Fall Home Maintenance List!

fall real estateWasn’t it just Summer…like, last week?

We thought so too! But whether you’re ready for the weather or not Fall is quickly on it’s way.

While most people get excited thinking about cooler temperatures, cozy sweaters, and pumpkin spice lattes, homeowners know that the change of seasons also means new things to take care of around the house.

To help make sure you don’t miss any important Fall home maintenance items we’ve put together this quick list of important tasks to remember!

Disconnect The Hose
Easy to do, easy to forget! You don’t want to be three months into Winter when you remember to take the hose off the house. This can lead to frozen pipes and expensive repairs!

Do The Gutters
You might save this until after the leaves fall, but it’s not a bad idea to take a look now before your gutters start getting heavy use. Go ahead and clear out anything that’s gotten in there over the Summer so you’re ready for big leaf season!

Wash The House
A good pressure wash will make your house look great – you won’t believe the difference! It’s a good idea to do this now as once the cooler months come it’s easy to overlook outside maintenance and this might be the last chance you get to get it clean.

Look At The Roof
It’s a good time to take a look at the roof. Make sure all your shingles are in place and in good repair. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of Winter and having a leaky roof – or worse yet, not finding out about it until after it’s frozen in Spring.

A little preventive action goes a long way; taking care of some of these simple items around the house before the snow flies can lead to a less stressful Winter season. Have questions? Glad to talk about home care, real estate, and getting ready for the cold months ahead!

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Tips to Beat Home Buying Stress

home buying stressNo doubt about it buying a home is a pretty big deal, one of the biggest deals most of us will make during our lifetimes in fact, but there’s no reason it has to overwhelm you with stress.

You will get through it, and with the help of your loved ones and a qualified professional or two, you’ll find there are a lot fewer things to stress about than you’re likely worried over. To help you keep the stress down during buying we’ve put together these tips!

Know What You Want
Easier said than done but having some idea of the type of home, general area you want to live in, or even just the “must-have” items for your new place is key to finding it. Communicate these desires to your agent and go from there.

Listen To Your Agent
Hey, you hired them for a reason! And while they are definitely there to help facilitate your needs one of the reasons you are working with them is because they know real estate on a whole other level. A good agent will know about the area, about potential pitfalls, and can help you find the place where your dreams meet availability.

Talk It Out
The best way to deal with stress sometimes is just to talk it out. Talk to your friends, talk to your family, and especially talk to your agent. They are in your corner and by communicating effectively when you have thoughts or especially concerns you make everyone’s job easier.

Start Early
The best way to avoid stress is not to rush into things. In some cases you may have to move for work or family reasons and the timing may not be your own. Otherwise however, buying a home is definitely something to take at pace. Start saving before you even start looking if you can, go ahead and get familiar with the area, and start looking for the right real estate agent for you.

Getting a home inspection, being patient, accepting compromise…these are all other things that will be part of the process. Just take it one step at a time. The best place to start is to find an agent who understands your needs, knows the market, and who is also a good fit for you personally. Get in touch if you have any other questions!

Important Questions For Relocating Seniors

senior real estateFor many seniors the thought of finding a new home seems daunting to say the least.

In fact, it can be down right frightening depending on one’s situation. But it doesn’t need to be.

The thought of moving by itself can be troublesome, much less finding the right place with the right amenities, and the right price – thankfully your chosen real estate professional will be by your side to help you navigate the ever changing real estate market.

But before you start searching for a new place we’ve put together some things you may want to talk to your REALTOR® about before your move.

What is the demographic of the area?
It’s always good to know your neighbors and the community you will be calling home. As such make sure your area not only has the resources you require but also caters to your personal preferences as well, you may not want to be in a loud neighborhood that has a lot of traffic or that is near a playground.

What are the taxes and on-going costs?
The price of your new place may only part of the cost. Be sure to be aware of any homeowners association fees, utility costs, or community costs that may be part of the area you live in.

How safe is the area?
Your agent should be very familiar with where you will be moving. There is nothing more important than feeling safe where you live. Be sure to do a little homework on crime rates, or just ask outright what they know about the location.

How much home do I need?
Downsizing is common with seniors and so it’s a natural thing to consider how much house you really want. Better yet, how much home do you really need? You may not want or need a ton of space that will need extra upkeep. Talk to your agent about your goals and what your ideal space looks like to you.

The most important thing is to choose the right agent and communicate openly with them. Remember, they are there to help guide you through their experience towards the realization of your vision and that requires all the information you can provide.

Basement Remodeling Ideas for the Most Return

A basement can be a valuable asset for a homeowner, and as it turns out it’s also one of the areas of your home where you can often make the most return on remodeling.

Remodeling your basement yields an average ROI of about 70%, so you will typically get $700 back for every $1,000 spent. But not all remodels are created equal, so what options make the most sense?

Here’s some ideas to help you get the most out of your basement while you live in your home as well as when it’s time to move.

Keep It Clean
More than anything cleanliness is most important. In fact, a finished but minimal basement is often the most recommended option for the most return. Give the new owners a blank slate to create their own space.

Avoid Permanent Personalizations
While you live there, hey, go nuts. Paint the walls with your visions of space viking warlords riding dragons across a rainbow sea of kaleidoscope gumdrops – after all you can paint over that when you get ready to move. You might want to avoid more permanent changes like built-in bars, hot tubs, and other things that will potentially change the structure of the house and cause a remodeling nightmare for the new owner when they claim their dream home.

Wired and Plumbed
It’s one of the bigger things you can do but adding all the connections for your basement to easily become a media room, or having light plumbing added so you have an accessible bar sink or half-bath can really take your value for space over the top. Not everyone has this in the budget, but if you do it’s one of the upgrades that will almost make you reconsider selling.

Speaking of Paint
Even if you’re happy with the color of your walls in the basement it might not be a bad idea to give it a fresh coat – even if it’s just to touch up dings. Try to keep things neutral but don’t be afraid to follow up on current trends as well.

Improve the Lighting
One of the best things to invest a little time and money in is lighting. Adding a few lights, or half-windows can really brighten what can be an otherwise dark and confining basement space.

Still not sure? Need to sell and want to get the most value for your home?
Talk with a qualified REALTOR® to find out what the market is doing as well as to get great ideas on what you can do to maximize your returns.

Home Improvements To Reconsider

It’s natural to think about upgrading your home, especially if you’ve lived in it for some time or are thinking about selling in the near future.

While updates can be good, and cleanliness is a must above all else, there are some upgrades that can actually hurt your home value rather than help it.

We’ve put together a quick list of these possible improvements gone wrong that can have a negative impact when it comes time to move.

Wall to Wall Carpeting
Believe it or not flooring is a very personal thing. While some love the plush, soft feel of carpet others recognize it can be a cleaning nightmare to keep up with, or simply just don’t prefer it. Regardless, installing new carpeting throughout the house may be a costly investment that could be better applied elsewhere.

High End Landscaping
While curb appeal is very important and you want your yard to look it’s best going overboard with exotic plants and waterfalls may be a bit much. Your potential buyers taste might not match yours, or they simply might not want to inherit all that upkeep, so keep your yard simple and trim.

Built In Electronics
Home automation is all the rage these days. Set your thermostat from your phone, have your house ask how your day was when you walk in the door – if you can imagine it they are finding a way to make it possible. Some people don’t want all this technology however; some in fact out right oppose it. Beyond that it may be too complex for them to even figure out and no one wants to be stuck in a home with a thermostat set for “Arizona Summer” year round.

Wild Quirky Colors
Chartreuse is trending! And it’s fine to stay up on trends, or to even paint the kids rooms in a fun way, but you may want to keep from applying huge swaths of unconventional colors to rooms. Yes, potential buyers can always re-paint them later, but a big part of the sale comes from them being able to picture themselves in the home and that’s hard to do with bright yellow and pink stripes on all the walls.

Live in your home, make it your own and love every single minute of it, but when it comes time to find your next place keep in mind these things to help make the transition as easy as it can be. The new owners will appreciate your consideration and you’ll have a whole new house to transform into your dream home.

 

How To Maintain A Clean House Before Your Move

Keeping a spotless house is an impossible task at the best of times, much less when you’re trying to sell your home and get ready to move. Unfortunately, having your home look presentable can play a big part in attracting buyers to get you moving into your new place.

Don’t fret! We’ve put together some great tips to help you get your place looking great and keep it that way until the closing papers are signed!

Clean As You Go
This is the biggest simultaneously easiest and hardest thing to do! Good news is if you can get it down as routine you’ll save a lot of time cleaning. Start with putting things away in their place when you’re done with them rather than leave them out. Make a mess, clean it then, don’t wait to come back to it later.

Make Time
Set aside a little time every day to clean. Just pick an hour or so at whatever point in your day that fits best, this might be after the kids are off to school, or at night when everyone is asleep.  We’re not talking about taking on major remodeling projects here, just take a few minutes each day to hit some of the smaller day to day items – picking up stray laundry, wiping down the counters, and other quick items.

Recruit the Troops!
If you’ve got kids, or a spouse, or room mates there’s no reason you have to do it all yourself. They share the space they can help clean it! In the case of kids, make cleaning a sort of game and reward help with fun time. In the case of roomie’s and spouses you may have to get creative with incentives but stick to your guns – you don’t have to go it alone!

It doesn’t have to be hard, and with even just these three simple steps you can tame the clutter and get on to having a home that’s easier to maintain while you live there and easier to sell when the time comes!

 

Tips for Selling a Small Home

Everything is moving in this market! …At least that’s what you’d like to think, but fact is sometimes having a unique home, or a small home can present unique challenges when it comes time to sell – even in this hot market.

To help we’ve put together some tips for how you can make the most of small spaces and get that home sold FAST!

Have a REVERSE House Welcoming Party
At a regular house warming party friends show up with gifts, but at a reverse house warming party you invite friends over and ask them to find something they want to take home with them! Make some appetizers and play a few games – make it a happening! This is a great fun way to get rid of extra clutter that you don’t want to have to move and get the house ready for showing.

Pack Early
Start putting unneeded items away early. Box things up and stow them in the garage or storage if you’re not using them. This is all about creating more available space; the less STUFF you have everywhere the bigger your small space can look.

Change Your Drapes
Heavy or dark drapes can really bring a room down. They let in less light, which can be bad in small spaces, and hide the windows. Consider switching our heavy thick drapes for lighter airy ones that let the light come in more strongly, it will help make your home feel more cheery.

More Mirrors Fewer Prints
If you’ve got a lot of pictures up, especially if the color palettes are wild, you may want to consider taking them down – or even better yet swapping them out with mirrors! Unlike pictures mirror can give an amazing illusion of depth and make a small space feel much larger. Now that’s something to reflect on!

Like any home a small or unique space just needs to find the right buyer.  Applying these helpful tips can present your home in the best light possible; that’s an important part of attracting the right buyers. If you’re thinking about selling your home, or struggling trying to do it on your own we’d love to help!

Home Buying: Things Your Real Estate Agent Wishes You Knew

real estate marketingBuying real estate isn’t like much else in the world. No other purchase requires as much forethought or demands as much consideration before undertaking.

You simply do not casually take part in it the way you would buying a cup of coffee, a new tv, or even a car; yet it is also one of the types of transaction that generally you don’t do very often, so it’s hard to really get adept at it unless you’re in the business.

Thankfully that’s exactly where a qualified and experienced real estate agent will come in! But even if you have the very best agent there are still some things you can do to be well informed before the home buying process begins, here’s some ideas to get you started.

Learn About The Area
If you’re moving across town this isn’t such a big deal, but if you’re moving across country you may want to take a little more time. Visit the area to get familiar with it geographically and use the internet to study local amenities and find where important things like your work, hospital, and grocery stores are located. Your agent can likely help here as well!

Know What You Can Afford
For most money doesn’t just grow on trees and as such some homes you like just may not make sense financially. While you don’t necessarily needs to know an exact figure having a ball-park idea of what you can afford in a home is a good place to start. Thankfully, this too is something your agent can help you with!

Trust Your Agent
A lot of times the best thing is just to let your agent work their magic. It can be easy to misstep and say the wrong thing around sellers, to get indecisive in regards to whether one house is more right over another, and sometimes trying to be helpful can actually be a hindrance. So talk with your agent, understand their plan and your part in it, then let them do that voodoo they do so well — it is after all why you sought out their help!

These quick tips will help you get off to a great start, and your agent will likely appreciate them too! If you’re still looking for a home, or need to sell your current home please get in touch to find out how we can help you!

Home Seller Mistakes To Avoid

Everyone knows the real estate market in Idaho is as hot as the temperatures right now and while it’s easy to get complacent when things are moving it’s still important to do your due diligence when it comes to selling your home.

With real estate going so fast right now selling your home may not be very challenging, but getting the most for your investment can come down to the details so we’ve put together these helpful tips!

Hiring Family
You want to use the services of someone you trust, and you know that if you don’t talk to Uncle Bob about it first you’ll never hear the end of it at the next family reunion…but that’s still no reason to outright hire a family member – unless they are qualified. Plus, should things go badly it could end up making for awkward situations for years to come.

Hiring A Yes-man
You want experience. You hire a real estate professional for their knowledge and skill. That means just having someone say yes yes yes to everything defeats the purpose. By all means, find a agent that is agreeable, but is still confident enough to tell you how things are when necessary.

Hiring Fast
Signing with the first agent you meet without even looking at others, or asking for references and experience history can land you in a bad spot. While it’s not necessary to spend a lot of time window shopping for agents you do want to take a little time and make sure they have the skills you will need.

Hiring Cheap
Hey, everyone wants to save a dollar, that’s no secret but like Ben Franklin used to say: “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten“. Price isn’t everything – that goes for hiring expensive too! – just because an agent offers a lower commission rate doesn’t mean they are not good; likewise having an expensive commission doesn’t guarantee their services will be anything better either.

I hope this has given you some things to think about if you’re currently looking for a real estate agent! It can seem tough to find an agent that not only fits your needs but also your personal preferences, but it can be done with a little time and care. We hope you will take a moment to contact us if you have any questions – we would love to be the agent that helps you find your way home!

REALTORS®: More Than Just Finding Homes

It’s no secret these days that just about anyone can get online and search for homes anywhere in the country. You’ve likely even seen tv commercials showing how easy it is to do even from your phone. So why do people still need real estate agents?

A truly qualified agent will do more than just give you a list of homes, they should be a qualified professional with insight into the market who can help you navigate the real estate transaction process with greater ease as well as understanding. But what are some other reasons you might want to work with a professional?

Comfort
Buying or selling your home is one of the biggest decisions in your lifetime and it often involves major changes to living situations as well as finances. Real estate can seem like a treacherous undertaking, especially if you’re a first time buyer or seller, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing you won’t be facing it alone is worth it’s weight in gold — just like a good agent is!

Knowledge
Whether you’re buying or selling an agent familiar with the industry will be invaluable throughout the process. Offers, counter-offers, amendments, all of these steps can be overwhelming to take on alone. Even just knowing where the prices are in the market and how to negotiate will be well worth a commission when it brings you greater return on your investment.

Resources
This is especially important for sellers! A full time real estate agent will have marketing resources you yourself couldn’t hope to have on call without huge cost. They will be able to list your home, showcase it on their real estate website, share it on social media, and do many other things to get your home not only sold more quickly but generally for a higher amount. For buyers? You’re not left out either! An experienced agent will likely have many personal contacts and other options for finding you the perfect place.

These are just a few of the things many people don’t consider when thinking about buying or selling their home; it’s easy to understand – if you’ve never dealt with real estate before you can’t understand the value of a real estate experts experience. Don’t let hesitations keep you from reaching out to a Realtor® in your area with questions, you may be surprised to find how much easier working with a local pro can be!