Blog :: 2016

New Homeowner Checklist: 4 Ways to Care for Your New Home

4 Ways to Care for Your New Home

Congratulations on being a new homeowner! In all the excitement, and maybe relief, of making it through the real estate closing, it can be easy to think “Now what?” after you're handed those keys. To limit some of the overwhelm of all you have to do next, here is a simple new homeowner checklist to get you started with 4 ways to care for your new home.

1. FIX IT

- If something was found in the home inspection, get it fixed! Don’t wait on this and let small problems become bigger problems. If you need to hire a professional and are new to the Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region, ask your local Realtor® at CG Shepherd Realty, LLC for a list of recommendations.

- Save that list of local professionals and add to it. Even if you prefer to DIY, sometimes you need to call in a professional.

2. LEARN IT

- Know how and where to shut off the outdoor propane or oil supply and any indoor appliances just in case a problem occurs.

- Find where all the water valves are located inside your home. Often, you can find these under your sinks and behind your toilets. Small leaks can become gushers, and you don’t want to be scrambling to find the turn off valve when you have water spraying all over your bathroom. This is one of those new homeowner mistakes that can easily be avoided.

- Locate and label breaker box. Knowledge is power...literally.

3. CLEAN IT

- Check & clean gutters. Check the gutters of your home for debris and clean out any that you find. Clogged gutters can prevent proper drainage of the water runoff from your roof and leave standing water, which could cause damage over time.

- Do a basic interior cleaning. Unless you know your new home was recently thoroughly cleaned, it’s good to do a basic cleaning before you setup and organize all your belongings. Especially make sure the kitchen is clean before loading it up with all your dinnerware and pantry items.

4. PROTECT IT

- Try your house keys in all exterior doors to your home and garage to make sure they work and make the appropriate number of copies you will need.

- Test your detectors. Test all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Also, make sure there are enough detectors for your whole house. Go ahead and replace the batteries in them so you know they’re fresh. CG Shepherd Realty, LLC gives out free 9 volt batteries twice a year at the fall back and spring forward time changes for this purpose.

- Create an emergency exit plan. We all hope we will never have to use something like this, but it is far better to be prepared than panicked if there is an emergency. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has great instructions and tips for both creating and practicing your fire escape plan including a downloadable grid for drawing your plan. 

- Make a list of local Emergency Service Numbers and keep it somewhere handy, like your refrigerator.

These 4 ways to care for your new home are just the beginning of your journey as new homeowners. Take it one step at a time, and enjoy meeting your neighbors, getting involved in your community, and decorating your home any way you want!

Are you new to the Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region? Stop by CG Shepherd Realty, LLC for a list of community phone numbers and school schedules.

The Benefits of Having a Real Estate Buyer's Agent

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases of your life. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or a real estate veteran, finding a real estate Buyer's Agent to walk you through the process offers huge benefits.

A Buyer's Agent is there to represent your best interest throughout the entire home buying process, from your first showing to the closing table. There is no replacement for having one trusted professional as your own personal guide.

Here are just some of the benefits of having a home Buyer's Agent.

Benefits of having a Real Estate Buyer's Agent

You can work with one person who…

  • Knows exactly what you're looking for in a property
  • Searches for properties for you
  • Schedules showings and guides you through them
  • Recommends an asking price
  • Negotiates contracts on your behalf
  • Reviews contractual documents and paperwork with you
  • And much more!

Think about what a difference this can make...

Do you want to view 10 different homes?

Instead of having to call each listing agent to set-up an appointment yourself, a Buyer's Agent will make all the calls for you. Plus, he or she is an expert at scheduling a series of home showings to make the best use of everyone’s time. 

Does the mere mention of contingencies, addendums and overall legal paperwork make your head spin? 

A home Buyer’s Agent will give you clarity and confidence in your contract, helping you avoid confusion and buyer’s remorse.

Do you need to find a reputable mortgage broker or home inspector?

Your Buyer's Agent can refer you to several other local professionals you will need during home buying.

Ultimately, a real estate Buyer's Agent is one person who you trust to have your best interest in mind. He or she is a professional, an expert on the home buying process. Who better to work with for one of the largest purchases you'll make during your lifetime?

The home buying process can be complex, but a Buyer's Agent will help you through every step of it until you hold those keys in your hand.

Do you want the benefits of having a Buyer’s Agent?

Contact us at CG Shepherd Realty, LLC to speak with one of our licensed Realtors® who will represent your best interests as a real estate Buyer’s Agent.

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Home Buying 101: How to Get the Most Out of Home Showings (Part 2)

Home Showings part 2

Home showings are typically scheduled to range between 20-30 minutes long, depending on the size of the home. So how can you get the most out of that limited window of time inside each home? Here are some practical showing tips for home buyers to get the most out of home showings.

Take Notes!

Whether you’re going to see one house or six at a time, it’s important to take notes for you to reference later. With the limited amount of time you get inside each home it’s going to be difficult for you to remember all that you observe and have questions about. It will be much easier to recall later if you jot it down.

If you’re seeing multiple houses close together, taking notes will help you to distinguish between the different properties, which will make it much less confusing. It can also save everyone time from having to schedule additional showings of the same home simply because you can’t remember what you liked, or didn’t like.

Use All Your Senses & Ask Questions

Once you’re inside the home, now is the time to let your curiosity run wild. Ask questions when you have them. If your agent doesn’t know the answer immediately, he or she can make a note to find out later.

Remember to activate your senses. Don’t just use your eyes when you’re viewing a home. You are allowed to touch the floor, woodwork, cabinets, etc., but be sure to keep an eye on any children present.

Don’t forget about your sense of smell too. Does the home smell musty, smoky, or worse? That can tip you off to look for and ask about potential mildew, mold and such. Granted, sometimes a home has been vacant and closed up for some time, which can make it smell stale. Your agent can tell you that.

Picture Yourself There

Now it’s time to activate your imagination. Can you see yourself, your family, your belongings in this home? Consider where your large pieces of furniture could go. You may even want to have measurements on-hand of particularly large pieces to be sure they would fit in a given room.

Try to see beyond the possessions that are currently there. As a homeowner, there are numerous changes and upgrades you can do. After all, if you buy it, then it will be your home. So consider what would be an easy change, like painting the walls, and what may be more time-consuming and expensive, like tearing out a wall or building an addition.

Listen to Your Gut

If you walk into a home and immediately know it’s not the right one for you, then be honest and let your real estate agent know. Explain why you feel that way as best you can. It can give a clue to another home your agent could show you, or another one to cross off your list.

Plus, this could allow you to spend a little more time at a home you really do like. Depending on the scheduling of the showings, you can travel to the next home on your list immediately. If you find there’s a little time to kill, take the opportunity to look over your notes of what you’ve already seen and give some feedback to your Realtor.

Next Steps After Home Showings

This is where knowing the speed of the market comes into play. If you have time to make a decision and consider making an offer, then take time to go over your notes and look at the photos and information again.

Be honest with yourself, your partner, and your buyer agent to let them know what you liked and didn’t like about the homes you saw. Reference your notes. If you didn’t find the right fit today, maybe you need to reevaluate your search criteria. Or maybe you want to schedule a second showing of one or two homes you saw.

Scheduling multiple showings of the same property is okay. Just be considerate of the current resident if the home is occupied. Each time you want to go in, they have to go out, and stay out for a while. They may want to do some additional cleaning too, or have children and/or pets they have to keep occupied during that time. So keep in mind the time it takes for the resident, and even your realtor, to revisit a property.

Be prepared. Take notes. Process your next steps.

If you are beginning this phase of home buying and don’t have a buyer agent yet, it is worth considering. You can see how they are particularly helpful at this stage of the home buying process, but they are there to support you every step of the way. They are there to represent you and have your best interest in mind.

Contact us at CG Shepherd Realty, LLC to speak to our qualified REALTORS® about our buyer services.

Read How to Make the Most of Home Showings (Part 1) for more on taking your online home search offline.

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Home Buying 101: How to Get the Most Out of Home Showings

Home Buying 101 how to get the most out of home showings

So you've been looking at homes online for a while now, maybe even setup a saved search to email you properties that seem to be a good match. But now you're ready to take your online home buying search offline. The next step for most people in the home buying process is to schedule home showings to view properties in-person.

Home showings are not typically very long. Most are scheduled to range between 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the home. So how can you get the most out of that limited window of time? Here are some showing tips for home buyers to get the most out of showings.

Selecting What Homes to View

First, you need to decide what homes you actually want to view in-person. Home showings take time for you, your real estate agent, and the current resident of the home. So you need to narrow down your list of homes you want to see. Here are some ways to do that:

  1. Look online at property details and photos multiple times.
  2. Solidify your "must-haves". These are features of the home that are deal-breakers. You and/or your partner need to be clear on what those features are.
  3. Ask questions ahead of time. If you are wondering about some features of the property or have questions about information you don't see or don't understand on the MLS sheet, ask your real estate agent. Your Buyer Agent can get the answer to see if the home makes the cut to the must-see list.
  4. Ask your Realtor for additional recommendations. Your local realtor is a wealth of information and has likely been inside many of the homes that are for sale before. He or she may know of a property that just came on the market or can recommend another that maybe didn't come up in your initial search.

Caution: If You Can't Afford It, Don't Go See It!

When you're deciding what homes to see in-person, know your budget. You don't want to fall in love with a home you simply can't afford.

There are reasons for that listing price (square footage, great features, views, etc.) that warrant the price tag. If you see that and then see the homes that are truly within your budget, you'll likely compare them and be disappointed. It can also make it difficult to commit to the right home for you right now.

Yes, it can be disheartening to know you can't afford that dream home yet, but save yourself the heartache, stick with homes in your price range, and consider saving up for that dream home in the future.

The Logistics of Scheduling Home Showings

Some home buyers will call the listing agent of every home they want to see to schedule a showing. This is another instance where having a Buyer Agent is a great asset. One Buyer Agent can make all those calls for you and efficiently schedule a series of home showings.

An experienced real estate agent considers factors like allowing driving distance between properties, overlapping showing windows, and planning the best route that will be a great time saver for everyone involved. Your Realtor can also realistically recommend how many homes you can see in a given timeframe so you don't get overwhelmed.

Wouldn't it be helpful to have a professional walk you through each home, answer questions you have during the showing, and be a sounding board for comparing and contrasting homes afterward? Those are just some of the things a Buyer Agent can do for you.

Is There a Need for Speed?

Your final step of preparation is to know the pace of the current local real estate market. Again, your Realtor can answer this question. You can also ask other people you know who are currently looking or have recently bought or sold a home in the same area.

In a fast-paced market, if you don't make an offer today, someone else will tomorrow, or later that afternoon. In a moderate or slower-paced market, you have more time to process what you see and weigh your options before deciding whether or not to make an offer. Find this out ahead of time so you're prepared with the right mindset going into the showings.

If you're ready to take the next step in your home search in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region, contact us at CG Shepherd Realty, LLC to find a Buyer Agent who will help you schedule home showings and represent your best interests throughout the home buying process.

Read How to Get the Most Out of Home Showings (Part 2) for practical tips to optimize your time inside each home.

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4 Tips for Staging Your Home to Sell

4 Tips for Staging Your Home to Sell

In today's real estate market, it is more important than ever to make your home for sale as appealing as possible to potential buyers. Whether they are viewing photos online or personally walking through your home for a showing or open house, home buyers are looking at your home with a critical eye, comparing it to dozens of others on the market. To get your home sold, you must prepare your home to undergo this critique and come out on top.

We like to call the process "staging." Some home owners hire a professional home stager to bring in furniture and decor, but for many homes, it only requires some small cosmetic changes that you can easily do yourself.

Clear Out the Clutter:

How can home buyers see the best features of your home when they're distracted by clutter? Clutter comes in many forms: piles of papers, clothes strewn about, or even an overwhelming number of photos or tchotchkes on display. Whatever its form, clutter is not only a distraction, but also tends to make your home appear smaller because valuable space is taken up and taken over. Here are some tips for tackling clutter in your home to get it ready to sell.

De-Personalize:

Speaking of photos and figurines, consider how easy, or difficult, it is for a home buyer to walk into your home and see themselves living there. It's often hard enough to do with differing tastes in furniture and decor. So make it easier for them. Consider removing some of your personal items from view, such as family photos, sports memorabilia, or your doll collection. Then buyers can walk into your house envisioning how their own personal touches could make this their home instead of yours.

How you store your personalized items, and previously mentioned clutter, is also important. You don't want to crowd your closets or garage making your home's storage areas appear smaller or insufficient. Here are some great ideas for stashing away your stuff.

Clean Every Nook & Cranny:

The cobwebs in the corner and dust on the windowsills aren't a good representation of your home. Clean everything, even more than what you do in your normal routine. Really scrub the grout of your bathroom tile and dust off the baseboards throughout your home. Don't forget about your appliances too. Wipe off the splattered grease from your stovetop and fingerprints from your refrigerator. It's amazing what a thorough cleaning can do to make your home look its best.

Make Minor Repairs:

It's easy to put minor home repairs on a to-do list for later and then never get around to them. If you're preparing your home to sell, it's time you dust off your tool box and take care of these repairs. Perhaps you have a leaky faucet you've been meaning to fix or a broken piece of trim just waiting to be nailed back to the wall. Check the small things you use everyday and have probably grown accustomed to using as is, like that wiggly door knob or light fixtures with burnt out or missing light bulbs.

Completing these small repairs makes a world of difference to prospective home buyers. They won't be calculating the time, effort and money they would have to spend on all those repairs themselves. Plus, it gives your home a finished, well-maintained look.

If you're considering taking on larger home repairs, talk to your Realtor first. As a professional, your real estate agent can tell you what repairs are worth making yourself and what is better left to the home buyer.

Staging your home to sell takes some time and effort, but it can really pay off by helping your home sell faster. If you already have your home listed for sale, it's not too late! Complete these recommendations and ask your Realtor to take new photos so that your home will look its very best online...and in person.

If you are considering listing your home for sale, contact us at CG Shepherd Realty, LLC for an initial consultation, home valuation and more tips for preparing your home to sell.