Home Buyers: What You Should Really Look For!

real estate websitesThere are a million and one details that go into choosing the right home, and even if this is your first home you likely have some idea about the features you want – but how well do those match with what your actual needs are? Just the process of buying can be overwhelming, so it can be easy to overlook important details, especially if you see “the one” house you absolutely love.

We’ve put together some helpful tips you may want to consider before deciding the first home you find is the one for you.

More Than The Look
The outside of your home makes up a big part of it’s value and also the longevity of your house. While shutters, and paint, and all of those things are important it’s also important to consider what direction the house faces (especially if you live in cold climates), as well as other exterior factors like: any visible cracks in the foundation or drive, what is around your home, available parking, and homeowners association restrictions.

Location!
It’s more than a real estate adage. Location matters! It would be terrible to find the perfect house online only to realize on visiting it that you’re in front of the sewage treatment plant, or in a high crime area. Other important factors include proximity to shopping, work, and school.

What’s Inside Matters
What’s inside does count! Look beyond your basic wants from the home however and be sure to keep an eye out for things like available power plugs, available storage, and room size to make sure that you’ll have plenty of space to grow your dreams in.

A lot more than just the number of beds and baths goes into picking the right place! Trust your real estate agent to help you find the home that suits your wants as well as your needs and you can’t go wrong.

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You Might Want To Consider A Fixer-Upper

idaho real estateLocation location location is the old tried and true mantra for real estate and it does have a lot to do with where you buy, but a lot more goes into the number of reasons with what you buy. While everyone wants that perfect place, that ideal dream home, the real world often has other plans. Buying brand new is always nice and allows for you to build in many of the features you want, but sometimes it’s just not feasible – especially depending on that location location location!

Here are some things you might want to consider regarding fixer-uppers when looking to buy a home:

It Costs Less Upfront
No denying it, an older home will likely costs less – sometimes even if it is larger or has more amenities. This is good and bad of course, and you’ve got to consider a lower upfront cost may mean more expenses down the road.

You Can Build Value
The thing about something old? You can make it better! Buying a home that needs a little love and then making improvements is a great way to add value to the home should you decide to resell.

You Can Make It Your Own
It’s yours. The new is already wore off and you don’t have to worry about adding your own dings and touches.  When you buy a home that you are going to work on improving it gives you that chance to add your own style and even make more modern improvements to just the areas that need them.

So don’t get discouraged if you’re not finding what you want in the design showroom or out there on the market under new construction! Fixer Upper homes have great potential!

Before You Move Consider This!

idaho realtor websitesMaking a move can be one of the most stressful things you can do, and that goes double if you’re selling and buying a home as part of that process.

A new town can be disorienting, and not having your usual network of support to rely on can leave you feeling really boggled. There are countless details to remember and take care of, but before all of that there are a few crucial things to ask yourself before you even start thinking about a move.

We’ve put together a list to help you tackle these tasks with ease!

What Is The Market Doing?
Buying a home in a market on the rise is a good idea, whereas buying in a down trend may not be so wise. While no one short of a psychic can tell you what the market will do for sure, a qualified REALTOR® can show you trends so that you can make a decision from an informed standpoint.

Who Do You Know?
Speaking of a support network! A small group of people you can call on in times of need is more valuable than can be expressed. Whether it’s asking about where to find a good place to eat, or needing someone to puppy-sit, it really helps to have some local people you can count on.

Where to Work?
You may be relocating for your job so this might not be a big concern, but if you’re moving for any other reason you’ll almost definitely need income. Research the area online and put out some resumes before you’re even in the area, it never hurts to plan ahead.

How is the Weather?
Unless you’re snowbirding it you will be spending a lot of time in the climate you’re moving to, so it’s important to be prepared for the weather. If you get cold when it dips below 70 Alaska may not be the place for you! Study up on trends, weather hazards like tornadoes, and other elements that may impact your enjoyment of your new home.

These are all good ideas for things to think about when searching for a new place to live. In some cases you may not have much choice if you’re having to relocate for work or family, but with a little planning the move will be much easier. Be sure to talk with a qualified real estate professional too, as they will know the area and can help you get oriented quickly!

Get Your Home Ready For Travel

real estate websitesNo, your house isn’t going anywhere! Well, hopefully not anyway…and that’s kind of the whole point.

With the holidays coming up Winter is one of the hottest travel times of year; it’s likely for many that you will be off to see friends or family and leaving your homes for at least a few days.

It’s important to make sure everything at home is just as ready for your time away as your suitcase, so we’ve put together some tips to help you be prepared!

Set Your Temp
If you’re not going to be home and don’t have pets or plants to worry about consider setting your thermostat lower to save on energy costs. In Winter months most suggest at least 55 degrees to keep pipes from bursting, and in Summer most recommend 80 degrees. If possible you can even buy a smart thermostat you can control from your phone!

Turn Off Water
If you’re going to be gone for any extended period it’s a good idea to turn off your water to avoid coming home to a flood of troubles.  You’ll need to do this via the main water line of your home; then let the faucets run until dry before you leave. It’s a fairly easy thing to do that can really help save you a ton of headaches.

Clean The Fridge
It’s not the first thing to come to mind when leaving to go on vacation, but while you’re out soaking in the sun those groceries are still at home going bad! If you’re going to be gone for an extended time you really should check the dates on things like milk and fruit so that you won’t come home to a real stinky situation.

Last Minute Tips…
If you have a trusted friend or neighbor have them stop by while you’re away to check on things – even if it’s just to drive by and take a look from the outside. You may also want to put a pause on posting all those beautiful sunsets until you get back: criminals may see posts on social media and see you aren’t home. Your home is one of your most valuable assets, be sure to keep it safe while you are away from it!

Fall Home Maintenance List!

fall real estateWasn’t it just Summer…like, last week?

We thought so too! But whether you’re ready for the weather or not Fall is quickly on it’s way.

While most people get excited thinking about cooler temperatures, cozy sweaters, and pumpkin spice lattes, homeowners know that the change of seasons also means new things to take care of around the house.

To help make sure you don’t miss any important Fall home maintenance items we’ve put together this quick list of important tasks to remember!

Disconnect The Hose
Easy to do, easy to forget! You don’t want to be three months into Winter when you remember to take the hose off the house. This can lead to frozen pipes and expensive repairs!

Do The Gutters
You might save this until after the leaves fall, but it’s not a bad idea to take a look now before your gutters start getting heavy use. Go ahead and clear out anything that’s gotten in there over the Summer so you’re ready for big leaf season!

Wash The House
A good pressure wash will make your house look great – you won’t believe the difference! It’s a good idea to do this now as once the cooler months come it’s easy to overlook outside maintenance and this might be the last chance you get to get it clean.

Look At The Roof
It’s a good time to take a look at the roof. Make sure all your shingles are in place and in good repair. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of Winter and having a leaky roof – or worse yet, not finding out about it until after it’s frozen in Spring.

A little preventive action goes a long way; taking care of some of these simple items around the house before the snow flies can lead to a less stressful Winter season. Have questions? Glad to talk about home care, real estate, and getting ready for the cold months ahead!

Tips to Beat Home Buying Stress

home buying stressNo doubt about it buying a home is a pretty big deal, one of the biggest deals most of us will make during our lifetimes in fact, but there’s no reason it has to overwhelm you with stress.

You will get through it, and with the help of your loved ones and a qualified professional or two, you’ll find there are a lot fewer things to stress about than you’re likely worried over. To help you keep the stress down during buying we’ve put together these tips!

Know What You Want
Easier said than done but having some idea of the type of home, general area you want to live in, or even just the “must-have” items for your new place is key to finding it. Communicate these desires to your agent and go from there.

Listen To Your Agent
Hey, you hired them for a reason! And while they are definitely there to help facilitate your needs one of the reasons you are working with them is because they know real estate on a whole other level. A good agent will know about the area, about potential pitfalls, and can help you find the place where your dreams meet availability.

Talk It Out
The best way to deal with stress sometimes is just to talk it out. Talk to your friends, talk to your family, and especially talk to your agent. They are in your corner and by communicating effectively when you have thoughts or especially concerns you make everyone’s job easier.

Start Early
The best way to avoid stress is not to rush into things. In some cases you may have to move for work or family reasons and the timing may not be your own. Otherwise however, buying a home is definitely something to take at pace. Start saving before you even start looking if you can, go ahead and get familiar with the area, and start looking for the right real estate agent for you.

Getting a home inspection, being patient, accepting compromise…these are all other things that will be part of the process. Just take it one step at a time. The best place to start is to find an agent who understands your needs, knows the market, and who is also a good fit for you personally. Get in touch if you have any other questions!

Important Questions For Relocating Seniors

senior real estateFor many seniors the thought of finding a new home seems daunting to say the least.

In fact, it can be down right frightening depending on one’s situation. But it doesn’t need to be.

The thought of moving by itself can be troublesome, much less finding the right place with the right amenities, and the right price – thankfully your chosen real estate professional will be by your side to help you navigate the ever changing real estate market.

But before you start searching for a new place we’ve put together some things you may want to talk to your REALTOR® about before your move.

What is the demographic of the area?
It’s always good to know your neighbors and the community you will be calling home. As such make sure your area not only has the resources you require but also caters to your personal preferences as well, you may not want to be in a loud neighborhood that has a lot of traffic or that is near a playground.

What are the taxes and on-going costs?
The price of your new place may only part of the cost. Be sure to be aware of any homeowners association fees, utility costs, or community costs that may be part of the area you live in.

How safe is the area?
Your agent should be very familiar with where you will be moving. There is nothing more important than feeling safe where you live. Be sure to do a little homework on crime rates, or just ask outright what they know about the location.

How much home do I need?
Downsizing is common with seniors and so it’s a natural thing to consider how much house you really want. Better yet, how much home do you really need? You may not want or need a ton of space that will need extra upkeep. Talk to your agent about your goals and what your ideal space looks like to you.

The most important thing is to choose the right agent and communicate openly with them. Remember, they are there to help guide you through their experience towards the realization of your vision and that requires all the information you can provide.

Basement Remodeling Ideas for the Most Return

A basement can be a valuable asset for a homeowner, and as it turns out it’s also one of the areas of your home where you can often make the most return on remodeling.

Remodeling your basement yields an average ROI of about 70%, so you will typically get $700 back for every $1,000 spent. But not all remodels are created equal, so what options make the most sense?

Here’s some ideas to help you get the most out of your basement while you live in your home as well as when it’s time to move.

Keep It Clean
More than anything cleanliness is most important. In fact, a finished but minimal basement is often the most recommended option for the most return. Give the new owners a blank slate to create their own space.

Avoid Permanent Personalizations
While you live there, hey, go nuts. Paint the walls with your visions of space viking warlords riding dragons across a rainbow sea of kaleidoscope gumdrops – after all you can paint over that when you get ready to move. You might want to avoid more permanent changes like built-in bars, hot tubs, and other things that will potentially change the structure of the house and cause a remodeling nightmare for the new owner when they claim their dream home.

Wired and Plumbed
It’s one of the bigger things you can do but adding all the connections for your basement to easily become a media room, or having light plumbing added so you have an accessible bar sink or half-bath can really take your value for space over the top. Not everyone has this in the budget, but if you do it’s one of the upgrades that will almost make you reconsider selling.

Speaking of Paint
Even if you’re happy with the color of your walls in the basement it might not be a bad idea to give it a fresh coat – even if it’s just to touch up dings. Try to keep things neutral but don’t be afraid to follow up on current trends as well.

Improve the Lighting
One of the best things to invest a little time and money in is lighting. Adding a few lights, or half-windows can really brighten what can be an otherwise dark and confining basement space.

Still not sure? Need to sell and want to get the most value for your home?
Talk with a qualified REALTOR® to find out what the market is doing as well as to get great ideas on what you can do to maximize your returns.

Home Improvements To Reconsider

It’s natural to think about upgrading your home, especially if you’ve lived in it for some time or are thinking about selling in the near future.

While updates can be good, and cleanliness is a must above all else, there are some upgrades that can actually hurt your home value rather than help it.

We’ve put together a quick list of these possible improvements gone wrong that can have a negative impact when it comes time to move.

Wall to Wall Carpeting
Believe it or not flooring is a very personal thing. While some love the plush, soft feel of carpet others recognize it can be a cleaning nightmare to keep up with, or simply just don’t prefer it. Regardless, installing new carpeting throughout the house may be a costly investment that could be better applied elsewhere.

High End Landscaping
While curb appeal is very important and you want your yard to look it’s best going overboard with exotic plants and waterfalls may be a bit much. Your potential buyers taste might not match yours, or they simply might not want to inherit all that upkeep, so keep your yard simple and trim.

Built In Electronics
Home automation is all the rage these days. Set your thermostat from your phone, have your house ask how your day was when you walk in the door – if you can imagine it they are finding a way to make it possible. Some people don’t want all this technology however; some in fact out right oppose it. Beyond that it may be too complex for them to even figure out and no one wants to be stuck in a home with a thermostat set for “Arizona Summer” year round.

Wild Quirky Colors
Chartreuse is trending! And it’s fine to stay up on trends, or to even paint the kids rooms in a fun way, but you may want to keep from applying huge swaths of unconventional colors to rooms. Yes, potential buyers can always re-paint them later, but a big part of the sale comes from them being able to picture themselves in the home and that’s hard to do with bright yellow and pink stripes on all the walls.

Live in your home, make it your own and love every single minute of it, but when it comes time to find your next place keep in mind these things to help make the transition as easy as it can be. The new owners will appreciate your consideration and you’ll have a whole new house to transform into your dream home.

 

Must Do Items Before You Sell Your Home

Spring is fast on it’s way and the market is already hotter than a Summer day in July; it’s a great time to think about selling your home!

Even though you love the home you live in and may already have started getting it tidy for possible sale there are always a few things extra you can do to really make sure your house looks it’s very best. To help out we’ve put together some suggestions to help get you started!

Clean Up The Yard
It’s the first thing people will see, so it’s a good place to start. Winter has been fairly kind this year but it’s likely the yard could still use a little trim and tuck. Whether it’s raking leaves, or giving the shrubs and early trim there’s plenty to do to get the yard straightened up.

De-personalize
It might feel a little sad to start taking down pictures and keepsakes but you want your home to be presented in a way that potential new buyers will be able to see themselves living there. That can be hard when there’s your favorite sports team throw over the couch, or the trophy mount from last year hanging over the fireplace.

Light Bulbs and Polish
Little things matter. Make sure you go through your house and replace any burnt out bulbs, wipe down counter and surfaces regularly, and give the fixtures a little polish to make sure everything is nice and shiny.