How to Sell Your Home, Fast.

Five Tips for Quick Sale

Five Tips for Quick Sale

Selling your home quickly can be difficult, unless you follow Mel Foster Co.’s five tips for getting off the market quickly.

  1. Price it Competitively from the Beginning

Your home listing receives the most attention during the first 30 days it’s on the market. Don’t set yourself up for failure by overestimating your home’s value. Online comparisons make it easier than ever to determine an accurate value of houses, so make your house stand out by pricing correctly the first time it’s listed. Your Mel Foster Co. agent can help you determine your listing price.

  1. Advertise Immediately

Half the battle is letting everyone know your home is for sale. Your Mel Foster Co. agent will develop a custom advertising plan for you that includes adding your home to the MLS and letting other agents know it’s now on the market.

  1. Showcase the House Online Properly

Over 90% homebuyers start the search for a new property online and the number one way to gain their attention is through high quality photographs. You need something better than awkwardly lit rooms with photos from an outdated camera. Using a professional photographer is the easiest way to get the best photos for your listing. Talk to you Mel Foster agent to help your home stand out among the competition.

  1. Depersonalize Before Listing

Remove family photos, personal art, and collectible items from your home before showing off to buyers. Don’t take it personally, but buyers don’t want to see your life on display. They want to imagine themselves in the house, and your personal accessories make this difficult. Removing these items also has an added bonus of making the home look less cluttered and clean.

  1. Sweeten the Deal

If you’re really in a hurry to get out of your home, offering to pay a portion of closing costs will attract buyers. Consider a shorter closing time so buyers can move in quickly after deciding they want to purchase your home. If you have a large yard and a riding lawn mower, include the mower during negotiations. There are numerous ways to generate additional interest, and asking your agent for ideas will help you find different options to expedite the sale.

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Planning for Your Baby

Creating the Perfect Nursery.

Creating the Perfect Nursery.

There are many things to worry about when a baby is on the way, but getting your nursery together shouldn’t be one of them. Here are a few tips to help you have a perfect nursery for your newborn.

Plan Ahead

The most important thing to do is to start with a plan. It’s very easy to get caught up in picking out cribs, toys and diapers, but you don’t want to find out later the curtains you love won’t match the paint you picked out. Be sure to get exact measurements to know how much space you have to work with. Starting with an overall plan will prevent future headaches.

Function over Fashion

Appearances aren’t everything when picking out furniture, paint and decorations. Don’t forget the nursery serves specific functions. You need to be able to change diapers, feed and calm the baby while remaining comfortable. Make sure the beautiful rocking chair you picked out is comfortable for extended periods of time, or the changing table, which fits perfectly with the room, also provides ample storage. You’ll end up kicking yourself if the investments you made aren’t practical.

Create a Calming Environment

You’ll be spending quite a few hours in the nursery, so be sure to create a comfortable environment. Natural colors and adjustable lighting are ideal to create a soothing environment for both you and the baby. If you plan to add fun colors and accessories, consult the color wheel and pick complimentary colors. This allows you to create a personal nursery, while remaining universally appealing if you decide to sell your home.

Be Creative with Storage

A nursery can never have too much storage. Diapers, wipes, blankets, clothing and medication need to be easily accessible. Adding shelves or stacking cubbies provides vertical storage to maintain more organization with less space. You’ll thank yourself when you easily diapers and spare clothes in the middle of the night.

Planning ahead to create the perfect nursery allows you to devote more time to caring for your baby. Your little one won’t be little forever, so enjoy being with them during this exciting time.

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Must Haves for Basement Finishing

Finishing Basement Tips

Finishing Basement Tips

If you’re planning on finishing your basement to raise your resale value, read these tips to make smart improvements that attract buyers.

  1. Keep it Dry

Protect your improvements from water. Before you start any basement renovations, make sure potential leaks are stopped. You don’t want your time, money and effort to be wasted due to water damage.

  1. Add a Vapor Barrier

Even after patching up any leaks, your basement can still feel or smell damp, which is a turn off to potential buyers. Adding a vapor barrier to the walls and floors before finishing will help your basement show well. You can check the barriers after a day or two to see if moisture is gathering. If there is significant moisture, you may need to add additional barriers.

  1. Add the Proper Insulation

Insulation doesn’t only help control the temperature, it can also add another layer of moisture protection. Choose an insulation that has a vapor barrier on both sides for added protection.

  1. Finish with Drop Ceilings

Drop ceilings are an easy way to conceal any plumbing or electrical lines without any major construction. If something does go wrong while renovating the basement, it’s easy to remove tiles to access the pipes and wiring. Keep in mind drop ceilings reduce the amount of overhead space.

  1. Install Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is a fabulous idea for any basement. It fits perfectly into drop ceilings while providing minimal and easily concealable wiring. It also provides invaluable amounts of space that hanging light fixtures would otherwise take up.

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Avoid these Mistakes When Buying a Home

Are you making these mistakes?

Are you making these mistakes?

Buying a home isn’t always easy, especially for first time buyers. Knowing the more common mistakes will cut down on stress during the process.

  1. Not Seeking Professional Guidance

Starting the home buying process alone isn’t a good idea, especially if it’s your first time buying. Hiring an agent is a smart choice to help with the home search, negotiations, finances and closing. Agents are an incredibly valuable asset for any home buying situation.

  1. Missing Hidden Costs

Property insurance, taxes, maintenance and utilities are costs often forgotten during the excitement of buying a new home. Keep in mind these costs generally increase every year. Even if you can afford it now, ask yourself if you can afford it in the future.

  1. Skipping the Loan Preapproval Process

Being preapproved for a mortgage helps narrow your home search by directing you to homes within your budget. Talking to someone in advance will help set realistic expectations, and offer peace of mind knowing what homes will fit your budget appropriately.

  1. Depleting your Savings

It may seem as though you have the perfect amount of money in your savings to buy your home and move in, but if you’re emptying that account to buy a home, it means the home is too expensive. Ideally you’ll have saved enough money to buy your home, move and cover expenses for six months without pay. This is a safety net if you lose your job, so don’t blow all of your money on a home you can’t afford.

  1. Making Large Purchases after Closing

Celebrate buying a home with major purchases before closing may seem exciting, but lenders check credit scores to be sure your financial situation hasn’t changed. Putting new furniture or appliances on a credit card before your closing date may negatively affect your credit score. And adding new loans may jeopardize the original mortgage you were hoping to receive. Don’t learn this lesson the hard way and have this mistake cost you the home you were counting on.

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Update Your Kitchen under Budget

Remodel Under Budget

Remodel Under Budget

Updating parts of your kitchen while staying under budget will be a breeze as long as you follow Mel Foster Co.’s simple guide.

  1. Update the Hardware

If your kitchen seems to be a little dated, consider updating the hardware. Drawer knobs, handles and towel racks are inexpensive changes to make your kitchen feel fresh. It’s a great way to have a new looking kitchen without the new kitchen price.

  1. Replace the Faucet

Add a more modern faucet to the sink as a way to create a focal point in your kitchen. Try to have it match your hardware in color, but be different enough to stand out and be interesting. There are a multitude of modern faucets available, so you’re sure to find one you love.

  1. Install a Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans add a soothing constant motion in the kitchen. If you have high ceilings, a ceiling fan is the perfect way to make the kitchen a more relaxing room. As an added bonus, it will help keep the room cool and in some cases cut your summer cooling costs.

  1. Get Creative

Not every change needs to be dramatic. Sometimes something as easy as new towels can give your kitchen a fresh look. Consider replacing worn out items like chairs, dishes or even the paint on your cabinets. Small changes will add up quickly and make your kitchen look brand new.

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Outdoor Trends to Attract Buyers.

Outdoor Trends

Outdoor Trends

When your home is on the market, curb appeal is extremely important to attract buyers. Mel Foster Co. has a list of five outdoor trends to increase interest in your home.

  1. Low Maintenance Landscaping

Everyone loves seeing beautiful gardens, but not everyone loves taking care of them. Keep your bushes, flowers and trees low maintenance to attract a wider audience. If a buyer has a green thumb, they’ll most likely add their own personal favorites after moving in.

  1. Permanent Structures

Covered patios, screened in porches and fire pits increase the value of your home. Also consider year round seating such as benches attached to your home or deck. These options may be expensive to install, but make your home more appealing.

  1. Privacy

Everyone loves privacy and outdoor spaces are an extension of the home. Canopies, fences and tree lines provide more privacy for the yard. When selling your home, you can’t afford avoiding such an essential and attractive feature.

  1. Lighting

Lighting in your seating area is extremely important. It adds additional function to your yard extending the amount of time it can be used. Good outdoor lighting showcases your property more during the nighttime. Adjustable lighting is even better, that way you can control the amount of light to your preferred level.

  1. Natural Wood and Stone

Natural wood and stone are timeless additions. They are classic options that give your yard a natural look with modern comfort. Pick colors of stone and wood to compliment the other colors in your yard. Finding the right combination will help your home stand out amongst the crowd.

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Create Curb Appeal with a Good Exterior Cleaning.

MF Curb Appeal BlogIf you’re preparing to put your home up for sale, don’t forget about a good cleaning of your home’s exterior. You may not need to hire a professional to pressure wash your siding, deck or fence. It’s a pretty easy DIY project and you may find a neighbor with a pressure washer who is happy to lend you the equipment. 

Here’s what to know before you connect the hose and fire up the air compressor.

What Surfaces Can Handle Being Pressure Washed?

Aluminum, steel, vinyl or wood can be pressure washed. Be certain your house doesn’t have lead paint. The runoff may contain lead and contaminate the soil, or even go into a storm drain polluting local bodies of water. Most houses painted after 1978 no longer used lead based paint.

Preparing to Use a Pressure Washer

When preparing to use the pressure washer, make sure you follow some simple safety steps. Before you start washing, make sure there are no cracks or holes in your siding or deck. The pressure washer may cause additional damage to these areas.

You want to be sure you never point the pressure washer at yourself or anyone else. It can easily cut through skin due to the force of the water. It is recommended to wear eye protection and avoid using a pressure washer if you are on a ladder.

Starting to Clean with the Pressure Washer

Cleaning is very simple. Apply a base layer of water using a standard garden hose to get the siding or deck ready for cleaning. After the siding or deck is wet, make sure the cleaning solution is in the pressure washer, and hook it up to the hose. Most pressure washers activate using a trigger.

If you’re cleaning house siding, you want to begin at the base of the house so there are no streaks running onto a dry part of the siding. Keep the pressure washer about one foot away from the siding and slowly swipe back and forth on each panel. You want to start at the base of the house.

Cleaning a deck or patio follows the same rules, but you start at the inside of the deck so you can push the water and debris off of the deck. You should be able to see the coloring difference as you clean. Keep washing every part of your deck or patio, especially inside cracks so every part looks fresh and clean.

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Avoiding Do It Yourself Disasters.

MF DIY BlogYou might be the handyman of the house, but common mistakes can take down even veterans of DIY projects. Follow these four steps to avoid pitfalls on your projects.

  1. Plan. Plan. Plan.

You want to make sure you have a step-by-step plan to avoid future headaches. If you attempt to follow an online guide, make sure to read the entirety of the plans so you don’t end up making multiple trips to the hardware store. Think 10 steps ahead so you’re prepared for the end product. Small mistakes can add up and create more problems. Triple check plans, measurements and supplies before starting to avoid mistakes.

  1. Beware the Cheapest Option

It may seem like a deal if an appliance or materials are inexpensive, but most of the time you get what you pay for. Don’t throw good money after bad. Find a reliable product so you only have to do the job once. You’ll end up saving more time and money by avoiding subpar materials for your projects. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

  1. Specialty Work May Require a Professional

It might be hard to admit you need help doing jobs around the house, but electric and plumbing work may end up costing you more if you don’t seek advice. You may not need someone to come to your house, but it is beneficial to consult a specialist about your project. They can warn you about potential risks, what won’t work and whether or not you need professional help. Most of the time specialists at local hardware stores will be able to tell you about the difficulty of your task. It helps to bounce ideas off of someone with experience.

  1. Acquire all Necessary Permits

DIY enthusiasts usually tackle larger projects based on success completing less complex projects. Be sure the work you’re doing can be certified because if you plan on selling your home, this will be a concern of potential buyers. Major projects like additions, heating, fencing, electrical, plumbing and window installation usually require permits. Check with a professional to find out if your project requires permits from your city.

 

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Is Now the Time to Use Your Home’s Equity?

Home Equity blogThe best way to describe home equity is the amount you have paid toward your mortgage. Every month you pay, you begin to build more equity in your home. It’s possible to then use this equity to acquire a loan from your bank. But how do you know what to use the money for, or even if you should take out the loan?

The number one rule is to use a home equity loan for things you suspect will appreciate in value or generate revenue. For example, training or education makes you more effective in the workplace, and may increase your salary in the long run. Buying rental real estate to become a landlord may increase your income. Smart home improvements can increase the value of your home. These long term investments could potentially make you more money than you spent.

Unwise purchases include clothing, most vehicles, or any frivolous purchases. These aren’t investments which will help your financial situation in the long run. If you use equity for purchases that do not increase in value, you may put yourself in a tight spot. It might be best to hold off on a loan against your equity if you don’t have breathing room to take a potential loss.

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Planning Ahead for Flooding.

Are you protected?

Are you protected?

Dealing with the aftermath of a flood is difficult. Follow these helpful tips to make sure your family and home are protected.

If you have any concerns about living in an area prone to flooding, first make sure you are covered by your homeowners insurance. Often flood damages aren’t covered in standard homeowner policies and require separate insurance. Your Mel Foster Insurance associate can verify your coverage and make a recommendation. Be sure you have an insurance policy for floods that covers structural damage.

Your coverage can give you peace of mind, but would you know what to do if you suddenly found yourself in a flood situation? The first step is avoiding any harm to you or your family. If there is standing water, make sure no electricity is running through it. Try to avoid being in the water, unless you’re certain it is safe. Next, document the damages with photographs for your insurance company. It’s important your agent sees the damage caused by the flood, to help you with your claim.

Contact your Mel Foster Insurance associate and inform him or her of the damages. They may ask for the photographs or other documentation. They may then give you the go ahead to clear out the water to prevent further damage. Once everything is dried out, inspect the foundation of the home for warping, cracks and holes. If there is any further damage, document it with photos and contact your insurance associate about additional damages.

If you have any questions about flooding or insurance, contact Mel Foster Insurance at http://www.melfosterinsurance.com/ or call 563-359-5446.

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