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?

Working from home?

I love to say “I’m working from home today”. Especially on those snowy winter days. I know, you’re groaning, but they will be back ….! But working from home can be both a luxury and a curse. Yes, there is no traffic or ice to drive through and you may not even need to get dressed! But you do need to be able to separate the work and the home thing, and that’s not always as easy as it sounds.  It’s so easy to get distracted when working from home, especially if you don’t have a dedicated space away from the rest of the household, like from the pets and the kids and the laundry!

Home office

The best way to overcome these distractions is to have a room dedicated to just your office.  With a door that closes.  And a rule that says “door closed~stay out”!

You want your home office to be cozy and comfortable, but not so comfortable that you sneak in there just to take a nap! Remember that this is for work, so treat this space as you would your space at your “real” office. You want it to be welcoming, but not so welcoming that your family comes and sets up camp for the day!   Consider lighting, furniture and functionality all as you would for your “real” office space.  And equipment, although with the options of compact scanners/printers/copiers and iPads and cell phones, there really isn’t that much by way of equipment needed these days!

I do have my own home office space, and a new desk as well, but I can still get distracted so sometimes I think it comes down to mind over matter.  What do you do to stay focused at home?  Any suggestions to share? I’d love to hear them, I’m sure my work at home days can be way more productive!!

More to do in Midcoast Maine ~ August Edition

I want to state for the record that I HATE it when people say “Well, August is here, summer’s almost over” NO it’s not.  We have one more long month, and then even though school starts for some (most!) of us, September in Midcoast Maine is typically warm and beautiful.  So no, summer is not almost over.  It may be 1/2 over, but I am definitely “the glass is half full” kinda girl when it comes to summer!

So, now I can get to the upcoming August events around here, thank you!

Brunswick Art Festival 2014The 9th Annual Brunswick Outdoor Art Festival is in 2 weeks, check out all the things happening at ~ http://bit.ly/1OTrcZo

There is still one more show at the Maine State Music Theatre and I’m betting it’s going to be as good as the first 3 this year ~ http://msmt.org/

Thomas Point Beach always has things happening, the Highland Games are coming up soon, as is the Bluegrass Festival ~ http://www.thomaspointbeach.com/home.shtml

Harpswell has miles of coast line and lots to do, but they also have ICE CREAM~ August 9th is Ice Cream on the Beach day!  For that and other Harpswell info, a great site is Harpswell Heritage Land Trust ~ http://hhltmaine.org/

Heading north and want to go to sea?  How about a tour of Seguin Island and Lighthouse?  You can’t beat a boat ride and hiking on a beautiful summer day ~ http://www.seguinisland.org/

Seguin

There’s lots more, but this should get you started!!

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.

What to do in Midcoast Maine

An early summer weekend activity starts Friday with the 42nd Annual Old Port Festival. With music, food, arts and crafts and more, it’s a not to miss this weekend. http://www.oldportfestival.net/

Not enough notice?  Well, Boothbay Harbors’ 53rd Annual Windjammers Days starts on June 21st, plenty of time for planning for that week! http://www.windjammerdays.org/

Of course, the 4th of July wouldn’t be the same without the 42nd Annual Bath Heritage Days, with parades and fireworks! http://bathheritagedays.com/

That takes us into July with more festivals, fireworks, food and fun to follow all summer long!

Don’t want to wait for a weekend, check out these two sites for ongoing activities!

The top 30 things to do in Portland, including beer tours, food tours and boat tours   http://bit.ly/1TbOcWS

The top 30 Things to do in Midcoast Maine, including lighthouses, beaches and wineries    http://bit.ly/1BZhXzy

6.13.15     The 42nd Annual Old Port Festival Weekend

6.23.15     Windjammers Days Boothbay Harbor

7.2.15      The 42nd Annual Bath Heritage Days

7.17.15    The 50th Annual Yarmouth Clam Festival

7.29.15    Maine Lobster Festival

Friday the 13th ~ 2nd in a Row!!

So if Friday the 13th is considered a bad luck day, what happens when we have TWO Friday the 13th’s in a row? Crazy bad luck, or do they cancel each other out?

According to Wikipedia ~ “While it is sometimes speculated that the superstition “arose in the Middle Ages”, and there is evidence of both Friday and the number 13 being considered unlucky, there is no record of the two items being referred to as especially unlucky in conjunction before the 19th century.”

13th

Of course, this isn’t a worldwide phenomenon, in Spain, Tuesday the 13th is the bad luck day, and in Italy, Friday the 17th is the day to avoid walking under ladders and breaking mirrors.  Or is that everyday bad luck, that and letting black cats cross your path?

Can you tell I’m a bit confused?!

I can’t think of anything in particular that has happened to me on this bad luck day, but then again I don’t really tend to put much stock in ESP, fortune telling, signs of the zodiac or tarot cards.  Ghosts on the other hand, now those suckers are real…we have one or two at home!

And don’t worry, if you manage to get through today without any mishaps, we have another Friday the 13th coming up in November!