Joseph Boyd's Blog
Although all home buyers have different tastes, expectations, and preferences, there are several things you as a home seller can do to make your home more appealing.
Three priorities worth keeping in mind are spaciousness (or, at least, the appearance of it), brightness, and cleanliness.
Whether your home is a compact cottage or a large colonial, a feeling of spaciousness will enhance its visual and psychological appeal.
Sometimes getting a second opinion can make all the difference in identifying ways to improve the look and feel of your home. As an example: If you're unsure whether a bulky piece of furniture, a huge plant, or a rarely used side table is detracting from that desired look of spaciousness, your real estate agent or an interior decorator can provide you with helpful feedback.
One common room decorating mistake that many people make is to choose a coffee table that's either too big or too small for the furniture or available space. It may seem like a small detail, but it's one of many elements that can throw off the balance and flow of a living room.
Another staging tip for home sellers is to have groups of chairs and couches face each other to create "conversation areas." That effect often helps to add warmth to a living room or family room, and makes it easier for potential buyers to imagine living there and enjoying the space with friends and family.
Lots of illumination, whether it's natural light or artificial light, can make your home appear more cheerful and inviting. It also reduces shadows and dark corners, which can detract from the beauty of your living space. While there is the possibility that some of your lights may be too harsh or glaring, dimmer switches can often be a quick and easy solution to that problem.
Keeping your home impeccably clean every day is one of the biggest challenges of putting your house on the market and making it available to agents for client showings. Since first impressions are one of the most important aspects of attracting a serious buyer, cleanliness should be among your main priorities. The good news is that keeping your home clean will become easier when you get into a routine. As you scramble to make sure your home is ready and presentable for the next showing, you'll find yourself becoming more and more adept at streamlining the process.
One strategy for increasing efficiency might be to get your family in the habit of cleaning up after themselves on a consistent basis. It may require a little gentle nagging now and then, but if it helps get your house sold faster, it'll be worth it! Create a cleaning checklist you can refer to when you're getting ready for a house showing to improve your efficiency. Evenly divide the work among family members, and make sure nothing important is overlooked along the way.
Looking for a soup for all seasons? Let Zucchini Potato Soup fill the bill. It's low-fat and light yet filling. It's power-packed with nutritious goodness, and enhanced with the perfect blend of spices and herbs.
This recipe serves a party of 6 or more. If you have a food processor or a blender, you can make it. Here's how.
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients
To create a robust soup base, you will need:
Step 2. Prepare the Vegetable Broth
Wash and coarsely chop your zucchini squashes, potatoes, carrots and onions. There is no need to peel the potatoes unless you prefer doing so. Sauté these vegetables together with a generous dash of your best olive oil, or heat them up in a non-stick pot if you'd prefer to go oil-free. As your vegetables become just slightly browned, add the parsley, pepper and salt.
Add enough water to cover these ingredients and create a savory broth.
Cover the pot.
Allow broth to simmer for 25 minutes.
Drain, while reserving the broth.
Step 3. Prepare the Hearty Soup
Sauté the chopped clove of garlic in a pan lightly lined with olive oil until the garlic is golden brown. Add the zucchini-carrot-potato mix. Toss in the chopped basil and tarragon.
Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste.
Blend reserved vegetable broth into the soup.
Step 3. Simmer and Cool
Allow soup to simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes.
Let the soup cool down. Pour just over half of the cooled soup into a food processor and purée the mix.
Pro tip: Why cool the soup before pouring it into a food processor or blender? Steam can quickly rise out of hot mixes and fill up the machine, splatter out and cause burns. Plus, pouring anything super hot into machines with plastic parts just isn't an appealing idea, even if the machine parts are all food-safe. So, if you want to speed the cooling process, use ice and a large spaghetti strainer and pour the mix through it.
Step 4. Heat and Serve
Add the puréed part of the mix back into the pot with the rest of the soup.
Heat and stir for 3 minutes.
Serve hot. This soup goes well with a fluffy bowl of couscous, rustic rolls or homemade bread.
Moving to a new home can be a stressful time for a new homeowner. Packing up a house-full of belongings is a strenuous process that can take up a lot of time and energy. And, if you’re working with movers, you’re going to have to pay for everything you want to move.
One way to make the process of moving easier and to save some money is by listing some of your unwanted belongings for sale online.
There are a number of places to list your unwanted items, but some are better than others when it comes to heavy and bulk items.
When to start listing and selling
The best time to begin the process of listing and selling some of your bulk items is at least two months before your move.
Why so long?
The answer lies in how much time it takes to list items, field responses, and ship the items or meet up with the buyer for pickup.
To list your items, you’ll want to do some research on them to find out the brand name, year, condition, and model number for things like large televisions. You’ll then want to see what the items are selling for used online.
Once you have a price in mind, you’ll want to take some high quality photos of the items. Good lighting and a decent camera (a newer smartphone camera should suffice).
Next comes the process of listing. Regardless of where you list your items, you’ll want to make sure you provide as many details as possible. This will help provide the site you’re using with enough keywords to make your items show up in popular searches. It will also help reduce the number of questions you receive from buyers who want to know more about the item--the listing should tell them everything they need to know to make a purchase.
Where to list
For large items that would be costly to ship, it’s best to use local listing services like Craigslist and Facebook groups. However, don’t give out too many details (like your address or date of moving); you don’t want to tip off would-be scammers or thieves to the fact that you’re moving.
For smaller items that still carry some value, a site like eBay or Amazon can produce top value for your belongings. Just factor in shipping costs and the chance of returns into the price.
Tips for success
One of the reasons I recommend listing your items months in advance of your move is because it can take time to list your items, field inquiries, then finally ship them and receive your payment.
One way to ensure that you successfully sell your items is to stay on top of inquiries. That means making yourself available whenever possible to take phone calls and answering email questions.
If you follow these steps, you should be able to turn a profit off of the items you would have otherwise had to pay to move. Happy moving, and good luck!
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One of the biggest hurdles people face when looking for a home is applying for a mortgage. While applying for a mortgage is relatively straightforward, finding favorable terms might be more challenging. Many buyers are surprised by how broad the terms of a mortgage might be. With this in mind, it is critical to understand the most common mistakes people make when looking for a mortgage.
Not Looking Locally First
The most common mistake people make when looking for a mortgage is not looking locally first. Many are tempted to use the internet to seek out a loan. While there is nothing wrong with looking around (in fact, this is encouraged), don't forget to head to the traditional bank or credit union a few miles down the road. There are professionals who are interested in building a relationship with the local community often providing more favorable terms.
Assuming All Mortgages are the Same
Don't assume all mortgages are the same. This is far from accurate. Applying for a mortgage can be an involved process that people rarely want to do this more than once. You may assume the next lender will offer similar terms. In reality, some lenders might be willing to wave origination fees or points on the mortgage. Some might even offer a lower interest rate, be sure to ask what special offers may be available.
Not Locking In the Rate
One of the common questions people face when applying for a mortgage is whether or not they would like to lock in the rate. The fear of locking in the rate is that, if the mortgage rates drop, they might miss out on the opportunity to save money. On the other hand, people also forget the alternative. The rate might actually go up. The downside to this is that their monthly mortgage payments may not be affordable anymore. Go ahead and lock in the rate.
Not Putting Enough Money Down
Lastly, many try to save money by not putting enough cash down. When you don't put enough money down, you may end up with a higher interest rate and a higher monthly mortgage payment. Additionally, you may have to purchase Private Mortgage Insurance, also known as PMI, for the lender making the monthly payment even higher. To prevent this from happening, make sure the down payment is large enough to satisfy the lender, usually between 10 and 20 percent.