Whether it's your first time buying or selling a house or it's your fifth, you'll likely have lots of questions about the process. We understand that, which is why we're answering some of the most frequently asked questions about the home-buying and home-selling process. Read on to get the answers you seek!
Buying a Home
Should I work with an agent?
Yes! When searching for a home, it's important to know what you want. The right agent will help you determine must-haves and deal-breakers, as well as educate you on the communities you're interested in. Your agent will also help you navigate the complexities of the home-buying process. They're the expert, after all!
Should I go to the bank before starting my house search?
Getting pre-approved before starting your house search can be very helpful. By measuring factors like income, credit, and assets, a lender can determine what type of loan best suits your needs and how much home you can afford. Not only will you know your spending budget, it can also give you an upper hand as a buyer because it shows sellers you're serious about making a purchase.
How many houses should I tour?
As many as it takes until you find the perfect home for you. Everyone's needs, wants, and deal-breakers will be different, and you want to avoid settling for a house you'll dislike after a few months. Even if it takes time, it's worth the extra effort.
Do I need money for a big down payment?
Not necessarily. Today, more loan options and homebuying programs exist, giving buyers a larger variety of approaches to buying a house. While some people may still want to complete a large down payment, it is absolutely not vital to purchase a home. In fact, the average first-time buyer only puts 6% down, and many loans and programs available to first-time buyers require even less than that.
How long will closing last?
After negotiations have settled and your offer is accepted, the loan process and title work begin. Inspections and other walkthroughs will be completed as well. Most closings last 30 to 45 days.
Selling a Home
Should I sell on my own or with an agent?
You've probably heard from one person or another that going the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route is optimal as it will save you money that you would otherwise spend on commission fees. However, the benefits of listing, marketing, and exposing your home to potential buyers an agent provides are often worth the commission fee.
What's more, you may end up spending less money by selling with an agent. A typical home sale process that requires lots of time and effort likely won't net you much savings at all if you go it alone.
When should I put my home on the market?
This is the first of many steps where an agent's expertise will help you make a decision. When there are fewer available homes to purchase to meet buyers' demands, you get a seller's market. Each home for sale becomes a hot commodity in this sort of market.
There's no truly bad time to sell, necessarily. Even in a buyer's market, your home will still draw attention so long as it's promoted properly.
Should I make any changes to my home before selling?
Definitely! Do a deep clean, make necessary repairs and replacements, organize cabinets and closets, declutter and depersonalize, and spruce up your home's curb appeal. Be careful about spending too much money on major repairs and renovations, however; you may not make back what you spent in the sale.
How should I price my home?
Determining your home's value can be tricky; setting an accurate sale price can be even tougher. Your agent will help you assess your home's value by analyzing other similar homes in the area that have sold. A home inspection will also help to paint the picture of your home's value.
Setting a sale price is a delicate art. Price it too high and you risk pushing buyers away. Price it too low and you might raise suspicions in buyers' minds. Again, your agent will help you find the sweet spot and price your home favorably.
Still have questions about the home-buying or selling process? Contact one of our expert agents to have your questions answered.
September is officially Happy Cat Month, so take some extra time to appreciate your feline friend. Cats make wonderful pets, but there's one part of cat ownership that everyone dislikes - the litter box. Its appearance isn't attractive, and no one wants to have its odor or the sounds of a cat scratching away in the box invading your home's common areas.
With a few tools, some time, and a little bit of effort, you can hide your cat's litter box while still leaving it easily accessible for them. Check out these tips to help make your cat's litter box out of sight and out of mind.
With the start of the school year upon most of us, now's a great time to talk home organization! Kids resuming their studies often results in a flurry of backpacks, textbooks, and various other school supplies that can quickly leave your home in a stressful state of disarray. Here are some airtight back-to-school home organization tips you can use to corral the chaos.
Listing your home for sale can be overwhelming, especially if it's your first time. One of the best ways to sell your home quickly and increase your sale price is through proper home staging. Home staging is both an art and a science and often takes a good bit of experience to pull it off just right. Our real estate agents are experts at home staging and are always willing to offer tips to help you through the process.
If there's one thing we could all take from the lovely people of Denmark, it's the concept of hygge. Pronounced hyoo-ga, hygge encapsulates all that is cozy and comfortable. But beyond the material aspects of hygge, there exists a desire to enjoy life's simple pleasures, to pause and find contentment amidst the chaos of living. What better place to introduce hygge into your life than your house? Here's how to incorporate hygge into your home and create a personal sanctuary.
Bright color schemes might be bold, but they don't exactly align with the goals of hygge. After all, hygge emphasizes the simple pleasures. Keep your space uncluttered and clean and your color scheme neutral. Browns, creams, and similar colors encourage peaceful, relaxing feelings.
Cozy & Comfortable
Life is hard, so we should prioritize coziness at all possible opportunities. In your home, that means lots of cozy blankets, fluffy pillows, and feathery comforters. Another great way to incorporate hygge into your home is by creating a cozy nook or corner to which you can retreat when things get a little hectic.
Further increase the coziness of your space by lighting a few candles. Pick scents that calm you and your candles will serve as a great self-care tool. But it's not just the scent you're after; the soft, radiant light provide the perfect comforting glow.
Casual Dress Code
What you wear at home contributes just as much to hygge as the décor. So leave the jeans and dresses in the closet and opt for your coziest pair of sweatpants and fuzzy socks. If you really want to commit, grab yourself a pair of hyggebuksers.
Let There Be Light
The gentle glow of candlelight sometimes isn't enough. Open up those curtains, lift the blinds, and let as much natural light in as possible. Those soothing pillars of sunlight become invaluable for comfort in the chilly winter.
Bring the Outside Inside
Greenery in the form of plants are a great way to liven up the atmosphere in any room of your home, especially in your cozy nooks. Even if you don't have a great track record of keeping plants alive, you can still capture the ambience of the elements with wood accents in floors, furniture, and other décor pieces.
Light a Fire
If you're lucky enough to have a fireplace, set a fire to create warmth – an essential piece of the hygge mindset. Few things can improve a relaxing night cuddle up on the couch under layers of blankets like a roaring fire.
Ready to reimagine your kitchen? Or tackle that backyard project? Or maybe you're just finally ready to declutter and reorganize. Perhaps you don't even know what it is you want to do with your house; you just know you want change. Never fear! We've got New Year's resolutions for your home to inspire you.
Give Your Stuff a Home
Over the course of a year, we tend to accumulate lots of stuff. If you don't keep a handle on it, you can find your drawers, cabinets, closets, and counters overflowing with heaps of stuff that maybe doesn't belong there. Make it a resolution to give all that homeless stuff a place where it can live comfortably – preferably somewhere neat, tidy, and out of the way. Decluttering in this way not only frees up useful space, it'll make your home feel even roomier than before.
You'll likely have a lot of stuff that doesn't make the cut after this process. Instead of just tossing it, consider donating it to a local organization that will give it to those in need.
Restock & Organize Your Pantry & Fridge
Unless you're hyper-diligent when putting away groceries, chances are you've got a lot of clutter in your pantry, cabinets, fridge, and freezer. Dedicate some time to reorganizing theses pivotal kitchen spaces: sort out the items you'll use/eat from the things you won't, store frequently used items like flour and sugar in airtight containers to minimize the amount of unwieldy bags taking up space, and reorganize what remains in a clean, sensible fashion. It'll make cooking feel like much less of a chore when everything you need is where it should be.
Make Your Home Safe
We mean safe in two ways: safe from intruders and safe for yourself.
First, intruders. If you don't already have one, maybe this is the year to have a security system installed. They're incredibly sophisticated these days, allowing you to control many features remotely from your phone. Pair it with a smart doorbell and cameras and you'll feel safer than ever in your home.
Speaking of feeling safer in your home, sometimes it's the unseen threats that you should worry about. Invisible invaders like radon and carbon monoxide can endanger everyone living in your home. Check for radon with an inexpensive testing kit from your local hardware store. Install carbon monoxide detectors on every bedroom floor as well to monitor this deadly gas.
While we're on the topic of unseen threats, have you cleared out your dryer lint lately? Not the relatively paltry amounts caught in the trap inside the dryer, but rather the lint in the vents and ducts behind the machine? With even just a reasonable amount of lint buildup in those areas, you could be looking at a major fire hazard.
New year, fresh start – what better time to give your house a deep, deep clean? Go room to room and scrub, dust, vacuum, wipe, and just generally sanitize every nook and cranny you normally glance over during your regular cleaning sessions.
Be More Eco-Friendly
Going green at home doesn't have to mean installing solar panels (though that doesn't hurt). It can happen in smaller but just as impacting ways, like recycling more than just your soda cans. From compost to cardboard and glass to grease, organize your recyclable materials into appropriate bins and dispose of them properly – your local recycling center can help you figure out the best way to approach this.
Going green can also save you money on your power bill, and who doesn't want that? Seemingly little things like turning the lights off when you're not in the room or cutting off your AC when you're gone can help the environment and your wallet. Installing LED bulbs and low-flow showerheads that use less electricity and water, respectively, are other beneficial ways to save money and the planet.
Maybe your family grew a bit last year and you need more space. Maybe you're ready to move somewhere closer to work. Whatever your reason for moving on from your current house, how you prep your home to sell makes a big difference in attracting interested buyers. Your home's overall condition includes everything from its curb appeal to the foundation it's built on. That's a broad spectrum, and it can easily overwhelm. But with this post, we'll walk you through some of the most critical steps and teach you how to prep your home to sell.
We're not talking about wiping down the counters and vacuuming the carpet – save those for your weekend cleaning routine. When selling is your goal, you've got to scrub, dust, and polish every nook and cranny of your home. Clean behind any pictures hanging on the wall. Wash the inside and outside of all your windows. Scrub the built-up grime from the sides and backs of your major appliances. Dust the ceiling fans. If it's not spotless, clean it until it is! Prospective buyers will be impressed by your home's cleanliness, and they'll be encouraged that you've taken good care of it.
Drafty door? Cracked windows? Sagging roof? Clogged pipes? Any of these could severely damage your ability to sell your home and should be repaired or replaced. It's also important to determine which repairs are the most cost-effective – these should be your priority.
During a home tour, prospective buyers are inevitably going to open a cabinet or closet and look around. They may just be checking on the amount of space, but you can bet they'll be unimpressed if it's in disarray. There's no greater time to finally tackle a closet or cabinet rearrangement than when prepping your home to sell. Organization, like cleanliness, shows you've treated your home with care.
Decluttering is a common part of prepping your home to sell, and it's easy to see why. Not only does it create space and open up your home, but it makes it much easier for prospective buyers to see themselves living there without all your junk in the way. Speaking of buyers seeing themselves in your home, now would be a good time to depersonalize. Photos of your kids, family heirlooms, or even just a favorite piece of furniture – all of these should be removed. Don't make prospective buyers feel like they're visiting another family; allow them to envision their own life in your home.
Your home's exterior can be forgotten amid deep cleaning and decluttering everything inside. But it shouldn't be, because it's the first thing any potential buyer will see. Don't let them develop a negative opinion of your home before they even make it through the front door. Update doorknobs and locks, paint the front door, and be sure to clean outdoor furniture. Add a few colored pots or plant some flowers for a touch of vibrancy. You want your home's exterior to give potential buyers the same feeling it's given you for years: Welcome home. First time putting your home up for sale? Check out our helpful home-selling guide and make sure you get the most out of your investment.