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Credit Reporting Changes

Things in the credit report world are improving now that the three major credit reporting companies are utilizing records better they are now excluding all tax liens from credit reports. What does this mean? Basically, there are now new rules after problems were discovered with credit reporting and changes were recommended to help consumers. Since the biggest issue that is reported by consumers is incorrect information on a credit report, these reporting companies removed nearly civil judgment data and tax lien data from credit reports. Now that with this new change credit scores may go up by as much as 30 points overall.  Other industry groups have said these changes will have less of an impact. 

Make the First Impression a Great One

First impressions are critical. Just like the view from the curb may prevent a buyer from getting out of the car, the view inside the house determines whether they make an offer. Buyers need to be able to imagine themselves living in your home, or perhaps more to the point, they need to envision your home as theirs. You can accomplish this by staging your home. Home staging is the process of preparing your home for sale to make its best impression on prospective buyers. It can be as simple as cleaning the house and putting out fresh flowers or as complicated as hiring a consultant to determine what furnishings and decorations best suit your home while itís on the market. Big budget or small, how you present your home to potential buyers can affect how quickly it sells. Cleaning and decluttering are essential. The whole house should sparkle,  especially kitchens and bathrooms. Clear off counters and organize cabinets and closets. Too much "stuff" is distracting and makes spaces feel cramped and small ñ definitely not a good impression. Remove furniture that blocks the natural traffic flow, being sure there is a clear walkway to all windows and that the windows and screens are clean. Visual cues help buyers process your homeís features. Keeping room decor simple makes it easy to ascertain a roomís purpose. A bed and a dresser in a room with a closet are all it takes to show that a room can be used as a bedroom. A table with chairs identify a dining area, formal or otherwise. Staging rooms for their traditional purpose helps buyers understand your home. Whether the final buyer decides to use rooms the way you show them doesnít matter. There is a lot you can do yourself to get your home looking its best. Consult with your real estate professional before you start any projects to be sure that the payoff is worth the investment. Remember, once you decide to sell your home, itís a good idea to behave as if it isn't your "home" anymore. Cutting the emotional ties makes it easier to get your 'house' sold fast.

Is Your Sliding Door too Hard to Slide?

Recently has it felt like you need super human strength to open your sliding door? Chances are, debris has jammed the wheels. This might just be your quick fix.  Remove the operable door by turning the adjustment screws at the bottom, then clean the wheels and tracks, and spray with silicone lubricant. See if that helps it glide a little smoother just in time to be out on your patio this summer. 

Stripes Can Add Fun to Any Room

A fun and easy way to add interest to a room can be with stripes to any wall. When it comes to painting stripes, anything goes – large or small, horizontal or vertical, they all look fantastic, and are a great way to not have to be  limited to just 1 paint color. If you’re not hiring a professional to do the painting, just remember to use a level and painters tape when making your lines, because no one likes a crooked stripe.

Hidden Costs of Selling

The average homeowner spends $18,342 in extra or “hidden” costs associated with selling a home. The biggest “hidden” expenses are closing costs, which total $13,357 for the median-valued U.S. home. Getting your house ready for staging and selling can add more costs too. For sellers who hire professional help, they spend $4,985, on average, covering basic projects: Painting, staging, house and carpet cleaning, lawn care and gardening, and local moving costs.  Since real estate transfer tax rates and home values vary so much across the country, closing costs vary considerably market-to-market and city to city.  As part of these closing costs, sellers typically pay real estate agent commissions of 6 percent (shared between the sellers’ and buyers’ agents). 

Loan Pre-Qualification

If you are like most, you know that it would be beneficial to just have money handed over your way.  You work hard at what you do and are financially stable.  You know that it is time for you to move into a new place and want to make sure that you have the best opportunities available for you.  The first investigation to make in order to step forward is through a loan pre-qualification.   Loan pre-qualifications will determine if you have the financial ability to invest in real estate in the beginning.  By having the right pre-qualification, you can be guaranteed a specific amount of money and will have the ability to move into the home of your dreams.   The first thing that is determined with loan pre-qualification is how much you make each year from your job.  By finding this, it will allow for lenders to know how much you will be able to put into a loan in relation to other expenses that you may have.  Things such as personal debt and car loans, as well as credit card expenses will be calculated in this figure to show the first step to finding the right loan.   After these specific points have been added up, the time frame in which you will pay your loans will be factored in.  This will give the companies an idea of how much you can pay and how this will relate to the debt and finances that you have coming in and out of your pocket.  This will be defined by using formulas that will relate how much money you are making in relation to how much you can pay to balance out your loan.  Usually, pre-qualification formulas will divide things by factoring in ratios for standards of living.   If you want to make sure that you have the right loan, then becoming pre-qualified is the first step that you will need to take.  This will enable you to move forward with what you want and need for your loan.  By knowing what to expect, you can prepare for the process of getting a loan and can move into the property that you want.

Don't Over Renovate for Your Neighborhood

Renovating is not just satisfying but it is also quite beneficial to the value of your home.  Even though it is great watching these house flipping shows on HGTV that max out budgets and create masterpieces in these homes over doing the renovations might not be as "worth it" as you'd like.   Depending on the real estate market, your neighborhood and what buyers are looking for you might want to think about these three things before you start knocking walls down.  1. Understand what your local market is doing because depending on if it is a seller's or buyer's market it can determine whether or not making big renovations will sell or not. Just remember that in a seller's market you can get away with selling a house with less upgrades for more.  You'll want to stick with more practical upgrades like new counters or a new coat of paint.  2.  Don't  price yourself out of your neighborhood's worth.  In older neighborhoods, you don’t want to renovate your house so much that it looks out of place or becomes a target for theft. You want to find a nice balance.  A good rule of thumb: Don’t raise your home’s value any higher than 10 percent of the average cost of homes in your neighborhood. 3.  Where do you start the renovation? Pick renovation projects that give your home the features buyers are looking for most. A lot of buyers look for updated kitchens, master bedrooms and bathrooms. These three spaces alone can sell your home, so consider investing extra money in these areas. Don't forget to make sure you make decisions base on your areas real estate market, your neighborhood and features that appeal to buyers.  If you stay informed, research, and follow the trends, you’ll end up with a beautifully renovated home that will appeal to a large range of buyers.  

Life is a Stage - So is Your Home!

What is a home staging?
Home staging prepares a home for sale, and for the dozens of enquiring eyes that will be scouring the property looking for flaws. It creates an image of the perfectly decorated home, in move-in condition. This should be the next step after decluttering, cleaning and repairing your home. The changes may be as small as rearranging furniture to give the illusion of more space, or repainting with more neutral and soothing colors. Home stagers will offer great ideas for perking up a room with accessories and creating a new stylish look for your home  Why stage your home? In this day and age, staging is a must. It can give you the edge that may result in a faster sale or a higher sales price.  First impressions can make or break the sale of the house, and a home that is properly staged helps to maximize your chances of a positive first impression.  Your home will have an advantage over other unstaged homes.  A staged home shows well in web site marketing and video tours, and since the majority of homes are chosen over the internet, this is a vital form of advertising.  Tips for staging your home. -As you go from room to room, there should be a flow to your home. Avoid overly bright or bold colored walls. This may mean repainting some or all of your rooms with more calming, neutral tones. Some people cannot understand that that bright purple wall can be removed with a coat of paint, and these distractions may result in no sales.  -Clean the carpets  Furniture: The most common trick used by stagers is to rearrange furniture to create a more stylish look. During my house sale, my stager suggested I move my dining room table into the living room, creating a living/dining room. This freed up space for my crammed kitchen table and voila, I had a brand new and improved living space.  -Rearranging may also mean reducing the amount of furniture so that a room looks more open. This includes emptying out closets, even if it means putting some things in storage. Consider renting a few pieces of stylish furniture or pieces of art.  -Tidy up your bookcases so that they look pleasing to the eye. This may mean packing away many of your books and keeping out the ones that display well.  -Brighten the house up by cleaning windows, and go with higher wattage light bulbs (just until the home sells). Make sure that the lights are left on before an open house, so the prospective buyers are walk into well-lit rooms and hallways.  -Creative use of fabrics as accent pieces for additional texture and color are very common.  -Remove family pictures, hockey trophies, any traces of everyday family life. You don't want the buyer feeling that they are in someone else's space; they need to imagine their family living in this house.  -Use plug in room fresheners, especially to mask pet and smoking odors. If you can't get rid of a smell, overpower it by providing a distraction such as baking chocolate chip cookies and leaving the tray in the oven.  -Sweep out the furnace room and clean the cobwebs off the furnace. If the furnace looks cleaner, it appears newer.  -Make a list of general repairs, and if you can't complete them, hire a handyman to polish them off.  -Add fresh or silk flowers to many of the rooms.  Kitchen: -Display bowls of colorful fruit. -Apply oil to cabinets to revive their finish. -Modernize your cabinet handles. -Clear everything off the counters, finding homes for small appliances - you'll love the look. -Remove fridge magnets and small area rugs.  -Have a table set for use, complete with place mats, place setting and napkins. Bathroom: -Have a set of thick and luxurious towels reserved only for open houses. -Fill baskets with scented soaps and lotions. -Use a scented plug in air freshener. -Remove the collection of shampoo bottles from the tub, or toothbrushes lying on the counter.  Bedroom: -Clear off your night tables, maybe leaving out an interest looking book.  Outdoors: -Place containers of flowers on the patios, decks and entranceways.  -Set the table with colorful picnic plates -Power wash the outside of the house, patios and walkways. -Freshen up the paint on all porches and doors -Weed the gardens and apply mulch; it makes them look like new.  In order to make your home staging a positive experience make sure you use either a realtor who is skilled at home staging, or a professional home stager. The latter is a trained designer and they understand how to create a mood or illusion for the buyer.  It can be difficult listening to strangers telling you how your home needs to look. You really need to be open minded and trust their expertise. Many people are surprised at how hard it is to separate from their homes; just keep telling yourself, "It's not my home anymore". You'll probably enjoy many of the changes you've made and may reflect these in your new house as well. There is just something about living in a stylish, clean, clutter-free environment.
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