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A Fresh Carpet Smell Can Make or Break a Sale


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By: Tim Riley

Do you remember going to your great grandmother’s house as a child, and it smelled like mothballs? I hated that smell, and I bet you did, too. While mothballs have a functional purpose, they don’t have a functional smell. A house with a funky smell is a deal buster.

So, what should a QC home owner do about the odor coming from years of pet ownership? There are a few different options. The most expensive, but a great home seller, is to lay new padding and carpet. If you just put new carpet on top of foul smelling padding, your house will still stink. Plus, you just ruined hundreds of dollars in new carpet.  Padding is expensive, so get one that is within in your budget and not top of the line.

If you can’t afford new carpet, rent a carpet shampooer. These can be found at most local rental business; I have even seen them that Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island, and Moline Hy-Vees. For under $100, your carpets could be looking new and smelling fresh.

If you have a few extra dollars before a showing by some scented carpet powder and sprinkle it on the floor, (I would not suggest this for dark solid colors like green). Let the powder sit for 15 minutes and vacuum. Your house will smell like a fresh bed of flowers on a warm spring day. This could be what sells your QCFSBO home.

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Quad Cities Homes


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By: Tim Riley

You may not realize how unique the Quad Cities are. There is nothing flashy about our community. We don’t host a professional team, have a vacation destination, Von Maur is probably our highest end clothing store. There are several nice restaurants with Duck City leading the way, but this is nothing like the Brazilian steak houses I have been to in Chicago. So what makes the Quad Cities real estate so strong? The companies which surround our area.

In and around the Quad Cities you can find; John Deere Headquarters, Alcoa, Rock Island Arsenal, Kraft Food, and even a network of Genesis hospitals to name some of the top employers. According to quadcitiesfirst.com these five companies combined employ nearly 25,000 people. It is our workforce which makes selling your home easy. This is why you need to at least attempt for sale by owner in the Quad Cities. People with money are here and looking to buy. Yes we are clawing out of a recession, but we were never devastated like Detroit or Kansas City. We took a hit but never fell down, and you shouldn’t get discouraged because of the market. Believe it or not the QCA is unique in real estate. It is also unique because the QC is the largest urban area along the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Louis.

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Why You Need To Join Pinterest


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By: Tim Riley

There is yet ANOTHER social network site to take over our computer screens and mobile devices. How many can one person follow? First there was MySpace, then Facebook and Twitter. You can find thousands of blogs out there, and 90% are updated once a decade. You also have Linkedin, Google+, foursquare, plus many more. When will it ever stop, ahhh?!?! Well you can take a breath and relax, welcome to Pinterest. Pinterest is a social network that will actually make your life easier.

I cannot believe it took this long for someone to create a site which will keep all of your favorite websites in order, and allows you to share your favorite websites. This is far and away better than your classic Bookmark Menu.

If you are looking to sell your Quad City Home as a FSBO or using the services of a realtor such as Ruhl & Ruhl or Mel Foster, Pinterest will help you show, sell, update, and decorate your home. I have created 7 boards on Pinterest for FSBOFox, our clients, and anyone else you who enjoys anything around the house. Pinterest will give more ideas and options than you thought fathomable. Creating an account is worth the 5 minutes it takes to do so. Check out my youthful boards to see what a beginners account would look like.

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How to Make a House New Year’s Resolution


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By: Tim Riley

Trash the junk food, join a gym, pitch the cigs, and get ready for a great year as to which you will drastically change your life for at least month or even a couple weeks. New Year’s resolutions should be filed under “controversial topics”. They always start off with the best of intentions but seem to wither away like a poorly kept hydrangea.  What you think is an indestructible goal gets lost in work, family, friends, and finances. I propose that you make a resolution this year which allows you flexibility yet keeps your attention for the entire year. Make a “To Do” list for your home.

Quad City homes and lawns need to be durable to last through the artic conditions of winter and still withstand 115 degree summers. Making your home energy efficient should be at the top of your list. I have talked before about getting an energy audit done. Many local companies such as Mid-American, who Bettendorf, Moline, Davenport, and Rock Island home, will do these for free. If you are a handy person, then they will even pay you to make some energy updates.

Pick one room to update or completely renovate each year. Let’s face it, updates can be really expensive. Doing a whole house renovation is practically impossible. Budget a room or multiple rooms to update each year. This year it’s the bathrooms, next year is the bedrooms, then a new roof, etc.

Make a resolution to resolve the constant mess pile of dishes in the sink. Make a contract with yourself or the family that every other day dishes will be done. If your single and eat out a ton, (which is an excellent way to burn through cash) write a contract with yourself to clean the kitchen once a week.

Making a New Year’s resolution to spruce up your house this year will give you flexibility and the since of accomplishment that we often don’t get with bodily resolutions.  Love your house, take care of it, and give it the attention which it deserves. Your home is probably the single largest investment we make, yet we tend to overlook the most. 

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How to Choose a Good FSBO Company


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By: Tim Riley

 

 

Chances are, you have little knowledge about FSBO services in your location or the exact opposite. You are quite knowledgeable about the process, and there are multiple FSBO services. When I worked with the Dubuque, IA FSBOFox markets, I connected with hundreds of clients and most had no idea they could even sell their house without a realtor. Many of the people I worked with loved the idea of being able to have the flexibility of being their own realtor and saving thousands of dollars. Now if one mentions For Sale By Owner in the Quad Cities, most people would understand the process and who to call for services. In the Quad Cities, there are four FSBO businesses with Quad Cities-FSBOFox being one of them.

These markets seem to be worlds apart, when in reality only 81 miles separates Davenport and Dubuque. Clients in both of these cities will have the same question, “How do I choose a good FSBO company?"  Multiple aspects need to be looked at such as: quality of website, services provided customer service, and productivity. Some of these items are subjective, and you may not like that. If you are like me at all then you want evidence, some cold hard proof, as to how well your house will sell. Without having immediate access to the FSBO data for sold houses, there is still one easy way to see how your house might fare on their FSBO site.   It’s called site ranking. Think of the ranking as popularity; try not to flash back to the glorious or not so glorious high school years. Websites that are more popular get more visitors on a regular bases. This means more people are looking at the house you are selling. How do you check a webpage’s popularity? With Alexa. This web information service will tell you how the FSBO website ranks globally and in the U.S. It will also tell you where most of the views are coming from for example, Rock Island, Davenport, Moline, Bettendorf etc.

Good luck selling your home, and please take the time and do your research for a good FSBO business.       

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Will My House Sell Using FSBO?


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By: Tim Riley

People question if their house would sell using the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route. I get this question a lot, as if certain types of houses sell this way. The truth is there is no house suited better for FSBO or using a realtor. I have been working with FSBOFox for close to ten months. Within these ten months, we have helped list and sell dozens of houses using our young FSBO services. During this time frame, clients using our site have sold their house at prices ranging from $69,000 to $299,900.

                                               

Listed for $69,500 and sold on FSBOFox                                                                              Listed for $299,900 sold on FSBOFox

I will have to admit that some homes try to sell FSBO, and they don’t. A few clients have found success using a broker service like Ruhl & Ruhl Homes. On the other hand, some houses have sold better using FSBO, check out this testimonial from a Quad City FSBO Client:

“Ours was listed with Mel Foster for 5 months and nothing then listed with fsbofox for one month and sold!”

- Lora Green | East Moline, IL

There is no magic formula for which route to sell your house works best. You need to see what option works for you. If you want to save thousands of dollars and don’t mind a little bit of work, then FSBO is where you need to be. On the other hand, if you don’t have any free time at all and money is not a concern then using a real estate agent is the best path for you to purse first.

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What’s the 2012 Quad City Housing Market Like?


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By: Tim Riley

A couple times a week, I like to scour the web for information pertaining to real estate. I typically focus on Quad City homes, but I also read a lot about Midwest homes and the national market. I have found some of the best locations to find information about local real estate are broker companies. For example,  in the Quad Cities this would be, Why USA, Iowa Realty, Remax, Mel Foster, and Ruhl & Ruhl.

According to Ruhl Homes summer 2012 report, which compared the first 6 months of ’12 to the first 6 months of ’11, homes sales ARE UP! To be more specific, Iowa Quad Cities sales are up 21% and the Illinois Quad Cities are up 18%. This is good news for anyone trying to sell their home. With the unemployment decreasing and interests rates dropping like a rock, this trend makes sense and it is real, not some phenomenon.  There are many first time home buyers, investors, and young families looking to expand their square footage.

Ruhl Homes also cites that the average home in the Iowa QC has a sales price of $173,500 and Illinois QC is $107,200, both of which are up from last year. What I found to be most interesting is the supply. Both Iowa and Illinois houses listed for sale are down, 4% and 16% respectfully. If this trend continues, then you can expect the market to slowly sway from a buyer’s to a seller’s market. I doubt this will happen overnight, and it could take years. If you are looking to sell or buy, the time is right. Low interest rates and a lower supply will have both sellers and buyers on the move as we enter 2013.

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How to Prepare Your Snow Blower For Winter


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By: Tim Riley

I checked the local Quad Cities forecast today, and they are saying substantial snow will fall sometime this Wednesday and Friday. Some Davenport home owners look forward to the first snowfall, and others despise the soft, white flakes with a passion. Either way, you need to make sure your snow blower is ready to go at 6 a.m. on the first morning of a big snowfall. Here is a quick last minute checklist to make sure your “back saver” doesn’t poop out on you.

  1. You have easy access to your machine and don’t have to tear apart your garage or shed just to get at it.
  2. Your tank is filled with fuel, or you have a separate gas tank filled and ready to pour into your snow blower. Some people prefer not to fill their machines until the first snowfall. Occasionally, the weather is so unpredictable it may not snow significantly for months into the season.
  3. If your snow blower has a separate well for oil, check to see if it has been drained and filled from the previous season.
  4. Make sure your snow blower starts. Give it a couple test starts to see if the spark plug is firing.
  5. If your auger has rubber on it, use the finger test. If you can fit a finger between the housing and the rubber then it may be time to replace it.
  6. Check the air pressure in your tires, if needed.
  7. Check all filters, tubing, and belts for dirt, cracks, or other signs of aging.

You may not need to complete all of these tasks; it depends on your snow blower. Typically a two stage snow blower requires more maintenance than a single stage, and has the power to make you king of the block. Follow these steps to make sure your Quad City Home is not barricaded by a snow storm this year.

             Two Stage Snow Blower                                                              Single Stage Snow Blower

                                            

http://www.accesssportsmed.com                                                                                         http://www.popscreen.com

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Why You Need To Use Flyers To Sell Your Home


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By: Tim Riley

Picture this:  you and your significant other are having a delicious breakfast, peering through your window to the backyard. You notice the spring grass has returned to its vibrant shade green and the sun rays bring refreshing enjoyment to your breakfast together. You and your spouse have been waiting for an amiable day to be outside and view your next humble abode.  Today is it; you just know you will find your new home.

I have spent many days similar this in the Quad Cities preping for my real estate hunt. Many mornings start this way for home buyers. They wake up early, plan to view houses they have seen online, and will look at 7-10 houses in a single day. The big question is how will they remember the house you are trying to sell? Curb appeal, price range, the Internet, and how you show your house is very important. But when people are contemplating what their top 5 favorite houses are, they need to compare them side by side. None of the previous items listed can do this for you, but a quality flyer will. A good flyer will leave a lasting impression potential buyers can discuss & view over lunch.

A flyer can give home sellers so much selling power if created well, used appropriately, and taken care of. Here is how flyers will work for you.

Have a well-designed flyer with relevant information, (number of bedrooms & bathrooms, size of house, kitchen, & living room, price, tax information, any recent updates, etc…) Use multiple colored photographs from inside and outside of your home (front, back, kitchen, bathroom, any special features like a pool).

Weather is predictably unpredictable so have proper storage for the flyers attached to your “for sale” yard sign. Use a container that will keep your flyers dry yet visible to people driving buy. If someone thinks there might not be any flyers in the box they’ll keep driving and forget about your house like a one hit wonder.

Use your flyers as a selling tool. I never left more than 15 flyers in my box when selling a home. There were enough flyers to hold potential buyers over until I returned from work, yet gave them a since of urgency if they only saw a very small stack of flyers left. I always tried to add a sense of, “my house is going to sell today” to any potential buyers. If they think other people are taking all the flyers then this must be a great house. Last thing is make the flyers available to people during a showing. Have a short stack on a kitchen countertop.

Take these simple steps and apply them to your arsenal of home selling information. Flyers should never be looked over because they are selling your house 24 hours a day 7 days a week while hanging-out in your flyer box.

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Professional House Photography


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By: Tim Riley

Thanks to technology, people who are looking to buy a home take a very different approach today from twenty or thirty years ago. The Internet has changed this a lot, and when you list with a Quad City FSBO your house will be up for thousands of people to see from the comfort of their own home. More people viewing your home increases the rate at which it sells, and can even drive the selling price up if there are multiple interested parties.

Another huge change has been in cameras and lenses. Digital cameras allow FSBO and real estate agents to take multiple pictures, review, and upload them to the Internet within minutes. Perhaps the biggest improvement has been with the quality of pictures.  I personally use a 14 megapixel, wide lens camera. This produces excellent photo detail and captures more of the room with a single snap of the camera. You can see what I am talking about in the pictures below. A camera using a wide-angle lens is far superior to a classic 35 mm standard lens. One picture and you have a complete view of the room. Professional pictures are worth the money. The equipment I use for pictures is well over $1,000, and it cost just a couple hundred dollars for a picture package. You can see how you are better off enlisting the services of a local FSBO business.

 

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