There are many great advantages of selling your Chicago home in the summer. While during the winter months people tend to stay inside, in the warmer months everybody likes to go out and enjoy the weather. This is also the time of the year when home buyers are actively searching for a home. Sometimes simply placing an œOpen House sign in front of your house can bring in potential buyers. However, keep in mind that such occurrence only happen when your house looks appealing. Therefore, you need to take advantage of the summer season to maximize your property’s potential in order to create an excellent first impression of the house. Here are some tips:
In case you haven’t noticed, the grass in your lawn grows much faster in the summer, as well as the bushes. So mow your lawn and trim the bushes regularly. Make sure there are no brown patches in your yard. If you have a last minute showing appointment and have no time to fix a brown patch, try to cover it with a garden decoration. Also, add some summer appeal such as flowers and decorations to your garden. If you have a deck, that’s something you really need to showcase in this time of the year. Add some furniture to give home buyers some ideas on how fun it is to have a deck in a house.
One of the first things people will notice when they enter your house is the smell, whether it is from your pets, food, children diapers, or sweat smells that build up due to lack of ventilation. To avoid that, open your windows prior to a showing for some fresh air, and spray some air fresheners or use the electrical/automatic air fresheners if needed. Just make sure the smell is not too overwhelming. Some people use aromatic candles to eliminate unwanted odors. I do not recommend this because of the possible risks involved.
Furthermore, during hot days, you may want to make visitors feel comfortable in the house by turning on your AC. The ideal temperature in the summer is between 72-78 degrees. Cool enough to make them want to stay longer in your house.
Drapes and curtains can be an attractive decorative piece if used properly. However, in the summer it is best to use tie-backs and pull the blinds to the top to let people see what kind of view they can get from your house. For example, if you own a Chicago waterfront property, that’s something you need to showcase. Also, if you own a single family home in Chicago with a backyard/garden, it will be a plus point for home buyers to see how well-maintained your home and garden is.
Moreover, having good light fixtures is also an important aspect during a showing. When the rooms of the house are bright, from natural sunlight and/or lighting, it creates a pleasant atmosphere for home buyers.
With the right price and presentation of the house, it won’t be long until you put the œSOLD sign in your front yard.
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Avoid the crowds by having your own gym.
Summer season is work out season. After building up our winter calories, it is finally the time to get back in shape. Many people sign up for the gym and fitness classes but some others choose a more convenient way to work out by having a gym in their own Chicago home. That way, they don’t have to spend the time driving to and from the fitness center every time. It is also a more hygienic option because you only have to share the equipments with your family members and close friends.
However, some people build their home gym and then forget about it. Sometimes it happens because of how the gym space they created is not motivating enough, there is not enough ventilation which makes it uncomfortable to work out there, or the equipment was not arranged properly, making it hard to do different exercises. To make sure you create a fun, motivating and functional home gym, here’s what you can do:
Creating the space
Choose a room that is dedicated only as an exercise room. If possible, choose a room with windows so you can have some natural light and a view. Otherwise, basements can also be a great place to exercise if you arrange everything properly. Install some gym flooring too because some types of work out might need it, plus, it will act as a sound barrier to your personal gym. There are many types and colors of gym flooring.
Coloring your gym
Different wall colors can have different effects to your mood. The best colors for heavy exercises such as weightlifting, treadmill, stair-stepping, etc, are bright and aggressive colors like orange, yellow, and red. Those colors will definitely keep you going. If you combine heavy exercises with yoga or Pilates types of workout, try some kinds of blue, green or purple. Keep in mind that some cool blue or green colors can be too relaxing which might not be suitable for a home gym. Avoid dark colors because it will create a œdungeon feeling which is very demotivating. Mix and match your wall with floor/carpet colors to create maximum result.
Arranging proper lighting
No one wants to exercise in a dim or dark room, so make sure you install proper lighting to have a bright work out room, especially in the rooms such as basement or garage where there is limited natural light coming in. Adding a full-length mirror or wall mirrors can brighten up the gym too.
Make sure your home gym is well ventilated. You can add a fan, incense sticks, aromatherapy oils or air freshener so the gym will always smell nice.
Arranging your equipment
It’s all a matter of organization. Some people place their equipment without any arrangement. That results in them having barely any space to walk around. To avoid such a thing from happening, place heavy and tall machines by the wall. It’s best to leave the center of the room for smaller equipment or empty, especially if you do yoga exercises. If you already know the type of machines you need, make a floor plan first before buying them.
Some people say that exercising can be boring at times. To avoid getting bored, set up a TV, stereo, DVD player, or MP3 player. Watching exercise videos can give you many ideas so your work out doesn’t have to be monotonous. Having fitness-related posters on the wall can also give you more motivation to burn calories. If there’s still extra room in your gym, place a small refrigerator there so you can always have access to water or protein drinks.
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Last week, we posted some question you need to ask potential real estate agents before hiring one. Here are some more:
Can I see some past clients’ testimonials and references?
If their previous clients are satisfied, they would be happy to provide the agent with a reference. They might be available on the agent’s website too. Try to see if they can provide you with at least three testimonials.
What is your fee?
Ask the agents how many percent from the sales amount that they charge. Usually, the fee is very negotiable, so compare the agents from one another according to their fee, experience, knowledge of the neighborhood and marketing plan.
Do you have a list of other professionals we can work with?
Some professionals you need in buying and selling a home include mortgage lenders, home inspectors, title companies, real estate attorneys, appraisers and escrow officers. Ask the agents what are their fees and why they recommend them.
Can I terminate our agreement if I am not satisfied with your real estate services?
It’s important for you to know their cancellation policy. Also, you can ask whether any of their past clients has every terminated an agreement before.
Is there something else I haven’t asked but need to know about?
The correct answer is œYes. Unless you are a real estate professional, there is always something you need to know, whether it is about the local market condition, buying and selling procedure, etc.
Many home sellers or buyers often underestimate the importance of interviewing agents before hiring one. Don’t hire an agent just because the office is next door or because s/he is the first agent you meet. The interview process is essential for both clients and agents to understand how they will work together and by interviewing them, you will be able to sort out which agent is most qualified to sell your home or to help you find your dream home.
Here are some questions you need to ask agents:
How long have you been involved in Chicago real estate market?
If you are trying to buy or sell a home in a specific neighborhood, ask them how long they have been specializing in that local market. Experience does count, although it does not mean we should dismiss new agents, especially the ones from a trustworthy Chicago real estate agency and work under competent mentors. However, if you are about to sell of buy a luxury home in Chicago, pick an agent who specializes in that neighborhood for at least five years.
How many homes did you sell in this neighborhood last year, what is your average list-price-to-sales-price ratio and what is the average number of days on the market?
If you are planning to list your home, you must ask these questions. This way, you will know which agent has more potential than the others. If you are a home buyer, you also need to ask the agents’ list-price-to-sales-price ration so you know which agent can negotiate better deals in the neighborhood of your choice.
How will you find me a home?
Ask the agents about the home search process, how many properties that match your requirements are available in that area, how many showings can they do in a day, whether you will be competing against many other buyers, etc.
How will you market my home?
You need to know what their marketing plan is and how they will promote your property. Reliable agents usually have their own real estate website to add exposure to your listings. Also, ask them if they take advantage of other online tools such as blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Since most buyers start searching from the Internet, you have to make sure home buyers can easily find your listing online.
What makes you stand out from other agents?
Professional and experienced agents will have no difficulties in answering this question. Basically, you want to be represented by an agent who has good communication, analytical and negotiation skills, is trustworthy, replies your emails and phone calls in timely manner, and good at marketing his/her listings.
Check back with us on Monday to read more interview questions you should ask potential real estate agents to make sure you hire the best!
Planning on starting your online home search? Learn from these mistakes to make your home search effective and efficient:
Thinking you can go DIY (Do-It-Yourself). DIY is such a trend these days when it comes to home renovating and improvements because you can save a lot of money by doing everything yourself. However, if you are doing things that you are actually incapable of or have no sufficient experience, it could turn into a disaster and it would end up costing so much more. Same applies to buying a real estate property. Experienced real estate investors may not need an agent to represent them but for most home buyers, hiring a professional agent and attorney is a wise choice.
Wasting your time searching for properties you cannot afford. As searching for a home on the Internet is just a click of a button, many people spend too much time looking for homes they love, but unfortunately out of their budget. Before starting you house search, contact a lender and get preapproved first so you know exactly your price range. It does not take a long time to request for a preapproval, and it saves you hours of trying to find a home that is out of your preapproved price.
Sticking to one national website only. Many people use websites such as Zillow or Realtor.com, which are great sources to find a Chicago home. However, some of them may not have the most updated listing information. To optimize your home search, visit agents and brokers websites too, and sign up for the listing updates. That way, when a new home that matches your criteria is on the market, the information will be delivered to your inbox.
Falling for Internet scams. You might bump into fake listings ads once in a while when you try to find a house by reading online advertisements. Trust your instinct. If you suspect that the real estate agents you are in contact with is a fake one, call the real estate agency to verify his involvement with the company. Also, you should be able to receive the following information from your Realtor regarding a property, or otherwise he/she might not be a real one:
- Address and neighborhood
- Listing price
- Number of bedrooms, bathrooms and descriptions of other rooms
- Lot size, number of stories, how old the house is
- Type of flooring, home upgrades done, appliances and amenities
One red flag you need to be aware of is when they are asking you to make a quick deposit to secure your favorite house. Craigslist, one of the most popular website for classified advertisements, always warns the visitors, œNever wire funds via Western Union, MoneyGram or any other wire service – anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.