Real Estate Information

Real Estate Information Blog

Heather Wright

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 88

Don't quit your job!

by Heather Wright

What NOT to do when buying a house.

Rule #1.  Do NOT quit your job. (Or get fired.)


Getting fired is a no-brainer. No one wants to be canned.  But, quitting your job seems innocent, especially if you got a new job that you’re starting soon.  Banks are very picky about your finances when they loan you several hundred thousand dollars (it’s annoying, we know).

Any break in your employment is going to raise questions on whether or not you can pay the loan back.  Depending on your situation you might have to wait to get your first pay check at your new job before you can close on your loan and get access to your new home.  So, before you quit – check with your Realtor and/or your lender to make sure everyone is on board with your career path.


 

What to Expect After Listing Your House

by Heather Wright

 

 

As a first time home seller, you may be nervous about what will happen after you list your home for sale. And I, as a real estate agent, will talk you through all of the stages but understanding what to expect will make the process more manageable for yourself. Here are a few things you should expect after you list:

Listings, Lockbox, and Signs

Your home will be placed in the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) which will notify all the other agents in the area that your home is for sale. Depending on a realtor’s marketing strategy, your house will appear on other sites as well. Your agent will also put a for sale sign in the yard and will attach a lockbox to your front door. This will allow agents to access the house when you’re not there.

Open House

Also depending on your agent’s strategy, he/she will hold a couple of open houses. It is best if you’re not present during any open houses. Buyers want the freedom to make comments on your house so you should step outside while they tour the house.

Keeping your home ready for showings

Expect that you will get last-minute showings. You will need to keep the house in tip-top shape during this entire time. You may get little notice for showings so you should get into a routine to have the home ready so you can pick up at a moments’ notice.

Traffic Patterns

If your realtor advertises your listing online, expect to get the most traffic in the first few weeks. The average days on market can be 60-90 days in a normal cycle. But that of course, depends on the area and the market. Don’t fret when the traffic dies down. You just need that one special buyer to fall in love with your house.

Receiving offers on your home

This is probably the most exciting part in the process where buyers start bringing you offers. It’s typical that interested buyers will offer less than your asking price in an attempt to bargain. Your agent should help you negotiate until you are able to reach an offer that is acceptable to both parties. Any offers, even one you consider lowball, is a chance to negotiate which will hopefully end up in a sale.

Knowing what to expect after you list your house can be half the battle of getting through the transaction. It is always good to be prepared and to list your house with an efficient real estate agent. Working with a qualified realtor (me) will help you get through the real estate transaction process stress-free, whether buying or selling.

How to Choose the Right Home?

by Heather Wright

 

Picking out your new home can be exciting and terrifying at the same time. Every house hunter has a list of things that he/she wants in a house. You have desires and needs, hopes and dreams, and you want to live happily in a home for years to come. So, how exactly do you choose the right home?

Can you afford it?

The first step, (and the only way to begin, if I must add) is to know what you can afford. If you happen to fall in love with a dream home, it becomes a nightmare if you suddenly find out that you can’t afford it!

Neighborhood concerns

Have you done your research on the neighborhood yet? For some buyers, the neighborhood takes precedence over all the priorities. However for others, the home itself matters more. Know what you want and be ready to make some compromises.

Needs versus Wants

Obviously you know yourself best. Know what your needs (must have’s) and wants (would like to have’s). Make a list of what features you want such as the number of bedrooms, a fenced yard, granite counters in the kitchen, public transportation, and then rank them in terms of priorities.

Narrow down your home search

Here’s an article to help you determine which house is best for you. Look at all the types of homes, purchase considerations, and making a home comparison chart. It will be very beneficial if you do your research first! If you find a house that meets your needs and priorities - you have found THE ONE!

Buying a home can be a very emotional process but I am here to help you turn it into an enjoyable one! I have an extensive knowledge of real estate and can help you make a sound decision when purchasing a home. So don’t be overwhelmed, rest assured that I will make the whole buying process much easier.

5 Biggest Moving Mistakes

by Heather Wright

 

Moving day brings along a different level of stress. There’s a lot of packing and unpacking involved, you have a hectic schedule, and a whole lot of heavy lifting too. It’s no wonder why people hate moving!

Here are a few things to watch out for on moving day:

Hiring a less-than-reputable mover

Avoid having your moving day turn into a horror story. Make sure to look for and hire a licensed and reputable moving company. Here’s a list of top-rated and professional moving companies in Des Moines. Research is critical here! Try to avoid these mistakes when choosing your mover.

Leaving utilities behind

What’s worse than moving into your new home on a weekend and realizing that the lights won’t turn on because you forgot to transfer the utilities, and you won’t be able to reach them until Monday morning? Plan ahead! Call utilities at least 2 weeks before.

Forgetting to check your insurance policy

Expect that moving will be tough on your stuff. If the mover breaks your flat-screen TV, who pays for it? Even if everything is carefully packed and handled by experienced movers, accidents can happen. Get familiar with your insurance options so you can be assured that you are covered.

Waiting to the last minute

Even moving across town can be a headache. Save yourself the headache and start packing as early as possible. Moving takes advance planning and less procrastination.

Not organizing boxes

It will be very stressful to arrive at your new home with a truckload of unorganized boxes! Make sure that each box is well-packed and don’t forget to label. Labeling is the most important rule. You must label all of your boxes with what’s inside of them, whether or not they are fragile, and what room they belong in.

Always remember that there’s more to a successful move than throwing your stuff in boxes and renting a truck. Moving can be quite enjoyable if done right. Just like with purchasing a home, I can make the experience better and more fun (I swear!). So if you’re ready to buy a home, feel free to give me a call!

 

 

 

DIY: Bulletin Boards from Old Dressers

by Heather Wright

If you have a dresser that looks too shabby, turn one of its drawers into a chic bulletin board! Read on for another quick and easy DIY idea from your favorite real estate agent - ME.

First step is to make sure that the drawer you chose is fully intact, clean and has no damage. Depending on the drawer, you may want to paint or refurbish it to match the room you’re going to hang it in.

Next step is to purchase a corkboard. You can find this material anywhere! If you find the brown color of your corkboard boring, this article shows us that corkboards can be pretty too! Take measurements of the drawer and cut the corkboard to fit inside.

Cover one side of the cork with glue then affix it to the inside of the drawer. Make sure you get all the corners and middle of the cork for full coverage. Press down and wait for several hours while the glue dries.

And the last step is the fun part, DECORATE!! Hang pictures, notes, or even keys! Just choose where you would like to hang or place your new bulletin board.

Check out this article for more ideas on how to recycle your old drawers. It is really fun and rewarding to get crafty in your own home. You can turn your junk into DIY projects anytime without having to worry about your landlord fining you for those scratches on the wall. Are you ready to invest in your dream home? Call me and I will help you find your Wright home.

DIY: Barrel Tables

by Heather Wright

DIY: Barrel Tables

Do you have old barrels around the house? Before you throw it away, read on to know how you can transform old wine barrels into lovely tables.

Creating a barrel table is inexpensive. It’s really simple too – you will just need barrels, proportionally sized circular glass tops, and some hay or your own choice of décor that you think would go well with the room.

This DIY couldn’t be any easier. All you have to do is fill the barrel with hay for the southern feel or even flowers for a springtime appeal (really, it could be anything you want!) and just put the glass on top. To add a little more, take a vase or a basket full of flowers and put it on the table. You can even add candles for a relaxed ambience. If you don’t have barrels at home, you can buy one from Home Depot.

Now you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of your labor with a glass of wine. There’s nothing more satisfying than personalizing furniture in your OWN home. Find your dream home now.

 

Bookshelves for Booklovers

by Heather Wright

It’s essential in every home to have a bookshelf. Even if you don’t read, a room full of books will immediately make you look smarter! Your book collection says a lot about your personality, so why shouldn’t your bookshelf do the same?

 From simple to unique, which of these bookshelves would you like for your home?

 

The space beneath the staircase is almost always under utilized. An attractive way to utilize that space is to combine a staircase and a bookshelf. Talk about multifunctional and a very clever way to store your favorite books.

 

Something we’ve seen in the movies – the bookcase door that leads to a “hidden” room!! There are a lot of design firms dedicated to dual-functioning bookcases.  You can also build your own hidden door bookshelf for approximately under $500, plus labor! See this article to find out how you can DIY.

 

Built-in bookshelves on your wall are perfect for small spaces! It’s important to keep things clutter free in small rooms to make it look spacious.

Build-in bookshelves with backlighting designed by Tembolat Gugkaev. Now you can find and read your favorite book at night without having to light up the whole room!

 

Let me introduce to you the Bookseat (and a very cute Beagle on top of it). It has been noted as one of the “ten must sees” at Toronto International Design Show 2008 and won the award for Best Design at Montreal’s International Design Show. You can now buy directly from the US thru their partner, Resource Furniture.

 

There’s also the Cave Bookcase for serious readers who want to save some more space in their home. You can have your own reading corner and bookshelf in a small and private space. Designed by Sakura Adachi, this bookcase doubles as a comfy reading lounge with a built in reading lamp.

 

According to Designsponge, these shelves were created from wine crates nailed into the wall. You should definitely incorporate artwork into your bookshelf to make them look this lovely.

Or if you are a DIY guru, you can even build your own bookshelf! Pretty neat, huh? This article from Wikihow shows us the simplest way to build your very own bookshelf! Bookshelves are beautiful and can be functional.  If you have a bit of a book problem, you may want to rearrange your bookshelves before you sell your home.  

 

Window Treatments need Cleaned too

by Heather Wright

If you’re getting ready to sell your house, you’ll want to get everything in tip top clean shape which includes your window treatments.  And, even if you’re not interested in selling - this is a great tip!  I’m the first to admit that cleaning isn’t fun but it’s got to be done.  

This tip to clean dirty blinds is really easy. You will need an old sock and equal parts of vinegar + water solution in a bowl. Slip the old sock on your hand, dip it into the vinegar and water mixture, and wipe down each individual slat on the blinds. Dip your hand (with the sock!) after every couple of slats, and squeeze it a bit to rinse off the dirt. It also helps to have a second old sock to dry all the slats once they have been cleaned. Some put the mixture in a container and spray it on the blinds and wipe it but be prepared to wash your windows then. 

Keeping window blinds looking clean and beautiful is a task that requires regular attention for best results. A clean house is one that will sell better.  If you need the name of a cleaner to come in and take care of this task (and any other cleaning jobs!) let me know and I’ll be happy to give you a few names of people that do good work.  Happy cleaning!

Selling your home during the holidays

by Heather Wright

“Should I wait until spring to list my home?” - The question sellers often wonder during the winter and holidays. In my opinion, you shouldn’t have to hold off until spring. Buyers don’t evaporate during winter, home buying is now year-round. Here’s why you should consider listing your home during the holidays or winter in general:

Buyers are always looking for properties online

21st century technology offers a lot of promises in the real estate industry. Today, homebuyers can “show” a listing in their smartphones or tablets. Serious buyers are always looking and the holidays are no exception.

Competition is usually lighter

There can be an increase in demand when inventory is traditionally low – resulting in less competition from other sellers. Conventional wisdom says to give it a rest during the holidays and that is why we end up seeing the inventory tighten up this time of year. Buyers will be always out there so you should not hesitate to list your house.

Holiday decorations are nice

It’s true – holiday decorations are nice.  Whether it’s your beautifully trimmed tree, stockings hung with care over the fireplace or candles lighting the windows – holiday decorations add a level of warmth to a home making buyers feel festive and welcome. 

Don’t want to be bothered during the holidays? List your property in January

If the thought of having your house on the market during the holidays is just TOO MUCH, that’s ok.  My recommendation would be to list in January after the 1st of the year.  The beginning of the New Year spurs a different motivation in people. Maybe they have a New Year’s resolution to invest in real estate.  Or a rich relative gave them money for down payment (Uncle Sam contributes to many down payments!)? In general, people find themselves with more time on their hands after the holidays which is perfect to start the home search.

No matter what time of year you sell I will have a custom marketing strategy available for your house that will take seasonality and timing into consideration. 

DIY: How to Clean a Fireplace

by Heather Wright

Your fireplace is often times the centerpiece to your room.  That’s true in my living room (not to mention, my dog would freeze without it!) and every so often I notice that the glass is a little dusty and/or grimy and needs a good cleaning.  Thankfully, Mr. Wright takes on that task. 

According to this article – it’s not that difficult to clean a gas fireplace. Look at the owner’s manual that comes with your model to make sure that you take the proper precautions before you begin. Of note, cleaning a gas fireplace should be done at least once a year but preferably at the beginning of winter and again at the end of winter to keep it in a good condition.

Cleaning a gas fireplace can be accomplished with little time and effort, here are the general instructions:

Step 1: Check the manufacturer’s instruction for the proper way to remove the glass panels. Once the glass panels have been removed, clean them with an ammonia-free glass cleaner or a homemade vinegar solution. Tip: A vinegar and water solution is a good glass cleaner, check out the cool uses of vinegar here.

Step 2: Use a vacuum cleaner to suction the dirt and any debris inside or around the vents of the heat exchanger. You can also use the vacuum to take care of any spider webs found in the fireplace as well. Check that the gas logs are in the proper position. If you notice any visible corrosion or damage, you may need to call a professional for repair or replacement before you use the fireplace again.

A wood burning fireplace is a different story though. Despite the advantages of owning a wood burning fireplace, cleaning can be a daunting task so you may want to leave some of the steps to the pros. Here are the steps, be aware that you will undoubtedly get dirty:

Step 1: Shovel up the ashes, place in a bag, and dispose of it. Simple enough, but you need to note that wood ashes need only be removed when they begin to smell or get in the way of fire building.

Step 2: Clean the inside and the outside of the glass doors (if it has one) with a glass cleaner.

Step 3: The last step requires professional cleaning especially if you are a heavy user. The chimney should be inspected annually and professionally cleaned every other year to avoid chimney fires.

Are your chimney and fireplace ready for winter? If your house is for sale – then you really want everything to sparkle so you should definitely clean the fireplace. Call me to discuss how I can help you impress future home buyers with my marketing strategies.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 88