Managing Stress During House Hunting

There aren’t two ways around it, you’re going to encounter stress when you’re searching for a home. But it’s not just you; everyone experiences it. And why wouldn’t you? This is one of the most significant investments you’ll make in life. I know acknowledging this will make you nervous, but there isn’t any use in denying this while searching for your next living space. But no matter the stress you face, there are ways you can deal with it, and that’s what we’re here for today.

I realize we have brought this up in a lot of our past blogposts, but the best way to drive stress away when doing anything real-estate related is to hire an agent. They know the inner workings of the industry and can assist you in navigating the market as you figure out which house will work best for you and what you can afford. Any pressing questions you have, they can answer, or will get back to you as soon as they can if they need to look for the answer elsewhere. Agents are here to help you carry the work as you house hunt, and they will be there with you from the start of your search to the time you sign those closing documents.

Just like with college essays and projects, the best thing you can do to keep stress at bay is start your search. You probably have a date set for when you want to move, so don’t waste any time. Every minute is essential, and with buying a home being a very important purchase, you can’t afford to wait until the last minute and possibly choosing the wrong house in your haste to grab a property. You don’t want to procrastinate and then find the best homes have been snatched up. It’s best to start early so you can analyze all of your options in order to make an informed decision. Time is fleeting, so don’t let it get away!

As you begin your search, you should know what you want in your home. Although you don’t know which house you will end up buying, you do know what you want it to include. How many bathrooms and bedrooms do you want? Would you like a house with a pool? A two-car garage? A patio? Central air conditioning, or wall units? If you’re looking at homes without knowing what you want, you might as well conduct your search while blindfolded. Looking at homes without knowing exactly what you want may not be the best use of your time.

Here’s a word everyone wants out of their vocabulary: paperwork. Yes, we all would live more peacefully without it, but it’s a necessary evil when it comes to real estate. I’m not trying to alarm you in saying there’s going to be a lot of reading and signing of real estate documents, but to let you know this is something of which you NEED to keep track. With everything that goes into buying a house, such as getting pre-approved for a mortgage, obtaining an insurance plan, and putting in an offer, you can bet there will be paperwork to go with it. You should keep everything together in your home so if you ever need to reference back to a certain document, you’ll know where to find it.

Before you start the procession of purchasing a house, it will benefit you to get pre-approved for a mortgage. You can imagining how frustrating it will be if you find a property you’re interested in, only to find out you won’t be given any financing. It would be in your best interest to get all of the financial aspects in order from the beginning because agents and sellers only want to deal with buyers who have been pre-approved, obviously. What you should do is improve your credit score and get all of your bills paid on time. Doing these things will make you look ready in the eyes of the banks, and having your bank statements and current income records with you will assist lenders in determining your eligibility for a mortgage. Remember what I said not too far back about paperwork? This is why you need it.

As you house hunt, you have to be prepared to fit open houses and private showings into your schedule. I realize you’re busy with work, but going to as many open houses as you can is essential in seeing which houses will meet your needs. If possible, it will be best to see a few houses within a few days. That way, you won’t have an extended period of time between showings, and you won’t be straining to remember what you liked and didn’t like about a house. This will allow you to make easy and thorough comparisons of the homes. Despite having more time over the weekend to attend an open house, it may benefit you to visit a home on a weekday because there’s the possibility of there being less people, which will give you more one-on-one time with the listing agent, and you’ll be able to ask as many questions as you want.

When you’re buying a home, you’ll most likely experience the “fear of missing out,” which is a case when someone else may put in an offer on a house you only just viewed, leaving you compelled to put in an offer as well. This happens particularly in seller’s markets, which occur when there are high prices and low inventory. In such a case, your feelings may get ahead of your rational thoughts, influencing you to put in an offer. However, it’s important you don’t do this unless you’re certain this is the house you want. It may feel discouraging to miss out on a home, but it will feel worse to make a quick decision on a house, only to move in and realize this isn’t the house you wanted after all.

Yes, there is stress that goes into searching for and buying a home, but there are also a lot of ways with which you can combat that stress. Although some unexpected things may come up during the process, you can triumph over it all if you start on time and have a plan and some professionals at the ready. Buying a house is one of the most important things you’ll do, and you shouldn’t let stress get the best of you. At the start of each day, just look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself it’s all going to work out.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.



Posted on June 5, 2017 at 1:56 pm
Joseph Rand | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Tips on Moving from the City to the Suburbs

suburban-street-1388617Living in the city can be an exhilarating experience. With the diversity of people, entertainment, cuisine, and the unending excitement of urban life, it’s safe to say living in the city is never boring. However, after a while, you may feel the need to slow down and look for a living situation that’s a little more low-key. If that’s the case, you may begin thinking about moving to the suburbs. Although this may be the right solution, it’s a significant transition between two very different lifestyles. But, there isn’t any need to worry because we’re going to offer you some tips on how to handle the move.

As you begin your search, don’t look for a house at first; look for a community. If you find a house you like, that’s great, but if it’s in an area you don’t care for, you won’t be able to fully enjoy your new home. You have to look at the whole community to be sure it offers everything you need. Search for an excellent school district; a simple commute; shopping for food, clothes, and other necessities; and most important, affordable housing. Before you begin your search, make a “wish” list of everything you want in a community. Then, as you do your research, check off your requirements as you find them in the communities you research.

You’ll also want to experience the ambiance of the community you like. You may experience a bit of a culture shock while doing this, but it’s best to research the community now to avoid any surprises later. Remember, you’ve been surrounded by culture and all types of influences, and you may find the suburbs to be limited. But, if you look close enough, you will find some hidden gems in and around town that will please you. As you walk around, take careful notice of the other residents and see how they interact with each other. The way people act with one another will give you a clear idea of the camaraderie you can expect amongst the townspeople.

There’s a good chance that, whichever community you look at, you’ll be checking out the Main Street to see the business scene. Don’t base your decision to move on the downtown area. Even if the town’s Main Street has great stores at which you can see yourself shopping, the street may not have everything your family will need. You’ll probably have to do some shopping in other areas, so get out and visit places outside of town to make sure everything you need isn’t too far away.

Your commute to work should also be a primary consideration when thinking about a move to the suburbs. When you live and work in the city, your commute is rather simple because you have easy access to public transportation. In the suburbs, however, you’ll either use your car for the trip, or you’ll have to make your way to the train station and then switch to the tracks. You should check the main roadways throughout your town if you plan to use your car, to make sure there’s a convenient route to work. Or, if you’ll be using public transportation, study the train schedules to make sure they meet your needs.

If you have children, take time to visit local schools to see that they offer everything your children require. When checking out schools, don’t just focus on test scores. Yes, they can tell you how well a collective body of students is performing, but it’s not indicative of how much attention your child will receive from teachers. If a class is fairly small, the students will really get to know their teacher, leading to a connection that will help the student perform better in the classroom. If you’re making the move to the suburbs before your children are old enough to start school, make sure to take a look at all grade levels in the school district to see ensure your children will receive a quality education from pre-school to high school.

It will take some time to get used to living in the suburbs after being immersed in the vibrancy of city life. Even if you have lived in the suburbs before living in the city, you still may need to do some adjusting. Although going through a major move comes with some difficulties, it will also be fun to explore a new place. The suburbs can offer their own excitement; you just have to know where to look. If you don’t want to move too far from the city, choose a community that will allow you to easily visit the city. That way, you can have a foot in both worlds. Take your time to find a community and house that suits you, and you’ll surely find a place where you’ll be happy.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.



Posted on April 11, 2016 at 1:29 pm
Rand Realty | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , ,

Outdoor Home-Projects for the Spring

nightime-patio-1419782It’s the end of March and thankfully the winter wasn’t too bad in the tristate area, being hit with only one snowstorm. Spring is officially here, but given how unseasonably warm the winter was, it felt like spring had arrived early. Now, with spring having started last week, we can focus on seasonal activities. At this point in the year, you’re probably thinking about ways you can add some features to your home that will bring more fun in the gorgeous weather. There are many things you can do to your house when the weather is more agreeable, so here are a few we suggest.

If you have young children and a tree in your backyard that’s strong enough, you may want to consider building a treehouse. Not only will it be a constructive outdoor activity, but it will also give you a chance to spend time with your children if they’re able to help you build. Before you start constructing it, make sure the tree can securely hold the house within it’s branches. Even if the tree is perfectly stable, don’t build the house too high, but rather a height you know your child will be able to climb safely and easily. In the end, this will not only be a great bonding opportunity for you and your child, but will also act as a chance for the latter to earn some experience with tools, if they’re old enough to use them.

Spring has sprung, and so has the barbecue and outdoor-party season. For this, a great thing to include on a back patio is a serving station mounted to the wall. You can use it to provide drinks and/or food, and it will add to the party atmosphere of your backyard by subtly letting the guests know this is a house that’s always ready to have a get-together. This project won’t take up much time and will come in handy for when you have guests over. If you don’t want to have too many food and drink tables taking up much space when throwing a party, a serving station may eliminate the need for a table or two.

Speaking of parties, if you have a few that go into the evening, this will be a wonderful excuse to add some lighting. You don’t want to have to bring your guests inside on a beautiful night when it gets dark out, so having some outside lighting for your patio and backyard will allow your guests to stay outdoors and enjoy your parties late into the night. Adding the right outside lighting can provide your house with an enchanting appearance, and will keep your guests coming back for your late-night get-togethers. Whether you want to drape string lights around your patio, position battery-operated candles throughout your backyard, or go exotic and use tiki torches, lighting up the back area of your house will enhance the party atmosphere and allow your guests to stay until midnight or later!

If you anticipate throwing several parties during the spring and summer, you may want to think about building an outside kitchen. Although a regular charcoal or gas grill may have served you well in the past, having an outdoor kitchen will offer a lot more features with which to cook and offer plenty of food that will keep your guests happy and filled. There are so many different kinds of food you can grill, so having an outdoor kitchen with many cooking tools at your disposal will certainly help in providing unforgettable meals for your fun- and food-loving guests.

Do you have a covered patio and/or porch? If so, you may wish to add a hanging daybed. You can lay on it and take a tap, get lost in a book, or just look out on your backyard and take in the springtime scenery. Imagine yourself sitting outside and listening to the crickets and enjoying those tranquil spring evenings as you gently swing back and forth on your daybed. Once this project is finished, you will have a whole new way to relax outside.

Do you have a green thumb? If so, you may want to start gardening. If you plan on potting some plants, you may want to construct a potting bench for yourself where you can keep everything in order. Seeing as you’ll probably be working with multiple gardening tools and several plants at once, you’ll want to have a place where you can keep all of the necessary materials together. Instead of having your tools and potted plants all over the place as you’re working, you’ll have this station to let you stay organized.

Just as the flowers grow in spring, you can let your creativity do the same when constructing new outdoor features for your home, as there is so much you can do to your house in the spring, in between the biking, barbecuing, and sports. Take advantage of the wonderful weather and use as much time as you can outside to provide your home with new touches that will get it ready for a fun spring season. All you have to do is pick out a project(s), grab some tools, and get to work!

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.



Posted on March 30, 2016 at 1:08 pm
Rand Realty | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , ,

What to Look for When Buying a Condo

condominium-1474381Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer, looking to downsize, or want to save money, you may want to consider purchasing a condo. If you’re looking to live in a home with less maintenance, but still want to have some kind of ownership, a condo is a great option. With that, here are some factors to think about when you start your search.

When moving into a condo, you have to remember you may not have as much space as you would in a standard house. There’s also a possibility you won’t have a garage or attic. However, some condos will provide you with storage space, so as you look at different properties, ask the seller or representing real-estate agent if the complex offers residents any space in which to store extra belongings. You don’t want to move with all of your stuff and not have enough room for it, so before you make your final choice, just be sure your most important belongings will fit. If you need to, maybe sell some stuff you don’t use anymore so you have more space in your condo for what you actually need.

You’ll also want to see if the walls between units are thick enough that you won’t be bothered by any noise coming from next door. Having lived in a college dorm, I know how annoying it can get to be able to hear any yelling or loud music coming from the resident right next to you or directly across the hall. If you want don’t want to risk losing your sanity as a condo owner, ask the seller or agent if the walls are soundproof. You have to know if your condo has walls that are thick enough to block out any unwanted noise. This way, you’ll have better knowledge of whether or not you’ll be content with your neighbors.

It’s also important to choose a condo complex that has a wonderful management team. When you visit each complex, take some time to interview the manager and ask them any questions you may have, and also talk to some of the residents to see if they’re happy with the method in which the day-to-day operations are run. Having competent management is essential in confirming the rules of the complex will be enforced, so as to ensure the residents will live pleasant lifestyles. Think of your management team as the equivalent of an RA (resident advisor) in a college dorm. They are there to make sure the community is being taken care of and that its residents are happy.

Speaking of rules and bylaws, you should take a good look at them to make sure they help in offering the kind of living you’re looking for. If you have a pet who will be moving with you, you have to see that the complex allows this for their occupants. You’ll also have to make sure your pet will be happy in a condo environment, such as having enough room to play and run around. If you think you would like to create a little garden on your front lawn, especially with the weather becoming warmer, that’s something you’ll also have to consult the rules and bylaws for as well. In terms of renovating, you don’t always get to decide how you want your condo to appear. If you wish to make any major renovations to your condo, you may have to bring it up with the board or condo association to see if they will approve of your plans, whether they be interior or exterior. If you’re the type of person who likes to make significant changes to your residence every now and then, you may not want to go for a condo.

You have to realize living in a condominium complex is a very social environment. Therefore, you have to make sure your neighbors are welcoming, seeing as these are the people with whom you’ll be living in close proximity. You should do this to make sure the community actually provides a sense of community and that you’ll be able to make friends in your development. Don’t just move to a condo because it offers a comfortable home; move there because you know you’ll connect with those you meet. You want to surround yourself with people who you would invite over for parties or game nights, people who will become sort of an extended family.

Condos also offer a great sense of convenience. If you’re someone who wants to live close to your workplace and local stores, condos are often built in close distance to them, so you won’t have to spend much time in getting to them. And, if you’re next to your town’s shopping and business districts, you can bet it will never get boring, as there will always be activity and liveliness throughout the town. There are also several amenities a condo may provide, such as a playground, tennis court, and pool. Having these features will help you stay active during your residency at the complex, and will also encourage you to meet other individuals in your complex as you spend time outside.

As you look at different complexes, it wouldn’t hurt to ask to see the minutes of the association’s latest board meetings, if available. Doing so will bring you in the loop of any issues that may be experienced within the condo community, such as problematic neighbors, boisterous parties, or trespassing. Having an idea of what goes on in the complex will allow you to sort out the details of the environment and determine if you would like to become a resident in this development, or if you would like to look elsewhere.

Although a condo may be easier than a house in terms of maintenance, there are still many important factors you should consider when looking to purchase a condo. The environment of one may be different from others, so take a close look at the lifestyles of each complex and figure out in which one you can picture yourself living. Once you find the condo that’s perfect for you, you can start enjoying everything the development has to offer!

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.




Posted on March 23, 2016 at 1:11 pm
Rand Realty | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , ,

Mistakes to Avoid When Making a Move

Yong Couple Moving In-2Making a move is a task that many of us undertake in our lives. The thought of moving may seem like a difficult and emotional process, but it’s something that you will always remember as a transition from one part of your life to the next. You can make this time of you life a lot less stressful when you know the mistakes you should avoid. With everything that goes into getting ready for a move, it’s easy to have a misstep or two. But, we’re going to give you a heads-up of the mistakes to sidestep on your move.

Taking EVERYTHING with You: Before you move, you need to have a thorough look at what you’re actually going to take with you. This means going through all of your belongings and figuring out what you don’t use anymore. You’re going to need as much room in the movers’ truck as possible, so having any space taken up by stuff you don’t need is going to be a waste. Moving all of those unneeded possessions, only to toss them away when you get to your new house, is not going to be a good use of your time. Get rid of your unwanted items through a yard sale, donations, or simply discarding them if you know nobody will get any use out of them, and then focus on bringing only the stuff you know will be used in your new home.

“One of the best things you can do is purge all of your unwanted junk that’s collected in your house over the years,” said Yvonne Regan, Relocation Director for Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty.  “I would recommend you do this a few months in advance of the pack and load date.  Most experts will say if something hasn’t been used in about a year and it’s not sentimental, get rid of it. This clean-out can be very liberating and cost effective. Your household-goods weight load will be less, saving you money with the movers, and of course, less items will mean less boxes and packing supplies.  And, if you were to hold a yard sale and possibly sell these items, you can even make some money to help defray some of the cost of moving.”

Using Old Boxes: As you’re packing your stuff away, it’s understandable you’ll want to use some boxes you have around the house, instead of spending money on new ones. However, it would be in your best interest to forgo boxes you’ve stored around the house and purchase unused ones. Any boxes you have around the house are probably dusty and not as strong after having other possessions stored in them. You don’t want to be carrying a box packed with your belongings, only to have them fall through the bottom and possibly break the items or hurt yourself. For any items that are very breakable, make sure to have enough bubble wrap in which to encase them before you place them in a box. With multiple items in any box, you don’t want them hitting against each other and causing damage. After the bubble wrap serves its purpose, you can embrace your inner child and pop the bubbles!

Choosing a Moving Company at the Last Minute: When preparing yourself for a move, you have to take into consideration that the late spring and summer are typically the busy season for moving, especially because you have families with children who want to move to their new home before the start of the next school year. A lot of the best moving companies get filled up with appointments early, so as soon as you know the date, call the moving company to book your move. If you wait until the last minute, you run the risk of not getting an appointment when you need it, and then you’ll probably have to resort to a lesser company.

“Moving companies get extremely busy at certain points of the year,” said Regan. “The moving season really heats up in the summer from May through Labor Day, and the moving companies can be booked solid. You have corporate transferees and families moving to settle in before the school year starts, as well as government and military personnel moves. I recommend you book with the moving company way in advance. Or, if you’re moving on your own, reserve your rental truck as soon as possible. Targeting mid-week or in the middle of the month may be best in terms of availability. If there are any delays or changes in your moving date, contact the company right away.”

Forgetting to Ask for an Estimate: Before you choose the moving company you would like to work with, it’s important you first receive an estimate, especially because there are two kinds that are offered: binding and non-binding. A non-binding estimate provides you with an idea of how much the move is going to cost, based on how far you’re moving and the mover’s estimates of your contents and the size of your house. The estimate is given in writing, and you can only be charged 10 percent more than the original estimate. With a binding estimate, you have a legal document that explains all of the charges, which can’t be changed unless you ask for add-on services, such as the movers having to climb multiple flights of stairs they didn’t have previous knowledge about. Prior to making your final decision, it’s recommended you receive at least three estimates, and also ask about any hidden fees. If you’re already spending money on the move, you certainly don’t want to be hit with any unexpected expenses. But, don’t be afraid to spend extra money on a reputable mover because if you find a moving company that charges significantly less than others, it’s probably safe to say they don’t offer top service.

Not Asking Your Moving Company If They Have Insurance: You also can’t forget to check that your moving company has insurance. Once you get to your new house, you don’t want to have any problems arise when you’re so close to finally settling in, so if a mover accidentally damages any valuable items upon the move, you want to make sure the company will be able to pay for them. If your moving company has insurance, I guarantee it will allow you to relax more. After you look into the insurance details of your movers, review your home insurance to make sure it covers your possessions as they move from one residence to another. If you need it, moving companies provide customers with deals on any extra insurance you may want. Lastly, you should inquire if your mover has insurance for workers’ compensation. If you have a small moving company helping you out, which typically has less than five employees, there’s a chance they won’t offer this, which means you’ll have to pay for an injury if a mover gets hurt. In the end, find out as much as you can about the moving company’s insurance, and use that as one of the deciding factors as to which company you choose.

Not Checking Out the School District: If you have children, you’ll want to see if the area to which you’re moving has a school district you approve of. Then, if you like it, you have to make sure it has openings, as you don’t want to move to a new neighborhood and have your children be without a school. Once you pick a district you prefer, keep in contact with them to make sure everything is in order for your child to attend come September. A school may be one of the last things on your child’s mind (I should know, as I was young once), but it should be one of the first things on yours. You want your child to have a bright future, and that begins with finding the right school.

Thinking Your Belongings Will Arrive When You Do: This is a mistake to avoid if you’re moving to a whole other part of the country. Don’t assume the movers will be at your doorstep waiting for you when you get there. If you’re relocating a long distance away from your old home and you arrive at your new home well before the movers, it’s best to have an emergency kit on hand that has enough essentials to get you through a few days. You should include toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, extra clothes, and anything else you think you may need to tide you over until the rest of your belongings arrive. It’s an inconvenience to have to wear the same outfit two days in a row, so imagine what it will be like having to do so for longer than that.

Packing Your Tools and Work Gloves Where You Can’t Get to Them: During your move, make sure you have your work gloves and tools easily accessible, instead of having them buried in a box. You won’t only need them for opening boxes, but you may have to remove a door from it’s hinges if you need to get a sizable piece of furniture through. When you arrive to your new home, you want to get all of your belongings inside as quickly as possible, so you don’t want to waste time searching for your tools if they are buried beneath everything else. Having them at the ready will allow you to quickly and efficiently unhinge any doors if necessary.

Not Hiring a Real-Estate Agent: One last mistake to avoid is not using an agent. Having the help of an agent will make the moving process a lot simpler. They have been through hundreds of these cases before, so they will be able to provide you with the information you will need in order to make sure everything goes according to plan during your move. With everything you have to think about when planning a move, it wouldn’t hurt to have some professional help at your side to give you advice. It will help you relax and will give you more assurance that everything will work out.

There’s a lot that goes into planning and making a move, and we know there’s much to remember. But, if you keep a clear head and an optimistic attitude, this task will be easier than anticipated. It’s all about time management, and the more time you allow yourself to prepare, the more focused and less worried you will be about not getting everything done. This is a part of your life that will lead to an exciting change in your life, so despite all of the work that goes into this endeavor, enjoy it!

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.



Posted on March 17, 2016 at 1:48 pm
Rand Realty | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , ,

Tips for Single-Female Homebuyers

Beautiful woman very happy after buying a new house

This Tuesday marked International Women’s Day, celebrating the achievements of women throughout the centuries. Because of this, we’re going to take the opportunity to discuss the growing presence single-female homebuyers have made in the current real-estate market. Over the last couple of years, more and more individuals in this demographic have been purchasing homes. According to a 2014 profile on homebuyers and sellers, done by the National Association of Realtors in 2015, single-women made up 16 percent of homebuyers, whereas single-male buyers constituted for only eight percent. It’s always exciting to read news of an emerging demographic in real estate, so we’ll take this time to provide some tips for single females who are thinking of buying a home.

Seeing as you’re going to be a single-income household, you must consider your finances before beginning your home search. You have to think about how much house you can afford, as well as paying for any repairs, renovations, taxes, and utility bills. By having an understanding of your budget, you won’t have to waste time looking at homes you won’t be able to pay for. Searching for a house requires a lot of time, so you certainly don’t want to use any of it looking at homes that won’t meet your financial requirements.

When searching for a new home, you have to make sure the community is safe. Maybe look into a property that’s part of a town with a neighborhood-watch program or in a gated residential area. As you do this, drive through the neighborhoods both at day and night so you can get an idea of what the area is like at these times. When looking at different neighborhoods, check to see how residents interact. If you see they are friendly towards one another and express a strong sense of support for each other, you know you’ll have a better chance at being safe in that neighborhood because the residents are outgoing and active.

If you’re a commuter who uses public transportation, not only should you make sure your new home will have a convenient route to where you need to go, but you should also see that it’s safe. When you can, ask a friend to accompany you as you test some of the area’s transportation to get a feel for the atmosphere on the train, bus, or whatever other mode of public transportation you may take. As you exit the train, bus, etc., take note of the amount of people who leave with you. Typically, the more people who get off at your stop, the safer your destination point will be because of how many others will be around you. It’s important to have your commuting route be every bit as safe as it is convenient.

Speaking of safety, it will also benefit you to get an alarm system. Even if your neighborhood is safe, some home security will provide you with peace of mind. Security systems are a wonderful feature for any house, and some extra safety can go a long way. Given how tech-savvy homes have become over the years, such a system won’t only protect your house against intruders, but will also offer video surveillance that will keep a very close eye on your house when you’re not at home. A security system such as that sounds too good to pass up.

As you look for a home, you should also do what you can to avoid unfair treatment by professionals, so whether you’re hiring a landscaper, a contractor, a plumber, or anyone else, make sure to seek out an expert in order to have someone with the best skills possible who will offer the right price. Being a single homebuyer, you have to make sure you stay on top of everything during the process. Whenever you hire someone to work on your home, it will benefit you to ask them for the contact information of some their former clients so you can reach out to them and ask for their opinions on the person’s work.

If you like to involve yourself in do-it-yourself projects, it may also help you to increase your skills in areas such as electrical, carpentry, and plumbing, which are offered at many vocational schools and community colleges. As a first-time homebuyer, it will help to know as much as you can about how to upkeep your home in order to have it in proper working order. Despite being in a new home, there are some things you may have to fix, and having these home skills at your disposal will certainly make your transition into a new home fairly easier.

You must realize that confidence is key, and you should use that confidence when you approach the housing market. Remember, single females is a growing demographic in real estate, so this is a great time to have your voice and opinions heard as to what you like best when you search for a home. As you begin to look around, know what you want and go for it. This is an exciting part of your life as you plan to invest in a property you love, so work hard and have fun with it.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.




Posted on March 11, 2016 at 12:24 pm
Rand Realty | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Manage a Cross-Country Relocation

A cartoon family driving through the desert in a cartoon car carrying a load of tall stack of boxes and a chair that is strapped to the car.

In the past, we’ve focused on things you should consider when planning to move. However, when you’re considering a move across the country, there are several other things you have to think about in order to be fully prepared for the transition. Obviously, moving cross-country is a bigger change than moving to the next state over or merely a few towns away. There’s a lot of planning involved and more factors to take into account to make sure everything goes smoothly. Here are some tips to assist you if you’re planning a cross-country move.

At the start of the process, you should ask for help from a professional as early as possible because they will be able to tell you exactly what you need to know as you go forward with preparing for your move.

“A realtor is a great resource and can provide you with a wealth of information about the price of homes in your area of interest and so much more,” said Yvonne Regan, Relocation Director for Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. “Our relocation department and agents at Rand Realty help our customers and clients find a qualified realtor anywhere in the country by utilizing our own broker network. Having a realtor in place before you visit an area is a key stress-reliever and timesaver. He or she can help you preview homes in your budget and put you in touch with other experts, such as mortgage lenders, home inspectors, school and city officials. They are the experts in their respective areas and can provide you with resources to help you in your home search.

“And, if you are planning to finance a purchase, I would also recommend you get pre-qualified by a mortgage lender,” said Regan. “This way, you know what your purchasing power is before you begin your home search. Knowing what you can afford will also help you narrow down your choices.”

When you’re planning a move, you have to figure out how you’re going to pack up all of your belongings. The level of difficulty for this task depends on how far away you plan to move. If you’re only moving a few miles away, or maybe even if you’re moving to the next state over, it will be rather easy to rent a moving truck and some movers, pack up your things, and be on your way. When you’re moving cross-country, however, it’s a little harder. The best thing to do is figure out the essentials you will be needing, but can still fit in the car; and then, you can sell everything else. This way, you don’t have to worry about renting a truck and moving crew to help you, which can cost quite a bit of money if you’re going cross-country. Then, when you arrive at your new home, you can purchase new furniture.

If you plan on bringing a lot more with you to your new home and end up renting a truck, you’ll be packing a lot of your belongings in boxes. Once you finally know what you’ll be bringing, begin taking inventory of your belongings. Given that there’s a lot going on during a preparation for a cross-country move, there’s a probability that some of your stuff may get misplaced. In order to prevent this, take stock in everything you have with you. That way, when it comes time to pack it all up, you know what you’re supposed to have. After you pack everything away, make sure to label your boxes. That way, when the boxes are taken into your new home, you will know in what rooms they should be placed, and you won’t have to waste time going through each box to know where the contents are supposed to go.

You may not have considered this when planning a move, but as you’re doing so, you can expect your calendar to fill up with appointments. Besides going for an appointment with your doctor and/or dentist, there’s the matter of catching up with your friends and family before moving. You don’t want to leave town without saying good-bye to them, so you’ll want to make sure you set aside some time on you calendar for them. I know it’s not like you won’t be seeing them again, but if you’re moving cross-country, you won’t be spending as much time with them, so you should spend time with your friends and family before you make the move.

Speaking of appointments, to-do lists are also important to have. There are so many things to keep track of when you’re planning a cross-country move, such as choosing what you’re going to take with you, hiring movers, forwarding mail, and updating business accounts (Updater, a web application Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty now offers, can assist you with the latter two tasks). I remember to-do lists were a huge help when juggling academics and extracurriculars in college, and one of the great pleasures in life is crossing off tasks you go from day to day. With something as significant as a cross-country move, making a to-do list (or several) is really going to help you in keeping track of what needs to be done. When you consider how much work goes into a move as big as this, it will make this undertaking simpler if you write down all of the tasks that require attention before you get ready to step out the front door and begin your journey to your new destination. You’ll have so much going on during this process, there’s a chance an objective or two may slip your mind, so having a to-do list will help preventing such a risk.

Seeing as there’s so much to plan when coordinating a cross-country move, there’s the matter of giving yourself enough time to get all of the preparations done. In order to do this, it’s recommended you provide yourself with at least two months to get everything in order. There’s nothing more anxiety-inducing than waiting until the last minute to begin work on a time-consuming task, which I’m sure many of us have done one time or another. Makes you nervous to think about, doesn’t it? As soon as you know you’ll be making a cross-country move, start your planning immediately. Don’t procrastinate like you probably did with a term paper or two in college. Get everything you need to get done as soon as you can, and then if you think of anything near the last minute that needs to be done, you’ll have many of the other tasks out of the way at that point.

Moving cross-country is different for families, as opposed to an individual mover. Because of this, it’s important everyone in your family knows what’s going on with the transition.

“Moving is stressful for everyone in the family, including children,” said Regan. “My advice is to talk with your children about the move as far in advance as possible, and also be supportive and patient, as they will need time to adjust. Arrange to take the children on a tour of the new home and neighborhood as soon as possible. Show them all the recreational areas and fun things that the new area has to offer. Setting up playdates for your children and signing them up for sports teams or other fun activities will keep them busy and help them adjust more quickly.”

In conclusion of this blogpost, I’ll leave you with the last important piece of advice: stay calm. Yes, there’s a lot you have to get done when prepping for a cross-country move, but losing your sanity isn’t one of them. As long as you give yourself enough time for the task and have a clear idea of what needs to get done before you’re ready to drive off, you’re sure to have a smooth transition as you make your travels to your new home.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.




Posted on March 4, 2016 at 10:11 am
Rand Realty | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

How to Buy a New-Construction Home

New Home ConstructionWe’ve given you advice in the past about what to do when buying a home, and we hope you put that advice to excellent use since then. However, that was when we were dealing with homes that were being sold by people who resided in them before you started looking. Now, we will be focusing on brand new homes that haven’t yet had owners.

Note – This article deals with new-construction homes that are built as part of a housing development that has similar homes, rather than focusing on someone purchasing a plot of land and constructing their own home with an independent contractor.

When looking into purchasing a newly constructed home, you have to realize that some of the homes in the development may not be completed as quickly as others. Because of this, you may not have neighbors right away; but, more importantly, you should realize you’ll be living in the middle of the construction process as the rest of the development gets built. Keep in mind the construction will be during the day, so there won’t be much noise to contend with if you’re out of the house at that time. But, if you think you or someone else in your household will be home during the day and won’t be able to contend with the noise, you may want to wait until near the end of the construction process to look for a home in that development. However, there’s the possibility of receiving a better deal from the builder if you buy early into the construction phase, so if you’re able to handle a few drawbacks, you may want to go with this option.

When you’re preparing to purchase a newly constructed house or unit, there’s a high possibility you won’t get to see the actual property, but rather a prototype or model that has a similar floor plan to the home or unit you plan on buying. You have to realize that what you’re seeing may not be 100 percent of what the finished property will look like. Designers and developers often use techniques to make the model home look bigger than it will turn out to be, so go into your search knowing the finished homes may be a little smaller than what you saw in the model. Knowing this, you will have a better idea of what you will be able to fit in your house, and you won’t have to worry about lugging furniture into your home, and then realizing there isn’t enough space for it.

When the development is near completion, the builder will most likely put the model home on the market. If you want to wait until the end of construction to purchase a home, this will be the one to go for. Because this home served as the model that was showed to entice potential buyers, the property will already be outfitted with excellent features and upgrades, and you know the property’s size will meet your original expectations. In the end, I’m sure these factors will make waiting until the end of construction very worth it, if you decide to do so.

Buyers also should decide whether or not they want to be involved with the interior choices of their potential new home, while also considering the timeframe in which they want to move into their house.

“If the construction has already been completed, buyers will not have the option to choose style or amenities, such as tiles, fixtures, colors, etc.,” said June Stokes, New Jersey regional manager for Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. “If they want to be involved in choices and details, they should look for a home being marketed in the pre-construction stage. However, the buyers have to keep their timeframe in mind. If they are looking to buy a high-end home, the construction process could take six to nine months to complete.  A smaller home, of course, would take less time, but that could still mean a six-month wait.  If the buyers can’t wait and need to move in sooner, they should stay away from the pre-construction option and go for the house that is already complete.”

You also must take a look at the surrounding homes and neighborhoods. When choosing a home in a new development, you have the opportunity to pick the lot and location for your property; but, before you do so, you may want to take a few minutes to imagine what the rest of the neighborhood will look like when it’s completed. You have to consider factors such as the view you will have, how close your house will be to your other neighbors, and whether or not the development will be in close proximity to a questionable neighborhood. Use some time to explore the area both inside and outside of the development so you have a clearer vision as to what the space around your home will be like. Although inspecting the area inside the development may be a little difficult if there hasn’t yet been much construction, you should inquire with the developers and designers to see what you can expect.

Seeing as national builders want to meet their sales goals as the end of a quarter draws near, they will become more driven with their incentives in order to attract buyers. November and December will also be an excellent time to purchase a new-construction home because many people will be busy with their holiday preparations and won’t be able to focus on the housing market. By the time the spring arrives, a new development will most likely have many potential buyers visiting the homes, hoping to find one they like, so you’ll probably want to beat them to it. If you would like a great gift during the holidays and are eager to buy a home, this is certainly one of the best routes you can go.

When considering a new-construction home, there are several important factors you have to think about before you start the buying process. I know you’re picturing how nice it will be to live in a house where no one has ever lived before, but you also have to realize there’s a little more work you have to do to make sure you get what you’re looking for. If you’re willing to put in the extra time to see that your brand new house meets your needs and desires, you will definitely enjoy your home.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.



Posted on February 12, 2016 at 11:50 am
Rand Realty | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , ,

Buying and Selling a Home as a Pet Owner

Beautiful dog lying on the carpet and waiting for the host

If you’re buying or selling a house, there are a few things you have to consider when you have a pet. When you’re buying, you have to look into any pet ordinances in the neighborhood you’re considering, and also find a living arrangement that will work best for you and your pet. If you’re selling, you’ll have to stay on top of your cleaning game and make sure your pet makes as few messes as possible. Either way, you’ll get through it. As a side note, this blogpost is mainly aimed at people who have pets such as dogs, cats, rabbits, or any other furry animals you may allow to roam around the house, as opposed to reptilian or amphibious creatures you would keep in a tank most of the time.

Pet owners looking to buy a home should check any local ordinances that may be in place regarding pets. A lot of times, areas enforce leash laws and require people to clean up after their pets in pubic places (You should be cleaning up after your pet, whether or not there are laws enforcing it), and there is usually a fine involved if these rules aren’t obeyed. If you belong to a homeowner’s association, there may also be a rule detailing how many pets you can have. If you own two dogs, three cats, a rabbit, and a hedgehog, or any group of pets, you should check to make sure you will be allowed to bring all of them with you. Although you are given more freedom when you have your own house, you should still check to be safe. Looking into this is especially necessary if you are moving into a condo or apartment complex, seeing as you’ll be living in close quarters to other people who may be allergic to pets or annoyed by their sounds.

When selling your home as a pet owner, you may be asked by state law to disclose a pet has lived with you. However, as you’re preparing your home for the market, you don’t have to leave any evidence in the staging or photos that you have had an animal in your home, so you should remove any photos of your pets and pet toys and store them away so they’re not within sight of the agent and their potential buyer. Before a photographer comes to take pictures of your home, make sure your pet isn’t there to wander into the background; not only is it a distraction from whatever else is in the photo, but some people might not want to think of a pet having lived in their future home.

When buying a home, pay attention to the layout of the house to make sure your pet will be comfortable living in that space. Think about what kind of floors they may be comfortable with, such as carpeted, tile, or wooden. If you and your pet are okay with wooden or tile floors, that may be the best route to go because it will be easier to clean up after your pet. Although you should make sure you and your pet will have enough space indoors, you should check if your pet will have enough fenced-in space outside to run around and get exercise, and also if there’s enough room in the backyard in case you want to include a doghouse. You may also want to see if there are some parks around the area in which you can take your dog for a walk.

While selling your home, you don’t want your pet to be in the way of the buyer’s agent and their client when they’re in the house. During this, either take your pet out with you for a walk, or leave them in a cage with a note taped to the outside notifying the agent and buyer to not disturb your pet. Although you love your pet and think they can’t do any wrong, having them interrupt the showing can possibly cost you the sale. Having “strangers” walking through your home can pose the risk of your pet accidentally scratching or biting the agent or buyer, which will land you in trouble. It can be distracting to the agent and buyer if your pet is walking around the house as they’re trying to focus on the house and get a feel for the settings.

As you’re looking for a house, there are a few others things you may want to consider. You should try and find a house that isn’t located too close to any busy streets. This way, you decrease the chance of your pet running into traffic, because you never know when the mood will strike for them to burst out the front door in a fit of excitement and run into traffic. To help keep your pet clean and healthy, you will also want to see if there are veterinarians, pet stores, and groomers within the vicinity of your potential new home.

Before you have any buyers walk through your home, you should go through every room and see if there are any stains, fur, odors, scratches, or other calling cards your pet may have left behind during their time in the home. As you get closer to your home being shown to potential buyers, you may want to limit the rooms your pet has access to so you have less to maintain and clean up.

Being a pet owner who’s buying or selling a house, you must take your furry pal into consideration. Whether you’re moving in or out of a new home, there are several factors you have to think about when you have a pet. A pet will add a little more work to whichever housing process you go through. But, given how much you love them, I’m sure it will all be worth it when you finish the task.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.



Posted on January 22, 2016 at 10:02 am
Rand Realty | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

Top Real-Estate Myths

Fact Myth Signpost Meaning Correct Or Incorrect Information

Whether you’re a homeowner looking to sell your home, or a new buyer looking for that place to call home, odds are you have come in contact with your share of real-estate myths. In fact, you may have wished there was a “Myth Busters” type of show that dealt with real estate, to help you separate fact from fiction. While we’re waiting for a show like that to be created, we want to bust some real estate myths based on over 30 years of our experience in the New York and New Jersey real estate industry.


The Late Agent

Movies and television often propagate the myth that real-estate agents tend to be late for meetings, but this is simply not true. No matter what your profession is, there isn’t any excuse to be late for appointments. If something has come up and an agent knows they may be behind schedule, they will contact you right away to give you a heads-up. Being on time is a sign you take your career seriously, and an agent will convey that to their clients. Agents are committed to giving you the best real-estate experience possible, but if you sense anything different, it might be time to find a new agent.


Try to Get as Much as You Can Upfront

When you’re selling a house, you may have heard you should aim to price your home higher than its market value. In short, this will not work. Not only will this deter potential buyers, but this will undoubtedly force you to reduce your price at some point to get it in line with reality. If you price your home to the market at first, you will get an interested buyer much faster, and your house won’t have to spend more time on the market than it has to. There may still be some negotiating involved, but at least you’ll start engaging with potential buyers earlier and more frequently.


Renovate Before Selling

Some say there are two rooms in your home that you should renovate before selling, and they are the kitchen and bathroom. While that may seem like an enticing idea at first, the truth is you don’t know what kind of tastes your potential buyers may have. They may walk into your house and dislike the changes you have made, and they may not want to spend money on big renovations to make the kitchen and bathroom fit their vision. In that case, you have just wasted money on renovations that don’t attract to buyers. If your kitchen and baths work, leave them alone and let the potential buyer have the option to fix it up as they see fit.


Modernized and Luxury Homes Don’t Need to Be Staged

Even if your home is in a nice neighborhood and has an eye-pleasing appearance, that doesn’t mean you can forgo staging it. Staging a home is one of the most important things to do when you place your home on the market. A potential buyer is not just going to look at the exterior; they’ll want to walk through the house and envision themselves in those surroundings. If you don’t stage the house to make it look its best, potential buyers won’t be able to get a proper feel for that environment. Take some time to look around your house to see if there’s anything to clean or improve upon before your agent photographs the house. You want buyers to experience the best your home has to offer.


Just like ghost stories told around a campfire, you shouldn’t believe in real-estate myths. The real-estate industry is complex enough to understand without having these fallacies thrown in. What you should do is talk to your agent when searching for the truth about the current real-estate market. Doing so will keep you knowledgeable during the buying and selling processes and will save you a great deal of annoyance. Consider these myths “busted”!

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit and “Like” our Facebook page. You can also follow us on Twitter.



Posted on January 11, 2016 at 11:52 am
Rand Realty | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,