12/27/2012: How to sell your home in a bid war

As you know, the past 3 sales on Randlett have been bid wars — where the owner received multiple offers.  There’s a lot of strategy that goes into creating a bid war, not just listing your home on MLS, crossing your fingers and hoping for more than 1 offer.  Some tips below:

1.) Time the market.  Spring is typically the best time to sell, as serious buyers are watching the market closely and ready to make an offer.

2.) Price your home correctly.  Pricing your home in-line with recent sales on Randlett will attract immediate interest.  Be realistic about the value of your home.  Not realistic plus $100k.

3.) Have your home professionally photographed and a floorplan done.  Taking high-quality photos and getting an accurate floorplan will give online buyers a good understanding of the property before they set foot inside.  By giving buyers this info beforehand, there’s less they have to figure out when they arrive at the house.

4.) Put your home on the market.  MLS has the most site traffic on Wednesday & Thursdays.  Buyers are bored at work and making plans to see homes during the coming weekend.  Putting your home on MLS on a Wednesday or Thursday will give you the most views.

5.) Showings.  Defer all showings to the open house on Sunday.  This will get a lot of buyers in at the same time and create a competitive enviornment.

6.) Offers.  Let all serious buyers know you will be reviewing offers on Monday.  Hopefully, you have a few to choose from!

bidding war

12/20/2012: Insulating exterior walls

Having our exterior walls insulated this week through Mass Save & Green Stamp Insulation. The process is pretty simple: Green Stamp removes a piece of siding and drills a 2″ hole in each stud bay. Cellulose insulation (shredded newspaper, cardboard, etc.) is then blown into each bay. The hole is capped with a styrofoam plug and siding put back in place.

Cellulose insulation will help reduced heating & cooling costs by 30-50%, control mold and help keep bugs out. Total job cost was $4,600 — with a $2,000 credit from Mass Save, it was only $2,600 out of pocket.

exterior wall insulation 2exterior insulation

12/11/2012: Thinking about selling in the spring? 10 things you should be doing now

1.) De-clutter.  Rooms, closets, basements — anything that is not going to make the move can be tossed.  Removing stuff will make the house seem bigger to buyers.

2.) Make small repairs.  Now’s the time to fix that leaky faucet, repair that electrical outlet that never worked, paint that water stain or replace that cracked window pane.  If you don’t do it now, it will come up during the home inspection.

3.) Paint.  Painting with neutral colors and even touch-ups will make the house seem brighter & cleaner.

4.) Removing old carpet.  Chances are, you have beautiful hardwoods underneath that old, stained carpet.  Removing the carpet will give the room a fresher appearance.

5.) Clean out the garage.  You’re going to have to do it anyway when you move!

6.) Have your heating/cooling system serviced.  Home inspectors will check to see the last time the system was serviced — especially if the system is more than 10 years old.

7.) Clean your windows.  Will make the house lighter.

8.) Repair basement water damage.  If you’d had water in the past, now is a good time to repair the walls, remediate mold or rip out damaged carpets.  Wet basements & mold are deal killers!

9.)  Since the weather is so mild, you can do some light landscaping to give the house more curb appeal.  Buyers will know before they get out of the car if the home is a possibility or not.

10.) Do not stock up on cookie dough!  The smell of cookies baking doesn’t make people want to buy houses.  It makes people want to eat cookies.


12/10/2012: Flue liners

A lot of talk about flue liners this week on the street.  Not really — but let’s talk about them anyway.  Flue liners are stainless steel tubes that are installed down the length of your chimney to help prevent exhaust from heating systems and smoke from your fireplace from seeping into the house.  Over time, the brick & mortar inside chimneys deteriorates and crumbles.  Installing a liner is a cheaper, faster alternative to repairing (known as re-pointing) all the brickwork.

We had American Chimney Pros replace our furnace & hot water flue for $1,850 and fireplace flue for $1,650.  Each flue required 30 feet of stainless steel liner.  The job only took 1 day.


12/7/2012: Insulating basement floor joists

After my home energy audit with Mass Save a few weeks ago, I decided to insulate the floor joists in the basement. The floor joists are where the wooden frame sits on top of the concrete foundation — near the ceiling in my basement. In many old homes, this space is not usually insulated, which invites cold air and bugs into the home. Insulating this space will make the home a little more energy efficient and help keep bugs (and mice) out.

The job is pretty straightforward. Buy rigid insulation with an R5 or R6 value, a puddy knife, sharpening file & Great Stuff foam insulation.

1). Measure the joist area to be insulated.

2.) Sharpen the edges of the puddy knife with the file.  Using the puddy knife (or large box cutter or circular saw), cut the rigid insulation to size.

3.) Fit the insulation into the joist and use Great Stuff to seal the perimeter. Great Stuff will harden in a few minutes.

Reminder: USE GLOVES! Great Stuff is impossible to get off your hands. Turpentine, nail polish remover, even gasoline will not get it off. Be careful of nails in the ceiling. If one of these goes into your head — you will need a priest, not a tetanus shot.