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Understanding Appraisals and What to Do If Your Home Does Not Appraise for Its Purchase Price
By Peta-Gay
November 1, 2016

It can be a bit of a surprise if your home turns out to be valued at less than the purchase price offered, but this is the type of thing that can occur in an appraisal situation. While this can change everything from your contract to the amount of your down payment, if your home has been appraised at less than you envisioned, here are some options you may want to consider.

Review The Appraisal Contingency Clause

If an appraisal contingency clause is built into the terms of your contract, this means that the terms of your contract can be re-evaluated and re-negotiated if an appraisal happens to come up short. While this is meant primarily to protect the homebuyer against a lower appraisal, it doesn't mean that the terms of a new deal can't be met for the good of both parties.

Get A Second Appraisal

It's entirely possible that the initial appraisal is accurate, but it doesn't necessarily hurt to get a second opinion in the event that the first appraisal seems too low. While you can work in conjunction with your lender to get a second appraisal, you may need to pay for it the second time around in order to get your initial purchasing price. Whether it happens to be good news or bad news, it can be worth the peace of mind to know how to proceed.

Consider A Lower Price

It's less than ideal when your home is appraised for less than the purchase price, but this doesn't have to be a deal breaker when it comes to selling it. While you may be able to get away with a higher price for your home in a hot real estate market, if things have cooled off, this can be an important time to re-negotiate the deal you've got. If a potential buyer likes your home and has already made an offer, they may be happy to decide on new contract terms.

It can be quite disappointing if your home is appraised at a value that is less than the offer you've received, but this doesn't necessarily mean that you'll have to put your home back on the market. Whether you and the potential buyer decide to re-negotiate or get a second opinion, there are options that can be beneficial for both parties. If you're currently thinking of selling you may want to contact one of our knowledgeable and trusted real estate professionals to get assistance in pricing your home just right for the market.

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

Bedroom Upgrades: How to Decide Between Hardwood and Carpet for Your Bedrooms
By Peta-Gay
November 2, 2016

The floor of your bedroom is important – it’s the first thing you touch in the morning, and the last before you go to sleep. Not to mention all the other life moments that go on in there. So take time to consider what you want your bedroom floor to be made of – and read on for pros and cons of carpeting and hardwood floors.

The Noise Factor

One of the biggest elements to consider is how sound will carry. Carpet is a very quiet medium, perfect for those bedrooms on higher floors, or in houses that want to keep a quiet profile. Hardwood creaks, and all movements can be heard – from walking to a child playing, even to the acoustics of a TV or laptop.

Keeping It Clean

Carpets are hard to keep clean. Dirt, pollen, hair, food and other particles get ground into the fabric, especially if it’s a high-traffic area, and it can be expensive to get them out. Hardwood is easy to tidy – and even stains can be refinished without too much cost or effort. On the other hand, carpets need only be vacuumed weekly, whereas a hardwood floor should be swept every other day.

The Life Span Of Your Floor

With careful maintenance, carpets can last for many years – but barring anything unforeseen, hardwood floors last forever. They also never go out of style, and offer their rooms a sense of prestige. Carpets need replacing and the patterns can’t be changed with the ease that hardwood floors can be refinished or refurbished with area rugs.

The Cost Of It All

In initial costs, carpets are largely cheaper, although they cost more to maintain because they need to be replaced more often. Hardwood floors take a big initial payment, but because they are more durable the costs even out, in the end. Environmentally speaking, hardwood is often more sustainable (as long as it comes from an ecologically-sensitive company), but there are recycled options for carpeting too.

What Goes On In There

Consider what kind of life will be lived in the bedroom in question. Will it be a kid’s room, where the padding of carpet might be safer? Is it meant for guests, where the beauty of hardwood could make a strong first impression? Does the occupant have allergies, so that hardwood (which doesn’t gather allergens like carpet fabric) is a better choice?

Consider everything when making your decision. Remember, in the end, both hardwood and carpet have pros and cons. For a second opinion, or advice on what works in your neighborhood, talk to your trusted real estate agent.

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

Did You Know?: How You Arrange Your Furniture Can Turn Off Potential Buyers. Here Is Why
By Peta-Gay
November 3, 2016

Most sellers focus on finding the right furniture to stage their home, but they never consider how the placement of that furniture can undo all their hard work. It's a subconscious thing, but the arrangement of items in the home can really make a difference with buyers.

Be sure to not make some of these common mistakes when arranging furniture to sell a house.

Keep The Traffic Flowing

A proper furniture layout should serve to guide the flow of traffic from room to room and make it easy to move freely. When furniture is placed without foot traffic in mind it can lead to blocked pathways and dead ends when potential buyers are looking around.

Rooms that are overcrowded with furniture have the opposite problem and supply no easy way for guests to move without stepping over each other. Make sure traffic can flow freely through the rooms and there is plenty of space to walk around.

Decide On A Focal Point

Every room needs a focal point for the furniture. Most rooms use built in features like a fireplace, but when the home doesn't have anything built in a television or painting will serve the same purpose.

Without a focal point, the room will feel disjointed and confused. This leads to chairs or couches pointed in different directions and can make potential buyers feel uncomfortable. A key focal point also takes the focus away from any flaws in the home.

First Impressions Over Function

Sometimes people can become so comfortable in their own home that function will overrule aesthetics and furniture will be placed where it proves the most useful and not where it looks the best.

This is fine until it's time to sell and the first thing buyers see when they enter a room is furniture in places where it doesn't look the most appealing. Walking in and seeing the back of furniture is never a good look, so make sure everything looks the best from the place guests will enter the room.

Every home has a different floor plan and it can be difficult determining whether furniture is placed properly, especially when you are used to the way it is now. A trusted real estate agent can walk through the home and give great insight into what improvements can be made and provide an outsider view of how the home looks to new visitors.

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

Dealing with Mice? Peppermint Oil, Dryer Sheets and Other Crazy Tricks to Try
By Peta-Gay
November 4, 2016

There are things that everyone shares: the need for food, the search for love, and the intrusion of mice into our homes. But don’t despair! There are several ways to deter and remove mice. Read on to learn about a few of the more well known, if a little out-there, methods.

Peppermint Oil And Cotton Balls 

The smell of peppermint is lovely for humans, but terrible to a mouse’s nose. Put a few drops of pure peppermint oil on cotton balls and place them where you’ve noticed evidence of mice. Be careful to change those balls for fresh ones at least once a week – once the smell wears off, cotton balls are great material for a mouse nest.

Dryer Sheets

Another strong smell that will discourage mice from your home is dryer sheets. Place fresh ones around mouse hangout points, or stuff them into entry holes. Same thing here, though: make sure to remove them once the smell wears off. Nothing looks nicer for a nest than an unscented dryer sheet.

Snake Feces. Yes, You Read That Right

A mouse won’t stick around a house that smells like a predator. If you can source dried snake feces, place that around the outside of your home near where the mice have been getting in as prevention. But be careful: make sure that the feces are out of reach of children or pets, as they can be a health hazard.

Mousetrap! The Glass Bowl Version

One humane and cost-effective choice is to build a live trap by balancing a glass bowl on an upright coin. Put some chocolate or peanut butter high up inside the bowl. When the mouse reaches for the treat it’ll upset the coin and drop the bowl to the floor, trapping itself. Then slide stiff cardboard over the bowl opening and carry the mouse at least 1km from your home before releasing it. Or you can go the store-bought route – but either way, check all traps at least once a day.

Plug Those Holes!

With the mouse gone, there’s two things left to do. First, clean up after it (remove its droppings and sanitize the area) to discourage a return. Then close all its doors. Block any holes bigger than a pencil with caulking, steel or copper wool, or even aluminum foil – all of these are tough to chew through.

And that’s it! Keep an eye out, and call in help if it becomes too much to handle – these steps are most effective for a small number of rodents. If you need more help, call your trusted real estate agent for advice and referrals.

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

Master the Autumn Home Buying Season With Our Guide to Finding Local Real Estate Bargains
By Peta-Gay
November 7, 2016

Most people have a good idea of the neighborhood they want to purchase a new home in. The problem is finding a great deal in the area, especially if it's a neighborhood that's very popular.

Thinking outside the box and avoiding the standard real estate listings can result in some bargain properties for sale that most people are completely unaware of.

Contemplate Investing In Foreclosed Homes

When the housing market boomed, many people tried to take advantage by investing in a second home that they couldn't necessarily afford. This resulted in a huge market full of homes that were foreclosed on when mortgage payments could no longer be made.

This happens frequently whenever the housing market goes through a strong period and these houses and condos are owned by the bank and can be purchased at a great price.

Look At FSBO (For Sale By Owner) Homes

FSBO properties, homes that are being sold privately by the owner, are one of the best bets to find a great bargain. These homeowners have made the decision to try and sell their home without the use of a real estate agent in an attempt to save some money on the sale.

Local real estate agents will be aware of any homes in their neighborhood that are being sold privately and will be able to point you in the right direction. FSBO homes have the best chance of getting a good deal because offers can be made directly to the owner and the earliest offer may just be the most lucrative for them.

When All Else Fails, Take A Drive

Anybody who knows the area they want to invest in can be proactive and beat the market by simply taking a drive up and down the streets and looking at houses. Some owners haven't taken the time to bother listing a home that they would love to get rid of.

These are either rental properties or family homes that have been willed and left neglected. They can be easily identified by the care that's been given to the property. An overgrown lawn and overflowing mailbox is a sure sign the owner may be interested in a talk about selling.

After all, there's nothing to lose.

Staying away from real estate listings to find a home can be tough. Thankfully, most local real estate agents will be tracking these houses so they can help their clients think outside the box. Contact a trusted real estate professional in your area for a better idea of how to make offers on these bargain properties.

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