Staging a Bridgeville Home Despite Unfinished Rooms
You can have 100 reasons for wanting to move onto a larger, smaller, or just different house or neighborhood—and 101 why it keeps getting put off. Chief among them for most of us is the hassle factor. You start to run down a mental list of everything that will have to be done, and one of the larger issues stops you cold—just too much sheer hassle!
Let’s deal with a typical one: the unfinished room. Staging a Bridgeville home might seem doable enough, but when a portion of the house is actually unfinished, it can present a barrier that’s too time-consuming and expensive to even approach.
In some parts of the country, such a room is usually a basement; in others, a garage that might have been almost converted into a specialty room. A Bridgeville unfinished room may have to be listed that way, but nevertheless, you want all of your home’s square footage to appear useable when prospects tour. As in every other part of the house, the most important thing to remember in staging an unfinished space is to make it possible for them to envision how they might use it.
No matter how frequently or rarely you have used an unfinished room, it’s going to need a deep cleaning. Floors and walls should be spotless, of course; but where cement floors are exposed, a couple of fresh coats of cement paint can make a world of difference. And if old appliances are present, they should be scrubbed until they give the appearance of being an asset…or else deep-sixed!
Most unfinished spaces wind up being used for storage. This would be the time to relocate and store the stuff, or donate, sell or just toss what you don’t need regularly. This part of the staging might be the one that’s always seemed most daunting, so start by jotting down the five or six steps de-cluttering will involve. That simple act can free up the entire log jam!
Never mind if you have only used that unfinished room for storage, you’ll still want your buyers to be able to imagine its potential. Some chairs and an area rug, perhaps with a table or two, can suggest an inviting sitting area/game table/wine-tasting space/reading nook/art studio. Staging that opens prospects’ imaginations is where this staging approach adds true value to your property.
If you have been wishing you could get your Bridgeville home sold, but run up against the 101 reasons it seems like too much to tackle any time soon, contact me today to start planning. Together we can organize the project, maximize your space—and maximize your sales price!
- Written by Russell Stucki
Vetting Your BridgevilleBuyer's Agent Saves Time in the End
"Hello there! I noticed you admiring this stunning open house. How would you like to sign with me as your Bridgeville buyer’s agent, and find your dream home?"
The appropriate answer for this question depends on what leads up to it—first off, whether you have already decided to enlist the services of a Bridgeville buyer’s agent. It’s a good decision, but even if you have—and this agent seems well-mannered and likeable— at this point, the answer real estate professionals would recommend is, "Give me your card—I’ll get back to you."
The reason not to jump at the first offer is the same as why you wouldn’t agree to buy the first house you visited without first looking around the neighborhood. So why do so many people sign up with the very first agent who says hello? It probably comes from some simply being unfamiliar with buyer’s agents and their industry.
You want to team with a buyer’s agent who is educated, quick-thinking, experienced, and most of all, thoroughly familiar with the current real estate offerings in Bridgeville. Before teaming up with anyone, there are a few questions to be answered:
Is this agent licensed?
The agent’s card should show a valid real estate license number (if not, in the immortal words of a certain Cuban bandleader, they’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do!). You can verify that the licensee is currently active on the state website, or you can go to the ARELLO (national database) to confirm the information. Having a real estate license is the most basic requirement you require for legal as well as practical reasons.
Does signing with this agent obligate you to use other recommended services?
Sometimes a buyer’s agent works in tandem with other associated home-buying service providers (like home inspectors or mortgage brokers). There’s nothing wrong with recommending professionals they know to be trustworthy—but using them should never be a requirement. You want to keep your options open for identifying good prices and services, so recommendations need to be that…and only that.
Does the agent have a good recent track record in
It’s not enough just to ask the agent about his or her track record, although you certainly should have that discussion. Ask if you can speak to a recent client to get an appraisal of their experience. That’s key, because having a full staff and plush offices may be attractive, but they’re just window dressing. What you are after is the service a buyer’s agent actually delivers. And don’t be reluctant to check the web for the agent’s online reputation, although that’s less reliable. You want to get a picture of the full scope of this person’s skills and credentials. If the agent doesn’t seem to measure up, move on to another candidate.
Signing with the first Bridgeville buyer’s agent that you meet, like choosing the first name that turns up in an online search, is a first step that’s likely to be in the wrong direction. Doing a little extra research to find the right candidate will pay off in time and effort saved later on!
- Written by Russell Stucki
Bridgeville Buyer's Agent: What Teachers Didn't Tell You
They don’t teach this in high school, but maybe they should. The difference between a Bridgevillebuyer’s agent and a Bridgeville seller’s agent can be pivotal, yet first-time home buyers have to figure that out on their own. You can read quotes on the web that say things like, "I looked for a buyer’s agent instead of a real estate agent" (true story!) that illustrate how little knowledge is out there. It wouldn’t take much classroom time to explain that buyer’s and seller’s agents are both real estate agents, after all. And while the subject is being explained to the class, I’d put in these five very good reasons for using a buyer’s agent in Bridgeville home purchases:
1. There for You
A buyer’s agent is by definition obligated to promote the interests of you, the buyer. When you are being shown a home by a personable real estate agent, it’s tempting to simply go with that agent, who may be quite a nice person. After all, he or she knows the house and knows the seller. But the problem is that the agent is duty-bound to act on behalf of the seller—and in any business negotiation, you want somebody who is unequivocally in your corner. Especially since-
2. It’s Free!
A buyer’s agent is compensated through a commission. In this case, it is paid out of the proceeds from the sale price of the house. You’re reading that right: since it issues from the sellers’ proceeds, you get the service for free! Of course, the size of commission the buyer’s agent receives can impact negotiations if the seller thinks the rate is unreasonable. Remember that you can negotiate most things, including agent compensation.
If you rely on the listing agent, he or she can only answer certain questions that don’t transgress their duty to the seller. Issues like price, tactics, and timing can be crucial in striking a good deal—but it is precisely on those kinds of issues that a listing agent is likely to be unable to advise you. Especially if you like the agent, you might be tempted to assume silence on a point means endorsement; and that could be a costly misunderstanding. Again, a buyer’s agent in Bridgeville knows the area market from the buyer’s perspective, and can provide a wealth of information that point you in the right direction.
4. Your Personal Traffic Cop
In a typical real estate transaction, you will encounter an array of players, including lawyers, the seller or sellers, the seller’s agent, the financial institution, the home inspection team, and on and on. Buyer’s agents keep things running smoothly. They help organize the process so it makes financial and emotional sense to choose your buyer’s agent carefully.
5. It’s Free!
If ever there were something worth repeating…
The point worth remembering is that buying a house or a condominium is such a major event, securing a professional to watch out for your interests is good common sense. It’s why giving me a call even before beginning any house-hunting venture is a very good idea!
- Written by Russell Stucki
Credit Score Review Pays Off for Frugal Sussex Homeowners
Your credit score will have a major impact when it comes to the cost you wind up paying for a Bridgeville mortgage. A buyer with a high credit score of 750 or above will qualify for the most competitive interest rates available; but today’s tightened lending standards mean that some borrowers with scores under 600 may not qualify for a mortgage at all. And no matter what, a low credit score can mean paying an extra 3%-4% interest charge on every payment.
There is nothing permanent about a credit score. Bridgeville homebuyers who realize its importance—and who take early steps to improve their own—can save literally thousands of dollars.
- You can’t improve your credit score until you know what you are working with. Your first step is to obtain your credit reports. They are available for free once a year from each of the three major reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
- The fastest way to improve your credit score is to correct any inaccuracies. Because this takes time – anywhere from 30 days to as long as six months, the earlier you begin the process, the better. To remove items that are incomplete or inaccurate, verify the correct information using the dispute procedure on the agency’s website. The creditor has 30 days in which to validate the debt; if the credit agency does not receive a response to your claim, they are required by law to remove the entry from your report. Remember that there are three major agencies, so an incorrect item may appear on all three— and all three need to be contacted.
- If you have an older credit card that you haven’t been using for a while, it’s a good idea not to cancel it; even to use it now and again, paying the balance in full. This will mean that the issuer keeps reporting information to the credit bureau, which can be valuable. A longer credit history improves your credit score.
- A low credit utilization ratio measures how much of your available credit you are using. In order to improve your credit score, keep your credit utilization ratio below 20%. One way to quickly improve a utilization score is to move credit card debt onto cards with higher limits. While this will not make a difference to the amount that you owe, it will alter individual cards’ credit utilization ratios.
- Consider a Personal Loan. If you have a family member or friend that you can borrow from, consider taking out a loan in order to pay down a portion of existing debt. By removing some of that debt, you can give your credit score a boost.
Moving away from being measured as a poor credit risk has the biggest impact on whether a future mortgage is approved—and how much interest you wind up having to pay. Your credit score in Bridgeville really matters! If you would like an introduction to a mortgage broker to begin the conversation about the home loan your current credit score qualifies you for, contact me, Russell Stucki, today.
- Written by Russell Stucki