Top 10 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Spring after Severe Winter

Top 10 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Spring after Severe Winter

gutter_repairAs much of the United States recovers from one of the harshest winters in recent history, it is important to inspect your home for damage and plan for home maintenance, repair and remodeling projects. Winter weather can be particularly damaging to a home and the tips from NAHB Remodelers can return your home to top condition after the severe winter.

“Winter weather can damage homes in ways that aren’t easily visible,” says NAHB Remodelers Chair Paul Sullivan, CAPS, CGR, CGP, of Waterville Valley, N.H. “Home owners should protect their investment and hire a professional remodeler to repair or replace damaged components now, before spring storms create more problems.”

NAHB Remodelers recommends these top 10 tips for home owners to inspect for damage and make sure your home is ready for spring from top to bottom:

• Inspect roof—Check your roof for loose, warped or missing shingles and make sure the chimney flashing and skylight seals are intact.

• Clean and repair gutters—Clear winter storm debris from gutters and downspouts, and check that they are still securely attached to the house. Blocked or loose gutters can allow water into your home and damage trim.

• Look for leaks—Common culprits for hard-to-find leaks are attics, crawl spaces and washing machine hoses. Inspect these areas, look under sinks for damage from frozen pipes and check your water heater for signs of corrosion.

• Clear exterior drains—Remove leaves from underground or exterior drains to clear the way for spring showers and prevent backups.

• Inspect siding—Inspect siding for pieces that have come loose during winter storms.

• Check window and door seals—Examine the exterior caulking on door and window seals to ensure it remains watertight.

• Patch cracks—Patch cracks in concrete driveways, sidewalks and steps to keep water out and prevent further expansion.

• Paint the exterior—Painting or touching up paint on the exterior of your home not only makes it look better, but will also help protect the home from the elements.

• Inspect the HVAC—Hire a qualified technician to service your home’s HVAC system to make sure it is running properly before hot temperatures call for air conditioning. Now is also the time to replace your HVAC filters.

• Check your home’s grading—Ensure the grading of your yard slopes away from your home’s foundation to keep excess moisture at bay.

Don’t wait to inspect your home and get damage fixed. Many professional remodelers not only renovate homes; they repair or replace damaged or deteriorating roofs, windows, doors and other home features. Remodeling and repair projects can require your home to be open to the elements and companies may have a backlog of work due to the length and severity of the winter season. Choose your repair and renovation projects for the year ahead and start planning now.

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Top Cold Weather Tips to Help Save Money & Energy This Winter

by Courtney Soinski

prepare-home-for-winterAs outdoor temperatures drop and home-heating costs are on the rise, it’s now more important than ever to make sure your home is properly prepped for winter.  Here are some cold weather tips and easy DIY projects to help save money and energy this winter:

  • Attic:  First, check to see if there is any missing or damaged insulation that can be readily replaced.  A lower-cost alternative to block unwanted airflow is to place sheets of foam polystyrene plastic on top of existing insulation.  You can also keep the cold air in the attic and out of the living area by installing some plastic foam weather stripping around the attic door.
  • Fireplace:  Although a fireplace is meant to heat a room, it often allows cold air to enter a house.  An inexpensive product known as a “chimney pillow” or “fireplace plug” can reduce airflow when the fireplace isn’t being used.  After installation, the pillow’s inflation tube hangs down into the fireplace as a reminder to remove it before lighting a fire in your living room.
  • Windows & Doors:  Make sure your home is properly insulated by inspecting doors, windows, and apply caulk or weather-stripping where necessary to keep cold air out.  You should also close drapes, blinds and garage doors to preserve heat and prevent cold air from sneaking inside.  There is a wide variety of low-cost weather stripping you can purchase that helps trap air, providing a barrier between indoors and out.
  • Switches, Outlets & Ducts:  Less obvious places that can waste energy are electrical switches and outlets.  You can easily prevent air from sneaking in and out by placing pre-cut, inexpensive plastic foam insulation sheets behind switch and outlet covers.  Check your home’s unheated areas for leaks in heating ducts, including your basement, attic and garage.  If you find leaks, they can be easily sealed with plastic caulks or polyurethane foam sealants.  These low-cost products are designed to fill cracks and crevices while keeping away moisture and mildew.

Follow these energy and money saving tips for a cozy home this winter and all year round.  Many homes have areas that are not properly sealed, letting warm air escape your home and allowing cold air to sneak in.  Helping to seal these leaks in problem areas can provide a quick and easy return on time and money invested.

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Top 5 Home Seller Real Estate Mistakes


November 11, 2013  By 2 Comments

Mistakes Made By Home Sellers

Selling your home is challenging at the best of times. It may be the largest sale you have ever made. Combine this fact with a tough real estate market and you have a recipe for serious stress. Though it may be stressful, there is no reason to make selling your home any more difficult than it has to be. But first, you need to know what to avoid. Don’t make these common home selling mistakes when it comes time to place your home up for sale. Making any of these errors can be the Real Estate kiss of death for getting top dollar.

Overpricing The Home

Top Home Seller MistakesThis is a difficult hurdle for many home sellers to get over, especially if it is their first time selling a home. You love your home; you may have raised a family in your home. You may have also purchased your home at a price that later proved to be fleeting – such as at the height of the housing bubble. All of these situations can give you a feeling of certainty that your home is worth a lot – perhaps even a lot more than the comparable homes in your area.

Overpricing your home could prevent potential buyers from even considering it, or it could cause the home to sit on the market for an extended period of time. The longer your home sits, the more it is perceived as overpriced – or perhaps as a home with something wrong with it. When you finally do drop your price to something more reasonable, buyers begin hitting you with low-ball offers in hopes that you are desperate. After having your home on the market for six months or more, they may be right.

Overpricing often leads to you accepting a price far below your original number, and sometimes even below similar homes. Putting your home up for a fair price, and perhaps even for a slightly lower price than others in your market, can do the opposite. It can drive up the eventual selling price through multiple bids from hungry buyers.

Aim for a fair price that reflects the current market. Typically you can get a good handle on this after your home has been on the market for three to four weeks with ample people looking at it and providing feedback. Listen to what the market is telling you!

Neglecting Their Homes Condition

Home looking neglectedHomes are made up of many different components, all important to its overall look and performance. Buyers want to purchase homes that are in good repair, where everything works and can be expected to work in the near future. At least, this is true of buyers looking to pay close to the asking price of your home. This is why home sale preparation is essential to get top dollar for your home.

Bargain hunters are different. They want to find a home with obvious or not so obvious flaws. They look for weaknesses in the appearance or the function of a home, and hope to take advantage of those weaknesses in the bargaining process.

If you are like most homeowners, you want to sell your home for the maximum amount of money possible. However, you must realize that top dollar only goes to properties in good repair. Unless you want to haggle with the bargain hunters, you need to keep your home in good condition. If it is not that way now, you need to make it so before putting it up for sale. If your home and yard looks like the one in the old sitcom Sanford and Son then it is highly unlikely you will be getting top dollar for your home. In fact it goes without saying you will more than likely sell it for far less than what it is really worth with some minor repairs and upkeep!

If you are in doubt about the state of your home, you can always consult with an experienced real estate agent that is known for making sales. A good agent will give you a straight-faced answer about the current condition of your home, and what you can expect to get for it. Along with a home appraiser, a good agent is an excellent person to look to for advice on the saleability and state of your home.

Problems With House Showings

 Real Estate Home ShowingsHouse showings are an absolute necessity to make a deal. Buyers want to see your home, and they want to do it on their time. When you put your house on the market, you have to accept the fact that you are committing to showings, and you must be willing to make your available for those showings. Turning down showings is a sure way to kill potential sales.

Your agent is trained and experienced in “selling” a home. He or she knows how to present the home in the best possible light, and how to answer important questions that buyers are certain to have. They know how to make your home look good, and how to talk to buyers in a way that encourages a purchase. Choose an agent you trust, and let them do the heavy lifting.

This means that, if possible, you leave the buyer and the agent alone to tour your home. This will cut down on confusion, and ensure the best possible buyer experience. In addition do not expect the agent your hired to sell your home to accompany showings. This is a mistake that many sellers make thinking that the Realtor “sells” the house by being there. Realtors do not sell homes. Homes sell themselves! Purchasing a home is a very emotional decision. DO NOT expect that an agent pointing out minutia is what sells homes.

Keep in mind that most buyers and their agents do not want YOUR AGENT hovering over them. They want to be able to view the home and speak freely without the listing agent impeding their ability to do so.

Strong Odors In The Home

Home StinksIt may seem obvious, but sellers that forget to do things like take out the trash regularly, especially on the day of a showing, are not doing themselves any favors. Pet odors are also a concern, and should be addressed.

Strong odors are a turn off for buyers, and will greatly impact their impression of your home. This is why real estate agents always recommend a professional cleaning prior to listing a home. Make sure your carpet is clean and that all other odors are eliminated prior to showing. If you are a smoker it is highly recommended when selling to refrain from doing so in the house. More than likely you have become immune to the smell of cigarettes. For someone who does not smoke this is one of the biggest housing turn-offs.

If you start to show your home and are getting feedback that there is an older of cigarettes yet you have not been smoking in the home for a while it is probably safe to assume that the smell has become embedded into the furniture and curtains. It may be time to have these items professionally cleaned. Never under estimate odors when trying to sell your home. Above all else do not take this personally. Remember selling your home is a business transaction. Don’t take the attitude that you will find a buyer who also smokes, unless of course you don’t mind getting less money for your home!

Dark and Dirty Homes

Keep your home well lit and extremely clean. You want to make your home look as inviting as possible, which means good lighting and no clutter. If your home does not have a ton of windows make sure that on darker days you plan ahead and leave lights on in the darkest areas of the home. Dark homes are not appealing to buyers. Don’t rely on the buyer’s agent to be the one turning on lights. While you may not want to go to the expense of hiring a professional stager, you can at least make the effort to make minor staging concessions yourself.

Cleanliness applies to the exterior as much as the interior, so make certain the landscaping is cleaned up, leaves are raked and the grass is cut. Any clutter in the lawn should be eliminated. Keep the inside vacuumed, counters cleared off and all clothes put away at the very least.

The Importance of An Agent

Real Estate AgentAll of these mistakes are easily avoided with the help of an experienced real estate agent. A good agent knows what makes a home sell, and what does not. If you want to be certain that your home looks good to buyers, find a local agent that will work with you on selling your home. It may make the difference between a satisfying sale and serious disappointment.

Keep in mind that not all Real Estate agent are the same. In fact Realtors are a dime a dozen as it is very easy to get a Real Estate license. Do your home work and hire an agent that has a track record in both soft and strong markets. A top notch Realtor will thrive whether the market is doing well or not. Good internet marketing is a must as this is where buyer’s will be looking at your home. A great real estate agent will have an exceptional presentation for your home. This is something you deserve – a fantastic agent knows this.

Follow this advice and you will be well on your way to enjoying a successful Real Estate transaction!


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If you’re selling a house in Rhode Island, price it competitively, Realtors association urges

If you’re selling a house in Rhode Island, price it competitively, Realtors association urges

CHRISTINE DUNNProvidence Journal

Published: 01 June 2013 01:00 AM

PROVIDENCE — Despite signs that the local real-estate market is healing, Rhode Island house sellers still need to “price competitively,” according to the president of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors.

Although “the economy and the housing market are improving … we need to emphasize the importance of realistic pricing,” association President Victoria Doran said in a statement this week announcing the April house sales statistics.

In Rhode Island, the median house price in April was $180,000, 3 percent higher than it was in April 2012, according to the association. There were 657 houses sold in the state, an increase of close to 7 percent from a year ago.

In Rhode Island, the price improvement was tied to a lower percentage of distressed sales, including foreclosed properties and short sales. In April 2013, nearly 25 percent of the house sales were distressed, while in April 2012, the distressed properties accounted for about a third of sales, the association reported.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, the median house price in April was $315,000, up 10.5 percent from April 2012. The Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported that the number of single-family house sales was down by 1.2 percent from the same time last year. The decline was blamed on “the lack of homes for sale over the past several months.” However, the association said that new listings were up by nearly 13 percent (year-to-year) in April, “and up 44 percent from the 6,468 listings in March.”

Although the number of houses for sale in Rhode Island fell 13 percent in April, the state’s market has a 71/2-month supply of houses for sale, which means the market still favors buyers, the Rhode Island association noted.

“I’ve seen a lot of sellers who think they can get astronomical prices now because they’re hearing about a shortage of inventory,” Doran added. “Those are national reports. Rhode Island still has a good amount of homes for sale, so it’s important to price competitively.”

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5 Things Seller’s Need To Hear Before Listing

March 19, 2013  By

5 Tips To Sell A Home In Any Real Estate Market

Selling a home is all about being prepared to hit the market. An educated home seller is one who stands a far better chance of being successful than someone who is just flying by the seat of their pants. There is no question that selling a home can be a stressful event. If you are well prepared however, the stress level can be far more manageable.

Before even considering listing your home for sale you should have a clear understanding of your goals. Are you moving for a job? Have your outgrown your home? Is it a desire to have your kids in a better school system? Maybe you just want a lifestyle change? Whatever the reason you have for moving, you want to make sure you are well versed for what lies ahead. The key to making your move go smoothly of course starts with the sale of your current home. Knowing some basic home selling tips before listing a home for sale can go a long way!

Choose The Right Real Estate Agent

Picking A Massachusetts RealtorChoosing the right Realtor to work with is a critical exercise for any Real Estate transaction. The agent you decide to work with can make or break whether of not you have success. Don’t assume that all Real Estate agents do the same things to sell homes. They do not!

Clearly one of the best way to pick a Real Estate agent to work with should be based on having a track record of success. One of the mistakes that consumers make all the time in picking a Realtor is doing so based on some other methodology besides if they are good at selling!

These are just a few things worth mentioning. You really should have a list of great Real Estate agent interview questions put together to ask the agents you are considering hiring. The price the agent suggests to list your home at shouldn’t be the biggest factor in why you choose them!

Don’t overprice Your Home

The biggest obstacle to selling any home is pricing it properly. There is a dangerous game that often times is played in Real Estate that can have devastating consequences for a home seller.

Above all else do not list with a Realtor because they tell you something you want to hear. This is a kiss of death and something you will have a hard time recovering from. There are plenty of Pinochios in the Real Estate industry who have a clear strategy of inflating the value the present to you in order to get a signed listing contract. Don’t fall for that!

Pricing a home properly out of the gate is one of the most important factors to have a pleasant experience. Look at the comparable sales data not through your eyes but the eyes of a buyer. Separate yourself emotionally from your “home”. Make it a business transaction not an emotional transaction. I know it is hard to do but this is the only way you can really be assured of pricing your home where it should be.  Remember comparable Real Estate sales data never lies!

Prepare Your Home For Sale

Homes that don’t show well don’t sell well either. This is especially true in a very competitive market. If there are an abundance of homes for sale in your community and yours shows poorly, you can be sure that this will have a profound effect on getting top dollar. You may even find that it leads to not even getting an offer.

There are lots of buyer’s who want turn-key homes and don’t have the time or energy to do fix ups. Little things can go a long way. Even if you don’t have the many or need for a professional home stager, making sure your home is clean and well lit goes a long way! One suggestion is to take a look at some of the homes you will be competing with. What do their homes look like? This will be the best gauge on what you need to do to make sure yours is on par. Neglecting home sale preparation is a very big no-no.

Consider Home Improvements

One of the things that any good Real Estate agent should do for you is provide suggestions on home improvements that could either lead to a higher sale price or prevent you from getting less than you should for your home. When looking at possible home improvements what you should always be thinking about is the return on investment (ROI). For example if you are going to spend $1000 dollars on a modification you should expect to get at least that back.

Often times home improvements need to be made just for the fact that if you don’t make them, there will be a negative financial impact. Lets use painting as an example. If the home is in desperate need of interior painting because you chose colors that would look good inside McDonald’s then changing that may prevent a buyer from making an offer significantly less than they should otherwise. Keep in mind many buyer’s do not want to plan on making a ton of changes before they even walk in the door. Many buyer’s today look for turn-key properties! Sometimes painting can be one of the cheapest and best means of increasing your homes value.

Another example would be if your home has carpets that are in poor shape. Often times in older homes there are hardwood floors that have been covered. Hardwood flooring is one of the most popular floor choices at the moment. Most people can remove carpets on their own. Going from a ratty room of carpet to a room with nice hardwood floors can go a long way for little money!

Waiting To List Your Home

Serious buyers never stop looking for a home! There are far too many seller’s who believe there is only one time period they should be selling their home. The general consensus is that you should only list a home for sale in the Spring.

While it is true that most sales around the country do occur during the Spring months, that doesn’t mean that the rest of the year is not a good time to sell. In fact there are periods of time when housing inventory can drop dramatically.

During those stretches of time it can actually be more beneficial to a seller because there is far less competition. Remember many folks who are considering selling have the same thought process that they will put their home up for sale in the Spring. What often times happens during that time period is that the market gets flooded all at once with new homes. This creates a more competitive environment for a seller. Supply vs demand is always something you should have in the back of your mind.

Remember these 5 pre-listing tips and you will be well on your way to a successful Real Estate transaction!_________________________________________________________________________________________


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4 reasons your home isn’t selling

4 reasons your home isn’t selling

          Even in recovering markets, listings must be priced right and properly marketed

By Dian Hymer Inman News®

There’s a buzz in the air. The real estate market has improved and may  be on the road to recovery.

But the improvement in the housing market is not treating all home  sellers equally. Some well-priced listings in prime locations are selling  within a couple of weeks. In other areas, it still takes months to sell, and  prices haven’t fully stabilized.

There are several factors that could be keeping your home from selling.  One is the state of the local housing market. Residential real estate is a  local business. National trends, while informative, don’t necessarily apply to  the state of the market in your neighborhood.

Other factors include: the list price; the condition of your property;  or lack of broad marketing exposure.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: Today’s buyers don’t overpay. They need to be  convinced that the price you’re asking for your home is a fair market value.

The housing market is pulling out of the worst recession since the Great  Depression. This is fresh in buyers’ minds. There are plenty of buyers who  think this is the right time to buy, but they’re not inclined to make offers on  overpriced listings.

Sellers often wonder why buyers won’t make an offer at a lower price if  they think the list price is high. Buyers don’t want to waste their time making  an offer if the seller is unrealistic. Making an offer takes a lot of time and  emotional energy. Most buyers who have the wherewithal to buy a home don’t have  time to waste.

There are “bottom feeders” who give sellers lowball offers  below market value hoping to get lucky. These buyers also won’t pay over the  asking price. They want a bargain. You can do better than that if you price your  home right for the market.

Here are clues that your listing might be priced too high. You don’t  receive any showings, or you receive showings but no repeat showings. Buyers  usually look at a listing more than once before making an offer. Another  possibility is that buyers look at your home and then buy another listing that  is priced more in line with the market.

Let your real estate agent know that you want to hear feedback from  buyers who have seen your home. If they like the house but not at the price  you’re asking, that’s a clear indication that you should adjust the price if  you want to sell.

Some sellers have false expectations about the current picked-up market.  In some areas, the improved market means that homes are taking less time to  sell, not that prices have increased.

In other markets, like Phoenix,  prices have jumped approximately 25 percent from a year ago but are still way  below where they were at the peak of the market. If prices dropped 50 percent  in your area, they need to increase 100 percent to get back to where they were  before the decline.

For instance, if your home was worth $100,000 in 2006 and dropped 50  percent in value and then increased 50 percent of the lower value, it would be  worth $75,000. It needs to increase 100 percent ($50,000 plus $50,000) to  recoup your loss.

The condition of your home will influence the market value. You need to  lower the price to account for deferred maintenance or a dated decor, or take  care of these issues so that you can present your home in move-in condition.  You’ll then attract more buyers and sell for more.

It’s always possible that your home has not been properly marketed. Ask  your listing agent to provide you with copies of all advertising. More than 88  percent of today’s homebuyers use the Internet to find a home.

THE CLOSING: Make sure your listing is receiving wide Internet exposure,  including a lot of good-quality photographs.

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RI housing market rebounds

RI housing market rebounds

There is some good news for Rhode Island’s housing market.  The Rhode Island Association of Realtors reports that single family home sales increased by 43% last month as compared to a year ago.  The median price of 195-thousand-dollars is 1% higher than November 2011.  November’s numbers also show an even balance between the supply of houses for sale and the number of potential buyers according to the RIAR.  In that same report, the RIAR says condos are selling for higher prices and more of them are being purchased. The RIAR says the average condo price was $205-thousandlast month, a 25% increase over a year ago.  Sales are up 32% and the Realtors Association says condos are in a seller’s market right now in Rhode Island. However it warns that this seller’s market may not continue.  The RIAR says many condo developments were turned into rental properties during the housing downturn.  If those rentals return to being condos then the number available to sell will increase.

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