Choosing a real estate agent

Choosing a real estate agent that is right for you is important when buying or selling a home. Whether buying your first home or selling your 10th home, trust and communication are crucial when choosing which agent should represent you. The transaction should be transparent and your agent should provide a clear process for buying or selling your home.

Before you begin, sit down with your real estate agent to determine if their style of communication is similar to yours. Do they communicate in the same manner? If you don’t often check your email, and they don’t text, it won’t be a good fit. Your real estate agent should explain the process so you are comfortable and understand the steps. Ask questions if you don’t understand.

Choose a real estate agent that is an expert in the area you are looking to buy or sell. Here are some questions to ask:

When choosing a real estate agent you should feel comfortable that they will communicate with you in the manner which you are accustomed. Because you ultimately want to feel that they will be looking after your best interests, provide great value and are an expert in your area. Their experience (or lack of) will help you determine if they are the right real estate agent to help your purchase or sale go smoothly.

Read more here about choosing the right real estate agent from Forbes Magazine For Cathy Wahlin’s area of expertise, check out the website, Read more about the cities Cathy Wahlin serves

How to Attract Home Buyers

1. Sell it Fast!

If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, you’ll need to figure out how to attract home buyers. You’re probably aware there’s some prep work to do. Most properties need to be spruced up before potential buyers start coming through, but it doesn’t have to mean a major investment of cash and time. There are many ways to put your house in position to sell quickly that won’t break the bank. In fact, you might be surprised at how much good you can do with some paint, a few gardening tools and a commitment to clean and declutter.

If you’re not sure where to begin, try seeing your home the way a potential buyer might. What could prevent someone from envisioning your home as their own? Here are a few tips that can get you off to a good start.

2. Boost Curb Appeal

Good curb appeal is a definite “must have” for any property. You want a landscape and home exterior that make passersby react instantly and positively. Keeping the grass mowed and the kids’ toys picked up is a start but remember that this is how you’ll attract people who are motivated to buy, as well as those who could be convinced to check into a house that just looks great. Keep the bushes well-trimmed and weed out dead plants and lawn debris. Add fresh flowers along the front of your house and mulch around trees and flower beds.

Check for cracks that need to be filled in the driveway and walkways and consider giving them a good pressure washing while you’re at it. Don’t neglect the front of your house. Does the front door or the entire front facade need to be repainted? A bright and clean presentation can make a tremendous difference when trying to attract buyers.

3. Clean Out Storage Space

Remember that prospective buyers will want to peer into every corner and closet and check out storage space, which is a big factor for many buyers. Clean out the basement and garage, especially if things have stacked up in there for a while. These are good places to declutter because people will want to see how much storage space they can expect. Get rid of any useless or duplicate items, sell or give away anything else that’s no longer needed or wanted, and carefully organize anything that remains in storage areas.

The decluttering phase is a great time to downsize and get rid of items you no longer need, but if you’re lacking in time or energy or still have too much “stuff” post-purge, store your extra belongings in an offsite storage unit. It’s easy to shop around online for the closest and cheapest storage options, but on average, you can expect to pay about $125 per month for storage in Seattle. It’s an extra expense, but if it helps make your home more desirable to potential buyers, it’s money well spent.

4. Check the Flooring

Few parts of your home show wear and tear as clearly as flooring. Years of use can make carpeting or hardwood flooring look roughed up. Consider whether carpeting can be brought back to life with a good cleaning or if it’s time to replace it. Often, a professional cleaner can remove deep stains and odors that have built up over a time. Bear in mind that hardwood is a popular choice among homebuyers these days and might make an attractive alternative to that old, worn carpeting.

5. Change up Window Treatments

Many buyers focus on natural light, so pay close attention to your window treatments. Change old curtains, drapes or blinds if they look yellowed and worn. By hanging window curtains a bit higher and wider than your window frame, you can make a room look both taller and bigger – a simple change with big results. And remember that curtains can be used for both practical and aesthetic purposes. They’re a great option for concealing shelving in your laundry room or as a graceful canopy over your bed.

Creativity and cleaning can go a long way towards figuring out how to attract home buyers. Presenting an attractive space inside and out is essential for staging a property and, best of all, you can do it affordably and attractively.

Article by Kelli Brewer –  Kelli Brewer is proud of her military family and is passionate about supporting other military families through DeployCare.

What Affects Property Values?

If you’re thinking about selling your house, you’re likely worried about your house value. So what affects property value?

Some the features that increase values are obvious – like a remodeled bathroom, a modern kitchen, or a sought-after neighborhood. But here are a few features and circumstances you may not realize can greatly affect property values.

  1. The neighbors: Not every neighborhood or community has an HOA that can keep the neighbors from going overboard with decorations or neglecting to care for their home. Homes adjacent to crazy neighbors can potentially be undervalued.
  2. Trendy groceries and coffee: Recent statistics suggest that if your home is a short walk from popular grocery stores like Whole Foods or coffee chains like Starbucks, it can actually appreciate faster than the national average.
  3. Mature trees: A big beautiful tree in the front yard is enviable, and it’s not something that can be easily added to any home. Homes with mature trees tend to get a little boost in value.
  4. Parking: This isn’t too much of an issue if you live in the suburbs or in a rural area, but residents in dense cities can have real problems with parking, and homeowners might need to rent a spot just to guarantee a place to park each night. That’s why having guaranteed parking in urban areas will raise property values.
  5. The front entrance: First impressions matter to buyers-many will cross a home off their list within 10 seconds of stepping through the front door. An appealing front door, a friendly entryway, and a functioning doorbell are all necessities for getting top dollar.

Selling a House With Pets: Make Your Home Catnip to Potential Buyers

Selling a house with pets? There are challenges. To ensure your home is catnip to potential buyers, we have assembled at top 5 list of tips:

  1. Take the Dog for a Walk.
    When your prospective buyers are in the house, your pets should be out of it. Even if Fido is friendly and your Persian purrs at all visitors, it’s almost impossible to predict how a potential buyer will react to a strange animal. You don’t want any part of the tour to be negative, and for many people, cat dander and a lick on the hand is a definite no. During tours, arrange for your pet to be out of the house. Your dog is probably up for a trip to the dog park, and your cat… well, your cat could probably stand some sunshine, too. (Crates were built for this.)
  2. Hide the Evidence.

No one likes the smell of a litter box, and you can bet that it will be noticeable to potential buyers, even if you’re used to the odor. So, a few hours before a showing, open a few windows to get the smell out, then relocate the litterbox to the garage. You don’t want to leave a bad smell in a buyer’s nose.

  1. Pick Up the Toys.

Your pet’s playthings probably have a way of turning up in unexpected places. That’s why, if you don’t have one already, it’s a good idea to designate a particular storage place — a box or closet — for them. Keep an inventory, and before any tour, find each plaything. You don’t want your prospective buyers tripping over a squeaky mouse, or sitting down on the couch only to be jabbed by a drool-soaked rawhide bone.

  1. Leave Carpets to the Pros.

Carpet cleaners and vacuums might have made astronomical progress over the past few decades, but they still often find themselves conquered by Pomeranians. Instead of obsessing over your carpets before every single showing, arrange to have them deep-cleaned. It will save you hours of time fussing with carpet shampoos and vacuum cleaners. (And it goes without saying: Post-cleaning, try to keep your four-legged friends to hardwood or tile areas.)

  1. Lint-Roll Everything. And Clean Up the Yard.

Potential buyers probably bear no ill will toward your pet. But that doesn’t mean they want to spend the rest of the day after touring your house picking cat hair off their clothes. So please: Buy a lint roller. Use it on every fabric surface you think a buyer might touch. Then use it again.

And just because your yard is outdoors, that doesn’t mean that you’re not responsible for its contents. Your dog might do his business out of sight in the back yard, but it shouldn’t be out of mind for you — and it definitely won’t be for buyers. Take a shovel to the evidence.

Sam Radbil is a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO, an online apartment marketplace. ABODO was founded in 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. And in just three years, the company has grown to more than 30 employees, raised over $8M in outside funding and helps more than half a million renters find a new home each month.

How to Increase Curb Appeal When Selling

Curb appeal is a reflection of the owner’s care for their home, and it’s the first thing people see. A neatly trimmed lawn, well-maintained shrubbery and clean exterior areas show the owners’ pride in their home.

If you want to maximize the value of your home, you need to focus some effort on improving the curb appeal. First impressions can make a significant difference when it comes to selling your home. Improving the exterior of a property may not be as exciting as trying to figure out what to do with the kitchen, but in many ways it is more important. At first glance, you want your property to have a wow factor.

Do these things to give the impression of a well maintained home.


Moving Day Checklist

Moving into your new home is a big job. The further you plan in advance, the smoother it will go. This list contains most of the big tasks you’ll need to do and suggested time frames. Depending on your situation, you might be able to delete (or may need to add) some items.

8 weeks Before

  • Call moving companies for estimates
  • Remove and dispose of unnecessary possessions
  • Start compiling an inventory of your possessions.
  • Get a floor plan (with room dimensions) of your new home to help you decide which furnishing you want to keep and which room they will go in.
  • Start a file of moving-related papers and receipts.
  • Locate schools, healthcare professionals and hospitals in your new location.
  • Arrange to transfer your children’s school records and family medical records.

6 Weeks Before

  • Secure off-site storage.
  • Choose a mover and sign contract.
  • Contact your homeowner’s insurance agent about coverage for moving and secure.
  • Contact insurance companies (auto, homeowners, medical and life) to arrange for coverage in your home.

4 Weeks Before

Create a file of important papers, such as auto license, registration documents and title; any medical dental and school records; birth certificates; wills, deeds stock certificates and other financial documents.

  • Notify the following of your change of address:
    • Post office
    • Banks
    • Credit card companies
    • Relatives and friends
    • Insurance agent, lawyer, tax/financial advisor
    • Magazine subscriptions
  • Notify utility companies of date to discontinue/transfer service and/or establish service at your new home. Also arrange for final readings and bills, including refunds on prepaid services.
    • Electric
    • Heating oil
    • Internet service
    • Natural gas
    • Telephone
    • Television
    • Trash collection
    • Water
  • Notify your state’s department of motor vehicle of your new address/
  • If moving from an apartment, arrange for refund of your security deposit.
  • Discontinue additional home services (housekeeper, gardener/lawn service, snow removal, and pool cleaner)
  • Start using up things you can’t move, such as perishables.

3 Weeks before

  • Make travel plans.
  • Make arrangements with condo or homeowners association to reserve elevator usage time if moving into or out of a high rise building.
  • Arrange to close existing bank accounts and open new accounts in new area.
  • Arrange for child care on moving day.

2 Weeks Before

  • Arrange special transport for your pets and plants.
  • Contact your moving company and review arrangements for your move.

1 Week Before

  • Pack moving-essential boxes–important documents, travel clothes, personal items and prescription medications.

2-3 Days Before

  • Confirm all final arrangements with your mover and other service providers.

Article provided by Real Estate Buyers Agency Council

The Cost of Remodeling a House

By Jody Lockshin – Originally published on  CRS (

What is the cost of remodeling a house? Giving your property curb appeal can take a lot of time, effort, and money, but how much of each should you plan for?

While we don’t know exact numbers, we’ve been in the real estate business long enough to give you an idea of what’s involved with the major types of home remodeling projects. Just note that the following information is based on hiring sub-contractors and experts to manage your renovation. If you’re DIY-ing the project, you?ll want to double the amount of time listed below and possibly decrease the costs. That said, while DIY projects can be cost-effective, if they’re not done properly, then you’ll need to have a professional come and fix them?which could cost you more than originally planned.

Re-Doing The Kitchen

Time: A kitchen remodel typically takes 6-8 weeks to complete.

Money: The average cost of a kitchen remodel is around $20,000. If you’re planning on a major overhaul, then it could cost between $20,000 and $55,000.

Effort: There will be a span of several days and possibly even weeks, where you won’t be able to use your fridge, stove or oven. Plan for a few take-out meals or take this time to schedule some dinners with friends, family, and/or neighbors.

Revamping The Living Space

Time: Any living space renovation den, living room, office, bedroom, spare room is about a month’s worth of work per room.

Money: The average room remodel can cost anywhere between $15,000 and $30,000.

Effort: These types of remodels usually require a lot of input from the homeowner. You’ll need to take the time to select paint colors, lighting and flooring options, furniture, and more.

Overhauling The Bathroom

Time: When compared to the other types of renovations, a bathroom remodel is usually pretty quick. Plan for the project to take between two weeks and a month.

Money: The average bathroom overhaul costs about $15,000, not including any major plumbing or structural changes.

Effort: If this is the only bathroom in your home, then you may have to make other arrangements while the workers complete the project.

Finishing The Basement Or Garage

Time: Finishing any area of your home whether it’s a basement, attic, garage or spare room will take a lot more time than the previous mentioned projects. Overall, this project can take 1.5-2 months.

Money: You’ll want to budget anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000.

Effort: The effort involved in finishing a spare room of the house is minimal. Typically, these are rooms that are not accessed every day (which is why they were unfinished) so you can carry on life as normal until the project is completed.

If you’re looking for costs on specific renovation projects, regardless of the room, then Living With My Home’s post on Repair & Remodel Estimates [2] offers a fantastic set of breakdowns.

Remodeling your home is great for curb appeal if/when you choose to sell. Contact us today [3] to learn more

about which types of renovations would be best to increase the value of your home.

As seen on Habitat Hunters blog. [4]

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