Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Staging Your Home to Sell

by Maureen Cool

You want your home to sell as quickly as possible, while securing your desired asking price. To achieve this success, one must be mindful of how their home shows.

Your house must be appealing to the eye from the outside in order to lure people inside. Upon pulling into the driveway, a potential buyer is already, as the saying goes, sizing up your house. So boosting your curb appeal is crucial. 75% of buyers, prior to even scheduling a showing, will perform a drive-by deciding if it is even worthy of looking inside.

Simple tips and techniques include: a well-manicured lawn; a welcome home door mat; potted plants in bloom; power-washed walkways and drives; and clean windows across the front. Now that you have won over the potential buyers from the outside let’s invite them in.

A common mistake homeowners make in the endeavor of selling a home is failing to remove personal items. When it comes time for staging your home for sale, you want buyers to be able to see themselves in your home – and your belongings can distract them from doing so.  

Focus on your kitchen and baths. We, by nature, are automatically inclined to open cabinet doors, and pull drawers, and want to know what’s behind the shower curtain. Remove all personal accents and inflections, as your style and taste may not be conducive with theirs. Have these areas well-organized, clean, and by all accounts, operable. Trivial accents can be pivotal in the perception of the potential buyers. For instance, a fresh, new bar of soap in the bath, or a fluffy white robe hung from a decorative hook, or fresh baked cookies sitting on the kitchen island.

Clean your house thoroughly and strategically place fresh flowers in colorful eye-catching vases.  A clean, fresh scent can be very persuasive in the initial response from a buyer. Therefore, be attentive to detractive odors prior to any showings.

An open and airy concept equals more space from a buyer’s standpoint. Clutter will steer a potential buyer in the direction of the door. Declutter, de-clutter, de-clutter. Not an easy chore to accomplish, but de-cluttering is essential. Clutter includes, but is not limited to: toys (both children and pets); unnecessary or oversized furniture; personal effects on countertops and in closets; small appliances in kitchen; and wall hangings. Place these items in storage realizing it is only temporary, but beneficial for the sale of your house.

Finding a balance between lived-in and over-the-top pristine is difficult, but must be attained. Bring in only a few rudiments that will pop in each room. Place a bowl of fresh fruit where the coffee maker once rested. And contemplate a modest candle arrangement to adorn your dining room table.

Rearranging furniture may also be in order. The best furniture display in showing your home is to involve symmetry. The utilization of pairs often works well. Pairs of sofas, chairs, lamps, etc. creates an inviting conversation area in the living or family room. Reduce your bedrooms to a bed, two side tables and perhaps one other piece of furniture. The potential buyer must be able to navigate easily through a room and on to the next.

Develop a strategy to pull the buyers from one area to the next employing objects of interest. You will want to entice the buyer to see more and more. This tactic will pique the buyer’s awareness and curiosity.

Outdoor living has become a huge part of our lifestyles, so we mustn’t overlook its value. Do not ignore your outdoor space.  Whether it is big, or tiny, dress it up for the season. A table and chairs, or a portable fire pit are amongst many options in luring the potential buyers outside.

Congratulations, you are ready to place your home on the market. I can help you not only stage it, but also show you what your competition is and how to get your home to stand out. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you determine what your home is worth on the market today.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

Let’s Connect!

Facebook
Google+
Pinterest

Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy Flickr.com/wcutler

Easy Homegrown Garden Vegetables

by Maureen Cool

Gardening is a rewarding pastime. It can save you money on your grocery bill, provide your family with healthy food, give you an excuse to get out in the sun daily and make you very popular among your less industrious neighbors

If you are planning on starting a backyard – or kitchen – garden this summer but are still a little intimidated and nervous about the prospect of planting and caring for it, here are vegetables you can plant that are virtually foolproof. Food just tastes better when you grow and harvest it yourself, and if you have a few picky eaters that scoff at the idea of a salad or anything green, you will be pleasantly surprised at how eager children are to try something they helped tend over the summer months.

Greens are incredibly simple to grow. Prepare your soil – either by tilling the ground or filling a container with good compost or potting soil – then sow your seeds directly on the prepared soil. Finish by applying a little water, and you will have ready-to-eat lettuces and greens in just a few weeks.

Tomatoes take a little bit longer to mature, but the wait is well worth it, and just a few plants can supply your whole family for a season. Tomato plants need room to grow, daily attention and, typically, must be staked or caged to prevent the plant from falling over or splitting. If you plan to go completely organic, planting basil around your tomato plants will discourage many pests.

Cucumbers can be trained to grow on trellises or you can just let them run wild – and they will run wild. Cucumbers grow quickly and require daily harvesting once they get going. You will be up to your ears in cucumbers. Fortunately, they taste great with a little cider vinegar and salt and pepper. You can also preserve them by pickling. Sumter, Boston pickling and straight-6s are excellent, easy-to-grow varieties.

If you like a nice spicy radish, you’ll be shocked at just how easy they are to grow at home. Just like with lettuces and greens, all it takes is a little prepared soil, seed and water. You will need to keep the soil nice and loose since radishes are root vegetables and grow best when they have a little room to expand.

Squash and zucchini plants require a little more room than most – mature plants can easily cover a five-foot diameter circle – but they provide a rich bounty for very little effort. Grow these vegetables and you will be harvesting enough to feed the entire neighborhood through the season.

Give vegetable gardening a chance this year, I bet you’ll be glad you did. And, if you plan to sell your home, remember that potential buyers may be glad to have a home with a garden as well! Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about buying or selling a home.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

Let’s Connect!

Facebook
Google+
Pinterest

Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy Flickr.com/dott

Get the Best Deal on Your Home

by Maureen Cool

Home buying tipsThe more people there are bidding on your dream property means less chance of getting a great deal on it. Competition is generally considered a healthy, natural happenstance in life. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for buyers looking into real estate.

Economists believe—and rightly so—that the rise and fall of the real estate market holds a close relationship to the rise and fall of employment rates. That's why it's especially important to be cognizant of the job market in your area; you'll want to get the best deal while you can. Here are some tips you should know as a buyer that will help you negotiate the best real estate deal.

Determine whether you want an established home or a fixer-upper. Houses can sometimes be priced comparably even though one may need significantly more work than another. Understanding property values in your area can help.

There's nothing worse than insulting a seller with a lowball offer before you've even done your research. If you find that house you're looking for, look for comparable sales in the area. A good seller will know what houses in his/her market are going for, so don't try to outsmart them.  

There are other ways to get the "discounts" you're looking for. In your proposals ask for things that you'd like to see done, or left in the house. Keeping appliances or replacing carpet or other amenities in the home are good ways to save money on changes or additions you'd make anyway. Getting these into the agreement can help you save on your bottom line.

That said, don't get caught holding all the cards. Remaining in a bidding war over a few thousand dollars is meaningless on a 30-year loan, especially if the house you're looking at it is your dream home. It's OK to stand your ground for a good deal, but don't run yourself out of the deal by asking for too many things at once.

Find out why the seller is getting rid of the home in the first place. If you find out if it's because of job relocation, divorce, retirement or any number of other factors, you may be able to come to a better understanding which often means a better deal.

Following these guidelines will help improve your chances of getting the best on your home. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you find your dream home.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

Let’s Connect!

Facebook
Google+
Pinterest

Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy Flickr.com/kteegarden

Selling a Home With Pets

by Maureen Cool

If you have pets and are planning to sell your home, it is important to have a plan in place for them. In order to receive top dollar for your home, the absolute best advice is to remove the pet for the duration of the marketing. Next, remove all evidence that any pet was ever there. This includes repairs, deep cleaning, and possibly the replacement of carpet or other flooring and any other damage done by the pet, not only inside but to the yard as well.

As you can see, preparation will need to begin well in advance of actually putting the home on the market. Removing evidence of pets may require time and expense. Finding a place for your pet’s stay during the marketing of the home may be a major consideration as well, since time on the market is an unknown.

If removing the pet is not possible, an option might be to market the home to other pet owners specifically; of course repairs and cleaning are still required, and a plan to confine the pet to one area of the home or outside will be necessary, particularly during showing. Always consider the liability of injury to the public with any animal, and the safety and well-being of the pet. Being prepared for showing with a pet on the property will also require some planning, and will need to be a comfortable arrangement for both people and pets, since you may not be able to be present each time, and there may possibly be more than one showing per day. The arrangement of confining the pet should provide for its complete absence during showing, since animals can be a distraction. If necessary, your veterinarian can suggest products or offer tips to assist with calming and quieting your pet while strangers are in the home.

After your home has sold, the confinement arrangement should continue until moving day, after which the areas occupied by the pet will need to be deep cleaned again. Professional cleaning services may be the best answer.

Pets in the home do have an impact on selling price. Removing the effect of pets is the most important strategy for best return on your investment. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you determine the value of your home.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

Let’s Connect!

Facebook
Google+
Pinterest

Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Image courtesy of Unsplash/Pixabay.com

Save Money on Landscaping

by Maureen Cool

Even though landscaping is not typically as expensive as other home improvement projects, if you’re not careful you can end up spending much more than you intended. People allow their enthusiasm and excitement to overwhelm their good sense and their pocket books. They buy too much to handle, get discouraged and by the 4 of July everything is dead and brown. If you are planning to sell your home, you will want to alleviate this situation.

If your friends and neighbors have established plants, ask them for cuttings and replant them. Also, the most expensive aspect of landscaping is labor. A flowering shrub that costs $5 at the store will cost you $15 if someone else plants it for you. If you want to save money, you’re going to get a little dirty in the process.

In addition to asking your friends for donations, go around to locally-owned nurseries. These nurseries have limited space and must rotate stock throughout the growing season. This often means they are willing to give away perfectly healthy plants in order to make room for new ones. Keep an eye out for the “Free to a Good Home” table.

A flat of pansies is less expensive per unit than just a few. A big 50-pound bag of mulch is cheaper per pound than a 10-pound bag. The same can be said for fertilizer. This is where planning comes into play. If you know exactly what you need, it’s much easier to take advantage of these bulk discounts.

Know both your financial and time limitations and create a plan and budget that won’t exceed either. Take a trip to the local nursery or home and garden store and make a wish list without buying anything. Review your list that night, sleep on it, and then go back to make your purchases.

Making your home look great from the curb does not have to be expensive. With a little planning and hard work, you can make your yard look like a million bucks without “breaking the bank”. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and help you determine your home’s value.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

Let’s Connect!

Facebook
Google+
Pinterest

Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy of Mike Procario/Flickr.com

Boost Curb Appeal with a Garden

by Maureen Cool

For some, a garden is a sanctuary, hobby, or even a local market. In today's do-it-yourself world, gardening can be one of the most enjoyable things to learn about and explore for yourself.

If you plan to install or improve your garden, it's necessary to do it right if you plan on adding intrinsic value or curb appeal to your home. A garden that is overgrown, full of weeds and dead grass, will make a much different impression on visitors to your home than one that has been well maintained. 

Whether you choose to create a garden yourself or hire a professional landscaper, it's important to map out your plan. Here are some tips to consider…

Mapping the Land

Creating a garden can be a fun, creative project - just take care not to overextend yourself.

To start, it helps to understand what types of plants grow best in your area. Talking to others in your neighborhood, local greeneries, or home improvement stores, can help you find the perfect plants, fruits, or vegetables that work specifically for you.

Right Tool for the Job

They say you're only as good as the tools you're working with. Invest in the right tools for the job that allow you to do it right the first time, without having to spend more time fixing a tool than fixing the garden.

Consequently, it's also important to take care of your tools so they can last a long time. If you're constantly banging away on rocks, or leaving dirt caked on your equipment, you're going to struggle with dull tools that no longer do the job. It may be worth investing in high-quality items such as a spade, rake, trowel, secateurs, fork, pair of gloves, and whatever else you need.

Start Planting

It's time to let your inspiration and passion express itself in your garden. Create the vegetable garden you've always wanted, plant a bed of beautiful flowers, or grow herbs that make your whole house smell wonderful. Consult home and garden television shows, magazines, or websites if you need a little inspiration.  

With time and effort, your garden can be everything you want it to be, and can boost your curb appeal in the process. If are planning to sell your home in future, contact me for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you determine the value of your home.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

Let’s Connect!

Facebook
Google+
Pinterest

Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy artemtation/Pixabay.com

What Home Buyers Should Know About Down Payments

by Maureen Cool

The days of zero-down mortgages are a thing of the past and are unlikely to make a return any time soon. In the current lending environment, potential homeowners are encouraged to save as much as they can as a down-payment before approaching a lender and requesting a loan, but is it really necessary to save a 20-percent down-payment? Let’s consider the advantages and disadvantages of a larger down-payment…

Advantages

Approval. If you have had past credit problems, a significant down-payment could be the difference between being approved or denied. Lenders generally look favorably on those who can afford to make a large down-payment, and a 20-percent down-payment is more likely to be approved.

Lower Payments and Interest. For many people, just the difference of a few hundred dollars a month makes a tremendous difference in their quality of life and overall stress level. By making a large down-payment, you owe the lender less money on your home. This means lower monthly payments.

Those willing to put down a 20-percent down-payment generally qualify for a slightly lower interest rate. It might not be significant, but every little bit helps.

Private Mortgage Insurance. By eliminating the need to pay Private Mortgage Insurance, you can save thousands. PMI is a way for lenders to insure against a possible foreclosure. Unfortunately, you are required to pay for their insurance policy up until you reach 20-percent equity.

Disadvantages

Tied-Up Capital. If you want your money to work for you rather than have it sit in the bank, tying up a large amount of your available capital in a home might mean you miss out on some investment opportunities.

Time.  For many Americans, saving for a down payment can take a significant amount of time, possibly years. Consider that the average price of a home in the United States is roughly $200,000. In order to make a 20-percent down payment, you would be required to save $40,000. Over time, the price of homes in your area can increase, and the home you want could be off the market.

In the end, each individual must determine the size of the down payment he or she would like to make, though relying on the help of an experienced real estate agent can make it easier. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you find your dream home.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

Let’s Connect!

Facebook
Google+
Pinterest

Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy Flickr.com/401kcalculator.org

Make Your Home Stand Out

by Maureen Cool

If you plan to put your home on the market in the next few months, it's time to head outdoors and start sprucing up the yard. It’s unlikely that landscaping will add any real value to your home on paper, but it will help attract more potential buyers which means a faster sale. Think of any investment you make in the exterior appearance of your home as part of your marketing expense.

Well-kept flowerbeds can accent and enhance even the drabbest of homes. For a relatively modest investment of time and money, you can turn the exterior of your home into a colorful, attractive showplace. If your budget is limited, go for the annuals. They are cheap and easy to grow. They will only last a season, but they are lovely. If you have an especially long driveway or an expansive yard, you might consider adding new flowerbeds to break up the space and make it more attractive to passersby.

To enhance your home’s curb appeal, the last thing you want is an unkempt yard full of bare patches and brown spots – especially if your neighbors maintain their yards year round. Transforming your yard into something that looks like it belongs on a golf course can be an expensive process, but simply brightening your yard is not that expensive or difficult. For the most part, you can find everything you need at your local home and garden store. Ask the salesperson what they suggest as far as a watering and fertilization schedule that suits your type of grass. Follow it rigorously and you will see a change quickly.

Not every potential buyer will drive by your home during the day. Utilize exterior lighting to attract nighttime traffic. By adding exterior lighting to your home, you can highlight its best features even after the sun goes down.  If you choose to install the lighting system yourself using standalone floods, the cost will be minimal. Professional installation that involves wiring can cost thousands. Regardless of which route you choose, make sure you highlight attractive features like old-growth trees, flowering shrubs, your newly painted shutters, etc.

If you do these simple things, you will enhance the overall curb appeal of your home. Of course, this is just the start. You can do much more, it’s all up to you and your budget. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have and/or help you determine the value of your home.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

Let’s Connect!

Facebook
Google+
Pinterest

Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy of Donna Lasater/Flickr.com

Consider Resale Value

by Maureen Cool

It’s rare these days to stay in the same home for 25 years. It’s hard to imagine ever selling the home you just spent so much time and effort acquiring, but for most Americans another move is inevitable due to changes in family size and job mobility. So, even though finding the ideal home for you and your family should be your end goal, it pays to consider the possibility of how other potential buyers will respond to your home in the future.

There are several consistent factors that are found in homes with a high resale value. If you hope to sell your home quickly and for a profit in the future, it pays to keep these factors in mind when investing in a home.

If your home is in a prime location, the odds are it will sell quickly and for a premium. Absolutely nothing tops location in the real estate industry – why else would people pay thousands of dollars to live in a shoebox apartment in Manhattan? Of course, like many things, a prime location is in the eyes of the beholder, but typically you cannot go wrong with good schools, convenience to nearby shopping and services, low crime rate and walkability.

Homes that make a great first impression from the street tend to sell faster and for more money than those that don’t. How a home looks from the outside plays an important role in generating interest among potential buyers.  If you plan to resell your home in the future, consider investing in a home with the potential for great curb appeal or one that already has it.

You might remember that the number of bedrooms and baths was one of the first things you considered when determining which homes belonged on your “must see in person” list. Layout is an important factor as well – beyond just number of beds and baths, the feel and flow of a home can play an important psychological role when selling a home. You want a home that has a floor plan that makes sense, feels larger than it is and incorporates natural light.

People like the idea of stepping out onto their porch or balcony and seeing something beautiful each morning. You probably do too. A nice view can sell your home when all else fails. Depending on whether you are in the city or in a more rural area, your definition of a “great view” may vary. City dwellers like to be up high and overlook the skyline. Those in rural areas like to stare at the beauty of nature. One thing is for sure, the view of a brick wall or a gravel pit rarely meets anyone’s definition of a “great view”.

These factors are important when investing in a home you intend to resell. Remember what attracted you to the home in the first place will likely attract others in the future. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you find the home of your dreams.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

Let’s Connect!

Facebook
Google+
Pinterest

Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy Flickr.com/Bob B. Brown

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Syndication

Categories

Archives

Contact Information

Photo of Maureen Cool, CRS, CIPS, RSPS Real Estate
Maureen Cool, CRS, CIPS, RSPS
RE/MAX Realty Plus
809 US 27 South
Sebring FL 33870
863-873-7243
Fax: 863-385-5897

Maureen Cool * RE/MAX Realty Plus
809 US 27 South, Sebring, Florida 33870
Office: 863-385-0077 X215
Direct: 863-873-7243
Fax: 863-385-5897

 
           


 

Maureen Cool of RE/MAX Realty Plus offers real estate services to buyers, sellers, relocation's in the Highlands County real estate area.

Including Polk County, Hardee County, Okeechobee County, Desota County and Glades County.


Whether you are looking for luxury, investment, second home, commercial, bank owned, foreclosures properties Maureen Cool and The Cool Team are your real estate professionals for the entire Central Florida area.
 

Maureen Cool is your Luxury Home Expert in Highlands County. 
She can assist you with your Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid real estate needs. 

 

 

This website is designed and maintained by
Kim Hughes Real Estate Virtual Assistant

 

Copyright © 2013 Maureen Cool. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by Maureen Cool. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.