Why It Pays to List Your Home in Winter

Daniel Bortz @DanielBortz Oct. 30, 2015

If you’re listing your home now, use these ideas to make a great cold-weather impression.

151030_PLA_WinterSaleSpring may still be peak home-shopping season, since most families want to move when the kids are out of school. Yet it actually pays to list in the winter, when buyers tend to have more urgency: A study by online brokerage Redfin found that average sellers net more above asking price during the months of December, January, February, and March than they do from June through November, even in cold-weather cities like Boston and Chicago. And homes listed in winter sold faster than those posted in spring.

Should you put your home on the market now? Unless you need to sell (say, you’ve purchased your next home or are relocating for a job), “timing always depends on supply and demand,” says Indianapolis real estate agent Christine Dossman.

To understand your local climate, check the number of days on the market for current and recently sold listings. If most are sitting for more than 60 days, it’s safer to wait until spring, when more buyers will emerge. Yet “if properties are selling quickly, take that as a green light to list,” says real estate broker Peggy Yee of Vienna, Va.

If you do move forward, these strategies will help make your home a hot seller this winter.

Price It Right

The quieter winter market brings special pricing considerations. Unlike in spring, when there are more shoppers—and it may make sense to price low to try to generate a bidding war—you’re less likely to receive multiple offers.

Winter is also a bad time to test the market and list high. If the house doesn’t sell, you may need to drop below market value to nab a buyer before new properties appear in spring and make yours look stale by comparison.

The upshot: Take a conservative approach and price at market value, Yee advises. Check closing prices of comparable properties sold in the past 30 days, then eye current list prices to make sure your home won’t look overpriced.

Schedule a Tune-Up

Winter buyers are particularly attuned to issues related to heating and maintenance. Get your furnace, HVAC, and roof inspected, and make any necessary repairs. Also on your to-do list: Clean the gutters, change air filters, and weather—strip the windows.

Many cold-weather house hunters will also be thinking about heating costs. Consider low-cost upgrades like insulating the attic or installing energy-efficient windows, which can slash utility bills, says Brendon DeSimone, author of Next Generation Real Estate.

Brighten Your Home

Snow and gray skies make for a gloomy first impression. Warm up curb appeal with basic landscaping, and add inexpensive cool-weather plants like holly to invigorate outdoor space. Fix chipped paint, caulk windows, and repair cracked window seals, which can cause condensation that freezes over and creates an eyesore.

Offset the season’s poor natural light by painting your house off-white throughout—it sets a consistent color palette and makes the space feel larger, says Sacramento interior designer Kerrie Kelly.

And create a sense of warmth throughout the home, starting with the living room, where staging can have the greatest impact, according to a National Association of Realtors report. Items like a throw blanket can set the tone since “people are in winter mode,” says Annette DeCicco, a New Jersey regional sales manager at Berkshire Hathaway. Just don’t tie the space to a specific religion or belief, advises Kelly. To stay neutral, use such seasonal touches as stacked wood by the fireplace rather than holiday decorations.

As always, de-clutter and depersonalize. Put away family photographs so that buyers can see themselves living in the home; instead display pictures that show what the property looks like when the temperature is warmer, like the garden in full bloom or the backyard in the summertime. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean buyers can’t appreciate what your home has to offer year-round.

pla_11_coldweathersales

Source: Money Magazine

How to Budget for Relocation

The costs of exiting one property and settling into a new home can accumulate quickly. Review these tips before making a move.

Moving is expensive, no matter how carefully you plan for it. Whether relocating for a new job, escaping rising rent prices or downsizing, the costs of exiting one property and settling into a new home can accumulate quickly.

We asked some finance bloggers to share their budgeting advice on relocating, and here are their suggestions.

How do you prepare your finances for an upcoming move?

I recommend that you begin saving and planning for a move as soon as you know it’s coming. Calculate all of your anticipated costs and begin setting aside money each month. Remember that there may be a lag time on getting back your current security deposits, so don’t count on those being immediately available to spend. — Laura Adams of Quick and Dirty Tips

The best way I have found to budget is by little bits. Think of it like filling up a cookie jar, although I do it electronically with a separate savings account. When I was saving for a house I used to put $300 a month into the account automatically, just like a bill right along with the other normal budgeted expenses. Next, any extra income I could generate — I would always have some ideas brewing to create side income or side jobs — I would throw in on top. If I had a slower month where I couldn’t contribute extra, I still felt like I was progressing toward the goal. — Ryan of Spilling Buckets

What are the most surprisingly expensive costs of moving?

I am always surprised at the extra costs you wouldn’t normally consider like deposits on utilities and having to buy things like rugs or curtains. You can really bust up a budget buying all new rugs and bath mats for your new place! — Kim Parr of Eyes on the Dollar

Signing up for new services. There always seems to be a fee to connect or move services. — Ryan of Impersonal Finance

The costs that typically shocked me are the ones related to things at the place I’m moving out of — cleaning fees, other expenses that I didn’t think I was going to get charged for, bills that were unpaid during the landlord’s downtime. — Jeff of Sustainable Life Blog

There’s always something! An extra night in a hotel, new furniture or home supplies, cleaning products … packing material. Whatever cost you estimate for your move, just add 10 percent so you’re not completely shocked at the end. — Spencer of Military Money Manual

How far in advance should you begin saving for a move?

This depends entirely on budget and income, but I would say budget your costs in advance, and aim to save 20 percent above those costs. However long it will take you to comfortably save that amount, do it. — Ryan of Impersonal Finance

How do you offset the costs of moving when you haven’t had much time to save?

One way to save money on your next move is to find your boxes for free. Check with some apartment communities in your area to see if you can collect boxes after someone moves in. This is a win-win for you and someone who needs to get rid of their boxes. — Laura Adams of Quick and Dirty Tips

It is best to identify things you don’t need or won’t need in the future. Moving should be the trigger point to get rid of things you don’t need so that you not only simplify your life but save a good deal of money on the move and storage expenses. — Shilpan Patel of Street Smart Finance

I love selling or giving away as much of my stuff as possible before I move: old furniture, clothes and sports equipment. Basically, if I haven’t touched it in the three years I’ve lived somewhere, I probably don’t need to lug it across the country! If you force yourself to give away or sell many of your things before you move, you’ll avoid the trap of having a storage unit or so many possessions that they begin to possess you! It’s liberating to have less things to worry about, care about and maintain. — Spencer of Military Money Manual

How do you prevent overspending on moving services?

To budget for a relocation it’s important to get multiple mover quotes and make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. For instance, get quotes that offer the same amount of damage insurance and provide the same amount of service and packing material. I found out the hard way how expensive boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap and tape can be. Even if you plan to move yourself, it’s still a good idea get a full service moving quote as a baseline. — Laura Adams of Quick and Dirty Tips

I’ve had my fair share of challenges during moves in the past several years. One of the challenges is to find the right mover at an affordable price. The lesson I learned from some of my mistakes is to do proper planning before hiring a mover and have all the terms and conditions properly documented so if disputes arise, then you have legal protection. Also, you should check references online and with the better business bureau before hiring a moving company. — Shilpan Patel of Street Smart Finance

Should you recruit friends to help?

We’ve always had help from friends and it’s worked great. Our last move was only a few miles, so we didn’t even rent a truck. Our friends all showed up in vans or their own trucks and we had a caravan. If you buy them all pizza afterward and return the favor when it’s their turn, it’s a win-win for everyone. — Kim Parr of Eyes on the Dollar

I have had friends help move in the past, and it has worked out great. To make it easy on your friends, please make sure that ALL of your things are packed before you start moving. — Jeff of Sustainable Life Blog

Do you have any tips for people considering moving?

Moving is hard and expensive. I am all in favor of moving for a better opportunity, but I would really consider the true costs and all the extras before pulling up stakes. — Kim Parr of Eyes on the Dollar

Remember, relocating is more expensive than the fees for boxes, movers and utility cancellations and reactivations. You’ll have new bills and want funds to furnish your new home. The standard guideline is that monthly debts should not surpass 36 percent of your monthly income, including rent, car payments and other bills. Calculate home affordability before committing to the expensive process of moving, to ensure it’s the best long-term fit.

Shared from Zillow.

Ceilings

Who knew there were so many types?!

When looking at either purchasing or building a new home the ceilings and the names they go by might be something that you find yourself unprepared for. We put together some information on a few of the most common types of ceilings so that you might be better informed when the time comes.

Drywall

DrywallThese are the most common types of ceilings. And like the name suggests they are made of flat drywall and are usually painted.

 

 

 

 

Suspended (Dropped) 

drop

A metal grid suspended from the original ceiling with wires or hangers. Tiles are then placed in the grid. These types of ceilings are often used to either cover or lower and existing ceiling or for acoustic reasons.

 

 

 

 

Tongue & Groove

tongue&groove

Usually constructed by putting boards of wood with “tongues on one side and “grooves” on  the other so they fit together.

 

 

 

 

 

Coffered Ceilings

Coffered

 

These are a waffle-like series of shrunken panels. The ancient Greeks and Romans made this from stone. Today skilled craftsman fabricate the look but layering pieces of wood to form “boxes” for the appearance of shrunken panels.

 

 

Ceiling Shapes

CatherdralCathedral – Equally steep sloped ceilings that meet at the center of a room.

 

 

 

 

 

vaulted Vaulted – Though similar to cathedral, vaulted ceilings don’t normally follow the roof pitch and are not equally sloped.

 

 

 

 

shedShed – The ceiling pitches upward at one end. Usually seen in Cape Cod style homes with dormers.

 

 

 

Commodore PA 2012Tray – Inverted or recessed ceiling.

 

 

 

 

 

domedDome – As the name suggests this is a domed or rounded shape ceiling.

 

 

 

 

Sources: www.wikipedia.com, www.ehow.com, Jason Caffey Custom Finish Carpentry (photos).

All images, unless otherwise noted, were taken from the Internet and are assumed to be in the public domain. In the event that there is still a problem or error with copyrighted material, the break of the copyright is unintentional and noncommercial and the material will be removed immediately upon presented proof. Send notification to this email.

Rethinking Spaces – Under the Stairs

I’m sure that all of you have thought at least once “What a waste of space!” when looking at that blank wall under your stairs. Here are a few ideas so you can turn that wasted space into something that makes you smile.

Drawers for Shoes (or other items)

drawers

Playroom for the Kids (big or small)

playroom

Bookcase or Shelves

bookcase

Closet or Mudroom

closet

Office

office

Dog Kennel

dog kennel

Reading Nook

reading

And if you’re stairs happen to be enclosed like this one:

104_0476

And you’re able to access the wall behind you can have a great storage area like this

Pantry.

Pantry

We would love to hear any ideas you have on how to reclaim that lost space under the stairs.

 

All images, unless otherwise noted, were taken from the Internet and are assumed to be in the public domain. In the event that there is still a problem or error with copyrighted material, the break of the copyright is unintentional and noncommercial and the material will be removed immediately upon presented proof. Send notification to this email.