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It’s Not Closed Until It’s Closed!

You’ve been shopping for weeks or maybe just a few days and you believe you have absolutely found the home of your dreams. Then, sadly, you discover the property has a pending contract. Before you walk away completely deflated, remember these important words, “It’s not sold til it’s closed!” BUT does that mean you can still make an offer on it?

Typically, once a home has a pending sale, you won’t be able to place your bid because both seller and buyer have agreed on the terms of the sale and signed the contract. But real estate deals have been know to fall apart for multiple reasons. Again, until it’s closed, it’s not a done deal!

Though you can’t submit an offer, you absolutely can contact the listing agent or if the home is being sold by owner, the seller, and make them aware of your interest and ask to be notified in the event something happens and the home is going to go back on the market. This way, you have the possibility of putting your offer in before others even know the home is once again available.

Now, it’s important not to get your hopes up that the deal will fall through or tell yourself this is the only home for you. Keep shopping with an open mind and heart. You may discover that not getting that home was a blessing in disguise as you step forward into a different home that makes you even happier!

An important note: If the other deal does fall through, before you jump in gleefully and with reckless abandon, keep in mind, there might have been a reason it fell through that might cause you to want to run away from it too!

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CHOOSE YOUR CLOSING DATE WISELY!

It’s often noted that there are benefits to closing on a home you’re buying at the end of the month. Are there any advantages to closing at the beginning or middle of the month? What’s the difference? If I’m buying a home for a certain price, why should it matter when I close? If you’re obtaining a mortgage, the day you close will determine how much money you need to bring to closing. It won’t, however, change the monthly date your payments will be due. Let’s say your due date is the 1st of each month. Then you won’t have a mortgage payment due until the first of the second month after you close. So now let’s break down “best day to close” theory.

Because mortgages are paid in arrears (for the month passed), the date you close will determine how much money you have to bring to closing as you’ll be paying the interest needed to cover the remainder of the current month.

Examples:

If you close on May 6th, you will need to bring enough money to closing to cover 25 days of interest for that month (31 days in May – closing on May 6 or 31-6 = 25 days of interest due).

If you close on May 28th, you will only need to bring enough money to closing to cover 3 days of interest for that month (31-28 = 3).

With either option, because you’re closing in May, you won’t have a mortgage payment due until July 1st. So, if you’re already stretching yourself to have enough funds for your down payment at closing, setting your date at the end of the month will reduce the amount f cash you’ll have to bring. Closing at the beginning or middle of the month will require you to bring more cash to closing but you will have more time in the home before your first mortgage payment is due. This might be helpful if you need to get kids registered for school or start your new job, etc.

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Current Mortgage Interest Rates as of 4/19/19

Type                                         Rate                               Yield

30 Yr Fixed                               4.12%                             4.25%

15 Yr Fixed                               3.56%                             3.78%

1 Yr   Fixed                               3.9 %                              5.15%

Jumbo 30 Yr Fixed                   4.30%                             4.42%

30 Yr FHA                                 3.78%                             3.85%

5/1 ARM                                    4.05%                             7.12%

5/1 Jumbo ARM                        3.77%                             6.85%

 

Data Provided by BANKRATE.COM

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Be True to You!

I was excited to receive my newest issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine and see what great ideas and visions I could glean from their pages. Haven’t we all done this? Whether it’s BH&G, HGTV, Home Decorating or another of the numerous magazine and ezine options that share decorating ideas, we open them and assume they know and offer so much better ideas than anything we can come up with ourselves.

BUT, I am not exaggerating when I say I went through the entire current magazine and did not find one design, color scheme or decorating idea that held any appeal for me at all. That caused me to realize that sometimes I simply should follow my own instincts or try out my own ideas instead of allowing myself to be overly influenced by others as to what works best for me. I decided I should trust my own gut and not talk myself out of an idea simply because it doesn’t match what the current magazines/ezines are showing. Kind of like watching a fashion show and thinking “Do people really wear this stuff?”. Should your home “wear” those ideas? Do they fit your personality, family life or desired ambiance? Think about that before you give up on your own idea in lieu of some celebrity’s.

Now, that said, I will continue to review online and magazine ideas and probably like and try many of them in my own home. I’m not saying they don’t have and offer you value. What I am saying is, don’t assume they reveal what’s best for you or dictate how you should decorate your home. You want to create a space that, as soon as you open the door to enter says, “Welcome HOME”!

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Clean Your Closet for Better Showings & A Calmer Life

Did you know eliminating clutter from your home is one of the most cost-efficient, effective ways to improve its perceived value to buyers? In exchange for your effort, your home will seem larger, filled with potential, and much more desirable to viewers.  Another benefit is how much less stressed you will feel every time you walk in or open your closet and see order instead of chaos! Think de-cluttering your home is too daunting a task? Try choosing just one thing and focusing on it.

Small steps are better than no steps at all.

OVERLOAD OF CLOTHES: There is probably a huge chunk of apparel in your closet that isn’t being used. Get rid of it. Only keep the items that you wear. Simplify your closet, and you’ll simplify a part of your home.

WHERE TO BEGIN: You have two options, depending on your schedule:

Test in an afternoon or weekend: Take everything out of your closet, try each item on and determine what items you still like/wear. Anything that needs to be mended, mend; anything that you don’t want, give away. Only keep what fits you and looks good on you.

Test over time: If you lack a big chunk of time to de-clutter, try this instead. Move your entire wardrobe to another closet and pull just what you need out of it every morning. After you’ve worn something, move it into your regular closet. Continue this for a few weeks/months, and you’ll know what items are being worn consistently.

SOME THINGS TO REMEMBER:

Think Seasonally: If there are clothes you wear, but not in the current season, put them into storage. You won’t be wearing them out-of-season, so putting them away frees up closet space and makes your closet appear much more inviting to your buyer.

Think Objectively: If you’re hanging on to an item for purely sentimental reasons with no intention of ever wearing it again, take a picture and move on. If you really, really can’t part with it, add it to a keepsake/memories box. Don’t keep it in the closet.

Think Practically: It’s a good idea to get rid of wire hangers, if at all possible. They get tangled and broken and contribute to a messy look. Donate them to your local Salvation Army or shelter and invest in matching plastic, wooden or popular thin felt covered hangers you can find at Walmart or Target. Low cost. High end look.

Think Purposefully: Try to make a commitment to yourself to only use your closet for wardrobe items. It’s not the place for your computer, old books or photo boxes. By relegating your closet’s use to its intended one, you not only de-clutter, you de-stress!

THE RESULTSee the source image
Cleaning out your closet may feel like a lot of work, but consider all the benefits:

  • You’ll find it easier to pick out clothes in the morning.
  • The room will look more presentable to potential buyers.
  • Your closet will seem more spacious.
  • You won’t have to go through the process when you sell/move.
  • You’ll be giving to charity.
  • Donations are tax-deductible.
  • You will feel fantastic!

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CREATIVE STORAGE SAVES SPACE, TIME & MONEY!

Ever wish you had more room to put your cleaning supplies, extra bags, etc? Look no further than the back of your linen closet or                           laundry closet door. Purchase an inexpensive over the door plastic shoe bag and start filling it up. Not only does everything stay                   neater, they are more easily accessible when you need  them and can be completely hidden away by simply closing the door.                        Storage doesn’t have to be expensive, free standing or shelving units. Be creative and re-purpose items to fit your needs.

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GET YOUR SPRING CHECKLIST READY NOW!

The ground hog said it will be an early spring. If you live in the midwest or northeast, you probably, by now, know he was lying. BUT pretty soon it will be spring so let’s review a quick checklist to consider so you can be ready to go as the first buds appear!

  • Check your exterior walls or trim and note what needs to be powerwashed, painted, or both.
  • Does your chimney or brick walls need any tuckpointing or repairs? This is very common in areas that have suffered through extreme winter weather.
  • Does your lawn or landscaping need repairs? ie: Addition of soil or replacement of plantings that were damaged or minimized due to winter storms?
  • Check your windows for seal issues and screens for damage.
  • How did your roof fare the extreme weather? Have your shingles checked before you experience leaks that then require interior repairs.
  • If you have a wood deck or railings determine if they need to be powerwashed, restained or have boards replaced.
  • Clean all exterior lighting.

It may be too early to do all these items, but make a list, add other items that you see necessary for your particular home and as soon as weather allows, get to work, get it done and then enjoy the fruits of your labor by getting the best price possible for your home!

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Use Flyers Effectively!

We’ve all seen them. Flyers in a box attached to a seller’s sign. So, of course, you decide you’ll do that too. The box is empty so now you’re waiting for all those calls to come in. But, as much as you’d like to believe it, the box being empty does not mean there are a lot of interested buyers fighting over your home. It more often means that a few potential buyers have grabbed a flyer while the rest most likely went to nosy neighbors who just want to see how much you’re asking and realtors who want you to list your home with them. That does not mean flyers are not effective. The key is to use them most effectively! Here are some proven methods of operation.

  • Make sure your flyers are in color, bright, clear and include the most important details about your home including your address!
  • Make sure your flyers have ALL your contact information: first name, phone number and email address.
  • Print at least a hundred flyers so you can put some on your sign AND carry many with you to distribute both deliberately as well as when you’re just out and about.
  • If there are hospitals or universities in your area, go to the Human Resources departments and ask if you can leave some flyers with them for newly hired doctors, professors or staff.
  • Leave flyers at local police and fire stations as many municipalities require them to reside within the city limits.
  • Stopping for coffee with a friend? So are prospective buyers. Leave flyers on community boards or window ledges in coffee shops.
  • Heading to the grocery store? Bring flyers with you in case they have community boards as you enter the store. If so post some flyers there.
  • If you’re willing to pay a commission to buyers agents who bring you a buyer, stop by real estate offices with flyers that include a posting with the amount of commission you’re willing to pay them for their effort.

These are some proven methods to get results from flyers. Use your own imagination to think up some more. If you’re going to take advantage of flyers, make a point of doing so in the most effective ways possible. Good Selling!

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SUPER BOWL SUNDAY Open House/Showings Pros & Cons

Image result for free images for super bowl sunday 2019

It’s a strange phenomenon, but history shows in many markets that having an Open House on Super Bowl Sunday can be very productive.

  1. Wives may make a deal with their husbands to leave them alone with the football game if they will go to open houses with them earlier in the day.
  2. Advertise and Hold your Open House prior to the game to take advantage of #1.
  3. If your home has a Media Room, Game Room or dynamic Family/Great Room, you can stage the room with Super Bowl decor (highlighting both teams so you don’t alienate anyone), chips, salsa and beverages to allow the football fan (man or woman) feel how great having this space for future games and parties will be.
  4. Take #3 a step further by having the pre-game activities on the TV in that room (especially if you have a big screen tv that you might be leaving with the home or is negotiable!) as a way to generate friendly conversation and quality ‘white noise’.
  5. Women may come on their own or with a friend to get away from all the Super Bowl craziness happening in her home and begin the home shopping process without her spouse. Though typically you want all decision makers at a showing, it’s not unusual for the woman to be the ultimate decision maker in the long run! Asking your guests to sign in to your Open House will allow you to follow up with them the following week.
  6. Put flags in your front yard (and balloons on your many signs) that showcase both teams participating in the Super Bowl to draw people to your home and your Open House.
  7. Review previous Blog Articles about holding a successful Open House and follow all those steps in addition to what’s noted here.

KEY:  Be friendly, relaxed and allow people to take their time viewing your home,  asking questions, enjoying your snacks and ‘feeling’ the positive party energy your home offers!

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YIKES!! It’s Moving Day….Take A Breath and Proceed with Confidence!

You’ve prepared and planned. You’ve organized and simplified. Now it’s time for the big day: you’re moving. Keep these tips in mind to make your day run as smoothly as possible. Key: Don’t have unrealistic expectations and think that you’ll have a totally stress free day. You might in which case you can celebrate your excellent planning, preparation and execution. If not, then you won’t explode, implode or scream at those you love (or the ones you don’t, ie: movers) causing the day to deteriorate for everyone involved. Be smart. Be prepared. Be efficient. Be flexible!!!! Things rarely happen exactly as we plan.

    1. Have everything packed and ready to go.
    2. Make sure you have your overnight/necessities bag: clothes, toiletries, important paperwork, cleaning supplies, towels, toilet paper, etc.
    3. Prepare an emergency pack that includes a first aid kit, paper towels, a flashlight, tools (you may need them) and other essentials.
    4. Take the garbage out. (Leave a note for your buyer re: garbage days and any requirements they need to know about times, rules, etc.)
    5. Clear an easy path for transporting boxes.
    6. Put away your pets. You may even consider boarding them or having them stay with a friend, in order to make moving day less stressful.
    7. Double-check the interior: go through all your rooms, giving everything one more once-over.
    8. Double-check the exterior: re-examine the yard, the pool, the play area, etc. Make sure you have everything.
    9. Make copies of the map of your new home’s floor plan.
    10. Once everyone’s done and your things are loaded, turn off the water heater.
    11. Before you leave, set the thermostat to 64 degrees.

USING MOVERS…..

    1. Communicate with the moving company.
    2. Go over the day’s schedule.
    3. Make sure anything not to be taken is put in a separate place and clearly identified.
    4. Provide drinks and snacks for everyone involved.
    5. Point out the bathroom to use, and make sure it has necessities inside.
    6. Exchange phone numbers with the driver of the moving van.
    7. Provide or get a copy of the inventory list.
    8. Check to make sure everything’s loaded before the van leaves.
    9. Confirm directions with the driver.
    10. Get to your new home before the movers do; there could be a fee if they have to wait for you.
    11. Be there to guide and/or answer questions for the movers.
    12. Prepare the moving company payment, and have a tip ready for the drivers/movers.
    13. Check the condition of every item as it is unloaded. Keep a list of anything damaged.

MOVING ON YOUR OWN

  1. Enlist friends to help.
  2. Pre-plan your directions and have them confirmed before starting out.  Use Navigation to ensure the best and most traffic free route.A great app for helping you avoid traffic issues is WAZE. Set the address, get going and it will help you maneuver around troublesome areas making your drive with a big truck or multiple cars less stressful.
  3. Plan to leave early, if at all possible but not at a time where you end up driving with rush hour traffic.
  4. Make sure your moving vehicle has a full tank of gas and thought it sounds silly, if you’re using a rental take the time to learn which side of the vehicle the tank is on so when you pull into a gas station, you don’t have to re-maneuver the vehicle because you’re on the wrong side.
  5. Load in reverse order: things you’ll need last in back and things you’ll need right away in front. Make sure again all boxes and bins are clearly labeled on the sides and top for ease of movement in both loading and placing once you’re at your new home.
  6. Leave a forwarding address somewhere in the home along with a nice welcome home note for your buyers just in case you did leave something.