Ways To Sell Your Home During the Holidays

The holidays are busy enough as is. You have shopping to do, family to worry about, and it’s even more challenging to add selling your home into the mix. In the real estate world, November through January is considered one of the worst times to put your home on the market. 

That being said, there are some advantages to selling your home at the most wonderful time of year. In fact, home sales have increased by an average of 4.5% over the past 3 years during the November to December months, so there are buyers out there hoping to make a purchase. 

While you should aim to sell at another time of the year if possible, selling during the holidays doesn’t mean all hope is lost. The first step is to commit to the challenge. It’s time to deck the halls and get your home sold at last. 


1. Use the Holidays to Your Advantage

That’s right, selling your home during the holidays isn’t all bad. You can actually use the season’s excitement to drum up your own sales. Who doesn’t love a dose of holiday cheer? When homes are staged for selling, they look more welcoming to visitors. This helps buyers imagine what the home will look like when they’re actually living in it. This is the same with holiday decor. 

However, you’ll want to tread carefully into the world of holiday decorations. Most buyers understand that homes don’t usually look their best during the holidays. The season is hectic, so that’s to be expected. Try to keep your decorations neutral with simple fall and winter decorations instead of religious themes that might offend guests. Similarly, keep your ornaments simple to avoid overcrowding your buyers. 


2. Look for Motivated Buyers

It can be hard to find motivated buyers during the holiday season. Many are simply browsing or considering purchasing in the next year, and they’re a drain on your energy. That’s why it’s essential to target your search to motivated buyers who are more likely to go forward with a sale. 

Consider the motivations of your buyers. Why are they looking for a house during the holiday season and not another time of year? Are they relocating for a job or college staff preparing for a new semester? Make sure they have a legitimate reason before you invest time and money into pursuing your buyers. 


3. Capitalize on Curb Appeal

Your curb appeal is more important than ever during the holiday season. When it’s the dead of winter, your home doesn’t look its best from the outside. The trees might be bare, your flowers aren’t in bloom, and everything looks a little lifeless. 

This is the time to touch up your paint, clean the yard, and keep everything free of snow and ice. Consider adding some winter-friendly shrubs or plants that can survive the colder temperatures to add some life to your curb. You need everything to look its best. Beyond curb appeal, make sure your interior is a welcome escape from the chilly air. 


4. Price Competitively

While the traditional rule of thumb is to price high and lower your listing price gradually, that rule goes out the window during the holiday season. Buyers are spending a lot during this season. They’re focusing on gift giving and finding sales. This isn’t the time for negotiating a high cost down. Consider slashing your price before you put your home on the market for the first time. Be realistic and don’t expect people to jump at your property if you price too high. 


5. Use a Real Estate Agent

If you want to sell your home, you should always use a real estate agent. This is even more important during the holiday season. You need someone who is dedicated to selling your home and won’t stop responding during Thanksgiving week. Every minute counts when you sell your home, so ensure your agent is reliable and ready to help you make your home as sellable as possible. 

A quality real estate agent will also be able to help you use the season to your advantage. You have a lot of odds stacked against you during this time of year, but there’s also less competition. That means more room to stand out in your market. 

When in doubt, talk to your agent about ways to make your home more appealing to buyers. Don’t let the time of year stop you from selling your home. Using the tips above, you can create a home that shows off the best of the holiday season to attract the right buyers. 

How To Sell Your House with Fire Damage

Fires can be a dangerous thing, especially when it causes damage inside of a home. It can not only be a horrific thing to experience, but it can cause thousands of dollars in damage. As you may have guessed already, this can make it very difficult to sell the home. Fortunately, in most cases home insurance can cover most of that costs from the damage but even then, the homeowner(s) will still be left with damage that will need repairs. In most cases because of the cost, the homeowner(s) may think about selling the house with fire damage. For those who are thinking about selling their house with fire damage, here are 5 tips on how to sell your home with fire damage:


1. AskYour Agent About A Restoration Company assuming that you have already contacted your insurance company because of the fire which is initially the first step, you may want to ask your agent for some recommendations for a restoration company. During this time, you will also want to start cleaning up any soot or water damage from trying to put out the fire. If you do not clean up the water damage right away, you see mold start to form.


2. Separate Damaged Items for Insurance PurposesThe insurance company will most likely want you to take a detailed inventory list (photos and descriptions) of all of the items that were damaged in the fire. Once you’ve separated the items, it will be easier to document a detailed list. Some of the things that the list should include are; the make, model, serial number, date you purchased the item, how much you paid, and a short description of the item.


3. SeparateNon-Damaged Items as WellAfter fire damage inside of a home, your items will more than likely be exposed to most of the damage. But the items that were not affected by the fire should not be exposed to the items that are damaged. Make sure to move them to a safe area, like a garage or a storage unit to make sure they are not stolen or damaged.


4. Work with the Insurance Company During the Process

Fire damage claims are usually a top priority for an insurance company, so an adjuster will be quick to inspect the property within a few days. In order to make sure your claim is processed as soon as possible, make sure to be prepared to provide documents in a timely manner.


5. Find Somewhere Else To Stay If Your Home Is Not Livable

Finally, If your home is not in a livable condition due to the fire damage, you will need to make arrangements to stay somewhere else until then. Most insurance companies and policies will cover food, clothing, and housing that your family might need, but this still depends on the policy you have with your insurance company.


Selling Your House with Fire Damage

When listing the home with a realtor, you will most likely end up receive a cash offer from a cash home buying company. Most people who buy houses with fire damage are investors. They will purchase the house with the intent of fixing it up and selling it at a later date. So, keep this in mind when trying to sell your home with the fire damage when dealing with a realtor. Investors will typically pay a little less than the average buyer, and that’s because they are taking into account all of the risk.

Signs That You May Need To Remodel Your Living Room

Your living room is where you spend the most time. This is where you decompress after a long day at work and where you reconnect with your family. Yet, so many living rooms of today feel like they’re trapped in the wrong decade. What better room to remodel than the one you use the most?

In the past, living rooms were traditionally kept small and closed off. This was necessary to conserve energy, especially in colder climates. Today, we have more efficient heating and A/C systems. That need for enclosed spaces simply isn’t necessary anymore. Living rooms are larger than ever thanks to the open floor plan movement and a modern push for more space. 

How do you know it’s time to remodel your living room? If you’ve been putting off that makeover, read through these signs to determine if it’s finally time to take the plunge with your remodel. 


1. Your Space Isn’t Functional

While most people think about the kitchen when discussing functionality, your living room can also get in the way of your daily life. Think about the times when you expect the most out of your living room. Perhaps you can’t watch your kids while cooking dinner because there’s a wall separating the two rooms. Maybe you don’t have the space to host your friends. 

If you’re always struggling with ways to getting more use out of your living room, odds are it’s time for an upgrade. Working with a contractor to remove a wall, install a counter, or construct some storage space will likely transform the space. 


2. Your Living Room Feels Out of Date

Sometimes your space just doesn’t feel like it belongs in this time and place. Does your fireplace look like it’s from the 1960s? Do the fixtures age your home? These small things date your house and clash with modern designs. 

The good news is it’s easy to swap out these minor things and make a big change. For instance, add a veneer to your fireplace to bring it into the 21st century or upgrade your light fixtures. Also, never underestimate the power of a fresh coat of paint. 


3. It’s Too Dark

Letting light into your living space helps your home feel more livable. Natural light prevents rooms from feeling tired and drafty. Outdated windows are small, cloudy, and date your space. Replacing your windows with fresh new ones adds new life. Plus, though an expensive upgrade, you can count on windows returning 80% or more at resale. 

It’s time to let in the light. Be conscious of the direction of your windows, their fixtures and shades, and also outdoor shrubbery. A poorly placed tree or bush, for instance, could be blocking that afternoon light. 


4. You Need More Space

Sometimes we simply outgrow our homes. If that’s the case, it might be time to go home shopping for more space. However, it’s worth looking for other ways to add space to your living room. If it feels like your family members and their belongings are crawling over each other with your daily tasks, look for some faux adjustments to create the illusion of more space. 

Lighter colors on the walls, white ceilings, and the right sized area rug all contribute to a feeling of extra space. Additionally, keep your storage hidden and out of sight to avoid the appearance of clutter. Adding some built-in shelving or storage solutions will help with this. 


5. Your Flooring is Old

Finally, old flooring shows the age of your home. Whether you’ve still got stale carpet from the 70s or cheap linoleum floors, these small things make your home look more than just lived in. The wrong flooring can even seem dirty no matter how much you clean it. Think of how many people have walked on that floor throughout the years. If your flooring is getting in the way, it’s time to upgrade. 

The good news is flooring is one of the best investments you can make in your property. For instance, 54% of buyers were willing to pay more for homes that featured hardwood flooring. If you don’t have the budget for a larger flooring remodel, just start with your living room. The bedrooms and kitchen areas often keep different flooring without seeming out of place. 

Do you notice any of the signs above in your own home? If so, it’s time to seriously consider a remodel. Even a few minor upgrades will bring your home into this century and increase your home value. Everyone wants their living room to actually be livable.

How To Know If You Are Paying Too Much For Property Taxes

Home ownership is expensive. It is something that often causes sticker shock for first-time homeowners. Between regular maintenance and property taxes, the living costs can get a lot higher than they were expecting. However, do you know for sure if you are paying the right amount in property taxes? This article will help you figure out if you can cut down how much you owe the town or city you live in real estate taxes.



1.Check your property’s assessing card.

There is very little you can do about the city’s tax rate, but your property’s assessment is something you should check. Property assessment cards are public, so you should easily be able to access the description that the town or city has of your property, either by looking it up online or by visiting the town assessor’s office directly.

You would be surprised by own many mistakes are commonly made on these reports: some common errors include the square footage of the house, how many bedrooms and bathrooms are included, the condition of the house, etc.


Properties assessment are rarely reviewed if they are in adverse condition: for example, you might have purchased your property as a foreclosure or as an estate sale, and the shape of the house is not as good as it was when it was assessed for the last time.



2. Research the market

The assessed value property taxes are based on is often calculated based on market value. If you recently purchased your property for significantly less money than what it is assessed for, you might be paying too much in property taxes.

If you suspect that your property is overvalued, don’t hesitate to research neighboring properties similar to your own in terms of age, condition, size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, etc. and see what they are assessed for or recently sold for. Find at least 4 or 5 comparable properties to make your argument.


If you are confident and if the savings you would make on your property taxes justify the cost, don’t hesitate to hire an independent appraiser whose report would make a strong argument in your favor.



3. Investigate which tax exemption you might be qualifying for

You might be pleasantly surprised and find out that you qualify for some property tax breaks, whether it is a tax exemption or a tax credit that you may have to pay back eventually.


Common property taxes exemptions and credits include:

  • Seniors, especially those on a fixed or limited income
  • Service members and veteran
  • People with a disability

However, you might also qualify for a property tax exemption or credit if you are a first-time homeowner or if your property is located on a large piece of land under the homesteading exemptions.


Like all tax related subjects, these exemptions vary by state, localities, and your situation so contact a tax professional, a tax advisor or your local tax authority to find out what you might qualify for.



4. Appeal for a tax abatement

You can appeal for a tax abatement within specific dates depending on the town your property is located.

Before appealing for an abatement, you must be very confident that you will qualify for one. If the tax assessor finds that your property is under-assessed, if you recently made improvements such as additional square footage or a new deck, for example, you would be at risk to see your property taxes increase instead of going down.


Don’t hesitate to walk with the tax assessor to indicate any adverse conditions, like a noisy highway or a nearby factory.


How Much Does It Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Hardwood floors are a classic addition to any home. They add warmth and depth to your space, plus they’re easy to maintain compared to other flooring options. Even better, because hardwood floors are popular, they’re almost guaranteed to increase the value and style appeal of your home.

What does it mean to refinish your hardwood? Even the best quality floors need maintenance. While hardwood floors will look great for years, they need to be cared for and refinished. If you take good care of your floors, you’ll only need to refinish them every 10+ years.


When do you need to refinish your floors? Here are some signs that it’s time:

  • Your floors have uneven coloring
  • The wood appears dull even after polishing
  • There are visible scratches
  • It’s been 20+ years since your last refinishing


As far as home improvements go, refinishing your hardwood floors is one of the more affordable options. Most homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $1,072 to $2,374 according to Home Advisor. In this guide, we’ll break down the various costs associated with refinishing your floors so you’ll know if you’re getting the best price for your home improvement.


The Average Costs

Like all home projects, the price will depend on a number of factors such as the size of your home and whether you use a professional. There might also be some costly variations that might increase the overall expense. For a basic restoration, the price ranges from $970 to $1,250 per 300 square feet.

When can you expect to pay more? If your floors are in particularly bad condition, you might need to replace them altogether. This would be the most expensive scenario. Otherwise, it will depend on the quality of finish you plan to use, how many coats are required, and how accessible your floors are.


Hardwood Floor Refinishing Process

Now that you know the average costs, let’s break down the hardwood refinishing process so you know what to expect. As always, do your research when hiring a professional to work in your home. You want to make sure they know what they’re doing to ensure your floors last as long as possible and look their best.

  1. Clear your space. Your first step will be to completely clear each room you plan to refinish. You’ll also want to tape plastic bags over any vents in these rooms since dust can easily clog your filters.
  2. Sand the floors. First, use a professional sander with a dust bag to sand down the floors. This is usually the most time-consuming process, and you’ll have a lot of dust and shavings to clean up.
  3. Apply any stains. If you plan to use a wood stain, now is the time. The stain will need at least 20 hours to dry, and heat can help speed up this process.
  4. Coat the floor – Several coats of polyurethane will need to be applied in order to lock in the stain and give your floors that long-lasting shine. There will be 2-3 coats, and each coat needs a day to dry.
  5. Wait 48 hours – Finally, avoid walking on the floors for up to 48 hours to ensure everything is dry. Then, it’s time to move your furniture back.


That’s a comprehensive, step-by-step breakdown for what you can expect during the refinishing process. Your hardwood floors should come away looking shiny, healthy, and gorgeous. This process will keep your floors looking their best for the next 10 years or more as long as you maintain them with proper care. Refinishing your hardwood floors is an inexpensive way to bring them back to life and increase the value of your home.