RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

7 Ways to Wow Buyers with Outdoor Staging

June 11, 2015 1:45 am

As one of the busier times of year for real estate activity, summertime is ideal for sellers hoping to unload their homes for top dollar. If your home is on the market this summer, stand out from the pack with these outdoor staging tips, courtesy of the experts at Point2.com.

1. Invite Buyers In


It’s no secret curb appeal matters to buyers, but too often, minor details are overlooked when setting the stage out front. To roll out the welcome for buyers, replace your worn welcome mat with a summery alternative, and install large house numbers in a prominent location that can be viewed from the street.

2. Shine Up Windows

Cleaning windows inside and out can be taxing, but it makes a noticeable difference. For the exterior sides of the windows, scrub off any accumulated film from tree pollen and polish until glistening. Buyers will be pleased to see not only a sparkling home outside, but a light-filled interior as well.

3. Showcase Small-Scale Color

In lieu of a costly exterior paint job, choose specific areas outside to add pops of color. Window boxes bursting with blooms are often well-received by buyers, as well as container plantings. If the exterior could use refreshing, consider re-painting the front door before recruiting a professional to do the entire home.

4. Spotlight for Safety


Make sure the outdoor spaces around your home, including the front entrance, deck, patio, and walkways, are appropriately lit. Updated light fixtures are not only aesthetically pleasing, but are an added safety feature to the home.

5. Maintain the Landscape

A well-kept home speaks volumes to buyers, and the exterior is no exception. Whether you hire a professional landscaper or DIY, trim the lawn and any hedges – the latter can be a trip hazard if left untouched.

6. Deck Out the Deck

Whether your home features a deck, patio, porch or other outdoor living area, take time to power wash the surface to remove any debris. If your outdoor furniture is lacking, consider purchasing a fresh set, complete with all-weather cushions and pillows in vibrant colors.

7. Make Pool Picture-Perfect

Pools can be a make-or-break feature for buyers, so play it up as best you can. After having the pool cleaned by a professional, take care to skim the surface for any debris that accumulates between buyer visits. Be sure the pool cover, mechanized or otherwise, is free of damage and the filtering system is in proper working order.

Source: RISMedia’s Housecall

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Traveling? How to Thwart Vacation Scammers

June 10, 2015 1:45 am

(BPT) – Fact: Scammers, identity thieves and fraudsters rarely take a vacation, even when you do.

"When people plan vacations, they let their guard down," says David Barnhardt of Early Warning, a fraud prevention company. "Fraudsters know this, and they have a whole bag of tricks created specifically for people in a vacation frame of mind."

Enjoy your vacation, he says, but exercise good judgment. That suggestion mirrors similar advice offered by both the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Their websites each devote pages of precautions about potential travel scams - some of which can happen long before you pack your suitcase.

Many pre-vacation scams, the FTC warns, can begin with unsolicited vacation e-mails announcing amazing travel deals. The agency says if an offer sounds too good to be true, be wary.

Barnhardt agrees. "If you get an e-mail announcing you have won a 'free' vacation, be careful," he says. "Chances are before long you will be asked to provide someone with a credit card number to confirm your reservation. You would be surprised how many people fall for that scam."

Credit card numbers are the gold-standard for many fraudsters, and one way to protect your card, Barnhardt advises, is to place a travel flag on your credit and debit cards. Those flags can help card issuers quickly identify suspicious charges.

"If charges are swiped outside of your vacation dates, it can signal a compromised card," he says.

That said, Barnhardt recommends travelers use credit cards instead of debit cards.

"Simply put, credit cards draw on credit lines, whereas a debit card hack means your money is actually withdrawn from your account," he says. "That can cause an overdraft, which means overdraft charges. You may get your money back, but it often means you may need to file a police report, which can be a huge headache, especially if you're overseas. Plus you may have to explain to your creditors why your payments were returned and work with your institution to get penalty fees reversed as well."

Credit cards are also the safer method of payment when you're asked to put a deposit on a vacation rental.

"If a website advertises a gorgeous house or condo and the property owner asks that you wire a deposit, a red flag should immediately go up," says Barnhardt. "Don't do it. Money wired is money gone. Unlike a credit card deposit, once you wire money, you cannot get it back."

And after you have arrived at your destination, it pays to stay alert. "Hotels and motels can be breeding grounds for fraud," says Barnhardt.

One prevalent travel scam the FTC warns about involves a late-night phone call to your room allegedly from the front desk at a hotel, motel or resort. The caller claims there is a problem with the credit card and asks the guest to read the number over the phone. The obvious solution: make a trip to the front desk to speak with someone in person.

Barnhardt also warns of another lodging-related credit card scam currently in vogue: fliers slid under hotel-room doors offering pizza delivered right to your room.

"This sounds great to a hungry traveler, but if you call and they ask for your credit card number, it's better to hang up the phone and ask the front desk to recommend local eateries," he says.

Don’t forget to exercise caution when logging onto the hotel's free Wi-Fi network, says Barnhardt.

"Just about every hotel and motel provides free Wi-Fi," he says. "But fraudsters have perfected the art of mimicking legitimate networks. Logging onto a fake Wi-Fi network can put all the data stored in your tablet or phone in jeopardy."

Once again, he says, the best solution is to ask before acting.

"Check with the front desk," he says. "Make sure you are using the hotel's authorized network and they've supplied you with a secure Wi-Fi password. A bogus Wi-Fi can be outsmarted just by being cautious. Vacation time is about relaxing, but don't relax your common sense."

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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