Working From Home? What Home Buyers Are Looking for Now!

With major employers now stating that their employees will be working from home for the foreseeable future, many homebuyers have adjusted their list of desirables in their next home. Some not only need to plan for a home office space, but also need to accommodate the homeschooling or distance learning needs of their children as well.

This is impacting the way homes are marketed and the type of features that have become important to buyers at all price points. Of course, homebuyers with larger budgets have the luxury of seeking homes with extra bedrooms or offices and dens already included. But many buyers are not as fortunate and need to find the needed space in more creative ways.

The easiest way to add working space is within the bedrooms. This offers the ability to close a door for privacy. Larger bedrooms (both in master and secondary bedrooms) have been a top priority for homebuyers. Another important feature is an open floorplan which features a Great Room design. For generations, kids have done their homework at the kitchen table, and a spacious kitchen/family room combo makes it easier for home learning without becoming cluttered. Another option for homebuyers is a separate formal dining room that could be converted to a workspace.

With all the changes in working and learning environments for both adults and kids, the home is even more important than ever. As needs change, homebuyers seek different features from their new dwellings.

Getting Outbid? Ways to Make Offer Stand Out

Summer is traditionally a busy time for buyers and sellers. This year has been no exception —and with lower interest rates, many homebuyers are finding the competitive environment challenging. With multiple buyers competing for properties, even terrific offers are often being outbid.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make your offer more attractive to the sellers and increase the chances of getting the property.
Have Full Pre-Approval – A step beyond pre-qualification, a pre-approval involves submitting your full application to underwriting. Your lender will collect all your financial data and submit for review. This is stronger than a pre-qualification; a pre-approval requires the buyer to provide proof of their ability to qualify for the loan.

Increase the Earnest Money – Earnest money is the deposit held in escrow. While the contract will dictate how monies are disbursed in the event of a cancellation, increasing the amount offered can show the seller you’re serious.

Add an Escalation Clause – In a bidding war, it can be difficult to know what to offer because you want to outbid the competition without going too high. An escalation clause is one way to automatically outbid the others. The clause typically offers an amount—$1,000 for example—higher than any verifiable offer up to a specific amount. This can ensure yours is the highest offer.

Pay any Appraisal Shortage – When offering more than the asking price, sellers become concerned about the appraisal coming in too low. If you are willing to pay over market value, include the amount of shortage you are willing to pay.

Remove Inspection Contingency – This option can be tricky, but if you are planning a large remodel or are willing to tackle any defects found, then you can make your offer stronger by accepting the home as-is.

In this fast-moving, competitive real estate market, it’s important to make your offer stand out from the crowd. These strategies are great ways to demonstrate to the sellers that you’re serious about buying their home, increasing the chance of having your offer accepted. Learn more about how we can help, you win the bid on your dream home today!! Contact the Stephanie MacDonald Team today.

7 Easy Ways to Spruce Up Your Home While Sheltering at Home

Everyone is spending more time at home right now. With so much time on our hands, it’s natural to want to spruce up our homes. While furniture stores and other retailers are closed, the good news is there are home improvement stores and online delivery to help us make the best use of this time and make some easy changes to freshen up our homes. Here are 7 ways to spruce up your home while sheltered in place.

  1. Outdoors – Big box home improvement stores are open and full of spring blooms; this is a great time to add color to your yard
  2. Update Your Kitchen – Kitchen trends have changed. Add some color to your space with modern paint or even a colorful appliance.
  3. Reimagine Your Living Room – With a little time to kill, try moving your living room furniture around for a fresh look. Visit a local big box store for decorative pillows, area rugs, frames, vases, and other décor details.
  4. Change Your Walls – An accent wall is an easy way to liven up your space. Invest a couple of hours to paint one of your walls a fresh color. Build a gallery wall with family or vacation pictures – anything that draws attention to the wall and interest to the room.
  5. Improve the Lighting – Simple things like installing new light bulbs or fixtures can really change the mood of a room.
  6. Plant a Garden – Whether inside or out, there’s no better time to try your hand at an herb or fresh vegetable garden.
  7. Clean and Organize – Take the time to finally tackle that cleaning project.

We’re all spending more time at home; as we appreciate our homes more, we can also take this opportunity to tackle some of the changes we’ve been wanting to make. If you like to know more about sprucing up your home contact us today.The MacDonald Team

Preparing Your Home for a Virtual Tour


Technology is helpful in so many areas of life, even real estate. Twenty years ago, if someone were moving across the country, they’d have to wait to buy a house until they arrived to start their new life, or they’d have to buy a home without seeing it in person beforehand. Both options would cause extra unwanted stress on top of moving to an unfamiliar place. Luckily, with the rise of technology, virtual tours are here to save the day

When it comes to creating a virtual tour, don’t panic. Your real estate agent will be there to guide you through the entire process. An agent may help to schedule a videographer to come to your house or utilize software like Matterport to create a virtual tour of their own that can be added to the listing. Real Estate Agents can also use FaceTime or other apps to
give their customers a tour of a house that doesn’t include a virtual tour of the listing.

There are a few ways to prepare your home before filming a virtual tour. Start by turning on all the lights in your home and opening the blinds or window coverings. You’ll need optimal lighting to get the best footage, so your realtor will most likely schedule filming in the morning or late afternoon. Take time to clean your house before the virtual tour and remove all clutter and any furniture you don’t want to be seen. Your realtor will help you with a simple staging of your home beforehand so it looks presentable in the video. The great thing about staging for a virtual tour is you’ll only have to keep it that way for a couple of hours before you can put everything back where it belongs.

Once the virtual tour of your house has been edited, it’ll be ready to show potential buyers. Your real estate agent will show you the final footage and add it to your listing. Anyone interested in taking a virtual tour can easily watch it online to get a good idea of what to expect in person.

When you’ve decided it’s time to sell your home, a virtual tour can be a great way to get more people to see it and secure a buyer in less time than a traditional open house. Not only does it give potential buyers a first glimpse, but it also ensures that only people who are seriously considering purchasing your home request a tour or show up to the open house

Ready to make your move? Give us a call and let’s chat—we’d love to help you make your real estate dreams a reality!

Have You Outgrown Your Home?

Many homeowners are surprised when they suddenly realize that the “perfect” home of just a few years ago no longer suits their needs. From an expanding family to an empty nest, it’s common for a home to no longer be the right fit. If you’re unsure if you’ve reached the point where a move is warranted, here are a few signs you’ve outgrown your home.

Outgrown Home
Have you outgrown your home?
  • More Kids than Rooms or More Rooms than Kids – Life changes and our homes must change also.
  • Clutter or Lack of Storage – Do you need more closet or storage space? A home with more space could be the answer.
  • Home Office – More and more companies are opting for telecommuting or home office workers, if your kitchen is your office, it might be time to look for a new home with extra room for a home office.
  • Outdoor Entertaining – Home design trends over the last couple of decades have seen a rise in outdoor living and entertaining areas. You might have simply outgrown your yard if you crave space for an outdoor living or dining area.
  • Lifestyle – The square footage might be fine, but you would prefer a different floorplan; more open, single-story, more windows, etc.

Your reasons for moving will be as unique as you are, but these are just a few considerations that indicate you might have outgrown your current home. Make sure your home still meets your needs and wants, then you’ll be able to decide if it’s time to move.

The Stephanie MacDonald Team has access to some amazing programs that make upgrading or downsizing your home easy. From Compass Concierge the hassle-free way to sell your home faster and for a higher price with services like staging, flooring, painting and more. To Compass Bridge Loan Services, a simple solution to bridge the gap between the home you have now and the home you want!

If you have any questions about upgrading your home, or if you’re looking for representation on your next purchase or sale, contact Stephanie MacDonald, ESQ. now.

The Stephanie MacDonald Team

Personalized Service. Proven Results. Serving the Mainline, Center City Philadelphia and South Jersey.

610-246-1048 Stephanie@themacdonaldteam.com

Top 7 Home New Year’s Resolutions

With the start of the New Year, thoughts naturally turn to change. If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to sell your home, then making the right resolutions can help you sell your home quickly and for the best possible return.

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  1. Move Up Spring Cleaning – Time to do your spring cleaning now. Declutter,
    depersonalize and make the home look roomier.
  2. Stage Your Home – Whether you hire someone or do it yourself, this is the time to rearrange your furniture to make your rooms look bigger and brighter.
  3. Think it Through – Before you spend money on renovations and upgrades, think
    carefully and don’t overspend by guessing.
  4. Take Care of Neglected Repairs – This is a great time to hire a handyman or break out the tool belt to take care of deferred maintenance and take care of minor repairs.
  5. Interview Real Estate Agents – Hiring a real estate agent is critical to your success. Take the time to interview a number of agents and choose the right one for your needs.
  6. Check out the Competition – Go see homes listed for sale in your area and adjust your timing, staging, and pricing based on the market.
  7. Prepare Mentally – Selling a home can be stressful. Be prepared for low offers, picky buyers, drop-by agents, and odd terms. Prepare yourself now so you will take them in stride when you’re on the market.

Choosing the right agent is crucial to stress-free and easy home buying or selling on the Main Line, Center City and Southern New Jersey. The right agent has the resources and expertise to guide you through the process, every step of the way. If you have any questions or you’re ready to get started, please do not hesitate to call or email us. We’d love to hear from you!

The Stephanie MacDonald Team | 610-246-1048 | stephanie@themacdonaldteam.com