• A Seller's Perspective: How to Get the Most from an Open House

    by Patrick Redmond | Apr 01, 2015

    For SaleHave cookies baking in the oven. Make sure curb appeal is at its highest. Hire a home stager who can make your home look model-perfect. We’ve all heard the best tips and tricks for setting the scene with an open house that’s inviting and warm.

    While these types of things can make a difference in enticing buyers, an open house can also be a great opportunity to network and sell your home faster. If you want to get the most out of your open house, here are few additional strategies you can try.

    > Advertise Widely: Your real estate agent may be handling the bulk of advertising for you, but don’t be afraid to put out a few feelers of your own. If people don’t know about your open house, they won’t attend. Street signs, advertisements on home buying websites, and cards passed out among family and friends can help spread the word.

     
    > Be Welcoming to All: Most homeowners will tell you that the number one attendees at an open house are your neighbors. There’s something about throwing open the doors and inviting strangers that brings out the busybody in all of us, and you shouldn’t be surprised to find your neighborhood residents flocking in. Make them welcome and send them home with flyers. Although they’re probably not going to buy your house, they may have friends or family who will.

    > De-Personalize: As difficult as it can be to accept, the things that turn your house into a home—your artwork and your throw pillows, the creative way you arrange your coffee mugs in the kitchen—aren’t universally appreciated. Don’t be offended if your agent suggests you hide all the things that you love about your house. It’s much easier to sell a blank canvas than one you’ve already personalized.

    > Hide the Valuables: The last thing you need to worry about during an open house is whether people are peeking into your drawers or rifling through medicine cabinets. Work with your real estate agent to ensure that the open house is as safe as possible. Because you won’t be able to keep an eye on everyone who comes through the doors, you want to feel good about knowing your belongings are protected.

    > Absent Yourself: One of the best things you can do to leverage an open house is to be far, far away when it happens. People know the house they’re looking at has been owned and used, but they don’t need reminders of it while they’re shopping—especially if they have questions or criticisms and are afraid to voice them while you’re near. Plan an outing and take the whole family (plus pets) with you.

    Above all else, don’t get discouraged if the first open house is a flop. Few people sell a home right away or with their first showing. Your best bet is to view selling a house as a long-term plan that will take time and energy…and be well worth it in the end.

    • Real Estate
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  • What Items Do Not Require a Moving Company?

    by Ryan Cox | Apr 01, 2015
    If you’ve consulted with moving companies in the past, there is a very good chance that you’ll have come across many rundowns of how and why everything in your life needs to be professionally moved in order to make it safely to your new destination.

    But is this actually true? While many items hold the potential to simply be okay in the majority of cases when moved by hand, what about those items that can even benefit from you taking the initiative to move them yourself?

    Pets

    While moving companies certainly offer services for moving the most common types of household pets, it can be beneficial for both your pet’s and your own peace of mind for you to load up together in the cabin during your road trip.

    This can ring especially true for less common pets—while cats and dogs are commonly moved on a daily basis by moving services, they may have more trouble moving something like a saltwater fish or Komodo dragon. A good rule of thumb is that you feel safer and more comfortable moving your pet on your own, go ahead and do so. Odds are, your pet will feel better about the decision as well.

    Clothing & Personal Effects

    Things that you tend to keep on you at all times can reasonably be kept with you throughout your move in most cases. For example, clothes that you tend to frequently wear can come along in a suitcase or something similar—this can make the process of getting moved in much easier as well. You won’t want to be waiting around for the movers to unload all your boxes before being able to access a fresh change of clothes, to say the least.

    Additionally, things such as phone chargers, tablets, and mobile devices in general, along with wallets and any relevant documentation pertaining to your new place should be kept within arm’s reach throughout your move. Unless you can safely do away with it for a week or two, it may be a good idea to consider keeping it on you throughout your moving ordeal.

    Food

    People often forget that they’ll have to move an entire pantry or more worth of food with them when they migrate to a new place as well. Perishable foods, refrigerated goods and the like can be tricky (and many may simply end up being thrown out along the way).

    However, it’s generally a good idea to prepare a selection of food to comfortably last everyone for the next few days or more and bring it along with you in a medium-sized cooler, etc. The convenience of having common comforts and essentials on-hand throughout the high-stress transition will ease the tension more than you might expect.

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  • Out of Date Homes: When is it Time to Let Go?

    by Ryan Cox | Mar 31, 2015

    If you’ve lived in a home for a while, odds are you’ll have begun to notice minor discrepancies spring up here and there—leaky faucets, cracked window sills, tricky garage doors, the list most likely goes on. Most of these problems can no doubt be fixed with a bit of home improvement prowess, but over time, you may begin to notice the problems become more complicated, along with the frequency of them seeming to ramp up exponentially.

    While holding onto a home maintains the notion of being a responsible, savvy decision for those wishing to build substantial net worth, it can be equally wise to keep in mind the possibility of moving on and cashing out when it’s prudent to do so.

    The following guide aims to provide a handful of tips on knowing when it may be the right time to sell while your home value is high, move on to greener pastures, and more.

    Depreciating Value

    The most relevant risk to your home’s overall value may also be the most obvious at a glance—given enough time, a home will begin to depreciate in value, even with an appropriate amount of maintenance.  

    Once an aging home has reached a certain point, there’s a realistic chance that the number of problems will exceed your ability to reasonably maintain them, and you’ll begin losing your home’s overall net worth. In turn, you’ll have less potential for liquidating your home’s value as leverage in the future.

           

    Neighborhood Value

     In addition to your home itself, the surrounding area will play a significant role in your home’s value as well. It’s no mystery that neighborhoods go through their own share of ebbs and flows—patterns of renovation and improvement are just as common as a once-good neighborhood depreciating in value over time –this can often mean that the resale value of your home suffers along with it.

    It will be important to keep up to date with the neighborhood and surrounding area of your home, making sure to consider factors of everything from local school quality to increases in crime. If your neighborhood appears to be on a steady decline, selling your home will hold a much better payoff sooner rather than later.

    New and Old Needs

    Over time, the type of living arrangement that will be best for you will most certainly change—it’s important to remember that there’s no “end game” in sight when it comes to home ownership, and the type of home that is best for you will continue to change for as long as you continue being around.

    While many who’ve recently started a family find themselves in need of a much larger, more spacious property, you may be surprised to find in later years that you’ll miss having a smaller space with less to maintain—this is increasingly common with people who have adult kids, or even those that have simply reached an age where they want to simplify or live somewhere more casual.
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  • 5 Things To Know About Amusement Parks

    by Patrick Redmond | Mar 27, 2015
    Friday_Favorites-Amusement-ParksAmusement parks are one of the most quintessential family vacation destinations. Whether you’re moving to a place like Florida, which is full of theme parks, or if you’re planning on asking the moving company for a few extra days on the road so you can hit a roller coaster or two along the way, amusement parks have something to offer everyone.

    But before you head in with your water bottles, fanny packs, and sunscreen, however, there are a few things you should know about amusement parks.

    > Parking Will Always Be Terrible: Don’t waste your time scouring the parking lot for a close spot. They don’t exist. No matter what amusement park you’re visiting, chances are they have a parking lot big enough to hold the thousands of people who will be attending that day. Some amusement parks offer shuttle services so you don’t have to walk too far to get inside, but it’s best if you reconcile yourself to the journey ahead of time. You’ll save more time taking the first parking spot you find and walking than you will by driving around looking for something closer.

    > You Need More Water than You Think: Swimming pools and amusement parks have higher rates of dehydration than almost any other kind of family activity out there. Because you’ll be busy having fun and running around (and want to avoid those long bathroom lines) you might not take the time to drink enough water. Be sure and drink enough fluids. Not only will you have more energy if you stay hydrated, but you’ll avoid a time-consuming trip to the first aid stand.

    > Disney Doesn’t Have the Best Roller Coasters: If it’s high thrills you’re after, Disney and its related theme parks probably aren’t for you. Because Disney caters to younger children and a more theatrical experience, their roller coasters and high-velocity rides tend to be a little tame when compared to their competitors. For the fastest and best rollercoasters, you’ll want to look places like Six Flags or Dreamworld (in Australia).

    > You Probably Won’t Die: Accidents on roller coasters and other rides are fairly rare. Although you can suffer an injury if you don’t follow the guidelines (riding while injured or pregnant, not using the safety harnesses correctly, etc.), the chances of death at a U.S. amusement park is as low as 1 in 150 million.

    > Young Families Might Prefer Week Passes: Most amusement parks offer single tickets for a high price, with extra days offered at a discount. If you have young children, it might be worthwhile to look into these multi-day passes. Because little ones can wear out quickly, families often find it works best to spend just a few hours a day at a theme park (in the morning or after naptime) rather than try to squeeze in a full ten hours.

    • Friday Favorites
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  • Unpacking: How to Make It Enjoyable

    by Ryan Cox | Mar 27, 2015
    When you think of the ins and outs of moving—packing, hitting the road, lugging furniture, and unpacking –thoughts of recreation or enjoyment can seem almost like a bad joke. Believe it or not, however, keeping a positive outlook throughout certain parts of the moving process can not only ease the burden of moving, but yes, even give rise to the potential for fun.

    The following guide provides a number of ways you can set out to make your unpacking process a more enjoyable experience. Remember—you’ve gotten through the worst of it, and all that’s left to do now is decorate the rooms in your new house and enjoy!

    Keep a Good Attitude

    It may go without saying, but you most likely won’t manage to enjoy your unpacking process at all unless you make it a point to do away with the residual negativity that tends to sink in around this time during your move—after the past day or two you’ve probably had, it only makes sense that you’ll have come down with feelings similar to heavy jet lag.

    Making a mental note to be more optimistic during move-in day can go a lot farther than you think—simply making the effort to maintain an upbeat attitude will often mark the difference between making good first day memories in your new home and resenting everything about the next 24 hours.

    Refreshments Go a Long Way

    This can be as important for you as it can for any friends or family members whose help you’ve recruited during the move. If your arrival features a decent selection of snacks, drinks, pizza and the like, the odds of it feeling like a fresh, enjoyable experience can effectively skyrocket.

    Try and look at it this way—something like pizza can ultimately run you as little as $15, but can be the make or break factor in determining whether you have a dreary, stress-dominated move-in day. Is fifteen bucks worth having an awful day over?

    Stick to a System

    Having a basic system (or two) in place for moving in your goods can not only save you a great deal of headache, but can create a rhythmic vibe that lessens the burden, and stress, of moving chores. Even something as simple as color-coding boxes intended for different rooms can make the difference between chaotic, random hustling and the type of labor that you can enjoy in-between small-talk, jokes, or even simply listening to music.

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