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Elizabeth Bielski

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Fall Back

11/5/2016

Don't forget to set your clocks back one hour tonight.

It's also a good time to change the batteries on your smoke detectors and garage door openers.

 

Image result for fall back clip art

             Other Fall to do list items:

             Refresh Calk around windows.

             Clear foliage away from house.

             Cover delicate bushes.

              Call Elizabeth if you are thinking of moving!

Simple Tricks to Crank Up Curb Appeal

3/9/2016

Simple Tricks to Crank Up Your Curb Appeal

First impressions set the tone for a home tour. Prospective buyers should encounter an attractive, welcoming place before they even walk through the doorway. Here are some tips to crank up your home’s curb appeal.

De-clutter the porch. Lose the extra chairs, the pile of muddy shoes and your dog’s collection of mangled toys.

Help your home bloom. A pot of bright flowers is not only cheerful; it also can draw the eye away from less-than-perfect features.

Don’t forget the door. Give your door a fresh coat of paint, or brighten up the trim. At the very least, clean it well, including the glass window panels.

Add a little sparkle. Upgrading rusty hardware is inexpensive but makes a big difference.

Lose the jungle. Time to get out the trimmer. Make sure the trees and bushes around your home are under control.

Overgrown flower beds give the impression of neglect.

Make your bed. If you can, invest in new plants and freshen the mulch. At the very least make sure your flowerbeds are tidy and weed-free.

Tend the lawn. Keep your grass green and mowed while your home is listed. In extreme measures, eco-friendly spray paint is available to green up yellow patches. 

Gather the gnomes. And the flamingoes.

Blast the grime. Pressure washers are available to rent from many home improvement stores. You’ll be amazed at how much fresher your porch, siding and front door look after a bath.

Stash your trash. Now’s not the time to impress people with your commitment to the planet. Stash all those recycling, composting and trash bins inside your garage.

Look after number one. Spiff up your house numbers or spring for new ones that match the style of your home.

 

5 Things to expect when selling your home in winter

2/9/2016

5 Things to expect when selling your home in winter

Winter is traditionally a slower time for home sales, but don’t despair. Here are a few ways the timing might play in your favor.

  1. Buyers tend to be more motivated
    Buyers looking for homes are doing so because they really must relocate due to job, family or other unavoidable circumstances. You’ll probably waste less time dealing with real estate tire-kickers.
  2. Things move faster
    Because there are fewer transactions during the winter, mortgage companies, home inspectors and appraisers have less on their plates. You should be able to schedule appointments sooner and expect faster turnaround for reports and approvals than in the busy warmer seasons.
  3. You can leverage the smaller inventory
    With fewer homes on the market, it can be easier to promote your property’s comparative advantages. Highlight your home’s unique features. Are you the only townhome within walking distance of downtown? The only propertyl with a pool in your school district? Be sure to mention it in your listing.
  4. Summer buyers are looking now
    Not everyone looking in the winter must move immediately. Your Realtor may have ideas about how to market your home among local businesses and organizations with fluid populations, such as universities, or via school district websites that might attract families moving to the area.
  5. You can remind buyers of warmer weather
    Be sure to include images of your home during greener summer months, including lifestyle shots of your deck, patio, porch and/or yard. Feature these photos in a frame during showings to remind buyers how the home can come alive in the spring.

Monopoly

1/30/2016

6 Lessons Monopoly Can Teach You About Home Buying

 

  1. Patience
    MONOPOLY: So your family has decided to play Monopoly? Refill your beverage, grab a snack and change into comfortable clothes. You’re going to be there a while.

LESSON: Buying real estate is a process. There’s pre-approval for a loan, interviewing agents, searching for homes, submitting an offer, maybe submitting another offer, the home inspection, the appraisal, and final loan processing before you get the keys. Needless to say, buying a home can take some time. Instead of getting frustrated, focus on all of the great reasons you decided buying a home was right for you. Staying in close communication with your agent throughout the process will help, too.

  1. Neighborhood matters
    MONOPOLY: Everyone starts the game with one corner in mind: Boardwalk and Park Place. The highly priced properties have the best returns on investments, and the players who snag them first tend to do well in the game.

LESSON: Location is often a major consideration in real life as well. Home values, your lifestyle and so much more are factors in your neighborhood choice. Work with your agent to learn all you can about the neighborhoods that pique your interest.

  1. Keep an open mind
    MONOPOLY: Baltic and Mediterranean Avenue have a bad reputation because they’re the cheapest properties on the board, but they alsopresent opportunity. Add a few houses and hotels and your return could be bigger than the one on nearby Connecticut Avenue.

LESSON: Keep an open mind when shopping for a home. An up-and-coming neighborhood may have appeal you didn’t see before, and more value for your budget.

  1. Be prepared
    MONOPOLY: You’re a Monopoly mogul! You have a handful of desirable properties and a steady stream of income from your houses and hotels. Then comes the Chance card: “Make general repairs on your property – for each house pay $25, for each hotel pay $100.”

LESSON: You never know what card you’re going to draw. But unlike Monopoly, the real world has home insurance available to help you prepare for unexpected repairs and disasters. A variety of plans, customizable to any budget, are available. Some homebuyers also opt for warranties covering potential appliance issues after move-in.

  1. How to win a bidding war
    MONOPOLY: Trading properties keeps Monopoly exciting. And there are no strict rules as to how a seller determines to accept an offer. Sibling rivalry, bribes involving candy or even business sense can play into a player’s decision.

LESSON: Sellers don’t always accept the highest offer. Writing a letter about why you fell in love with their home can sometimes sway their decision in your favor.

  1. The importance of strategy
    MONOPOLY: Monopoly is a game of strategy, but few players are inclined to study ways to win. What if you had a coach sitting next to you, advising how much to bid for a property, where to look next, and whether or not mortgaging a utility to buy Boardwalk is a smart idea? You would be unstoppable!

LESSON: Buying a home is an infrequent occurrence; for some it happens only once in a lifetime. Wouldn’t it be helpful to have someone on your side who was up-to-speed on laws for your state, knew which neighborhoods would best fit your lifestyle and offered to help you navigate a bidding war?  Call me today and we’ll get the process started!  (734)748-4963

 

Happy Holidays!

12/22/2015

Important Tips Before You Leave For The Holidays

12/22/2015

Important Tips Before You Leave For The Holidays

 

Leaving your home during the holidays?  Here are some tips to follow to keep your home safe and to safe a few buck on your bills while you are gone.

 

  1. Put mail on hold. An overstuffed mailbox or several newspapers piled up at the end of your driveway can be an invitation to thieves.  Not only is it a sign that no one is home, identity thieves can find all sorts of information sorting through that unattended mail.  Simply go to usps.com to have the post office hold your mail.  Also, make sure to put a hold on your newspaper delivery or have someone you know stop by daily to bring in your mail.
  2. Put lights on a timer. Pick up a time at your local hardware store. This is an easy way to make it appear that you are home and keep your home safe.  Having a motion detector on you outside lights is another great safety feature.
  3. Check you smoke detectors. Make sure you put new batteries in your smoke detectors and make sure they function.
  4. Remove valuables. Hiding jewelry is always an option but if you are gone for several days thieves will have plenty of time to search around.  A safety deposit box or home safe is a good place for valuable jewelry and important documents.
  5. Grab your spare key. Bring in any keys you have hidden outside your house.   Leaving a key and your contact information with a trusted neighbor is a good idea in case of an emergency.
  6. Unplug. Your electronics will suck energy while you are gone.  Make sure to unplug the big ones like TV’s and Computers.
  7. Don’t advertise your trip online. Wait until you get home to post your photos on social media.  Don’t advertise dates of when you will be leaving your home alone.
  8. Switch your water heater to vacation mode. It won’t turn off completely but will still save energy.  You may even want to turn your water off, depending on how long you plan to be away.
  9. Turn down the thermostat. Keep it high enough to keep pipes from freezing.  Your energy company can give you a recommendation for your climate.
  10. Deodorize the sink. To prevent coming home to the smell of the remains of your last meal at home, run the disposal with a half cup of vinegar or lemon wedges and ice cubes before you head out.  You might want to throw out any food that will spoil and take out the trash before you go too!
  11. Bleach the bowl. Dump a half a cup of chlorine beach in your toilet bowls to prevent mineral stains from forming.

 

Searching for a home you’ll hate to leave alone?  Call or email Elizabeth Agius Bielski today!  (734) 748-4963

Go to www.findadwelling.com to begin your home search!

 

 

7 Ways to Reduce Stress When Buying and Selling

10/18/2015

 

 

7 Ways to Reduce Stress When Buying or Selling a Home

Research has shown that buying or selling a home can be one of life’s most stressful events — right up there with filing for bankruptcy or getting a divorce. Preparation is the key to reducing anxiety. Here are a few tips:

  1. Choose your agent carefully
    An experienced pro will be prepared for every twist in the road, minimizing stress for you. Choose an agent you are comfortable with and that you can trust. Get referrals or look up agent reviews.
  2. Home buyers: List before looking
    Create and prioritize a list of “wants” and “needs” of home features before you begin touring properties. Waiting to think about what you’re truly looking for in a home until the showing will put you on the spot, creating anxiety.
  3. Home buyers: Get mortgage preapproval
    Having your finances ready eliminates waiting periods, or unpleasant surprises from lenders after you’ve found your dream home.
  4. Don’t take things personally
    It’s not you, it’s them. Or the market. Or the lender. Try not to take it personally if buyers value your home for less than what you’re asking, or if a seller rejects what you believe is a perfectly reasonable offer. Buying and selling is a business put your feelings aside for now.
  5. Keep things in perspective
    Consider the worst-case scenario. Will you have to forage for food? Buyers will eventually materialize. Or you’ll find another home you love just as much as the one that got away.
  6. Focus on something else
    Give yourself a break and indulge in an activity that requires the undivided attention of your mind and body. Distractions help you get a clear mind when you come back to evaluate the best method to successfully move forward.
  7. Find a four-legged friend
    Petting and playing with animals is clinically proven to lower your blood pressure. And they won’t interrupt if you need to vent.

Talking things through with your Realtor is another way to de-stress.

 

 

6 Ways to Keep Your Identity Safe During a Showing

9/8/2015

   

6 Ways to Keep Your Identity Safe During a Home Showing

 

One of the last things we think about when we are preparing to move is keeping our identity safe while our home is for sale.  We clean, paint, update and prepare our homes for optimal viewing.  In this time of preparing your home to show potential buyers, be sure you’re not leaving yourself vulnerable to identity theft. Although most people who come through your home have honest intentions, it’s still important to take precautions against those rare few who don’t. Here are some tips to keep your identity safe:

  1. Don’t invite thieves
    Remove those invitations and school calendars stuck to the front of your fridge. They broadcast times when you may not be home.
  2. Lock your docs
    Don’t forget to secure official documents such as passports, checkbooks and statements in a locked drawer or cabinet before leaving.
  3. Screen your visitors
    Be sure to add password protection to computers, laptops and tablets. It’s best to log out of your devices and unplug your computer.
  4. Send your mail elsewhere
    Remember - your junk mail can be a treasure to someone trolling for keys to your identity. After all, those annoying credit card offers contain all the information a thief needs to activate a fraudulent account. After sorting your mail, promptly shred anything you no longer need.
  5. Be careful with catalogues
    Periodicals contain more information than you might want a potential visitor to know. Make a habit of tearing off address stickers, and hide any publications that identify your affiliation with a certain organization.
  6. Take your medicine – somewhere else
    Prescription bottles have all kinds of information you don’t want to share with strangers, including your insurance policy number and doctor’s name. Hide your prescriptions very well, or even better, lock them up during showings to ensure no one takes your pills or your info.

 

How Much Does My Agent Need to Know About My Finances?

9/2/2015

                         

                                                        

 

How Much Does My Agent Need to Know About My Finances?

 

Money is a delicate issue. How much we earn and how much we owe is information many of us prefer to keep close to the vest.  If you’re concerned about detailing your finances to your real estate agent, rest assured that there’s plenty of privacy in the client/agent relationship.  Real estate agents don't need, or expect, you to disclose everything about your money. That said, we must understand your overall situation to help guide you to a home that’s within your budget.  As an agent, my job is to negotiate a home purchase or sale on your behalf, keep the transaction on track and help you navigate real estate paperwork. My strength lies in understanding home values, and property and neighborhood features. Home financing is an altogether separate story from a home search or sale; therefore, I usually don't delve into your finances to crunch the numbers, I leave it to your lender.  I am happy to let your mortgage lender handle the financial questioning. A loan officer at a bank or mortgage company calculates your maximum purchasing power and your monthly payments based on your loan application, financial documentation and debt-to-income ratio. Be prepared to supply your lender with your last two years of tax returns, recent pay stubs, bank statements and investment accounts. I will then present a lender-generated preapproval letter to listing agents and sellers, indicating the amount you’re able to borrow.

 

7 Ways to Occupy Pets During a Showing

8/27/2015

7 Ways to Occupy Pets During a Showing

More than half of all American households have a pet. Even though it is hard to believe not all people like animals.  Some are even afraid of them. Your buyers, however, might be among those who choose not to. Help them envision your house as their home by making sure your pets, and evidence of your pets, are gone when they tour your property. Where to go? A few suggestions:

1. Romp!
A showing is the perfect excuse to take your dog for a walk around the neighborhood. Or, make a play date at the park with one of their favorite puppy pals.

2. Kitty camp
Check out your local options for boarding your cat while your home is shown. Veterinarians often offer this service or usually have recommendations for kennels.

3. Retail therapy
Take your dog to cruise the aisles at your favorite pet store. After all, you’re moving to a new neighborhood and may not be visiting there as often. No doubt your pooch will help you pick out a toy or treat for them if you can’t decide.

4. Hire a dog walker
If you’re stuck at work and can’t run home to take your dog out, hire a dog walker to swing by and take your pup for a stroll.

5. Daycare
Buy a punch card for a few visits at a doggy daycare. Your pooch will have a blast racing and chasing (and sometimes even swimming) with pals while prospective buyers hopefully fall in love with your home.

6. That’s what friends are for
While your home’s for sale, your cat or dog might be happiest with an extended sleepover with friends or family.

7. Don’t you need something at Home Depot?
More boxes for packing? Paint chips to help you decide what colors to use to personalize your new place? Take your dog along.

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