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Oct. 26, 2019

Preparing Your Home for Photographs!

You’ve decided to sell!  The most important thing that needs to happen now is to have your home professionally photographed.  All sales are TRULY digital today.  The majority of home buyers see your home for the first time online.  It is VERY important that photographs showcase your home’s best qualities – so that you can sell quickly and for the highest possible price!  To prepare for photos:

Outside:

  1. MOVE all cars so that they will not be in any of the photographs – exterior and interior!
  2. Close the garage doors.
  3. Pick up all trash, leaves, branches, and hide trash cans, garden hoses, and yard tools.
  4. Clean the pool if you have one.
  5. Make sure that the yard, bushes and trees are trimmed – especially if it obstructs the view of your home.
  6. Consider fresh flowers in flower pots, and repainting your front door to give your home a splash of color that ‘pops’.

Inside:

  1. Clean and pick up anything and everything and get it put away (clothes, shoes, dishes, toys, books, magazines, lotions, shampoo, toothbrushes, remotes, pet beds and food dishes, etc.)  Don’t forget to make sure that all pets are out of the home on photo day too!  You may have the cutest dog in the world – but, unless he is part of the sale, he shouldn’t be in your listing photographs.
  2. All counters should have almost nothing on them on photo day!

 Remember, if it gets photographed it will be a focal point!  If it isn’t part of your home – then it is a distraction from getting buyers to focus on your wonderful home.  Photos should make home buyers want to walk-in your front door and make you a great offer!  Don’t let buyers pass you by in an online search!  Make sure that your photos give them a clear invitation to ‘Come Home’.

Who are you going to call to help make Your Real Estate Dreams Come True?  Why me of course!  See you next month! 

Gina M. Sohmer, is a veteran, a Graduate of the REALTOR® Institute, a Seller’s Representative Specialist, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, a 2019 Winner of the Nextdoor Neighborhood Favorite Award, and a REALTOR® with eXp Realty, LLC.  She can be reached at www.ginasohmerrealestate.com or (210) 608-0650.

Oct. 26, 2019

Preparing Your Home for the Fall Season!

The seasons are changing!  You can feel it in your bones!  But, before you go into ‘hibernation mode’ in preparation for a nice cold winter – there is a season called FALL that is the perfect time to get some very important home maintenance items completed!

Here are a few fairly simple Fall Home Projects:

1. Clean and Reverse Ceiling Fans.  Fans working hard all summer are probably dustier than you think!  Turn your fans off then clean the sides, tops and bottoms of the blades.  Reverse your fans so the blades to send air upward to push the warm air that collects near the ceiling downward:  making your rooms during cooler weather more comfortable!   This is especially effective in rooms with high/vaulted ceilings, fireplaces and wood-burning stoves.

2.  Clean Window Treatments.  Use a hand-held vacuum to remove dust from blinds, curtains, and valances.  If you have curtains, remove and launder them.  While they're down, clean your windows and sills thoroughly.

3.  Vacuum and Clean Furniture.  Vacuum your upholstered furniture, and spot-clean the big stains as needed.  Treat with Febreeze to freshen the fabric.  ***Always test an inconspicuous area of your couch before applying any cleaning agent!

4.  Save yourself some money on heating costs and Seal Those Air Leaks.  Repair/replace damaged weather stripping and cracked caulking around your doors and windows.  Check foundation for cracks and caulk around the areas where masonry meets siding, pipes or wires enter the house, and around windows and door frames to prevent heat from escaping.  I believe that this is one of the least expensive maintenance jobs that you can do – but it is so very important!  Openings in your foundation can allow water to get in and freeze, resulting in widening cracks and MOLD build up!  Remember we have talked about it before:  MOLD = BAD!

Who are you going to call to help make Your Real Estate Dreams Come True?  Why me of course!  See you next month! 

Oct. 26, 2019

When Should I Update My Home Owner’s Insurance?

The hurricane running up the east coast tonight made me think:  That is a SERIOUS question!  When’s the last time YOU thought about it?  When you saw last month’s mortgage statement, or when you noticed the yearly insurance payment withdrawal from your escrow account?  MAYBE you haven’t thought about is since you purchased your home?  Have you been on Insurance Autopilot???

Why is insurance important?  It protects you, your belongings, and your family against loss!  As your home changes, your insurance needs to change also.

Telltale signs that you should review your coverage:

  1. Additions, Improvements or Renovations:  Whenever you physically increase the value of your home, increase your insurance!  If you don't, your policy may NOT cover the full cost to repair or rebuild if disaster strikes. 
  2. Is your local housing market changing?  The San Antonio Area housing market is HOT, HOT, HOT!  Prices are increasing for both pre-owned and new construction homes!  You can bet building material prices will also rise.  Increase your coverage to insure that you can repair or rebuild in today’s market.
  3. Thinking about a roommate or of joining the AirBnB craze?  Review your coverage if you are taking on a tenant or want to allow short-term rentals.  Investigate your HOA rules BEFORE you make your decision!  Renting just a room in your home can leave you liable for all types of issues!
  4. Did you acquire an expensive personal item?  Did your Sweetie buy you a beautiful piece of jewelry?  Did a 60” 4k Surround Sound TV magically appear in your den?  Increase your personal property coverage, or get a rider, to protect your items in case of theft or damage! 

Your mortgage company needs to know of any changes to your policy!  Whether you change insurance companies, or your costs increase or decrease, your escrow account needs to be adjusted accordingly! 

Who are you going to call to help make Your Real Estate Dreams Come True?  Why me of course!  See you next month! 

Oct. 26, 2019

Is Refinancing Right For Me?

With the recent lower interest rates, homeowners are wondering if they should refinance their mortgage.

So, how does it work?  Basically, you pay off the original mortgage and replace it with a new one.  The terms and interest rate on the new loan may be different, but the property securing the loan is still the same.  It's often easier to refinance than it was to obtain the original loan.  Plus, if you've owned your property for a long time, you may have significant equity, which can make it even easier.

It isn’t free!  Refinancing has almost as many costs as your original mortgage:  closing costs, title insurance, appraisal fees, taxes, and transfer fees are all possible costs.  There’s no such thing as "no-cost" mortgages.  But, it might be possible for you to get a refinance where the costs are rolled into the new loan, or a “no out-of-pocket” mortgage.  It is very important to determine whether the savings you will incur, will offset the costs. 

The most common reasons to refinance are:  (1) Lower your interest rate and/or payment, (2) Shorten the term of your loan, (3) Cash-out refinance (cashing out your equity to invest in something else).

Consider how much longer you are going to be in your home.  If you are staying for more than 3 years - it might be worthwhile to refinance.  But, if your current home isn’t fulfilling your present needs, you might want to consider using your potential refinance costs for a down payment on a home that will fulfill them!  

You will still get a lower interest rate than the one you have on your current house, and with the equity you've already built, you can finally purchase the home of your dreams.

There are many opportunities in today’s real estate market.  To determine what's right for your family, give me a call.  I can introduce you to a great lender who can help you understand what options are best for you!

Oct. 26, 2019

Buyers:  What Should You Look for on Your Final Walk-Through?

You found it – your perfect dream home!  You made the offer, your Realtor helped you through a tough negotiation, but, in the end, your offer was accepted!  Your dream home passed the property inspection with flying colors!  Your lender and the title company have done their jobs and have cleared you to close!  Now your Realtor says that you should do a final walk-through just before you close on your new home.

Yes, closing time is hectic, you are packing and scheduling the movers, arranging for the utilities to be turned off in your old place, and turned on in your new home, etc. – but, you should ALWAYS make time for a final walk-through to make sure that your new home is in the condition that you expect.  

Here’s a detailed list of what to check for on your final walk-through.  Make sure that:

*No major, unexpected changes have been made since the last time the buyer viewed the home.

*All rooms, closets, attics, and crawl spaces are checked (look for things like leaks, holes in the dry wall, moving damage, etc.).

*All negotiated repairs are completed and copies of invoices/warranties have been received.

*All items included in the sales price (draperies, lighting fixtures, screens, storm windows and doors, etc.) are still there.

*All appliances negotiated for are in place and operating as expected (dishwasher, washer/dryer, oven, refrigerator, etc.).

*The following are working:  doorbell, hot water heater, faucets, and HVAC.

*No plants or shrubs have been unexpectedly removed from the yard.

*The following are available:  garage door opener, other remotes, and instruction manuals for appliances/fixtures are available (these may be in the possession of the title company).

*All trash and the seller’s personal items have been removed.

Call me today to help you make your real estate dreams come true!