Adventures in First Time Home Buying (what to look for and what to avoid)

[Blog content featured on Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter, May 16th, 2013: http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/adventures-in-first-time-home-buying-what-to-look-for-and-what-to-avoid/]

There’s nothing more exciting than researching homes on the internet, sifting through hundreds (maybe thousands) of photos of homes listed for sale until you narrow down the possibilities and compile your list of those you’d like to see in person. In most cases, a picture is truly worth a thousand words.

On numerous occasions, I’ve had the pleasure of walking through homes with First Time Home Buyers to discover some of the most outrageous and interesting features a house could possibly possess. Some in which you wish the Realtor would have posted pictures of, so you could’ve ruled it out as a possibility and saved yourself the gas and your precious time to see it.

Epic Fail: Roadblock for Resale!

Epic Fail: Roadblock for Resale!
Blog content featured on Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter, May 16th, 2013: http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/adventures-in-first-time-home-buying-what-to-look-for-and-what-to-avoid/

Homes with holes in the floor (we could see the dirt fill below), bathrooms with the door against the toilet, homes that were previous crime scenes (which I found out later via “Googling” the address), an ENTIRE home that was a dedicated shrine of Dale Earnhardt Jr (I’m a fan, just not an entire house of it) and my personal favorite:  a bidet in the middle of a bedroom, yes, a bedroom.

It’s tough to see yourself in a home when either photos don’t do a good home justice or when a potential home is washed out by clutter or issues that are hard to look past. Here’s a few tips to help you to weed out the bad ones from the diamonds in the rough:

Do Your Homework:
Go online:  Did you know that most Realtors can send you listings via email to check out from the web from the comfort of your couch? Use their services to check out homes! Their MLS will be your most up-to-date source for what’s available on the market. Also check out www.ColdwellBanker.com and their app as well.
Do the Drive-by:  If it’s a good possibility, drive by the home and see if you like the location. This will help you to weed out more homes than you think.

Look Past the Surface:
Good Bones:  If shag carpet and gaudy wallpaper isn’t your thing, don’t sweat it. Those are cheap fixes to a home that may have great bones. Look past the things that are easily replaceable and look at the layout of the home, as adding an addition is way more expensive than that gorgeous granite you’ve been dreaming of.
Don’t Fall for the Bells & Whistles: Quite opposite of the last tip. A home may have some sweet upgrades like solid countertops and stainless appliances, but you aren’t too crazy about the layout. Just remember, you can always customize the home down the road but living in a home with an awkward layout can eventually get annoying. It’s more expensive to do a total renovation (knocking down walls, permits, etc) than it is to buy an entire stainless kitchen on a Memorial Day sale.

Think About the Future:
Resale, Resale, Resale:  That small bedroom that is a decent “office” now may not be a considered good-sized bedroom for a buyer down the road when you’re trying to sell, as this personally cost us 10+ buyers when selling our home!  Don’t compromise on things that you think may hinder your chances of selling the home in the future.
Replacement Costs:  Buying a home is an investment, especially if you have to replace a ton of stuff inside. Take a closer look at things like the roof, air conditioning unit, pool pump, and other high ticket items that could be in need of replacing. It’s good to budget replacement costs into your yearly budget, but you don’t want to take on a home that needs everything replaced all at once.

A Home Fit for a Family:
Busy Streets:  If you have or plan on having kids, that’s great, just make sure the house accommodates them! Any parent of a toddler will tell you that living on a busy street is one of the scariest things in the world as you watch cars fly by your driveway. Consider an area that has less traffic and will be safer for the little ones.
A Tub:  As silly as it sounds, you will want a tub in the guest bathroom. Unless you want your sweet munchkins taking over your master every night until they can bathe themselves, save yourself the insanity and make sure there’s a tub in the guest bathroom for the little ones.

These are just a few things to think about when you’re looking to buy a home for the first time. When in doubt about certain things, always consult your Realtor, as they are your best source of information in the home buying process.

No matter what your first time home buying adventure is like, just remember, you could always have a bidet in the middle of your bedroom.

Advertisements

A Mom’s Guide to Selling a Home While Maintaining a Family Life

What do you do to keep your home in showing condition while balancing your family life? Watch this video and tell us your tips and ideas below.


[Video featured in Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter Blog, Mother’s Day 2013]
[Like the home featured in this video? It’s for sale, 5+ Acres of Southern Charm]

Being a mom is a lot of work, whether you’re working or even a stay-home-mom. Finding time to get everything done in a 24 hour period can be tough and adding keeping your house perfect for a buyer viewing your house at any moment is just icing on the cake.

Here are a few tips that you can do to stay on top of your busy mommy lifestyle, raising kiddos, and keeping your home ready for that perfect buyer to walk in the door.

ORGANIZE & DECLUTTER!
1) Keep it Simple- Pack furniture, toys and other stuff away that’s not being used. Good rule of thumb is if it’s not used on a weekly basis, you won’t miss it if it’s in stored away for a while.

2) Get a System– Whether it’s the playroom, the kids rooms, your office (in this case the crafting mommy’s dream den), or the closets – get an organization system that works for you. If everything has a place, you’ll be more likely to keep it organized that way.

3) Clean out the closets– The simplicity factor should carry over to your closets. If there’s seasonal clothes in there that you aren’t wearing or if you’ve been putting off donating clothes to charity, now’s the time to do it. The less you have in your closet, the more room the buyer has to visualize their own stuff in that space.

CLEAN UP!
1) Curb Appeal & Entry– First impression is everything! Have some family time on a Saturday or after school one day to have the kids help pull the weeds, mow the lawn, and trim up the bushes. This will give the buyer a good first impression as they walk up to the front door. [check out 5 DIY Deck Makeover Projects Under $300 For The Weekend you may also like 5 Awesomely Easy Landscaping Projects]

2) Clean as You Go- Although it may take a little more time to complete your task at the moment, you’ll thank yourself at the end of the day when you only spend a few minutes tidying up as opposed to an hour. Done with dinner, give the kids a chore and rinse/fill the dishwasher! Hamper is full, throw it in the washer before dinner, dryer after, then fold it together watching a movie before bed. I promise you’ll thank yourself later when you get more time to yourself at the end of the night rather than cleaning.

3) Break it Up– I’ll usually take on different cleaning tasks every other night. For instance, one night vacuum, another sweep and mop, and another night wipe down bathrooms. This will keep you from being overwhelmed and doing it all at once when you get a call for a showing, which can be super stressful.

4) Spot/Speed Clean- I’ve managed to get a cleaning caddy that keeps all my supplies together and am able to make a quick sweep of the house once I get a call for a quick showing. Even if you just did a deep clean the night before, the spot clean comes in handy, as it did for me just the other day when I was doing a quick check of each room about an hour before a showing just to find a crayon mural on the kitchen window. After a chuckle, quick picture for Facebook, and some Windex from my caddy, I was on to the next room. Once I’ve finished a room, I turn on the light so I know that room is finished and move on to the next one. Lights (especially accent lights!) liven up the home and make it feel more inviting as the buyers walk through… take the time to turn them on before you leave, it makes a difference!

There’s  just a few tips I have for busy mom’s to help sell their home while keepin’ up with the kiddos.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you’re doing to keep your home in showing condition while balancing your family life below!

———————————————————————————————————-

Connect with Coldwell Banker (@ColdwellBanker), Lindsay Listanski (@LListanski), and myself (@brokerEXCLUSIVE) on Twitter for the latest in real estate.

For more local real estate information in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Englewood and North Port Florida, check out my personal Realtor source   www.AshleyHouseman.com

April Showers Bring May… Showers?

 

Rainy Florida Day. May 1st, 2013  (Photo courtesy of: @brokerEXCLUSIVE on Instagram)

Rain, rain, go away. Haven’t you heard, now it’s May!
(Photo courtesy of: @brokerEXCLUSIVE on Instagram)

 

“April showers bring May flowers.”

You know the springtime saying, who doesn’t?

I thrive on irony-filled days, and today, this is my focal point. Although it’s been on and off downpour all day here in the usually bright and sunny Florida, you can’t help but still enjoy the view.

Although the literal meaning of the idiom is shot, it doesn’t affect the true essence of the phrase.  No matter what kind of April you’ve had, I wish nothing but success, prosperity and blessings to your May. In my case, that’d be kicking butt in southwest Florida real estate.

Don’t let the rain ruin your day as there’s always naps, classic Tom Cruise movies (Top Gun on repeat) and the excuse to lounge in your pj’s for the majority of the day.