Our lead story in this month’s Home Matters, brought to you
through our company's membership in RISMedia’s Real Estate
Information Network® (RREIN), examines how to set up and throw a
successful garage sale. Other topics covered this month include why
foreclosed properties may be a smart option for buyers looking to
achieve homeownership and what you need to know about homeowners
insurance before picking the policy that’s right for you. We hope
you enjoy this month’s edition of Home Matters and as always, we
welcome your feedback. Email us anytime!
Whether you just purchased a home right up the road from your
current residence or across numerous state lines, you undoubtedly
have a lot of items that will be packed up and transported to your
new location. However, if you’re looking to make your move a little
easier—or your new home simply doesn’t have room for all your
belongings—a garage sale is a great way to get rid of items that
you’ll be leaving behind.
When it comes to hosting a successful garage sale, it’s
crucial that you think beyond simply throwing stuff on tables in
your yard. For a truly successful sale, you need to advertise,
organize and create a shopping experience that will entice people
to stop in and buy.
If you’re planning on having a garage sale, the first thing
you should do is go through every room in your house and decide
what items you won’t be taking with you. Any and everything not
going should be sold at the sale, even if you only get small change
for the item. Keep in mind that planning for and hosting a garage
sale isn’t something that can be done in a day or even a weekend.
Start getting things ready about a month before you plan to hold
As you find items, start grouping them into different
sections. For instance, place all items for the kitchen together
and then create separate piles of clothes, toys, books, etc. It’s
crucial that everything stay organized so that you don’t end up
with a mish-mash of things that will make people think you just
threw everything together.
Once you’ve collected everything you plan to sell, it’s time
to tackle the key to any garage sale: pricing. People love
bargains, so make sure you take emotions out of your pricing
decisions and make things very affordable. Use stickers for pricing
so people aren’t constantly asking how much something is. It’s also
a good idea to offer buy-one-get-one-free options or
three-for-a-dollar type pricing to compel people to buy more. When
people try to bargain for a lower price (and they will!), let the
items go. Remember, this is more about disposing of your things
than making a quick buck off of them.
Whether you live in an area that gets a lot of traffic or on
a quiet street, make sure you take to social media to announce your
sale. You may also want to think about taking out an ad on
Craigslist or putting an ad in your local circular, school or
church bulletin. Don’t forget to hang up plenty of signs around the
area a few days before your sale so people can make plans to drop
by. If you have big-ticket items like furniture, musical
instruments, lawn equipment or something unique or antique looking,
mention them in the ads and take photos, as this is a great way to
really entice people to come.
For the sale itself, be kind, offer up water or lemonade and
be ready to make some deals.
If there are any large items left over after the sale that
you don’t plan on taking with you (be it a pool table, couch,
piano, dining set, etc.), offer them up for free on Craigslist or
Freecycle. Not only will this save you time and money, it will also
save you the hassle of having to lug these items to the dump.
For more information about holding a successful garage sale,
contact our office today.
Is there mold in your home? What about termites? Do you have
an old heating tank buried in your yard? If you’re in the process
of selling your home, it’s necessary to disclose these problems—in
most cases—to a buyer before a sale can be completed.
While disclosure laws differ from state to state, in most
cases, it’s against the law to fraudulently conceal any major
problems in your home. This includes everything mentioned above to
whether your basement floods during heavy rains or if part of your
foundation is crumbling.
Property disclosure plays a very important role in a real
estate deal. Today, it is almost standard for written disclosures
to be included in the contract. And when you sign one, it must be
truthful. If not, you’re looking at costs and possibly a lawsuit.
When it comes to property disclosure, you should always talk
with your real estate agent and/or attorney about what’s required
to disclose. You can also check with your town’s City Planning
Department about local ordinances and disclosures that can come
Generally, you’re only responsible for disclosing information
that you personally know about, so it’s not necessary to hire an
inspector to come look for problems regarding conditions that
weren’t brought to your attention when you purchased the home.
However, some states do require more investigation on your
part. In fact, there are laws on the book in certain states that
require a homeowner to search for some of these major
problems—especially mold and lead paint—whether you see problems or
In California, sellers are required to disclose any possible
risk that could result from natural disasters, such as the home
being in a flood plain, earthquake zone or its susceptibility to
wildfires. A disclosure like this will enable potential buyers to
understand the financial risk and danger they could face, plus warn
about problems they may experience in buying insurance for the
If you’re buying a home, regardless of your state’s laws, you
should demand a disclosure statement be part of the contract. This
will protect the buyer in case something shows up after the sale.
Asking a seller to disclose material facts means you’re
asking them to disclose anything they know about the house that
might be problematic. While you can’t force someone to sign a
disclosure (again, depending on the laws in the state), you always
have the right to leave any deal, and you might end up forcing a
If a seller does refuse to sign a disclosure, and you still
want the house, it should send up a red flag that something might
be wrong. This should encourage you to invest a little more when it
comes to an inspection and do your due diligence about the
neighborhood. In the end, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it
comes to making sure the home of your dreams doesn’t turn into a
To learn more about disclosures, contact our office today.
When it comes to preparing a home for sale, one of the last
areas sellers often think about are the closets. However, closets
are an important selling point for any home, as space is something
that potential buyers can always use more of.
One of the easiest ways to make the closets in your home more
appealing is by clearing out the clutter and making them seem
larger than they really are. This applies to closets in your
bedroom, bathroom, hallway and even the kitchen. If you really want
your closets to stand out as a selling point, spend a day getting
rid of everything you don’t need—you’ll be surprised how many
things you come across that you haven’t used in years.
Once you’ve cleared out all your closets, it’s time to
organize them. For closets with clothes, stagers recommend using
wire hangers to keep everything organized. It’s also a good idea to
group shirts and items by color, with darks on one side and lights
on the other. This will make the closet “pop” and provide a more
Additionally, nothing should ever be on the floor of the
closet. Use shoe racks to organize any footwear and small drawers
and shelves to hold sweaters, socks and other items that you can’t
hang. Simple and inexpensive shelving can do wonders and are easy
to install. If your budget allows, utilize a professional closet
organizer and have him or her do their magic. This will really make
your closets stand out among prospective buyers.
When it comes to linen closets, make sure each shelf is neat
with the newer towels and sheets in front. You also want to do away
with any old bathroom fixtures, bath toys or hotel shampoos that
may have found their way into the closet over the years. Again,
space is the desired effect.
In the kitchen, discard food that’s been sitting around for
ages, make sure baking items aren’t spilling out of their bags (use
old bread bag containers if they are) and clean up your spices.
You should also think about what a closet says to a potential
buyer. For instance, if a bedroom closet holds clothes for just
one, it might suggest a recent divorce or death, and that could
lead to a low-ball offer. On the other hand, if closets are
jam-packed with stuff, it can be interpreted that there’s just not
enough space in the house, sending potential buyers out the door.
The main key with closets is to allow buyers to see the true
size and functionality of the space. You don’t need to have a
walk-in closet to impress people. You just need to treat each
closet as if it was another room in the house.
For more tips to prepare your home for sale, contact our
Homeowners insurance is a great way to protect your home and
belongings, however, with many policies, some common occurrences
might not be covered. While policies differ from state to state,
it’s crucial that you understand what’s included in your policy
before signing the dotted line.
Typically, a homeowners insurance policy will cover the
actual dwelling and some of the other structures on the property,
like a fence, garage and driveway. Personal property is usually
covered as well. This includes the contents inside the home,
although you may need to pay a bit more in premiums for high-value
items like jewelry or antique furniture. When getting a policy,
it’s important to be sure that these items are covered. The last
thing you want is to find out you weren’t covered if your house is
robbed or destroyed by fire.
Policies also normally include coverage for injuries incurred
by those on your property where you are liable. For instance, if
someone slips on your driveway or falls while making repairs to the
roof, you’re covered. However, this coverage is usually limited to
a certain dollar value, so you need to know how much coverage you
have and exactly what’s included.
One area that often confuses people when it comes to
homeowners insurance has to do with natural disasters. It’s
important to remember that not everything is covered and you often
have to buy separate flood, hurricane or earthquake
insurance—especially if you live in an area that is highly
susceptible to these disasters. You may be able to save on these
premiums by better protecting yourself against damage by adding
storm shutters, reinforcing your roof or buying stronger roofing
If items are stolen from your vehicle while it sits on your
property, this may or may not be covered by your insurance.
Normally, this is covered by auto insurance, but there are some
homeowner policies that will include these items, so it’s good to
know if yours does.
Additionally, many first-time buyers think they need
insurance to cover the entire cost of the house sale. However,
since the land under your house isn’t at risk from theft,
windstorm, fire or other perils covered in your homeowners policy,
it’s not necessary to include these when deciding how much
insurance you should buy. Before choosing a policy, talk with your
agent and determine the best number so that you have enough
coverage, but not too much that you’re paying premiums for what you
To learn more about homeowners insurance, contact our office