Selling? Improve Your Home’s First Impression.

Your home’s first impression for a home-buyer is most often online.  How your home looks in those pictures can make a major difference on whether you will get a buyer in to your home to look at it or not.  As a realtor, I sometimes cringe looking at the quality of photos posted of a home or the messiness of a house which stands out more than the natural beauty of the home itself.  You don’t want this to be your house so read more for tips to help get your house picture-perfect ready:

#1.  Make sure you take care of the major items to prepare your home for sale like touching-up paint, making necessary repairs around the house such as broken or damaged items, cleaning carpets of obvious stains, and sprucing up your yard.  You want your house to be in it’s best shape to get top dollar.  See my earlier blog on The Seller’s Roadmap if you aren’t sure on the process of selling your home.

#2.  Make sure you hire a realtor that will coordinate professional photos for you.  Most realtors should offer to pay for these photos – if they try to convince you they can just take the photos on their phone, I’d highly suggest you start looking for a new realtor! You (and your home) deserve better.  Professional photos will help make your home shine.

#3.  Talk with your realtor about whether it is worth the investment to stage your home.  Houses that are vacant or have furniture that have seen better days may really benefit from home staging.

#4.  A few days before the pictures, take an afternoon to prepare your home for the photos.  This includes:

  • Putting away & organizing major clutter.  Try to clean off counters, tops of furniture (such as coffee tables & desks), tidy up shelving that may be overflowing with personal items, tuck away pet supplies, and put away laundry.
  • Minimize toiletries in bathrooms & freshen the space.  Too many products on the counters may imply there is not enough storage.  Plan for the photographer to open shower curtains for the photos so try to keep the shower/bathtub clean & clutter-free.
  • Check all light bulbs and replace ones that are burnt out.  The photographer will likely want all the lights turned on and it will look funny if one of two bathroom lights are out, for example.  Don’t forget exterior lights!
  • Do a thorough clean of your house.  Consider a professional carpet clean if the carpets are particularly dirty & stains visible.
  • Spruce up the yard and outdoor space.  Wash off dirty outdoor furniture, clean-up the yards and gardens, pull any dead plants, mow the lawn, put away children’s toys and games.
  • Feel free to add some additional greenery inside or out with plants, but be careful about dating the pictures to a specific holiday in case your house doesn’t sell as quickly as you hope.
  • Hide electrical cords, including any jumble of wires that may be visible under your TV console or desk.

#5. On the day of the photos, you’ll want to do a final run through sprucing up your property.

  • Clean counter-tops and do another round of de-cluttering.  Put away the majority of items on the kitchen counters such as dish drying racks, extra appliances, utensil holders, spices, etc.  You want to make your counters look as spacious as possible.
  • Wipe down hardwood & tiled floors and try to get your appliances to shine, especially stainless steel that easily show smudges.
  • Make all the beds and ensure pillows & throws look tidy on furniture.
  • Clean windows of smudges & dirt which can show up in photos and take away from the pretty windows or views.
  • Toilet seats down & neatly fold any hand towels around the house.
  • Turn on all lights – don’t expect the photographer to do that for you.

Finally, after the photos are taken – it is still important to keep the house in excellent condition for the showings.  Nice photos will help get people into your house, but you want them to be impressed once they are there too.  Keep the house clean, tidy, and odor free while the house is on the market!

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If you are thinking about selling your home in the Boulder/Denver area, I would love to help.  I always provide professional photos for my clients, advice on updates or tips to help the house sell for top dollar, an innovative & custom marketing campaign around each listing, and I always strive to exceed my client’s expectations with exceptional client service.  Please email me below for more information on how we can work together & to see my sample listing marketing plan.

 

 

 


Early Fall Home To-Do List

As the days start to get a little cooler and there is a chill in the evening air, most of us can’t help but think about the fall days ahead.  With that comes cozy warm layers, hot drinks, comfort foods, and the start of the leaves changing colors (my favorite time of year!).  However, with this transition also comes a home to-do list you will want to consider to prepare your house for colder days ahead.  Read below for some key things to plan for.

  1. Do an initial check of your roof & gutters.  It’s generally fine to wait until the majority of the leaves have fallen to clean out gutters and downspouts, but now is a good time to check for debris, fallen sticks, or seals that look worn-out.  Make sure you don’t see obvious signs of damage or wear on your roof, especially around vent pipes and chimneys.  If you do, schedule repairs before the harsh winter starts as worn seals or damage could cause house leaks.IMG_1080
  2. Schedule chimney clean-ups. Make sure your fireplace is clean & safe for the upcoming year, especially if you have a wood-burning fireplace.  A dirty chimney can be a fire hazard. Creosote, the sticky substance that remains after a fire, is highly flammable.  A chimney sweep is an easy & relatively cheap maintenance item you should not avoid.  
  3. Touch-up exterior paint.  One of my first blogs was about how important it is to stay on top of exterior paint.  Review your exterior for chipping paint and prioritize touching-up areas where you know snow may accumulate in the winter.IMG_0049
  4. Schedule a tune-up for your heating system.  Make sure your heating system is working optimally by scheduling a tune-up.  Depending on the age of your system, you may only need one every other year.  Ask your heating professional how often to schedule so you are aware moving forward.
  5. Cover-up or remove A/C Units.  September is the time to remove A/C window units – it is ideal to remove them vs. putting on a cover as it minimizes winter heat loss if you can close the window.  If you have central A/C, you’ll want to turn the system off to avoid it flipping on in an unusually warm winter day.  Hose or blow off the air conditioning unit to remove leaves, small branches, dirt and dust. Ensure it dries completely and then cover the A/C unit with a protective cover for the season.  You may want to call a local HVAC company to see if there are other preventative items you should do to keep your system in good condition over the winter.
  6. Order Firewood.  If you have a wood-burning fireplace, now is a good time to order a delivery of firewood for the season.  If you can, don’t store large quantities of wood directly against the house, which can encourage bugs & pests, but do keep it covered from moisture such as rain and snow.  IMG_0848
  7. Schedule to winterize your sprinkler system. When temperatures start to fall, it’s time to winterize your sprinkler system. Your lines must be drained or blown out before the first hard freeze as the sprinkler system can be damaged from below-freezing temperatures. 
  8. Add weather-stripping.  For old, drafty windows and doors, weather-stripping can help retain heat and stop drafts.  Check old weather-stripping to ensure it is working properly and help ensure window & door gaps are as sealed as possible for the upcoming cold days.

After all your hard work, plan to enjoy the wonderful season of fall!  Go buy a new candle (I love Yankee Candle’s Autumn Leaves) and plan a foliage drive to see the gorgeous changing leaves in your area.  Enjoy!

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Real Estate Tip: Properly maintaining your HVAC systems, roof, & chimney will help avoid costly surprises at inspection objection if you are trying to sell your home.  If you have any questions related to preparing your home for sale, I would love to help.  Please contact me below.


The Home Buying Process

As a follow-up to my last blog about the home selling process, here is a guide for the other side of a real estate transaction – the home-buying process.  As with selling your home, the process to buy a house can seem complex and confusing at times.  Luckily, you can get help from a real estate professional who will guide you through the process every step of the way.  One thing some first-time home buyers don’t realize is that in most circumstances, the agent’s commission is paid for by the seller of the home, not the buyer.  So this means your representation should cost you nothing!

When you meet with a real estate professional, you will want to discuss what you are looking for in a home & ideal location so they know the parameters of your home search.  Your realtor will likely ask you pretty early on if you will be requiring a loan or paying cash.  If you are getting a loan, you will want to get pre-approved by a lender right away. This helps ensure you are searching for homes in an accurate price-range and when it is time to put an offer on a house, you can quickly have a pre-approval letter to give with your offer showing you can afford a house of that amount.  Having this pre-approval completed at the start will make the process move a lot more smoothly.  If you aren’t sure where to start with finding a lender, your broker may be able to provide recommendations.

The fun part is searching for a home!  Your realtor will search for homes in your criteria & schedule showings as appropriate.  When you are looking at homes, it is important to think beyond just the obvious like number of rooms, size of kitchen, and age of the roof.  You may want to visit my blog post about important things to consider when buying a house.  There is no magic number on the amount of homes you should see before you make an offer.  I always tell my buyers you need to have the right feeling with a house – you should feel at home in it to know it is right for you.  Once you find the right home, your agent will prepare the offer based on the price and terms you choose.  Often there will be some form of negotiation on both sides and once the parties come to an agreement, you are under contract!

The contract will dictate the dates, deadlines, & terms that must be met before closing & possession – these include items like the inspection, appraisal, due diligence documents, record & off-record title, property insurance, loan deadlines, and more.  Your broker should keep you up to speed on all upcoming deadlines and what to expect.  If you are getting a loan, you will also be getting a lot of requests from the lender on information you need to provide.  Staying on top of both of these will help make the process as smooth as possible and not risk delaying close (or worst case, terminating the contract).

The last deadlines will be the closing date & possession (not always the same date).  Closing is the transfer of funds and ownership & the day we are all looking forward to!  A title company or an attorney typically acts as an independent third-party to facilitate the closing.  Post closing & at the time of possession you can celebrate your new home and the new title of being a home owner!  Congratulations!!

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I would love to help you find your next home!  Please contact me below if you have any questions on the home buying process or would like to discuss how I can help you with you real estate needs.  Visit my testimonials page to see what others have to say about working with me.


The Seller’s Roadmap

Selling your home can be an emotional process so it’s best to go into it knowing what to expect.  If you are thinking of selling your home, you will first want to meet with a real estate professional so they can help walk you through the steps to getting your home sold.  There is no commitment for that initial meeting – you are ensuring that you & the real estate broker will work well together and the work the broker will put into selling your home is what you expect (and deserve!).  The broker will do a market analysis and pull comparable homes that have sold recently to determine an appropriate price for the house.  As difficult as it may be, it is important to review the facts and be open-minded about the price the agent is providing.  Many sellers have an emotional tie to their home and may see their home in a more subjective light than the traditional buyer will.

If you decide to move forward with listing your home, you will want to prepare your home to be sold.  A good real estate broker should be able to help provide insight into what buyers will be looking for – plan to be open-minded in hearing their recommendations.  Your broker is offering advice based on a broad buyer audience, whereas your style may be more for one particular taste.  You will want your home to be in the best possible condition so plan on things like touching-up paint, making repairs for defects such as a broken door or leaky roof, de-clutter, enhance your home’s curb-appeal, eliminate odors, and clean to make your house shine.

Once your home is ready, your broker will list it for sale.  At a minimum, your broker will put up a for-sale sign and list it in the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service).  You deserve more than this so ensure your real estate broker will be putting forward a full marketing plan to sell your home from events to advertising, social media, direct outreach, professional photos, and more.  The job of a real estate agent is to MARKET your property to get it sold.  You need an agent that knows how to do marketing to get the home sold quickly and at a sale price you are happy with.  Please contact me below for a sample of my marketing plan for listing homes.

When an offer (or multiple offers) come in on your home, your broker will work with you to help you decide which offer to move forward with or negotiate on.  When all parties agree to the offer, the contract is signed and you are officially under contract.  Be prepared for many deadlines & commitments in the following weeks to get the sale closed.  On top of preparing to move and meeting all seller obligations, it is going to be a very busy couple of weeks.  Assuming each date & deadline is met and no one defaults on the contract, the transaction is complete with the closing & agreed upon possession date & time.  Cheers!!

Download the Seller’s Roadmap here.

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I would love to help you sell your home in CO.  Please contact me below to see my sample marketing plan for listing homes & I would be happy to schedule a no-obligations meeting to discuss your real estate needs.

 


Why is Everyone Moving to Colorado?

I’ve been asked the question: “Why are so many people moving to Colorado?” Well, the short answer is: “because the secret is out.”  The scenery here is beautiful, the weather is great, there is strong economic growth, and frankly – there is a lot to do in CO.  Many times people visit the area & then question why they would be living anywhere else. Employers are catching on to all the area has to offer as well – opening up new offices & bringing job opportunities.  Take Google’s new $130 Million Boulder Campus, for example, that will bring in hundreds of new residents to the area.  So, what do I mean by “the secret is out” – let me explain by diving further into Boulder specifically.

With over 300 days of sun per year, picturesque landscapes, and tons of recreational opportunities, Boulder offers people a great quality of life. On any given day, residents and visitors alike enjoy biking on the 300+ miles of dedicated bikeways or hiking on one of the many scenic trails that make up over 150 miles of hiking trails.  With so much beauty & opportunity in Boulder’s backyard, it is a healthy place to live both mentally & physically.  Self Magazine rated Boulder #1 in Top 10 Fittest Cities in the US (September 2017) and National Geographic rated Boulder The Happiest City in the U.S  (October 2017).

Exercise is a way of life in Boulder, but so is a good dining experience.  From restaurants that have received James Beard awards (Frasca Food & Wine) to Boulder institutions that are known for their award-winning beer and hippy atmosphere (The Mountain Sun) – the food in Boulder is good.  Very good. So good that Bon Appétit dubbed Boulder as  “America’s Foodiest Town” and Food and Wine named Pearl Street as one of the “Ten Best Foodie Streets in America.”

An added element to the restaurant scene & healthy living lifestyle is the farm culture in Colorado. With so many farms within a few miles of Boulder and an overall focus on supporting everything local, Boulder sees a lot of farm-to-table restaurants as well as an award-winning Farmer’s Market.  Every Saturday morning from April – November & Wednesday evening May – October, the Farmer’s Market is packed with people looking for everything from Colorado Peaches to Boulder Beef, local honey, fresh pasta, creamy cheese, beautiful flowers, and more.  Most will agree that leaving empty-handed is nearly impossible.

Finally, it’s not just about being healthy & working out in Boulder – there is a lot of other things to do.  Walking the pedestrian-friendly Pearl Street Mall, watching street performers, shopping, or dining al fresco is always a good time.  Some people aren’t aware that Boulder actually has an impressive amount of top-notch craft breweries.  In fact, Boulder has more breweries per capita than any other city in the country.  And if you want to get out-of-town, Denver is only 30 miles away, there is a ski resort 20 miles outside Boulder, and Rocky Mountain National Park is only an hour away.

I think it’s safe to say this place is pretty great.  Come visit and if you are thinking of making the move to CO, I would love to be your relocation resource.  Reach out via the form below or email me at Beth@GoodacreProperties.com.

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Simple Home Updates

Do you look at your home and think it needs updates, but the thought of the time, money & energy required to make the updates prevent you from doing the work?  You don’t need to tackle the whole house at once, instead think of one space at a time.  Additionally, there is no need to do a complete overhaul of the space – there are little things you can do that go a long way.  Here are some things to think about.

Take a step outside:

  • Mailbox.  This is sometimes the first thing people see when they pull up to your house.  A new mailbox, post, and set of house numbers is a relatively inexpensive & easy fix that will clean up the image of your home.
  • Landscaping.  You do not need entirely new landscaping, but cleaning up weeds & overgrowth and putting down some new mulch will polish up your outdoor space. Don’t stop at just cleaning up the yard & garden – tackle your driveway and any walkways too if you see grass or weeds growing up through cracks.
  • Front door.  Give your home a facelift by replacing your front door or even just repaint it if it’s in good shape.  Consider a fun pop of color that complements the rest of the paint colors of your house for a statement door.  If your budget allows, updating the door hardware will increase the curb appeal even more.

Inside:

  • Lighting.  If you have the budget to swap out some tired, old lights for more modern fixtures, this goes a long way in my opinion.  You could address one room at a time and you don’t have to spend hundreds on each light – I’ve seen many pretty lights for under $20.  Electricians usually charge an hourly rate so try to get an estimate for how many lights they can replace in an hour or two.  If this is outside your budget, simply swapping out your light bulbs can give your home a much more comforting feel.  Get rid of those bright, fluorescent lights and put in soft white bulbs.

  • Touch-up paint.  The general wear & tear of life puts a stress on baseboards, doors, and walls.  If you don’t want to completely repaint a room, consider just touching up the paint – hiding imperfections with a fresh brush stroke of paint.  Now is the time to patch any holes or fill in any dings.  Make sure you choose the right finish paint and you don’t use a gloss paint on what was initially an eggshell.

  • Fixtures.  If you have outdated or run-down knobs on cabinets, handles on doors, towel racks, or even vent covers, all of these are easy to swap out.  Replacing these give you an opportunity to let your personality shine through, while also making your space look more polished.  

  • Blinds.  If your home still has aluminum blinds or temporary paper blinds you threw up for a quick fix years ago, consider replacing them.  New window coverings can really modernize a room. 

Decor:

  • Furniture.  If you are disappointed with how worn some of your furniture looks, sanding & painting wood pieces for a fresh new look is always a great option.  This is an area where you can try out something different & have fun with it.  I almost tossed an old, weathered Adirondack chair a few summers ago, but decided to bring it back to life & painted it a bright blue to match some of my other patio furniture.
  • Decor.  Throw pillows, comfy blankets, candles, baskets to hold clutter, throw rugs, artwork for the walls, a statement wall with a peel-and-stick wallpaper, real or fake potted planets, table lamps.  All these are simple, easy ideas to update a space and make it more enjoyable to live in.  I personally love shopping affordable decor Target and Joss & Main.

If you found this information valuable and are interested in seeing my inspiration for home updates & decor, follow my Pinterest page: https://www.pinterest.com/ecgoltz/

 

***Real Estate Tip***

If your home looks as though it needs updates to you, a potential buyer will see the same thing.  Making some of these indoor and outdoor updates could potentially help with the resale of your home.  Feel free to reach out if you’d like to run your thinking by me.

 

 

 


Is This Your Year to Become a Homeowner?

Have you been thinking about purchasing a home for a while now but, haven’t acted on taking the first step?  Buying a home can seem daunting and you may have more questions than answers which may be what’s holding you back.  It’s true that buying a home may be one of the biggest investments you may make financially, but it doesn’t need to be a scary process.  Getting a good understanding of your finances & what to expect with purchasing a home may help you decide if you are ready to take the next step to start the home buying process.  Below are some key things to think about.

  1. Credit Report. A very basic, yet important factor in your ability to buy a home is your credit rating.  The best interest rates & more flexible loan terms are available to those with the strongest credit scores.  You should understand what your credit score is and ensure that the items they are reporting on are correct.  There are three major credit reporting agencies you can contact for your credit score: Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion.
  2. How much home can I afford?  This is probably your biggest question and something you’ll want to accurately know the answer to in order to not be disappointed later in your home search.  To get the most accurate answer, you’re going to want to have a conversation with a lender.  A lender should help evaluate your current financial situation, as well take into account your future plans that may affect how you think about your home purchase & investment.
  3. Upfront Fees & Expenses.  Most homebuyers are aware that they need money for a down payment, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be 20%.  The best way to know how much you need for a down payment is to talk with a lender – you may qualify for less percent down.  On top of the down payment, there are more costs that you will need to plan for.  Money will need to be alloted for costs associated with the loan, earnest money with your offer, costs for inspections, and closing costs. Finally, don’t forget about a cushion for things like actually moving and buying items to get settled in your new home.
  4. Lending Options. Banks are not the only source anymore for obtaining a loan to buy a home, there are plenty of other options and it is suggested you shop around to find a lender.
    • Mortgage Bankers loan their own money and then usually sell the loan to recapture their original money plus a small profit.
    • Mortgage Loan Brokers are in the business of matching buyers & homeowners with lenders that are likely to finance them.  The buyer usually picks up the fee for this service.
    • Financial Institutions are commonly known as traditional banks or “prime” lenders.
    • Private Lenders usually refers to sellers who are open to owner financing.
    • Credit Unions – some do issue mortgages for their members and generally can beat the rate of the bank, or at least offer the same.
  5. Pre-Approval.  Once you narrow down which type of lender can best meet your needs, the next step is to get pre-approved for a loan.  This is not the same as pre-qualification.  Pre-qualification is an estimate of how much you can afford in a mortgage payment and simply means that the lender has looked at the information and that there is a high probability that the purchaser will qualify for the requested loan.  Pre-approval is a firmer commitment on behalf of the mortgage company & is a more formal process including a credit check & employment verification.  A seller is likely to view you as a more capable buyer if you are pre-approved which can give you an advantage as a buyer in the marketplace.  It is wise to obtain pre-approval at the beginning of the buying process so you know how much home you can afford and risk not qualifying for a home you go under contract with.

With these steps taken care of, you may feel the confidence and reassurement to start searching for your perfect house!

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If you are ready to embark on your mission of finding your perfect home in Colorado – I can be with you for every step of the way.  Please contact me to discuss your real estate goals:

 

 


Reminder: Winter Home Maintenance

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With a lot of the country dealing with bitter cold & figid temperatures, it’s a good reminder to make sure your home is ready for winter.  We have had a few personal experiences that made us realize we hadn’t planned ahead for some of these items: drafty windows in below zero temps, leaves in the gutters that didn’t allow snow to appropriately melt, and not keeping a close enough eye on trees in heavy snowfall.  We learned our lesson with that one and had the worst case scenario happen to us last year with a tree falling onto our house in a big snowstorm.  Luckily, damage was only minimal and to our defense, it was a tree on Boulder County property – not one of ours!  I do come from the standpoint that you learn from your mistakes, but it would probably be best to try to avoid major issues in the first place because burst pipes or chimney fires are not something to joke around about.

Houzz & Huffington Post both have checklists that are worth a read: Your Winter Home Maintenance Checklist and Winter Home Maintenance Checklist.  To me, it’s worth paying attention to things that you think may affect your home and addressing those as soon as possible.

Happy winter, folks!

 


What Guests Really Notice in Your Home

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While reading up about home decor & inspiration, I stumbled upon an interesting article from Popsugar: “What Guests Really Notice in Your Home.”  This is a timely article given many of us are expecting guests this coming holiday season.  The list isn’t overwhelmingly long – just 6 key things to think about:

  • Scent of the Home
  • Well-stocked bar
  • Fresh Flowers
  • Lack of Clutter
  • A tidy bathroom
  • An organized entry way

The only addition I would add is …”A tidy and clean bathroom!”  You can’t fool your guests into a fresh, organized, home if your bathrooms are way overdue for a cleaning.

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Real Estate Tip: Potential buyers will notice these things too when looking at your home for sale… except for the well-stocked bar, unless it comes with the house 😉

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