Home Improvement Ideas

They say that a home is a reflection of you, it reflects your personality. It is an outward manifestation of your inner experience. Your surroundings tell a lot about you. How you choose to live, how you decorate (or not), pictures and objects you display, it tells you who you are. They say your home tells your story, that’s why it is important to make sure that you are constantly improving your house for the better. Because a person who steps into your house will judge you based on what he sees at your house.

How do you improve your house? There are lots of ways to improve your house. A house that you can call your own. Some say that home improvement is pretty expensive. Yes, it can be. But there are alternative ways on how you can improve the house without spending too much. How? Do your research. Buy some books about it or get online. There are many things that you will be surprised of when you search online. You can take one of Home Depot’s free classes. You’ll be amazed to discover that you can stain, cut and install your own baseboards, tile your own floors or backsplashes, or even build large constructiony things. For you to be successful, you should have enough patience and an eye for detail.

A magazine is also a good source for home improvement. Magazines like ‘ReadyMade’ and ‘On a Budget’ are very helpful as well.

Speaking of ‘On A Budget’, if you have few bucks, you can also improve your home. Projects such as decorating, storage, lighting and more – cost little with great results. They upgrade bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms, closets, the entryway, the laundry and other areas of your home.

Bathroom mini makeover is about $430. If you’ve wanted the elegance of natural stone in your home, then this is for you. Consider a new granite bathroom vanity top. You can get granite tops at Lowe’s, Home Depot and other home centers. Prices ranges from $150 to $450 depending on the size.

Another improvement at home is by using wallpaper one wall, usually at $280. You can go to the nearest wall-covering retailer. You don’t have to cover every wall to make a dramatic change. Papering a single wall will do. It will also save you time and energy. You create instant character by doing so. Just make sure you fill holes and smooth your wall before beginning for your wall to look nice after.

Halogen track lighting is practical as well as decorative. You can put the light where you need it like walls or objects. It is usually $150 and up for a basic kit. It can take one to two hours for you to set it up if you have an electrical box on the ceiling.

Lastly, you can trim and paint. You can add two lines of trim and you can create the perfect framework for any handsome two-color wall combination.This is one of the secrets of fast, easy redecorating.

So, when will you start improving your home?


Moving Tips

Moving to a different location is a lot of adjustment. There are too many things to consider such as the place, the environment and proximity to other places such as workplace, church, market, mall and school. So, it is no joke because there is a risk in moving to another place. Another thing that we need to consider is the process of moving out. But do not worry about it, because there are lots of things that you need to know when moving to another location.

The first question is, when is the best time to move? You must take everything into consideration when deciding on the best time for you to move. But remember, summer and the beginning and end of each month are busy for moving companies. In short, avoid these months as much as possible.

If you don’t know a moving company that can help you, better ask your friends, neighbors, relatives or co-workers. If you can, check the company’s background. Investigate if they provide a good service by searching them online and get feedback, so that in the future, you can do business again with them if you decide to move again to another location.

Also, you better ask yourself as to when you should contact moving companies for estimates. If I were you, provide the moving company notice as much as possible. It is best for you to at least communicate four to six weeks before your desired moving date.

When the relocation consultant arrives at your home, they he or she will perform a visual survey of your items. They should be able to see all the items that are being moved so that the consultant can provide you with an accurate estimate. Make sure to advise beforehand the consultant about the items that are not included so that you won’t be overcharged as the consultant will calculate the weight, packing cost and any charges related to your move.

Before you move out, make sure you have sold all the items that you don’t need anymore. Having a garage sale is one of the fastest way to remove unnecessary items. In that way, you will lessen the risk that the consultant might bring unwanted items which means additional charge.

You also need to be organized. Don’t do it a day before you move out. Packed the things that you need to pack. Avoid cramming.

Make sure that the house is clean before you move out. Wash the dishes, do your laundry, disconnect your computers, stereos and pack your suitcases.

Those things that you don’t want to be packed, mark them as DO NOT PACK. In that way, the consultant will not touch it. You can also remind them beforehand of the things that you will carry yourself.

Lastly, if you will move out, communicate with the driver a day before. Provide your phone number, you may also ask the number of the driver. What if the driver got lost or did not arrive on time? That’s why it is better to exchange numbers because to know the whereabouts of the driver.

These tips can surely help you be aware on what to do and whatnot.

Home Selling Process

Before, I thought that the process for home selling is very easy. Here in the Philippines, all you have to do is to sell it yourself. Before you sell it, of course you need to prepare your house by cleaning it, repairing some parts of the house that needs to be fixed, painting the house, making sure that the house looks new. Then look for a potential buyer. Once you have a potential buyer, negotiate him or her, if the price is right, then you can sell your property in exchange of cash. All along, I thought it was simple. Never have I imagined that it is very complicated as you need to coordinate to a lot of people, even if you are going to sell it yourself.

In the US, it is very different. You need to have a lot of patience because you have to talk to a lot of people. The process is very long. It takes a month or two before you can sell the house. A similarity though is, of course, you have to prepare the house. Not only it requires cleaning and repairing some parts of the house, but you need to highlight the features of the house to make it more appealing to potential buyers. Once everything is done, you can either represent yourself when selling the house, or much better, hire a real estate agent to do the job for you. Don’t worry about the commission because selling the house is quite difficult. You need to consume a lot of time and energy. Also, you may have a hard time talking to the buyer if he or she has an agent. Imagine talking to the buyer’s agent and you are having a hard time understanding him or her because you are not on the same page. You’ll be confused that’s for sure. That’s why it is better to hire an agent so that he or she will represent you. The agent then does a title search and inspect the property to make sure the house can be sold without any issues. Once you hire an agent, call it SA or seller’s agent, SA will list your property in various portals or MLS. SA can also arrange an open house to attract more potential buyers. If there’s a potential buyer already, the SA will talk to the buyer, or usually, buyer’s agent or BA. The SA and BA will exchange offers and counter offers. If both parties agreed, a Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement needs to be signed, then escrow phase begins. For those who do not know, escrow is the holding of documents and money by a neutral third-party prior to closing. During this process a lot of paper and supporting documents are required. Once completed, escrow phase closes. A new deed is recorded in the buyer’s name.

So, you see, home selling process is not that easy. But if you follow the steps that I have mentioned, you will not have a hard time selling the house. This is tested and proven.

Home Buying Process

Getting a house is not that easy. As we all know, it consumes a lot of time, effort and energy. To some, it can be their worst nightmare. Most often than not, it may take more than a month or two just to get your ideal property. It can be much longer if you are not really familiar on how to get a house. Some are giving up already because of too much stress and frustration.

First, you need to check for a property on a MLS or Multiple Listing Service sites or various portal. Once you get have a property that you are interested in, it is best that you are pre-approved by your bank, or if you will pay using cash, get a proof of funds from your bank. it is best to get a real estate agent as well, someone who is expert in real estate industry to transact on your behalf. Usually, they will be the one to coordinate with the seller or seller’s agent. A lot of negotiation will take place. Sometimes, the seller or seller’s agent will get reject your offer. It is your agent’s responsibility to make a counter-offer to make sure you’ll get the offer.

For you to be successful, there are following steps that you need to do in order to be successful in acquiring the property. These steps will guide you to make sure that you will be in a win-win situation.

Bid smartly. You need to coordinate with your agent for prices of comparable homes in the area that have recently sold. You can use it as a basis for your initial offer. It is better to start a bit lower than those figures.

Make clear demands. Be firm when you want something extra like furniture, curtains or anything that you want to be included aside from the house.

Use the date as negotiating point. If you don’t have to move by certain date be flexible on when you move into your new home. You might be able to get other concessions from the sellers.

Ask the seller to buy a home warranty. It is better to request it to a seller, in that way, you don’t have to worry to cover extra cost of any major repairs for one year.

If you do the following steps above, for sure you’ll be able to find a house in a short period of time. You will save a lot of time especially if you hire an agent. Don’t dwell too much if you need to shell out money for your real estate agent because you will save yourself from a lot of trouble. Imagine if you talk directly to the agent of the seller, and he uses jargon words that only real estate agents are aware of, you might end up on the losing end. Let a real estate agent do the stuff for you. A lot of paperwork and legwork are needed to complete the transaction. Happy home buying!

Benefits of Open House

Looking for a property is very stressful for a buyer; same as selling the house for the seller. It takes a lot of effort, time and energy to look for a house. At times it can be frustrating. For sellers, it is very disappointing because of waiting around and the constant cleaning of the property for individual viewers who will visit the house to check on it. For the buyers part, frustration will arise because someone might have seen the house, offered something to the seller already before they had the chance to check it. One more thing, both buyers and sellers have to depend on the communication skills of their real estate agents to make arrangements for viewings which could take a of time to be honest. Hence, open house viewing is really important.

Some are maybe not familiar with this method. But just so you know, it is one of the most effective ways for buyers and sellers to get their goals, for buyers to get their ideal property and for sellers to sell their house as soon as possible. What is open house? An open house is a long-standing tradition in the sale of residential real estate to expose more people to a home for sale. It is normally done on weekends. The real estate agents put out signs on boulevards or near street corners to draw drive-by traffic and usually list the homes in the real estate sections of newspapers to bring more people.

What are the benefits of an open house for sellers?

Convenience. It would be very convenient for seller to do a one time cleaning instead of individual viewing of property. It would be tiring for the seller to clean today because an individual will visit the property later, then another cleaning after a couple of days because another prospect wants to view the property especially if the seller is very busy.

It saves time. Same with the above. Not only convenience, but you will be able to manage your time if you will have a one time viewing of your property open for public. It is hard to clean your house from top to bottom and answer the questions over and over again from different prospects.

Higher chance of a quicker sale. Yes, it is true. When you do an open house, a lot of potential buyers will view your house, hence, higher opportunity to close a deal.

You can get more money. Of course, when there are lots of people interested with your property, there’s a possible bidding war. Sellers might receive a lot of offers. When there are too many offers, a prospect may give the seller a better deal, usually by buying the house at a higher price.

What about for the buyers?

More answers when there’s an open house. Sometimes, when you deal with the seller’s agent, you tend to forget some questions you would like to ask, but when there’s open house, some questions that you want to ask might be asked by another prospect, thus, gaining a lot of information about the property.

Gauging level of interest. Buyers can gauge the level of interest much better if there’s an open house. They can get an idea what they are really buying into which means they can decide easily if they will push through on buying the property or not. .

Lastly, you’ll have more freedom to explore. If you are a buyer, you’ll be more comfortable viewing the house when there are other people checking the property as well. You’ll be more relaxed.

So, when are you going to do open house? It is never too late to try it!

My Customer Service Philosophy

Customer service is everything when you have a business. More than the content and quality of your product, customer service is one of the important factors as to why your customer keeps on coming back. Imagine when you are calling to your ISP, wanting to ask questions about a promo, then the agent who is on the other line is very rude and unprofessional? What would you feel? If that happens to me, even though the ISP is very reliable, I might be switching to another ISP. Someone who will treat their customers right. Someone who will really listen and acknowledge the customer’s issue.

What is customer service by the way? According to Wikipedia, customer service is “the provision of service to customers before, during, and after a purchase.” As per Businessdictionary, “all interactions between a customer and a product provider at the same time of sale, and thereafter.”

When I was a Customer Service Representative a couple of years back, I was taught of the importance of customer service. When I was an agent from a telecommunications company in Australia, I was told that customer experience is very important, more than the product itself. I thought before, “who the heck cares, for as long as they are getting the service that they wanted, they will stick with us.” Boy I was very wrong. Because there were few times wherein I was able to resolve customer’s issue, but I was given a poor feedback by our customers. I thought why? I listened to my call, realized that though I was able to resolve the customer’s issue, I lacked empathy. I was not really sincere to help the customer. Probably I was tired when the call came in and didn’t care much about the customer. Since then, I have learned my lesson. Indeed, customer service is a huge factor for the customers to keep on patronizing your service or products. I’ve watched a TV show a couple of days ago, and the host asked the owner of the business as to what is their secret why their business is very successful, they own a restaurant. The owner said aside from the quality of their foods, they would usually approach the customers. They would give time and talk to their customers. They would usually ask how their day is, feedback about the food, things that they need to improve, and their customers liked it. They found out that their customers are increasing by numbers and they have found out that there are a lot of blogs about their restaurant. Most of the feedback is because of good customer service.

To sum it all, here are the qualities of a good customer service:

1.Always acknowledge your customer.
2.Be sincere, they will feel it if you are sincere or you are just faking it.
3.Whether they are irate or in a good mood, always communicate to them nicely.
4. Smile.

If you follow these things, customer will love you and promote your business by word of mouth.

Determining Components of a Good Offer

Looking for a new place takes a lot of time. You may have visited a lot of sites just to look for your ideal home. Some have coordinated with a real estate agent just to help them with their ideal property. Once they have found your ideal property, they will try to negotiate with the agent of the seller, for sure there are others who wanted to get that property as well, but for the agent to be successful in getting the property, he or she has to come up with a good offer. Those who are buying a home need to know what they should offer, and those who are selling the home need to know what constitutes a good offer.

What is a good offer by the way? Do you have to give the seller an appliance showcase? Or a gift cheque? Not really. Not that kind of offer would make the seller give the keys to you. What will happen next after you have found your ideal property, is your agent will prepare the Offer to Purchase. The Offer to Purchase is a very legal document that says you agree to buy the seller’s house.

There are so many types of offers you can use to get the seller’s house. The easiest way to obtain the house of the seller is if you will agree to purchase the house without any conditions. Usually when there’s a condition, like condition for the seller to include the furniture on the sale, the seller would normally refuse. Seller’s agent will reject it or you will be asked to change your condition to something acceptable on the seller’s side. If there’s a condition, that is what you call a Conditional Offer. Common Conditional Offers are subject to a clean home inspection, subject to financing approval, or subject to the sale of the buyer’s existing home. Usually, the property is not sold by the seller until all conditions have been met.

There are many factors to consider when making an offer. First is the Price. It takes a lot of thinking as to how much would the buyer purchase the seller’s property. Offer too little and you might have a small chance of getting the property, but if you offer too much, you might be losing a lot of money which is not equivalent to the market value of the property. Deposit is also a factor to consider as it shows good faith on the buyer’s end. Next is terms. It includes the total price offered along with the financial details. You may get a loan from the bank, get a VA or FHA loan or pay cash. Condition plays a very important role for the buyer to get the property(see the previous paragraph). Another one is inclusion or exclusion in the sale. These are items that can be included or excluded like appliances or decorative items. Lastly is Closing day. This is the day when the title of the property is being given to the buyer and the transaction of funds finalized.

Since you have an idea on how to create a good offer, sellers will not think twice anymore in accepting your offer.