Cheryl Deschenes' Blog
When it comes to making a good impression on prospective home buyers, small details can make a big difference! Not only do you want prospects to see your home as being clean, neat, and well organized, but it should also leave them with a good overall feeling.
Even though it can be a bit of a hassle to continually prepare your bathrooms for house showings, there's no bigger turnoff to prospective buyers than a grungy bathroom! Generally speaking, if people cringe at any aspect of your home (especially the bathrooms or kitchen), then they're probably not going to make an offer on your property.
In addition to making all fixtures and surfaces sparklingly clean, winning over potential buyers also involves making your home look inviting.
One thing many home sellers overlook is the condition of their bathroom towels and washcloths. If they're wet, bedraggled, or ragged looking, then that's going to send the wrong message to buyers. There are a variety of ways to overcome that, including putting out brand new, colorful towels that have never been used before (Just make sure to take off the store tags before putting them on display!).
If they're neatly folded and strategically placed, then they'll convey an impression of freshness, cleanliness, and neatness. Those are among the key qualities people want to see when they're considering buying your home. By making sure your house is well organized, uncluttered, and tastefully decorated, you're also giving the impression that you and your family take pride in the appearance and upkeep of your home. This is sure to score many Brownie points with potential buyers!
Besides ragged-looking towels, another subtle, but powerful turnoff for buyers is old-looking curtains. Although you may be so accustomed to your old curtains that you don't even notice or see them any more, there's a good chance they'll stand out like a sore thumb to other people! If the appearance of your curtains degrade the rest of the room, then that one aspect could literally be a deal killer. As the expression goes, "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link." People may not know exactly why they weren't favorably impressed with your home -- even though it met all their basic requirements --but it could be something as simple as grungy, faded, tattered-looking curtains, rugs, or towels. It's often an easy, relatively inexpensive fix, but you have to be aware of the problem before you can take corrective action.
Working with a real estate agent to help you present your home in its best light can make the process go much more smoothly and result in a faster sale. Experienced agents will also provide you with valuable advice, guidance, and marketing assistance that can favorably affect the actual selling price and the length of time your home remains on the market.
53 Donald Tennant Circle, North Attleboro, MA 02760
When you’re self-employed, it’s difficult to decide whether you are ready to buy a house. After all, your income might come in spurts instead of having a regular check every week or two. Being prepared for the mortgage process increases the chance that your application will be approved. Self-employed people have more hurdles to jump because of the nature of their income, even those that make six or more figures.>
Difficulties in Qualifying for a Mortgage
Since you’ve probably done a ton of research on mortgages and finding your dream home, you already know the basics—make sure your credit is good, how much down payment you’ll need and what you are able to afford. You may have a pretty good idea of what documents you need to provide and already have them ready. However, those pesky tax returns might come back to bite you.
The biggest problem in qualifying for a mortgage when you’re self-employed is your tax returns. Most business people take every deduction allowed. However, while that’s great for your pocket since you pay less tax, it’s bad for applying for a mortgage.
Part of your self-employment tax returns is your expenses. You probably claim things like utilities, cell phones, business meals and travel and have a ton of depreciation. When a lender looks at the tax returns, it doesn’t add those things back in—except for depreciation. While you might make $300,000, your adjusted gross income on your tax return is going to be the number the lender looks at. If it’s $10,000, you’re not going to qualify for that loan.
You could amend your taxes or you could wait for two years and not claim anything on your taxes. However, that means you will be paying heavily to the IRS. Or, you could find a lender who does non-conforming loans. Some lenders are sympathetic to self-employed people and will use other methods of verifying income. Some banks may look at your deposits for a year instead. They’ll still ask for your tax returns, but will not use them to qualify your income.
Your tax returns help lenders figure your debt-to-income ratio. While lenders are supposed to use your gross income, that does not hold true with self-employed borrowers. Lenders look at the adjusted gross income on your tax returns. That number is often lower than net income because of the expenses you deduct.
A lender adds up your debts and divides that number by your adjusted gross income. If you have a proposed mortgage payment of $1,200, a car payment of $650 and other credit lines, including credit cards of $500, you have $2,350 in debt. If your self-employed monthly income is $8,000, your debt-to-income ratio should be about 29 percent. But wait a second. That’s not the number on your tax returns.
If the adjusted gross income on the last two years of tax returns is $4,000 and $2,500 respectively, then your average monthly income is going to be $3,250 (add the two together, then divide by 2). That means your debt-to-income is actually 72 percent. The highest a lender will “give” you is 43 percent, though most will only consider your application if your debt-to-income is 39 percent not including your new mortgage and 33 percent including your new mortgage. In this example, a lender who uses deposits instead of tax returns will show a debt-to-income ratio of 29 percent.
If you are ready to purchase a house and want to learn more about qualifying for a loan, feel free to reach out. Together, we'll be able to get you into the home of your dreams, despite the hurdles.
If you're anticipating putting your home on the market soon and want to sell it as quickly as possible, you're probably thinking that the best way to accomplish this is to accept a major drop in price. Although it's true that price points can affect how quickly a property sells, you don't have to dip much, if anything, below market value to facilitate a fast sale as long as you live in an area with a moderately healthy real estate market. Following are five proactive ways you can help your upcoming home sale go quickly.
Declutter and Depersonalize
One of the key components of a successful home sale is creating an environment where potential buyers can easily envision themselves and their family enjoying a pleasant life. Too many family photos and general clutter takes away from this. Renting a storage unit helps by providing a place to keep things and also gives you a head start on your move.
Homeowners who limit when the house can be shown are missing out on a lot of potential buyers. Although it's a hassle to always have to be available, you can make it easier on yourself by doing a general quick cleaning every morning and by using the above strategy of keeping clutter to an absolute minimum. If you simply can't guarantee availability for last-minute showings at all times, at least try to do so on weekend because that's when most people are looking at homes.
Have Professional Photos Taken
Professional photographs that show your home in the best possible light make it more likely that prospective buyers will ask to see your home. Don't settle for just any local photographer, though -- ask your real estate agent to recommend someone who specializes in home photography.
If you move out of the home, you and your family won't have to endure the inconvenience of people coming in and out, and your real estate agent will be free to show the property at literally any time.
Paint Your Home in Neutral Colors
Now is the time to make your home look as much like a blank slate as possible without sacrificing any of its charm. Neutral colors don't clash with anything, so buyers are therefore less likely to pass on your home due to aversions to certain colors, and there's something really appealing about a fresh coat of paint.
You'll also want to amp up the curb appeal of your home to make it more attractive. Because people are often blind to the faults of their own environments, ask a trusted friend or relative to look at your home exterior from the critical eye of a potential homebuyer and add improvements from there.
Plants and flower pots can be heavy items to move around. The good news is you can eliminate the trouble with a rolling plant caddy. You can build one yourself using rustic wood or precut pieces from your local home store.
Stability is the key here. Plan to build the caddy large enough so that your largest potted plant will fit on top. When you choose the wheels, be sure they are big enough to manage any terrain in your yard or patio. Larger wheels tend to be more stable. Consider wheels with a locking option for added safety.
Shapes and Styles
As many planters are round, a round platform works nicely but as long as the flat surface you work with fits the pot you're using with it, any shape can work. Most hardware stores sell pre-cut wood circles ranging in sizes. These often come with smoothly finished sides that look nice with or without additional paint or stain.
Craft stores and superstores sell standard-sized wooden crates, which might work as the top of your caddy if all your planters will fit inside. You may want to use the whole crate or trim the sides down so you won’t have to lift planters as high.
If either of the above options is appealing to you, you'll just need 4 casters and Step 5 of the following project. If you'd prefer to tailor your caddy to a specific size you can build a simple rustic wood square or rectangle with just a few materials. Here's an example that results in a 10-inch rolling caddy
2 10-inch lengths of 1X4
5 10-inch lengths of 1X2
4 casters or wheels of your choice
- Lay the 2 1X4 pieces next to each other on a flat surface. They should be parallel to each other with about 2 inches of space between them.
- Next, evenly place the 1X2 pieces on top of the 1X4s, they should be perpendicular to the Pieces from Step 1.
- Secure the pieces with wood screws and wood glue for extra strength. Allow the glue to dry completely.
- If you want to add some color to your project, paint or stain the caddy and allow the finish to dry completely.
- Flip the project over so that the 1X2 section is touching the table. Place a wheel in each corner and secure to the 1X4 sections with screws.
That's it! This plant caddy will surely come in handy. Apply lubricant to the wheels every so often and it should last a long time!