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Six Reasons Why You will Need a Licensed Real Estate Agent When You Buy or Sell a House
By Peta-Gay
December 13, 2016

Are you in the market to buy or sell a home? If so, you may be wondering whether to work with a real estate agent or not. While saving on the commission might sound tempting, it can cost you later.

Here are six reasons to choose a real estate agent the next time you buy or sell a home.

1: Agents Get The Best Price

If you're trying to buy or sell on your own, it's going to cost you. When buying, real estate agents are able to tap into market data to know the best price to bid. When selling, they can use this same data to ensure you ask for the highest reasonable price.

2: Agents Know The Market

Is now the best time to buy or sell? You might not be sure, but a real estate agent will know. They have daily access to local market trends that outsiders can't see. And since they're working in your market each day, they can get a sense for what's coming.

3: Agents Know How To Negotiate

Are you a strong negotiator? If not, you'll want to let your real estate agent take care of the negotiations. Remember, the other party in the transaction is likely to have an agent. So, without one of your own, you'll be up against a skilled negotiator with no backup.

4: Agents Have The Time And You Don't

Let's face it: you're busy. Unless you're going to take a vacation to deal with your real estate transaction, you don't have the time. Real estate agents spend all their time working on their client properties. They make the time to handle inspections, negotiations and other activities.

5: Agents Know What To Look For

If you're buying or selling for the first time, you'll definitely want to contract an agent. They know how to spot deficiencies in the house or property. Their experience allows them to see problems that you might not spot on your own. And they'll know what needs to be fixed and what can wait until later.

6: Agents Can Deal With The Paperwork

Do you love dealing with contracts, legal forms and other paperwork? If not, this might be reason enough to work with a real estate agent. They will take care of all the necessary paperwork for your purchase or sale. And if you've ever participated in a real estate transaction before, you know there's a LOT to deal with. Leave this to your agent so you can focus on more fun activities.

The above are just six of the (many) reasons to work with a real estate professional. If you're thinking about buying or selling a home, contact a trusted real estate agent today.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

Selling Your Home? Do Not Skip These 3 Essential Steps or Your Sale Will Suffer
By Peta-Gay
December 14, 2016

If you want to sell your home quickly — and for the most profit — you can't just list it and cross your fingers.  Successful sales are well-planned sales, and there are several ways in which you can make sure your own home sale turns out as you'd like it to.

1. Know Your Target Market 

What kind of people are buying homes in your area?  Is your neighborhood popular among new families, retirees, young singles?  Do a little research to see what type of buyers are typically attracted to the area, and figure out how your home caters to their lifestyle.  Marketing is one of the most important aspects when it comes to a successful home sale, and knowing who to target is the first step.

Once you have learned a bit about your potential buyers and what they're looking for, use that information to guide the rest of your sale preparations.  Consider what you've learned about their wants and needs and carry that into any renovations you do, your listing, and your open houses.  Make your home one that your buyers really want to live in, and you just might find yourself in the midst of a bidding war!

2. Call In The Pros

When you sell your home without enlisting in the help of a professional, you open the door for significant mistakes to be made.  Real estate professionals have the expert knowledge and experience that is needed to steer your home sale towards the best possible outcome.  They can offer advice on listing price, marketing materials, open houses, offers received, and can take care of paperwork. 

Attempting to do everything yourself may sound feasible, but you could sell yourself short by accidentally pricing your home too low, or you may be on the market forever if you price it too high.  Mistakes in contractual paperwork could land you in hot water, and overall you're more likely to experience stress during your home sale if you try to do it all yourself.  Find a real estate agent that you're comfortable with, and you'll be more likely to get what your home is worth without the extra stress.

3. Fix It Up

Making sure that key renovations are up-to-date before selling your home is another crucial factor if you want to sell it quickly and profitably.  Important things to consider include your kitchen, bathrooms, and roof, as buyers tend to scrutinize those areas the most during a walk-through.  Make sure that everything is in good condition and looks presentable before listing — you don't want potential buyers to see any red flags when looking at your property.

Ready to sell your home?  Contact a trusted real estate professional today to make the most of your sale.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

Hosting an Open House? Use These Staging Tips to Make Your House Feel Like a Model Home
By Peta-Gay
December 15, 2016

Are you selling your home? If so, you're going to have to host an open house at some point. In today's blog post we'll explore a few staging tips that make your house feel like a model home.

Make A Solid First Impression

Start with the front of the home and give a great first impression. Have the sidewalk, driveway and walkways power washed. Ensure that the lawn, plants and landscaping are healthy and look great. Clean the windows and address any external paint issues that may have come up over the years.

The goal is to ensure that your guests think "WOW" when they drive up. Keep staging the front of your home until the neighbors are jealous.

Clean, Clean And Clean Some More

Even if you think your home is 'clean enough', it's likely not. You've lived in your home for years, which means that your brain has learned to un-see certain aspects of it. Even if you're sure you've cleaned it as much as possible, you may have missed a few spots.

Here's a helpful exercise. Imagine that the President, Vice-President and Secretary of State are coming over for dinner. And that they'll be touring through every room in your home to see how you live. That's how clean your home needs to be for your open house.

Appeal To Your Target Buyers

Do you know what age range your expected open house guests are in? Are they first-time home buyers, young families or single professionals? If at all possible, try to stage your home to appeal to your guests. If they are younger, then you can stage the basement more as a media or entertainment room. If they have children, that might become storage and a play area. You get the idea.

Lighten Things Up A Bit

Regardless of what time of day you host an open house, you'll want there to be a lot of light. Open up all the drapes and blinds to let in as much natural light as possible. If you have to use artificial light, invest in high-quality LED bulbs. There are models that can produce light that is close to sunlight in quality. The more light you have, the better your spotless home will look.

The More (Room), The Merrier

Finally, do your best to open up your space. Remove all clutter and store it. Arrange your furniture to maximize the walking areas. But try not to overdo it. You want your staged home to feel livable -- and not like a series of large, empty caves.

There you have it -- five great staging tips that will boost your next open house. Remember, the fastest way to sell your home is with the help of an experienced real estate agent. Contact one to learn more about open houses, staging and closing a quick sale!

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

Buying a New Home? Use This Checklist to Ensure Your Finances Are in Order
By Peta-Gay
December 16, 2016

Buying a home is a significant expense. It doesn't matter whether you're a first-time buyer or have experience. Unless you have a large pile of cash, you'll need to ensure your finances are in order before closing. In this post we'll explore four financial items you'll want to check off before buying a new home.

Figure Out Your Current Monthly Budget

First, you're going to want to sort out your monthly budget. If you've never done a budget before, start with something basic. Open up a spreadsheet or take out a piece of paper. Make two columns: 'income' and 'expenses'. Fill in each column with the amounts that you make or spend each month. Bank, credit card and other statements can help with this process. It's a good idea to go back at least 3 months to ensure you're capturing your true spending.

Make A Debt Management Plan

Do you have any debts? If so, you'll want to make a plan for how you're going to manage these when you buy a new home. For example, you may have a car payment, student loans, a line of credit or credit card debt. Write down your debts, how much you owe and when payments are due. If any debts are due monthly, make sure you include those in your budget.

Keep in mind that your outstanding debts may impact your ability to borrow for a mortgage as well. If you plan on taking out a mortgage to pay for your new home, it's best to get your debts figured out beforehand.

Understand All Your Real Estate Costs

Next, you'll want to determine what all your real estate costs are going to be. If you're not yet close to the bidding or closing process, this might be a bit challenging. But ask your real estate agent for a breakdown of what you can expect to pay for a home in your price range.

Set Up An Emergency Savings Cushion

Finally, you'll want to set up a financial cushion in case of emergencies. It's not much fun to think about, but losing a job or having a health event is possible. Most financial experts recommend having at least six months of expenses saved up. Of course, this is always easier said than done. What's important is that you have at least some cash tucked away, just in case. If you can, save a bit extra each month or from each pay check and add to this emergency fund.

When you're ready to buy a new home, a licensed real estate agent is your best bet for success. Reach out today and learn more about how affordable a new home in your community will be!

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

3 Key Reasons Why Buying Your First Home Is Like Planning a Wedding
By Peta-Gay
December 21, 2016

You may not see the connection right away, but buying a home and planning a wedding are two experiences that require certain skills and challenge you in similar ways.  Check out the three key similarities below!

Budget

Whether you're buying your first home or planning a wedding, you are likely facing one of the biggest financial obligations of your life.  That's why, in both cases, it is essential that you pick a realistic budget and stay within it. 

Sounds simple, but in either case it can be difficult!  Unexpected obstacles may force you to spend more than you planned, or you may find yourself wanting to overspend as you find things that would be "just perfect" additions even though they don't fit your budget.  These temptations can be expected, but it's important to remember the big picture.  When it comes to your budget, pick it and stick it. 

Details

When it comes to a home purchase or a wedding, there are countless details to consider.  It's not a simple, pre-packaged purchase, there will always be big decisions that you have to make and if you overlook something you may regret it later on. 

Some decisions that you face will be similar in both experiences: Does the location work for you?  Does it work for your friends and family?  What is the parking situation?  Is it appropriate for the climate?  Will you be satisfied with your decision in the long-term?

Other details will be more unique to the situation: Do you need a cocktail hour?  Do you need a walk-in closet?  What style of photography would you like?  Is there too much traffic noise? 

Either way you'll have lots to think about, and you'll become acutely aware of 'the little things.'

You've Got Style

Both your wedding and your home say something about you — they're a reflection of your personal style.  When being presented with so many choices that are particularly catered towards your personal taste, you'll learn what you like and what you don't.  However, you'll also learn what it is that you absolutely need, and what you're willing to budge on. 

Whether you're choosing a wedding dress that is both gorgeous and functional for your ceremony or deciding whether or not you need an extra bedroom in your home, you'll learn what it is that you'd want in a perfect world, and what is absolutely necessary for your current situation.

If you're ready to seriously start looking for your first home, make sure you do so with a trusted real estate professional on your team.  Contact us today.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com