Tag Archives: washington DC

Get Ready To Sell

 

MC9553647

Get Ready To Sell- in The Spring Real Estate Market

With spring being the busiest time for real estate, homeowners planning to put their homes on the market shouldn’t wait for flowers to bloom before getting ready to sell. Having a few months to prepare and getting ready, can translate into more money in your pocket.

Here are some things you can do now to get ready for a spring sale:

Clear Away the Clutter

Once your home is on the market you’ll need to keep it as neat as possible. One way to make that easier is to reduce the amount of clutter you have on your shelves and surfaces. Put away items that are regularly on your kitchen sink  and completely clear off your kitchen counter-top . Clean off your refrigerator completely and remove all but a handful of family photos,  in this case- less is more.  Pack away your collections, they may detract attention from buyers looking at your house- you want them to focus on what may be their new home . Pack away most of your books. Go through your closet and pack away or throw away or donate clothes you don’t need, making your closet look bigger and more attractive to potential buyers. While everyone has clutter, buyers want to see a fantasy version of your house, in which they can envision living.

Start Packing

It may seem premature to start packing months in advance of your move, but since you’ll eventually need to do this anyway, you might as well get organized now. You can sort through your storage closets, attic, basement or garage to determine what you want to keep, what to give away and what to sell. Also, now is the time to throw away old furniture that you don’t want to move to your new home. Boxing up items will make your space look larger and neater when it’s time to show your home. You can also get an idea of whether you need to rent a storage facility while your home is on the market.

Freshen up

While you don’t necessarily want to do a major, expensive renovation project before you sell, you can make minor repairs and improvements that will make your home look fresher to buyers. Try things such as replacing the caulk and grout in your bathroom, updating old or rusted ceiling fans and light fixtures, and changing switch plates, doorknobs and other hardware for a clean and neat appearance. Consider painting your front door and trim even if your rooms don’t need new paint. Clean your carpet and hire a professional cleaner to start a baseline and make upkeep easier.

Research Your Market

If you plan to buy another home, an important decision to make is whether to sell your home first or make an offer on a new home before putting yours on the market. A knowledgeable REALTOR can help you evaluate how fast homes are selling in your market and help you estimate how long it will take you to find a home. This decision also depends on your financing, so you may want to consult with a lender to see how you can finance the transition from one home to another if you choose not to sell your home first. Go over the listing paperwork now so you will be able negotiate commission and listing time frames.

Check out your closing cost, from Federal Title- http://closeit.federaltitle.com/

If you spend the winter months preparing for spring, you’ll find yourself ready to move fast when buyers come out of hibernation.

Tracy Tkac
301-437-8722
Evers & Co.

Tracy@eversco.com
www.WashingtonHG.com

 

 

Sell Your Home For The Most Money

Sell Your Home For The Most Money  

P1010941

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Tracy Tkac

Washington Homes Group

www.WashingtonHG.com

Sell Your Home For The Most Money

#10: Price it right
Find out what your home is worth by looking at what homes like yours in your neighborhood have sold for in the previous six months, (that is the criteria an appraiser will use to value your home for the bank for a buyers loan). When sellers “test” the market, many times their home will sit un-sold and become stale on the market. Agents and buyers will think something is wrong with the house or it is undesirable because it hasn’t sold or that it is over-priced. Price it right from the start and you should sell your home for the most money possible.

#9: Half-empty closets
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers open every door and will notice over-stuffed spaces. De-cluttering is something you should do across the board- take the sporting equipment out of the garage; remove that collection of dishes on display and too many kid’s toys.

#8: Light it up
Maximize the light in your home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more attractive and sellable.

#7: Hire the Right Real Estate Agent
Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed, educated and motivated. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood. Find a broker who embraces technology – a tech-savvy one has many tools to market your house and get it sold!

Se #6: Take Your Pets With You
Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If a realtor has made an appointment to show your house or you’re planning an open house, take your pets with you.

#5: Make Repairs
Quick fixes before selling always pay off. Your updates will pay off and get you top dollar. Put a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or go buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.

#4: De-personalize
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Less stuff means more room.

#3: The kitchen comes first
It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops and floors where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. You may even consider painting the cabinets. Use neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy stainless steel appliances. Be sure to keep the counter tops clear and clean and thin out small appliances from your cabinets.

#2: Always be ready to show

Your house needs to be “show-ready” at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.

#1: The first impression is the only impression
You never have a second chance to make a first impression. No matter how great the interior of your home is, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with shrubs and flowers. Make sure there are working light

Getting Ready; Five Tips For Home Buyers

GetMedia-42by Tracy Tkac

 

 

1. Get Loan Pre-Approval

 

This step is extremely important. It will help you to know what you can afford and determine if there are any glitches in your credit that need attention before buying. Talk with a few lenders to get rate quotes and to find one that fits your working style. After you are pre-approved, make sure to pay close attention to your finances and do not make any rash decisions or large purchases, such as a car, until after the purchase of your new home.  

 

2. Find An Agent

An agent will lead you through the process of the paperwork, negotiation strategies, inspections and ultimately settlement by placing offers, negotiating final prices and settlement terms and closing costs to settlement.

 Find a professional agent that is knowledgeable in the area in which you are looking to buy. In most cases in the MD, VA and DC area, if a home is listed in the MRIS, the area multiple listing system, then the commission is paid entirely by the seller- not the buyer. A Buyer Broker is an agent that advocating and working exclusively for your best interests.

By finding a knowledgeable real estate agent that you trust, you are likely to save money, purchase the home of your choice and have a smooth and successful transaction.

 

3. Prioritize Your Needs and Wants

While location and price range will dictate a lot about the home you will be looking for, you should also think about what amenities you hope for. Start big with the non-negotiables such as the specific communities you want to live in, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need, what style of homes you are interested in looking at, whether or not you need a garage, etc. After the larger must-haves are established it is easier to understand what is negotiable in the long run. If you are prepared beforehand you can assure that you are looking for everything that is necessary.

4. Look Into Potential Programs

In recent years there has been an increased effort by the government to try and stimulate home purchases. One of these efforts includes tax credits and benefits for first time homebuyers. During your home buying process, be sure to look and see if any credits or benefits are available for you. Some of these programs will allow savings on the initial purchase of the home and others will save money back in the form of a tax return. Either way, the saved money can be a major bonus and it is well worth the effort to find out. Your realtor and lender will help you determine if you qualify for any programs.

5. Inspect Your Future Home, Choose Your Settlement Company ect.

Research the companies you will want to use for your inspections and settlement. Your contract to purchase your home may be contingent on certain inspections such as termite, home inspection, radon or well and septic. Looking into the cost of these inspections and choosing what company fits your expectations will put in a position to be prepared to move forward. A choice of settlement company is generally the purchasers to make. There are many factors to consider, your agent will help you navigate the way to a successful conclusion!

 

 

The Advantages to a Mortgage Preapproval

The homebuying process can be exciting, but also stressful. When there are a large number of buyers in the market for real estate, the odds of being able to purchase your desired home can be low. However, getting a mortgage preapproval prior to home shopping can dramatically increase the odds of success.

Make Mortgage Preapproval Your First Step

A mortgage preapproval should be a homebuyer’s first step when purchasing a home. A borrower can choose to meet with a lender or get an initial preapproval via the Internet. The preapproval process is similar to the actual mortgage process and will, in fact, eliminate a lot of time after a home has been chosen.

When obtaining a mortgage preapproval, the borrower will complete a mortgage application and submit the necessary documentation to the lender. The lender will pull a credit report and examine the borrower’s credit.

Based on all of this information, the lender will determine the amount of funds that the borrower qualifies for. The borrower will receive a Conditional Commitment, which states the amount of funds that the lender agrees to lend provided that the conditions are met. While a preapproval is an important first step, it is not the final mortgage approval.

Impress Homesellers With Your Mortgage Preapproval

One of the advantages of having a preapproval is that this letter can be shown to real estate agents and sellers when looking for a home. By doing so, both the agent and the seller know that the borrower can qualify for a certain amount of funds. It is proof of the borrower’s financial standing and ability to proceed with the home purchase.

Another advantage is that some of the work that is involved in obtaining a mortgage is already done. The lender has already examined the borrower’s financial situation, including credit, income and assets. During the preapproval process, the lender will also discuss the most appropriate type of mortgage program that fits the borrower’s needs, whether it is a conventional loan or a government loan.

This is significant because not all sellers will accept a buyer who is using a government loan. Knowing the details of what type of loan is appropriate for the borrower, the agent can then show them homes that will fit their preapproval both for cost and type of funding.

How Mortgage Preapproval is Determined

The preapproval is determined by putting the information given to the lender through automated underwriting. In most cases, the preliminary loan file goes through a preprocessing before the preapproval is given to the borrower. Since there is an actual examination of the borrower’s documentation, the borrower will also receive a list of additional information that may be needed. The borrower can then submit this information while shopping for a home.

Once a home is found and the sales contract is signed, processing the loan is faster since most of the work for the credit file has been done. The final process involves verifications, ordering and receiving the appraisal, ordering title documents, obtaining insurance, etc. The final underwriting is the last step before the loan file is sent for closing.

The preapproval process is an important part of a home purchase. Since there is a lot of information involved in obtaining a mortgage, it eliminates many last minute problems that can arise. Obtaining a mortgage preapproval helps the home purchase process go smoothly.

5 Tips For The Best Home Showings

Advantages to a Mortgage Preapproval
5 Tips For The Best Home Showings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Tips For The Best Home Showings

by Tracy Tkac

Home routines tend to come to a standstill while your home is on the market. The need to keep the house clean  – and not scare potential homebuyers away – means that kids can’t throw their back packs on the dining room table, the sink must be free of dirty dishes and everyone must hang their towel and put away their clothes.

Keeping the house clean is a good first step toward presenting the home in the best light. But it isn’t the only step, start with 5 Tips For The Best Home Showings below.

1. Odors

Have you ever walked into a home and been immediately assaulted by nasty odors? Cigarettes, grease, cooking odors, diapers and pets all leave their mark on the way a home smells. While it’s almost impossible to rid the home of cigarette smoke without painting, there are ways to get rid of other odors.

  • Have the carpets professionally cleaned and deodorized.
  • Launder or dry-clean all curtains and drapes.
  • Consider having your upholstered furniture professionally cleaned.
  • Clean the grease from the range hood.
  • Keep the dog bathed and groomed to keep doggy smells at bay.
  • Place dishes of potpourri or scented candles in random areas throughout the home.

2. Sounds

We become habituated to certain things, including sounds.  Turn the T’V. off. Make certain that pesky faucet is repaired and not dripping and the toilet  is not running. Your lovely teenager should not share his/her music while your home is being shown.

  • Play some music, softly, while the home is being shown.
  • Play a sound-effects CD softly in the background.

3. Sights

Light and bright are the operative words when considering the ideal way to present your home to buyers.

  • Change all the light bulbs in the home to higher wattage bulbs. Leave the lights on for showings, including closet lights.
  • Paint the walls a neutral color- not stark white but an off white . If you can’t paint, clean the walls.
  • Remove heavy drapes and replace them with lightweight fabric that allows natural light into the home.

Don’t neglect the outside of the house. Before a showing, make sure  your front door is clean or freshly painted and that the planting beds look clean and attractive and that the lawn is mowed.

4. Set the Scene

If you’ve ever toured model homes, you are familiar with the concept of staging – the art of carefully crafting interiors that appeal to homebuyers. If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford a professional designer, make some simple changes that appeal to buyers.

Create vignettes throughout the home. Set the dining room table with attractive dinnerware or create a cozy nook in the bedroom with a small table and chairs. Group items in threes, use different heights, and keep it simple.

Fresh flowers add so much to a home, from masking odors to adding pops of color and texture. A gorgeous bouquet on the dining room table can take the place of a fussy centerpiece. Night stands are ideal places to set small vases of flowers.

Bathrooms are important, so pay close attention to how you stage yours. Get rid of the countertop clutter and add fluffy towels and a new shower curtain.

5. Security

Since sellers should make themselves scarce when the home is being shown, it’s important to take security measures. Lock up or remove valuables, weapons, prescription drugs and money.

Don’t leave personal items – especially paperwork with your financial information -lying around in plain sight. remove most personal photos.

Whatever you can do to make your home appear move-in ready will appeal to buyers. Tour some new home communities for more ideas and inspiration so that your home shows like a model.

By Tracy Tkac

Tracy Tkac

Evers & Co. Real Estate

cell    301-437-8722

office 202-364-1700

tracy@eversco.com

www.WashingtonHG.com

Licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Your referrals are warmly welcomed and appreciated!

 

Choosing School Districts and Schools

The neighborhoods you consider while house hunting may be determined, in part, by school districts and educational choices. If you’ll be sending your children to public school, ratings and other assessment tools can help you judge the merit of the schools near you. If you’re considering a private school, you may have to sort through programs with a wide range of philosophical backgrounds. Read on to learn about school ratings, types of schools and other factors to consider.

Finding Information About School Districts

School ratings and test score data can be found through your State Department of Education website. According to Project Appleseed, the National Campaign for Public School Improvement, “The [federal] No Child Left Behind legislation requires an annual school report card for all schools. School report cards describe characteristics of the school, including the number of children, various test scores, ratios of teachers to students, ethnic ratios, poverty levels, and more. Report cards can usually be obtained by contacting the department of education in the state or the school district office where the school is located.”

If you’re considering several regions at once, you can get State Education Data Profiles by accessing the National Center for Education Statistics website. To compare school districts in another way, visit GreatSchools.org to conduct a school search. GreatSchools, which is based in San Francisco, offers free information for parents all over the nation.

What to Consider when Choosing a School

When you look for information about a school district, you have a lot to consider. Not only should you look at test scores and class sizes, but you should also consider the particular needs of your child. Project Appleseed suggests that you should assess schools with these things in mind:

  • Your child’s personality and learning style
  • Your family’s values, budget, and needs
  • School philosophy and style of instruction
  • School facilities and personnel
  • School policies and schedules
  • The school’s reputation in the community
  • Core curriculum and additional courses
  • The school’s approach to safety
  • Family and community involvement

If your dream house turns up in a school district with poor school ratings, don’t give up hope. It may be possible to get a geographic exception to send your child to a different school. While this may rule out traveling by school bus, it could be a good compromise if you need to be close to work or have other reasons for choosing a home in a less-than-ideal school district.

Transportation

How far will your child have to walk to reach school bus stops? This can be a serious concern in areas with cold winters or in rural areas, where bus stops may be far apart. According to the American School Bus Council, school buses are safer than cars and provide vital transportation to 26 million students every day. With 480,000 buses operating in the U.S. at any given time, there’s a good chance your student will be riding one to school.

When assessing transportation options for your child, ask these questions:

  • Where is the nearest school bus stop?
  • How long will my child’s commute last each day?
  • When will my child be picked up and dropped off? (You’ll want to escort younger children to and from the stop for safety.)
  • Will bus routes change in inclement weather?

School Violence and Bullying

It’s unfortunate, but parents need to consider more than academic ratings before putting an offer on a house. School violence can be difficult to judge. Online school rating websites can be helpful, as can phoning and asking for information on school violence from local school districts. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions; where your child goes to school can have a long-lasting effect on his life.

The National School Safety Center strives to advocate for “safe, secure, and peaceful schools worldwide as a catalyst for the prevention of school crime and violence.” Their website offers school safety statistics and resources.

It’s Only Your Child’s Future!

Not to scare you, but the choices you make today will shape your child’s future. All children deserve to learn in a safe, comfortable environment. You know your child best, and as you look for a house in a good school district, you’ll need to keep his or her particular needs in mind. If you know your child will thrive in a big, bustling classroom or a quiet space for a small group, for instance, you can use that knowledge to go beyond the statistics. Talk to staff, see if you can tour some classrooms, and take the time to find a great school before you buy a home.

If you need help finding a school district or school near you, you can visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website to search their comprehensive database. You can use their search tools to find public schools, private schools, and school districts all over the country. Their database includes facts like enrollment numbers, student demographics, teacher/student ratios, and school contact information.