Jeanne Little |


You know that you want to sell your house. However, you're still unsure about how to determine a "fair" price for your residence.

Ultimately, setting a fair price for your home may be easier than you think – here are three tips to help you establish the best price for your house.

1. Study the Housing Market

The housing market constantly changes. Therefore, a buyer's market today may transform into a seller's market tomorrow.

As a home seller, it is essential to analyze housing market data. That way, you can identify real estate market patterns and trends and plan your home selling journey accordingly.

Check out the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. With this housing market data in hand, you may be better equipped than ever before to differentiate between a buyer's market and a seller's market.

Also, don't forget to assess the prices of available residences that are similar to your own. This housing market data will help you see how your residence stacks up against the competition. It may provide you with the ability to narrow the price range for your home too.

2. Conduct a Home Appraisal

A home appraisal offers a valuable learning opportunity, particularly for a home seller who is uncertain about his or her house's strengths and weaknesses.

Typically, a home appraisal provides a home seller with plenty of actionable insights about the condition of his or her property. The appraisal often helps a home seller prioritize home improvements as well.

During a home appraisal, a property inspector will analyze a house over the course of several hours. After an inspector's evaluation is complete, he or she will provide a home seller with a report that offers comprehensive insights about a home's condition.

A home appraisal can provide a home seller with a better idea about how to price his or her house in its current condition. Then, a home seller can complete assorted home improvements that may help him or her boost a residence's value.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

It never hurts to get expert support as you try to determine the best price for your house. Thus, collaborating with a real estate agent can make a world of difference for a home seller in any housing market, at any time.

A real estate agent can provide guidance as a home seller preps his or her residence for the housing market. This professional can respond to a home seller's price concerns and questions and help a home seller determine what constitutes a fair price based on the current housing market's conditions.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will help you promote your residence to the right groups of homebuyers consistently. As a result, he or she can help you stir up plenty of interest in your home – something that may lead to multiple offers.

Ready to list your residence? Use these home selling tips, and you can determine the best price for your house.



If your budget allows for it, hiring a good housekeeper is well worth the money. If you're like most professional couples, you probably already feel "maxed out" after you've put in 40 to 60 hours at your jobs . When you add parenting responsibilities into the mix, there's not too much time and energy left for cleaning the house! While certain basic house cleaning tasks are unavoidable on a daily basis, it's a relief to know that a paid house cleaner will be coming in to do a thorough job soon.

Finding a reliable housekeeper with whom you feel comfortable can be a bit of a challenge, but if you can get referrals from family, friends, and others you know, then your search should put you on the right track.

The Selection Process

Since the main reason you're hiring a cleaning person is to make your life easier, the last thing you want to deal with is dependability problems or substandard work. That's why it's important to get referrals from people you know and trust. It often pays to interview more than one prospective cleaning person because you want to find someone who is the best match for your budget and needs. When you have two or three prospects to choose from, you'll be in a better position to choose the one with the best attitude, top references, and the most agreeable personality.

Unless a cleaning person was referred to you by someone you know well, it's a good idea to request references and contact a couple of them before making any final decisions. Calling at least two of their current customers (or past bosses) should give you some helpful insights into their work habits, punctuality, and willingness to follow directions.

Although most customers will probably try to be complimentary, if you ask the right questions and look for "red flags" in their answers, you'll be surprised at what you can learn. While it may be too blunt to ask if their cleaning person is honest, a lot can be inferred from their responses to other questions. For example, if a housekeeper has been working for the same customer for several years and cleans their house while the costumer is at their office or other place of employment, then there's a good chance the cleaner does excellent (or at least satisfactory) work and can be trusted. One direct question that generally needs to be asked when talking with references is "Would you personally recommend this person?" Asking how their housekeeper responds to special requests, suggestions, or constructive criticism may also provide revealing answers.

When getting a quote from a cleaning person or house cleaning service, it's useful to get an itemized list of what chores or services would be covered in the price. There are two advantages to this. First of all, you'll be able to compare "apples to apples". Secondly, you'll be able to gauge your expectations to what was initially promised and agreed to. While there may be other issues to consider, like possible background checks and insurance coverages they carry, once you've found a house cleaner you like and trust, you've cleared the biggest hurdle in your search!



Purchasing a home may prove to be an arduous process, particularly for those who fail to plan ahead for the property buying journey. Thankfully, there are many quick, easy ways to streamline the homebuying cycle.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you become a smart homebuyer.

1. Study the Real Estate Market

A smart homebuyer realizes the housing market fluctuates constantly. In fact, a real estate market that favors sellers today may favor buyers tomorrow, or vice-versa. But if a homebuyer reviews the housing sector closely, he or she can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market and plan accordingly.

Oftentimes, it helps to analyze the prices of recently sold houses in your preferred cities and towns. This will enable you to see whether houses are selling at or near their initial asking prices. It also will allow you to find out how long homes are available before they sell.

2. Obtain Home Financing

A smart homebuyer understands the importance of getting a mortgage before he or she pursues a residence. Thus, this buyer will meet with lenders and get pre-approved for home financing to further accelerate the homebuying journey.

Generally, it won't take long to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who can help homebuyers quickly analyze various home financing options. These specialists can teach you about a broad array of mortgage options and help you weigh the pros and cons of different mortgages. Then, once you evaluate all of your mortgage options, you can select a mortgage and kick off the homebuying journey with a budget in hand.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

A smart homebuyer knows that working alone to find and purchase a house can be difficult. Therefore, this buyer will allocate time and resources to hire a real estate agent who can provide comprehensive assistance throughout the homebuying journey.

Typically, a real estate agent is a must-have for a homebuyer, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing sector and is happy to share his or her expertise with any homebuyer, at any time.

When it comes to navigating the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to help you in any way possible. For instance, if you need help finding a residence in a particular city or town, a real estate agent will make it simple to narrow your house search. On the other hand, if you want to buy a new house as quickly as possible, a real estate agent will ensure you can discover your dream residence on your timeline. Best of all, a real estate agent will respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions and help you make informed decisions at each stage of the homebuying cycle.

Enter the housing market as a smart homebuyer – use the aforementioned tips, and you can increase the likelihood of enjoying a successful homebuying journey.



Moving to a new home can be a stressful time for a new homeowner. Packing up a house-full of belongings is a strenuous process that can take up a lot of time and energy. And, if you’re working with movers, you’re going to have to pay for everything you want to move.

One way to make the process of moving easier and to save some money is by listing some of your unwanted belongings for sale online.

There are a number of places to list your unwanted items, but some are better than others when it comes to heavy and bulk items.

When to start listing and selling

The best time to begin the process of listing and selling some of your bulk items is at least two months before your move.

Why so long?

The answer lies in how much time it takes to list items, field responses, and ship the items or meet up with the buyer for pickup.

To list your items, you’ll want to do some research on them to find out the brand name, year, condition, and model number for things like large televisions. You’ll then want to see what the items are selling for used online.

Once you have a price in mind, you’ll want to take some high quality photos of the items. Good lighting and a decent camera (a newer smartphone camera should suffice).

Next comes the process of listing. Regardless of where you list your items, you’ll want to make sure you provide as many details as possible. This will help provide the site you’re using with enough keywords to make your items show up in popular searches. It will also help reduce the number of questions you receive from buyers who want to know more about the item--the listing should tell them everything they need to know to make a purchase.

Where to list

For large items that would be costly to ship, it’s best to use local listing services like Craigslist and Facebook groups. However, don’t give out too many details (like your address or date of moving); you don’t want to tip off would-be scammers or thieves to the fact that you’re moving.

For smaller items that still carry some value, a site like eBay or Amazon can produce top value for your belongings. Just factor in shipping costs and the chance of returns into the price.

Tips for success

One of the reasons I recommend listing your items months in advance of your move is because it can take time to list your items, field inquiries, then finally ship them and receive your payment.

One way to ensure that you successfully sell your items is to stay on top of inquiries. That means making yourself available whenever possible to take phone calls and answering email questions.

If you follow these steps, you should be able to turn a profit off of the items you would have otherwise had to pay to move. Happy moving, and good luck!



When moving into a new home, the first thing you want to do is make it your own. That means painting, upgrading fixtures, and the all-important window coverings. Instead of just looking for the most stylish option, take this chance to go with curtains, shades, blinds and screens will improve your bottom line. Most of the energy lost in your home goes through your walls, roof, and windows. You can enhance your walls and roof with well-made insulation, but unless you want to remove the windows entirely, your only option is thermal window coverings.

Now, typically, "thermal" is associated with keeping heat in, think "thermal underwear," but thermal window coverings are designed to block heat from both directions. That means they keep warm air inside in the winter and warm air outside in the summer. In this way, the blinds help control the temperature in your home year-round, reducing your heating and cooling energy costs.

The Four Top Options

While there are a wide variety of energy saving window coverings, and even energy saving windows themselves, the mostly break down into one of four categories.

  1. Thermal Drapes and Curtains: These are the easiest to install of all the options. The installation is, in fact, the same as for non-thermal drapes or curtains. Just hang the rod and slide on the curtain. While not tight to the windows, curtains do work to reduce the amount of heat that travels through your windows. A secondary feature of most thermal drapes is that they create "blackout" conditions. Blocking as much light as heat, they produce more comfortable conditions for sleep or to stop the glare on your forty-two-inch television screen. There are a wide variety of blackout or thermal drapes on the market, but you will get the best results from those with an acrylic backing layer. The more layers of acrylic, the thicker and more effective the curtain will be at blocking both light and heat. 
  2. Thermal Interior Blinds: Mini-blinds, plantation blinds, Venetian blinds, there are so many from which to choose. Each type's fabrication is from of different materials leading to various levels of thermal protection. Slatted blinds are useful because they give you greater control over the amount of light let into a room. Depending on the curve of your slats, you may also be able to create an air buffer between the blinds and the window, changing how the cooler or warmer air flows into your room.
  3. Cellular Shades: Halfway between curtains and blinds, these “honeycomb” shades trap air in hexagonal pockets between at least two layers. The more layers in the blinds, the more efficient they will be at stopping heat or cold from traveling through into your rooms. Unlike slat blinds, cellular shades create an air barrier in front of the window without needing to be adjusted for a particular angle.
  4. Thermal Exterior Blinds: Exterior blinds work similarly to interior blinds. They are mounted above your windows and lower or raise through channels mounted to either side. Made of a variety of faux and natural materials including bamboo, wood, vinyl, steel and aluminum you can find an amazing style to match your home's needs. In addition to adding thermal protection to the outside of your windows, external blinds increase the shade and privacy of your home. Make certain you check with your homeowner's association first though. Some HOAs don't allow outdoor blinds since they change the exterior appearance of your home.

Want to block even more heat and light? Or just have more control? Look for reflective window films, awnings, roof overhangs, and screens to augment your interior window coverings. Getting ready to sell? Ask your real estate agent about the best choices to improve the value of your home.