It is spring. The time when most homes go on the market and buyers want to buy and get settled before school starts again in the fall. Before rushing to put your house on the market, take a step back and go through this list.
1. Clean Everything. A clean home gives buyers the signal that you took care of your home. Buyers tend to notice every flaw and cleaning will allow them focus on the good in your home and not the dirt and dust.
2. Unclutter Before Showing Your Home. Sell, give away, toss and get rid of stuff. The less things you have, the roomier your home will appear to a buyer.
3. Brighter is better. Open your shades and use brighter bulbs. A bright home feels more inviting and larger.
4. Odors can kill a sale. Be careful of what you cook. Fish can wait until the home is sold. Also be aware of tobacco, pet, and musty laundry smells. Sprinkle some cinnamon on a cookie sheet and place in the oven around 250 degrees.
5. If it is broken, fix it. Buyers will be more likely to give a lower offer if they walk into a home with instant fixes that need to be done. If it can’t be fixed, replace it or get rid of it.
6. Bye-bye puppy. Many people love their pets, but even pet lovers might not love YOUR pet. Sometimes buyers are allergic to pet dander as well so take the pets with you when there are showings and hide away signs they are there.
7. Paint. Stick with neutral colors. Your daughter loved her pink room but what if the buyers only have sons? Nothing improves the value of a home like fresh, neutral paint.
Buying a home can't be that hard, right? If my offer is made today I can move in tomorrow since it is like renting a place, right? Not quite. In fact, not at all! The process will usually take at least 30 days even if you are paying cash. Why does it take so long? To protect buyers, sellers, and all of the other parties involved in a transaction, there is a lot of paperwork and a fairly long process...and this is a good thing.
Steps in Buying a Home
1. Find a Home You Want to Buy...but Find Out WHAT You Can Afford First. Financing is not just about what you bring home every month. Homes require insurance, interest payments, taxes and upkeep. In addition to actually paying the mortgage, there are several other expenses to consider. Ask a lender to check your credit and get pre-qualified. Even better, get pre-approved so you can show the seller you have a lender who has already willing to loan you the money. Look at, or below, that amount. Looking at homes above what you can actually afford will likely lead to disappointment.
2. Meet with a Real Estate Agent. Now that you know what you can afford, meet with an agent, if you haven't already, and together you can define your wants and needs. Schools, distance to work, the type and lay-out of a home, the yard and upkeep, the number of garage spaces you want, etc. - these things can all be researched by your agent. Agents do this for a living and even sometimes have knowledge and access to information on homes that may not even be on the market yet. Look on-line and do some research on what you are looking for and have your agent make suggestions of homes to look at as well.
3. Submit an Offer. Maybe it was the first home you looked at. Maybe it took looking at twenty homes, but finally you found the one you want! It is time to write up an offer so sit down with your agent and figure out what you are willing to give and what you want in return. Often times an offer can involve more than just how much money you will pay. Will you be renting back to the seller for a while? Do you want the fridge in the garage to be included? What about the chairs in the theater? What deadlines will there be for inspections? There are many more things that go into an offer and it can sometimes seem overwhelming. That is what the agent is for. The offer may be accepted or there may be a counter-offer by the seller. The back and forth can go on for a while but if you come to an agreement, you will submit your earnest money and things move forward.
4. Inspections and Appraisal Once You Are Under Contract. Yes! Your earnest money has been submitted and the home is now under contract.. That is it, right? In a large majority of cases, inspections will want to be conducted by the buyer. These can vary depending on the property. Does the buyer want a radon test? That can take several days. Does the septic system need to have a "Use Permit" issued prior to the sale? That can also take a while especially if there are things that need to be fixed on the system.
A home inspector will look at the home and point out defects, problems, and other issues. A crack in the basement floor? The inspector may recommend an engineer be brought in to look and make sure it is not a structural issue with the home. Do not be shocked by the list of "problems" an inspector might find. They are hired to find all of the problems, even small things that may not matter to the buyer. The back and forth may start again between the buyer and the seller to determine what will be fixed, a contingency for items that may not be fixed, and if the buyer and seller will even continue on with the sell.
The buyer's lender will usually want an appraisal done to be sure the home, which will be their security, is worth enough for the loan.
5. FINALLY! The Closing! Most real estate transactions are done through a title company. A lot has been going on "behind the scenes" while you have been working on the inspection items, getting your loan secure, and packing to move. There have been title searches to make sure the seller is actually the owner of the home. The title company has been checking on any liens on the property where someone else or a company might have a right to payment prior to closing. Documents, lots of them, have been prepared and the title company, your lender, and even your agent have been communicating to make sure the numbers are correct. Once all is in order, you have your closing where you will sign numerous documents. The closer at the title company will walk you through the numerous documents that will require your signature (don't forget your ID as many of them also have to be notarized) but your real estate agent will be there with you as well explaining anything on which you might have questions. CONGRATS! You are the new owner!
Prepping Your Home to Sell
Katie Coleman, REMAX Alliance
Curb Appeal Front and Back
_____ Lawn is mowed and manicured. Get rid of weeds
_____ Trim all shrubbery, trim trees and remove dead branches, and replace/remove dying bushes
_____ Clean all outdoor furniture and paint, if needed
_____ Plant flowers, if appropriate for the season
_____ Paint front door, if needed
_____ Check that all bulbs and lights work on exterior
_____ Replace any house numbers that are in bad shape
_____ Replace mailbox, if needed.
_____ Clean all windows and screens
_____ Paint exterior, if needed. Be aware of the garage trim. It is often overlooked
_____ Clean out gutters
_____ Step back and look at your home with a critical eye.
_____ Put away blender, toaster, and other items on the countertops. Show off usable space
_____ Clean inside and outside of refrigerator, ovens, microwave, and all other appliances
_____ Replace hardware, if outdated.
_____ Fix leaky faucets
_____ Replace any damaged appliance knobs, handles, etc
_____ Organize pantry
_____ Paint, if needed
Living Room/Family Room/Den
_____ Have carpets and rugs professionally cleaned
_____ Wash windows
_____ Polish all wood
_____ Depersonalize (Photos of family can be carefully packed away)
_____ Clean ceiling fans
_____ Put away toys, magazines, etc
_____ Get rid of or put in storage excess furniture
_____ Paint, if needed
_____ Oil leather furniture
_____ Have fabric furniture professionally cleaned
_____ Take out leaf from table and use only 4 chairs
_____ Set table with nice settings and pack away any extra china, crystal, etc
_____ Add fresh flowers in lieu of artificial ones
_____ Clear out clothes and shoes you have not worn in a year. Sell or give away
_____ Pack up 50% of the rest of your clothes and shoes (Makes closet look bigger and cleaner)
_____ Check lights to make sure they are working. Replace any bulbs, fixtures, and anything else that needs to be replaced
_____ Straighten shoes
_____ If you need to, order a dumpster (check with the HOA)
_____ If you need to, get a storage unit (buyers need to see room for vehicles in a garage)
_____ Clean shelves, trashcans, and organize items to clear the center of garage
_____ Sweep and mop garage floor
_____ Make sure the garage door(s) are working and add WD-40 to any squeaky doors
_____ Invite friends to a “free garage sale” and give away items. Have your “payment” be the friends toss unwanted items in the dumpster, clean areas of the home, or help paint.
Downtown Castle Rock, Colorado
I was walking down the main area of Castle Rock, Colorado after a City Counsel meeting last night. It was dark, I had about three blocks to walk, and I felt perfectly safe. Why? It was that "small town" feel where families were also walking down the street, tweens were riding their bikes and laughing, and everyone seems to know the Police Chief...and they like him! Even better is that Denver, and all of it's benefits, is only about 10 miles away.
Benefits of a Small Town
1. Hole-in-the-wall restaurants tend to be the norm. Yes, you can find a McDonald's if you want to find one in Castle Rock, but in its quaint downtown, you are mostly going to find wonderful little individually owned places to eat. Not only does the food seem to be better but often times, if you frequent the places often enough, you actually get to know the owners.
Dining outside in downtown Castle Rock, Colorado
2. Free Parking. Anyone who has lived in a large city has had the pain of not only having a hard time finding a parking spot, but also then paying big bucks to park there when you stumble upon a space. Small towns tend to not charge for spaces (or very little if they do) and it is easier to "stumble upon" on.
3. You get to know your government...and they get to know you. As I stated before, I was coming back from a Town Counsel meeting. They had opened up issues to the public and many of the citizens who spoke were called by name before they even sat down to speak. They had gotten to know the members of the counsel and the members knew them. In a smaller town, the members have fewer people they have to hear from, "deal" with, listen to and you will likely have a better chance of being heard.
4. You can actually WALK to places near home, including work and school. Obviously this is not always the case in a town of 50,000-60,000 people, but even if you have to drive, you can get there pretty quickly even if it is "across town." Also, see number 2 above!
Fireworks over Castle Rock, Colorado
5. More family activities. Smaller towns tend to have more family festivals and activities. Castle Rock is one of those towns that still has a parade, grand openings of parks, and 4th of July celebrations which you can often times watch from your own porch!
The great thing is that you also have the benefits of a large city with museums, plays, professional football (Go, Broncos!), and concerts...as long as you can find parking!
If you would like more information about moving to Colorado and what areas, including the city, might be the best option for you, please contact me (you can text, email, or call) and we can discover what you are looking for! Let's find your castle!