Diane Kelly - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY / Metropolitan


One of the biggest challenges of putting your house on the market is keeping it clean, organized, and ready for the next showing!

This is no easy task, especially if you have pets, messy kids, and/or a hectic schedule. If you're like most people, you're probably contending with all three conditions!

Although it's human nature to get immersed in our own view of the world, it's helpful to try and see things through the eyes of prospective home buyers. When buyers walk into your house for the first time, they're not going to immediately know about all the improvements you've made to your property or the many ways your home has served your family's needs for all these years. They're not aware of the "big picture" and may never be. They only know what they see, hear, and smell during their brief visit to your home.

Anything which makes a negative impression can sour them on the idea of buying your house. It's a delicate balance and it doesn't take that much to tip the scales in either direction. That's why it's so important for sellers to get into a routine of keeping their house clean, orderly, and well maintained.

It's amazing what a difference 24-hours (or less) can make on the appearance and cleanliness of your home. Rest assured, if you've said or thought the words, "But I just cleaned it, yesterday!" -- you're not alone! Cleaning your house when it's on the market is a lot like shaving: It doesn't take too long for that "five o'clock shadow" to start creeping in!

Reminding everyone in your family to clean up after themselves is the first step to being ready, but it also pays to have a checklist to refer to when preparing for a real estate showing. If you don't use a task list, chances are you'll forget something important -- like wiping off the kitchen counter, sanitizing the toilets, putting away dirty dishes, or cleaning the bathroom sink. Floors almost always require a quick sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming, and waste baskets need to be emptied. Crumpled towels, bath mats, and bedspreads may also be in desperate need of straightening and smoothing out! If you own pets that tend to have "accidents" or kids who haven't quite mastered the art of cleaning up after themselves, you might also want to allow a few extra minutes in your routine to take care of the "unexpected."

While it's true that you want your house to have a "lived in" appearance, it's all-too-easy to cross that thin line into a whole different category! No reasonable house hunter will expect your home to be spotless and perfect in every way, but if it looks messy, disheveled, or neglected, then that could be a potential deal breaker!


You are required to get homeowners insurance when you purchase a home. You probably are so excited about buying a home that you neglect to learn the ins and outs of your policy. Unfortunately, there are many things that insurance won’t cover, yet many homeowners think that they are covered under their home insurance policy. Below, you’ll find some things that are often not covered by your home insurance, even though you might think they are. 


Broken Pipes


While your home insurance will cover damage from water in your home (different than flood insurance), the policy probably won’t cover what it takes to fix broken pipes. Your best bet in this area is prevention. You should be sure that your pipes are insulated properly and that there is adequate airflow around the pipes in your cabinets.


Earthquakes


If an earthquake hits, you’re out of luck when it comes to your homeowners insurance policy. You typically need a separate policy to get earthquake coverage. If you live in an area prone to earthquakes, you’ll need to inquire about specific policies to protect your home from this type of natural disaster.


Floods


You’ll also need a separate policy in the event of a flood. Homeowner’s policies do not cover damage or losses caused by flooding. You can get optional coverage and this is highly recommended, especially if you live near a body of water or in an area that’s prone to flooding.


A Sewer Backup


If a sewer backs up, you’ll face some serious damage in your home. Unfortunately, your homeowners policy will not cover this type of damage. The repairs can be hefty. If you wish, you can always add this type of coverage to your policy. 


Only Portions Of Disasters May Be Covered


If a hurricane hits, any damage that has been caused by the wind will be covered by your home insurance policy. If you face flooding, however, and do not have a flood insurance policy, you’ll be out of luck. Without extra coverage, some natural disasters can be a special disaster for you and your wallet. 


Keep Up The Maintenance On Your Home


It’s important to understand what is and isn’t covered by your home insurance policy. When you know how to prepare for different situations, it will make caring for and maintaining your home and your financial future a lot easier. If you prepare accordingly for natural disasters as directed, and perform proper maintenance on your home, your insurance policy should act in the best interest for you. If you happen to live in an area where you are prone to natural disasters, make sure you get the appropriate additional coverage that you’ll need to protect you.


Shopping for a new home is difficult and time-consuming. With all of the homes listed for sale, it’s tempting to want to visit all of them. However, if you’re juggling house-hunting with your work and personal life, then you likely won’t have time to set aside many hours to visit several homes.

 This is where you can use technology to your advantage. With free, modern tools online you can find out plenty about a house and the neighborhood it’s in without ever having to go and visit it. Better yet, you can do so in just a few minutes right from home.

 In this article, we’re going to teach you how to become a real estate investigator from the comfort of your own couch, helping you save time while hunting for the perfect home for you. 

 Know what you’re looking for

While it’s okay to browse homes for pleasure, when it comes to getting serious about buying a home you’ll want to keep your search as specific as possible. Think about what you or your family need in a house and neighborhood, rather than focusing on idealized versions of those things.

A good way to do this is to sit down and make a list of your budget and the five most important things you’re looking for in a home. These could be things like distance to work, being in a certain school district, or having a certain number of bedrooms. Once you have these details in mind you can begin your search.

Search tools

There are a number of search tools for locating homes near you. The key to searching, however, isn’t the tool you use but how you search. Refer to your list for things like room numbers, square footage, and location.

If you don’t come up with as many hits as you’d like, try setting up email or text alerts so you can be made aware of the new results for your area.

Once you have a list of about ten properties, you’re ready to start researching them further to see which sellers you want to contact to view the home.

Researching a potential home

Many people are surprised at the number of things you can learn about a home just from a Google search. However, Google will be an indispensable tool in your search for the perfect home.

Let’s start our search on Google Maps. Type in the address for the house you’re researching and see if there are any photos of the home that aren’t on the listing page. Next, enter the satellite view of the home to get an idea of the layout of the home and property.

While you’re in Google Maps, it’s a good idea to browse the local area for businesses, hospitals, schools, parks, and other services that might affect your decision. Then, set a driving route between the house and your place of work to find out how long it would take you to get to work if you moved there.

Once you’re done in Google Maps, head back to the Google search page and browse the results for the address. This could show you information on previous owners, prices, and crime statistics. All of this will be useful information in your search.

Repeat this search method for the rest of your homes on your list and you’ll be narrowing down potential homes to visit in no time.


A nightmare home selling experience is something that every home seller wants to avoid. Fortunately, we're here to teach you the ins and outs of selling a house so that you can minimize the risk of problems that could lead to a nightmare home selling experience.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you avoid a nightmare home selling experience.

1. Study the Real Estate Market Closely

You don't need to be a real estate market expert to find ways to maximize the profits from your home sale. Instead, you can study the real estate market closely and gain the insights that you need to price your house competitively.

Remember, a home seller's goal is to optimize the value of his or her house. To accomplish this goal, it is paramount to establish the right home price from day one. Otherwise, a home seller risks alienating buyers with a price that is too high, or missing out on profits due to a price that is too low.

Take a look at the prices of available houses in your area that are similar to your own. This housing market data will enable you to see how your residence stacks up against the competition so that you can price your house accordingly.

2. Conduct a Home Inspection

A home inspection usually is completed after a home seller accepts a buyer's offer. However, a home seller who conducts an inspection before listing his or her residence can increase the likelihood of a profitable home sale. Perhaps best of all, this home seller can avoid the danger of a buyer requesting home repairs or a price reduction later in the home selling cycle.

During a home inspection, a property expert will evaluate your residence both inside and out. This property expert then will provide a comprehensive report that details his or her findings.

Examine a home inspection report. That way, you can find out about your house's strengths and weaknesses and take the necessary steps to transform various weaknesses into strengths.

3. Hire an Experienced Real Estate Agent

An experienced real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to sell a home, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. As such, this real estate agent can serve as a guide throughout the home selling journey and help you immediately identify and resolve any potential home selling hurdles.

For example, an experienced real estate agent can provide you with a wealth of housing market data before you list your residence. This housing market professional will help you make sense of assorted real estate data and ensure that you can establish a competitive price for your house. He or she also will promote your house to the right groups of buyers and help you enjoy a quick, seamless home sale.

When it comes to selling your home, there is no need to leave anything to chance. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can avoid a nightmare home selling experience.


As a home seller, it is crucial to do whatever you can to optimize your house sale earnings. Lucky for you, we are here to help you promote your residence to the right groups of prospective buyers so you can increase the likelihood of a profitable home selling experience.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you maximize your home sale earnings.

1. Boost Your Home's Curb Appeal

You won't have to break your budget to upgrade your residence's curb appeal. In fact, completing simple home maintenance tasks like mowing the lawn and clearing dust and debris from exterior walkways may make it easy for buyers to fall in love with your residence.

Spend some time upgrading your residence's curb appeal – you'll be glad you did. Because if your home makes a positive first impression on buyers, there may be no shortage of interest in your house. As a result, buyers may compete for your home – something that could help you get the best price for your residence.

2. Remove Clutter

Clutter may make your home appear smaller than its true size. As such, you should do everything possible to eliminate clutter before you add your home to the real estate market.

Oftentimes, it helps to host a yard sale or list excess items online. In other instances, you may want to donate various items you no longer need to charity or give them to family members and friends.

For home sellers, it is essential to remove as much clutter as you can. Remember, if you eliminate clutter, you can showcase the true beauty of your residence's interior. This may help buyers see the full potential of your home, and ultimately, could lead to offers to purchase that match or exceed your expectations.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

If you are unsure about how to navigate different parts of the house selling process, there is no need to stress. By hiring a real estate agent, you can get the help you need to achieve the optimal home selling results.

A real estate agent is a house selling expert who will be able to provide you with personalized recommendations and suggestions. First, he or she will meet with you and learn about you and your home. A real estate agent next will craft a custom home selling strategy. And once a real estate agent puts your home selling plan into action, he or she will ensure you can enjoy a seamless home selling experience.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is available to assist you in any way possible. If you are unsure about how to price your residence, whether to accept an offer to purchase or have other home selling concerns, a real estate agent will help you address them immediately.

Ready to maximize your home sale earnings? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can bolster your chances of enjoying a success house selling experience.




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