Everyone wants a deal especially when purchasing a big ticket item like a house. In order to get a good deal you have to be a great negotiator. If you are on the hunt for a housing bargain you need to be prepared and sharpen your negotiation skills.

Here are some tips to get you on your way to buying success:

Do Your Homework: Gather information about the property. Find out about recent repairs and improvements or renovations. Review the seller disclosure statement look for details, such as the age of the roof and systems in the home.

Know the Market: Find out what other homes are selling for in your price range. Ask your real estate agent to do a comparative market analysis on the home you are interested in. The comparative market analysis will compare the home to homes that have recently sold and homes that are currently on the market.

Be Prepared: Before you start shopping for a home get your credit in order.The higher your credit score, the better the chance you’ll get a good deal on a home loan. Once you have your credit in order start the mortgage process and get pre-approved. If you are pre-approved the seller will see you are a well-qualified buyer.

Be Reasonable: It is easy to let emotions get in the way. View the purchase as a business transaction. Approach the situation objectively, and don’t take the negotiations personally.

Negotiate: Start off your negotiation on the right foot,  don’t low-ball the seller with an insulting figure. This can immediately kill the transaction. Negotiation is a two way street. In most negotiations both parties compromise.

Be Smart: Stick within your budget and don’t let emotion take over when you are negotiating. Know what price you’re comfortable with and stick to it. This way you will be sure to buy a home that you can afford.

 

Everywhere you turn people are saying “go green”. More and more people are looking for alternatives to heat and power their homes. One alternative is solar energy. There are both benefits and pitfalls to solar energy.

The Benefits

•Solar power is predictable. It is easy to predict how much electricity your system will produce because the amount of sunlight that hits your roof doesn’t vary that much. This means it is also easy to predict how much you will save in electric bills.

•Solar power will lower your electric bill. Solar power will offset the usage of conventional electricity especially in places where the price for grid power is high — like California, Hawaii and much of the northeast.

•Solar power is safe and clean. Solar energy systems produce emissions-free electricity.

•Installing solar panels may also help you qualify for a tax credit. For more information on energy tax credits click here.

The Pitfalls

•Solar power can be predictable but it is also variable. In other words, it can be predicted on a long term basis but not on a daily or even weekly basis. For example, solar panels won’t produce electricity at night.

•Solar power can be a more expensive alternative in the short term. The price of solar panels continue to fall but there are many aggressive financing options. If your state has no tax incentives and electricity prices are relatively low solar would be an expensive option for you.

•Some homes just don’t work. The roof must be in good condition with an unobstructed southern exposure. If the house is surrounded by trees and tall buildings solar panels will probably not work. A ground-mounted system is an option only if you have sufficient space in your yard.

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We are all guilty of it, some worse than others. Homes all over America are brimming with clutter. Do the closets in your home trigger a small avalanche every time you open them? Are your basements and attics filled to capacity with boxes of your adult children’s baby clothes and toys? Do you have holiday decorations from 25 years ago tucked away in corners of your home? The typical American has the tendency to hoard objects and it is becoming an epidemic.

Most of us have more objects entering the house than we have exiting the house. It does not take long before all this stuff over burdens the storage systems in the home. We just keep shopping and bringing in more stuff than we are getting rid of. Eventually our counters are muddled with papers, our cabinets are stuffed to the max, and our garage is no longer a place we can store the car. Instead the garage is just another room filled to capacity with boxes and bins of junk.

All this clutter is suffocating us and stealing our time and energy. It complicates our life and causes stressful situations when we spend our time searching for missing items. Clutter can impact our social life as well, making us afraid to let our friends into our home. It’s time to simplify our life and get rid of the clutter! By clearing out the clutter in your home you begin to reclaim your space and your time. Living a simplified life with less stuff will allow you to live in harmony with out all the chaos. Own less and live more, keep it simple.

Video marketing is the wave of the future. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that is true how much is a video worth? According to Dr. James McQuivery of Forrester Research a one minute video is worth 1.8 million words.  Imagine being able to convey a 1.8 million word message to a consumer in just 60 seconds. Social media sites like You Tube are allowing real estate professionals the opportunity to create messages and have them go viral all over the internet.

One statistic that You Tube likes to tout is that in the very near future 90% of web traffic will be video.  This may or may not be true but what we do know is that buyers and sellers search the internet and are drawn to videos. But what better way to advertise a home for sale than to have the homeowner tell its story.

Here are some video marketing ideas that you can do to help your agent sell your home:

Give the buyer a personal showing

Grab your camera or smartphone and take prospective buyers on a walking tour of your home and go ahead this is your chance to brag.

Go on a neighborhood tour

Drive or walk through your community pointing out areas of interest like schools, businesses and parks.

Get a few video testimonials

Bring your camera to the best advertising there is for the area; the neighbors!  Capture video testimonials from friendly neighbors touting why it is such a great place to live.

 

 

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