Marianne Leonard Cashman's Blog
Preparing your house to sell can mean different things in different markets. You want your home to be competitively priced and attractive to the buyer, so you put some extra effort into staging and end up with no takers. What happened?
Despite what you see in decorator magazines and on television, sometimes less is more, way more when it comes to staging your home.
Here are some areas to watch out for when following staging “advice.”
- Over the years, real estate agents have shared the notion that freshly baked cookies or bread evoke a warm and welcoming atmosphere. But unless you're offering the treats to share, leave the baking to the shop down the street. The idea has run its course and appears to be just what it is—a sales tactic that might backfire on you.
- In the same vein, don't light scented candles all over the place. What seems delightful to you may be overpowering to your potential buyer. They may be wondering just what you're trying to cover up. Instead, open the windows and air it out. Or use an odor-removing spray with a "fresh" or "linen" scent.
- Don’t cover the windows. Don’t buy new blinds, new drapes, new valances, or sheers. Just don’t! Your windows should be as lightly-dressed as possible. Remove or pull up shades to let the dazzling sunlight stream through the clean glass. Chances are, your buyer has different taste from you, so spending money on new window coverings would be a lose-lose!
- Leave the music and television off. Since you don't know your buyer's taste in music any more than you know their taste in candles, allow the home's everyday sounds to become music to the buyers' ears.
- Don’t decorate every surface. It’s easy to do when using magazines or home décor shows as your guide, but savvy buyers want to see the nitty-gritty surfaces. They want to know what they’re buying, and not worry about what you’re covering up with all that stuff.
- During holidays or events, don’t overdo the celebratory decorations. These become distractions and may turn off your buyers.
- If you've painted a room a deep shade of red or purple, consider painting it light and bright before your open house. Regardless of how popular they are in theory, homes with darker shades don't sell as quickly as lighter hues.• Don't leave family portraits and very personal items hanging on walls or filling display spaces. You want the buyers to imagine themselves there, not to see you.
When staging your home for sale, opt for less, not more. Less furniture, fewer window coverings, and limited décor give your home its best chance. For more ideas on home staging, talk to your local real estate agent.
53 Cedar Lane, North Andover, MA 01845
Whether you've recently purchased a new home or are in the process of doing so, one of the most satisfying aspects of becoming a homeowner is customizing your living space.
Half the fun of moving into a new home is "making it your own," which can include everything from painting the walls to remodeling the kitchen.
Although it may feel a little odd at first to move into what was recently "someone else's house," it won't take long before you and your family feel a sense of belonging and pride. In many cases, that feeling is instantaneous. While there are dozens of things you can do to create a feeling of coziness, comfort, and security, here are a few tips worth keeping in mind.
Empty those moving boxes. Once the moving crew leaves, the first thing many people do is take a deep sigh of relief and order a pizza -- and why not! If you have all your immediate essentials packed in separate, clearly labeled boxes, then there's no urgent need to set up your household right away. Relax, take in your new surroundings, and enjoy the accomplishment of purchasing and moving into a new home! Once you've taken that initial breather and acclimated yourself to your new living space, however, getting organized and unpacked is one of the next orders of business. If you leave stuff in boxes for more than a week or two, it may delay your feeling of being "settled in."
Add your own decorating touches. If your walls seem sterile, stark, or empty looking, two solutions immediately come to mind: Consider changing your paint color to a warmer shade and hang up some framed paintings or pictures that reflect your personality. In addition to wall art you already own, there are several websites and well-known retail outlets that can help you update and personalize your home décor. Over time, you can also check out local art exhibits, antique shows, and craft fairs.
Landscaping: Depending on the season and the climate in which you live, planting colorful flowers, bushes or ornamental trees can help beautify your property and make it feel like your own. Hedges and fencing can also enhance your sense of privacy and create a backyard retreat that's ideal for relaxing and entertaining.
Security matters: Regardless of how safe and secure your new neighborhood seems, it's always better to be safe than sorry! Since you don't know how many people may have been given keys to your house, such as housekeepers, contractors, neighbors, or friends of the previous owner, it makes sense to change the locks on your doors, as soon as possible. You may also want to do a security audit, which might include testing your window locks and trimming shrubbery that covers windows. Installing a couple motion detector lights in strategic places is another home security measure that can increase your peace of mind and make your new house feel more like a home.
Let's face it – the homebuying journey may prove to be an expensive experience. If you're not careful, you risk overspending to acquire your dream house. On the other hand, if you purchase a home without identifying underlying structural problems, you risk costly home repairs down the line.
Ultimately, it helps to establish a budget for the homebuying journey. If you have a budget in place, you can increase the likelihood of having the necessary funds on hand to overcome many potential homebuying hurdles.
You should have no trouble creating a homebuying budget, either. In fact, here are three tips to help you put together a budget for the homebuying journey.
1. Assess Your Financial Situation
If you intend to purchase a house in the foreseeable future, you'll want to take a close look at your finances. By doing so, you may be able to reduce your monthly spending and use your savings to accelerate the homebuying journey.
It often helps to assess your daily, weekly and monthly expenses. Then, you may discover bills that you can cut from your everyday budget.
For example, you may enjoy dining out regularly, but cooking at home may prove to be more cost-effective. And as you reduce your dining expenses, you can save money that you can use toward the down payment on a new house.
2. Obtain Your Credit Score
Believe it or not, your credit score can make a world of difference in your quest to acquire a house. If you check your credit score, you may be able to find ways to improve your credit score prior to kicking off a house search.
You are eligible to receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Take advantage of this perk, and you can learn your credit score in no time at all.
Remember, your credit score may have a major impact on your ability to land a favorable mortgage. And if you find that you have a below-average credit score, you then can pay off outstanding debt to improve it before you start your search for a new home.
3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Pre-approval for a mortgage is ideal. With a mortgage in hand, you can enter the real estate market with a budget for buying a house.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can offer insights into a variety of mortgage options and help you make an informed mortgage selection.
Lastly, as you prepare a homebuying budget, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you hone your home search to residences that fall within your price range. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to avoid spending too much to acquire your dream house.
Get ready to buy a house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can establish a successful homebuying budget.