Lorrie Geiss | TIMONIUM Real Estate


When prospective buyers stop by to see your house, they're going to be barraged by a variety of sights, sounds, and smells. Some of these sensations will immediately capture their attention, while others may register on a subconscious level.

The encouraging thing to keep in mind is that you can control many aspects of how visitors experience your home.

Here are a few quick tips for making your home as appealing as possible:

Flower arrangements can add a touch of freshness and eye appeal to both the interior and exterior of your home and property. They can also infuse the air with an appealing fragrance, which can make a positive impression on potential buyers. One cautionary note is that wilted or tired-looking floral displays are not going to have the same positive impact as fresh, vibrant ones. Also keep in mind that some flowers smell more appealing than others. Most people generally prefer subtle fragrances, rather than overpowering smells! If the season and your climate permit it, placing hanging baskets of colorful flowers on your front porch and other locations can add immensely to the visual appeal of your property.

Make sure all surfaces are sparklingly clean! Imagine a prospect reaching for a house flyer or information sheet about your home, and finding that the paper was stuck to the kitchen counter! You also don't want them feeling a sticky or wet sensation when they touch or lean their elbow on a counter, tabletop, or refrigerator handle! The same rule-of-thumb can be applied to floor surfaces. If there are sticky spots, stains, or visible spills on the floor, you can be sure that's going to negatively impact a prospect's opinion of your home. It's not easy to keep your home spotless when it's on the market (or at any other time), but if you prioritize areas like floor, countertops, and sinks, then you'll be much less likely to overlook common problem areas. Eliminating pet odors, laundry smells, mold, and mildew will also make your home a much more inviting and appealing place for house hunters, real estate agents, and other visitors.

Reduce household noises whenever possible. Noises, such as squeaky hinges, loud HVAC systems, or rumbling garage doors can imply several things to prospective home buyers -- all of which are undesirable! Low-cost, DIY solutions to these problems are often available, although in some cases, it might be necessary to call a repairman or service person to check out your operating systems and make needed adjustments.

There are a lot of things to be aware of when you sell your house, but if you approach different tasks in a systematic, methodical way, you'll be much more likely to remember the important stuff and avoid sticky situations that could undermine your chances for getting your house sold quickly!



Historic homes are coveted by many for their charm. Some want a home with history while others one with “good bones” of bygone construction methods. Whatever your motivations one thing is clear: owning a historic home is a rewarding experience.

This is usually due to the effort, time and investment put into maintaining the home’s old world charm. Those who take on a historic home should be ready for a project in some capacity either right after buying or down the line.

Maintaining, and sticking to, the classic style and shapes while working under stylistic limitations takes time and effort. Be sure that when purchasing a historic home it’s one of an era whose style you really like. This is because many historic homes have what is called an easement in place. What an easement does is dictate what owners of that particular estate can and can not do to the home to maintain its historical integrity. This can limit everything from additions to siding color.

Historic homeowners should also be ready to get creative during the renovation process. Old houses have their quirks, it’s best to embrace this when making changes and to work with them - not against them. Knocking out walls and shaving down flooring to be perfectly symmetrical compromises the entire structure’s historic roots. If you absolutely must have perfect walls and flooring a historic home is probably not for you.

With that said when viewing homes ensure that any crookedness is from settling over time and not from damage to the sill plate. The sill plate is the topmost part of the foundation and especially vulnerable due to this placement along ground level. If there is damage to the sill plate know that the entire structure of the home is also compromised and in need of serious, and expensive, attention. If this is the case, it’s best to walk for most homeowners.

A warped or compromised sill plate can also mean water damage. Another sign to look for water troubles is a sump pump in the basement. You want to keep an eye out for water damage, as this is a very serious threat to the structure and can also attract all kinds of bugs.

If you have your heart set on a historic home but find all of this overwhelming a historic home expert, either a contractor who specializes in historic homes and/or a local historian that restores homes, can help you significantly through the process. In fact, overwhelmed or not it’s best to bring an expert on board during your buying process. This person should be in addition to your home inspector - not in place of. You also want to be sure to find someone who understands that you want to preserve and restore a historical home and not just gut the building.

Plan your budget well. While restoring a home is usually a passion project for many you still don’t want to overinvest and end up taking a huge loss if you eventually resell. Know what restoration projects in your area typically go for and use these as a guideline for your own budget.

Don’t be afraid to start small if you are on a tight budget or this is your first restoration project. These projects can take years so when planning start here first: roof, windows, and masonry. Create a watertight home first to prevent any further potential damage.

The good news about historic homes is that there are plenty of grants and tax programs for homeowners planning on restoration. Not every loan option will be available to you if the home requires major work but there are loans available specifically for major repairs such as the 203k. Know your options before you start looking as this will a major determination factor of your budget and the degree of work you’ll be able to put into a home.




Selling a home should be a fast, easy process. However, challenges may arise that prevent you from quickly selling your house and maximizing your property sale earnings. And if you fail to plan ahead for the home selling journey, these challenges may get the best of you.

Ultimately, there are several things you need to know before you list your residence, such as:

1. The housing market fluctuates constantly.

The housing market in your city or town may change frequently. Fortunately, if you allocate time and resources to analyze the local housing sector, you can determine if a buyer's or seller's market is currently in place and prepare accordingly.

In a buyer's market, there may be an abundance of quality houses that sell within weeks or months of their initial listing dates. Comparatively, in a seller's market, there may be a shortage of first-rate residences, and the best houses generally will sell shortly after they are listed.

To determine if a buyer's or seller's market is in effect, you should find out how quickly houses are selling in your city or town. You also should assess how your house stacks up against comparable residences that are currently available. With this housing market data in hand, you may be better equipped than ever before to succeed during the home selling journey, regardless of the current real estate sector's conditions.

2. Your home's curb appeal may have far-flung effects on your property selling experience.

How your home looks to buyers may dictate your house selling success. For instance, if your residence boasts amazing curb appeal, it may generate lots of interest from prospective buyers. On the other hand, if your house fails to impress buyers when they see it for the first time, your residence may linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time.

For a home seller, it often is beneficial to upgrade a residence's curb appeal. Because if you mow the lawn, trim the hedges and perform other home exterior upgrades, you could differentiate your residence from other available houses. As such, you could stir up significant interest in your home.

3. Working with a real estate agent may help you speed up the house selling journey.

A real estate agent is crucial for a home seller, as this housing market professional can offer expert insights into the property selling journey. If you need help establishing a competitive initial asking price for your residence, for example, a real estate agent is ready to assist you. Or, if you want to sell your home as quickly as possible, a real estate agent can help you do just that.

As you get set to list your residence, you should plan ahead. If you start preparing for the house selling journey today, you could enter the real estate market as a property selling expert. As a result, you could reap the benefits of a quick, profitable house selling experience.



Whether you're trying to balance your household budget or save money to buy your first house, discount coupons can help.

Coupons alone are not a panacea that will cure budgetary woes or enable you to quickly save up for a real estate down payment, but they can play a role in achieving your financial goals.

Building up your financial nest egg or saving thousands for a down payment requires planning, organization, and motivation. While this may sound like a steep mountain to climb, the biggest challenge involves examining your values and overcoming self-limiting habits and beliefs. If you're convinced, for example, that it's impossible to save money and get ahead, then those beliefs will slow you down, if not sabotage your progress, completely.

There are a lot of reasons why discount coupons are not an effective money-saving strategy for many people, but it often boils down to three things:

  1. Disorganization: Although coupons are a marketing tool used by businesses to get consumers to buy more products and services, it's often a "win-win" situation. If a coupon happens to be for product that you need or would ordinarily buy, then it's like having extra money in your wallet. For some people, putting the coupons IN their wallet is a good way to make sure they have them when they're at the checkout counter or drive through.
  2. Pride: There's nothing undignified about using coupons, unless you have such a large stack of them that you're causing people behind you to roll their eyes, sigh loudly, or grumble under their breaths! And speaking of misplaced pride: If you're over 60, don't hesitate to claim your senior citizen discounts at restaurants, the theater, movies, public transportation, museums, car rental places, and hotels. Those savings can really add up!
  3. Lack of planning: When your trips to the grocery store are planned, rather than sponteous, you're a lot more likely to remember your coupons and your shopping list. By having your coupons with you and knowing what you need to buy, you'll be more focused and tend to spend less money on impulse items.
Effectively managing your household budget or saving money for a house down payment is usually the result of multiple strategies, rather than just using coupons or doing comparison shopping. One of the first steps to gaining control over your finances involves examining your cash flow situation. Itemizing your expenses and deducting them from your income will give you a clearer idea of where your money is going and how much you have left at the end of the month. By listing your expenses and disposable income, you can often identify "leaks" in your cash flow and find ways to stretch your dollar farther. When you assign yourself the job of "gatekeeper," you'll be surprised at the many ways there are to tighten your belt, without making major sacrifices in your lifestyle.


If you're on the lookout for your dream house, it helps to be persistent. In fact, there are many reasons to take a persistent approach to the real estate market, and these include:

1. You can pounce on the opportunity to acquire your ideal residence.

A persistent homebuyer should have no trouble finding lots of homes that match or exceed his or her expectations. Then, this buyer can take the necessary steps to submit an offer on his or her dream house and finalize a home purchase.

As a persistent homebuyer, it is essential to submit a competitive offer on any residence that you want to acquire. By providing a competitive offer, you can increase the likelihood of receiving an immediate "Yes" from a seller.

2. You can stay ahead of the competition.

When it comes to buying the best house at the lowest price, the early bird catches the worm. Thus, a persistent homebuyer may be better equipped than others to find and purchase his or her dream residence as soon as this house becomes available.

To stay ahead of the homebuying competition, it helps to assess the real estate sector closely. This will enable a homebuyer to identify his or her dream house in no time at all.

Furthermore, a homebuyer should create a checklist of dream home wants and must-haves. This list will allow a homebuyer to narrow his or her home search, making it easier than ever before to discover a great house.

3. You can boost the likelihood of a seamless homebuying experience.

No one should be forced to deal with a long, arduous homebuying experience. Fortunately, a persistent homebuyer can act quickly on available houses, ensuring this buyer can accelerate the homebuying journey.

For a persistent homebuyer, it often is a good idea to get extra help from a housing market professional as well. Thankfully, real estate agents are available who can provide comprehensive support to persistent homebuyers in any city or town.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of purchasing a house in a buyer's or seller's market and is happy to share his or her industry expertise with a homebuyer. By doing so, a real estate agent can provide valuable insights to help a homebuyer accomplish his or her goals.

In addition, a real estate agent offers plenty of support at each stage of the homebuying journey. He or she will learn about your homebuying aspirations, set up home showings and keep you up to date about new residences that become available. Plus, once you find your dream house, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer right away.

If you want to pursue your dream house, it may be beneficial to take a persistent approach to the housing market. With the aforementioned tips, you can enter the real estate market as a persistent homebuyer who knows exactly what he or she wants to find. Take advantage of these homebuying tips, and you can move closer to acquiring your ideal house.