The 5 Emotional Stages of Buying Your First Home

Ask anyone you meet and they’ll likely recall vivid details about their first roller coaster ride, their first day of school, or their first kiss. A first home purchase is no different! While buying your first home comes with its fair share of ups and downs, it will ultimately be an enjoyable experience you’ll remember for years to come.

two people jumping on a beach

Stage 1: Elation

You’ve checked your budget and the numbers all line up. You can now buy your first home! While you’re busy pinning home décor ideas to your Pinterest board, taking a peek at homes for sale in your favorite neighborhoods, and uncorking the champagne, you’re grinning from ear to ear. In no time, you’ll be stepping over the threshold of a home you can call yours.

deep hole lined with books

Stage 2: Apprehension

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of research involved with buying a home — something you’ve realized very quickly. You feel like you’re drowning in the vast sea of available homes, being crushed under the weight of your mounting to-do list, and losing your way down the rabbit hole of home buying tips and topics. Buying your first home is a bit more overwhelming than you thought!

But don’t worry. Once you’ve chosen a lender, gotten pre-approved for a loan, and found an experienced real estate agent, both of your trusted guides are there to help you with all the details.

children looking at a computer

Stage 3: Giddiness

With help from your awesome real estate agent, you’ve checked off all the items on your to-do list and have arrived at the fun stage: the house hunt! You feel like a little kid unwrapping a present when you see all those homes (in your price range!) with cool features like swimming pools, grassy yards, community amenities, and dreamy kitchens. Any one of these properties could potentially be your next home!

Armed with a pen, notepad, and your phone’s camera, you’re ready to explore your favorite homes and take note of what you liked. In one of the most emotional stages of the first-time home buying process, it’s hard not to fall in love with every home you visit!

person at the light at the end of the tunnel

Stage 4: Panic

Maybe the home you liked was sold before you could make an offer. Maybe you’ve taken a tour of ten listings and haven’t found “the one.” Maybe you realized you can’t afford your ideal home in the location you prefer. A million doubts start running through your mind: What if I miss out on my dream home? What if I can’t find the home I need? Will I have to settle for something beyond my budget? What if I won’t be able to buy my first home?!

But luckily, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Your real estate agent is here to provide you with an objective view of the situation, ease your fears, and work tirelessly to find you the right home.

a couple of homeowners in their first home

Stage 5: Bliss

Your real estate agent found a brand new listing for you and it’s a home you adore. And just like that, you’ve taken a tour, made an offer, and breezed through due diligence. You’ve just bought your first home!

Sure, it might not have all the fancy tech and high-end features like in HGTV’s dream home, but it has everything you need. And now it’s yours. Congratulations, new homeowner!

We’ll Minimize the Headaches

Whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth, the home buying process can come with its share of ups and downs. But we’re here to take the stress out of the whole process! Let’s chat about your plans, and we’ll help you discover the home you’ve been looking for quickly and easily.

Summer Housing Market Update

This summer, the housing market in New Albany is moving fast. With more than 22 years of experience helping clients buy and sell homes here, all of us at Thomas & Company have never seen a market this hectic. But the real question is what makes this market different and why is it such a great time to sell your home?

In short, New Albany is currently in a “perfect storm” market for sellers, where housing prices have been rising at the same time that inventory has remained very low. While the summer is typically a high time for buyers to start looking to begin with, the atypical drought of sellers has led to an unprecedented increase in demand. Right now, a majority of the well-priced homes hitting the market and going into contract in under a week – and often with multiple offers.

Earlier in this market frenzy, comparative sold listings were lagging behind; however, with 9-12 months of values consistently increasing, appraisals are finally reflecting the actual market value of homes in New Albany.

One thing that the real estate market is not right now is predictable. And, while the market seems to be trending upward, there is no guarantee that this will continue into the coming months or even weeks. If you have been considering selling your home, there is little doubt that you will get a better price in the future than you would today.

If you would like a better idea of what your home is currently worth, please reach out to someone here at Thomas & Company – we offer complimentary market valuations and expertise. And, with our suite of services, including home staging, professional photography, and a results-driven marketing plan, we’ll make your home stand out from the rest!

3 Home Selling Prep Essentials

You’ve got to start somewhere when preparing your home to sell, but it’s not where you would think. Before jumping right into cleaning, decluttering, staging, and marketing, take some time to review. Having a solid understanding of the real estate market and the home selling process is essential for a smooth and stress-free sale. So let’s get to it.

1. Know What’s Happening in the Real Estate Market

aerial view of residential community

Are homes in your community flying off the market in just a couple of days? Are properties selling over asking price again and again? What have homes like yours recently sold for? Knowing about current market conditions will give you an idea of how quickly your home is likely to sell, as well as how high a price you’re likely to receive. Ask us for a Neighborhood Sales Report for an inside look at market activity!

2. Find Out How Much Your Home is Worth

You’ve probably asked yourself “what’s my home worth?” a dozen times over the past few years. Now’s your chance to learn the answer!

When we’re determining how much homes are worth, we don’t just pull a number out of thin air. Home buyers are the ones who determine what properties are worth, so we take a look at current market activity (which you’ve already done!) to see how much buyers are willing to pay for homes like yours. At the end of all of our research, we have a detailed report of what your home is worth, which in the real estate industry is called a “comparative market analysis.” Call us and we’ll provide one for your home!

3. Wait Before Making Drastic Home Improvements

highly upgraded kitchenBefore you decide to shell out thousands of dollars to completely gut your kitchen and bathrooms, talk with a real estate agent who’s familiar with your community and what buyers are looking for in a home like yours. You may be surprised to learn that your potential buyers don’t want top-of-the-line appliances, quartz countertops, under-cabinet lighting, or any of those “must-haves” that you see on HGTV.

Save yourself the time, money, and headaches and talk with us. We can tell you which home improvements are worth the money and which ones aren’t.

Bonus Tip: Find the Right Real Estate Agent

The best way to save time, money, and unnecessary headaches? Work with a professional. The best real estate agent takes the time to understand your goals, provides you with the resources you need, and tells what to expect when selling your home. Plus, your real estate agent will be there to answer any questions you have at any time in the process.

We’d be happy to talk with you about your plans to sell your home. Call us!

What’s Hot in Home Design This Summer

Bright sunshine, warmer days, and a ton of new trends come with the change in season, and this summer certainly won’t disappoint. In the real estate world, these new trends revolve around the latest and greatest in wall colors and decorations, space savers, and creative living arrangements. We have our eye on a few interesting home décor ideas and hot home features that we think you’re going to love!

laptop sitting on marble countertop

Marble: A Sophisticated Look for Summer

Whether natural or imitation, marble is one of the top home décor trends for summer 2017. Designers are incorporating this luxe look into bathrooms and kitchens as expected, but they’re also taking it to everything from flower vases to side tables.

table with vintage dinner plates

Vintage Looks are Back in Style

1960s floral patterns have resurfaced in today’s home design magazines. Old World-inspired indigo dyes are popping up in everything from fabrics to bedspreads. Colorful melamine dinnerware is becoming popular in indoor and outdoor table settings. These nostalgic summer looks are sure to create the perfect feeling of “home.”

Today’s Buyers Crave These Trendy Home Features

Seasonal trends are not all about home décor. Outdoor entertaining spaces and smart-yet-sophisticated interior features are what buyers are searching for this summer. Are these popular home features on your must-have list?

sparkling swimming pool

Private Swimming Pools

With warm, sunshine-filled days ahead for summer, pools are at the top of most buyers’ home search lists. Backyard pools continue to be sought-after as both a focal point and a fun outdoor entertaining space.

neutral room with light wood floors

Lighter Hardwood Floors

Darker shades are out; bamboo, oak, and pecan flooring are on buyers’ must-have lists this summer. With these lighter shades in your living spaces, your home will seem even more light-filled and spacious.

kitchen with open floor plan

Spacious Open Floor Plans

This home design trend continues to be popular among home buyers. It’s not hard to understand why! Open floor plans create an effortless flow into any home and maximize every square inch of space.

We’ll Help You Find Your Dream Home

Have these décor ideas and trendy features on your mind as you search for a new place? We can help you find the perfect home and move you quickly through the process. Call us and let’s chat!

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!