Saturday, April 18, 2009

8 Tips to Maintain Beautiful Wood Flooring

Houses with wood flooring sell faster and for more. Wood flooring continues to be the popular choice among many homeowners. Hardwood...Pergo...Bamboo...There are a multitude of options. Before investing into a wood flooring, homeowners need to investigate which one will work best with their families and lifestyle. You will want to visit the National Wood Flooring Association website for more information on styles and types of flooring.

While there is a variety of Wood floors styles and types, with the advances in stains and finishes, most require little more than sweeping with a soft-bristle broom and an occasional cleaning with a reputable wood floor cleaner.

According to the National Wood Flooring Association, the following tips will help protect and maintain your hardwood floors:

1. Use a cleaner that is specially made for wood floors. Avoid using sheet vinyl and tile floor care products. Self-polishing acrylic waxes can cause the wood to become slippery and appear dull quickly.
2. Use throw rugs both inside and outside of doorways to prevent scratches and keep dirt and grit from being tracked onto the floor.
3. When cleaning, do not use a wet mop. Standing water can dull the finish, damage the wood and leave a discoloring residue.
4. Wipe up spills immediately with a slightly dampened towel.
5. Avoid walking on wood floors with cleats, high heels and sport shoes, which can dent the floors.
6. When moving heavy furniture, pick it up instead of sliding it. Place guides under furniture legs to prevent scuffing and scratching.
7. For wood floors in the kitchen, place an area rug in front of the kitchen sink.
8. Use a humidifier throughout the winter months to keep wood movement and shrinkage to a minimum.

Using these tips, will help to maintain the luster and beauty of your wood flooring.

For more tips on preparing your home to sell, see my blog Price Wars and Beauty Contests--8 Simple Tips to Win!

--Virginia Hall

Friday, April 10, 2009

Buy Today with Recession Proof Plans

Afraid to buy a home during this Economic Recession? Afraid of losing your job? Then how will you make your house payments? Even in good times and even if you are renting, this is a concern. But not quite as much as now when the news is filled with layoffs and people you know in San Diego are losing their jobs.

Normally, I would say you need to have some reserves and then you just have to find another job. However, in these uncertain times it may take longer than usual. Well the California Association of Realtors® has the come up with a safety net that you can rely on to make that leap of faith into home ownership with a secure feeling.

On April 2, James Lipsak, the 2009 C.A.R. President, announced, "Through the C.A.R. Housing Affordability Fund Mortgage Protection Program (C.A.R.H.A.F. MPP), first-time home buyers who lose their jobs due to layoffs may be eligible to receive up to $1,500 per month for up to six months to help make their mortgage payments. A qualified co-buyer also can participate in the program, for a reduced monthly benefit of $750 per month for up to six months in the event of a job loss. Program benefits also include coverage for accidental disability and a $10,000 death benefit. C.A.R.’s Housing Affordability Fund is dedicating $1 million to the program this year, and estimates that as many as 3,000 families will benefit from the program throughout 2009."

"To qualify for the Mortgage Protection Program, applicants must:
. Be a first-time home buyer – someone who has not owned a home in the last three years
. Open escrow April 2, 2009, or later, and close on or before Dec. 31, 2009
. Use a California REALTOR® in the transaction
. Purchase the property in California
. Be a W-2 employee (cannot be self-employed or military personnel)
First-time home buyers must request an application for the H.A.F. Mortgage Protection Program from their REALTOR®."

"The Mortgage Protection Program is a proactive approach by C.A.R. to address consumers’ concerns about the real estate market and their ability to make their mortgage payments should they loose their jobs. I encourage you to take full advantage of this new program by sharing information about the C.A.R.H.A.F. Mortgage Protection Program with your clients. There is no cost to either you or your clients to participate."

So don't let the uncertain times keep you from making your move. Know that this plan is there if you should need it.

--Virginia Hall

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Negotiating--Powerful Representation To Get What You Need

"I want what I want, and when I want it!" This is an unrealistic attitude to have when buying and selling homes. Buyers and Sellers need to remain open to winning some battles and losing others.

Negotiating is defined as “the art of influencing or persuading others.” It is a essential skill for a Realtor® who is representing Buyers and Sellers. However, it is important to point out that negotiating is not about taking unfair advantage of someone and should never involve dishonest or unethical behavior. In persuading or influencing others, our goal is to create genuine win-win outcomes by helping people see where they do, in fact, share common ground and can benefit from a give-and-take arrangement that advances their mutual interests.

A suave Realtor®, who understands your needs and is skilled at negotiating, acts as a buffer between you and the other party. They know where you stand and look out for your needs. While there is give, there is also take. They understand how to negotiate and work to get the majority of your needs met. By the end of the transaction, both parties should feel somewhat satisfied not angry and bitter.

Although, quite often the market has a bearing on the outcome of the negotiations. For example, if you are a buyer competing with multiple offers you may have to pay a bit more than you wanted to for the property and accept more imperfections than you hoped for. On the other hand, if you are a seller and haven't had an offer in 2 months, you may take less for the property than you expected. A Realtor® who understands your position will educate you on what is reasonable and unreasonable in the negotiations. However, they won't be afraid to ask for the unreasonable if it is in your best interest.

While, the buyer or seller may be adamant about their stand and they seem to be winning all the battles. If the market is leaning in their favor, you could stand firm and lose the transaction all together or reluctantly compromise one more time.
Sometimes, understanding that by getting over these bumps ultimately leads to your goal, the sale. Don't judge the method, but judge the results.