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Curious about the value of your home? I have a great tool for you.

2/1/2017

Are you curious about the value of your home if you listed it for sale today? Want to know the sales price of homes in your neighborhood? As a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices real estate professional, I am a great resource for you.

Visit my website at www.susandopson.com and click the My Home's Value button to get your estimate now from three separate data sources!

 

                                  

 

Things to do before Listing Home on Market

12/29/2016

Things To Consider Doing Before Listing On The Market

Listing a home or property for sale is no small task, and it takes a lot of preparation for a seller to be ready to list. If you've been thinking about selling your home, but you're not completely ready to pull the trigger (maybe you'd like to list within the next few months or even within a year), consider some of the tips listed below to help prepare your home or property for when you're comfortable listing it on the real estate market.

Remove Personal Items

While you've spent a lot of time turning your house into your home, when you decide to sell and list it on the market, there will be a number of people looking at your property (either in person or via the Internet). A step you can take prior to listing is to remove the personal items in your home. You need to walk through the property as a potential buyer: what do you notice? Are there pictures and other things that stick out? The best thing you can do for your home is to create a neutral space or environment for buyers to look at. By removing personal items from your home, you not only help a buyer envision the property as his/her own, you also help break the emotional attachment you have for your own property.

Another thing to consider is renting a storage unit. If you find that you maybe have too many things, and you're not inclined to part with them, renting a small storage unit once you list your home will give you the ability to free up space in your home but also keep those precious items you can't part with.

Ask a Listing Agent for Input

You know your house, and it's pretty likely that you've developed a strong affection for your home. It's common that when we love something, we may become a little blind to some of its issues or things that could be improved. If you know you want to list your property, but you're not totally ready to do so, have an agent or Realtor do a walk through and provide feedback on what they'd change based on their professional experience. An agent spends a lot of time with buyers, and he or she will be able to point to things buyers might object to or find off-putting in a property.

An agent will also be up-to-date on current trends and will be able to provide feedback on what buyers are looking for in your particular area. Getting a professional opinion from someone that knows the market and talks to other real estate professionals on a regular basis is a great way to prepare your home for a future sale. An unbiased opinion about what works and what could be changed regarding your home is an excellent tool for a future successful sale.

Hire a Home Inspector  

When you think of a home inspection, it's likely you think of one taking place once an offer has been accepted and papers have been signed. If you're considering listing your house in the future, hiring a home inspector and doing a preliminary home inspection can be a huge asset to your future sale.

A home inspection will let you know what needs to be addressed in terms of your property: a reputable inspector will look at the foundation and other structural components, exterior features, the roof (which includes shingles, flashing and any skylights); electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling systems, interior features like doors, windows and floors; and an inspector will check the insulation in the attic and any fireplaces in the property.

Many home sales do not succeed or move to the next step because of issues brought up in a home inspection. If you've decided to wait to sell your home, consider doing a preliminary home inspection well before you put your home on the market so you know where your property stands and have time to fix anything that might put off buyers once you do list.

 

Get Your Outdoor Living Area Ready For Summer

4/1/2016

GET YOUR OUTDOOR LIVING AREA READY FOR SUMMERWhy the <b>Sunshine</b> Policy Made Sense | 38 North: Informed Analysis of ...

As with the inside of your home, outdoor living areas need attention and care to keep them looking their best. While you may not need to dust or vacuum your deck and furniture, there are a few maintenance chores that will get the warm-weather living off to a good start.

Click here for full article Deck Maintenance

Mobile App for Listed Property Info On The Go

11/4/2015

MOBILE APP for smart device - Download Instructions

Tablet picLet me introduce you to My Mobile App

Real Time Real Estate

A real estate concierge in your hand. Buyers can find what they’re looking for easily

  • Quickly search pricing
  • Find what's for sale wherever you are
  • Share favorite properties
  • Schedule a tour
  • Map search
  • Or just be curious.

All in your hand, on the spot. Share with others. Easy.

Use your smartphone or tablet. Text 87778, Message BHHS 9128 from your mobile device for your app.

Whimsy Meets Function in This $50 Pantry Redo

1/7/2013
What a great article on some fantastic pantry ideas to start 2013 a bit more organizationed.  Click pantry pic  below to link to article and see for yourself.  Happy New Year.
Pantry pic

How To Organize Your Kitchen to be Easy to Cook In

1/2/2013
Great recent article on How To Organize Your Kitchen to be Easy to Cook In.  Wonderful ideas for the new year!
Click pic to go to article

Pastry chef and food writer Katherine Sacks' kitchen

Home Winterization Tips

12/3/2012
Timing Is Everything: Plan Now for Home Winterization

Appraisal Institute, the nations largest professional association of real estate appraisers, is urging homeowners to consider winterizing their properties to potentially lower energy costs, increase comfort in cold months and possibly improve resale value.

This is the perfect time for consumers to consider making seasonal updates to their homes, says Appraisal Institute President Sara W. Stephens, MAI. Not only do these types of home improvements enhance living environments in winter months and possibly lower energy costs, but most can provide an above average return on investment in resale value.

The Appraisal Institute encourages homeowners to focus on three main updates for the winter: windows, exterior and furnace.

Adding energy-efficient vinyl windows to the home can have an average payback of more than 69 percent, according to the Remodeling 201112 Cost vs. Value Report, published by Hanley Wood. Vinyl replacement windows offer a higher return on investment than wood replacement windows and also have a higher projected return on investment than many other home improvement projects, including a kitchen or bath remodel, addition of a master suite or new bathroom, or a roof replacement. Replacement windows also can be especially valuable to homes built before 1978, due to the importance of reducing lead-based paint in older homes, according to the Hanley Wood research.

That same study found exterior replacement projects retained the most value in home improvements. For example, updating and replacing fiber-cement siding returned 78 percent of homeowners original investment.

A furnace doesnt just provide heat and comfort during cold months, but proactively tuning or replacing a homes furnace can alleviate issues when considering resale. According to Consumer Reports, the average lifespan of a furnace is 15 to 18 years. Homeowners should keep this timeframe in mind when debating servicing versus replacement.

The Appraisal Institute also encourages homeowners to contact an appraiser on the front end of their winterization projects. Beyond the typical valuation services, an appraiser can be a valuable resource when consulting on home improvements, Stephens said. A qualified, competent appraiser can make recommendations about which updates will provide the most impact on resale value, as well as what is the norm for the local area.

Homeowners can also make updates now to see an immediate saving in their energy bills.

Clean the gutters Remove leaves and debris so rain and melting snow can drain, preventing backed up water or ice that can clog drains and allow water to seep into the house.

Add insulation Most homes need a minimum of 12 inches of insulation in the attic, regardless of climate conditions. If ceiling joists are visible, the insulation needs to be beefed up because these are typically 10 to 11 inches.

Check the ducts Ensure ducts are not exposed and are well-connected. Otherwise, homes with central heating can lose up to 60 percent of heated air before it reaches the vents, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Homeowners should also check for gaps and pinches in pipes and repair them to make sure heated air flows easily into the home.

Keep drafts out of windows If replacing windows isnt in the cards this winter, insulating them with plastic and double-sided tape is extremely effective and much less expensive.

Tune the furnace Clean and tune a furnace annually to increase efficiency and the life of the furnace. Check the furnace now to make sure it does not produce a smell, which will require attention before continuous running in the winter.
Copyright 2012 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.

How to Get Rid of Smoke Smell

10/31/2012

How to Get Rid of Smoke Smell

 
November 7th, 2006

Ex-smokers and non-smokers alike will understand the necessity of getting rid of smoke smells and smoke odors. Whether the smell of smoke is in your home or in your car, you know it's one of the worst odors imaginable. Cigarette smoke isn't a quaint smell like a wood furnace or a fireplace; it gets into everything: your carpets, your walls, your sheets, your clothes, your jackets, even in your hand bags. I think we've all known or have heard about that one aunt who smokes like a chimney and no one wants to visit her because her house smells like deathand now, thanks to her habit, she's dead and it's up to you to deodorize her house before your family puts it on the market. Or perhaps it's up to you to get the smoke odor out of the '89 Buick Century she managed to drive only on church days--or when she ran out of smokes. Well, hopefully the suggestions below will help you get the smell of cigarette smoke out of whatever it is that needs it.

 

Smoke Smell Removal

There's something about vinegar that gets rid of smoke smell. Because the smell of smoke is caused by the leftover resins and tars, vinegar (an acid that cuts through resin and tar) is a great way to clean those surfaces that aren't made of fabric, and perhaps, some that are fabric. I know what you're thinking; vinegar doesn't smell much better than smoke. Well, that's true, but the smell of vinegar eventually diminishes, cigarette smoke doesn't.

The carpets need to be shampooed if you want to remove smoke smell. You have a couple of options here; you can either go to your local hardware store and rent a carpet steam cleaner and shampoo the carpets yourself, or you can hire a professional to bring in a big truck and do the dirty work for you. If you want to save money, the choice is obvious, and the guarantees some businesses will make these days smell funnier than the smoke odor you want them to remove.

Baking soda is a good way to get rid of smoke odor. Now, this takes time because what you want to do is get a box of Arm&Hammer, dust the furniture and the carpets (if they haven't been shampooed), and leave the baking soda to settle for a day or so. That will give it time to absorb some of the smoke smell and moisture around it. Then, vacuum it up and repeat the process a few more times over the course of a week. Use scented baking soda if you like.

Shades, curtains, and fixtures need to be cleaned to get rid of smoke odor. A lot of people forget to clean things like shades, chandeliers, curtains, and wall hangings, but these things have probably collected quite a bit of tar and resin from years of hanging smoke. Do yourself a favor and put the curtains in the washer, buy new shades, and wipe down the chandelier with a good dose of ammonia, just to make sure that smell is gone.

Fresh air is probably the best way to remove smoke smell and odor from a home. It turns out that opening the windows and doors every couple of days for a whole day will help get the stink of cigarettes out of a home. Lord knows why, but I imagine the air flow allows tar and resin particles to escape, leaving the house smelling more like a house than a tar pit.

Smoke Smell and Odor Removal Products

Don't be fooled by the claims of odor removal products. If it doesn't have a cleaning agent in it, you're not going to get rid of the smoke smell. Scent-generating deodorizers only serve to mask the smell. Once you take them out of the house, you'll notice the smell of old cigarettes again. Of course, we've all heard of Febreze, and wonder why it works.

Well, Febreze uses a chemical compound called cyclodextrin that has been used in household and custodial cleaning products for quite some time. The sugar-like substance doesn't necessarily "clean" the odors out, but acts as an absorbent like baking soda or charcoal, to help soak the odor out. Yes, Febreze does work, but let's be honest with ourselves. Spraying everything down with Febreze isn't the answer to years and years of built up cigarette tars and resins.

There is one thing I would suggest in an odor removal product and that is activated charcoal. Charcoal is used not only to filter water and other things, but is also used to soak up odors, just like baking soda. If you see charcoal in an odor removing product, it's likely to succeed at removing odors.

What Influences Credit Scores

10/17/2012
What Influences Credit Scores

September 10, 2012 -- Realty Times Feature Article by Carla Hill

Its a three-digit number that carries a lot of influence over your future. It can dictate whether or not you'll qualify for a home, car, or business loan. It can also be the deciding factor in whether or not you qualify for a low interest rate.

What exactly is a credit score and what factors contribute to its number?

A credit score is a number from 200 to 800 that reflects your payment and borrowing history. Are you a big spender? Do you make payments faithfully and on time? It's what lenders use to decide a number of factors, including whether or not to lend to you.

There are three main reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Can a credit score from these agencies be biased? The simple answer is no. Your credit score is a true and honest reflection of your debt and payment history. This means that neither a lender nor credit agency can "have it out for you." You are the only person responsible for your score.

There are several factors that contribute to this score.

  • Type of Credit: Lenders want to see that you have a history of multiple types of credit. This can include credit cards, installment loans, and mortgages.

  • Amount of Debt: The more debt you have the riskier you appear to a lender. This means paying down or off debt is a great way to make yourself more desirable for a home loan.

  • Payment History: You want to be on time with every bill. This includes everything from cable and phone to credit card payments. Late payments may be reported to the credit reporting agencies and will negatively affect your score.

  • New Credit: Do NOT under any circumstances open new lines of credit, no matter how small, before you start looking for a home. Several new lines of credit will dock your score and may indicate to a lender that you are on a spending spree.

  • Credit History Length: Younger borrowers are always at a slight disadvantage because they have a shorter credit history. A longer credit history gives lenders a better picture of what kind of borrower you really are.

    Be sure to check out your credit report three times a year at annualcreditreport.com. It's free, easy, and secure. You'll have to pay a nominal fee in order to see your score, but checking out your report can help you assess areas that need improvement or areas that have errors which need corrected.

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