Make Your Kitchen Beautiful



For home sellers, transforming an ordinary kitchen into one that garners homebuyers’ attention is no small feat. However, there are many quick, easy ways to clean your kitchen and ensure it will dazzle homebuyers any time they visit.

Here are three kitchen cleaning tips that every home seller needs to know.

1. Eliminate Wall Splatters.

Wall splatters can be major eyesores in any kitchen. Fortunately, home sellers who spend a few minutes identifying and addressing wall splatters can beautify their kitchens with ease.

If you notice waterborne kitchen wall splatters like ketchup, mustard or wine stains, you can use a wet cloth or paper towel to wipe away these problems immediately. Or, if you find grease stains on your kitchen walls, be sure to utilize a mix of dishwasher soap and water to minimize such issues.

Try to eliminate kitchen wall splatters as soon as you notice them. Wall splatters may become more difficult to minimize over time, and the sooner you identify them, the sooner you can eliminate them altogether.

2. Clean Out the Refrigerator.

Homebuyers will examine every nook and cranny of your house, so don’t be surprised if they take a look inside your refrigerator. However, if your refrigerator is messy, overloaded with leftovers or has not been cleaned out in several years, it could negatively affect a homebuyer’s impression of your residence.

Even devoting a few minutes to cleaning out your refrigerator daily can make a world of difference for home sellers. Wiping down the refrigerator shelves, cleaning the refrigerator drawers and getting rid of outdated products can give your refrigerator a clean, streamlined appearance.

Don’t forget to place an open box of baking soda inside your refrigerator every few months too. This box will help absorb and eliminate odors consistently.

3. Check Out Your Dishwasher and Sink.

If you run your dishwasher daily, you’ll want to clean it out and ensure there are no dishes, pots, pans or cooking utensils inside of it when homebuyers visit your residence. Instead, you should try to keep your dishwasher looking pristine, as this will help you show homebuyers exactly what your kitchen has to offer.

Plus, you should keep your sink as clean as possible. Be sure to clean the sink itself after you wash dishes in it. Also, try to avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink, as this may cause odors to form that could move throughout your home.

Maintaining a clean, beautiful kitchen can be tricky, but there is always extra help available if you need it.

For example, your real estate agent may be able to offer kitchen cleaning recommendations and ensure you can find a professional cleaning company to help you beautify your kitchen. That way, you can reap the benefits of an immaculate kitchen, one that homebuyers are sure to appreciate and may enable you to speed up the home selling process.

Conduct an in-depth review of your kitchen today, and you can move closer to transforming a bland kitchen into a fabulous one.

Mortgage Basics

Whether you’re a new homeowner or have owned your home for a few years, there’s always much to learn when it comes to understanding mortgages. Depending on your financial status and your long-term plans, it may make sense to either make larger payments or to refinance your home loan.

Today, we’ll tackle some of those difficult “what if?” questions, helping you decide when to refinance, when to keep your payments stable, and when you might want to increase your monthly mortgage payments.

What are the benefits of refinancing?

We’ve all heard about the benefits of refinancing when under financial stress. For things like student loans and credit card debt, refinancing is often a debtor’s only choice. However, with home loans, the allure of refinancing may not always be a good fit for you.

If your plan is to refinance to get lower mortgage payments each month, you should first question if it will be worth it on the long run, which might amount to you paying more in interest. To avoid paying more in interest, refinance after you’ve accomplished important financial milestones, such as increasing your credit score which makes you a lower risk client to banks.  

When does it make sense to pay more?

The benefits of paying off your mortgage in a shorter period of time are obvious. It means less time making payments, and less money spent on interest.  

However, depending on your mortgage, you might be better off investing your savings in something that will give you a larger return. Investments in a retirement fund, for example, are likely to pay off to a larger degree in the long term. To do the math, simply calculate the savings you would earn on by cutting your mortgage interest and weigh that against projected gains in retirement funds.

None of us can predict the future. Stocks rise and fall, people get laid off from their job due to fluctuations in the economy, and so on. These factors make it difficult to determine whether you should invest. So we encourage you to do your homework when it comes to investments so that you have the best chance of succeeding.  

Changing lenders

Your relationship with your lender will likely be a long one, so you want to make sure it’s one you’re comfortable with and that they are giving you reasonable rates. Now that you’re secure and living in your you have time to shop around for the best rates.

Be sure to ask lenders for good faith estimates and compare applicable fees. Ask friends and neighbors about their experience with lenders and read online reviews to get a better idea of what type of customer experience can expect.

How To Make Sure Your Offer Is Accepted

Sometimes, being in the hunt for a home feels like being in a race you can’t win. You should craft an offer that they cant refuse in order to get ahead on the house hunt. The real estate market can be hot or cold. No matter what the market is like, having a solid offer can be very beneficial to you as a buyer. Here’s some tips for you to get the offer you make accepted:

Get Preapproved

When you get preapproved, you’re showing the seller that you’re a serious buyer. Being preapproved gives you a shorter closing time and helps you to clear any financing hurdles before you get to them.

Avoid Lowball Offers

Make sure that you check out the prices of other homes in the neighborhood. Your real estate agent can help you to do this research. Often, you’ll need to offer the asking price or above if it’s a seller’s market. If all the research leads you to offer somewhere in the neighborhood of the asking price for a home, you’ll want to abide with that.

Too Many Contingencies Turn A Seller Off

The financing contingency is the agreement that is put forth to help a buyer get out of the deal if financing falls through. You’ll need to be sure that you actually have the cash on hand to help you if the appraisal falls short, however. While this isn’t recommended, it can give you a leg up in the buying process if you know what you’re doing. 

Another thing that you might consider is waiving the inspection. This does however, remove the ability to be sure that a home is in livable condition. This is another way to give yourself an advantage in the home search process, but it’s not recommended. A better way to keep the inspection and streamline the process is to shorten the inspection time by having the inspector ready to go immediately.  

Add A Clause To Increase Your Amount

You are able to add an escalation clause into a deal. This will automatically increase your deal by a predetermined amount if the seller gets more than one offer on the home. There’s a cap on these deals, so it doesn’t work like an auction. It’s a good option and it causes sellers to have to disclose the competing offers. Typically, this wouldn’t be the case. The only way you’d be out of the deal is if other offers exceed your cap.

Be Smart With Negotiations

You can offer to pay closing costs and home warranties instead of the seller having to pay them. Costs associated with the closing can be extensive, so offering to pay these fees can be very appealing to the seller. 

Get Personal

It’s difficult for sellers to part with the home that they love. If you get a bit personal and write a letter or send a video message to the sellers, you may often appeal to them on another level. In the letter, you may want to address how well the sellers have taken care of the home and express your desire to continue your life in the home in the same fashion. Many times, this is really a great way to connect with your seller and give you a better chance of getting your offer accepted.

The Six Main Things That Determine Home Value

Estimating the market value of your home isn’t a precise science. There are several factors that go into assessing the value of a home and the process is complicated by changes in the market that can sway home prices in either direction.

Since homes are so expensive and are such a huge investment, the pragmatist and worrier in us all wants it to be a clear cut decision backed up by facts. Unfortunately, no two people will ever arrive at precisely the same number for the value of a home. The good news is that you can use this ambiguity to your advantage when bargaining with prospective buyers.

To learn more about the six main factors that determine a home’s value, read on.

Condition

Homebuyers don’t want to walk into what could be their new house and discover months of expensive repairs and upgrades waiting for them. Especially for busy, young professionals there is great appeal in a home that is move-in ready. If your home needs some work, it will knock off some digits from your asking price.

Location

We would all love to say that having a home near the ocean or the mountains is our top priority. But, let’s face it–having a place that is close to your work and that is in a good school district will probably take precedence over our daydreams.

Location factors that add value to your home could include close proximity to schools, shopping, highways, and other amenities. However, if your home is far away from them or is in a neighborhood that appears run-down or dangerous you will find the value of your home decreasing.

An easy way to get a ballpark figure for your home value is to look up the value of other comparable homes in your neighborhood.

Age

Age is just a really expensive number. For some, buying an old home is a dream they’ve always had. Old homes have character and offer challenges when it comes to DIY repairs and renovations. For others, an old home means more headaches and more expensive utilities if it’s drafty or outdated.

Features

Curb appeal is important, but once your prospective buyers are inside you’ll have to keep them around with great, convenient household features. Lots of storage space, updated kitchens with new appliances, finished basements, or a beautiful backyard with a view can all add thousands to a home value.

Size

Square-footage is important to many homebuyers. In spite of the current trends around minimalism and being eco-friendly, the numbers show that Americans are buying increasingly larger homes and vehicles.

Market

You’ve probably heard the terms “buyer’s market” and “seller’s market” thrown around in conversations about real estate. They are essentially descriptions of the supply and demand of homes. Many buyers with few homes means you’re in a seller’s market, whereas a surplus of vacant homes and few prospective buyers means it’s a buyer’s market. This is closely tied to location, different cities and suburbs experience different rates of growth and decline depending on the local economy.