Lynn's Tid Bits

Hey! Lynn Sharer here.  I am a full time realtor in the Doylestown area and have been for the last 20 years. My roots are firmly planted in the community.  I grew up here went to Our Lady of Mt Carmel for grade school and Central Bucks West to high school.  Left to go to college in Ohio and came back and have been here ever since.  I have watched our community grow, develop and change.  I love the area and can talk about it forever.  5 of my 6 siblings still live in the area.  One of them went rogue and lives in Virginia but we still talk to him. 

I enjoying continuing to discover the area and watching and participating in the ebb and flow of the area.  Doylestown is a quaint historic town but is alive and active with todays living.  I am a part of that live and active living.  I thoroughly enjoy working with my clients to get them what they want.  Its a discovery journey.  We talk about what they are looking for and then we put our heads together and come up with their dream.  It is way cool and exciting.

In this blog I hope to give you interesting tidbits about life in Doylestown and the area, buying and selling homes, everyday house issues and what ever else I think will keep you informed.

This is the page that I get to comment on what is going on in the local real estate market and alert you to things you should know before you buy and/or sell your home. 

So keep coming back to this page to keep up to date and to stay ahead of the real estate market.

Feb. 11, 2019

Do I need 20% down to purchase a home?


Do you need 20% down to buy a house?


I get this question a lot form my clients.


The simple answer is No.  Most buyers at every price range do not have 20% to put down on a house.  Is this a good thing? I don’t know but it is the reality of the situation.  The industry that is dictating how much you need for a down payment is the mortgage industry and that is heavily regulated by the government.


Anyway if you’re a veteran you can actually by with 0% down.  Nothing down.


For the rest of us the least amount down is usually 3.5%. I say usually because there are times when you can get away with less but they do require other criteria and a very good credit score.  The usual amount of down money is somewhere between 5 and 10%.  So if you are wanting to purchase a $200,000 house that would be somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000 with the least amount being $7,000. 


Keep in mind that this is not the only cost you need to be concerned about when purchasing a house.  You will also have closing costs.  The elusive closing costs.  Closing cost will be about another 4 to 7% in addition to your down money.


There are some times ways to get around these costs by including them in your mortgage but this is the quick down and dirty answer.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule.  If you really want to know contact me Lynn Sharer, I am a realtor with Long and Foster Real Estate and I can discuss your individual needs.


Posted in Buying a House
Nov. 2, 2018

Cost-Effective Space Saving: Advice for People in Small Homes



Image courtesy of Pexels


Cost-Effective Space Saving: Advice for People in Small Homes


Whether you’re just starting out or downsizing to a smaller, more manageable space, making do with a small home that has limited storage space is a challenge. It forces you to economize, to emphasize budget-friendly strategies and find ways to get creative with your decor. Having minimal storage room means you have to create your own, which is a lot easier with efficient and attractive bins and containers that help you make the most of the square footage you have and look great at the same time. Watch for online offers and coupons so you don’t wind up busting your budget as you get organized. Here are a few budget-friendly ideas to help you get started.


Purge and Declutter


It’s a simple equation, but one that’s hard to argue with: the less you have, the less you have to store. This is one task that no one looks forward to, but decluttering will definitely get you headed in the right direction and put you in the downsizing frame of mind. It’s hard because everyone has “stuff” they just can’t seem to let go of.


Try to be as coldly objective as you possibly can. Go room by room, handle each object, and think carefully about whether it’s something you really need and want. If it helps, you can use a checklist to make sure you’ve covered everything. One good rule of thumb is if you haven’t used it within the past year, just let it go. You don’t have to toss it all in the dumpster (nor should you), because much of what you no longer need can be donated to a charitable organization, sold in a yard sale, or given away to friends and relatives. It’s a good way of recycling what you don’t want anymore. Pick up some cheap bins or boxes to keep track of what’s going to stay and what’s been marked for removal.


Get Creative in the Garage and Basement


There are several obvious belongings that you probably already store in your garage or basement - like your tool chest and lawn equipment - but if your home is small, you’ll want to use these spaces for more than the basics. Consider using one or both of these rooms to house items you want to keep but don’t plan on using in the near future, such as old baby clothes and bulky luggage. HomeAdvisor’s list of storage ideas for these rooms offers tips like trying out the WASTE test before moving knick knacks into the basement and converting part of your garage into a mudroom to free up space inside your home.


The Well-Organized Closet


For many people, a well-organized closet is something of an art form. There are companies that are designed to help people make do with less closet space. Fortunately, you can do this yourself for little more than the cost of a few well-appointed supplies. Try thinking of closet space as something more than a place to hang clothes and keep shoes. Often, it’s also underutilized storage space. Add some pull-out shelving or a kid-sized chest of drawers, and you’ve officially maximized your available space. Remember to take advantage of online deals and sales to help save some money in the process. If there’s open space under the stairs, consider adding a cube unit for storing toys, excess clothing or shoes. You might also be able to install an additional wooden shelf (for the cost of a few nails and a board) in a closet for storing small items you want to keep but don’t have room for.


Plastic Shelving


Remember that do-it-yourself plastic shelving that got you through dorm living in college? It’s as cheap and efficient today as it was then. You can use it for just about anything. It can add to your decor and make a nice visual element filled with your favorite books and a few attractive, aesthetically-pleasing houseplants, or you can use the space for board games and personal decorative items you don’t have space for anywhere else.


Go Up, Not Sideways


If you’re challenged by insufficient space in the bedrooms, add affordable bunk beds that have built-in storage drawers for clothing, along with vertical storage units to free up more space for your kids’ stuff (you’ll need it as they get older).


If you can embrace plastic storage items and enjoy the challenge of accessorizing them, you’ll love downsizing. Unburdening yourself of all that clutter is freeing, and it’s a great way to make a new start. There’s less to clean and less stuff to lose track of.




Article provided by Suzie Wilson from


Posted in Seniors
Nov. 1, 2018

6 smart home improvement projects that are well worth doing

kitchen remodel

6 smart home improvement projects that are well worth doing


Chances are your home is the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought. Yet if you are like most of us, what you spent to acquire it is only the beginning.  We spend an awful lot on the upkeep, repairs and renovation of our homes yearly!

It pays to plan carefully and make smart choices with your “return on investment” in mind.  The average remodeling job recoups less than two-thirds of the its cost at sale.  Some projects are more effective at saving money than others.

Here are 6 smart projects that almost entirely pay for themselves in resale value:

1. Painting and updating your color scheme- This should cost you about $200-$300 a room especially if you do it yourself and this is one project you can do yourself usually.  Painting tape is a wonderful thing!

Most realtors will recommend repainting the interior of your home before putting it on the market.  It makes your home look fresh and clean.  Some studies have shown a fresh coat in the right shade can add thousands to your sale price.  Now that is a great investment in your home.

The trending colors in recent years are neutral tones like grey and beige and a combination of the 2. Keep in mind when you are picking a color scheme that you want your living areas, your living room, dining room, kitchen, family room, need to flow one into the other.  So keep your color choices with that flow in mind.  What I mean is you can paint them the same colors or at least paint them a shade on the same pallet.  Don’t make hard stops, don’t paint your living room orange and your dining room green.  The rooms will not have the flow and tranquility that you are trying to achieve.

2. Landscaping-Make your front yard look inviting, a little lawn care can go a long way.  Six applications of fertilizer and weed control which would probably cost about $350, returns about $1,000 at sale according to NAR.  If you really want to spruce things up the trend now is a stone walkway lined with greenery the estimated cost is about $4,750 an on average it returns $5,000 at sale.

Keep it simple though not be elaborate with designs that are over the top and maybe a fountain.  These will be for your enjoyment but will not return your investment.

3. Curb appeal- So from landscaping let’s talk about curb appeal.  As a Realtor I can tell you buyers buy your house before they ever step in the door.  If they like what they see on the outside they will look kindly on everything on the inside.  So look at your first impression areas.  We just talked about your lawn, specifically your front yard.  Does it look inviting and well cared for?  If it looks well cared for more than likely the inside of the house matches the outside.  One first impression area that is often over looked is the garage doors.  In this area everyone is in cars and when the buyer pulls up to your house the first thing they see is your garage door and the molding around the doors.  Just take note of how many of these have dings in them.  You know the ding when you were backing out in a hurry and your car caught on the door, those dings.  Anyway, think about replacing outdate or worn garage doors.  This home improvement is likely to return you about 98.3% of the cost of the project.  In other words if the cost of the garage doors is $3,470 you will really only be set back about $60 when you put your house on the market and this small project really does improve that curb appeal.

4. Replace old windows-this can run you anywhere from $2,500 to $7,500.  It will save you on your energy costs and will help freshen up your home’s appearance. 

Go with a mid-range window replacement this typically delivers the best value, especially since the priciest options tend to be more about aesthetics than insulation.  A full window replacement is not always necessary.  Look for rotting window frames and/or condensation between the window panes.  This sometimes looks like fog in your windows or window that just never look clean after you have tried to clean them.  Sometimes if the glass is damaged but the frame is not you can do a partial replacement by using window inserts that fit inside the existing frames.  So be sure to ask that question.

5. Install the hardwood floor of your dreams – This might cost $7,000 to $12,000 and is pricier than wall-to-wall carpeting, but they look more elegant and are all the rage just now.  They also last longer and may actually save you money in the long run.  Carpet may last you 10 years but the hardwood floors with a little care can last forever.

6. Check your insulation-According to the U.S. government’s energy star program 9 out of 10 homes are under-insulated.  Chances are good it your home was built before 1980 you need to improve your insulation.  To find out check your attic you should have at least 11 inches of fiberglass insulation or 8 inches of cellulose insulation.  And did you know if your insulation is dirty it probably has reached it end of service life.  I didn’t know insulation had a life expectancy! So keep in mind that fixing these issues can save you about 10% on your heating and air conditioning bills. 

The average price of professionally installing fiberglass attic insulation is about $1,500 according to the Remodeling magazine.

So whether you are thinking of selling soon or just wanting to make your home more enjoyable to live in these projects are smart choices.

Please keep in mind that if you need advice on some improvement you want to make on your home and whether it is a good idea please contact me, Lynn Sharer.  I am a professional Realtor with Long and Foster Real Estate and I would be glad to assist.  Of course if you want to sell your home please contact me my goal is always to get you the most for your home.


Lynn Sharer

Homes & Lifestyles in Doylestown

Long and Foster Real Estate




Posted in Selling a Home
Oct. 23, 2018

4 home improvement projects that are over the top and just not worth it


If you’re thinking of selling your home in the next year or so you probably have already started to think about getting your home ready for sale.  Sometimes it’s hard to know what are the best improvements to do when you sell.

When you are thinking about selling your home and starting to take a hard look at the good, the bad and the really needs work part of your home, you want to consider what projects will get you the best bang for your buck.  They are not always what you think.  Today I want to go over 4 projects that are probably not worth considering if you are planning on selling your home within the next 12 months or so.

1. Replacing old cabinets-replacing cabinets can cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 and up.  This investment will not equal that much of a jump in the sale price.  If your cabinets need an update think about sanding them down and staining or painting them or even doing a cabinet refacing.  Giving your cabinets a makeover is a good idea and will improve the salability of your home not necessarily the value of your home.

2. Extensive master bath remodeling- So you have lived with the bathroom in your master bedroom the entire time you have been in your home and you know no one else will put up with it?  Well this is not the time to completely redo your bathroom.  Extensive redo’s of a bathroom from start to finish can go from $10,000 to $50,000, just for the bathroom!  Again you will not recoup that money in the sale of your house.  Be frugal here update the bathroom maybe get a new vanity, new doors for the shower and clean it very, very well.  A master bathroom does help sell your home but sometimes a little bit will be enough to improve the entire room.

3 Adding a room. This is not the time to add that sunroom you always wanted.  Look for that in your next home.  Adding a room will not yield you your investment back when you sell.

4. Enlarging a bedroom by removing a bedroom-So how about enlarging the master bedroom by knocking down a wall between a secondary bedroom and making it one big room.  For resale value this is never a good idea.  What you’re doing here is taking your home from a 4 bedroom home to a 3 bedroom home and reducing its value accordingly, even if you now have a great master suite.

Here is an added tip-

Doing the repairs yourself-Unless you are a contractor or are very good at doing repairs on your home get a professional to do the work.  Don’t try to save money by doing it yourself.  If the job does not look like a professional did it an average buyer is not going to like it and more than likely will not pay for it.  As my mother would say, you don’t want to be penny wise and pound foolish here.  Spend the money to do the repairs and have the improvement done correctly the first time.  You will be glad you did and the sale of your home will go smoothly and quickly.


So those were 4 home improvement projects and a bonus tip for you to consider when you are thinking about selling your home.

There are so many options for improving and upgrading your home, it can be tough to decide which are best for adding value to your property.  This is why it is so important to contact a professional real estate agent before you start spending your hard earned money.  Consult with a professional real estate agent that knows the market and the area and can advise you which items on your list will improve the value  and salability of your home before you start.

This is what I do on a regular basis.  I am a professional real estate agent in your market.  My name is Lynn Sharer with Long and Foster Real Estate and I am passionate about getting my clients the most money out of their homes.


Posted in Selling a Home
Sept. 19, 2018

5 Steps to a Successful Open House



Image via Unsplash




5 Steps to a Successful Open House         




An open house starts your home sale off on the right foot. Your home’s market debut gets buyers excited and lets interested parties see what’s special about your home. However, if you don’t get your house in top shape for the open house, it could have the opposite effect.




While agents put a lot of effort into the open house, sellers have a responsibility as well. It’s the agent’s responsibility to market the home, but sellers need to make sure their house is clean and that the yard looks nice.




While it’s true that cleaning and prepping your home is no small effort, it’s worthwhile if you want the best price for your house. By getting your house in show-ready condition for the open house, you leave prospective buyers with a positive impression.




But what, exactly, does show-ready condition mean? A seller should take these five steps before their open house to ensure their home is ready to impress.


1. Clean the Carpet


You can hire a pro to clean your carpets or rent a machine and do it yourself. Either way, it’s a critical part of open house prep. Spot clean old stains before thoroughly steam cleaning carpeting. A steam cleaner injects a cleaning solution into your carpet before extracting it along with dirt and debris. Pay special attention to high-traffic areas. Once your carpet is clean, create a rule of no shoes in the house to prevent new stains.


2. Banish Odors


The carpet cleaning should have your home smelling fresher, but carpets aren’t the only source of odors. Accumulated dust can leave your home smelling stale, so start by washing the insides of cabinets and closets and dusting ceiling fans, baseboards and blinds. Next, tackle upholstery, linens, throw blankets and pillows and other soft surfaces. Launder what you can and vacuum and spot clean couches without removable covers. Dirty furniture should be thrown out or placed in storage. If musty smells continue to linger, you could have a mold problem. Follow BrightNest’s tips for inspecting for mold and managing minor mold issues.


3. Repaint as Needed


Brightly painted walls are a fun way to bring personality into your home, but buyers are unlikely to appreciate non-neutral paint colors. Repaint unusual color choices to more subtle hues like the classic colors recommended by Better Homes and Gardens. Walls that are scuffed, stained, or discolored should also be repainted before the open house.


4. Declutter


While it’s on the market, your home should be a blank slate so buyers can imagine themselves living in it. But if your house is filled with personal clutter, they’ll be too focused on your life to picture their own. Perform a thorough decluttering of your home, packing up or throwing away anything you don’t need between now and the day you sell. Remove highly personal décor like family photos. Organize what remains so that closets, cupboards and other storage areas appear neat.


5. Improve Curb Appeal


Don’t forget to pay attention to your home’s exterior. As the first thing buyers see, it leaves a big impression. Ensure it’s a good one by tidying up your front porch. Wash the surface, buy a new welcome mat and eliminate clutter such as shoes, trashcans and yard tools. Mow the lawn, fix bare patches with new sod, and refresh landscaping plants with pruning and a layer of mulch. On the day of the open house, remove cars from the driveway.




Getting ready for the open house is a lot of work. But if you want top dollar for your home, it’s a chore you can’t afford to skip. If you have questions about open house prep, ask your agent what else you can do to ensure your home looks great on the big day.




Article provided by Suzie Wilson from 


Posted in Selling a Home
Sept. 17, 2018

On the Market: Tips to Secure That Coveted Sale



Photo By: Pixabay




On the Market: Tips to Secure That Coveted Sale




Putting your home up for sale is a big step, and a triumphant one at that. Perhaps there is some nostalgia involved, and many even a few nerves, but it opens the door to your next adventure. However, there’s one thing stopping you – actually selling your home. While you are at the whim of potential buyers, there are various ways you can improve your home to secure a sale more quickly, such as making minor renovations, sprucing up the exterior, and proper staging.




Bring Your Home Up to Par


While you could certainly take on large renovation projects, you run the risk of not recouping the costs. It is best to talk with your agent before tackling any big remodeling projects if there are some glaringly obvious repairs you need to make. Invite your realtor over and go through your home, making note of anything that is damaged and worn out.




Consider making improvements such as:




  • Patching holes/cracks

  • Replacing stained, warped, or worn flooring (carpet, tile, laminate, wood, etc.)

  • Repainting the home with neutral colors

  • Fixing and/or replacing broken appliances, including your HVAC system

  • Repairing the roof




By making these minor repairs, you increase your odds of receiving your asking price. Plus, it saves you time later on when a sale is contingent upon these repairs (which happens often).




The Exterior is the First Impression


You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth saying again: the exterior of your home is the buyer’s first impression of your home, and you only get one shot at it. One of the best things a seller can do to improve their home is to add curb appeal. Fortunately, there are ways to spruce up the exterior of your home without breaking the bank. Add fresh mulch, a few potted plants (flowers in bright colors are especially enticing when placed near entrances), and fill in bare spots in the lawn (don’t forget to mow too!). Freshen and brighten things up with a coat of paint on the door, shutters, and mailbox. If you think you’d like to try a different color, run it by your realtor first. While you want your home to stick out, it shouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb, so you want to be sure you’re picking an attractive color, not one that will turn off buyers. Give your home a good scrub down too, removing dirt, dust, pollen, and cobwebs.




Set the Stage


You don’t have to be a pro to stage your home. The word “stage” might be intimidating, so replace it with “prep.” One thing many sellers forget to do before a showing is prep the home, but it’s a really simple task that shouldn’t be overlooked. Start by taking on the two D’s: de-personalizing and decluttering. When a buyer tours your home, it can be hard to picture themselves living there when surrounded by your wedding photos, holiday cards, and baby photos. Pack these away along with any clutter on countertops, shelves, or bookcases. Ask your realtor if there is any furniture that doesn’t fit, whether it is too small or large for the room, doesn’t match the décor, or doesn’t make sense in the room it is in.




When your home is up for sale, it might seem like everything is out of your hands. Take back some of the control and impress buyers by making necessary repairs, improving your home’s exterior, and setting the stage to sell. Once your home is ready to show, take a deep breath and let your realtor work her magic.




Article provided by Ray Flynn from


Posted in Seniors
Aug. 31, 2018

How Much Money Will My Remodeling Get Me?

kitchen remodel


So, you’re thinking about remodeling and/or upgrading your home and you are wondering about your return on investment.  This is always an important consideration and one I will discuss in detail however I want to touch on one point before I get into cost analysis.

The number one reason for remodeling and upgrading your primary residence must be for you.  It is for your enjoyment and pleasure.  When you wake up in the morning this remodel, once done, should make you smile.  If it does that the remodel/renovation has done its job, totally.  You really can’t put a price on your enjoyment and your satisfaction!  So please keep that in mind as we go on to discuss return on your investment.

As of this writing and according to National Association of Realtors and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry the renovation that will give you the biggest return on your investment is installing or refinishing hard wood floors.  At this time you will get 91% of your cost back at the time of sale.  This makes sense to me.  Today’s buyers go gaga over wood floors.  wood floors

They feel cleaner than the wall to wall carpets we grew up with and they keep allergens to a minimum.  As a Realtor I can tell you for the most part wood floors photograph better in the multiple listings for homes for sale.  So what I am trying to say here is not only do you get your money back but the wood floors will usually help sell your home quicker.  That makes them a winner all around!

As a Realtor the top remodeling projects for a return on your investment would be your kitchen, bathrooms and then master bedroom suites.  Again these remodels will also help your home sell faster and be more appealing to a buyer.  Keeping in mind these projects need to appeal to a general audience.  What does this mean?  Keep the color pallets in the neutral range.  Don’t do your cabinets in a lime green.  You may love the color and that color makes you smile, great!  My question would be do you think you will get tired of the color and most people don’t like lime green for a cabinet color.  That color will not return you value for your investment.  Do you remember the avocado green color we grew up with in the bathroom?  People in the 70’s thought that was such a cool color and everybody wanted that.  Today most buyers turn their noses up when they see that color in the kitchen or bath.  They also devalue the house because they know they will need to replace it.

Anyway if you do a remodel of your kitchen, bath or master bedroom expect to get somewhere between 50% and 75% of your costs back when you sell your home.

If you remodel or upgrade the outside of your home expect to get about 75% of your costs returned.  Exterior of the home projects include a new roof but not a second layer roof.  What I mean here if you are going to do a new roof take the old roof off and check the plywood underneath.  Do a good job.

Exterior remodels include new siding, especially if you are replacing stucco, new windows throughout, new garage doors and a new front door.  Always your first impression areas give you a good bang for your buck and help your home sell faster.

I hope this article has been helpful.  If you have further questions  you can contact me through this website or on Facebook and Linkedin.




Posted in Selling a Home
July 17, 2018

When should you make an offer below asking price?

Here is a great article I found on when you could put in a low offer and how to know its time...

When Should You Make an Offer Below Asking Price? 5 Clues It's Time to Take a Gamble

 | May 17, 2018

Homes are expensive, and getting even more so every day. (Also, water is wet and the sky is blue!) Making an offer over asking price—sometimes by absurd amounts—has become a harrowing norm for today's buyers.

But even as the market rockets upward, there are always those buyers. You know the type: You visit their new home for a dinner party, and halfway through the meal, they lean over to whisper in your ear.

"We got a killer deal," they say. "Under list price."

Then you proceed to silently hate them forever. Because. Homes. Are. Expensive.

But getting an awesome deal on a house isn't impossible, even in a hot market. If you learn to read the signals, you just might find sellers who are amenable to an offer below asking price.

To be clear: Real estate pros warn against extremely lowball offers (typically more than 15% below listing price) because you might offend the sellers—even if the home's been on the market for months. Strategize with your agent to determine both how far under listing price you're comfortable going, and what you think the sellers might respond to.

Not sure where to start? These five signs will help you determine when the time is right for a low offer.

1. When the seller wants out

Not every seller wants to wait for an over-the-top, so-much-money-it-takes-your-breath-away offer. Some homeowners want to sell quickly, and they're willing to accept lower offers to do so.

"Submitting a lowball offer has more to do with circumstances than the actual property itself," says Than Merrill, a real estate investor in San Diego. Lowballs "grow increasingly attractive to homeowners the more desperate they become to sell their property."

A little bit of sleuthing by you and your real estate agent can go a long way in figuring out the sellers' motivation: Have they recently gone into default on their loan? Are they trying to move to a new state for a job, or to take care of elderly relatives? Did they inherit the house but don't have any interest in the real estate game?

"If you can identify what the seller really wants or needs, you may be able to negotiate a better deal," Merrill says. "You never know until you ask."

2. When the home is blatantly, obnoxiously overpriced

Just because a home is expensive doesn't mean it's overpriced—it might be worth every penny. But sellers do often get an inflated sense of their home's value. And those homes can languish on the market.

Enter: You and your below-asking offer.

Work with your agent to look at the comps for your area, and find out what other homes are selling for. If there's one that makes you say they're out of their damn minds, it might be ripe for a low offer.

"You may in fact be the only offer this frustrated and anxious seller has seen yet," says RJ Winberg, an agent in Orange County, CA.

3. When you're not picky

Maybe you have a flexible wish list. Two bedrooms, three bedrooms—more space is great but you really need only one, right? Perhaps you care only about how your house looks on the inside. Or maybe you're planning a full renovation no matter what you buy.

If all you care about is price, don't feel bad throwing below-asking offers left and right.

"Most buyers are going all-in and looking for their dream home, but some buyers are more concerned about whether or not they're getting a good deal than how ideal the actual house is," Winberg says. "If you go around making lowball offers on every home you could conceivably see yourself living in, chances are you will eventually find a seller who will entertain your offer."

4. When the home has hopped on and off the market

Keep your eyes peeled for a home that's been on the market, then off, then on again. This home might be a prime candidate for your low offer. After all, imagine the seller's irritation: Listing a home can be an arduous process, filled with open houses, surprise showings, and negotiations—only to have the buyer back out at the last minute.

"This often means that the seller is getting frustrated with the process of being on the market and may be more open to accepting a lower offer, just to get through the process," says Klaus Gonche, a Realtor® in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

But before you make an offer, see if your agent can get some intel: It's possible there's another reason the sellers are listing and relisting their house—such as they don't actually want to sell.

5. When the home is outdated

Elizabeth Gigler, an agent in Naperville, IL, has three requirements for going in low: First, the home must have been on the market for more than 60 days. Second, the home must have old mechanicals. (Updating a vintage HVAC system could cost thousands of dollars—meaning that a low offer is entirely justified.) Third, the home "is completely outdated," she says.

That '70s-era burnt orange shag carpeting isn't anyone's style these days. The sellers might presume they'll get full asking price without swapping in something more neutral; however, they might change their tune after a few months on the market without any offers.

That's when you swoop in with a low offer—and get yourself a killer deal to brag about at your next dinner party.

Jamie Wiebe writes about home design and real estate for She has previously written for House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Real Simple, Veranda, and more.


Posted in Buying a House
May 14, 2018

How to Make Moving Day a Breeze

How to Make Moving Day a Breeze


If you have a move in your future, it’s never too soon to begin the process of planning for the commotion and potential chaos involved in packing and unpacking your entire life. In fact, with a little bit of upfront planning and organization, as well as a few tips on how to more efficiently pack and move, you can reduce much of moving day stress.


 Create a Moving Day Plan


Your planning should begin the moment you make the decision to move. When the date is scheduled and your new living arrangements are known, get a small notebook or journal. Even if you are a technophile who loves to make spreadsheets and use apps for every aspect of your life, start this plan with paper and pencil. You never know when you’ll need the information you put in your plan, or who may need to retrieve it for you, so having a small, easy-to-carry notebook is the best option to organize your move.


In this notebook, you’ll not only jot down things that you need to do, such as contacting utilities and forwarding your mail, but you will also make notes of phone numbers for movers and other people you may need to contact while in transit.


While you are listing the things that need to be done, this is an opportunity to think hard about what tasks you want to or can handle on your own. The physical work involved in a move can be overwhelming. It’s easy to break the tasks into little pieces and say, However, these small jobs pile up, and if you undertake more than you can handle, you can risk a becoming overstressed or worse -- experiencing a failed move. For example, instead of resting in your new home, you are duct-taping broken furniture or having a nervous breakdown.


Once You Have Your Overall Plan, Begin to Organize


Your little notebooks reminds you of the big-picture tasks that need to be accomplished and will feed into how you organize packing. Even if you are using a mover, you can save considerable money by handling packing on your own. Packing is a tough job, but in most cases, it’s best for you to do it yourself. You know your belongings best, and it is an opportunity to purge. Of all the benefits of moving, purging yourself of unnecessary items ranks right up near the top. Be aggressive and shed your life of old things. Use the trusted three box method. One big box for trash, a medium box for donations and a small box for things you’ll keep.


When packing things that you’ll keep, use small boxes for heavy items, such as books and small kitchen appliances, and large boxes for big fluffy items, such as pillows and blankets. Mark your boxes on two sides and tape them securely. Don’t forget to bring a boxcutter since there probably won’t be one just laying around at your new house.


Get Professionals to Do the Heavy Lifting


Hire movers for moving day. They are professionals, and they know how to move things without damaging the items or the walls. Movers are also skilled at taking apart furniture and reassembling at the new house. This work is difficult, and it’s well worth the money to have someone else do it properly.


Make Sure Your Plan Includes Your Pets


Pets and movers do not mix well. Movers do not have time to watch their feet for small animals, and dogs and cats can get extremely stressed during a move. To them it is horrific -- many strange people loudly taking their world apart and out the front door. Rather than subjecting pets to this scene, make arrangements for them to be elsewhere. Board your pets, or ask a friend to watch them. And wait until you are moved in before introducing them to your new place.


Moving day stress is considerable, but there are several ways to dial the madness down. Like many things in life, success depends on a good plan, organization, and knowing your own limits.


Article provided by Tamara Gilmore from

Photo Credit: Pixabay


Posted in Selling a Home
Feb. 1, 2018

Frozen Water Pipes

Ask the Expert: What Can a Homeowner Do about a Frozen Water Pipe?
RISMEDIA, Tuesday, February 17, 2015— Today's “Ask the Expert” column features Charles Furlough, vice president of Field Operations with Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.

Q: What can a homeowner do about a frozen water pipe?

A: Water expands when it freezes, causing pipes that freeze to split. Even if a pipe doesn’t split, the ice will block the flow of water, a hallmark of a frozen pipe. Generally, a pipe will freeze only in a small area. If no damage occurs, you can thaw it out without consequence. To thaw a frozen pipe, heed the following imperatives of pipe thawing:

1. First, Do No Harm. If the pipe has split and you thaw it out, you may suddenly have a whole lot of water spraying out. The ice plug may be doing you a favor. If you know where the pipe is frozen, inspect it carefully for splits before you thaw. If it’s split, call a plumber and shut the water to the house off.

2. Have a Backup Plan. Check your main water shut-off valve. Make sure you’ll be able to shut the water off quickly if necessary. Operate the valve to make sure it’s not stuck or damaged.

3. Patience Is a Virtue. The only good way to thaw a pipe is to do it slowly. Never apply a blowtorch, as you could create trapped steam that’ll burst or cause damage by melting a solder joint or plastic valve fitting. Gentle heat, such as a space heater or hairdryer, is a better approach. If the frozen pipe is under a sink, opening cabinet doors may let in enough heat to thaw the pipes.

4. If in Doubt, Call a Plumber. While calling a plumber about frozen pipes is never the wrong thing to do, the following situations definitely require a plumber:
  • You can’t find where the pipe is frozen.
  • You suspect that your water main is frozen.
  • The frozen pipe has a split and will require repair.
  • Your main shut-off valve is corroded and stuck.
Now that your pipes are thawed, how are you going to keep them from freezing again? Here are a few solutions:

Add Some Heat - Often, the most effective short-term solution is to add a heat source to get you through the winter. Adding a space heater in a crawlspace near problem pipes, or hiring a plumber to apply heat tape or pipe wrapping are effective options.

Seal Air Leaks - A common cause of pipe freeze is air leakage—cold air streaming in through gaps around windows or hatches. This is easy to fix with weather strip and caulking.

Insulate - While insulating is more complicated, improper installation could make the problem worse. Stuffing blankets around the pipes may block household heat from getting to the pipes. An insulation contractor can recommend a customized solution. If there’s space, add insulation and the appropriate air barrier and vapor retarder. Sometimes, the existing insulation will have to be removed and replaced with more effective insulation (higher R value insulation).


Posted in Home Maintanance