Posted by Betsy Graziano on 5/21/2018

If you intend to buy a house in the foreseeable future, it pays to prepare. That way, you can enter the real estate market as an "extraordinary" homebuyer, i.e. someone who knows exactly what it takes to find a great house at an outstanding price.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help any homebuyer go from ordinary to extraordinary.

1. Learn the Ins and Outs of the Housing Sector

The real estate market is complex, particularly for someone who is pursuing a house for the first time. Fortunately, plenty of housing market data is available that can help you gain the insights that you need to make an informed home purchase.

Take a look at homes that are currently available in your city or town. By doing so, you can better understand the prices of houses that match your expectations. Then, you can tailor your home search accordingly.

Furthermore, don't forget to assess the prices of recently sold residences in your area. This housing market data will help you determine whether you're about to enter a real estate market that favors buyers or sellers.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about your mortgage options Ė you'll be glad you did. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can begin your home search with a budget in hand, thereby reducing the temptation to spend too much on a house.

Lenders are happy to provide you with information about a broad range of mortgage options. Also, if you ever have mortgage questions, lenders employ friendly, professionally trained mortgage specialists who are ready to respond to your queries.

In addition, it usually is a good idea to evaluate your credit score prior to applying for a mortgage.

You can obtain a free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). If you review your credit report closely, you can identify and resolve any potential credit problems and increase the likelihood that you can obtain a favorable mortgage.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to becoming an extraordinary homebuyer, it is important to note that it can be difficult for even the most diligent homebuyer to succeed on his or her own. However, if you employ an expert real estate agent, you can streamline the process of acquiring your dream residence.

A real estate agent is committed to your homebuying success, and as such, will do everything possible to help you find the perfect residence.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. This housing market professional will even help you alleviate homebuying stress and ensure that you can quickly go from homebuyer to homeowner.

Ready to embark on the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can become an extraordinary homebuyer in no time at all.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Betsy Graziano on 5/14/2018

A home showing offers a wonderful opportunity for a home seller, as it enables this individual to promote his or her residence to a potential homebuyer. But after a home showing is finished, how should a home seller proceed?

Ultimately, there are several steps that a home seller should expect following a home showing, including:

1. Waiting for a Response from the Homebuyer

The time between when a homebuyer views your home and when he or she provides feedback about a home showing may seem endless. However, home sellers should remain patient and understand that what happens immediately following a home showing often is beyond their control.

Remember, you only get one chance to make a positive first impression on a homebuyer. And if you went above and beyond the call of duty to enhance your residence before the home showing, you've likely done everything you can to put your best foot forward.

On the other hand, if you failed to clean up the kitchen, remove clutter from the basement or perform other home repairs and maintenance, there is no time like the present to get started on these home improvement tasks. Even if an initial home showing was far from perfect, you can always learn from it and allocate time and resources to enhance your house's appearance for future showings.

2. Consulting with Your Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent will serve as a liaison between you and a homebuyer and keep you up to date with feedback about the home showing.

If the home showing was successful, your real estate agent may come to you with an offer on your house. In this scenario, you'll have a short period of time to decide whether to accept, reject or counter the proposal.

Or, if the home showing was unsuccessful, there is no need to fret. Your real estate agent will be able to share a homebuyer's feedback with you, which may help you discover ways to improve your home.

3. Enhancing Your Home

As a home seller, you may need to host many home showings to stir up lots of interest in your property. And with an experienced real estate agent at your disposal, you should have no trouble getting your home ready for home showings.

Your real estate agent understands what it takes to garner interest from homebuyers. Thus, this real estate professional will offer recommendations and suggestions to help you improve your home quickly and effortlessly.

Also, your real estate agent is available to respond to your home selling concerns and queries. That way, if you're uncertain about how to make your home stand out from the competition, your real estate agent will be able to provide insights and tips to help you do just that.

Collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can streamline the home selling process. This housing market expert will do everything possible to assist you before and after a home showing and ensure that you can promote your residence to the right homebuyers consistently.





Posted by Betsy Graziano on 5/7/2018

When a loved one needs a bit more help to get around the house, whether they have simple physical limitations or rely on the use of a wheelchair, youíre going to need to make some major changes both inside and outside the home. You may be overwhelmed with the idea that you need to overhaul your entire home in order to make suitable accommodations. The good news is that you can boost safety around the property and make your home easier for you or loved ones to get around without huge renovation projects that will take months at a time. Below, youíll find some of the most important projects that will need to be completed in order to make a home handicap accessible as well as safe and healthy.


Check The Doorways


If wheelchair use is part of the accommodation, youíll need to check the width of the doorways. Some doorways may need to be modified in order for wheelchairs to move freely about the home. Widening doorways can cost anywhere between $500-$1,000 to complete depending on where the throughway is in the home. 


Adjust The Showers


The safest way to make a shower handicap accessible to is make it a walk in tub or a wheelchair accessible tub. Depending upon the extent of the accommodations that are needed, you can go a cheaper route and install a bench seat in an existing shower. Hand rails can also be added to the tub for extra safety.


Think Of The Entire Bathroom


The simple addition of grab bars can make a big difference in the safety of a bathroom. Make sure that the bars are installed in easy to reach places. Also any supplies that are needed in the bathroom like soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste should be easy to reach. A toilet riser can also be considered to help people who have issues bending down in order to make the toilet easier to use. 


Donít Forget The Kitchen     


The kitchen should be a place where accommodations for handicap individuals are definitely present. First, all supplies should be easy to reach. Next, appliances should be adjusted accordingly. Grab bars should also be installed in the kitchen to make safety a priority and accessibility easy.


Install Ramps


Whether or not a disabled person uses a wheelchair, installing a ramp can make a huge difference in the home for a disabled individual. Converting stairways to ramps actually isnít as expensive as you might think it would be, with costs starting at just $100 for a basic ramp. Custom ramps can run a bit more expensive- as much as $1,000. These make it easier for disabled people to get in and out of the home or around the inside of the home with ease. The total cost can vary based on the size of the ramp and the type of materials being used.


Mind The Floors


To make a home handicap accessible, thick carpets should be removed. Any types of flooring that make it hard to maneuver a wheelchair or walker should be modified.





Posted by Betsy Graziano on 4/30/2018

Let's face it Ė buying a home can be difficult, particularly for those who are exploring the real estate market for the first time.

As a homebuyer, it is your responsibility to learn about the ins and outs of the housing market. By doing so, you can understand what differentiates a high-quality house from a subpar residence and proceed accordingly.

Furthermore, an informed homebuyer will know how to evaluate a home's exterior properly.

What does it take to conduct an in-depth assessment of a house's exterior? Here are three questions that every homebuyer should consider as he or she examines a home's exterior.

1. How do I feel about a home's exterior?

For many homebuyers, finding a house with an awe-inspiring exterior is a top priority. However, it is important to consider how you feel when you see a home's exterior for the first time.

A home's exterior should impress. At the same time, you need to evaluate a house's exterior in conjunction with other home features.

For example, a home may boast a massive kitchen and other dazzling interior features. On the other hand, a home's exterior may leave much to be desired.

Consider the pros and cons of a home's interior and exterior as you determine whether to submit an offer on a house. And if you need extra help along the way, be sure to consult with a real estate agent.

2. Will home exterior repairs be needed in the near future?

Examine a house's driveway, walkways and lawn as you conduct a home exterior evaluation. This will allow you to review the condition of these home exterior areas and determine whether repairs may be needed sooner rather than later.

Home exterior renovations sometimes can be costly and time-intensive. Thus, if you notice home siding that is cracked or other exterior issues, you will want to consider the time and expenses that may be required to fix such problems.

3. How much time will I need to commit to home exterior maintenance projects?

A home may have a beautiful exterior. In order to keep a house's exterior looking great, you'll need to conduct regular maintenance.

Consider what you will need to do to maintain a house's dazzling exterior as you explore all of the options at your disposal.

Will you need to hire a landscaping company to mow the lawn and trim the hedges? Or, are you willing to commit the time and resources necessary to perform assorted home exterior maintenance tasks on your own? These are just a few of the home exterior maintenance questions to consider as you review a property.

Of course, if you need guidance during the homebuying process, real estate agents are available to provide expert assistance.

A real estate agent possesses comprehensive housing market knowledge and can offer real estate insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble examining a house Ė both inside and out Ė and making an informed homebuying decision.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Betsy Graziano on 4/23/2018

One very important, yet often overlooked aspect of setting up a home is that of lighting. We often take lighting for granted. We turn on a light in order to see something better, but thereís so much more to a well-lit room than placing a light anywhere in the space. Lighting should be done in layers. These layers include:


  • Ambient lighting
  • Accent lighting
  • Task lighting
  • Decorative lighting


For well-balanced lighting in a room, you should mix and match the types of lighting from these layers. Letís break down the different layers of lighting:


Ambient


This kind of lighting includes natural light sources such as windows and doors. Ambient lighting would also include pendant lighting and overhead light fixtures like a combination light/ ceiling fan.


Task


Task lighting is exactly as the name denotes. You use this type of lighting when you want to complete some kind of task. These fixtures could include under the counter lighting, desk lamps, and reading lamps. 


Accent 


Accent lighting provides additional brightness to a room. These fixtures include adjustable lights and recessed lighting features. 


Decorative


Decorative lighting accents a room in a different way. These types of fixtures would be something like chandeliers, different colored light bulbs, and other lights that can be used for decoration.      


Highlights


The great thing about the right kind of lighting is that it will feature the best parts of a room. Do you have a painting that you love? Use lighting to bring it out. Is there a statue that you want to make stand out? Use a soft spotlight. You can even highlight your crown molding and ceiling features with some mounted sconces or rope lights along the edge of your ceiling for an added effect. 


Spread It Out


One of the worst mistakes that people make when lighting a room is forgetting to spread out their light sources. All of the light in the room is concentrated in one spot, leaving dark patches in the space. This can be a decoratorís nightmare. This is why the layering method works so well. The lighting is spread out around the room and even. There wonít be any spots in the room where the lighting is overwhelming or on the flip side, not enough.


Use Your Windows


One of the other big mistakes in lighting is that people often forget to make use of the natural daylight. While you may need some lighting in a room thatís used often at night, there should be some great resources coming from right outside your windows. Donít block this light! Use creative ways to direct the light accordingly like curtains and blinds. Donít be afraid to leave some window space open as well to let the light shine in. While you donít want to sacrifice your privacy, you do not want to live with your windows darkened all day, every day!




Categories: interior design   lighting