Posted by Marie Presti on 1/20/2019

Listing a house may seem like a long, arduous process, especially for a first-time home seller. But with the right real estate agent at your side, you can receive expert support at each stage of the home selling journey.

What does it take to hire a diligent real estate agent to ensure you can sell your house? Here are three tips to help first-time home sellers employ the ideal real estate agent.

1. Conduct a Comprehensive Search

Search far and wide for a real estate agent – you'll be glad you did. With an extensive search, you can learn about the pros and cons of working with various real estate agents in your area and plan accordingly.

Don't hesitate to reach out to friends and family members for real estate agent recommendations. If friends and family members enjoyed outstanding experiences with certain real estate agents, it may be a great idea to contact the housing professionals who have helped your loved ones achieve their home selling goals.

Also, look for real estate agents who boast many years of industry experience. These housing market professionals are likely to understand the ins and outs of selling a residence. As such, they may be better equipped than other real estate agents to help you optimize the value of your house.

2. Ask Plenty of Questions

If you find a real estate agent who seems like a viable candidate to help you sell your residence, it is important to set up a face-to-face meeting. That way, you can ask questions and determine whether this individual is the right person to assist you.

During a face-to-face meeting, find out what a real estate agent has to say about your residence. Typically, a diligent real estate agent will conduct extensive research before meeting with you and should be able to offer honest, unbiased home selling recommendations.

Furthermore, there is no such thing as a "bad" question, especially for those who are selling a house for the first time. And if you have questions for a real estate agent, a face-to-face meeting provides an excellent opportunity to get your queries addressed by a housing market expert.

3. Get Client Referrals

Ask real estate agents for client referrals. Then, reach out to past clients so you can better understand how a particular real estate agent has supported home sellers over the years.

If a client offers glowing recommendations of a real estate agent, this housing market professional may prove to be the best choice. On the other hand, a client who encountered problems with a particular real estate agent may help you avoid making the wrong decision as well.

Ultimately, the right real estate agent is someone who can help you sell your house and keep you informed as the home selling journey moves forward. And if you spend some time learning about the real estate agents in your city or town, you should have no trouble employing a top-notch real estate agent who can take the guesswork out of selling your residence.




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Posted by Marie Presti on 1/13/2019

Home staging is one of the most tried-and-true methods of selling your home faster. It can also help you increase the purchase price of your home by between one and five percent.

However, working with a professional home stager--while a good investment--is not always in everyone’s budget.

The good news is, there are a lot of simple and inexpensive ways to stage your home that will give visitors a good first impression, make for great photos for your online listing, and hopefully help speed up your home sale.

In today’s post, we’re going to break down six of the most effective and inexpensive home staging tips to help you sell your home faster.

1. Declutter everything

Cleaning out your home is one of the best ways to make it appear more spacious and welcoming. It gives you the chance to start packing items you won’t need until you move into your new home, and it opens up space to use a few choice decorations around the home.

For things like cabinets and closets, remove all of the items you won’t need until you move. A closet that is half-full will look much larger for guests viewing your home.

2. Clean carpets and polish wooden furniture

Carpets, flooring, and furniture make up a large percent of the visible space in your home. Leaving these items dirty or worn when selling your home is missing out on a huge opportunity to make your home look up-to-date and well-maintained.

You can rent a carpet cleaner for as little as $20, and a gallon of wood polish costs around $15, making these two items a solid investment for staging your home.

3. Paint with bright colors

When we paint our homes we usually choose colors that we like, rather than ones that appeal to the largest number of people. And although that’s a great thing while you own a home, it can be detrimental when it comes time to sell. Repainting dark walls in bright, neutral tones will make the room feel larger and well-lit.

4. Paint the front door while you’re at it

A freshly painted, bright colored front door can be the secret weapon when it comes to making your home stand out amongst your neighbors. It is a cheap way to quickly freshen up the exterior of your home and increase curb appeal.

5. Purchase a new welcome mat and mailbox

Welcome mats tend to get a lot of use and wear down. Similarly, mailboxes often get dented and faded over the years.

These two items can be excellent accents to improve the curb appeal of your home. Choose colors that match the overall color scheme of your home to establish a sense of continuity.

6.  Rearrange furniture to allow foot traffic

When someone comes to view your home, you’ll want to sure they have ease of access to each part of the house. Rearrange the furniture in your kitchen, dining room, and bedrooms to make it easy to tour the home.





Posted by Marie Presti on 1/6/2019

Sustainable landscaping, while often called “green” on labels and in the media, usually comes in a variety of other colors. The idea behind dry-scaping or xeriscaping is to use less water, conserve and protect local wildlife, promote the local environment and use less energy. That doesn't mean you're stuck with the desert look though. Most environments support a wide variety of plants, so just think about what grows naturally in your area. Before you get started on updating your home from a high-water consumption—though beautiful—green lawn to modern eco-friendly desert-scaping, dry-scaping or xeriscaping in a variety of reds, blacks, blues, and browns (and some green too) it's essential to plan. 

Who is going to Use it?

Think about who uses your existing lawn or patio. Do the kids play on it? What about BBQs with outdoor games? It’s important to ensure that your new dry-scaping features serve similar purposes, or you could end up with useless outdoor space, which is not good at all. Stay away from harsh gravel for kids play areas, and try something like recycled tire rubber, mulch, or sand for softer landings and fewer skinned knees. Use paving stones to create paths and borders around local flora you don’t want visitors to walk through and combine it with various gravels for a stylish look.

Where Should Each Part Go?

When setting up your new yard, think about what elements you currently have, and how shade, sun, natural water, and wind fit into your yard. Pay attention to how the ground slopes, using the lowest points for plants since water pools there. Keep any existing trees and other local flora and include additional shade tolerant plants around them. Anywhere wind is likely to blow away your ground covering, go with heavier ground cover such as rocks, paving stones, or plants that are anchored in by the roots.

What Should You Use? 

In addition to natural ground coverings such as rock, mulch, and paving stones, try alternative recycled materials to add some color to your landscape. Recycled tires make soft, brightly colored additions for play areas; recycled concrete and brick can be used in retaining walls and rock gardens; even glass gets recycled and tumbled into colorful "mulch" which is excellent for adding designs to pathways or as borders to raised rock gardens and flower beds. Ask at your local gardening shop, find an eco-certified landscaping company or just search the internet to find out what plants are best to use in your area for water and soil conservation. Double check their water usage requirements, and if they need a boost in the driest seasons, try installing a drip-irrigation system that adds water in a slow and controlled manner which helps reduce waste caused by overwatering. 

How to take care of it?

There is no lawn to mow all the time, so it should be easy, right? Yes and no. Keep an eye on your new xeriscape to ensure it doesn't become a bed full of weeds that quickly get out of control. Before using any old weed killer, check to make sure the herbicide works within the environment and may safely be used around children and animals. As a preventative measure, try covering the ground underneath any gravel, mulch, or stones with water-permeable landscaping fabric. The larger rocks or ground coverings will hold it down, but for lighter materials use garden staples for extra security. Never, ever use plastic underneath your gravel or mulch. It will collect water, slide around and eventually end up in a landfill, which is what you've tried to avoid in the first place. 

Whether you want to know if your current property value will increase with xeriscaping or want your agent to choose homes with “green" landscaping just ask! Your real estate agent will happily assist you.




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Posted by Marie Presti on 12/30/2018

Adding your home to the real estate market may prove to be challenging, particularly for a property seller who fails to plan ahead. Lucky for you, we're here to eliminate the guesswork commonly associated with the home selling process.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you list your house and streamline the home selling journey.

1. Enhance Your House's Curb Appeal

How your home looks to prospective buyers can make a world of difference during the home selling journey. If you house fails to impress buyers right away, it may take many days, weeks or months for your house to sell. Conversely, if your home instantly dazzles buyers, you could boost the likelihood of a fast, profitable house sale.

Ultimately, you should allocate time and resources to bolster your house's curb appeal before you list your residence. Mow the lawn, trim the hedges and perform assorted home exterior maintenance and upgrades. And if you need assistance with home exterior projects, you can always reach out to local home improvement professionals for additional help.

2. Eliminate Clutter

Although you may have collected a massive assortment of antiques, decorations and knick-knacks over the years, these items may do more harm than good when you decide to sell your house. In fact, myriad personal belongings scattered throughout your house could make it difficult for homebuyers to envision what life may be like if they purchase your residence.

Prior to listing your house, you should remove as much clutter as possible. You don't necessarily need to dispose of excess items, but it may be a good idea to rent a storage unit so you can store these items until your residence sells. On the other hand, if you no longer need certain belongings, you can sell these items at a yard sale or online or donate them to a local charity.

3. Hire an Expert Real Estate Agent

If you are unsure about how to proceed along the home selling journey, you may want to hire an expert real estate agent. That way, you can receive plenty of support as you navigate the home selling journey.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to list a house in a buyer's or seller's market. He or she will learn about you and your home and develop a plan to ensure you can maximize the value of your residence. And if you ever have concerns or questions about the home selling cycle, a real estate agent can respond to them.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent will provide after you accept an offer to purchase your house, either. A real estate agent will guide you through the home closing process. By doing so, he or she will help you avoid stress as you finalize your home sale.

Prepare to list your house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can add your home to the real estate market and move one step closer to selling your residence.




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Posted by Marie Presti on 12/23/2018

Homeowner’s insurance allows you to have financial protection if your home or the contents of your home have been damaged. If you or your family member are held legally responsible for injuries that have occurred on your property, you are also protected. Insurance is generally required by most mortgage lenders in order to secure a loan. 


There are many different types of insurance policies that you can use to cover your home. You can get anything ranging from a basic insurance policy that just covers your home overall or you can go for broader protection for your home. The types of coverage that you can get will vary from state to state.


Natural Disasters


Most insurance policies will cover damage caused by fire, wind, lightning, theft, or vandalism. Floods and earthquakes typically require additional coverage, so if you live in an area that is susceptible to these issues, then you should inquire about additional coverage. 


The Standard Policy


Most insurance policies include certain basic coverages like dwelling coverage which is the allowance for you to either repair or rebuild your home. This includes the electrical systems, the plumbing systems, and the HVAC systems. You need enough coverage for your home in order to rebuild in the event that such an event would cause a need for it. Your insurance agent can help you to find a comfortable number that will allow you enough coverage for rebuilding.


Standard coverage also may include “other structures” which can include fences, garages, cottages, and sheds. You’ll also be covered for your personal property which includes clothing, furniture, and electronics that may be damaged in your home due to theft or disaster. 


Loss Of Use Coverage


This type of coverage will pay for your living expenses if you need to move out of your home while it’s being rebuilt or restored. This would allow you to find alternative arrangements when you need it most, so it’s an important aspect of home insurance coverage. 


Liability Coverage


This coverage is one of the most important aspects of purchasing home insurance. Having liability will help to protect your assets and cover defense costs in the event that you have been held liable for causing and injury to other people or property. 

Additional Coverage Options


There are many different types of additional coverages that you can add to your homeowners insurance policy to help you get the right umbrella of coverage for you.




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