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San Diego Real Estate Blog

David Crowell

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Q.   I just took my home off the market because it didn’t sell.  What can I do now to try to sell it again?

A. The biggest things to consider are the home’s price and its condition. 

You may have set the price too high, keeping buyers and real estate agents away.  If you lowered your price in increments, it may have been too late since it was already viewed as an “overpriced” home.  Also, look at your home’s condition from a buyer’s perspective.  Is there more you can do to make it stand out from other homes for sale? 

It may be time to hire not just a REALTOR®, but a Home Marketing Expert.  This is an agent who understands your needs and can use their expertise to re-evaluate the price plus share easy ways to make your home appear more attractive to buyers. 

To learn more about how to sell your home quickly, call and ask for my Free Consumer Report called “4 Tips To Guarantee Your Home Sells The Second Time.”  I’ll send a copy right over to you.

Quarterly Maintenance Checklist For Your Home

by David Crowell

Quarterly Maintenance Checklist For Your Home

 Keeping your home in tip-top shape requires regular maintenance.  Keep this list handy for tasks that should be done every three months.  Next month we’ll feature some seasonal tips. (Save these lists!)

  • Test smoke and carbon dioxide detectors.  If the alarm doesn’t sound, change the batteries.
  • Let water run in unused sinks and flush unused toilets.  This helps flush out built-up grime.
  • Clean out gutters.  Removing leaves and other blockages keeps build-up from molding and allows water run-off to flow properly.
  • Check water softener.  Add salt if necessary.
  • Trim trees and bushes.  Keep hanging branches clear from house walls, the roof, and the air conditioner.

Monthly Home Maintenance Checklist

by David Crowell

Monthly Home Maintenance Checklist

Keeping up with home maintenance tasks will save you money, preserve the value of your home, and prevent headaches down the line.  There are tasks that you should do quarterly, seasonally and annually, but this month we’ll focus on a handy list of basic things you should do monthly:

  • Inspect, clean and possibly change the furnace filter.
  • Vacuum heat registers, vents and refrigerator coils.
  • Use vinegar to clean mineral deposits from faucets and showerheads.
  • Clean kitchen sink disposal.  Tip: Freeze vinegar in an ice cube tray and run cubes through the disposal.
  • Clean kitchen exhaust fan filters and fan blades. Tip: Use a degreaser (buy at an auto parts store) mixed with hot water. 
  • Inspect dishwasher for leaks.  If you find problems, search for info on YouTube or consider calling a plumber. 
  • Pour boiling water down drains.  Tip:  If clogged, add a cup of baking soda. 
  • Inspect all fire extinguishers to make sure the gauges show adequate pressure.  Most extinguishers last between 5 and 15 years.  It’s also a good time to review how to use them.

Home Improvement Tool Kit

by David Crowell

Home Improvement Tool Kit

Even if you’re not a skilled handyman, it’s always a good idea to keep a well-rounded tool kit in your home for quick and easy fixes to common problems.  Here are 4 essential tools to have at home:

1. Hammer – From minor repairs to home décor projects, a light hammer is essential.  $10-$20
2. Screwdriver set – With a set of 6 to 10 screwdrivers, you can tighten screws on furniture, install outlets, and pop open paint cans.  At the very least, get both a Phillips head and flat head screwdriver.  $10-$15
3. Tape measure – Make it easy to measure rooms, windows, or anything else with a tape measure that extends at least 25 feet.  $5-$10
4. Utility knife – Keep kitchen knives where they belong and invest in a utility knife with easy-to-replace blades to tackle any other slice-and-dice project around the house.  $5-$12

Buy these and other simple-to-use tools at home improvement stores like Home Depot (homedepot.com), Lowe’s (lowes.com) or local hardware outlets.

How To Save A Bundle On Your Home Energy Bill

by David Crowell

How To Save A Bundle On Your Home Energy Bill

Have you ever conducted a “Home Energy Audit” on your home?   It could save you a lot of money by lowering energy costs.  A home energy audit evaluates how much energy your home uses.  Though a professional audit is a good idea, here’s how you can conduct a personal walk-through assessment of your own to help cut costs.

 Seek out air leaks or drafts.  Look for gaps along baseboards, on the edge of flooring, around outlets and switches, and where walls meet the ceiling.  Anywhere two different building materials meet is a potential place for leakage.  If there are cracks or holes, seal them (depending on where they are, use caulk or weatherstripping. You can search energy.gov for those products to learn how to use them).

 Evaluate insulation.  Insufficient insulation contributes to heat loss, especially in older homes, but it’s inexpensive to fix.  Find out how much insulation is recommended for homes in your area, then go into your attic and measure the depth of your home’s insulation.  To measure insulation in the walls, you’ll need an infrared thermometer, which can usually be rented from stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s.

 Assess heating and cooling features.  Furnaces, air conditioners, and other similar features should be inspected annually or as recommended by the manufacturer.  Check and replace filters as needed, and make a note to keep them cleaned and changed on a regular basis (usually monthly).

 Identify energy-sucking appliances and electronics.  Even if you aren’t using them, anything that is plugged in to an outlet may be consuming standby power.  Common culprits include office equipment like printers and kitchen appliances such as coffee makers.  Unplug these items when they aren’t in use, or plug them into a power strip that can be turned off.

What should I do to find the right home at the right price?

by David Crowell

Q.  What should I do to find the right home at the right price?

A.   The first step is to be financially prepared before you start house hunting.  Here are two key points: 

• Find a motivated lender.  Ask your REALTOR® (choose one who is an experienced Home Buyer Representative) to refer you to one or two reputable lenders.  Study up on basic terms so you’ll be able to choose the loan that will be the best deal for your situation.

• Get pre-APPROVED, not just pre-QUALIFIED for a loan.  You’ll have more power to negotiate because the sellers know you can close on the transaction.

You can find more tips on saving money when buying your next home in my Free Consumer Report called “8 Secrets For Saving Thousands When Buying Your Next Home.”  Email us at crowellregroup@gmail.com and we’ll send you a copy.

Make Your Room Look Larger

by David Crowell

Make Your Room Look Larger

Short of knocking down the walls, you can make a small space look larger with these clever ideas to fool the eye:

• Use vertical instead of horizontal elements.  Tall bookcases and a floor lamp will raise the eye up.
• Paint the walls and ceiling different shades of the same color (preferably light).  Make the ceiling lighter than the wall color (avoid pure white) but add a darker floor and trim.
• Let natural light in by minimizing window treatments.  Extend the rods beyond the width of the window so the entire window is visible.
 Go for mirrors.  Consider an oversized mirror or glass tables.
• De-clutter your surfaces.  Choose accent pieces carefully.  Store collectibles and magazines in decorative boxes and baskets.

How can I net more money selling my own home?

by David Crowell

Q.  How can I net more money selling my own home?

A.   Here are three important tips:

• Set the right price from the start.  Homes that sell for the most money are priced right when they go on the market.
• Create a comprehensive plan to market your home. You can target buyers though flyers and open houses, but your home should be listed in the official MLS database by a REALTOR® so more buyers see it and you get a price closer to what you’re asking.
• Hire an experienced Home Marketing Expert. A REALTOR® who knows how to effectively market your home can net you more money.  Plus, they can save you time by assisting you with every aspect of the sale, from pricing your home to coordinating the closing process. 

You can learn about these tips and more in my Free Consumer Report called “7 Insider Tips To Net More Money Selling Your Own Home.”   Ask me for a copy and I’ll send it right over.

Q.  I’m wasting money on rent and want to buy a home.  How can I get help with a down payment?

A.   There are ways to get a down payment, including the following:

• Look into local or federal government programs.  They expire or change frequently, so ask your REALTOR® about any programs that may apply to your area and situation.
• Have the seller finance you.  Some sellers may be willing to help you buy their homes in something called a “seller take-back.”
• Use a financial gift from a friend or relative.  Tax law allows gifts of up to $14,000 a year to be given without tax consequences to the giver or recipient (see IRS publication 950).  You can get a gift from each parent or two friends without them having to pay a gift-tax, which brings it up to $28,000.

 For more information and tips on how to get a down payment to purchase a home, ask for my Free Consumer Report called “4 Quick Ways To Buy A Home With Little Down.”

Great Garage Sale Tips…

by David Crowell

Great Garage Sale Tips…

 Ready to get rid of clutter?  Use these tips to hold the best garage sale ever:

 Plan ahead and publicize everywhere.  Use CraigsList.org, word-of-mouth, emails to friends, and spend some time on legible signs that guide people to your home.

 Get your kids to donate items and participate in the sale.  Team up with neighbors so you’ll have more to offer.

 Arrange items by category (books, clothes, etc.) and put some of your sure-to-sell items up front (in the driveway) to draw customers in.

 Make sure every item is clean and reasonably priced.  A rule of thumb is one-half to one-third of the original price, depending on the item.  Be prepared to negotiate – everyone wants a bargain.

 Get some music going (plus snacks) to keep things lively. 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 56