Five More Tips for Selling Your Home in the Winter

winter homePart 2 of a 2-Part Series

In Lake Arrowhead, as in many mountain communities, some people bury their heads in the snow, waiting for spring to arrive. But if you want to sell your Lake Arrowhead home, don’t follow suit. While there are admittedly fewer buyers in cold winter months, there is also a lot less competition. Also, since your Lake Arrowhead house was designed with weather in mind, you should take the opportunity to showcase just how beautiful it is in a winter wonderland. So, now is actually a great time to sell your house– if you follow these 10 tips: (We provided five tips in last week’s post. Click here to read what you missed.) Then, read the following, which concludes our two-part series this week.

  1. Appear meticulous

You may feel awkward about asking potential buyers to remove their shoes or slip on rubber shoe-covers before walking around your home. Don’t worry about it. This request shows buyers that you are picky about maintaining cleanliness. And this impression will shape their opinion of the state of your home, in general.

  1. Keep it warm

Interest and entice buyers by making your home feel warm and cozy. You don’t want people who are looking at your home to shiver while they walk around inside. Set the thermostat higher if you know people are coming to look at the home. Better yet– if you will be there during the showing, set a fire in the fireplace.

  1. Make it look comfortable

Small touches, like a throw blanket or afghan on a sofa and a large folded-over comforter on a bed, can add to the sense of warmth inside a home. Make the buyers see themselves comfortably living in the home.

  1. Use timers on lights

In the spirit of keeping your home well illuminated, set up timers on inside and outdoor lights to make sure your home looks good at dusk and at night. Also, pay attention to the light around the front door, making sure it’s bright enough to seem inviting.

  1. Keep an inviting aroma

The sense of the human body that sellers may neglect most is the sense of smell. Make your home pleasing to the nose by baking cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies, apple pie, or anything with vanilla. Don’t overdo things by using scented candles or incense everywhere – some people are allergic. Also, you wouldn’t want buyers to think you are trying to mask something. If your home suffers from musty odors and pet smells, thoroughly clean those areas and replace or clean rugs and fabrics that may harbor bad odors.

If you are interested in buying or selling property in Lake Arrowhead, California or the surrounding area, don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. So don’t miss a prime opportunity to take advantage of today’s market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.

10 Tips for Selling Your Home in Winter

Part 1 of a 2-Part Series

winter 2In Lake Arrowhead, as in many mountain communities, some people bury their heads in the snow, waiting for spring to arrive. But if you want to sell your Lake Arrowhead home, don’t follow suit. While there are admittedly fewer buyers in cold winter months, there is also a lot less competition. Also, since your Lake Arrowhead house was designed with weather in mind, you should take the opportunity to showcase just how beautiful it is in a winter wonderland. So, now is actually a great time to sell your house— if you follow these 10 tips: (We have provided five tips in this post and will conclude our series next week.)

  1. Showcase winter sport possibilities. Since Lake Arrowhead homes are close to Snow Valley Mountain Resort, call attention to the fact that your house is near a popular ski location. If you own a snowboard or skis, display them inside the house. If not, consider displaying artwork that features ski and snowboard scenes. Your home will sell quickly if buyers can picture themselves taking advantage of nearby winter sports and enjoying snow-capped mountain views.
  2. Let buyers be your guest. Showcase your home in a way that makes potential buyers feel like they are invited guests. Set the dinner table with good china. You might even want to set up an entertaining area that features small snacks and drinks such as cookies and coffee or Doing so will alert buyers to entertaining options. winter
  3. Let the sun shine. Light is more important in the winter months than at any other time of year. So open the shades and let in as much sunlight as you can. Also, keep windows clean to improve buyers’ first impressions. Also important—try to avoid showing your house at night, when ice could create treacherous walkways.
  4. Keep it clean. This tip applies to the outside and inside of your house. The first thing potential buyers will notice is the outside of your house. Unkempt, dirty, cobweb-filled windows and eves could turn off buyers before they ever enter your house. And strong southern light in the winter could reveal grime that otherwise wouldn’t be as noticeable. So dig out your squeegee or hire someone to clean your windows. You might be able to negotiate a cut rate, since winter is a far less popular time to clean windows than spring or summer.
  5. Shovel and salt often. Keeping the sidewalk, driveways, and front steps free of snow and ice is critical to keep prospective buyers safe as they tour your property. Keeping walkways clear will also help make your home appear well-maintained, much like mowing the lawn does in the summer. If you’re not living in the home, or are not home often enough to keep on top of the snow, hire a service to salt and shovel your driveway and walkways.

winter 3Check back next week for the remaining five tips for selling your home in winter. Whether you are buying a first or second home or investing, real estate can be tricky—whether you are buying your first home, purchasing a vacation home, or upgrading from a starter. If you are interested in buying or selling property in Lake Arrowhead, California or the surrounding area, don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. So don’t miss a prime opportunity to take advantage of today’s market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.

New Year’s Real Estate Resolutions (For Buyers)

luxury buyer 3Part 2 of a 2-Part Series

Are you planning to buy or sell a home in 2015? Whether you are looking to purchase or sell a vacation home or a luxurious place you and your family can live year-round in the Lake Arrowhead area, our gift to you this year is help you keep your 2015 New Year’s Real Estate Resolutions.

In our last post, we examined resolutions for sellers. This week, we will conclude our two-part series by focusing on resolutions for buyers, who may find it tough to find just the right place unless their agent helps map out a strategy. Whether you plan on securing a mortgage or if you plan to pay cash for your luxury locale in Lake Arrowhead, our 2015 Real Estate Resolutions will help you make your move.

Paying Cash

cashIf you can afford to avoid interest rates, work with your accountant to determine a working budget. According to Realtor.com, in the U.S., some 43 percent of homes in the U.S. were paid for by cash. In 2011, that figure was 30 percent. In 2008, that percentage was just 15. So there is definitely an upward trend for paying with cash. If you’re considering making a cash purchase on your next home, consider the perks:

  • The most obvious benefit to paying cash for a home is that it eliminates the need to pay interest on the loan and also cuts many closing costs.
  • As noted in Forbes, one of the best benefits of paying upfront is that you may qualify for a “liquidity” discount.
  • Writing an offer for cash will give you an edge in a competitive market. If a house gets multiple offers, yours will stand out. As Investopedia notes, “a cash buyer’s home is not leveraged, which allows a homeowner to sell the house more easily – even at a loss – regardless of market conditions.”

Despite all of the above, a home without a mortgage is a house without a major tax write-off. So this may be your number one reason to finance. But if you still can’t decide whether to pay cash, evaluate your personal circumstances. And make sure you have enough cash reserves to cover these possibilities, including having funds set aside for retirement, at least six months of emergency funds in a savings account and sufficient health, life and disability insurance

luxury buyer 4Financing

It just may make more sense to use your cash to pay off non-deductible credit obligations than to put cash into a home.

If you’ve decided against paying cash, your first order of business will be to figure out financing. It will be well worth your time to get pre-approved. Speak to a licensed mortgage professional before you start looking at homes. An experienced real estate agent will be able to connect you to a reputable loan officer, who will check your credit and pre-qualify you for a mortgage. It’s vital to take this step before your house-hunt because it’s possible your credit report has errors. These should be addressed before you apply for credit, to ensue you get a favorable interest rate. Also, consider these benefits to financing a home:

  • Tax deductions. When it comes to buying a vacation home, one of the most obvious benefits to securing a mortgage is the tax write-off. This does not just refer to interest and taxes but also points and closing costs.
  • Although losing the mortgage interest deduction can make a cash purchase unappealing, according to BankingMyWay, until you realize this deduction may not be as valuable as it seems. So check with your accountant.
  • The key investment issue may be whether you could earn more by investing the cash in another way. The “return” on cash put into the home equals the mortgage rate you’d pay if you borrowed instead, since it relieves you of that interest cost. Paying cash today, for example, would save you the 4.167% you’d pay on the average mortgage.
  • More options. You may be able to improve the location and/or condition of your second home by securing financing for it instead of solely relying on cash reserves.

luxury buyer 2The best advice when considering which option makes the most sense is to opt for whichever choice gives you more bang for the buck. Also, ask yourself which will provide the greater return on your investment. Whether you are buying a first or second home or investing, real estate can be tricky—whether you are buying your first home, purchasing a vacation home, or upgrading from a starter. If you are interested in buying or selling property in Lake Arrowhead, California or the surrounding area, don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. So don’t miss a prime opportunity to take advantage of today’s market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.

New Year’s Real Estate Resolutions

ResolutionsPart 1 of a 2-Part Series

Are you planning to buy or sell a home in 2015? Whether you are looking to purchase or sell a vacation home or a luxurious place you and your family can live year-round in the Lake Arrowhead area, our gift to you this year is help you keep your 2015 New Year’s Real Estate Resolutions.

If you’re a seller, the list will help you get started on home improvement projects so you can prepare your house for today’s competitive housing market. For buyers, it may be tough to find just the right place unless your agent helps you map out a strategy before you even get started. Whether you plan on securing a mortgage or if you plan to pay cash for your luxury locale in Lake Arrowhead, our 2015 Real Estate Resolutions will help you make your move.

Sell HouseThis week, our post will examine resolutions for sellers. Check back next week, when we will conclude our two-part series by focusing on resolutions for buyers.

Real Estate New Year’s Resolutions:

For Sellers:

  • Check your entire house, top-to-bottom. Although you’ve seen the house time and again, you need to take time to look at it from a buyer’s perspective. But whatever the tour reveals, don’t think you have to every room at once.  Start at the front door. Then, go room-by-room, pretending you are seeing it for the first time.  Be honest and critical. And use the information to make a list of areas that need attention. Your real estate agent will be able to help you identify potential projects and even make recommendations about reputable service professionals who can tackle the jobs.
  • Clear the clutter. As you go through your home, organize the paper trail by creating piles in each room. Stow the paper. Then, sort items to keep, give to family or friends, donate to charity and sell at a garage sale or online. Put away everything that won’t help you sell. This includes personal mementos and family photographs. You will want buyers to picture their own family living in the space.
  • Spruce up the kitchen. Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. So make sure yours are spotless. Create an organized area for loose items like keys and mail, which often end up on countertops. Store small appliances out of sight instead of on the counter. And make sure absolutely everything is immaculate. house-cleaning
  • Bolster the bathroom. Clean grout, tiles, shower door and vanity, all of which can make a huge difference in the bathroom. Clear out the medicine cabinet. Throw away melted bar of soap, hang a new, crisp white shower curtain and replace worn towels with high quality white or other neutral towels.
  • Empty closets.All too often, closets become graveyards for belongings that homeowners don’t know where to stash. Interested buyers will likely open your closets. So make sure they aren’t stacked to full capacity, because that communicates a lack of adequate storage space. Spacious closets are a coveted feature among buyers. So make yours appear larger by keeping them clutter-free and well organized. If you haven’t hired a professional closet organizer, now may be the time to do so.
  • Clear bookcases. Even if you love holding on to paperbacks after you’ve read them, move them out of sight. Replace them with a few home decor items for visual interest. When in doubt, follow the “rule of three,” a practice of home stagers, by clustering items into groups of threes to create visual appeal. If you want to appeal to high-end buyers, you may want to hire a professional home stager, whose skills will help you get the best possible offer.
  • Purge basements, attics, build-ups and garages. Organization. Separate items to be stored in clear plastic bins, to reveal their contents. Do so by categories, such as holiday decorations. And be sure each one is clearly labeled. Also, make sure lids fit tightly, to keep pests out.
  • We will conclude our two-part series next week. So check back to read our recommended resolutions for buyers. Real estate investing can be tricky—whether you are buying your first home, purchasing a vacation home, or upgrading from a starter. If you are interested in buying or selling property in Lake Arrowhead, California or the surrounding area, don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. So don’t miss a prime opportunity to take advantage of today’s market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.

    Old Man Winter: How to Take Care of Your Home in the Snow

    Holiday Winter DrivewayWith the first winter storm behind us and more freezing temps headed to the Lake Arrowhead area, now is a great time to prioritize winter upgrades while they are fresh on your mind. After all, once spring hits, winter repairs could easily take a backseat to outdoor adventures like gardening and barbecuing. So don’t let the dry-time slip by without taking measures to make sure your house will be ready when the snow falls again.

    Driveways and Pathways

    • Snow is rough on driveways and roads. As much as we love the ability to drive on newly plowed pathways, the aftermath can wreak havoc on the undercarriage of your car. One great way to protect your driveway is to install coils underneath the surface, which will warm the surface enough to melt or at least soften the snow.
    • Before the next storm hits, you could call a snow plow company or hire a handyman to shovel after the next storm hits. If you wait until after the first flake falls, you may have trouble booking a plow driver or someone to shovel.
    • Forbes Magazine recommends clearing all of the walking surfaces on your property. You can do the work yourself or hire someone to shovel, plow and use ice melt.
    • Once the snow has cleared, walk the perimeter of your home and pay attention to any areas that might later require resurfacing.

    Holiday Winter PlantsPlants

    • Protect prized plants by driving tall stakes around plant beds near paths and driveways so that you (or anyone else who plows) will know where to stop shoveling.
    • If you’re trying to protect delicate foliage, consider leaving it in a pot so you can bring it indoors before the temperature drops.
    • According to com, a mix of liquid magnesium chloride applied with a garden sprayer a few hours before a storm, can melt slow accumulations of less than two inches and keep ice from bonding to hard surfaces. Count on using 1 gallon for every 1,000 square feet.
    • Ask your gardener to take extra precautions to protect your plants from frost. One idea is an inexpensive cone, which can be placed over individual plants for protection, if they can’t be safely transplanted and moved indoors.

    Holiday Winter HouseStructure

    • Homesessive.com recommends checking shutters and siding in advance of storms to make sure that everything is secure, since melted snow can lead to water damage.
    • Heavy winds could potentially rip off or otherwise damage exterior elements of your home. So check the condition of trim before and after every storm.
    • Important particularly if your Lake Arrowhead home is used for vacations, take steps to ensure the pipes are protected. In unheated areas such as crawl spaces and attics, insulation could prevent freezing and bursting.
    • Another important area to protect is your AC unit. Whether you live in the home full-time or just use it for vacations, cover condensing units to prevent wetness and debris from damaging AC units in the winter months.
    • Protect your roof from falling branches by trimming unsafe trees and shrubbery which surround your house.
    • Also, when evaluating your home for potential snowfall-related risk, consider the fact that heavy snowfall can overwhelm rooftops if shingles are anything other than perfectly sound. If you are unsure, hire someone to check out your roof before the next storm hits. While the roofer is on location, ask him to make sure the area around your chimney is free from debris.

    Real estate investing can be tricky—whether you are buying your first home, purchasing a vacation home, or upgrading from a starter. If you are interested in buying or selling property in Lake Arrowhead, California or the surrounding area, don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. So don’t miss a prime opportunity to take advantage of today’s market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.

    10 Tips to Help Winterize Your Lake Arrowhead Home  

    Winterizing-Your-HomeAccording to forecasts, the Lake Arrowhead area should see snowfall later this week. Just in time for the holidays, the first snowstorm may be picturesque. But if you haven’t taken steps to prep for winter, the impending storm could put your home at risk. To help, we have come up with some tips to help you winterize your Lake Arrowhead house.

    1. Inspect the furnace. You may want to call in an HVAC professional to check your system. In advance of his inspection, check your filters and make sure you change them on a regular basis. Make sure all flammable material is located far from heat sources.
    2. Check windows and doors for leaks. If you hear wind coming through windows or doors, make sure you seal all entry points. Use weather-stripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows.
      Frozen Man
    3. Call a Chimney Sweep, to prepare your fireplace for winter use. In the meantime, cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds. Inspect the damper and check the mortar between bricks.
    4. Schedule Roof Inspection. Consider adding extra insulation to the attic, which will prevent warm air from creeping to your roof. Also, make sure your roofer checks flashing to ensure water cannot enter the home and that he replaces worn roof shingles or tiles.
    1. Check the Foundation. Rake away all debris and edible vegetation from the foundation. And, unless you don’t mind critters living under your house, seal entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house.
    2. Service Weather-Specific Equipment. Since you won’t need to use most gardening equipment until next summer, drain gas from lawnmowers. Service or tune-up snow blowers. Replace shovels. Stock up on ice-melt and sand. And while you’re at it, you may want to call a snow plow company to arrange for service starting with the first snowfall. Winterize
    3. Prepare Landscaping and Outdoor Surfaces. If branches are hanging low, have trees trimmed so they won’t interfere with electrical wires. If you’re uncertain, ask a gardener when your trees should be pruned, to prevent potential winter injury. Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area.
    4. Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and/ or water heater. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every six months to make sure they are in good working condition.
    5. Prepare an Emergency Kit. Buy indoor candles and matches for use during power outages, which can happen in the San Bernardino Mountains during storms. Locate emergency phone numbers and tape them near your phone or inside the phone book. Store bottled water (3 gallons per person for three days) and non-perishable food supplies (including pet food, if necessary), blankets and a first-aid kit in a cool, dry place. Store in an easy-to-access location. Prepare a family evacuation plan.
    6. Keep pipes from freezing. This is particularly important if you plan to leave your home vacant for any length of time. Locate the water main so you will know where to go to shut it off in an emergency. Drain garden hoses. Insulate exposed plumbing pipes. Before you leave for vacation, set your thermostat to at least 55 degrees.

    If you are in the market to buy or sell your luxury home in or around the Lake Arrowhead area, consider working with the Prime Team. #RealEstate investing can be tricky—especially if you are in the market for #LuxuryProperty.

    Don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. Recently named the exclusive Lake Arrowhead member of Leverage Global Partners, we are perfectly positioned to help you take advantage of today’s luxury market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.

    How to Buy Luxury Gifts this Holiday Season

    woman counting money at holiday gifts backgroundAccording to Forbes Magazine, “Luxury these days is not about price or brand name or status. It’s about heritage, exclusivity, access and experience. It’s also about items that are deliberate, thoughtful and beautifully functional. Simplicity is genius, after all.” We agree. Because the Prime Team caters to clients in the #luxury market, we wanted to provide our readers, subscribers and friends with some helpful hints for finding and purchasing the perfect holiday gift for anyone on your holiday gift list who seems to have everything.

    moneyHere are some Holiday Gift Suggestions for Hard-to-Buy-for Friends and Family

    money bagFor more ideas, you could order Luxury World: The Past, Present and Future of Luxury Brands, which would set you back a mere $20 on Amazon.com. And if you are in the market to buy or sell your luxury home in or around the Lake Arrowhead area, consider working with the Prime Team. #RealEstate investing can be tricky—especially if you are in the market for #LuxuryProperty.

    Don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. Recently named the exclusive Lake Arrowhead member of Leverage Global Partners, we are perfectly positioned to help you take advantage of today’s luxury market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.