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It is a buyer’s market in real estate right now.  Home sellers are competing with foreclosures, short sales, and the like in selling their home these days.    In this competitive market, home sellers need to do all they can to give themselves an edge in selling their home.

Here are a few inexpensive things that you can do before you put your home on the market to make it stand now and really shine:

LANDSCAPING-   Make sure that your home has good curb appeal by making sure that you keep the lawn mowed, trim shrubbery, and plant flowers.    Remove any unsightly items such as old furniture and trash.    These tasks will costs you only a few hundred dollars and they will make your home look appealing.

PAINT THE INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR-   Interior or exterior painting is one of the most inexpensive things that you can do to make your home stand out.    You can buy many paints for under $25 a gallon, and most people can paint (though not all people like to paint).      Be sure to fill any interior wall blemishes and nail holes before you paint.    Paint can also neutralize any odors in your house. Be cautious about your selection of paint colors.    A more neutral color works best as it makes the interior of the house look brighter.  

CLEAN THE CARPET OR FLOORS-   If you have carpet, you will definitely want to clean the carpet before you show it to prospective home buyers.     A good cleaning of your carpet will remove many  odors and stains.  You can rent carpet cleaning equipment from local grocery stores, but I have found it a better investment to let a professional clean your carpet.   The carpet in most homes can be cleaned for only a few hundred dollars. 

CHANGE LIGHT BULBS OR LIGHT FIXTURES-    To make your home look as bright and cheerful as possible, consider putting up some new light fixtures.    You can buy a light fixture many times for less than $75.  If you do not have the time and know-how to do this yourself, consider putting in a higher wattage of light bulbs.  This will make your home look brighter.

DE-CLUTTER YOUR HOME-     Most people (myself included) have too much stuff in their home.    I know that I am bordering on hurting feelings, but remember that home buyers are coming not to see your collection of trolls or pictures of the children.  No, they are coming to see how your house can become their new home.    Consider storing some furniture and the like that may distract them from seeing the fine house you have to sell. 

The combined cost of all these tasks can be less than one thousand dollars.   Though that is not pocket change, these tasks can pay big dividends in getting your house sold.   Best wishes.-  Randy Wall, Lora Lee Properties


Go Team

I wrote a few weeks ago about persons that you will want to have on “your team” if you are buying or selling real estate whether you are a homeowner or investor.I spoke about the importance of having an attorney, realtor, and contractor on your team.Their skill and expertise are critical.

Though an attorney, realtor, and contractor are important team members, there are also some other team members you need as follows:

HOME INSPECTOR-Whether you are a buyer or seller, have a licensed home inspector on your team.A home inspector examines thoroughly the house and looks far beyond the carpet, paint, and the number of rooms.They provide an objective viewpoint about the condition of the roof, HVAC system, and the like.Why most people think ofusing home inspectors before buying a house, they also can a good friend to home sellers .A home inspection report can give persons interested in your home piece of mind about what they are buying.

APPRAISER-Most people only think of appraisals when they are buying a house and/or financing it.An appraisalgives an objective view of what a property is worth right now based on the recent sales and the characteristics of the property.No one should want an appraiser to tell them what they want to hear, but what they need to hear.Like a home inspection report, an appraisal can help persons selling their home to “price it right”.

INSURANCE AGENT-You will also want a good working relationship with an insurance agent.If you an investor or landlord, you will want to make sure that you have insurance not just on your property but liability insurance against yourself.

ACCOUNTANT-Perhaps it important that I offer full disclosure that my wife is an accountant.An accountant is an important member of your team not just for counting income and expenses, but for helping you understand the tax consequences of buying and selling property.

If youare looking for members of your team, solicit recommendations from other homeowners or realestate investors.Feel free to interview the prospective team members and ask questions.Good luck in your search.Go team.-Randy Wall, Lora Lee Properties


Home Shopping 101

Are you in the market for a new home?    Perhaps you are down-sizing since the kids are grown or you are up-sizing because your kids have come.    Perhaps you are moving to a new area because of a job change or retirement.    Today, I want to share a few things for you to keep in mind as you shop for a home.  They are as follows:

BUY NOW-    Since prices are down from a few years, we will get more home for your money today.   Do not delay if you have been thinking of buying a new home.    Shop and buy now.

FINANCE NOW-  Now is also a great time to finance a home since mortgage rates are at record lows.  Though lending requirements might be more stringent than a few years ago, you can generally expect to finance more house and get a lower monthly mortgage payment.

GET PRE-QUALIFIED-   Unless you are planning to pay cash for your home purchase, work with a lender to get pre-qualified before shopping for a home.      A good mortgage lender will be able to tell you how much home you can reasonably afford.    Many realtors and/or homeowners will not even consider an offer to purchase unless you are pre-qualified.    It is better to know whether you can get a loan before home shopping than after.

SETTING YOUR HOME PRIORITIES-  Before you start looking for a home, it is important to make a list of features for the home you would like to purchase.    Do you want to be near schools, shopping, or your church?   Do you want to be in a subdivision or out in the country?    How many bedrooms, baths, or square feet to you want?   How big a yard do you want?   Once you have made these decisions, prioritize the features in their importance.     Is location of the home more important than the size of the yard?  Would you rather have 4 bedrooms or be in a subdivision?    Set these priorities and let them guide you and the real estate professional you are working with.     Good luck in your search.-   Randy Wall, Lora Lee Properties




1. Make your offer as “clean” as possible. Don’t ask the seller to pay for your home warranty, and the homeowner’s association’s transfer fees, and your lender’s fees, etc.





Today, I want to speak about your real estate team.   It seems fitting as the NCAA basketball tournament begins this week. Someone once told me that there is no "I" in the word team. Every person is important on a team whether they throw the ball inbound or lead in rebounds.
I am also told there is an African saying that "It takes a village to raise a child." Parents need all sorts of help raising their children-- mentors, teachers, doctors, etc.
Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to be successful in real estate whether you are buying your first home... are a real estate investor... or you are a realtor. You cannot do well in real estate all alone. You are going to need some help. Today I want to share with you some of the persons you need on your team:
ATTORNEY- In my native N.C., you need an attorney to close on the sale or purchase of real estate. You also need an attorney for the advice and counsel. Look carefully for an attorney who has experience in real estate. Ask felow investors, realtors, and friends who have bought and sold property for their ideas.
REALTORS- In these days of lagging sales of houses, many people are trying to make profit in selling their property by selling it themself. Though I would not say this is a totally bad idea, this can be a demanding chore unless you are experienced in real estate. Talk to a realtor and solicit their help. Maybe you can work together. More than likely, they will worth their commission and then some. Look for persons who have experience in the kind of real estate you want to buy or sell (investment properties, single family homes, commercial properties, etc.).
CONTRACTOR- If you are buying a property that needs repairs or the house you are selling needs a face-lift, find a contractor to work with. Ask friends who have had remodelling done, or consult a realtor. Don't be afraid to ask for references, and to get more than one bid for work.
They are some others you need on your team but time does not allow me to speak of home inspectors, appraisers, etc. Feel free to interview them and check them out through licensing boards, better business bureau, etc. Good luck in your search.- Randy Wall, Lora Lee Properties
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