tipsBRIDGET MORRISSEY GROUP brokered by eXp Realty

Home buyer tips homw seller hints

6 Reasons Why Winter Is Actually the Most Chill Time to Buy a Home

By Jamie Wiebe | Dec 14, 2018


While it’s true that things do slow down in the winter, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Yes, it’s cold. Yes, fewer homes are for sale. Yes, moving in a snowstorm is a pain no one should experience. But there are quite a few darned smart reasons to buy a home in the winter.


1. There’s less competition

  • Buying in the winter knocks out a large chunk of the buyer competition, allowing you to be a bit more selective with your home purchase.

2. Sellers are motivated—and willing to make a deal

  • Many people place their homes on the market at this time of the year because they need to and will be more willing to work with you.

3. You can put the house through its paces

  • In most climates, winter puts stress on the home. That gives you the perfect opportunity to evaluate the property under the worst conditions possible. A home that might seem perfect during the temperate spring could look wholly different in the winter.

4. Hiring movers is usually easier

  • Movers aren’t booked solid like in the spring and summer months.  You might even be able to negotiate a lower price because of the chilled demand.

5. You can enjoy last-minute tax savings

  • If you’re purchasing your first home, buying in the winter gives you a few extra months of potential tax deductions although you should consider talking to a professional before getting too excited.  

6. Homes close faster

  • You will be able to close your loan much faster, as wait times are much shorter during the holiday season.


For more information about the benefits of buying a home in the winter go to


5 Home Staging Ideas That Work Wonders During Winter

By Jeanne Sager | Nov 29, 2018


Winter is the time of year when most home buyers, like bears, retreat to their own cozy homes and hibernate. So what if you have a house you must sell right now, winter be damned?  With fewer homes on the market, it’s easier to stand out!


Don’t skimp on curb appeal

Shoveling the driveway and paths to your home is a must. And you’ll want to clean out your gutters, so ice isn’t backing up and giving the impression that you have roofing issues.


Turn up the heat

When a buyer enters the house and wants to hurry up and get out of there because it is so chilly, it probably means they are going to have a bad memory associated with the home, no matter how great it is.


Fire up the fireplace

Hitting all of the buyer’s senses creates a memorable experience that will hopefully lead to them purchasing the home.


Add seasonal scents

Mulling seasonal spices such as oranges, cloves, and cinnamon on the stove, to go along with freshly baked holiday cookies cooling on a rack in the kitchen.


Pump up the holiday decor

The main reason is that buyers like to picture themselves in the home hosting holiday get-togethers, and it’s much easier to show them the potential of a house when it’s decorated for the winter months.  A big wreath with a bright red bow on the front door does the trick.


For more winter staging ideas go to


8 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying and Selling at the Same Time

By Jamie Wiebe | Jan 24, 2019


Plenty of people find themselves buying and selling a home simultaneously, but knowing that others have gone through the same stress does not make it one bit easier. After all, the stakes are so high: If your buyer backs out, you don’t have any cash to land your next home! Or if your own purchase falls through but your current home sells, you’re homeless!


Breathe in. Don’t panic.


It turns out that most buying-and-selling mistakes are easily avoidable—or at least predictable. Follow these eight tips to enter escrow with eyes wide open.


1. Waiting too long to prep your home for selling

  • Every home needs a little work before selling. You might need to repaint some scratched walls, fix broken decking, or add grout in a rarely used bathroom. Don’t wait until the last minute to kick-start this process, otherwise you could wind up in a bind.

2. Skipping the backup plan

  • Assume that you won’t be able to buy and sell at exactly the same time. Keep your emergency fund well-stocked. In a best-case scenario, you may simply need a hotel for a week.

3. Buying too big

  • One of the biggest mistakes that we see that simultaneous buyers and sellers make is the same one that many first-time buyers make: They fail to get pre-approved on their new loan.

4. Working with too little cushion

  • If you’re hoping to use the entire sale price as a down payment on another home, move forward with the assumption your home will sell for less than expected.

5. Failing to compromise

  • One mistake is expecting so much from the people selling the home, but not being willing to give anything to the buyers of their own home.

6. Using two different real estate agents

  • Having control and insight over both transactions allows a Realtor to make sure that we close both homes simultaneously

7. Closing on a Friday…

  • Bank transfers can take a few days to go through. In order to ensure there’s money in your account when the time comes, buffer a few days to transfer funds.

8. …or late in the afternoon

  • Banks usually stop wire transfers by 3 p.m. in the time zone where the property is located.


For more information on mistakes to avoid when buying and selling a home go to


5 Ways You’re Sabotaging the Sale of Your Home

By Terri Williams | Dec 27, 2018


So you’ve finally decided to put your home on the market. You’ve planned your first open house, begun searching for new digs, and even made a mental packing list. Now all you have to do is sit back and wait for the offers to roll in, right?

Well, sellers, we don’t mean to freak you out, but we’ve got bad news: You just might be sabotaging your home sale. Obviously, that’s the last thing you’d want to do, but one wrong turn—or wrong decision—could hurt your chances of landing a buyer. And the most unsettling part? You probably have no idea you’re doing anything wrong.


1. Bad color schemes

  • When a buyer comes into your home, you want them to imagine it as their future home. The more difficult it is, the less likely they are to buy.  The more muted the decorations and color schemes, the broader the reach and the better off you are.

2. Too much personal taste

  • Odd decorations divert buyers’ attention away from the home itself.

3. Bad odors

  • You might have become nose-blind to cigarette or pet odor, but savvy buyers will instantly pick up on funky smells—and that’s a sure way to drive them away.

4. Not being flexible for showings

  • The real estate market moves quickly, so if you want to sell your home you need to cater to the potential buyers’ schedules.

5. Disguising problem areas

  • In your quest to have a show-ready home, don’t cut corners. A fresh coat of paint might temporarily hide the appearance of mold, but it’ll likely crop up in the home inspection.


For more information on what not to do to sell your home go to


The Home Appraisal Process: How It Can Impact Your Mortgage Payment

By Jamie Wiebe |


If you’ve applied for a mortgage, your home-to-be still has to undergo a comprehensive appraisal of its worth—and an unfavorable home appraisal can kill a real estate deal. Yikes! It can be a nerve-racking ordeal, but it’s actually good for you. 


Appraisals estimate a home’s value with fresh eyes!

  • Just because you and the sellers have agreed on a price doesn’t mean it’s a done deal—your lender needs to be on board, too. After all, it’s the lender’s real estate investment as well. To get a mortgage, you’ll need a home appraisal because the home serves as collateral for your lender.


You’ll get a copy of the home appraisal, too.

  • An appraiser doesn’t have the same job as a home inspector, who examines every little detail. While they’ll pay particular attention to problems with the foundation and roof, the home appraisal process includes noting the quality and condition of the appliances, plumbing, flooring, and electrical system. With data in hand, they make their final assessment and give their report to the lender. The mortgage company is then required by law to give a copy of the appraisal to you.


Appraisers work for your lender—not you.

  • This ensures that appraisers remain ethical—in fact, it’s a crime to coerce or put any pressure on an appraiser to hit a certain value. Appraisers must remain independent.


They protect buyers from a bad deal.

  • If the appraisal comes in higher than your asking price, it’s generally fine.
  • Your lender won’t pony up more money than the appraised price. 


A curveball appraisal isn’t necessarily the end.

  • If the appraisal process happens, your appraisal comes in low, and your contract with the seller was contingent on an appraisal, you could walk away and have your earnest money returned.
  • Ask the seller to cover the difference.
  • Challenge the appraisal, and pay for a second opinion.
  • Once your appraisal is done, you’re still not ready to close without another step called a home inspection.


For more information about the Home Appraisal Process go to



5 Big Reasons to Sell Your Home This Year (Because It Could Get Tougher)

By Rachel Stults | Feb 20, 2019


“It’s definitely still a seller’s market in most of the country. But it’s not the same seller’s market that you saw in the last couple of years,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist of®. “You might have to think about how your home compares to the competition that buyers are going to see when they’re shopping. And you might have to price a little bit more competitively, or think about other enticements to attract buyers.”


1. You won’t be the only listing for long.

  • That tide is turning this year, Hale says. That’s because the number of homes for sale is finally increasing, albeit slowly. For now, buyers still outnumber inventory.

2. You still stand to make a ‘handsome profit’.

  • Now comes a twist: 15% of all home listings saw price cuts in January, according to data.

3. There’s high demand for homes under $300K.

  • There’s more good news if you own a home below the national median price of $289,300. Not only is that inventory increasing at a slower rate than its luxury counterparts, but there are more buyers shopping at those price points.

4. Mortgage rates are at a new low.

  • The temporary dip in rates creates an opportunity for trade-up buyers as well. After all, if you’re selling your home, there’s a good chance you’ll need to buy another one.

5. Millennials are flooding the market.

  • Historically speaking, people tend to buy their first home around age 30. And guess what? We’ve got a whole bunch of people turning 30 in the next two years—nearly 5 million, in fact, according to data. So you can count on those millennials to be a driving force in the housing market.


For more information about now being the time to sell go to



Got Sticker Shock? These 5 Factors Are Influencing a Home’s Asking Price

By Wendy Helfenbaum | Mar 6, 2019


Ever gotten excited about a house for sale, then looked at the price and thought, “Are they out of their minds?” Yeah, me too.

It can be a disheartening moment when you’re house hunting. And that jaw-dropping asking price might simply seem like an arbitrary, money-grabbing number that’s keeping you from your dream home. But before you dismiss a house for being too expensive, you should know that there are a variety of reasons a property is priced the way it is.


1. What’s happening in your local housing market at any particular moment

  • Low inventory creates a seller’s market with aggressive listing prices. A surplus of homes for sale results in overall lower asking prices.

2. The (extremely specific) location of the house

  • Similar or even identical houses just streets apart from each other can have wildly different price tags based on things like traffic noise and access to quality schools, shops, and restaurants.

3. The comps

  • Historical data plays a huge role in setting a listing price; it’s not a number just pulled out of the air. So find an agent who can interpret that data.

4. The amenities (and overall appeal) of the home

  • Clients prefer new construction, brand-name appliances, and large bedrooms—[preferably] at least three on one floor if they have kids—plus a den or office.  Additional features such as parking, central air conditioning, outdoor space, and floor plan also affect the sticker price.

5. Age and condition of the home

  • If you want a newer, turnkey home, expect to pay more for that.


For more information on what goes into pricing a home fo to


5 Unwritten Home-Selling Etiquette Rules That Can Make or Break Your Sale

By Kayleigh Roberts | Apr 4, 2019


Selling a house takes, well, salesmanship. In other words, you have to prep your house so it looks its best. You have to open your door to strangers who’ll traipse through your home, open closets, and ask all kinds of questions. And, you have to do all of this without getting annoyed or overly emotional!


1. Don’t take offense when your listing agent says your house ‘needs work’.

  • Don’t be offended by this advice—your agent isn’t trying to criticize you as a homeowner or a human being; she’s just trying to help you achieve your shared goal of selling the house quickly and for as much profit as possible.

2. Don’t view low-ball offers as insults.

  • Someone who makes a low-ball offer might be testing the waters or trying to establish room to negotiate. Or it could be a novice at home buying who doesn’t realize the offer is insulting. At least keep the door open to further negotiations.  Always counter to make sure that you can still engage buyers who are getting bad advice.

3. Do respond quickly to offers.

  • It’s frustrating, from a buyer’s perspective, to have to wait on a response, so be courteous and answer as quickly as you’re able to.

4. Don’t tag along during the home inspection.

  • Following along on the inspection is a bad idea for several reasons.

5. Do agree to reasonable requests for repairs.

  • The buyer has a right to request repairs, or a deduction from the selling price. While you don’t want to get nickel-and-dimed with requests for every little thing, it’s also not in your best interest to reply with a flat no to reasonable requests that are turned up by the inspection, unless you listed the home “as is” or already priced it under market value to reflect significant repairs you anticipated it needing.
  • You’ll now be required to disclose that issue to future potential buyers
  • Don’t let a few repairs keep you from the closing table, because going back and relisting your house won’t be any better the second time around.


For more information on keeping your cool during the sales process go to


5 Unwritten Etiquette Rules Home Buyers Might Not Even Realize Are a Big Deal

By Kayleigh Roberts | Mar 13, 2019


If you’re looking to buy a house, you’re probably eager and excited. That’s fine, but just keep in mind that in this heightened emotional state, it’s easy to get swept up in the moment and behave, well, not perfectly.


Buying a home comes with its own set of rules. Some may be fairly obvious, since they’re outlined in all that real estate paperwork you’ll soon be signing. But some of these rules are the unwritten, etiquette-based kind. And if you break ’em, it could still stop a real estate deal in its tracks.


Rule 1: See a house online you love? Don’t call the listing agent

  • You’re not going to get a better deal by going directly to the listing agent.  They represent the seller and are just trying to get the seller the best price.  If you are a buyer, you should get an agent, as they can best represent your interests.

Rule 2: Don’t ask your agent to show you homes until you sign a buyer-broker agreement

  • A buyer-broker agreement is a legal contract that defines the relationship between the buyer (that’s you) and your real estate agent. The agreement is good for both parties, since it outlines exactly what services the broker is going to provide. A buyer-broker agreement is also a way to let your real estate agent know that you’re committed to working with this pro to find your home.

Rule 3: Don’t make an offer without mortgage pre-approval

  • mortgage pre-approval is a letter from a lender saying it will provide you with financing to buy a home up to a certain loan amount. It provides proof of how much home you can afford to buyers and agents—and that you can put your money where your mouth is with an offer. Without it, your offer is an empty promise.

Rule 4: Don’t be late to home showings—or bail entirely

  • If you’re late or don’t show, I have to try to rearrange all of the showings, which may not be possible on short notice.  Your time may be important, but what about your agent, the listing agent, and the homeowners who cleaned their house and have to leave it for your showing.  They will remember it when it comes time to negotiate your offer.

Rule 5: Don’t pretend you’re ready to buy if you know you’re really not.

  • Don’t enlist the services of a buyer’s agent if you know you’re still in the fact-finding and “just looking” phase of your home search.  So go to open houses. Window-shop. Just be upfront with everyone about where you are in the process.


For more detailed information about the process go to


Can I Sell My Home If I’m Behind on My Mortgage?

By Daniel Bortz | Apr 4, 2019


If you’re behind on your mortgage payments and don’t see your situation improving, you might be thinking the only way out of this mess is to sell your home. But can you? The short answer is yes—that is, so long as your lender hasn’t foreclosed on your home yet.


Whether or not you can sell your house before foreclosure will depend, first and foremost, on whether your house is worth more or less than what you owe on your mortgage.


If you’ve fallen behind on your loan payments but aren’t underwater yet—meaning the fair market value of your home is greater than what you owe on your home loan—you can sell your house and use the profits to pay back your lender.


You’d find a listing agent, accept an offer, and fulfill any contingencies before closing on the sale. Typically, you don’t need to get your lender’s permission to sell your home this way.


However, if your home is worth less than what you owe on your mortgage, you’ll need to sell your property as a short sale to avoid foreclosure. The caveat is that your bank has to be on board with this kind of transaction.


If you’ve fallen behind on your mortgage payments but would like to stay in your home, there are a couple of ways you can get back on track. You might qualify for a mortgage forbearance, a process where your servicer gives you a temporary break from your mortgage payments. Think of it as an “extended grace period.


Another strategy is to negotiate a loan modification, in which case your mortgage lender agrees to let you change the terms of your loan. However, if you choose to modify your mortgage and your lender allows you to skip payments temporarily, those missed payments will be added to your loan’s principal to pay later—meaning this isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card that lets you walk away from falling behind on your mortgage unscathed.


For more details an your options if you are behind on your mortgage payments go to


6 Habits All Successful Home Buyers Have in Common

By Margaret Heidenry | Jan 3, 2019


Here’s a breakdown of home-buying habits to adopt now.  These behaviors are things you can do daily, weekly, monthly, or even just yearly. Taken together, they set you well on the path to homeownership with a minimum of pain and suffering.


1. Daily: Ditch an indulgence or two

  • Daily habits you may want to adopt now include eating out less often, cutting the cable bill, canceling (or downgrading) the gym membership, forgoing expensive coffee, and making your own lunch every day

2. Weekly: Make deposits into a ‘home savings’ account

  • Get into the habit of depositing a set weekly amount.

3. Weekly: Start attending open houses

  • Getting into the habit of attending open houses will not only give you a feel for what homes are available, but seeing homes that could be yours will also help motivate you to save.

4. Monthly: Do a trial run at homeownership

  • Owning a home is more than just coming up with a 20% down payment. You also have to be able to pay the mortgage and home maintenance costs.  For one month, set aside the anticipated amount of your monthly housing expenses and what you’d need for an emergency fund. (A good rule of thumb is to save 10% of your mortgage amount every month for maintenance fees. So if your payment is $1,200, sock away $120.) Then see if you can live within your new budget.

5. Monthly: Pay all bills on time

  • To qualify for a mortgage at a reasonable interest rate, you’ll need a credit score that is in the 600s at the very least. The best way to keep your score high is to be in the habit of paying every single bill on time. 

6. Yearly: Check your credit report

  • To get a free copy of your credit score, go to For your full credit report, available for free once a year, go to Who knows, there may be things on that report you weren’t aware of that are hurting your score—the only way to know and nip these problems in the bud is to check.


To get out of your rental and into your own home check out these tips at


What Is a Comparative Market Analysis? The CMA Explained

By Audrey Ference | Apr 11, 2019


A home’s price is a moving target—based on where it is, when it’s listed for sale, whether it has that trendy open kitchen, all of it. So if you’re tasked with pricing your own home before putting it on the market, how do you figure out how much your place is worth?


A comparative market analysis estimates a home’s value based on the recent sales of similar real estate in the area.


Real estate agents create CMAs by looking at comparables, or comps—recently sold properties that are similar to your own home (or, if you’re a home buyer, the one you want to make an offer on). Similarity is key, since it gets you closest to an apples-to-apples comparison.


Comparable homes should be in the same or similar neighborhood, have similar square footage, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, features, and upgrades.  It’s also important to make sure your CMA analyzes recent sales. 


Another rookie mistake? Looking at listing prices on homes and assuming those are realistic comps. Those numbers may be inflated based on home sellers’ hopes of what they’ll get rather than reality.


While online home value calculators are a great starting point, they aren’t the end all, be all. Like any fully automated tool, they can’t take everything into consideration that a human could.  A good Realtor knows the neighborhoods and the comps to your home.


Some market knowledge is harder to DIY. Every area will have different things that are desirable, and upgrades and extras will be worth more in some areas than others.


For more information on the subject ofComparable Market Anaysis go to


Multiple Offers on a House: Insight for Buyers Facing a Bidding War

By Julie Ryan Evans | May 16, 2019


For sellers, getting multiple offers on a house is a dream. But for buyers who have fallen in love with a particular property, hearing that their offer is one of many can be maddening. Having to compete with other buyers means your chances of getting the home will likely be harder.

So what happens when multiple offers come in—and, most importantly, what are the chances of your offer rising to the top?


The seller can accept an offer outright, counter all offers, or choose to counter some of the offers and not others.  The buyer’s terms and contingencies are also taken into account, as well as pre-approval letters, appraisal requirements, and the closing time the buyer is asking for.


Most sellers will ask the buyers who made original offers for their highest and best offer by a particular time or date. That gives you time to up your offer if you really want the property.


Don’t bank on being able to submit another offer, though. You may get only one shot to express your interest in a home, so if you truly love it, your first offer should be the highest and best offer.


If someone else is willing to pay more than you feel it’s worth, let it go and work on the next one.


If you do find yourself falling hard for a house, consider writing a personal offer letter directly to the sellers.  Sometimes owners accept less money because they loved the letter they received.


For more tips on how to work a multiple offer scenario go to


When Is the Best Time to Sell Your House? 5 Factors to Consider

By Daniel Bortz | May 7, 2019


When is the best time to sell your house? Timing can make a big difference in terms of selling your home quickly and for the most cash. But here’s the thing: The rules on pinpointing that best time might not be what you think.


1. Spring isn’t always the best season to sell your house

  • Spring home-buying season generally means you’ll have more competition from other home sellers

2. Keep an eye on the local economy

  • A home’s value generally increases 3% to 4% a year when the economy is strong, driven by inflation and natural population growth. 

3. Mortgage rates matter, too

  • More people buy homes when mortgage rates drop, historic data shows.

4. Wait until your home’s in good shape

  • Taking care of leaks, built-in appliances not functioning properly, insect infestations, plus any imminent safety or environmental hazards, is crucial before listing your home.

5. Your personal preparedness is a priority, too

  • no amount of timing should eclipse what time is right for you personally, professionally, and otherwise.


For more tips on timing to sell your home go to


What Does ‘Days on Market’ Mean? How Buyers Can Take Advantage

By Margaret Heidenry | Jun 11, 2019


In the real estate game, many buyers understand that knowing a home’s days on market (DOM) is absolutely critical intel. Why? Because the number of days a home spends on the market directly affects the price of a home. Plus, this information can be used to the buyer’s benefit to negotiate a lower price. Here’s how!


Days on market’ is the number of days that a property has been listed on the local multiple listing services (MLS) until a seller has accepted an offer and signed a contract.  It can also be referred to as “time on market” or “market time.”


A house that has only been on the market a few days typically means that home could go at the asking price or higher, but a home that has been on the market for a longer period of time, say 187 days, is likely overpriced in most markets.


Buyers and their agents can use days on market as a search filter to identify homes that have been listed for a long time.  


While DOM can indicate sellers who are refusing to budge on their asking price, it can also identify sellers who haven’t received offers and who may be open to a dramatically lower offer. Because the last thing sellers want is for their house to get stale on the market.


To learn how to take advantage of the days on market strategy go to


What Is a Short Sale? The Benefits for Buyers and Sellers

By Judy Dutton | Jun 13, 2019


What is a short sale? Let’s break it down. Say you’re selling your home; however, the offer you get is so low, it won’t cover the total amount you owe your lender on your mortgage balance. But you need to unload it, so you’ll take it. This is a short sale—simply put, you end up “short” on paying back your lender, and your lender agrees to accept less than what’s owed on the loan.


According to recent data from real estate information company RealtyTrac, about 5% of all single-family home and condo sales are short sales.


While selling a home as a short sale is hardly ideal, many experts argue it’s smarter than pursuing more drastic measures like foreclosure.


Foreclosure is when a homeowner falls so behind on the mortgage payments, the lender repossesses the house, often against the homeowner’s will, then tries to sell it. If the amount the mortgage company receives from the sale is less than the mortgage debt owed, depending on state laws, the homeowner may have a deficiency judgment. In other words, the now-former homeowner may still owe money on the home loan.


The process and consequences are very different. For one, the foreclosure process typically happens very quickly, since lenders are eager to recoup the costs incurred by the unpaid mortgage.


While foreclosures can also be bargains, buyers should know that they come with a lot more risk than a short sale. For one, keep in mind that a foreclosure home is sold at a courthouse, sight unseen. So, there’s no time for a buyer to inspect the house for structural problems; you also inherit all liens tied to a foreclosure. In this sense, a short sale might be a safer transaction.


For more information about the pros and cons of short sale vs foreclosure go to



How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

By Lisa Kaplan Gordon | Jun 16, 2019


According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a typical home inspection costs $300 to $500. In most cases, it’s well worth it for buyers to hire a home inspector.  The exact price will depend on the size of your home, where you live, and what you want inspected.


Home inspections are an important step in the home-buying process. As a buyer, your lender may not require you to get a third-party inspection in order to qualify for a loan. But most real estate agents recommend you get an inspection, for your own protection. You may be required to pay the home inspection fee at the time of service.


A professional home inspector, certified by the NAHI, is trained to use a home inspection checklist to look at over 1,600 features of your home that can fall into disrepair (who knew there were so many?).

A home inspector uses noninvasive methods to look primarily at the following:

  • Grounds for possible water or septic problems
  • Structure for foundation, window, or door problems
  • Exterior for rot, decay, and excavation problems
  • Roof for shingle, flashing, and fascia problems
  • Interior for framing, insulation, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical issues
  • Kitchen for electrical code compliance, operating cabinets, and plumbing problems


An inspection of a typical house takes two to three hours.  What should not make a price difference is the thoroughness of the home inspection, the final written inspection report, and the photos the home inspector delivers to the client. These should be standard features of any home inspection—not extras. You, the buyer, should not pay an extra fee for them.


Every potential homeowner should spring for a termite inspection (if it’s not included in the standard inspection).


As a potential buyer, a home inspection is your authoritative proof of property problems. Most home purchase agreements are contingent upon the results of a home inspection, including a pest inspection. Armed with knowledge from your home inspection report, you may be able to either insist that the seller fix or repair certain issues before closing, renegotiate the price to reflect future repairs, or walk away without losing your earnest money.


Be aware that not all items on an inspection report are mandatory fixes or should be a cause to walk away from a deal.  For more information about home inspections go to


Should You Sell Your Home—or Rent It Out? 4 Times to Hang On Tight

By Jillian Pretzel | Jul 1, 2019


While many homeowners reach a point where they decide to sell their place, here’s an alternative to consider for your own home: rather than sell, you may rent it out instead!


You may have assumed you would just sell your current house, but it could be smarter to hang on to your property instead. Here are four times renting out your house might make more sense than selling it—take a look to figure out whether it might make sense for you, too.


1. You don’t need to sell your house to buy your next one

  • If you don’t need to sell your house to get into your next one, you might consider renting it out for a while so you can enjoy some passive income—then sell later when the time feels right.

2. You’re able to qualify for a second mortgage

  • Meet with a lender who then crunches the numbers on your finances to see how much you can afford to borrow.

3. It’s a bad time to sell your house in terms of the market

  • The good thing about renting out your place is that, in some regard, you can time the market to see when the best time to sell would be.

4. Your house is in a good renter’s area, and renter-ready

  • So much of real estate is about supply and demand, so if there’s a big market, your home could be a great cash cow for years to come.


The first thing you need to ask yourself is ‘Do I need to sell this house because I need the money for something else?’  For more information to consider go to


Surprising Things That Can Drive Up the Cost of Buying a Foreclosure Home

By Jillian Pretzel | Jul 29, 2019


Buying a foreclosure home, also known as a distressed property, might seem like a less expensive way to get into your next place. These homes usually sell for about 15% below the home’s actual value. But buying a foreclosure property isn’t always what it seems. While it may look like a bargain, it could end up being more expensive (and more trouble) than it’s worth.


Costs can be extremely unpredictable, and underlying damages could make a property undesirable.


Foreclosures are likely to need some work—and the list of needed repairs and renovations can be long indeed. The worst part is, you might not even have a ballpark estimate of what repairs are needed until you receive the keys.


A foreclosed house is sold as is.  If the previous owners couldn’t make their mortgage payments, they likely also fell behind on regular maintenance.


For damaged homes that are priced well below market value, you will probably be competing with developers who plan to rip out everything anyway, and can afford to solve big unknown problems.


Steer clear of a bidding war and avoid busting your budget on a home that needs more work than you can afford.


Some lenders simply won’t offer funding for foreclosure properties. The most common reason: The house is in such bad condition, it can’t pass an inspection.


Expect limited flexibility, if any, when negotiating on the offer price.  Banks are not likely to budge on the price, since they are mostly concerned with recouping the costs from their investment.  


There’s an extra fee associated with a major home makeover: increased property tax. Fixing the house up will increase its value, and in most places, that means your property tax bill will go up.


There is more than meets the eye when trying to purchase a foreclosure property.  For more information go to


5 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Home—and Why Missing Even One Can Cost You Dearly

By Daniel Bortz | Jul 10, 2019


Selling your house is not as simple as just putting it on the market and waiting for offers from eager buyers to roll in. (Ah, if only…) If you have any hope that your sale will go smoothly, you’ll have to sit down, take a hard look at your house, and ask yourself a few questions.


1. Can I afford to sell my house?

  • Professional photographs
  • Landscaping
  • Staging
  • Closing costs

2. What do I need to disclose to home buyers?

  • Be prepared to disclose some of your home’s flaws

3. Should I hire a home inspector?

  • Pre-inspections give sellers the ability to fix problems ahead of time

4. Which areas of my home get the most attention?

  • Living room
  • Kitchen
  • Master Bedroom

5. What do I have to leave behind when my house is sold?

  • The law says that anything bolted to the wall or ceiling goes to the buyer unless specifically excluded in the contract.

A lot of thought must go into the decision to sell a home.

The answers to these questions and many more can be found by going to


What Is a Half-Bath? Or a Quarter Bath or Three-Quarter Bath, for That Matter?

By Lisa Johnson Mandell | Aug 1, 2019


Next to the number of bedrooms, the number of bathrooms in a house is a huge selling point. But when perusing home listings, you’ll quickly realize that bathroom math isn’t so simple.  What exactly is a half-bath? Or a quarter-bath, or three-quarter bath, or “full bath” for that matter?


Let’s run through the numbers! Bathroom numbers, that is!


In order for a room to be listed as a “full bath,” it must contain four key fixtures: a toilet, sink, bathtub, and shower (or shower-bath combo).


A half-bath, also known as a powder room or guest bath, has only two of the four main bathroom components—typically a toilet and sink.  Most real estate agents will tell you that adding a half-bath to your home is one of the most profitable home improvements you can make.


A three-quarter bathroom most often has an upright stall shower, a sink, and a toilet. But in older houses or condos, a three-quarter bath might have just a sink, toilet, and tub, but no shower. In this case, the new owner almost always converts it to a full bathroom by installing a shower head over the tub, and enclosing it with a shower curtain. 


And finally, what of the humble quarter-bathroom? A room with just one of the four elements—typically a toilet. Quarter bathrooms are rare for good reason: Who doesn’t want to wash their hands after attending to their business? Another type of quarter-bathroom is just a shower, often located outside by a pool to rinse off.


Each bathroom must be listed separately, because this gives home buyers a better sense of the home’s features—and their options when they simply have to go.  You can go to for the full story.


Should I Sell My House? 6 Signs It’s Time to Move On

By Stephanie Booth | Jul 10, 2019


Ten years is the average amount of time a homeowner stays in a house before a sale, according to the National Association of Realtors®.  Here are some telltale signs it’s time to start looking for the next home and packing your bags (and when you should settle in for the long haul).


1. You know the seller’s market is booming and you want in

2. Because your neighbors just got what for their house?

3. You’re sick of feeling financially stressed

4. You’ve grown—but your home hasn’t

5. You’re over ‘high maintenance’

6. You’ve put at least 5 years into the relationship


Of course, there are no promises that selling will be better for you in the long run. Take your time deciding if you should sell, and then study the local home sales market. Do this with the help of your real estate agent, before you price your home. If you under-price your home, a buyer may snatch it up too cheaply. If you overprice it, the right buyer may pass it by.


Selling your home is, above all, a personal decision. Do what will help you live—if not happily ever after—happily for now.  For a more detailed look at the topic go



Five Things to Know Before Building A House

By Beth DeCarbo | Aug 2, 2019


Starting. Takes. Forever.

Waiting to break ground was the most frustrating part. It involved three major hurdles: Getting the floor plans approved by the development’s architectural-review committee, which meets monthly. Getting the final contract from the builder. Getting a construction loan from the bank.


Lots of expenses aren’t included in the price of the house.

You may pay $80,000 for the land, not including property taxes and property-owners association fees. Before construction could begin there are some preliminary steps required by the builder and the county where you reside. You might spend $1,400 for a required topographical map and tree inventory; $630 to outline the home’s footprint with stakes and tape; $800 for the architectural review; $3,000 to the development’s road-maintenance fund for wear and tear; $150 for a septic-system permit, and $450 to drill test holes for the septic system. These expenses couldn’t be included in the loan—because you don’t have a loan yet.


There are sneaky ways to save money.

Buying remnants of granite and quartz for the countertops instead of full slabs of stone saves several hundred dollars. You might pay only $100 for a floor-model sink that has been discontinued. You can ask the appliance store manager for a discount on a kitchen-laundry package. And finally, plant much of the landscaping yourselves and save an estimated $5,000.


Asked more questions about cost-savings upfront instead of just pursuing your dream design.  Ask how much you can save if you choose a floor plan with a smaller footprint, but the same square footage? The cost of site prep, cement and roofing would be far less.


For more questions to ask before building a home go to


Staging and Selling a Home With Kids: Yes, You Can!

By Larissa Runkle | Jul 24, 2019


Staging your home is universally acknowledged as one of the most important things you can do to make it appeal to potential buyers. Few expect a home occupied by children to be perfect; that said, it should still adhere to some of the basics of staging, by being clean, inviting, and depersonalized.


It’s psychological. A dirty-feeling house implies nothing is well-maintained—not your appliances, or even the wooden floor concealed by a large area rug.


Find out what’s absolutely essential to normalizing the day to day for the children, and get a storage space to put any overflow.  Remove larger toys that might otherwise dominate the room, like play sets, dollhouses, or that 4,000-piece Lego Death Star set.


The toys you keep are the ones kids play with every day.  Rather than leave them out, get containers and shelving. To maintain organization, it’s important to place the toys back in a manner where it’s easy for the kids to help in the cleanup process.


Labeling the containers, baskets, and bins gives the look a finishing touch but makes it easy for everyone to identify where things go back.  If your kids are too young to read, use pictures instead.


Now isn’t the time for art projects.  Pack up tempting supplies like paint, markers, crayons, and glitter.  


Another good point is to watch what you cook on showing days. Here’s a tip: Skip the waffles and maple syrup for breakfast. In fact, keep any sticky, high-spatter foods off the menu for those days.


Clean [off] fingerprints and sticky handles that people may open, like closet doors, appliances, doorknobs, mirrors, and glass.


It may be a challenge to sell a home with young children living there.  For more details on how to stage and sell a home With Kids go to



Veterans United



Pre-approval is a big step in the home-buying process. It shows real estate agents and sellers you’re a serious candidate and gives you a clear sense of your purchasing power.


But VA loan pre-approval isn’t a guarantee.


Work hard to avoid these four pitfalls to help keep your VA loan on track.


1. Slipping up on credit

2. Making major purchases

3. Undergoing big career changes

4. Packing up important documents


The last thing you want is a surprise change that may throw a wrench into your journey to homeownership. So in the end, ask your loan team if there’s anything you’re unsure about.


Want to learn more? Check out our Veterans Guide to Homeownership and get started on your home-buying journey. To get the guide go to 


The One Thing That Can Make or Break How People Feel About Your House

By Kelsey Ogletree | Jul 31, 2019


Considering the time and energy homeowners put toward making their house look great (particularly if they’re trying to sell), many make the critical mistake of neglecting another one of our senses that can be far more powerful: smell.


Even if you’ve decorated or staged your home perfectly, if potential buyers walk in and detect an unpleasant odor, they could skedaddle fast. Good scents, on the other hand, entice them to linger.


It’s often the first thing a person will notice upon entering a space—and it’s one of the things that, when done poorly, can kill a sale, no matter how beautiful the home.


Before considering what options you have for making your home smell amazing, you want to be sure you’re starting fresh. The first step to a good-smelling home is to get rid of any odor.  Make sure to scrub all surfaces, wash all rugs, and have the carpets cleaned. Until this is done, you’ll only be masking smells.


  • Scrub down the bathroom
  • Freshen the fridge
  • Take out the trash
  • Get underfoot, clean rugs and floors
  • Don an apron, bake some cookies
  • Just add soap
  • Play with matches
  • Focus on essentials
  • Raid your laundry room
  • Simmer vanilla extract diluted in water on the stove
  • Find one neutral, mild scent and let it breathe


The definition of ‘pleasant’ when it comes to the olfactory senses can vary widely from person to person, so it’s best to keep the scent subtle and clean throughout, with a special emphasis on the kitchen and bath.


For a deeper dive into scents that sell homes go to


The 5 Biggest Mistakes Veteran and Military Home Buyers Make

By Angela Colley | Aug 20, 2019


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers plenty of great programs to help those who have served in the military get a home loan, but the process isn’t foolproof.


Mistake No. 1: Not using a VA-savvy real estate agent.  Save yourself the headache of making an offer on a house that may not get approved, or for which you may not qualify for a VA loan.


Mistake No. 2: Not communicating with your lender.  When you first meet with your lender, be sure to discuss your service member status so you can be informed about all of the potential advantages for veterans.

One of the biggest benefits you’ll get with a VA loan is the ability to buy with a 0% down payment (yes, we’re totally serious).


Mistake No. 3: Forgetting about all upfront home-buying costs.  You’ll likely have to plunk down a bit of cash for things like a home appraisal and inspection.


Mistake No. 4: Not thinking of your home as an investment.  By searching in high-demand areas or choosing a popular home style and size (say, 1,500 to 2,000 square feet), you’ll give yourself a better chance at resale if you need to move later. Or, you can hang on to it and rent it out.


Mistake No. 5: Making other big purchases before closing.  Opening a line of credit or making a big purchase after mortgage approval is a common mistake.  This can oftentimes change the veteran’s credit score and make them ineligible for the loan.

Wait until after closing to make any other financial moves, just to be on the safe side and to keep your loan on track.

For more details on these 5 mistakes to avoid go to


How Touring Open Houses Helped Me See My Own Home in a Whole New Light

By Jillian Pretzel | Aug 14, 2019


Want to learn how to sell your house? Simple: Put on your buyer hat and tour a bunch of homes for sale in your area.


Walk through two identical homes and see the difference. Good staging could offer a huge advantage.  Before you move everything out,  it is important to keep at least some of the best things. Buyers will have a hard time picturing eating their meals at a table they can’t see, or imagining falling asleep in a bedroom without a cozy-looking bed.


Walking into an open house, it can be hard not to look at the owner’s sense of style before anything else.  You may be unpleasantly distracted by an outdated dining room table, or gaudy light fixtures.  


Once you start looking at modern, expertly designed homes, you may notice that none of your furniture really went together and that the accent wall you love so much is a bit outdated.


Kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities wouldn’t cost too much to update, and when the time comes to sell, buyers would be more willing to pay top dollar with those updates—so they are worth the added expense.


Look out in the yard.  Is the patio furniture inviting or beat up?  Is it worth having to show potential buyers?


An hour of your time looking at Open Houses may provide you with the right ideas to make your home more inviting and sell for more money.  For the whole story on why you would want to go to Open Houses go to



What Is Fair Market Value? How Much a Home Is Really Worth

By Kimberly Dawn Neumann | Aug 12, 2019


Whether you’re buying or selling a home, one question that’s always front and center is the price: How much is a home worth? 


A home’s fair market value is the price it would sell for in a perfectly logical world—one where both home buyer and seller are acting of their own free will (in other words, they aren’t desperate to make a sale) and are reasonably aware of a home’s good and bad points, and where the buyer could just as easily choose a different house that suits her needs better.


A home’s fair market value is comparable to a home’s market value—what it would fetch on the open market—but is used in special circumstances where the concept of fairness is important to evoke so that the home’s sales price carries more weight.


Here are some circumstances where you’ll likely hear about the fair market value of a home:

  • Property tax assessments
  • Home insurance claims
  • Refinancing a home loan
  • Estate sales
  • Eminent Domain
  • Short sale—this is when a home is worth less than the owners owe on their mortgage.


To determine fair market value, a licensed appraiser gathers and measures the qualities of a home, such as its square footage, condition, similar homes in the area, neighborhood, market conditions, and other factors. The appraiser’s information is used by lenders, attorneys, insurance companies, and other agencies to estimate a home’s market value.


To learn more about fair market value go to


10 Secrets No One Tells You That’ll Help Your House Fetch Top Dollar

By Jennifer Nelson | Aug 26, 2019


Here are 10 tips that are seldom mentioned in listing houses that just might put your property over the edge.


  • Make sure your mailbox looks amazing
  • Make the right use of your rooms
  • Re-glaze the bathroom
  • Get buyers to fall in love
  • List under value
  • Provide insider information
  • Describe the neighborhood culture
  • Don’t forget to list the house extras
  • Create a video tour
  • Get a home pre-inspection


Some of these points are obvious, but, Get buyers to fall in love?  Hand-write a one-page letter about your life in the house.  Leave it framed on the kitchen counter for potential buyers to read. If sellers can connect with buyers on an emotional level, chances of buyers paying top dollar for the house drastically increase.


For an in-depth explanation of these hints go to 


How Much Are Closing Costs? Plus: How to Reduce Closing Costs

By Judy Dutton | Aug 20, 2019


When you get a mortgage to buy a home, you’ll have to pay closing costs: These fees, paid to third parties to help facilitate the sale of a home, typically total 2% to 7% of the home’s purchase price. So on a $250,000 home, you can expect the amount to run anywhere from $5,000 to $17,500.


Both buyers and sellers typically pitch in to cover closing costs, although buyers shoulder the lion’s share of the load (3% to 4% of the home’s price) compared with sellers (1% to 3%). And while some expenses must be paid upfront before the home is officially sold (e.g., the home inspection fee when the service is rendered), and others, like property taxes and homeowners insurance, are recurring fees, most are paid at the end, when you close on the home and the keys exchange hands.


Home buyers pay the majority of these costs, since many of these fees are associated with the mortgage.


Here are some of the fees home buyers should brace themselves to pay:

  • A loan amount origination fee, which lenders charge for processing the paperwork for your loan.
  • A fee for running your credit report.
  • A fee to underwrite and assess your credit worthiness.
  • A fee for the appraisal of the home you hope to own to make sure its value matches the size of the loan you want.
  • A fee for the home inspection, which checks the home for potential problems from cracks in the foundation to a leaky roof.
  • A fee for a title search to unearth any liens on the property that could interfere with your ownership of it. Title insurance protects the lender and buyer from claims against the home and property.
  • Taxes, also called stamp taxes, on the money you’ve borrowed for your home loan.
  • Private mortgage insurance is an additional fee that buyers can expect to pay if they can’t come up with a down payment that’s 20% of the purchase price.
  • Discount points, or mortgage points, are fees paid right to the mortgage lender in exchange for a lower interest rate. One point is valued at 1% of your mortgage total. It may seem like lot to pay upfront, but doing so will lower your monthly mortgage payment.
  • One-time fees may also include: document recording fees for the deed and mortgage, buyers’ attorney fees, and in some rare cases a real estate agent commission.

Buyers should also account for the following:

  • An escrow deposit, managed by a neutral third-party escrow officer, covering typically two months of prepaid property taxes and mortgage insurance payments.


How much can sellers expect to pay?


Here are the fees that sellers are typically responsible for:

  • A closing fee, paid to the title insurance company or attorney’s office where everyone meets to close on the home
  • Taxes on the home sale
  • A fee for an attorney, if the home seller has one
  • A fee for transferring the title to the new owner


For information on how to estimate or even reduce closing costs go to


Selling Your Home? Don’t Neglect These 7 Maintenance Tasks—or Else

By Wendy Helfenbaum | Feb 1, 2018


We’ve got news for you: Just because you’re selling doesn’t mean you’re off the hook from routine maintenance tasks—and that’s especially true if you’ve already vacated the house.


Sure, a well-cared-for house shows better: Small things like broken doorbells and leaky faucets make buyers wonder if your property also has bigger issues elsewhere. But more important, a little routine maintenance can help you avoid a catastrophic problem down the line (e.g., burst pipes, roof leaks, critters moving into your attic) that could devalue your property and derail that sale.


  • Whether you’re still living at the home or not, you’ll want to make sure to keep your landscaping tidy—remove dead tree limbs, rake leaves, and clean out flowerbeds.
  • Overflowing gutters can damage your foundation, and also lead to drainage issues. 
  • Have your HVAC systems professionally serviced.
  • Be sure to have the chimney inspected and cleaned as well.
  • Inspect the inside and outside of your home for any areas that need to plugged up.
  • Wash your windows
  • Do the seasonal tasks such as clearing away lawn mowers in the fall and storing shovels in the spring.


For more information on how a well cared for home shows better go to


How Much Does It Cost To Build a House—and Is It Cheaper to Buy or Build?

By Margaret Heidenry | Aug 23, 2019


How much does it cost to build a house? According to data from the National Association of Home Builders, the median price of constructing a single-family home is $289,415, or $103 per square foot.  Just keep in mind that the cost to build a home can vary widely.

  • The shell of the house, which includes walls, windows, doors, and roofing, can account for a third of the home’s total cost, or $95,474.
  • Interior finishes such as cabinets, flooring, and countertops can eat up another third of the budget, averaging $85,642. 
  • Mechanical—think plumbing and heating—runs around 13%, or $37,843.
  • Kitchens and bathrooms are the most expensive rooms to build, especially when the average cost for finishes like cabinets and countertops alone is $16,056.
  • Architect and engineer drawings will run about $4,583.
  • The cost of a plot of land to build on varies. That said, the average home is built on only 0.2 acres, so unless you want a lot of space in a highly desired neighborhood, that alone won’t break the bank.
  • Excavation and foundation work are by far the most variable cost when building a home.   In other words, you never know what you’re going to find until you start digging—be it bad soil or massive boulders. If excavation and foundation work goes relatively smoothly, the average cost for both is $33,447.
  • You’ll need a building permit, of course—it averages $908 nationally.
  • Other costs you’ll incur before you hammer even one nail include land inspections ($4,191) and an impact fee, levied by the government to cover the costs a new home will incur on public services like electricity and waste removal ($1,742).

Is it cheaper to buy or build a house?  You can buy an existing single-family house for a median price of $223,000, or $66,415 less than building one. You will also save yourself the headaches that inevitably come with construction.


There are trade-offs, however.  For more information on buying vs building a home go to


Will They Dig It? How to Keep Your Oh-So-Perfect Landscaping From Scaring Off Buyers

By Wendy Helfenbaum | Sep 11, 2019


For many buyers, a beautifully landscaped yard with show-stopping curb appeal can seal the deal.  As it turns out, there are indeed some buyers who might take one look at your sprawling outdoor oasis and think, “It will take a ton of work to maintain all of this!”


Many home buyers are looking for yards that don’t require a lot of maintenance, a lot of younger, first-time buyers don’t want to be home all day gardening or dealing with the lawn.


You want your yard to say, “Sit down, have a cold beverage and relax,” rather than, “Please weed me.”  Make sure trees and shrubs are trimmed.  Divide overgrown plants, so your garden looks neat instead of needing attention. And lose the whimsical gnome statues, tacky lawn ornaments, and noisy wind chimes in your garden that won’t let buyers imagine themselves in that space.


Maybe you do have lush landscaping—but perhaps you’ve also figured out an efficient way to take care of it. If so, point this out to buyers. For example, noting that the large flower bed consists of easy-care plants and an in-ground irrigation system tells buyers that they won’t have much to do—and ends up being a perk.


For more tips on presenting your yard go to


Home Buyers Reveal: ‘What I Wish I Had Known Before Buying My First Home’

By Stephanie Booth | Jan 23, 2018


In an effort to clue you into some of the challenges you’ll face as a first-time home buyer, we asked some folks who’ve already gone through the ringer to spill what they wish they’d known earlier, that would have saved them a ton of time, effort, and tears. Here’s to hoping their 20/20 hindsight will help pave your own path to home-ownership.

You can’t get pre-approved by plugging in simple numbers on a mortgage calculator. You need an experienced lender who will take a detailed history and require documentation of your assets and income. This is the only way you’ll establish if you qualify for a mortgage and for how much.

It looks perfect, What could go wrong? The home inspection, that’s what.  No matter how nice a home looks, a home inspection is the only way to make sure you aren’t buying a lemon.

Buying a home requires you to stay on top of your to-do items, especially during the escrow process where there may be penalties for missing a deadline. Prime among this is the three-day requirement to send in your deposit. Miss that and you may miss out on the deal.

A lender can make or break a deal, so choose wisely. One of the main things to look for besides the loan rate is the responsiveness of the lender. They need to move fast or the deal may fail.  Your Realtor knows the track record of lenders in our area.

It’s tough not to get disheartened while house hunting. Competition is fierce, and you need to prepare yourself for the long haul.

You may need to adjust your criteria so more possibilities are opened up. In the meantime, “keep making those offers. One of them will get accepted.”

For more information on what to expect when looking for your first home go to


Home Showing Tips That’ll Convince Buyers to Buy

By Angela Colley | Jan 27, 2016


Showing your house is the exciting part of selling a home, but let’s face it: It takes a lot of work to get there. Once you’ve made repairschosen a Realtor®, and decided on an asking price, your home is almost ready for market—but first, how about a little primping and polishing? Or maybe a lot of primping and polishing.


After all, you want your home to make a great first impression on buyers—and that’s where we can help. To show your home in the best possible light, heed these savvy seller tips.

Stash your stuff, stage to sell, and boost your curb appeal.

Once you’ve gotten your home looking fantastic both inside and out, it’s time for the Realtor to break out a camera and spread the news that it’s up for grabs: with an eye-catching real estate ad, of course! For more information on how to stash, stage and boost your home for sale go to


How Much Is Homeowners Insurance? The Cost for Different Types of Homes 

by Margaret Heidenry | Sep 1, 2019


How much is homeowners insurance? It’s a question with answers that are going to vary for each homeowner, depending on the size, age, and condition of the home, as well as the deductible and liability coverage. But know this: No matter how safe and secure you feel in your home, it’s a fact of life that bad things can happen at any time—floods, fires, sinkholes, theft. And that’s why buying home insurance is a must. But how much does homeowners insurance cost? The average annual premium runs about $1,083, but a bunch of unique factors can go into calculating a specific quote, and that information could help you get a lower home insurance rate in some cases. Got it? Go to for more information.


Closing On a House: What Sellers Should Expect

By Angela Colley | Feb 25, 2016


Ah, closing on a house. It’s the finish line! You’re almost home free (or free of your home in this case). You’ve accepted the buyer’s offer, the negotiations are finally winding down, and there is only one more little box to check: closing.


OK, so maybe it isn’t a little thing. And maybe you’re a little bit worried something is still going to go wrong when closing on a house. That’s why we’re here to help get you through closing without a hitch—or barely a hitch (hey, stuff happens).


So check the approved offer, make a note of any repairs you and the buyer agreed on, and get to it—and don’t forget to cover yourself. Save receipts from items purchased and invoices from contractors, and take before and after photos of any work completed. You will have proof that repairs were completed on the off chance that the buyers contest them during the walkthrough or at closing.


Before your closing —often 24 hours or right before—the buyers and the buyers’ agent will do one more walkthrough of the house (for which you should not be present).


If things are going smoothly, the closing for you might boil down to a blur of paperwork.  Unless problems creep up—or the buyer wants to negotiate further—you only have two jobs: waiting and reading documents.  


Once the negotiations are handled and the papers are signed, the buyers’ funds are transferred to your attorney, who will handle the payments to cover your loan and pay your real estate team. Thankfully, this part is handled by someone else.


And then comes the best part: You’ll get a check for the remainder! For more details about the closing process go to 


Bridget Morrissey Realtor Home buyer tips home seller hints

Home buyers will, at times, be their own worst enemy when it comes to buying a home.  

Stop Making Excuses! Busting the Most Common Reasons for Not Buying a Home

was written by Terri Williams for on Sep 4, 2019.

Owning a home means you can build equity, take advantage of tax deductions, and partake in a little something called the American dream. For the past couple of years, the U.S. homeownership rate has hovered around 64%. But there’s also a considerably large pool of renters in the country who have plenty of reasons for not buying. And some of those explanations are totally legit: Financial, economic, or personal limitations can prove that now is not the right time to buy. But we know an excuse when we hear one.

We get it—investing in real estate is a huge commitment. It’s scary and exciting all at the same time. But what if buying actually is in the realm of possibility?  Go to and learn more about owning your own home!


Bridget Morrissey Realtor Home buyer tips home seller hints

Sellers should think about classic neutral colors that may be easy for the buyer to paint over for their own taste.  Agnès Carpentier has a September 10, 2019 article at 

If you’re ready for a change from white, gray or a single bold hue, you’ll like this news out of the Paris trade fair.

Sweet Harmonies of Beige, Taupe, Greige, Honey and Fawn are back.

These colors are timeless classics rather than novelties. However, there’s no better way to spice them up than to combine shades of these colors. Taupe (and onward through the spectrum to brown) has made a big comeback, and there are also mustard yellow, fawn and sienna. These reassuring palettes inspire cuddling up under a blanket!