O’Connell Team's Blog
While "the perfect neighborhood" means different things to different people, everyone can use the same process for narrowing down their options. Choosing the right neighborhood is an integral aspect of the buying process. You want an area that matches your needs for community, lifestyle, price range and more. If you're planning to rent or sell the house in the future, you should also consider the resale value of the neighborhood. Even though areas change over time, some areas can be relied on to maintain their value. Often this is due to other longer-term location features such as a university or access to a city's main shopping or services. Current price range and property values will always vary by neighborhood.
Getting from Place to Place
You’ve probably considered how long of a work commute you’re willing to make. While this is helpful as a starting point, it's vital to consider everywhere else you'll need to go on a regular basis. If you eat out or order in, how close are restaurants? Do you have choices within walking, biking or jogging distance? What are the alternatives for delivery? Find the nearest grocery store options and check to make sure they carry the kinds of food you want to buy. Be certain that their parking or public transportation access works for your shopping needs. Don't forget the business hours. If you get off work at 5 pm, then have an hour commute home, and the grocery store closes at 6:30 pm, your shopping will always be stressful, and the timing will inevitably be tight. Speaking of commutes, where is the nearest gas station? Find it and visit a view times to figure out how busy it is during rush hour or when you expect to need it in a hurry.
Schools and Healthcare
If you have or are planning to have children while living in this house, schools are an essential neighborhood feature. Visit schools for different ages and find out how the school district works in the community. Talk to administrators about dress codes, honor policies, class availability and how your kids will get there. Some schools have dedicated buses or walking routes. Some offer free or discounted public transportation passes. Others have strict rules about driving and drop-off times, so ask all these questions upfront.
Access to healthcare is a vital feature of any neighborhood. If your insurance requires your doctors and hospitals to be part of a particular health network, do your research. Find all the doctors, dentists, hospitals and pharmacies, and map them out. Use this map to ensure your favorite neighborhood isn't a considerable distance away from your emergency room, just in case.
Finding the perfect neighborhood can seem like a chore, but it is mandatory that you put the right amount of time into it if you want to get the most out of your new home purchase. Talk to your professional real estate agent about your specific needs and use their inside knowledge to help eliminate or favorite the areas on your list before searching for your forever home.
Getting your house ready to be sold can seem like an overwhelming undertaking. Like any large project, though, if you take it one step at a time, you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish!
The ideal scenario involves having everyone in the family pitch in to keep your house looking its best for each showing. When you divide the labor and work as a team, things get done a lot faster and more efficiently.
Keeping your lawn mowed, bushes trimmed, and house clean on a consistent basis are among the many challenges of always being ready for the next showing. Another common necessity involves applying a fresh coat of paint to walls and other surfaces. That relatively inexpensive step can help make your home look dramatically brighter, vibrant, and more appealing to prospective buyers.
One thing to keep in mind when preparing to put your home on the market is that you (the owner) are probably "too close to the trees to see the forest." In other words, you may be overly accustomed to the appearance, the imperfections, and the décor of your home to be able to identify what needs to be upgraded, fixed, or changed. An experienced real estate agent can help you develop a cost-effective plan for staging your home, enhancing curb appeal, and making necessary improvements to maximize your home's appeal and marketability.
There are dozens of inexpensive things you can do that often have a major impact on the impression you make on potential buyers. Having your carpets, upholstered furniture, and draperies professionally steam-cleaned, for example, can make a world of difference! So can adding a few colorful flower arrangements, inside and out. Lots of light -- both natural and artificial -- also helps make your home look more cheerful and inviting. Keeping your windows crystal clear is another way to make a positive impression, as well as cleaning out your closets to avoid a cluttered, unkempt look.
A few other critical things homeowners sometimes forget to do is clean up dog droppings in the yard, fix squeaky hinges, and remove visible mouse traps from the basement and garage -- especially if there are mice in them! The cleanliness of your cat's litter box is another major priority that can easily be overlooked.
Even the most meticulous, conscientious home sellers can forget to clean, prepare, or organize important things before potential house buyers come to visit, so it's useful to create checklists and routines to get ready for scheduled house showings.
While some homes pose more of a challenge than others when it comes to getting ready for real estate showings, the goal is to make the most of what you have, and do so within your available budget and timeframe.
Architecturally speaking, many home buyers have very definite ideas about their preferred house style.
Whether it stems from a sense of practicality or positive childhood memories, few house hunters are "on the fence" when it comes to the number of stories their ideal house should have.
Perhaps you're one of those people who grew up in a two-story house and wouldn't feel right sleeping down the hall from the kitchen and family room. Some people just prefer their sleeping quarters to be on the second floor!
Although it's a matter of personal preference, there are certain practical aspects to buying a ranch-style or traditional rambler house.
Less stair climbing: While this is an advantage that seniors typically value the most, stairs can be a burden anyone -- especially when you're lugging suitcases, boxes of books, or that heavy new futon you wanted to put in the guest room.
You can probably also recall countless evenings when exhaustion set it, and the last thing you felt like doing was climbing a long, winding staircase to get to your bedroom. (Okay, well maybe it's not "winding," but you get the idea!)
Then, of course, there are those times when you haven't been to the gym in a few months -- make that years -- and your home treadmill has turned into more of a clothes rack than an exercise machine! Although going up and down stairs a few times a day can help counteract the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, sometimes stairs can feel like they're more trouble than they're worth! That would definitely be the case if you have any physical conditions or health problems which make climbing stairs painful or medically unsafe. (Your physician can provide helpful advice on the latter.)
Home maintenance: If you hate getting up on tall ladders to paint your house or clean your rain gutters, owning a one-story home is a solution. Since home maintenance and repairs can often end up costing a bundle, it may make sense to consider doing your own exterior house painting. Although it's time consuming, messy, and sometimes a bit strenuous, painting your own house can potentially save you thousands of dollars in labor costs. Naturally, you'll still need to buy your own paint, brushes, rollers, and other supplies, but the amount of money you can save on labor is substantial.
Personal safety: If there's a fire or other emergency and you need to quickly evacuate your home in the middle of the night, a first-floor window can be safer and less scary than having to exit your house though a second-story window. While this type of dire situation is unlikely and will hopefully never happen to you, it's one of many factors to consider when comparing and contrasting ranch-style homes with other architectural styles.
If you do opt for a two-story (or three-story) architectural style, such as a colonial, craftsman, Tudor, Victorian, or farm house, it's especially important to have a fire escape ladder on hand, as well as a working knowledge of its proper use.
Looking to sell a home for the first time? Ultimately, a first-time home seller must be able to identify a strong offer for his or her residence. With extensive real estate insights, a first-time home seller may be better equipped than others to accept a strong offer and accelerate the home selling cycle.
Identifying a strong offer for a home can be quick and easy – even for a first-time home seller.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help a first-time home seller differentiate between a strong offer and a poor one.
1. Analyze the Housing Market
The housing market can be complex, particularly for a first-time home seller. Fortunately, many free, easy-to-access resources are available to help a home seller learn about the ins and outs of the housing sector so he or she can plan accordingly.
For example, a home seller can check the prices of homes available in his or her area via a simple online search. This home seller can even find out how long a particular house has been available, whether the price of a home has been reduced over time and much more.
With in-depth knowledge of the real estate market, a home seller can study how his or her residence stacks up against the competition. Then, this home seller can establish a competitive price for his or her home, increasing the likelihood that he or she will receive a number of strong offers.
2. Understand Your Home Both Inside and Out
A home appraisal is a must for a first-time or experienced home seller, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.
During a home appraisal, a property inspector will take a close look at a house's interior and exterior. This inspector will provide a report at the appraisal's completion that highlights a house's strengths and weaknesses too.
For a home seller, an appraisal offers a valuable learning opportunity. It enables a home seller to gain deep insights into a home's condition that he or she may struggle to obtain elsewhere. That way, a home seller can complete assorted home repairs before listing a residence and boost his or her chances of receiving multiple offers that exceed a house's initial asking price.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A first-time home seller should meet with a real estate agent and discuss the differences between a strong offer and a poor one.
Thanks to a real estate agent, a home seller can seamlessly navigate the entire property selling journey as well.
Typically, a real estate agent will help a home seller establish a fair price for a residence from the get-go. This housing market professional also can offer helpful tips throughout the home selling journey to ensure a home seller can get the best possible results.
Don't leave anything to chance as you prepare to list a residence for the first time. Instead, take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and a first-time home seller should have no trouble distinguishing between a strong offer and a subpar proposal.