Jan Peluso's Blog
Have you ever visited someone's home and thought to yourself, "Their living room seems really cluttered" or "Those counter tops look like they haven't been updated since the 1960s!"
Many people quickly notice decorating flaws or home maintenance issues in other people's houses, but when it comes to their own homes -- well, that's another story!
Why is that the case? Two reasons: You're emotionally attached to your own home environment and you're also "too close to the trees to see the forest." It's hard to step back and see your home through a fresh set of eyes -- which is exactly the way prospective buyers are going to look it.
Curb appeal -- or a lack, thereof-- will be the first thing they notice, followed by positive or negative first impressions of your home's interior -- if they get that far! So if you're preparing to put your home on the market, you don't want to be like the person who tries to represent themselves in court. As Abraham Lincoln once said, they have "a fool for a client!"
Since first impressions are so vital when selling your house, it makes sense to confer with someone who really knows the ropes when it comes to home staging. Typically, that would be one of the following professionals:
- An experienced real estate agent: Real estate agents are in the business of helping people sell their homes as quickly and profitably as possible -- it's a win/win situation. In all likelihood, they've conducted hundreds of house tours and listened to a massive amount of feedback from prospective buyers. One thing they've invariably noticed is that a lot of people react the same way to the same issues. Based on experience and a trained eye, most real estate agents can quickly spot and point out cost-effective ways to make your home more marketable and visually appealing.
- A professional home stager: Although not all communities have access to professional home stagers, there are talented and knowledgeable experts in that field who can offer valuable advice. If you're working with an experienced real estate agent, however, it probably would not be necessary to pay extra to hire a professional staging consultant.
According to the National Association of Realtors, the median amount of money spent on staging a home is $675, so it doesn't necessarily have to be ultra-expensive. In a survey of its membership, Realtors ranked living rooms and kitchens as the most important rooms to stage. Also considered important are the master bedroom, dining room, and bathrooms.
Thirty seven percent of Realtors® representing sellers believe that buyers most often offer a 1 to 5 percent increase on the value of a staged home. A smaller percentage say the potential increase is in the neighborhood of 6% to 10%. However you look at it, you're tipping the scales in your direction when you make your home look its best prior to putting it up for sale.
Although it may seem like the Internet and email have always been an integral part of our daily lives, those modes of modern communication have only been around for the past two decades or so.
With technology like video teleconferencing, online document sharing, and other collaborative tools becoming commonplace in the business arena, more and more companies are allowing (and even encouraging) their employees to work from home -- at least a couple days a week. For better or worse, many employees, managers, and executives are putting in lots of overtime from their home offices.
Whether you're telecommuting for a job or running your own home-based business, having a dedicated work space can make all the difference in your ability to stay focused and productive. Not only can you control distractions by closing the door, but having a separate work space at home makes it easier to stay organized and maintain a professional image. Depending on the layout of your house, the cooperation of your family, and neighborhood zoning regulations, it may even be possible to meet with clients at your home office.
While some people don't have a problem setting up their laptop and working at the kitchen table, in their bedroom, or the living room, problems can arise when your spouse or other members of the family want to use your temporary work space for something else!
Other potential complications are possible, too: When people in your household have easy access to your computer, work files, and research materials, there's also the possibility of accidentally losing unsaved documents, unfinished emails being prematurely sent or closed, and having to deal with spills, sticky surfaces, misplaced work materials, and other miscellaneous mishaps! On the other hand, setting aside a dedicated work space at home for tackling office projects, preparing reports, or creating client proposals can help you avoid losing valuable work, missing deadlines, and looking unprofessional.
Home Offices Are a Selling Point
In addition to making your own life more organized and less chaotic, there's also the advantage of increasing your home's marketability. If you happen to be considering putting your house on the market now or in the near future, having a dedicated office space will help make your home look more appealing to potential buyers.
Today, more than ever, the idea of having a home office is on many people's minds and priority lists -- or at least, their "wish list". When prospective buyers can envision ways in which your home can meet their lifestyle goals, business objectives, and career requirements, they'll be a lot more likely to seriously consider making an offer on your house.
As more and more people pursue work-at-home options, freelancing opportunities, advanced degrees, and home-based businesses, a dedicated office space will continue to be a highly desirable feature for both current and future home owners.
The First Time Home Buyer's Checklist:
- I know where I want to live. Determining the location of your home is one of the most important factors that goes into home buying. Most decisions are influenced by your job/career, but things like family, friends and weather are all important things to consider. Aside from knowing where you want to live, you'll also need to know how long you want to stay. As a general rule, if you don't plan on staying in your home for at least 5-8 years it could be cheaper and easier to rent until you find somewhere you'd like to settle in.
- I have my finances under control. You don't need to be wealthy to buy a home, but you do need to have a strong understanding of your personal finances. In a spreadsheet, write down your total savings, monthly income and monthly expenses (including groceries, transportation, bills, and loans). Find out what type of mortgage and downpayment you can afford at your income level.
- My income is dependable. When you apply for a home loan the bank will look into this for you. But you should also want to make sure you can continue to afford your mortgage payments. How dependable is your job? Are there a lot of job opportunities in your field and in your area? These are all questions that help you determine the stability of your income.
- I have a good credit score. Your credit will be a big factor in getting approved for a home loan. Building credit seems complicated but it's based on four main things: paying bills on time, keeping balances relatively low, having a long record of repayment, and not opening several new cards or taking on multiple loans in a short period of time.
- I'm pre-approved for a loan. Getting pre-approved isn't mandatory, but it offers many benefits. First, it shows lenders that you are a safe person to loan money to. Second, it will give you insight into what banks think of your finances and will give you an idea of what price range you can safely buy in.
- I'm prepared for the responsibilities of owning a home and willing to learn. If you're handy around the house and can fix anything, that's great. What's more important, however, is that you have the time and willingness to learn new skills that will help you become a good homeowner.
The process of selling your house may seem endless at times. Fortunately, there are many things that you can do to speed up your home selling timeline, and these are:
1. Conduct a House Inspection
Although a home inspection usually is requested by a buyer after a seller accepts an offer to purchase a house, you may want to conduct this evaluation before you list your residence. In fact, performing a home inspection now may help you identify assorted house problems that otherwise could slow you down later in the home selling process.
During a home inspection, a property expert will examine your residence both inside and out and offer an inspection report. Then, you can use the inspection report to prioritize various house improvement projects.
A home inspection ultimately gives you the insights you need to update your house to match buyers' expectations. As a result, a house inspection can help you quickly discover the best ways to improve your house and ensure you can reap the benefits of a fast, profitable home selling experience.
2. Analyze the Housing Market
The housing market fluctuates, and a market that favors buyers today may favor sellers tomorrow. Thankfully, a seller who performs a deep analysis of the housing market can differentiate between a buyer's and seller's market and prepare accordingly.
Take a look at the prices of available houses in your city or town that are similar to your own residence. This housing market information can help you understand the price range for comparable houses and enable you to establish a competitive initial home asking price.
Furthermore, check out the prices of recently sold homes in your area. This housing market data can help you determine whether you're about to enter a buyer's or seller's market.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
You know you want to sell your house as quickly as possible, but there are many problems that you may encounter during the home selling journey. But if you hire a real estate agent, you can get the assistance you need to seamlessly navigate the home selling journey and optimize your home sale earnings.
A real estate agent will meet with you, learn about your home selling goals and offer a personalized home selling strategy. Plus, he or she will promote your residence to prospective buyers and set up home showings and open house events. And if you receive an offer to purchase your residence, a real estate agent will present this proposal to you and provide a recommendation about whether to accept, reject or counter it.
In addition, a real estate agent possesses comprehensive housing market expertise. If you have concerns or questions as you sell your house, a real estate agent can address them.
Don't wait to sell your house. Instead, reach out to a local real estate agent today, and you can receive the help you need to accelerate your home selling timeline.
Although you've enjoyed your residence for many years, all good things must come to an end. Now, as you get ready to embark on the next stage of your life, you've decided to leave your neighbors behind and sell your house.
Ultimately, there are many reasons why you should include your neighbors in the home selling process, including:
1. Your neighbors can help you promote your residence.
It may be tough to tell your neighbors that you plan to relocate in the foreseeable future. However, doing so may help you stir up interest from many potential property buyers.
For example, a neighbor may know a family member or friend who is interested in moving into the neighborhood. And if you give this neighbor a heads-up about your intent to sell your house, you may already have at least one person who is interested in buying your house as soon as it becomes available.
Your neighbors also can share your property listing with assorted family members and friends. In addition, don't forget to encourage your neighbors to promote your house on social media.
2. Your neighbors may be able to offer home selling insights.
Your neighborhood likely is full of property owners who understand the ins and outs of buying a house. Furthermore, your neighbors may be able to provide home selling insights that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.
It never hurts to ask a neighbor what he or she thinks of your home. By doing so, you can gain honest, unbiased feedback about your residence and may be able to identify problem areas that you previously did not consider. Then, you can allocate the time and resources to improve your home's exterior and interior and ensure your house stands out in a competitive real estate market.
3. Your neighbors can help keep your neighborhood looking great.
Your neighbors may want you to stay in the neighborhood. But if your neighbors are true friends, they will probably do whatever they can to help you achieve your desired home selling results.
Letting your neighbors know that you plan to list your house may lead them to upgrade their properties as well. This may enable all of the houses in a neighborhood to stand out to visitors and will make it simple for homebuyers to envision what life would be like if they moved into the neighborhood.
Lastly, if you need extra help as you get ready to sell your home, feel free to reach out to a real estate agent. With a housing market professional at your side, you should have no trouble navigating the home selling journey.
A real estate agent will provide expert tips throughout each stage of the home selling process. Plus, he or she will set up home showings, negotiate with property buyers on your behalf and do everything possible to simplify the home selling cycle.
Collaborate with your neighbors throughout the home selling journey, and you can boost your chances of a quick home sale.