Ellen McLaughlin - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 2/17/2019

Selling a home comes with some challenges that can frustrate a homeowner's sales effort without care. It is possible to think that your home will sell as soon as you put it up for sale. Sometimes it does not work that way, and a house may be on the market for several months or even years. Faults or problems around the house may repel the right buyers. Therefore, it is essential to get all identified problems fixed before making your house available for sale. Here are some issues that may hinder your home from selling: 

Water Problems

Prospective buyers walk away immediately when they discover that the house is having water issues. Home buyers do not want to deal with problems associated with basement flooding and roof leakage. Plumbing and leaks can degenerate into more significant issues which why they are quite dangerous. Water has the capacity to destroy most of the materials of the home. Most buyers will pull out on any deal once they discover there is water problem because it can cause damage in all areas of the house.

Structural Issues 

These are problems related to the foundations, walls, support system and other things that support a house. Buyers will be worried about their safety in the house. Also, they will be concerned about the longevity of the house. They consider it safer and wiser to walk away from a house with structural defects instead of buying it and trying to fix it.

Foul Smells

Home sellers should get rid of all foul smell before inviting buyers for inspections. The smell of pets puts off most home buyers. Therefore, if you have a smelly dog or cat, it is advisable to keep them away while trying to sell your house. 

Failed Septic system 

Sellers should be knowledgeable of the fact that they cannot sell a home without a properly functioning septic system as it is one of the most critical parts of a house.The fact that septic systems are costly to repair makes most prospective buyers avoid a house without a proper septic system. 

Poor water source 

There should be safe drinking water in a house at all times. Buyers will not go for any home without a functioning water system. If the source of water supply in your house is a well, you should make sure that it is working correctly and can supply safe drinking water at all times before putting the house up for sale.

Speak to a real estate agent today to get your home ready for sale.




Categories: Real estate   home selling   homeowner  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 2/10/2019

If you’re in the market to buy a home, you want to find the perfect place for you and your family. In a seller’s market, the competition can be fierce. As a buyer, you may be under the impression that you need to make the highest offer in order to secure the home of your dreams. The problem is, you may never know what price other people have offered for the same home.


Know Your Budget


First, you should know what kind of a budget you have to work with to buy a home. You probably have done an online search to see what’s out there and what price range the homes you like fall into. You’ll want to go beyond the online search and actually see some of your favorite houses in person because pictures can be deceiving. 


Next, you’ll want to do is speak with a lender. This can help you before you even hit the ground running on your home search. A lender can pre-qualify you then work you through the process of pre-approval. This will give you a definitive number to work with when searching for a home. With this number, you’ll know how much you can offer comfortably when you find that house you fall in love with.


Make A List Of Priorities


Finding the “perfect” house usually requires that you make a few compromises along the way. It’s very unlikely that you’ll find one house that gives you everything you want in one place without a bit of imagination. Jot down all of the things about a home that are the most important to you. These items could include:


  • The neighborhood
  • Big backyard
  • Open floor plan
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Hardwood floors
  • The size of the rooms
  • Style of the house
  • Granite countertops


Whatever is important to you should be on the list. Next, go through the list and see what can be compromised on. There are probably a few luxuries on the list that you could stand to give up in lieu of something else.  


The Offer


Once you find that home you know that you absolutely want to live in, you’re going to want to make an offer. Let your realtor know immediately that you’re interested in the home and they can get to work. Your realtor can help you to make an offer that’s reasonable based on the asking price and your budget. Your offer doesn’t have to be thousands of dollars over the asking price for you to win the bid. There are a couple of strategies that can help you to land the right home even if you’re not stretching your budget to the max.


Showing You’re Serious


Taking steps like being pre-approved and having all of your finances in order can help to give you the upper hand in the house hunt. Sellers don’t want to deal with a buyer who is ultimately going to have issues where the deal will fall through.


The Offer Letter


Writing a letter along with your offer is a great personal touch to help you land the home of your dreams. If a seller knows that the home they have lived in and loved will go to another owner who is going to appreciate and take the same great care of the home, they will be more likely to go with you as a buyer. First, tell the seller a bit about yourself and why you love the home so much. Compliment the landscaping. Tell the seller just how much your kids are going to appreciate living in the home. Don’t be afraid to get too personal when it comes to writing an offer letter to the sellers. They will appreciate honesty and a candid approach in the sometimes all too serious matter of buying a home.





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 2/3/2019

Successfully selling your home in the shortest period of time is generally an achievable goal, but there are many potential pitfalls to be aware of. Although one of the most important steps you can take involves hiring an experienced, proactive real estate agent, your own attitude and beliefs can have a major impact on things like the final selling price and how long your house stays on the market.

While your real estate agent can provide valuable guidance, advice, and marketing help, there are certain things that only you, the home owner, can do. Maintaining a positive outlook is one of them.

If you have self-defeating attitudes and beliefs, you may be undermining the sales process and keeping potential buyers at a distance. Here are a few examples of how your own negative attitudes can be a major stumbling block to getting your house sold quickly and for an optimal price.

Unrealistic beliefs: Sometimes sellers are so emotionally connected to their homes that they're unable to relate to the viewpoint and perspective of potential buyers. Pricing, for example, should be based on objective criteria and comparative data, rather than emotional attachment or perceived value. If the price you're asking for your home is significantly above the actual market value of your property, then that will raise red flags in the minds of both prospective buyers and mortgage lenders. Although you want to get the highest possible price for your family's home, it has to be based on a realistic range that would be acceptable to both buyers and lenders.

False expectations: Homeowners who expect prospective buyers to recognize the intrinsic value of their home, even though the paint is peeling and the bathrooms have never been updated, are setting themselves up for disappointment and failure! When you factor in human psychology and the competitive nature of the real estate market, it becomes apparent how vitally important first impressions and overall presentation are to the marketing a home.

Pessimism: Although positive thinking, alone, is not going to get your house sold, it can help give you that extra boost of energy and motivation to make sure your home is clean, organized, and visually appealing. Pessimism, on the other hand, can cause you to be less thorough, attentive, and conscientious about keeping your home immaculate, fresh, and ready for potential buyers. If there's any hint of the house being unclean, in disrepair, or cluttered, then you've lost your opportunity to make a positive first impression.

Finding and working with a real estate agent who's got a solid sales record and a proactive approach to selling houses is among the key ingredients to getting your home sold quickly and for the best possible price. Although they'll be doing the lion's share of work when it comes to marketing your property and coordinating the details, your support and cooperation plays an important role in the ultimate success of their efforts.





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 1/27/2019

If you plan to sell your house, you likely will want to do everything you can to maximize its value. Lucky for you, we're here to help you obtain the best offer for your house, regardless of whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get the best price for your residence.

1. Enhance Your House's Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is a difference-maker for any home seller, at any time. If you allocate time and resources to boost your house's curb appeal, you may be able to differentiate your residence from the competition. Perhaps most important, improving your home's curb appeal may help you increase the likelihood of a fast, profitable home selling experience.

To improve your house's curb appeal, you should mow the front lawn, trim the hedges and perform any necessary home exterior upgrades. Consider the homebuyer's perspective, and you're sure to find lots of ways to enhance your house's appearance.

In addition, if you need help with home exterior upgrades, there is no need to stress. Many home improvement professionals are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these professionals are happy to help you transform your home's exterior from drab to fab.

2. Determine the Current Value of Your Home

A home appraisal may prove to be exceedingly valuable, particularly for a seller who wants to establish a competitive initial asking price for his or her house.

During a home appraisal, a property expert will examine a residence both inside and out. This expert also will evaluate various housing market data. Then, the property expert will provide a property valuation based on the appraisal results.

Once you receive a property appraisal report, you'll have a good idea about the current value of your residence. You next can use a property valuation to set a competitive price for your home from day one of the house selling journey.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

As you look for ways to earn as much money as possible from your home sale, you may want to consider working with a real estate agent. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive plenty of support at each stage of the home selling journey.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to optimize the value of a home. First, he or she will meet with you and learn about your house selling goals. A real estate agent then will help you determine the ideal initial asking price for your residence and promote your house to potential buyers. And if you receive an offer to purchase, a real estate agent will provide a recommendation about how to proceed.

Want to achieve the best-possible results during the home selling journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can move one step closer to maximizing the value of your house.





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 1/20/2019

No doubt about it, one of the joys of home-ownership is making your abode reflect your personality. You’ve added an accent feature here and faux finishes there, trendy geometric shutters and some personal landscaping art reflect your funky nature.

You thought this was your forever home and didn’t worry about what anyone else might think about it … but now, you’re moving on and you’re worried your expressive nature might derail your home sale. Take a moment to assess which of your personal touches should stay with the house and which ones might detract from a potential buyer.

Exterior colors: Many newer communities have color requirements for a home’s exterior, so as long as your home falls in line with the requirements, you won’t need to make any changes. In older neighborhoods, however, there may be no such restrictions. If yours is a particularly bright or stand-out color, you may want to tone it down to blend in more with your neighbors. A better option for attracting buyers includes an exterior free of mold and stains and freshly painted trim. While painted brick is all the rage on home renovation shows, if your brick is not painted, just make sure it is clean. If it is painted, but the paint is tired, chipped or faded, consider giving it a new coat.

Exterior décor: Trendy patio hangings, gazing balls, gnomes and birdbaths added to the pleasure you took in enjoying your outdoor space. A buyer with a simpler aesthetic might find these additions distracting. A better option for attracting buyers is curb appeal based on clean landscaping, perennial plants, and flora that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. This provides a cleaner canvas for the new buyer’s personal creativity. You can express your personality with a brightly painted front door, an easy fix for a homebuyer to change.

Overgrown landscaping: Depending on the age of your home, and the length of time you’ve lived there, the landscaping may need to be scaled back. Larger trees that have grown up near the foundation may cause potential buyer concerns about the costly foundation and structural repairs. Brick walls covered in ivy are beautiful but may make a buyer wonder about what’s hidden under all those leaves. Consult with an arborist about trimming back trees and if you have concerns about the foundation, get it inspected to avoid any nasty contingencies at closing time.

Water features: Of course, some locations demand a pool for summer entertaining, while in other areas a pool or hot tub is entirely optional. It doesn’t make any sense to fill in an in-ground pool unless it no longer functions, but above-ground pools can detract from a sale. Hot tubs in less-than-pristine condition can give some buyers pause, while Koi ponds, fountain and other water features may either enhance or detract from your buying demographic. Check with your real estate professional to see what is true in your area.

Try to walk around the exterior of your home with a critical eye:

  • Do some fencing panels need replacing? Gate hinges?
  • Check the exterior knobs. Do they all match? Are they keyed the same?
  • Are windows cracked or do any have broken seals—do they have condensation inside when the temperatures outside and inside differ?
  • Carriage and porch lights often get neglected. While you may not need to replace them, make certain they are clean and functional.

Ask a professional for guidance with questions about the exterior appeal of your home and the best practices for your home's future sale.