Stage Your Home For a Fast Sale

Today’s real estate market is crowded with inventory, so if you want to sell your home, it has to stand out. Staging, or making it appeal to the broadest possible group of people, is one way to do just that.

That means depersonalizing your home so buyers can visualize themselves living in it. Basic staging steps include:

* Neutralize—Put away family photos, religious items, collections.

* De-clutter—Pack up knick-knacks, clear off countertops, remove up to half your furniture. Consider renting a storage locker until your home sells.

* Rearrange—Arrange furniture so buyers can move smoothly through the home. Highlight rooms’ focal points, such as fireplaces, with furniture groupings.

* Let it shine—Clean or replace carpets, wash or paint walls, pressure-wash siding and decks, and scrub, scrub, scrub—especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Turn on all lights and open drapes for showings.

* Landscape—Mow and edge the lawn, trim the hedges, plant flowers. If your yard doesn’t look well-maintained, buyers will assume your home isn’t and drive on by.

If your funds are limited, spend money where it shows. Buyers form first impressions from your front door and foyer, so make sure they sparkle. Is the doorknob wobbly? The doorbell broken? The doormat shabby? If you’re debating replacing carpeting in the entryway or a back hallway, choose the entryway.

Be sure your changes make economic sense, though. Do normal maintenance, such as replacing stained, chipped countertops, but don’t install an expensive hot tub.

Consider hiring a professional stager. Realtors can recommend stagers, or you can consult the International Association of Home Staging Professionals’ website at Costs vary, but the National Association of Realtors reports that spending 1% to 3% of your home’s asking price will generally yield an 8% to 10% return.

Whether you’re fixing up your home for resale, or looking to buy a new home yourself, Hopewell Federal Credit Union can help. Stop by or call 740.522.8311 today. Visit us on the Web at

Make Money Your Own Way

Are you looking for ways to make money and maybe even help your family?

Even though the legal working age in the U.S. is 14, there are ways for you to make money before you first become employed.

Is babysitting the right fit?
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you decide to start babysitting:

* Do you like little kids?
* How did it work out when you took care of younger siblings?
* How do your parents feel about you babysitting?

If you want to babysit, the Red Cross offers a one-day babysitter training course that might be available in your area.

Sell, sell, sell!
If babysitting isn’t your gig, another fun way to make money is by selling your stuff. You can either sell old stuff you don’t want anymore, or make items for people to buy.

Ask your parents if they will help you host a garage sale. You can advertise your garage sale by putting up signs around your neighborhood and asking your parents to post about it on social media.

If you have a talent or hobby such as taking photos, painting, or making jewelry, you could also make money by starting your own business.

Big brain to big bucks
Are you a math whiz or a science pro? You can offer to tutor other kids in the subjects that you are best at.

Create flyers to hang up in different areas of your school district. Make sure to list the topics that you are an expert in.

And much more…
There are many more ways that you can earn money. Here are just a few ideas:

* Start a pet-sitting service.
* Ask your neighbors if they need someone to rake or mow their lawn.
* Get a group of friends together to have a car wash.

Always ask your parents for permission before you start any sort of moneymaking job.

When you make your own money, you help out your family and can always count on being able to afford a movie ticket or a new pair of shoes. No matter how you make money, don’t spend it all in one place!

Who Pays for College: Parents or Students?

There’s only one rule when it comes to determining which college expenses parents pay for and which ones students pay for: It’s whatever your family decides.

Sit down with your parents before you head out to college and have a discussion about money. Find out exactly what they are planning to cover and what is your responsibility.

Don’t forget to ask specific questions, such as:

      * Will you be able to provide for me financially while I’m in college? If so, how much and how often?
      * Will you pay me an allowance or a stipend weekly, biweekly, or monthly?
      * Do you expect me to work while enrolled in school? If so, where and for how many hours a week?

If parents and students decide that a part-time job is going to be a part of college finances, you should prepare now by creating a résumé so you’ll be ready to apply for on- or off-campus jobs.

Conducting your own financial prep rally isn’t as much fun as homecoming, but it will make your life easier by limiting your debt after graduation and reducing stress while you’re in school. Luckily, you aren’t the only member of your team. Your parents, financial aid counselors, on-campus money management offices, and Hopewell Federal Credit Union financial advisers can help you along the way.

With a little preparation, you’ll call your folks more to chat than to request emergency cash.