Selling Your Home? Here’s Things NOT to Do!

home seller helpThe market is heating up and with the prospect of selling a home is looking very enticing.  As with any major change, it’s not something to be rushed into, and while it’s easy to start dreaming of where the next chapter of your life will take you there are some very real things to consider to make sure it’s a smooth transition. Everyone knows the basic things like prepping for staging and curb appeal, but here are a few things you might want to NOT do that may not have crossed your mind.

Don’t Hide Things
Now, we’re not talking about tucking the kids toys into the closet or hiding the dog bed when guests come over. This is more about not hiding problems with the home, like cracked foundations, mold, or other real issues that potential buyers will need to deal with. Not only is it dishonest, but it only serves to be a problem issue later when they get the home inspect and it’s found out.

Don’t Over Price
Look at other similar homes for sale in your area, and of course talk with a real estate professional about the market conditions. These are the two best ways to gauge the price you should be selling your home at; your agent should have good insight into the perfect initial price. Don’t worry if they mention reducing the price in a few weeks – this tends to be fairly common in the market.

Don’t Hire The First Realtor You Find
Don’t just type ‘find a realtor’ into google and go with the number one result. Who knows, they may be awesome, but it’s wise to at least check around a little bit to find the right real estate professional for you. Look at not only their experience and track record but also how they interact with you – you will after all be spending at least a decent portion of time with this person, it’s best if you enjoy each others company.

We hope these tips will help you steer clear of these potential pitfalls! It’s easy to get lost in the excitement of a change of life, especially once the process has started, but one sure way to stay on the right path is to work with a REALTOR® you can trust.

Home Buying: Consider This Before You Start Looking

homesellersThe time has come to buy your first home.

Maybe you’re tired of dealing with a landlord, or your parents are tired of you mooching of them, or maybe you’re just ready – ready to put down some roots, starting building equity, and growing towards a more stable future.

Whatever the reason you’ve been thinking about buying a home there are a lot of costs to consider outside of the actual purchase price of the home that many first time home buyers don’t consider, or don’t even know about. We’ve put together some of these in a quick list to help you get started on the path towards home ownership:

Landscaping – Variable  Cost
Most homes, especially if they’re already built, will come with some sort of basic landscaping – a lawn, maybe a shrubbery or two. Beyond that, getting creating and making the yard your own will be up to you, but even if you leave it as-is there will still be the cost of maintaining the yard. Depending on the size of the yard your plans for it this can be as low a cost as just fertilizing and gas for mowing or well into the thousands of dollars if you go all out.

Appliances – Middle to High Cost
Unless your new home comes pre-furnished  or you’re stealing your room mates stuff chances are you’re going to need appliances. Even if it’s just a couple things, the costs can add up quick – particularly for larger or higher end appliances. Shop around here. Maybe even consider rent-to-own if budget is tight. You can always shop used also, and remember appliances are always something you can upgrade down the road when there may be more finances available.

Insurance – Low to Middle Cost
It’s a good idea. Some would even recommend going a step further and getting a home warranty – this can help you protect those newly acquired appliances and help keep things running smoothly overall. You can plan on about $700 annually for most basic home insurance with prices varying based on the home, amenities, and credit. It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but home insurance can really save your shirt if something unforeseen should happen.

Utilities – Variable Cost
Depending on your previous situation the cost of monthly utilities may not have popped up on the radar, and even so until you’re in the new place using the services for a few months you really won’t know for certain what those costs will be. It’s a good idea to at least plan for a few hundred dollars a month to cover electricity, gas, and water. It never hurts to talk to the neighbors in the area when you’re looking at homes and gently asking what their average utilities run.

Taxes, Fees, Etc Etc – Who Can Say
Plan for the first of the year. Set money aside specifically for “We Just Don’t Know” because that first year will include some surprises whether it be fees from the HOA or cost of repairs, it will happen. Another thing of course is Property Taxes and other tax fees associated with being a homeowner. Don’t fret, it’s all part of putting on those grown up pants and doing the paperwork shuffle .

Your new home should be EXCITING! Nothing will kill that excitement faster than having to turn around and ask the folks for a loan just a few months after moving out all because you didn’t plan ahead. Keep all these things in mind, but more importantly talk to your chosen REALTOR®  ( you DID start with finding a qualified real estate agent first, right? ) they will have insight and advice that can save you a lot of trouble!

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!

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!