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5 Ways to Make the Most of an Open House as a Potential Buyer

Open House SignThe average buyer attends three open houses during their home search, first-time buyers being the most likely buyers to attend them. If you’re new to the market it can be helpful to know how to make the most of these visits. Even if you’re a more experienced buyer, open houses provide an opportunity to make a second or third visit to a property to get a closer look and uncover things you may have missed earlier and get a sense of what the market competition looks like. Below are 5 ways to ensure you get the most out of your visit to an open house. 

Learn about the Market

Open houses make it possible for anyone to see a property without having to make an appointment. It’s a great way to get a sense of the market. Open houses are among the best ways for a buyer and agent relationship to begin. 

Introduce Yourself to the Listing Agent

You don’t necessarily have to sign in at an open house but it’s always a good idea to introduce yourself to the listing agent that is present. The listing agent is there to answer any questions you may have so they can sell their client’s home but they are also there to keep an eye on people make sure nothing weird is going on. 

An active buyer should definitely make yourself known to the listing agent and let the agent know who your agent is; don’t be afraid to express interest in the home either.  

Keep an Eye on the Competition

You can tell a lot about the desirability of a home by keeping an eye on how people are interacting with the home. If there are a lot of people coming and quickly walking ut there may be some issues with the home. If you see people hanging around, talking to their spouses, or asking the listing agent questions it’s a good sign that this may be a sign of a well-priced or “hot” listing. 

Ask Questions

The listing agent is present at an open house for a reason, ask them questions! Questions that are good to ask are:

  • Why is the house selling?
  • Is there a certain day you are reviewing offers?
  • Have you had a lot of showings?
  • How long has the property been on the market?
  • What are the seller’s motivations to sell?

Keep an eye on the listing agent’s facial expressions when they answer your questions, they can tell you a lot. 

Check out some open houses coming up in the Greenwich, CT area!

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    4 Ways to Keep your Home Clean for Longer

    Spring Cleaning SuppliesIt's officially Spring which means it’s time to start thinking about deep cleaning your home. Make things easier for future you by following these 4 tips to keep your home cleaner for longer periods of times. 

    Protect Your Furniture

    Apply a protective sealer to your furniture once a year to keep your furniture stain free. Using a protective sealant such as Scotchgard to help ward off stains can help save you some time and money in the long-run. These products can also help against fading meaning your sofa will look new for longer. Make sure to do some research to ensure you utilize the proper protectant before applying. 

    Seal Countertops

    Granite is among the most popular countertop options, but many don’t realize the natural stone is porous. Porous countertops such as marble and granite should be regularly sealed so that they don’t absorb stains. If you don’t seal your countertops things like red wine and juice can easily stain your countertops, regardless of their color. Countertop sealers repel stains by causing the liquid to bead rather than absorb. You will want to reapply your sealant twice a year. Not sure if you need to reapply? Pour a tiny bit of water onto your countertop, if the water doesn’t bead or absorbs within 2 minutes it’s time to reseal. 

    Coat Your Shower Doors

    Nobody likes scrubbing soap scum. Give your arm a break by coating your glass shower door in windshield rain-repellent. These repellents create an invisible barrier that will prevent water and soap suds to bead and roll off without leaving a residue. You can find windshield rain-repellent at any auto supply stores. These products are meant to protect glass so only use them on glass doors. You’ll know it’s time to reapply when the water stops beading on the door. 

    Spot Clean 

    Save yourself time in the long-run by making quick work of small spills and dust. By cleaning just a little bit each day your home will need less work overall. Using a damp micro-cloth on pets can help reduce dander and dust throughout your home. Sweeping with dry sweeper cloths is also a great way to quickly pick up dust and dry wet floors. Don’t ignore the fingerprints on surfaces around your house either. Using cleaning pads to get those smudges as soon as you see them will prevent them from building up over time. Ensuring to keep closets, cabinets, and drawers shut at all times when they aren’t in use will help prevent your stored items from collecting dust. 

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      How to Avoid 2 of the Most Common Real Estate Fraud Schemes

      Real Estate Fraud IllustrationBeing a first-time homebuyer can be intimidating and many are not necessarily prepared to handle this large of a transaction. Because of this, first time homebuyers are more likely to fall prey to real estate scams. Below are the 2 most common real estate fraud schemes to watch out for and some tips on how to avoid them. At Russell Pruner, we are here to make your home buying experience as headache free as possible. We’re always here to help; give us a call!

      Mortgage Fraud

      Mortgage fraud is defined as any misrepresentation or omission of a loan. Mortgage fraud has two categories: fraud for housing which is committed by the person borrowing the money and fraud for profit which is committed by the lender. 

      To avoid being taken advantage of it’s a good idea to ask your real estate professional for a recommendation on a reputable lender. It’s also a smart idea to consult with a local regulatory agency to confirm the lender’s licensing and credentials. 

      You should always be transparent and honest when filling out a mortgage document to avoid accidentally or purposefully committing fraud. Never include false information, even if someone suggests to do so. 

      Always read and re-read your mortgage documents before signing on the dotted line. Never sign documents that are blank or incomplete. It’s also not a bad idea to have your mortgage documents reviewed by your lawyer before signing. 

      Identity Fraud

      We share so much information on the internet every day. It’s important to make sure you are keeping yourself safe on social media because sometimes all it takes to steal your identity is your birthday, maiden name, and a photo. 

      The best rule of thumb is just to be careful. You should review your privacy settings on social media sites regularly and only friend people you know. 

      Write checks sparingly. The more often you write checks the more people have access to your account and routing number listed on the check as well as your address. Making wire transfers or using a credit card is a good way to avoid writing checks. 

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        3 Things to Know Before you Buy a Historic Home

        historic homeHistoric homes are full of character and charm. It’s easy to fall in love with them, but before you sign on the dotted line, there are a few things you’ll want to consider. 

        Strict Restrictions

        Many communities have specific planning and zoning commissions that are in place to preserve and protect historic homes and neighborhoods - they can also become a pain in the neck if you plan on making any renovations. Many historic homes require an extra layer of approval before you can start to renovate. Some historic districts retain an immense amount of control which can make renovations take longer and cost a lot more. And in some cases, you may not be able to renovate the home the way you want. When thinking about buying a historic home consult your local officials to determine how much control the town has over your renovations.

        Blending the Old and New can be Difficult

        Finding wainscoting, picture rails, crown moldings, and other period-specific architectural details to replace broken or missing pieces in the home can be not only difficult but expensive. In addition to matching style, it can be difficult to find the exact materials used originally. There are more and more architectural salvage companies popping up these days but be prepared to pay.  

        Repairs and Maintenance can be Expensive

        All homes require periodic maintenance and repairs, historic homes usually require more TLC. You will want to establish a maintenance strategy and be prepared to address issues as they arise. Home inspections for all homes are critical, but you will especially want to have a thorough inspection by a reputable company before you buy so that you know exactly what you are getting into. 

        If you're a buyer that understands that buying a historic home comes with a commitment and not just character and charm, historic homes are the right fit. If you aren’t prepared for the costs and maintenance of historic homes, they aren’t the right fit for you. 

        Start your Home Search!

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          5 Tips for Keeping Your Pipes from Bursting this Winter

          Man Defrosting Frozen PipesWinterization is crucial! Ideally you should winterize your pipes in the fall, but if all of a sudden you find yourself in the middle of a deep freeze, the following tips can help prevent a devastating burst. 

          Turn on Your Faucets

          Turning on your faucets can keep water circulating through your pipes, thus making it more difficult for them to freeze. Make sure you drip both the indoor and outdoor faucets. 5 drops per minute should be enough to help keep them from freezing. 

          Keep Cabinet Doors Open

          Opening cabinets that cover plumbing in your bathrooms and kitchen can help warm air better reach your exposed pipes. 

          Insulate your Pipes with Towels 

          If your pipes are already on their way to freezing, wrapping them in warm towels can help to keep them from freezing more. Covering them with hot soaked towels, or pouring boiling water on the already wrapped pipes should help to loosen the ice inside the pipes and help to get things back to normal. 

          Use a Hairdryer

          If your pipes have already frozen, you’ll want to thaw them as fast as possible. A hairdryer or heat gun pointed at the pipes can help to unfreeze them. DO NOT use any direct flames, you’re aiming to melt the ice, not the pipes. 

          Shut off the Water

          Shut off your water from the source immediately when you discover your pipes are frozen. This is to prevent additional water from filling the system. This will also help as the ice melts, keeping your pipes from flooding with water and thus your home. 

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            Welcome to our new blog!

            We look forward to making this the best resource for information about real estate, our local area, and current topics that impact you. Please feel free to comment on our posts if you have questions or reactions to share. If there is anything you'd like to see us write about, we'd love to hear your ideas.

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