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!

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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!

Dreaming Of Owning A Home? Here’s 3 Tips To Help!

idaho dream homeAfter renting for years you’ve decided it’s about time to think about buying a home. Maybe it’s just the desire for more equity in your finances, or you’re tired of landlords and the uncertainty of month to month living – whatever the reason, it’s time, but you aren’t sure where to even start.

As exciting as it feels to think about buying a home, it can also be pretty intimidating tool. To help ease you into things we’ve put together a few quick tips to jump start the process of home ownership right away!

Start With Finances
It’s the part everyone dreads, so best to get it out of the way first. Know your credit score and have a recent report ready. If you spot any credit issues you will want to work towards repairing them at least 6 months before buying a home. You can also seek out a lender who can help you get all the paperwork you’ll need in order – a REALTOR® should be able to recommend a few.

Start Looking
It’s never too early to start looking. Use the web or even spend some time driving around the areas you’re interest in to start getting familiar with what’s available. Consider things like location in relation to amenities, schools, and drive time to work while you’re out scouting.

Start Saving
Moving day will be here before you know it! You don’t have to think just about the money for the down payment and closing costs but remember to prepare for additional things like time off needed to relocate, cost for hiring movers, and cleaning costs for your old place as well. It never hurts to start socking away a little money in an extra account specifically for these uses; you’ll be glad you did in the long run.

And of course, of course always start by working with a qualified REALTOR® who knows the market! An experienced real estate agent can do a lot more than just move paperwork around, they will be an invaluable ally on the road ahead, so make sure you choose one who is knowledgeable and who also fits your personality.

REALTORS®: More Than Just Finding Homes

It’s no secret these days that just about anyone can get online and search for homes anywhere in the country. You’ve likely even seen tv commercials showing how easy it is to do even from your phone. So why do people still need real estate agents?

A truly qualified agent will do more than just give you a list of homes, they should be a qualified professional with insight into the market who can help you navigate the real estate transaction process with greater ease as well as understanding. But what are some other reasons you might want to work with a professional?

Comfort
Buying or selling your home is one of the biggest decisions in your lifetime and it often involves major changes to living situations as well as finances. Real estate can seem like a treacherous undertaking, especially if you’re a first time buyer or seller, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing you won’t be facing it alone is worth it’s weight in gold — just like a good agent is!

Knowledge
Whether you’re buying or selling an agent familiar with the industry will be invaluable throughout the process. Offers, counter-offers, amendments, all of these steps can be overwhelming to take on alone. Even just knowing where the prices are in the market and how to negotiate will be well worth a commission when it brings you greater return on your investment.

Resources
This is especially important for sellers! A full time real estate agent will have marketing resources you yourself couldn’t hope to have on call without huge cost. They will be able to list your home, showcase it on their real estate website, share it on social media, and do many other things to get your home not only sold more quickly but generally for a higher amount. For buyers? You’re not left out either! An experienced agent will likely have many personal contacts and other options for finding you the perfect place.

These are just a few of the things many people don’t consider when thinking about buying or selling their home; it’s easy to understand – if you’ve never dealt with real estate before you can’t understand the value of a real estate experts experience. Don’t let hesitations keep you from reaching out to a Realtor® in your area with questions, you may be surprised to find how much easier working with a local pro can be!

Real Advice for First Time Home Buyers

homeraceSo you’re just getting settled into the first new home of your own; as might be expected you’ve learned some valuable lessons during the process of making it yours.

Now, there are plenty of “10 Tips for Home Buyers” out there on the internet, so we won’t bore you with more of those, but what about the things you need to consider that aren’t typical?

Here are a few things that most first time buyers don’t even consider:

Make a Checklist
Buying a home can be an emotional process; ideally you would set those feeling aside to make the most logical decisions. It never happens, but it would be ideal – so a good way to help fight the effects of the inevitable is to make a list of things you want in your new perfect place. Organize it with Must Haves, Would Be Nice, and lastly No Big Deals – this will make it easy to visualize the home you want and clearly asses which items may or may not be deal killers. Print this list out and keep it with you when you’re out house hunting – if nothing else it will keep the important features of your potential home in front of you.

Think Long Term
Thinking long term in home ownership means thinking re-sale. Thinking re-sale means thinking about VALUATION, so consider all the factors that go into improving your home and how easily they can be accomplished. Also, your needs as homeowner will change over time as well; your job may change, you may have kids, or other more unexpected life changes that might not fit with the ideal home you start with.

Grill the HOA
Find out the facts about the Napoleonic authorities that will be governing the home you worked so hard to own. In many cases these over-powered authorities can make your time in your new home difficult at best – and their word is law – so it’s definitely a good idea to find out as much about the HOA organization before you buy. Some might say it may be an even better idea to choose a community that does not have these sort of antiquated restrictions on how you can live in the house you’re paying for.

Don’t Get Upstaged
Houses are often staged for sale in order to look more appealing, and while there’s nothing underhanded about the sellers wanting to present the house in the best light you do need to look through the glamour. Realize that as nice as the house looks now that the furniture and everything else you see will be gone when you move in. Dispel the staging and instead visualize how your own furniture and accessories will fit the home.

The Legends Are True
There are a lot of old adages about real estate…location, location, location of course and buy the view not the house are common. Lesser known axioms that can truly be life savers include: have an emergency fund! Save for your down payment of at least 20%, and start saving early on. Don’t buy more home than you can afford, and avoid large purchases (especially on credit) right before you start house hunting.

The last most obvious tip of course is to work with a qualified and experienced real estate professional. Your REALTOR® will do much more than just shuffle the paper work for you — although believe us you’ll be glad to have them around for that too! If you’re thinking of buying, or are just starting to look don’t hesitate to get in touch and find out how we can help you!

Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

rhbr6r99Selling your home can be a real challenge; a unique process compared to buying a home or any other real estate transaction. It can be hard to know what to do and how to progress in the proper manner; it is for that reason that having an experienced real estate agent can make all the difference. We’ve put together a few hot button items to help you steer clear of some of the most common pitfalls when selling your home, but of
course always recommend working with a professional.

Make Sure the Time is Right
Don’t sell before you’re ready. Don’t sell before the market is ready. Don’t sell before the house is ready. Only you can know whether the time is right for you, your REALTOR® should know if the market is good, but you can do a lot on your own make sure the home is ready. Take care of any repairs that are outstanding, especially if they are major, to insure the best return on your investment.

Don’t Over Improve
What you consider an improvement might not be to the taste of the new owner; not all home improvements are the same either – some can return more or less when it comes to monetary value on return. You may love your new bright pink lady lair, but that coat of paint could cost you the sale if potential buyers aren’t so hot on that style. Lastly, if the improvements you choose are costly you may not recover their cost even if you do end up selling the home.

Don’t Play Hide And Seek
Selling a home is much like any other business, it needs to be based on trust and honesty. Considering that, don’t hide any details about your home or your finances that could pop up as potential pitfalls later on. Some less than desirable details about your house may be ill received, and even cost you a buyer or two, but that’s nothing compared to the fallout of having to deal with outraged buyers or even charges of fraud after the fact.

Simmer Down
Selling a home is a process, with a lot of money at stake, and it’s never a good idea to rush into ventures of that nature. Take time to plan not only your sale itself but the steps leading up to the sale – preparing the home, talking to the kids about the move, packing your home, and a myriad of other details. Don’t rush into thing, make sure the agent you choose is a good match for you and also knows the market. A little patience
can go a long way and even in a fast moving market it takes time for the sale itself to be processed.

Things Home Sellers Need to Do in 2015!

2015The new year is upon us and it’s time to embrace the change and seek a brighter tomorrow! For those considering selling their home the warmer Spring months ahead it’s prime time to get things ready for making the big move. Here are some tips for not only those looking to sell their home but also for those looking to spice up the place they’ve hung their hat for years already.

Get Creative.
Step back and really look at your space. Sometimes it helps to clear the room of furniture – and hey, with Spring cleaning, you were going to be doing that anyway right? Consider doing a full remodel, if it makes sense. Knock down a wall, but in a bar or kitchen island.

Bail on Beige.
Blah. Neutral. Beige. Off-white. Honestly, even taupe is better! Be bold! Claim your walls! Be mindful of current styles and trends, and maybe not go full chartreuse, but really…we can’t suggest this one enough.

Update your lighting.
Did 1995 call and tell you that 8 glass panel chandelier in the dining room was missing? Yeah. It’s like that. Consider not only new updated fixtures but also the bulbs themselves! Lighting has come a long way in the last 20 years; you could actually be saving yourself money.

Clean out the garage.
If you are going to be selling your home this just makes good sense. You’ll be making the task of moving a little bit easier. If you are not moving then it’s a good idea just because it will help you use the space more efficiently – imagine! being able to actually park your car…in the garage! It can happen! The legends are true! Start by getting rid of anything you haven’t seen or used in the last 5 years. Chances are, unless it’s a family treasure, you can do without it.

There are a hundred tips to get your house in tip-top shape! Most of them you can find on your own just by stopping and really taking a look around. From de-cluttering to just old fashioned cleaning and painting you can do a lot to make your home more sellable or to keep your house more livable for yourself!

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!