Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 3/11/2018

Selling a home can be a major hassle. Lucky for you, family members and friends may be able to lend a helping hand as you prep your house for the real estate market.

There are many reasons why you should include loved ones in the home selling journey, including:

1. Loved ones can help you promote your house to potential property buyers.

Family members and friends can share details about your home with large groups of potential homebuyers. That way, you can boost your chances of stirring up interest in your home as soon as your residence hits the real estate market.

Encourage family members and friends to promote your home via social media and word of mouth. If loved ones allocate plenty of time and resources to share information about your home with others, they may be able to help you get the optimal results during the home selling journey.

2. Loved ones can help you complete assorted home improvement projects.

Although your home may look great both inside and out, there may be minor property improvement tasks that you need to complete before you add your house to the real estate market. Fortunately, loved ones may be able to help you finish assorted home improvement tasks.

Family members and friends may be able to assist you as you clean your house. They might even be able to take excess items off your hands so you can declutter your residence quickly and effectively.

Furthermore, loved ones may be able to offer expert recommendations for various home repair projects. And if you need major home repairs like roof maintenance or a complete backyard overhaul, family members and friends may be able to help you get in touch with the right home repair professionals.

3. Loved ones can help you minimize stress at each stage of the homebuying journey.

The process of selling a home can be long and arduous, especially for those who choose to embark on the home selling journey alone. However, loved ones can help you stay calm, cool and collected throughout this journey, regardless of what happens.

Family members and friends are happy to support you in any way possible. As such, they will listen to your home selling concerns and queries and ensure you can minimize stress time and time again.

Also, loved ones may be able to provide home selling insights that you might struggle to receive elsewhere. If family members or friends have sold homes in the past, they can offer guidance to help you streamline the home selling journey.

If you need extra help with selling your home, don't hesitate to reach out to a real estate agent, either. This housing market professional understands the ins and outs of the real estate sector and will help you generate substantial interest in your property.

Ready to add your house to the real estate market? Get your loved ones involved in the home selling process, and you can move one step closer to optimizing the value of your residence.




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Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 3/4/2018

Your credit score can play a major role in your ability to get the financing that you need to buy a house. As such, you'll want to do everything possible to improve your credit score before you enter the real estate market.

Now, let's take a look at three quick, easy ways to boost your credit score.

1. Pay Off Debt As Quickly As Possible

Get a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report annually from each credit reporting bureau, and you should take advantage of this perk so that you can learn about your outstanding debt.

If you have lots of outstanding debt, you'll want to start paying this off as quickly as possible. Because the less debt that you have, the more likely it becomes that you can get a favorable mortgage from a credit union or bank.

Don't wait to begin paying off outstanding debt. If you pay off even a small portion of your outstanding debt regularly, you can move closer to getting the financing that you need to acquire a terrific house.

2. Avoid New Credit Cards

A low credit score can be worrisome, and it may cause you to consider a variety of options to manage outstanding debt. However, if your credit score is low, there is no need to take out additional credit cards.

New credit cards may seem like viable short-term options to help you cover various expenses while you pay off assorted outstanding debt. But these cards are unlikely to help you resolve the biggest problem – paying off your outstanding debt to bolster your credit score.

Instead of signing up for new credit cards, it often helps to cut back on non-essential bills. For instance, if you don't need cable, you may be able to eliminate this expense and use the money that you save to pay off outstanding debt. Or, if you have first-rate items that you don't need, you may want to sell these items and use the profits to pay off myriad bills.

3. Keep Your Credit Card Balances Low

Once you have paid off your outstanding debt, you'll want to keep your credit card balances low.

It often helps to have one credit card that you can use in emergencies. If you keep one credit card and get rid of any others, you may be better equipped than ever before to maintain a high credit score.

Lastly, if you require additional assistance as you prepare to kick off a home search, you may want to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you narrow your home search to residences that fall within a specific price range. That way, you can avoid the risk of spending too much to acquire a house.

Increase your credit score – use the aforementioned tips, and you can raise your credit score before you launch a home search.





Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 2/25/2018

Looking to add your condo to the real estate market? Ultimately, you'll want to set a "fair" price for your property. By doing so, you can stir up plenty of interest in your condo and boost your chances of a fast property sale.

List your condo at a price that meets the needs of both property buyer and seller – here are three tips to ensure you can price your condo properly.

1. Study the Housing Market

How does your condo rate against similar properties? Examine the housing market closely, and you can understand what differentiates your property from others that are currently available.

Check out the prices of comparable condos that have been added to the real estate market recently. That way, you can learn how other condo sellers are pricing their properties and map out your condo pricing strategy accordingly.

Also, evaluate the prices of condos that have sold over the past few months. This will allow you to identify real estate market patterns and trends and may help you establish a competitive price.

2. Hire a Property Appraiser

A property appraiser understands what it takes to assess a condo both inside and out. Therefore, if you conduct a condo appraisal, you can learn about your property's strengths and weaknesses.

During a condo evaluation, a property appraiser will identify problem areas across your residence. Then, he or she will provide a report that you can review to understand how you can enhance your property's value.

Take the results of a property appraisal seriously. If a property appraiser finds minimal problems with your condo, you may be good to go to establish a fair price for your residence.

On the other hand, if a property appraiser discovers a wide range of condo issues, allocate the necessary time and resources to mitigate these problems. In this scenario, you may need to lower your expectations for your condo's asking price based on the current state of your property. Or, you can perform assorted property improvements to bolster your condo's value.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Want expert insights into how to price your condo competitively? Work with a real estate agent, and you can receive comprehensive support as you prepare to add your residence to the housing market.

A real estate agent can make a world of difference for a condo seller, and for good reason. This housing market professional will teach you about the current real estate market and help you determine the right price for your condo.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent will provide throughout the condo selling process, either.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive help with condo showings, negotiations with condo buyers and much more. And if you ever have condo selling questions, a real estate agent will be able to provide instant responses.

Set the right price for your condo – use these condo selling tips, and you can move one step closer to maximizing the value of your property.




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Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 2/18/2018

Although an exciting time in your life, moving out of the home you grew up in or your college/first apartment can seem scary and daunting. The thought of packing and unpacking is intimidating. And let’s not forget about the cost. Making such a large investment for the first time and really, truly living on your own is a whole new experience. It’s important that when you visit a house for sale you can feel yourself living there and turning it into your home. Here are a few tips for making a house a home: Photos & Artwork: What better way to bring personality and familiarity into a home than photos of family and friends or artwork from a favorite artist. Often frames can become a thing of clutter and even dust collectors. However, adding photos and artwork can be done tastefully. A popular approach is a grid-like arrangement created on large, open walls. This is one way to display many beloved photos without creating clutter on tables or other pieces of furniture. Have a long wall that’s runs along a hallway? This would be a great place to display larger photos or artwork that would run horizontally. This is especially nice for sequenced pieces such as change of season photos or artwork. DIY projects: Add your personality and blood, sweat, and tears to your home with DIY projects. Ok, maybe ‘blood, sweat and tears’ is a little dramatic but get ready to get your hands dirty. Mason jars, glass vases, and empty wine bottles can be turned into beautiful home décor with only a few materials and a couple hours. Items like rope, artificial flowers, ribbon, and craft glue are just a couple examples of supplies that can be used to turn those boring items into a homemade masterpiece. To make this idea even more appealing invite friends or family over for a craft day and work on multiple DIY projects. Keepsakes: Have a family heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation? An heirloom could range from a quilt or afghan that a great-grandparent or grandparent had knit, family photos that span over many generations, clocks, diaries and recipes. Recipes could simply be displayed on a kitchen counter or you can get creative and design custom wallpaper from the recipe cards. Wall clocks can be displayed in family or dining rooms and grandfather clocks fit the atmosphere of dens. There are tasteful ways to add each one of these into your home and preserve the memory of these mementos. Fresh flowers: Nothing adds life to a home like fresh-cut flowers. The colors and the scents just fill a room. Add a pop of color to a room with dyed carnations, tulips, roses or hydrangeas. Add elegance to a room with white or cream colored flowers such as roses, daisies or lilies. Small, horizontal arrangements look lovely on a rectangle or square dining room table. Taller arrangements are perfect for a bay window or small table. Fresh-cut flowers would also pair well with a DIY vase.




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Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 2/11/2018

Whether you're environmentally conscious or just want to save a few dollars on your utility bills, there are simple ways to do both. One of the first steps to conserving electricity and water is to become more aware of when and how you're using it.

A major challenge for many parents is to get their kids to turn off lights, appliances, and water faucets when they're not using them. With persistence, you can hopefully get them to understand the importance of saving money, controlling costs, and conserving resources.

Dependable Old Appliances Are a Mixed Blessing

Toilets and household appliances can last much longer than their expected life span, but after a certain point, you're getting diminishing returns. If your toilets are more than 25 years old, for example, you're wasting gallons of water with every flush. Inefficient toilets from just a couple generations ago use as much as six gallons of water every time they're flushed. According the Environmental Protection Agency, recent advances in toilet design are now enabling families to use only 1.28 gallons of water per flush while still getting superior performance. In dollars and cents, families that replace old, obsolete toilets with Watersense-certified models can save more than $110 a year (and nearly 13,000 gallons of water). The EPA says utilities may even offer rebates and vouchers that can lower the price of a WaterSense labeled toilet. (As a side note, toilet use in homes accounts for nearly 30 percent of an average family's indoor water consumption.)

If your washing machine was manufactured before 2003, it's another source of wasted water and energy. The newer Energy Star-certified clothes washers can save about $45 a year in utility bills, based on typical usage patterns. They use about 25% less energy and 45% less water than the old, standard models. The EPA also says that if you have a dishwasher made before 1994, it wastes approximately 10 gallons of water per cycle. By switching to an energy-efficient model, an annual savings of $35 a year can be realized by the average family.

There's actually a wide range of Energy Star-certified products available that can save you money on utility costs and help conserve water and electricity. In addition to washers, dryers, and dishwashers, other energy-efficient appliances include dehumidifiers, refrigerators, freezers, air purifiers, water heaters, heating and cooling equipment, computers, televisions, pool pumps, and much more. Energy efficiency -- or a lack, thereof -- is one factor to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace old appliances, HVAC systems, or plumbing fixtures in your home.

Not only will you save money when your home is operating efficiently, but you'll enjoy the satisfaction that comes with minimizing waste and making the most of natural resources.