Great Photography Sells Home Faster

Use high quality photographs to sell your home faster. How much faster will it sell? Studies done by a real estate photography company claim that your home will sell 32% faster when you provide magazine-quality images as opposed to those taken with your cell phone. Work with your Mel Foster Co. agent to get lined up with a professional photographer who does it right. You can help the photographer get great photos of your home by being ready on picture day.

Declutter and clean

Start by taking everything in the kitchen off the counters like your toaster, blender and utensils. Place them in the pantry or cupboards to present a well-kept space. Deep clean every surface including your stovetop and floors. You’ll want the whole room to sparkle. If you have windows that provide natural light, be sure to open curtains and let the sunshine in.

Get creative with storage

It’s ok to box up your extra but necessary items and store them neatly in the garage or shed during open houses. Take your time when boxing things and label the boxes so you know where to find your special spices or blender. Leave the boxes in a spot that is easily accessible for when you need to use them. Some stacked storage is normal and looks best when it’s organized and tidy.

Stage it

The time to rearrange the seating in your family room is before you shoot the photos. Create inviting furniture groupings meant for conversation and comfort. Contact your interior designer friend or consider hiring a professional stager to ensure your photos will look as welcoming as possible. It is important to remove your personal family photos so potential buyers can visualize themselves living in the space.

Tell a story

You have to win buyers over with compelling photos online. A majority of buyers, 95% of them, start their dream home search on the internet, so you’ll only secure a viewing in person if they like what they see online. Place the photos in the following order when sharing online: the exterior, then the entryway, kitchen, dining room, living room, master bedroom, and then any additional bedrooms.

Find more selling tips, like what kitchen trends buyers want to see.

Moving And Forwarding Your Mail With USPS

Moving and aren’t sure how to get your mail to your new home without a lot of hassle? Start by changing your mailing address with the US Postal Service in person or online and keep these tips in mind.

Select the Right USPS Form

There are three forms on the USPS website; individuals, families and businesses. Be sure to fill out the right form. The service is free if you sign up at the post office, and is $1 when you fill out the forms online.

Plan Ahead

Forwarding service takes seven to 10 days. Count the days to be sure you’re living at the new address when the mail starts arriving. If you fail to fill out the forms with enough time for the postal service to set up the forwarding, they will collect and store your mail for up to 10 days. After this time, they’ll try to return it to the sender.

Know the Expiration Date

USPS address change forwarding generally lasts one year. For magazines and newspapers, the service only lasts for two months. Include magazines and newspapers in your initial list of who to notify of the change of address.

Who to Notify

Include your bank, the IRS, your doctors, credit card companies, insurance providers, DMV and of course your family and friends.

Find more tips including moving with a pet and how to prepare to sell your home on our blog.

Lower Your Energy Bills

Save money on your energy bills by making a few adjustments to your normal routines at home. Even small efforts to change your habits can result in big savings, both today and for the long term too.

Change Your Furnace Filters Regularly

Homeowners should change air filters often to help extend the life of your furnace and help with air quality in your home. Better air quality will help your HVAC system run more efficiently and therefore save you money on your utility bills.

Have A Professional Check For Air Leaks

Small air leaks in uninsulated attic or crawl spaces are a major source of cooling loss in the home. It makes good sense to hire a professional to evaluate your home and to place the insulation properly to seal up leaks. This will help to lower cooling costs.

Make The Most Of Your Thermostat

Air conditioners and furnaces consume the most energy in a home. Buy a programmable thermostat that allows you to raise the temperature up to 10 degrees while you’ll be away at work or on vacation. Setting the temps higher when you’ll be gone in the summer can make a noticeable difference in your monthly savings.

Use Less Hot Water Doing Laundry

When doing laundry the big expense is heating the water. Detergents are designed to perform in temps of 65 to 85 degrees F. And cold water is just as effective for rinsing as warm or hot. So dial back those temperature settings to use less hot water and spend less money.

Replace Appliances

Older appliances are typically less energy-efficient, so replacing an old furnace or water heater with a newer model will provide savings in the long run. Do your research to determine which models offer the best return on your investment.

Find additional ways to save money by connecting with a Mel Foster Insurance producer today and ensuring you have all the right homeowner’s policies in place.

How To Work From Home Like A Pro

Many of us were thrust into working from home with little time to prepare an office space or think of how we’d even manage this new challenge. With a few days under our belts, some of the honeymoon stage and novelty has worn off. Now we’re struggling with new aches and pains from not having a proper desk and chair and falling behind on our work.

An expert with over 15 years of experience working from a home office shares her best tips to help you transition.

Keep to your regular morning routine and work schedule. No sleeping in. People are counting on you to be available. Be a team player.

Get dressed every day. Don’t just change into a clean pair of pajamas. A full suit isn’t necessary, but dressing for work tells your brain it’s time to work.

Make a desk. Even if it’s the kitchen table or the top of your dresser, you need a dedicated place. Even better if it’s a space with a door or an area where you can block out distractions. If you are working in the kitchen or a common area, put your work and laptop away each night to give you a mental and visual break from work. Try and keep work and home separate.

Take breaks to walk around. It’s easy for a few hours to slip by and realize you haven’t gotten out of your chair. In the office, you’re always getting up to grab something from the printer or chat with your co-workers.

Remember you are working. This is not the time to throw a quick load of laundry into the washer. Or the time to be checking Facebook constantly since nobody is really watching you. Treat your daytime working hours as work hours so you can stay focused and caught up with your work.

Stop at your normal quitting time. The work will be there tomorrow. Get outside. Play with your kids or pets. While you are on home quarantine, it’s vital to change up your scenery and step away from your new home office. It’s also helpful to announce to your family that you are “home from work” so everybody knows it’s family or personal time and no longer the workday.

Talk to somebody every day. If you’re working from home alone all day, or in separate quarters from your spouse, pick up the phone to hear another human’s voice. Don’t rely just on texting or email to communicate. Human interaction is so important, now more than ever.


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