What to Do When Your Home Isn’t Selling

Have you tried to sell your house before and it just wouldn’t sell? Or maybe you are thinking of selling your home and this is your worst fear? Having a house that has seen minimal movement on the market is especially frustrating. If your home doesn’t sell it is time to take a step back, asses the situation and think about what the problem is. Ask yourself: why would  a buyer choose your home over all the other homes for sale?

Here are 6 things you can do:

1. Understand the Market

It’s important to have a good understanding about the real estate market. Consult with an experienced real estate agent that knows your area to determine the sales price. Don’t rely on your emotions and sweet memories to come up with a price. Instead price by comparing your house with other homes that are selling, sold or just went under contract. A key factor to selling a house is to know if the current market favor buyers or sellers. Perhaps things just aren’t moving quickly in the current market. If the market is hot, your agent should discuss with you the next options.

2. Price Your Home to Sell

Beyond the temperature of the market and your marketing efforts, the most likely factor when it comes to a lack of offers on a home is price. Properties sell when they are priced correctly. If the price is too high, you won’t get any offers and your home will sit on the market. Obviously you don’t just want to give away your house, but the value of your home is determined by what a buyer is willing to pay for it.

3. Pump up the Marketing and Advertising

If you have had a lot of showings with no offers, it is most likely a pricing issue. However if you are having very little activity,  it can be a pricing or marketing issue. Check if your house is being marketed on all the major websites and a combination of different marketing efforts are used. Four-color postcards to surrounding homes in the neighborhood, Open Houses on the weekends, virtual tours and and lots of photos are the bare minimum! You want to let everyone know that your house is on the market and what gem it is, so spread the message in person with your neighbors and online through websites and social media.

4. Take Many and Quality Photos

Speaking of marketing: a major factor in buyers’ decision to go look at a house is quality pictures. Too often there are photos out there with too much clutter, reflections of people in the mirror, open toilet lids and dark rooms. Unless you are a pro, don’t take pictures yourself. Hire a professional photographer instead who can shoot wide angles pictures with plenty of light showcasing your home’s best features.

5. Improve Your Home

It might not be what you want to hear, but maybe people aren’t buying because they don’t like what you are selling. It doesn’t have to be a total make-over and huge repairs, but often just a little touch up can improve the whole vibe of the house. Fresh paint (neutral colors) and a clean, decluttered home would be your best bet. If your house is vacant and you can afford staging, go for it!

6. Interview Other Real Estate Agents

If your agent isn’t responsive or doesn’t have a good explanation for why your property isn’t selling, then you might want to consider a new real estate agent. Search for experience in an agent not only by who has been in the business for many years, but also who has sold a lot of homes. Ask your family and friends with whom they have worked with and had good experience before and they might be able to give you referrals.


By: Patricia Madigan

5 Tips to Reduce Your Energy Bill During Holiday Season

It’s Christmas time and that means decorations and lights everywhere all over America. While it is fun to make your house light up, higher energy costs are not. If you want to have a cheaper and greener holiday season, try the following:

  1. Decorate with LED lights for the holidays

To keep your energy consumption in check this season, try LED or energy-efficient bulbs for the holidays. New LED holiday lights use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than older, incandescent lighting. Instead of using lights everywhere, go with wreaths, bows and lawn ornaments that don’t use energy instead. Make sure to always unplug your holiday lights before going to bed or leaving the house. Consider investing in a smart plug. Smart plugs monitor your energy usage and break it down into an easy report each month so that you know exactly how much energy your holiday decorations consume. Some smart plugs can also be programmed to run on a timer or manually from an app on your smart device.

  1. Use your Fireplace

If you have a fireplace, make use of it. Not only is it a great way to cut down on electricity, but it can also be an eco-friendly way to heat your home and it’s the perfect festive holiday accessory on top of that! Make sure to reduce heat loss, by keeping the fireplace damper closed when the fire isn’t burning and close doors that are leading into the room.  In order to use your fireplace efficiently, consider installing tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room and purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.

  1. Adjust the temperature

Adjust the thermostat at night. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save about 10 percent per year on your heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours. When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable. When you are asleep or out of the house, keep your thermostat 7-10 degrees cooler than normal for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your utility bills. A programmable thermostat can make it easy to change your temperature as needed.

  1. Wear Warm clothes

One of the easiest ways to save on your heating bill is to bundle up with warm accessories. It’s sweater weather after all, so put on a cozy winter sweater and warm socks. Keep throw blankets on your couch, and add an area rug to insulate the floor. Use a warm comforter for your bed and buy flannel sheets.

  1. Use the sun for free heat

Don’t forget to take advantage of heat from the sun! Open the curtains on your south-facing windows during winter days to bring free heat into your home and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.



How to Clean Your Home in 5 Days

Every day we are getting closer and closer to Christmas and many of us plan to host a holiday gathering. While this should be a pleasant time to spend with family or friends, it also can lead to slight panic attacks especially when gifts aren’t bought yet and the house could need a makeover. Event though now is not the time for the “remodel you were planning to do beginning of the year”, giving the house a little pampering by decluttering and cleaning it goes a long way.

Follow the plan below which provides you with a clear schedule when to tackle which room and tasks that you can attack in 5 days prior to the festive event to make your house shine:

Plan Before You Clean

Before you even start cleaning anything you need to have a plan and a date! Pick a date for the event, put it in your calendar and notify the guests in advance. Once you have a plan you know when to start the cleaning process, because cleaning is like the San Francisco bridge: once you are finished with painting the whole bridge, you have to start all over again. So don’t start cleaning too early (unless you love doing it all over again, then feel free to do so!).

Stock up on supplies: for the before and after cleaning, the actual party and possible overnight guests: garbage bags, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, basic toiletries.

Don’t forget to ask for help before or during the event: this could be your partner, kids or a good friend. They can help organize, clean, greet the guests, create a playlist with some good tunes or make sure that everyone always has something to drink. Depending on the size of the event you might consider hiring a bartender for the party.

Let the countdown to a clean home begin!

Clean 5 Areas in 5 Days

There’s no sense in start cleaning too early. Wait until the actual week of the event, assign tasks to family members and get going with day one:

Day 1: Start with the porch, foyer, entryway and central closets.

  1. Organize clutter and clean up. Keep entry points of your home clear and easy to navigate for guests if they need storage.

  2. Wipe down the door, windows, light fixtures and doorknobs.

  3. Vacuum or sweep, mop if needed.

Day 2: Next clean up bedrooms, hallways and staircases.

  1. Dust ceiling fans, light fixtures, vents and all the spots that usually get ignored.

  2. Wipe down doorways and furniture

  3. Vacuum the floor (always vacuum after dusting)

  4. Lay out fresh linens and towels in the guest room.

Day 3: It’s time to clean the bathrooms guests will be using.

  1. Pull out all the towels and mats, run a load of laundry.

  2. Dust the light fixtures and vents.

  3. Clean the toilet, tub, shower and other hard bathroom surfaces.

  4. Wipe down doorways and cabinets.

  5. Clean the mirror.

  6. Vacuum or mop.

  7. Return freshly laundered towels and mats.

Day 4: Turn your attention to the living room and dining room.

  1. Declutter the space so that there’s plenty of room for guests

  2. Dust ceiling fans, light fixtures and vents.

  3. Wipe down doorways, the mantel, furniture, and cabinet exteriors.

  4. Vacuum the floor, furniture, and under the furniture.

Day 5: On the last day it’s time to focus on the kitchen.

  1. Dust the ceiling fan, light fixtures and vents.

  2. Clean stove, fridge and microwave.

  3. Wipe down the countertop, sink and cabinets.

  4. Clean the garbage can.

  5. Vacuum and/or mop the floor.

DONE! Congratulations! You finished all the prep-work, now it’s time to host your family and friends and remember: not every gathering goes perfectly. As long as your guests feel welcomed, your party will be great!

By: Patricia Madigan

5 Buying and Selling Tips Before You Relocate

Does your current job require you to move? There are many factors that influence a decision to relocate or not. The secret to a successful relocation is timing. Good timing takes some advanced planning to put you in control. Here are 5 more relocation tips to make your move a little less stressful.

1. Know The Market

Before you start seriously searching for a new home – or put your current home on the market – make sure you have a solid understanding of the housing market in your area. Is the market weighted toward buyers or sellers? Find multiple suitable options. You are less likely to find yourself in trouble if your purchase falls through when you price your old home fairly. Two extra months on the market because you did not want to lower the price means two months you’ll be paying double mortgages.

2. Plan and Strategize

Should you buy first, then sell – or vice versa? Both have their risks and rewards. Selling first makes getting a mortgage easier, but it also means you’ll need to find a temporary place to live. Buying first means moving will be easier, but it also skews your debt-to-income ratio,not to mention the difficulty of juggling two monthly house payments. When determining whether you should sell or buy first, think beyond “How can I make the move as easy as possible?” Instead ask: “Can I handle two mortgages? What if my home sells for less than its listing?” Whichever option you choose, make sure you are prepared to accept the consequences: having to store your stuff and rent temporarily, or undergoing the financial burdens of dual mortgages.

3. Shop For a Loan Before Looking at Houses

Before you even go out to look at houses, get pre-approved for financing first! That way you know exactly how much you are able to spend and won’t be disappointed later if you can’t afford the house you ended up loving.

4. Work Closely With Your Agent

Make sure every “i” is dotted and every “t” crossed on time for both closings. Work with an agent who has the knowledge and experience and will guide you through each process. Your agent will save you time and money and can refer you to the right lender, title and inspection company in order for you to have a smooth transition.

5. Contact The Aladin Group

Do you plan to relocate? Get in touch with us! The Aladin Group wants to help you, so don’t hesitate to call us under 480-359-6789 !