8 Best Paint Colors For Your Front Door

Curb appeal speaks volumes. It not only creates a welcoming vibe to your home, but it also plays a key role in its value, too. Given this, it’s important to keep up with your home’s curb appeal and spruce it up if need be.

And while plenty of things come into play that influences your home’s curb appeal, your front door is an important component. A tired, drab, worn-out front door that’s seen better days can really pull down the look and feel of your home’s exterior. But the opposite is also true: a front door that’s in great shape can make your home seem more inviting and can even help increase the perceived value of your property.

If your front door could use a little extra pep, all it might take is a fresh coat of paint. With a small investment and a little elbow grease, you can almost instantly take your front door from drab to fab. The question is, what’s the best paint color for your front door?

Here are a few suggestions.

1. Fire Engine Red

While not a standard color for a front door, red is still a somewhat popular choice among homeowners who are looking to add a pop of color to their home’s exterior. Red doors work well paired with just about any exterior materials, including stucco, siding, and brick. And with contrasting trim, the color can really make your front entrance stand out in a good way.

2. Orange-Red

Just as vibrant as simple red, tones with a mix of orange are still fiery and playful and go quite well with warm tones on surrounding surfaces.

3. Burgundy

If you’re a little sheepish about going bright with red, then consider a toned-down version of the same hue, like burgundy. It’s a great option for homeowners who love the idea of color but don’t necessarily want to be overly bold. Burgundy is reminiscent of brick red with brown undertones and still offers plenty of pizzazz compared to brighter hues.

4. Lime Green

A non-conventional choice for a front door is lime green, though it’s not just a hue that needs to be reserved for your fruit bowl or flower beds. Instead, lime green has a savvy way of instantly cheering up any surface, and what better spot to do the cheering than with the front door! In fact, any neutral-toned home would do quite well with the addition of a bright and non-traditional color like lime green.

5. Pine Green

You can’t go wrong with green, no matter where you are on the color spectrum. And another shade of green that works quite well on front doors is a deeper pine green. This cool hue pairs really nicely with white, light gray, and navy blue accents.

6. Teal

A vibrant color no matter where you put it, teal works quite well on a front door. If you’re tired of the average browns and taupes on these surfaces, consider trying something completely different with teal.

7. Black

Black has a way of making any home look grand and rich. And painting trim and shutters in the same ebony hue can make your home’s exterior look even more stately.

8. White

Not exactly a color, stark white is a neutral that goes with everything. And while not the most exciting shade, sometimes white works best, especially if all other surfaces are busy in color. On the other hand, even an all-white exterior may pair well with a white front door, particularly when accented by contrasting dark tones.

The Bottom Line

The inside of your home could be amazingly decked out, but there’s little reason not to give your home’s exterior just as much attention. And if you’re planning to sell some time in the near future, then sprucing up your curb appeal should be on the agenda. And one of the best ways to enhance the exterior of your home is to give your front door a face lift. Consider any one of the above colors to instantly brighten your home’s exterior.

6 Ways to Boost Security in Your Condo, Even Without a Concierge

All homeowners want to take measures to make sure their homes are secure and that all occupants within their homes are kept safe at all times. When it comes to condos, there is usually an added level of security in the form of a locked main entrance, security cameras, or 24-hour concierge. In secure buildings, visitors typically have to be buzzed in by a guard or an owner before they’re allowed in.

But as much as homeowners associations are responsible for making sure that their buildings are secure at all times, unit owners can take measures into their own hands as well to ramp up their own personal security.

Here are suggestions to take the level of security of your condo to the next level, whether or not your particular building is armed with 24-hour surveillance.

1. Consider Installing an Alarm For Your Unit

The building itself will come with its own security measures, but you might want to consider having your own security alarm installed in your unit. While you may have to get permission from your HOA to install an alarm, it can give you more peace of mind knowing that there’s another hurdle that thieves must go through in order to cause any amount of harm.

You might be even willing to take things a step further and have an alarm installed in your locker as well, especially if you’ve got valuables stashed away in there.

2. Never Lets Strangers in Behind You When You Enter the Building

Owners of the building are equipped either with a fob or a code that allows them to enter through main entrances of the building. Anyone else who doesn’t have either one of these things will need to be let in by someone who knows them. If you happen to be near the entrance and notice someone you’re not familiar asking to be buzzed in or trying to slip in behind you, resist the urge to be polite for a moment.

You don’t know who the person is, so you could be inadvertently allowing someone with bad intentions into the building. The person that they’re coming to see – if their visit is legitimate – should be the one to let them in. Even if the person is wearing a uniform, don’t allow them to enter unless they’re armed with appropriate identification.

3. Always Keep Your Balcony Doors Locked

Locking the door to your unit is a no-brainer, but are you guilty of leaving your balcony door unlocked from time to time? People with bad intentions will go to great lengths to break into units, including trying to go through balcony entrances.

Don’t underestimate what some people will do to gain entrance to other people’s homes, including climbing walls and making their way through any nook and cranny they can access, and balcony doors are one of them.

4. Block Windows and Install Bars if You’re on the First Floor

There are advantages to living on the first floor of a building; namely, not having to take an elevator every time you want to go in and out. But having a first-floor unit also comes with certain hazards that other unit owners on higher levels might not have to worry about, including being within easier access to criminals.

If you live on the main level, consider blocking out your windows. Thieves like to have a look inside where they plan to break into, and if they can’t see what’s inside, they may be less inclined to break in. You can do this either with blinds or even with frosted stick-ons.

Further, you might also want to install a bar across your balcony sliding doors to make it nearly impossible for bandits to pry the door open.

5. Get Familiar With the Residents of the Building

Knowing who lives in the building and what their regular routines are can help you get better acquainted with normal ongoings versus activities that seem out of the norm.

By paying attention and getting to know who lives in the building and what their routines are, you’ll be in a better position to spot suspicious activity. So get out there and don’t be afraid to mingle a little.

6. Make Sure the Door Closes Behind You After You Enter

When you enter your building, make sure to wait and verify that the door closes behind you so no one can slip in without anyone noticing.

The Bottom Line

Condo living is usually very secure. There are usually multiple layers of security that you can feel safe behind. But if you really want to ensure the ultimate in safety, consider adopting any one of the above tips. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going the extra mile to ensure your safety and that of your family.

How Do Appraisers Determine the Value of a Home?

Sellers are obviously interested in knowing the value of their homes so they can figure out roughly how much they can potentially sell for. But buyers also want to know the value of homes they’re interested in and may put an offer on, as it will help them determine an appropriate and competitive offer.

Even homeowners who have no intention of selling may want to know how much their home is worth if they plan to refinance their mortgage.

In any case, having the home appraised by a professional is usually the best way to get the most accurate assessment of how much a property is worth according to current market conditions.

While homeowners can always hire an appraiser to assess their property’s value, appraisers usually work for lenders when a buyer applies for a mortgage.

Before final approval can take place, lenders typically send out an appraiser to find out whether the agreed-upon purchase price is an accurate reflection of the current market. This will help lenders determine an appropriate loan amount to approve a buyer for.

The question is, what exactly goes into an appraisal? How do appraisals come up with an accurate value of a particular piece of property?

The Standard Uniform Residential Appraisal Report

In order to take out as much subjectivity in the appraisal of a property, appraisers use what’s known as a Uniform Residential Appraisal Report (URAR), which is a standard report used to determine the overall value of a home. Appraisers must go through all the sections of the report to come up with a final value.

This form ensures that all appraisal reporting and analysis is standard across the board, regardless of the person doing the appraising.

Here are some of the major factors that appraisers look at when coming up with the value of a home.


Location always plays a role in property values. The same home and lot in one location can be worth a lot more than the exact same property in another. As such, the exact zip code and neighborhood will be looked at.

Further, the exact location of the lot in the neighborhood will also be factored in. For example, a pie-shaped lot on a cul de sac will be worth more than a lot abutting the main road, even if they are within the same block.

Lot Size

The size of the property that the home sits on will be assessed. Generally speaking, larger lots are valued higher than smaller lots in the same neighborhood, though other factors will also have to be taken into consideration, such as slope or vegetation.

Square Footage

Not only is the size of the lot important, but so is the size of the home. The exact square footage of the subject property will be factored into the calculations to determine the overall value of the home.

Exterior Condition

The condition and style of the home’s exterior will be looked at. This includes the foundation, roof, and exterior walls to see what condition they’re in.

Interior Condition

Once the outside of the home has been looked at, the appraiser will scope out the interior of the home in great detail. Things such as the doors, windows, floors, ceilings, walls, plumbing system, electrical system, kitchen, and bathroom are all crucial components of a home and the state that they’re in plays a key role in the appraiser’s assessment of the property’s overall value.


If any improvements to the home have been made, this will be considered. Many improvements increase the value of the home if they are done properly and use quality materials and finishes. New flooring, granite counters, appliances, windows, or HVAC system are all great examples of improvements that can boost the value of a home.

But some improvements can actually compromise the look and functionality of a home, and the appraiser will take that into consideration when determining its value.

Floor Plan

The functionality and flow of a home are determined by its floor plan. For instance, an open floor plan might be valued higher than a choppy layout that doesn’t make much sense. The appraiser will factor in the layout of the home and jot that down in the URAR form.

Number of Bedrooms and Bathrooms

A home with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, for instance, will likely be assigned a higher value than a home with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom in the same neighborhood, generally speaking.


The types of amenities that make a home more comfortable and enjoyable will be accounted for. For instance, a pool, hot tub, master ensuite bathroom, finished basement, and heated flooring are all examples of amenities that can add extra value. The appraiser will make note of such amenities.

Current Market

Of course, the current market will play a key role in the value of a property. What a home may be worth today will be different than what it may have been worth only 6 months ago.

Methods of Assessing Value

On the URAR form, appraisers have three different ways to actually come up with the value of a home: the sales comparison approach, cost approach, and income approach.

Sales comparison approach – This is perhaps the most common way to come up with property values for residential properties. It basically involves comparing the subject property to other similar homes in the area that have recently sold. Ideally, the features of comparable homes should be as close in similarity to those of the subject property.

Cost approach – This approach factors in the cost of the land and construction of the home, minus any depreciation.

Income approach – This appraisal method involves estimating property value by dividing the net operating income of any rent collected by the capitalization rate. This is more suited for investment properties and not for owner-occupied residential homes.

The Bottom Line

No matter what side of the coin you happen to be on, knowing the value of a home is helpful. Sellers will want to know what they can list at, and buyers will want to make sure their offer price is fair. Homeowners may even want to know how much they can refinance at. Regardless, the job of an appraiser is an important one, and it helps to understand how they come up with their values.

Do You Know How Much Your Home is Worth?

Every homeowner wonders exactly how much their home is worth at some point, whether they’re planning to sell or not. It’s tempting to know the value of such an expensive asset, especially considering how much homes are selling for these days.

It’s always good to know how much your property is worth, but if you have intentions of selling in the near future, understanding this value is even more important. In fact, identifying the exact current value is a crucial factor in the selling process. Knowing how much your home is worth will help you establish a competitive listing price that should attract buyers and help you sell within a reasonable time frame.

The question is, how can you find out what your home is worth?

Get a Rough Estimate With an Online Calculator

There are some home value calculators available online that allow you to plug in your location, square footage, and the number of bedrooms/bathrooms in order to come up with an approximate property value. These are quick and easy tools to use to get a rough idea of the current value of your home.

But it’s important to understand that the answers provided are only approximate estimates. You should never use these particular figures to come up with your listing price. Instead, these tools are meant to give you an idea of where your home value stands. 

Check Out What’s Currently For Sale

You can easily go on the MLS online to see what’s for sale in your area to see what sellers are asking for their homes. Ideally, the properties you look at should be within a 1-mile radius, but the closer, the better. And of course, you want to compare apples to apples. There’s no point in comparing your 3-bedroom 2-story home to a 1-bedroom condo, for instance.

Just keep in mind that just because a seller is asking for a certain amount of money doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to get it. There may be a gap between the asking price and the final sale price. Without knowing what the exact final sale prices are for homes that recently sold, it can be tough to know precisely how your home’s value compares.

That said, this is a good starting point to help you get a ballpark idea of what your home is worth.

Work With an Appraiser

Professional appraisers are typically hired by lenders to determine the precise value of a property before a final mortgage approval is provided. Lenders want to know exactly how much a property that they may issue a loan for is actually worth before providing final approval.

But you can also hire your own appraiser to find out what your home is worth. For about $300 or $400, you can have your home appraised by a professional who will provide you with an accurate assessment of what your property is worth based on current market conditions.

Appraisers use a standard appraisal form that they fill out. The items that are typically included in an appraisal report include the following details about a home:



Square footage

Number of bedrooms and bathrooms


Floor plan functionality


Lot size, location in the neighborhood, and features


Sale history

Comparable properties that are on the market or recently sold

Current market

All these factors together will help the appraiser come up with a final estimate of the value of your home. Just make sure that the appraiser you hire is qualified and licensed or certified in the state of California. The appraiser should also be familiar with the local area.

Hire a Real Estate Agent

If you’re planning to sell in the future, your best bet would be to hire a real estate agent right off the bat. In addition to all the tasks your agent will complete for you to make sure your home is properly marketed, they’ll also conduct a thorough comparative market analysis on your home to determine its worth.

Agents will pull a list of “comps” – or comparables – of similar homes in the area that have recently sold. They’ll have all the information about the precise details of these homes in order to make sure they match as closely to yours as possible. Your agent will choose properties that are as close to yours as possible, as different neighborhoods command different prices.

Further, your agent will also choose homes that have sold no further back than 3 months to ensure that the market back then was still relatively close to today’s market conditions.

The Bottom Line

The value of your home is incredibly important for obvious reasons. Knowing what this value is can help you determine whether or not now might be a good time to sell and identify a sound listing price when it comes time to list your home.

Knowing this value can also help you with refinancing your home, looking into a home equity loan, or even understanding why you’re paying so much in property taxes. If you’re curious about how much your home is worth, be sure to enlist the help of a real estate agent today.

How to Get a Mortgage When You’re Self-Employed

Getting a mortgage is a real financial feat, especially with the stringent mortgage lending criteria that borrowers have to meet these days. But securing a home loan as a self-employed entrepreneur is even tougher.

Lenders usually request the typical documents along with loan applications, such as pay stubs, employment letters, and tax receipts. But people who run their own businesses typically don’t have the same type of income information that salaried individuals do. There are no pay stubs from their employers to prove their income.

Further, each year could bring in different revenues, which can make things even more difficult to determine whether or not the borrower will be able to keep up with mortgage payments throughout the years. And if the business is less than a couple of years old, getting a mortgage is even more of a challenge.

That said, getting a mortgage as a self-employed business person isn’t impossible. It might take more work on the part of the borrower, but there are things that business owners can do to ensure their mortgage applications are approved.

Give Your Business Time to Get Established

Most lenders want to see a minimum of two years’ worth of profits in business before they approve a mortgage application. Ideally, the business you run will have been in operation – and profitable – for at least two before applying for a mortgage. Having a short business history will make it more difficult to get approved because lenders might not be as confident that you’ll be able to cover your mortgage payments every month.

If your business is new or is just starting to turn a profit, consider waiting a couple of years before applying so you can prove consistent earnings year after year, which should increase your chances of getting approved for a mortgage.

Keep Business Growing

You should ideally be in business for at least a couple of years to boost your odds of loan approval. But how your business does within this time frame matters. Having a steady income from self-employment is important. And while a little fluctuation here and there might be OK, it should follow an upward trend.

Make Sure Your Credit Score is Strong

Credit scores play a crucial role in mortgage approval. Not only do lenders want to make sure that you have the income to sustain mortgage payments every billing cycle, but they also want to ensure that your track record is clean. If you have a history of missing debt payments, your credit score will reflect these habits.

With a bad credit score, your chances of getting approved for a mortgage are small. If your credit score is currently lagging, take steps to improve it. That includes making bill payments on time, spending no more than 30% of your credit card limit, and avoiding new loan applications.

Keep Cash Reserves

Your cash flow situation might change from one month to the next, but your obligations to pay your bills every month continue. Even if business is a little slow one month, your mortgage payments will still be due and have to be made.

To compensate for potential slow months in business, it’s helpful to have a financial cushion to fall back on. With a decent reserve of cash, you can dip into this account in order to make sure your mortgage payments are covered. Some lenders may even require that you have an emergency fund readily accessible in case of slower times.

Put Forth a Hefty Down Payment

A bigger down payment means a smaller loan amount to apply for. Plus, it gives lenders more assurance that you’ll be able to make your mortgage payments every month. And if other factors of your financial life aren’t that strong, a hefty down payment amount could be what tips the scale in your favor.

Gather Up as Much Documentation as Possible

Home loan applicants need to submit a ton of paperwork to lenders as part of the application process, and the situation for the self-employed is no different. Be prepared to submit as much financial documentation as possible so your lender isn’t left with any gaps. The more documents you can gather up that prove your financial strength, the better.

Generally speaking, you should collect the following info:

  • Two years’ worth of personal and business tax returns
  • Profit and loss statement
  • Statement of assets and liabilities
  • Business bank statements
  • Business license
  • List of debts
  • Any additional income

Pay Down Your Debt

Your credit score is affected by many things, including your debt load. Too much debt could put you at risk of missing payments, which can negatively affect your credit score. On the flip side, your credit score can be improved by paying off as much of your debt as possible. Plus, it will reduce your debt-to-income ratio, which can make it easier for you to get approved for a home loan.

Keep Your Business Records Separate From Personal Finances

It will make things a lot easier for your lender if you have your personal and business financial information and accounts kept separate.

Cut Down on Tax Write-Offs

One of the benefits of owning a business is the ability to take advantage of tax deductions. Depending on the type of business that you run, you might have any number of expenses needed to run things, many of which can be written off.

But every time you deduct something from your taxes, you effectively reduce your income. But your income plays a key role in your ability to secure a mortgage. The lender wants to make sure that you earn enough to afford a loan.

To give your income a bit of a boost, consider writing off less on your tax return. Just be very careful about how you approach this tactic and speak with a tax specialist first. 

The Bottom Line

It might be a challenge to have your mortgage application approved if you’re self-employed, but it’s certainly not impossible. Be sure to do what you can to strengthen your credit rating and financial situation, and get all the proper documentation together when applying to boost your odds of mortgage approval.

Open House Etiquette For Buyers

If you’re actively in search of a new home or are just mulling over the idea of making a home purchase, open houses present an ideal opportunity to visit homes that have recently been listed on the market. There’s no need to make an appointment. Instead, you can just show up any time during the scheduled open house and check out the home at your leisure.

But the purpose of an open house is to sell homes. Sellers willingly allow complete strangers to make their way into their homes in hopes that at least one of the visitors will put in a decent offer. Considering the big sacrifice that sellers are making by prepping for an open house and opening their doors to the public, buyers should at least reciprocate by following a certain standard of etiquette.

If you’re planning to attend an open house this weekend, keep the following tips in mind to make sure you don’t step on the sellers’ toes or sabotage your negotiating power should you decide to put in an offer.

Don’t Take Up Too Much of the Agent’s Time

Sellers and their agents are putting in a lot of effort to hold an open house. And while there will certainly be a lot of visitors who are just passing the time on a Sunday afternoon, open houses aren’t meant for social gatherings.

After you’ve entered the home and briefly chatted with the listing agent, move on. Don’t spend all of your time chit chatting with the listing agent and taking their time away from other potential buyers.

Sure, you want to get as much info on the home as possible, especially if you’re interested in the home. But you can get all the detailed info you need from the property description sheet or brochure that is typically handed out at open houses.

Ask For Permission to Take Photos

You might want to take a picture of certain parts of the home so you can assess them after you’ve gone home for further consideration. But keep in mind that this is someone else’s home.

You likely wouldn’t feel comfortable having a stranger take photos of the inside of your house without your explicit permission, so make sure you ask for permission from the listing agent before you start snapping photos at an open house.

Don’t Be Too Nosy While Going Through Drawers and Closets

While it’s perfectly fine and even expected that buyers will be opening and closing all doors and drawers, it’s quite another thing to rummage through the seller’s personal things. Don’t mindlessly pull drawers open and sift through piles of clothes or jewelry boxes. Not only is that somewhat rude and inconsiderate, but it’s also an invasion of privacy.

Hold the Harsh Comments Until After You Leave

Sellers typically aren’t present during their open houses, specifically because it usually makes buyers feel uncomfortable. Buyers like to have the flexibility to go through the home and make comments without feeling as if the sellers are listening to every word or breathing down their necks.

That said, you might still want to practice a little bit of composure and hold back on some particularly harsh comments about the house. If there are some things that really turn you off, there’s no harm in saying something about it – within reason. The listing agent is still present in the home and likely within earshot, so you still want to be careful about what you say.

If you end up putting in an offer on the home, the listing agent may remember you and the comments you made, which can end up hurting your competitive edge if you find yourself competing with other buyers for the same property.

Don’t Give Away Too Much Information

Not only should you watch what you say about the property, but you should also be careful about the amount of information you divulge about your situation that could weaken your negotiating power. While there’s nothing wrong with discussing a little bit about your situation, giving out too much info about your motivations can be used against you at the negotiating table.

The Bottom Line

If you play your cards right when attending an open house, you can make the most of your visit, especially if you wind up putting in an offer. But beyond that, never forget that you’re walking around someone else’s home, so always be courteous.

How Buyers Can Increase Their Odds of Winning a Bidding War

Bidding wars have long been a common trend in California’s housing market over recent years, though the rates seem to be declining somewhat. That said, California – especially certain markets like San Francisco and many southern markets – still remains one of the hottest bidding war centers across the nation.

While that might be great news for sellers, it can be a source of frustration for buyers. It can be daunting to approach an offer situation knowing that you’re competing with a number of other buyers vying for the same property.

Having said that, there are certain things that buyers can do to strengthen their position when faced with a potential multiple offer situation. If you’re a buyer entering the real estate market in a hot California market, consider the following tips to help you boost your odds of winning a bidding war.

Get Pre-Approved

One of the most important things that buyers can do before putting in an offer is to get pre-approved for a mortgage and crunch the numbers. This is especially important if a bidding war is imminent.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is important for a number of reasons. For starters, it will help you determine exactly how much you can afford in a home purchase and how high you can go with your offer. In bidding wars, it’s customary for buyers involved to incrementally increase their offer prices in an effort to outbid the others.

While you might be emotionally ready to go well over the asking price, this could turn out to be a huge problem if you wind up paying more than you can comfortably afford. Not only do you have to factor in mortgage payments, but also all other bills that will have to be paid, including utilities, property taxes, and homeowners insurance. By being pre-approved, you’ll know what your limit is and how far you can go.

A pre-approval letter is also helpful because it can make you a much more competitive candidate in the eyes of sellers. Typically, sellers prefer to work with buyers who they know are eligible for mortgage approval. In a bidding war situation, sellers want to waste as little time as possible. And choosing a buyer who is pre-approved for a mortgage over another is one way to ensure that.

Put in a Solid Offer Mid-Week

Weekends are traditionally the busiest times for property visits given the fact that people are usually off work and have more time to dedicate to house hunting. If time permits, consider visiting homes early in the week and give yourself enough time to really scope out a home in great detail. If your finances are already lined up and you’re ready to put in an offer, do so before the weekend rush.

By beating out the weekend competition, there may be less of a chance of getting involved in a bidding war. If the offer you present is solid and attractive to the seller ahead of the rush, there’s a chance that they may seriously consider your offer instead of waiting if there’s anything better out there.

Keep Your Offer Clean

The less red tape that a seller has to go through, the better. That means an offer that is filled with all sorts of different contingencies probably won’t fly in a bidding war situation.

Even if your offer price is high, sellers might not want to take a gamble on an offer that might not go through if any one of the contingencies cannot be fulfilled. In a bidding war situation, the fewer the contingencies the better.

Be Flexible With the Closing Date

Every part of an offer will be analyzed by the seller, and that includes the closing date. If you’re competing with another buyer who has offered the same price, something as seemingly insignificant as the closing date can be the deciding factor in which offer the seller chooses.

Given this, it’s extremely helpful to be very flexible when it comes to the closing date. If it works for you, consider giving the seller whatever closing date they want. If moving the closing date up, for instance, works better for the seller, be open to this option. Flexibility can work wonders in a bidding war situation.

Be Prepared With a Hefty Earnest Money Deposit

A big deposit shows sellers that you’re serious and are financially prepared to buy the house. Offer a bigger deposit than the sellers expect, and make sure to submit a certified check along with the offer to show the sellers that you mean business. Since typical deposit amounts can vary from one jurisdiction to another, have your agent verify what that particular number is in your area – and offer more.

The earnest money deposit goes towards your down payment anyway if you end up the winner. And if your offer isn’t chosen, you’ll get it back. A clean offer with a hefty earnest money deposit could mean the difference between winning or losing the deal.

Write a Letter to the Seller

If there’s something about the home you’re putting an offer on that has you emotionally attached to it, let the sellers know. Tell them how much you love the house and how you will make it a home for you and your family. Explaining to the seller why you want the property so much could tip the scale in your favor.

Buying and selling a home is an emotional process for all involved. And if the seller has lived in the home for a number of years and raised a family there themselves, they may appreciate knowing that the home is going to be left in the hands of someone who will care for it as much as they did. 

The Bottom Line

Going up against other buyers in a bidding war can be an overwhelming experience. It can also be a frustrating one, especially if you’ve lost out on other bidding wars in the past. If you think you’ll be faced with yet another multiple offer situation, make sure to go in with your best foot forward, and always arm yourself with a seasoned real estate agent who’s experienced with handling bidding war situations.

7 Things That Are Left Behind When You Sell

When it’s time for you to move out of your old home and into your new one, there’s a lot of packing and hauling to do. But while you’ll obviously want to take all your clothes and furniture with you, there are certain items that you should leave behind.

Certain things are just assumed to remain with the property when sellers move. And if buyers find that these things have been taken on move-in day, there could be trouble.

As a general rule of thumb, the following items should be left behind when you move out.

1. Light Fixtures

When buyers scope out a new house to buy, they usually assume that the light fixtures they see in the home will stay when they move in. Unless you specifically state in the contract that you want to take the light fixtures with you, they should stay with the home.

If you do take them, it’s customary to replace them with something else so the buyers aren’t left with dangling wires and gaping holes in the ceilings and walls.

2. Anything Secured to the Ground

If it’s stuck to the ground, odds are it should stay with the property when you move. This can include any of the following:

  • Mailboxes
  • Fences
  • Lights
  • Fountains
  • Water features
  • Fire Pits
  • Gazebos

Hot tubs should also stay even though they might not necessarily be affixed to the ground. There are still plumbing pipes and electrical wiring that are typically installed in hot tubs and run in-ground, so technically these structures should probably stay with the home too.

Items like these that are secured to the ground are technically classified as real estate as opposed to personal property, so they should remain on the premises when you vacate. If you have your heart set on taking a certain item with you, clearly detail its exclusion in the contract and make sure both you and the buyer initial it (if the buyer agrees).

3. Outdoor Plants

Along the same lines as the items listed above are outdoor plants, shrubs, flowers, and trees. Basically, any greenery that you have planted outside is considered to be part of the property and should remain there when the buyers move in. Buyers would be unpleasantly surprised to show up on moving day only to find large holes where plants once were.

Any greenery that has established deep roots would likely die after being ripped out of the ground and planted elsewhere anyway, so you would be better off leaving them where they are.

4. Anything Affixed to the House

Any items that are affixed to your home are also considered part of the property. This includes things such as:

  • Hot water heaters
  • Radiators
  • Bathtubs
  • Plugs
  • Built-in shelves
  • Cupboards

While it might sound silly to even try to rip any one of these items out and take them with you, it can and does happen. In these cases, buyers are left annoyed at the situation and sellers often wind up in legal trouble. As a general rule of thumb for sellers to follow, anything that is affixed to the home usually stays.

5. Fittings

Certain items might not necessarily be affixed to the property, but they should probably stay with the home anyway. This includes things such as the following:

  • Carpets
  • Curtains
  • Curtain rods
  • Free-standing appliances, such as refrigerators, ovens, and washing machines
  • Satellite dishes

6. Manuals

Certain items in the home usually come with manuals when you first buy them. These manuals contain details needed for proper set-up when you first buy or install them as well as troubleshooting tips in case there’s ever a problem.

Having these manuals handy is important not just for you, but for buyers who may be taking over your home. Things such as refrigerators, ovens, hot water heaters, dishwashers, or any other item that is remaining on the premises will likely have manuals. Make sure to leave these behind for the buyer, and keep them in plain sight so they don’t have to go searching for them when they need them.

7. Extra Paint

When buyers first move into a new home, they may want to do some touch-ups on the walls here and there if there are any scuff marks that need to be covered. They may even need to do that from time to time long after having moved in. When that happens, having the exact paint handy can really help.

It can be nearly impossible to match the exact paint color on your walls with paint purchased in-store without knowing the precise one that was used. While you could always leave the exact brand name and paint color model number behind for the buyers, it would be much easier for them if you just left any leftover paint cans that you might still have.

The Bottom Line

If there are any items that you really want to take with you that would otherwise be left behind, make sure you take care of these details during the actual negotiation process so there are no surprises. Make sure everything is in writing. But in general, anything that is bolted, mounted, nailed, or planted into the home or ground should probably stay.