House Hunting Tips

Couple House RealtorIdeally, we’d all love for house hunting to be a quick and easy process that results in the perfect home. Unfortunately not all homes come equipped with a two-story pool and a waterfall, so this is not always the case. Here are some things to keep in mind when trying to find a place that fits all of your needs.


Don’t Choose a House for its Awesome Bathtub

Sometimes it can be easy to overlook certain important details—like those dubious mold spots on the ceiling—in favor of a flashy new granite countertop that the owner will be certain to emphasize. When looking at potential houses, keep in mind the difference between the things you need and the things that it would be nice to have. While it can be exciting to find the perfect cabinet handles, make sure you consider them a bonus and not a priority.


Living Next Door to a Prison

Location is one of the most important things to consider while looking for your new home. How far is the house from your job or prospective jobs? How far away is the nearest grocery store? What is the neighborhood like? Who are your neighbors? Visit the house at different times of the day to see what changes. Even the house of your dreams can turn into the house of your nightmares if you live next door to a sewage plantation, so it is important to take these things into consideration when you feel like you have found the perfect house.


Play Detective

Don’t be afraid to be slightly nosey when it comes to looking for your new home. Remember that you are going to be living there, so it’s important that the house fits all of your needs. Check the cupboards, the closet space, and inside every door. Lift rugs and look under furniture. Try to envision your own possessions in the space and even measure areas to be certain everything fits. While not a deal breaker, it might be upsetting to find out after you move that your vintage bookshelf is taller than the ceiling.



A common mistake made when house hunting is trying to rush through the process. Whether it’s because it was pushed it off until last minute or because they chose the first decent house presented to them, many people end up with houses not suited to their needs. Take the time to make a checklist of the most important things that you are looking for in a home, and then take the list to each tour. This way while you are making sure that every house has room for your fish tank, you won’t forget that your youngest son needs a bedroom.

While keeping these things in mind, however, remember to relax and enjoy yourself. House hunting is an exciting time full of potential and possibilities for your future, so have fun!

House Hunting Tips

Wrapping Up Your Home for the Holidays

home-christmas-decorationsIn the movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” Clark Griswold may have gone a little overboard with his Christmas lights, but if he was selling his house, he may have had the right idea.

“Great decorations really set the tone for the holidays, a time when you can showcase your home in a different way to highlight areas that normally may not stand out,” said Amy Cornwell, President/ Lead Designer for Creative Impressions, which specializes in seasonal decorating.

By creating a festive atmosphere, a home seller allows perspective buyers to envision what their holidays will be like in the property—complete with a beautiful tree, stockings hung from the fireplace mantels and the smell of Christmas cookies in the air.

Home Buyers associate a sense of ‘home’ through the traditions and memories of holiday décor,” Cornwell said. “It’s a great way to attract buyers.”

Nighttime is when many perspective buyers are driving around looking at houses, and nothing will slow them down more than a great Christmas light display. “A well-designed display adds festive elegance to a home, and highlights the already-present features of the property,” said Brandon Stephens, vice president of Marketing at The Decor Group, Inc., Lubbock, Texas, specializing in interior and exterior holiday decorating.

In fact, consider holding an open house at night, when you can serve hot chocolate and better show off the Christmas lights, holiday decorations and all that the house has to offer.

Here are some simple suggestions to ensure your home captures the holiday spirit without interfering in the real estate process:

  • Keep decorations to a minimum so you don’t block views, make rooms feel smaller and disrupt the natural flow of the home. Consider a smaller tree and store gifts in another room.
  • Incorporate fresh evergreen or rosemary into your decorating for a classic look and to promote “the Christmas tree smell.”
  • Make sure light strings and extension cords are tucked away for everyone’s safety.
  • Eschew religious or cultural decorations to not alienate prospective buyers who don’t share your beliefs.
  • Leave a plate of holiday cookies and warm cider or cocoa for prospective home buyers.


The holidays are emotional times for most people, including home shoppers. Holiday decorations, presented tastefully and sensibly, can help you wrap a bow on your home for just the right buyer.

Happy Holidays!

Wrapping Up Your Home for the Holidays

Prudential Real Estate Q3 Consumer Outlook Survey

Prudential Real Estate has released the results of its third quarter Consumer Outlook Survey indicating men and women tend to take up different tasks in the home-buying process and view homeownership through a slightly different lens. However, both say their real estate agent helped ease the decision-making process. Take a look at the infographic in this moew insight into each role in the home-buying process.

(magnifyClick to enlarge)

Q3 2013 Consumer Outlook Survey Infographic

Like this blog post? Take a look at our real estate blog categories;
Homeowners | Home Buyers | Home Sellers

Prudential Real Estate Q3 Consumer Outlook Survey

Quick Tips for Selling Quickly

Sell-your-house-fast-nutleyPatience is a virtue for just about any circumstance including selling your home. Yet sometimes you must sell quickly when a job opportunity arises or you face an abrupt lifestyle change. Assuming your home is in good condition and free of liens, here are several tips to help expedite a sale.

1. Price your house correctly: Working with your agent, choose a price that’s somewhat lower than what you’re seeing in the market, but not too low that it will send up red flags. Let your agent establish a price he or she feels will make your house the buzz of the neighborhood. The amount may not be what you had envisioned—remember, the market has changed substantially over the last five years—yet when priced slightly below comparable sales you should attract serious buyers.
Many Prudential Homesale agents use the Prudential Value Range Marketing SM as an additional pricing resource. Instead of setting a specific price, a value range is selected enabling sellers to entertain offers in a defined range.

2. Be flexible, compromise: know your basement price and don’t be offended by offers within those parameters. Consider negotiating housewares and fixtures that may appeal to prospective buyers, such as those expensive new drapes you just installed, the dining-room chandelier or that slick, washer-drier combo. Conduct a complete inventory of household features to determine what you can and can’t live without.

3. Remove the clutter from your home: This must be done regardless of time frame. Throw away anything you won’t be taking with you and pack in storage items that you won’t miss during the sale process. Consider renting a storage pod that can be picked up and eventually moved to your new home.

4. Offer incentives: One popular incentive for a fast closing is to share or pay for your buyer’s closing costs. You may also offer higher commissions for a fast sale, which may lead to even more showings.

5. Rent to buy: If there’s interest in your home but no one is willing to step up to meet your timeline, offer prospective buyers the chance to rent your property with the right to buy it in six months or a year. Both parties win, as buyers can experience the home and neighborhood firsthand while you transition with cash flow to cover expenses.
Indeed, home-selling requires time and patience yet there are several things you can do to help expedite the process, if necessary. With flexibility and creativity, you can increase your chances of a quick sale.

Quick Tips for Selling Quickly

Smells that Sell…

lemonsWhen selling your home, your home shouldn’t just look good, it should smell good as well. Every home has a “smell”… make sure your home has a good one. Homeowners are often coached to create pleasing aromas when potential buyers are paying a visit or an open house is scheduled. Recent research reports that simple smells are the best smells to help you sell your home. An important concept to take away from this article….less is more.

The best place to start is with a CLEAN palette.

Baking Soda – It’s safe, cheap, and versatile. Keep an open box in closets and laundry room to absorb odors. Sprinkle on carpets prior to vacuuming.
Open up – Open windows to allow fresh air into your home.
White Vinegar – Mix equal amounts with water in a spray bottle. Lightly spray drapes, carpets, and other fabrics. This is a great odor neutralizer! Placing a bowl of this mixture in a room for several hours will also help to absorb bad odors! Great for burnt food smells, pet odors!
Keep it Clean – Don’t let garbage pile up, clean the litter box daily, put dirty laundry in a closed hamper, clean-up spills promptly, and toss old fruit from baskets on the counter.
Vacuum – Use a fresh vacuum bag to prevent transferring old, stagnant odors trapped in an old bag.


Once your home is clean, you can create the aromatic environment you desire. In the past, baking cookies, cakes, or bread, lighting candles, and using potpourri were all very popular trends. But now, researchers recommend keeping it SIMPLE and NATURAL. Complex fragrances can actually distract potential buyers. They can become focused on identifying the scent rather than focusing on your home’s fabulous features! Here are some easy, popular suggestions…

Citrus – A powerful deodorizer, it also brings a feeling of more energy! Cut a few quarters of a lemon or lime and toss into the garbage disposal. Run for a minute to deodorize the disposal and to re-fresh your kitchen.
Vanilla – Pure vanilla extract is a comforting aroma. Soak a few cotton balls with vanilla and place in small bowls around the room / home.
Cinnamon/Cloves/Spices – Conjures up memories of holidays and home. Fill a small saucepan with water, add some cinnamon sticks, cloves, a few drops of vanilla or even an orange rind. Simmer on the stove, keeping a close eye on it so the water doesn’t boil down.
Pine/Cedar – Terrific, all-natural fragrance for a mountain home! Decorate with some fresh sprigs of pine or place cedar chips in a bowl. Keep in mind; this may not work very well for a beach home or city residence. It may come across as un-natural and might suggest you are masking other odors.
Homemade Room Spray – Can be personalized and contains fewer chemicals than commercial sprays. Mix 1 cup water, 1 cup vodka (a cheap brand will work), and 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil…lavender, cinnamon, clove, lemon, or orange are all good choices. Find the mix that works best for you. Put into a spray bottle and use whenever the air needs a burst of freshness! (Keep out of reach, along with your other home cleaners)
Baked Goods – Some folks will still swear by this trick……keep the smell simple and familiar, like home (pumpkin pie, sugar cookies, cinnamon rolls, raisin bread). Be careful not to let them burn!

It’s time to put away the harsh, artificial sprays and fresheners. Here’s a chance to be clean, fresh, and creative.
Keep it all-natural, all organic………….keep it simple!

Smells that Sell…

New Home To-Do List

movingCongratulations, you have found the home of your dreams, but now what? Now is when the real work, planning, and fun begins. This is an exciting new chapter in life, full of great experiences. Take a few minutes now to create a to-do list and plan projects before moving day arrives! You will be glad you did.

Plan & Prepare:

  • Hook yourself up – About a month ahead of the move, contact your current water, electric, cable, and phone companies. This will give you plenty of time to schedule cancellations and not incur any unnecessary charges. Also contact your new providers to schedule “turn-on dates”. Nothing would be worse than trying to move and settle in without water or electric!
  • Update Insurance – Notify your homeowner’s insurance company of the change in your residence. If moving to another state, chances are you will have to get a new policy and maybe even a new company, depending on your current insurance company’s coverage.
  • Go Postal – Recommendations are to file a change of address request with the USPS approximately 6-weeks before you move. You can stop by your local post office or complete it online at At the same time, it’s a good idea to remove your name from junk catalog lists ( Eliminate the extra clutter!
  • Medical Records – If you are moving out of the area, it will be much easier to get a copy of your records now rather than later. You may need them to establish yourself as a new patient with another doctor.
  • Local News – Sign up for the local newspaper in your new community. What a wonderful way to get to know the local shops, restaurants, and organizations; plus find out about upcoming events!

Pre-move Projects:
In addition to paperwork, utility switches, and other aspects of moving, now is a great time to consider home renovation projects. Many of them will be much easier to do before all of your belongings arrive!

  • Replace flooring – This can seem a bit daunting now, but will be so much easier for all involved if you can do this project while the space is empty.
  • Painting – Even if you can’t decide on new colors for every room, completing this in just one or two rooms is a great accomplishment. And again, it’s much simpler when you don’t have to crawl over furniture!
  • Closet systems – Closet systems installed ahead of time will allow for easy unpacking; items can go from boxes right into drawers and on shelves.
  • Electrical upgrades – If you’re moving into an older home and this is on the to-do list keep in mind that electricians are paid by the hour; get them in and out as quick as possible!
  • Garage Storage – Have sturdy storage shelves to move? Have them loaded last, so you can get to them first. This will give you an immediate space for those “stored” items and will keep floor space open for other things.

Using the tips and hints here, you’ll find that all of this can be a pleasant experience.

Happy Moving!!

New Home To-Do List

“Won’t you be my neighbor?”

homesThe familiar, famous words sung over and over again by Mr. Rogers. They make all of us want to be part of a friendly and inviting neighborhood. Pulling up your roots and moving to a new community can be an adjustment, but more than 43 million Americans do it every year and meeting your new neighbors does not have to be difficult.

It’s really not as tough as you may think to meet people in your area. Here are some great ideas for breaking the ice and fostering the beginning of many great, new friendships.

First Impressions – Remember the saying “First impressions count”? This still holds true. Be a good neighbor from the very first day and people will remember you! Be considerate of where you park your car and moving truck, so you don’t block another’s driveway or mailbox. Check on the local trash pick-up date before you line your curb with the remnants of your move. Though you may be busy unpacking and exhausted…expect the unexpected. Some neighbors will drop by to introduce themselves, bring a casserole or other welcoming gift. Always be courteous, thank them and even invite them in, if possible. And don’t forget to send thank you notes as soon as you are unpacked and settled.

Use your kids – This is one instance where it is acceptable. Keep an eye out for neighboring children who appear to be close to the same age as your own kids. Introduce yourself, suggest a play date to get them acquainted (adults too!). During the school year, make a point to go to the bus stop or join parent organizations to meet others.

Hot Spots – One of the best ways to meet people is to find out where they like to gather. It may be the local pool, community center, coffee shop, or farmer’s market. Make a point to get out to those places and mingle. Pay attention to the patterns in your own neighborhood…do people like to sit on their front porches in the evening or take morning walks? If so, get outside during these times and use the opportunity for introductions.

Be Bold – Take the initiative and knock on their doors to introduce yourself. If you need an excuse to make this situation less awkward, you can always ask to borrow a tool, inquire about lawn service, or request a local restaurant recommendation.

Volunteer – Check with your local Chamber of Commerce for opportunities in the area. What better way to meet people than to support a cause that obviously means something to them as well as to you?

Throw your own party – This could be a simple drop-in at your home (be careful to include all neighbors)…or it could be on a much larger scale such as a neighborhood block party. If you are ambitious and love to organize this type of function, then go for it! If it is well planned, this can be loads of fun for all ages and will be remembered for a long time.

With a little perseverance, maybe even a little courage, you’ll be able to meet many of your neighbors and make a smooth transition into a new homes community.

Relocation and Moving Information

“Won’t you be my neighbor?”