How the Seller Can Sweeten the Deal

Posted by realchic in Home Value | Leave a comment

When one is buying a house, they should approach their purchase with the Eye of the Tiger. Montage music should replace their inner monologue, as they stand confident and fierce, determined to haggle some extra goods out of their new house purchase. What’s that you say, haggling during the purchase of a house? That is correct, reader!

Think about it – with every purchase you make off the hands of a sales professional, they are likely being paid commission. I know this, I sold cell phones at one point at a mall kiosk – the incentive to make sales is the fat commission bonus you receive for doing your job good. It’s the biggest benefit of doing work in sales! That and practicing stellar interpersonal communications skills, which can be used in every aspect of life. In any case, the sales person wants to make the sale. So bearing this in mind, try to get them to sweeten the deal!

Depending on how desperate the owner of the house is to sell it, you might be able to get a few grand off the price of the house. Do some research into it – were there any crime scenes in the house? Perhaps vague, local rumblings of frequent shifts in ownership, due to a possible “haunting?” Maybe there was a drug lab in the basement, gun running operation in the barn, or grisly murder in the kitchen. (It was Professor Plum with the candlestick.) In any case, if you find any sordid history on the house or it’s neighborhood, bring it up slyly in conversation with the real estate agent – perhaps you’ll get a bit of cash off the house. In any case you aren’t gonna see “Haunted House” written out in giant letters across the side of the house, so do your research!

Not every house harbors a dark past. We aren’t living in a real life American Horror Story, where corny horror cliches are peeking out from every shadowy room and dark corner. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to get the overall payment down, but perhaps you might persuade the seller to sweet the deal in other ways. Perhaps you can get some stylish new patio furniture, at no cost, magically appear on the deck right before you move in. Or maybe you can get a some kitchen appliances – a formidable refrigerator to keep your delicious, wholesome foods well preserved. Maybe a free blender to make your daily fruit smoothies. Or do you start your morning with coffee? How about a decaff machine! Get creative with it, and have them throw in the best electric smoker money can buy, with a trusty BBQ Smoker Buyer Guide on the side!

The sky is the limit! You could be enjoying freshly brewed coffee from your free decaff machine, while waiting for your pork to cook up in the electric pork that you’ll later enjoy on your beautiful, free patio furniture, looking out over the acres of untamed woodland wilderness that stretches behind your beautiful new home. Sounds like a smart course of action to take, right? Highly suggest trying, you ARE about to make the real estate agent a huge chunk of change in commission sales. They’ll be happy to make your life and move easier, as the simple fact you are consulting with them makes their lives better.

The Kitchen is a Barometer for the House

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So you’ve decided to move into a new place. Perhaps you got a raise and want to upgrade the house so both your kids get their own rooms. Separate them, let them grow and learn independence from each other. No more night lights and bed time stories in this place! Or perhaps you and your girlfriend have decided to move in together, but an apartment just isn’t spacious enough for the amount of activities you guys plan on doing. Even still, perhaps you’re moving into a house to house a business. You and some friends are taking the plunge into self employment, starting up a business and developing an original product that will revolutionize…well, whatever that products field is in! You’ve watched Silicon Valley and Office Space, you’re ready to make the commitment, you’ve got the drive. Or maybe still, your old house is hopelessly haunted, the voices of apparitions and specters wailing all throughout the night, keeping you wide awake, mentally shaken and scarred eternally.

The Kitchen is Important

Whatever the case may be, when moving into a new house it is wise to remember that the kitchen is a truly important aspect. Hone in on the kitchen, give the kitchen a lot of attention and be weary of what type of place you are lingering in. For example, a dirty kitchen would be an immediate turn off, an indicator that you should avoid this house and hope for something more clean, something more sterile and wholesome. I’m not saying to expect a cock roach scampering across the kitchen floor the second you turn the light to the room on, as if it’s some dingy opium den in a seedy apartment building in the ghetto of some dangerous city. But just bear in mind any stains or growths or molds or dusts…anything, really, that is a red-flag to the cleanliness of the establishment…..is a sure sign the house is a doomed investment.

Now if the kitchen is sparkling clean, tidy and everything impeccably designed, with beautiful mahogany cabinet work and a hard wood floor stained to aesthetic perfection, a classy and traditional lazy Susan to host your spices and miscellaneous kitchen accessories, a nice knife sharpener, nay, the BEST electric knife sharpener, ready to sharpen the knife you will use to cut with ease through even the toughest of boar hides. The kitchen seamlessly connects to both the dining room, elegantly crafted with a sun roof, and to a deck outside, which overlooks the acres of beautiful woodland right behind your house. This kitchen sounds a bit better than the stained abomination briefly outlined above, yes?

You want to think of the practicality of where things are in the kitchen. Is there a good spot for a microwave, or one already installed? Is there a kitchen in place already, and if so, is it clean? If not, how big a refrigerator can you bring in to the fold? If you’re renting or buying a new home it is good to make sure your existing furnishings and appliances (I essentially am referring to objects large in size; refrigerators, washing machines, drying machines, 60 inch flat screen television sets, baby grand piano’s, B3 Hammond Rock organs, things of that nature.) A nice view in the kitchen is also pleasant to consider, giving you calming scenery to enjoy whilst in the throes of a meal preparation.

Think about the kitchen for a second here – is it a place you want to be distracted in? A place to be bothered in? I’m not saying it should be isolated, but cooking is a very thoughtful and meditative process. You should have a kitchen that you can relax in; it shouldn’t feel like WORK to cook, it should feel like a break, a vacation, a meditative process that you can use to mentally unwind and focus on something simple for a moments time, a time to reflect, to grow, to prepare food. That’s all there is….just the food. Just the food and it’s wonderful preparation. It is for this reason, the kitchen is really a barometer for the home.

Wondering If You Should Move to Chico?

Posted by realchic in California | Leave a comment

Chico, CA is quickly turning into a hot spot to retire to California. Many retirees from Silicon Valley are moving in.  It’s also a very friendly area with a great community vibe, overall most residents will love you they love living in Chico California.

If the internet is to believe it’s strictly a party town as it’s home to College campuses, one of which has a reputation for being a bit of a party school. Certainly, a large portion of the city caters to the College crowd as it features a number of bars and night clubs. With that said, a huge portion of the city is very family friendly and great place to grow up. 

Chico CA features beautiful weather year round and the city has done a marvelous job of making the city bike friendly. There are bike lanes everywhere and because the weather is so nice it’s easy to live in the city without a car – a major perk in my books.

Chico also has a host of nice restaurants, coffee shops and small boutiques. The main downtown strip is terrific for a Sunday shop and a nice cup of coffee! Or maybe iced coffee because it’s pretty hot year round. 

If you’re moving to Chico in hopes of finding a dream career it’s probably not ideal. Some commute into Sacramento, but it’s a bit of a far drive. Bidwell park is also a hub for locals at all times through out the week. It features a creek fed swimming pool which is pretty awesome. And of course if you’re a hiker, or mountain biker they have terrific trails.

Another hot activity in Chico is Paddle Boarding. Although it’s not right on the ocean, there are a number of great bodies of water, which you can go for a paddle in. The rivers in the Chico area make for a great location to go for a river surf or river paddling in. 

The other nice thing about living in Chico is the value of property is very reasonably priced compared to other areas in NorCal. The ocean is of course 3 hours away by car but weekend trips certainly aren’t out of the question. If you need to make a trip to the city Sacramento is a little over an hour away.

The community as a whole is very friendly and inclusive. There are lots of events and festivals throughout the year to keep you busy. Chico is also a very dog friendly area, with lots of dog parks and areas to walk them. 

If you can stand rambunctious college students and retirees Chico can be a terrific place to live! 

Tips for Moving When You’ve Got a Dog

Posted by realchic in California | Leave a comment

moving with petsTransporting a dog to a new province or state requires a lot of research and planning. For instance, in Canada, the major airline has of late limited transportation of dogs and other pets. This severely reduces once ability to move an animal across the country. So, once you decide to move, make sure you have given yourself enough time to arrange for safe transport of your canine friend. Here are tips on how to prepare to move your dog.

Arrange Transport

Decide whether you will fly or drive your dog to your new home. Be sure to make all the essential arrangements well in advance of your move. Give yourself at least a month if not more.

Health Check

Take your canine friend to a veterinarian for a check-up and let him or her know that your animal pet will be moving. Tell them, your new destination, and ask them what your dog will need in reference to health documentation to be allowed to live in the new state. In case your dog is senior, the vet needs to know this. There are some precautions that he or she may recommend. These include a heart check and blood-work.

It’s also wise to ask your Vet to give you recommendations of good vets in the new city. They may be able to give you a list of animal hospitals, or good vets in your new destination.

As per the requirement of the state you are in and where you are going, your vet should also issue you with copies of your pet health records or at least offer to send them to your new vet once you arrive in your new home. I always ask of a personal copy, just so I have my own records with me. This is particularly so if you plan to drive your pet.

Check the Regulations of the State You’re Moving to

Each state or province has its own rules and regulations relating to export and import of dogs and other pets. To avoid trouble at the border, make sure you adequately check and you are in full compliance with all these regulations. Normally, your vet will provide you with the information but it is wise to do a little homework on the same. Ideally, check the province or state website to get more update as your move gets closer. This also comes in handy in case your vet had missed something.

Although most states only perform random searches, some check every vehicle that is entering. The secret is to always have your paper work with you. Law is supreme and no one is above it. If you don’t have everything that is required, your movement will be hampered.

Here are the documents you should arrange and obtain well in advance:

An Interstate Health Certificate: This document essentially states that your animal is free from diseases and has had all its necessary shots.

Rabies Tag: Most states requires this. It simply states that your dog has been inoculated against rabies.

Identification: Dogs should be provided with a travel identification tag. Similar to a luggage type tag. The tag outlines your pet’s name, new destination, previous address and the name of the person to contact in case you cannot be reached.

Lastly, upon arrival to your new home, it is wise to establish an electric dog fence. They restrict the movement of your pet, at least for the time you are not sure of what goes on in the state. Even a small, but good quality one like the PIF 300 from PetSmart will work for a few months, and you might even like it.

All the best in your planned move!

Tips for Showing a House

Posted by realchic in California | Leave a comment

Are you a massive real estate mogul with a staff to show all your houses for you while you rake in millions upon millions of dollars?

No? Then you probably need to get as much bang out of every single showing that you can! And I know the feeling.

I was in your shoes. I used to be doing all the leg work for myself, showing houses as much as was humanly possible. I was winning some, and I was losing some. But, like with any profession, eventually, I figured out a great system to make my showings worth their weight in gold.

Efficiency is ESSENTIAL

Because here’s the thing: if you can do your job more efficiently, you’ll end up making a whole heck of a lot more money than you otherwise would.

For me, if I’m showing a house, I want to leave that night with several different offers, so I can get that house out of my portfolio and the commission into my pocket. You know what I’m saying?

So, I eventually came up with a few tips to increase my conversion rate every time I showed my house. In the end, the lesson was pretty obvious, and I’m not sure why I hadn’t figured it out before: the little stuff matters! All the little details, from your attitude to food – it all matters. Here are some details.

Bake some cookies!

As ridiculous as it sounds, nothing feels more like home than the smell of a dozen freshly made chocolate chip cookies. You don’t even need to make them yourself. You can just buy a roll of Tollhouse cookies and toss them in the oven.

Keep yourself presentable.

Make sure you have a good wardrobe and are well groomed. And fix those little issue that may be specific to you. For example, I have dark spots, so I got the best dark spot corrector I could find. Also, after reading some derma wand reviews, I spent some money and got my skin looking great. My sales went through the roof.

Furnished homes sell a lot better than unfurnished homes.

This can be kind of tricky, and it could require a bit of an investment, but it really, really works. Basically, you want to make sure that when you show the home, it has furniture and a few design elements in it. That could just mean a few chairs, or it could mean a house that is totally designed top to bottom. Personally, I just keep a small storage unit with a bunch of stuff that would look good

Make it look busy.

Homes look best when there are people in them and having fun. So, on the day of the showing, do whatever you can to get half a dozen or so people there. It’ll make the house look really lively from the get-go, and it serves as a kind of social proof.

Welp, that’s it for me! Follow these simple tips, and you’ll be selling houses left and right!

A Swimming Pool as an Investment

Posted by realchic in Home Value | Leave a comment

swiming poolAre you considering building a swimming pool? There are many factors to consider when making this momentous decision; including local rules and regulations, the upkeep and maintenance, and even the return on the investment if you should choose to sell your home in the future.

Expert: Angie Hicks

Angie Hicks, the founder of Angie’s List, says, “In the heat of the summer a pool might sound like a fantastic idea, but the reality is unless you are the only house in your neighborhood that doesn’t have a pool you should skip it. Pools tend to scare off potential buyers of your house and you usually only get about 50 cents on the dollar return on the investment”.

Angie asked some of the most highly rated pool builders on Angie’s List what homeowners should consider before adding a swimming pool in this informative article, Is a Swimming Pool Right For You?

In Ground or Above Ground

One thing a homeowner needs to consider when they are thinking of adding a pool to their property is whether they are going to have an in ground pool built, or add in an above ground pool. When you choose to go with an above ground pool, you then must decide if you’re going to build a deck around the pool; and if so, how much money you’re willing to spend on it.

Considering the value of your home, adding a pool isn’t really going to make much of a difference. You’re better off making improvements to the actual home itself, such as a kitchen remodel or painting the outside of the home.

chico-real-estate-b

Added Value? Maybe…

In some instances, not having a pool added to your backyard can lower the value of your property. Though these are rare they can include; if you live in a higher end neighborhood and your house is the only one without a pool or if you live in a warm climate such as California or Florida.

Other things to consider before building a pool is the overall cost; not just initially, but over time. Think about the upkeep and maintenance of the pool, the amount of work and money you’re going to invest over time might be enough to make you decide it’s just not worth it.

You’ve also got to put thought into many other factors that come with being the owner of a pool. Will you need to have a safety fence around the pool? What are the taxes and insurance going to cost you annually? What are the rules and regulations of your town as far as having a pool on your property?

chico-real-estate-cDreaded Regulations

Every city or town is going to have its own regulations concerning building and maintaining a pool on your property. California is big on regulations – watering restrictions during droughts, best gun safe laws for preventing people from getting guns – so swimming pools are no different. Some cities require you to have a permit or a license before you begin the build, other towns insist upon having blue prints drawn up and submitted before you can begin the work. In some cases you must also provide pictures, measurements and plans for the drainage of the pool to the City Council. Be sure to look up your local ordinances for the rules and regulations of building a swimming pool.

Building a pool on your property is a huge decision and a costly investment. Make sure to do your research and weigh the pros and cons before you make your final decision.

Home Security Cameras

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While there are many benefits to installing a home camera security system, there are also some downsides. A camera set up for security on your home can serve as a deterrent to would be burglars and provide footage of the goings on in and around your property. You might observe a person stealing valuable objects, like a Dewalt DCN 690 Nailer or a ladder.

securityBefore you invest your time and money into a security system you’ll want to think about the costs and weigh the benefits against the cons of having such a system. You might discover the disadvantages outweigh potential benefits and save yourself the money; or the opposite might be true and you can move forward with installing a security system for your home.

Advantages of Home Security Cameras

The biggest, and most obvious, advantage of having home security cameras installed is the deterrent it creates to criminals. With that in mind, we’ll look over some other benefits that you can factor into your decision.

EVIDENCE

While the presence of security cameras will typically act as a deterrent to would be criminals, in the event the cameras go undetected and your home is broken into, you will have video footage of the crime and the intruder. This can be useful evidence the police can use to locate and convict the burglar.

PORTABLE

Cameras can be placed around your home anywhere they have access to a power supply. Some cameras are so small they can be hidden around your property in shrubbery or behind walls; allowing them to go undetected.

COST

The cost of a security system for your home is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Sometimes a simple fake camera with the red flashing LED light can give the appearance of a security camera and can be enough to deter would be burglars. With very little cost, you can have the appearance of a home security system.

Disadvantages of Home Security Camerassecurity-chico-real-estate

As with anything, having a home security system will come with its disadvantages. After you’ve considered both sides of the coin, and weighed the pros against the cons, you might decide to scrap the entire idea of installing cameras on your property.

COST

Depending on the quality and number of cameras you install, and the quality of the monitoring system, a home security system can cost hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. Having the system professionally installed will add to the cost. While this can be a DIY project, you’re still shelling out the bucks for the equipment, and you need to have some basic knowledge of wiring.

UPKEEP

The batteries in your cameras will need checked on a regular basis and replaced when needed. You’ll need to have a substantial hard drive for your home security system to store all of the data from the video that has been recorded. This not only adds to the cost, but to the amount of space you’ll need to dedicate to the equipment.

Before you make the big decision to have a home security system installed; consider all the pros and cons. You may find that having cameras installed on your property is exactly what you need to protect your home against potential intrusion and allow you peace of mind and security. On the other side of the coin, you might decide a security system would be an enormous waste of your time and money.