal tastes might not mesh with that of potential homebuyers. (Hint: neutral tones sell best).

You’ll also want to hide all personal items, including family pictures and valuables. Make sure the exterior of the house is organized too, including the yard and garage. A cluttered garage could lead potential buyers into believing they may not have enough room for their own belongings!

Smells matter. Our sense of smell is one of the most acute and memorable of all. So make sure your house has a pleasant, inviting fragrance when showing your home. Bake cookies and set them out. Light scented candles. Open the windows for a few hours before the showing (weather permitting).

Negotiate with qualified buyers only. It is only reasonable to expect that a buyer has already been pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage loan or can provide proof of funds for a cash transaction. If a buyer asks for contingencies such as closing after the sale of their own home, make sure that the timeline is acceptable. Your REALTOR® has a wealth of knowledge, experience, and expertise in regards to the financial aspects of selling your property and will provide you with the guidance you need to cover all aspects of the sale.

Selling your home can be certainly be stressful for you and your family, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating. Knowing what to expect when selling your home will definitely help you feel more prepared and confident.

Related resources:
Investopedia: Selling Your Home? Avoid These Mistakes
realtor.com: Home-Selling Checklist: 12 Things to Do Before Selling Your House

What to Know for Prepping Your House to Go on the Market

We all know that the homes that look the best tend to create the best impression on potential homebuyers. So when you’re ready to begin preparing your home to sell, there are a few things you can do to enhance its appeal. For most well-kept, well-maintained homes, the list is pretty simple and not very expensive.

Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know when prepping your house to go on the market:


Curb appeal. ‘Spruce up’ your landscaping! Trim bushes and shrubs, (especially any that are against the house - trim them away from siding or brick), edge the grass along walkways the driveway, add mulch to garden beds, and maybe plant some colorful flowers. These touches help to make your home appear welcoming and a happy place to live.

Clean the exterior.Wash away the dirt, grime, cobwebs, and so on that accumulate naturally. Your local hardware or home store usually offers special attachments for a garden hose that will get the job done. Use a mild detergent (biodegradable, if possible), and a scrub brush on lower areas.

You may even consider renting a power washer. Be careful, though, as the powerful spray can dislodge loose trim and molding and peel cracked paint from your house.

Repairs.Speaking of loose trim and cracked paint, make note of those areas. Go back and secure all loose boards and trim. If you have a brick home, look for cracks in the mortar. Be sure to pay attention to concrete walkways, porches and the driveway for noticeable cracks and visible signs of wear. You may even want to hire a professional inspector to get their opinion on what may (or may not) be an issue so you'll be even more prepared for the official home inspection.

Tidy up inside.A clean home is an attractive home! Make all the visible areas shine. This includes large surfaces like walls (and windows!), cabinets, and counters, of course. But don't forget about the less visible places like baseboards, under appliances, and inside of cabinets. Some buyers will look inside bathroom vanities for evidence of water leakage, for example.

If you have painted or decorated your home with colors that match your personal tastes (but may not appeal to others), you'll want to consider toning it down. Neutral colors are usually the most attractive to potential buyers.

When it's time to show your home, you'll want to make sure it smells as appealing as it looks. Scented candles and freshly baked cookies are great for creating an inviting aroma.

Keep in mind that pet smells are often the most offensive to potential homebuyers. If you own pets, put the cat litter box in the garage, relocate your dog to the backyard (or a friend's home), and so on.

Visualize.Your home is a very personal space. When you’re ready to show your house, take an objective look around. Check for items that are especially personal, such as family photos and personalized knickknacks. It’s best to put these away so potential homebuyers can imagine the house has their own

Take advice. Your professional REALTOR® has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in working with both buyers and sellers. They know what they’re talking about! So take their suggestions seriously since they have your best interest - getting your home sold - at heart.

The market for homes is usually quite competitive, so every little thing you can do to make your house stand out to buyers is important. That one detail you think is a small one might just end up making THE difference to a potential buyer considering other homes.

Related Resources:

HGTV 10 Ways to Prep Your House for Sale

The Balance How To Prepare Your House For Sale

5 Reasons to Use a REALTORĀ® Over 'For Sale By Owner'

When selling your home, you’ll have several options available to you. Of course, you’ll want to sell your home quickly and for as close to your asking price as possible. When researching your choices, one question you may be asking yourself is, ‘Why should I pay a REALTOR® when I can sell my own home?’

That is definitely a fair question, as we are all aware that technology and ‘apps’ give home sellers (and buyers) all sorts of opportunities they didn’t have even just a few years ago. A popular alternative to using a REALTOR® is the For Sale By Owner (abbreviated FSBO) route, since it seems like an attractive way to pocket more of the cash equity in your home.

Before you consider FSBO, however, you’ll want to also know about some benefits to using a REALTOR®  to sell your house instead.

Consider the following reasons for choosing a REALTOR® :

Price: A REALTOR® has access to all the verified, up-to-date information about the market in your specific area. He or she has relationships with local resources as well as expertise in valuing and marketing your property. The percentage of sale price model of payment gives your REALTOR® more incentive to get the best possible selling price for your home.

Marketing: It has always been the case that a REALTOR® has access to a wide network of marketing resources and contacts. The internet has changed the playing field to an extent, but filtering through all those search results can be quite overwhelming. A REALTOR®, on the other hand, understands your specific needs and goals and will help narrow down all those prospects rapidly. This matters a lot in selling your property quickly, which is a primary objective for most sellers.

Time: It takes time and effort to sell a home. A REALTOR® has the tools, resources, and incentive to take all the necessary time it takes to sell your home. They also have the knowledge and experience required to properly stage, prepare, and present your home so it’s appealing to prospective home buyers. To put things in perspective, take a drive around town one weekend and look for REALTOR® Open Houses. A REALTOR® often ends up spending most weekends hosting these events to market and display homes. How does spending three weekends out of a month showing your home sound?

Negotiation: In order to get the best price for your home, you have to know how to negotiate. It takes skill to know what items are worth holding the line on, and which ones you should just concede. Your REALTOR® will know how to negotiate. He or she has done this dozens (or even hundreds) of times. They know the things to look for, and they know how to prepare for questions and objections. Unless you’re a professional salesperson, do you trust that you have the necessary skills?

Legal and Financial Matters: Selling a home requires having a good understanding of relevant legal matters. A REALTOR® may not be a lawyer, but they do understand the legal constraints and considerations needed for selling a property. It would be frustrating to arrive at the closing meeting and find out you have neglected a form or disclosure you’ll be unable to proceed without. Trust your REALTOR® to understand this process. A REALTOR® is also adept at all aspects of financing. They know the difference between ‘pre-qualified’ and ‘pre-approved,’ for example. They will work to assure that funds are verified and transactions validated to keep the financial aspects of the sale on track.

And lastly, you are probably emotionally attached to your house. It has been your home; the place where children played, your family visited, and where holidays and vacations were celebrated.

A REALTOR® is an objective professional with experience in all the aspects of preparing, marketing, negotiating and closing the sale. As well, they will sell your property with a balance of unbiased business savvy and compassionate knowledge, understanding that your home was a treasured aspect of your life.

Related Resources:

Landmark Home Warranty Using A Realtor Vs Using For Sale By Owner

Fox Business Real Estate Agent vs. For Sale by Owner

Welcome! Thank you for visiting today. If this is your first visit, take your time and look around. I have plenty of information and resources available to you. If you are a return visitor, thank you. I would love to hear from you and tell you how I can serve all your real estate needs.