Home Buying: Things Your Real Estate Agent Wishes You Knew

real estate marketingBuying real estate isn’t like much else in the world. No other purchase requires as much forethought or demands as much consideration before undertaking.

You simply do not casually take part in it the way you would buying a cup of coffee, a new tv, or even a car; yet it is also one of the types of transaction that generally you don’t do very often, so it’s hard to really get adept at it unless you’re in the business.

Thankfully that’s exactly where a qualified and experienced real estate agent will come in! But even if you have the very best agent there are still some things you can do to be well informed before the home buying process begins, here’s some ideas to get you started.

Learn About The Area
If you’re moving across town this isn’t such a big deal, but if you’re moving across country you may want to take a little more time. Visit the area to get familiar with it geographically and use the internet to study local amenities and find where important things like your work, hospital, and grocery stores are located. Your agent can likely help here as well!

Know What You Can Afford
For most money doesn’t just grow on trees and as such some homes you like just may not make sense financially. While you don’t necessarily needs to know an exact figure having a ball-park idea of what you can afford in a home is a good place to start. Thankfully, this too is something your agent can help you with!

Trust Your Agent
A lot of times the best thing is just to let your agent work their magic. It can be easy to misstep and say the wrong thing around sellers, to get indecisive in regards to whether one house is more right over another, and sometimes trying to be helpful can actually be a hindrance. So talk with your agent, understand their plan and your part in it, then let them do that voodoo they do so well — it is after all why you sought out their help!

These quick tips will help you get off to a great start, and your agent will likely appreciate them too! If you’re still looking for a home, or need to sell your current home please get in touch to find out how we can help you!

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Tips On Surviving Moving Day

homeraceOh day of days at last! MOVING DAY!

If the thought of that leaves you aghast, don’t worry you’re in good company. Moving day, while one of the most exciting parts of realizing the transition is actually happening can also be completely terrifying – but it doesn’t have to be!

We’ve put together some great tips to help you tame the fear and get through moving day like a seasoned pro!

This guide is more for the key survival items you’ll need other than all of the things in your home you are moving, so first: PACK!

Yes, you should in all hopes have everything actually in boxes and somewhat prepared to be moved from one place to the next before the day itself arrives. Haste makes waste, and waiting til the last minute amplifies chaos. Just taking the time well in advance to be ready for the day itself will make things move much much smoother; if you’re stuffing coats into boxes while the movers are hauling them out it’s a sure bet something is getting forgotten somewhere.

Build Your Moving Survival Pack:

Medicine
There’s nothing that makes a medical emergency even more difficult than not being able to find the first aid. This proves doubly so if the emergency is the simple fact that you can’t find your prescriptions in the hundreds of boxes that now occupy your living room. Be sure to pack essential medicines and a basic first aid kit separately from everything else so it’s easy to find.

Tools
Moving into the new place there will be any number of things that may need fixing, or things that may have gotten broken in the transition that need attention. Even if it’s just hanging pictures you’re going to need a few primary tools that will make your life easier: two kinds of screw driver, a hammer, a wrench or socket set, and some duct tape are recommended. Remember to include a flashlight!

Trash Bags
Whether it’s cleaning up the old place or throwing away the packaging from moving into the new one there is going to be trash. Having a box of trash bags on hand will save you a trip to the store; they can even be used as padding for some of your items during packing so that they’ll be right there when you unpack.

Snack Pack
Chances are most of your perishables aren’t going with you and when you get in the last thing you want to think about is cooking on top of all the insanity going on. Make sure you have some ready to go snacks in your supplies to keep energy levels up and cranky levels down. Think granola, fruit roll ups, juices and of course plenty of water.

Blankets and Comfort
If the beds aren’t going to be setup right away consider a family camp out in the living room the first night. Pack sleeping bags or comforters close to the back so you can build your blanket fort! If you’ve got little ones it’s especially important to keep woobee’s and snuggle animals nearby!

These tips for your moving day survival kit should help you navigate those first crazy few days! Remember, if you’re feeling overwhelmed reach out to your agent – they are generally an endless source of assistance and may be able to recommend services in the area to help.

Cheap and Easy Tips for a Cozy Fall Spaces

cozy-coffee-pexels-photoCooler temperatures are finally showing up across the country, the leaves are changing to gold ; there is a crispness to the air that lets you know Winter is on the way!

That means it’s time for big sweaters and boots, scarves and hot cocoa and making the home warm and welcoming. We’ve put together some easy (and cheap!) ideas for making things around the house perfect for friends and family!

Layer Up!
A blend of fabrics and textures is a big part in feeling snuggled and warm, so be sure to include a few new big pillows or fluffy throws on the couch to bundle in the cozy feelings. This goes for bedrooms too – a change in pillow cases and sheets can completely change the bedtime feel.

Centerpieces
Even if you’re not having a particularly large gathering at your home a nice table or counter top centerpiece is a great way to change the mood and ring in each holiday.  The possibility of a scent warmer or candle and you can add a great aromatherapy element as well.

Scents!
It’s something that really goes unnoticed, but the smells of your home can really change the whole mood. Consider scented warmers or candles, or even an old fashioned stove top pot of cider to get those rich warm smells flowing. Think warming spices like orange, clove, apple spice, and cinnamon. Here’s a great cider recipe too!

Trappings of the Season
This could be something as simple as swapping out a few of the decorations on the mantle, or hanging a wreath on the front door or near the entry way. Adding a touch of evergreen to your home has been a long tradition for the colder seasons to serve as a reminder that the icy nights won’t last forever – and of course the notorious mistletoe is ever popular come Christmas time.

How do you welcome the seasons and it’s guests into your home?
We’d love to hear about them; if you’re still searching to find a place to call your own get in touch!

Home Tips For Fall!

homeleavesThe embers of Summer time are slowly cooling and fading to memories as the golden leaves of Fall explode into color.

All that flowery talk doesn’t change the fact that Fall time means the list of home improvement projects exponentially increases as the days get shorter and shorter! To aid in your progress from crunching leaves to crunching chips on the couch we’ve put together this great checklist of home improvement tips for Fall.

Start At The Top
Examine your roof. Roof woes are bad any time of year but you definitely don’t want to have issues when old man Winter comes a howling down the pass in mid-December. If you roof is in poor shape talk to a professional to see what needs to be done in order to get it in tip-top shape.

Get Your Mind In The Gutter
This is the old tried and true has to be done every year task that most people know about, even if they don’t remember it. Truth is it’s not something to overlook! Leaves and gunk can clog up your gutters leading to overflow and possible water damage.

Stop The Draft
Go from window to window with a lit candle and hold it around the edges of your windows – doors are much the same way also. If you see more than a little flickering chance are you have drafty windows and could be losing heat from your home – increasing energy costs over the long months. You can easily buy caulking or other products to seal windows yourself, or talk with a professional handyman to get it done up fast.

Spend Time In The Yard
Running over the yard for that last of the season trim isn’t where it ends! Take a little extra time in the yard to cut back overgrowth, tidy up fallen leaves, or even to re-mulch the beds. Don’t forget about removing outside hoses from the house and closing foundation vents if you have a crawlspace. Taking a few minutes now can save you time when Spring comes!

Home ownership means continually maintaining your home. Cooler temperatures and the change of seasons make a great reminder that it’s time to evaluate and make any needed repairs – or desired upgrades! – before the snow flies. Being a great REALTOR® means more than just shuffling paperwork – we strive to build relationships that will last long after the signatures dry. Contact me today to find out how I can help your house feel more like home!

Are You Buying The Right Home? Are You SURE?

home buyersThere’s nothing that quite compares to the feeling of first stepping foot into a new home. The time and effort put in to finding the home, getting through the paper work and procedures have finally paid off and that big breath relief hits you. Ahhh!

But before that golden moment there are a lot of things to consider; as a lot of work goes into that warm happy memory, it’s important to make sure we’ve made all the right decisions along the way. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of it all but here are a few rational questions you’ll want to ask yourself before you rush into a commitment to buy.

Condition
Unless you are buying new or having your home built this is one of the big items to really take your time with. Will this home need a new roof or other major repairs soon? Will we be in a flood plain? Is the landscape something too lush and extravagant for me to handle on my own? Fixer-upper homes have tons of potential but you have to be ready to own those rough edges until you can smooth them out the way you envision.

Pricing Counts
Even if your lender says the home of your dreams is within your reach you need to make sure you are actually comfortable with the monthly terms. The price of the house itself is not the only factor in the end cost either – don’t forget down payments, closing costs, and other fees (not to mention moving costs!) That new house “ahh moment” might not feel quite as fresh if you are living on ramen for the first year, so it’s always good to plan for more than is listed in the black and white details.

Size Matters
Is the home you’re considering big enough for you or your family? Right combination of bedrooms and baths? Could the living room be a little bigger, or do you need a separate office? You’ll want to make sure the home you select is going to have enough growing room for your needs – in most cases you can expand later but that is often costly.

Creature Comforts
Does your potential dream home have central air conditioning or heat? Maybe you have fantasies about a heated garage floor. Will having a two level house make it difficult for visiting guests? Are there adequate bathrooms to accommodate your traditional summer time patio bbq fiesta? Make sure you give these things some thought even though in most cases adjustments can be made, there should never be a reason to compromise.

Resale Potential
You just got here…and you’re thinking of moving already?! Well, statistics show that people move into a new home nearly every seven years on average. Life can throw some wild curve balls at us without warning; if you were forced to sell your home how easy would that task be? Having a home with high resale potential can help this item not be of concern. Whether it be the newness of the home, it’s location, or special features, generally most homes will have some element that lends them a little extra resale potential. Thinking about the future through home improvements is also a great way to not only protect but to also grow your home investment.

Thinking about all of these things while you are in the home finding mode is a great place to start. Some buyers will fall in love with over the top amenities that often seem attractive in the showing stage but later turn into real headaches. There’s nothing wrong with shooting for the moon, your house should be as fabulous as you can imagine it, but it also never hurts too keep your feet on the ground while your head is in the clouds.

Sell That Home FAST!

moneyhousingWith low home inventory and steady prices in Idaho already this year, many industry experts are agreeing that 2015 could be the year of the sellers market return.

That being said it doesn’t mean it’s going to be an easy move; buyers are being even more particular about the homes they view as they still have a number of options to consider. I’ve put together a few tips to help you get your home ready for buyers and get it sold fast!

Power Up
Consider adding power outlets with USB ports. It’s a minor thing but for today’s tech savvy families this could be a huge selling point.

Clean Up
Get the carpets cleaned by a professional, do the same for your wood floors. Dingy dirty floors are a major turn off and one of the first, most noticeable, elements to any space.

Expand
Don’t be afraid to open up that kitchen space. Open flow designs are all the rage and often with just a little remodel you can really add some appeal to the room that is often considered the heart of your home.

Keep Up on the Yard
Curb appeal is largely made up by your home exterior – especially the landscaping. Now, in Winter time it will be a bit harder to really showcase your lawn but you can do simple things like making sure the hedges are trimmed, and that the side walks and drives are cleared of snow.

Ditch the Wallpaper
Unless it’s something really modern or suited to the entire rest of the house it’s likely a good idea to tear out that old parlor wall paper and go with something more sleek and chic.

Price to Sell
That doesn’t mean undercut your investment, but be sure your home is priced competitively for the market. A great starting point is to have a comparative home market analysis done by a qualified REALTOR. Don’t be afraid to go a little low either, some times pricing a little below market value can entice more buyers and lead to multiple offers.

Rent VS Buying

Inman News recently published research they analyzed from Trulia regarding which major metropolitan areas had more affordable homes for purchase than for rent.

It really wasn’t surprising to find that in 98 out of 100 U.S. cities buying a home was the better decision between the two. Low home prices and mortgage rates are the largest contributing factor to this on-going trend, but the simultaneous rise in rent prices in many cities pushed the rent over buy index to new lows.

East coast and west coast giants California and New York had some of the highest priced-to-rent ratios in the country, with lower ratios were to be found in the Midwest. Northwest mecca Seattle came in at #81 with a somewhat higher than average ratio, but still within the bounds of a city where it is better to buy.

This could be a very nice turn for the real estate market as the economy struggles to rebound; doubtlessly this sort of news will spur home prices to begin to rise. NOW may be the best time to buy a home!