Posted: 08/18/2013 10:40 AM
As kids around the Quad Cities are heading back to school this year I thought it would be a good idea to offer up some home learning and safety tips to make your family’s year a success.
Bus Stop Safety: As a parent myself, my first concern is always safety. I want to provide my children with a safe and comfortable place to learn. For a lot of people their school mornings start at the bus stop. Make sure your child knows where and how to get to their bus stop in the mornings. You can practice walking to it with them. Make friends with a house near the bus stop so kids have a place to go in case of an emergency. Also make sure your child knows who to call if there is an emergency. For younger children I recommend you wait with them at the bus stop or join a community group where parents rotate escorting and chaperoning the bus stop until the bus arrives.
Learning zone at home: Upon returning home from school it is a good idea to set up a learning area for your child to complete their homework. This could be in their room, kitchen, dining room, or an office. Wherever you decide to make this place have it in a public area of your home so you can help answer any questions your child has. Make your learning zone free from distractions so your child can focus. Some popular distractions are; television, loud music, siblings, dad/mom making supper, cellphones, and even the Internet. Finally, setup a routine for your learning zone. It may look something like this. Your child comes home and eats a snack. Ask your child what homework they have and verify it with their planner or even a teacher’s website. Establish a length of time your child will spend on homework each night, usually 20-60 minutes is adequate. If they do not have any homework for the night they can use this time to study for an upcoming test, work towards a project due in the following weeks, or read for fun.
Time with the family: This is without a doubt the most important habit to establish in your home. Spending time with your child doing their homework will have dramatic effect on their academics. You will strengthen a bond with your son or daughter, create values in education, and demonstrate good learning habits. As a parent you will be aware of what your child is studying, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and will be able to spend valuable time with them before their teenage independence phase.
Follow these tips to help make your home a fun and engaging place to learn for your child. You may not see the payoff immediately. But trust me, you will when they graduate and are no longer living at home in your basement for the next 40 years.
Posted: 08/03/2013 10:05 AM
Chances are, you are reading this blog looking for tips, suggestions, and ways to sell FSBO (for sale by owner.) Not only will you learn how to sell your home on your own, but you will learn how to pay yourself tens of thousands of dollars.
We sold our own home in 10 days; I will share with you the secrets and tips we used to sell our personal home fast. Selling our home in just 10 days was awesome, and the hard work we had put into the upkeep of our home over the previous 7 years had finally paid off. We did spend weeks preparing our home for sale though before actually listing it.
The first hurdle we had to overcome was deciding if the time was right to sell. My wife and I had many talks whether or not we were ready to sell. We knew if we were not ready to jump into the FSBO market head first, we would never be successful selling our home.
My wife and I then spent two weeks deep cleaning our house from top to bottom, items such as; kitchen cupboards, window seals, closets, walls, ceiling fan blades, patio, gutters, and everything in between. As homeowners wanting to sell FSBO, we really wanted to make the most out of our pictures and really have them pop. This is hard work in the bag for when it comes time to show your home.
For the entire FSBO process the most time we dedicated was to the pricing of our home. These talks had been on and off over the 7 years of owning our home to make sure all of our improvements did not exceed our house value. The month before selling our house we really started to study what our house was worth and wanted to get the most for our house, yet sell quickly. This is the most important item when selling a home. Do your homework, and it will pay off financially and avoid stress by not allowing your house to sit on the market for months.
These are a few simple steps to get you well on your way to selling your own home. If possible in your area, locate a reputable FSBO business and look into multiple companies so you are not getting cheated out of money or given poor service. Follow our Pinterest board, Showing Your Home, for tips on how to talk with potential buyers, and sell your home when these buyers arrive at your front door.
Posted: 07/22/2013 02:42 PM
If you are looking to buy or sell in the Quad Cities, then there is a very good chance Davenport is the place for. Davenport homes typically range from $50,000 - $300,000, but given the diversity of the city you can find a mobile trailer for as low as $1,500 or a mansion exceeding a cool $1,000,000. This housing diversity is just one of the reasons why people choose to live in Davenport and why selling FSBO is so successful.
Davenport homes also draw interest because of the employment in and around the city. The city of Davenport itself employees a high number of people through the public works, school system, and other departments, but looking outside of the city itself there are many more places to work. Some of the larger employers are John Deere, Alcoa Metal Works, Genesis Hospitals, and Rock Island Arsenal. Davenport also provides many opportunities for small to midsize business.
If you are looking for health and entertainment, Davenport offers excellent options, and none of them are very far from your front door. For entertainment, you have a countless amount of restaurants and bars. Some of my personal favorites are The Filling Station, 11th St. Precinct, Azteca, Barrel House, Biaggi’s, and Granite City. Before dinner, you can take in a movie at the Imax or 53rd Cinemas, watch a ball game at Modern Woodmen Park, or take in some live music at one of the festivals in the summer.
Davenport also has great options for exercise. Many homes live along one of the two bike paths, Duck Creek & the River Trail, or within minutes from either one of these. Walking 18 holes of golf is always great exercise, and of course there a dozen gyms to choose from which include Gold’s Gym, Snap Fitness, and 24 Hour Fitness.
If you are looking to buy or sell Davenport homes there is something here for everyone making it a desirable place to live.
Posted: 07/16/2013 11:08 AM
Technology can be our worst enemy, especially when you are counting on it the most. Some of the most memorable times my computer, printer, or Internet quit working on me have been when paying bills, submitting a paper for college, writing a 10 page paper the night before it is due, printing forms for a client, and of course during some pretty intense gaming. All of these are very legitimate reasons to hate using computers, but don’t give up hope. There is a very strong place for the use of computers, printers, and the Internet. Especially when selling your home on your own.
If you are looking to sell your own home, commonly referred to as FSBO, For Sale By Owner, you need to utilize the web. According to the National Realtor Association, "real-estate related searches have increased 253% over the past four years on Google." I have read from various sources that anywhere from 50%-80% of people find the home they purchase using the Internet. What should this tell you? That you HAVE to get your property online as much as possible. If you are are selling FSBO you have a couple different options for getting your property on the web. You can use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, the social networks, and then there are websites.
Google does offer a very easy to use DIY website resource. The problem with making your own site is how will people find it? It is worth every penny to invest in a FSBO service provided in your area. Home buyers know of these sites and visit them frequently, it gives them a central hub to find homes for sale by owner. These businesses will do more than just list your house, they will take pictures, have yard signs, give you access to pre-made flyers, and some will also provide social network sharing tools.
So if you are looking find how to sell your home you need to get your house on the web for maximum exposure.
Posted: 07/14/2013 12:36 PM
Pose this question to many house wives and house dads across the U.S., and I think you will have an overwhelming response of, “Hell no. It’s not a question. I will take one yesterday!” Having personally had a house cleaner there are perks on top of perks about having someone come clean your house. Sadly, there are two concerns which hold people back from having a person clean your house, trust and finances.
Opening your doors to a family, friends, or possibly a stranger is hard to do. The reason why you are thinking about hiring a cleaner is because you are professional working 40 +hours a week plus you have family to spend time with. You simply don’t have the time to clean like your house needs. Ultimately, you will need to trust someone inside your home while no one else is home. You are giving handing over the keys to your front door! Sounds nuts, and is nuts, if you just let anyone clean your home. You HAVE to trust your house cleaner, so do your own background checking, this includes cleaning services, AND family/friends. A non-trusting relationship will inevitably ruin your house cleaning experience.
On to the second and probably most relevant concern for most people having a house cleaner, cost. Tell your friends you have a house cleaner and they will start busting your chops of living with the rich and famous. It doesn’t take a business mogul, professional athlete, or Hollywood Star to hire a house cleaner. Many blue collar people have a house cleaner; they have been smart with their money and have a solid budget. If you make a plan for what you are going to spend each month you will see if a house cleaner is in the budget or not. You may have a house cleaner come once a week or more commonly visit once every other week. I found a good website about hiring and keeping a house cleaner-check out and see if a house cleaner is right for you.
Posted: 07/13/2013 11:12 PM
The decisions leading up to selling your house can be very stressful, especially if you are contemplating making any home improvements. Sometimes making home improvements is easy if the structural integrity of your home is in question. For example, you have a basement wall that is cracked, leaking, and starting to cave in. Then there are other home improvements which are clearly not needed, but you wouldn’t mind making a few cosmetic improvements, such as adding new curtains to the home even though you just changed them two years ago. These two types of improvements are easy decisions to make before selling your own home. Fix the basement and leave the curtains alone. Unfortunately not all home improvements are easy decisions, such as a roof replacement.
Roofs could make or break a deal. House roofs are mandatory maintence. People want to wait as long as possible before replacing it because you have 30 year shingles and you are in year 27. After 27 years your shingles are bound to look like they have survived tornados, hail storms, and a zombie apocalypse. Any potential buyer is sure to catch this, if they don’t the home inspector will. When it comes to costly repairs that will need to be done in the near future you must take these into consideration when pricing your house. Having a single layer of shingles tore off, replaced with quality shingles, renting a dumpster, and paying for labor can easily cost $10,000 or more depending on the location and size of your roof.
If you choose to have the roof replaced that is great and you need to use this as a huge selling point. Keep in mind that you may not get all of your money back, but could have a much quicker home sale. If you decide to leave the roof as is you will need to lower your asking price or be prepared for the buyer to use the bad roof as a negotiating point. A lower asking price could draw more interest, but may also turn buyers off because they see it as a project home or think it reflects on the up keep of the rest of your home.
Keep in mind the asking price of your home when making these types of decisions. You will also need to consider your audience and how you plan to market your home. Take a couple days to stew over these big decisions talking them over with friends and family. Ultimately this is your decision acting as your very own FSBO agent. Good luck on all home improvements and selling your house.
Posted: 07/07/2013 10:01 PM
Bust out the spritzer bottles, lemonade stands, and crank up the AC, the July heat is among us. That’s right, the summer officially arrived on June 21st, and the following months of July and August typically bring the Midwestern heat. Don’t let this throw a wrench into your master plan of selling your home. Rather, use this to your advantage!
Not many people like to be out in 90° heat, especially with high humidity. But if people are needing to buy a home, they will have to brave the heat and cruise around the neighborhoods with their AC cranked up. Your job is to get them to stop at YOUR open house and show your home. Using your FSBOFox banner, message advertise you will have the cool home to check out this weekend. Your message could read, “Stop In and Cool Off,” “Cold H2O & Lemonade w/Showing,” “Feel the AC Work.” Don’t feel like anything is too silly when selling your home. Your job is to catch the attention of anyone and everyone looking to buy a home.
Don’t forget about signage around your neighborhood. Next to, or on your open house sign, have marketing tricks working for you. Stop by your local Sam’s Club and buy 50 or 100 ice-cream cones and give away free ice cream during your open house. Any extra ice-cream cups will be a reward for you and your family’s hard work. Speaking of family, put the kids to work. Have them set up a lemonade stand in the middle of your driveway. This will get more people to stop and check out the open house since they have already walked half way up to your home. Have kids charge a quarter per glass. This will activate the sensee of community and perhaps bring back some special memories from the potential buyers.
If you are showing your home this summer, don’t let the heat beat you down. Use what Mother Nature gives you and work with it. When trying to get the attention of someone, quirky rarely fails. Good luck selling your home this summer.
Posted: 07/06/2013 06:49 PM
Selling homes can be an exciting time in your life. Selling a home is much like anything else in life, you will get back what you put in. Some people will list their home with realtors, insert any major Remax, Mel Foster, or Ruhl & Ruhl agent here, or you can go the other route and sell your home on your own.
Selling a home requires a plan complete with action steps. Like my first boss use to tell us, “Kids, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. What I once thought was just a catchy phrase I now realize is truth. I have worked with clients who deicide to throw their property up on FSBOFox and expect it to sell, at their asking price, in 30 days or less. People and banks are smarter with their money now, and unless you list your property well below the market value you will not sell your home fast by throwing it up on any Quad Cities FSBO site.
When looking for a Quad Cities FSBO website you want to look at their pricing to list a home. Usually people sell FSBO to save or make money, FSBOFox is the only QC FSBO service to list your house until it sells. Secondly I would look at the professionalism of their website. Does it look like a high school sophomore put it together last night? This isn’t good if they do. Odds are these businesses do not have a professional website designer and this will hurt you selling your house. Finally make sure you are working with a business who has great customer service. For many people selling FSBO is a first time event and any help you can get should be well taken.
After you have picked a FSBO service to help sell your home it is time to put some work in. You will need to remove furniture, decorations, and even signs of animals. A person selling their home will want to show how spacious their home is. Do some research on staging a home to help you get started on this process. Do this BEFORE pictures are taken for the FSBO site. Lastly you will need to get out there and market your own home as well. One of my clients got really creative and placed the multi-colored flags leading up to their flag pole and had their FSBOFox yard sign at the base. This is eye-catching from blocks away and shows people you have a house for sale. Don’t forget about promoting your house on the web. We are living in a digital world and you can do many things to promote your house on the Internet.
Good luck selling your home and remember if your fail to plan, you plan to fail. Make an action plan for steps to follow when listing your house. Do this and you will have better results selling your home.
Posted: 07/05/2013 07:04 PM
Have you come across a property left to you by a passing relative? Maybe you have just been promoted in your company and need to move states. Or perhaps you are finally going to act on those childhood dreams and head to Japan to become a ninja. Any of these scenarios may have you wanting to unload a property quickly.
If you really want to sell a house fast you are not going be able to squeeze every dollar out of the property. You will also need to spend a little money to higher in some help. Call in a home cleaning service and have them give the house a deep cleaning. This may run you a couple hundred dollars but will save you hours of labor time doing it yourself.
If you are selling a house you did not live in think about having a some inspectors in to give you their assessment of the home. Being proactive about this will stop any issues with the closing process. I have seen a housing deal fall through for many reasons such as ter mites, roofing issues, mechanical problems, or water leaks in the basement. You can find more information on home inspections here.
Lastly, and most importantly to sell your home fast, you will need to list your home at a price that will catch the attention of many buyers and will give them a good deal on the home. After doing your homework and completing your own market analysis price your house at 5%-10% below market value. This should still bring you a healthy dollar and sell your home fast.
Posted: 06/29/2013 04:39 PM
Selling your own house with any Quad Cities FSBO service may seem like a daunting task. You may have been trying to sell your home for months and had just a few bites or nibbles. While others in your neighborhood sold their homes in their first month of listing and other people you know have sold multiple homes over the years. So what’s the secret? How can these people have repeated success or make a quick sell while you are barely drawing any attention? The secret is work. You will have to put time into selling your own home. People higher real estate agents from Ruhl & Ruhl or Mel Foster for a reason, so the agents can do the work for them. Here are five areas to focus your time on when selling your own home.
1. Pricing: Ask any real-estate agent or veteran FSBO and they will tell you pricing is the number one priority when selling a home. Take the emotion out of it and do some homework before listing. Follow this link for more specific tips on pricing your house.
2. Declutter: There are not many more turnoffs to buyers than seeing a house packed with furniture and walls covered in decorations from the past 20 years. I usually say take one piece of furniture out of every room, but some of you out there need to take out 2-3 pieces from each room. Show off your room space, but allow the buyer to picture their furniture in your home.
3. Clean: Roll up your sleeves, grab the cleaning bucket, throw on a sweatband and start using that antique of a tool called elbow grease. Clean windows, fans, walls, and everything in between.
4. Spread the Word: You’re selling your house, DON’T KEEP IT A SECRET! If you have listed your house for 3 weeks and people you see on a regular bases (inside and outside of work) are surprised to hear you are selling your home then you are doing it wrong. Get your property out there like a mass text using social networks, word of mouth, flyers, and signage.
5. Be Creative: Have fun selling your home. You will have better success with a positive mindset and the creative juices will be flowing. I always like offering a $200 gift card to any person who refers an actual buyer to me. Sure it sounds like a lot of money at first, but you just hired dozens of employees and you will only pay one $200. Plus $200 is just a drop in the bucket in comparison to the sale price of a home.