Posts for Syndication

Is Fall a Good Time to Sell?

By Virtual Results

Is Fall a Good Time to Sell?

There are so many questions to ask when you’re selling your home. The one that may be at the top of your mind right now is whether or not it’s a good time. While most people tend to think that spring is the ideal season to put your home up for sale, that isn’t true for everyone. In fact, fall can be an excellent time to list your house. Here are some of the reasons why fall is a good time to sell.

Fewer sellers

Now that the school year is in full swing, there are fewer homes on the market. Families with children will often have their big move coincide with the school year to make the transition easier on the kids. By September, most of those homes have closed. If you’re putting your home on the market now, you’ll have less competition to worry about. This can really work in your favor when negotiating. It can also be a great asset if you’re hoping to close before the end of the year.

Motivated buyers

Remember – people buy and sell homes every day of the year. Not all buyers limit their search to the warm spring and summer months. In fact, the buyers you’ll encounter right now tend to be more motivated. While less serious buyers may decide to postpone their search until next year, those who are eager to buy are still looking. That means that even if you’re scheduling fewer showings, the potential buyers who are attending them are more serious.

Shorter sales process

As mentioned above, listing your home now can result in a quicker sales process. Since there are generally more transactions happening in the spring in the summer, that can slow down the timeline. However, in the fall, all the professionals you rely on to complete the process aren’t as busy. Your loan can be processed more quickly, the inspection can happen sooner, and you can get to the closing table in a shorter amount of time.

Great atmosphere

Is there anything more comforting than a warm and cozy house on a cold and rainy afternoon? Of course there isn’t! That’s why it can be such an advantage to sell your home during the fall. This is a great time for staging. Now is the time to play up all your home’s features and show potential buyers how wonderful it will be to live there. Add some seasonal décor to the front porch, including potted mums and an autumnal wreath. If you have a fireplace, use it during your showings. Entice visitors with delicious autumn treats, like hot apple cider or pumpkin bread. Have a pot of simmering potpourri on the stove to infuse the house with that wonderful fall scent. Add some decorative touches inside, such as cozy throw blankets and pillows. Buyers will have an easy time imagining themselves in the house when you demonstrate just how inviting it can be.

If you’re on the fence about listing in the fall, then know that now is a great time! There are many benefits to selling during this season, and a trusted real estate agent can help you through the process step by step.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Are You Buying a Haunted House?

By Virtual Results

Are You Buying a Haunted House?

It’s very unlikely that you’ll see the word “haunted” in any home listing. So how do you know that the home you’d like to buy is free from unwanted, otherworldly guests? While you may not believe in ghosts, it’s important to know the home’s history. If the property has a reputation for being a house of spirits, then it could affect your resale value down the line. Here’s how you can find out whether or not the house you’re buying is haunted.

Check the disclosures

The first place you should check for evidence of a ghostly presence is the seller’s disclosures. Although requirements vary from state to state, in general, sellers are required to disclose information about the condition of the property. This usually includes things like roof leaks or cracks in the foundation. In some states, hauntings fall into the same category as deaths in the home, or whether the property is located on a former graveyard. If you’re in doubt about what the seller is required to disclose, then ask them. If you directly inquire about whether there’s paranormal activity in the house, in most states the seller is required to give you a truthful answer.

Research online

If you’re worried about the things that go bump in the night, then there’s no reason you can’t research the address online. That’s what the Internet is for, right? When you perform a simple address search online, you can find out all sorts of information. This includes whether or not there’s ever been a violent crime on the property as well as any suspected ghostly activity.

Ask the neighbors

Are you moving into the neighborhood from another area? Then it’s a good idea to get friendly with the neighbors before buying the home. If you’re new to the neighborhood, then you aren’t aware of local lore or rumors. By chatting up the neighbors, you’ll get a feel for what the neighborhood is like. Don’t feel like you have to ask them point blank whether or not the house is haunted. You could simply ask if they know anything about the home’s history. You never know what you may uncover.

Buyer beware

If the thought of buying a haunted house scares you, then it’s something you should look into before purchasing the house. Once the agreements have been made, you could have trouble backing out, unless the seller failed to make a required disclosure. There is one landmark case where a buyer in New York sued a seller for failure to disclose a haunting and won. In the famous case Stambovsky v. Ackley, the seller, Helen Ackley, did not tell the buyer, Stambovsky, that the property was haunted. It was later discovered that several years prior, Ackley had sold a true story about the ghosts in her home to Readers Digest for $3,000. Stambovsky was allowed out of the deal when the case went to the appeals court.

The bottom line is, if you’re concerned about buying a home that may come with ghoulish tenants, it’s best to do your due diligence. Ask questions and thoroughly research the property before signing on the dotted line.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Annual Chore Checklist

By Virtual Results

Annual Chore ChecklistDo you feel a little overwhelmed by the number of chores you have to do around the house every week? From cleaning the bathroom to washing the sheets, it seems there’s a never-ending list of cleaning tasks that must performed. But the good news is that there are quite a few chores that only need to be completed annually. Here’s the rundown on the things you only need to think about once a year. Hopefully, it will make all the other chores seem more manageable.

Fireplace

With colder weather just around the corner, it’s time to clean the fireplace and chimney. Schedule an appointment with a professional to have the flue checked and cleaned. Clean andirons and fireplace tools. When using your fireplace for the last time as the weather warms up, make sure to clean up and vacuum away all the ashes.

Rugs and carpets

Obviously you need to keep up with vacuuming your rugs and carpets regularly. But you only need to deep-clean them once a year. Hire a professional or rent a cleaning machine from your local home center or grocery store. Move furniture out of the way to get an even clean, and wait until the carpets fully dry to put it back.

Outdoor furniture

Give your outdoor furniture a thorough cleaning when you’re getting ready to use them in the spring. Vacuum cushions and remove stains. Use a solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid to wipe down wicker, plastic, and wood furniture. This task is best done on a sunny day when the furniture will dry quickly.

Window treatments

It’s surprising how dirty curtains, shades, and blinds can get in a year. Wash or dry clean your curtains as advised on the tags. For dusty shades, vacuum them with the upholstery attachment. Use a microfiber cloth to get at the grime that accumulates on your blinds.

Mattresses

Vacuum all sides of the mattress and wash the cover if it has one. Treat stains with stain remover and let them dry thoroughly. Flip or rotate mattress so that it wears evenly.

Windows

While you may want to clean the inside of your windows more frequently, the outside of the windows can be handled once a year. Use a mixture of hot water and distilled vinegar and clean with a sponge, or use a squeegee. It’s best to clean windows on a cloudy day so you get a streak-free finish.

Basement and/or attic

We know this is where you hide all the things you don’t know what to do with. Take time once a year to clean and organize your basement and attic. Sweep away dust and insects and purge items you no longer need or use. Donate items that still have life left in them.

Paperwork

Finally, take time once a year to go through all the paperwork that has accumulated over the last 12 months. It is kind of amazing how much can pile up, and most of it is not needed for the long term. Keep what you need for your taxes or other important purposes, and discard the rest. Be sure to shred any documents that have sensitive information on them.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Use Halloween to Sell Your Home

By Virtual Results

Use Halloween to Sell Your Home

If you think Halloween isn’t a good time to sell your home, then think again. While it’s a holiday that’s typically associated with ghouls, goblins, and ghastly creatures, it can also be a great time to market your home creatively. Here are some of the best tricks we’ve discovered to use the holiday to your advantage when selling your home.

Decorate tastefully

There’s no reason you can’t get into the Halloween spirit, just because you’re selling your home. But this is not the time to drag out the coffin, hang the spider webs, and cue up the scary music. Instead, opt for more family-friendly decorations with a fall theme instead of a spooky theme. Great choices include potted mums and pumpkins for the front porch and a wreath for the front door. Leave the scary stuff for next year in your new home.

Plan a Halloween open house

If you really can’t live without your Halloween decorations, then you can use them to your advantage. Plan to hold a Halloween-themed open house on the weekend before the holiday. Bust out your best (yet still tasteful) Halloween decorations and show how perfect your home can be for entertaining. Plan to have activities for kids like pumpkin painting and pass out Halloween treats. You might even set up a photo station outdoors that is strategically placed near your “for sale” sign, so it’s captured in the background of the picture. Make sure to get the word out on social media about your special event. You never know who will be attracted by your clever idea.

Use treats as marketing opportunities

Trick-or-treating can be one of the best times to market your home to the neighborhood. This is especially true if your street is popular with families on Halloween. Print up small cards with information about your home and attach them to the treats you hand out. Most parents will examine their kid’s candy before they let them eat it, so you can be sure they’ll see it.

Post flyers at the door

Another great trick to use during trick-or-treating is to post flyers at the door. You can draw some attention to it with lights, or mention it to parents as they bring their kids to the door. Invite them to take a flyer (or two), especially if they know anyone who may be looking for a house in the neighborhood.

Dress up like Dorothy

Finally, you can really get into the spirit of things on Halloween by dressing up like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz while you’re handing out candy to the neighborhood kids. Remind folks who come to the door that, “There’s no place like home,” and then hand them your flyer or a piece of candy with a card attached. It will certainly be memorable!

The bottom line is that Halloween doesn’t have to scare away buyers and hurt your home sale. By taking advantage of the holiday and the increased foot traffic around your house, you can use your creativity to cater to potential buyers.

Compliments of Virtual Results

What To Do When Your House Floods

By Virtual Results

What To Do When Your House FloodsWith all the images in the news of flooding due to Hurricane Florence, you may be wondering what to do if you have a similar emergency. Natural disasters like storms aren’t the only things that can cause your home to flood. You could experience a burst pipe or other water system malfunction that causes water to pool. It’s important to know what to do in these scenarios and to be prepared before they happen. Here’s an outline of what steps you should take when your house floods.

Avoid more damage

If a leaking appliance causes your flooding, then cut off water to that appliance. If you can’t determine the source of the water, then shut off water to the whole house. No matter what type of flooding you’re experiencing, whether it’s coming from inside or outside your house, cut off electrical power. This is true even if the power isn’t working. Floodwaters can carry an electrical current, which could shock anyone that comes in contact with it. You don’t want to risk the power coming back on unexpectedly when someone is standing in ankle-deep water.

Gather documents

Keep your insurance documents in an area that is easy to access. Once your home has flooded, you want to be able to reach them quickly. Depending on the cause of your flooding, the costs to repair damage may be covered by your homeowners policy or a separate flood insurance policy. Remove these documents and keep them somewhere safe away from the flooding.

Take pictures

Before you begin any repairs, thoroughly document the damage. Take photos and video of all your damaged property. Write down detailed information about the condition of your property, and update as needed. If you begin to make repairs before you document the damage, you risk decreasing the amount of your coverage.

File a claim

You should notify your insurance agent about your water damage as quickly as possible. This is one reason why it’s so important to keep your insurance paperwork handy in case of emergency. If you are having trouble contacting your agent, then call the insurance company’s headquarters. Let your agent know the extent of the damage and what you need to address immediately. Follow all the directions laid out by your agent. They may or may not want you to wait on those repairs until a claims adjuster can inspect your property. Try to be patient as the claims process can take days or weeks, depending on the extent of the damage to your area.

Begin repairs

Once your agent has cleared you, you can begin the repair process. Once it’s safe to re-enter your home, start removing water. Use a sump pump or hire a professional which are easy to find at sites like https://www.findatrade.com that have different kind of construction contractors for any issue you could have. Keep receipts for all your expenses to include with your claim. If you’re in an area that has been declared a disaster, you may need to wait longer for repairs. Be on the lookout for contractor scams that demand money upfront for repairs and always ask for identification from anyone who comes to your home saying they are from the insurance company.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Does Your Home Have Resale Value?

By Virtual Results

Does Your Home Have Resale Value?

It may seem counterintuitive, but the best time to think about your home’s resale value is before you buy it. While it’s important to buy a home that suits your needs, you should also consider how attractive it may or may not be to future buyers. Let’s face it – one day you’ll need or want to sell, and you want that process to be as stress-free as possible. Here’s what you should be looking for when it comes to a home’s potential resale value.

Good location

We all know that location is one of the most important selling points in real estate. Carefully consider a home’s location when you’re deciding whether or not to buy. Good locations are often characterized as being in highly rated school districts, near amenities, and on quiet streets. If the home doesn’t meet all these criteria, you may have trouble down the line when it’s time to sell.

Three or more bedrooms

Most homebuyers are looking for homes that have more than two bedrooms, and three is often the magic number. If the home has fewer than three bedrooms, it could be seen as less desirable. However, if you’re selling in a large city where space comes at a premium, two bedrooms is often the ideal number. If you’re unsure, talk with your agent about the ideal number of bedrooms in your location. Also, it’s important to understand what features a room needs to have in order to be marketed as a bedroom. This usually includes at least two exits, minimum size requirements, and heating and cooling elements.

More than one bathroom

Bathrooms are high on the list of must-have features for homebuyers. Although homebuyers will buy a house with only one bathroom, they will expect to pay less for it. In addition, consider what types of bathrooms the home has. If it has more than one bathroom but is lacking a master bath, this could also affect the resale value.

One level

More and more homebuyers are favoring single-level homes today. Families with children often avoid stairs so there’s no risk of children injuring themselves. Seniors are also less likely to want homes with stairs because they can be difficult to climb as we age. It’s important to take this into consideration when buying. If you buy a two-story house, it can be favorable to have a master bedroom that is on the first floor.

Open floor plan

Floor plans are also an essential characteristic to consider when buying a home. Houses with open floor plans tend to sell better in today’s housing market. Many buyers prefer open space with ample light. Buyers with families are often in favor of open floor plans, as it is easier to keep tabs on children and to host parties.

Garage

Finally, unless you’re buying in a highly populated area where most residents rely on public transportation, it’s important to have a garage. Homeowners need a place to park their cars, and most will prefer a space that is covered and enclosed. Depending on location, you should consider homes with garages that have space to park at least two cars, if not three.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

By Virtual Results

Fall Home Maintenance ChecklistFall is officially here, which means there’s no time to waste in getting your home ready for the season. This is a great time of year to finish those bigger projects you’ve been meaning to get to as well as regular maintenance chores before colder weather sets in. Here are the top items that should be on your list this fall so you’ll be ready when winter rolls around.

Clean gutters

We know this isn’t your favorite job, but it must be done. Once your trees have shed their leaves, it’s time to clean out the gutters and downspouts. Clogged gutters can damage your roof and siding and cause water to seep into the foundation. Get up on the ladder and get them cleaned out before the next big storm.

Shut off outdoor faucets

If you live in an area that dips below freezing, protect your pipes by shutting off exterior faucets. If water freezes inside your pipes, it will cause them to expand and possibly crack – which could lead to serious problems. Drain garden hoses and store them until next spring.

Winterize sprinklers

Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on sprinkler systems. Drain valves to remove water from the system. If your system doesn’t have valves, hire a pro to blow the water out. Shake water out of sprinkler heads.

Clean and stow garden tools

Give all your garden tools like spades, shovels, and pruning shears a good cleaning before stowing them away for the season. Also clean your lawn mower and either drain the gas or add fuel stabilizer. Gas can deteriorate over the winter, which could damage the engine if left in the mower.

Seal cracks

Keep out the cold winter air by sealing cracks around your home’s exterior. Look for gaps between trim and siding, around doors and windows, and anywhere pipes or wires enter the house. Spread a small bead of caulk in these areas to keep the cold air from getting inside. You’ll stay warm and save money on your heating bills.

Check smoke detectors

The best time to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is during the change of the seasons. If you want to remember every year, have it coincide with daylight savings time. Replace batteries as needed. Also check your fire extinguishers to make sure they have not expired.

Clean the fireplace

If you’re looking forward to cozy nights around the fire, then now is the time to have your fireplace cleaned. Make sure the damper opens properly and that there are no animals nesting inside. You should also have the creosote cleaned every two years. Make an appointment to have yours professionally cleaned if it’s time.

Clean dryer vents

Lint can get trapped inside your dryer vents, which could cause a fire. Static electricity, more prevalent during cold, dry weather, can ignite lint. Fall is the best time to clean those dryer vents.

Check the furnace

You’ll want to stay nice and toasty warm this winter. Head off any potential problems by having your furnace serviced now. A professional can complete a check-up of your furnace for around $100 to make sure it’s in tip-top shape. In addition, change your furnace filters.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Limewashing Exterior Brick

By Virtual Results

Limewashing Exterior Brick

Is your home’s brick exterior in need of a makeover? Try limewashing! This tried and true technique has been used on brick exteriors for hundreds of years, and the finished product gives your home antique curb appeal. Here’s a look at the basics and some information about tackling this as a DIY project.

Limewash basics

The term “limewashing” is often used interchangeably with “whitewashing”, but the two techniques have one key difference. Whitewashing is a process that uses watered down paint to achieve that old world feel. Limewashing, on the other hand, actually uses powdered limestone to create the same effect. Limewashing has been used for centuries to add an extra layer of protection to brick structures, which is why it can add a historical appeal to your home.

Environmentally sound

One of the best reasons to choose limewashing over other techniques is that it’s environmentally safe. Traditional paint can be toxic and produce fumes. Limewashing, however, is free of solvents and petrochemicals. It’s made of natural lime and pigments and has a high pH level, so it’s great for resisting fungal growth and damage from insects.

Inexpensive

Another great reason to choose limewashing when sprucing up your brick exterior is the low cost. You can make your own limewash by mixing hydrated lime with water. A 50-pound bag of hydrated lime can cost as little as $8 from your local home improvement store. You can also purchase limewashing kits that contain everything you need to get started and even specially formulated paints. These will cost you a little more, but if you’re looking for convenience they can’t be beat.

Easy application

Although nobody is going to tell you that painting the exterior of your home is an easy job, limewashing is about as simple as it gets. If you’re mixing your own limewash, use an 80/20 ratio of water to lime. Stir until you get a consistency like milk. First, hose down a section of the brick to clean it. The bricks should be clean and wet before applying the limewash. Then apply the limewash with a paintbrush, paint roller or paint sprayer, depending on your preference. The best part is that you can achieve the look you’re going for with only one coat. It’s best to apply limewash on overcast days; otherwise, it can dry too quickly. A slow drying time is key to setting it properly.

Easy maintenance

While limewash will erode over time, it can add to the historic look of a building. If limewash gets dirty, it can’t be cleaned. However, you can easily apply another coat of limewash over the existing coat. Depending on how weathered you’d like the exterior of your home to look, you can expect to apply a fresh coat of limewash every 5-7 years or longer.

Simple to remove

Unlike paint, which can be very difficult to remove from brick, limewash is something that can be removed with relative ease. If you grow tired of the look, the limewash can be removed with a pressure-washer or even with a stiff brush if you don’t mind using a little elbow grease.

So there you have it. If you’re looking to give your brick exterior a facelift, why not try limewashing? This historic technique will produce modern results that you’re sure to love.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Selling a House on a Busy Street

By Virtual Results

Selling a House on a Busy Street

If you’re worried that you’ll be unable to sell your home if it’s on a busy street, don’t be. Although selling a home on a busy street can be a challenge, it doesn’t have to be a losing battle. You just need to know how to best market it and have a little patience during the selling process. In some cases, that busy street can even be a positive feature. Here’s what you need to do if you’re selling a house on a busy road.

Set a realistic asking price

There are many factors that need to be considered when pricing a home for sale. One of those is the location, and living on a busy street can affect the value of your home. In most markets, you can expect a home on a busy road to sell for up to ten percent less than comparable homes on quiet streets. Work with a professional real estate agent who is an expert in your market to determine the best listing price for your home.

Create a sound barrier with landscaping

If traffic noise is a real problem and you fear it will be a deal-breaker, consider ways that you can mask that sound with landscaping. You can build a fence in the front yard that helps to deflect sound. Another great choice is to plant a hedge or tall row of bushes to help absorb the sound from passing cars. In fact, the more plants, flowers, trees, and shrubs you have in the front yard, the better. Not only will they help to muffle the sound, they’ll create a lovely barrier between the road and your house. Curb appeal is essential when selling, and adding to the landscaping will certainly help in this area. You might also think about adding a water feature. The sound of running water is not only soothing, but it will help to mask the sounds from the street.

Build a backyard oasis

Let’s face it — most homeowners tend to put more of an emphasis on the backyard, not the front yard. The backyard is where most of the socializing happens. You can make your home more appealing by creating a backyard oasis that is a sanctuary from the busy street. Set up a seating area and do some landscaping with plants and flowers. Show potential buyers what a restful retreat the backyard can be.

Sell as a commercial property

If you’re really worried about selling your home, consider marketing it as a commercial property. Check local regulations to see if your property is zoned for commercial purposes. If so, a doctor, lawyer, or even a hair salon may love the location because it’s on a busy street.

Understand the benefits

Finally, there are actually some upsides to selling a home on a busy street. For one thing, more people will be driving by your home, which means more potential buyers will see your signs. Living on a busy road can also be an advantage if a buyer is looking for a quick commute to work. It’s also great for those who want to live close to the action and who favor walking to dinner or stores. Be sure to highlight these hidden benefits when you’re marketing your home.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Do You Need Flood Insurance?

By Virtual Results

Do You Need Flood Insurance?

We’re well into hurricane season, and every year we see images on the news of the devastation that flooding can bring. Whether or not you live in a hurricane zone, floods can happen anywhere and are ranked as America’s most common natural disaster.  Because of this, you may be wondering how flood insurance works and if you need it. Here’s what you should know.

The Facts

As of 2016, only about 12 percent of homeowners carried flood insurance. Here are some facts to consider if you’re thinking about joining their numbers:

  • Just one inch of water in your home can cause more than $27,000 worth of damage.
  • It only takes 12 inches of fast-moving water to carry away a car, and only six inches to knock you off your feet.
  • Flash floods can carry water to more than 20 feet high.
  • Flash floods can occur with almost no warning and can happen in just a few minutes.
  • Floods from hurricanes and tropical storms are more damaging than the high winds they cause.
  • You are required to carry flood insurance if you have a federally backed mortgage and you live in an area that’s at a high risk for floods.
  • Up to 30 percent of flood losses happen in low- or moderate-risk areas.

Homeowners Insurance

When you buy a home, it’s a given that you’ll purchase homeowners insurance. But it’s very important to remember that most homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage caused by flooding. For this reason, you’ll need to purchase a separate policy that covers floods.

Flood Insurance

As stated above, your mortgage lender may require you to have flood insurance if you live in a high-risk zone. In some cases, your lender may also require flood insurance, even if you don’t live in a high-risk area. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers this type of coverage and can be purchased through a private insurance agent. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) manages NFIP. You can find out if you live in a high-risk zone by viewing FEMA’s flood maps. Flood insurance covers up to $250,000 for your home and $100,000 for your possessions. If you need additional coverage or live in an area where NFIP is not available, you can purchase private insurance.

Cost and Requirements

If you are in high-risk area or are required to purchase flood insurance by your lender, you should be aware of the cost and requirements. Be advised that flood insurance coverage does not take effect until 30 days after purchase. Don’t wait until a storm is in the forecast to talk to an insurance agent. The cost of an insurance flood policy is generally affordable. The average policy is only about $411 a year, which works out to just over a dollar a day. If you’re in a low-risk zone, your policy could cost even less.

The bottom line is that if you’re concerned about flooding, you should look into your options for flood insurance. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Compliments of Virtual Results