Chris,Christopher Smith | Ashburn Real Estate


For home sellers, renting a storage unit may prove to be a great idea, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

A storage unit will make it simple to keep personal belongings like artwork and photographs out of sight while you sell your house. Plus, a storage unit offers a secure space for your personal belongings, one that you can quickly and effortlessly access at any time.

Although there are many wonderful reasons to rent a storage unit, choosing the right-size unit can be difficult, particularly for a first-time home seller. Lucky for you, we're here to help take the guesswork out of selecting a storage unit that suits you perfectly.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help a home seller choose the right-size storage unit.

1. Take a Look at the Items That You Need to Store

A home seller must do everything possible to remove clutter before listing a house. And with a storage unit at your disposal, you should have no trouble keeping excess items outside your residence.

Ultimately, it is important to make a list of the items that you want to place in storage before you rent a storage unit. This will help you determine exactly how much space you'll need based on the items on your list.

For example, if you need to store a bicycle, treadmill or other large items, you may want to choose a 10' x 15' storage unit. Or, if you need to store boxes of kitchen utensils, bathroom supplies and various small items, a 5' x 5' storage unit may prove to be the ideal choice.

2. Consider How Long You'll Need a Storage Unit

With the right-size storage unit, you can protect various personal belongings until a homebuyer purchases your residence.

As you explore your storage unit options, it often helps to create a budget. That way, you can ensure that you'll have sufficient finances available to cover the costs of a storage unit for an extended period of time.

If you are unsure about your long-term finances, you may want to rent a small storage unit, thereby resulting in affordable monthly storage unit rental costs. On the other hand, if you feel comfortable with your financial situation, you may be better equipped than others to select a large storage unit.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Determining how much space you'll need in a storage unit can challenge even the most diligent home seller. Thankfully, a real estate agent can help you prepare your residence for the housing market as well as make it easy to decide how much storage space you'll need.

A real estate agent can put you in touch with storage unit providers in your city or town. In addition, he or she can offer home decluttering tips and help you get excess items into the right-size storage unit in no time at all.

Ready to rent a storage unit? With the aforementioned tips, you can select the right-size storage unit to safeguard myriad personal belongings while you sell your house.



Preparing to list a house can be a stressful time for any home seller. Fortunately, we're here to help you alleviate stress as you get ready to add your home to the real estate market.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you minimize stress as you prepare to list your residence.

1. Reach Out to Family Members and Friends for Help

Family members and friends generally are ready to lend a helping hand whenever they can. As such, you should reach out to loved ones to help you reduce stress as you get ready to sell your house.

Remember, family members and friends have your best interests in mind. These loved ones will do whatever they can to assist you, even tough jobs like helping you clean your residence or remove clutter. Thus, you can work with family members and friends to ensure you can prepare your residence for the real estate market in no time at all.

2. Don't Hesitate to Contact Professionals

Perhaps one of the best ways for a home seller to minimize stress is to hire professional assistance. Because if you have professionals at your disposal, you can get the help you need to instantly enhance your house.

Whether it's home cleaners, landscapers or other professionals, you can quickly and effortlessly find plenty of top-notch professionals in your area to help you complete various home upgrades. If you hire any of these professionals today, you can accelerate the process of prepping your house for the real estate market.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you intend to sell your house and want to get the best-possible results, you should hire a real estate agent. With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive expert support to help you manage stress at each stage of the home selling journey.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you to learn about you and your home selling goals. He or she then will craft a personalized home selling strategy designed to help you accomplish your desired results as quickly as possible. Plus, a real estate agent can offer plenty of tips to help you upgrade your residence prior to adding it to the housing market.

A real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty throughout the home selling cycle too. He or she will set up open houses and home showings, promote your residence to the right groups of buyers and help you review offers to purchase your residence. Furthermore, if you ever have concerns or questions during the home selling journey, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them.

Stress can be problematic, particularly for a home seller who is unsure about how to prep his or her residence for the real estate market. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you should have no trouble improving your residence and ensuring it stands out to potential buyers.



As a home seller, receiving the first offer on your residence can be an exciting experience. However, the initial offer on your home may prove to be insufficient for a number of reasons, including:

1. The offer fails to meet your expectations.

Ideally, a home seller will allocate the necessary time and resources to fully analyze a house before adding it to the real estate market. This will enable a home seller to establish realistic expectations for his or her house and price it accordingly.

Conducting a home appraisal offers a great starting point for a home seller to determine the true value of a residence. This appraisal ensures a home inspector will examine a residence's interior and exterior. Then, the inspector will provide a report that details a house's strengths and weaknesses.

With a home appraisal report in hand, a home seller should have no trouble establishing a "fair" price for his or her residence. And if an initial offer falls short of this price, a home seller can politely decline the proposal and wait for additional offers.

2. The homebuyer has submitted a "lowball" proposal.

In some instances, a homebuyer may submit a "lowball" offer in the hopes of acquiring a terrific house at a budget-friendly price. If a home seller cannot differentiate between a reasonable offer and a lowball proposal, he or she risks missing out on an opportunity to optimize the value of a residence.

An informed home seller should examine the prices of available houses that are similar to his or her own. By doing so, this property seller can see how his or her residence stacks up against the competition and map out the home selling journey accordingly.

Moreover, an informed home seller will mow the front lawn, trim the hedges and do whatever it takes to enhance a house's curb appeal. This home seller likely understands the importance of making a positive first impression on homebuyers, and as a result, will perform assorted home exterior improvements to help reduce the risk of receiving a lowball initial offer.

3. The offer does not correspond to the current state of the housing market.

For a home seller, it is essential to work with a real estate agent who can provide full details about the current state of the housing market.

A real estate agent can help a home seller differentiate between a buyer's market and a seller's market. Plus, this housing market professional can provide honest, unbiased recommendations about whether a home seller should decline an initial offer on a home.

Many real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market experts are happy to help home sellers in any way they can. If you employ a real estate agent before you list your home, you can reap the benefits of unparalleled guidance at each stage of the home selling journey.

There is no reason to settle for a subpar initial offer on your residence. Instead, consider a first offer closely, and you can make an informed decision about whether to decline or accept it.



Do you ever wish that they taught a class in high school called, “Things You’ll Actually Need to Know In Life?” You’d learn how to prepare your taxes, what investing is, and how to buy a home.

Unfortunately, all of these important life lessons tend to be self-taught; you pick them up along the way and learn from your mistakes.

However, it needn’t be that way. Our goal today is to give you an accurate idea of what to expect when you’re buying your first home. We’ll go over a typically home buying timeline and discuss how long each step can take. This will give you a better idea of how long it will take to close on your first home.

Step 1: Build credit and save for a down payment

Estimated time: 2+ years

The first step of buying a home is to make sure you’re financially secure enough to do so. While there are ways to purchase a home with low or no down payments (See FHA, USDA, and VA loans), generally it’s wiser to wait until you have a sizable down payment saved. This will save you money in interest and mortgage insurance in the long run.

Next, you’ll need to start working on your credit. If your credit score took some hits due to late payments when you were younger, now is the time to start fixing those mistakes by making on-time payments and paying off outstanding balances.

Step 2: Have a plan for the next phase of your life

Estimated time 6+ months

One of the most important, and least talked about, parts of buying a home is understanding what it means to own a home. If you have a spouse, partner, or family, you’ll need to be in agreement that you’re prepared to stay in one place for the next 5 or more years.

Buying a home is expensive and you won’t want to go through the process of closing on a home if you aren’t sure you’ll stay. This means making sure your career won’t bring you elsewhere in the near future.

Step 3: Get prequalified and preapproved

Estimated time 1-3 days (depending on how much initiative you take)

Getting prequalified for a mortgage takes minutes. You simply fill out an online form and the lender will give you an idea of the type and size loan you could qualify for. Be forewarned: they’ll also use this information to call and bother you about getting a mortgage from them.

Once you’re prequalified, it’s just a matter of working with the lender to provide the correct documentation for pre-approval.

Getting preapproved takes a bit longer (1-3 days), since it requires a credit check and some work on your part--namely, gathering and sending income verification.

Once you’re preapproved, you can safely start shopping for homes without worrying that you’re wasting time looking at homes that are overbudget.

Step 4: House Hunting

Estimated time: 30+ days

It’s a seller’s market. So, if you’re buying a home right now there is competition out there. You’ll need to dedicate a substantial amount of time to researching homes online, contacting sellers’ agents, and following up on calls. Like before, the amount of effort you put into this process determines how quickly and smoothly you’ll get through it.

Step 5: Making an offer and closing

Estimated time: ~50 days

Average closing times for buying a home has grown to 50 days according to a recent study. However, by securing financing ahead of time and acting quickly, you can drastically cut down the time of these process to as little as two weeks.



When moving one of the room most families dread packing the most is their child’s. Overflowing toy boxes, stuff crammed under the beds, and who know’s what in the closet. It’s an epic task to take on, usually with just as much cleaning needed as packing. But with a move comes a new room and a clean slate. 

Here are my top tips to keeping an organized child’s room (and for longer than 2 hours):

The most important step is to downscale the amount of stuff your child has. Toys are usually the number one culprit when it comes to a child’s clutter. Plan a day to have a massive clean sweep with your child where you work together what toys stay and which need to go. The more you can clean out the less you’ll have to move and the easier it will be to organize at the new house.

As you decide what stays think about the different categories the remaining toys fall into it. Which does your child reach for the most? Do they like to play with trains and action figures at the same time but just legos by themselves? Asking yourself these questions will help you to create organizational categories that make sense to your child.

Once you have some categories decided on, think about how to organize them. What systems do you already have in place and how do they work for your child? One of the biggest stumbling blocks families face in maintaining an organized home with children is a lack of understanding for how much a child can handle.

Keeping things simple with baskets and buckets toys can be placed in can make a huge difference in how tidy a room stays. Zippered, closed, sectioned or stacked containers, especially for young children, are harder to manage. Paired with piles of toys a child can become quickly overwhelmed at cleanup time.

By cutting down on the number of toys your child has, organizing them in a way that makes sense to how your child plays with them and opting for open containers sets your child up for cleaning success. The simpler you can make it the easier it is for them to take on the task. Pairing this setup with learning habits like cleaning up one set of toys before moving on to another will keep your child’s room tidy for months, and even years, to come.

And the biggest secret to avoid clutter from building up again? Before each birthday, holiday or gift receiving event go through your child’s toy collection and clean out what they no longer use to make room for new toys. If you want to go even further, encourage friends and family to gift your child experiences instead of material goods for celebrations.