It’s always good to remember to leave the stress behind when buying a home. There is a lot going on during the transaction and it’s easy for the best of us to let it get to us. Take our advice with these 5 simple secrets to a stress free transaction. With a little preparation, communication, and flexibility, you can be on your way to a smooth sailing transaction. Of course, the best way to have a stress free transaction is to call a Kimberly Howell Properties agent (you knew we were going to say it!). Want a downloadable PDF to share with your friends?
Negotiations can be a subtle art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties – the so-called “win-win” situation. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly and make even the most agreeable sellers quickly say no and shut down the process. Negotiations are both an art and a science and there are plenty of opinions on how to best handle them, particularly when it comes to real estate. Here are five of the most common negotiation tactics we see that buyers can resist to avoid killing the sale.
- Lowball offers. Going far below market value when you make an offer damages your credibility as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider the offer. While we encourage our sellers to look at all offers and counter even the lowest of them, sometimes the lowball offers backfire and no amount of change in the offer price will get the sellers back to the negotiating table.
- Incremental negotiations. Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities. This can be especially true in hot market where multiple offers are common – someone is going to step up with a bigger, better offer quickly and you’ll find yourself left holding the bag.
- “Take it or leave it.” Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive and consider other offers if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it. Remember, a seller spent their life in this home so it often means a lot more to them than just price.
- Nitpicking after inspection. Obviously if a home inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate. Whether you’re asking for price concessions or the actual repairs, remember that most people are simply not going to fix everything.
- Asking for more, more, more. Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to feel that they’re doing all of the giving. Give a little to get a little as they say…the more flexibility you show, the more flexible they will become.
image courtesy of rbrwr
When you’re getting ready to put your home on the market, it’s important to remember that you want to show it in the best light. Taking time to highlight its strengths and fix up some of its possible weaknesses can make a big difference in how fast it sells…and for what price. Some of these items won’t cost you a lot and can be done over a weekend or two and if DIY home repair just isn’t your thing, these can be done by a local handyman for not a lot of money. Here are our top five recommended repairs to make before listing your home and putting it on the market.
Giving your home a fresh coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to make it look great, and generally, it can be a weekend DIY project. Make sure to cover any walls with scratches and chips (and patch and re-texture if the damage is large enough) and consider updating any accent walls with a more neutral coat.
Hardwood floors are a very desirable feature in a home, so you want to ensure they look their best by fixing scratches or dull areas. If your carpet is worn or stained, consider replacing them. And don’t forget the tile in your kitchen or bathrooms. Re-grouting or having them professional steam cleaned can go a long way in making dingy tile work look brand new!
Refresh The Landscaping
Show buyers your home is the full package by dressing up the outside as well as the in. Clean walkways and driveways, plant seasonal flowers and plants, trim hedges and trees, install outdoor décor pieces and put down a fresh layer of mulch. Make sure you keep the lawn watered and green.
Fix Your Fixtures
Leaky faucet? Rusted drains? Loose drawer handle? Making these small fixes can make a big difference to potential buyers with detail-orientated minds. Improve your kitchen. An outdated kitchen can really detract from your homes other better qualities. Updating cabinetry (even just changing out the hardware or painting cabinets can help), repairing or replacing countertops, and installing new faucets and sinks may be worth the investment.
Small changes can make a large impact and it’s always a good idea to knock out some of those quick fixes you’ve been meaning to get to, but never can seem to get crossed off your list.
image courtesy of emily @ go haus go
They say having plants in your home will make you happier and healthier. A burst of green along with the fresh, clean smell of flowers are welcoming and comforting and can take a house to a place you’ll call home. So what do you choose? How do you keep your plants thriving? Do you have a green thumb?
I’m not the best at keeping plants going. It’s a curse I was born with, but I continue to try. I’ll buy a plant, try and solve its riddle and usually succeed for awhile, but then somewhere along the line, the leaves start to turn brown and the plant starts to look a little rough. I google and try everything I can find, but in the end I tend to lose the battle. But I don’t like fake plants and refuse to use them in my home.
So how do you keep your plants alive?
Pick the right plants. Plants need sunlight to thrive and some need more than others. Pay attention to this when shopping – putting a sun thriving plant on a shady part of your living room is going to guarantee disaster. Also watch for drafts. You may have a bright sunny window, but if the cold air is creeping in through that window, all the sun in the world may not save the tropical plant you put it in.
Watch the water. One of the easiest things to do is to overwater a plant. Trust me. Making things worse, overwatered plants often have leaves that turn brown and start to curl up…which is also a good indication of underwatering. Watering is probably one of the hardest parts to master. If a plant seems to be dying and you’ve been watering, back off on the water and see if that helps.
Poor potting. Read about the plant and know how to set one up. Proper drainage is usually required on most plants. Leaving water stagnating at the bottom of the pot and close to the roots can cause all sorts of fungus and diseases in your plant that will kill it off slowly while you watch in horror and try in vain to stop the slow spread.
Feed me Seymour. Don’t forget to feed your plants with fertilizers. Check your plants’ specific needs. Since they are not living in soil whose nutrients are replenished in the natural cycle, you’ll need to replenish those nutrients through fertilizers.
Despite all that advice, I still admit to being really good at killing a plant. I’m currently nursing a bird of paradise and some orchids and while I refuse to give up, I have a larger plant that I think I need to admit defeat on. If you have some great tips, we’d love to hear them.
image courtesy of Amadeusz Leonardo Juskowiak
Buying a home is expensive enough, but decorating a new home can be costly, especially if you have recently graduated to a bigger space. Join us in welcoming agent Jessica Flores for her second blog post on the website – we have a feeling she’s going to be putting out a lot of great content for years to come. You can read her first post, “There’s a New Kid in Town: Newly Licensed Agents” which garnered a lot of attention for its honest look at the life of a new Realtor and how you can benefit from their eagerness and willingness to learn and explore new ways of doing business to help you get the home you want or sell the home you have. In this post, Jessica looks at some of the thoughts that go through all of our heads when we realize now that we have bought it, we’re going to need to figure out how to decorate our new home. She has a lot of experience, having moved multiple times as part of a military family. Let’s turn it over to Jessica, shall we? – Kimberly Howell Properties
Congratulations! You just closed on your new home and are excited to add your own personality to it. The problem is those boxes that you have been holding onto (and paying a storage fee for) no longer reflect the person you are today. Instead, they are filled with Bon Jovi posters and inflatable plastic furniture. While this speaks volumes of the fun person you are, it also yells out that shopping is in your near future.
Wait…shopping? You just purchased a house, buying everything new is not necessarily in your best interest…right? But you don’t want to live in an empty house either. So how do you go about decorating a new home and save money?
Hang Onto Those Credit Cards
More than likely, your clever real estate agent advised you to avoid debt of any kind during the home buying process. New vehicles, TVs, and furniture are some examples of the things they told you not to buy. Your lender warned you about doing anything that would open up a new line of credit or even making credit inquiries as those small checks can ding your credit report.
Your agent didn’t inform you of this because he or she doesn’t want you to have nice things…quite the contrary. They not only help you buy your house, but they want to help you build a home.
The thing is, your Realtor knows that opening up new credit can interfere with obtaining a loan even if you have already qualified, been approved, and are in the process of getting a home loan after putting a home under contract.
You listened to your agent and all went well, so now you may be thinking that you have closed and can check out one of those awesome deals where you have no interest for 36 months. So now’s the time to go wild decorating your new home…right?
That’s an idea, but you quickly remember that you will have a house payment soon. Also, your tastes will change as the years pass and what seemed like a great idea in the 80s is probably not what you’re thinking today.
So, what do you do? Do you blow up that shiny, vinyl furniture to sit on while gazing lovingly at Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora? You certainly could, but that would only be fun for a little while.
Decorating a New Home…For Cheap
The old saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” holds true when decorating a new home. Think outside the box – it’s not hard to find beautiful home decor and sturdy furniture that someone else has grown tired of or needs to get rid of to make room for something new they have purchased. It’s recycling at its best.
You can find items like these on Craigslist (just promise you won’t do your house hunting on there!), the Nextdoor app, and my personal favorite, neighborhood yard sales. You can also check out the bigger stores like Goodwill or the Salvation Army and many communities have locally owned and operated consignment shops that can be a treasure trove of bargain finds.
Sometimes the treasures are vintage, but still classy and tasteful. Other items may just need to be cleaned well or touched up with a fresh coat of paint. A little love and some elbow grease go a long way.
One thing is for sure, you will get them for a very good price and will often find that you had a great time discovering your reclaimed furnishings while meeting some nice people.
However you decide to go about decorating a new home and adding accessories that reflect your style and taste is your choice. Keep in mind that you do have several options and if you’re willing you search for the bargains, they are out there.
As for me, I need to go cancel a storage unit and maybe have a yard sale of all the “treasures” I have been holding on to. It’s time to pack up the Bon Jovi posters for good. Ok, maybe I’ll just keep this one…
image courtesy of rhonogle
I hate moving. When I was younger, I once clocked in at 18 different places to live in under 2 years. I’ve moved cross country three times and no matter how much I prepare for it, I am filled with panic whenever I think about it. When you buy your new home or sell your old home, you know the countdown is on to moving day and soon your place will be filled with boxes and you’ll be looking at a lot of hard work ahead of you. Making the move is exciting, so knowing some of the secrets to a successful move can help. We thought we’d take a look at some moving advice culled from some of our agents and clients over the years.
Dedicate a space in the house for important papers and valuable items. There are items that you will need when you move. Everyone has different “must have” items, but we recommend you keep IDs, wallets, keys, documents about your home, garage door openers – anything you can imagine you might need and won’t want to dig through boxes trying to find – all of these items should be placed in a safe place in your home that you designate as a no go zone. Tell the movers to not move it, tell your family to not pack it, just pick a place and make it known that no matter what, the items there are not to be touched. A kitchen or bathroom drawer often makes a good storage spot. Just don’t forget to grab it all as you make your final walk through of the house and walk out the door.
Keep things compartmentalized. Packing always starts the same. Careful labeling, specific items from specific rooms separated by box. Similar items packed together. As the time begins to approach, the packing begins to shift and before you know it, you have a box that contains a waffle iron, your underwear, a bottle of ketchup, and a few candles. Keeping order to the boxes and compartmentalizing your home as you pack will save you hours of digging through boxes later to find a spoon to stir your coffee with in the morning.
Use strong boxes. This might seem a little obvious, but there’s nothing worse than picking up a cheap box and watching as the bottom gives way. When it comes to glassware, dishes, or that heirloom china, make sure you use the best boxes you have. Now might even be a good time to invest a few dollars in some boxes for these delicate items.
Don’t be afraid of bubblewrap. Newspaper works great for a lot of things, but if you really worry about an item and its safety as it bounces up and down in the back of a moving truck a couple of miles across town, step up your wrapping and purchase some bubblewrap. There’s a reason you always find it in packages shipped to your home. You can find it at most big box stores and office supply stores. It’ll cost you a few bucks, but it’s better to spend a few now than to open a box of tiny fragments of something you value.
Hire someone to do the heavy lifting. While you can save money by moving on your own, some times it just makes sense to bite the bullet and pay a company to do the work for you. Not only can you hire companies that will physically move the items, but there are plenty of companies that offer packing services. We’d recommend you buy insurance as well, as it can cover any items that do get damaged in the move. Just be sure to read all of the fine print before signing on the dotted line. Ask friends for recommendations – there are a lot of fly by night, inexpensive companies out there that are not worth the money you will spend and you’ll wind up with more headaches than wanted.
image courtesy of C1ssou