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Trusty Preparation Tips for Your Final Walkthrough

By Rachel Collar

shutterstock_307474913You have found your new home and you are so excited to move in that you cannot wait to complete the final steps before closing! While you daydream about arranging your furniture and putting your dishes into the cabinets, make sure you are giving proper attention to the very important final walkthrough of your new palace. This should take place after the home inspection and about a week before closing. Prepare yourself by getting plenty of sleep for mental clarity, bringing a support system to help out, and packing a few small tools to aid in your walkthrough. Being very careful to check every detail will ensure you have a happy homecoming when the keys are finally yours.

When completing your final walkthrough, make sure you check every appliance, window, door and electrical outlet. Check all faucets and flush all toilets. Open every cabinet. Bring someone with you and task him or her with checking a particular area or category. Though your inspection has already occurred, there could be problems that may have come up since. You may find that a faucet that worked during inspection is no longer working after the seller removed a water filter improperly. It could happen that a roof leak has caused water damage that was not visible before. You can use a phone and charger or outlet tester to check every outlet in the house. Take a notebook with you and write the name of each room on each page to record any issues.

Are there any items that the seller agreed to leave behind such as light fixtures, shelving or outdoor structures? Be thorough in checking that these items are in place and intact. A specific area that always gets overlooked is landscaping. Walk the yard while referencing photos from your previous visit to ensure that no trees or shrubbery or built-in patio items were removed if the agreement was for them to stay. Use your notebook and camera or phone to document any issues. Be very specific.

After the seller’s belongings have been removed, check all storage areas and nooks for items left behind. You do not want to be responsible for throwing out a box of old paint left in the garage or heavy crates full of magazines shoved in an attic corner. You also do not want to have to communicate with the seller or have them come by to retrieve items while you are trying to make the home your own. Check walls again to make sure no damage occurred while moving out. It is not uncommon for television sets to leave gaping holes in walls or for a sofa to take out a chunk of a doorframe on its way out. Make sure any potential issues are properly repaired, and not just patched up to provide temporary visual appeal.

It is very important that you schedule your final walkthrough with plenty of advance time for repairs to take place. Remember, you may need to schedule an additional walkthrough to double check that all loose ends are tied. Giving yourself an extra week is often easier than rescheduling a closing due to a dispute. Your home is your investment and making reasonable requests for repairs or changes is part of the real estate process. Do not let your eagerness to settle in cause you to settle for less.

 

Walkthrough Tools Checklist:
  1. Phone and charger or outlet tester
  2. Notebook and pen
  3. Camera or Smartphone
  4. Support system
  5. Paperwork or contracts

 

 

Sources: www.homebuyingabout.com , www.foxbusiness.com, www.forbes.com

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Mailbox Makeovers for Instant Curb Appeal 

by Cat Queen

When visitors or potential buyers see your home for the first time, make sure your tired old mailbox doesn’t leave them with the wrong impression. These quick and easy mailbox makeovers will help you instantly improve your home’s curb appeal.

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Perhaps the best way to give your mailbox a more charming presence is by creating a lovely space for it. Plant brightly colored flowers or low-maintenance shrubbery in a small garden around your mailbox. Then, use an edge trimmer to create a neat perimeter around your new flower bed. If other areas of your yard are trimmed-in with brick or concrete blocks, keep the look consistent by using the same material around your mailbox.

For a quicker fix, try sprucing up your mailbox’s post. Metal or wrought iron can be easily spray painted. If you have a traditional wooden post, first check the post for any rotten or chipped away areas. (In most cases, you can fill these cracks with wood putty; if the post is too far gone, it might be better to replace it.) Then, paint or stain the wood to give it an instant face-lift.

Large, stacked rock mailbox enclosures are beautiful but can be pretty expensive. You can achieve a similar look by adhering faux stacked rock to your existing wooden post.

Next, consider painting your mailbox with weather-proof spray paint. Try to coordinate your mailbox colors with your home’s exterior. White, green, and blue are great for catching the eye without being overwhelming. Red is also a popular and bold choice.

Tip: Steer clear of loud or neon colors like hot pink, orange, or bright yellow, which may be too bold for potential buyers. Hobby or sports themed mailboxes can also negatively affect a buyer’s first impression of the home.

If bright colors aren’t really your thing, use white or ivory paint with stencils instead. Quickly rejuvenate your mailbox by stenciling the number of your address in a fancy script against a plain black background. For a more personalized touch, add the first letter of your last name above the address in a larger font. You can also add embellishments like ivy or flowers.

Remember, when showing your home, try to appeal to all potential home buyers. Plain, classic stylings give your house a sense of character and charm without offending the personal taste of visitors. It is equally important to ensure that your home appears as well maintained as possible. A bright, clean mailbox in a well-manicured flower bed will always give the right impression.

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5 Questions to Ask an Agent during a Listing Presentation

shutterstock_238706755By Maria Patterson

Unless you’re a seasoned real estate buyer and seller, the typical listing presentation can often leave you overwhelmed and dumbstruck. But to really make the right choice when choosing an agent to represent your home, it’s critical that you become an active participant in the listing presentation—it should not be a one-way street! To help glean as much information as possible about a prospective agent’s prowess, be sure to ask him or her the following questions. The responses will provide you with valuable insight into their strategies, professionalism and enthusiasm.

1. What did the last home you sold in this area go for?

Not only will this give you a good idea of the going rate in your neighborhood, it will shed some light on how familiar the agent is with your neighborhood and its home values.

2. How will you expose my home…and how will you follow up with leads?

A standard part of any good listing presentation will highlight the various ways in which the agent will promote your home online through their own website as well as various real estate portals, such as realtor.com, homes.com and Zillow. While it’s good to know the type of exposure your home will receive, it’s more important to know the agent’s system for following up with leads—some are much better at it than others! Ask them how quickly they respond to leads, how they determine whether a lead is serious or not, how they follow up and keep the lead engaged after initial contact, and what sort of information they provide to pique a lead’s interest. This will give you an idea of not just the quantity of leads you may receive, but the quality of the agent’s follow-up.

3. What’s your opinion on open houses, and how do you make them worthwhile?

Believe it or not, open houses are a hot-bed of controversy among real estate professionals. Many agents believe they’re not worth it, so ask your prospective agent, a. Will you hold an open house on my property? and b. If so, what will you do to make it worthwhile? An effective open house is dependent on a lot of factors, such as the creative strategies an agent uses to draw people to the event, how they collect information during the event, and how they follow up with attendees afterwards.

4. What can I do to help my home sell for a higher price?

A good agent will be able to tell you what enhancements would be worth your while in terms of selling price. You don’t want to invest money on renovations that don’t translate directly to the bottom line. Also ask what changes might help sell your home faster. This could involve simple cosmetic changes like paint and/or some effective staging.

5. What factors will detract from my home’s value?

If your home is not going to list at the price you had hoped for, ask the prospective agent why. If there’s some pet damage or a swimming pool that’s going to detract from the selling price, a good agent should let you know that up front.

Be sure to meet with at least three agents prior to choosing one to work with. While their listing presentations will help differentiate them, their responses to the above questions will really seal the deal.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for top real estate tips and trends.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

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