From random phobias to crippling anxieties, all of us battle with some degree of fear in our daily lives. But imagine how your quality of life would improve if you could overcome your fears. How would it change your life?

Here are four tips for tackling your fears from someone who knows. Jay Platt—the subject of the new documentary, “Living Unstoppable”— was living his dream as a U.S. Marine when a cancer syndrome called von Hippel Lindau (VHL) exploded like a bomb on his life. It caused tumors in his brain and on his spine, as well as kidney cancer and the loss of his left eye. After a personal journey of acceptance, however, Platt went on to accomplish feats many world-class athletes wouldn’t consider, including swimming across the Mississippi River while handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded!

Here are four areas Platt focused on that helped him overcome fear and anxiety in order to rebuild his body, mind and spirit:

 Focus on the joys in life: When you realize it’s not all about you, the annoying voice that tells you to be afraid begins to shrivel and loses its poison. Platt’s family, friends and those to whom he donates money through various charities gives Platt strength.

• Spiritual preparation: Just as Platt trains physically for his feats, he finds it essential to work out spiritually in order to stand up to the fear and anxieties that life’s trials bring. To that end, he surrounds himself with positive messages and positive people.

• Use setbacks as a motivator: When something bad happens, one of the most common responses is fear – fear that it will happen again; fear that you’re less than you used to be; or irrational fear. Platt always knew he’d be a Marine; when he was forced to retire early, he had to recalibrate his entire life. One of his favorite quotes is “What are you doing now?” – it doesn’t matter what you used to be.

• Remember a greater good: When he started experiencing complications from VHL, which first manifested in his left eye, Platt promised God that he’d devote his life to others if he got through the scare. He has kept that promise – his Appalachian Trail hike alone raised $109,000 for charity. According to Platt, staying true to a promise might be the most emotionally solid aid to overcoming fear.

By Cary Teller

Homes cost a lot of money to maintain. But are you spending extra money unnecessarily on upkeep? Here are the 10 most expensive mistakes you could be making in your home.

1. Using Traditional Light bulbs

If you still have incandescent light bulbs in your home, you could be throwing a lot of money away every month on inflated electric bills. Over its life span, an incandescent bulb can use $180 worth of electricity. A CFL will only use $41 worth of electricity over the same time period. Even better is the LED bulb, which only uses $30 per bulb. Think what replacing every light bulb in your home could do to your home’s bottom line.

2. Ignoring a Leaky Faucet

A leaky faucet that drips one drop per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year, which is enough water to take more than 180 showers. Some of us live in areas where water is plentiful, but for those of us in areas plagued with drought, this could be costing you a fortune. Fix or replace your leaky faucet and save a ton on your water bill.

3. Using the Wrong Air Filter Size

We all sometimes forget to change out the air filters for our HVAC systems or accidentally buy the wrong size. But using the wrong filter or a dirty filter can increase your power bill and cause expensive problems for your furnace down the road. Use the correct filters for your system, and set a reminder to change them after the recommended amount of time. You won’t regret it.

4. Not Customizing Temperature

Invest in a customizable thermostat. If you’re away at the office all day, you can program your heater to shift down a few degrees while you’re gone and then shift back up shortly before you return home. Heating or cooling an empty home wastes a lot of money in energy costs.

5. Not Adjusting Air Vents Properly

Is one room in your home hot, while the others are cold? Oftentimes homeowners will crank up the air conditioning in the whole house to combat hot temperatures in one area. Instead, adjust air vents to direct the flow of air more evenly throughout your entire home. Professionals will come regulate this to ensure that your entire home is receiving the same amount of air conditioning or heating.

6. Over Watering Lawn

Many homeowners have their sprinkler systems programmed to come on in the early morning hours for optimum lawn health. This can become a problem, however, if you’re never around to see what you’re actually watering. A broken sprinkler head could be causing a fountain, or the trajectory of your sprinkler may be directed at a fence instead of your lawn. Periodically run your sprinklers during the day so you can see how they are performing when you’re not around.

7. Water Heater Temperature Set Too High

Unless you have a tankless water heater, your water heater is keeping the water in its tank hot 24/7. If you don’t keep an eye on the temperature as each season changes, you may be paying too much to heat your water. Decrease the temperature in the summer, and bump it back up when winter comes.

8. Leaky Windows and Doors

Leaky windows and doors are great places for cold, winter winds to enter your home. Many homeowners simply ignore them and crank up their heaters. Caulk leaky windows and put rubber seal around doors to keep winter winds out and warmth in.

9. Paying a Handyman

Don’t pay a handyman for a job that is simple enough to do yourself. If you’re unsure of how to do something, look up video tutorials online. Doing simple tasks yourself can save you a lot of money.

10. Ignoring Curled Shingles

It may be easy to ignore problems on your roof, but it will only lead to bigger problems later. If you see any possible issues with your roof, repair them as soon as possible, as this will save you significant costs later.

Use these 10 tips to cut maintenance costs on your home today.

When you go searching for a real estate agent, you are likely to hear a number of sales pitches speaking of the necessity and desirability of an open house. Many agents will speak of their enthusiasm for open houses and how they will do well for you with all the traffic they draw. What you may not realize, though, is that a real estate open house typically has far more benefits for your agent than for you. The question of course that is on the minds of many homeowners is does an open house sell homes? One thing is certain – statistics don’t lie!

What may be a real shocker is the fact that less than two percent of all homes sold nationally are a direct result of a buyer visiting an open house unaccompanied by an agent. Real buyers are with real estate agents who schedule appointments. The people who come through your home on any given Sunday open house are not likely going to be the ones opening up their checkbook and handing over an escrow deposit!

So when people ask is an open house necessary when selling a home, the answer is clear, cut and dry – NO!

Problems with Open Houses

  • Wrong Kind of Traffic – One of the biggest issues with open houses is that real buyers rarely attend them. You may get a number of different people walking through and viewing your home, but legitimate buyers are usually rare. Your neighbors might come by to satisfy their curiosity and you may get people taking a walk-through to get ideas for their own renovations. You may even get a few people who dream of one day owning a home just like yours – only they do not currently have money to purchase something as expensive as yours.
  • The Unqualified Buyer – The likelihood you will get some buyers who are actually thinking about purchasing a home are pretty good. The problem however, is the vast majority of these people will not be qualified to pay your asking price. What is ironic is that most real estate agents will drive home the point about how important it is to qualify a buyer looking to purchase your home. This gets thrown out the window like the baby with the bath water when it comes to an open house.
  • Busy Work – Your REALTOR® wants to appear valuable to you and an open house is a great way to accomplish this. It is one of the few tasks a REALTOR® can engage in that is easily viewed by clients. You see all the work the REALTOR® puts into the open house and it makes you feel like you are getting your money’s worth.  In reality though, most of the work that goes into selling a home happens behind the scenes. Connecting with other REALTORS®, listing a property across a number of different marketing channels, and using social media all happen out of sight. Hence, clients don’t always see everything they do.
  • Mainly for Your REALTOR® – All sorts of people will wander into your home, even if few of them are truly interested or capable of buying. This is not advantageous for you, but your REALTOR® knows how to utilize this traffic. It allows an agent to make connections or network – one of the most important components of growing a real estate business. The agent will meet your neighbors who may need to sell a home in the future. He or she will also meet those that don’t qualify for a home as expensive as yours but who may be in the market for another home the agent happens to be selling. That home of course would be in their budget and not at the price point your home falls into. Your agent will also add another successful showing to his or her belt, and therefore be able to tell you, “I have shown your home X amount of times and drawn X amount of traffic.” Very few real estate agents are going to tell you that the real reason they are holding an open house is to get additional clients.
  • Security Issues – What many real estate agents fail to do is inform their clients about the drawbacks of an open house. Rarely are both the pro’s and con’s of an open housediscussed. It is usually just the potential benefits. Unfortunately an open house is the perfect invitation to invite unqualified strangers into your home. When you do this you are potentially opening yourself up to a whole set of issues you probably have not given much thought to. Numerous sellers have reported theft both during the open house as well as on a later date when thieves who have visited come back and take what they like. It’s no surprise this happens as an open house invites anyone and everyone into the home. If the open house is busy, it is impossible for a real estate agent to watch everyone.

See Past the Curtain     

You certainly need a good agent to sell your home. A skilled REALTOR® can help you get a better price and move your home much more effectively than you can selling as a for sale by owner. However, do not be fooled by the illusion that an open house presents. Yes, some homes are sold through open houses, but the statistics are not encouraging. Far more homes are sold through hard work and the skill and talent of good REALTOR®.

If you still want to have an open house, by all means have one. But do not be fooled by claims from various real estate agents that having an open house is a “must” or that this or that agent is great because of them. Some agents are better at selling homes than others, but no one that is good will pretend that an open house should be a main priority. Very few top producing real estate agents hang out in someone’s home waiting for a buyer to show up.

The bottom line despite what some agents may tell you is this – a buyer who really wants to see your home will always schedule an appointment to see it. If you were in the market to purchase a home and saw something you really wanted to look at, would you be saying to yourself “If they don’t have an open house I’m not interested,”? Of course not! Sounds pretty absurd when you think about it.

Like the popular old movie “The Wizard of Oz,” make sure you know who is behind the curtain when selecting a REALTOR® to work with. The easiest way to do this is by asking good REALTOR® interview questions. When you do so, you will be more apt to find a true real estate wizard and not someone who will disappoint you.

By Bill Gasset.

Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized real estate leader who has been helping people move in and out of the Metrowest Massachusetts area for the past 27-plus years. He has been one of the top RE/MAX REALTORS® in New England for the past decade. In 2013, he was the #1 RE/MAX agent in Massachusetts.

There are several places in the U.S. where millennials can be found due to the high employment rates and beautiful settings. For adults who are in their 20s and 30s, there are several places where it’s smart to invest. When you’re looking to move, these are a few cities that millennials are flocking to throughout the country.

Salt Lake City, Utah

The high job growth in Salt Lake City makes it a desirable place for young adults to live as they look to obtain steady employment. The city is affordable to live in and has a median home price of $233,000 with job growth of 2.4 percent. Salt Lake City also has a lower unemployment rate compared to other markets throughout the U.S. with 2.9 percent, which is below the national average by a few points.

Seattle, Wash.

Seattle is considered to be a hot spot for millennials, which make up 24.1 percent of the population. Its busy nightlife scene and generous median incomes of $67,000 make it an ideal place to live for younger generations. It also boasts a job growth rate of 10.8 percent. The beautiful views of the water and the long list of activities and attractions in the area are additional reasons that many millennials relocate to the city.

Austin, Texas

Millennials are drawn to Austin for its real estate market, which includes homes that have a median price of $226,000. The job growth is also 4.2 percent, and it’s the second top city in the country for the number of jobs that are becoming available. Some of the top companies that are run out of Austin include Dell, Apple, and Google, making it known as “Silicon Hills.” The average median income is also $58,932, which allows many young adults to afford to purchase their first home.

There’s also a strong emphasis on environmental sustainability, making the city desirable for millennials who make green practices a priority. Austin is also known for selling more renewable energy than other nations.

Charlotte, N.C.

Charlotte is one of the best places to live in North Carolina with 14 percent of the population between the ages of 25 and 34. Many of the youth are post-college graduates who have relocated to the city to seek employment and purchase a home in a neighborhood that has a suburban family profile. The draw of millennials is also causing many companies to relocate their headquarters to Charlotte in hopes of hiring talented employees.

Dallas, Texas

Dallas continues to grow each year and attract young out-of-towners due to its job growth rate of 3.9 percent and median home price of $175,000. The big city boasts plenty of shopping opportunities and attractions for those who want to stay busy without spending a lot to live close to the downtown area. The city hasn’t attempted to control ride sharing, and many places are also easy to access by walking. There are also neighboring cities that are affordable to live in for those who don’t mind commuting to work.

Remodelers across the country took a hit last summer as the cost of building materials spiked dramatically, and the picture for 2019 isn’t much rosier. The percentage of return on investment (ROI) is projected to trend downward for all the replacement projects listed in Remodeling magazine’s newly-released Cost vs. Value Report.

Larger indoor remodel projects took a hit as well, but weren’t impacted as greatly as replacement projects as they rely more on labor costs rather than material costs.

“With the increasing costs of building materials and labor, we urge remodelers to think like real estate professionals first,” says Clayton DeKorne, editor-in-chief of Remodeling magazine. “When you adjust your focus to think like a broker first, you can dull clients’ No. 1 pain point—cost—with a discussion of the amount that can be recouped.”

Nationally, here are the five projects with the greatest ROI in the report’s mid-range cost category:

Manufactured Stone Veneer (94.9% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $8,907
  • Average Resale Value: $8,449

Minor Kitchen Remodel (80.5% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $22,507
  • Average Resale Value: $18,123

Deck Addition (Wood) (75.6% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $13,333
  • Average Resale Value: $10,083

Siding Replacement (75.6% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $16,036
  • Average Resale Value: $12,119

Entry Door Replacement (Steel) (74.9% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $1,826
  • Average Resale Value: $1,368

And the five projects with the greatest ROI in the report’s upscale cost category are:

Garage Door Replacement (97.5% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $3,611
  • Average Resale Value: $3,520

Window Replacement (Vinyl) (73.4% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $16,802
  • Average Resale Value: $12,332

Grand Entrance (Fiberglass) (71.9% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $8,994
  • Average Resale Value: $6,469

Window Replacement (Wood) (70.8% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $20,526
  • Average Resale Value: $14,530

Bathroom Remodel (60.2% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $64,743
  • Average Resale Value: $38,952

Nationally—and on the other end of the spectrum—here are the five projects with the lowest ROI in the mid-range cost category:

Backyard Patio (55.2% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $56,906
  • Average Resale Value: $31,430

Master Suite Addition (59.4% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $130,986
  • Average Resale Value: $77,785

Bathroom Addition (60.6% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $47,427
  • Average Resale Value: $28,726

Roofing Replacement (Metal) (60.9% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $38,600
  • Average Resale Value: $23,526

Major Kitchen Remodel (62.1% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $66,196
  • Average Resale Value: $41,133

And the five projects with the lowest ROI in the upscale cost category are:

Master Suite Addition (50.4% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $271,470
  • Average Resale Value: $136,820

Bathroom Addition (58.1% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $87,704
  • Average Resale Value: $51,000

Major Kitchen Remodel (59.7% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $131,510
  • Average Resale Value: $78,524

Bathroom Remodel (60.2% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $64,743
  • Average Resale Value: $38,952

Window Replacement (Wood) (70.8% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $20,526
  • Average Resale Value: $14,530

Advice on the tradeoffs of cost vs value is an essential part of the real estate sales process. When you are ready to sell your house, contact us at Dupont Real Estate.

By Brentnie Daggett

Year after year, many homeowners find themselves surprised when their first heating bill arrives. The frugal-minded tend to turn to extra blankets and multiple layers in lieu of paying expensive heating bills, but at the end of the day, you should be comfortable in your own home.

With a little knowledge and a few behavior tweaks, you can heat your home much more efficiently, without sacrificing your comfort or your hard-earned paycheck:

Turn down the temperature.

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your winter thermostat to 68 degrees while you’re awake, and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home. You can save up to 10 percent a year on heating (and cooling) costs by simply turning your thermostat back anywhere from 7-10 degrees for approximately eight hours a day, like while you’re at work or sleeping.

Change your filters.

Dirty air filters restrict airflow and increase your energy use. Changing the filters on your furnace or heating unit at least every three months can save you anywhere from 4-6 percent a year on heating costs! If you have pets in your home, your filters are probably even dirtier—changing them once a month is recommended. Taking this step will not only save you money, but also likely prolong the life of your furnace. Be sure to regularly service your furnace to make sure things are running properly.

Seal cracks and ducts.

Windows and doors account for a large amount of heat loss in homes; in fact, installing weather-stripping or caulking leaky doors and windows can save you up to 10 percent on heating costs. Ducts are another culprit of heat loss—leaking ductwork accounts for 25-30 percent of heating costs in the average home. Consider hiring a contractor before the cold weather hits to test the tightness of your ducts and repair any leaks or restrictions.

Keep your chimney closed.

If your home has a fireplace, remember to keep the damper closed when it’s not in use. Consider a chimney balloon—an inflatable device that goes in the chimney—to further keep the cold air out and the warm air from escaping.

Use your fan.

While ceiling fans are excellent tools for staying cool in the summer, they can also be adjusted to help you stay warm in the winter. Many fan models have a switch that allows the blades to spin clockwise, which will push warm air that rose to the ceiling back down into the room.

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Brentnie Daggett is a writer and infographic master for the rental and property management industry. She loves to share tips and tricks to assist landlords and renters alike.

So you’ve decided to put your home on the market. Congratulations! Hopefully, you’ve brought a rockin’ REALTOR® on board to help you list your spot, and together you’ve done your due diligence on what to ask for. As you start checking things off your to-do list, it’s also important to pay mind of what not to do. Below are a handful of things to get you started.

Don’t over-improve.
As you ready your home for sale, you may realize you will get a great return on your investment if you make a couple of changes. Updating the appliances or replacing that cracked cabinet in the bathroom are all great ideas. However, it’s important not to over-improve, or make improvements that are hyper-specific to your tastes. For example, not everyone wants a pimped out finished basement equipped with a wet bar and lifted stage for their rock and roll buds to jam out on. (Okay, everyone should want that.) What if your buyers are family oriented and want a basement space for their kids to play in? That rock-and-roll room may look to them like a huge project to un-do. Make any needed fixes to your space, but don’t go above and beyond—you may lose money doing so.

Don’t over-decorate.
Over-decorating is just as bad as over-improving. You may love the look of lace and lavender, but your potential buyer may enter your home and cringe. When prepping for sale, neutralize your decorating scheme so it’s more universally palatable.

Don’t hang around.
Your agent calls to let you know they will be bringing buyers by this afternoon. Great! You rally your whole family, Fluffy the dog included, to be waiting at the door with fresh baked cookies and big smiles. Right? Wrong. Buyers want to imagine themselves in your space, not be confronted by you in your space. Trust, it’s awkward for them to go about judging your home while you stand in the corner smiling like a maniac. Get out of the house, take the kids with you, and if you can’t leave for whatever reason, at least go sit in the backyard. (On the other hand, if you’re buying a home and not selling, then making it personal is the way to go, especially when writing your offer letter. Pull those heart strings!)

Don’t take things personally.
Real estate is a business, but buying and selling homes is very, very emotional. However, when selling your homes, try your very best not to take things personally. When a buyer lowballs you or says they will need to replace your prized 1970s vintage shag carpet with something “more modern,” try not to raise your hackles.

Posted on Dec 29 2016 – 10:27am by Zoe Eisenberg

Call Dupont Real Estate for more simple advice on successfully selling your home!

There are many questions homeowners ask themselves during the selling process. “How much will my home sell for?”  “How much should I list my home for?”  “Who should I select as a real estate agent to sell my home?”  “What if the real estate agent overprices my home?”  Last but not least, “Is this a good time to be selling a home?” is also a very common question that real estate agents are asked.

As with every decision in life, there are pros and cons, and choosing when to sell a home is no different. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before deciding when to sell a home. Many homeowners believe selling a home during the fall or winter months is not a good idea and that the spring is the only time a house should be sold. This is the furthest from the truth. Certainly most real estate markets across the United States experience a “spring market rush” every year. There is no doubt that the “spring market” is a great time to be selling and buying real estate, however, the fall and winter seasons may be the best fit for you for many reasons.

Here are several reasons why choosing to sell your home now may be a better decision than waiting until the spring:

Less Competition
One way that you can tell the spring real estate market has arrived is by driving down a street in your local community. In all likelihood there will be For Sale signs up all over the neighborhood! One great reason to sell your home now and not wait until the spring market is there is sure to be less competition.  The fewer number of comparable homes for sale, the greater the probability that a buyer will look at your home.

Simply put, it’s the supply and demand theory. If there are less homes for sale, there are less homes that a potential buyer can choose from, therefore increasing the demand for your home. Not only will less competition increase the probability for showings, but it will also increase the probability that an offer will be received and you will get the maximum amount of money for your home.

Serious Buyers Are Out There
Homes are sold and bought 365 days a year, period!  Many homeowners believe that buyers aren’t out there during the fall and winter months. This simply is not the case. Serious buyers are always out there!  Some buyers may stop their home search because it is the fall or winter, but serious buyers will continue to look at homes, no matter what time of year it is.

The fall and winter months are also a great time for a potential buyer to see what a specific neighborhood is like.  Do your neighbors have pumpkins on their front step?  Are there lots of Trick-or-Treaters wandering the neighborhood on Halloween?  Do any of your neighbors have any light displays for the holidays?  There are buyers out there who will look at these types of things when determining whether your home is in the right neighborhood for them or not.

The Best Agents Are Always Up To The Challenge
Any real estate agent who tells you that the fall or winter months are a bad time to sell is not someone you want selling your home! A great real estate agent will know how to adapt to the current season and market their listings to reflect that.  A great real estate agent can make suggestions and give some of their tips on how to sell a home during the fall or winter seasons. If a real estate agent doesn’t have any suggestions on making your home more desirable for the current season, you should be concerned about the creativity they are going to use when marketing your home.

Staging For The Holiday Season
Many sellers believe staging a home is the main reason a home sells.  While staging certainly helps sell homes, some buyers have a difficult time envisioning themselves in a home no matter what you do. However, there are some buyers who can easily be “sold” on a home because it is staged.  Simple “seasonal” staging such as adjusting the color of the decor or having an aroma in the air that is relative to the time of year can go a long way with some potential buyers and possibly be the difference between a home selling or not.

Quicker Transactions
Right now, there are fewer real estate transactions than there will be in the spring.  The fewer number of transactions means the mortgage lenders have less loans to process, attorneys have less closings to do, and home inspectors have fewer inspections to do.  All of these factors should lead to a quicker transaction and closing for all the parties involved.  One of the most frustrating things for a seller to deal with while selling their home is not getting answers in a reasonable amount of time. A quicker transaction is going to be less stress for you.

By considering all of the reasons above, you will be able to determine whether now is a good time to sell or if you should wait until the spring.

Dupont Real Estate understands the seasonal nature of the real estate market. Give us a call!

By Charles Muotoh

When you first put your house on the market, you might be hopeful for a quick sale—especially if you’ve put a lot of money into improving the house over the years and if the neighborhood is one that has historically attracted a lot of buyers. While you shouldn’t panic if the house doesn’t sell the moment you list it, you should begin to worry if the months start flying by without any real offers. If this is the case, here are 11 reasons why your house may not be selling.

  1. You overvalued your property. If your house is overpriced, it’s simply not going to sell. Compare your property to similar properties that recently sold within your area to get a better idea of its true value. An experienced real estate agent can give you an accurate value of your home. Additionally, don’t make the mistake of tacking on the cost of any renovations you made. You can’t just assume that the cost of a renovation translates to added value.
  1. Your listing is poor. If the listing of your home includes a poorly written description without any images, a lot of buyers are going to skip over it. Make sure you and your REALTOR® put an effort into creating a listing that attracts the attention of buyers. Make sure to add high quality photographs of both the interior and exterior of your home. Don’t forget to highlight unique features as well.
  1. You’re always present at showings. Let your agent handle your showings. Buyers don’t want to have the seller lurking over their shoulder during showings, especially during an open house. This puts unwanted pressure on the buyer, which will make them uncomfortable and likely chase them away.
  1. You’re too attached. If you refuse to negotiate even a penny off your price, then there’s a good chance that you’ve become too attached to your home. If a part of you doesn’t want to sell it, or you think your house is the best house in the world, odds are you’re going to have a lot of difficulties coming to an agreement with a potential buyer.
  1. You haven’t had your home professionally cleaned. A dirty house is going to leave a bad impression on buyers. Make sure you have a professional clean your carpeting and windows before you begin showing your house.
  1. You haven’t staged your home. If you’ve already moved out, then don’t show an empty house. This makes it difficult for buyers to imagine living in it. Stage your house with furniture and decor to give buyers a better idea of how big every room is and how it can be used. You want the buyer to feel at home when they are taking the tour.
  1. You kept up all of your personal décor. Buyers are going to feel uncomfortable touring your house if you keep all of your family portraits up. Take down your personal décor so that buyers can have an easier time imagining themselves living there.
  1. Your home improvements are too personalized. You might think that the comic book mural you painted for your child’s room is absolutely incredible, but that doesn’t mean potential buyers will agree. If your home improvements are too personalized, it can scare off buyers who don’t want to pay for features they don’t want.
  1. Your home is too cluttered. Even if your home is clean, clutter can still be an issue. For example, maybe you simply have too much furniture in one of your rooms. This can make the house feel smaller than it is.
  1. Your home is in need of too many repairs. The more repairs that are needed, the less likely a buyer will want your house. Many buyers simply don’t want to deal with the cost or effort of doing repair work, even if it’s just a bunch of small repairs, such as tightening a handrail or replacing a broken tile.
  1. You chose the wrong real agent. In my opinion, choosing the right real estate is simply the most important decision you make in selling your home.  A good REALTOR® makes all the difference in selling your home within a reasonable time.

All these things can be fixed once you realize your mistake; however, the longer your property stays on the market, the less likely it will sell at listing price. One of the best ways to avoid making these common mistakes is by working with a professional real estate agent.

At Dupont Real Estate, we help you navigate these obstacles and get your home sold! We look forward to hearing from you.

By Jennifer Pattison Tuohy

House-hunting is exciting, but it can be an exhausting process. Choosing where to live should be driven by factors like location, neighborhood and curb appeal. The last thing you should worry about is cell phone reception. If your dream home turns out to be in a cell phone dead zone, you can either switch carriers or boost the performance of your existing service.

Related: Neighborhood Amenities to Look Into Before Purchasing a Home

Find the best coverage. Since service can sometimes be affected by factors like building materials and nearby landmarks, you can’t always rely on coverage maps to know which cellular provider will work best in your new home. The easiest way is to ask around—the current homeowners can tell you which network they use, and you can ask your new neighbors which provider works for them.

Narrow down your choices. Once you’ve determined which providers work in your neighborhood, use coverage maps to decide which one is the best choice for your new home. For the fastest speeds, look for a provider that offers the best 4G coverage. This map by RootMetrics also lets you zoom in to a specific area and choose from different carriers.

Shop around for the best value on plans. Switching carriers is a great way to save some money on your monthly bill, too. Once you’ve found the best network coverage, see if any Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) providers are available in your area. An MVNO is a company that resells service from the major carriers, generally at a lower price.

Confirm you can port your number. When switching to a new cellular provider, you’ll want to make sure you can bring your old number with you. Carriers are required by law to let you port your number to your new provider; however, if you are moving to a new area code, you’ll need to give up your current number if you decide to switch carriers.

If switching carriers is not an option or you can’t find a cellular provider that offers good service in your new home, some technical fixes are available that can help you deal with bad reception. Consider these three potential solutions for bad cell phone service:

Enable WiFi calling and texting. WiFi calling routes your calls or messages using an internet connection rather than a cellular network. If you have broadband internet in your new home, you’ll be able to make and receive calls, even if you have bad or no cell phone service. It works in the same way as messaging apps, only it’s baked into your phone’s operating system, so there’s no need to launch a separate app. WiFi calling works with both free and paid Wifi connections.

Purchase a femtocell. A femtocell—also called a small cell or network extender—works like a mini cell phone tower in your home. It routes all your calls over the internet, so you’ll need broadband and the ability to connect the femtocell to your router. Femtocells are carrier-specific and will only work on the network you use. Friends and family will still be in a dead zone if they use a different carrier, and only authorized users can connect to it.

Buy a signal booster. If you have a decent signal in one area of your house, you can buy a signal booster. These work by amplifying the cell signal from a good location and re-broadcasting it to the area with poor reception. Signal boosters are carrier-independent and will work on any cell phone, but you need good reception somewhere nearby for this option to work.

Buying a new home should never depend on your ability to make and receive calls. The good news? Whether you opt for a new carrier, use WiFi calling or buy hardware to boost your current signal, you’re bound to find a solution for your poor cell phone reception.

Jennifer Pattison Tuohy is a freelance writer and contributor for Xfinity Mobile. She writes about smart home and mobile phone technology, consumer tech, small businesses and green living for a variety of newspapers, magazines and online publications.