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By Maureen Ingelsby | Agent in 19050
  • Top 4 Tips for Selling a Vacant Home

    A vacant home—regardless of how nice the property—can seem eerily empty and lacking in character and warmth, and selling a vacant home is more difficult than selling a furnished one, no matter the market conditions. However, if you are trying to sell a vacant home—whether it’s a second home or a space you were unable to sell before moving to a new location—there are a few key tips that can make the process easier and help provide a quicker selling time, and a better selling price.

    Sweat the small stuff. Once furniture is removed from a space, even the slightest imperfections become apparent. An older carpet that was once disguised by a modern sofa and coffee table is now blaringly out-of-date. Holes in the wall or a hallway in need of a fresh coat of paint are now obvious. Spend extra time fixing up any noticeable damages, repainting, and caulking, getting new carpets, pressure washing and fixing up anything in need of repair.

    Air it out. It’s amazing how quickly an empty house can begin smelling stale and musty. Before a showing, throw open windows and doors to allow for fresh circulation, and consider some mildly scented candles or air fresheners.

    Amp up curb appeal. Since the house may be lacking inside in terms of character, make sure the exterior packs a punch. Not only should you clear clutter and debris from your yard (children’s toys included), keep grass neat and repair those broken fence posts, but you should also consider planting new flowerbeds, upgrading that tired front walk or even hiring a landscaper.

    Consider staging. Even if you have moved all your furniture out, you may want to consider hiring a staging company that offers furniture rental. These professionals can make an empty space into a scene of warmth and comfort.

    Remember, potential buyers are not just looking for a roof over their head. They are looking for a place to start a new chapter in their life. You want to show them everything your property has to offer. Since vacant homes often sell for considerably less—typically 15-20 percent lower than the asking price!—hiring a staging company is usually a solid investment.
    As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.

    Source: Top 5 In Real Estate

  • How to Choose the Right Appliance

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate in Delaware County, Design & Decor in Delaware County, Property Q&A in Delaware County  |  May 3, 2012 7:15 AM  |  266 views  |  No comments

    Investing in a new appliance may be costly, but it is also an important investment for your home, one that should both enhance your current lifestyle and increase your home’s value when it comes time to sell.

    When shopping for appliances, the least expensive product often seems like the best bet, especially in today’s economy. However, the lowest-priced appliance may end up costing you more than an expensive one. The true cost of owning a home appliance actually has three components: the initial purchase price; the cost of repairs and maintenance; and the cost to operate it.

    To figure out how much you'll spend over the lifetime of the appliance, you have to look at all these costs. The appliance with the lowest initial purchase price, or even the one with the best repair record, isn't necessarily the one that costs the least to operate. You must also take into consideration the energy efficiency of an appliance through the yellow-and-black EnergyGuide label it displays. The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Appliance Labeling Rule requires appliance manufacturers to put these labels on a variety of appliances, including refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, clothes washers, water heaters, central air conditioners, and pool heaters.

    When shopping for a new appliance, the FTC recommends keeping the following in mind:
    Select the size and style. Measure the space the appliance will occupy to be sure your new purchase will fit. Make sure that you'll have enough room to open the door or lid fully and enough clearance for ventilation.
    Know where to shop. Appliance outlets, electronics stores and local retailers carry different brands and models. Dealers also sell appliances through print catalogs and the Internet.
    Compare the performance of different brands and models. Ask to see the manufacturer's product literature. Decide which features are important to you. Ask questions about how the different models operate: Are they noisy? What safety features do they have? What about repair histories? How much water do they use? How energy efficient are they?
    Estimate how much the appliance will cost to operate. The more energy an appliance uses, the more it will cost to run. Consult the EnergyGuide label to compare the energy use of different models. The difference on your monthly utility bill can be significant, especially when considered over the 10-to-20-year life of the appliance. You could save money over the long run by choosing a model that's more energy efficient, even if the purchase price is higher.
    Ask about special energy efficiency offers. Ask your salesperson or local utility about cash rebates, low-interest loans or other incentive programs in your area for energy-efficient product purchases and how you can qualify.

    As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.

  • What You Need to Look for in a Real Estate Professional

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Delaware County, Home Selling in Delaware County, Property Q&A in Delaware County  |  February 1, 2012 10:49 AM  |  278 views  |  No comments
    Let's face it -- in today's challenging economy, every penny you  can save matters. That's why some homeowners go it alone when it comes  time to sell their home. However, according to a recent survey conducted  by the Multiple Listing Service MRIS, the vast majority of consumers  say working with a real estate professional is the only way to go ...  especially in today's market.

    In this landmark study examining the home-buying and -selling  preferences of consumers in the Mid-Atlantic region, 95% reported that  working with a real estate professional is just as important, if not  more important, than it was just a few years ago. As a Member of the Top  5 in Real Estate Network®, I know for a fact that this rings true for  all areas across the country.

    As the MRIS survey reveals, today's consumers recognize this is  not the time to complete a real estate transaction on their own, and are  placing a stronger emphasis on an agent's professional skills. As such,  the following criteria were ranked as the most critical factors in  choosing a real estate agent (in order of importance):
    Willingness to look out for a client's interest
    Expertise in negotiating contracts
    Familiarity with contracts
    Knowledge of the local community

    The above requirements are evidence that consumers are seeking more  than simple guidance ... they are looking for an expert they can trust  to execute a step-by-step process throughout the entire transaction.  While most consumers rely on the Internet as the first step in the  home-buying and -selling process, a professional, experienced real  estate agent -- such as a member of the Top 5 Network -- is critical in  helping consumers filter through the copious amounts of information  available online in order to make the optimal real estate decision for  their specific situation and location.

    If you would like more information regarding what to look for in a  real estate agent, and specific questions you should ask an agent  during an interview, please e-mail me. I encourage you to also forward  this email to anyone in your social network who may be considering a  real estate transaction.

    Source: Top 5 in Real Estate
  • What You Need to Know Before Refinancing

    Posted Under: General Area in Delaware County, Financing in Delaware County, Property Q&A in Delaware County  |  January 27, 2012 7:02 AM  |  313 views  |  No comments
    During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Barack Obama called on Congress to approve new legislation that would give all homeowners who are current on their mortgages the opportunity to refinance at record-low mortgage rates.

    While details of the program have yet to emerge, the new legislation - in theory - is designed to give responsible homeowners a reasonable chance to refinance without running into roadblocks from lenders. This would also give homeowners an opportunity to take advantage of today’s continued, record-low interest rates.

    According to CoreLogic, a company that tracks national mortgage activity, an estimated 28 million homeowners could cut the interest rates on their loans by more than one percentage point if they could refinance. If you’re one of the many homeowners considering a refinance, here are some important facts you need to know first. Be sure to consult with your real estate agent and/or financial advisor, as well.
    Make sure you are in good standing on your mortgage. As the President emphasized, refinances will be considered for those homeowners who have a good payment history and are current on their mortgages. If you’re currently underwater, a refinance is probably not an option for you. Consult your real estate professional about other options, including loan modifications and short sales.
    Check your current credit score. Refinance candidates need to demonstrate steady income and good credit. Make sure your credit rating is up to snuff and see what immediate measures can be taken to improve it if it’s not.
    Examine how much longer you plan to live in your home. If you are planning to put your home on the market in the near future, refinancing probably doesn’t make sense. You need to make sure you’ll be living in your home long enough to recoup the closing costs of the refinance.
    Consider the length of the loan. Where you’re at with your current mortgage can play a significant role in your decision to refinance. If you’re close to retirement, for example, and your loan is almost paid off, refinancing could result in extending the life of your loan, ultimately costing you more. Also, if you're several years into a 30-year mortgage, your goal should be to refinance into a 15- or 20-year mortgage instead. Otherwise, you’re extending the number of years in which you’ll pay interest. Your refinancing goals should be short-term and long-term savings.
    Find out the costs involved. Before you plunge into a refinance, find out the costs involved. Weigh these fees against the money you will save (contingent upon how long you plan to stay in your home) to make sure refinancing is the right step.

    As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.

    Source: Top 5 in Real Estate
  • 5 Tips for Selling Your Home In Winter

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Delaware County, Property Q&A in Delaware County  |  December 16, 2011 10:22 AM  |  453 views  |  1 comment
    When people are out looking at houses during the winter, they are usually seriously considering purchasing a home. Here are some tips to encourage these buyers to look a little longer at your home during the colder season.

    Keep It Bright! Turn on all your lights - inside and out, open the blinds and curtains, and try to encourage day time showings! Keeping the showings between 9am and 3pm during winter months is best for natural lighting.

    Be Mindful of the Entrance. Make sure there is parking and a clear walkway to the front door. If you have a HOA or Condo association, don't assume they know when your showings are. Have salt and a shovel on hand, just in case. This is the first impression for buyers so make sure that their thought can be on how beautifully decorated the home is....

    Pay Attention to Your Decorations! Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year's, Valentine's Day. Try to give a simple and tasteful showing of your holiday cheer and be sure to remove it as quickly once the holiday has passed. A Christmas tree in February is not showing your best attention to detail.

    Watch that Heat!! Most people coming through in Winter are wearing coats, sweaters and wool socks. Keeping the heat between 63-67 degrees allows for the additional outerwear without baking your potential buyers.

    Lead with Your Nose! Light a fragranced candle, put some cookies in the oven to bake on low and if you have animals, make sure that their areas are cleaned. Wash, dry and Febreeze bedding, empty litter boxes more often, make sure water areas are clean and in general, maintain the areas that your beloved pets inhabit. An air purifier is a great idea for pet lovers as we don't always smell our furry friends - but someone with a sensitivity or allergy definitely will. Open doors and windows on milder days to air out the stale winter air and if you have a trusted friend or neighbor, have them come take a sniff. Better to hear it from someone close than from a buyers agent as a reason their clients bought the neighbors house.

  • 5 Things to do Before Listing Your Home this Spring

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Drexel Hill, Property Q&A in Drexel Hill  |  December 7, 2011 1:14 PM  |  506 views  |  No comments
    We are all out and about for the holidays and are super busy this time of year. Soon enough, it will be 2012 and if you are thinking about selling your home in the New Year, here are a few tips to get you ahead of the game.

    1. Organize and de-clutter. As you take down your holiday decorations, try to decide if you really need to put the regular decorations up. Removing your least used items - exercise equipment, kitchen appliances, etc., can open up your space and make it look larger. Also, if you are moving, Great Aunt Gertie's 90th birthday celebration pics might not need to be on the mantle, at least for the time being. Remember, items that are sentimental to you are exactly what need to be packed up.  Many buyers need a very clean slate so that they can visualize their own belongings in your space. 

    2. Clean.  This probably goes without saying for most, but just in case, please remember to clean your house. Get stains out of the carpet, crayons off the walls, dust off the baseboard and vacuum behind the sofa. Buyers will find it more appealing and doing this now will make it easier to touch up when you are ready to put your home on the market.

    3. Locate your owner's manuals and warranties. These are great to display for buyers for showings and open houses. Try to find as many as you can including those for you washer and dryer, dishwasher, carpet, hardwood, roof, HVAC unit, microwave and so on. You may also find useful information about the life expectancy or replacement value.

    4. Think about curb appeal. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and your home exterior is no different. Stand in front of your own home and take a look as if it is the first time you are seeing it. Are the shutters in good order? Is the front door painted? Is the address visible? Are your plants shaped and groomed, especially around the main entrance of the home?  

    5. Get estimates on big ticket items. Is your carpet worn out? Is your roof 50 years old? You don't necessarily have to replace these big ticket items. Having estimates on how much it will cost will help buyers determine if they can afford to replace them. 

    If you have any other questions about getting your home ready to sell, I am here with answers!! Please do not hesitate to contact me at 610-520-6505 or email me at maureen@maureeningelsby.com.  
  • Tips for Winter

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Delaware County, Property Q&A in Delaware County  |  November 9, 2011 11:31 AM  |  449 views  |  No comments
    As we have just turned our clocks back and hopefully, replaced the batteries in our smoke detectors, now is the perfect time to do some additional home maintenence in preparation for the winter months. Taking a day or so out of our busy lives can lower energy and heating costs as well as save us from aggrevation in the snowy season.

    Schedule your heater service. Call a qualified HVAC service/repairman to visit your home before you really need a repair. Replacing filters increases energy use and yearly maintenance lowers the chance of an unknown, untimely and possibly large, repair bill. Remember that setting your thermostat carefully and thoughtfully can save energy. In the 60-70 degree range, every degree lower saves up to 5% in energy cost.

    Insulate pipes. Broken pipes = big messes. By making sure the appropriate insulation is being utilized and pipes that are supposed to be insulated are done so correctly, costly repairs can be avoided. By insulating the first 5 feet of pipe that comes out of your water heater, you save on energy costs as well.

    Clean the gutters. We all think about it when they are dripping over the sides because they are filled with leaves or snow. Cleaning the gutters now, after many of the leaves have fallen, can save the gutters from more permanent damage. Some people can do this on their own and others need the assistance of a professional. Figure out your comfort level and make the choice that is correct for you.

    Roof and flashing. Know of anyone that was on their roof cleaning off snow with a broom? Imagine the weight of last year's snow storms on your roof. By checking the condition of your roof and flashing now, you can avoid the panic and worry of an emergency roof repair this winter.

    Caulk, caulk, caulk. Nobody really wants to heat the neighborhood. With a few tubes of caulk and a couple hours of time, you can revisit your windows, door frames, doors and any other area to the exterior that air or insects can get into.

    Walk your yard. Find and put away or dispose of any items that could be blown with a gusty wind. From yard decorations to tree branches, these items could cause damage to your home in the right (or wrong) storm.

    Take a few precautions now and avoid potential headaches this winter. Please feel free to contact my team for our list of local contractors or with any real estate questions.
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