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Area Information | 33 Posts
Buy a house | 12 Posts
Home Improvement | 24 Posts
Home Safety | 1 Posts
Home Security | 1 Posts
Moundsville, WV | 2 Posts
Sell Your Home | 11 Posts
West Virginia | 2 Posts
Wheeling, WV | 25 Posts
October
1

At First Choice Realtors, we have many licensed and professional Real Estate Agents. They live normal lives in our local community. They attend church here. They have kids and they have dogs. They shop at the same stores you do. Their kids go to the same local schools and play sports, are super fans, play in the band or they cheer. They are just simple, normal people. Normal people who care about helping other people sell their home or find them the perfect house. That is what sets us apart from the others. Our realtors love Real Estate, and they love their local communities. 

I recently spoke with a realtor and she gave me insight as to how her brain has been working after she became a realtor. Her family and her life are important to her, but now she has a whole new thing called "Realtor Brain." By that she means she now thinks like a realtor thinks…almost all the time. She now checks out all the houses she sees that are "for sale by owner." She now observes the curb appeal of homes. She evaluates in her head how much houses are worth. She visualizes her approach to how she would handle the selling of that home. She wonders how many bedrooms are in the house. Gone are the days of just admiring homes, now she analyzes them! 

She also told me about the real estate passion she has developed. The passion of engaging her mind and soul into each home she is selling. Never in her life has a job affected her like this. She feels renewed and alive! And looks forward to each person that entrusts her to find or sell a home for them. 

This brings me to the next part. Why would anyone not want someone like her helping them sell or find the right house for them? Some reasons why may include:

  1. They don't want to pay the commission
  2. They hate to give up control
  3. They don't trust a lot of people
  4. They don't want to think that someone else knows more than them about selling homes
  5. They may get upset that you can't give their home 24/7 attention like they could
  6. They totally think their house is worth way more than a professional would price it at.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people like this. And nine times out of ten, they try it on their own, and eventually realize they have bitten off more than they can chew and they end up calling a realtor. They didn't realize that one of the benefits of hiring one of our realtors is that we can set a fair price for your home, one that is competitive in the market, but still have wiggle room to negotiate if the buyer chooses. Our agents can read the situation in the market and advise you as it happens. Our agents also have the ability to speed up the process of selling your house. They can get a buyer, set up the price and help you with all the paperwork much quicker than you could alone. Our agents can offer you a level of speed and convenience that you just could not do on your own.    

Then there is the paperwork. A real estate contract is a legal banding agreement between you and a buyer. Would you be aware what contracts, addendendums and disclosures to use?   

Do you know what's customary for your area, length of contingency periods, escrows, financing and closing fees? Our agents know the answers to all of these questions. They know how to make sure you are properly protected, and the contract does not allow the buyer to cancel for any reason atter the day of closing.  

With all this being said, why not let one of our passionate "Realtor Brain" agents just take the burden off of you. After all, this is how they function everyday…they strive to help you sell or find the perfect home. Call First Choice Realtors today and let us take the headache and pressure off of you. First Choice Realtors….The Right Choice!  

September
12

Organizing your living room doesn't have to be a headache. Here's how you can make a functional layout.

What to do, what to do, now that you want to revamp your living room? Sure, you have an idea or two, but you may worry about investing in new furniture and other materials, and then when it's done, it won't work. How can you plan in a way where you improve the odds that you're going to be satisfied with the results in that fantastic home you acquired from Wheeling homes for sale?

Our real estate agents have put together some suggestions that can really boost the likelihood you'll love your living room once it's done. Here are some layouts, tested, tried, and found to be over-the-moon satisfactory by designers and homeowners all over, and also harmonizing with the latest trends in living room design. Study them. Meditate on them. Talk to your designer. And then get going.

  1. Classic one sofa: Sofa and accent pieces arranged opposite the focal point
    This classic layout can work for a large, spacious room or, minus a chair or side table, a smaller room. This layout is one of the most popular, with a sofa, end tables, three accent chairs, coffee table. It's flexible when compressing or spreading out the layout. Subtract the side tables if the room is too crowded; spread out the pieces if the room is large. Place a lone chair opposite the two accent chairs, or place it diagonally.  The two chairs together can match; the third should be different.

  2. Two sofas: Matching sofas placed opposite to stimulate conversation
    If your living room is missing a focal point such as a large tv or a fireplace, place two sofas opposite each other and create a conversation gathering place. You can still have a fireplace and use this arrangement; a couple of accent chairs will be placed at the end of the sofas, to complete the seating. If the room is large enough, you might create a more private conversation gathering place by a window.

  3. Sectional sofa: Chaise longue and attendant accent pieces in a larger room
    Another option for a large living room with a focal point is a sectional sofa with a couple of accent chairs, two side tables, and a coffee table. Place the chaise on either side. Place chairs at the diagonal if it suits you. Subtract a chair or side tables if it's looking crowded.

  4. Oversized sofa and credenza: Just right for a small room
    Choose an overstuffed couch for the blank walls; add a midcentury-type credenza opposite the TV and a couple of decorative items. The idea is to leave lots of open floor space. Choose a round coffee table to break up the strict linearity of the room. It will also reduce the chance of bumping into things.

  5. Living room plus office: Keep them separate
    Those with a home office in the living room need to follow a couple of dictates. Don't worry about hiding the office, but do reinforce that they are separate areas: one zone for relaxing and the other for working. Position your couch so that it faces away from your desk, and the desk so that it faces away from the living room.

Some additional memos:

  • Beware of matching pieces overmuch. Vary upholstery and shapes of tables.
  • If an outside door opens onto your living room, make sure your accent chairs are situated, so they don't catch the weather.
  • Keep in mind how high furniture is, and if it blocks the view that you want visitors to see.

Need more advice on your home's layout? Contact us today.

September
6

Enjoy the end of summer by dining outdoors at these Wheeling patios.

In these glorious days of late summer, some of us are still hesitant to dine in crowded indoor venues. Or else we just revel in the last vestiges of warm weather and want to enjoy it while we can, before the chilly breezes set in. Whichever it is, you'll want to get to know some great patios close to the house you bought from Wheeling homes for sale. Have a look at these venues and try one, or try them all ASAP, before winter comes.

Click Here to Read More...

September
1

You have been renting for years and recently the landlord just announced that your
rent will be increasing. AGAIN. You sit down and you do the math. All that money
every month basically just allows you to live there. You can't make the changes that
you would like to have, since it is not your property, and you have other restrictions
you must follow. Maybe it is time for you to start the whole process of owning your
own home. To finally make that monthly payment that is benefitting you and not
your landlord!


But before you start browsing through realtors' websites for that perfect home,
there are things you should do in advance that will save you a lot of time and
energy. It's called a Mortgage Pre-Approval. In addition to this, I would highly
recommend you call our local office of First Choice Realtors and speak with one of
our experienced, local, professional Realtors.


A mortgage pre-approval is a statement from a lender that says you are
qualified to borrow up to a certain amount. It is as close as you can get to
confirm your creditworthiness without having a purchase contract in place. You
complete a mortgage application and the back with verify all the information you
provide. If you get preapproved, you then receive a pre-approval letter which is an
offer to lend you a specific amount which is usually good for 90 days.
When you prequalify for a home loan, you are basically getting an estimate on what
amount you may be able to borrow all based on the information you provide about
your finances. Prequalification is also an opportunity to learn about all your
different options and work with your banker to identify the right fit for your needs
and goals.


What is the difference between a prequalification and a pre-approval?
Prequalification tends to refer to less rigorous assessments, while a
preapproval can require you share more personal and financial information
with a creditor. As a result, an offer based on a prequalification may be less
accurate or certain than an offer based on a preapproval.
It is important that you start this preapproval as soon as possible since this process
can take different amounts of time.

You will need to provide the following information to obtain a preapproval letter.

  1. Copies of your paystubs from your last 30 days of income.
  2. A credit check will be done.
  3. You will need to provide the bank or lending institution with your bank account numbers or two last recent bank statements
  4. Down payment amount and desired mortgage amount
  5. W-2 Statements and signed personal and business tax returns from the past two years.

Information you will need to provide for a Prequalifying letter is

  1. Income information
  2. A credit check will be done
  3. Basic information about bank accounts
  4. Down payment amount and desired mortgage amount
  5. No tax information is required.

How do you know which one is right for you? First time homeowners are more
likely to find that getting prequalified is helpful, especially when they are
establishing their homebuying budget and want an idea of how much they might be
able to borrow. Preapproval can be extremely valuable when it comes time to
make an offer on a home, especially in a competitive market where you might want
to stand out among other potential buyers.


Remember, a seller will be more likely to consider you a serious buyer
because you have had your finances and credit worthiness verified.
Once you get this process done, let First Choice Realtors find you the perfect
home! Let's get rolling!

August
10

Before you get too comfortable in your new home, make sure you stick to this advice.

Like any novice, a first-time homeowner is subject to making mistakes. We're not talking about paying too much down payment or buying a home without looking into its history for major structural problems, but more about scale, style of the home, and of the moving process. As you shop among Wheeling homes for sale, keep these tips in mind so that the house you buy will match how you intend to furnish it. Our real estate agents have gleaned this knowledge from design experts and others who can help first-time homeowners avoid regrets.

Click Here to Read More...

August
1

Can you believe it's August already? What happened to summer vacation break time?  Teachers and kids everywhere are probably growling pretty loudly now just thinking about returning to school. For the sports enthusiasts, they are feeling pretty darn happy just knowing that high school and college football is returning! Bring on the games and tailgating parties.

It's been a hot and humid summer for sure, and for some people, they are just excited knowing that cooler temps (hopefully) are on the way.

Parents everywhere will soon be in the school supply buying mode along with school clothes shopping for their kids! Back in my day, that was the highlight of the end of summer. New clothes! Back to school! 

And speaking of back to school, let's talk a little about school districts. To a lot of people, the school district they buy a house in means a lot, whether or not they have children. Why is this?   

If you do have children, the biggest reason to buy a home based on the school district is so you can provide them with a great, quality education. A good school district will offer the best education for your children. And for people that have special needs children, some districts have more services and additional curriculum that provides special needs children with more learning opportunities.

Now, if you don't have kids, living in a good school district can help increase your home's value over time. That's because neighborhoods with higher school ratings tend to have higher home values. Homes will go up and down in value, but an outstanding school district can make all the difference during a tough market. 

And finally, living in a good school district can increase your home's resale value. You may think a house is your "dream home" and plan to live there forever, but plans do change. If you find yourself in a position where you need to move in a few years, you want the resale value to be high. 

When you live in a good school district, there's a higher demand for homes in your area. That means not only will your resale value be higher, but your home could be on the market for less time. 

Of course, there are downsides to this, and buying based on the school district is no exception. If you live in an exceptional school district, you can plan on paying higher property taxes and paying a higher overall price. 

So, just exactly how do you find a home with a school district that suits your needs, especially if you are moving to another state and are not familiar with the schools?

Well, for one, you can use the Department of Education's database to find different statistics, data and demographics about school districts. This will help you determine the quality of the school and see information like test scores and rankings.  

OR, you can call First Choice Realtors. Our realtors can provide you the help and guidance you want when helping you find a home with a great school district. They have the resources and knowledge and will strive to help you find the perfect home for you in the perfect district. 

First Choice Realtors, the Right Choice.

July
26

Curious about Wheeling's past? Here's where you can discover its rich and important history.

Are you settling in nicely in the house you bought from Wheeling homes for sale? No doubt there's been a lot to do, but when you find some time, you'll want to get out and about and see the area. Wheeling has a lot to offer in the way of goods and services, recreation, and all the amenities that will enrich your family's life in your new setting. It's a unique town with some unusual places of interest — among them, some historic locations that evoke Wheeling's colorful past.

Our real estate agents have compiled some of the top sites to see if you'd like to get to know Wheeling's past a little better.

Click Here to Read More...

July
19

The best home improvement should save you money in the end. Here are the projects you should focus on this summer.

Summer is the perfect time to get outdoors. Warm weather brings sunshine, cool evening breezes, and new growth to your garden, but unfortunately, it can also increase your home maintenance costs. In Wheeling, our real estate agents know that hot temperatures can create summer challenges for homeowners.

During the summer, when buyers are looking for Wheeling homes for sale, it's important to protect your home from damage and reduce your maintenance costs. Here are some tips to keep your home in tip-top shape during the soaring summer heat.

Maintain Your Landscaping and Sprinklers

Summer heat can take quite a toll on your yard and garden, especially after a cold, harsh winter. When the ground freezes, your trees, shrubs, grass, and flower gardens can struggle to get enough nourishment for proper growth in the spring and summer. To keep your landscape looking its best during the summer heat, adequate water, and proper maintenance are essential.

  1. Check Your Sprinklers
    When the ground freezes, sprinkler pipes can burst, and sprinkler heads can get blocked or clogged. Check your sprinklers for adequate water flow, as well as leaks and drips that can quickly run up your summer water bills.

  1. Aerate Your Lawn
    If your grass looks thin or patchy, you may need to aerate your lawn to improve soil drainage, absorption of oxygen and nutrients, and root growth. Aerating your lawn will give you healthier grass, trees, and shrubs and prevent pesky summer weeds.

  1. Mow the Grass
    During the summer, it's best to mow your lawn once a week and keep grass 2-inches to 3-inches high. This helps to protect grass roots and soil from sun and heat. During hot weather, your lawn has to work twice as hard to stay healthy.

Do a Home Energy Audit

During summer months, home energy costs spike as air conditioners and appliances work overtime to keep up with soaring heat. To stay comfortable and save on energy bills, it's important to make sure your HVAC system and home appliances are working properly.

If the filter in your air conditioner is more than six months old, it's time to replace it. A clogged or dirty filter will make your HVAC system work harder, run longer, and put stress on working components. A new, fresh filter will ensure that you stay cooler and breathe healthier indoor air. If your HVAC system isn't cooling properly, call a professional technician for service before bigger problems arise.

To reduce summer energy costs, you should also check your home appliances to make sure they're working properly. If your energy bills are higher than normal, your refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, or washer and dryer may not be functioning at peak capacity. It may be time to upgrade to newer appliances with energy-efficient features.

Switch the Rotation of Ceiling Fans

If you rely on ceiling fans for cooler air during the summer, switching the direction of rotation to clockwise will increase circulating air and keep you more comfortable. For best circulation and healthier air, dust the fan blades regularly and make sure the blades are tightly connected, so they don't vibrate or wobble while the fan is running.

Reseal Windows and Doors

Resealing your windows and doors can keep your home cooler and cut summer energy costs. Without proper seals, your cool air from the A/C may be escaping outside. Small cracks around windows and doors can let the cool air out and the hot air in, making you uncomfortable and running up your energy bills.

If you're interested in buying or selling in Wheeling, contact us about available properties and prices in preferred areas.