7 Secrets to Selling a Home

Selling your home? Make the experience smooth sailing by following these seven tips.

1. Price it Right

Find out what your home is worth from a realtor. Although online tools can give you a rough estimate, a realtor will have access to all of the recently sold homes in your area. Then, shave 15 percent off the price and watch the buyers trickle in. This leads to multiple bids and more competition, putting the power in the seller’s hands.

2. Hire a Professional

You need a real estate agent who is dedicated to selling your home. They will be responsible for monitoring the MLS and ensuring that your home is competitive, not just a stale home on the market. If you’re not happy with who you have, don’t be afraid to try someone new.

3. Show Off Storage Space

Storage is important for today’s buyers, so don’t cram your closets and cabinets with random stuff. It’s best to pay the small price to rent out a storage room until your house is sold. Prospective buyers snoop, and they want to make sure there is plenty of storage capacity.

4. Let in the Light

A dark home looks small and drab, so lighten up your home by taking down drapes, cleaning windows and switching out lampshades. A bright and airy home sells much faster, plus looks bigger and more adaptable.

5. Keep Pets Out of Sight

Surely, your pets are cute. But, when selling a home, less is more. Not only should you keep your pets locked away – or even better, at a pal’s home – but also you should keep pet-friendly items like dog bowls and litter boxes in hiding. You want your home to look and smell clean.

6. Keep a Neutral Setting

You want prospective buyers to picture themselves living in your home, which is hard to do when there are mementos from your family all over the place. Keep your home neutral by taking out the personal side. Remove photos of family, collectibles, keepsakes and so on. Also, keep your home simple and plain. Experts recommend removing ⅓ of your stuff.

7. Be Ready to Show Your Home

A missed showing could be a missed sale. Keep your home show-ready: picked up, bathrooms clean, no dishes in the sink and no dust in the corners. You’ll need to be on your toes more, but a quick sell is worth the short inconvenience.

5 Tips for Buying a Home

Now is a great time to buy a home: home prices are low and interest rates are low, but they are climbing steadily. The New Jersey market has seen more home sales and faster selling times, reassuring us that the market is indeed improving. If you don’t want to miss out on this buyer’s market, now is the time to buy a home and lock in low interest rates.

Here are five tips for those who are interested in buying a home.

1. Keep Your Finances Steady

When you apply for a loan, lenders will want to see that you’re reliable and have a good paper trail. Don’t open new credit cards, move money around, buy many big ticket items or accumulate too much debt, or these will be red flags to lenders.

2. Start the Pre-Approval Process

There’s nothing wrong with getting a pre-approval, even if you don’t end up buying a home. Anyone can be pre-approved for a loan, as this means that a lender has looked at your finances and determined that you can afford to make the mortgage payments.

3. Go with Your Instinct

You’ll hear a lot about the market in NJ: it’s slow, it’s competitive, it’s laden with foreclosures. Don’t worry about when the best time is to make your move. Instead, focus on the available properties and what’s right for you. Real estate is always fluctuating.

4. Hire an Inspector

When you find a home that you’re willing to purchase, make sure you hire a home inspector first. It will cost about $200-$300, but it could end up saving you thousands. A home inspector is a third-party who will tell you whether the house is worth buying.

5. Remember Hidden Costs

It’s easy to look at a mortgage payment and assume that you can pay it, but remember that homes come with a lot of hidden costs, otherwise known as “sleeper costs.” These added finances include homeowner’s association fees, utility bills and property taxes. Don’t forget routine maintenance and repairs. If you’re falling short, it’s better to buy a home that is lower priced than stretch yourself too thin.