Claire Rainville, Broker Associate, REMAX


There is a science to selling your home at the best price and within the shortest period of time, but it's not always an exact science!

Although you can't control market conditions, seasonal fluctuations, or the condition of your neighbors' property, you are still in the driver's seat when it comes to pricing, curb appeal, and the interior condition of your home.

Assuming there's no legal snags or major "red flags" about the condition or appearance or your home, the selling price you set may make the difference between a fast sale and house that lingers on the market for months on end. Many house hunters and (all) real estate agents are quite savvy about property values and real estate prices. If the selling price of your home is based on emotional factors or the amount of money you need to get back in order to purchase your next house, then there's a good chance you'll be pricing yourself out of the market. That's where your real estate agent comes in. They will help you set a realistic asking price that will favorably position it to similar properties in your neighborhood and community.

While everyone wants to get the maximum return on their real estate investment, there's usually a limited amount of "wiggle room" between the appraised value of your home and the amount of money a potential buyer would be willing to pay for it. Since it may be difficult for you, as a homeowner, to be objective when determining a realistic price for your home, it's often beneficial to have a comparative market analysis done by a real estate agent or professional appraiser.

Another reason for consulting with professionals involves the need to be objective about home improvements. Some home sellers have a difficult time accepting the fact that their asking price can't always reflect the full cost of recent home improvements. Home additions, updates, and recent remodeling work can have a positive impact on your home's asking price, but it's usually not a dollar-for-dollar return on investment.

If you're preparing to put your house on the market in the near future, it pays to do a little online research, have your property professionally appraised, and/or work with a real estate agent who will do a comparative analysis of your home's value. Other things you can do to increase the likelihood of getting your home sold quickly include a thorough top-to-bottom cleaning, applying a fresh coat of paint where needed, and "staging" your home to appeal to the widest variety of potential buyers. While that might include making some major changes to your home's décor, its landscaping, or even furniture arrangement, the rewards of a speedy sale often justify the effort and short-term inconvenience of getting your home ready for the close scrutiny of house hunters, home inspectors, and buyers' agents!


You may be wondering what can be done with the room below the main floor of your home. This room is also better known as a basement. Most basements have things like the fuse box, your water heater, and a furnace in them. 


There is a possibility in many homes to transform the basement floor into another room. This can add immense value to your home, by providing additional space. By using this as a room, you can change the set up of your home and provide more living space without needing to move.  


Size Of The Room


The size of the basement area can vary widely. The ceiling heights can vary and there may be little to no natural light in the room, which can be a hindrance when it comes to certain things that you may want to do with that area. This means that the basement may not be suitable for all everyday living purposes, but it still can be used for some things, depending upon the space.    


In-Law Apartment 


Many people take the basement level of their home and turn it into an in-law apartment. This is where a relative can live independently. Many of these include a separate entrance, kitchen, and bathroom. Building this type of room may be costly. Keep in mind that it will add immense value to your home when you do decide to sell the home in the future. It will provide a comfortable living situation for everyone in the home. Even a small studio can add value a whole lot of value to your property. 


Family Room And More


Many basements have become prime examples of a family room. These rooms can house game tables, televisions, sofas, and more. From a dedicated game room to a manly man cave, everyone in the family can make use of a newly renovated space. You’ll just need to decide what to do before you start.  


Disguise The Look


The first thing that you’ll need to do is completely disguise the look of your basement. This can require you to put up drywall and add some paint to the area. If the basement floor begins as simple concrete, you’re probably going to need to lay down carpet and put in some flooring, depending upon how in-depth your renovation will be. 


Appliance And Storage Area


If you can’t make your basement into any type of living space per say, you may want to transform it into a laundry room, or house other appliances down there. Aside from your washer and dryer, you may need a freezer or an additional fridge for food storage. The basement is the perfect place for these items. You can use another part of the basement to keep off-season items like Christmas decorations and outdoor furniture.


No matter what you do with your basement, remember that it’s a bonus room in many cases as far as your square footage is concerned. Get creative and make the basement your own!


Your credit score impacts many of your important life decisions. From your ability to open new credit cards, to taking out loans for cars and houses, your credit will be checked by many companies throughout your life. Credit scores are mostly a mystery to the people who have them. Sure, you can check your credit score for free online, but when it comes to understanding your score, most consumers are in the dark. In a perfect world, we would be taught in high school and college exactly what goes into your credit score, how to build credit, and how to avoid credit missteps. Unfortunately, we don't live in that world and many of us don't find out what makes up a credit score until we're in debt from student loans or credit cards. In this article,  we'll teach you what a credit score is, what it consists of, and how it is affected by your financial decisions. And, we'll do it in an easy-to-understand way that skips all of the jargon and acronyms that are used by banks and lenders. Read on to learn everything you need to know about your credit score.

What is a credit score?

Simply put, your credit score tells lenders how safe it is to lend money to you, i.e., the likeliness of you paying back your debt to them. In the United States, credit scores are awarded by three major companies. Since they use slightly different methods of scoring your credit, your score can vary slightly between them. What they all have in common, however, is that they put together your score based on your financial history (or lack thereof). How do they come about your score?

Parts of a credit score

Think of an Olympic diver who just took a perfect dive. The judges off to the side are going to score her on a few different factors: her approach, her flight, and her entry into the water. They'll award her a number based on her dive and then those numbers are averaged to give her a score. Credit is scored in a similar way. You aren't judged just based on your payments or just based on how long you've had a credit card. Rather, you're judged based on a combination of five main things. For your FICO score (the score used by the majority of banks and lenders) those are:
  • 35% - payment history
  • 30% - current debt
  • 15% - how long you've had credit
  • 10% - types of credit
  • 10% - new credit
As you can see, the most important factors that make up your credit score revolve around how much you owe and if you pay your bills on time. Having high amounts of debt or credit cards that are maxed out (meaning you hit the spending limit), your score can be lowered. Similarly, your score can be lowered every time you miss a bill payment. However, if you do miss a payment and your score is lowered, it can be recovered by making on-time payments. Your credit score is also influenced by the length of your credit history (15%): when you opened your first credit card or took out your first loan. The longer you've been making on-time payments the better. The last two factors that make up your score are the types of credit you have (10%) and new credit (10%). Having many different types of credit (home loan, credit card, student loan, auto loan, etc.) will improve your score so long as you're making on-time payments. However, opening up new credit rapidly is a red flag for lenders that you might be in financial trouble, hurting your score.    

After a seller accepts your offer to purchase his or her house, it likely will be only a few weeks before you can wrap up your home purchase. And if you understand exactly what to expect during the homebuying process, you should have no trouble eliminating potential hurdles along the way.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.

1. Conduct a Home Inspection

A home inspection is paramount for a buyer. Because if you encounter home problems during an inspection, you still have an opportunity to back out of a house purchase.

Hire an expert home inspector – you'll be glad you did. This inspector will assess a house both inside and out and offer comprehensive insights into a residence's condition.

Of course, you should always review a home inspection report closely too. This will enable you to analyze a house and determine whether to move forward with a home purchase or reconsider your options.

2. Perform an In-Depth Home Appraisal

Oftentimes, a lender will require an appraisal before you can close on a house. Lucky for you, there are many home appraisers available in cities and towns nationwide, and these property experts can perform an appraisal at your convenience.

Spend some time looking for the top appraisers in your area. By doing so, you can find a home appraiser who will go above and beyond the call of duty to provide an accurate appraisal.

3. Prepare for Closing Day

As closing day approaches, your stress levels may rise accordingly. However, a homebuyer who plans for closing day can stay calm, cool and collected as the homebuying journey reaches its conclusion.

Generally, it is a good idea to prepare any documentation that you'll need for a home closing. If you have all of the necessary documents ready in advance, you can avoid the risk of potential delays when you close on a house.

If you need additional assistance in the weeks or days leading up to a house closing, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent as well. In fact, a real estate agent can offer extensive support as you navigate the homebuying journey.

Initially, a real estate agent will help you narrow your house search and ensure you can find your ideal residence. He or she then will help you prepare a competitive offer for this home. And once your offer is accepted by a seller, a real estate agent will provide plenty of guidance as you get ready to finalize a house purchase.

A real estate agent also will respond to any concerns or questions that you may have throughout the homebuying journey. That way, you can make informed decisions as you pursue your ideal residence.

Get the help you need to wrap up a home purchase – collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can streamline the homebuying journey.


Your home represents a one-of-a-kind property, and as such, you'll want to do everything you can to promote it to your friends, family members and, of course, your neighbors.

Ultimately, your neighbors can play a significant role in generating interest in your home. And if you incorporate your neighbors into the home selling process, you may be able to boost your chances of a quick sale and maximize your chances of optimizing the value of your house.

So what does it take to work with your neighbors throughout the home selling process? Here are three tips to help you do just that.

1. Transform an Open House into a Block Party.

If you host an open house, invite your neighbors – you'll be glad you did! By doing so, homebuyers can learn about your house as well as experience what it's like to live in your neighborhood.

Your neighbors may be able to provide insights into your neighborhood that homebuyers might struggle to find elsewhere. And if you invite your neighbors to an open house, you should have no trouble generating plenty of interest in your house in no time at all.

2. Share Your Home Listing with Your Neighbors.

As soon as your home listing becomes available, be sure to share it with your neighbors. This will enable you to extend your home listing's reach and boost your chances of connecting with a broad array of interested homebuyers.

Also, encourage your neighbors to provide feedback about your home listing. A neighbor's feedback could make or break your home listing, and any insights that a neighbor can provide may help you put your home listing over the top in the eyes of homebuyers.

3. Collaborate with an Experienced Real Estate Agent.

Employing a friendly, experienced real estate agent is paramount, regardless of whether you're selling your residence in a buyers' or sellers' market. With a top-notch real estate agent at your disposal, you'll be able to bolster your chances of connecting with your neighbors and highlighting your residence to the right homebuyers at the right time consistently.

Your real estate agent takes pride in his or her work, and as a result, will be happy to provide tips to help you incorporate your neighbors into the home selling process. In fact, your real estate agent may be able to introduce you to neighbors and help you foster positive relationships with them that may allow you to accelerate the home selling process.

Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent is ready to respond to any concerns or queries during each stage of the home selling process. That way, if you ever have questions about your home listing or homebuyers' offers for your house, your real estate agent will be able to offer expert guidance to help you make the best possible decisions.

Spend some time getting to know your neighbors and your real estate agent. This may enable you to improve your chances of selling your home in any real estate market, at any time.