The calendar change to a new year can be an inspiration for resolutions that are often centered on one’s body and mind. The start of the New Year can also be a catalyst for a homeowner to embark on pruning their home ownership expenses. The New Year ushers in the time of tax preparation and organizing, so why not expand those activities to giving your homeownership a quick review? The following is a list of items that one might want to consider if they are interested in saving some money and if they want to be better prepared for future expenses for home maintenance and repairs.
Exterior Inspection: The winter months bring shorter daylight hours so vacation and holiday time gives the perfect opportunity to go outside on a nice day and take a look around your home. Looking around your home and yard sounds like a remarkably easy task that many folks never make time for, but for those that do, they can often spot future problems before they become emergencies or before they cause structural damage that’s expensive to repair. Checklist of what you might want to look at OUTSIDE the home:
Checklist of maintenance items you might want to look at INSIDE the home:Heating System – Has your heating system been serviced this year? If you have a forced hot air heating system, has the air filter and humidifier pad been replaced?Heating Source – A while back, I wrote a review on cost differences between Oil and Propane as heating alternatives. Currently, oil costs have dropped considerably, but I believe this price easing in oil will be short lived and oil prices will rise again over the next few years.Wells - Change your sediment filter as needed. Pressure drop is a tell tail sign that your well sediment filter needs to be changed. Water treatment systems often need to be check to be sure that softener salt levels are correct (let them run down to minimum level before refilling). Acid neutralizing media often needs to be replaced once per year. If you have a water treatment system that has an acid neutralizer, not having calcium media present has potential to cause serious damage to your home's water piping due to theaggressivenature that low PH water has.Frozen Pipes – Don’t let the mild winter so far lull you into thinking that Old Man Winter won’t have is way with us at some point in the near future. When that time comes, if you find you have Frozen Pipes in your home, you can learn more about how to deal with Frozen Pipes in my post about them here: http://www.gardenrealty.com/Frozen+Pipes
I hope these tips and ideas help you save money and start your new year off right! If you have any homeownership questions or problems that you would like to have my thoughts on, don’t hesitate to let me know.
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Frankly, keeping a listing on the market through the holidays has many advantages that are easily overlooked. Those who already have their home on the market and who have done their homework by getting their home properly staged with decluttering and making it as presentable as possible. Those Sellers already have their heavy lifting done. No one knows what the future will bring.
Who knows if the market will be much different in the spring? There are three possibilities: Better, the same, or worse. If it's worse, then you definitely want to try selling now. If it's the same, you might as well try selling now. If next spring is better, then try selling now and if it doesn't sell, then you'll encounter a better market and more chances to sell in the spring.
If your home has been on the market for a while and has not sold, the holiday and winter season isn’t going to make the prospects of selling worse. Holidays don’t make homes less appealing to Buyers – often they are MORE appealing since they give the sense of home and warmth being decorated and ready for your holiday celebrations with friends and family. Your lack of success as a Seller may be pricing not being realistic. What a home Seller needs to realize is lack of showings is often a reflection of a property being overpriced. If your home has been listed for a while and you have had a lack of showings, ask your listing agent if other similar properties have sold in your area and at what price.
Some Sellers fear “days on market” and think that they can stack the cards in their favor and fetching a higher price by re-listing in the spring time. Listings don’t get stale, only bread does. Don’t kid yourself, any good Buyer’s agent will look at the property history for any home that their Buyers like and they will see your listing history and exactly what your prior listing prices were and when your listing was active or removed. Buyers don’t buy a home because of low “days on market” count or price history; they buy because a property has availability and appeal to them at the then current asking price that’s affordable to them at the point in time they make an offer to you as a Seller.
If your home is already on the market and you as a Seller have a lot going on with children’s activities, shopping, parties and holiday guests, you may be feeling that removing the added pressure of having your home available in “show time condition” might just push you over the edge. The emotions and pressure can become overwhelming, that’s a normal thought that enters many Seller’s minds. Some Sellers have the added pressures of out-of-town guests coming and staying in their homes during the holidays and that adds weight to the scale in favor of pulling the home off the market. These two thoughts are the primary reasons for taking a home off the market during the holidays and the winter. It is understandable why you would be tempted to take your home off the market during the holidays and the list of justifications is long.
Before you extrapolate that thought and potential feeling of being overwhelmed to taking the step of removing your home from the market for the holidays, you might want to consider the following advantages that keeping the home on the market might bring to you. Here are key reasons to that you might want to keep your home listed or to bring your home to market during the holidays and winter months:
How do you feel about listing your home during the holidays or winter months? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
That's a question that homeowners and prospective owners both have asked themselves and others many times before. Buyers tend to have different shopping profiles and knowing what kind of a Buyer you are will help you identify what your weaknesses are and what you might want to do differently so that you can have less stress and a more positive buying experience.The obvious elephant in the room is rising mortgage interest rates. Yes, they have risen a lot over the last 6 months. Get over that if you missed the lows. The important thing is that they are still at very cheap rates when one looks at them in terms of the past 30-50 years. Why you didn't buy 6 months ago when the mortgage rates were cheapest is water over the dam and one needs to focus on what can be done going forward.Now is a time that you might want to refocus your efforts to buy since the mortgage landscape is about to change for many buyers when 2014 arrives. Getting a mortgage will be trickier and costlier next year. This article is a great resource that outlines the changes coming for mortgages starting next year.
If you've been going at your home search on your own without the aid of a professional Buyer's agent who's looking out for your interests, then you've overlooked a resources that (in most cases) has no out-of-pocket costs to you as the Buyer. It's normal for you as a Buyer to do research on your own and to browse all of the popular home search sites like Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia - those are great places to start. Here's info on why you might want to seek the services of a Buyer's agent who is also a REALTOR (not all licensed agents are REALTORS).Do you find fault with every home you see? If that's you, it might be time to step back and either adjust your search criteria or even take a break and return to the rental market while your head clears. It's not uncommon to find that what you can afford and what you desire are two different things. If what you can afford isn't desirable at this point in time, there's nothing wrong with going to the sidelines and renting until your purchasing power increases or until something new comes to market that you find appealing. Key here is to forge a relationship with a Buyer's agent you respect and trust and then ask them to keep notifying you of new listings for properties that match your needs. I've found that in some cases, it may take over a year to find the right property. I've recently found the perfect home for a client that I've worked with for TWO years so I encourage you to not give up on finding a great home.
Have you missed out on homes you made offers on only to learn that other Buyer's offers were accepted instead of yours? If your offers are consistently low and below others, you might not realize that in New London and Windham Counties in Southeastern CT, 2nd Quarter of 2013, the average selling to listing price between real warm blooded Buyers and Sellers doing 891 closed single family home deals was done by them agreeing on a sales price that was 94.84% of the listing price. If your offers are way below that average, perhaps that's a reason why your offers are not being accepted. Price discovery is something that both Buyers and Sellers go through. The point here is that home ownership is all about enjoying a home and not chasing the deals that just won't happen.Hope this info helps. Questions welcomed.
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