9 Things Not to Do When Selling Your Home

When it comes to your home, you want to get the most money you can for it. I mean, why shouldn’t you? The memories between the walls are priceless and you built a life in there. Unfortunately, you can’t put a price on your happiness but there are ways that you can put a bigger price on your house. Avoiding these 9 things will help you get the most of your investment when you put your home on the market.

1. Ignoring your agent’s advice

A good real estate agent will help you to the fullest. They’ll help with pricing your home, marketing it, negotiating with buyers, and helping you through the closing process. They’ve probably done this a lot more than you, so if your agent says making a price reduction is a good idea, you might need to do it.

2. Neglecting important repairs before listing

Make sure you’re repair things from a leaky faucet to a hole in the closet. One slight problem could be a red flag to someone who would have bought your house otherwise. No one wants to deal with crazy repairs for a house either, so you don’t want a hundred-dollar repair to cost you thousands.

3. Restrictive showings

You should expect little privacy when selling your house. Be extremely flexible when responding to showing requests. If you decline, that could mean the buyer won’t bother to show to the next open house. You could potentially lose a great offer.

4. Messy house

In preparation for those random showing requests, you need to keep your house tidy. You want it to look like a model home as best you can. When it’s clean, buyers can imagine their items in there.

5. Being there for showings/open houses

Home buyers can already be nervous about looking at a strangers’ things. In order to envision the home as their own, it can be difficult to do so if you’re there.

6. Pets

We all love our pets, but some people might not. Pets can occasionally leave around an unpleasant odor, if you know what we mean. That could be an immediate turnoff for some people. Instead of stowing your pet in a room, maybe take them on a walk or fun trip while your open house is going on.

7. Closed mind

Don’t let your feelings cloud your vision. Be willing negotiate with an offer when someone offers you lower than expected. With a good agent, they will help you with initial listings to plan for someone to offer lower so you don’t feel blindsided.

8. Requested repairs

Even if you’ve done your own thorough inspection, a buyer’s home inspector will find issues with the property. Be ready to make those repairs and don’t fight over a few hundred dollars.

9. Closing costs

Unfortunately, many sellers don’t budget for closing fees which turn up to be 1% to 3% of the closing fees. As a seller, you should be expected to cover these closing costs:

  • A closing fee- this goes to the title company or attorney’s office where you and the buyer close the deal.
  • Taxes on the home sale
  • An attorney fee, if the seller has one
  • A transfer fee for the title to the new owner

Make sure you are budgeting correctly as you go to sell your home. Here’s the original article to see more information and tips when selling your home: http://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/9-things-never-do-selling-home/

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Proposition 13: Property Tax Reform

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, at last Thursdays news conference called by San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors, one of the many ideas discussed was to amend Proposition 13. Real estate leaders proposed the amendment to give homeowners a tax break when they sell, which would generate more supply and reduce pressure on prices. For homeowners that have been at their property for a while, this could mean thousands of dollars of lower property taxes when they move up or downsize.

Local Realtors President Bob Kevane was the one who proposed the Proposition 13 change. He’s been thinking about the idea for a decade, but believes it is a needed improvement with the low inventories.

He said, “I think the majority of California property owners who have had their homes for five or six years are not moving because of Proposition 13. It’s basically locking them into their current residence and not providing the normal move-up markets we’ve had in the past.”

Under Proposition 13, California properties are reassessed at market value only when they are sold. The tax is then set at 1% of the new value plus extra assessments. Between different changes of ownership, the assessed value can go up by inflation. If the homeowner makes a huge improvement, it’s added to the assessed value but it does NOT trigger a reassessment of the entire property.

This means that when the home changes owners, the new owners will pay more property tax than the sellers had because the home is reassessed.

Under the proposed change, buyers would carry over their tax basis plus what is owed on the difference between the sales price on the old and the new properties. If the new value is less than the old value then the old tax bill would apply.

Kevane’s proposal would make a former senior discount under Proposition 13 available to all sellers every two years without age, income, or price restriction. This means that the seller would keep their old tax base only if their replacement home price is no more than their sold property’s price. Older owners would still benefit because they wouldn’t be limited to invoking the discount once. Children who inherit their parents’ homes could also continue to enjoy the lower tax base if or when they choose to move.

The state association will hopefully announce the ballot campaign by August 22, which is the deadline set to launch statewide citizen initiatives. Kevane said he will speak with state Senator Toni Atkins and other legislative leaders to see if they will put on the measure on the ballot directly.

Check the original article at the San Diego Union-Tribune:


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How to Save Money: Things a New Homeowner Should Do

You just bought your new home and you’re ready to move in. It probably wasn’t cheap, so you aren’t looking to spend more money where you can definitely save. You’ve bought energy efficient appliances, you’ve got the LED/CFL light bulbs, and you’re ready to go. While those can save you money for your energy costs, what if there were more ways you could save money on the energy, water, and heating bills of your home? Here are some important things to know as a new homeowner that will save you money on your bills.

Check the insulation

If your attic is unfinished, take a look to see how much insulation is up there. Typically, you should have about six inches of it everywhere.

Lower the hot water heater

The optimum temperature is around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Any hotter could scald yourself or a child.

Invest in a water heater blanket

Most modern water heaters are well insulated while older water heaters aren’t at all. Investing in a water heater blanket will gradually save you money on your water heater bill.

Ceiling fans

This could be a low-energy way to keep air moving in your home. You could get away with keeping your thermostat a degree or two higher and lower during the different seasons because of improved circulation.

Wrap exposed water pipes

If your hot water pipes are exposed, they can lose heat as they move water from your heater to a faucet/shower. Especially if you have a cold basement or garage, wrapping water pipes in pipe insulation could make a difference in the temperature of your water.

Programmable thermostat

This allows you to schedule increases and decreases in your homes temperature. They are fairly easy to use and schedule, especially if you have a regular routine. This could save on wasted energy.

Replace air filters

You almost always need to replace the air filters when you move into a new home. An outdated filter can have a negative impact on your air flow, which requires more energy to pump out air.

Clean vents

Cleaning your vents will help improve the air flow in every room which reduces the amount of air blowing that happens. Anything blocking the vent will cause your heating and cooling to work overtime.

Check all toilets and under-sink plumbing

Make sure you do a run-through of the plumbing in your house. If a toilet seems to always be running or there’s a leaky faucet, make sure you get it fixed. That’s money just flowing down the drain.


This allows the on-off status of one device to control if there’s power flowing to other devices. This can save a lot of money by not sending energy to off devices or devices on standby.

Air-seal your home

Many newer homes are built as tight as drums, but older homes should definitely be looked over for any air leaks. Usual places are doorways, windows, and sometimes electric outlets. Fixing them is easy and saves money on wasted air.

For even more tips on reducing your home energy costs, visit http://www.thesimpledollar.com/18-things-a-new-homeowner-should-do-immediately-to-save-money/

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Weatherproof Your Patio: 7 Design Tips

Now that it’s the height of summer, most of our entertaining takes place on our porch. Just like our home, we want our porch looking up to date and feeling homey while enjoying the weather. Sometimes the weather gets in the way of those plans, ruining all our cute deco. So, how do we make our porch stylish and able to withstand time? Here are some tips on keeping your porch looking as great as the summer feels!

1. Beware metal

Choose your metal pieces carefully, especially here in California where the ocean is salty. If you must have metal, make sure it’s rust-resistant or treated with Rust-Oleum. Be wary of any screws, frames, or hardware because those will rust and ruin the design, too.

2. Acrylic and high-density plastic is IN!

This clear plastic material looks like glass, but is actually incredibly durable! It’s a great contrast to wicker, rattan, and iron. They come in all different types of colors and even come in recycled high-density plastic products for the environmental friendly folk.

3. Fabric facts

Keywords: waterproof, washable, mildew- and fade-resistant. These are important when looking for outdoor pillows and upholstery. Acetate-based fabrics are durable and you can’t tell the difference from the indoor versions. Make them last longer and watch your forecast for rain.

4. Ceiling fans

Without a breeze, sometimes the humidity is too unbearable to sit outside. Extend the use of your outdoor space with a fan. It cools the air, keeps mosquitoes away, and keeps any barbecue smoke out of the house.

5. Rugs and rugs

Any carpeting made from synthetic fibers like nylon, polyester, or acrylic are usually waterproof, stain-resistant, and easy to clean. Look for rugs that are 100% polypropylene and the tag says UV-stabilized. For a wooden porch or deck, any coverings made from recycled plastics will trap less water and keep your wood from rotting.

6. The art of sculptures

Choose wisely when it comes to outdoor art because it’ll have to endure some wind and rain. Canvas may suffer, so leaning towards sculptures is the better option. Just like your furniture, remember to choose material that will be rust-resistant.

7. Weigh it down

When the breeze picks up, plastic platters or candlesticks will fly away. Heavy decorative trays, metal lanterns, and stone planters are heavy and will stay in place.

Want more ideas and examples? Check out the original article: http://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/weatherproof-patio-design-tips/

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Removing Stains from Hardwood Floors

When it comes to stains on hardwood flooring, time is of the essence. The first thing you should do with any stain is wipe it up with a damp cloth. For stains that are hard to remove or marks that have been there a while, you might have to remove the stained boards and add new ones which means redoing the entire floor. That’s the worst-case scenario, though. Try out these solutions before you call in the cavalry.


All you need to do is use a hair dryer on a high setting for 15 minutes on the wet area or until any trace of water is gone. If that doesn’t work, apply an oily substance (petroleum jelly or mayonnaise- yes, mayonnaise) to the affected area and let it sit overnight. Wipe it away with a clean cotton cloth and your transparency should be restored!

Scuff Marks

It’s not a stain, but just as annoying to remove. If a damp microfiber cloth doesn’t work, try using a pencil eraser or clean tennis ball. If there’s an actual scratch in the wood, cut an almond in half and rub the meat part on the scratch (the oil should fill in the scratch).

Pet Urine

Accidents happen when owning a pet. You want to try and soak this mess up before it sinks in. Using an “enzymatic” commercial spray is helpful, which you can find at any local pet store. If it sits for too long and soaks into your subflooring, well, it’s done. That’s when you’ll need your cavalry.

Permanent Marker

Everyone’s worst nightmare, but it shouldn’t be! Erase that Sharpie with 90% isopropyl alcohol. Pour it onto a clean cloth and rub gently on the stain. If alcohol doesn’t work, use a white (not gel) toothpaste on a clean cloth. After rubbing the stain, wipe the spot with a damp cloth.

To prevent a haze on the floor, rinse the area with water and dry. If a haze still forms, put a dab of olive oil on a cloth and rub; good as new!

Stains on dark hardwood

Using a black tea solution can help remove food and grease stains from medium-to-dark wood floors. Brew five or six black tea bags in a quart of water. When the tea is cool, dampen a microfiber cloth with your solution and place it on the stain for one minute. Wipe after with a paper towel. Repeat until the stain is gone!

For more hardwood floor tips, see the original article!


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Top 6 Mistakes People Make When Hiring Movers

Moving is stressful. Once you’ve found a place, sell your current home, and have packed up your life, you realize you need help moving. We’ve all heard the bad experiences our friends have had with moving companies, but you can prevent those stories from becoming you. Here are some of the top mistakes people make when it comes to hiring movers.

1. Waiting last minute

Like every step in moving to your new home, you want to plan. Getting a few estimates from different companies can help you save money and get the best service out there. Waiting could get you scammed by unlicensed or unethical movers.

2. Cheapskate

There is such a thing as being too budget conscious. Getting an extremely low rate could mean the company uses inexperienced workers. Sometimes the lower movers could hit you with unreasonable charges and you pay more than you would’ve for the experienced movers.

3. Not asking the right questions

Professionals will happily answer any questions. If you don’t know what to ask, here are some questions to ask before selecting a company:

  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • Are you a certified professional mover who meets the American Moving & Storage Association standards?
  • Are you a member of your state’s moving association?
  • What price are you willing to put in writing as a “not to exceed” threshold price?
  • What are the dates you can commit to for pickup and delivery for my move?
  • Can you give me some references of people you have recently moved?
  • How are your crews selected?
  • What actions do you take to endure that the people who come into me home are skilled, professional, and safe?

4. Falling for fakes

The internet can be amazing when it comes to looking for things you need like a mover. We also know that they can lead to false information as well. Here are some red flags to help you from getting scammed:

  • No federal motor carrier number, which shows the mover is registered with the federal government for a state-to-state move
  • Movers who refuse to visit your home to provide a written estimate for an interstate move
  • Companies that use unmarked, generic trucks
  • Movers who seem uncertain or unresponsive, especially when asked about their claims process if something gets lost or damaged

5. Agreeing to pay a deposit or pay in cash

This is a huge red flag. Most companies request payment at the time of your delivery. The only time they could possibly request for a down payment is when you’re moving out of state. It should rarely exceed the hundreds, but make sure it’s reasonable.

6. Not doing proper work when you move out of state

Make sure your mover can be found in the government database and they are licensed for moves by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

For more information on hiring the right movers, take a look at the original article: http://www.realtor.com/advice/move/mistakes-people-make-hiring-mover/

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7 Tips and Crazy Tricks You Need to Know About Painting

Painting can be as boring as watching paint dry. To make the process just a little easier, here are some fun facts and tips to help you that will have you looking at your wall in a whole new hue.

1. Paint without removing the hardware

Sometimes a DIY project can be enjoyable until you realize you have to take apart the piece before painting it. Hinges and locks can get annoying, but here’s a way to skip a step: cover anything you don’t want to be painted with a good amount of petroleum jelly. Spray-paint your piece and when you’re done, rub off the petroleum jelly with a paper towel and the paint comes right off.

2. Soak up the sun

Consider how much natural light hits your room before painting it. The more natural light a room will get, the quicker the paint will fade. UV-resistant paints (mostly for exteriors) or more durable oil-based paints are suggested.

3. Stop watching paint dry

What if you could speed up the paint process? Setting your house to 70 degrees Fahrenheit could make your paint dry quicker. Even the temperatures outside could affect the process, so make sure you plan to paint when the humidity level is low.

4. It’s just a label

Regardless of what day you bought your paint, what person mixed it, or what store you bought it from, there is always a minor difference in two of the same color paint cans. If you have two gallons of paint, try to combine them in a bigger bucket. That way when you mix them, the subtle differences will blend.

5. Smart storage

Replacing furniture or decorations can sometimes scuff or scratch your walls. For those emergency touchups, make sure to store the leftover paint at 55 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Close the lid really well (with a hammer), and then flip it upside down to ensure that no air gets into the can.

6. Adhere to the 60-30-10 Rule

To maintain a balanced color scheme, follow the equation 60-30-10. 60% of the room is the dominant color (usually the wall color), 30% of the room is a secondary color (accent wall, painted book case, sofa), and the other 10% should be for small accent accessories and art.

7. Chill

If you suddenly have to attend to unplanned company or your arm feels like it’s going to fall off, don’t worry about having to clean a roller. Wrap the roller in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge. Once you’re ready after a break, the brush would not have crusted over.

For even more wacky tips on painting, go to the original post:


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Home Safety: 10 Things to Check After Move-in

Creating checklists is important when moving into a new home. A house safety checklist should be included. From smoke detectors to the screens on your window, you never know when the last owners check them or put in new batteries. The safety of your family in your new home is important, and making sure all the things below are checked off is essential in insuring their safety.

1. Smoke detectors

Many homes already come with smoke detectors installed. Regardless, it’s important to make sure you check that they are installed correctly and working.

2. Fire extinguishers

This may be the last thing on your list to buy for your home, but it is one of the most important. Having at least one on the entry level of your home could keep a small fire from turning into a big problem.

3. Carbon monoxide detectors

If you have a gas or oil furnace, it’s extremely important to have a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide has no taste, color, odor, and is poisonous. Being exposed for prolonged periods of time or in substantial amounts could kill someone, so investing in a detector is crucial.

4. Dryer vent

While it’s important to check the vents inside your dryer, it’s more important to check the big vent from the laundry room to the exterior of the home. It may be more work than you want to do, but lint is very flammable.

5. Escape route

In the event of a fire, your family should know the escape plan. Make sure you know the exit in every room, even if that means a window.

6. Water heater

Check the setting on your water heater so it’s not dangerously hot when you decide to take your first shower. If you don’t know what it should be set at, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

7. Front door

If your door lacks proper insulation, it could mean higher energy bills for you. It could also mean access for unwanted guests. Insure your front door is as safe as you can make it.

8. Door locks

Changing the locks should also be a priority. You never know who the previous owners gave a key to (family relative, neighbor, babysitter) so getting new locks will keep your family safer.

9. Windows and screens

Normally, screens can be removed from the inside. Double check to make sure they cannot be removed from the outside. Checking latch locks on windows is important because from age or use, they could be easily opened regardless if they’re locked.

10. Weather alert apps

Keep yourself updated and change your location on your weather apps. When a natural disaster arrives, you’ll be prepared.

For more information on home safety tips, check out the original article:


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The Detox Series: Detox and Declutter Your Home

Today, we have the second half of our detox and declutter series in which we will be discussing on how you might rid the “toxins” from your home just like you might from your body with a detox. As for Wednesday’s article…did any of you try a short detox for a day or two? How do you feel better? Do you feel refreshed? I sure do.

I consulted MindBodyGreen again for some great articles on how you can detox your living space like you can your body. I found so great tips including how to go about a cleanup when toxins are your main focus and how to rid your home of stress and make it a safe and comforting place.

These are the awesome tips they gave for detoxing your home for optimal well-being:

  1. Leave your shoes at the front door as they can carry loads of bacteria that you don’t want to bring straight into your home.
  2. Tend to your sponges and dish rags which means you ought to regularly deep clean them or replace them after every month or so.
  3. Disinfect all the most touchable and used items like electronics around the house.
  4. Create more healthy air by including plants in your home that can produce more fresh oxygen.
  5. Completely detox your fridge since it is the perfect breeding ground for germs like listeria and E. coli.

And, follow these basic principles to keep your home free from the toxicity of stress and anxiety:

  • When you first enter your home, try not to run to the TV or the fridge.
  • Try to remember that all that matters is the present moment.
  • Realize the profound comfort in the word “maybe”.
  • Commit to activities you enjoy, and do them.
  • Clear the clutter.
  • Try a mantra, remember that our mental space affects our physical space.

For more information on each of these basic principles and practical tips to make them happen in your life, check out the original article here: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-20283/6-tips-to-make-your-home-into-a-stress-free-sanctuary.html

To read up a bit more on cleaning up your home then check out the original article for that as well: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-25377/a-simple-home-cleanup-that-wipes-out-hidden-toxins.html

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The Detox Series: Detox and Declutter Your Body

I hope each and every one of you had an amazing fourth of July weekend. Some of you are back to work today, feeling like you might have indulged a little bit too much over the long weekend. I understand, I am in the same boat. All the rich holiday foods can be a bit rough on the body leaving you feeling bloated and sluggish. Recently, I have been on quite a health kick so I decided that I would do a little mini-detox after the long weekend to feel a little bit better. Then I thought why not turn it into a mini blog series about detox your body and detoxing your home. Today’s blog post will be about pressing reset on your body by clearing out the toxins and Friday’s post will be about clearing out the “toxins” that might be filling up your living space.

For this post, I turned to one of my favorite health websites called MindBodyGreen. I found this great article which describes 17 ways to rid the toxins from your body. They explained in the article that the best way to get rid of the toxins in your body is to activate the four elimination systems:

  • Gastrointestinal: liver, gallbladder, colon, and the whole GI tract
  • Urinary: kidneys and bladder
  • Respiratory: lungs, throat, and sinuses
  • Skin and dermal: sweat, sebaceous glands, and tears

Here are just a few of the great ideas the article offers:

  • Chlorella or Spirulina

Both of these super greens will help in the detoxification process of heavy metals in your body.

  • Sweat ‘Em Out

You can activate all your organs of elimination simply by working up a sweat with some form of exercise that you enjoy.

  • Water

Drinking tons of water will help flush a lot of the toxins out of your body. Aim to consume half your body weight in ounces every day you are on the detox plan.

  • Avoid Inflammatory Foods

Avoid nightshades as they can cause inflammation. Nightshades includes veggies such as eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes.


For even more helpful tips, check out the original article below:


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