Sandra Tessier - RE/MAX Property Spec. Grp. Inc.


Architecturally speaking, many home buyers have very definite ideas about their preferred house style.

Whether it stems from a sense of practicality or positive childhood memories, few house hunters are "on the fence" when it comes to the number of stories their ideal house should have.

Perhaps you're one of those people who grew up in a two-story house and wouldn't feel right sleeping down the hall from the kitchen and family room. Some people just prefer their sleeping quarters to be on the second floor!

Although it's a matter of personal preference, there are certain practical aspects to buying a ranch-style or traditional rambler house.

Less stair climbing: While this is an advantage that seniors typically value the most, stairs can be a burden anyone -- especially when you're lugging suitcases, boxes of books, or that heavy new futon you wanted to put in the guest room.

You can probably also recall countless evenings when exhaustion set it, and the last thing you felt like doing was climbing a long, winding staircase to get to your bedroom. (Okay, well maybe it's not "winding," but you get the idea!)

Then, of course, there are those times when you haven't been to the gym in a few months -- make that years -- and your home treadmill has turned into more of a clothes rack than an exercise machine! Although going up and down stairs a few times a day can help counteract the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, sometimes stairs can feel like they're more trouble than they're worth! That would definitely be the case if you have any physical conditions or health problems which make climbing stairs painful or medically unsafe. (Your physician can provide helpful advice on the latter.)

Home maintenance: If you hate getting up on tall ladders to paint your house or clean your rain gutters, owning a one-story home is a solution. Since home maintenance and repairs can often end up costing a bundle, it may make sense to consider doing your own exterior house painting. Although it's time consuming, messy, and sometimes a bit strenuous, painting your own house can potentially save you thousands of dollars in labor costs. Naturally, you'll still need to buy your own paint, brushes, rollers, and other supplies, but the amount of money you can save on labor is substantial.

Personal safety: If there's a fire or other emergency and you need to quickly evacuate your home in the middle of the night, a first-floor window can be safer and less scary than having to exit your house though a second-story window. While this type of dire situation is unlikely and will hopefully never happen to you, it's one of many factors to consider when comparing and contrasting ranch-style homes with other architectural styles.

If you do opt for a two-story (or three-story) architectural style, such as a colonial, craftsman, Tudor, Victorian, or farm house, it's especially important to have a fire escape ladder on hand, as well as a working knowledge of its proper use.


A home seller may face a variety of dilemmas as he or she tries to get the best price for a residence. However, a seller who prepares for potential problems may be better equipped than others to enjoy a fast, profitable property selling experience.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready for potential home selling dilemmas.

1. Upgrade Your Residence

You may believe your residence will sell quickly, but the housing market offers no guarantees. Fortunately, if you allocate time and resources to upgrade your residence, you could differentiate your home from comparable houses in your city or town.

Removing clutter will make it easy for you to show off the true size of your home's interior to prospective buyers. Furthermore, you should clean each room of your home. If necessary, you may want to hire a professional home cleaning company too.

Don't forget to trim the hedges, mow the front lawn, repair cracked or damaged siding and perform other home exterior upgrades, either. If your home boasts amazing curb appeal, potential buyers may fall in love with your residence as soon as they see it.

2. Establish a Competitive Initial Asking Price for Your Home

If your home's initial asking price is too high, you risk alienating potential buyers. But if you analyze the real estate market closely, you can use housing sector data to establish a competitive initial home asking price.

Take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town, as well as the prices of available residences that are comparable to your own. This information provides a glimpse into the current state of the housing market and can help you determine how to price your residence.

It may be beneficial to conduct a home appraisal as well. In fact, a home appraisal report includes a property valuation that you can use to set a competitive initial asking price for your residence.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent understands what it takes to sell a home in any housing sector, at any time. As such, he or she can offer expert guidance to help you identify and overcome home selling dilemmas.

Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with you, find out why you want to sell your house and craft a personalized home selling strategy for you. He or she next will list your residence and promote it to prospective buyers. And if you receive an offer to purchase your house, a real estate agent will help you determine how to proceed with this proposal.

A real estate agent also is ready to provide immediate responses to your home selling concerns and questions. That way, you can receive plenty of support as you navigate the home selling journey.

Ready to add your house to the real estate market? Use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble addressing potential home selling dilemmas and enjoying a seamless property selling experience.


Purchasing a house may prove to be a long, complex process, particularly for a first-time buyer. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you enjoy a quick, easy homebuying journey.

1. Narrow Your Search for Your Dream Home

It often helps to enter the real estate market with a checklist of home must-haves and wants. With this checklist, you will be better equipped than ever before to perform a deep evaluation of any house, at any time.

Think about what you want to find in your dream home and include these criteria in your checklist. For instance, if you want to own a house near your office, you can search for houses that are just a few miles from your workplace. Or, if you want to purchase a house with a big backyard, you should look at houses that offer the space that you need.

2. Submit a Competitive Offer

If you find a house that you want to buy, there is no need to wait to submit an offer. However, it is important to differentiate between a "lowball" offer and a competitive one beforehand.

A lowball offer generally fails to account for the state of a house, as well as the current real estate market's conditions. It is likely to fall short of a home seller's expectations, and as a result, lead to an immediate "No."

Conversely, a competitive offer is based on housing market data, along with the condition and age of a house. And if you submit a competitive offer on a residence, you may receive an instant "Yes" from a home seller.

3. Conduct an In-Depth Home Inspection

After you and a home seller agree to terms, you will want to conduct a comprehensive home inspection. This will enable you to fully examine a house's interior and exterior and identify any potential home problems before you finalize your purchase.

When it comes to buying a home, there is no need to forego a home inspection. In fact, if you bypass a home inspection, you risk encountering costly, time-intensive home problems in the near future.

To hire an expert home inspector, perform a search of the available inspectors in your city or town. Then, meet with several home inspectors, ask for client referrals and allocate the necessary time and resources to perform an in-depth assessment. Because if you hire the right home inspector, you can get the support that you need to make an informed home purchase.

Lastly, if you need help finding a home inspector or completing other homebuying tasks, it usually is a good idea to employ a real estate agent. This housing market professional will learn about your homebuying goals and tailor your home search accordingly. As a result, working with a real estate agent will increase the likelihood that you can enjoy a quick, easy homebuying journey.


Photo by Binyamin Mellish from Pexels

Termites are one of the worst possible nightmares you can face as a homeowner. These common insects can cause major structural damage right under your nose and eventually lead to thousands of dollars in repairs. Because they live in underground nests and inside the foundation of the home, it can be difficult for homeowners to identify termites before serious damage has already been done. However, it is possible to save yourself lots of time and money by preparing your home for a termite infestation before they strike. Keep reading to check out a few of our top termite prevention tips.

Termite Prevention: What to Do Before an Infestation

Although it’s not always possible, for those who are building their new home, termite prevention works best during the planning stages. If possible, utilize a Basaltic Termite Barrier (BTB) which is made of rocks that are packed together so tightly under the home that termites are unable to penetrate the barrier. For those who aren’t able to be part of the planning stage for their new home, you can still look for builds that include BTB, termite mesh, steel frames or termite-resistant wood framing materials.

Preventing Termites in Existing Homes

There are many other steps you can take to help prevent termite infestation in homes that have already been built. A good place to begin your termite prevention is to work at reducing all possible wood-to-soil contact around the structure. Homeowners should take the time to remover any wood, lumber, plants, cardboard and paper from around the foundation. If possible, create at least a 4-inch barrier with non-wood mulch around the perimeter of the home. As a good rule of thumb, only your concrete foundation should be touching the soil, ensuring that siding begins at least 6-inches above it.

Plants and foliage should always be kept a few feet away from the home. Structuring storm drains to empty several feet from the foundation will not only help to prevent moist soil but it can keep termites at bay as well. Excess moisture is the enemy of a termite-free home, so it’s essential to do everything you can to eliminate any sources of additional moisture on the property. This can include fixing leaky faucets promptly and staying on to of HVAC maintenance year-round.

Termite Signs to Look Out For

Regular termite inspections can also help to catch an infestation before it spirals out of control. Homeowners should inspect the property regularly for signs of “frass” or “carton,” two types of termite waste left behind by drywood and subterranean termites. Additionally, patterns in the wood around the home can help to identify different types of termite infestations. Subterranean termites prefer to eat softwood between the grains. But drywood termites much prefer eating across the grains without any distinguishable patterns.

Call in the Professionals

If you’ve followed these preventative steps and still think you have a termite infestation, you need to reach out to a professional extermination team. While DIY methods can be tempting, when it comes to protecting the integrity of your home, professional advice should be considered.


Photo by Breadmaker via Shutterstock

You may be thinking that your best investments are inside the home: a snazzy new kitchen, a spa-like bathroom or new wood floors, but you can actually get a high return on investment (ROI) if you focus on your home's curb appeal.

The first impression potential buyers have of your home is the outside. If you had to guess, what's the best purchase? If you guessed a garage door, you'd be right! Studies show that the recouped cost of a new garage door is usually around 97%, which means you basically get the whole amount back in home value.

Fixing Up the Outside

Before you go investing $4,000 in a new garage door, though, start by fixing up the existing features of your home. That means repairing or replacing vinyl siding, powering washing the outside and giving it a new paint job if necessary. Make sure windows and shutters are clean and without cracks or dings. Most importantly, if your roof is nearing the end of its warranty, or if you have known problems like leaks, now is the time to fix it. While the ROI on a new roof is only about 60%, roof problems can be a huge turn off for buyers, causing your home to sit on the market for longer and costing you more in the long run.

Landscaping

Start on your landscaping plan by cleaning up your yard. Get rid of the trash and yard debris so the yard stays presentable. If you have a green lawn, now is the time to review it. If your grass is growing well and covering the dirt, great! Keep it mowed and you are good to go. If your lawn is having problems, you may want to consider mixing it with other ground covering like gravel, recycled rubber or wood pellets. They are all much easier to maintain, especially in dryer climates not as well suited for grass. If you have empty or dying flower beds, now is the time to fill them up with seasonal flowers and bushes. These give you great color and make your home seem more welcoming to buyers. 

Before you start shelling out big money for upgrades, have your real estate agent review your home. They can suggest the best options for your market and price range, as well as provide accurate feedback about your home’s curb appeal. They may even have ideas for professional help to get your home in perfect selling shape.




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