Seller Do’s and Don’ts before an Inspection on an In-Contract Home

Right after your home goes into contract, you’re excited and ready to finalize the sale; however, before you can get to the closing table, you and your house have to make it through the inspection period. For the homeowners, this can be a nerve-wracking time of uncertainty, where you start to question how your house will hold up to closer scrutiny. Here are a few tips that will help you make sure that you’re doing everything you can to get your house through the inspection period.

DO Keep your house in ‘ready-to-show” condition

After days or even weeks of working hard to keep your home in tip-top shape, it can be tempting to let the clutter start to stack up once you have a buyer; nonetheless, you should strive to keep your home looking as good as the day the buyers saw it. Excited buyers often come along to the inspections – sometimes bringing kids or other family members along to show off their new home. And the last thing you want when you’re this close to selling is for them to start feeling any buyer’s remorse when they see your home looking less pristine.

DON’T Stick around for the inspection

While you may be curious to see the inspection on your home, staying at your home during a home inspection could have some negative impacts on the sale of your home. At best, you’ll make the future homeowners feel a little uncomfortable by lingering around while they look for issues with your home. But there can be more significant effects on the deal too, such as the buyers thinking your presence influenced the home’s inspection report.

DO Be accommodating

From scheduling equipment deliveries to coordinating multiple busy schedules, it can be difficult to get an inspection completed on a house. And the buyers may be doing some secondary inspections in addition to the primary home inspection, such as a roof inspection, radon inspection, or termite inspection. In order to get your house sold as quickly as possible, you will need to be as flexible as your schedule allows and avoid adding more complication to the process.

DON’T Overthink the Buyer’s Request to Remedy

Getting a list of everything that’s wrong with your house can be daunting.  Before you start to panic, just try to keep in mind that the Buyer’s Request to remedy is just that – a request. And a request written from the perspective of someone who could potentially gain a lot of updates to their new home or save some money if they enough significant issues. When you get a Buyer’s Request to Remedy, the first thing you should do is take a deep breath. Next, call your realtor and have them look at it from an expert’s point of view.

If you have any more questions about home inspections, selling your home, or any other real estate questions, feel free to contact us or visit our website.

These 6 Simple Tricks Make Moving Surprisingly Effortless

two people packing cardboard boxesLet’s face it, moving to a new home is no picnic. Moving day will be here before you know it, and you feel like there’s no way on Earth you can sort through all of your belongings and pack your entire life into a moving truck in time.

We know how stressful a move from one home to another can be, so we wanted to share a few helpful moving tips to make it a much easier experience.

Create a To-Do List and Pin It to Your Wall

You probably won’t remember everything you have to do in the chaos of researching moving companies, calling your insurance provider, and closing on your new home. So before you start the bulk of cleaning and decluttering, take a few minutes to compile a detailed list of the tasks you will need to complete, no matter how small. These tasks can include:

  • transferring your homeowners insurance to your new address
  • compiling a list of your emergency contacts
  • labeling your moving boxes
  • fixing a squeaky door hinge
  • meeting with friends for coffee before you leave

If it helps you stay organized, categorize your tasks by room, deadline, or importance. As you’re completing all your to-dos, make sure you check them off your list as you go. It will help you see how far you’re come in accomplishing such a gargantuan goal.

Declutter Your Home Room by Room

a person moving a stack of boxesThe less stuff you have, the less stuff you have to pack. But as we all know, one of the biggest hurdles to moving is sorting through all of your belongings and deciding which ones you won’t be taking to your new home.

If decluttering your entire home seems overwhelming, don’t panic. Start small: Instead of trying to tackle the entire project in one weekend, spend an hour or two on just one room. Create three piles: Keep, Donate, and Trash. Go through your closets, bedrooms, and other hot spots first, then move on to the rest of your home.

Remember, you can always buy books, kitchen gadgets, and other things after you move. If you have a few sentimental items you’re having a hard time getting rid of, ask a friend or neighbor for objective feedback.

Host a Yard Sale or Moving Sale

Once you’ve sorted through most of your home, host a yard sale and set out items that you planned on giving away. Sell anything that you can that day, and anything that’s left over you can donate to charity or a local thrift store.

Get Creative with Your Packing

homeowner opening cardboard boxesYou’ll be surprised at just how many small items can fit into the nooks and crannies left over in your moving boxes. After you’ve packed your bulky appliances and decorative pieces, you can fill in the spaces with smaller items to act as extra cushioning and save a bit of space in the process.

Another way you can get creative with your packing is by stacking items vertically instead of horizontally. Instead of laying down dishes, bowls, plates, and other fragile items in a box, stack them upright and cushion them with socks and towels. This will prevent your glass items from shifting around during the move.

Use Cling Wrap Where You Least Expect It

Worried about bottles of shampoo, soap, lotion, or other liquids spilling out on the journey? Cling wrap is a surprisingly effective seal. Remove the tops of bottles and cover the openings with a bit of cling wrap, then twist the caps back on.

Cling wrap is also easier to remove than tape. If you have clothes and jewelry packed away in drawers, surround the drawers with a thick layer of cling wrap. It’s easy to remove, and you won’t have a sticky mess to clean up later!

Create an “Open Me First” Box

After your move, unpacking can be just as stressful as packing. To avoid digging through countless boxes just to find coffee or toilet paper, create a box of the essentials and place it on the moving truck last. Here are a few items you should consider packing in this box:

  • instant coffee or tea bags
  • a first aid kit
  • tools like box cutters and screwdrivers
  • toilet paper
  • soap, shampoo, and lotion

Ask Us for More Helpful Moving Tips!

first-time home buyers moving inWe hope these moving tips come in handy, whether you’re planning to buy a home or whether you’re selling your current home. We’re more than happy to provide you with additional tips to help you prepare for your upcoming move.

If you need more advice about buying or selling a home or want to know more about the area, we offer a wealth of resources to help you out. Call us and let’s talk about your plans!

14 Conveniences You Don’t Want to Forget in Your Home Search

You have it all planned out. You know exactly which shopping centers and conveniences you want to live near, you know which amenities you need within a few miles of your community, and you have a general idea of where your workplace, grocery store, and soon-to-be-favorite hangouts are located.

When it comes to searching for the right home, many buyers like you have “the perfect location” at the top of their must-have lists. But what exactly is “the perfect location”? And have you considered all of the conveniences you need near your next home?

Shops and Services That Buyers Take for Granted

You know where the basic conveniences are located near your home search location — shops, restaurants, grocery stores. But how about the services and places that you take for granted? As you’re trying to decide where to live and which home best suits you, use this list to determine which amenities you can and can’t live without. This will help you settle on the perfect location — and your ideal home.

bananas at a supermarket1. Specialty Grocery Stores or Farmers’ Markets

You likely already know how far the closest grocery store is from your home search location. But if you love cooking and trying gourmet recipes, you may also want to live near shops that offer the ingredients that traditional grocery stores don’t.

2. Medical Facilities That Take Your Insurance

While you’re searching for homes and determining your ideal location, call around to the doctors, dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, and other medical professionals that you are considering. Find out which insurance providers these places accept to help you decide whether you need to change your location or your provider.

3. Schools

Even if schools don’t affect you, they can still affect your home search. If there is a school near the location you’re considering, be aware of lower speed limits during school hours, traffic congestion due to carpool lanes, and buses that may make frequent stops along major roads.

dog and cat sleeping by fireplace4. Veterinarians and Pet Stores

While you can buy basic pet supplies at a grocery store, there are still some things that only a veterinarian or a pet specialty store has in stock. If you know you’ll be visiting these places every month or so, you may want to choose a home search location that is closer to the veterinarian, pet store, or even an animal hospital.

5. Fire Stations, Police Stations, and Hospitals

It’s always a good idea to be aware of the location of emergency services. However, it’s also a good idea to be aware of the noise levels due to fire trucks, police cruisers, and ambulances. Sirens may go off at any time of day, and sometimes multiple times a day. Proximity to these emergency services can help you determine which location may be best for your new home.

6. Communities with Sidewalks

Sidewalks offer a sense of security and accessibility. If you know you are going to be walking your dog, jogging, or spending time exploring your community, you may want to consider living in an area that offers plenty of sidewalks.

shopping at a store7. Easily Accessible Shopping Areas

If you want to live near shopping centers, consider whether it’s easy to get in and out of the area. Do you have to turn left and cut across several lanes of traffic to enter the shopping center? Will you have to deal with congestion on a regular basis? Is parking abundant or hard to find? These questions may help you narrow down your favorite home search location.

8. TV and Internet Providers

If you’re moving to an unfamiliar area, go ahead and take the time to acquaint yourself with the local utility providers. If fiber optic providers are in the area, consider whether you want to live in an area or community that offers fiber internet.

9. Bookstores, Libraries, and Record Shops

Music apps and Kindles are great, but if you’re eager to get your hands on an album or a physical copy of a book, will you live close enough to one of these stores so that it’s worth the trip?

person on the treadmill10. Gyms and Fitness Centers

If your ideal community doesn’t offer an on-site fitness area, you may find it helpful to live close to a gym. If you prefer taking group exercise classes, you may want to live close to a place that offers fitness programs taught by certified instructors.

11. Furniture Stores, Home Goods Stores, and Home Improvement Stores

Chances are, you’re not going to keep the same furniture forever. You’ll want to update your home at some point! There may be a vase, an end table, a painting, or a light fixture that you want to purchase. Living close to an interior decorating or home improvement store will certainly come in handy as you’re making your home your own!

12. Auto Repair Shops and Gas Stations

If you own a car, you’ll have to take it to the shop for routine maintenance and inspections from time to time. Spend some time exploring the area you like and determine how close you want to live from mechanics, auto body shops, and gas stations.

waiter delivering food13. Restaurants That Offer Your Favorite Cuisine

It’s nice to live near your favorite types of restaurants, especially for the nights when you don’t feel like cooking. Take a look at online reviews to figure out where the best restaurants are and what type of cuisine they offer.

14. Moving Companies and Truck Rentals

You don’t want to do all the heavy lifting when moving furniture, major appliances, or other bulky items out of your home. Check to see whether your ideal home search location is close to movers or truck rental companies.

Have a Question About a Home or Community?

We would be happy to help you narrow your home search location and find the best home. Call us and we can talk about what’s most important to you.

Is Your First Offer Really Your Best Offer?

Accepting an offerA question our clients often ask is whether or not they should accept the first offer they receive for their listed property. Of course, every situation is unique and all factors should be carefully considered when determining whether or not to accept any offer. However, as a general rule of thumb, we tend to advise our clients to consider the possibility that the first offer they receive could be their best offer. We caution our clients about rejecting the first offer too quickly because we’ve seen many cases where it took weeks or even months for another offer to come in. And, in many cases, that second offer was inferior to the first (rejected) offer.

We also know that there is a particular group of buyers out there – Zillow refers to these buyers as the “Real Dealers” – who have done their homework, know what they want, and in many cases are even pre-approved for financing. They are just waiting for the right property to come on the market. And when it does, they tend to make a very competitive offer.

The bottom line?

We encourage our clients to give themselves permission to seriously consider accepting the first offer they receive. And if it comes very soon after the home goes on the market, even better! We tell our clients that a good offer that comes in early in the game is an indication that we’ve priced their home correctly and properly positioned it in the market.

When It Comes to Home Staging, Start Small

The secret to selling your home for more money in less time is all in how you present it. Your home should look so beautiful—both online and in person—that home buyers can’t help but fall in love at first sight. The best way to create that wonderful first impression? Start small and focus on the details. Here are a few simple home staging tips that can have a significant impact on your home sale.

Start with Your Entryway

front door of a homeHome buyers decide whether a home is worth a visit based on how it looks in listing photos. You can impress buyers in seconds by paying special attention to the area around your front door. Make sure your entryway is well lit, is free of clutter, and looks inviting. (Feel free to ask for a second opinion from a friend, neighbor, or even your real estate agent.)

When it’s time for showings, don’t let a squeaky front door ruin a buyer’s first impression of your home. Spray WD-40 on creaky hinges, tighten any screws that are loose, and take care of any other issues well before the first home buyer steps over the threshold.

Move On to the Kitchen

Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, as the saying goes. Follow these tips to enhance your kitchen’s appeal:

  • Replace old knobs and handles with stylish new hardware to give your kitchen an updated look.
  • Decorate your counters with bowls of fruit or potted plants to create an artsy pop of color.
  • Store unnecessary appliances and clutter out of sight.
  • Replace any light bulbs that have burned out.
  • Prior to showings, bake cookies to make your kitchen smell like home.

Focus on the Bathrooms

bathroom that is clean and clutter-freeNothing makes a better first impression than a squeaky-clean bathroom. Wipe down all surfaces including the inside of your toilet, eliminate any surface mold and grime from the bathtub or shower, and lay out a stack of carefully positioned hand towels as a finishing touch.

Make Your Windows Sparkle

Clean your windows inside and out, and replace any screens if necessary. Since it’s a smart idea to open your windows and let the natural light in, you can impress potential buyers with how well you have maintained your home.

Want More Home Staging or Home Selling Tips?

When you focus on these small home staging tips, it will be easy to attract home buyers to your front door and impress them with the details. If you would like additional home staging and cleaning tips, or if you’re considering selling your home and want to talk about your plans, contact us. We are happy to help.

Change Your Home with Color!

Orange ChairWe like color and the positive impact it can have on you and your home!

As Realtors, we constantly counsel sellers on the need to take their homes to white, beige, gray and greige in order to sell. But selling your home isn’t anything like living in your home. When you are selling, we treat your home like a Hollywood set. But for living in your home, it needs to reflect YOU!

Moll Anderson’s book, “Change Your Home, Change Your Life With Color,” notes that “color is an amazing source of energy and has a sensory effect on all of us. It affects our moods, our feelings, and even our behaviors.”

FullSizeRenderWe believe this is true. Orange is a very happy color for Kate and Tony, who have introduced it into every room in their house, most dramatically in their dining room artwork. We are advocates for pops of color in your home – whether it’s a piece of furniture, art, accessory, drapes, or accent wall. We’re not suggesting you need color from floor to ceiling in every room of your home. Be creative; there are no rules. How do you want your home to inspire you? Do you want your home to make you feel happy, calm, energized, passionate, creative, dramatic, rested, etc.?

Rather than focusing on spring cleaning your home, we propose you consider sprucing up with a pop of color for exactly what you need to bring into your life!

FullSizeRender (2)Thinking of selling your home?

If you are thinking about selling your home in the near future, don’t hesitate to call us about our marketing services, including home staging. We will advise you of what today’s buyers prefer and get you all fixed up to sell! Thomas & Company will coordinate anything that needs to be done and even stage your home for you!

Have fun and happy spring!

 

3 Home Buying Mistakes That are Far Too Easy to Make

potential buyers staring at a houseThis time of year is ideal for looking for homes. Since springtime is a popular home selling season, you have plenty of choices when it comes to finding listings in your preferred location, in your ideal price range, and with your favorite features. With all of these options, it’s going to be a breeze buying your perfect home… right?

There are some common mistakes to be aware of when searching for and buying your next home. But with the right resources and a team of professionals on your side, purchasing a home should be hassle-free.

1. Letting Your Emotions Get the Best of You

Buying a home is an emotional experience. While you’re touring a home, you can’t help but feel an emotional connection as you imagine hanging your photos and decorations in the living room, cooking dinners in the kitchen, and making precious memories with your friends, family, and new neighbors.

But be careful; if your feelings cloud your judgment, you may find yourself overpaying for your dream home, jumping in too quickly to make an offer, or lowballing and risk losing your favorite home.

home buyer tracking financesHow to Avoid This Home Buying Mistake

Arm yourself with facts and objective advice, such as your list of wants and needs, to keep you from making any emotional home buying mistakes.

2. Spending More Than You Can Comfortably Afford

Just because you qualify for a certain mortgage amount doesn’t mean you should spend all of that money on your new home. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you are making monthly payments that you are not comfortable paying.

How to Avoid This Home Buying Mistake

Check your budget to determine the maximum amount you want to pay per month, then talk with a trusted local lender. Contact us and we can make recommendations.

3. Not Relying on a Real Estate Professional

When buying a car, savvy shoppers do their homework to make sure they’re making the best purchase: taking the car for a test drive, asking about the repair history, and having a trusted auto shop inspect the car thoroughly. However, buying a car can be intimidating, since no one is on your side to help you negotiate the best price and understand the paperwork.

Buying a home is very similar to buying a car. But instead of having to make all of your decisions yourself, you can work with a real estate agent who has your best interests in mind.

real estate agent showing a homeYour agent will be able to give you in-depth information about homes and neighborhoods you may like, connect you with trusted service providers when you need to order a home inspection or want to make home improvements, and offer objective advice to help you make the best decisions.

Not working with a real estate agent when buying a home may cause you to lose time and money — and possibly the home that you love.

How to Avoid This Home Buying Mistake

Talk with a reputable local real estate agent about your home buying goals and how the agent will help you find the home of your dreams. An experienced real estate agent will know the area, provide a home’s history, and be a trusted advisor.

Buying a Home? Talk to Our Experts

If you’re considering buying a home in our area, let’s talk about your home buying goals. Have a few listings that you are interested in touring? Contact us and we can schedule a showing!

Say “Hello” to Warmer Weather: Spring Home Décor Tips for 2017

Nothing says spring quite like a bouquet of fresh flowers sitting on the coffee table and the sun streaming through the windows. Homeowners love any excuse to freshen up their home décor and welcome the new season, and if Pinterest is any indication, people love to bring the latest trends into their living spaces.

Stay on Top of the Trends with Your Spring Home Décor

vase of flowers in a homeFlowers, plants, and cheerful colors are traditional staples of springtime, but 2017 has a few unexpected twists for interior decorating. Looking for inspiration for your own home? Here are just a few home décor ideas to try.

Decorate Your Home with “Greenery”

Pantone’s Color of the Year is a vibrant, nature-inspired hue called “Greenery,” and it’s sure to liven up your living spaces.

Showcase Soft Textures

Velvet, cotton, and plush yarns are textures of choice this year. Bringing these soft, luxurious textures into your home, either with new furniture or decorations, will make you feel even more cozy and comfortable.

Use Navy as an Accent Color

One hot spring home décor idea for 2017 is using navy as an accent color for cabinets, walls, or couches. Rather than black, which can make rooms look small and uninviting, navy enhances your living spaces and creates a modern look.

living room with navy walls and beige floorsGo Neutral with Your Home Décor

Out with the bold, in with the new—muted colors, that is. A popular spring home décor trend that’s on the rise is using neutral colors like white, beige, pale gray, or even a faint pink.

These colors will help you create clean, sophisticated, and welcoming spaces that will impress both you and your guests day after day.

Spring Home Décor Impresses Home Buyers, Too

Since spring is a popular time for selling homes, many homeowners turn to spring home décor trends for home staging and curb appeal ideas.

Are you selling your home this spring? We can help! Contact us for more tips to prepare your home for showings and increase your home’s value. When you’re ready to put your home on the market, just give us a call.

7 Things That Will Help Your Home Sell Faster

Home sellers need to think of their property as a product instead of a home. The better your home looks, the faster it will sell. Often what helps a home sell faster is also what helps it sell for more. Surprisingly enough, just having a low price isn’t the key. Today’s buyer wants to move right in, and they will pay a premium for this.

Doing these 7 things will help to make sure your home sells quickly and for top dollar:

house free of clutter1. Declutter

Decluttering makes every room look larger and feel neater. Buyers have trouble imagining themselves in a cluttered house. By removing or storing things you don’t need – including furniture – you create a roomy, comfortable feeling that will be inviting to prospective buyers.

When decluttering, remember: less is more. When in doubt, throw it out!

2. Clean, Clean, Clean

A clean home shows the prospective buyer it has been well cared for. Be sure every room smells as good as it looks, paying special attention to pet areas, nurseries, and bathrooms. Buyers will be impressed with sparkling clean kitchens and bathrooms. Consider hiring professionals to clean carpets, steam clean tile and grout, and paint stained walls and dinged woodwork. A little paint goes a long way toward brightening up a home. Buyers like move-in condition and will pay more for it!

3. Make Repairs

Making repairs eliminates buyer objections before they arise. If you think something is too much trouble to fix, chances are a buyer will, as well. Buyers tend to think repairs cost a lot more than they do. Just like cleaning, a home in good repair reinforces how well a home has been maintained.

4. Depersonalize

Neutralizing helps buyers imagine their own things in your home and picture themselves living there. Neutral paint, décor, and flooring create a home for any lifestyle.

Today’s buyers gravitate towards a “greige” palette and clean lines without fussy window treatments. Eliminating distracting colors, particularly from living spaces, lets buyers concentrate on positive impressions.

5. Remodel or Upgradestaged kitchen Before and After

The best returns come from the smallest improvements; painted woodwork and cabinetry, new paint, new carpet, refinished hardwood floors, and new hardware all create a fresh new look for the home for minimal cost.

If you want to go a step further, consider upgrading appliances, counter tops, and fixtures (both lighting and faucets).

Major remodeling such as replacing kitchens, bathrooms, roofs, and windows should only be done if necessary. Although doing major upgrades will help a home sell faster, the time it takes can be quite long and you are less likely to see a dollar-for-dollar return.

6. Stage Your Yard

Buyers make an instant determination of how desirable a home is based on the curb appeal. A beautiful front yard creates a good first impression. Once you remove weeds, rake leaves, trim hedges and walkways, and prune trees, you can begin to stage the front of the house! New plants, flowers, and mulch will brighten your yard. Beautiful pots create a welcoming feel. A fresh coat of paint on the front door and trim really pays off!

7. Stage the HouseStaging - Dining Room Before and After - photo credit-resized

Staging is often dismissed by agents as unimportant, most often because of cost. At Thomas & Company, we believe that good staging increases the value and appeal of a home. A stager looks at a home through a “buyer’s lens” and can make suggestions for how showcase your home to its best advantage. We believe so strongly in the power of staging that we even include a session with our home stager as part of our marketing services.
A well-staged home photographs better, too. And since the photos of your home are most often its first “showing” to a potential buyer, quality photography is vital. As with curb appeal, the better the home looks, the faster it will sell.

Considering Selling Your Home?

We can help you sell your home faster and for top dollar. Contact us at 614.939.1234 and let’s talk about your home selling goals.

7 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Place of Your Own

Living in an apartment or rental home does have its perks: You can test out different neighborhoods and locations, you have the flexibility to move, and you have access to great amenities like a gym or pool. But there’s a reason that owning a home, rather than renting one, is a highly desired achievement.

Maybe the thought of having your own place has crossed your mind only recently, or maybe you’re regularly saving a chunk of your paycheck for that future down payment. No matter where you are in the process of considering homeownership, here are the unmistakable signs that you’re ready to buy your first home.

new friends hanging out

1. You Want to Get to Know Your Neighbors

Because renters don’t tend to live in one apartment for very long, it can be difficult to meet people who live in your building. But when you buy a home and are more invested in your community, it’s easier to forge lasting friendships.

homeowner customizing his house

2. You Want to Customize Your Space

Many rental communities have limits on what you can customize in your unit. You may be able to paint your walls a different color, but you may not be able to replace the countertops or appliances that come standard in your apartment.

homeowners in a spacious room

3. You Want More Space or Amenities

You daydream about having a home with a large kitchen, dining room, basement, garage, or maybe even a home office or bonus room for your hobbies.

sign pointing to home for sale

4. You Regularly Drive by Your Favorite Neighborhoods

You have a list of at least three communities (or maybe even houses) that you would love to live in when you’re ready to buy a home. You might even attend an open house or two.

two parents and a child

5. You’re Eager to Put Down Roots

A home is more than a financial investment. It’s your own space, a private retreat, and the start of a new chapter in your life. You’ll love being able to make lasting memories with your new neighbors and enjoying all the amenities near your home.

woman scrolling through a laptop

6. You’re Constantly Browsing Home Improvement Sites

Instead of scrolling through social media, you’re scrolling through home decor websites or binge-watching HGTV. You now have dozens of ideas for how you’re going to decorate everything from the bathrooms to the entryway.

home buyers searching for homes

7. You Have Money Saved Up for a Down Payment

A down payment is essential to buying the home of your dreams. But once you see your savings account grow, you know your new home is just within reach.

We Can Help You Buy Your First Home

You have plenty of decisions to make when considering homeownership, but we can help you with all of the details. Let’s talk about your plans, and we can work together to search for homes, make an offer on your favorite property, negotiate the best price, and navigate all the steps to closing. Call us and let’s get started!