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Do Not Even Think about Selling Your Apartment or Condo Without These Key Renovations
By Peta-Gay
September 15, 2016

Fail to complete these renovations before selling your condo and you may be missing out on huge profit gain! Don't sell yourself short, tackle these reno projects before your home hits the market to maximize offers.

#1: Is It Time To Paint?

Painting is one of the most cost effective ways to make a property look newer, bigger, and brighter. Scuff marks and scratches are one of the most common types of wear-and-tear, but they're also a huge turn-off to buyers, which makes this easy renovation is a no-brainer. Choose paint colors that are neutral to ensure that they're adaptable to the wide variety of interior design preferences that your potential buyers will have.

#2: Let There Be Light(ing)!

Old light fixtures can not only bring down the aesthetic appeal of your condo, they can also give it a gloomy vibe. Adding new light fixtures to your home will brighten the space and provide it with more vibrant energy while also increasing the modernity of its design. Now that's a bright idea!

#3: How Is Your Flooring?

Flooring is another design element that can easily make an old unit look more modern, especially if your condo is carpeted. By replacing the floors you can also avoid the possibility of a buyer trying to deduct the cost of floor replacement from your sale price, which would most likely outweigh the cost of doing your own reno in advance.

#4: Spruce Up The Kitchen With New Counters

Changing kitchen countertops is one of the effective ways to spruce up an outdated kitchen. Since countertops are so large the eye is drawn to them immediately, making them a key design factor. Many modern buyers prefer high quality stone such as granite or marble, though there are many stylish options to choose from if visual appeal is what you're after. Add new countertops to give your condo that "WOW" factor and you'll instantly tack on extra value to your property.

#5: Don't Forget Your Balcony!

Balconies are often overlooked when it comes to condo showings, so if you choose to pay attention to this significant detail you'll not only stand out from the competition, but will also showcase an important selling feature of your home. Dress the balcony to show its functionality: does it fit a BBQ, table and chairs, lounge chair, planter? Adding some furniture will show the possible uses of the space, making it more valuable to potential buyers.

Ready for a successful condo sale? Contact a trusted real estate professional today for further advice.

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

5 Mistakes That Will Instantly Turn a Home Buyer Away - and How to Avoid Making Them
By Peta-Gay
September 13, 2016

If you're preparing to sell your home you've likely heard many tips and tricks to help close quickly, however few people will ever tell you what you're doing wrong.

Don't be your own roadblock to success! Avoid these common seller-mistakes to ensure that your home leaves a lasting impression on buyers, instead of sending them running for the hills.

1) Dirt: It's A Don't

Perhaps one of the biggest turn-offs in real estate, dirt gives the impression that your property is not well maintained. A dirty home is simply not aesthetically appealing and can often be the root cause of other turn-offs, such as bad odors. Keeping a clean, clutter-free home will show potential buyers that your property is a beautiful, healthy place where they can live comfortably without any foul surprises.

2) It's Nothing Personal

While you may love looking at family photos, funky trinkets from travelling, or your colorful assortment of bath products, personal items such as these should be stored away during an open house. Showings are for buyers to see if they can see themselves living in your home, which is difficult to imagine when there are someone else's belongings scattered throughout the house. If you're serious about selling, pack away any items that send the message that this is your space.

3) Old News

Most often when people are looking for a new home they're looking for just that: a NEW home! Having old, dated fixtures in your house tells prospective buyers that your property is stuck in the past, rather than prepared for the future. Make your property a place that anyone can move forward in.

4) Street Style

You may have spent so much time and effort making the inside of your home immaculate for a sale that you've completely forgotten that the outside is equally as important. Curb appeal is the very first impression that your home will have on buyers, and it's essential that your property looks just as nice from the street as it does inside.

5) Snoopy Seller

You know your home better than anyone else, and you want to sell it to someone who genuinely cares about your property. While this statement may be true, it is counterproductive for you to participate in showings, pointing out all the great features of your home to interested buyers and grilling them on their intentions for when they purchase it. Give buyers space they need to see if your home is the right fit for them, and you'll be selling it in no time.

Interested in receiving more advice on selling your home? Contact a trusted real estate professional 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

3 Different Types of Loan That Will Negatively Impact Your Ability to Get a Mortgage
By Peta-Gay
September 9, 2016

A good credit rating is built on a number of financial factors including paying your bills on time and the length of your credit history, but loans can also be a source of bolstering your credit score in a positive way. While this means that loans can actually be a good thing, there are also the kinds of loans that can have a damaging impact on acquiring a mortgage. If you'll soon be pursuing your own home purchase, here are some loans that may have a negative impact.

Borrowing For Education

When you are young, student loans are an ideal means of paying down your debt and developing a positive credit history. However, if these loans are left to linger they can have a marked effect on your chances of a mortgage approval. Since paying back your student loans will be one of the first times in your financial life that you'll be able to prove your reliability, you should ensure you pay them on a consistent basis in order to lower your overall debt-to-income ratio.

Credit Card Debt

Many people don't think of the purchases that go on their credit card as loans, but the money on your credit card does not really belong to you until it's paid off. While credit cards can be a great boon for establishing your credit in the early days, if you rack up a lot of credit card debt and do not pay your minimum payments by the due date, it will cause a considerable dip in your credit score. In addition, taking on too many cards can be a negative signal to lenders.

Payday Loans

In recent years, payday loans have sometimes been broken out separately from other loans on a person's credit report. However, unlike many other types of loans, payday loans can be seen in a bad light by lenders because they can be indicative of someone who's experienced significant financial setbacks, which would negatively impact their ability to pay a mortgage. While some mortgage lenders will not decline an application due to payday loans, some have already started to take this step.

Acquiring loans can be a good means of developing a credit history, but there are types of loans that may look bad on your mortgage application and won't be of service if you can't pay them off consistently.

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

Mind Your Manners: Four Etiquette Tips That Will Help Make the Home Buying Process Go Smoothly
By Peta-Gay
September 22, 2016

Are you currently shopping for a new home? While it's true that real estate transactions can be stressful, this stress can be minimized by following a few simple tips. For example, following proper etiquette plays a big role in making your real estate experience go smoothly, and in this post we'll share four key etiquette tips that are sure to help.

Get Preapproved

Prior to shopping, a buyer should check with a lender to determine the maximum loan amount they qualify for. This is proper etiquette because both the seller and the real estate broker have likely prepared themselves and assume you have as well.

Keep It Professional

Shopping for a home seems personal, but keeping interactions on a professional level can ease the awkwardness of the process. One step in that direction is being considerate of others' schedules. Proper etiquette includes being realistic about how many properties can be seen in a span of time. Allowing time for sellers' special conditions, pets or children is also good etiquette.

Negotiate Through a Representative

When it's time to negotiate pricing between a buyer and seller, the real estate agent should be used as the intermediary. While touring a property, it is best not to make offers or discuss how much the house is priced for, or make any counter offers without involving the real estate agent. It is also not advisable to point out stains, outdated designs or noticeable damage in the hopes of getting a discount.

Use Closing Credits

Home sellers should not be surprised once a buyer has decided to close and begins to negotiate the price. Home inspections reveal problems a home has and the buyer's willingness to continue negotiating can depend on how willing the seller is to address those problems. A closing credit can be a win-win for both parties. If the buyer and seller of the home agree on closing credits instead of repairs and inspections, the buyer has the option of hiring a contractor and dealing directly with the contractor if not satisfied. Meanwhile, sellers are typically ready to move out or are not living at the property, so closing credits save them time.

Well-mannered people handle real estate transactions in a way that lets them join the ranks of successful buyers and sellers who operate with as little stress as possible. The good news is that real estate agents can help with understanding what proper home-buying etiquette is. Call a real estate agent such as myself to receive guidance on how to navigate a real estate transaction with ease.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP is Owner and CEO of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed 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.

Can You Get a Mortgage after a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Discharge? Yes But You Will Have to Wait
By Peta-Gay
September 16, 2016

There was a time when it was possible to acquire a mortgage shortly after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but with the shifts in the financial sector, the timeline on such a mortgage approval has changed in recent years. If you're currently undergoing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and are wondering how this will impact home ownership, here are the basics on this type of bankruptcy and what it may mean for you.

What Is Chapter 7?

While a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the kind of financial situation that requires debt repayment, Chapter 7 is different in that it involves the liquidation of an individual's personal assets to pay back the debt that is owed. A trustee will be designated to take care of the bankruptcy process, but a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for 10 years and have a negative impact on your credit score, which can mean increased interest rates on a mortgage down the road.

Re-Building Your Credit Score

The most important step to obtaining a mortgage following a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is keeping on top of your credit. Because your credit score will be lowered and bankruptcy will remain on your report for a long time, paying all of your bills on time in full and ensuring every aspect of your financial health is in check is of primary importance. Since most lenders will not even consider your application if you're delinquent with payments, impeccable form is necessary in this case.

The Timeline On A Mortgage 

According to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), anyone applying for a mortgage must wait a minimum of two years after the discharge date of their Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is the date they are cleared of obligation to their debt. While this is good news for those who want to apply for a mortgage in the near future, it's important that a good credit history is developed and all FHA requirements are met to ensure approval.

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a hard financial pill to swallow, but by keeping your credit history in check for the duration of the 2-year period, you can be well on your way to a mortgage approval. If you're planning on being on the market for a home in the near future, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information about opportunities in your community.

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