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The Truth About Selling Your Own Home

The Difference Between Home Staging and Decorating

4 Reasons to Buy a Home During the Fall

Let’s face it, the fall market gets a bad rap. The majority of buyers assume that they’ll be unable to find a house that fits their needs during the fall—hence the mad rush during the summer. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are four reasons why a buyer should disregard the myths, and make a fall real estate purchase.

Star of the show  The realty market clears out as soon as the weather turns crisp. The majority of warm-weathered buyers have already found a home, meaning a fall buyer will have less competition for the available houses on the market that spark their interest.

Exhaustion is real
Countless showings and no offers makes for one tired seller.  After months of no action, lingering summertime sellers are more than ready to make a deal. This puts the buyer in a prime position to negotiate a price that more than fits their budget.

Home for the holidaysNot only are sellers tired after an unsuccessful summer, the holidays are looming. The majority are aware that if they want to be settled in time for the holiday season, they have to close quickly. Buyers can use this time crunch to their advantage.

Season of deals
After settling, furnishing the house is next on a buyer’s list. Fortunately, December proves to be an ideal time to purchase large ticket items. According to Consumer Reports, appliances like refrigerators, stoves, washers, and dryers are at their very cheapest. Buyers can also snag great deals on furniture and home decor during an end-of-year sale.

If you’re serious about moving, there’s no reason to wait until the spring. With just a little patience and persistence, you can be in your dream home before the start of the New Year!

8 Easy Ways to Eliminate Pet Odors from Your Home

If you’re one of those families that has multiple pets, you know it can be hard to keep your home clean and smelling fresh. Here are some tips on how to keep your home from smelling like a pet store!

Bathe and groom your pets regularly.
This will keep excess dirt, oils, dander, and any odors that may be on your pets’ coats from being carried throughout your house. Brushing and grooming can be done more often, since it is just as important. Whenever possible, brush your pets outside to prevent loose hair from finding its way onto and into furniture and carpeting.

Get rid of the hair on your furnishings.
Use a vacuum cleaner with a pet attachment or a lint roller to do away with loose hair at least once a week. If the lint roller or vacuum attachment isn’t working, try using a rubber glove (assuming that a little dampness is all right for your furniture, of course). Put in on your hand, moisten it a bit, and gently glide it over the surface.

Vacuum the floors.
You should try to vacuum your floors once or twice a week, depending on the number of pets you have in your home. This will help lessen the amount of hair and cat litter on the floor that leaves behind those lingering pet smells. You can also use a squeegee to pull up the stray hairs in your carpet that your vacuum can’t get to.

Check your air filters.
Pet hair can build up and clog your air filters. Be sure to change your air-conditioning or furnace filters at least every three to six months.

Be sure to always use disinfectants.
Many odors are caused by bacteria. Try using high-quality sanitizing cleaners that kill more than 99 percent of germs for those lingering odors and surface bacteria. Be sure to use products that are safe for curious tongues and noses!

Eliminate those urine odors right away.
If your pet has an accident inside, clean the area right away using an enzymatic cleaner. These are designed especially for eliminating pet odors and destroying any pheromones and molecules left behind.

Don’t forget to wash their bedding.
If your pet has a bed with a removable cover, be sure to wash that, as well as other pet bedding, at least twice a month.

Keep up with the litter box.
You should scoop the cat litter at least once a day. Keep the litter fresh with baking soda, as this can be used to absorb the smell. Try using a plug-in air freshener in the room where you keep the litter box.

Do You Know the Difference Between an Agent and a Broker?

When it comes to the real estate world, there are literally hundreds of different terms and phrases that it can be hard to keep it all on track. But if you’re in the process of buying or selling, it’s imperative to understand the different roles and responsibilities of those helping you through it.

The Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are individuals who are licensed to help people buy, sell, and rent property. The licensing process varies by state, so it’s a good idea to look up the process for your individual location before signing on with an agent to make sure their credentials match up.

There are typically a series of tests he or she must past in order to obtain a license, as well as logging training hours.

A real estate agent and a REALTOR® are not necessarily the same thing. In order for an agent to become a licensed REALTOR®, he or she must become a member of the National Association of REALTORS®—which has its own set rules and ethics members must abide by.

The Real Estate Broker

In order for someone to become a real estate broker, he or she must continue their education past the agent level, which requires more testing and training. However, similarly to agent testing, every state differs in its requirements.

A broker will be more familiar with the ethics and laws associated to the real estate industry, including investments and new real estate construction and management. They also have to have been a practicing agent for a set amount of time before attempting to obtain a brokers license.

You may also encounter different types of brokers in your home buying or selling experience:

  • managing broker is responsible for managing and hiring agents for a real estate office.
  • An associate broker has received their license but is working toward becoming a managing broker.
  • principal broker is essentially the head of the real estate firm and oversees all other agents and brokers.

For more information on the different types of real estate agents and brokers, visit the National Association of REALTORS® website.

And for even more homebuying and selling tips, visit americanlifestylemag.com/home.

The Language of Homebuying

Buying a home can be intimidating if you are not familiar with the most common phrases used throughout the process. But not to fear: here’s a list of home-buying lingo to bring you up to speed.

  • Fixed-Rate Mortgage
    Mortgage rates are discussed when you meet with a broker. A fixed-rate mortgage is a loan that has an interest rate which will remain the same for the life of the loan. The most popular is the 30-year loan because it usually makes your payments the lowest.
  • Adjustable-Rate Mortgage
    On the contrary, the interest rate on an adjustable-rate mortgage can change from year to year. You’ll want to discuss the pros and cons of both a fixed mortgage and an adjustable mortgage with your broker.
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
    The good news is that you don’t need to put 20 percent down to purchase a home. However, if you choose to move forward with a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, you’re required to purchase private mortgage insurance. PMI is a type of insurance that reimburses the lender if you default on the loan.
  • Escrow
    You’ll hear this term once you put an offer on a house. Escrow is defined as the holding of funds by a neutral third party prior to closing.
  • Contingency 
    “We will only move forward with the sale as long as x, y, and z happen.”
    A contingency can be placed by either the buyer or the seller. It’s a provision in the contract stating that some or all of the terms of the contract will be altered or voided by the occurrence of a specific event.
  • Closing Costs
    You’ve made it! It’s closing time. But with the closing comes costs. By definition, closing costs are all transaction charges that homebuyers or sellers need to pay at the close of escrow when the property is transferred. Typically, closings costs range from 2 to 5 percent of the purchase price.

Brushing up on the most common phrases will help to make the buying process go off without a hitch!