3 Second Rule for Home Sellers

The 3 second rule for home sellers simply means that it only takes 3 seconds to make a first impressionThat is the amount of time you have to impress a potential buyer and get them to want to see the inside.  As a Realtor there have been many times that I pull in front of a house and my client says drive on, based solely on a poor first impression.  This is why Realtors talk about the importance of curb appeal, also known as first impressions.  There are many low cost or no cost ways to greatly enhance a home’s curb appeal.

Clean and visible front door.  The front door should be easily visible and eye catching from the front of the home.  This invites the potential buyer to look inside your home.  The front porch should be clean of debris and clutter.  Prospective buyers will be standing there looking at the porch and door as they wait on their real estate agent to get the key from the lockbox.  For a bold clean look

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For Sale by Owner: 11 Safety Tips for Sellers

When selling your home “For Sale By Owner,” safety should be a primary concern.  After all, you are allowing complete strangers into your home with no guarantees as to who they are.  Realtors have many processes in place for their own safety, such as talking to a new buyers lender to verify they are actually a buyer or give their office a schedule of the homes they are planning to show.  Even with their safety processes attacks on Realtors are on the rise nation wide.  Below are several safety tips to protect you and your family.

1.  Schedule appointments – Always schedule your appointments in advance.  Do not allow walk up showings, at any hour.  Get a perspective buyers name and number and call them back to set an appointment, this also allows you to verify that the phone number is legit.

2.  Share your Contact List – Make sure to let someone know about your showings

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Tips for Buying a House to Rehab and Flip

Buying a house to rehab and flip for money can be a great way to make some money but be prepared, it is a lot of work.  Remember the old adage, “If it were easy everyone would be doing it.”

The best advice I can offer is this, you make your money when you buy the house.  If you overpay for the house it makes it very difficult to make a good profit or any profit for that matter.  By buying the house at the right price it allows you to make all the needed repairs and still turn a profit.

A real estate agent can help you find a good property in a good neighborhood and give you a good idea of what you estimate the rehabbed house can sell for.  The real estate agent can help you get the home for the lowest price and favorable terms.

You will need to estimate the rehab costs and holding costs.  Be prepared for the unexpected to come up and add this cost in when estimating your rehab costs, there will always be something.  Inspections by quality professionals can greatly aid you in estimating your rehab costs and help you avoid unexpected costs.  Time for inspections need to be included in any real estate contract you put on a house.  

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Feng Shui

Adding Feng Shui to your home does not have to be a big complicated process, you can start by adding just a few basic elements.

Feng shui examines how objects and their placement within the home affect the energy flow in your living environment.  The thought is these objects affect your personal energy flow, that in turn affects the success of your personal and professional life.  Feng shui is the simple interaction of people and their environment.  By altering these interactions, feng shui allows you to influence these interacting energies to achieve specific life improvements.

Start by clearing out the clutter from your home. This is an important step in creating harmonious Feng Shui atmosphere in your home. The process off getting rid of old clutter can be very cathartic and help you to lighten the load, so to speak.  Start by clearing the entryway of your home to let the chi flow right in.

The five Feng Shui elements are wood, water, fire, earth, and metal. These elements can also be accomplished with shapes, wood-rectangular, fire-triangular, earth-square, metal-round, water-wavy.  The wood element relates to natural growth and vibrant health.  The fire element brings high energy levels, fuels passion, and sparks creativity.  The earth element helps to generate nourishment, knowledge, and stability in your life. 

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Buying a Rehab House – Tips

Buying a rehab house can be a big decision.  First you must decide if this is for you to live in or are you rehabbing the house for a profit.  Your approach for an investment is vastly different than rehabbing a house to live in.  Today I will be discussing rehabbing a house to live in, the blog on rehabbing a house for profit will come at a later date.  By buying a house that needs work you can save a lot of money upfront, but be prepared to put in the work.

The next thing to decide when rehabbing a house is whether to live in the house during the renovation or not.  Rehabbing the house without living there is obviously easier, and renovations can be completed quicker.  If you decide to live in the house during rehab, be prepared to live in a mess.

Like all rehab projects, information is key to accurately estimating costs and a budget. Before you purchase the home, it is a good idea to have the home inspected by a professional home inspector, electrician, and a plumber.  This can help you in the long run to avoid

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Saving Money – Home Energy Efficiency Tips

There are lots of things that can be done to increase home energy efficiency and save you money.  While some are simple, others are more complex and might require the help of a professional.

Some of the more simple tips include taking the cover plates off your light switches and placing a rubber gasket and replacing the cover plate.  Lots of air seeps through the walls and this helps to prevent that.  Check for air leaks around all doors, windows, fireplaces, attic access, ceilings, light fixtures, and electrical outlets.  Check and replace worn weather stripping around windows and doors.

Adding additional insulation in the attic is a very cost effective way to cut down on your monthly utilities.  This is a quick way to greatly increase the energy efficiency of your home.   Install attic air barriers such as wind baffles along the entire attic eave help ensure proper air flow from soffit to attic.  This will help control moisture in the attic and reduce your summer cooling costs.  If your home still feels cold in the winter and hot in the summer you may need to add insulation and home wraps to your exterior walls.  This is a little more difficult and may require

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Does a Swimming Pool Increase Home Value?

Does a swimming pool increase home value?  In Springfield Missouri the answer is not really.  The costs to install a pool are pretty high but will not return near as much value when it comes time to resell.  The problem is a lot of people just don’t want to deal with the continued maintenance and costs associated with a pool.  Due to a less than high resale market for homes with a pool in Springfield, MO, a pool does not translate to a big increase in a homes value.

The return on the cost of a pool is in the enjoyment you, your friends and family get out of hanging out in the pool.  I would only recommend installing a pool if you are planning to stay in the home for several years.  The longer you stay in a house enjoying the fun summer days the better your return on your initial investment.

Another way to go is to buy a house with an existing pool, you get the same enjoyment of the pool without the large upfront costs.  You can also buy a house in a neighborhood with a community pool.  This allows you and your family access to a pool for only a few hundred dollars a year.

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What Room Colors Should I Use?

Best Room Colors?  I am often asked what is the best color to paint different rooms in my house?  While a lot of it has to do with personal preference there can be a bit of science to it as well.

The good news is painting a room is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to transform the look of a room.  Colors act in three basic ways; active, passive, and neutral.  You can easily match every rooms colors to your tastes and rooms functionality.  Lighter colors make a room seem light and airy, and ultimately appear larger.  Darker colors are sophisticated and warm, making a room appear more intimate.

Living rooms work well with warm colors like reds, oranges and yellows, and earth tones like brown and beige. The warm and earth tones are thought to promote conversation. “These are colors that encourage people to sit around and talk,” says Kate Smith, a color consultant in Lorton, Va. “You feel the warmth, the connection with other people.”

Warm colors work well in kitchens. If you are trying to diet you might want to avoid reds as it can increase the appetite. Since many kitchen appliances are void of much color you might want to consider adding vibrant splashes of color.

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Bank Owned Homes- A Good Deal or Not?

Are bank owned homes really a great deal? More and more clients are asking me about bank owned homes.  Are these homes really a great deal?  The not so simple answer is, maybe.

First lets determine how a bank comes to own the property in the first place.  Once a home owner falls behind on their mortgage, the bank notifies the home owner requesting payment.  If the homeowner is unable to bring the loan current, a short sale might be a possibility for the homeowner.  Short sales will be discussed in an upcoming blog.  If the home owner is unable to pay the loan, the bank will put the home up for auction to repay the debt.  If the home does not sell at auction, the bank will take possession of the home and bring in an asset manager to sell the property to sell the property.

You can get a good deal on a bank owned home, but they also come with several large drawbacks.  Make sure to weigh the benefits of a good price against the potential issues that could come with buying a bank owned home.

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First Time Home Buyers

I get asked by first time home buyers all the time, “How do I get started?”   Buying your first home can be confusing and seem overly complicated.  With a little help from qualified professionals the process is a lot easier.  A qualified Realtor can be a big help in this sometimes long and confusing process.

I usually ask buyers to start by talking to a couple of different loan officers to see what you qualify for, and which bank will give you the best deal.  Loan programs and underwriting standards vary from bank to bank, so don’t be afraid to see who is the best fit for you.  If you do not have a loan officer, your agent should have a list of quality loan officers they have worked with in the past.

Once you have an idea of your budget, you need to sit down and prioritize what is most home features are most important to you.  Do you want something to fix up or move in ready?

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