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10 Steps to Preparing Your Home for an Open House

Putting your house on the market is just the beginning of the selling process. Use the ten following tips to prepare your home for a successful open house.

  1. Clear clutter.
    Prospective buyers have a hard time visualizing their own items in your space when it’s filled with clutter. Begin packing kitchen appliances, collectibles, and other items to clear flat surfaces from clutter.
  2. Organize cabinets and drawers.
    Beyond appearing disorganized, clutter makes your space appear as if there is not enough storage. For the things you can’t get rid of in cabinets and drawers: organize, organize, organize.
  3. Neutralize odors.
    Ask a (good) friend or your Mainstreet agent for an honest opinion, because we all get used to the smells of our home. For a small investment, shampoo your carpets for a fresh smell and look. If you have pets, you may want to give them baths and clean litter boxes more often than normal.
  4. Make repairs.
    Small repairs like leaky faucets, burnt out lightbulbs, and broken window panes draw unwanted attention from vigilant prospective buyers, but can be fixed for relatively small amounts of money.
  5. Remove family photos.
    Although your family photos are precious, prospective buyers will have a hard time putting down roots in your space if they can’t envision their family growing there.
  6. Hire a cleaning service.
    Prospective buyers won’t notice if your house is fresh and clean, but they will notice dust and dirt in areas you may forget in the midst of packing.
  7. Buy new towels.
    For a small investment, you’d be surprised how much cleaner bathrooms and kitchens look with fresh linens.
  8. Set the table.
    Prospective buyers can more easily envision entertaining in your space if you set the stage for them with neutral place settings and your best dishware.
  9. Enhance curb appeal.
    For a small investment of your time or money by hiring a landscaper, trim your lawn, weed your flowerbeds and prune your shrubs. Small landscaping tasks really enhance the curb appeal of your space.
  10. Leave.
    Prospective buyers will feel more comfortable asking questions (and receiving unbiased answers) when you’re not hovering in the background. Take off for a couple hours during showings, but don’t forget your pets; some prospective buyers may not be comfortable around animals or may have allergies.
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10 Things to Do After You Sell

After your property is on the market and has successfully sold, your work is not done. Keep the ten following tips in mind after you sell your property.

  1. Re-evaluate your personal finances.
    If your financial situation has changed since you bought your last property, you need to rethink your finances and how much you want to spend (and put down) on a new home.
  2. Don’t feel pressured to re-buy.
    Take your time. Don’t feel rushed or pressured to find your next home and remember renting is always an option, even if you’ve owned for a significant period of time.
  3. Stay up-to-date on tax laws.
    You can avoid losing money when selling your property by staying up-to-date on tax laws.
  4. Choose your next home carefully.
    Again, don’t feel pressured to re-buy just because you are selling! Check out multiple styles of homes that may work for your family, and tour different neighborhoods. For more information about selecting the best neighborhood, click here to read “How to Know if a Neighborhood is the Right Fit for You & Your Family.”
  5. Evaluate your next down payment.
    Again, re-evaluate your personal finances if your situation has changed since you last bought a property. A good rule of thumb says 20% down qualifies buyers for the best mortgage programs. More mature home buyers may want to put down larger amounts.
  6. Consider your need for an agent.
    Will the agent who helped sell your home be a good fit when helping you buy? If you’re relocating, it may be best to find an agent better acclimated with the area.
  7. If you are re-buying, send change of address notices.
    The USPS recommends completing change of address paperwork no less than 30 days before moving.
  8. If you’re not re-buying, put your proceeds in a money market fund.
    Money market funds secure funds, provide reasonable return, allow daily access to money, and give the ability to write checks.
  9. Keep copies of all paperwork.
    Documentation of all expenses and proceeds is necessary to file taxes on April 15 after your property sale. These same documents may be necessary if you are audited.
  10. Keep proof of improvements and prior purchases.
    Receipts and/or documentation of all home improvements may be added to your home’s cost basis when filing taxes on April 15.
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5 Tips for Creating a Wishlist That Works

A wishlist is essential to hunting for the perfect home and determining what is “must have” vs. “nice to have.” Narrowing down homes can be a challenge, but the right wishlist and the right agent make finding the perfect property for your family much easier.

  • Know your budget.
    Be realistic about what is affordable when determining your budget and enlist the help of one of our Mainstreet agents, who have years of experience dealing in the local markets.
  • Know your neighborhood.
    “Location, location, location!” Your home and an area’s neighborhood may change or improve over time, but its physical location will remain the same. Be aware of your new neighborhood’s proximity to work, schools, and the city.
  • Know your non-negotiables.
    Make sure everyone in your family feels comfortable and safe in your new space. For a family of four, three bedrooms may be non-negotiables. For a family living with grandparents, one bedroom and bathroom on the first floor may be non-negotiable.
  • Know your lifestyle.
    Look for a space that best fits your lifestyle. For avid cooks and entertainers, a gourmet kitchen may be a necessity. For families with young kids that love the outdoors, a large fenced in backyard may be a necessity.
  • Know your vision for the future.
    As a prospective buyer, be able to look past current decoration, paint colors, and flooring. For relatively small investments, all of these things can be changed.
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10 Steps to Purchasing a Home

Buying a home is one of the most significant decisions in your life.

  1. The buyers make an offer.
  2. The sellers accept the offer.
  3. The buyers place a deposit.
  4. Escrow opens.
  5. The buyers apply for a mortgage.
  6. The lender researches title history and the property is appraised.
  7. The property is inspected.
  8. Contingencies are removed.
  9. The deal is closed.
  10. The buyers & sellers begin packing!