Doorsteps blog posts

Blog entry by Doorsteps

Moving In To Your New Home – Is There Anything You Forgot To Ask?

You’ve come through all the drama of buying a house successfully!  You got a great price on the home of your dreams.  The kitchen is amazing!  The bathrooms are of a grand scale and the windows don’t let in too much light, helping to keep a grip on climate control in your home (and, thereby, utility bills!).  Are there any questions you forgot to ask?

Circuit Breaker Box

Ought-o.  You are plugging in your appliances and devices and – all of a sudden, the lights go out!  What happened?  Was there a surge in the neighbourhood?  No?  It’s just your brand new home that is out of electricity?  Where are the fuses and circuit breaker box located?  Is every room or area operating on electricity labelled, and correctly?  Can you determine what some names mean?  Do you know what the wire colours mean?  Since 2006, British law has required certain colours to be used in all new installations.  Brown means the wire is live; a blue wire is neutral, and yellow- and green-coloured wires stand for Earth.  If your wiring does not have these colours, it is most likely outdated.  Don’t fool around with electricity; call a professional electrician to help.

Pest Control

Any number of uninvited guests could be making themselves at home in your new home.  Before you move in all your packed boxes, look around and make sure you aren’t getting any “extras” with the property you purchase.  Clean and wipe out all cabinets.  Clean the carpets or have them professionally steam-cleaned.  You can try do-it-yourself methods to get rid of roaches, mice, rats, termites, or even bats, but to be able to enjoy your new home properly, you might want to call out a professional pest removal service.  They can also help check for any signs or signals that you may be sharing your home with unwanted visitors.

Plumbing Fixtures

Another possible problem that might come to light once you’ve moved in are plumbing leaks.  A home inspector should have diagnosed any potential plumbing issues for you at the home’s closing, but you never know – it is possible that some leaks won’t show up in a property inspection.  Keep an eye out for dripping kitchen or bath faucets or running toilets.  One trick is to check your water meter, then make sure you don’t use any water for two hours (let’s say as a good example), then check it again.  If the meter’s measurement has changed, water is running from somewhere in your home.

Try to think of as many things like these as you can and get the answers before you close on your new home.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Advantages of Selling Your Home Before Buying a New One

Timing can be everything.  Sure, there are some risks if you sell your home before you have found a new one – where are you going to live until you?  How and where are you going to store your belongings if you don’t find another home to buy before you have to leave the one you’ve just sold?  There are, however, advantages to selling your home before purchasing a new home.

You’re In Control

If you aren’t trying to balance two properties at the same time, it puts you in a better position to be in control of the price of the home you’re selling.  You don’t have to be out by any certain date and, therefore, there is no pressure to take the first offer you receive.  In fact, in many instances, if you don’t have to move quickly to sell your home, you might be able to negotiate a better price.  You want to sell, but, you’re in no necessary rush.

Stronger Buying Position

When selling your home, wouldn’t you prefer a buyer with ready cash and/or ready access to a pre-approval to purchase your home?  The same is true when you find that home you want to buy; if you sell your home first, you will have money in the bank to negotiate with the seller of your next home.  That seller would almost always prefer a buyer who already has the cash in hand to make a clean purchase.

Housing Prices

What is the housing market doing at the time you decide you want to sell your home and buy another?  If you see that prices are falling, it’s not a bad idea to be able to wait and see how low they will go.  If you’ve done your research and you know the area you in which you want to buy your next home, study the property values.  What’s for sale there?  What can you get the best deal on, while still getting the next home of your dreams?

If you sell your home and don’t purchase another right away, you can always rent for a little while.  There can be some disadvantages to selling before you are committed to your next home but, all in all, the positives can outweigh the negatives.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Knowing What to Show (and What Not to) in a Home Showing

You’ve made the decision to sell your home. You’ve chosen an estate agent and you’ve settled on a price to ask.  What’s next?  You need to get your home in tip-top shape for showings.  You want to sell your home, so make it look its very best for prospective new owners.

Remove Clutter

Overall, the house needs to be clean and neat.  Pick up items that can make it look cluttered.  You don’t want it to be sparse, pristine, or austere – you want your home to give off some personality.  You don’t, however, want it to show off too much personality, especially if you happen to be somewhat of a clutter bug.  It might be a good idea to start packing – just some of the items you don’t use every day.  That can help reduce cluttered areas.  Store the packed boxes, however, in an out-of-the-way place, perhaps in the basement or garage.

The Kitchen

What is the most valuable room in a home?  The kitchen.  When readying your home for showing to potential buyers, cast a critical eye over your kitchen.  Is it inviting?  When was the last time you made it fresh and new?  How old are your appliances?  What do you look for when assessing a kitchen in your potential new dream home?  Set the kitchen table, or counter, as if expecting guests.  Put a small vase of fresh flowers on the table.  Don’t let smells from last night’s dinner stay in your kitchen and ruin a good first impression.  Clean everything and plug in an air freshener if you go outside, come back in, and still notice any unwanted smells.  Or, put some cookies in the oven to bake.  Not only will that help the kitchen give off nice baked smells, but you can also leave a tray of fresh cookies on the table for potential buyers coming through.

Treat Windows Well

Windows are another feature in the home that needs to be handled with care.  Not only do the right window treatments show potential owners how much light can be let in, or be kept out, of rooms, they can add dramatically to the aesthetic appeal of your home.  Think carefully about your home’s window coverings.  If a curtain or drape is torn or snagged, fix it – or consider investing in a new set.  It’s often the little things that combine to sell your home to its next owner.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Preparing to Move

You've done it! You finally sold your house, and you're ready to move to a new space. It's an exciting time, but just because you've sold your house doesn't mean the stress is over. Instead, you have an entirely different source of stress - preparing to move. Even if you're using professional removers to help you with the process, it's important to remember that there are several things you can do to prepare. Take a look at a few tips that will ensure you get this process on track quickly. 

Understand What They Won't Move: Professional companies will move almost anything, but typically there's a list of items they will not transport. Often items like household chemicals, paint, pets, and food are part of that list. Contact your removal company to learn more about what they may not consider moving for you so you can prepare to handle that in advance. 

Packing: Is your removal company handling the packing process for you? If so, there may be a few valuables and essentials you'd rather handle on your own. If, however, you're responsible for the packing process, it's important to note that you should carefully label every box. It may help to sort things by weight for your removal company, too. Use plenty of newsprint or bubble wrap to protect your most valuable possessions.

Think Insurance: Most removal companies offer some type of insurance. You can either use their plans or find one that better suits your needs. Accidents do happen, even when you use a professional removal service, so make certain you're financially protected should it happen to you. 

Protect Your Floors: If it's raining or snowing, it's best to protect your floors before your team arrives. After all, it's not actually your house anymore. Use plastic drop cloths or large blankets and tarps to help protect your flooring. If you have hardwood floors, pay particular attention to any spaces that may get wet as the removal company comes in and out of your home. 

At Doorsteps, we can help you sell your home faster than you ever thought possible so you can schedule the removal company to come to help you move all of your belongings. To learn more, contact us today. 

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Should You Look For a Better Home or a Better Neighbourhood?

As you work to find the right home to meet your needs, you're likely to begin weighing two factors against each other - the quality of the home and the quality of the neighbourhood. Ideally, you'll find something that has the best of both worlds, the home you want and a perfect location, but when that's not available, which should you value most?

It Starts With a Look at Your Values

Why are you buying a home? What do you want in a home? What do you want in a neighbourhood? A quick values assessment may help to answer your own questions. Imagine, for a moment, that it's just the two of you right now. You love having some small shops close to your location, and popping out for a coffee shouldn't take up too much time. If that's the case, you're certainly going to want to shop neighbourhood over home. If, on the other hand, having everything you want in a home is absolutely essential, and the last thing you want to do is make improvements after you've moved in, it may be better to take a harder look at the homes themselves.

If You're Still Stuck . . .

It may help to make a list that includes both what you value in a home and what you value in a neighbourhood. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you want? How large should your kitchen be? Is outdoor living space important to you? How close do you want to be to work? To the train? Is it important to be close to a favorite restaurant? If you're buying your home with a partner, make sure both of you make a list together, and decide which features are absolutely essential and which ones can be sacrificed. 

Doorsteps Can Help

As you search for the perfect home in a wonderful neighbourhood, let us help. With thousands of property listings and access to homes other real estate sites just don't have, we'll ensure you get the home and the neighbourhood of your dreams. To learn more, contact us today. 

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Adding More Light Before You Sell

Lighting can completely change the way you look at your space. More importantly, though, it can change the way a potential buyer looks at your space. It's impractical and expensive, though, to add a few more windows to your home before you sell. So, how can you get a bit of added light without breaking the bank? These tips can help. 

Think Decor. If you have dark furniture, dark flooring, or darker wall colours, you're naturally going to have less light in that particular space. While a paint job might be helpful, if you don't have the time or desire to tackle one, there are a few other things you can do. Start with lighter colours when it comes to throws, slipcovers, drapes, or bedding. Even a lighter coloured area rug may prove useful. Adding a mirror or two to space may also make things feel lighter. It will diffuse the light across the walls. 

Upgrade Bulbs: You may have light fixtures from the last decade, but that doesn't have to change how buyers look at your property, especially if you're using the right light bulbs. Add LED lighting to your home. It means more lumens per bulb, as well as energy savings for the next homeowner. You'll be surprised at the difference in the room.

Lamps! Still wondering how to add a little more light into each room? Start thinking about adding a few lamps to space. Find attractive choices that increase the visual interest of your property while increasing your lighting. Even if you don't have a surface to set a lamp on, you can add floor lamps that will do the same thing. 

Added Fixtures: If you're feeling particularly brave, you may want to consider adding a few fixtures to the various spaces in your home. New vanity lighting in the bathroom is a good choice, as is tread lighting on a staircase or accent lighting to help buyers focus on your mantle or other built-in shelving options.

Lighting can help sell a property like nothing else. For additional tips, contact us today. 

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Preparing to Paint Before You Sell? These Interior Painting Secrets Can Help

One of the top tips any estate agent will offer you is to do some painting before you decide to sell your home. A simple coat of paint often gives a room that fresh, clean look nothing else can, and it may help to depersonalise that space as well. If you haven't done any painting in the past, though, you may be tempted to just stick the brush in the paint can and get started. If you want a really professional looking job, though, your best bet is to take a look at a few secrets to a great paint job before you get started. 

Start with Sandpaper. For perfectly painted walls, you have to start with a smooth surface, and typically that means some sandpaper. A bit of time sanding the walls means levelling out any joint compound left behind or flattening any ridges around the nails in the sheetrock. You don't want to use a lot of pressure or sand too far, though, or you'll create additional problems to repair before you paint.

Tape the Trim: It's not going to look like an amazing paint job if you manage to get that gorgeous new colour all over the trim. Instead, put painter's tape over any trim or outlet covers, then run a putty knife on the top to ensure it has properly sealed. Paint won't bleed through, and your walls (and trim) will look absolutely amazing. 

Use the Right Dropcloth: Often people choose to use thin plastic sheeting or old bed sheets as drop cloths. That's the wrong way to move forward. Often those won't be able to stop the splatter or any spills, and that could mean you have a massive mess on your floor. Canvas drop cloths are the best choice when you choose to paint. They'll absorb any drips and protect your floor from problems.

A new coat of paint can mean great things for your home before you put it on the market, but make sure you do your research so that coat of paint means a faster sale instead of a huge mess to clean up!

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Is The First Offer Always the Best One?

Many people hear that the first offer they get on their home after they've put it on the market is the best one they'll get throughout the sale, and they should automatically accept that offer. Is it true, though? Should you accept any offer that comes through your door? That's not always the case. Learning how to evaluate an offer can actually be a much better option. 

Understand the Buyer

The best first step you can take is to understand the buyer who just made an offer on your property. Most buyers have seen a house or two, and they've decided what they need. Often they will visit your property more than once before they're serious. Find out how many times the buyer has seen your property, whether or not he or she has financing in place all ready to make a home purchase, and how many other offers he/she has made. If it's just one, the financing is in place, and the individual has seen your house more than once, take that offer. It's the real deal, and that sale is going to happen. 

Think About the Offer

If you're still not sure, you may want to take some time to consider the offer. Is it lower than you wanted? That's not uncommon for buyers, but consider why it might be lower. Did the potential buyer list any problems he or she saw with the home or did a lower offer than expected just come in? Discuss the offer with your Doorsteps agent to ensure you didn't overprice your home at the outset of the process, because if you did, that lower offer may be your best bet.

Consider Contingencies

Some potential buyers will place a number of contingencies on their offer, and that may not be an offer you want to take. It could be contingent upon the sale of their current home. It might be contingent upon a home inspection or certain repairs and upgrades you make to the property. Either way, consider those contingent sales carefully.

At Doorsteps, we'll work with you every step of the way to ensure you get the help you need to sell your home fast with multiple offers to consider. To learn more, contact us today. 

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

The Power of Closets

As you work to sell your home, you're going to come across many tips. Declutter, clean your windows, do what you can to make your curb appeal a little better. One tip you may overlook, though, is just how important your closet space can be. Potential buyers are looking for the room for their own gear, and many experts will tell you to clean out at least half of the stuff from every closet you have just so you can emphasise that space. For many home sellers, though, that's a tall order. How can you make it happen? These tips can help. 

Containers Matter! Invest in a set of cute baskets or boxes to help keep track of all of your stuff. Put those summer clothes away in one box; create one for your scarves, one for your belts, and a catch-all box for those little items you're not sure what to do with. The cuter the container, the bigger impression it's going to make on your potential buyers. 

Install Shelves: If you don't yet have the shelving unit in your closet, now is certainly the time. They're a good option for all of those cute containers you just purchased, as well as extra handbags, shoes, and more. Shelves are also a good way to use added space in your closet you weren't quite sure what to do with. 

Discover Hidden Storage Spaces: If you have too much stuff, the single worst thing you can do is overlook those hidden areas, like the top of your closet or even behind the door. The top of the closet could hold some of those cute bins or baskets. Behind the door is the perfect spot for an over the door organizer for shoes, jewellery, or other items you may not yet have a know what to do with.

There are many ways to make sure your closet isn't out of control when a buyer walks through a home. Do some reading; invest in some storage options, then clean out your closet so buyers can see just how much space your home has to offer. 

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Just Sold Your House? Do These Three Things Next

If you just signed the paperwork on your home, it's time to drop everything, celebrate, and walk away, right? Not quite. There are still a few more things you need to do before you're finally done. These tips can help you finish things up and move forward. 

Keep the Paperwork

One of the best things you'll want to do is pack the paperwork in an easy to find the box. You may need to refer back to it, even after everything is done. Make sure you keep proof of any improvements you made, too, in case there are questions or warranty problems. You may need to access these documents quickly if you're about to move, so make certain you know where the box is at all times. 

Find That New Home

Where are you headed? If you didn't have that in mind before you started the process, it's time to think about it now. You'll want to go through many of the steps you did to buy this house. Look in a variety of spots, and buy a home that will be right for your lifestyle in the years to come. You don't have to buy a home to be happy, though. If you're not quite sure what you want, rent for a while, then decide on something you really love. 

Bank those Profits

If you made money on your home, the last thing you want to do is go on a spending spree. Instead, put the money away for your next home or at least invest it in something that will pay dividends down the road so that when you do decide to make another home purchase, you have the cash needed to obtain a mortgage. 

Start Packing

The last step is maybe the sweetest after you sell your home. Begin packing all of your stuff so you can get out as quickly as possible. You may want to contact a removal company for help if your move date is sooner than you can actually manage to get everything done.

As you shop for your new home, or if you're still trying to sell the old one, contact Doorsteps for help.

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