Should I Rent or Buy? 3 Questions to Ask Yourself

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The number one question I get asked is, “should I rent or should I buy?”

The number one response I offer…it depends.

It depends on 3 things.  Are you responsible enough to maintain a home or a condo? Do you have the financial resources?  Have you weighed the benefits and drawbacks?

1.  Are you responsible enough to maintain a home or a condo?  There are plenty of people who should lease cars because they just do not take care of them well enough to own them.  You know who you are.  the rest of you know the people I refer to here- the ones with the year’s worth of Dunkin cups on the passenger seat and the pile of mail from last March on the floor!  They never clean their cars and cannot possibly be expected to keep a house or a condo in working order.  It’s a miracle they remember to gas up before a long trip!  These same people are probably better off renting so when something breaks they can call the owner or property manager to fix it.

2.  Do you have the financial resources?  I am not referring to just a down payment or a few months of reserve cash.  If you are seriously considering purchasing a home then ask yourself if you have the ability and financial discipline to live within your means and save enough money for the occasions when things break, fail or self-destruct.  Hot water tanks inevitably die the day you move in.  Air conditioning units fail the first day the weather breaks 80 degrees.  The heat will not turn on the day it is 22 below zero and you are home with the flu.  Folks, I am not joking.  This could happen to you!

3.  Have you weighed the benefits and drawbacks?  Make a list, check it twice and when you finish check it a third time.  You can type it, dictate it or write it on a bar napkin, just be sure to keep a list of the reasons why you would benefit from owning a home vs. renting.   When you own a home you can paint it any color you want!  When you own you are building your wealth.  Donald Trump had to start someplace!

 

 

Please Buy My Dirty House: Home Staging 101

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So, you want to sell your home for top dollar in a market flooded with similarly priced homes but don’t have a clue where to begin? Well, let me tell you a story. Then I will review the do’s and don’t’s of listing your home plus 5 things you can do to stage your home for sale.

I spent part of my day touring homes that are currently on the market in my area.  Among them I found a plethora of burnt out light bulbs, cobwebs, peeling paint on the exterior of one and the interior of another. There were dead lawns, decaying flowers and overgrown trees. One literally reeked of smoke.  Another was touted as a Colonial, but no mention of the fact that it was truly Colonial in it’s vintage, decor and furnishings.  The agent stated it was built in ’75 and I had to ask if she meant 1775 or 1875? !?! Turns out it was 1975. Could have fooled me.

Another home recently featured a photo of a staircase to nowhere! It had a bookshelf at the bottom.  One more I viewed today showed photos of ALL the children’s toys on the floor of the playroom.  They all sound inviting, right?  NOT! Another favorite of mine of the magnet field on the refrigerator- remove everything from the front and sides.  Ok, you can leave my business card.

If you truly want to SELL your home you should begin by a basic decluttering.  Pack at least 50% of what you own and get it out of the house.  Remove personal photos, diplomas, trophies, statues and souvenirs from trips of yesteryear.  Yes, you need to pack up Grandma’s spoon collection too.  Oh, and that poster from the concert you attended in 1985 has to go.  Remove anything that will distract someone from their primary focus: YOUR HOME.

Next, walk through the house looking UP at the ceilings, lights, fans and vents.  They need to look brand new.  Clean or replace them, and make sure all the light bulbs work!

Now, we are ready for the hard part: the bathroom. This is critical. Pay attention.  Nobody, and I mean nobody wants to see any remnants of anything that goes on in this room.  It needs to be spotless.  EVERY DAY.  Keep the Lysol wipes handy, buy a case of them and leave them in a cabinet nearby so when you are done in there you can eradicate all evidence of having used it.  Remove the used towels, rugs and toothbrushes.  Get a set of white “showing” towels that you display.  And don’t forget to put out a fresh roll of TP! You can go the extra mile and make one of those little flowers at the end of the paper- no kidding, buyers WILL take notice.  If you have a shower curtain, get a new one.

Ok, now you are almost ready.  One more thing: the exterior.  Yes, that has to be cleaned, shined, pruned, weeded, watered, replaced and perfected.  It is the first thing a buyer will see when they approach your home and it has to look GREAT.

So, you think you are ready now???  If so, it is time to call in a pro.  A seasoned pro with a eye for detail.  You need a REALTOR who will assist you in setting a fair market price, staging the home and advising you throughout the process.

5 things you MUST do when staging your home to SELL

1.  cut the grass, add flowers, landscape

2.  replace light bulbs with highest wattage possible (and safe)

3.  dust every crevice and be sure to remove cobwebs

4.  clear off your counters and fridge

5.  wipe down all sinks every day- especially the bathroom

for more information about staging, contact me or visit:

http://www.hgtv.com/decorating-basics/15-secrets-to-selling-your-home/pictures/index.html

Donald Trump for President: Good for the Country, Good for Real Estate

When I first saw the news that Donald Trump was considering a move to be the next President of the USA my first thought was, why on earth would Donald Trump make a good President?

Three reasons come to mind:

1. He is an effective CEO
2. He knows how to hire the right people for the job
3. He is not afraid to fire the wrong people from the job

He clearly knows how to surround himself with the right people: smart, savvy, respectful, thoughtful and successful. He is passionate about real estate and understands how to build wealth versus debt. Can you imagine the national SURPLUS instead of the national DEBT? Trump has shown television viewers for years how to FIRE ineffective employees and has managed to build a huge following by only keeping those whom he feels will help him build his power and wealth. He is animated in his public speaking and captivates audiences. This is a very powerful tool for a politician (and I say that as a Politics major who has a MA in Speech Communications). This might be a good idea after all.

He has the resources to run an amazing campaign, he is strategic in his spending and understands the power of making smart investments in both time and people. He might just be what our country needs right now. I look forward to seeing how his plans unfold.