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The Essentials for a Successful Open House
By Peta-Gay
May 24, 2016

From the cleaning to the organizing to the small fix-ups around the house, there can be a lot of minor details that go into staging a successful open house. However, there are a few essential items you should be sure not to forget about when you prep your home for an influx of potential buyers.

Choose The Right Time

If you happen to be selling your home in the busy season, it's important to set your open house at a time that gives potential buyers room to breathe. While weekends are a popular time for open houses, you may want to choose a day or time that is a little different from other homes in your area. This means visitors to your home will be able to take their time and really see the details that make your home distinct and worth a better look.

The Exterior Speaks Volumes

With so much cleaning and so many small maintenance duties, it can be easy to forget about the first thing that guests will see when they show up at your doorstep, the exterior. However, this will provide the initial impression so you'll want to ensure that it's a positive one. Before organizing your open house, make sure the lawn is cleared and cut, the hedges are trimmed and your doorway is well maintained.

Make The Marketing Count

If you've primed your home for your open house, it's important to ensure your marketing efforts are up to snuff and will get people through the door. While your real estate agent should feature your home and some professional photos on their website, you should also consider handing out flyers to your neighbors and advertising on social media to reach anyone who might be interested.

Engage All The Senses 

It might sound strange, but a house that smells and sounds good – in addition to a house that looks good – can actually work wonders in swinging a buyer in the direction of your home. While having a clean, clutter-free place is ideal, you may want to consider baking beforehand or even leaving a little music on so people will feel relaxed and right at home.

There are a lot of little tricks that go into a successful open house and it's important to utilize all of them to get the best results. If you're putting your home on the market, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, 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

5 Uncommon Mortgage Terms You Need to Know
By Peta-Gay
May 23, 2016

When it comes to finding a new home, there are lots of complex ratios, terms, and contracts that you'll encounter - and at times, it'll feel like you're trying to navigate a minefield. If you're not careful, you may find yourself signing on for a mortgage that doesn't suit your needs – or one that could financially ruin you. Here are five mortgage terms you may not encounter regularly that you'll need to know when buying a home.

Escrow: Money Held In Trust To Pay Taxes

An escrow account is a bank account that your lender maintains on your behalf. When you close your mortgage, you'll need to deposit a certain percent of your annual property taxes into the escrow account, which your lender will hold in trust and use to pay your property taxes.

PITI: How Your Lender Calculates Your Monthly Payments

Your lender uses a specific formula used to calculate exactly how much money you need to pay your lender each month. Each month, your mortgage payment will include portions that go toward your principal loan amount (P), your interest payment (I), your property taxes (T), and your homeowner's insurance (I). If you have private mortgage insurance, it'll be included with this PITI payment.

Rate Buydown: Lowering Your Interest Rate With A Larger Down Payment

A rate buydown, also known as a discount point, is a chunk of your mortgage interest that you pre-pay in order to get a lower monthly interest rate over the life of the loan. Each point you buy reduces your interest rate by a small amount.

Loan Estimate: What Your Lender Must, By Law, Give You

A loan estimate is a form that your lender is required to give you when you apply for a mortgage, as per the Truth in Lending Act. Your loan estimate will include your estimated costs of carrying the loan – including monthly payments, interest rates, and processing fees. Loan estimates allow you to compare terms and rates across different lenders.

Loan-To-Value: Determining How Much House You Can Afford

Your LTV (loan-to-value) ratio is a ratio that is used to calculate the amount of equity you have in your home and to assess your risk as a borrower. Typically expressed as a percentage, your LTV is determined by dividing the total amount of your mortgage loan by the property's fair market value. Borrowers generally prefer to see lower LTV ratios.

Mortgages contain a variety of legal terms that can be challenging for the uninitiated to understand. But with a qualified mortgage advisor on your side, you'll have no difficulty navigating mortgage contracts and finding the right mortgage for you. Contact your local mortgage professional to learn more.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, 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 Ikea Hacks That Can Be Done in a Weekend's Time
By Peta-Gay
May 2, 2016

Whether you're moving into your first apartment or preparing to purchase a second home, Ikea is a favorite for those trying to economically fill up the extra space in their home. While Ikea may have plenty of inexpensive options that you might not think can be dressed up, there are actually a lot of simple pieces that you can add to for a stylish, DIY look that will take no time at all.

Cue The Cocktails

The popularity of the bar cart has seen a resurgence, but many of these decorative pieces can be quite pricey for the person who isn't sure they want to commit to the cost. Instead of shelling out of for this overpriced piece, purchase the BYGEL utility cart from Ikea for less than $50 dollars and spray paint it in the color of your choice. While this will serve as a basic bar cart, it will easily look the part with some glasses, liquor bottles and an ice bucket.

Bring On The Board Games

With its four square legs and flattop, the LACK table is one of the plainest items in IKEA, but this inexpensive table can be fixed up as part of a fun activity with your kids. Once you've purchased your own brightly colored table, pick up some paint and – using stencils – paint the family's favorite board game right onto its surface. Whether it happens to be backgammon, chess or Monopoly, this will add a lot of personality to the family room.

Create Your Own Sitting Table

The EXBY ALEX shelf is a relatively simple shelving unit that attaches to a wall for extra storage space, but it can also serve as a perfect starting point for an item that's completely different. Instead of attaching this shelf to the wall, add a set of legs so the unit will serve as a cabinet without any need for wall mounting. While this will still serve as an understated piece, it can say a lot more about your room than the average wall cabinet.

Many people head to IKEA for the economical furniture options, but it's also a great place for coming up with your own home DIY projects that are sure to make for a unique look. If you're planning on purchasing a home and are looking for interesting furniture to fill it with, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, 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

Avoiding Home Buyer Remorse: 5 Tips for a Happier Homeowner
By Peta-Gay
May 3, 2016

The rush of excitement that comes with finding the home you've been looking for is ideal, but just because it seems like the perfect place, it doesn't mean there aren't other factors to consider. Instead of getting hit with buyer's remorse, here are some tips so that your home purchase doesn't become something you'll regret.

Forget About The Competition

If you're contemplating a house and happen to be dragged into a bidding war, it's important to take a step back and determine if it's really the right home for you. It can be easy to get carried away and up your offer, but make sure you determine what the home is really worth to you.

Take A Second Look

If you've been to a lot of home viewings and have finally found a place you feel good about, it can be easy to overlook the minor details. Instead of trusting your memory, make sure you visit the home a couple of times before putting in an offer so you'll be aware of any major flaws you might have missed the first time around.

Visit The Neighborhood

The instant appeal of a home that seems perfect for your family can be unexpected, but it's worth considering the neighborhood you're going to be living in to ensure it's livable. A home is one thing, but local amenities and an area your family feels comfortable will come to be equally important.

Avoid A Fixer-Upper

The kind of home you can fix up might make for a fun project for the DIY person, but biting off more than you can chew in an effort to save can be a mistake. A few small renovations may not be a big issue, but a home that needs a lot of changes will likely end up being more of a burden once the deal is sealed.

Stick To Your Purchase Price

Many people get so overwhelmed when they find a unique place to settle that their price point flies out the window. However, instead of making allowances for a purchase price you can't really swing, keep what's affordable in mind and be sure you don't veer too far above it.

It can be exciting to find the kind of home you're looking for in a center you love, but it's important to pay a price that's affordable and get the home you really want. If you're currently looking for real estate options in your area, you may want to contact one of our trusted professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, 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

How to Determine the Price of Your Home for Sale
By Peta-Gay
May 4, 2016

Many people rely on the price they paid for their home as a starting point for selling, but with the ever-shifting tides of the real estate market, the price paid is not always the best metric to go by. If you're putting your home up for sale and are looking for the ideal price point, here are some ways you can arrive at a number that will keep potential buyers interested.

Check Out Your Neighborhood

Your house may have a lot of different features than the homes of your neighbors, but checking out what real estate in your area is selling for can still be a good means of determining the price you'll be able to ask for. Instead of just perusing the pricing, ensure you're looking at the listings for what's been successfully sold in your neighborhood as only this will allow you to determine the conditions of the market and what people will be prepared to offer.

Complete A Home Inspection

Instead of being surprised by repairs that need to be completed after an offer price has been accepted, organizing a home inspection before your home is sold can make a difference in the price you're able to ask for. Not only will this provide you with a determination of what needs to be repaired or overhauled, it can be a boon to potential buyers who won't have to worry about your inspection revealing any hidden flaws.

Utilize Your Agent's Advice

Even if you've done your research and carefully considered the value of your home, it can still be complicated to come up with the right price, so be sure to enlist an agent who will be able to determine a fair amount with you. Since your agent has no attachment to your home, they'll be able to objectively strike the right balance between what won't sell and what's too low. The right price, after all, may mean you'll get to spend a lot less time selling it.

There are a lot of factors that go into arriving at the proper asking price for your home, but by organizing a home inspection and being aware of what's going on in the market, you should be able to arrive at a reasonable sum. If you're planning on putting your home on the market soon, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, 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