Category Archives: Home maintenance

12 Tips to Sell Your House When You Have a Pet

Your pet is part of the family and usually lives quite comfortably inside your house with you. But, when you are getting ready to sell the house you need to consider the pet with each step of the process.

Getting your house ready to sell, when you have a pet, means you need to look carefully at how your pet affects the house. Does it shed leaving tumbleweed sized hair balls to float around the floor? Is there a pet smell? You may want to ask your REALTOR or a true friend about the smell. You and other family  members may not notice it but strangers will. A pet odor may be in the duct work, the carpet, drapes and more so get a reliable opinion on this issue. Has your pet damaged any part of your house?

These things need to be considered to get the house ready to sell. And, since your pet will be living in the house with you, you need to  pay attention to cleaning up each day so buyers don’t turn around and leave before really seeing the house.

Here are some tips for getting the house ready to sell and for caring for your dog when the house is showing.

  1. Clean all the doors and windows of pet-nose dirt.
  2. Repair and paint doors where your dog has scratched. Keep the paint on hand for when you move out and need to make last minute touch-ups.
  3. Keep pet toys picked up.1386685309553
  4. Clean bird cages, litter boxes, hamster and reptile cages more often to keep fresher.
  5. Decide if the aquarium is moving with you. If not, now is the time to give the fish away and take down the system. Long distance moves are difficult with fish and reptiles. Research how to do it and make plans now.
  6. Invest in a robot-style vacuum cleaner that runs all day to keep the pet hair cleaned up.
  7. Fill in holes in the back yard where Spot digs.
  8. Repair fence damage caused by the pet. If you’ve had to fill in holes around the fence with concrete blocks and other barriers, find a way to restore the look of the original fence and keep Spot inside the yard at the same time. An altered fence will not only look junked up but will signal a “project” for the new owners. Most buyers want move-in ready.
  9. Repair chewed wood inside the house. While you’re at it, look at all other wood repairs on doors, windows and frames that need touch up.
  10. Pick up pet food bowls after each meal to keep the floor clean and clear.
  11. Repair damaged flooring.
  12. Replace pet-stained carpet for a healthy and fresh environment. A builder’s grade carpet in a neutral color makes it move-in ready and shouldn’t bust the bank account.

Eileen Saunders, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655  662-404-0816 or 662-234-5344 Equal Housing

Photo: eileensaunders (c) 2016 all rights reserved

6 Ways to Prepare Your House for Sale: Home Office

If you work at home you might be lucky to have a dedicated office or library room to use for an office. If not, your home office might take over a spare bedroom, one of the dining areas in the house or share space in the bonus room with the kid’s entertainment center.25495271534_f293907b67_o.jpg

Either way, if you are selling your house, you need to keep your office space clean and as free of clutter as possible. Buyers snoop, so take that into consideration when planning your home staging. If you keep confidential information in your office, don’t leave it where others can spy with the corner of their eye.

Here are some tips to keeping your home office active while selling your house:

  1. Store files and paperwork that you don’t need to everyday operations. If you have things that can go into storage or packed into the garage, put them there to declutter the office space.
  2. Remove furniture that makes the room look too small. If you have large office furniture in a bedroom, the buyers cannot fully visualize how a bed might fit in there.
  3. Clean your desk and put back only what you need for day to day operations. Paper weights,  photos, and other things that aren’t necessary should get packed away. You are moving, and will have to pack them eventually.
  4. Store all personal and confidential/client information where people can’t see them.
  5. If you share space in a bonus room or bedroom or dining area, make sure your office does not overpower the purpose of the room.
  6. Your town may have locations for shared office space that you can rent while your house is on the market.

Eileen Saunders, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655, 662-404-0816 or 662-234-5344 Equal Housing

photo credit: Not Another Desk Setup via photopin (license)

Home Buying: 8 Possible Deal Breakers

You found your dream home, or so you think. The offer you made to the homeowner was accepted and now you have to hire an inspector to make sure it checks out A-OK.

Hopefully there won’t be any major flaws to make you think twice about your offer.  A satisfactory inspection is a contingency to the contract and if there is something major, you can ask for it to be fixed, decided to fix it yourself or walk away from the house completely.

Here are 8 possible deal breakers you should be aware of:

  1. Water Damage. With every water mark and rusty pipe, ask for an explanation.  A water ring on the ceiling the size of the toilet pipe on the floor above it could mean a constant dripping problem. OR, it could simply mean there was an overflow a few years ago and the water mark is just now showing up as a stain.  Rusty pipes, dampness by the A/C unit in the attic or hallway closet could be a bigger issue.
  2. Asbestos. This hazardous material was used in many homes that were built before July 1989.  Removal must be done by a professional and could be costly.

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    Courtesy of Creative Commons
  3. Lead paint. Lead paint was used in older homes and could be a hazard. Removal may be expensive so have a professional give you a quote on removal.
  4. Pests. Termites, roaches, rats, mice and more can cause extensive and expensive damage to a home.  Sometimes the repair can be expensive but not all of the time. Have a termite or pest control professional quote you a price to take care of the problem.
  5. Mold. Some molds can be easily remedied, but long-term invasive damage from a pipe, roof leak or irrigation can cause a bigger problem.
  6. Electrical or plumbing problems. Always have these taken care of by a professional.
  7. Foundation issues. Foundations tend to crack from settling. Some cracks are minor, some can be a major problem. Why are the cracks there? What caused them? If you really don’t feel good about the cracks, seek the advice of a foundation specialist. It will cost more than the initial inspection but the peace of mind will be worth it
  8. Old roof. A homes inspector can assess roofing issues from missing shingles, wood or structural issues. An old roof will need to be replaced and can be expensive. In addition to the inspector’s report, a roofer can assess the remaining life of the roof.

While there are a few other issues that can make you walk away, these eight are the most common, so be prepared to consider any of them.

Each of these things can be worked out if you really want the house and not all houses have more than one or two of these issues to consider. Meet with your real estate agent. Together, construct a list of things you have to have repaired and what you can live with or fix on your own. If the cost of items to fix yourself is high, renegotiate a credit at closing. Until you sign off stating the inspection contingency is clear of issues so you can move toward closing, you, the buyer, are still in the decision-making seat.

Know that the seller may think your request is too extensive. The listing and the property condition disclosure may state the issues that need repair but the owner will not be responsible for. If that is the case, you and your agent should have known this from the time you started considering the house. The seller could also state that he will only pay a particular amount on repairs. Be prepared for negotiating, but also be prepared that the seller could walk away, too, if you ask for too much.

So, do you want the house or not?

Thanks to Kaye Ladd, Broker at Tommy Morgan Realtors branch office for contributing to this article.

photo credit: Cracked Red Brick Wall via photopin (license)

Eileen Saunders, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655 662-404-0816/662-234-5344  Equal Housing

20 Ways to Prepare Your House For Sale: General Tips

There are a lot of things to do to get ready for putting your house on the market for sale. Whether you use a real estate professional or go FSBO, these tips can help you get your house ready to sell.

  1. Consider renting a storage unit for unneeded items until you move. A decluttered house will look great to buyers.

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    Courtesy Creative Commons
  2. Pack up about 30% of  your stuff. You are moving, right? So you don’t need those out-of-season and things you don’t use often items right now.
  3. Remove any furniture that clutters the room. Too much furniture can offer a mental challenge to a buyer who has to place their items in your room.  If a room looks too small because there are too many pieces of furniture, then it is too small.
  4. Paint walls and ceilings that need it. Use a neutral color, not necessarily the trendy color because the current trends may not apply to all buyers. Keep it neutral.
  5. Fix popcorn finish on ceilings that have some damage. Patching sometimes works, other times makes it worse. Consult a professional for help.
  6. Clean carpet if it is in good condition. Replace the carpet if it looks awful and not cleanable. Builder’s grade carpet in a neutral color is both economical and looks great.
  7. Empty closets of things you don’t need. Put these things in the storage unit.
  8. Fold your linen closet neatly and remove most of what’s there to make the closet look larger.
  9. Clean blinds and curtains if applicable.
  10. Upgrade light bulbs to brighten up the interior rooms. Brighter makes rooms appear bigger.
  11. Replace all burned out bulbs.
  12. Clean light fixtures and ceiling fans
  13. Remove family photos, awards, certificates. Let the buyers imagine the house is theirs instead of reminding them of who you are.
  14. Repair plumbing leaks
  15. Make minor repairs (screens, dents and dings)
  16. Replace worn door knobs and cabinet handles
  17. Fix/replace grout
  18. Get rid of pet odors and repair pet damage. If more occurs between listing and closing, at least you have years of damage repaired for the showing. Then, fix up the rest of the damage when  you move out.
  19. If your attic is filled at the entryway, pack those stored items into a storage unit or move them to appear organized in the attic. Let the buyers see past your stuff to how large the attic really is.
  20. Make a list of your major repairs to disclose to the buyers.

Eileen Saunders, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford MS 38655, 662-404-0816 or 662-234-5344 Equal Housing

photo credit: Unpacking. via photopin (license)

What is 203K?

Want to buy a fixer-upper but don’t think you’ll have the money for the remodel after you buy the house?

Ask your mortgage professional about a 203K loan.

A 203K loan is backed by FHA and combines the price of the house and the price of construction into one loan with one closing cost. The FHA 203K loan is great for helping you pay for a remodel of your current home, too.

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This might be too far gone for a 203K but you get the picture. It’s a loan for a fixer-upper.

There are a few fixer-uppers on the market in Oxford and Lafayette County. Some might need a lot of work, some just need a little updating.  If you’d like to see any for possible purchase, please let me know…I’ll be happy to show them to you. But first, talk to your mortgage company or mortgage department in your local bank for more information and to get pre-approved.  Sellers will take offers more seriously if you have been pre-approved for a loan when you place your offer.

Eileen Saunders, Realtor with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road Suite 101, Oxford MS 38655, 662-404-0816/662-234-5344 Equal housing

photo credit: Broken House via photopin (license)

20 Ways to Prepare the Exterior of Your House For Sale

The first impression people have of your house is earned from what they see on the outside. If you house is kept well and looks inviting, chances are the inside is, too, and buyers will gain an interest in seeing what’s inside.

The truth is that some buyers will decide whether to go inside or drive by to the next house by seeing the outside.  I have actually cancelled appointments shortly after arriving because the outside of the house wasn’t in good condition and the buyers didn’t want to waste their time going in.

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Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Here are some tips to make buyers want to come inside:

  1. Spruce up the lawn by cutting, trimming, weeding and removing all yard clutter.
  2. Weed and apply fresh mulch to flower beds – it gives a fresh and maintained look for a low cost.
  3. Trim your trees and bushes.
  4. Apply fresh paint to wooden fences or power wash them to look fresh.
  5. Power wash the home’s exterior, driveway, walkway, patio and deck.
  6. If the house needs it, consider painting the exterior or at least the trim.
  7. Caulk around all doors and windows to give a tightly built appearance.
  8. Clean gutters and make sure all gutters and downspouts are attached.
  9. Paint the front door.
  10. Place potted plants near the door.
  11. Tighten and clean all door handles.
  12. Clean windows.
  13. Make sure your house numbers are easy to see.
  14. Buy a new welcome mat.
  15. If your shutters hardware has rusted, clean it up.
  16. Replace a dented/rusted mailbox.
  17. Plant seasonal flowers for extra color.
  18. Decorate gently during the holidays.
  19. Roof stains can be easily washed off and give a “new roof” appearance.
  20. Update outdoor lights or at least make sure the light bulbs work.

6 Things That Could Destroy Your House

There is a television series on The Weather Channel called “Secrets of the Earth.”  One episode is titled “Abandoned Places” and focuses on deterioration of property that has been abandoned for any variety of reasons (Detroit, Katrina …).

While it shows drastic deterioration, I would like you to keep in mind that any time you do not take care of your house and other buildings on your property, the environment can work to destroy it. Depending on where you live, that damage can come on fairly quickly.

Make sure you stay active on your home’s repairs. These include:

  • Cracks in brick mortar that may allow moisture in toward the walls
  • Missing tiles/shingles on the roof which allow leaks
  • Cracked or missing caulk around doors and windows letting moisture, air and insects through
  • Wood rot on eaves, soffits, door and window frames, and shutters
  • Crumbling or cracked concrete in your slab, garage floor and driveway that could erode further
  • Water ponding at your foundation which could cause water damage that you cannot see

Many houses in Oxford are second homes and stay vacant for long periods.  Others may be for CAM00261sale and already vacated because of a job in another town.  If you own a single-family home that is vacant, plan to visit it regularly or hire someone to check on it. Your lawn care company may not be equipped to help you with this so find a concierge-type company to keep an eye on things.

Meanwhile, I hope you get a chance to watch this episode of “Secrets of the Earth.” It’s pretty interesting.