May 7, 2021
Why Waiting to Buy a Home Could Cost You a Small Fortune
Many people are sitting on the fence trying to decide if now’s the time to buy a home. Some are renters who have a strong desire to become homeowners but are unsure if buying right now makes sense. Others may be homeowners who are realizing that their current home no longer fits their changing needs.
To determine if they should buy now or wait another year, they both need to ask two simple questions:
- Do I think home values will be higher a year from now?
- Do I think mortgage rates will be higher a year from now?
Let’s shed some light on the answers to these questions.
Where will home prices be a year from now?
If you average the most recent projections from the major industry forecasters, the expectation is home prices will increase by 7.7%. Let’s take a house that’s valued today at $325,000 as an example.
If the buyer makes a 10% down payment ($32,500), they’ll end up borrowing $292,500 for their mortgage. Applying the projected rate of home price appreciation, that same house will cost $350,025 next year. With a 10% down payment ($35,003), they’d then have to borrow $315,022.
Therefore, as a result of rising home prices alone, a prospective buyer will have to put down an additional $2,503 and borrow an additional $22,523 just for waiting a year to make their move.
Where will mortgage rates be a year from now?
Today, mortgage rates are hovering around 3%. However, most experts believe they’ll rise as the economy continues to recover. Any increase in the mortgage rate will also increase a purchaser’s cost. Here are the forecasts for the first quarter of 2022 from four major entities:
The projections average out to 3.6% among these four forecasts, a jump up from where they are today.
What does it mean to you if home values and mortgage rates increase?
A buyer will pay a lot more in mortgage payments each month if both of these variables increase. Assuming a buyer purchases a $325,000 home this year with a 30-year fixed-rate loan at 3% after making a 10% down payment, their monthly principal and interest payment would be $1,233.
That same home one year from now could be $350,025, and the mortgage rate could be 3.6% (based on the industry forecasts mentioned above). That monthly principal and interest payment, after putting down 10%, totals $1,432.
The difference in the monthly mortgage payment would be $199. That’s $2,388 more per year and $71,640 over the life of the loan.
Add to that the approximately $25,000 a house with a similar value would build in home equity this year as a result of home price appreciation, and the total net worth increase a purchaser could gain by buying this year is nearly $100,000. That’s a small fortune.
When asking if they should buy a home, many potential buyers think of the nonfinancial benefits of owning a home. When asking when to buy, the financial benefits make it clear that doing so now is much more advantageous than waiting until next year.
May 5, 2021
Are Interest Rates Expected to Rise Over the Next Year?
May 4, 2021
So far this year, mortgage rates continue to hover around 3%, encouraging many hopeful homebuyers to enter the housing market. However, there’s a good chance rates will increase later this year and going into 2022, ultimately making it more expensive to borrow money for a home loan. Here’s a look at what several experts have to say.
“Our long-term view for mortgage rates in 2021 is higher. As the economic outlook strengthens, thanks to progress against coronavirus and vaccines plus a dose of stimulus from the government, this pushes up expectations for economic growth . . . .”
“In 2021, I think rates will be similar or modestly higher . . . mortgage rates will continue to be historically favorable.”
“We forecast that mortgage rates will continue to rise through the end of next year. We estimate the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will average 3.4% in the fourth quarter of 2021, rising to 3.8% in the fourth quarter of 2022.”
Below are the most recent mortgage rate forecasts from four top authorities – Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and NAR:
If you’re planning to buy a home, purchasing before mortgage interest rates rise may help you save significantly over the life of your home loan.
4 Big Incentives for Homeowners to Sell Now
The housing market keeps sailing along. The only headwind that could take it off course is the lack of inventory for sale. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that there were 410,000 fewer single-family homes for sale this March than in March of 2020. The key to continued success in the residential housing market is for more listings to come on the market. However, many homeowners are concerned that selling their homes could be challenging for several reasons.
Recently, Homes.com released the findings of a survey that identified these concerns, as well as what it will take for homeowners to feel comfortable selling their houses. Here are the four major homeowner concerns and a quick explanation of what’s actually happening in the housing market today.
1. Homeowners don’t know if they’ll be able to secure their next home before selling.
In negotiations, leverage is the power that one side may have to influence the other side while moving closer to their negotiating position. A party’s leverage is based on the ability to award benefits or eliminate costs on the other side.
In today’s market, buyers have compelling reasons to purchase a home now:
- To own a home of their own
- To buy before prices continue to appreciate
- To secure a mortgage at a historically low rate, while they last
These buyer needs give the seller tremendous leverage. Most already realize this leverage enables the homeowner to sell at a good price. However, this leverage may also be used to negotiate time to find their next home. The homeowner could sell their home to the buyer at today’s price, which will enable the purchaser to take advantage of current mortgage rates. In return, the buyer might lease the house back to the seller for a pre-determined length of time while the seller finds a new home or has one built.
This gives the buyer what they want while also giving the seller what they need. It’s a true win-win negotiation.
2. Homeowners don’t know if their current home will sell for the asking price or top market price.
This is the perfect time to maximize profits while selling a house. NAR just released a study showing that bidding wars are at an all-time high. The study reveals that when comparing the first quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year, the number of offers on homes for sale doubled from an average of 2.4 to 4.8 offers.
Whenever there’s a bidding war, the price of the item for sale escalates. Bloomberg recently reported:
“For the first time ever, the average U.S. home is selling for above its list price.”
If a seller is looking for a top-dollar sale, there’s no better time to sell than right now.
3. Homeowners don’t know if they will get an offer without their home requiring work or updates.
Again, leverage is the greatest strength a seller has in this market. Due to the lack of homes for sale, many buyers are more willing to take on home improvement projects themselves in order to get the home they’re after.
A recent post on whether or not to renovate before selling notes:
“It may be wise to let future homeowners remodel the bathroom or the kitchen to make design decisions that are best for their specific taste and lifestyle. As a seller, your dollars and time might be better spent working on small cosmetic updates, like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior. Instead of over-investing in your home with upgrades that the buyers may change anyway, work with a real estate professional to determine the key projects that will maximize your listing, without overdoing it.”
If a seller is worried about doing work or updates on their home, they must realize that today’s historically low inventory likely renders these projects less critical to the sale of the house.
4. Homeowners don’t know if they can have a quick closing process.
When speed is important, there are two points sellers should look at:
- The time it takes to find a buyer for the home
- The time it takes to close the transaction
In the latest Existing Home Sales Report, NAR explains:
“Properties typically remained on the market for 18 days in March, down from 20 days in February and from 29 days in March 2020. Eighty-three percent of the homes sold in March 2021 were on the market for less than a month.”
Eighteen days is fast, and it’s a new record. Here are the days the average house is on the market in each state:Regarding the time it will take to close the transaction, all-cash sales accounted for 23% of all home purchase transactions in March. All-cash sales can usually be closed in thirty days.
If a mortgage is necessary, the most recent Origination Insight Report from Ellie Mae shows:
“Time to close all loans decreased in March. The average time to close a purchase fell to 51 days, down from 53 the month prior.”
If you’re looking for a quick closing process, there’s never been a market in which the two-step process (finding a buyer and closing the deal) has taken less time.
Selling your house can be daunting, especially in a fast-paced market. However, the fact that we’re in such a strong sellers’ market clearly eliminates many common concerns. Let’s connect today so you can learn more about the opportunities for homeowners who are ready to sell.
March 10, 2021
Home Prices: What Happened in 2020? What Will Happen This Year?
The real estate market was on fire during the second half of 2020. Buyer demand was way up, and the supply of homes available for sale hit record lows. The price of anything is determined by the supply and demand ratio, so home prices skyrocketed last year. Dr. Lynn Fisher, Deputy Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Division of Research and Statistics, explains:
“House prices nationwide recorded the largest annual and quarterly increase in the history of the FHFA Home Price Index. Low mortgage rates, pent up demand from homebuyers, and a limited housing supply propelled every region of the country to experience faster growth in 2020 compared to a year ago despite the pandemic.”
Here are the year-end home price appreciation numbers from the FHFA and two other prominent pricing indexes:
The past year was truly a remarkable time for homeowners as prices appreciated substantially. Lawrence Yun, Senior Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), reveals:
“A typical homeowner in 2020, just by being a homeowner, would have accumulated around $24,000 in housing wealth.”
What will happen with home prices this year?
Many experts believe buyer demand will soften somewhat as mortgage rates are poised to bump up slightly. Some also believe the inventory challenge will ease as more listings come to market this year.
Based on this, most forecasters anticipate we’ll see strong appreciation in 2021 – but not as strong as last year. Here are seven prominent groups and their projections:
Home price appreciation will be strong this year, but it won’t reach the historic levels of 2020. Let’s connect if you’d like to find out what your house is currently worth in our local market.
February 24, 2021
How Much Leverage Do Today’s House Sellers Have?
The housing market has been scorching hot over the last twelve months. Buyers and their high demand have far outnumbered sellers and a short supply of houses. According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), sales are up 23.7% from the same time last year while the inventory of homes available for sale is down 25.7%. There are 360,000 fewer single-family homes for sale today than there were at this time last year. This increase in demand coupled with such limited supply is leading to more bidding wars throughout the country.
Rose Quint, Assistant Vice President for Survey Research with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), recently reported:
“The number one reason long-time searchers haven’t made a home purchase is not because of their inability to find an affordably-priced home, but because they continue to get outbid by other offers.”
A survey in the NAHB report showed that 40% of buyers have been outbid for a home they wanted to purchase. This is more than twice the percentage in 2019, which was 19%.
What does this mean for sellers today?
It means sellers have tremendous leverage when negotiating with buyers.
In negotiations, leverage is the power that one side may have to influence the other side while moving closer to their negotiating position. A party's leverage is based on its ability to award benefits or eliminate costs on the other side.
In today’s market, a buyer wants three things:
- To buy a home
- To buy now before prices continue to appreciate
- To buy now and take advantage of historically low mortgage rates while they last
These three buyer needs give the homeowner tremendous leverage when selling their house. Most realize this leverage enables the seller to sell at a good price. However, there may be another need the seller has that can be satisfied by using this leverage.
Here’s an example:
Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, recently identified a situation in which many sellers are finding themselves today:
“As mortgage rates are expected to remain near 3%, millennials continue to form households and more existing homeowners tap their equity for the purchase of a better home…Many homeowners may want to upgrade, but do not for fear that they will be unable to find a home to buy.”
She then offers a possible solution:
“While the fear of not being able to find something to buy will not disappear in a limited supply environment, new housing supply can incentivize existing homeowners to move.”
There’s no doubt many sellers would love to build a new home to perfectly fit their changing wants and needs. However, most builders require that they sell their house first. If the seller sells their home, where would they live while their new home is being constructed?
Going back to the concept of leverage:
As mentioned, buyers have compelling reasons to purchase a home now, and many homeowners have challenges to address if they want to sell. Perhaps they can make a deal to satisfy each party’s needs. But how?
The seller may decide to sell their home to the buyer at today’s price, which will enable the purchaser to take advantage of current mortgage rates. In return, the buyer might lease the house back to the seller for a pre-determined length of time while the seller’s new home is being built. A true win-win negotiation.
Not every buyer will agree to such a deal – but you only need one.
That’s just one example of how a seller might be able to overcome a challenge because of the leverage they have in today’s market. Maybe you feel a need to make certain repairs before selling. Perhaps you need time to get permits or approvals for certain upgrades you made to the house. Whatever the challenge, you may be able to work it out.
If you’re considering selling your house now but worry a huge obstacle stands in your way, let's connect. Maybe with the leverage you currently have, you can negotiate a deal that will allow you to make the move of your dreams.
February 17, 2021
3 Ways Home Equity Can Have a Major Impact on Your Life
There have been a lot of headlines reporting on how homeowner equity (the difference between the current market value of your home and the amount you owe on your mortgage) has dramatically increased over the past few years. CoreLogic indicated that equity increased for the average homeowner by $17,000 in the last year alone. ATTOM Data Solutions, in their latest U.S. Home Equity Report, revealed that 30.2% of the 59 million mortgaged homes in the United States have at least 50% equity. That doesn’t even include the 38% of homes that are owned free and clear, meaning they don’t have a mortgage at all.
How can equity help a household?
Having equity in your home can dramatically impact your life. Equity is like a savings account you can tap into when you need cash. Like any other savings, you should be sensible in how you use it, though. Here are three good reasons to consider using your equity.
1. You’re experiencing financial hardship (job loss, medical expenses, etc.)
Equity gives you options during difficult financial times. With equity, you could refinance your house to get cash which may ease the burden. It also puts you in a better position to talk to the bank about restructuring your home loan until you can get back on your feet.
Today, there are 2.7 million Americans who are currently in a forbearance program because of the pandemic. Ninety percent of those in the program have at least 10% equity. That puts them in a better position to get a loan modification instead of facing foreclosure because many banks will see the equity as a form of collateral in a new deal. If you’re in this position, even if you can’t get a modification, the equity allows you the option to sell your house and walk away with your equity instead of losing the house and your investment in it.
2. You need money to start a new business
We’ve all heard the stories about how many great American companies started in the founder’s garage (i.e., Disney, Hewlett Packard, Apple, Yankee Candle, Keeping Current Matters). What we might not realize, however, is the garage (along with the rest of the home) supplied the start-up money for many of these companies in the form of a refinance.
If you’re passionate about an idea you have for a new product or service, the equity in your home may enable you to make that dream a reality.
3. You want to invest in a loved one’s future
It’s been a long-standing tradition in this country for many households to help pay college expenses for their children. Some have tapped into the equity in their homes to do that.
Additionally, George Ratiu, Senior Economist for realtor.com, notes:
“52% of Americans who bought their first home in 2020 said they got help with their down payment from friends or family. The number one lender? Their parents.”
It’s safe to assume a percentage of that down payment money likely came from home equity.
Savings in any form is a good thing. The forced savings you can earn from making a mortgage payment enables you to build wealth through home equity. That equity can come in handy in both good and more challenging times.
February 11, 2021
What Record-Low Housing Inventory Means for You
The real estate market is expected to do very well in 2021, with mortgage rates that are hovering at historic lows and forecasted by experts to remain favorable throughout the year. One challenge to the housing industry, however, is the lack of homes available for sale today. Last week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Home Sales Report, which shows that the inventory of homes for sale is currently at an all-time low. The report explains:
“Total housing inventory at the end of December totaled 1.07 million units, down 16.4% from November and down 23% from one year ago (1.39 million). Unsold inventory sits at an all-time low 1.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 2.3 months in November and down from the 3.0-month figure recorded in December 2019. NAR first began tracking the single-family home supply in 1982.”
(See graph below):
What Does This Mean for You?
If You’re a Buyer:
Be patient during your home search. It may take time to find a home you love. Once you do, however, be ready to move forward quickly. Get pre-approved for a mortgage, be prepared to make a competitive offer from the start, and know that a shortage in inventory could mean you’ll enter a bidding war. Calculate just how far you’re willing to go to secure a home and lean on your real estate professional as an expert guide along the way. The good news is, more inventory is likely headed to the market soon, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, notes:
"To their credit, homebuilders and construction companies have increased efforts to build, with housing starts hitting an annual rate of near 1.7 million in December, with more focus on single-family homes…However, it will take vigorous new home construction in 2021 and in 2022 to adequately furnish the market to properly meet the demand."
If You’re a Seller:
Realize that, in some ways, you’re in the driver’s seat. When there’s a shortage of an item at the same time there’s a strong demand for it, the seller is in a good position to negotiate the best possible terms. Whether it’s the price, moving date, possible repairs, or anything else, you’ll be able to request more from a potential purchaser at a time like this – especially if you have multiple interested buyers. Don’t be unreasonable, but understand you probably have the upper hand.
The housing market will remain strong throughout 2021. Know what that means for you, whether you’re buying, selling, or doing both.
February 10, 2021
Why Owning a Home Is a Powerful Financial Decision
In today’s housing market, there are clear financial benefits to owning a home: increasing equity, the chance to build your net worth, and appreciating home values, just to name a few. If you’re a renter, it’s never too early to think about how homeownership can propel you toward a stronger future. Here’s a dive into three often-overlooked financial benefits of homeownership and how preparing for them now can steer you in the direction of greater financial security and savings.
1. You Won’t Always Have a Monthly Housing Payment
Personal finance advisor Dave Ramsey explains:
“Every payment brings you closer to owning the house. When you pay your rent, that money is spent. Gone. Bye. Not returning. But when you pay your mortgage, you work toward full ownership.”
As a homeowner, you can eventually eliminate the monthly payment you make on your house. That’s a huge win and a big factor in how homeownership can drive stability and savings in your life. As soon as you buy a home, your monthly housing costs begin to work for you as forced savings in the form of equity. When you build equity and grow your net worth, you can continue to reinvest those savings into your future, maybe even by buying that next dream home. The possibilities are truly endless.
2. Homeownership Is a Tax Break
One thing people who have never owned a home don’t always think about are the tax advantages of homeownership. The same article states:
“You have tax advantages. Many of the costs of owning a home—like property taxes—are tax-deductible. And if you’re paying off a mortgage, you’ll get to count your mortgage interest as a deduction when you file your tax return.”
Whether you’re living in your first home or your fifth, it’s a huge financial advantage to have some tax relief tied to the interest you pay each year. It’s one thing you definitely don’t get when you’re renting. Be sure to work with a tax professional to get the best possible benefits on your annual return.
3. Monthly Housing Costs Are Predictable
A third benefit is the fact that monthly costs start to become more predictable with homeownership, something that doesn’t happen if you’re renting. Ramsey also notes:
“Rent rates will go up. Even if you found a killer deal in a hot area, inflation, competition, and rising property values will cause your rent to go up year after year.”
With a mortgage, you can keep your monthly housing costs relatively steady and predictable. Your monthly costs are most likely based on a fixed-rate mortgage, which allows you to budget your finances over a longer period of time. Rental prices have been skyrocketing since 2012, and with today’s low mortgage rates, it’s a great time to get more for your money when purchasing a home. If you want to lock-in your monthly payment at a low rate and have a solid understanding of what you’re going to spend in your mortgage payment each month, buying a home may be your best bet.
If you’re ready to start feeling the benefits of stability, savings, and predictability that come with owning a home, let’s connect to determine if buying sooner rather than later is right for you.
January 9, 2021
Is This the Year to Sell My House?
December 11, 2020
If one of the questions you’re asking yourself is, “Should I sell my house this year?” consumer sentiment about selling today should boost your confidence in the right direction. Even with the current health crisis that continues to challenge our nation, Americans still feel good about selling a house. Here’s why.
According to the latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index from Fannie Mae, 57% of consumer respondents to their survey indicate now is a good time to buy a home, while 59% feel it’s a good time to sell one:
“The percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to sell a home remained the same at 59%, while the percentage who say it’s a bad time to sell decreased from 35% to 33%. As a result, the net share of those who say it is a good time to sell increased 2 percentage points month over month.”
As you can see, many still believe that, despite everything going on in the world, it is still a good time to sell a house.
Why is now a good time to sell?
There simply are not enough homes available to meet today’s buyer demand, and they’re selling just as quickly as they’re coming to the market. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), unsold inventory available today sits at a 2.3-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from a 2.5-month supply from the previous month. This record-low inventory is not even half of what we need for a normal or neutral housing market, which should have a 6.0-month supply of unsold inventory to balance out.
With so few homes available for buyers to choose from, we’re in a true sellers’ market. Homeowners ready to make a move right now have the opportunity to negotiate the best possible contracts with buyers who are feeling the pull of intense competition when it comes to finding their dream home. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR, notes how quickly homes are selling right now, further confirming the benefits to sellers this season:
"The market is incredibly swift this winter with the listed homes going under contract on average at less than a month due to a backlog of buyers wanting to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates."
However, this sweet spot for sellers won’t last forever. As more homes are listed this year, this tip toward sellers may start to wane. According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, more choices for buyers are on the not-too-distant horizon:
“The bright spot for buyers is that more homes are likely to become available in the last six months of 2021. That should give folks more options to choose from and take away some of their urgency. With a larger selection, buyers may not be forced to make a decision in mere hours and will have more time to make up their minds.”
If you’re ready to make a move, you can feel good about the current sentiment in the market and the advantageous conditions for today’s sellers. Let’s connect today to determine the best next step when it comes to selling your house this year.
Why It Makes Sense to Sell Your House This Holiday Season
If you’re one of the many homeowners thinking about taking your house off the market for the holidays, hang on. You definitely don’t want to miss the great selling opportunity you have right now. Here’s why this month is the optimal time to make sure your house is available for holiday buyers.
The latest Existing Home Sales Report from The National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the inventory of houses for sale has dropped to an astonishing all-time low. It now sits at a 2.5-month supply at the current sales pace.
Historically, a 6-month supply is necessary for a ‘normal’ or ‘neutral’ market, in which there are enough homes available for active buyers (See graph below):When the supply of houses for sale is as low as it is today, it’s much harder for buyers to find homes to purchase. This means competition among purchasers rises and more bidding wars take place, making it essential for buyers to submit very attractive offers.
As this happens, prices rise and sellers are in the best position to negotiate deals that meet their ideal terms. So, if your neighbors decide to remove their listings this season, your house may quickly rise to the top of a holiday buyer’s wish list if you stay on the market.
Today, there are many buyers who are ready, willing, and able to purchase. Record-low mortgage rates and a year filled with unique changes have prompted buyers to think differently about where they live and to take action. The supply of homes for sale is not keeping up with this high demand, making now the optimal time to sell your house.
Home prices are appreciating in today’s sellers’ market. Making your home available over the next few weeks will give you the most exposure to buyers who will be actively competing against each other to purchase it.
November 6, 2020
WHICH DOWN PAYMENT STRATEGY IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20-percent down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders. But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment - as low as three percent - rather than parting with so much cash upfront, even if you have the money available.
The national average for home appreciation is about five percent. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20 percent or three percent, the increase in equity is the same. If you're looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.
The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You'll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years, and the lower your down payment, the more you'll pay. You'll be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20-percent down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search.
THE HAPPY MEDIUM
Of course, your home payment options aren't binary. Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional twenty percent and an investment-focused, small down payment. Your trusted real estate professional can provide some answers as you explore your financing options.
October 23, 2020
The Best Advice - Get Pre-Approved
Most real estate agents and lenders highly recommend that you, as a home buyer, get pre-approved with a lender before selecting a home to purchase. This way, you will have the best information about the right price range for your pocketbook. Here are nine great reasons to get pre-approved before you start looking for the house of your dreams.
1. Pre-approval determines which loan program best fits your needs.
2. You won't waste your time getting emotionally attached to homes you cannot afford.
3. You are ready to write and present an offer on the home you really want when you find it.
4. Your buyer specialist broker can give a pre-approval letter for you.
5. In today's market, with multiple offers on properties, pre-approval puts you in a much better negotiating position.
6. You will know the amount needed for down-payment and closing costs.
7. If you are a first-time buyer, you may be able to qualify for a special first-time buyer program that may allow you to afford more home for your money.
8. If you feel you would like and can afford a higher mortgage payment other options may be available.
9. Peace of Mind
October 9, 2020
September 25, 2020
A HEADS UP WHILE BUYING A HOUSE - COSTS TO BE AWARE OF
With interest rates being at an all-time low, it is the prime time to buy a home. Before jumping into it, it is smart to go into the home buying process with some knowledge. One of those things to be aware of is what costs you will have on top of the actual purchase of the home. Here are five expenditures to keep in mind as you are budgeting for your new home.
1) Home Inspection - This is a crucial step as you are buying your home. The findings that come from the inspection can help you negotiate price and repairs. Generally, you can expect to pay between $300 to $500 depending on the home and the location.
2) Title Services - Title services encompass the transfer of the title from the seller and a thorough search of the property's records to ensure that no one will pop up with a claim to the property. Additionally, you may need to buy title insurance which will protect the lender or your investment in the home.
3) Appraisal fee - Before getting a loan, you will likely be required to get an appraisal of the home to determine its estimated value. This will be conducted by a third-party company and the cost can land anywhere between $300 and $1000, depending on the size of the home.
4) HOA fees - Many communities have a homeowners' association that enforces monthly fees. This money is used for general maintenance and updates to areas like pools, parks, and more. Typical HOA fees are around $200 to $300 per month.
5) Taxes - the taxes each buyer pays at the closing table differ, but it is now uncommon for it to be up to two months' worth of country and city property taxes. Additionally, there may be taxes for the transfer of the home title.
August 5, 2020
To Stage or Not to Stage...
Seven Benefits for Staging Your Home
While decluttering, cleaning, painting, and minor repairs will prepare your home for sale, staging is the process for showcasing your home for sale. Why stage your home? According to a 2011 study conducted by Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) homes that previously failed to sell actually sold in 73% less time after they were professionally staged. Another study done by RESA showed that professionally staged homes sold 79% faster than similar homes that were not staged.
Here are seven benefits to staging your home.
1. Professionally staged homes present and show better than competing houses for sale, including new construction homes and higher-priced houses.
2. Staged properties will sell faster when compared with houses that have not been staged. From the date of listing until the day of closing, home staging shortens this time frame, even in a slow real estate market.
3. Staged properties can increase the number of offers and the selling price in hot markets.
4. Buyers view professionally staged listings as "well-maintained".
5. Buyers' agents recognize that professionally staged listings are "move-in" ready and are inclined to show staged properties.
6. Photos of professionally staged listings look better on the MLS, as well as in print.
7. Professionally staged listings "Stand-Out" in prospective buyers' minds.
(source: Real Estate Staging Association)
July 29, 2020
Eight Common Home Buyer Mistakes and Tips to Avoid Them
Hi, I’m Brian Davis with Eagle Rise Real Estate as many of you know the current real estate market is very competitive right now. There area whole lot of buyers coming into the market and not a lot of real estate inventory available right now. There are a lot of first-time home buyers also in the market. I’ve been very fortunate lately to be able to help a number of first-time home buyers get into their first home. One of the things that I want to address in this particular video is eight common mistakes that first-time home buyers often make and eight tips to avoid making those mistakes.
The first mistake first-time home buyers often make is they start shopping for a house before actually getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This is a critical mistake because it is such a competitive market and houses go so quickly that if you haven’t gotten pre-approved ahead of time the house will actually be gone to another buyer before you are actually able to submit an offer on the house. You need to be able to show the seller that you can afford the house and that you have been approved for the dollar amount that you are making an offer for. So if you wait, you’ll lose it.
The tip to avoid this particular mistake is to get pre-approved by a mortgage broker ahead of time. They’re trained to be able to look at your income and your expenses and determine exactly what your top dollar is that you can get pre-approved for, as well as how much you can actually afford on a monthly basis. This will give you peace of mind when you are actually making that offer, that you can go in with confidence and you can actually give it your best offer that you possibly can if you really want that house.
The second mistake first-time home buyers often make is they use all of their savings to actually purchase the house. They don’t save any money at all in reserves. And all of a sudden, they have some kind of a family emergency or some kind of crisis that is going to require an outlay of money and they don’t have it available to them. That creates tremendous amounts of stress to be able to make that monthly mortgage payment and keep up on things when you have no cash reserves.
The tip to avoiding this particular mistake is to calculate ahead of time the closing costs and the down payment and how much money you are actually going to need to get into the house before you start making those monthly payments. Talk to your real estate broker about some of the first-time home buyer programs that are available. So, you want to make sure you have enough reserves and it is calculated through before you actually make that offer so that not only do you have that peace of mind that you can get into the house but that you can stay in the house.
The third mistake first-time home buyers often make is that they are not decisive. They wait and they’re hesitant and anxious about making that offer. So, they go home and sleep on it and then they get back to their real estate broker the next day and say, “Yes, we definitely want to go with it” and then it’s too late. Somebody else has already made an offer on the house and the house that they really, really want, that they have contemplated and thought about has now gone to somebody else.
The tip to avoiding this particular first-time home buyer mistake is to spend time ahead of time is to spend time evaluating what your wants are and your needs are. Take a close look at a lot of different homes and what they are actually selling for. Also take a close look in terms of how many days on market, how quickly do they come on to the market, and right back off into pending status. So, the solution to this is to spend time and know exactly what you want so that you can pull the trigger when you find it.
The fourth mistake first-time home buyers often make is that they avoid the drawbacks of a particular home or a neighborhood. They fall in love with the house so quickly that they really are blinded to some of the negatives of the neighborhood or the house itself.
The tip to avoiding this particular mistake is two-fold. One, I would encourage you to spend more time finding what’s appealing to you, what are the traffic patterns, how long does it take you to commute into work, what are the schools, restaurants… is this an area that you want to live in? Secondly, as you’re starting to look at houses make a little list of pros and cons of each particular house, things that you like and that you don’t like. That way maybe you fall in love with a house that has a lot of issues and things that are going to need to be addressed that maybe you don’t want in your very first house.
The fifth mistake that first-time home buyers often make is that they get their emotions involved and they get so excited about purchasing a house that they spend more than they should. They actually overpay for their house.
The tip to avoiding this particular home buyer mistake is to spend time consulting with your real estate broker. They’re the expert. They should know. They should be able to put together a comparative market analysis for you, so you see what other like-kind homes are actually selling for and have actually sold for.
Mistake number six that first-time home buyers often make is that don’t do a home inspection. In this competitive market, it can be very tempting to avoid doing a home inspection either for the sake of making a more of an attractive offer to the seller or maybe just to avoid some additional costs at closing. However, it’s very risky not to have a home inspection. Many times, people that haven’t had an inspection, they find out that there are safety concerns or that there are some latent defects in the house. And they get a month or two, or even a year or two into the house, living in the house, and they find out there are all these concerns and all these things could have been avoided by having a home inspection.
Tip: Your real estate broker should be able to provide you a list of highly qualified, licensed home inspectors to be able to come out and do the work for you.
Mistake number seven that first-time home buyers often make is underestimating the costs of repairs or a renovation. They are often, later after they’ve purchased the house very surprised at how much additional money it actually costs to get something fixed that they were not expecting. Tip: So, make sure that you are very thorough during that home inspection period… you get multiple estimates, people out to be able to take a look at it. Even if these are repairs you are planning on doing a year or two after you’ve moved into the house, you still want to make sure you know ahead of time what the cost is for repairing or renovating that particular item of the house.
The eighth and final mistake first-time home buyers often make is applying for credit during the home buying process. Sometimes they will go out and buy a new automobile or buy some new furniture for their new house on credit or just simply apply for a new credit score. All of those things can be very detrimental to getting you the house that you really want. It may make it that you can’t qualify for a loan at all or you might just be qualified for a whole lot less money then you were intending.
The tip to avoiding this particular mistake is don’t use your credit card during the home buying process. It is that simple. Wait until after you’ve actually closed on your house. You can certainly have all those things picked out. You can have your new car picked out, the furniture that you want, you can certainly go shopping. Just don’t use your credit card to purchase it.
Buying your first home as a first-time home buyer can be very exciting. Hopefully, these eight tips will be of benefit to you. If you have any questions at all, consult with a local real estate broker who can guide you through the process and help you avoid any of the pitfalls of buying your first home.
Also, if you have any additional questions about being a first-time home buyer or just real estate questions in general, feel free to follow me on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
June 24, 2020
Difference between Home Insurance & Home Warranty
You have found your dream home and are excited about moving in. Before this happens, you’ll need to understand how to best protect yourself and your investment if anything were to go wrong. We've received questions on the difference between home insurance and home warranties. Here is a brief description of both. If you want more information, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.
Homeowners insurance pays for any accidental damages and loss that are caused by fire, lightning strikes, windstorms, and hail, however, damage from earthquakes and floods is typically not covered. It also covers the replacement of personal property in case of theft or damage and liability if a person were to get injured in your home or on your property. According to American Home Shield, the average annual cost of a homeowner's insurance policy ranges between $300 and $1,000, and the bank usually asks you to obtain a policy before the mortgage is issued. Make sure to keep in mind that each type of coverage in the policy is subject to a limit and, in most cases, you will have to pay a deductible.
A home warranty is designed to cover the cost of repairs and replacements of larger appliances and crucial systems in your home that may fail or break due to age and wear and tear. This includes but isn’t limited to HVAC, electrical, or plumbing components, kitchen appliances, and your washer and dryer. With a home warranty, you are required to pay premiums year-round, even if you do not use it, and it won’t cover damages if appliances were not maintained properly or if the damage is from a fire or other disaster.
June 11, 2020
Prepping Your Pets for the Big Move
Moving Day is coming and so it's time to get all your ducks in a row. As you make your checkoff list, your furry friends need to be considered. Not only can moving be stressful for us as people, but pets can also feel anxiety. Below are some tips to help your process go smoothly.
Transportation: Whether it’s a short drive or a long plane ride, your pet will likely need to be put into a carrier. For some pets, this is a new concept and they are going to need time to get comfortable with it. Start acclimating your pet as early as possible and use comfort items like treats, favorite toys, and blankets to make the experience a positive one for your pet.
Accessible Pet Items: Prepare a box or bin that is very easily accessible for when you arrive at your new home. Include items such as pet food, food dishes, special blankets, toys, kitty litter, etc.. This way these things can easily be set up. Your furry friend will immediately have items that are familiar to them. Less stress for you and your pet to have everything at your fingertips.
Medical records: When moving to a different city or state, one of the main things you need to take into consideration is finding a new veterinarian that is the right fit for you and your pet. If you have family or friends in the area ask for recommendations or do your own research by reading reviews and news articles. Once you find one, contact your current vet to initiate a transfer of medical records. Then schedule a “get to know you” appointment shortly after your move.
Acclimation: Pad your moving schedule with ample time to get your dog or cat acclimated to their new home. While the movers are still hard at work, keep them safely away from foot traffic to reduce stress. Once they’ve left, make sure to clear anything that could be dangerous and block off areas as necessary then let them free to get a lay of the land on their own.
May 28, 2020
Simple Tips to Stage Your Home
Staging your home is all about putting the best foot forward for potential buyers. By highlighting its most desirable features, you can draw more interest for your home and leave a lasting impression that is sure to help you sell it more quickly. Here are six simple things you can do that won't cost you anything to implement.
1. Help them visualize it as their own.
Make it easier for buyers to imagine themselves making your house their home by removing personal memorabilia, knick-knacks, and photos. Instead replace them with simple décors, such as paintings, nature images, and plants.
2. Think sleek instead of comfy.
Modern-day buyers are leaning toward modern, crisp, clean interiors over comfy, homey looks. When staging your home, keep a minimalist mindset, and incorporate bright colors.
3. Deep clean the small spaces.
It is obvious to say you should clean your home before viewing, but don’t forget to cover your bases by deep cleaning the small spots. Take time to scrub porous areas like grout that may hold on to stains and baseboards where small pet hairs and dust love to cling.
4. Spruce up your landscaping.
The first impression your home gives to potential buyers is its exterior. Ensure you have a freshly mowed lawn, neat hedges and shrubbery, bright flowers, and a clean driveway.
5. Hide those children’s toys.
If you are lucky enough to have children, you will more than likely have a lot of plastic toys, books, and gadgets lying around. Make sure to hide those during photography and showings. Tuck them into the garage, unused attic space, or closets.
6. Clear all paths to doors/exits.
There is nothing worse than a potential new buyer tripping over furniture, rugs, toys, or chairs. If anything is blocking a door, rearrange the room to make it easier for the potential buyer to navigate.
April 29, 2020
MUST-HAVE TOOLS FOR HOMEOWNERS
When you own your home, things are going to break and, unless you want to spend your money on visits from a neighborhood handyman, you’re going to need to fix them yourself. Luckily, you don’t need an arsenal of tools to handle most home maintenance fixes. These five tools will cover most of your basic projects.
1. Cordless drill - A cordless drill is a must-have for installing cabinets, drawer pulls, hinges, picture frames, shelves and hooks, and more. Whether it’s for do-it-yourself projects or repairs, you’ll use your cordless drill just about every month
2. Shop-vac - No matter how careful you are, spills and accidents will happen and there are some tasks that just can’t be handled with paper towels or a standard vacuum, like pet messes or broken glass.3. Loppers - Even the minimum amount of care for your landscaping will require some loppers to remove damaged branches, vines, thick weeds, and any other unruly plants in your yard.
4. Flashlight - You’re going to want something a little more powerful than your iPhone flashlight when you’re in the crawlspace
5. Drain cleaners - Shower and bathroom sink drains are susceptible to clogs because of the daily buildup of hair and whisker clippings. You can use chemical clog removers like Drano, but they’re expensive and the lingering chemical scent is unpleasant. Instead, buy some plastic drain cleaners that can reach into the drain to pull out the clog of hair and gunk. You can purchase them on Amazon or at a local hardware store for a low price.
April 22, 2020
THE BENEFITS OF A CMA
A CMA is an extremely helpful tool I use to determine what the market is saying. What is a CMA, you ask? A CMA stands for Comparative Market Analysis. It is a side-by-side comparison report of homes currently for sale and homes that have sold in the same neighborhood or area as yours. I will typically include new listings (for sale), pending sales (under contract), closed sales (properties sold), and expired listings (failed to sell).
CMAs can wildly vary depending on the knowledge, skill level, and experience of the agent inputting the search parameters, as well as the data fields that are chosen. This is a delicate and critical job that will help you achieve maximum success. Online sources can sometimes spit out un-scrubbed and unverified information so they are not always recommended.
The following factors are used for putting together your CMA.
Location - Comparable active, pending, or sold listings from your neighborhood or surrounding area. A report of every house sold on your street or nearby will be pulled so that specific trending data can be reviewed.
Size - Generally speaking, comparable properties within 10% of the square footage is used.
Age - If available, properties of the same year will be used. If not, properties within just a few years will be utilized.
Other details - There are other parameters that will be considered to determine the most accurate results. These include bedrooms, bathrooms, garage spaces, living areas, how many stories are in the home, lot square footage, and more.
After all the data is compiled and aggregated, each comparable property is painstakingly gone through, photographs and property descriptions are assessed and sometimes active listings are even visited. Once all the data is comprehensively analyzed, the critical step of setting the value of your home is set and a comprehensive report is created for you.
Because I have lived in this area for over 35 years, I have had the opportunity to become intimately familiar with our local neighborhoods and know the trends of the real estate market. If you would like a CMA done on your home, please don't hesitate to call and I would be happy to serve you.
April 15, 2020
VIEWING HOMES DURING THESE TIMES
One of the questions I am asked frequently right now is "Are we still able to go and see houses right now?" The answer is yes! However, things are definitely different at this time and there are some guidelines that need to be followed. If possible, virtual tours are available of some properties but sometimes that is not the case.
So, what should you expect if you are going out to view a house?
1) All viewings are by appointment only and so your real estate agent will need to arrange a specific time for you to see the home. In the past, vacant homes could be seen without an appointment. This is no longer the case.
2) Two people are allowed in the home at a time. This means that the real estate broker and one other person are allowed on the property at a time. If there is more than one person who would like to view the home, the real estate agent will have to show them separately.
3) While in the house both the agent and the client shall follow social guidelines established by the CDC by remaining at least 6 feet apart.
Here at Eagle Rise we are committed to remaining safe and smart during this time. I will be wearing a mask and gloves and maintaining at least 6 feet away during any showings. Also, after the showing is done, hand sanitizer will be provided if you'd like to use it. I am also committed to serving you in the best way I possibly can.
April 8, 2020
CURRENT REAL ESTATE THOUGHTS
Residential Real Estate is currently undergoing disruption and uncertainty just as the spring market was beginning to take off. Guidelines affecting how real estate brokers conduct business has evolved. It is expected that all sales numbers will decline in April and May as a direct result of the governor’s “Stay Home” order that became effective on March 26th.
Following statewide orders, the market virtually froze for a few days but began picking up after real estate guidelines were adjusted to support social distancing. For a period of time, real estate was not considered an essential service.
April and May will likely be transition months before the market begins to return to a more typical activity level. Currently, properties are being shown by appointment only to continue to avoid large gatherings.
The good news is it is a great time for both home buyers and sellers! Buyers enjoy access to extremely low-interest rates to stretch their purchasing power and the motivated sellers have a pool of buyers. With a shortage of inventory in many price ranges, the focus remains on each new listing.
If you are looking to buy or sell, please reach out. I’ll educate and guide you through the process!
Brian Davis, Managing Broker of Eagle Rise Real Estate, LLC
April 1, 2020
THE SMOOTH MOVE ADVANTAGE
One of the most tedious and disheartening aspects of selling a home is dealing with the home inspection and working through the requested repairs. Think of how much sellers could eliminate or at least diminish that stressful part of a home sale beforehand.
The premise of the Smooth Move Program is to provide buyers with a home choice that is worry-free because the inspection process has already been taken care of, eliminating surprises and setbacks before closing. Buyers do have the right to have their own inspection, of course, but the intention is to have all major items already taken care of and disclosed, so a smooth transaction can move forward and be a lot more pleasant.
By also adding a home warranty, the property will likely attract more buyers, and the home will often sell faster.
If you have any questions about this process because you are interested in a low-stress real estate transaction when selling, just let me know. I can explain in more detail, as well as offer you a number of inspectors to choose from if you don’t already have one you would like to use.
March 27, 2020
As I was contemplating these last few weeks, I was struck by how quickly things can change. With expressions like "social distancing" and "shelter-in-place" instantly becoming the most actively used phrases in the news and among friends, it is a crazy time indeed. For all of us, it is important to stay connected to each other in some way. There is stress all around and anxiety can creep in. I have let anxiousness steal my joy in the past, and I’m striving to not let anxiety win.
Hopefully, during this time, you can stay connected to others in some way. This time is sure to pass, and the connection we have with others reminds us that we are not alone. We can endure tremendous hardship if we have the right mindset. It’s an opportune time to put our trust in God rather than worry. I’m choosing to find joy in the small blessings I have. I hope you are able to as well.
If you have any questions about how this entire situation is affecting the housing market, or if you have other concerns, I have time to chat and would be happy to share my perspective.
Brian Davis, Managing Broker of Eagle Rise Real Estate, LLC
March 17, 2020
FEELING STIR-CRAZY - HEAD OUT TO YOUR YARD
Feeling stir-crazy from being at home? Right now is a very unique time. Many of us are self-quarantining or working from home because of COVID-19. The weather report shows that we should be in store for some good weather in the next week so it might be an opportune chance for you to get the outside of your home either ready for selling or for outdoor living this summer. Working in the yard is also a great way to get outdoors and still maintain the social distancing that is being encouraged. Some of you have your kids home and this is a fantastic way for them to get their energy out while helping get the yard spruced up. It might not be easy or feasible to go to a nursery or a home improvement store right now to pick up plants, flowers and mulch, however, there are things you can do without having to leave your home.
1) Pick Up Pinecones and Branches - It wasn't that long ago that we had some brisk winds move through. You'll be surprised how much better the yard will look just be starting with this.
2)Rack Any Leftover Leaves - With all the new leaves and blossoms starting to burst out on the tree, it's time to get rid of the old ones for good if you haven't already done so.
3)Weed Your Flower and Garden Beds - Tis the season for those pesky weeds to multiply and take over your yard! Depending on the size of your yard, this may sound daunting. I find that taking an area and dividing it up into smaller sections makes the task much more doable.
4) Mow and Edge Your Lawn - Just like the weeds, the grass has started growing again. Mowing gives your yard a nice clean look and edging gives it that special touch.
March 10, 2020
PREPARING FOR OUTDOOR LIVING
Monday was beautiful and gives us a glimpse of what is to come. Days of outdoor living are just around the corner. Whether you are intending on listing your home or just planning on hanging out with your family and friends, an old dingy deck is not very appealing. Lucky for you, refreshing it doesn't have to be difficult or expensive. Try your hand at the makeover ideas below.
Restore Your Decking - Depending on the shape it is in, sometimes all your deck needs is a little love. If it's still fairly new, your deck might just need a deep cleaning and a new coat of sealant. There is a multitude of deck finishing and cleaning solutions on the market to choose from to achieve this. However, if it's more worn down, the rejuvenation process may be a bit longer, including searching for larger repairs, tightening any hardware, giving it a good cleaning, applying stain, sealant, and paint.
Add Lighting - Ambient lighting can completely transform your outside space into a relaxing, cozy oasis. Consider adding solar lights that don't require a plug-in or battery replacement. The lights turn automatically on when the sun sets, making your deck come alive. Of course, sometimes this doesn't work as well with some of our cloudy days. Instead, you can consider string lights, rope lights, mason jar lamps, or small twinkle lights. There are many, many options depending on the style and mood you'd like to set.
Build a Privacy Screen - Privacy screens come in all styles, shapes, and sizes. Consider purchasing and installing bamboo fencing or lattice panels for a quick and easy solution. Or, if you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can build a wooden frame and grow climbing plants or vines or stretch outdoor fabric in between. Whichever route you end up choosing, make sure you get the most out of your efforts by evaluating all lines sight before building.
Outdoor Fixtures - Depending on the condition of your outdoor furniture will determine what route to take. Sometimes all your outdoor furniture needs is a good cleaning. A hose and a rub down will make it look new. A little touch-up paint can also go a long way. Whether your cushions are worn out or if you just need a fresh look, exchanging out your cushions can give your deck area a whole, new inviting appearance. Want a cozy place for when it gets cooler? Add a stand-alone gas fire pit. There are some very economical ones available now!
Whatever you decide to do, enjoy the process, and then kick back and enjoy your outdoor living space!
March 3, 2020
OPEN OR CLOSED FLOOR PLAN?
Whether you are going to purchase a house or have one designed and built from the ground up, it is important to decide what kind of floor plan is best for you. An open floor plan basically combines several living spaces into one large room. For instance, the kitchen flows into the dining area which flows into the family room, without walls to define each space. It is usually equated with a more contemporary, modern look. A closed floor plan, on the other hand, separates out each of those spaces into their own rooms. This is thought of as a more traditional look and feel. Each type has its pros and its cons. Evaluating what suits you best is important so that your house truly feels like a home to you. Here is a list of pros and cons for you to help you decide.
February 18, 2020
Open Floor Plan
*Spaces Appear Larger *Less private
*Better Natural Light *Potentially higher energy costs
*Easier Accessibility *Potentially Noisy
*Possible Better Resale Value *Smells may Travel and Linger
*Line of Sight *Design needs to be cohesive throughout
*Room for plenty of furniture entire large space
Closed Floor Plan
*More walls to decorate *Less Natural Light
*More Privacy *Rooms May Feel Cramped
*Better Sound Control *No Line of Sight
*Messes are Contained *Less Accessible
*Individual Style & Theme per *Possible Lower Resale Value
*Potentially lower energy bills
FIRST IMPRESSION COUNTS – MAKE IT A POSITIVE ONE
February 11, 2020
First impressions are very important when selling your home. It is estimated that more than half of all houses are sold before buyers even get out of their cars. When your buyer drives up to the house you have for sale, you want it to be as attractive as possible for them, drawing them in and causing them to want to see more. Now that we have a reprieve from the rain and the sun is out, it is a lot easier to think about the outside of our homes making sure it has plenty of curb appeal.
It is first important to stand back from your home and take an objective look. Sometimes it is difficult for sellers to do this. We either get used to our surroundings or get emotionally attached to our own style. By stepping back and distancing oneself emotionally, it enables one to do a more thorough and critical look. Looking at your home through the “buyer’s eyes” can help you prepare your home to sell for the best price in the least amount of time. If it helps, get a friend to come out and help. I also would be glad to assist you.
Second, make a “to-do” list focusing on that first impression aspect. Some of the things to look for are as follows:
*Walkways – Clean walkways that are coming up to the house. A clean walkway invites buyers to come in. Making sure the sidewalks in front of your home are clean is important too.
*Lawns – A mowed, edged yard is attractive and inviting.
*Flower beds – Mulch, colorful flowers, and weed-free beds are attractive to the buyer’s eye.
*Front door/ welcome mat – The front door is one of the first things prospective buyers see. If it shows signs of wear – clean it, stain it, or paint it.
*Trash and Debris – A clean yard shows buyers that your house has been taken care of.
For a more complete list, please feel free to contact me at 425-442-1298 or email me at email@example.com.
TIPS FOR GETTING YOUR HOME READY TO SELL
Spring is in the air. The sun broke through and shone nice and bright this last Monday giving us a hint of what is to come. Although rain is in the forecast for a while longer, we know that those warm days are coming. With spring comes an uptick in the Real Estate Market. Statistically speaking more homes are listed in April than any other month. If you are a buyer, this is great news because there are more choices out there. If you are one of those many homeowners that are planning on selling, it is a cue to get your home ready so that it is in great condition to get the highest price.
Although there are many things to do to get your home ready to sell, I have three basic tips to prep your home. Starting with these three things will get you well on your way to getting your home ready.
When you think about the idea of decluttering, think of maximum floor space and maximum counter space (this includes tabletops, desks, etc.). As you look around at the floors and flat spaces, identify those items that don't belong and make these areas are as clean as possible. Sometimes it is hard to look at our own areas objectively. If this is the case, find a friend you trust who will help you look at your space honestly. I can also help you with this. The more uncluttered and unencumbered floor space the buyer can see, the larger and more inviting your home will feel.
A good deep clean is an absolute necessity after you have removed the clutter. This involves cleaning your home both inside and out. The floors, walls, baseboards, doors, and all surfaces in your home should be thoroughly cleaned. If possible, the outside of your home and the driveways, and walkways should be power washed. When it comes to cleaning, I recommend that you either form a cleaning crew (you and three or more friends) or better yet, simply hire a cleaning service. This will save you a lot of time and emotional stress if it’s in the budget.
Once your home is decluttered and clean, it’s time to paint! Take a good look at each of the walls, baseboards, doors, windowsills, and ceilings around your home. In some cases, they will just need to be touched up here and there; other areas will need to be entirely repainted. Be objective and make a list. Then decide whether you will or will not do the work yourself or hire someone. Painting is relatively inexpensive. It is probably the least expensive way to make a dramatic improvement to your home.
February 4, 2020
Tips for Mentally Preparing for Selling Your Home
It is said that one of the top five stressors in life is moving. Being aware of this is a good start but implementing some strategies ahead of time can alleviate and circumvent a lot of the pressure that might come along in the process. Here are five strategies to practice that are recommended.
1) Be positive
This can be a tough one, especially if you are in a position where you have to move out of necessity. Make a conscious decision to have a thankful attitude. Read inspirational books, attend church and prayer meetings, and help those less fortunate than you. When those negative thoughts come creeping in (or screaming in!) dispel them immediately and replace them with positive thoughts. Mindset is huge in the moving process!
2) Get a coach
Find a mentor or a close, personal friend. Spend a few minutes a week discussing your thoughts and feelings. In my real estate practice, I can help coach you throughout the process.
3) Visualize the final outcome
If you are moving by choice, spend some time seeing yourself in your next home. (After the dust settles!) This gives you a goal to work towards. If you are moving out of necessity, realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and see yourself in that better life. (living within your financial means, future opportunities, etc.)
4) Prayer and meditation
Studies have found that prayer and meditation are very beneficial when facing a stressful decision. Try spending 15 to 20 minutes in prayer and/or meditation each day. You can pray with a friend.
Getting your thoughts out of your head and down on paper is a very freeing exercise. Others may find it easier to record their thoughts using a smart phone app or another device. Even if you simply voice your thoughts (speaking them aloud), it will help. Ask yourself questions like “what do I enjoy or not enjoy about this process?” or ”what do I expect for the future in what I am doing now?”
January 28, 2020
Townhouse vs. Condo: Which Should You Buy?
Whether it's your first time buying or you just want to purchase something smaller, townhouses and condos are both great options. Check out the differences between the two to help aid you in your search.
Condominiums are similar to apartments in that you purchase an individual unit inside of a larger building, but not the property it sits on. This generally includes access to the building's amenities, such as the clubhouse, pool, and gym. However, condo owners are not responsible for the upkeep and repair of these common areas. Because of the number of shared spaces, living in a condo often allows for meeting new people and building a strong sense of community. There is a fairly similar vetting process for loan approval as for a full-sized home; however, the lender will also look at the health of the condo association.
Those who purchase a townhome are generally purchasing the complete unit, both inside and out, including the land it sits on. This might also include the driveway, yard or roof. Traditionally, these units are two or three stories tall and may also include common areas like pools and parks. Townhome owners pay a fee to a homeowners association every month and the loan process is the as same as buying a full-sized home.
What is the best choice?
Both townhomes and condos offer less maintenance than a traditional home and generally offer great shared areas. Your decision ultimately comes down to you and your family's needs and wants. Things you'll want to take into consideration include location, lifestyle, family growth, and price.
January 22, 2020
What to Repair Before You List
When you’re getting ready to list your home, it’s of utmost importance to ensure you are showing it in the best light. Taking time to highlight its strengths and fix up some of its possible weaknesses can make a big difference in how fast it sells. Here are our top five recommended repairs to make before selling your home.
Giving your home a fresh coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to spruce it up. Generally, this can be a do-it-yourself project. Make sure to cover any walls that have scratches and chips and consider updating any accent walls with a more neutral coat.
2. Repair Floors
Hardwood floors are a very desirable feature in a home, so you want to ensure they look their best by fixing scratches or dull areas. If your carpet is worn or stained, consider replacing them. Also, don’t forget the tile in your kitchen or bathrooms. Re-grouting can go a long way in making dingy tile look brand new!
3. Refresh the Landscaping
Show buyers your home is the full package by dressing up the outside as well as the inside. Clean walkways and driveways, plant seasonal flowers and plants, trim hedges and trees, install outdoor décor pieces and fill in mulch and gravel.
4. Fix your Fixtures
Leaky faucet? Rusted drains? Loose drawer handle? Making these small fixes can make a big difference to potential buyers with detailed-oriented minds.
5. Improve your Kitchen
An outdated kitchen can be a real eyesore in a home. Updating cabinetry, repairing, or replacing countertops, and installing new faucets and sinks may be worth the investment.
January 15, 2020
Your Guide to the Home Appraisal
You’ve found your dream home and now it’s time to cross all your T's and dot all your I's before it’s all your own. And one of the first items on your closing checklist - the home appraisal. So, what exactly is that?
The home appraisal is essentially a value assessment of the home and property. It is conducted by a certified third party and is used to determine whether the home is priced appropriately.
During a home appraisal, the appraiser conducts a complete visual inspection of the interior and exterior of the home. He or she factors in a variety of things, including the home’s floor plan functionality, condition, location, school district, fixtures, lot size, and more. An upward adjustment is generally made if the home has a deck, a view, or a large yard. The appraiser will also compare the home to several similar homes that were sold within the last six months in the area.
The final report must include a street map showing the property and the ones compared, photographs of the interior and exterior, an explanation on how the square footage was calculated, market sales data, public land records, and more.
After it is complete, the lender uses the information found to ensure that the property is worth the amount they are investing in. This is a safe-guard for the lender as the home acts as collateral for the mortgage. If the buyer defaults on the mortgage and goes into foreclosure, the lender generally sells the home to recover the money borrowed.