January 4, 2018
An open house is one of the best opportunities to really see what a property you are considering is like. However, they tend to be short in duration and the house may be crowded. To make the most of your trip, consider asking the agent these important questions:
1. Can you tell me more about the house? An open-ended question will lead the agent or the owner towards what they think are the place’s best features. It will also break the ice and not come over as if you are pushing for specific answers. Pay attention to what they do not say.
2. Why is the house for sale? This might tell you nothing – it might be that the seller is downsizing, got a job offer in another state, or is in the military. If there is no good reason, though, it might be time to be suspicious.
3. What improvements have been made recently? Give the owner or their agent a chance to show off the new kitchen or bathroom – and yourself a chance to look at the work and see if it is acceptable. This can help you learn what kind of repairs you might need to do if you buy the house. Conversely, you should also ask about issues and obtain a seller’s disclosure which reveals all of the known problems.
4. How much are utility costs? Especially if you are moving to a new neighborhood…or a new city…you may not know what the typical monthly costs are. This can help you work out if you can really afford the house.
5. What is the neighborhood like? Is there a lot of traffic? If you have children, ask about nearby recreational facilities. If you have a dog, ask if there is a dog park. The seller can give you a good idea of what it is really like to live there and can help you finalize your decision. If the neighborhood is unsafe, then they will probably not tell you outright, but paying attention to what they say and do not say can tell you a lot. The distance to the nearest grocery store is also worth finding out.
6. Is there a lot of interest? This might help you make the right offer, and will also help you know your chances of buying the home or of being outbid. There is little worse than falling in love with a house only to be outbid or sniped by another buyer. If the agent looks particularly happy this can indicate they’re getting good interest. They are, however, very likely to tell you if there are a lot of offers – and help you decide whether to bid or look elsewhere.
7. How long has the property been on the market? If the answer is a while in a normally hot market, then this might hint at a problem with the house. You can always follow up and ask why. Did they have a buyer back out at the last minute? Was there some kind of bizarre estate or divorce-related issue that slowed down the sale?
These seven questions will help you get a good idea of whether you want to bid on the home or not. Always remember: It’s even more important to pay attention to what the owner or their agent does not say than what they do. The key information is often in the gaps, as the owner does not want to reveal that their neighbor is a professional drummer, the washing machine they are graciously leaving in the house is on its last legs, or that on certain days the noise from the train station carries a remarkable distance. Finding out the things you really need to know involves not just asking the right questions but paying attention to everything being said and not said. If you are looking for a new home and need a good agent or just more advice on how to handle the entire process, then contact Real Estate Pros today.
December 20, 2017
When you consider creating a welcoming front exterior to your home, it’s the little things that make the difference. You can make small changes to the front of the property and encourage a prospective buyer to enter the home. Once inside, the buyer should experience the same level of attention to detail that we suggest here. Much of what you do to increase a home’s curb appeal involves cleaning, retouching, and replacing. In this post, we explore six ways to immediately increase your home’s curb appeal for a low cost. Most of this work could be done in one weekend:
1. How old is your mailbox? This is often the first thing that people see. If it is rusted, crooked, dirty, faded, or otherwise outdated, it’s time to replace it. The new one should match or compliment your home’s paint color.
2. How clean is your driveway? You can rent a pressure washing machine or hire a service to come and pressure wash the driveway, which gives it a whole new look. The same device can also be used to pressure wash all of the home’s exterior. Once you remove the dust, grime, mold, and bugs from the outside walls, you may find that the home no longer needs a new paint job.
3. What adorns the front entry? You might want to replace the light fixture and the screen door/storm door because those are prominent as you walk up to the entry. Don’t forget to add a welcome mat and potted plants at strategic points. Take time to clean the windows and ledges and sweep off any debris from the sidewalk. If you have vegetation in front, you can also add decorative stepping stones along the border of the house.
4. How does the landscaping enhance or detract from the home’s structural look? With landscaping, less is more. Ensure that all the bushes and trees are trimmed, the lawn is cut regularly (which depends on the amount of rainfall in your area), and that weeds are removed from all planters and borders. You can also update the sprinkler system and apply fertilizer in problem areas so the lawn has an even look. You don’t want the lawn to be green in some areas and brown or patchy in other areas.
5. What happens when you look up at the home? Some homeowners will pressure wash the exterior and their home’s paint will gleam, but they will forget the roof. You might have to go up there and hose and brush off the roof. The soffit and fascia might also need to be pressure-washed. Be sure to remove bugs, leaves, twigs, pine cones, moss, and any other debris that is visible to the human eye from the ground. If there are mature trees around the home, you could hire a tree service to come and trim them, especially if some branches are touching the roof.
6. Did you decorate the windows from the inside? Some homes have many windows on the side facing the street, which permits much light to enter the living area. This is a good time to update the curtains, blinds, or other window coverings because they are visible during the day. Don’t forget to ensure that there is lighting to accentuate the home from outside at night.
Every little thing that you can do to clean up and fix up the home’s exterior will enhance its curb appeal. If you are certain you want to change the home’s exterior paint, run the color choice by your real estate agent. There are some colors of paint you could choose that might make the home harder to sell. For more tips, please contact us today.