Choosing The Right Listing Agreement

When listing your home with a Broker, you will be required to sign an agreement.  This document will outline all of the agreed upon terms, including the asking price of the property, the broker commission, length of the agreement, cancellation policy (if any) and other details that will govern how the listing is handled.  As a homeowner, it’s important to choose the right listing agreement to fit your needs.

Evaluate Your Options

When you decide to sell your home, talk with several different Broker.  Speak with them over the phone, meet with them in person, ask for references or do anything that you can to get a feel for how they do business.  In real estate, punctuality is a must.  The Broker that you choose should return your calls, answer your questions and should provide a listing agreement that coincides with any verbal agreements that you may have had regarding the listing.  For instance, if you tell your Broker that you only want to list your property for six months, make sure the listing agreement reflects six months and not one year or longer.  In addition, make sure that your asking price is the same in the agreement as you agreed upon in earlier discussions.

Exclusive Right-To-Sell Real Estate Agreement

This contract is the most common in the real estate industry.  With this agreement, the Broker will earn a commission regardless of whether they sell the house or you sell the house yourself.  Always make sure you understand what you are signing.

Open Real Estate Listing Agreement

This type of contract allows a homeowner to list with more than one Broker in a non-exclusive manner.  The agent responsible for presenting a buyer who purchases the property will receive the commission, which means Broker will compete to see who can sell the house first.  If the owner eventually sells the home without the help of a Broker, they are not required to pay anyone a commission.  An Open Listing Agreement is not common with Broker, but it is one option to consider.

Exclusive Real Estate Agency Listing

This type of agreement requires that the homeowner list their property with only one real estate agency.  Unlike an Open Listing Agreement, where the homeowner can list their property with multiple Broker, an Exclusive Agency Listing entails only one agency being granted permission to list the home.

Read The Fine Print

Before signing any type of contract, homeowners must read over every detail to ensure that it represents the full agreement between themselves and their Broker.  Some things to consider include the length of the contract.  Some Broker prefer to have a minimum of one year to list a property, but the homeowner will have the option to negotiate.  Some owners prefer a shorter term, such as one to six months.

Every real estate contract should outline a cancellation policy, which will provide details surrounding a release and/or fees and penalties.  Some agents will offer a cancellation policy that allows the homeowner to cancel the contract by providing a 30-day written notice at any time.

Christmas Decorating Ideas

Along with the Christmas festivities comes the desire to decorate your home with twinkling lights, wreaths, trees and even yard ornaments featuring the theme of the holidays.  If you want to make your next Christmas decorating venture a real holiday treat, consider the following ideas:


Homemade Wreath Decorations

Create your own lighted wreath by taking a short strand of mini-lights and wrapping them around a plain wreath.  You can use either multi-color or clear lights, and this approach can easily be used for both indoor wreaths and garland decorations.

Creating A Modern Centerpiece With Classic Holiday Style

Use a clear glass vase or bowl as a centerpiece and fill it with round glass ornaments.  For Christmas, the combination of silver and gold or red and green will be ideal.  When paired with the beauty of a simplistic glass holder, the ornaments will add a very modern twist to a very traditional color combination.

Holiday Decorating Scents

A nice bowl of fresh fruit, including oranges, tangerines and apples will give a nice welcoming holiday scent to your home.  For many, the smell of fresh fruit is reminiscent of the December season as fruit baskets are common gifts that are exchanged during Christmas.  You can place the bowl on your dining room table or in the family room, both of which will offer guests the ability to appreciate your style.

Display Your Christmas Cards

Take some felt or fabric and create a hanging decorative piece to show off all of the Christmas cards you receive.  You can use a small safety pin to attach the cards to the fabric, so that the beauty of the front of the card is seen.  This can be hung on a wall, or support post or beam or the railing leading up your stairs.

Turn Out The Lights

Turn out your normal overhead lighting each night, light up the tree and burn candles throughout the house for a peaceful and relaxing setting.  Watch your favorite Christmas movie, sing carols and just share good times together.

Decorating for Thanksgiving using the Bounty of the season

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Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season, a time spent with family and friends.  It is also the time of year when we can spend a lot of money, and in these tough times finding ways to save during the holidays is always welcome.  Using the natural bounty available at this time of year is a great, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly option for decorating for the holidays.  Here are a few creative ideas for your Thanksgiving decorating!

Harvest Vegetables

The vegetables that are available during the harvest season are not only great to eat, but are also a beautiful and inexpensive way to decorate your home and table.  Arrange some pumpkins or large squash on your front steps or by the door.  Also use smaller squash as part of a table centerpiece or as candleholders.  Corn is another great vegetable that can be used as a decoration during Thanksgiving.  A bunch of corn hung on the door or arranged in a vase can create a stunning look at virtually no cost.

Colorful Leaves

The colors of the autumn season are some of the most beautiful of the year, and collecting leaves to use both in crafts and as part of seasonal decorations is a great and inexpensive idea.  Leaves can be a beautiful addition to flower arrangements or can make great arrangements all on their own.  They can also be used for festive wreaths for the front door or to make Thanksgiving themed garlands.

Nuts, Berries, And Branches

As the autumn season turns to winter, natural decorative items such as nuts, berries, and pine branches can be great choices not only for the Thanksgiving season but can easily transition into the Christmas season.  Adding some walnuts to your Thanksgiving table or some berries to a wreath can add a nice touch that will last you through the season.

Getting creative with the natural bounty at this time of year is a great way to give your home a beautiful and traditional holiday look without breaking the bank.

 

Create A Spooky Yard For Halloween

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Halloween can be one of the most child-like and fun holidays of the year.  From the adorable and excited children in their costumes to costume parties for adults, Halloween is really a time to let out the kid in all of us and have a good time.  Whether just entertaining the Trick-or-Treaters or having a party, creating a spooky looking yard and exterior for your home can really add to the atmosphere of the event.  Here are a few great ideas to make your home and yard look “spooktacular”!

Pumpkins And Jack-O’-Lanterns

Autumn is a great time of year to find lots of decorations that come from nature.  Naturally when we think of Halloween we think of Jack-o’-Lanterns, and having plenty of these on your front step and in your yard will give it a great eerie effect.  Also, rather than just cutting out the traditional faces try tracing out other images such as witches and cats.  Painting pumpkins is also a great idea, and be sure to include many of different sizes.  Remember to use battery operated tea lights or flashlights rather than candles in order to prevent accidents.

Scary Signs And Window Decorations

Creating scary signs or gravestones is a really inexpensive and creative way to make your front yard look scary.  Use old pieces of wood to create signs that welcome your guests to your house of horrors or to design old-looking grave markers.  Also don’t forget to decorate your front windows to match the look.  Hang dark colored drapes, suspend fake cobwebs, and add a few fake spiders to complete the look.  Lights can also add a nice spooky effect, but avoid candles for safety reasons.

Don’t Forget Your Trees!

A great place to add scary Halloween décor to your front yard is in your trees.  Hang fake bats or a ghost, string some lights, or set a witch on one of the branches.

These are just a few of the fun, scary, and inexpensive ways in which you can make your property the spookiest on the block. But most importantly, don’t forget to get yourself into the spirit of the day and find a great costume that matches your newly created house of horrors!

A Single Woman’s Guide To Home Ownership

The traditional view of home ownership usually includes a married couple, but times have changed, and more and more single women are entering the housing market.  In fact, almost twice as many single women are purchasing homes than single men, and almost one in five homes purchased today are purchased by single women.  So why are single women making up such a large part of the housing market, and what are the special considerations single women should make when purchasing a home?

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What Women Want!

The demographics of single women buying homes are quite diverse.  From young professional women in their 20s to divorced mothers in their 40s, there are really no typical single women making home purchases, and their needs are just as diverse.  Overall, however, there do appear to be a few trends in the market, and here is a list of what the average single woman is looking for in a new home.

Most spend less than $200,000
Prefer two bedrooms or more
Less likely to choose new construction
Will compromise size and cost to get other amenities, but not location
Smaller spaces are acceptable, and many prefer condos
Desire security and safe neighborhoods with a strong community feel
Look for close proximity to stores, shopping, and fitness centers

Things To Consider

If you are a single woman looking to enter the housing market, or know someone who is, then what should be considered before making the leap into home ownership?

Essentially the considerations are much the same as those of any homeowner.  Taking a realistic look at your financial situation is always important.  Seeking out the advice of a qualified financial advisor and a REALTOR® can make the process less difficult.  It is also important to be sure you are not entering into any unwise loan agreements that may not be wise down the road, such as no-money-down deals.  It is also important to have a clear picture of what your needs as a homeowner are, and that you don’t settle for something that will not work with your particular lifestyle.

Getting To Know The Neighborhood Before Buying A Home

There is a reason the term “location, location, location” is used so commonly within the real estate industry.  The location of a property is one of the most important considerations when selecting a home, as it will affect the value of your home, your day-to-day life, and even your own and your family’s safety.  So what can you do to find out a little about the area in which you are considering a home purchase, and what in particular should you be looking for?

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Know Your Needs

The biggest obstacle to finding a home in an area that can meet all of your needs is not knowing clearly what those needs are.  While it may be nice to live near the lake, or by your favorite restaurant, what is it that you and your family will need and want in order to have an enjoyable and functional lifestyle?  Facilities such as grocery stores, good schools, and community centers may be necessary for families, whereas access to theaters, good restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife may be important to young professionals.

Get The Info

When searching for your dream home, knowing where to look before starting out can help make the task easier and faster. So before getting started with the house hunting, do a little neighborhood hunting first.  There are a number of resources online, from municipal Web sites to forums, that you can use to find out about prospective areas that may be right for you.  Contacting a real estate agent is also another great resource in finding an area that can meet your needs.

Check It Out For Yourself

All the research in the world can never replace experience, and if you are planning to purchase a home you will want to be sure the location is right before making what will likely be the biggest investment of your life.  Taking a walk in the area, trying out the local facilities, and getting to know some of the locals can really help you to determine whether the area will be a fit for you and your family.  You may also want to check out the area at different times of the day, or even the year, if these are considerations that may affect your happiness in your new home.

A little extra work can really mean not only choosing a home that is right for you, but making sure it is in an area that can meet all of your needs.

Maintenance Tips For Your Home

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Whether it’s spring, summer, fall or winter, it’s important to take the necessary steps to keep your home standing tall every day.

Gutter Clutter

It’s always important to make sure that the gutters on your roof are cleared, but it’s especially necessary during the autumn months.  During this time, trees begin to change and leaves begin to fall, which means your gutters can easily become clogged.  If this happens, it could prevent rainwater from properly draining and may even result in damage.  It’s also important to check your gutters throughout the year for a buildup of ice, dirt and other elements that may create a blockage.

Shingle Care

If your roof has shingles, you probably already know that spring is the best time to check for damage.  After the winter is over, it’s important to check your roof for any damage that may have resulted from heavy snow and/or a buildup of ice.  In addition, it’s essential that you check for damaged shingles after a storm.  If you notice one or more that needs repaired or replacing, choose a day with no rain in the forecast.  Otherwise, you will be dealing with a roof repair on a slippery surface.

Heating & Cooling How-To

It’s important to maintain both your heating and cooling units to ensure their longevity.  One way of doing this is to replace filters annually or earlier if needed.  This not only helps to keep your home’s air cleaner, but it also protects your heating or cooling unit from malfunctioning due to improper filter maintenance.

How to Spot Roof Leaks

If you suspect a leak but aren’t quite sure what to look for, you’re not alone.  Although some signs, such as water spots on the wall, ceiling or floor, are obvious, not every indication is that clear.  Possible signs that you may have a leak include a weak floor or damp carpet.  If you detect either of these warning signs, consult a professional roofing expert to help find the problem and correct it as quickly as possible.  If left untreated, a roof leak could damage the structure of the home by weakening the frame or, in some cases, even creating a problem with mold and moisture buildup.

Detector Detective

It’s important to check your smoke detectors regularly to ensure that they are working properly and ready to alert your family if needed.  Always make sure that the batteries in each unit are working and replaced on a regular basis.