Buying a home sight unseen may seem like a crazy idea or like something that doesn’t happen often, but it sure does. Especially with the events over the past year when buyers have been relocating to areas like Fort Lauderdale where they can work from home and enjoy the outdoors more comfortably all year round. While the purchase of a home without physically seeing it in person may seem challenging, it is possible to do it successfully if you follow some of these important steps.
The Right Agent
Working with the right agent is always important in any transaction, but especially when you need to rely on them even more in this type of situation. Make sure you select an agent who knows and specializes in the exact area that you are interested in. Do your research to see their past sales, testimonials and where they do business so you can confirm they are a good fit.
If you have a thought of a question or concern, start to make a list. You can never ask your agent too many questions. While you may seem like you might be overwhelming it is always better to cover important details up front rather than have unexpected surprises when your deal comes together.
These days there are so many tools available to us for home searches. Make sure you use everything that is at your fingertips as you get a good feeling about a home of interest. Some listings have virtual or 3D tours which is amazingly helpful to see a home’s rooms and layout. If not, your agent could do a video chat with you. Also, try doing a Google Street View of the address so that you can get a sense of the location and immediate surroundings.
Use Floor Plans
Many listings also have floor plans available for prospective buyers these days. However, if not then your agent could help with getting you some rough measurements of the key rooms that you wish to mock up a layout for. It is helpful to get a sense of size but it is also important to know what furniture will fit.
An inspection is always important but when you aren’t touring the home in person then it is crucial to lean on an expert. Even if you are buying with cash and don’t necessarily need an appraisal or inspection for financing it is still wise to do for insurance purposes and to know exactly what work the home may need.
Once you have decided that you want to move and sell your home, then comes time for the work. It is common knowledge that you will need to get it in tip top shape, but that can also require some financial investment as well. While you may need to shell out a few dollars for things like sealing your driveway or replacing broken fixtures, the good news is that there are several things that you can do that are no cost to you that make a big impact on prospective buyers.
Getting out the vacuum, mop and putting things away properly does not cost you a dime. Focus on your primary rooms and make sure there are no belongings or stacks of papers gathered on kitchen counters, bookshelves or coffee tables. Bathroom counters should also be clean and clear as well as closets being neatly organized. You don’t want anyone thinking the home is tight on space if it looks like your closets are not accommodating.
After you have cleaned and decluttered, now take a look at the home’s flow. Visit room by room and see that your furniture is placed where each room allows buyers to freely walk through without bumping into things and appears as large as possible.
Channel Buyer Mentality
Step outside of your home and then walk back in with fresh eyes…and nose for that matter. Does the home look and smell clean? Check up and down to make sure from baseboards up to ceiling fans are dusted and clean. Don’t forget to wash the windows too for allowing in all of the natural light.
Setting The Table
It may sound silly at first, but rather than a big empty dining room table, consider setting even just a couple of pace settings. Staging a room so it is inviting such as putting out nice placemats, your best flatware, dishware and linens will warm things up. Finish off with a decorative centerpiece or table runner.
Let The Outdoors Inside
You can do this a few ways. After of course you have all blinds open for each showing, make sure you have some of what is best about our tropical Fort Lauderdale location, the outdoors. Many homes have flowers in their gardens that can be cut and placed into arrangements indoors. Additionally, for those of you who have fruit bearing trees, a bowl of lemons placed on the kitchen counter can also be a cute and colorful idea.
Things are different these days when it comes to the length of time that one lives in a home. It used to be that you’d save up for your first home and settle in for decades until it was time to downsize. Today, many people are starting out in a condo, then trading up to a single family and potentially going to different neighborhoods as they upgrade their lifestyle. If you are one of these individuals who finds yourself moving frequently, here are some helpful pointers to keep things easy.
Furniture is something we all need but sure can add up in cost. When you purchase your necessary items keep things simple and start with the basics. Avoid buying items that are too big, too pricey or may not be necessary in your next home. Keeping things simple will ensure better chances that everything will fit at your next residence should some rooms be smaller. You will want to avoid having to sell things as furniture doesn’t tend to hold a great resale value.
Keep Moving Boxes
Moving boxes can add up when you are talking about needing enough to move a whole house. Each time you move you can break them down very carefully so that they are folded neatly to store but can also be reused. Stow these away under beds or in places like attics where they won’t get ruined.
Similar to boxes, packing materials can really be expensive. Bubble wrap in particular while it is necessary for your breakable items gets pricey but you can always use alternative packing. Consider using your towels, blankets or even clothing instead. Hold onto some newspapers as well for another wrapping option.
Don’t Waste Time
Packing always takes longer than you anticipate so don’t wait until the last minute. As soon as you know you are moving start packing your secondary items. For example, starting in the kitchen pack away your top shelf items that you don’t use everyday. Perhaps this may be your China or appliances you rarely use. Leave only what you need everyday for packing last. Do this same method with your clothing. Pack away seasonal clothing that you aren’t using first. When you get close to moving day, pack a small suitcase for what you may need right away.
If you find good movers you may want to hire them again. There are only so many times you can get your friends to help and buy them pizza, so if you find good professionals then treat them well. Offer them water, lunch and tip them well for their good service.
When the time comes to select the right insurance company it can be overwhelming with where to begin. Anyone who has watched TV has seen all of the ads for companies like Geico, State Farm, Progressive and more. The number of companies and ads should be an indication of how big of a business insurance is. So how do you go about finding the company that is best for you? Here are some tips on how you can pick the right one.
Shop by price
The best thing to do is to find three different companies and solicit some quotes. What is most important is to pay attention to the amount of coverage that each one offers in their quotes. One provider may have a cheaper quote due to less covered on their policy so make sure you are comparing apples to apples. If you don’t want to do this on your own, you could always enlist the assistance from an insurance agent.
Check for customer service quality
Price isn’t the only thing that matters with whom you hire. If you have to cash in on your insurance with a claim you want to make sure you have them on your side so do your homework and check online reviews, interview family, friends and neighbors or even your agent to see who has had top quality experiences. Find out who has a track record of responding quickly and paying claims promptly as that can help lessen a stressful situation.
Other factors to consider
Other than price and great service, check to see what other kinds of insurance these companies provide. You may want to leave your options open for other types of insurance where not all companies offer everything. For example, you can oftentimes get a bundled discount if you have the same company write both a home and an auto policy all rolled in together.
Each insurance company will be licensed and regulated by your state. For any questions or concerns that you have about any company, you also have this office or division as a resource for answers or more information.
Regardless of a market of high demand and low inventory, buyers can still be picky about which homes to visit that are appealing enough. Your home’s front yard is what will set the stage and tone of whether a buyer’s interest is piqued enough to want to see the rest of the property. An attractive but also well kept home will be inviting and increase your chances of selling. Make sure your home’s exterior gets the attention it deserves with these 5 tips.
Your front door does so much. It is the first thing all visitors see, it can set the stage for what kind of design will be found inside and it’s condition can also be representative of the rest of the home. Updating your front door to a sleek, high impact door with modern hardware is sure to elicit some good interest.
Garage doors tend to be large and especially in many areas of smaller lots in urban locations in Fort Lauderdale, they can often be front facing. Give this major architectural element of your home the attention it deserves and upgrade to a sophisticated design that makes a statement that is proper for your home.
Colors can really make or break a home. Especially when selling, choosing neutral colors that appeal to the masses is important as not everyone can see past paint. Additionally, while your interior and exterior colors don’t have to match each other, they should have some continuity so a common theme carries throughout.
This one is huge especially for our South Florida location. Landscaping here is year round with homeowners enjoying the outdoors nearly all year. Professional landscaping can add up but there are many things you can do on your own even with some simple maintenance. Keeping your greenery trimmed and beds free of weeds and freshly mulched goes a long way as a start.
Your home’s lighting also can set a warm or even exciting tone. First, make sure your home is well lit for safety and security purposes. Then, supplemental lighting can be added to decorate with interest as well as have spotlights on dramatic features. You don’t always have to hire a professional for this either. There are some great solar options that work very well that you can install yourself.
Prior to this year there was a different set of criteria or features that buyers were looking for in their next home. Perhaps it was limited to things like certain countertops or a den with an oversized flat-screen TV and surround sound. This year has been a slight game changer for what people are looking for. Welcome, the Zoom room. A Zoom room is a dedicated space in your home that you can comfortably video conference for work, school or connect with family in alternate locations. This area should be comfortable, aesthetically pleasing and separate enough from any other home occupants or noises that may interfere with online meetings. Some sellers these days are even marketing their homes as having this dedicated space. Here are some tips on how to create this space in your home.
Locate the area
First, locate a perfect spot within your home. Things to keep in mind include an area that Wi-Fi is strong so that your video is not compromised. Next, make sure it is in an area that is quiet from the main part of the home. Ideas may include a guest room, nook in a bedroom or dining room. Folding room dividers can also be helpful if you find it difficult to section off an area.
Regardless of whether you are going to video chat with a boss, coworker, client or even a family member it is good to keep things in order and tidy. Make sure your room is free of any clutter that may be viewed by the camera.
Create a background
Your background is one of the most important factors in creating your Zoom room. An ideal background is professional or “office-like” perhaps with a bookshelf and some art. While it is nice to inject some personal things that make it customized to you, it is wise to also keep things neutral and not distracting.
There is definitely the right amount of lighting for the camera. Too dim or too bright can be problematic so try to benefit from the natural light from a nearby window. Supplemental task lighting should be kept at a slight distance to avoid unwanted glare.
While not many people will be seeing your chair, it is key to have the right one. Meetings can be long so you will want to be comfortable. Additionally, the right height is helpful. You don’t want to be too high or too low where you have to crane your neck to look up. Chairs with wheels are also helpful so you can slide quietly as you may need to reach for a file or the like.