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Preparing Your Home to Sell

by John Collins, REALTOR

Good Wednesday Morning!

There are three main areas where you should focus the majority of your time and energy when preparing your home for sale: its interior, its exterior and your budget - the amount of money you should spend, based on your anticipated selling price.

Inside the Interior

Perception is reality. This old axiom is especially true in the realm of buying and selling real estate. People who come to check out your home and consider making it their own will base much of their decision on how the home looks to the naked eye. Potential buyers are more at ease when purchasing a home that appears well-maintained, because if these areas are well-cared for, it stands to reason that the areas they are unable to see are in the same or better condition.

Here are some simple tips to make your home as aesthetically pleasing as possible:

  • Clean each and every room from floor to ceiling, clearing away all clutter.
  • Remove as many items as possible from countertops, closets and the attic.
  • Check the basement and attic for leaks, dampness and cracks, repairing as necessary.
  • Check for damage to windowpanes, walls, wallpaper, plaster, paint moldings, tiles and woodwork, and repair where needed.
  • Inspect plumbing, heating and cooling systems, repairing dripping faucets and showerheads along the way.

Exterior

The positive or negative perception people have of your home's exterior, which generally includes things like landscaping, patios and gardens, along with the actual exterior "skin" of the house, is often referred to as its ‘curb appeal’. It's what makes the all-important first impression on potential buyers, so follow these helpful hints to exterior excellence:

  • Mow, water and edge your yard on a regular basis.
  • The same thing goes for your hedges, flowerbeds and trees.
  • Inspect your home's exterior for obvious flaws in the paint, siding, foundation, doors and windows.
  • Align and clear gutters.
  • Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles, siding and caulking.
  • Store RVs or old vehicles somewhere out of your home's ‘curb appeal’ zone.

Budget

Last, but certainly not least, is deciding how much to spend on polishing up your home for its time in the spotlight. It's an unfortunate that it's nearly impossible to predict whether the money spent will increase the value and subsequent selling price of your home, or decrease your profit margin at closing time because you didn't get the value you expected out of the expenditure.

The prudent thing to do here is talk to your real estate agent. They can help you determine how to make your home as irresistible as possible for as little out-of-pocket costs as possible. Market conditions are currently changing monthly, and they will know just how to get the biggest ‘bang for your buck’.

LATEST HOT HOME LISTING!

1036 Deep Creek Ave.
1036 Deep Creek Ave.
Price: $1,150,000 Beds: 3 Baths: 3.5 Sq Ft: 1,513
This beautiful waterfront home features a pier on Deep Creek with 3 boat slips, boat lifts and 6+ feet of water. Enjoy breezy evenings on a deck by the water's edge. Inside you will find an open floor plan with upgraded features. The master suite has a gas fireplace, walk-in closet and private deck. A 4-car garage offers a wood stove, laundry tub and pet grooming station. A Unique Home!



AND HERE'S YOUR MONDAY MORNING COFFEE!!

Sincerely,
John Collins

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Considerations When Selling Your Home

by John Collins, REALTOR

Good Monday Morning!

Even with the improved real estate market in the Annapolis area many homes continue to struggle with selling. There are two factors that are absoutely a must if you want your home to sell in this market and sell for top market value. The first factor is price. It is extremely important that your home is priced right. Over priced homes sit on the market and get looked at but don't get offers. In this market if a home sits more than two weeks without an offer then the price is too high and it will need to be adjusted down. Many times it may take several adjustments before the correct price is found. Once a home hits the right price in this market it will get good showing activity and offers. The second factor is condition. Having your home looking great to potential buyers is essential. This starts with lawns and landscaping and goes into the house with being clean, uncluttered and having paint, etc. all looking fresh. Staging a home for sale is an important part of the process as well.

This is a great time to sell your home and we can help with both pricing and staging. Obtaining a sale at top dollar value is not hard to achieve if both of these key issues are addressed.

LATEST HOT HOME LISTING!

1709 South Harbor Lane
556 Ferry Point Rd.
Price: $595,000 Beds: 4 Baths: 2 Full, 2 Half Sq Ft: 2.773
Close to Historic Annapolis, this 4 bedroom, 2 full, 2 half bath Colonial features large rooms and old world charm. The Formal living room offers hardwood floors and wood burning fireplace. A second fireplace can be found in the lower level family room. Office and laundry off of kitchen. Side entry 2-car garage. Large, level, private, wooded 1.84 acre lot. Amazing Potential!



AND HERE'S YOUR MONDAY MORNING COFFEE!!

Sincerely,
John Collins

Visit Website

Upcoming Annapolis Summer Camps

by John Collins, REALTOR

Most parents would agree - it is so important for children to be engaged in something productive during the summer time. To help families out with the pressing need, here are some upcoming Annapolis summer camps will help children do just that. These camps are suitable for different age groups, and cater to a variety of interests as well.

  • Navysports hosts a number of athletic programs for boys and girls alike. A few of the sports such as tennis and track and field are co-ed sports as well. Each camp lasts approximately one week, and there are programs scheduled throughout the months of June and July – all sponsored by the U.S. Naval Academy.
  • The Ann Arundel County Department of Parks and Recreation also has some upcoming summer camps. They are currently accepting applications for a day camp at Quiet Waters Park. This program will last for approximately two weeks, with swimming lessons included as a part of the camp package.
  • Annapolis Area Christian Schools offers more than 40 different camps. Camps run from mid-June through the beginning of August, and have several different themes. A few of them include Bible basics, basketball, science experiments, and creative writing. The cost of attending these various camps includes lunch plus all of the activities associated with that particular program.
  • Parents who are looking for a more traditional outdoor camp for their children may want to consider the Elk's Camp. It is open to those between the ages of 9 and 13 - the organization is primarily targeting children who might not otherwise have an opportunity to be outdoors. Some of the activities will include hiking, arts and crafts, and team-building exercises.

It’s not too late for parents to look into some of the upcoming Annapolis summer camps. Whether they choose to go for a day or for a week, those who attend these programs are sure to build memories that will last them a lifetime.

Tips for a Home Buyer

by John Collins, REALTOR

Good Monday Morning!

According to the National Association of Realtors, 2013 promises to be the best year for home buying in quite a while. For many prospective homeowners, buying a house represents the first rung on a long term climb toward the American dream. Having one's own place, whether to raise a family or live comfortably alone, is an unrivaled but basic privilege.

Home buying can also be a stressful, intimidating challenge—though it doesn't have to be. Before buying a home, always keep these all-important Lucky Seven Home Buying Tips atop any heap of priorities.

Lucky Seven Home Buying Tips:

  1. Do The Math - Put all finances onto paper in a cohesive, readable format. Add and subtract with brutal honesty. Knowing for certain what's affordable leaves little room down the line for impractical and/or irrational decisions. This is also a great time to determine whether step 2 is feasible.
  2. 20% Down - Putting down less than 20% entails the need for PMI (private mortgage insurance). This is imposed by the lender to protect them in case owners default on loans and is added to the monthly mortgage bill.
  3. Be Aware of Credit History & Score - Never initiate a house hunt without knowing with certainty what your credit history or score is. Knowing beforehand allows one to correct inaccuracies and address questionable items and remedy them. This places the knowledge of the buyer's financial past securely in the buyer's hands before a third party accesses it. It's simply a matter of security, confidence and peace of mind.
  4. Toss A Pre-Approved Mortgage Into The Bag - Pre-approval is an excellent way to gauge potential price range, notwithstanding the first two items on the checklist. Track down mortgage brokers through friends, family or your real estate agent. It is advisable to call upon multiple banks and credit unions also.
  5. Real Estate Agent - A good agent should become your go-to person and confidant. An agent's connections, expert know-how, and community knowledge are simply priceless.
  6. Appraisal and Home Inspection - The appraised amount of a prospective home determines how much a lender will lend. The buyer should obtain a copy for their records. Inspections are sort of the “getting to know you” aspect of home buying. This is where the house's nuts, bolts, underpinnings, and any structural issues are zeroed in on and identified.
  7. Pre-Closing HUD Statement Review - Give the HUD statement a detailed once over to catch any mistakes, or let your attorney do it for you.

Congratulations! And welcome to your new home!

LATEST HOT HOME LISTING!

1709 South Harbor Lane
1249 Indian Landing Rd.
Price: $695,000 Beds: 4 Baths: 3.5 Sq Ft: 2.048
One-level living on over 2.3 acres! Great Room with cathedral ceiling and gas fireplace. French doors lead to a private patio from the master suite with tray ceiling, walk-in closet and bath with double vanity and walk in shower. Beautiful gourmet kitchen with large cooking island with 5-burner gas cook top and sink. Premium landscape with paver patio and walk way leading to a pond with waterfall.



AND HERE'S YOUR MONDAY MORNING COFFEE!!

Sincerely,
John Collins

Visit Website

The Difference Between Pre-qualification and Pre-approval

by John Collins, REALTOR

Good Wednesday Morning!

Buying a home can be a time of both anxiety and excitement. Home buyers that know about the terminology associated with home ownership have a better chance of fending off some of that anxiety. Pre-approval and pre-qualification are two of the most confusing terms when buying a home. Knowing the difference between pre-approval vs. pre-qualified allows buyers to understand what their agreement with the financial institution is, as well as what kind of house they can afford.

Pre-qualification

This step simply involves looking at the buyer's finances and estimating how much they can afford to spend on a house. Items like income, assets, down payment, and debts are taken into consideration. There is no commitment involved with a pre-qualification. The buyers are not obligated to purchase a home, and the financial institution is not obligated to give the buyers a loan. Pre-qualification does not include an in-depth look at the buyer's finances or an evaluation of their credit report. It simply lets the buyers know if home ownership is an option and the range of prices they can look at. Pre-qualification is a relatively short process and there is usually no cost to the buyer.

Pre-approval

When trying to look ahead at your loan options, pre-approval takes pre-qualification a step further. In this step, the lender does an extensive evaluation of the buyer's financial history, including their credit report. Instead of just telling the lender what their income, assets, and debts are, buyers are required to provide some documentation. Payroll records, bank statements, and other records are often required to proceed with a pre-approval. A pre-approval usually includes an application fee and is a tentative agreement from a lender stating that the buyer will be given mortgage financing. It is important to understand that a pre-approval is not a mortgage guarantee. A mortgage application is only guaranteed after a title search, appraisal, and other financial verifications are established. Since the pre-approval already takes many financial situations into consideration, the pre-approval status is very attractive to sellers. In situations where multiple offers are presented, buyers with pre-approval will often get selected over buyers that haven't established financing.

There are advantages to completing both of these steps, and it is important to remember that buyers always have the option of choosing a different lender. Just because one lender performed a pre-qualification does not mean that the buyer has to continue with that lender for the pre-approval and mortgage. Shopping around sometimes reveals better interest rates or a lender that better represents the buyer's wishes and communication style.

It is also important to note that the terms pre-approval and pre-qualification sometimes get interchanged by either lenders or other real estate professionals. Knowing the difference between pre-approval vs. pre-qualified can help buyers take control of their home ownership situation.

LATEST HOT HOME LISTING!

1709 South Harbor Lane
1921 Chaparrall Ct.
Price: $950,000 Beds: 4 Baths: 5.5 Sq Ft: 4,141
Fantastic home, English Tudor on 2+ acres. 4 BR, 5.5 BA, features 2 wood burning fireplaces and large kitchen w/breakfast bar & eat-in area. 2 story foyer w/circular staircase, temperature controlled wine cellar, in-ground pool w/waterfall. Fully finished lower level w/rec room, full bath w/steam shower & 2 car garage. Pristine condition and ready for your arrival. Prefer advance notice for showing.



AND HERE'S YOUR MONDAY MORNING COFFEE!!

Sincerely,
John Collins

Visit Website

Father’s Day Events in the Annapolis Area

by John Collins, REALTOR

Father’s Day is fast approaching, and the Annapolis area has lots of events to help you celebrate that special occasion. These fun events will encourage fathers and their children to bond even further, while having loads of fun in the process.

  • A Father's Day brunch sailing cruise at the Marriott Annapolis waterfront takes place on Sunday, June 16th, and promises to be a good time for all who take advantage of it. The event has already sold out, so check back early next year in order to get in on all the action.
  • Annapolis Striders is hosting a 10k run on Father’s Day. The event kicks off at Severna Park High School at 8 a.m., and primarily runs along the B & A Trail. Prizes will be awarded in various age groups.
  • Treat dad to the 16th Annual Father's Day Car Show, brought to you by the Kent Island Cruisers Car Club. This event takes place year at Kent Island High School. In addition to viewing classic cars, guests can also enjoy great food and merchandise from a variety of vendors. The event runs from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
  • Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa honors dad with a special breakfast or dinner buffet. The Rod and Reel restaurant is serving up their special fare for dad, and no reservation is required in order to take full advantage of it. In addition, Smoky Joe's will serve plate lunches for parties of three or fewer guests.
  • What dad wouldn’t love a basketball bash? NBA Skills Challenge is planning the event, which will include an obstacle course, a live DJ, and lots of great food. Winning in Sports and Education is sponsoring this event, and participants can email the organization to secure a ticket.

Whether it’s a Father’s Day brunch sailing cruise at the Marriott Annapolis waterfront or any of the other special events happening that day, there’s no doubt that area dads have many choices when it comes to celebrating. Those in the Annapolis area should make plans now to attend one of these events in order to ensure this special day goes off without a hitch.

Wednesday Night Sailboat Races

by John Collins, REALTOR

The Wednesday Night Sailboat Races, an annual tradition at the Annapolis Yacht Club, runs from April through August, and features more than 125 yachts competing in a wide range of one design and handicap classes. The first race begins near the mouth of Spa Creek.

Wednesday Night Sailboat Races consist of three series, each of which is individually scored with overall performance awards and class trophies that are presented in the fall.

These competitive, yet mostly congenial, races involve Annapolis Yacht Club members, as well as members of its Annapolis-area sister clubs and myriad other Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association sanctioned classes.

Quite a few spectator boats join in the fun by following the yachts and their racing crews around the drop and government marks in the Chesapeake Bay. The procession then turns around and begins to head back toward the mouth of Spa Creek, in order to be at the finish line in front of the AYC Clubhouse. As you might imagine, landlubbers join the spectator yachts and racers at the finish line, and crowd inside the club, on the drawbridge spanning Spa Creek, in addition to several other spots in and around Annapolis Harbor.

Following the Wednesday Night Sailboat Races, members of the Annapolis Yacht Club gather at the Clubhouse, along with the crews and Skippers of the yachts in the race for a party. As the jovial revelers enjoy food and drinks, videos of the just-completed race are played on the Clubhouse's multiple decks.

According to the Annapolis Yacht Club's website, the Wednesday Night Sailboat Races at the AYC were brought to life in 1959 by Past Commodore Gaither Scott who gained his inspiration upon attending a race of the same name at the East Greenwich Yacht Club in Rhode Island in 1958.

The Annapolis Yacht Club itself can trace its roots way back to 1886, when it was informally founded as a canoe club. Today, the club encourages and supports numerous boating activities and recreational opportunities for its 2,000 members. The AYC's Clubhouse deck provides breathtaking views not only of Spa Creek and Annapolis Harbor, but also all of the club's facilities.

Home Staging Tips

by John Collins, REALTOR

Good Wednesday Morning!

First impressions are invaluable and home staging, both easy and fun, is key. It essentially entails sprucing up a house to the utmost, heightening appeal so as to attract the maximum number of prospective buyers.

Any house for sale must look like a million bucks, even if the house's market value doesn't come close. Seem impossible? On the contrary, with a few concrete steps set in place prior to the staging process, and a handful of strategies, home staging can be simple and enjoyable. Following is the Triumvirate of Home Staging Strategies.

1. Cleanliness Is Key

If nothing else, a house for sale must be pristine. This is the most crucial step. If it's affordable to do so, hire a cleaning service to come in. De-clutter both common and private spaces. Make certain that the garage is able to safely accommodate a vehicle. Messy houses are a turn off, period. The house's condition should make it easy for the buyer to imagine themselves living in it. Indeed, the house should encourage this fantasy. Only a truly clean and polished house and environs can perform this feat.

2. Space

Opening up space provides two advantages: it gives the impression the house's interior is larger, and it also enables any interested buyers to better envision how they can or should use the space. Neutral paint hues and paired down furniture can achieve this effect. In the kitchen, bathroom, and office spaces replace drawer fronts and/or doors, or at least hardware. Paint where needed with an eye to achieving uniformity. Beef up lighting by increasing bulb wattage. Again, observe the de-clutter rule: prune furnishings down to the barest, most classic necessities.

Paint multiple rooms in a similar hue to enhance the illusion of openness. Keep décor simple and straightforward, though don't shy away from splashes of color. Use fresh flower arrangements and vases to add accents to rooms like the kitchen, living room, dining room, and bedroom. Inexpensive but smart runner rugs in the foyer or central hallway, or an area rug in the living room, are instant ways to raise an interior's style quotient. In addition, foyers and other hallways should be spotless and inviting. Finish all home projects: warped wood floors, new faucet fixtures, etc.

3. First Impressions

A home staging to-do list may or may not include a new coat of paint for the house's exterior. Augment this with a new mailbox to compliment the house's new color. Trim all hedges to uniform height. Replant flower beds if feasible. See to it all landscaping is presentable and attractive and the lawn is devoid of brown spots. Other superficial enhancements include planted window boxes, window treatments and a repainted or new fence.

The list of home staging ideas is endless. No matter the budget, feasible home staging techniques are abundant and possible.

LATEST HOT HOME LISTING!

1709 South Harbor Lane
1829 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd.
Price: $615,000 Beds: 3 Baths: 3 Sq Ft: 2,068
Lovely well maintained split level next to Pendennis Mount -with 3 bedrooms and 3 baths this home is a great find. The inside of the home is as inviting as the outside - well thought out, great attention to detail. The open floor plan is great for entertaining. The private, wooded 1/2 acre landscaped lot has a park-like look and feel. Located close to downtown Annapolis, Rt. 50 and Rt.97.



AND HERE'S YOUR MONDAY MORNING COFFEE!!

Sincerely,
John Collins

Visit Website

Baltimore Orioles Season Preview

by John Collins, REALTOR

All eyes are on the Baltimore Orioles leading up to the 2013 season—and with good reason. Last year they stunned and inspired, but also invited as many new fans as naysayers.

Die-hard fans have repeatedly insisted that last season was but a display of talents the Orioles always possessed. Doubters chalked the Orioles amazing finish up to luck, flukes, the constellations, or all of the above. Others could easily drive home several contrary points about the Baltimore Orioles and their sweet 2012 season with points about how the Orioles' one-run victories were sort of like one-hit wonders. The extra innings games they won had nothing to do with strategy, but straight up Acts of God. Angels in the outfield? The numerous Baltimore Orioles' victories amounted to close calls, period.

Or did they?

The facts suggest otherwise.

Fact: Last season's bullpen reads like a well-coordinated dream. Troy Patton, Pedro Strop, Luis Ayala, Darren O'Day, and Jim Johnson all enjoyed strong seasons.

Fact: Buck Showalter's timing was pure genius. He put in the right player at the right time over and again. This kind of feat is nothing short of true wisdom gleaned from years of hard experience.

Fact: The offense dripped just enough talent to upset several notable giants. It's been said that Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy can't consistently measure up to the “big boys”, though the 30+ runs apiece they scored in 2012 certainly disprove this claim. In any case, the offense's combined 2012 efforts resulted in several jaw-dropping thwarts. It was specifically a four-run sixth last September which gave the Orioles an advantage in New York City, capping the first Baltimore victory over the Yankees since 1977. Not too shabby.

But the question remains: Will the Orioles be able to duplicate this momentum in 2013? Showalter has suggested he reveres the team as a work in progress, one whose minor tweaking should make for stronger starting pitching this time around. More runs from Jones and Hardy would be nice, too. So would hits for power and average from the other guys on the team so as to net more runs and more victories. Now that the Orioles have proven their metal, it’s time to sharpen it and prove their precision.

If Showalter's timing is effortless again and the bullpen is strong this year, the Orioles are sure to show their promise, with room to grow into a first-rate team—a feat they are surely to achieve if they keep up their miraculous evolution.

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Contact Information

Photo of John Collins, Realtor Real Estate
John Collins, Realtor
JohnCollinsGroup of Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc
108 Old Solomons Island Road - U4
Annapolis MD 21401
Office: 410-224-4999
Cell: 410-693-6000
Fax: 410-224-4032 Email: John@JohnCollinsGroup.
John Collins, Realtor
 Office: 410-224-4999 * Cell: 410-693-6000
www.JohnCollinsGroup.Com
 of Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.   
Office: 410-224-4999 Cell: 410-693-6000 Fax: 410-224-4032
Email -
John@JohnCollinsGroup.com
108 Old Solomons Island Road, Suite U-4
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

We will never sell or divulge your email address to any vendor or other organization.

The finest compliment I can receive is a referral from a friend, client or colleague. If you know of someone thinking of buying or selling real estate, I would appreciate an introduction.  Please be assured I will extend them my highest degree of service and professionalism. John Collins, Realtor