7 Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home When Selling

Sarah Sitar new Real Estate blog post

Any good Real Estate agent will tell you prior to selling your home that small upgrades can make a big difference. Give these suggestions consideration when selling they may help you get more than you expected.
1. Think About Curb Appeal

Regardless of the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover,” homebuyers will jump to conclusions when they see the outside of a potential home for the first time. Upgrade your curb appeal by cleaning up your yard, add color with flowers and give some thought to investing in a gallon of paint to clean-up a weathered exterior.

2. Stage Your Home like a Model
Add value by keeping the decor simple — there’s something special about walking into a model home and loving how they’ve decorated it. Apply this simplicity and to your own home to prep it for potential buyers. So, when in doubt start packing early, get rid of the clutter — keep counters, tables, desktops clean and don’t forget to put kids toys (if you have them) in the closet.

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3. Hire a Professional House Cleaner
Everyone has a different perception on “clean,” to be sure that you’ve hit all of those nooks and crannies, hire a professional house cleaner. Have them wipe off blinds, clean the outside of cabinets, dust baseboards and scour tubs. Here is a great list of the items to check-off the list.

4. Repaint Your Walls
If you have bright colored walls think about repainting them with neutral tones. A new coat of paint and a neutral color will appeal to a larger group of buyers who have may want to envision their own decor in your home.

5. Upgrade Your Windows
Outdated single pane windows can be a concern for buyers due to increased energy costs. If you can afford it, install double-pane windows and have your Realtor use it as a key selling point with potential buyers. Not only do dual-pane windows save energy, money, they also help to reduce outside noise.

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6. Clean Your Windows
Hire a professional to clean the inside and outside of your windows. This immediately shows a homeowner that the home has been taken care. This tip is especially true if you have large windows in your living room, kitchen or bedrooms that let in a lot of light.

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7. Bake Cookies for Your Open House
There’s nothing quite like a homemade chocolate chip cookie. Imagine the nostalgia that a simple baked good could invoke for a potential homebuyer. Not only will your house smell great, but homebuyers may just imagine themselves in your kitchen. Offer one to every guest that enters for great success!

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via Sarah Sitar Real Estate

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Four Summer 2015 Events To Attend in Orange County

Sarah Sitar new Real Estate blog post

Looking for some summer fun? Orange County offers its residents so many opportunities to enjoy the summer and weather, at some of the best cultural events. Whether you live here or you’re here for a visit check out these local events — just by attending and participating you give back to local businesses and nonprofits.

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Vans U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach (July 25 – Aug 2, 2015)
It’s only appropriate that this event is hosted in Huntington Beach — Surf City, USA, and it’s all for the love of surf, sand and sun. The Vans U.S. Open of Surf is hosted over eight days and draws large crowds, not just because there is no cost to attend but because the entertainment lineup has something for everyone — live music, surf, skate, and bmx. While you’re there check out downtown Huntington Beach and grab a hamburger at 25 degrees or some Hawaiian fare at Aloha Grill both local favorites.

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Laguna Beach Festival of the Arts/Pageant of the Masters (July 5 – Aug 31, 2015)
If you admire arts and culture then this is the summer event for you. The Festival of the Arts runs through the end of August and features 140 artists and artisans who show and sell their work. You’ll find everything from from painting to ceramics to sculpture. This event has been around for more than 80 years and held in the heart of Laguna Beach just minutes from the beach. In addition to the festival, you can attend the Pageant of the Masters — a once in a life-time opportunity to see famous pieces of art brought to life on stage. The costumes, makeup and art direction make this production almost too good to be true.

Here’s a tip: if you purchase a ticket to see the Pageant of the Masters you’ll gain free entry to the Festival otherwise Festival of the Arts tickets are sold separately.

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(Image via)

Hi-Times Chili Cookoff in Costa Mesa (August 2, 2015)
This event has been going strong for for 9 years straight and has proved to be an amazing time for many Orange County locals. Set-up in the parking lot of Hi-Times, a well known wine and liquor store with an amazing selection off of 17th street in Costa Mesa. When you attend you’ll be eating bowls of chili, drinking beer, wine and cocktails.

In addition to food and beverages, they’ll showcase some local bands to keep the vibe going from noon to 5:00p. Be prepared to get your fill of sun and fun all day long Sunday, August 2! Admission and 20 raffle tickets is only $20 (and all of it goes to The Boys and Girls Club of the Harbor Area)

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(Image via)

Orange International Street Fair (September 4-6, 2015)
How often do you get to experience International food and entertainment so close to home? The Orange International Street Fair features 15 ethnic streets of 42 food and alcohol booths and 8 entertainment stages with local bands playing ethnic music. You’ll have a chance to try everything from a bratwurst from Germany to a Polynesian treat like Kalua Pork sliders. Admission to the street fair is free but be sure to bring your best walking shoes and some sunscreen because it gets hot out there.

 

from Sarah Sitar http://ift.tt/1Ia5oUI
via Sarah Sitar Real Estate

Four Summer 2015 Events To Attend in Orange County

Sarah Sitar new Real Estate blog post

Looking for some summer fun? Orange County offers its residents so many opportunities to enjoy the summer and weather, at some of the best cultural events. Whether you live here or you’re here for a visit check out these local events — just by attending and participating you give back to local businesses and nonprofits.

Surfer_at_Huntington_Beach_Pier
(Image via)

Vans U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach (July 25 – Aug 2, 2015)
It’s only appropriate that this event is hosted in Huntington Beach — Surf City, USA, and it’s all for the love of surf, sand and sun.  The Vans U.S. Open of Surf is hosted over eight days and draws large crowds, not just because there is no cost to attend but because the entertainment lineup has something for everyone — live music, surf, skate, and bmx. While you’re there check out downtown Huntington Beach and grab a hamburger at 25 degrees or some Hawaiian fare at Aloha Grill both local favorites.

FOA_facade_hires
(Image via)

Laguna Beach Festival of the Arts/Pageant of the Masters (July 5 – Aug 31, 2015)
If you admire arts and culture then this is the summer event for you. The Festival of the Arts runs through the end of August and features 140 artists and artisans who show and sell their work. You’ll find everything from from painting to ceramics to sculpture. This event has been around for more than 80 years and held in the heart of Laguna Beach just minutes from the beach. In addition to the festival, you can attend the Pageant of the Masters — a once in a life-time opportunity to see famous pieces of art brought to life on stage. The costumes, makeup and art direction make this production almost too good to be true.

Here’s a tip: if you purchase a ticket to see the Pageant of the Masters you’ll gain free entry to the Festival otherwise Festival of the Arts tickets are sold separately.

Screen-Shot-2015-07-01-at-10.47.28-PM
(Image via)

Hi-Times Chili Cookoff in Costa Mesa (August 2, 2015)
This event has been going strong for for 9 years straight and has proved to be an amazing time for many Orange County locals. Set-up in the parking lot of Hi-Times, a well known wine and liquor store with an amazing selection off of 17th street in Costa Mesa. When you attend you’ll be eating bowls of chili, drinking beer, wine and cocktails.

In addition to food and beverages, they’ll showcase some local bands to keep the vibe going from noon to 5:00p.  Be prepared to get your fill of sun and fun all day long Sunday, August 2! Admission and 20 raffle tickets is only $20 (and all of it goes to The Boys and Girls Club of the Harbor Area)

orangestreetfair-300x199
(Image via)

Orange International Street Fair (September 4-6, 2015)
How often do you get to experience International food and entertainment so close to home? The Orange International Street Fair features 15 ethnic streets of 42 food and alcohol booths and 8 entertainment stages with local bands playing ethnic music. You’ll have a chance to try everything from a bratwurst from Germany to a Polynesian treat like Kalua Pork sliders. Admission to the street fair is free but be sure to bring your best walking shoes and some sunscreen because it gets hot out there.

 

from Sarah Sitar http://ift.tt/1OLTxRl
via Sarah Sitar Real Estate

Buying a Home? Here’s What You Need To Know About the Prequalification and Preapproval Process

Sarah Sitar new Real Estate blog post

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The home-buying process can be confusing, especially if it’s your first time. Sometimes just learning about where to start can he helpful and there are some basics, like prequalification and preappoval that can set you up for success during your purchase journey.

Benefits of a Prequalification

Get started early with the loan prequalification process. It will help you better understand what you may be able borrow when purchasing a new home and set expectations as to what your monthly mortgage may be.

What You’ll Need To Get Prequalified

The first thing you’ll need to do is find a lender who can help you with the prequalification process, there are no costs or commitments associated to getting prequalified. Speaking to your realtor, friends or family members may be a great place to start for a recommendation.

The prequalification process begins with the lender asking questions about your  income, assets, current budget,  debts, and potential down payment to help estimate the amount you could borrow. While going through the process, it’s helpful to collect other important financial documents which will make the preapproval process go more smoothly. These documents can include, proof of employment, proof of income (w2, tax returns, and bank statements), investment, asset statements, and any other documents that show viable income.

Once you’re prequalified you’ll have a better idea of what investment you’re able to make on a new home. With it comes the confidence that you’re making the right financial decision for your future.

The Difference Between Loan Prequalification and Preapproval

As mentioned, there are no commitments between lender and buyer during prequalification for a loan, it’s a bit different when working with a lender for preapproval. It’s recommended that potential homebuyers find a lender who provides desktop underwriting approvals, which is the best form of qualification to purchase.  This process takes a little more time and work on behalf of both parties. Depending on the lender, there can be a small application fee. You’ll want to be sure that the lender you choose for preapproval is a reliable partner and someone you’d like to work with during the home buying process.

Once you’ve selected a lending partner and worked through your preapproval, be sure to ask your lender for a letter of commitment to help both you and your realtor understand your buying power when looking for a home. The bank will provide an approximate dollar amount that they’d be willing to loan for your home purchase. It’s important to remember that this dollar amount is contingent upon numerous factors including, appraisal, credit and financial verification, among other items.

If you’re looking for a trusted real estate professional with several reputable references in the area to help guide you through the preapproval process and ensure success when purchasing a new home, email or call Sarah Sitar, real estate professional. She specializes in the home buying process and can put you in contact with the right lender.

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