Posted by Peggy Farber on 1/23/2019

When it comes to finding the ideal neighborhood for your next home, there's no "one size fits all" formula.

While some people enjoy the hustle and bustle of an urban environment, others prefer a quiet family-oriented neighborhood in the suburbs.

Whatever your preferences, convenience is near the top of just about everyone's priority list. Here's why:

Closeness to Work: Long, daily commutes are not only stressful, but they can cause you to miss family dinners, school events, and relaxing evenings at home. There's also the added cost of gasoline, highway tolls, and wear-and-tear on your vehicle. If you happen to be leasing a vehicle, then long commutes could result in additional mileage charges at the end of your lease. Although car leases vary, exceeding the mileage allotment set by the leasing company can sometimes run you as much as 25 cents a mile. That can potentially add up to a hefty surcharge!

While there are a lot of reasons to look for a home that's relatively close to your job or business, quality of life issues are among the most important. As an example, if your daily commute is 45 minutes, each way, that adds up to an hour-and-a-half on the road. If you factor in occasional traffic jams, road repairs, and other inevitable delays, you're talking about more than eight hours a week just driving back and forth to work. It's equivalent to adding an additional work day to your week! Although it's not always feasible (especially in two-income households), there are major advantages to finding a house that's less than a half-hour commute to your job(s).

Proximity to Conveniences: Life will also be easier if you live close to a well-stocked supermarket. When you shop at a large, high-volume grocery store, prices are more economical and food tends to be fresher. Corner grocery stores and pharmacies are nice to have nearby when you just want to pick up a few quick essentials, but for selection, price, and freshness, supermarkets are usually your best bet!

Other desirable locations to keep in mind when house hunting include good-quality schools, reputable childcare centers, and proximity to family and friends. Depending on your lifestyle, you might want to be close to airports, major highways, recreational facilities, and entertainment. It can also be an advantage to choose a home near medical and dental offices, a veterinary clinic, and a preferred church, synagogue, or mosque.

When launching a search for your family's next home, the key to success is to stay focused, create detailed priority lists, and work with a seasoned real estate agent. Whether you decide to live in a rural area, suburbia, or downtown, a real estate agent has the knowledge, training, and negotiating skills to help you get a good deal and match your lifestyle goals with your budget and timeframe.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 1/16/2019

Experienced, knowledgeable real estate agents are experts in attracting potential buyers to home showings.

When you initially meet with prospective real estate agents to determine which one would be the best fit for your needs, you can get a pretty good sense of how marketing-savvy they are.

Since marketing is one of the most important parts of their job description, a well-trained, motivated real estate agent will know how to effectively use the Internet, their network of personal contacts, and a variety of other techniques to draw in qualified prospects.

Is there anything that you, as the homeowner, can do to help market your home?

Although it's your real estate agent's role to advertise, promote, and publicize your real estate listing to targeted groups and the general public, there is one huge thing you can do to help: Try to keep your house and property looking impeccable at all times. While that goal may be easier said than done, it's worth some extra time and effort to make your home as inviting and appealing to house hunters as possible.

Here are two ways you can increase your home's marketability and help spark more interest among prospective buyers:

  1. Meticulous neatness and cleanliness gives your home instant appeal. On the other hand, a messy, disorganized home or yard will send the wrong message to people touring your house. While it may be counterproductive to have your house reeking from ammonia and harsh cleaning chemicals, keeping countertops, floors, and walls clean will help your real estate agent present your home in its best possible light. Hopefully, you'll be able to enlist the help of everyone in the family (except pets) to clean up after themselves and keep their rooms and play areas looking civilized!
  2. Help maintain curb appeal! As the cliché goes (or was it an old mouthwash commercial?): "You don't get a second chance to make a great first impression!" For that reason, it's vitally important for your lawn to look well manicured and your house to be free from peeling paint and yard clutter. Another eyesore that detracts from first impressions is the sight of weeds growing out of cracks in your driveway or walkway. The cracks, themselves, are a problem you might want to address, but the weeds (or grass) poking through them is like adding insult to injury! If you don't want to spray them with some toxic, store-bought weed killer, then research natural ways to kill weeds.
Although your real estate agent will gladly handle 99% of the marketing for your home, you can help give their efforts an important nudge by making sure your home and property always look their best!





Posted by Peggy Farber on 1/9/2019

You know that you want to buy a house, but you also don't want to break your day-to-day budget to acquire a residence. As such, you're in the market for inexpensive housing – something that can be tough to find in any real estate sector, at any time.

Buying a house can be difficult, especially if you're operating on a tight budget. Fortunately, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of finding an inexpensive house that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline your search for an affordable residence.

1. Evaluate How Long a Home Has Been Available

When it comes to finding an affordable house, it pays to check out how long a residence has been available. By doing so, you may be able to discover a bargain, even in a highly competitive real estate market.

If a home that has been available for many weeks or months, a seller may be more motivated than ever before to accept an offer that falls below his or her initial expectations. Thus, if you submit an offer below a seller's initial asking price, the seller may accept your proposal in the hopes of getting rid of his or her residence quickly.

Of course, you should always ensure that a home offer is competitive based on a house's age and condition, along with the current state of the real estate market. Because if you submit a "lowball" proposal, a seller likely will respond with an immediate "No" to your offer.

2. Look at Fixer-Uppers

A fixer-upper is unlikely to have everything that you want in your dream house. On the other hand, a fixer-upper likely is more cost-effective in comparison to a new house.

If you're on the lookout for affordable housing, you should consider fixer-uppers. These houses may require some work, but buyers who are willing to allocate the necessary time and resources to perform myriad home repairs can transform these properties into dream homes.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

For homebuyers who want to acquire a house without spending too much, it usually helps to hire a real estate agent. In fact, by working with a real estate agent, a homebuyer can streamline the process of acquiring an affordable residence.

A real estate agent first will meet with a homebuyer and learn about his or her homebuying goals. Then, this housing market professional can tailor a home search to complement a buyer's budget.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent provides throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and do whatever it takes to help you purchase an inexpensive house.

Ready to find a cost-effective house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can accelerate the process of discovering an affordable home that you can enjoy for years to come.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 1/2/2019

Many sellers aren’t sure how to give a positive spin to their small backyard. We imagine that most homeowners want a large expanse of green with various types of trees and maybe even room for a vegetable garden.

However, there are ways to make a small yard a good thing. After all, less yard means less grass to mow and water and worry over when drought hits.

In this article, we’re going to give you some tips on making your tiny yard appealing to buyers.

Decorate wisely

Making an area seem more spacious is often a matter of smart decorating. Just like you can make a room appear bigger with bright colors and mirrors, you can make a yard appear bigger with proper landscaping and outdoor furniture.

When it comes to patio furniture, keep it simple. You don’t need a massive set of furniture in a small yard, and filling your yard up with chairs will make it feel crowded.

Choose a few well-placed decorations for your yard, and keep it simple.

Container gardening

A good way to make a small yard feel more in touch with nature is to plant in containers. Sticking to a central theme with your plants will give the yard a sense of continuity and simplicity that will make it feel welcoming.

Container gardening is also a good option for people who live in arid areas prone to drought. You can choose drought resistant plants that are easy to maintain.

Landscaping is key

You know how a cluttered and messy bedroom feels small and unwelcoming? The same is true for a cluttered and unkempt backyard. Cutting the grass and trimming the trees and hedges will go a long way. However, also remember to not use your backyard as a storage space. Tools and equipment that aren’t put away will make the yard feel even smaller than it already is.

Set a focal point

Small backyards don’t need a lot of features and amenities. One key area is enough to satisfy the eye. Rather than choosing several small decorations, stick to one thing. Whether it’s a small box garden, a fireplace, or a well-placed tree, drawing the eye is one way to distract from the size of the space.

Small is a style

The last important thing to keep in mind is that houses with small backyards are usually found in locations where small backyards are expected. You wouldn’t dream of finding a large backyard behind a class brownstone in Brooklyn, and as a result, the small backyards of those builds have taken on a charm of their own.

If you aren’t sure about how to incorporate landscaping and decorations in your tiny backyard, look up some inspiration online for urban backyards that match the style of your home. This will attract buyers who are already looking for something that your home already has--character.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 12/26/2018

Selling your home can be an exciting time because it usually represents a positive change in your life. Chances are, putting your house on the market means you're moving up in your career, expanding your family, or even retiring.

Regardless of the reason you're selling your home, one thing's for certain: You'll want the process to go as smoothly as possible!

The first step to making that happen involves choosing a real estate agent who's experienced, easy to work with, familiar with your neighborhood, and ready to help you navigate the many twists and turns of selling your home. If this is the first time you've sold a home -- or if you haven't done it in a decade or more -- you'll need lots of advice on everything from pricing your home correctly to enhancing its appearance and making the best possible impression on potential buyers.

Since you usually don't get a second opportunity to make a great first impression, there are two crucial concepts to remember that can make or break your chances of selling your house at the best price and in a relatively short period of time.

Curb Appeal: One of your top objectives in listing your house is to attract as many qualified buyers as you can. The first hurdle you'll need to clear is making your property look inviting from the outside.

Whether you're selling real estate or consumer products, attractive packaging is what catches people's attention and draws them in. The outside appearance of your home and yard is the first thing that triggers either interest or disinterest among prospective buyers. House hunters often make a snap decision in a matter of seconds about whether to pursue a real estate listing, and that decision is typically based on factors like the condition of your lawn, the neatness of your shrubbery, and the appearance of the exterior off your house.

Basic ways to enhance your home's curb appeal would include applying a fresh coat of paint, maintaining a manicured lawn, and -- if the season allows -- placing colorful potted or hanging flowers on your porch or near your front door. Good curb appeal advice would vary, depending on the style, size, layout, and condition of your property, so the best place to turn for customized curb appeal ideas would be your real estate agent.

Home Staging: Most people are familiar with the concept of home staging, but don't necessarily know how to go about it in the most effective way. Part of the problem stems from the fact that homeowners can't objectively look at their own home and see what needs to be improved or changed. Outside opinions, such as those from a professional home stager, Realtor, or home decorator, can be extremely helpful. If you happen to have a friend or relative with a flair for home organizing or decorating, they may be willing to provide you with some productive suggestions, too!