Posts tagged ‘tips for sellers’

November 6, 2014

Pre-qualification vs. Pre-approval

Mortgage-loan-payment-calculatorThere has been some confusion among those looking to buy a home and qualify for a mortgage loan regarding the difference between a mortgage pre-approval vs a pre-qualification letter. Indeed, they sound pretty similar, so hearing these terms before or during the hectic time while considering buying can only add to the confusion for novice buyers.

It is important for you to know the difference between the two so you can plan accordingly when purchasing your first home. Whether you are buying a home in Pennsylvania or Maryland, home sellers want to know you have the ability to buy their property. The best way you can assure the seller that you are qualified to purchase their home is to have your pre-approval letter.

**You should get your pre-qualification and pre-approval before you even start looking for your next home. You do not want to be viewing homes that you think you can afford when, in fact, they are out of your actual approved mortgage amount.**

 


Pre-qualification

Acquiring a pre-qualification letter is the first step in the mortgage process and it is fairly simple. As the buyer, you may not have sufficient funds to purchase a home for cash, however this defines most buyers. As a result, your ability to purchase a home depends on your ability to borrow money.  You will have to provide your bank or potential lenders with your overall financial picture, including your debt income and assets. This can be done over the phone, in-person or via the internet, and there is usually no cost involved.  After evaluating your information, a lender will be able to give you an idea of the mortgage amount for which you qualify. This initial step allows you to discuss any goals or needs you may have regarding your mortgage with your lender.

Since pre-qualification is a quick procedure and is based only on the information you provide to the lender, the amount you pre-qualified for is not a sure thing; it is just the amount you might expect to be approved for.

 


Pre-approval

Pre-approval is the next step, and is a much more in depth look at your financial status/borrowing power. You will have to complete an official mortgage application (there is typically an application fee), and also supply the lender with the necessary documentation to perform an extensive check on your financial background and current credit rating. A mortgage pre-approval is a written conditional commitment that is issued by a lender following a comprehensive analysis of a borrower’s overall creditworthiness; verification of income, verification of employment, available financial resources, as well as the evaluation of other areas typical of a credit evaluation process.  From this, the lender can provide you with the specific mortgage amount for which you are approved. You will also have a better idea of the interest rate you will be charged on the loan.

With pre-approval you will have a better understanding of the homes you can financially afford. This means that you are closer to receiving a mortgage loan commitment from a lender than with just a pre-qualification letter. You will have an advantage when dealing with a potential seller, or another buyer putting in an offer. In the eyes of the seller, you are considered a “strong buyer” with your pre-approval status.

Pre-approval is also a very helpful bargaining tool in negotiating a better deal with a seller. Overall, a pre-approval will give you greater confidence in the home buying process and provide you with more leverage when negotiating with sellers.

 

**It should be noted that neither a “pre-qualification letter” nor a “pre-approval” are viewed as an absolute commitment from the lender. A lender will still have to look closer to assess property appraisals, verify the information collected and re-check your credit report before agreeing to issue the loan. However, having this pre-approval is about as close as you can get to knowing you will receive financing.**

 

Gaining Confirmation

The final step in the process is called a “loan commitment”, which is only issued by a bank when it has approved you, the borrower, and the house in question. This means the home should be appraised at or above the sales price. The bank may also require more information if the appraiser brings up anything he or she feels should be investigated (i.e. structural problems, accessibility issues, outstanding liens or litigation in progress). Your income and credit profile will be checked once again to ensure nothing has changed since the initial approval.

A loan commitment letter is issued only when the bank is certain it will lend, so the commitment date on your purchase contract should be closer to closing rather than the date of your offer.

 

If you would like more information please contact your local
Homesale Real Estate Agent or our Homesale Mortgage Affiliates.

 

 

Source: 
O’Connell, Brian. “Pre-Qualified Vs. Pre-Approved – What’s The Difference?” Investopedia. Investopedia, LLC, 2014. Web. Nov. 2014.
October 30, 2014

20 Moving Tips That Will Make Your Life Easier

Moving from one house to another can be stressful and exciting all at the same time. Staying organized, making lists, and planning ahead make the whole process a lot easier, but so does having a few handy packing tips and tricks up your sleeve!

 

move

1. Make a Packing Supplies Basket

 

Put together all of the things you need for packing in a basket so you aren’t constantly trying to remember where you put the tape. This way you can carry it around with you and have everything at your fingertips. You might want to include: packaging tape, labels, scissors, Sharpies, a screw driver, baggies, and a utility knife.


Source: A Bowl Full Of Lemons

 

2. Make your last Grocery Trip Two Weeks Prior to Moving

The more food you end up using before moving, the less you’ll have to throw out.

 

mirrora   

    3. Masking Tape on Mirrors

Use masking tape to place a large X on your mirrors and glass frames. It won’t prevent it from breaking, but it will absorb shock and keep the glass in the frame in the case that it is dropped or shuffled in the moving truck.

 

 

 

Source: Martha Stuart

 

box handles

4. DIY Box Handles

Make picking up and lifting heavy boxes a little easier by cutting handholds in two sides of the box with a utility knife! Leave the top flaps of your triangular cut-outs attached and simply fold them in

 

 

 

 

Source: Martha Stuart

 

5. Use soft items for Padding & Space Fillers

Place stuffed animals, pillows, sheets, blankets, and other soft items in trash bags and use them as padding next to fragile items in the moving truck. It also helps fill up irregular empty space in the truck so your belongings won’t shift around during the move.

 

6. Defrost Your Refrigerator

Plan ahead! Don’t forget to defrost, towel dry, and clean your refrigerator 24-48 hours before moving day. This will help prevent a stinky, wet mess.

 

7. Take a Photo of Your Cords

Before you disconnect them to be boxed up, take a quick snapshot of the cords on the back of your television and other electronics so that you can remember where they all go!

 

8. Pack Plates Vertically

platesSource: apartmenttherapy.com

Pack vertically like records. When packing vertically, don’t forget to create a barrier between each plate. You could place newspaper or even a foam plate in between to protect your delicate glass and ceramic plates. Place one in-between each place to prevent them from chipping or breaking.

 

9. Press n’ Seal Will Be Your Best Friend

Dresser drawers are like their own moving boxes — this will keep you from having to unpack and re-fold their contents. It’ll also make moving the actual dresser much more manageable. Press’n Seal is also great for keep jewelry displays intact. You can also use plastic wrap to keep items in their place! No sense in emptying your drawers or silverware tray when you can use plastic wrap to keep drawers shut or smaller items in their intended container

plastic bags

 

10. Use Sandwich Bags

Keep sandwich bags handy for holding any small parts of things you have to take apart, like curtain rods or mounted flat-screen TVs. Tape the sandwich bags to the back of the item they correspond to. ALSO: use this method with the cords for your electronics.

 

 

 

11. Rolling Luggage

If you’ve got them, use your rolling luggage bags for really heavy items like books. Now you can avoid the heavy lifting and simply roll the bags onto your moving truck.

 

 

clothesgarbage

12. Put Hanging Clothes in Garbage Bags

Keep them on the hangers while still protected in garbage bags! This saves the hassle of taking them on and off of the hangers. It also keeps your clothes all together in the order you had them hung, less wrinkled, and ready to hang up when you get to your new home. You can also put the bag on the opposite way; hangers go in first. Just poke a hole for your hangers to fit through the bottom of the bag. You can’t fit as many clothes in this way, but they stay in better form, and you can tie the bottom off with the drawstring closure. Label each bag and then you can hang them up where they belong before easily ripping the bag off.

 

 

Source: Wicker House Blog
glassware

 

 

13. Use Wine or Beer Cases to Carefully Store Stemware and Glassware

Visit your local bar, restaurant, or winery, and you’re bound to come home with several empty wine box cases! The inserts in these boxes are perfect for protecting glass cups, wine glasses, and vases

 

 

14. Enlist in the Color Coding System

Pick a color code for each room and label that room’s boxes accordingly. Label the door of each room with the corresponding sticker/tape so that movers know where to place the boxes.

 

15. Read the Fine Print 

If you hire movers make sure you read the fine print and find out if there are any weird rules. For instance, some movers will only move things in boxes, not garbage bags. Which means you’ll be paying them extra for unnecessary boxes at a marked-up price.

 

16. Change Your Address

Two weeks prior to moving make sure you change your address. This might seem like a no-brainer for important things like utilities and cable but don’t sweat the small stuff. You will want to change the address on your credit cards, bank account, magazine subscriptions, and all other mail.

 

17. Utilize Everything!

Think outside of the box! Use your pot holders to safely hold knives, store socks inside of shoes and boots, use the inside of your washer and dryer for storage — anything you can think of to fill up empty space. This will save much needed room on the truck.

 

18. Pack The Truck Like An Expert

mvoeSource: My Move

****For those who are moving themselves and not a moving company here is a simple way to pack the truck. Depending on the items you are moving, and how much, there are different techniques to packing a moving truck, but there are also the basics that will help you pack fast and efficiently.

 

19. Pack A First-Night Box

Chances are, you’re not going to be able to unpack and organize everything the first day of your move. You will want your essentials within easy access. Pack a labeled box/bag with all of your first-night essentials and load it into your own vehicle.

*You might want to include: toilet paper, toiletries, medications, snacks, basic cleaning supplies, COFFEE and coffee maker, a first-aid kit, a utility knife, pet supplies, a night light for the kids, bedding, disposable plates, cups, and utensils.

It is also a good idea for each member of the family to pack a small bag that contains personal belongings that they might need for the first couple of days. Just pack as if you’re going on a short trip! This way everyone has a change of clothes and anything else they might need.

 

And lastly……….

 

20. Have A Sense Of Humor

Relax! You’ll get there eventually. Moving day is probably the easiest excuse to get frustrated. Remind yourself before the day starts that everything will be ok.

 

A little planning will help you and your family to navigate the thrills and frustrations of moving and get you well on your way to having fun and making memories in your new home!

 

Relocating to Maryland or Pennsylvania? Take a look at our relocation services to help you with all your needs in the search of a new home.

 

 

 

October 27, 2014

Living In Your Home While It Is For Sale

You have decided it is time to move and put your house on the market. You have made a big decision, congratulations! When the for-sale sign is placed on your lawn, dozens of interested buyers and real estate agents will be trudging in and out of your entire house. You will have unfamiliar people examining every nook and cranny of your home.

Selling your home is a huge financial undertaking, so you will want to give your home the best chance to sell for the maximum price….while you still comfortably reside there.

Follow these steps to maintain a livable home and still sell it at the highest possible price.

Start Packing Now

As of right now, you may only have 3-4 months until the moving truck arrives and it is time to move. Therefore you need to remember that you are not going to need all of the decorative furniture or little knick-knack items that are currently filling your rooms and closets over the next few months. So if it is October and you lviein Maryland or Pennsylvania, you won’t need your spring and summer clothes; pack them up. The secret to getting a house clutter-free is to have the mindset of removing all the things you can live without while your home is on the market (it’s only a temporary).  With that in mind…….

 

Keep it, Store it, Toss it or Donate it!

Clutter can eat away equity and kill potential deals. The concept of less is more – removing clutter – is at the heart of preparing to sell a home because space is an important commodity. Showing that you have a little extra breathing room and a sense of expansiveness in your home gives off the feel of luxurious, calming and uplifting. As obvious as this seems, buyers will be more attracted to a home that feels like it has extra space, which is why removing unnecessary clutter from your home is essential when preparing for an upcoming move.

 

Scrub Away

After you have de-cluttered your home, it is time to start cleaning. Say farewell to all the cobwebs, dust, grime, rust, mildew and carpet stains. The windows, glass and mirrors must sparkle. The sinks and toilets should look ‘five-star hotel perfect.’ Most people dread cleaning, but the payoff is worth it in the end.

 

Maintain your Privacy and Safety

Believe it or not, people are nosy and may look through your drawers, closets, medicine cabinets, etc… at your open house or showing. Don’t keep anything in the house that you do not want other people to see; personal documents and valuables. Don’t leave mail sitting around, lock up all checks, credit cards or any other personal information. Be extra cautious about anything of monetary or sentimental value. Although this type of behavior is rare, it is better to be safe than sorry in this case,

 

Send your Pets on a Holiday

Animals are a wonderful addition to any household; however they may not be the best addition to an open house or listing. Therefore you should plan accordingly, ask friends and family to take your pet(s) for the day or at least a few hours, while the house is being shown.

 

Prep Like a Pro

When you are living in a house that is on the market, you need to be prepared to “Show Prep” you home for each showing. Even though your real estate agent is constantly working hard for you, they are busy and often arrive at the same time of the potential buyers. This means they may not have the opportunity or time to prep the house. When those buyers arrive, your house must be ready to go. Every light set perfectly, the doors and windows open if weather permits and the temperature exactly right.

 

Involve Your Kids in the Process

If you have children, you most likely have a lot of toys laying around to entertain them. And of course, your kids need to be able to play and continue on with their everyday lives. So how do you get the house looking perfect for every showing? Involve your kids. Make the process a game and get them to participate. Let them understand that it’s time to put the house “on show” and you all need to set the stage together. Have them pick up their favorite toy and stuffed animal to showcase in a perfect spot each time for the show, and put the rest of the toys away. You will be surprised how cooperative kids are and how much fun they have when you announce its “Show Time!”

 

Get it Ready and Get Out

Once you have gone through the checklist and completed everything that needs to be done before each showing, it is time to get out! You want the potential buyers to feel that this could be their future home. After you have worked so hard to create the perfect atmosphere for their experience, the last thing you want to do is ruin it by hanging around. The real estate agents and the potential buyers need to be able to speak openly and honestly with one another, and if you are present, this most likely won’t occur.

 

Final Panic – “I can’t live like this!”

Don’t let the pressure of maintaining a clean house overwhelm you. You will be concerned that you won’t be able to keep your house sparkling clean every day. But don’t worry, if you truly dress up your home for sale the process of prepping will be easy. Since your things are packed and organized, and your down to the essential basics, moving will be a easy-breezy.

 

 

Source: http://goo.gl/1EIPfq
September 4, 2014

10 Secrets for Selling Your Home

When it comes to selling your home, you want the process to move quickly and smoothly. However, that it typically not the case. Selling your home can be time-consuming and stressful, so here are a few selling secrets to make your home selling process simple and fast.

 

Selling Secret #10: Price 

Find out what your home is worth, and then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. Buyers will be rushing to place multiple bids on your house. Even in low markets, with multiple buyers interested, they will bid over what the price of your home is worth. Choosing to price below the true value of your home takes real courage. Most sellers are apprehensive to take on the risk, however it is the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.

 

 

Selling Secret #9: De-clutter your storage space

cleanclosetSource: http://4homeinterior.com

 

Buyers are constantly on the lookout for storage space. A great way to emphasis your storage areas/closets is to remove half of the items and then neatly organize what is left. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your storage, closets and cabinets clean and tidy.

 

 

Selling Secret #8: Light it up

Increase the lighting in your home. After location, amount of natural light and interior lighting is the next thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. To brighten up your home and draw in buyers, take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what is necessary to make your house bright and cheery to make it more sellable.

 

Selling Secret #7: Scope out the agent field

A secret sale killer is hiring the wrong agent. Make sure you have an agent who is totally informed. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the competition in your neighborhood. Find a real estate agent who embraces technology; a tech-savvy one has many tools to get your house sold.

 

Selling Secret #6: Conceal the pets

animalsSource: Crescentmoon06666b tumblr

You may think your friendly and charming dog would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and smell kitty litter, see a bowl full of dog food, or have pet hair stuck to their clothes. Even though your house may be clean, it can give buyers the impression that your house is not. If you’re planning an open house, you may want to consider sending the animals to a pet hotel for the day.

 

Selling Secret #5: Don’t go crazy with improvements

waste of moneySource: moneysmartguides.com

Quick fixes before selling always pay off, but large makeovers, not so much. You probably won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project before you put your house on the market. Instead, consider updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. Simple improvements can make a significant difference such as; giving the walls a fresh coat of paint, cleaning the curtains or buying some inexpensive new ones, replacing door handles, updating cabinet hardware, making sure closet doors are on track, fixing leaky faucets, etc.

 

Selling Secret #4: De-personalize your home

One of the most important things to do when selling your home is to de-personalize it into a house. The more personal  stuff you leave out, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. This does not mean you have to get rid of all your personal items. Get rid of a third of your stuff and put it in storage. This includes: family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. You may want to consider hiring a home stager to maximize the full potential of your home’s floor plan. The stager will arrange your furniture to maximize the use of space.

 

Selling Secret #3: The importance of your Kitchen 

neutralkitchenSource: Pinterest User ssknerr

You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops, while on the other hand, a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-palette so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance, because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.

 

Selling Secret #2: Always be ready to show

Make sure your house is “show-ready” at all times (or at least the majority of the time) because you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You should be available as frequently as possible. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.

 

Selling Secret #1: First Impression

foyerbenchrealSource: Pinterest User Architectural Digest

No matter how beautiful the interior, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they enter your home. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. Entry-ways are a great way to welcome potential buyers by putting in a small seating area, a vase of fresh-cut flowers or even some homemade cookies.

August 6, 2014

Are you ready to sell?

Have you been thinking about selling your home? Your patience or perhaps procrastination may have paid
off in a big way. Experts say this is the year to sell your home, sooner rather than later. Many current factors
are fueling a sellers’ market; read on to uncover a few reasons why you shouldn’t wait any longer:

 

Aug 14 IOV - Ecard

 

 

Whatever your reason may be, take control of the situation. Start your home selling process today so you’re able to find your dream home sooner.

 

 

October 28, 2013

Appliances – What is the Life Expectancy?

Not ready to face the expense of replacing your stove, dishwasher, or even your vacuum??  Read on to discover some preventative measures you can take to keep many of your household appliances from reaching an early demise.  Also, discover when it might be to consider finding a replacement…

appliances

Appliance

How to care for it

When to replace it

Stand Mixer Never overload the mixer, causing it to work harder and put extra strain on the motor.  When cleaning, make sure ALL parts are cleaned including the attachment socket! If the mixer won’t turn on at all, you probably have a dead motor.
Microwave Always use proper microwave-safe plates and bowls.  Keep the interior clean and the turntable rotating smoothly. Takes too long to heat food or it won’t turn on.  Beyond replacing a fuse, the cost to repair could exceed the cost to replace.
Drip Coffeemaker Rinse pot and grind basket after each use.  Once monthly, run 1 part vinegar/2 parts water solution through it to clean, followed by 2 brew cycles of plain water to rinse. If your coffee isn’t really hot after brewing.  The heating element has probably died.
Vacuum Cleaner After every few uses, clean the filters, the opening to bag or canister, hoses, etc.  Keep all air flow and parts moving properly. If the motor dies.  The cost to repair typically costs as much as a replacement.
Hair Dryer Clean lint and dust from the rear filter regularly. Replace if blowing cold air or has a burning smell!
Range Wipe up spills and messes right away, keeping burners clean and preventing fires.  The same applies to spills in the oven which can smoke or ignite! Time to replace when the buttons or knobs no longer work the burners, gas burners won’t light, or the oven doesn’t heat up.
Dishwasher Check the filter located in the bottom of the machine for clogs and debris.  Use a cleaner made for dishwashers regularly. If the machine is cracked, rusted, leaking from the bottom, and if the motor or pump stop working.
Washing Machine Keep machine level, never use more detergent than instructed, and always remove objects from pockets to avoid damage to the machine. If the washer sounds like a freight train during the spin cycle!  This indicates a bad support bearing and a very pricey repair!
Clothes Dryer Clean lint screen after each cycle.  Hire a professional to clean vent duct and interior of dryer once a year. Time to replace if you need to repair more than one part at a time, like a motor and timer.
Refrigerator Once a year, use a vacuum to clean the coils located in the bottom or rear of the fridge.  Also test the doors seals periodically to keep cold air from escaping. Replace if it no longer keeps food cold or frozen.  Almost every other part is repairable or replaceable except for the cooling system.

With a little extra time and TLC you may be able to squeeze a few more days, months or years out of these frequently-used home appliances!

Homeowner Tips | Tips for Buyers | Tips for Sellers | Home Buyer Resources | Home Seller Resources

September 17, 2013

Renting Your Home – Can you handle it?

 
forrentAlmost anyone can be a landlord and the extra income can be great…but owning even one rental property can be a huge headache! Do you have the time and skills to handle it properly?

A landlord is responsible for providing a safe, smoothly functioning home for their tenants. That means making sure plumbing, wiring, and appliances are working, outdoor areas and stairways are safe, and having the ability to quickly respond to all problems. It also entails advertising the rental, screening potential tenants, and evicting them if necessary…all while staying within the strict guidelines of the law!

Before you even begin to tackle these tenant issues, you should determine whether or not your property is a good, potential money-making candidate.

Things to consider:

  • How much will it cost to keep it going…including mortgage payments, utilities, maintenance, repairs, etc.? Is it in good repair, in a safe part of town?
  • Estimate your rent price. Adding up the costs involved is not enough. Check around your area for competitive rates on other similar rentals.
  • Compare the rent to your costs. Create two Profit and Loss statements, one best-case and one worst-case scenario. Will it make a profit? Are there other reasons you want/need to hold onto the property?

Once you have determined your property is a good rental, you need to decide if you can handle those tenant issues we mentioned earlier; maintenance, tenant screening, and the law. Yikes! It might be time to consider calling in the cavalry…or in this case, a property management company.

What can the right property management company do for you?? The right company will act on your behalf in all matters concerning the upkeep and management of your rental. Some of their most common duties:

  • Advertising
  • Repairs and maintenance problems
  • Collecting rent
  • Performing credit checks and background checks on prospective tenants
  • Keeping current with local tax codes, as well as building and neighborhood requirements

The major benefit is the amount of time saved and hassle that is avoided by you, the owner. Typically the property management company will charge a fee based on a percent of the rent collected and amount of work involved to maintain the property.

Tenants will benefit by having a central contact for reporting issues, asking questions, and response times can be much faster!

How to pick the right one? Ask about the following items when you are interviewing…

  • Communication – Is there fast and easy communication? 24 hours/7 days week??
  • Evictions – Do they handle them? Is there an extra fee?
  • Additional fees – Discuss any and all of them up front!
  • Agreement Terms – What if you decide to end the relationship? Is there a penalty?
  • Advertising – Where do they advertise? Newspaper, online? Will they put up a rental sign?
  • Rent Checks and Deposits – Will they mail them to you or direct deposit?
  • Landscaping / Yard Work – Do they handle these services? Cost?
  • Section 8 Tenants – Do they handle them? Are they familiar with the rules and procedures? This requires a lot of extra time and paperwork each month!

Rental properties can be a real challenge for investors. Find the plan that works best for you…reduces your stress, AND maximizes your profits!

September 13, 2013

Home Sellers: Check your Home for Storm Damage

housefloodedThe relentless rainfall and flooding in Colorado can be used as reminder that it’s been another crazy year of weather with many big rain and wind storms damaging houses throughout the country. With fall upon us and winter around the corner, home sellers should take a close look at their property for storm damage and make repairs.

If you experienced a powerful storm, it’s a smart idea to check your roof for any damage and ensure there are no missing shingles or cracks around any skylights the home may have. Climb into your attic and look for discoloration of the decking or plywood surfaces.

Also look for light penetrating from around plumbing vents or the chimney, indicating that your roof’s flashing needs repair.

Next, inspect your rain gutters for damage and clear them of leaves and debris. Look for holes, cracks or sags; all three can be easily fixed by a homeowner. (To fix a small hole, first use an abrasive pad to clean the area, then cut a piece of gutter material slightly larger than the hole. Using a stiff brush, spread gutter-repair compound around the hole and place your patch over the top. Cover the patch with another layer of compound to ensure a good seal. To repair minor sags, simply add a new hanging bracket to the sagging area or replace the compromised existing bracket.)

Pay particular attention to areas of your home near trees and shrubs. Limbs can play havoc with your roof, siding and stucco in heavy winds, and can come crashing down under the weight of snow. Prune your trees and shrubs to ensure their health and to safeguard your home.

Finally, be sure to inspect your windows, fencing, decking, which also take a beating in storms. Seal and repair any damage. Sometimes storm damage is unavoidable. But making quick repairs can help ensure your home is safe, sound and ready for sale.

Selling your home? Find more tips for Home Sellers here

http://askhomesale.com/category/for-sellers/

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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.

April 18, 2013

Plant a Tree (Earth Day)

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

earth-dayEarth Day is right around the corner (April 22) and planting a tree is a great way to show your support.  Finding the perfect tree is not as simple as it sounds.  Here are some suggestions on those you should consider planting in your yard and the trees you may want to avoid.

You should first consider what you are looking for in a tree; amount of shade, the size, shape, blossom production, and the attraction of birds or wildlife.  Then do a little research to find out which trees thrive best in the area where you live.

A few top choices…

  • Red Maple –     Most common tree in Eastern U.S., it is adaptable to a wide variety of conditions.  Often used for shade and medium to high quality lumber.
  • Yellow Poplar –     Also called the Tulip tree because of the beautiful yellow blooms that reach from top to bottom.  It is a tall, fast growing tree, without the common problem of weak wood strength.
  • Red Oak –     Not usually very tall, but great for shade.  Leaves in the spring are a delicate silvery, pink and change to a yellow, green before finally turning red in the fall.
  • Dogwood –     A beautiful, blooming tree in the spring that attracts small birds.  Historically popular for wood strength, it was also used in inks and dyes and for the treatment of dogs with mange, which may be how it got its name.
  • Sycamore –     The sycamore is able to endure a big city environment and has been extensively planted as a shade tree.  It bears transplanting well and grows rapidly.
  • American Holly –    It will grow in both dry and swampy soil, but grows slowly.  Holly is also a cold-tolerant plant, playing an important role as a survival food for birds, who will eat the berries after other food sources are exhausted.
  • Redbud –     They are characterized by simple, rounded to heart-shaped leaves and pinkish-red flowers borne in the early spring on bare leafless shoots, on both branches and the trunk.
  • Conifers –    Conifers are of immense, ecological importance. They are the dominant plants over huge areas of land.  They are also of great economic value; primarily used for timber and paper production.

Skip these…

  • Silver Maple –     Great shade tree, but the speed at which it grows makes for weak, brittle wood that may break during severe storms.  The shallow roots invade sewer pipes and drain fields and are notorious for cracking driveways and walkways.
  • Ash –     Threatened by the emerald ash borer beetle that is on track to wipe out this tree species.  If you want something long term, look elsewhere.
  • Quaking Aspen –     Root system sends up suckers that try to turn into new trees.  Once established it just takes over.
  • Willow –     Beautiful on the outside, yes, but the willow has an aggressive, water-hungry root system that terrorizes drain fields, sewer lines, and irrigation pipes. The wood is weak and prone to cracking, and the tree is relatively short-lived, lasting only about 30 years.
  • Eucalyptus —     This tree has a bad reputation for suddenly and unexpectedly dropping big, heavy, resin-filled branches.  The showy bark peels off annually and adds to seasonal maintenance chores.
  • Mountain Cedar –     This bushy tree releases massive amounts of pollen during the cooler months, causing severe allergic reactions in many people. Even if you don’t have allergies, planting one in your yard may affect neighbors.
  • Mulberry –     Big surface roots, lots of pollen, messy fruit, and shade so dense that grass refuses to grow underneath…and silkworms love it!!  The mulberry is the silkworm’s only source of food.

Our planet is in desperate need of more trees to replace the billions lost in development.  Planting a tree every year will add beauty to your yard, increase your home’s value, and help to make our planet a better place to live!

April 17, 2013

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!

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