Ready! Set! Stop! Home selling pitfalls to prepare for!!

Not that you really can prepare for the unexpected (isn’t that why we call it “un”expected?!) but at least if you are planning on selling your home, you can try to overcome two of the most common pitfalls that Sellers face before they happen to you!

In my experience, 24 years and counting, the number one thing that can go wrong once a Buyer and Seller have negotiated, come to agreement, and have a valid Purchase and Sales Agreement (contract!!) is a problem with the Buyer’s financing. Sellers, please please ask the Buyer or the Buyer’s agent to give you a pre approval letter from the lender BEFORE you sign that contract.  And Buyer’s, please please have a pre approval letter from your lender BEFORE you sign that contract!!  Nothing is worse for either side in a real estate transaction than to realize that the Buyer isn’t quite ready financially to purchase a home. Mortgage app And equally as important Mr and Ms Buyer, once you get that approval, don’t do ANYTHING that changes your financial picture.  Lenders WILL run credit again and ask for employment verification again to make sure everything is the way it was when you applied for financing. Trust me, they will.  And if you have purchased a new living room set or changed jobs, the whole transaction can quickly fall apart.

The second thing that can go wrong is a bad home inspection.  In Maine, a Buyer can terminate the sales contract for an unsatisfactory inspection, and the Seller doesn’t have any say in that or any chance to “fix” things.  So Sellers, why not try to find and fix the things that can scare off a Buyer before they find them and run away?  A Pre-Home Inspection can be helpful in so many ways, and while not something that a lot of Sellers think of, it’s not that difficult to have done!  Check out this link FMI http://bit.ly/1MB9vzL

So have you had a bad experience?  Any suggestions to share with me?

Curb Appeal, Front Porch Style!

If you’re looking for a few, easy things to do to increase your curb appeal before you go on the market or to jazz up some new photos if you’ve been trying to sell for awhile, adding a few simple touches to your front porch or deck is a great place to start. You can begin to show off your home before the Buyers even open the front door. And there are some really easy things that you can do this weekend!

front porch

You don’t need to be fancy, just a few simple touches will work. And don’t try to change your style, keep the front porch (or deck) just an exterior version of your interior style.  Light and breezy inside? Don’t try to be dark and heavy outside!

Start by just painting your front door. A fresh coat of paint will never hurt you, as long as it’s a color that will appeal to most Buyers ~ your favorite fushia may not be the right color for this project!  Add as much lighting as you can, ~ don’t forget that Buyers tend to drive by homes they are interested in at night checking out the neighborhood!

Add some comfortable furniture ~ let the Buyers stop and sit before they leave to get a feel for the home and surroundings.

You get the picture, right?  And a picture is what we are trying to create here, that this is a home not just a house, both inside and out!

More than Lighthouses and Lobsters…in Midcoast Maine!

The new Mainebiz Fact Book 2015 just arrived, and what a great resource for information for anyone already living and working here, but also for anyone who is thinking about relocating home and/or business to our wonderful state!  For a digital look at the Factbook, click on http://bit.ly/1fuxdQE.

I’ve been calling Maine home since 1987, and couldn’t be happier here.  What about you, are you a native? A new resident? A visitor?  What do you love about our Great State of Maine (and that reminds me of the air show coming up soon…more on that later!!

portland

Short Notice Showing Tips

Once your home goes on the market, you’ll need to be ready to show your home anytime, day or evening. Keeping your home “show” ready can be challenging, especially if you have children and pets.

What you need to stay organized is a handy checklist so you can be ready to show at any time. When you get the call that someone wants to see your home, whether it’s in an hour or a day,  give everyone in the household a basket and assign them each to a room to pick up clutter quickly. Set a timer and tell everyone to grab up any toys on the floor, clear tabletops and countertops of junk, and sweep up the floors.

                                Here are a few tips to help keep your home show-ready: Things to do

Eliminate clutter: Not only is clutter unattractive, it’s time-consuming to sort through and expensive for you to move. If you have a lot of stuff, and who doesn’t?,  you might think about renting a small storage unit for a few months.

Keep, donate, throw away: Go through your belongings and put them into one of these three baskets. You’ll receive more in tax benefits for your donations that pennies on the dollar at a garage sale. It’s faster, more efficient and you’ll help more people.

Remove temptations: Take valuable jewelry and collectibles to a safety deposit box, a safe, or store them in a secure location.

Remove breakables: Figurines, china, crystal and other breakables should be packed and put away in the garage or storage.

Be hospitable: You want your home to look like a home. Stage it to show the possibilities, perhaps set the table, or put a throw on the chair by the fireplace with a bookmarked book on the table.

Get in the habit: Wash dishes immediately after meals. Clean off countertops. Make beds in the morning. Keep pet toys and beds washed and smelling fresh.

Face Lifts….Real Estate Style…!

A functional and updated kitchen, an open and flowing floor plan, plenty of storage, and spacious master suite will help win your buyers’ hearts. But before they even enter your home to be wowed by these things, they need to be wowed by your landscaping, your curb appeal. Their first impressions. Some buyers will decide based on the look of the outside of your home whether they’ll even bother to come inside. Trust me, they do!

If your lawn isn’t mowed, the front yard is cluttered, or the house paint is faded or chipped, you may find that the For Sale sign in your yard won’t be enough to get those buyers out of the car and into your home.

                                                 It’s time for a Real Estate Face Lift!messy lawn

Fortunately, you don’t have to hire a landscape company to come and redo your entire yard, there are a few things that you can do that are pretty simple and will make a big difference.

If you’ve still got last falls leaves, rake rake rake.  Take out any dead or dying shrubs, plants or trees.  A few colorful pots of annuals for a splash of color is a good substitute for dead and brown plants!

Take a walk around the outside of your home and note which areas need freshening up. If you have chipping paint, get it taken care of. Too much lawn furniture? Put some away. Kid’s toys scattered about? Store them in the garage when not in use.

Important to remember….your yard and home need to look great ALL the time, not just minutes before a scheduled showing.  Most buyers are doing drive bys now….long before you and I know they may be interested in asking for a showing, they have cruised by the house and neighborhood….and what they see may turn them off from even getting

The time and money you put into cleaning up your front yard will help attract buyers and keep them from by-passing your home.

I Have to Move VS I Get to Move

I love the distinction between I “get to” and I “have to” do anything. Positive attitude vs Negative attitude. But I also get there’s a bit difference between I “get to” move and I “have to ” move.  Selling a home because you want to as it allows you to start a new job, or grow your family, or move to somewhere you’ve always wanted to live is a lot different than selling your home because you’ve lost your job, or there’s been a death in the family or you can’t afford it any longer.

But that doesn’t mean you have to approach the move like it’s a death sentence. Try to embrace the fact that all change brings something good, if you are open to seeing it.  Look upon this move as an opportunity to try something new. Embrace it. I’ve moved myself. A lot. Just ask my kids!  But every move, whether it was one we wanted and looked forward to, or one that we had to make and dragged our feet through, all turned out to be good “moves” for us.

architecture-collage

Have you “had to” move?  Did it ulitmately bring good changes to your life?

Did you “get to” move recently?  What tips might you have for the ones that had to?

Big House ~ Small House. Choices….

choices 2

The bigger the home, the bigger the mortgage ~ As the saying goes “You get what you pay for”! Most likely your mortgage payments will be higher for a bigger home than for a smaller home. BUT, a smaller home with more amenities is sometimes not that far off in price from a larger home that gives you a bit more square footage. Choices….

Think about if you are planning to stay in the home a long time ~ If so, getting a bit more square footage now might be better than having to move again in a short period of time when you may outgrow the home. Choices….

Decide how much home you’re willing to maintain ~ For instance, do you want the responsibility of a big back yard or do you want to have something in an association, like a condo, where there is limited yard space but much more time on your hands and less work on the weekends! Choices….

Do you work from home or might you someday ~ More and more people are working from home and trust me, setting up desk space on the dining room table is not optimal. If you think you might be working from home someday, either occasionally or full time, it’s best to look for a home now that will give you the option of a dedicated work/office space.

If you really want a bigger home but aren’t sure you can afford it, think outside the box. Can you get a roommate for a bit to ease you into it? Increasing your income is always a good goal, but can you decrease your debt in the meantime? Weighing that dinner and a movie once a week over homeownership now is up to you. Choices….

So the choice is yours….!!