More Tips For Selling During The Holidays


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If your home is on the market during the holiday season consider these tips for taking advantage of the opportunities you have:

1.  Price to sell.  Just like always, if your home is priced right it will get the attention that it deserves.

2.  Pay attention to curb appeal.  Again, this is a year-round tip, but at this time of year in particular be sure that leaves a raked, stairs and walkways are kept free of ice and snow, and gutters are cleaned.

3.  Decorate reasonably.  If you decorate during the holidays be sure not to go overboard.  Keep things scaled to your home and decorate to emphasize your home’s best features, not cover or detract from them.  If you want to avoid offending potential buyers it is best to decorate with general winter themes rather than religious items.

4.  Focus on motivated buyers.  People who house hunt during the holidays are generally motivated buyers.  Work with your agent to target buyers who are on a deadline and looking to buy before the end of the year.

5.  Hire a trusted agent.  At this time of year in particular it is important to have a real estate agent who is reliable and not someone who will disappear during the holidays.  Some who will go above and beyond to work for you will help get your home sold.

Looking to buy or sell a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-856-6434.

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Tips for Selling Your Home During The Holidays


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W-HHS

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, one of the busiest times of year is getting under way… the holiday season!  Selling a home during the holiday season can be tough, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both leaving your home on the market & pulling it off and relisting in January.  You might want to keep your house on the market because buyers who look for a home during the holidays are serious buyers looking for a home during a time when there are less homes on the market than after the new year.  Additionally, many buyers want to close the deal before the end of the year for the tax advantages.  However, you might want to pull your home off the market if you love to go overboard with the holiday decorations, have lots of company during the holidays, or want the advantages of relisting your home in January to generate new traffic during a home-shopping period that it usually busier than the holiday season.  What is best for your home depends on your neighborhood, home, family schedule, and your agent’s advice.

Looking to buy or sell a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-629-6693.

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Selling Your Home? Things You Should Hide


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If you are trying to sell your home then you definitely don’t want to turn off potential buyers as soon as they walk into your home.  In order for your home to show as well as it possibly can, there are several things you should clean up and put out of sight (out of the house, if possible!) to help your home show off its best features.  According to a survey of house hunters and their agents, pet stuff and toys/baby stuff top the list of things that buyers don’t want to see (or smell!) when they walk in your house.  When it comes to pets, they really shouldn’t even know that you have one.  Potential buyers with allergies may not even give your home a fair shot if they know about your animals.  Even though it’s inconvenient to make arrangements for your pets and their things every time there is a showing, it really is important if you want to get your home sold.  When it comes to the baby stuff, you should have a dedicated area for storing your children’s things, such as a large toy chest or two.  Then, when you have a showing you can just shove everything in, close the lid, and be done!  Clear baby clutter such as bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, etc. off counters and tables and put it out of sight!

Speaking of clutter… that’s another big turn off.  I know I’ve said it before, but it really is important to clear clutter off the kitchen counter, including any small appliances, wash and put away dirty dishes, and put away personal items.  It is equally important to clear clutter and stow personal items in the bathroom.  And when it comes to the bathroom, keep the sink and toilet cleaned at all times, and keep the toilet seat and lid down!  Nobody wants to see a dirty toilet when they are imagining their dream home!

Of course, its difficult and sometimes impossible to keep your house in tip-top shape when you’re trying to sell, but it really is worth the time and effort invested to get the best offer on your home and quickly as possible!

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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Best Language for Marketing Your Home


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Marketing and strategy

When you are working with your agent to write the listing for your home you should put more than a few moments of thought into it.  Your online listing is your advertisement to potential buyers.  If you want buyers to come and look then you will need to pique their interest.  The first and most important thing you should do is include a handful of pictures.  The second thing you need to do is write the description.  To help you, begin by avoiding general “filler” words.  Examples of such words are things like fantastic, gorgeous, spacious, charming, great, etc.  In addition to avoiding those types of filler terms, you should also avoid overly-common “code language” such as “cozy” and “up and coming.”  Buyers in today’s market know that those terms just mean “small” and “not a great neighborhood,” so it’s better to just avoid them entirely.  So, what should you say?  Think of your description as the best way to shine a light on the very best that your home has to offer.  If your home is in a desirable neighborhood, name it specifically.  If your home has top-notch finishes (marble, granite, etc.) name them specifically.  If your home has any largely desirable built-ins or custom work such as cabinets, bookshelves, etc. you should list them.  You should also take the time to list any little luxuries that your home includes that appeal to a wide range of buyers.  These types of luxuries include gourmet kitchens, spa-like showers, breakfast nooks, walk-in closets, etc.  If your home is in a walkable neighborhood, list nearby “walkable” places.  Really take the time to paint a picture of your home’s ideal location.  Additionally you will want to list anything that separates your home from the rest of the competition.  Use your listing to make potential buyers come to your home instead of the home next door, across the street, or around the block!  Lastly, no matter what you say in your description, make sure to prove it with pictures!  Whatever you do, be sure that your written description and your photos match.  Do not give potential buyers any reason to doubt your honesty or question your description.  Make them come check it out in person!

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County? Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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Tips For Upping Your Curb Appeal


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Cartoon-House

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and first impressions are lasting.  We know this, yet when many people put their home on the market they don’t take the time to make sure that the first impression is a good one.  When you’re trying to sell your home, you want buyers to fall in love at first sight!

Here are a few tips to boost your property’s curb appeal:

  1. Take a picture.  You’re so use to seeing the outside of your house that you might not notice it anymore.  If you take a photo (or several photos) you may be able to see the property with new eyes.  Show the photos to friends, family, neighbors, etc. and ask them to point out any concerns they would have if they were thinking about buying the place.  Make a list and address as many of the concerns as you can, especially recurring concerns.
  2. Paint – It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for the exterior of a home.  If the entire home doesn’t need to be painted, consider freshening the trim, doors, shutters, and/or garage door.
  3. Clean & repair the driveway – Take the time to repair small cracks and rent a power washer to get that driveway clean.  If your drive way is a major mess, think about getting it redone.
  4. Spruce up landscaping – Keep your grass mowed and fertilized.  Rake your yard.  Edge along your sidewalks.  Plant some bright, low maintenance flowers – marigolds are a good choice!
  5. Replace your door – If your front door has seen better days, consider replacing it.  Remember, the door is what will welcome potential buyers into your home.  Make it a nice welcome!
  6. Clean – Wash your windows and doors (including screens), rent a power washer and spray down the deck, driveway, sidewalks, consider power washing the exterior of your home if you aren’t going to paint.
  7. Replace light bulbs – check the view of your home at night and replace any burned-out bulbs.  Consider adding lights if the property is in need of better lighting.

Of course the front of your house will offer the first impression to potential buyers, but don’t forget the back and side views as well!

Considering putting your home on the market?  Let us help.  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266!

 

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Sell Your Home Faster Than Your Neighbor


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home-for-sale-sign-two

If you are looking to sell your home, check out these tips to give you a head start on your competition:

1.  Know what your home is worth.  In the neighborhood, that is.  If you are going to sell you definitely want to know the comps for your home.  Your real estate agent can help you with this.  You can always start going to open houses to see what’s selling in your neighborhood, and utilize online listings to help you learn more.  Just remember that “comps” are comparable sales, not comparable listings.  It doesn’t matter what people are asking for their homes, only what the homes actually sell for.

2.  Get inspected.  Of course, inspection falls to the seller, but if you want to give yourself a leg up consider paying for an inspection yourself.  If you do you will know what needs to be repaired before you begin negotiating.  If you can plan for repairs in advance you will be able to fix them for less money than they would cost you in buyer credit down the road, or you can price your home with the repairs factored in.  Either way you will save money for the long run.

3.  Stage your home.  By hiring a designer or stager, you will be able to show your home in the best possible light.  Again, even though this is an up-front cost, it will save you money in the long run!

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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Make Your Home More Appealing to Buyers


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declutter

If your home is on the market, but it’s not selling, consider putting in some time and elbow grease to make it more appealing to potential buyers.  Here are five relatively inexpensive tips to help you market your home:

1.  De-clutter

You want to show off your home to potential buyers, not your stuff.  Even if you feel like your stuff is organized, the truth is it is still taking up space… space that will seem more appealing to buyers if it is empty, giving the illusion of more square footage.  Here are some tips to help you:

  • If you haven’t used it in over a year get rid of it – donate it or throw it away.
  • Pack up knick-knacks, books, photos, etc. – you want potential buyers to envision themselves in your home, but they won’t be able to do that if they see your family everywhere they look.
  • Get a small box for essentials (toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc) and put them out of site (like under the sink) when not in use.
  • Rent a storage unit – all homes show better with less furniture.  Remove pieces that are too bulky for their space, block walkways or doorways, or are not necessary.  For example, take the leaves out of your dining room table and store extra chairs – this will make your dining room seem larger.  If your guest room doubles as an office, either remove the desk and all office furniture or store the bed and other pieces of bedroom furniture.  You don’t want potential buyers to walk into a room and wonder what it’s used for.

Remember, de-cluttering goes for all areas of your home, so don’t think that boxing up your stuff and putting it in the garage, basement, or closet is helpful.  You want to be prepared for potential buyers to open every last door, drawer, and cabinet and scrutinize every last square inch of space.  What kind of impression would it give to open a closet door and see piles of stuff jumbled up?  At best this is distracting to potential buyers and at worse it can deter them.  Get rid of your stuff, get organized, and get potential buyers thinking about the space in your home as theirs.

 2.  Clean

When a house sparkles it give buyers the impression that you are the kind of people that take good care of your things.  Everyone wants to buy a house that has been well cared for, so keep your house clean and increase your odds of selling.  In addition to daily cleaning, consider doing the following:

  • Rent a power washer and spray down your driveway, sidewalks, and exterior
  •  Wash windows inside and out
  • Dust for cobwebs
  • Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks
  • Polish all faucets and mirrors and keep them polished
  • Get your carpets professionally cleaned and then vacuum daily
  • Dust not only your furniture, but light fixtures, picture frames, electronics, fan blades, and anything else that collects dust
  • Hang clean, fresh towels
  • Replace any worn out bedding or curtains
  • Eliminate any odors – all odors should be avoided, but be especially aware of pet odors.  You are accustomed to them, so ask a friend or neighbor who does not have a pet to come over and let you know if there are lingering odors.  As much as you love your pets, others may not and may even be allergic.  If you want to sell your home, don’t alienate buyers who are not “pet people.”
  • Wax floors

3.  Check Curb Appeal

You don’t want potential buyers to walk away before they even come inside!  Walk around your house and think about how it comes across to potential buyers.  If you can’t be objective ask a friend or neighbor for help.  Consider the following: edge sidewalks, trim bushes, plant flowers, add potted plants, mend fences, keep sidewalks cleared, keep the lawn mowed, paint faded trim, be sure that your house number is clearly visible.

4.  Make Minor Repairs

Even inexpensive repairs can make a big difference in showing a home.  Consider the following: tighten leaky faucets, patch holes in walls (even nail holes from those family photos you removed!), caulk or plaster where necessary, replace cracked tiles, fix doors that don’t close properly, fix windows or drawers that jam, replace burned out light bulbs or broken light fixtures, fix broken blinds, oil squeaky hinges or windows that get stuck, replace any window or door hardware that is broken or “tricky”

5.  Paint

Painting is relatively inexpensive (if you do it yourself) and is perhaps the one thing you can do to make the biggest impact on the way your home shows to potential buyers.  Paint all the walls in your home in neutral shades.  Stay away from white which can feel cold and clinical, and instead choose from one of the lovely, warm beige tones that exist.  Definitely avoid non-neutral colors – you don’t want potential buyers to remember your home as the “one with the green room.”

None of these suggestions require a large amount of money, but if you combine them with some time and elbow grease your home will be much more appealing to potential buyers.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County? Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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How to Attract Young Homebuyers


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iStock_000008573734XSmall_YoungPeepsKey

If you’re selling your home and you’d like it to appeal to younger buyers, here are some tips to help you market your home smarter.

Make it multi-functional.  Young buyers don’t necessarily need a ton of space as long as the space they have is organized and can be used in multiple ways.  Good ways to demonstrate this are by turning a guest bedroom into a home office and adding a pull-out sofa to show that it can still be used as a guest room when needed.  If your home is not already set up to utilize the space in the smartest way possible it may be in your best interest to bring in a stager to help you make the best decisions for marketing purposes.

Know their priorities.  Many young buyers are tech-driven and almost all are tech-savvy.  Including in your marketing materials information about local internet service and cellular service options, quality and costs will be noted and appreciated by younger buyers.

Take note of transportation.  Also include in your marketing materials information that shows your home in the best light for alternative transportation methods such as bikes, public transportation, and car-sharing services.  Young buyers are often very interested in saving money on transportation so that they have more to spend on housing.  If your home can play to these wishes, then be sure to highlight it!

Sell the community.  Providing information on the neighborhood and greater community that your home is in will provide a service that will only benefit both you and your young buyer.  By helping them see the benefits of living in your community you may provide more of a need for your home.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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Why You Should Take Lowball Offers Seriously


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Hand, pen and blank document

If you’re selling a home you should be prepared to deal with lowball offers even though you might find them annoying at best and offensive at worst.  However, it would behoove you, as a seller, to take all offers seriously – even the lowball ones.  For one thing, if a buyer liked the home enough to make an offer, even a lowball one, they are now emotionally invested in the property.  As a seller, you can come back with a counter offer at or close to your asking price.  At that point the potential buyers will either walk away, if they weren’t serious in the first place and you haven’t lost anything.  Otherwise they will come back with a more realistic offer and you can negotiate from there.  Through good negotiation a lowball offer can become your best option for selling.  Remember that for every month your home stays on the market it is costing you money, so selling for a little less than you’re hoping for might actually bring you the most money in the long run, so it is in your best interest as a seller to take every offer that comes across your plate seriously.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-629-6693.

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Tips for Buying, Selling, and Moving


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Moving-Up

Often times when people buy a home they are simultaneously trying to sell their previous one.  If this describes your situation there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself.

First of all, discuss your emotional expectations.  You can expect to be stressed, busy, worried about finances or timing or both, and generally just really stressed!  Buying and selling a home are both stressful experiences.  Discuss these expectations with your spouse or significant other if they are involved in the home buying/selling process and protect yourself and your relationships from suffering from what I like to call “stress bombs.”

Secondly, discuss your practical expectations.  Meet with your agent early and discuss your home’s worth, comparables, and tips for staging your home for showing as well as your wish list and expectations for your new home.  The earlier you meet with your agent the more prepared you (and he or she) can be, and preparation can only be a good thing!

You also need to do the math.  After discussing everything with your realtor you need to get a good handle on your finances so that you can move forward.  Meeting with a mortgage broker or a lender to get preapproved also helps.

Finally, make a plan.  Are you going to buy and sell with contingencies in place so that you can move from one place to another?  Are you going to sell, move into temporary housing, and then purchase?  Are you going to buy first and rent your home out in the short term and put it on the market later?  These are all valid options, and you are the only one who can make that decision.  Thinking everything through before making your first move can only be beneficial to you, so I encourage you to do so!

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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Five Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Home


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Mistakes-to-Avoid-in-a-Diet

If you’re putting your home up for sale, avoid these common seller mistakes:

1.  Overpricing.  If you truly think your agent’s price is too low, get a second or third opinion, but an agent that lets you list at the price you want even though every other agent suggested a lower price will end up costing you money in the long run because a home that is overpriced will sit on the market and often become stale.  On the other hand, a home that is priced right will generate a lot of interest and attention initially, and may even generate a higher price due to multiple offers.

2.  Bad Quality Photos.  Most home buyers start their search online and many are using mobile apps these days, so make sure that you list photos with your home and make sure those photos are high quality.

3.  Not Prepping Enough.  Prepping your home for sale should start before your listing becomes active.  Declutter, clean and make repairs before you even list your home, so that it sparkles in the photos on your listing as well as in person.  Waiting until you have a showing or an open house scheduled is shooting yourself in the foot!

4.  Hiring A Friend Instead of An Agent.  Don’t trust just anybody to sell your home or choose the person that offers you the highest list price or lowest commission price.  You need to find someone who has an active plan for finding qualified buyers, is committed to negotiating on your behalf, and has a plan of attack for the crucial first two weeks that your home is on the market.

5.  Not Considering All Offers.  Normally homes get a lot of attention in the first few weeks they are listed.  By holding out for a better offer or second guessing yourself you can hurt you in the end if you end up rejecting early offers and your home sits on the market and begins being rejected sight unseen by buyers who are leery of stale listings.  Remember this, every month that your home stays on the market costs you in mortgage and utility bills, so settling on a price that is a little bit lower than you’d like may save you money in the long run.

Thinking about buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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Three Options For Staging Your Home


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stage_curtains

If you’re looking to sell your home, staging is an option that I recommend and have talked about several times before.  If you like the idea, but can’t do a full staging, here are some options for you to consider:

1.  Have a consultation.  A one time consultation with a professional stager or designer is an investment that can be worth it!  They will give you advice and options about what needs to be done and feedback about how to best prepare for sale.  They can even recommend paint colors, carpet types, design suggestions and more.  And many designers charge by the hour, so you can get a lot of advice for just a small investment.

2.  Partial staging.  This is when a stager or designers comes in and stages just a few key rooms to show off their best features.  For example, if you’ve been using one of your home’s bedrooms as an office, a stager can help you show it as a bedroom or an office.  Or if your furniture is old and outdated a stager can bring in a few key pieces to bring life to an otherwise dull living room, bedroom, or den.

3.  Fluff staging.  Fluff staging involves rearranging furniture, choosing pieces to move into storage, and rethinking pieces in rooms to give your home a cohesive and uncluttered feel.  This is a great option for many people because you use all of your own pieces and just rearrange them in a way to suit the house for being on the market.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-856-6434.

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Three Tips For Avoiding Sellers Remorse


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remorse_bucket_20500

In many ways, it is easier to be a buyer than a seller in the real estate market.  When you’re buying you are in control of the situation and can back out through contingencies if you need to.  When you’re selling however, there really aren’t many options for you except to sit back and wait to see what happens.  Here are three tips for avoiding seller’s remorse:

1.  List Only When You Are Ready
This means having a clear plan for what you are going to do when your home sells, where are you are going to go, and the time frame you are looking at to make everything happen.  This also means cleaning, decluttering, and fixing up anything that is necessary so that your home can go on the market clean, crisp and ready to show!

2.  Have A Solid Pricing Strategy
Work with your agent to develop a pricing strategy that is both realistic and competitive.  When your home enters the market priced correctly it should generate immediate interest.  The last thing you want is to waste the precious (and generally most active) first two to four weeks on the market with no interest because you’ve priced yourself out of the market.

3.  Be Ready To Negotiate
In many places, sellers are finally in control of negotiations for the first time in awhile and should take that into account when negotiating with buyers.  Don’t discount lowball offers, rather be ready to negotiate with your agent’s help and see where it gets you.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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Stage Your Home To Sell


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home-staging-austin-travis-heightsa_-5384

Staging your home is one of the best ways to help it sell.  Staging is about creating a mood giving the illusion that your home is brighter, warmer, and sometimes even larger than it might otherwise seem.  Done correctly, staging helps create an environment that makes potential buyers want to bite the bullet.  Staging is the final stage in prepping your home for sale.  It should follow de-cluttering, cleaning, painting, and making any necessary repairs.  To dress a room you can use a variety of items.  Some popular ones are mirrors, lamps, flowers and plants, area rugs, pillows, throw blankets, baskets, etc.  Most stager recommend using sparse furniture and accenting to make the room’s purpose apparent.  For example, in your kitchen you can rub orange oil into dry cabinets to revive them and make them shine and put out large bowls of bright, polished fruit such as apples and oranges.  It helps your bathroom to add spa baskets with towels tied with ribbon, scented soaps and lotions, etc.  Stagers also recommend that you stage your yard too.  Add plants and flowers as necessary, and remember that potted plants work too.  You can also dress any patio furniture that you have with a fun tablecloth or other bright solution.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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Update Your Home For $500 or Less


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paint-brush_300

If you’re trying to sell your house you can do a lot to increase the value without spending a lot of money.  Here are five ways that can cost less than $500.

1.  Paint
I will never get tired of saying it.  Paint your house if you want to increase its value!  Not only do neutral colors make your home seem more desirable to the majority of people, but freshly painted rooms also look clean and updated… a strong selling point!

2.  Clean
Even if you clean your house regularly, there are most likely spots you overlook or can’t get to.  If you hire a cleaning service to come and do the dirty work then your house will be able sparkle from top to bottom and make the best possible first impression to potential home buyers.

3.  Go Green
Replacing loud, broken, or simply outdated light figures or ceiling fans with new, energy efficient fixtures will increase your bottom-line without costing too much.

4.  Scrape off the popcorn
If your home has popcorn ceilings, dedicate a weekend to bringing it into the 21st century by scraping the popcorn away.  Getting rid of this dated look will instantly update the value of your home.

5.  Update the Bathroom
Even if you can’t afford an entire remodel, spending a little bit of cash on a face lift will increase your bottom line.  Things like replacing old wallpaper, a fresh coat of paint, new light fixtures, and new faucet & hardware can make the room seem brand new!

Thinking of buying or selling your home?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you –302-644-2266!

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Tips for Finding a Seller’s Agent


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agent-6

If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market and you aren’t going the “for sale by owner” route, you need a listing agent.  There are many choices when it comes to real estate agents, so here are a few tips to help you evaluate the agents you are considering.  First, considering asking the agents for their data.  Looking at the sale-to-list ratio (how much the homes your agent has listed have sold for as compared to what they were listed for) as well as how long their homes have been on the market will give you a good idea of how well they know the local market.  Just remember that there is no absolute rule here since everything is relative so there is no “magic number” you are looking for when you look at these statistics, but if you are comparing several local agents this information can help you.

At Cooper Realty Associates we would be happy to share our experience and local stats with you.  Feel free to give us a call and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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Get Your Home Ready To Sell


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House-for-Sale1

Selling your home?  Here are some tips to help make it more marketable:

Depersonalize. Hide anything-family photos, awards, trophies, your collection of antique teacups-that might interfere with a buyer feeling like your home could be theirs. People get really distracted when they’re surrounded by someone else’s personal stuff. Make your bathroom look like a hotel’s: no one wants to see your soggy loofah and half used bar of soap. Put all your beauty products in a shower caddy, so they can easily be stowed under the sink when you have a showing.

De-clutter. Most people have too much stuff, whether it’s knick-knacks or paperwork or furniture. The goal is to create a sense of space in a room-and in all your closets. Fight the urge to shove all your stuff in your closets, since you have to be prepared for prospective buyers to open every last cabinet. An organized closet can send the message that as an owner, you’re the kind of person who doesn’t slack on any aspect (a leaky roof, a busted water heater) of maintaining your home.

Clean. No one wants to walk into a dirty house. Bathrooms and kitchens in particular should be sparkling. Don’t just do a surface clean-pay attention to hidden corners like the nook behind a toilet or the inside of your refrigerator. You never know where people are going to look. Use a deodorizer to remove any odors, and invite a neighbor over to make sure there are no leftover scents, since living there may make you immune to the smell. Only about a third of Americans live with pets, so to be sure you’re not alienating the other two thirds of the population, remove all traces (leashes, litter boxes, dog beds) of animals.

Lighten and Brighten. You want to have as much light as possible filtering through your space. Start by cleaning the windows. Ditch the screens, which just add one more darkening layer. During an open house, make sure your shades are up. Check to see if all your bulbs are working, and replace low-watt bulbs with high-watt ones to ensure the place feels bright.

Paint. Walls are the bones of your home, and it’s super important to make sure they look fresh. Painting is relatively inexpensive if you do it yourself, and can have a huge impact on the way a place looks. Avoid non-neutral colors like red, purple, or loud yellow, since they won’t appeal to the majority of people. White can feel stark and cold, which doesn’t do anything to add to the appeal of a room. Try warm beige tones instead.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you — 302-644-2266!

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Mistakes That Sellers Make (and how to fix them…)


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mistake

If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, there are several common seller pitfalls that you need to steer clear of.  The first is pricing your home too high.  No matter what you think your house is worth, you need to remember that you are emotionally attached to it in a way that a buyer won’t be.  There are many ways to research home values, but remember your home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay.  Many homes sit on the market for months, if not longer, because the sellers are holding out for the price they want rather than the one they are likely to get.  Second, avoid doing major renovation before selling.  Most renovation projects don’t bring any return on investment.  Small changes like a fresh coat of paint, updating cabinet and drawer hardware, updating light fixtures, and cleaning up your home’s curb appeal are more likely to make a big impact than a brand new kitchen or bathroom.  Lastly, many sellers hold off and wait until spring to list their homes for sale, but just because spring is historically the busiest time for real estate doesn’t mean that your home won’t sell if you list it at another time.  If you need to sell your home, do so, just be sure to showcase whatever features are most applicable to the given season.  For example, highlight your central air in the summer and your wood burning fireplace in the winter!  Of course, having the right team on your side can help your home sell even faster.  That’s why we’re here!

Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates today and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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5 Tips For Pricing Your Home


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Delighted at having sold

The price of your home is the aspect that you, as a seller, have the most control over.  Even though the right pricing strategy can take a home off the market quickly, it’s amazing how many people still make mistakes when pricing their home.  Here are five tips for pricing your home right the first time!

Find an agent you trust:  Don’t just hire the agent that quotes you the highest list price for your home.  If they quote you a high price to insure that they get your listing, but then your home sits on the market forever because the price is too high, that’s counterproductive and you end up having to slash your price anyway.  The best idea is to interview several agents and choose someone who can back up their suggested list price with recent comps.  Which brings me to point number two…

Get the comps:  Once you have an agent you trust, ask them to prepare a comparative market analysis of similar homes that have sold recently in your area.  This is more important than looking at the list price of other homes for sale in your area, because the comps will tell you what the home actually sold for, which is often quite a bit lower than the original list price.

Pick the correct price:  Pricing your home correctly right out of the gate will gain the attention of serious buyers and sell your home faster.  If you have to list your home for less than you’d like to make this happen, think of it this way… it will cost you more in the long run to pay the costs associated with owning your home if it sits on the market for several months while you’re dreaming about an unrealistic asking price.  Then you’ll have to lower the price anyway, so wouldn’t you rather just price it right from the get go?

Price with the market:  If your house is priced to high from the start, you will most likely find yourself making price drops after several months on the market with no interest.  Dropping your price is a good strategy, but everyone else (whose homes were priced more reasonably to begin with) is dropping their prices too, meaning that your home is still the highest priced home on the market and will never catch up with the competition.  Instead of dropping the price several times causing buyers to wonder what’s wrong with your property, price it competitively from the start, rather than holding out for the high end of the market.  Remember, the more competitive the price you start with, the better the chance you will sell quickly for a higher price than if you wait it out and negotiate 6 months down the road.

Don’t balk at lowball offers:  When selling your home it’s hard not to be emotionally attached, but buyers most likely aren’t feeling the same way, so don’t be offended by lowball offers.  Use them as a jumping off point for negotiation and let it drop only if the buyer makes it clear they are not serious about buying.

Looking for a real estate agent you can trust to help you through the whole process of pricing and selling your home?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and let us show you why we’re the best — 302-629-6693.

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Boosting Curb Appeal


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curb-appeal-landscaping-1

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and first impressions are lasting.  We know this, yet when many people put their home on the market they don’t take the time to make sure that the first impression is a good one.  When you’re trying to sell your home, you want buyers to fall in love at first sight!

Here are a few tips to boost your property’s curb appeal:

  1. Take a picture.  You’re so use to seeing the outside of your house that you might not notice it anymore.  If you take a photo (or several photos) you may be able to see the property with new eyes.  Show the photos to friends, family, neighbors, etc. and ask them to point out any concerns they would have if they were thinking about buying the place.  Make a list and address as many of the concerns as you can, especially recurring concerns.
  2. Paint – It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for the exterior of a home.  If the entire home doesn’t need to be painted, consider freshening the trim, doors, shutters, and/or garage door.
  3. Clean & repair the driveway – Take the time to repair small cracks and rent a power washer to get that driveway clean.  If your drive way is a major mess, think about getting it redone.
  4. Spruce up landscaping – Keep your grass mowed and fertilized.  Rake your yard.  Edge along your sidewalks.  Plant some bright, low maintenance flowers – marigolds are a good choice!
  5. Replace your door – If your front door has seen better days, consider replacing it.  Remember, the door is what will welcome potential buyers into your home.  Make it a nice welcome!
  6. Clean – Wash your windows and doors (including screens), rent a power washer and spray down the deck, driveway, sidewalks, consider power washing the exterior of your home if you aren’t going to paint.
  7. Replace light bulbs – check the view of your home at night and replace any burned-out bulbs.  Consider adding lights if the property is in need of better lighting.

Of course the front of your house will offer the first impression to potential buyers, but don’t forget the back and side views as well!

Considering putting your home on the market?  Let us help.  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266!

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