Improve Your Curb Appeal This WinterAfter all of the excitement of the holidays, the sparkle of the lights and the over-stimulation of decorations, the rest of winter can seem lackluster. Don’t let your home add to the dreariness of the season.

Spruce up your curb appeal with the tips below and inspire your neighbors to create well-groomed street that will make drivers passing through smile.

Tend The Plants

If you’re currently located in a winter wonderland, then dig up any dead plants that won’t grow back. Replace them with cold-loving flowers, such as snowberry or lambs ear.

In warmer climates, this is the time for any landscaping changes you’d like to make. It will give your plants a chance to flourish by spring and have solid roots before the harsh heat of summer.

Light The Way

With daylight hours dwindling, well-placed outdoor lighting will help highlight your home’s best features in the evening.

Not only do they make your home look warm and cozy, but they also provide much-needed walkway lighting so that your guests arrive safely.

For a festive New Year’s sparkle, wrap white lights around the porch and in the trees.

Create A Custom Mailbox

Reclaim a vintage mailbox or get creative with paint to let the neighborhood know your family’s favorite sports team. A personalized letterbox says a lot about your household, so make it something special that doesn’t look like every other box on the street.

Also, visitors trying to find your home always appreciate large, easy-to-read address numbers visible from both directions.

Place Pots Strategically

Create focal points with terra cotta or colorful pots. Place them around your door to make a cozy entrance. Use evergreens and holly to give the curb appeal of your home a wintry feeling or brighten up a dark doorstep with cheerful pansies.

Paint Your Front Door

Perk up your curb appeal when the weather is dreary by painting your front door in a color that packs a punch. Try a vibrant red, bright blue or sage green. These colors will make your home feel warm and cheerful. However, don’t apply paint if the weather is below 40 degrees, because it will dry brittle and crack.

Flaws You Cannot Hide By Staging Your HomeWhen you sell your home, you want it look as good as possible. To do this, your real estate agent will help you stage your home or, if needed, help you find a professional to stage your home.

This means de-cluttering your home, re-arranging furniture, and de-personalizing each room.

A staged home is more appealing to buyers and helps to highlight your home’s positive features. However, staging is not meant to cover major flaws in your home. Some things just have to be repaired.

Roof Problems

It doesn’t matter how pretty your home is, your buyer is going to expect you to fix roof problems or adjust your price to cover them. Your roof is one of the most important parts of your home.

Cracked Tile

Of course, you can use throw rugs to cover cracks in your tile, but chances are your buyers are going to look under them. Then they may think you are trying to hide a serious problem like a shifting foundation. Save yourself the headache and have your floors fixed.

Broken Windows

You have to expect your buyers to walk around your home checking out the views from the windows. They’re going to notice any cracks. If you have the budget, consider upgrading your windows and making your home more marketable. At the very least, you should have the glass replaced.

Torn Screens

If you have torn screens, your buyers may think you don’t take care of your property. Yet, screens are fairly easy to fix on your own. With the right supplies from your local hardware store, you can have new, sleek screens in less than a day.

Tips On Passing Your Home Inspection With Flying ColorsHome inspections are a tense time for everyone. Sellers are fervently hoping that nothing major is wrong with their home that could hold up the transaction.

Buyers are eager to hear that their new house is in prime condition. Whatever the wishes, one thing is for sure; any news from an inspector is usually bad news.

Home inspectors have a tough job. They have to be trained to spot hundreds of potential issues with a home and be knowledgeable of local codes, community restrictions and residential permit parameters.

Stay one step ahead of your home inspector by reading the list of common home inspection issues below. Then hopefully your inspection won’t reveal any unwelcome surprises.

Electrical Wiring

This is a common bubble-busting issue, especially in older homes. Wiring might have been up to code when the home was built, but it now violates code and is a fire hazard.

Look for ungrounded outlets, shoddy wiring or a mass of confusing connections in the electrical panel. Replacing an entire electrical system can be expensive, but it’s worth it not to risk a fire.

Plumbing

Look for signs of water damage in the ceilings. This could be a sign that something above, like a bathtub or sink is leaking into the floor or walls. Look around toilets and inside kitchen cabinets for traces of wet flooring or wood.

While external leaks are easy enough to fix, interior pipes might require you to rip up flooring.

Foundation And Framing

Examine the foundation and framing of your home for any structural issues. You’ll want to keep an eye out for cracking in the foundation due to water runoff or settling. Also, look for signs of wood rot or termite damage.

These issues affect the framing of your home and could cause scary structural problems if left unattended.

Roofing

While it’s probably too difficult for you to inspect the roof yourself, just stand back in the yard and see if you can notice any bare spots. Also, check for water damage around the roofline from rain leaking in. Don’t get too discouraged about roof issues. It might not call for a complete replacement, but just a repair on one section.

These common home inspection issues affect both sellers and buyers. As a buyer, you’ll want to keep a eye out for these problems so that you know what you’d be getting for your hard-earned money.

As a seller, it’s good to stay one step ahead of the home inspector so that whatever price is agreed upon goes through.

Do Those Additions Really Add Value To Your Home?When you own a home, there are additions that you can make to the property that will improve the value of your home. For example, a newly renovated kitchen or bathroom is a popular choice that will really make the home more desirable to buyers.

Also, adding storage space or a well-thought-out family room or other practical space can be a very good investment that will bring up the home’s value.

However, there are other projects that are not really worth your time or money and will allow very little opportunity to recover your costs when it is time to sell the property. Here are a few examples of things that you think might add to the value of your home, but really don’t.

An Elaborately Landscaped Garden

A beautifully landscaped garden might make the home more visually attractive to buyers when they are looking at the property, but it will not likely add to the selling price.

This is especially true if the new buyer is not interested in putting in the effort to keep the garden well-maintained and sees it as a burden. If they don’t have time to do the landscaping, they will need to hire a gardener which will add to their expenses.

A Hobby Specific Room

Are you tempted to convert a bedroom into a room that is specific to one of your particular interests, such as an art studio, a library or a wine cellar? This will not add a lot of value to the home, because the next buyer is not likely to share your passions.

It might even make the home less than desirable, because the next owner will not want to spend the time and money renovating the room back into a bedroom.

You can create a hobby room; just make sure that you make non-permanent chances to the room so that you can quickly and easily switch it back to a bedroom.

A Renovated Garage

Redoing your garage and turning it into a family room or a play room might give you a short term benefit, but you might regret it when you go to sell the home. Most people want a garage to serve its original purpose – as a place to protect their cars from the elements and store their shovels, garbage cans, leaf blowers and other outdoor things.

These are a few examples of home additions that will not add to the resale value of your property. To find out more about selling your home, contact your mortgage professional. 

The Best And Worst Times Of Year To Sell Your HomeDoes the time of year when you put your home on the market affect how well it will sell?  What about the final sales price?

According to many studies in housing trends, the answer is yes. The time of year when you sell your home can have an effect on how many people are interested and how much the home will sell for.

Of course, if you need to move and sell your home at any point of the year, you will still be able to find buyers and negotiate a price that works for you. In some areas of the country, the currently swift moving housing market can help overcome poor timing.

However, if you have the ability to plan for a more advantageous time, it makes sense to make the most of your flexibility.

The Best Times Of The Year To Sell A Home

One of the best times of the year to sell your house is in the late spring and early summer — like right now.

The school year is over for most families, and many people will be looking to purchase a home that they can move into over the summer and get settled before school begins again in the fall. Housing sales peak during this time, as studies show that 60% of people tend to move during the summer.

If you can sell your home during the spring or early summer period, it will typically be on the market for a shorter amount of time and you may have many more offers to choose from.

The Worst Times Of The Year To Sell A Home

One of the worst months of the year to sell a home is December. There are a number of reasons why trying to sell a home during the Christmas holidays can be difficult.

Most people aren’t thinking of moving this time of year. Their energies are focused on decorating their houses, preparing for the holidays, visiting friends and family and enjoying their time off work.

Another difficult time is the beginning of the school year, typically in September.

Children will have just started school and most families will not be considering moving at this point. If you attempt to sell your home during this time of year, you will be much less likely to get the the same pool of buyers that you might see in a more “move friendly” time of year.

Of course, these are just guidelines to help you plan your next home sale. No matter what time of year it is, if you need advice on selling your San Jose home, call your trusted real estate professional right away. 

Don't Make These Common Mistakes When Pricing Your Home For SaleIt can be very difficult to determine what your property is worth in the current marketplace, because you are biased by what the property is worth to you. These emotions can get in the way of impartially evaluating a property and often cause sellers to overprice their home.

When pricing your property, you need to be objective and reasonable so you can come up with a selling price that will capture the interest of buyers.

Here are a few examples of common mistakes people make when pricing their house for sale.

Reading Too Much Into Online Comparable Properties

Avoid relying too much on online pricing information of sold houses. They can be a perfect place to start for getting a general idea of how much real estate is worth, but they are not always accurate. 

Overestimating The Market

Don’t assume that you can sell your house for the same price at which you purchased it. Unless you bought your house a few weeks ago, the real estate market may have changed — sometimes significantly — and the purchase price will not reflect the appropriate pricing for today.

Overpricing To Pad For Future Negotiation

Don’t overprice your San Jose home in order to be able to negotiate to the price you want to settle on. Of course, you want to get an appropriate value from it, but many first-time buyers are on tight budgets and will rule out higher-priced houses. Your over-priced property may sit on the market longer and then the price will have to be reduced anyway.

Factoring In The Cost Of Your New Home

Don’t factor in the cost of your next house. Your listing price should not reflect how much money you’d need to purchase your next property. The price of the house should be the same whether you are wealthy or broke. Your financial situation is irrelevant to the potential buyer of the property.

These are just a few common mistakes you should avoid when determining the price of your home. Listed at the right price, you will get a fair amount from the sale of the house and the buyer will be getting a reasonable price too.

As always, your local real estate professional will have the best advice on getting your home ready for the market and selling for the best price.  Call them today to find out the details!

7 Tips To Make Your Living Room More AppealingEveryone knows that first impressions are important. By carefully staging your home, you can positively influence the feelings your potential buyers have when they are viewing the property.

Staging is the art of decorating and arranging the spaces within your house to make it more appealing to buyers. If you can adapt the rooms to create an attractive and welcoming zone that home buyers can see themselves in, they will be more likely to buy your property.

One of the most important rooms to stage is the living room, because it is such a central part of the house. This is where a lot of the social activity occurs, so it should appear comfortable and welcoming.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when staging your living room before the next showing of your home:

  • Clear out the clutter. The most important step is to de-clutter, because a mess will turn off potential buyers. Clear away any papers, toys and other items to make your living room as clean and minimalist as possible.
  • Go zen. The main purpose of a living room is for relaxation, so make the space look as comfortable as possible. Try a soft throw on the sofa, plush cushions and a big chair that is just begging you to come curl up with a book.
  • Strategically place furniture. Arrange the living room furniture to create areas of conversation, such as two sofas facing each other with a low coffee table in the middle.
  • Depersonalize. Remove your personal items. If you have too many family photos and personal effects in the room, it can make it difficult for your potential buyers to imagine their own family living there.
  • Remove the bulk. If your living room feels small, you can remove some of the furniture to give it the illusion of being bigger.
  • Channel your green thumb. You might want to consider bringing in some plants to make the space feel fresh.
  • Brighten it up. If your living room has dark corners, invest in upright lamps that will help illuminate the space and provide an aura of intimacy.

With these seven tips, the living room in your San Jose home will be much more appealing to potential buyers.

If you are ready to make a move to your next home, call your trusted mortgage loan officer for a personal consultation to get the best home mortgage loan for your purchase.

Know Your Real Estate Disclosure Laws Before Selling Your Home

When deciding to sell a piece of San Jose real estate, there are certain things you must disclose about the property to the buyer before the sale can go through.

Disclosure laws are put in place to protect the buyer from unknowingly purchasing defective property. Not disclosing certain information about the property can jeopardize the sale, or worse, invite a lawsuit.

This has become more of an issue lately as some sellers are tempted to gloss over deficiencies in the home they are selling in order to try to get a higher sales price.  In fact, a recent poll of real estate agents showed that 75% of agents ranked non-disclosure among the “top three current and future issues.”

What You May Need To Disclose

The main items that need to be disclosed are any defects with the home. This includes, but is not limited to, plumbing problems, water leaks, cracks in the foundation, insect infestations and toxic materials in the home — such as lead, asbestos, carbon monoxide or mold.

Be sure to fully disclose anything that may be pertinent to the buyer before purchase. Some disclosure laws include reporting issues with neighbors and whether the home has a criminal or notorious past.

If you are unsure about some information regarding your real estate, one option would be to state that you do not know that specific information. Remember though, if you knowingly withhold information, it may cause the sale to fall through or could be used against you in a lawsuit.

Does It Make Sense To Have A Pre-Inspection Done?

Sellers can also have their home inspected prior to placing the property on the market to prevent any surprises of unknown problems with the home. This way, defects can be fixed before listing the property, and the disclosure form can state the problem has been fixed. Buyers will almost surely want an inspection prior to closing, and a pre-inspection may suffice.

Disclosing information does not mean the seller needs to fix the problem. Any disclosed problems with the real estate can become a negotiation point. Remember, the most important thing is to be honest about any known issues with the property.

Real estate disclosure laws may be different depending on the state in which you live. The best way to know what you need to disclose in your area is to check with your trusted real estate agent or property attorney and discuss any potential property issues with them before you fill out the seller disclosure form.

How To Choose The Right Paint Colors For Selling Your HomeWhen it comes to selling your home in San Jose , you’ve probably thought of the most common staging tricks, such as clearing out the clutter to make your rooms look bigger and bringing in more light to brighten things up.

However, have you considered that the colors in your house might affect whether buyers are interested?

First impressions are everything when you are selling a house, so think about how the colors you choose will likely influence your potential buyers. A new coat of paint could be a simple and effective way to make your house more appealing.

Here are a few additional tips:

Choose Mellow, Neutral Shades

When a potential buyer is looking at your house, they want to be able to imagine themselves living there. If your walls are painted in lime green or hot pink, it can be difficult for a buyer to relate the house to their own tastes.

Instead, use neutral colors, such as cream, olive, beige and ivory. Then the walls become a blank canvas where prospective buyers can project their own style preferences.

Create the Illusion of Space

In order to make a space within your home feel larger, you can use a very light neutral color such as white, tan or pale grey. This will reflect more light and give the impression of a more expansive interior.

You can also try painting the moldings the same color as the walls, which will make the ceilings look higher.

Dont Forget About Exterior Color

It’s easy to focus on the interior of a house and forget about the outside, but the front of the house is the first thing potential buyers will see. Curb appeal can be a huge factor in their decision.

Caution: Lead-Based Paint

One important word of caution regarding the paint in your home is the issue of lead-based paint.

Lead-based paint was most common in homes built or painted prior to 1978. If your home falls in that age category, it may require further testing to ensure that the paint covering your walls is free of lead.

Color has a psychological effect on people, whether they are aware of it or not. You’ll be amazed at the difference the right colors can make in selling or improving your home.

If you would like more home staging and selling tips, please contact your trusted real estate professional today!

Study Shows 568% ROI On Home Cleaning InvestmentA clean, uncluttered home is very likely the single most important thing to get your home sold quickly and for top dollar.

In fact, a recent survey by HomeGain showed a whopping 568% return on investment for money put toward cleaning and organizing a home for sale!

And other experts say that a well-put-together home can shorten the time on market drastically as well.

Before your real estate agent lists your San Jose home, it’s essential for it to look its best.

7 Tips To Get Your Home In Tip Top Selling Condition

Examine your living space and see it as a buyer would — then double check this list of staging tips to make sure you haven’t overlooked these important details.

  • Clear out the clutter. Tidy up counter tops, bookcases, garages and closets.
  • Pack up your sentimental items. Personal photos and knick-knacks should be boxed up for moving day.
  • Get a storage unit. Open up space by moving furniture and boxes into storage — it will make the rooms appear bigger.
  • Remove appliances and fixtures that you want to keep. If you are taking the dining room chandelier or the built-in microwave, remove them before the house goes on the market.
  • Make minor repairs. Check that faucets don’t leak, doors close properly and holes in the walls are patched.
  • Make it pretty! Windows, floors and bathrooms should be sparkling. Dust every surface, hang up fresh towels in the bathroom and make sure there are no lingering odors.
  • Don’t forget the yard. Curb appeal starts at the curb — go figure — so mow the yard, wash down walkways and add some bright flowers near the front door to trigger the emotion to buy.

There are so many different ways to give your home an advantage over the competition in the spring buying market.

Plus, nice looking properties are more appealing for real estate agents to show their clients, so your well-taken-care-of home may get a lot more exposure.

In the end, the better your property looks, the faster it’s going to sell…and get you the most for it.