Posts tagged ‘real estate tips’

January 10, 2014

Being a Good Neighbor

Ask yourself, ”Am I a good neighbor”?

finalpostGood neighbors are important.  Living in a neighborhood where you feel safe and connected can impact your level of happiness and even reduce stress.  You may not be able to change your neighborhood, but you can certainly change the experience you have in your neighborhood by getting out and getting involved.

Here are a few qualities of a good neighbor:

Good neighbors are respectful
Always be conscientious about noises that may disturb your neighbors, such as music, loud talking, barking dogs.  End parties at a reasonable hour, while you are at it, invite your neighbors.  Always return anything you borrow in the same condition, in a timely manner, and express your gratitude when you do so.  Make time to smile and say hello.  Never forget, while neighbors may live close, they are also respectful of each other’s privacy.

Good neighbors are proud
Be considerate of those around you.  Take pride in maintaining your home so that it is neat and attractive.  Mow your lawn regularly and keep your landscape trimmed and neat.  Coming home to a beautiful house and neighborhood is rewarding.

Good neighbors are helpful
Offer to collect mail, water plants, or watch pets while a neighbor is away on a trip.  When snow falls, help elderly neighbors by shoveling their driveway or sidewalks.  Prepare a meal when a neighbor is under the weather or run errands while their car is in the repair shop.  You never know when you will need one of them to return the favor for you.

Good neighbors are supportive
Organizing neighborhood parties, yard sales, or other functions is a good way to get to know each other better and a great way to build a stronger community.  Neighbors who know each other personally are more likely to look out for and help each other.  Neighborhood Watch groups are another way to help and support your neighbors.  They deter crime and violence, making your neighborhood a safer, happier place to live.

Good neighbors are social
Get to know your neighbors.  Welcome new neighbors with a note or a friendly chat.  Invite neighbors over for coffee to visit and share good news.  Learn from your neighbors who have different cultural backgrounds than you.  Everyone gets busy; it only takes a little bit of time to organize an annual holiday party and socialize with all your neighbors.

Getting to know the people around you takes only mere moments out of your day, but can provide a lifetime of pride in your home and the neighborhood.  It is nice knowing you can depend on those around you and they can depend on you.

“When strangers start acting like neighbors…communities are reinvigorated.” – Ralph Nader

Click here for some tips on meeting your neighbors.

Looking for a new home? Prudential Homesale’s new real estate search can help you find what you are looking for.

October 22, 2013

Autumn Home Checklist

 Fall made its official arrival on Sunday, September 22nd. Although some days are still sunny and a bit warmer than usual,
don’t be fooled! Crisp, colder days are winter days lurking around the corner; NOW is the perfect time to prepare your
home for them!

Here is a checklist to help you get started….

Oct 2013 IOV - Ecard

A little time spent now can save you the hassle of dealing with bigger issues later! With falling leaves
and dwindling daylight hours. Take advantage of this final opportunity to get these task completed before
winter settles in!

Baltimore Homes for Sale  | Towson Homes for Sale | Lancaster Homes for Sale | York Homes for Sale

October 2, 2013

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

August 6, 2013

Avoiding Kindergarten Jitters

kidergartenThe first day of kindergarten can bring a few tears, especially for parents.  It may be hard to believe your child is growing up so fast. Try to keep your emotions under wraps and make sure your child feels excited and ready to begin this year of learning and fun experiences.

Is your child is ready and what can you do to help them?  Here are a few top recommendations…

kidergarten-crayonsGet to know the school – Drive by it often during the summer and take a tour.  This will help your child be more comfortable with the building.  Bring up school in conversations at home and talk about how much fun it can be.  As a parent, attend open houses and meet-the-teacher events.  It’s a great way to meet other parents and stay informed.

kidergarten-crayonsIndependence – Work with your child over the summer on making good choices.  Encourage them to pick healthy foods for lunch.  Many children this age are used to Mom making choices; this new freedom can be overwhelming.  Also find ways to teach them simple problem solving skills.  Make sure your child can go to the bathroom alone, use buttons and zippers, and maybe even learn to tie their shoes, if you think they are ready.  These activities/accomplishments are great confidence boosters!!

kidergarten-crayonsSchool bedtime routine – Begin a new routine about a month ahead.  Parents can scale back gradually each night.  8:00pm is a great time, but you’ll know best how much rest your child needs.  Stick to the routine.

kidergarten-crayonsWork on skills – Have your child practice writing their name and lower case letters.  Incorporate counting into as many daily activities as you can.  Count steps to the mailbox, napkins on the table, pieces of fruit, etc.  Make daily errands learning experiences, but don’t overdo it!

kidergarten-crayonsSchool Shopping – Make this a fun experience!  Most schools can provide a list of what is needed and what’s allowed.  Encourage your child to make choices about colors, types, etc.

kidergarten-crayonsVisit a library – Visit your local library and get a free library card.  Visit the library each week to borrow a new book.  Talk about the books you read.

kidergarten-crayonsStudy Spot – Find a quiet spot at home and stock it with crayons, paper, scissors, and other “tools”.  Set aside time daily to have your child “work” in their spot.  When school starts, this can be their place for doing homework.

kidergarten-crayonsSocial Skills – Schedule play dates for your child with their friends.  Expose them to various personalities and encourage sharing and cooperation.  Great classroom skills!

kidergarten-crayonsDo your homework – Make sure you have completed all necessary paperwork and that your child has the required immunizations, tests, etc. to start school.

Kindergarten readiness does not have to dominate the rest of your summer, but taking some time to prepare will certainly go a long way to guaranteeing a smoother transition!

These tips were provided by Prudential Homesale
According to the industry publication REAL Trends, Prudential Homesale is the 13th most successful Realtor nationwide in the combined delivery of home services:  real estate sales, mortgage closings, title closings, insurance sales, and home warranty sales.  Prudential Homesale is ranked the 4th most successful Prudential Real Estate franchise in the country in sales.  

July 18, 2013

Prep Your Home for Vacation

img-prep-home-for-summerBefore you head out the door to your favorite summer vacation spot, take a few minutes to run through this checklist and prep your home before you leave; it could make your return just a little bit sweeter.

  • Light it up – the kitchen (usually in the rear of the home) is a favorite break-in spot.  Move a lamp into the kitchen and arm it with a timer that you can set to come on at random times.  Also illuminate the main exterior entrances of your home with outdoor timers as well.
  • Keep it Quiet – Don’t post pictures on Facebook until you are home and don’t change voicemail greetings to say that you are out of town.
  • Keep it Cool – Don’t turn off your homes AC, mold and mildew can grow in a few days with warm temps.  Instead set the thermostat to 82 Fahrenheit and your home will stay cool enough to prevent both.
  • Power it down – A power surge can damage small appliances or cause fires.  Unplug all items that are not plugged into a surge protector, such as a toaster and coffeemaker; and turn all surge protectors to off.
  • Flush it – Flush the toilets and leave the lid up (just this once) so you won’t come home to icky, stagnant water.
  • Clean it – Run the dishwasher to clean all dirty dishes.  Remove them and leave the door open.  This will allow the interior to dry completely and it won’t smell musty when you return.
  • Trim it – Prune tree branches that extend over your house, especially if they are dying or are dead.  Doing this will help prevent expensive damage if a storm hits while you are away.
  • Stop it – Have your mail held while you are gone and suspend your newspaper deliveries.
  • Lock it – Most burglars will use force to gain entry, but they often look first for open windows and doors.  Double check that all are locked (even on the 2nd story), replace any broken window panes, and bring in any hidden keys.
  • Arm it – Set the alarm and notify your security company that you will be away.  Give a relative or friend the security code, the company name, your itinerary, and your contact numbers just in case.  Also test your smoke alarms before you depart to make sure they work.
  • Get help with it – Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your home every other day if possible and to bring in any unexpected deliveries like a phone book or circulars.  Make sure you give them a key.

Taking time to prepare your home can help give you greater peace of mind while you travel.

Go on, relax and have fun!

Take a look at these Homeowner Survival Skills for more tips on taking care of your home.
Looking for a career as a Maryland or Pennsylvania Real Estate Agent? Visit our Real Estate Careers website for more information.

July 1, 2013

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.

March 28, 2013

Dress up your Décor

dress-up-you-decorNeutrals are safe, easy to decorate around, and lend themselves to any design theme.  Preferring a simple, neutral décor does not mean you are boring or dull!  You can show off your personality and sense of style by “dressing up” up a neutral room!

A neutral is any color that stays in the background and doesn’t take over a room.  Popular choices are beige, grey, ecru, cream, and brown.  So when you can’t decide on a color for a room or furniture; keep it neutral and flexible.  It will provide the perfect backdrop for easy, seasonal, and personal-style changes.

  • Start with the walls – A neutral wall color keeps the room warm and white, contrasting trim will make the walls “pop”.  A perfect combination!
  • Carpet – Install a neutral color, trying for a shade or two darker than your walls.  You can buy a less expensive carpet, because using area rugs in various colors or prints is a popular trend for adding color to a room.  (plush padding can be installed for better carpet wear and to make it feel more expensive)
  • Hardwood – If this is your preference in flooring, any wood tone will be fine.
  • Furniture – Stick with neutral colors, but explore the great variety of textures and patterns that are available to break up the monotony.  Rattan or wicker, and leather are considered neutrals and can add a bit of rich elegance to a room.  If you are trying to save money, slipcovers and second-hand finds can also work great.
  • Recycle – Paint end tables, coffee tables, nightstands, in the same color with an enamel finish.  Matching your tables to the walls will give the room a larger, less-cluttered look.

Once you have your neutral palette complete, it’s time to have some fun!!

Accent color – This is used to bring some emphasis to your color scheme.  Accents are expected to be a bit “bold”.  You have the flexibility to add as much or as little as you want!  Start with a key piece of wall art or an area rug to “anchor” your space.  Look for colorful accessories to compliment the base color and these “anchor” pieces.  Here are some suggestions…

• Lamps         • Candles
• Artwork      • Throw Pillows
• Vases           • Throw Blanket

Texture – Not sure about adding color, then add texture.  It will add dimension and depth to your décor.  Wicker containers will add a roughness, while mirrors and glass will add sleek, smoothness.  Soft plush bedding or pillows will add comfort and warmth.  An area rug will bring coarseness and help define the space.

Greenery – Add life and movement to any room with plants.  Potted plants, colorful flowers, hanging ferns, garland, and swags are a great way to add a splash of color.  Place in the corner of a room, atop cabinetry, on tables or a decorative plant stand.

Follow these simple suggestions to show off your personality and style.  
Change it up seasonally or whenever you have the urge.  
You don’t have to break the bank to re-decorate or rejuvenate a room in your home…go ahead, have some fun!

March 25, 2013

10 Tips to Improve Your Credit Score

In recent years lenders have made it increasingly difficult to obtain credit – so whether you are applying for a mortgage, loan, credit card, or even a mobile contract, your credit score will play a key part in determining if you will be accepted or not.

10-tips-to-improve-your-credit-card-score

[Info-graphic provided by MoneySuperMarket.com]

Find out more about a mortgage quote from one of many programs so that your mortgage is custimized to fit your needs. Our knowledgeable mortgage consultants will work with you every step of the way to navigate today’s mortgage environment and get you to the closing table.

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January 28, 2013

Thinking about your next home project?

winterDoing any type of work on your home can be a thrilling adventure. Conventional thinking has been to tackle home improvement and remodeling projects during the spring and summer months. Well, it is time to change the way you think! One of the best-kept remodeling secrets is to do your remodeling work during the winter months.

  • The Price is Right-Contractors may provide incentives during the winter if their work is slow. You can also beat the typical price increases that occur in the spring for items like lumber, windows, cabinets, etc.
  • Beat the rush-Don’t try to schedule your projects when everyone else is! Right now many contractors have less to do and can schedule and perform your renovations a lot quicker. This is the best time for those interior projects like painting, replacing flooring, updating lights, or replacing cabinets.
  • What about the mess? Don’t be concerned about dust and fumes. With the products and technology available today, contractors are able to contain the mess to their work area. Items such as plastic zip doors, fans with negative pressure, and filters to seal off heat ducts are available to insure that your family won’t be inhaling anything they shouldn’t be!
  • Less Interruption-Many folks plan vacations to escape the long, cold months of winter. That is a great time to have work done at your home. You won’t have to deal with the inconvenience and havoc that remodeling can sometimes cause in your daily life. So go on, relax, enjoy a break. When you return you’ll find only a beautifully, completed home renovation project; no mess and no hassle for you.
  • Outside Project? Yes, if the weather cooperates, you might even be able to cross one of these projects off your to-do list. Outdoor painting may not be such a good idea, but building a deck, porch, or other addition might just be a possibility.

It’s time to “think outside the box”. Get your contractor working during the off-season. You may be able to save yourself money and get your projects done a lot sooner than you thought! Your contractor may even thank you for keeping them working during these slow winter months.

It’s a win-win situation for all!

October 8, 2012

Garage Makeover (Part 2)

In today’s economy, homeowners are trying to make every inch of their home useful. They want more active and functional living space. Reclaiming attics, storage rooms, closets, garden sheds and garages is the easiest way to utilize wasted space. Garages are often full of “junk” that we no longer need or use. By giving your garage a makeover you can transform that cluttered space into a totally new and functional living area. By using these few tips you will feel confident and ready to show off your new space.

 

Furniture
Use a modern modular couch. They are
easily re-arranged and come with removable
slipcovers that can be washed easily.
Garage Door
Use colored sheets of plastic to dress-up
the garage door. These can be found at any
hardware store and can be easily screwed into
the door frame.
Windowless?
Peel-and-stick mirrors will reflect light,
creating a brighter space.
Storage
Movable partitions are the easiest way to hide
unwanted items.
Accent Color
Pick an accent color and use it sparingly.
Incorporate this color into accesories like
pillows and centerpiece for a table.
Lighting
Hanging lights create the illusion
of height and create dimension
against a flat surface.
Floors
Remove old oil stains using an acid cleaning solution.
Use paint (formulated for garage floor use), carpet,
or colorful interlocking tiles to give the floor a more
comforting and appealing look.
Door
Don’t forget about the door! Purchase a new door that fits
the style and look of your new room. Make sure to get the
correct size and allow space for weather stripping.

Information courtesy of ThisOldHouse.com and hgtv.com2010.

These tips can also help sellers who are looking to sell their home; by helping to increase the overall look of their home, and entice home buyers.

 

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