Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate



Posted by Thomas Murphy on 4/29/2018

If you're getting ready to put your home on the market, the thought of organizing, cleaning, and arranging it may seem like an overwhelming project!

Knowing where to begin and how much money to spend on home staging and decorating are among the many questions that may be flooding your mind, right now.

The key to success is to make as much of an impact as possible, without spending more money than necessary.

One way to avoid "spinning your wheels" when it comes to maximizing the appearance of your home is to work with an experienced real estate agent. A good agent will quickly notice aspects of your home that need attention and advise you on the most cost-effective ways to improve its marketability. If they've shown dozens (or more) houses in their career, they'll be very familiar with all the things that attract buyers, as well as what repels them.

Although everyone has different tastes and expectations, many house hunters are attracted to gleaming hardwood floors, energy efficient windows, and stainless steel appliances. While it may not be cost effective to have new floors, appliances, and windows installed to sell your house faster, you can make the best possible impression by making sure the windows are crystal clear, hardwood floors are polished, and appliances are clean and shiny.

Since many house hunters pay close attention to the kitchen, it's especially important to win their approval on appearance and cleanliness. Because food is prepared and often consumed in the kitchen, it's going to be one of the more challenging rooms to keep clean -- especially if you have children. However, if a prospective buyer is wavering between two houses for sale, you can be reasonably sure that the one with the clean kitchen and bathrooms will be their preferred choice.

There are a lot of other ways you can make your kitchen appealing to buyers, too. By minimizing clutter on counter tops and displaying fresh flowers and a colorful bowl of fruit, you can make your kitchen look much more inviting. Prospective buyers will also respond favorably to appealing fragrances, such as freshly baked bread, cookies, cinnamon buns, or coffee. Clean windows, attractive curtains, and plenty of natural light will also add to the ambiance of your kitchen.

The ideal reaction from potential buyers touring your home would be something to the effect of "I can imagine us preparing dinner, entertaining guests, and sitting around the breakfast table in this house!" Setting the table so that it looks like the family is just about to sit down for a meal together is one way to help convey that image. The encouraging news is that when someone expresses sincere appreciation for the comforts and features of your home, there's a good chance they'll find a place for it on their short list of possibilities!





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 4/22/2018

Need a quick, easy way to transform your lawn's appearance before you list your house? Hire a professional landscaper, and you can enhance your house's curb appeal in no time at all.

Ultimately, a stellar lawn can make or break a homebuyer's first impression of your residence. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to improve your lawn today, you can boost your house's chances of making a positive first impression on potential buyers.

For those who are considering professional landscapers, making the right choice sometimes can be difficult. Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of selecting the perfect landscaper.

Now, let's take a look at three best practices that home sellers need to consider as they choose a professional landscaper.

1. Get Multiple Quotes

When it comes to finding a professional landscaper, it usually pays to shop around. Therefore, you should reach out to several landscaping companies in your area and get multiple quotes.

Provide each landscaping company with information about the type of work that you need done. For instance, if you're merely looking for someone to mow the front lawn and trim the hedges, you should get quotes for this work. Or, if you need a professional landscaper to overhaul your lawn, you should budget accordingly.

In addition, find out how long it will take a professional landscaper to complete a project, along with an estimated start date. This will ensure you can find a professional landscaper who can help you improve your lawn's appearance sooner rather than later.

2. Ask for Client Referrals

Request client referrals from a professional landscaper – you'll be glad you did. With customer referrals in hand, you can learn what it's like to work with a landscaping company before you make your final hiring decision.

Typically, a professional landscaper should be able to provide the names and contact information for past clients. Once you get this information, reach out to a landscaper's past clients directly, and you can gain comprehensive insights into whether a landscaping company can fulfill your requests.

Don't forget to look online for landscaping company reviews too. An online search of a landscaping company may provide you with dozens of client reviews in just seconds.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Differentiating one landscaping company from another is no easy task. As such, it often helps to get extra assistance as you search for the perfect landscaping company.

If you hire a real estate agent, you should have no trouble selecting a professional landscaper. This housing market professional can connect you with the best landscaping companies in your city or town. Moreover, a real estate agent can help you prep your residence for home showings and open houses, provide expert home selling recommendations and suggestions and much more.

Take the next step to enhance your lawn's appearance – use the aforementioned best practices, and you can hire a professional landscaper to help transform an ordinary lawn into an exceptional one.





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 4/15/2018

Planning to sell your house in the next few weeks or months? If so, you likely will want to declutter to improve your house's appearance and make it easy for potential homebuyers to envision what life might be like if they purchase your residence.

Ultimately, donating items may prove to be exceedingly valuable, particularly for those who want to declutter and move in the near future.

By donating items that you no longer need, you can quickly and easily remove clutter from your residence. Plus, you may be able to secure a tax credit for your charitable contributions.

Before you donate your items, however, you should take a close look at your personal belongings and decide which things to keep and which to give to charity.

Now, let's take a look at three items that you can donate to charity:

1. Clothing

If you intend to move from Florida to Alaska – or vice-versa – there may be a wide range of clothing that you can donate before you move.

Ensure that any clothing that you plan to donate is clean. If necessary, wash any dresses, t-shirts and other apparel that you intend to donate.

Also, it is always better to err on the side of caution when you donate clothing. And if you have clothes that are faded or torn, you should dispose of these items.

2. Electronics

For those who plan to downsize, donating electronics is ideal. That way, you can get rid of electronics that won't fit into your new home and do a good deed at the same time.

Evaluate your electronics and make sure they work correctly before you donate them. In addition, it often pays to tape any electronics cords, wires and accessories to the items themselves.

Check out a charity's electronics donations policies prior to scheduling a donation pick-up too. By doing so, you can guarantee that a charity can pick up and use your excess electronics.

3. Appliances

In many instances, an individual may move into a new address that comes equipped with a new refrigerator, washer, dryer and other appliances. If this happens, you may want to contact local charities to see if they can pick up your current appliances.

Reach out to a local charity to find out whether it can pick up your current appliances – you'll be glad you did. If the answer is "Yes," you may be able to avoid having to move big, heavy appliances on your own.

As the aforementioned list shows, there are lots of great items that you can donate to charity. Conduct an in-depth search of charities in your city or town, and you can work with a local charity that can use your excess items.

Lastly, if you ever have questions about which charities in your area will accept donations, don't hesitate to reach out to these organizations directly. And if you're looking for extra assistance as you declutter your residence and prepare to list your home, it certainly helps to contact an expert real estate agent as well.




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Posted by Thomas Murphy on 4/1/2018

Adding a home to the real estate market offers a great first step to sell your residence. However, before you list your house, you'll want to consider the short- and long-term ramifications.

Ultimately, there are several key decisions for home sellers to make before they list their residences, including:

1. What Are My Future Plans?

After you sell your house, where will you live? You'll need to consider life after your home sale so that you can map out the home selling journey accordingly.

For example, if you've recently accepted a new job in a new state, you may need to sell your home as quickly as possible. This also may require you to find a new place to live immediately.

On the other hand, if you already have another residence lined up, you may be able to slow down the home selling process. This will ensure you can take your time, perform plenty of housing market research and do everything possible to maximize the value of your home sale.

2. How Much Is My Home Worth?

What you originally paid for your house is unlikely to match your home's present value. As such, you'll need to understand what your home is worth today so you can price it appropriately.

A home appraisal will make it easy for you to learn about your house's strengths and weaknesses. During this appraisal, a home inspector will examine your property's interior and exterior and identify any problem areas. Then, you can better understand the true value of your house.

Don't forget to look at the prices of comparable houses in your city or town too. This can provide you with valuable housing market data and help you understand whether you're getting ready to sell a home in a buyer's or seller's market.

3. What Can I Do to Enjoy a Fast, Seamless Home Selling Experience?

The home selling journey can be tricky, particularly for those who are preparing to sell a house for the first time. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can help you enjoy a fast, seamless home selling experience.

A real estate agent boasts comprehensive housing market experience. He or she can offer tips to help you revamp your house's interior and exterior before you add your residence to the real estate market. That way, you can boost your chances of a quick home sale.

Also, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty throughout the home selling journey. This housing market professional will set up home showings and open houses, keep you up to date about offers on your home and negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf. And if you ever have home selling questions, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your queries immediately.

Collaborate with a real estate agent as you prepare to embark on the home selling journey, and you can move one step closer to maximizing the value of your residence.




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Posted by Thomas Murphy on 3/25/2018

Buying your first home is a big endeavor, both financially and personally. Homeownership means taking on new responsibilities and bills, but it also means true financial independence.

If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, you might be wondering what you should be doing now to put yourself in the best position when it comes time to buy a home. Well, you’re in luck. Today’s post is a simplified list of all of the things you can be doing today to start making your way toward your ultimate goal of homeownership.

1. Pay off small debts

The first thing you’ll want to do to start saving for a down payment is to make sure you’re not pouring money down the drain to credit card companies for interest rates. If you owe small amounts of money (or less than $1,000), now is the time to aggressively pay down those debts.

The goal here is to get your credit cards to a place where you pay off your balance in full each month, avoiding interest while still earning rewards and building credit.

2. Speaking of credit…

One of the most important aspects of buying a home is your credit score. Take the time to learn about the 5 main things that contribute to your credit score and then work on ways to improve your score in those areas.

3. Don’t open any new accounts if you can help it

Once you start getting closer to applying for a mortgage, you won’t want any new inquiries on your account that are temporarily lowering your score. If you need to open a new account to lift your score, then do so well in advance of applying for a mortgage.

4. Get serious about saving for a down payment

There are a few ways to proactively save for your down payment; none of them include setting money aside when you feel like it. Start by opening a dedicated account and direct-depositing a portion of your pay into that account each week.

If you have an emergency fund in place, you might be in a position to use a CD or certificate of deposit. These give the highest earnings from interest out of any form of savings. The catch? You can’t withdraw from the account until you reach your savings goal without a penalty. If you know you won’t need to dip into these funds before they’ve matured, a CD is an excellent way to save.

5. Find out how much house you can afford

Homes are expensive. but, if it’s your first home, you might need to borrow the maximum amount form the bank to find a house that you’ll love. To find out what is a reasonable amount to spend on a home, you’ll need to consider your monthly mortgage, bills, taxes, insurance, and any other expenses. Leave yourself room for savings, emergencies, and to live a little. You won’t be able to enjoy your home much if you have to spend your days struggling to afford it.

6. Career planning is vital

A good career is a balance between stability and upward mobility. Don’t be afraid to be on the lookout for new positions with higher pay and better opportunities, even if you’re happy with your current job.

If you’ve been in your position for a while, consider asking for a raise. Research salaries for other people in your position and go to your boss equipped with data to show that show you deserve a raise.




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