Here are some tips for smooth lining the selling process when listing a property that you no longer live in, for whatever reason.
For a major tax break, be sure you've lived in the house as a primary residence at least two of the last five years. If you haven't, then you'll be looking at a tax gain on the sale of an investment property. If you have lived in the home, then the US federal government allows for single homeowners to sell their home without paying taxes on the first $250,000 in gain. For married couples, it's $500,000.
The next most important thing for you to do is to early on get a good, trustworthy agent on board. A local agent is a local resource for you, the seller. If you're renting, these agents can field renter's issues such as leaky faucets or broken garage doors. If you're selling, these agents are going to be priceless for knowing the local market and making sure the property is kept open house ready. Potential buyers are also more open to working with a real person as opposed to internet deals.
Even with a local real estate agent, it won't hurt you to stay on top of what the market is doing in the area where you're selling. Keeping yourself knowledgeable will let you react quickly when an offer to buy does come in. Knowing if what they're offering is high or low is good business. It's the sign of a smart homeowner.
So is taking care of your tenants if you are renting the property. If they've been loyal tenants, you may want to offer them the first opportunity to buy the property when you decide it's time to sell. At the very least you'll want to give them a good lead team to know they'll need to be moving if they aren't interested in purchasing. Keeping them happy should translate to them continuing to take care of your property while they reside there.
If you're looking to sell a house long distance, contact the award-winning real estate agents at Choice Properties for advice on plannign the best possible sale.
Get more advice on listing and selling your home from long distance.
Contact one of our agents today.
When staging your home to sell, there are a couple of key points you want to keep in mind. First, is that first impressions really do mean everything. Second, less is more. A potential buyer wants to walk into an aesthetically pleasing space which they can easily imagine themselves living in, not some place that is cluttered or decorated with bold bright colors or other personal touches.
Any professional stager will tell you it's all about selecting great décor pieces which utilize the existing space. The ultimate goal is a positive impact on potential buyers.
Here are five staging suggestion tips to turn a home listing into a sold home;
Spend some time with your realtor and get to know your potential audience. Remember, you aren't selling to yourself but to a broad market. Trust your realtor to help you stage to the buyer demographic most likely to be viewing your home.
We can't stress enough that you want to remove your personal touches when putting your home on the market. First thing you should do is pack up the family photos. Empty walls are much easier for a potential buyer to see as a canvas of possibilities should they decide to purchase the house.
Design trends do tend to have a short lifespan; however, a well-staged and marketed home should have a short list time as well. Taking a gamble on a current fad, like airy aqua or bright Mediterranean blue accents, could give you the leg up with a 'fresh' feel to the property, so don't be afraid of trends.
While you want a space to overall be neutral—a blank space for the buyer to visualize with—adding a splash of color can go a long way to making a property memorable. Think subtle, but striking. A room with the main walls painted a beige tone with an accent wall in teal can then be finished with teal and cream accent items throughout the room. The result will be a chic, trendy space where the buyer has room to add their own personal touches, but can see the potential the space has because of the decorating start.
Continuing the idea of showing the buyer a space's potential, you'll want to stage a space with as many functional pieces as possible. Avoid overcrowding. Simple, practical, and functional furniture pieces will demonstrate how livable the space is.
For more tips on how to stage your home with the buyer in mind.
Contact one of our agents for special advice.
According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), heat gained by solar energy can be reduced by as much as thirty-three percent when homeowners simply hang medium-colored drapes backed with white plastic. The next time you think about new window treatments, consider the fact that you could actually be paying for them with the money you'll save.
Here are some money saving window treatments for your consideration:
When properly installed, window shades are the most effective, and simplest, treatment to save energy. A tight seal, which minimizes both heat gain and loss, is created when shades are mounted as close to the glass as possible. Shades with dual-sided two-toned fabric (a light color on one side and a darker on the other) add seasonal functionality. Light color reflects heat in summer, while dark will absorb heat during winter.
Best place to install: Because window shades are so flexible, any window orientation is suitable.
Blinds are a great option for reducing heat gain by up to forty-five percent (when using reflective blinds closed against direct sun). Both interior and exterior blinds are functional as well as able to maintain desired light, ventilation, and privacy. Because exterior blinds block heat before it can be transmitted through the window, they are potentially even more effective than interior blinds. However, they are not easy to install so are usually reserved for new builds.
Best place to install: Windows facing south or west.
Depending on the fabric weight and color you choose, drapes help insulate your home from both solar heat gain and loss. A tight seal is recommended the best performance. When hanging drapes, you'll want to install them as close to the window as possible, preferably from a cornice or right up to the ceiling down to the floor.
Best place to install: Anywhere because of their flexibility.
If your home is in an area with continual high temperatures, awnings may be perfect for you. Besides adding personality to your home, these treatments are an excellent defense against the sun. Exterior awnings have reduced solar heat gain by up to sixty-five percent for south-facing windows and seventy-seven percent for west-facing windows.
Ideal locations: Windows facing south or west.
Features to consider:
Opaque and tightly woven fabric blocks sun better than flimsy fabrics
Light-colored awnings reflect more sunlight than dark
Awnings can trap hot air next to windows, so the DOE recommends openings for ventilation
Retractable awnings will allow sunlight to reach inside the house during colder months
Similar to an awning, a roof overhang will not only will block solar heat in summer, but will allow heat to warm your interior in winter—if designed properly. You'll want to consult an architect or a designer experienced in passive solar design who will consider several factors, like latitude, climate, and window size, to help you design your overhang(s).
Ideal locations: South-facing windows.
High Reflectivity Film
Areas with short winters often rely on high reflectivity film. The film reduces heat gain all year long, including in winter months, which might actually benefit from solar heat. It's typically installed in rooms where cooler temperatures are desired.
Best place to install: Windows facing east or west.
Mesh Window Screens
By diffusing solar radiation, mesh window screens are able to reduce heat gain. Energy saving experts suggest installing the screens to an exterior frame where they can cover the entire window.
Best place to install: Windows facing east or west.
For more tips on how to improve your windows
and window treatments contact one of our agents.
Maybe you stumbled on 'the one' with the first property you looked at, but it's more likely you've been at it for months, critiquing every detail until at long last, you found it. Your dream home. Landscaping to die for surrounding a home just right for you and yours. It has all the neighborhood amenities you wanted. The location is perfect. This is it!
Here are some tips to remember when making your first offer to buy.
First, there is no absolute wrong or right way to do this. Be realistic with your offer, however. Working with a good real estate agent can go a long way toward helping you do this. You don't want to offend anyone by offering fifty grand for a home valued at half a million. On the flipside, you don't want to pay more for a property than it's worth either. Knowledge is power.
Compare and evaluate any notes you've taken while attending open houses or private viewings. Narrow down what you liked about the schools and neighborhoods, the amenities to each home, et cetera. Your agent can then pull up comparable listings based on the features that appealed to you. With these numbers, you can establish a ballpark offer price.
Now would be a good time to give your lender a head's up. If it's been more than thirty days since you've touched base, or if your financial status has changed in any way, they may need updated information. Having a pre-approved mortgage loan ready to go allows you to act fast and lets sellers know that you're serious.
If you or your agent take a little extra time to research the listing history on the property in which you're interested, you may discover information to give you some negotiating room. Have there been price reductions? How quickly does the seller want to close? Are there any active bids on the house?
Depending on the answers to these questions and any others regarding closing terms, and the ballpark price you determined based on the current market, you'll be able to make an offer which is advantageous to both you and the seller, hopefully making it a win-win situation for all parties.
For more information on making an offer on your dream home, contact Choice Properties Real Estate to speak with one of our award-winning agents today!
Part of settling into a new house so that it feels like 'home' is getting to know the neighbors. Having that community connection helps establish a feeling of permanence and belonging. Here are some ideas for breaking the ice when you're the new kid on the block.
1. The direct approach … sort of
If you're an extrovert, then walking up to a neighbor's home to say hello will be easy. If you're on the shyer end of the scale, you can build up to it. Wave when driving by or checking the mail; a friendly "Hi" as you walk by with the dog or taking the kiddos to school lets you interact without being committed to stick around. When you're ready, you can hang out for a chat. Word of caution, avoid dinner hours when heading over to knock on the door.
2. Old school … with pen and paper
With the advent of the technological age, old fashioned hand written notes have gone by the wayside, and as such, are a welcome surprise when received. A small personalized note left in the mailbox or on the front door can make a big impression—and lay the groundwork to meet for coffee, or something similar.
3. Meet at the bus stop
Go with your kids to the bus stop the first few days (or weeks). It'll give you a chance to meet the neighborhood kids your child is likely to end up playing with in the future, and get you on a level playing field with the parents. When you have kids 'in common,' conversation easily flows from there.
4. Trust your dog
Animals are often good judges of character, and great conversation starters. Go for a walk, find the local dog park, just get out with Fido and before you know it, the opportunities to meet the local folks will come to you! Just remember to carry supplies to clean up any accidents along the way. Nobody likes a party pooper.
5. Groups and clubs are all the rage
Knitting, cooking, reading . . . there are all kinds of reasons that people join clubs. At the heart of them all is the socialization that comes from them. These are a great way for you to meet your neighbors and slowly acclimate. You can start off as a quiet observer if need be, then involve yourself more as you get comfortable. Before you know it, you'll be taking a turn at hosting the group! Tea party, anybody?
Get more advice on more ways to meet your neighbors.
Contact one of our agents today.
Want to give your home a face lift but don't have a magically refilling wallet? With a budget of about $5,000 and a solid game plan, you can get a fresh new feel for your home this winter!
When working with limited funds, it's best to focus on the kitchen and bathrooms. These are the areas which are used the most, and if there's a chance you'll be selling your home anytime in the future, these are also the areas that buyers will show the most scrutiny over. With some finesse, you can even look at adding living space by enhancing your available outdoor areas.
A functional kitchen is a beautiful kitchen so start by assessing your cabinet situation. How practical are they? Could you use deeper cupboards? Taller? Wine-racks and spice storage might be beneficial, as well as a walk-in pantry to not only make better use of the space, but give you better control over your food supplies. Knowing what you have on hand will ultimately help out your grocery bill!
If you're happy with the cabinetry, other areas you can consider upgrading/updating are lighting and plumbing fixtures. Again, look for replacements that are not only 'pretty' but have 'green' benefits. These will eventually pay you back in utility bill savings, not to mention you can claim eco upgrades on your taxes. Win-win: help the environment AND put money in your pocket.
Carry the green theme into your bathrooms. Update lighting and plumbing. While you're at it, consider giving the outdated tub/shower a facelift. Nothing says luxury like a tiled shower area, complete with a bench and a shelf area to house your assorted soaps and shampoos.
Create an outdoor living area to give your usable living space a boost. Actually building on new rooms can get quite costly, but a few dollars can go a long way toward turning a bland patio into an oasis. Things you'll want to keep in mind when creating your outdoor escape:
granite, pavers, or flagstone for the 'floor'
mulch landscape beds for visual appeal (if you don't have landscaping, consider a few potted plants)
provide shade by building a pergola or installing a retractable awning
if in a hot climate, consider installing outdoor fans and/or a misting system
water features will help with temperature as well, and can provide an audible escape
If you're looking to bring some life and energy to your home, a $5,000 budget can add quite a bit of flair and improvement to your house. Homes in Logan County are always beautiful but the upgrades keep them fresh. If you've recently updated your home, let us know! Send us a picture and we'll feature it on our blog!
For more tips on how to upgrade your home with the buyer in mind.
Contact one of our agents for special advice.
As time marches on we tend to collect, some might even say hoard, so many "things." They might be personal mementos such as letters or various and sundry memorabilia from our school years, they might be "fangirl" collections from a book series, shot glasses from every state in the country, or baseball cards. Regardless of what is collected, humans like to gather. It's in our nature.
The problem with this is that eventually all this gathering leads to clutter, and clutter can lead to mental unease or distress. We're all very sensitive to our surroundings and the state of our living space often has a dramatic impact on our own emotional and mental state. Cluttered closets and messy houses make for a lot of pent up anxiety and emotional baggage. It might not seem obvious but the subtle effects of your surroundings have been studied and observed in cultures around the world for centuries, from Asian Feng Shui to modern Western Architectural Design principles. However, it's not always easy to part with our treasured collections of stuff.
Some of the most common reasons people refuse to get rid of these "things" are:
1. This is a family heirloom, so it would be wrong to let it go.
2. But it was a gift.
3. What if I need it someday?
4. I paid a lot of money for it.
Chances are, if you find yourself having to make excuses to yourself to keep the item(s), then you probably don't need them in your life or home. It's perfectly okay to have special mementos, but you don't need to hold onto every last thing you encounter in your life. Nor do you have to just throw away those relics.
Choose a few key pieces and create a shadowbox or a scrapbook. Consider donating your great-grandparents clothes to a local theatre organization where they can be used and appreciated by helping to bring the past to life . . . on stage. Perhaps you have some valuable china or crystal, or even art pieces, but they don't fit the style of your home and you never really liked the piece anyway . . . check with museum curators. You might have something that would be perfect for one of their displays (and this way you can go visit the stuff anytime you feel the urge to lay eyes on it again). Schools are always happy to take donations of gently loved books, toys, and clothes.
Minimizing, and thereby decluttering, your home will make you feel better. Don't keep things out of guilt or feelings of obligation. This is YOUR home, YOUR life, so make it a sanctuary. A happy place to be. You'll thank yourself for it.
Get more advice on ways to declutter your home and life.
Contact one of our agents today.
At some point in your career, you or somebody you know will likely be offered an employer relocation package to assist with a big move. It's been estimated that about seven million people in the USA relocate each year, many for work-related reasons. A growing number of companies are willing to invest in relocating talented professionals and may be able to offer you some reimbursement for moving expenses. It just depends on the company.
Whether it's to stay employed with the same company or because you're looking at greener pastures, you'll want to keep some things in mind before packing up the home and hitting the road.
You know what they say about those who assume. If a relocation package is paramount to your final decision on whether or not to accept the job and the potential new employer doesn't bring it up . . . then you should say something! Ask questions. Interviews are for the employee as much as the employer. It would be a good idea for you to have done your homework first, though. Check out current moving expenses and what the change in cost of living is going to be so that you have viable numbers to discuss.
Your employer may be willing to cover a moving van, but nothing more. Or, you might be one of the lucky ones that gets a comprehensive package that covers a bit of everything, like transporting vehicles (if your relocation is overseas, this could be a huge expense), covering closing costs on a new home, and/or a guaranteed buyout of your existing home.
There are pros and cons to handling the entire move on your own and sometimes it's the only option. When packing up and moving your household goods on your own, you have few assurances of replacement if items get lost or damaged. That aside, a physical move is exhausting and can be taxing on your relationships with your family and any friends you've asked to help. It's important to remain appreciative rather than critical. Depending on how far you are going, you'll want to compare prices and estimate a budget to help you decide if you want to attempt to do it all with private vehicles, rent a moving van (which includes gas and company insurance), or take advantage of a portable storage container system.
Moving costs, in addition to the traveling expense associated with the move, can be deductible if they meet IRS rules. You'll want to look into these as they involve factors such as the distance you're moving and how long you've been employed with the company. Also keep in mind that depending how the employer pays for your relocation, you may have to claim the money as income; i.e. it's taxable.
If you're considering a move to any of Central Ohio's beautiful hometowns, contact one of our agents for insder insights into the best properties available inLogan County and Indian Lake.