5 Ways to Boost Your Curb Appeal for the Fall Selling Season

5 Ways to Boost Your Curb Appeal for the Fall Selling Season

Sellers looking to get the best price know that curb appeal plays a huge role in making the sale, even in the fall when the leaves begin to fade. Here are five simple ways to make the most of what fall has to offer and boost your curb appeal.

Sellers looking to get the best price know that curb appeal plays a huge role in getting buyers through the door. Once the flowers fade and the temperature drops, however, it can be easy to overlook your outdoor space altogether. Here are five simple ways to make the most of what fall has to offer and give your home the edge it needs for a quick sale.

1. Improve Your Entry

With every potential buyer passing through your front door, your entryway is critical to a good first impression. Cleaning the door, sweeping the stoop, and ridding the area of dirt and cobwebs can be enough to improve the overall look of your home, but for maximum impact, lay a new doormat and replace or paint any rusted or corroded hardware, mailboxes, or light fixtures. If you’re feeling adventurous, painting your front door a different shade can be a great selling feature that can be done in an afternoon.

Traditional brick colonial dressed up for fall with colorful mums and harvest gourds

2. Let the Light Shine

While the outdoors is the natural habitat for all manner of insects, they don’t need to reside in your outdoor light fixtures. Dirty lights and windows will not only reduce your nighttime curb appeal but can also affect how much natural light makes it through to the inside of your home. A thorough cleaning of light fixtures and windows will boost the overall impression buyers have of your home and can affect their impression of the rest of the home. For added impact, place inexpensive solar lights along the border of any gardens or walkways to illuminate your yard at night.

3. Love Your Landscape

Given that landscaping can amount for up to 15 percent of a home’s value, keeping your yard in tip-top shape is more important in the fall than ever. Fall colors and cascading leaves may provide a romantic vision, but may leave a potential buyer focusing on how much raking they will have to do. When seasonal plants fade away, be sure to cut back the dead growth and ensure your yard is regularly raked. Even if your yard doesn’t require frequent mowing, be sure to edge walkways with a straight-edge for a clean-cut look, and add some quick color by placing pots of seasonal plants in gardens and on porches.

Raking fall leaves with rake

4. Whisk the Water Away

The fall tends to bring increased precipitation, which can be a deal-breaker for buyers if they feel water penetration will be a problem. To prevent pooling water, be sure the grading around the foundation slopes away from the house and use downspout extenders, if necessary, to move water out into the yard. Clean the gutters regularly, and take a good walk around your home after a heavy rain to identify any problem areas that may allow water into the house, like door and window caulking.

5. Don’t Overdo the Decor

Finally, while the bounty of fall can be used to enhance the beauty of your home, be wary of overdoing the decor. Too many Halloween decorations, for example, can easily detract from the beauty of your home. Try instead for colorful mums, gourds, and pumpkins in a variety of colors and sizes that can provide earthy variety without overdoing it.

Regardless of the weather, the fall is still a hot time to sell a home, and can be an incredible opportunity to make a lucrative sale. Keep in mind that most buyers will either view your home online or drive by before making a decision to visit, so a sharp curb appeal can help keep your home above the competition.

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Staging Your Home for a Successful Sale This Fall

Staging Your Home for a Successful Sale This Fall

Consider these key points when you are staging and marketing your home for success this fall!

The following is guest post from Patti Stern of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating. The photos are examples of design and staging work by PJ & Company Staging. 

With a competitive fall real estate market ahead, it may be challenging to get your property noticed and on the top of buyers’ lists. The best advice we give our clients is to step back and look at your property from the perspective of today’s sophisticated buyers and then present it as a product that will help them envision living there. The following are some key points to consider when marketing your home for success in a competitive market.

 

Keep It Simple

Less is always more with home staging. After decluttering and depersonalizing, find the proper balance of furniture and accessories that will enhance a room so that buyers won’t be distracted and can focus on its unique features, size and flow. Keep decor simple, fresh and bright to help buyers visualize what it would be like to live there with their own furniture in the space.

Boost Perceived Value With a Cosmetic Facelift

The majority of first time buyers are willing to pay more for a home that doesn’t need improvements. Instead of spending time and money on expensive renovations, increase perceived value with basic updates and repairs such as repainting kitchen and bathroom cabinets, new hardware, modern lighting, eco-friendly faucets and neutral wall color. These updates are all that is needed to suggest a home is in move-in ready condition.

Create a Lasting Impression

Most prospective buyers can’t visualize beyond what they see so if they don’t connect with a property right away, they’ll simply go to the next listing around the corner. Whether vacant or occupied, make the home memorable from the entry to the basement with key pieces of furniture, rugs, lighting and wall art. This will add warmth and personality so that buyers can emotionally connect and be more likely to make an offer.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.

Is Summer or Winter the Best Season to Buy a Home?

Is Summer or Winter the Best Season to Buy a Home?

Each season has something different to offer to a potential home buyer. Read the pros and cons of buying a home during the summer versus the winter.

You hear it a lot – there are best and worst times to make any sort of purchase. Whether it’s a television, a car, or a home, statistics are available that may influence your decision on when would be the best time to make a purchase.

Numerical data isn’t the only thing you should be taking into consideration, though. Each season has something different to offer in terms of making the home buying process easier or more challenging. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of buying during the summer or winter.

What to Think About When Buying a Home During the Summer


Did you know there are more homes on the market during summer? According to the National Association of Realtors, inventory in the U.S. is actually 15% greater in the warmer months than in the colder months.

If you have a lot of items on your home wish list, you might be better off searching during summer as you’ll have more homes from which to choose. The only disadvantage (depending on the climate where you live) is that summer results in more competition, as a greater amount of people are likely to visit open houses in nicer weather.

It probably goes without saying, but moving during summer is a bit more pleasant than moving during winter. For many, sweating beats freezing while trying to pack and unpack a moving truck. You can always cool yourself down, but it’s usually harder to warm up. It also tends to be safer if you reside in or are moving to an area that gets snow or ice.

If you have school-aged children, moving during their summer vacation offers more flexibility than trying to move during the winter holidays or spring break.

Lastly, one nice thing about summer is the lack of snow. That can be a huge obstacle when trying to look at the exterior of a home. You might miss the fact that a few shingles (or the entire roof) need to be replaced when there’s a pile of snow on top of it. The same goes for cracks in the driveway, and curb appeal in general.

What to Think About When Buying a Home During the Winter

There’s less competition in the winter as most people are busy with the holidays, their new year’s resolutions, or getting back into the swing of things at work. At this time of the year, buying a home isn’t typically at the forefront of most people’s minds.

What does that mean for you? No bidding wars, and more room to negotiate if a seller is feeling a bit desperate.

They might be if the reason why they’re moving is a pressing one. Combined with having to work around their real estate agent’s holiday schedule, having less showings, and subsequently, less interested buyers, sellers might be willing to give you a better deal or include more bonuses in the offer.

Again, depending on where you live, the weather during winter can be brutal. You’ll be able to easily identify drafts from windows in a house, and you’ll notice how effective the heating system is.

While snow can work against you, it can also work for you as you’ll be able to see how well the roof and driveway handle several inches of accumulation. Are there noticeable dips in the driveway? Have ice puddles formed on the property? These fairly major repairs can give you an advantage during negotiations.

Considerations for Both Seasons
There are a few factors to be concerned with during both seasons – namely, your real estate agent’s availability, and your neighbors.

Obviously, real estate agents may take time off during the holidays in the winter, but if they have children, they may also be likely to take off during the summer as well. Before you work with an agent, ask them about their availability over the next few months. You want to ensure that their planned absence won’t negatively affect your intentions to buy.

On the other hand, an agent looking to work through the winter holidays may be more motivated to help you, given the number of prospective buyers is lower.

Additionally, when you buy a new home, you’ll want to be surrounded by good neighbors, right? Summertime is great for seeing which neighbors excel at lawn maintenance and which ones let their grass grow for weeks on end. If you’re someone that cares a lot about a home’s upkeep, this might concern you.

At the same time, you’ll be able to see if neighbors work together to get rid of snow during the winter, or if houses on the block are nicely (or obnoxiously) lit up with holiday decorations.

Which Season is Better for Buying a Home?
As you may conclude, there’s no right or wrong answer. There are benefits and impediments to searching for a home in any season. You shouldn’t let weather or the trending numerical data hold you back. When you’re ready to buy, you’ll know it.

Toss These 5 Things Before You Move For a Fresh New Start

Toss These 5 Things Before You Move For a Fresh New Start

While you’re packing, consider throwing out these household items and give yourself a fresh start in your new home.

 

Houzz Contributor, Aly Finkelstein

It’s a great feeling to walk into your new home and know you have a blank space to work with. But making sure your new home stays this fresh, clean and exciting is much harder. Here are five things to consider throwing away before your next move.

1. Old trash cans. Old and used garbage cans and bins can be dirty and in bad shape. And nothing says “yucky” like an old trash can that you’ve used for years.

If your family is anything like mine, you have gum, stains and sticky spots on even the cleanest of indoor and outdoor trash cans. Do yourself a favor and throw out the old bins before you move to your new home. You can buy new trash cans that match, fit the space and are clean. This rule may also apply to recycling bins you have around the house.

If buying all new cans isn’t in your budget, definitely clean your cans before packing them into your moving truck or car. Fill the inside of the can with dish soap and warm water and let it soak. Then scrub. The soak will make scrubbing easier.

2. Toys. Moving is the best time to clean out the things you haven’t used and the things that won’t serve you in your new space. Toys are a major clutter culprit, and often many of them just aren’t being used anymore. My motto: Keep the favorites and toss the rest. Once you’re in your new space, you can buy a special new toy to celebrate the move.

Pro tip: If you feel too guilty about getting rid of your child’s toy, pack up the ones you think your child may miss and leave them in a separate box in the garage. If they don’t ask for them after a certain amount of time, get rid of them.

3. Old paint. Every client I work with has gallons of old paint. Chances are the colors match your old house but not your new one, so this is a great time to clean out all the old cans.

Before disposing of paint, check your town’s rules on recycling or disposing of it.

Pro tip: If you loved some of those colors, add them to a spreadsheet on your computer. Make sure you list the room a paint was used in, for future reference. Make sure to update the spreadsheet as you repaint in your new house too.

4. Paper. As long as you’ve rectified your statements, paid your bills and set aside important documents and receipts, you don’t need to keep all the paper that’s weighing you down. File the things you need to keep, such as tax documents, health insurance paperwork and property records, and get rid of the rest.

I keep three files on my desk at all times: bills to be paid, business receipts to keep and paid bills. Once I see online that the paid bills have been registered as paid, I throw the paper versions out. This keeps the files small and manageable year-round.

Pro tip: In the weeks before you move, carve out five to 10 minutes a week to tackle the paper piles you have around the house. Almost all of the items in these piles can be thrown away if you take the time to go through them.

Read more about which papers to toss and which to keep

5. Storage containers. Do yourself a favor and get fresh storage containers for your new home! The container drawer is often a major source of clutter and frustration for my clients. Your new home will feel even newer with a full set of matching storage containers.

I store my containers with the lids on so they don’t get separated. If for some reason the lid does go missing, I repurpose the bottom or get rid of it. I’m loving glass containers these days because I can microwave, store and eat from them. They can do it all and then go back into the drawer with their matching lids.

Pro tip: Buy storage containers based on your family’s needs. For example, if you cook often and send friends and family home with leftovers, buy inexpensive, disposable containers. If you use your containers weekly for whole meals, buy larger sizes.

How to Tell the Difference Between a Buyer’s Market and a Seller’s Market

One important thing to remember about the property market is that it’s always in a state of change. Sometimes the market is favorable to buyers and sometimes it’s favorable to sellers. But don’t worry, a knowledgeable agent can guide you in the sale or purchase of your next home, no matter what type of market you’re facing.

What is a Seller’s Market?
A seller’s market is simply a property market that benefits you as a seller. In a seller’s market, there’s a scarcity of properties, which can drive up the price of homes, especially in desirable locations.

Sellers can depend on real estate experts to know what the market is doing, but here are some signs of a seller’s market:
– Low inventory when compared to previous months and/or years
– Homes are selling faster
– Less than six months of inventory on the market
– More homes are selling
– Median sales prices are growing
– Less information in real estate ads; just the bare details
– “For Sale” signs don’t stay up long before being replaced with “pending” or “sold”

What is a Buyer’s Market?
A buyer’s market is the opposite of the seller’s market. If you’re buying at this time you’ll be spoiled for choice as the supply of homes on the market exceeds the number of buyers, giving you the chance to score a fantastic deal.

A sharp agent will quickly be able to tell you where the market lies, but here are some signs of a buyer’s market:
– Inventory that is high when compared to previous months and/or years
– Homes are selling more slowly
– More than six months in inventory on the market
– Sales prices are shrinking
– Fewer sales are taking place
– Real estate ads are growing in size, giving more details and/or images
– “For Sale” signs are staying longer, meaning the days on the market are longer too

How Do I Figure out the Months of Inventory in a Market?
1. Look for the total number of active listings for the month prior to the current one
2. Look for the total number of sold or closed transactions for the same time frame
3. Divide the total number of listings by the number of sales. This figure represents the number of months of inventory there are.

For example, let’s say there were 6,500 listings in one month’s time. During that same time, there were 1,500 properties that were sold. Divide 1,500 into 6,500 and you arrive at 4.3 months of inventory, meaning that this is a seller’s market.

While a savvy real estate agent is the best resource for this information, other resources include real estate listing websites and/or your local real estate association.

Do All Markets Follow the Same Cycles?
Markets are always in a state of flux. At its core, people are the driving force behind the real estate market.

For example, as more people move into a location, the more need there is for housing. If the number of properties in the area cannot support the number of people moving in, prices of existing homes will likely rise until more homes can be built.

This constant change to the supply and demand in a market is how markets shift back and forth from being more favorable for either buyers or sellers.

Can I Buy in a Seller’s Market?
Absolutely, but it’s not going to be a walk in the park. You’ll need determination, knowledge, and most importantly, someone on your side who knows the market inside and out.

Something to consider – you don’t know the seller’s true reasons for wanting to sell. Maybe there’s a divorce pending or another baby on the way and they need more space fast. Whatever is going on with the seller, a savvy agent will spot opportunities to help you and the seller arrive at a mutually agreeable solution.

One key reason it’s vital to engage an agent in a seller’s market is for their negotiating skills. While it’s important to always negotiate, a seller’s market calls for serious help to ensure that you don’t pay more than you need to.

Should I Wait to Sell?
It depends. Is it mandatory that you sell right now or could you wait until it’s a seller’s market again?

Consult with an agent to get his opinion about your chances of getting what you need or want for the sale of your home. He just might have some options you may not have considered that will help you get out from under your home and get on with your life.

Don’t be afraid to sell or buy if you think the market isn’t in your favor. The real estate market can be highly varied, so trust your agent to help you get the best possible results, no matter what the market looks like.

Five Tips on How to Sell Your Home in a Competitive Market

Five Tips on How to Sell Your Home in a Competitive Market

What does it take to sell a home in a competitive market – a fresh coat of paint or a kitchen overhaul? Lowering the asking price or offering incentives?

What does it take to sell a home in a competitive market – a fresh coat of paint or a kitchen overhaul? Lowering the asking price or offering incentives? From cosmetic to strategic, smart sellers can take advantage of a few simple tips to get the most out of their properties. Here are five suggestions on how to help secure a “sold” sign:

Price Point is Paramount When getting ready to put a home on the market, determining the right listing price is the number one most important element in the home selling process. After you have carefully chosen an agent, the trust you have established will come into play immediately. Have those tough discussions with your agent about where to price your home. Make certain you understand how the agent has arrived at the price, including how previous sales and current homes on the market make an impact. If necessary, jump in the car with your agent and see some of the homes on the market in the area. This will provide first hand knowledge on homes that are available in your neighborhood.

Appeal to Your Audience Work with your agent to determine how to get your home to stand out. Providing incentives is a great way to draw in potential home buyers, and monetary bonuses don’t just have to come from negotiation of the listing price. Sellers can also choose to contribute to closing costs, or conduct pre-home inspections, which can comfort potential home buyers in knowing that the property is in top shape.

Leave a Great First Impression Everyone talks about curb appeal, but a first impression is truly lasting. Remember, your agent is your trusted advisor. They will know the necessary updates and upkeep you should make to get the home ready for showings. But some of this is fairly easy and the front door is particularly important. This is the area where a buyer will first step up to a home – and likely wait for a moment providing time to look around. Do this ahead of time, stand directly in the front door and look up and around at the home from all angles – cobwebs that have not been noticed in years could be the first thing greeting a potential home buyer, so it’s important for this area to give a great first impression.

Everything is in the Visual Don’t underestimate the power of visuals in marketing your home. The National Association of Realtors found that, more than 90 percent of home buyers begin their search online. Your agent may push hard for you to have the home prepared for vivid pictures and video of the property that can be posted on websites such as Coldwell Banker On Location

Hit the Right Note with all Five Senses When a buyer comes to look at a home they want the full experience. To help a home stand out, your agent may ask you to focus on appealing to all five senses. Small and inexpensive upgrades to the home such as getting the walls painted, de-cluttering and making minor improvements to the outdoor landscape. In terms of “touch,” remember that buyers aren’t just going to look – they’ll be turning on your faucets and opening closets, so make sure closets are clean and organized. When it comes to making a home smell good, many agents prefer the smell of baked goods rather than fresh flowers or air fresheners which can be overwhelming. All of this is being done to allow the buyer to properly visualize living in the home.

Housing Report: Spring Selling Season

Housing Report: Spring Selling Season

Coldwell Banker agents share the top spring selling season trends they’re seeing in their markets.

Spring selling season is in full swing, and everyone knows that means real estate markets are heating up all over the country.  But what does that really mean — and how do these trends vary from market to market? We turned to those who know best – Coldwell Banker agents, of course – to see what type of activity they’re seeing in their areas. Here’s what they had to say:

“Buyers are better prepared and have more knowledge of the market to make a quick decision. Inventory is picking up for the spring selling season. Smart homes are becoming a norm.” – Lev ShalomayevColdwell Banker Kueber Realty in Glendale, NY

“Even though the weather may not be hot and may not feel like spring yet, our market is crazy hot! Things are selling in days of being listed, with multiple offers!” – Brandon Grass, Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty in Kelowna, BC

“It’s important now, more than ever, to have your buyers truly qualified. With more competing offers than I’ve seen in my whole 8 years, sellers want squeaky clean schedules with as few conditions as possible. So I try to confirm that they can (where the risk is low) go in with no conditions at all.” – Melissa Mummery, Coldwell Banker Coastline Realty, Port Dover, ON

“The market is very healthy at all price points. If you price it to sell, it will. Properties under $1 million are going under contract in 7 to 21 days. In our luxury market, listings over $2 million have had recent success. Multiple sales over $5 million are averaging around $8 million.” – Chris McDonnellColdwell Banker Distinctive Properties in Vail, CO

“Our market is smoking hot! Day on market is lowest we’ve seen in quite some time, and we’re seeing a lot of multiple offers.” – Pamela Smith, Coldwell Banker Seaside Realty, Kitty Hawk, NC

So there you have it! If you’re considering putting your house on the market or looking to buy this season, please call me at 617-372-1870.

5 Ways to Sell Your House Stress-Free

5 Ways to Sell Your House Stress-Free

Selling your home can be stressful. Here are 5 ways to stay focused and positive as you sell your house stress-free.

You’ve made the decision to sell your house. You may have been mulling it over for years, or perhaps a sudden life change has prompted you to make the leap. Whether you’re relocating for a job, empty-nest downsizing, or just need a change, you’ve made it past the first hurdle of reaching the decision!

But the many complicated logistics of selling your house may feel overwhelming. Before you get stressed out and change your mind about the whole thing, know that there are some great ways to stay focused and positive as you navigate this important step. Here are some tips to help you sell your house stress-free to make this leap a very positive one.

Be Clear About Your Objectives Up Front

two ladies talking

A lot of communication is required when selling a house, so it’s critical to set a clear set of objectives to yourself and everyone else involved in the process: your real estate agent, your family, and your friends. From the outset, determine an attainable selling price for your home with your real estate agent, and set up clear and reliable lines of communication.

Be clear with your family and friends about what they can expect during the process, and what you’ll need from them to help facilitate the situation with as little stress as possible. Determining your goals and expectations and sharing them clearly with those closest to you is a critical step in eliminating undue stress as you maneuver through the process of selling your home.

Stay Flexible

You may have an idea in your head of how long it will take to sell your home. If it begins to take longer than what you expected, the stress will grow. Keep in mind that there are so many variables at play—the location, the price, the market—and you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you set your mind to a too rigid deadline. An immediate house sale is rare, so it’s best to curb your expectations and stay flexible as the process unfolds.

Keep Things Tidy

bedroom white

You may be required to show your home to potential buyers at a moment’s notice. Maybe they’re in the area and want to pop in to view your home, or perhaps some out-of-towners want to add your house to their list before ending their visit. You won’t be so easily rattled by these last-second requests if you work diligently to keep your house tidy and in order at all times.

Make beds before leaving for work in the morning, never leave dishes in the kitchen sink, and keep up with the laundry and vacuuming. Thoroughly clean the bathrooms every week. If this is overwhelming, consider hiring cleaning help during this transition period. You may want to consider enlisting the help of a willing friend or neighbor who can help with last-minute tidying up if you can’t leave work. Keeping things neat consistently will dramatically reduce your stress level when last-minute showings come up.

Leave the House for Social Activities

Sometimes the pressure of unexpected showings and persistent phone calls can begin to take an emotional toll. To stick a pin in the building stress of selling a home, give yourself permission to get out of the house on occasion.

Go out to dinner with friends. Take a long weekend trip. Go to a museum or sporting event. Think of this time as an investment in your personal well-being, by getting your mind off the house sale for a bit. Getting out of the house can work wonders, especially during the first few weeks your house is listed.

Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle

man stretching

No matter how all-encompassing it may seem, selling a house is never more than one piece of the large pie of life. Don’t forsake your other needs and demands while navigating the process of selling a home. Maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the process by eating healthy meals and getting plenty of exercise and sleep.

If you plan to move out of town, you may not be inclined to get a gym membership or join a yoga class. But you can still walk for a half hour every day or take the kids to a park where you can blow off some steam together.

Getting the appropriate nutrition is a natural way to help your body fight stress. Drink more water, pass on the fried foods, and get more hours of sleep than normal. You’ll thank yourself for the extra effort.

Selling your house can be stressful, but if you set realistic expectations and come to terms with the certainty of uncertainty for the time being, you’ll make it through with a smile.

Selling the Family Home?

Selling the Family Home? Three Questions to Consider About Your Homeowners Insurance

Getting ready to sell your home? Make sure you have the answers to these three questions.

By Ryan Hanley

 

The number of home sellers continues to increase across the United States, which is reflected in new data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

According to the NAR, 5.54 million homes are expected to be sold in the United States this year. The NAR also has predicted the national existing-home price will rise around 4 percent in 2017 — a positive sign for home sellers.

Although the U.S. real estate market is improving, selling the family home may seem impossible at times, particularly for those who still need to find a real estate agent and complete various home improvement and maintenance tasks. Plus, there often is an aspect of selling the family home that goes unaddressed — homeowners insurance.

With the right homeowners coverage in place, you’ll be able to safeguard your home and personal items as you navigate the home selling process.

Before you sell the family home, here are three questions that you’ll want to consider about your homeowners insurance, including:

  1. Are sufficient coverage limits in place?

 If you remain in your house while you’re trying to sell it, your current coverage will stay intact. However, you may want to check your homeowners policy to guarantee that sufficient coverage limits are in place.

For example, many potential homebuyers may view your residence over the upcoming weeks and months. Your homeowners policy likely includes personal liability coverage that protects you against damages to people injured by you or your property, but the standard amount of this coverage is usually about $300,000 per occurrence. Thus, you may want to boost your personal liability coverage accordingly.

It also is important to note that your personal belongings will be covered by your homeowners policy as long as you stay in your home. Conversely, if you own rare antiques, collectibles and other valuable items, you’ll want to insure these belongings properly.

Contact your insurance agent if you’re uncertain about whether sufficient personal property coverage limits are in place. This will enable you to provide details about any valuable items in your home, establish the optimal coverage limits and guarantee that you’re protected throughout the home selling process.

Furthermore, if your home will remain vacant while you sell it, you’ll want to notify your home insurance agent immediately. A vacant home presents some unique exposures, so the risks associated with insuring this residence are higher than those associated with a traditional house. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that your home insurance agent can offer supplemental coverage for your unoccupied house — or find out whether you’ll need to purchase a separate vacant home insurance policy.

  1. Will you need a renters policy?

 If you intend to move into temporary housing while you sell the family home, you may want to purchase a renters policy.

Renters insurance represents an ideal option for property owners who plan to rent an apartment, condo or house temporarily. It covers losses of personal property such as computers, furniture and electronics. In addition, renters insurance safeguards you against losses due to natural and manmade disasters, theft and vandalism.

On the other hand, if you decide to move in with a family member or friend until your home sells, your personal belongings will be covered under his or her homeowners policy. This family member or friend may need to bolster his or her homeowners policy’s coverage limits as well, however.

Remember, a family member or friend who offers temporary housing will need to account for his or her personal belongings, along with your personal items. As a result, this individual may need to increase his or her homeowners policy coverage limits to ensure that an entire home and all of the belongings stored in it are insured.

  1. Are you moving out of state?

 Let’s face it — moving can be a hassle, especially if you are relocating out of state. You’ll need to pack up all of your belongings and ensure that they can reach your final destination quickly and safely. Perhaps most important, you’ll need to guarantee that your personal items are fully insured for the time it takes to move them from one location to another.

If you plan to hire a moving company to assist you with an out-of-state move, find out what types of insurance are available in advance. In many instances, a moving company may require you to sign a release bill of lading, which means that you will be covered for a given value of your personal belongings based on an amount of money per pound. A moving company also may offer full coverage for the value of your personal items, but keep in mind that the fees associated with this type of coverage can be expensive.

Lastly, your home insurance provider may offer moving coverage that comes with your existing homeowners policy. There are numerous third-party moving insurance options at your disposal, too.

When it comes to selling the family home, review your homeowners insurance carefully and talk to your agent before you introduce your residence to the real estate market. By doing so, you’ll be able to safeguard your house and personal belongings and focus on what’s important — showcasing your residence to a wide range of potential homebuyers.

About Ryan

Ryan Hanley is the Vice President of Marketing at TrustedChoice.com and the Managing Editor of Agency Nation. He is also a speaker, podcaster and author of the Amazon best-seller, Content Warfare. Ryan has over 10 years of insurance expertise and blogs frequently to help consumers understand complicated insurance topics.

Lindsay is the the Senior Manager of Media Engagement for Coldwell Banker Real Estate and manages the brand’s media and social media department. She is also a licensed real estate professional. In 2017, she was named a top 20 social influencer in the real estate industry in the annual Swanepoel 200 power rankings.

Lindsay lives in Livingston, NJ with her college sweetheart and now husband Joe and recently welcomed another Joe into her life as she became a mom in June 2016. Lindsay and her two Joes love spending their time playing with their cat Rory, watching sports and vacationing in Cape Cod.

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New Year New Home?

New Year New Home?

If buying a house is on your “to do” list this year, now is also the time to begin preparing.

It’s officially 2017 so let me start by wishing you a happy new year.  In early January, many of us are planning and setting goals for everything we want to do and achieve in the year to come.  While many people think of spring as the primetime home buying season, the winter months often offer an even greater selection, and the opportunity to settle into the new home before warmer months arrive.  If buying a house is on your “to do” list this year, now is also the time to begin preparing.

I remember when I bought my home.  There were so many things to get in order– it was confusing to decide where to begin! So, even if you plan to buy in the spring, January is a good time to get ready. Here are some tips to help you get on track to reach your 2017 home buying resolution:

  • Select a qualified and trusted real estate agent: At Coldwell Banker, we have a network of knowledgeable, trustworthy agents.  Agents understand the local market and can help you find all the information and resources you need to get started. Researching on your own is important, and using free online tools is a great way to start, but meeting with an agent will ensure you don’t miss any important steps along the way.  In fact, the next three tips were sourced from the great advice of our agents.
  • Create your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” list: Easier said than done, right?  But it’s next to impossible to find a first home with everything.  You’ll need to think about your lifestyle needs and prioritize the non-negotiable home accommodations, such as a bedroom for each family member, over items you may want, but not need, such as a large master suite. Everyone’s list is different, but knowing your “must-haves” in advance will help you stay focused.
  • Determine your budget: Be realistic about what is affordable. An agent can help you find comparable home prices and hone in on approximately how much the payments will be.  You should also plan to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Doing this prior to house hunting will let you know how much money you qualify for, and how much you can afford. You’ll also be able to figure out which mortgage type is best for you.
  • Identify the perfect “location, location, location”: Everyone has heard this phrase before, and while the surrounding neighborhood and home itself may improve over time, the physical location will remain the same. Determine in advance how close you would like to live to work, schools or extended family. A short commute to work, proximity to family or having easy access to highways and mass transit will often be items for your “must-haves” list.

Hope your year is off to a good start. If you’re starting your home search in 2017, we’d love to hear what you’re doing to get the home search process started.