How to Find the Best New Home Going Through Open Houses

Looking for a new home is not an easy process. Some people plan for it to take a long time so they start searching early and do thorough research. Others, however, have to move at the last minute: someone has a job transfer or you have a new baby on the way and you simply need more room. Whatever the reason, shopping from house to house, dealing with realtors, and trying to figure out how much you can afford is always a time-consuming task. It may sound daunting, but I promise that it is doable!

Even if you are in a hurry to buy, you need to make sure you find a house that is live-able. Many homes may look amazing on paper (great view, huge backyard, recently renovated) but the second you arrive to look at the house itself, you are instantly disappointed. The “view” would be nice if there were not a house blocking it, the backyard is huge but the house is minuscule, and the renovations that were advertised entail a fresh coat of paint on one of the bathroom walls.

Before you even start looking, you and your spouse need to sit down and write out a list of must haves, such as three bedrooms, reasonably sized kitchen, and backyard (which is important if you have or plan to have pets). You do not want to regret purchasing something because it does not have the essentials. When you are walking through the house for the first time, you need to get a feeling for it and see if it might be something that will work for you and your family. You should also look closely at the bathrooms and the kitchen. Are these rooms of a decent size? Are the bathroom showers falling apart? How old are the kitchen appliances?

The kitchen and the bathroom are the two most datable rooms in the home. If everything looks old and seems to be falling apart, no matter how hard the realtor may have tried to cover these details up, the chances are that the house itself is not in very good condition. The previous owners may not have worked hard on its upkeep and therefore, you might have to face much larger problems than you initially thought. If the price is amazing and you are willing to do some handiwork, then go for it; however, if you would prefer a home in decent condition, move on to the next one!

Good luck finding your new home!

Keep Three Things in Mind When Cleaning Your Kitchen

The two rooms that most people spend a lot of time in at home are the kitchen and the bathroom. Bacteria spreads quicker in dirty areas and the kitchen is a breeding ground for them. The tips below will help you in keeping your kitchen much cleaner.

Get Rid of Clutter

If you have things in your kitchen you don’t use, get them out of there. Anything you realize just isn’t being used anymore, such as that specialty food cooker you thought you just had to have, gather and give to charity or offer for sale in a yard sale. Many of us have extra mixing bowls, and measuring cups and spoons on hand. Store them together in one place if you can. The same holds true for your cookware.

You might be thinking it sounds like a lot of work. Of course, leaving them spread out around the kitchen and not being used at all is even more work as they have to be moved around to get them out of the way and kept dust free. Spending your time baking and cooking for your family is a lot more enjoyable.

Clean Up After Yourself

Instead of doing major cleanings in your kitchen every week or so, do it every time you cook, bake or even make a sandwich. Your sink won’t get piled high with dirty dishes and you won’t need to do any major cleaning later. Before you go to bed at night, take a few minutes to put away anything that was left on the counter. When you need them, you will know where they are. Following this tip on a daily basis will mean not having to intensively clean the kitchen very often.

Wipe Up Spills

Spills can sometimes be overlooked so, at least once a day, look for and wipe up any spills you find. These spills can consist of such things as a little gravy getting dripped from the ladle as you transferred it from the pan to the serving bowl. Start with wiping down the counters and then give the stove and refrigerator front a good wipe down.

You will have a cleaner, more pleasant kitchen that will put you in a happy mood. Remember, not only will it be cleaner and better organized, it will also be free of germs. At the end of the day when you set out to make your family’s mean who would not like that?

Get The Most Out Of Selling Your Property

Using a home equity loan or line of credit to finance renovations and improvements on a property can be profitable and quite rewarding if done properly.

When you are planning to sell a property and you do not have funds on hand to improve, repair, renovate, or rehabilitate it, then a home equity loan or line of credit can get you over this hump.

If you are not planning to sell the property, and expect to live there for an extended period of time, then a refinance package with a mortgage lender for first or second mortgages, would likely be preferable.

Unless you are the recipient of large amounts of monthly cash inflow, I would advise that you do not contract for major improvements or purchases on a credit card if you are looking to sell the property. This tends to make spending more than you really should on things too easy, and the bills linger long after the property has been sold.

Using an equity loan or homeowner line of credit can be very helpful if you keep an eagle eye on the bottom line. Also, these types of loans are paid off at closing when you sell the property, leaving no residual bills and should be taken into account in price negotiations.

If you have been watching television and believing what they tell you regarding how to improve the resale value of your home, it is important to remember on TV the homeowners are receiving a great deal of labor, materials and design help that you will likely have to pay for. So, if you are only looking to sell your home, putting $10 in to get $10 out is futile. The real goal is to put $10 into your home and to receive $300 to $500 out at time of sale. If you are planning to stay in your home, then your decisions should not be based on dollar return, but only upon your personal likes and dislikes and comfort levels.

Before you start this project, it is imperative that you decide precisely what your goal is. Decisions you will be making may be quite different depending on what you’re planning to do. You may personally love long white shag carpet in your bedroom, however, very few buyers will share that with you. You may want to put shelves high in all the rooms with holes connecting a model train set throughout the house. Again, very few buyers are in the market for that.
If you are planning to stay in your home, then by all means redecorate for your pleasure and taste. If however, you sincerely wish to sell your home, and are looking for the most money out for the least in, then I have some words of wisdom for you.

1.0. Remember that no matter how beautiful the inside of the property is, if your prospective buyers do not get inside, because it has no curb appeal, you have no chance of making a sale. The first place to start in making your home attractive and sellable is with curb appeal. In the summer, the grass should be green (fertilize, water, weed n feed), neatly cut, edged, with no weeds or bare spots. Put down some sod if necessary. If you have concrete driveways, pressure clean them so they are bright and white. If you have asphalt driveways, seal them so that they are glossy and black and new and clean looking. Paint, at least the front and sides, of the house (all is better) with a bright, light, inviting color (eggshell, white, etc., it makes it look bigger and cleaner!). If the home is brick or siding of some sort, then pressure cleaning may well be appropriate for it also. Paint or refinish the front door. If the door is in bad shape, then replace it with something attractive. Clean all the windows so that they shine like Crystal from the outside (more on this later). Make absolutely sure that there is no trash, debris, or junk cars on the premises. There are a thousand little things that you can do to improve the curb appeal, but clean, neat, and neutral are the guidelines to work with.

1.1. No one wants to buy someone else’s fleas, pet smells, grease piles, or expensive/outrageous/ridiculous colors, treatments, or idiosyncrasies. Buyers, by and large, are looking for a neutral palette to place their own mark on. If the property has old and worn carpet or floors, then replace it with a neutral carpet or laminate (look for large remnants and leftover stock with carpet and flooring dealers for an overall installed discount price). Paint the inside of the property, again with a neutral white or eggshell color, to make it look bright, inviting, and neutral. If there are small nail holes, anchors, or damage to the interior walls, a little spackle and self-adhesive patching and joint tape will do wonders. Further, buy a thick, heavy, one coat covers all, texture paint for the interior. This will solve a multitude of minor problems without a lot of work or time. Clean the windows! Let me repeat that, clean the windows so that someone viewing the home from the inside will only see brilliant sunshine streaming through the windows into this nice, clean, new carpet and paint smelling environment. If it is not sunny out, the windows will allow as much light as possible and make the interior look larger. If the windows are dirty, and there are dead bugs and dirt in the globes of the ceiling fixtures, your prospective buyers will cringe. Even the very interested prospects will undoubtedly offer less money. Five dollars worth of cleaning supplies can bring you hundreds in return.

Make sure all the appliances are clean and in working order. If you need to replace anything, a good used appliance store is the ticket. When prospects open the door to the refrigerator, it should be clean inside and cold. When they open the door to the oven, it should be clean. The burner pans on the stove should always be replaced. Installing a used dishwasher can be problematical, however, if the property already has a dishwasher installed that does not work, it should be replaced. For this, the used appliance store is the place to go. To install a new dishwasher becomes expensive, particularly if the property does not already have a dishwasher. Sometimes plumbing and electrical may be required to do so. A pre-existing dishwasher, eliminates those problems. I personally, always try to install a garbage disposal in the kitchen. They are reasonably inexpensive, easy to install, and generally very well received by buyers. Because of the low price of disposals, this should only be a new item.

If it is summertime and very warm out, make sure the air-conditioning is working, and it is cool (72-74 degrees) when the prospects walk in the house. If it is winter, make sure the heat works and that it is warm (68-70 degrees) when they walk in. This gives the prospect the immediate feeling of comfort in the property. Subliminally, in the back of their mind, they have already begun to feel that the home is sheltering them from the elements. For you, the seller, this is a good thing.

Make sure that the kitchen and the bathrooms are clean and smell clean. Renovating these rooms can be very profitable, but, you need to do some of it yourself. Don’t panic! The skills involved are not that complicated, and the home-improvement giants such as Home Depot and Lowes will even teach you how. All faucets should work without leaks. Leaks can usually be fixed with just a few simple washers from a hardware store. The hot water faucet, should have hot water coming from it. The water in the toilets, and the tanks should be clean (put a bowl cleaner in the tank, it’s a good idea) and should flush easily. Do not place any toilet tissue in the bathrooms of a vacant property that you or anyone else is showing for sale. This discourages people out of your control from using the facilities and leaving a nasty mess for you to clean up. What is worse, if such a mess is left, imagine a buyer’s reaction to it when they may be viewing the property with a Realtor.

Always remember that out of a hundred prospective buyers, more want to buy a property that is clean and neat rather than dirty and smelly. More of those same buyers will buy a property with neutral colors and carpet, walls, accessories, etc. Very few prospects will be interested in purple walls or carpet. The same goes for other loud and outrageous features, be it colors, textures, or graphics. Gothic symbols on the walls or any socially offensive political or religious icons will only work adversely toward your goal of selling the property profitably and easily. Regardless of what you may personally believe or think, extremes will offend someone, somewhere, somehow. If you wish to make a political statement, go to a demonstration or vote. If you want to sell the property to the widest available market, neutral and milk toast should be your guidelines. That is not to say that you cannot add some nice touches such as tile in a bath or kitchen or porch, but looked toward earth tones and not dramatics or absolutes.

Lastly, if you are living in the home, while renovating and trying to sell, take half of the furniture out and put it in storage somewhere. This will go a long way toward reducing clutter and making the property feel much less small and congested. Buyers want to stroll through a prospective home, not a minefield or a maze.

I hope these tips will serve you well with your project.