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

Helpful Holiday Tips

The Clock is ticking, time to get your home ready for the holidays. Getting it ready means more than simply decorating, especially if you are hosting a holiday party. Before you deck the halls, take time to get organized. Be the host everyone will be talking about, for all the right reasons!

Holiday Checklist

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AskHomesale.com provides real estate advise and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Prudential Homesale Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Prudential Homesale has more than 25 offices with over 1,000 REALTORS®. Prudential Homesale’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium.  Pennsylvania real estate offices include York, LancasterWyomissing, Chambersburg, Gettysburg, Harrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

Helpful Holiday Tips

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.

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Q3 2013 Consumer Outlook Survey Infographic

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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

Real Estate: Buy or Sell First?

buy-or-sellWhen it comes to home buying, the ideal situation would be to find a new home, just as you receive an offer on your existing home. You would then be able to close concurrently and move into your new home a few days prior to closing on your previous home. This does happen more often than not, but anyone looking to buy a new home needs to consider all the possible scenarios.

Should you buy or sell first? There are many schools of thought on this subject. Ultimately, it depends on you and your situation. For instance, can you afford to pay two mortgages in the event your previous home does not sell by the time you move? Would you consider a bridge loan (a short-term, high interest loan that let you borrow against the value of your old home to covers the bills until you secure the new, larger loan)? Are you willing to move twice to find the home of your dreams if you sell first and can’t find the dream home fast enough?

This is where the advice of a real estate sales professional is invaluable. Real estate sales professionals know the current market conditions. They are trained and experienced in working with home buyers and sellers to determine an ideal time to buy and sell.

It is generally less stressful to sell your home first, because you won’t have to worry about owning two homes at one time. The market will dictate how long it will take your home to sell, as will your location and the time of year. As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to put your home of the market as far in advance as possible when purchasing a new one. But, since interest rates are low and confidence is returning to the market, there’s a good change your home will sell faster if priced properly. (Again, your real estate professional’s advice is critically important here.) In that case, you may want to purchase a new home first.

What if your present home sells before you find a new one, putting pressure on you to find the right house for you more quickly? You may then decide to make an interim move or request to rent back your home for a specified amount of time as you continue to look for your new home. Those may be worthwhile options if you have your heart set on a specific location or type of home or if you are purchasing a home that is under construction.

If you buy a home before selling your present home, you may end up with two mortgages. Under those circumstances, you may be able to apply for a bridge loan to assist you in making two mortgage payments until you sell your first home. Your real estate sales professional can assist you in finding a lender.

So should you buy or sell first? This is a challenging question regardless of real estate cycles, yet your own circumstances and a knowledgeable real estate professional will help you make the right decision.

 

AskHomesale.com Provides tips for Homeowners, Home buyers and Home Sellers

Real Estate: Buy or Sell First?

Paint Like a Pro

Paint Perfection

A fresh coat of paint is the fastest, most economical way to spruce up any room in your home. Here are some simple guidelines to help you achieve results that will make any professional painter envious.

paint-like-a-pro

Pick your paint type – Water-soluble latex dries quickly, is easier to clean up, and emits fewer fumes. It is also less likely to fade and provides a breathable surface allowing moisture to escape. Oil based paints are trickier to apply, dry more slowly, and require mineral spirits for clean-up. However, they will provide a more durable finish. There are also specially-designed paints for kitchens and baths to resist mold, mildew, and humidity; they are worth the extra expense! That’s actually a good rule for any paint, consider paying a little more for better quality!

Choose the sheen – Flat, low-luster paints disguise flaws making them good for ceilings and low traffic areas. Glossier finishes form a smoother, water-resistant surface that is easy to wipe clean and stands up to moisture, making them a good choice for kitchens, trim, and high-traffic areas.

Test-drive the color – Buy a sample pot and apply 2 coats to a 3’ sq. of white foam board. Move the square around your room to study it at different times of the day and in varying light conditions. Once you decide on a color, purchase all your paint at the same time. (a gallon will cover about 400 sq ft) If you need more than 1 can, a good idea is to mix all cans together. Different cans could have subtle color variations that will become obvious on your walls. If applying 2 coats, only mix ½ of your paint for the first coat and mix the remaining paint before your second coat.

The right tools – For most jobs you will need a roller, brushes, blue painters’ tape, and a paint tray. Nylon and polyester bristles work best with latex paint, while natural bristles are the best choice for oil-based finishes. A 3/8”–1/2” nap roller suits most drywall.

Prep – Clear as much furniture from the room before you begin. Cover the floor and fixtures with drop cloths and remove outlet/switch covers. Fill holes and patch damaged spots with spackle. Wipe down walls and trim with a damp sponge before you paint.

Cut-in – Use a 2 ½” angled brush to paint the border of your work area. This will keep your roller from bumping against adjacent surfaces.

“Lay off” Method – After rolling an area, make a series of long vertical strokes down the full length of the wall, in the same direction. This will distribute wet paint in a thin, even layer.

Removing the tape – If you have used painter’s tape on your baseboards or trim, you’ll want to remove it the same day you paint. Run a putty knife along the edge at a 45-degree angle to “score” the paint. This will allow you to peel off your tape and not pull off the paint, move slowly and steadily.

Other tips
– Paint an outlet cover and write the paint color/number on the back of the cover. You can take this along to the store when you need to match the color exactly!
– Store extra paint for “touch-ups” in an airtight glass jar (ex: mason jar). Cover the opening with plastic wrap before screwing the lid on and store in a cool, dry place.

Grab a brush, follow these tips, and enjoy great-looking, long-lasting results!

These tips are great for homeowners looking to update the look of their home, as well as for home sellers looking to update the look and price of their home for sale.

Paint Like a Pro

April To-Do List

April 2013 IOV - Ecard

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“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”
– William Shakespeare

Spring is in full-swing….let it inspire you to make the most of this month! It’s a terrific time to get out into the fresh air and to let the fresh air in as well! Here are a few ideas to get you started…

  • Inspect window screens for tears/bent frames, clean with a mild soap and soft bristle brush; allow to dry thoroughly before installing.
  • Cleaning the carpets is another way to bring a fresh feel to your home. Rent a carpet steamer or call in a professional.
  • Get out into the garden. Clean up leftover leaves and debris, turn the soil allowing it to breathe, and get prepared for planting.
  • Check garden hoses for leaks; repair or replace damaged hoses. Do not leave hoses connected to an outdoor spigot until the danger of frost is completely over!
  • Pre-plant your herbs. Start them in smaller, indoor pots and transplant to larger outdoor pots or beds when the time is right.
  • Inspect outdoor structures for deterioration – especially signs of rot. Check fences, railings, window sills. Plan to repair or replace any damage you discover once the weather turns fair.
  • Prepare for the outdoor cooking season! Inspect your grill; replace any worn or damaged parts. Remove and clean cooking grates with soapy water and a brass bristle brush. Remove grease from lava rocks or briquettes by turning them over, igniting the burners, and allowing the heat to “clean” them for 10 minutes. Check propane levels to ensure your grill is ready when you are!
  • For a real seasonal shift…change over cushions, sheets, and throws to lighter or brighter colors. Pick colors that will compliment what is already there.
  • Inspect the washing machine. Turn off the water, remove the supply hoses and examine them and the washers. Replace worn or damaged parts.
  • Last but not least….Get your bikes out of the shed, dust them off, and have them tuned-up by a pro!

Tackle these items early in the month so you can get out, get active, and make the most of the warm weather before it is gone again!

April To-Do List