Author Archive

Weekend Bedroom Makeover

By Virtual Results PubSub

With all the time you’ve recently spent at home, have you gotten a little tired of your décor? After looking at the same paint, the same art, and the same knick-knacks for the last few weeks, are you yearning for something different? The good news is you don’t have to invest a huge amount of time or money to makeover an area of your home. And one of the best places to start is arguably one of the rooms we all spend the most time in – the bedroom, so having a good bed is important, and you can get a good mattress too from Best Mattress in a box online. Here are some tips to give your bedroom a makeover in just one weekend.

weekend bedroom makeoverRemove clutter

This first step is the most important step. Take a look around your bedroom. How much stuff is in there that doesn’t need to be? If you’re trying to create a peaceful oasis where you can get some quality sleep, then it’s time to edit. Are you storing anything in your bedroom that can be relocated? Is there anything in your room that makes it feel cramped or uncomfortable? Take it out. Is there a lamp that has never really quite worked in the room? Swap it out with a lamp from a different room. Also, think about what you really love in your bedroom. These are the items you want to keep in there and highlight – the ones that make you feel relaxed and recharged.

Rearrange

Now that you’ve edited down the contents of your bedroom so that it only contains the things you love, it’s time to take a critical look at the arrangement. Does the room work with the way you have the furniture currently arranged? If not, then it’s time to move things around. One rule of thumb to think about – it can be best to place your bed on the longest wall or the wall opposite the door and then position all the other pieces around it.

Add a coat of paint

What’s the biggest bang for you buck when it comes to making over your bedroom? Giving the walls a fresh coat of paint in a new color. Your choice of color can influence your mood. Think about how you want your bedroom to feel. Would you like it to be glamorous? Then go with a darker color, like dark blue or dark grey. Would you prefer it to feel light and cheerful? Then choose a soft yellow or green. You can easily paint the walls in one weekend on your own. If the thought of painting seems like a big job, then limit it to one accent wall, typically the one where you position the bed. Even painting just one wall can make a big difference.

Another great and unique idea is placing murals on your wall to give your room a more modern look. If you’re looking for high-quality printed murals, you can buy at muraledesign.com.

Update your bedding and accessorize

Finally, take a look at your bed. New sheets and a comforter can seriously update the look of the room and make you feel refreshed. Browse online at retailers like Target or Amazon to find just the right style for you. It’s also time to add back in all those accessories that you love and decided to keep in your room, including mementos from your travels, framed photos of loved ones, or a pretty dish for corralling your jewelry.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Coronavirus and Homeowners Insurance

By Virtual Results PubSub

The global pandemic has affected nearly every part of our lives. As we adjust to this new normal, it’s important for homeowners to consider all the ways in which the coronavirus may affect you. This includes your homeowners’ insurance. While the pandemic has not caused major shifts to most policies, you should look at your circumstances closely to see where you may need to make adjustments. Here’s what you should know.

Coronavirus Homeowners InsuranceWhen you’re buying a home

Although Americans have continued to buy and sell homes during the pandemic, the process has changed somewhat. While buyers will still need to get a home inspection to close on a home, inspectors have adjusted this process. Before social distancing guidelines were enacted, inspectors would perform an on-site evaluation of both the interior and exterior of the home. This helps them to determine your coverage and if the rate needs to be adjusted. Now, many inspectors are only evaluating the exterior. As a buyer, you will still be covered; however, the interior inspection may be scheduled for a later date when it is safe to do so.

When you own a short-rental property

If you own a property that you rent out on sites like Airbnb or VRBO, then it’s likely you aren’t welcoming renters at this time. If your homeowners’ insurance policy offers home-sharing protection, then you may want to temporarily halt this coverage. It will help you save money while your rental property is vacant.

When you’re working from home

Millions of Americans have begun working from home during the pandemic. In fact, many workers may discover that their jobs will permanently become working-from-home situations. Have you had to move any business equipment into your home as a result? While most homeowners’ insurance policies cover business equipment, the coverage is low – usually around $2,500. If your business property is of higher value, then you may want to increase your coverage.

When you’re filing a claim

The way you file a claim on your homeowners’ insurance policy may change during the time of the coronavirus. Most insurance adjusters are not making in-person visits at the moment unless you are filing a very large claim. Contact your insurance company for instructions about how to file a claim online and submit proof. In most cases, insurance companies are accepting virtual proof for your claim.

When you can’t make your payment

The pandemic has caused financial hardship for many Americans, who suddenly find themselves without the income needed to pay all their bills. If you are among them, then you should contact your insurance company. Most insurance companies are making adjustments to help consumers who are facing hardship as a result of the coronavirus. You may be able to adjust your coverage or work out a different payment plan that works within your means. It’s important that you contact your insurance company as soon as you know that you’re having trouble. They will be more willing to work with you to come up with a solution that is beneficial to both parties.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Curb Appeal and COVID-19

By Virtual Results PubSub

As a home seller, curb appeal has always been important. The way the outside of your home looks will influence whether or not a potential buyer would like to see more. But as a home seller during the COVID-19 pandemic, curb appeal is absolutely essential. Many home buyers will be unable to see your home in person and will rely on pictures and the exterior to make their decisions. Here’s what you should focus on so that your home stands out among the competition.

Curb Appeal and COVID-19Spruce up your yard and garden

The easiest and most inexpensive thing you can do to enhance your home’s curb appeal is to keep your lawn and landscaping groomed. Freshly mowed grass and trimmed trees and bushes show potential buyers that the seller cares about the home. You can take it a step further and make the yard look colorful and lush with the addition of annual plants and flowers. Even a few pots of flowers arranged around the front door or in the yard will create a favorable impression and won’t cost much.

Clean the driveway and sidewalks

When was the last time you really cleaned your driveway or sidewalks? Even if they’re made of concrete, you can make them look good. Be sure to weed all the cracks in the driveway and the sidewalk and repair with caulk. Take it a step further and use a power washer to clean the concrete. If you don’t own one, you can rent one from a home improvement store. If you really want them to shine, apply a clear, glossy seal.

Include the garage

In many homes today, the garage is a prominent feature. Is yours doing everything it can to make your home look inviting? Give your garage door updated with a fresh coat of paint. Consider painting the garage door the same color as the trim on your home. If your garage door has seen better days, then consider replacing it. Your garage door can account for up to 40 percent of your home’s exterior, so pay attention to this important space.

Update your front door

In addition to your garage door, your front door makes a major impact on your home’s curb appeal. Does it look inviting? If not, then it’s time to give it some love. If you have it in your budget, consider replacing your front door. Doors with windows make a home feel both warm and welcoming. If you want to save some money, paint your existing door. Choose a color that pops and draws the eye. A vibrant front door will give the impression that the sellers have put time and thought into the home.

Add lights

You know your home looks great during the day. But how does it look at night? Most potential buyers who are serious about making an offer on your home will drive by at different times of the day. Make your home look inviting in the evening by adding warm lights. Swap out any cool-colored lights you already have outside that cast a blue glow. You might even consider adding some inexpensive solar lights down the walkway to create a welcoming ambiance.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Take These Precautions For In-Person Showings

By Virtual Results PubSub
Take These Precautions For In-Person Showings

Take These Precautions For In-Person Showings

While virtual tours have become popular for many homebuyers during the pandemic, some serious buyers will still want to see a home in person before they make an offer. After all, buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions we make in our lifetimes. It makes sense that a buyer wants to know exactly what they’re getting into. If you’re selling your home, then what should you do to prepare for these situations? Here’s what you need to know to keep you and your family safe.

Insist that buyers have a pre-approval letter

Now is not a good time to cater to buyers who may be “just-looking.” If a buyer wants to see your home in person, you want to make sure they are serious about potentially making an offer on your home. As a condition of an in-person showing, ask for a loan pre-approval letter. When a buyer has taken the time to get pre-approved for a home loan, you can be reasonably sure that they are ready to buy a home.

Have them take a virtual tour first

If you want to limit the number of potential homebuyers who see your home in person, then ask them to take a virtual tour first. Sellers and their agents can either prepare a virtual tour with available software that buyers can view at any time. Or the buyers can arrange to take a virtual tour in real-time with the aid of video-conferencing software like Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype. In addition, buyers should be given the seller’s disclosure statement before making an appointment for an in-person showing. That way, if there are any issues that may be deal-breakers for them, they can know this ahead of time and not bother with seeing the home in person.

Make a “showing kit”

Once you have serious buyers that want to see your home in person, then sellers and their agents should create “showing kits” to have at the home. The kit should include items like hand sanitizer, gloves, masks, and booties. Hopefully, the buyers will already have most of these things with them. But if not, you’ve got all your bases covered by having extras on hand. You should also have hand soap available at all sinks so that buyers can easily wash their hands if needed.

Thoroughly clean and disinfect

Before potential buyers come over, sellers should thoroughly clean and disinfect their homes following CDC guidelines. Pay close attention to frequently touched surfaces such as countertops, doorknobs, and light switches. Put out a sign that asks guests to either remove their shoes or use the booties provided. Once you return to the home, you should clean and disinfect all these surfaces again.

Prepare the home before the showing

One of the best things you can do before the showing is to anticipate everything that a buyer may touch. Turn on all the lights before you leave the house. Open all closets and cabinet drawers so buyers can easily see everything without having to touch anything.

By having a little forethought, buyers and sellers can easily stay safe for in-person showings provided they all follow the guidelines outlined above.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Home Appraisals During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Virtual Results PubSub

Despite all the changes that the coronavirus pandemic has caused in the real estate industry, one thing hasn’t changed – you’re still going to need a home appraisal before you can close. But certain restrictions that have been put in place including social distancing have made it difficult to carry out an appraisal in the traditional fashion. Luckily, the industry has been able to quickly adapt to keep appraisals moving forward. Here’s what you need to know.

Home Appraisals During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Home Appraisals During the COVID-19 Pandemic

What is an appraisal?

A home appraisal is a crucial step in the closing process. Your lender will order an appraisal of the property as part of the loan application process. A professional appraiser will evaluate your home to determine its fair market value, which could impact your ability to qualify for a loan if the loan amount exceeds the value of the home.

How does a typical appraisal work?

During a typical appraisal, before the pandemic forced many communities to shelter in place, appraisers would conduct their evaluation on-site. The appraiser would go to the home and inspect it. Using this information as well as comps and other data, the appraiser would determine the value of the home.

How has a typical appraisal changed?

Since the federal government continues to suggest social distancing, appraisers have had to modify how the process happens. Most appraisers will ask the seller to leave the home before they enter, and the appraiser will most likely be wearing both a mask and gloves. They may also ask the seller to thoroughly disinfect surfaces like doorknobs and light switches before they enter and to have cleaning products like soap and Palm Antibacterial Hand Gel: The Best Protection Against Germs.

Are other appraisal options available?

Given the unique circumstances under which we’re all currently living, many appraisers have adopted alternative appraisal strategies to determine the value of the home. These alternatives have always been available, and have been used in certain situations when taking into account the loan amount, the borrower’s creditworthiness, and the risk to the lender. The most common alternatives are desktop appraisals and drive-by appraisals.

What is a desktop appraisal?

A desktop appraisal is exactly what it sounds like – the appraiser can do all the work from their desk. The appraiser will use available data such as market research, tax records, MLS records, and comps to determine the value of a property. Be sure to pay attention to recent comps before making an offer, however. Your offer should match recent sale prices in the neighborhood. If it’s higher, it will be more difficult for the appraiser to evaluate why the home is worth more without seeing it in person. You could potentially lose your financing as a result.

What is a drive-by appraisal?

A drive-by appraisal can be used in conjunction with a desktop appraisal to determine the value of the home. In a drive-by appraisal, the appraiser might also rely on photos of the house, an inspection report conducted by another party, a virtual tour of the home given by the seller, or even a drive-by of the property.

What’s the bottom line?

The bottom line is that even with all the restrictions in place, buyers should not have a problem getting an appraisal on a home. Appraisers have a variety of tools they can use to determine the value of a home and keep the closing process moving forward smoothly and on schedule.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Using Technology to Close on a Home

By Virtual Results PubSub

The coronavirus pandemic has not stopped the real estate market — it has just moved most of the process online. While the industry has been slow to adopt technology in the past, the pandemic has created a seismic shift in how real estate transactions are handled.

A rapid embrace of existing technology has made buying and selling a home during the pandemic easier, safer, and more streamlined. Let’s take a look at how technology is making real estate transactions possible during the pandemic.

Using Technology to Close on a Home

Using Technology to Close on a Home

Virtual meetings

It’s still important to interview real estate agents when you’re getting ready to list your home and to devise a selling plan once you’ve settled on an agent. Instead of going into an office for these meetings, you can have them virtually. It’s easy to conduct a video chat with an agent so you can have a face-to-face meeting, and there are several platforms you can choose from to have these virtual meetings.

Online home searches

Even before the pandemic, most homebuyers were starting their home searches online. There are many websites available where you can search for homes for sale. Online listings will give you a good sense of what’s on the market in your location and help you narrow down properties you’d like to see in more detail.

Virtual tours

To get a better sense of the layout of a home, buyers and sellers can use video tours. These can be pre-recorded by the seller or agent and uploaded to many online listing services. In addition, video tours can be done that allow buyers to virtually tour the home. These can be created if you try a site like major geek to download software or done in real-time through video chatting services like FaceTime or Skype.

Digital signing

Although regulations differ from state to state, many real estate transactions that require signatures can be performed digitally. The agent or lender can upload documents that can be signed electronically on your device without leaving the comfort of your home. With the help of IT services, we managed to go from an in-person meeting to a virtual meeting. You could use Treasure Valley It or a firm local to you for any managed IT services.

Sending money

Sending money is also easy to do without having to come into contact with other people. Depending on the service and what your local regulations are, you may be able to pay with a credit card. Wiring money directly from the bank is also an option. For a more old school approach, you can even send a check in the mail, or arrange to have an agent pick up a check from you (from a safe distance, of course). Just make sure that if you’re wiring money that you don’t become the victim of wire fraud.

Drive-by or desktop appraisals

If you’re applying for a home loan, then getting an appraisal will be part of the closing process. Usually this involves an appraiser coming to the house to evaluate its condition. But Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have eased restrictions on appraisals and are now allowing drive-by or desktop appraisals. This eliminates the need for an appraiser to enter the home.

Drive-thru closings

Believe it or not, you can even finalize the closing and maintain proper social distancing. Instead of closings where you meet around a table with all parties, many title companies are allowing drive-thru closings. This is similar to how you might do a drive-thru transaction at a bank.

Compliments of Virtual Results

5 Tips For Selling During the Pandemic

By Virtual Results PubSub

While the coronavirus has changed so much about our daily lives, one thing hasn’t changed – people are still buying and selling homes. In fact, many sellers are facing big life changes that require they sell their homes now. If you’re one of those sellers, then you may be concerned that now is not a great time to put your home on the market. However, you should be aware that it is still possible to safely and successfully sell your home. Here is what you need to know if you’re selling during the pandemic.

5 Tips For Selling During the Pandemic

Get ahead of the curve

It’s true that some home sellers are removing their listings from the market right now. But that could be a very good thing for those that are ready to sell. Fewer homes on the market means less competition. And you can bet that those who are searching for homes right now are serious buyers. Plus – you can expect to see a glut of homes on the market once the pandemic passes and social distancing guidelines are relaxed. Once those restrictions are lifted, your home will face fierce competition if you decide to wait. Get ahead of the curve by moving forward with your listing now and by seeking professional help from real estate business coaching.

Have a great online listing

With more than 90 percent of Americans under stay-at-home orders, you can bet that there are more people than usual looking at online home listings. Those in the market for a new home have the time to browse and many may be reaching out to listing agents to take a virtual tour of the home. Make sure your listing stands out among the competition with great photos.

Make a video tour

In addition to taking high-quality photos of your home, consider having your agent make a video tour. Many buyers will not want to schedule in-person showings unless they are very interested, so having a video tour will give them a better idea of how your home really looks so they can decide if they want to see it in person.

Follow CDC guidelines

At some point, other people will need to enter your home. They could be potential buyers who want a tour or a home inspector who needs to evaluate the property. While you should always clean your home before a showing, now it is more important than ever. Follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting your home. Wipe down all surfaces including light switches and door handles with disinfectant. It’s also a good idea to clean everything again when you return home. Consider having an array of cleaning products on hand so that visitors can use them, such as hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. Be sure to put hand soap at every sink so people can frequently wash their hands.

Work with a trusted partner

Finally, one of the best tips for selling right now is to work with a trusted real estate professional. Selling a house can already be a stressful endeavor – now it’s doubly so given the current conditions. An expert agent can help you more easily navigate the process and give you valuable insight and advice about how to succeed. In addition to a realtor, you may also need to work with property conveyancing professionals.

Compliments of Virtual Results