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10 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers and Sellers

Thu, 23 Apr by Sonia Tarabay

Like many firsts, diving into real estate can be daunting. Whether you are buying or selling there are many processes to consider in order to get the best results. You are ready to make that big step into ownership and your wish list is ready! I would like to share these great tips for first-time home buyers and sellers along with some great questions to ask!


Advice for Buyers

  1. The very first thing you need to do in the home-buying process is to sit down with a lender and get pre-approved. This should be done before you start touring any homes.
  2. Prepare a list of must haves and stock with it!
  3. Remember that you are not just buying the house, but the neighborhood too. Spend some time in the area and see if it offers some of the lifestyle conveniences you’ll need.
  4. Don’t see to many houses in one day. You’ll feel overwhelmed and confused after touring several homes. As a practice, good real estate agents will normally limit you to four or five and then let those digest with you before reassessing the search.
  5. It’s a great idea to take detailed notes and even take a few photos to help you remember. Too many homes in a short period of time will run together in your mind and you may not remember which kitchen or which master bedroom belonged to which house.
  6. As tempted as you may be to max out your budget, try your best no to. Just because your bank approved you for a higher amount, doesn’t mean you have to spend it all. Why? Because you have to pay it all back. You don’t want to go into a first home maxed out.


Advice for Sellers

  1. List your home at the right price from the start. Homes that enter the market overpriced usually sit for a long time before receiving any offers. If you want to be competitive and sell quickly, a comparative analysis to determine the right price is essential.
  2. Be flexible! When you make homebuyers jump through the hoops to see your house, you’ll turn them off and they’ll move on to the next house. Try your best to accommodate every tour request. You never know which appointment will being an offer.
  3. Buyers tour homes with four out of five of their senses: sight, sound, smell and touch. Bad smells in a house can turn off buyers immediately. Be sure to neutralize your home of any bad pet or smoke odors before opening your doors to potential buyers. Even before viewings any strong cooking smells can affect your viewing.
  4. Staging your home is super important as well as removing clutter. I recommend removing two-thirds of your personal belongings and furniture for the best staging. Use your garage or storage facility to store your belongings for the time being. Open curtains or drapes to allow maximum natural light in. Move furniture out of walkways and away from windows so the room will feel larger. If your home has dark paint, it’s worthwhile to repaint with a light neutral paint color.


Questions to Ask

  • How much are the taxes?

  • What are the local schools in the area?

  • If buying a condo, how much are the fees? What do they include? How many parking spaces are included?

  • Does the home come with a warranty? Can you have this written into the offer?

  • If buying in a HOA subdivision, do they permit you to rent out your property?

  • How close is the nearest hospital, police station and firehouse?

  • How old is the roof and windows?

  • Can you see the homeowner and community disclosures prior to making an offer?


In the end, getting the right professional help when looking to buy or sell a home is so important. I consistently demonstrate a true commitment to my clients, making them my #1 priority. I consider Real Estate my lifestyle rather than just a career, and make myself available 7 days a week to all my clients. I am able to succeed in the industry so well because I have mastered the art of working hard, putting my clients first, always going above and beyond for others.  Contact me anytime, I would love to hear from you!



“Egg-citing” Easter Fun Table Ideas!

Thu, 02 Apr by Sonia Tarabay

Easter dinner has always been a wonderful time to spend with my family and enjoy our table with joyful spring colors and items of great discussion. Here are some simple fun Easter projects that the kids can do with you, perfect for your Easter décor and sure to be a great hit at the dinner table.

“Egg-speriment” with Easter egg planters!

Easter egg planters are a great way to add a pop of color to your Easter dining table. Get a dozen eggs and crack them at the top. Drain the contents, clean them with water, and put them back in the egg carton. (You can dip them in dye if you’d like to color them. Fill the bottom of each egg with dirt and then fill them with your favorite flowers, succulents or grass. You can place them on your table or anywhere you like. You can keep them in the carton and fill in around them with colored grass. Or, you can place them in a dish or pot of your choosing.


“Egg-citing” Easter Table Runner

Another fun idea you can do with kids is make your table runner for Easter dinner. Here is one that has a vintage look or you can paint with wild colorful colors and trim. Measure the length of your table and cut to size. Take fabric tape (a Bright color would also look great!) and hot glue in between to seal the edges. Make a bunny rabbit stencil and sponge paint directly onto the burlap (again fun colors would be beautiful!) space them apart evenly. Make adorable puffy tails out of white yarn by taking a bundle at 3” wide and tieing them in the middle and sewing them directly onto the burlap bunnies after you have allowed the paint to dry.

burlap bunny table runner

“Egg-sotic” Painting for your Easter eggs using Rice!

Ever liked to get that great speckled look to your Easter eggs? Get 3 or 4 small plastic containers with lids. Make sure they are small enough to fit one egg – but large enough to have the lid on. Add a couple table spoons of rice to each container and several drops of food coloring. Depending on the color and amount of rice you may need at least 8 drops. Then place the lid on top and give that container a shake to make your rice is staturated with the food coloring. Then remove the lid and place your boiled egg in the container and put back on the lid. Then give it a shake again! Careful not to shake too hard and when the coverage looks good – the speckled look is done!

Speckled eggs

“Egg-stroidinary” Placement Name Tags

These egg and nest placecards come together super fast! The supplies are easy to pick up or you may have them on hand! Alphabet stickers can make this project extra fun instead of handwriting the names Start by cutting paper into 1″ by 4″ rectangles. Using the pliers, wind pipecleaners into circles. Each pipecleaner should make two nests. Hot glue the nests onto one end of each placecard. Lay out guests’ names on each card with alphabet stickers. Cut a triangular notch into the end of each card and place a chocolate egg in each nest. In the end, these will look great at an Easter table setting and a sweet treat!

Placecards for Easter

We hope these decorating ideas are “Egg-sactly” what you are looking for fun ideas to do with your family. It is great to find items around the house that can make your Easter dinner table “Egg-ceptional”! If you have other Easter decorating ideas, we would love to hear them! From Sonia’s family to yours…have a wonderful Easter!

Sonias Easter Graphic

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