Our Real Estate Blog
Although clutter in your home may seem like an insignificant problem, it can actually have a negative impact on everything from your personal productivity to family relationships.
When dirty dishes pile up, clothes gather on the floor, and toys are scattered everywhere, it often creates a feeling of discouragement that can seep into every aspect of your life.
While most people view clutter as an annoyance or an eyesore, studies have shown that it can contribute to stress, feelings of guilt, and even depression. Books have been written on the topic and well-known websites have devoted countless pages to the connection between stress and clutter.
In addition to feeling embarrassed when guests drop over unexpectedly, household clutter makes it difficult to find important things, like car keys, homework assignments, or cell phones. A disorganized, messy home can also lead to bills being paid late, which can bring with it a whole separate set of problems, such as late payment fees, collection letters, and credit rating issues. For people planning on applying for a mortgage in the near future, a damaged credit score could adversely affect interest rates, loan terms, or even their chances of obtaining a mortgage.
Fortunately, there are ways to turn the tide on your battle with household clutter. The first step, of course, is to recognize that you have a problem. The second step is to begin writing a plan or set of goals for taking charge of the clutter. The third step is to begin taking action and to set aside 15 to 30 minutes a day for organizing your home and putting clutter in its place!
If you're considering putting your home on the market in the near future, you may need to bump up that time allotment! Cluttered closets, storage areas, and countertops are sure to send the wrong message to prospective home buyers. Living areas that contain too much furniture, stacks of magazines, or piles of unsorted mail will convey an unwanted image of chaos, messiness, and disarray. Clutter can also have the effect of making rooms look smaller and less appealing.
In addition to establishing new and better habits for keeping your home organized and looking its best, it's also important to enlist the cooperation of your family. When everyone does their part to keep your home looking presentable and well maintained, fewer things will get misplaced, moods will be lifted, and you'll no longer feel embarrassed when company drops by!
The best time to begin attacking the problem is now. If the project seems overwhelming, the solution is to start small, but stick with it on a daily basis. As the famous quote says, "The race does not always go to the swift, but to those who keep on running."
Most potential buyers for your home will have their first impression on the internet in the form of a photo gallery of your home. Therefore it’s essential to have quality photos that show off the size and features of both the interior and exterior of your house.
As smartphones are equipped with ever-improving built in cameras, taking decent photos of your home has never been easier. However, there are still a few basic photography techniques that you should keep in mind to get the best results.
In this article, we’ll give you some tips on shooting professional-looking photos of your home that will leave a good impression on potential buyers.
Lighting matters most
It may seem like most cameras these days adjust the exposure for poor lighting pretty well. However, if you’re taking photos in a dimly lit house, you can’t depend on your camera to fix the problem. When your camera or smartphone automatically adjusts the brightness of a photo you’re really losing photo quality.
You might have noticed pictures that appear grainy or pixelized. That is often because the photographer didn’t have enough light and allowed the camera to adjust. For best results, take photos in your home when the sun is high, open up the blinds and curtains, and turn on some ambient light in the room. A well-lit home looks much more inviting in photos than a dark one.
There’s only one other lighting tip you’ll need for taking quality photos of your home, and that’s to never use flash. Phone camera flashes can be good in a pinch if you’re not concerned with how a photo is going to look. But, it if you’re trying to take nice photos of your home a smart phone flash will likely ruin your photos. It will create a glare on any number if surfaces in your home and it will create an unnatural white-colored light that is typically unflattering.
Where you stand is important
You want to show off all of the features of your home, but you don’t want to have hundreds of photos in your gallery. To achieve this, it’s best to stand in a corner or against a wall to fit as much as possible into the frame.
Avoid holding the camera up over your head or kneeling down. Typically, when we see a home we see it from eye-level. Photos that are taken from a perspective that is unnaturally high up or low to the ground will appear strange and foreign to someone who is unfamiliar with your home.
Take a ton of photos
One of the most common pieces of advice amateur photographers receive is to shoot as many photos as they can. This helps you for two reasons. First, the more photos you take the more likely it is that there will be a few great shots. Second, shooting a lot of photos and then reviewing your work is the best way to learn what looks good and what doesn’t.
In a time where digital memory is cheap, there’s no reason to be economical with the number of photos you take.
If this is your first time buying a home, you might feel a bit intimidated by the purchase contract. Contracts are often filled with industry and legal jargon, making them difficult to understand for the average buyer and seller.
Contingencies in particular give some buyers cause for concern because their contract depends on the contingencies being fulfilled. However, in most cases contingencies are pretty standard and only serve to protect the interests of both the buyer and seller during a real estate transaction.
In today’s post, I’m going to give you an introduction to contingency clauses and break down some of the most common contingencies you’ll find in today’s real estate purchase contract.
Contingency clause definition
Simply stated, a contingency clause is a statement within a contract that requires a certain event takes place before the contract is considered legally valid. As a result, contingency clauses are used to cancel or invalidate a contract if certain conditions aren’t met before the sale is made final. So, if one party fails to meet the obligation of the contingency, the other party is no longer bound by the contract (or required to buy or sell the house).
Contingencies can get confusing when they are vaguely worded in the contract, making them difficult to interpret. In these cases, a court may decide the specific meaning of the clause or determine that it is too vague to be legally upheld.
The other instance in which contingency clauses can be confusing is when a party includes a contingency that is atypical for a real estate purchase contract. Buyers and sellers alike should be wary of unusual contingencies.
The main contingencies
Appraisal contingency. Designed to protect the buyer, appraisal contingencies require that a home is appraised at a minimum amount, which is stated in the contract.
Financing contingency. Another contingency geared toward protecting buyers is the financing contingency. It states the number of days that a buyer has to secure financing for the home. This allows the buyer to cancel the contract (and offer) if they’re unable to secure suitable financing for the home.
Inspection contingency. One of the most important and most common contingencies is the inspection contingency. It allows the buyer to have the house inspected by a licensed professional within a certain number of days. This protects the buyer against unforeseen expenses and repairs that will need to be made in the near future.
House sale and kick-out contingencies. A house sale contingency gives the buyer a certain number of days to sell their home before financing a new one. However, since this can be a risky clause for sellers, a kick-out clause is often included. This contingency allows the seller to keep the home on the market and entertain other offers while the buyer secures financing and sells their other home or homes.