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Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 1/17/2020

We live in the 21st century and the age of technology, this we know. But, what some sellers still do not realize is the importance of properly staged and well taken photos. The photos that you place online with your homeís listing can make or break a buyerís interest. If you do not feel confident in your own ability to take the photos then you may want to consider hiring a photographer. However, if you feel capable of taking the photos that will be a buyerís first look, then review the pointers below.

1. Proper lighting: Proper lighting when taking photos is essential. The lighting can completely alter the look of a home; a poorly lit room can look older and smaller than it actually is. To avoid this, try taking photos during the daytime when there is plenty of natural light, but when the sun is not beating into the room as it can cause shadows. The natural light is an ideal situation, as different lightbulbs give off different levels and color of light.

2. Avoid blurry photos: Posting out of focus photos to your listing is asking for a buyer to overlook your home. They are not only uncomplimentary but detrimental to a buyerís interest. Make sure to keep the camera or phone (only high-end phones) steady and have proper lighting when taking the photos. It would be best to utilize a tripod or a stabilizer, if you have access to one.

3. Choose your angles wisely: All too often photos are shot up close on a feature in the room. This does not give the buyer an accurate depiction of what the room truly looks like. Itís hard to tell its size and its shape. Try standing in a doorway or inside of a closet, so you are able to photograph most of the room. But, be sure not to use a wide-angle camera lens, as it can distort the room and give buyers a false pretense of its size.

4. Remove clutter: Taking photos of your home for your online listing while there is clutter all over is not the best way to showcase your home. It will make your rooms look smaller and be harder for one to visualize his/her belongings in that space.

5. Remove personal items: When selling your home, you want buyers to be able to envision themselves living there. Itís important to remove overly personal items for open houses and itís also important to do so when taking photographs of your home.

These are just a couple pointers for taking photos that peak buyersí interests in your home. If you are very inexperienced in photography,be sure to do additional research, so you are taking the best photos possible.And again, if youíre unsure of your ability, it might be best to leave it to the professionalóas a first impression is everything.





Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 1/10/2020


 Photo by Bruce Mars via Pexels

House shopping when you live far from your new community is not easy, but technology makes it much simpler to tackle this big task. While nothing beats in-person visits, if you live across the country, or even in an international destination, you may not have that option. Here’s a look at how you can make a long-distance house shopping experience work.

Find the Right Agent

You’re going to need a tech-savvy agent who is willing to be in constant communication. The agent is going to need to use technology to help you see houses, be able to get documents back and forth successfully and know how to move quickly when you’re ready to make the purchase.

Start Online

Start your search online to narrow down what it is you do and don’t want. Different areas of the country have different types of homes, so you may find the basement you’re hoping for just isn’t standard for homes in your new community. Once you have narrowed down what you’re looking for, use the Internet to learn more about the communities.

Schedule Showings

Yes, you can have showings long-distance. Using real-time video tools like FaceTime or Skype, your agent can walk you through the home. This is why the agent you choose is so critical, because you’re going to need this type of partnership to find the right home. These real-time video tours will allow you to see the home's condition. The right agent will do a thorough search of the property and tell you about potential problems they may find.

Research Neighborhoods Carefully

One thing your agent won’t be able to do is give you specific details about neighborhoods, other than facts like its schools and commute times. Research neighborhoods carefully online to learn all you can about them, and find one that seems like a good fit for your needs. If you can, make a survey trip to your new community to narrow down the neighborhoods with the right vibe for you.

Never Skip the Inspection

When you’re buying a home long distance, you’ll need that inspection, even if it isn’t required. The inspection gives you details about the home that will be critical to your decision-making process.

Buying a home when you don’t live near the community is much easier today than it ever has been due to the increased amount of technology available to modern home buyers. Use this technology well, and soon you’ll find a home that’s a great fit.





Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 1/3/2020


 Photo by Tod Franklin via Pixabay

What makes you happy? Do you love to sit and read? Or are you more of a hang-out-with-friends kind of homeowner? Regardless of what moves you, there's a way to create space for it in your own backyard. Even better -- you can increase your home's resale value in the process. Use these tips to inspire you:

Plant a Perennial Garden

Perennial gardens are low-maintenance, especially if you use plants such as purple coneflower or coreopsis that began life as hardy, native wildflowers. Plant once, and you'll enjoy blooms for years to come. And if you plant according to bloom-times, you can have flowers right up to frost. This option will scent the air beautifully, too. It may even help repel flies and mosquitos. The prettiest gardens combine plants with other features, such mulched walkways or small ponds filled with hardy goldfish, paradise fish or white cloud mountain minnows. 

Add a Hardscape

Hardscapes are the manmade features that complement your landscaping. They include rock walls, paved walkways, stone benches, concrete steps and more. All Hardscapes add elegance to your outdoor getaway, but they can also be functional by adding extra seating for guests.

Provide Shade

Mature, well-positioned shade trees such as maple or magnolia are always a selling point for future buyers. They can actually increase your home's resale value as much as 19 percent, says HGTV. So consider planting one or two if you have vast expanses of shadeless backyard. Position them away from foundations, wells and septic tanks so roots won't damage anything costly. Additionally, don't plant them where they will someday block the view to your home's entrance. And when you need immediate shade for yourself, consider adding a pretty pergola, arbor or gazebo.

Consider Fencing

Fencing is another home improvement that will send property values soaring. Metal and stone top the list of fencing materials that provide the biggest ROI, but they're also pretty costly to construct. If budget is a concern, consider blending the two into a fence that features occasional stone pillars or posts, joined by metal sections of fencing. 

Add Comfort

Most importantly, your outdoor getaway needs to provide a comfortable space for family and friends to congregate. This means investing in some nice-quality outdoor furniture such as chairs, sofas, and love seats to help everyone settle in. Purchase furniture that's made from materials easy to maintain, such as synthetic wicker, teak, concrete, stainless steel or aluminum. For upholstery, buy fade-resistant and waterproof fabrics. 

Additional tweaks to make your outdoor getaway more enjoyable include string lights, fire pits, an outdoor kitchen, a bubbling fountain, and outdoor art pieces made of mosaic tiles or driftwood sculptures. Whatever makes you happy, whatever inspires you -- these are the most important elements to include in your new backyard oasis. 




Tags: home impovements   DIY   Landscape  
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Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 12/27/2019

Let's face it Ė no condo seller wants to deal with a high-pressure negotiation. Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of selling your condo so you can avoid stressful negotiations with property buyers.

What does it take to remain calm, cool and collected during a negotiation with a condo buyer? Here are three tips that every condo seller needs to know.

1. Consider the Condo Buyer's Perspective

As an informed condo seller, it is important to consider both sides of a negotiation. By doing so, you can evaluate a condo buyer's perspective and plan your next move accordingly.

For condo sellers, the goal is to get the best price for a property. As such, a condo seller who performs extensive housing market research probably understands the true value of his or her residence.

On the other hand, a condo buyer is likely to conduct real estate market research on his or her own. This property buyer also will assess the current condition of a condo in relation to his or her budget and submit an offer that accounts for these factors.

Ultimately, a condo seller and buyer should try to find common ground. That way, both parties can work together to get the best results out of a negotiation.

2. Review All of Your Options

After a condo seller accepts a buyer's proposal, the next step likely involves a property inspection. At this point, a condo acquisition may move forward, or a condo seller might need to rethink his or her plan.

If a condo inspector discovers myriad problems with a property, a condo buyer may ask the seller to complete repairs or lower the price of the property. Meanwhile, a condo seller will need to review all of his or her options quickly.

Following a condo inspection, it is important to consider the results of the evaluation.

If a condo seller discovers major repairs are required, he or she should consider completing the repairs or lowering the price on a property.

Or, if a condo buyer asks for a major price reduction even though only minimal repairs are needed, a seller should be unafraid to say "No" to the buyer's requests.

It is important for a condo seller to feel comfortable with any decision that is made throughout the property selling cycle. Thus, if a condo seller is uncomfortable with completing property repairs or reducing the price of a residence after a property inspection, he or she should be ready to decline a buyer's demands.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent will handle negotiations between a condo seller and buyer. Therefore, this housing market professional can play a pivotal role in a seller's ability to get the best price for a condo.

Consulting with a real estate agent who possesses condo experience is key. This real estate agent can keep you up to date during negotiations with condo buyers and ensure you are fully satisfied with the final results.

Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can move one step closer to maximizing the value of your condo.




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Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 12/20/2019

Most homeowners would love to be able to pay off their mortgage early. However, few see it as a possibility when they take into account their earnings and other bills.

 There are, however, a few ways to pay down your mortgage earlier than planned. But first, letís talk about when it makes sense to try and pay off your mortgage.

 When to consider paying off your mortgage early

If you recently got a promotion, have someone move in with you who contributes to paying the bills, or recently got a secondary form of income, you might want to consider making extra payments on your mortgage.

However, having extra money doesnít always mean you should spend it immediately on your home loan.

First, consider if you have a large enough emergency savings fund. It might be tempting to try and throw any extra money at your mortgage as soon as possible, but there are other financial commitments you should plan for as well.

If you have kids who will be applying to college soon, remember that student aid takes into account their parentsí finances. If your children plan on applying to institutions with high tuition, then your equity will be counted against you.

Refinancing to pay your mortgage early

Refinancing your home loan is one option if youíre considering increasing the payments on your mortgage. If you can refinance a 30-year loan to a 15-year loan with a lower interest rate, youíll save money in two ways--your lower interest rate and the fact that youíll be accruing interest for less time.

There is a downside to refinancing. Once you refinance, youíre locked into your new payment amount. So, if your higher income isnít dependable, it might not make sense to commit to a higher monthly payment that you arenít sure youíre going to be able to keep paying.

Thereís also the matter of refinancing costs. Just like the costs associated with signing on your mortgage, youíll have to pay closing costs on refinancing. Youíll need to weigh the cost of refinancing against the amount youíll save on interest over the term of your mortgage to see if it truly makes sense to go through the refinancing process.

Paying more on your current loan

Even if you arenít sure that refinancing is the best option, there are other ways you can make payments on your mortgage to pay it off years sooner than your term length.

One of the common methods is to simply make thirteen payments each year instead of twelve. To do this, homeowners often use their tax returns or savings to make the thirteenth payment. Over a thirty year mortgage, this could save you over full two years of added interest.

A second option is to make two bi-weekly payments rather than one monthly payment. By making biweekly payments you have the ability to make 26 payments in a year. If you were to just make two payments per month then you would make 24 total payments. Over time, those two extra payments per year add up.




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