Category Archives: General

Six Tips to Reduce the Stress of Moving


Moving is considered one of the top life stressors. I've moved way too many times in my life, so I've almost become an expert at doing it. The things I've learned a few lessons along the way to keep moving stress to a minimum.

1. Start Planning as Far in Advance as Possible

I gather boxes and packing supplies far in advance of my move. I break down boxes and stash them under beds, in closets, or in the garage, so I'm not running around at the last minute looking for more. I also save bubble wrap and newspapers, while picking up extra markers and tape now and then. All the moving supplies are put into a container in a special place so I always know where they are. Amoving checklist helps me stay on schedule and on track.

2. Take Care of Transportation Early

Whether your are hiring a moving company or doing a self-move with a rented truck, reserve it at least a month ahead of time. You don't have to pay anything until the day you pick your rental truck up, and you can cancel or reschedule if your date changes. Most companies will give better deals on trucks or moves arranged far in advance, because it helps them plan. 

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10 Ways to Look for Investment Properties




When it comes to investing in real estate, it’s easy enough to define your budget and set your criteria for the type of property you’d like to buy. Finding and purchasing a property that fits your budget and criteria is something else entirely.

There are a variety of ways to find investment properties. Some methods are easier than others, but the more you pursue, the greater the likelihood you’ll find what you’re looking for, at the right price and in the right location.

10 Ways to Find Real Estate Properties for Investment

  1. Word of Mouth – Don’t keep your interest in investment properties to yourself; other people could help you with your search. By letting other people know that you are in the market to buy, and letting them know what you’re looking for, you increase the chances that you’ll find the right property.


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5 Simple Ways To Know If A House Is a Good One to Flip


Flipping a house requires you to do a lot of things just right.

And this includes identifying a house that has some hidden value as well as looking for certain core features.

The “gurus” all claim that you make all your money the moment you sign the paperwork and officially buy the house.

True…but having said that, none of that really matters unless you know what to look for in a house.

Although this list below is not exhaustive, there are five features that can tell you if a house is “the one” – but bear in mind, that doesn’t mean that you should purchase property solely based on these features.

Remember that you should never overpay for a house and always remember the house flipping rules. If the numbers don’t work, better move on to the next one.

Bear in mind, we break these rules sometimes when the numbers are stupidly silly good…but those deals don’t come up all the time…so keep these five things in mind when you’re first starting out flipping houses.

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How to Get the Best Home Loan for Your Needs


Location, school ratings, number of bedrooms, outdoor spaces. These are the things potential homeowners focus on when they start house hunting. They’re all important factors, for sure. Even more crucial: How will you pay for your home?

Home loans are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. They differ based on their type, such as fixed or adjustable rate, and their loan term. Loans also vary in interest rate and annual percentage rate (APR).

To ensure you’re getting the best home loan for your situation, you’ll want to do your homework, talk to reputable credit counselors and lenders and follow these tips:

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Why Short Sales Take So Long


When buyers hear the term “short sale,” they typically think about distressed sellers and good deals — especially in markets where prices have ticked upwards. But the word “sale” can be misleading. In fact, many real estate agents have renamed “short sales” as “long-and-drawn-out sales.”

Here’s why short sales often take a long time to complete.

Banks and Bureaucracy

In a short sale, you need the seller’s bank to approve before you can close. Banks require dozens of pages of paperwork to evaluate whether or not to approve a short sale. Since the seller is asking the bank to accept a sale price that’s less than the mortgage amount, the bank needs to verify that a short sale is the right thing to do. Banks want to make sure the seller is indeed unable to stay in the home and can’t afford to pay off the difference between the market value and the bank’s loan amount.

Just as a bank scrutinizes a buyer’s finances in order to approve their loan, the financial institution wants to closely examine the seller’s finances to be sure that it is not giving its money away. With many thousands of dollars at stake, banks don’t want to rush through this process. By comparison, when you’re buying from a person, he or she is more motivated to keep things moving.

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10 Things to Consider Before Making an Offer on a Home


If you’ve narrowed down your choice of a home to one, you may be eager to make an offer and get negotiations started. If you’re buying in a tight market where sellers have the upper hand you may even feel pressured to put in an offer the moment you see a house.

But, before you write that check for your earnest money deposit, you should take a little time to investigate the house and the neighborhood so you have a better idea of what you’re buying.

Your REALTOR® can be a valuable resource in gathering information for you and getting the answers to your questions from the seller’s agent. In the meantime, you can be proactive and do some of your own research.

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If you’re thinking of buying a home, you are going to want to get the most home for your money. But how do you do that?

Just as in any business deal, negotiation is going to come into play when you put in an offer on a home. There are a few things that you can do as a buyer to help you have some negotiating power, and with your real estate agent guiding you, making some informed decisions and maneuvers can increase your odds of landing the home that you want at a price that you can afford.

Here are a few tips:

Buy vs. Rent: What You’ll pay in the 10 Biggestt cities




Despite rising home prices and climbing mortgage rates, it's still cheaper to buy a home than rent one in major cities across the country, according to real estate web site Trulia, which analyzed data in 100 metro areas.

But home prices are just one factor to consider. Deciding whether to buy or rent also depends on the location and how long you plan to stay there. In most of the Rust-Belt cities, like Toledo and Detroit, the math overwhelmingly favors buying. In more expensive coastal markets, like Los Angeles and New York, it's a closer call.

Nationwide, homebuyers who remain in their homes for seven years will save an average of 38% over renting, Trulia found. A year ago, buying was 44% cheaper.

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Moving? 9 Tips to Make Packing Easier


You’d really have a hard time finding many folks who enjoy packing for a household move. Still, if you are moving, the packing part must be tackled — whether you do it yourself or hire a crew to do it.

“Packing is expensive, time-consuming and stressful,” said Denise Baron, a home and lifestyle expert in Philadelphia.

If you’re going the DIY route, here are nine tips to make the task simpler:

1. Clear out the junk

Get rid of items you don’t plan to move to your new place, said Lori Matzke, a home-staging expert and former home organizer in Minneapolis.

“If you? intend to give something away to a friend or family member, either deliver ?it to them promptly, or set a deadline for them to come and pick it up,” Matzke said.

For those items that aren’t being handed off to friends or relatives, consider selling them at a garage sale or donating them to charity, or simply toss them.

2. Collect free boxes

Rather than forking over money for boxes, check with local grocery, liquor and hardware stores to see whether they can give you leftover ones.

“Liquor store boxes are ideal for books and heavier items, as they are ?usually more compact, easier to handle and sturdy,” Matzke said.

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Four Tips to Negotiate Through a Home Inspection



My husband and I just completed the negotiation process of the home inspection for the sale of our house. While we took pride in keeping our home up-to-standards, there were a few items the home inspector caught that the buyers wanted fixed. Here's how we negotiated to a fair deal for both parties:

Understand what you really want.

We already were under contract on our new home, so we wanted to make sure we didn't loss a great, qualified buyer. From our perspective, we had come to a fair sales price in the offer negotiation, and it was most important that we didn't loss a qualified buyer. While we didn't want to get nickeled and dimed for every little paint chip and dent in our home, we were willing to be realistic on what really needed to be fixed, verses what we could push back on.

Be knowledgeable.

Before you start countering a buyer's demands, determine how much the items they are asking for really cost. For example, the inspector found that we had a small crack in our fireplace fire box. We originally were very concerned that this would be a major masonry expense and would be a deal breaker for the buyer if we didn't get it fixed. We ended up calling a few certified companies in the area and received a quote for less than $200. If we had pushed back on the buyer and simply said no due to fear of the expense, we may have lost a qualified buyer for something that really only cost us $200.

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