Posted in Real Estate Tips

Routine Maintenance Of Various Systems In Your Home

Routine Maintenance Of Various Systems In Your HomeWhen you are a new homeowner, learning about your property can feel overwhelming. There are a number of systems in your home that require routine maintenance.

Knowing when to have system serviced will help keep your home running smoothly. From the plumbing in your home, to the heating and cooling, understand that each system may need routine maintenance from time to time. 

Your Heating And Cooling System

To maintain comfortable air temperatures in your home, it’s important to keep your heating and cooling system up-to-date. If you have a whole home system, it should be serviced once before the heating season and once before the cooling season.

When you get filters changed, and your system serviced, you are less likely to have to deal with emergency repairs. In addition, your HVAC system will run more efficiently.

When You Have A Septic System

Waste water leaves your home either through the town sewer system or through a septic tank. If you have a septic system on your property, you need to have the system serviced every other year. Check the records of your septic system to see when it was serviced previously.

Address Plumbing Issues

A leaky faucet is a localized problem, while discovering that all of the drains in your home are draining slowly is systemic. You need to repair small leaks to avoid wasting water in your home, while systemic problems must be addressed by a professional.

If your drains aren’t working correctly, you may have a block in your main sewer line. Know where the main shut off valve is for the water coming in to your home in case of an emergency.

Electrical Needs In Your Home

Your home has an intricate electrical system that is controlled by an electrical panel usually located in your basement. When a circuit trips, you will need to reset the circuit breaker. If your home consistently has problems with a specific circuit, you’ll want to have the circuit checked by an electrician to see if it is overloaded.

It’s exciting to own a home for the first time. Once you understand the various systems in your home, it becomes easier to take care of your property. With good maintenance, you can help avoid emergency repairs to your home.

Your heating and cooling will be more efficient, and you won’t run in to problems with your septic system if you have one. If there is something you don’t understand in your home, call a professional to get the problem looked at.

Posted in Real Estate

Managing Finances Before Applying For A Mortgage

Managing Finances Before Applying For A MortgageAre you planning on using a mortgage to help cover the cost of a new home? If so, you will want to prepare your finances and figure out how you will manage all those wallet-draining monthly expenses. Let’s take a look at how to run a quick financial health check to ensure you are ready to apply for a mortgage.

Update (Or Start) Your Monthly Budget

First, it is essential to get the basics out of the way. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start a monthly budget to keep track of your income and expenses. Once you have a mortgage, it will be important to prioritize your monthly payments so that you don’t end up falling behind.

Starting a budget is easy and can be done with mobile apps, software, a spreadsheet or a pen and paper. List all sources of income so that you know exactly how much cash you are working with. Then, list out every one of your expenses. It can be tough to remember them all, so consider using debit and credit card statements from the past few months as a reminder.

Get A Copy Of Your Credit Report

Next, you will want to get a copy of your credit report so you can see what potential mortgage lenders will see when assessing your financial history. This is a free service that you can request once per year, so be sure to take advantage. Note that you will want to use government-approved websites for requesting your credit report. Be wary of scams.

Do You Have A Down Payment?

A down payment is not required for every home purchase, but having one saved up can make the buying process easier. The amount you will want to have saved up will depend on the cost of your home, whether you plan on carrying private mortgage insurance and a variety of other factors. If possible, try to save up an amount close to (or more than) twenty percent of the home’s purchase price.

Ready? Chat With A Professional

Now that you have your financial health in check, it is time to meet with a mortgage professional to discuss your financing options. 

As soon as you know what you can afford, the next step is to contact your trusted real estate agent who can help you find the house of your dreams!

Posted in Home Buyer Tips

Looking For A Major Lifestyle Change? Consider Buying A ‘Micro’ Home

Looking For A Major Lifestyle Change Consider Buying A 'Micro' HomeWith the sometimes high cost of buying and maintaining a home and the concept of being sustainable becoming more popular, many people are considering moving to a smaller home to minimize their impact. It’s important, however, to consider what living small is really like before deciding that it’s the right move for you.

If you’re curious about life on a smaller scale, here are some things to contemplate beforehand.

Getting Rid Of The Excess

It’s just a fact that a smaller amount of space means a smaller amount of stuff, but many people don’t realize this works two ways. While you won’t be able to accumulate the same amount of stuff in a smaller home, you also won’t have the luxury of being able to take everything from a larger house with you. It may not be a big deal for you to pack things away or discard the old, but if you’re the type of person who likes stuff, you may want to re-consider micro.

Will You Miss The Space?

Many homeowners spend a lot of time outdoors or even traveling for work, so the size of their home may not matter that much. However, if you’re the kind of homeowner who loves to nest and have their space, the idea of lounging around a small home may not be for you. A micro-sized space can minimize costs and be easier to decorate, but if you like being able to spread out and luxuriate in a variety of surroundings, something undersized can be quite limiting.

Forget The Home Maintenance

Whether you live on a massive estate or in a studio apartment, there are minor things that need to be done to keep your space clean and clutter free. When it comes to smaller living though, there will be a lot less to do, and this can greatly impact your free time. It’s great if you’re the kind of person who has plenty of hobbies to keep them busy, but if you like taking care of the yard and doing an assortment of home maintenance duties, it may be a struggle to own a property that needs less tending.

It’s never been more popular to go ‘micro’ when it comes to home ownership, but it’s important to make sure small living is right for you before taking the leap. If you are currently in the market for a ‘micro’ home or any other type of property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional. 

Posted in Home Buyer Tips

When Is the Right Time to Buy Your First Home? Use This Easy 4 Point Checklist

When Is the Right Time to Buy Your First Home? Use This Easy 4 Point ChecklistAre you growing tired of renting? Or perhaps you’ve recently graduated from college and are looking to set down some roots?

Whatever the case, buying your first home is an exciting prospect. Let’s take a look at a quick and easy four-point checklist that you can use to determine if you are ready to buy your first home.

#1: Is Your Credit In Good Shape?

How is your overall financial health? Once you have your down payment saved up, you should turn your attention to your credit rating.

If you are going to borrow a mortgage to help cover the cost of your home, your lender will be doing some digging into your credit history. It is best to ensure that you aren’t late with any payments and have cleared off any black marks from past credit problems.

#2: Can You See Yourself Living In This Community?

Do you love the area you live in? Or are you thinking about moving to a community that you like a bit more than your current one?

Perhaps it’s the local shops, the amenities, the walking trails or just being closer to work. It is always best to ‘love where you live,’ so ensure that you are buying your first home in a community that you can call home.

#3: Is Your Job Situation Stable?

Another factor to consider is your job or career situation. Are you likely to switch companies or be transferred to another division within the next few years? Be sure to give some thought to this as it will be inconvenient to have to move shortly after buying and furnishing a home.

#4: Are You Planning To Have Children?

Finally, have you considered what your family might look like in the future? Are you planning to get married, or if you are already married are you planning to have a family? If you have children now, do you expect to have any more of them?

Keep in mind that as your children grow older, they will need a bit more space. If you have a couple of young kids sharing bunk beds, each will need their own bedroom soon enough.

When you’re ready to buy your first home, our friendly real estate team is here to help you find the perfect home. Give our offices a call and we will be happy to meet with you to discuss your needs.

Posted in Home Seller Tips

Home Pricing 101: Understanding How to Set Your Home Selling Price and Why It’s a Big Decision

Home Pricing 101: Understanding How to Set Your Home Selling Price and Why It's a Big DecisionAre you thinking about placing your home up for sale in the near future? If you dwell too much on the process itself, selling your home may seem a bit daunting. You have to deal with photos, listings, open houses, bids, counteroffers and much more. One of the decisions you will be faced with is setting the selling price for your home. In today’s blog post we will discuss pricing and how to set a price that will attract potential buyers.

You Are The Most Important Factor

It might seem a bit strange to think of it this way, but in many cases, the homeowner is the most important factor in finding the right price. For example, do you need a quick sale because you are moving for work? If you want a fast sale, you may need to list your home at a bargain price. Conversely, if you can afford to have your home on the market for a few months while you field offers you may price closer to market value.

Researching The Local Market

Next, you will want to research local market conditions to get a feel for the right pricing range. Are there other recent home sales in your neighborhood? On average, did they sell above or below the asking price? Are there many listings on the market now or is there just a few listings which may indicate intense buying pressure?

The market will play a significant role in choosing the right price. Don’t overlook it.

Don’t Get Greedy

The best possible real estate sale is ‘high and fast’, meaning your home sold quickly and for a high price. The reality is typically much different. You may get some buyers bidding, but all with low offers. Alternatively, you may only have one potential homebuyer come to your first open house. Whatever the case, keep in mind that you do not want to get greedy. Yes, it is great to sell high. However, you also want to close the sale so you can move on.

Too Much Trouble? Enlist Professional Help

If you feel that all of this is just a bit too much to bother with, don’t fret. Your best course of action is to enlist the help of a professional real estate agent who has extensive home selling experience. When you’re ready to sell your home, give us a call. We’re happy to share our insight into the local market and advise you on the best listing price to get your home sold quickly.

Posted in Home Seller Tips

Sellin’ Ain’t Easy: 4 Reasons Why You Will Want to Engage a Professional Real Estate Sales Agent

Selling Ain't Easy: 4 Reasons Why You Will Want to Engage a Professional Real Estate Sales AgentAre you listing your home for sale this year? If so, you may be wondering just why you need the services of a real estate agent. Sure, it is theoretically possible to handle the entire process yourself and be successful. However, if you’re inexperienced, you may end up stumbling. Let’s explore four reasons why you will want to enlist the services of a professional real estate agent when you sell your home.

Do You Know How To Price Your Home?

Choosing the right listing price is a decision that requires research, intuition and a day-to-day understanding of how the local real estate market is moving. Unless you work in real estate, it is unlikely that you have your finger on the pulse of the market. Without a real estate agent’s help, you might end up pricing too high, which means that your sale takes much longer, or too low, which means you leave money on the table. Setting the right price is critical and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Have You Ever Marketed A Property Listing?

Do you have experience with marketing a property listing? If not, it is crucial that you work with an experienced real estate team. Today’s market requires website listings, social media advertising and other tactics to ensure success. It’s best to leave marketing to those who understand it.

Are You Good At Dealing With Strangers?

Do you consider yourself a ‘people person’? If not, you probably aren’t going to like the home selling process very much. Every open house means new people are walking through your home – potentially dozens of them. Your real estate agent is there to take care of dealing with strangers so you don’t have to.

Is Negotiating One Of Your Strengths?

Finally, don’t forget that real estate transactions almost always end up in some sort of negotiation. It is rare for a buyer to walk up and pay your listing price, although it does happen. However, it’s more common to receive a lower bid to try to draw you into submitting a counteroffer. In other cases, you may end up with multiple buyers fighting a bidding war to buy your home. In all of these situations, you will want an experienced negotiator on hand to help.

These are just a few of the many reasons that working with a professional real estate agent is in your best interests when you sell your home. To learn more about the sales process, or to list your home for sale, contact us today. Our team is dedicated to ensuring you have a fast, stress-free sale.

Posted in Home Buyer Tips

When Is the Right Time to Buy Your First Home? Use This Easy 4 Point Checklist

When Is the Right Time to Buy Your First Home? Use This Easy 4 Point ChecklistAre you growing tired of renting? Or perhaps you’ve recently graduated from college and are looking to set down some roots? Whatever the case, buying your first home is an exciting prospect. Let’s take a look at a quick and easy four-point checklist that you can use to determine if you are ready to buy your first home.

#1: Is Your Credit In Good Shape?

How is your overall financial health? Once you have your down payment saved up, you should turn your attention to your credit rating. If you are going to borrow a mortgage to help cover the cost of your home, your lender will be doing some digging into your credit history. It is best to ensure that you aren’t late with any payments and have cleared off any black marks from past credit problems.

#2: Can You See Yourself Living In This Community?

Do you love the area you live in? Or are you thinking about moving to a community that you like a bit more than your current one? Perhaps it’s the local shops, the amenities, the walking trails or just being closer to work. It is always best to ‘love where you live,’ so ensure that you are buying your first home in a community that you can call home.

#3: Is Your Job Situation Stable?

Another factor to consider is your job or career situation. Are you likely to switch companies or be transferred to another division within the next few years? Be sure to give some thought to this as it will be inconvenient to have to move shortly after buying and furnishing a home.

#4: Are You Planning To Have Children?

Finally, have you considered what your family might look like in the future? Are you planning to get married, or if you are already married are you planning to have a family? If you have children now, do you expect to have any more of them? Keep in mind that as your children grow older, they will need a bit more space. If you have a couple of young kids sharing bunk beds, each will need their own bedroom soon enough.

When you’re ready to buy your first home, our friendly real estate team is here to help. Give our offices a call and we will be happy to meet with you to discuss your needs and share a variety of beautiful homes that are available today.

Posted in Home Seller Tips

Recently Inherited a Home That You Don’t Need? Here’s How to Get It Sold Without Too Much Stress

Recently Inherited a Home That You Don't Need? Here's How to Get It Sold Without Too Much StressHas a loved one or family member recently passed on and left you with their home? Inheriting a house can be a delightful gift, but it can also present a significant number of challenges that you must navigate. Let’s explore how to deal with an inherited house and, should you decide to, how to sell it without incurring too much stress.

Are Emotions Involved?

The death of a family member or other loved one can be a trying time emotionally. Depending on how the deceased left the property, you may also have to deal with cleaning out personal belongings and reviving old memories. A battle over a will or the proceeds of an estate can compound the situation, making things worse.

If you are emotionally involved, it is best to work with a real estate agent who can do much of the heavy lifting. That way you can focus on supporting your family and keeping your stress levels down.

Understand Your Legal Obligations

Although real estate inheritance is common, there are still some legal issues that must be considered. As such, you will need to understand what your legal obligations are regarding the will or estate process. Are you the executor of the will, or is someone else? Is the property included in a trust, or is it free-standing and gifted directly to you? Has the probate period passed, or can a family member or relative still challenge the will? If you haven’t already, it is best to speak with a real estate professional or experienced lawyer to get their advice.

Consider The Tax Implications

As with any financial windfall, there are going to be tax implications that need to be considered when selling an inherited home. For example, it’s unlikely that you will qualify for the home sales tax exclusion unless you have been living in that house as your primary residence. Once you sell the home, you will also need to report the proceeds of the sale to the IRS. There are also a variety of different taxes that need to be factored in, including estate taxes, inheritance taxes and more.

Consult An Experienced Real Estate Agent

Selling a home that you have inherited in a will or as part of an estate can be an emotionally draining process. Before you make any moves, it is best to speak with a real estate professional. Contact our offices at your convenience and we will be happy to meet with you and share our guidance.

Posted in Home Buyer Tips

Curious About Homeowners’ Association (HOA) Fees? Here’s What You Need to Know

Curious About Homeowners' Association (HOA) Fees? Here's What You Need to KnowIf you are thinking of buying a condominium or a home that is part of a planned community, you have likely come across the term “homeowners’ association” or HOA. In short, the HOA is a coalition of local homeowners who have banded together to manage the needs of the local community. Let’s explore the concept of the homeowners’ association, why they charge fees and what you can expect from your HOA if you buy a home that is part of one.

HOA Fees Are Meant To Make Things Easier

HOA fees are meant to make your life easier. Common sense dictates that all homeowners won’t be able to commit to investing some of their time in community upkeep. So the HOA charges a monthly fee to everyone to cover the costs of keeping everything in order. Of course, some HOAs can make mistakes or foolish investments that don’t benefit all equally. But most are well-intended and do positive work.

What Do HOA Fees Cover?

Your HOA fees will be used to pay for needs that benefit all homeowners’ in the community. If you live in a building, this will be everything from elevator maintenance to keeping the doors in good order. If you live in a townhouse complex or planned community, this includes landscaping, gardening, road maintenance and more. As long as your HOA leaders are doing their job, they will use fees to maintain and improve the community for everyone.

Some Pros And Cons Of HOA Fees

The main benefit of paying HOA fees is that you are offloading your share of the responsibility for building or community upkeep. In essence, you are trading a monthly payment so that you don’t have to vacuum the common areas, change the light bulbs or worry about repairing the gate when it breaks. The main downside to paying HOA fees is that you only have a single vote as to how they are spent and you may disagree with other homeowners about the HOA’s priorities.

All things considered, whether or not you have a favorable view of your HOA generally comes down to you. If you are the type that likes to share their opinion and is willing to commit the time to improve your local community, you may want to join your HOA. However, if you are less interested in having someone spend your money, you might disagree with their approach. Whatever the case, when you are ready to buy or sell your next home, contact our professional real estate team. We’re happy to help you find the right home – HOA or not.

Posted in Home Seller Tips

Selling Your Home to Millennials? 3 Tips That Will Help You Get the Sale Closed

Selling Your Home to Millennials? 3 Tips That Will Help You Get the Sale ClosedAre you thinking of selling your home this year? If so, you are almost certainly going to interact with millennial homebuyers. This generation numbers around 80 million and are the fastest-growing consumer demographic in the country. As their earning power continues to increase, millennials are now turning their attention to real estate. In today’s post, we’ll share three tips that you can use to help make your listing more attractive to younger millennial homebuyers.

Minimalize As Much As Possible

Is your home full of trinkets and other clutter? If so, it might be best to box all of that up and store it during the home selling process. This generation tends to lean more towards a minimalist lifestyle and a ‘quality over quantity’ mentality. They are also highly social, which means that open space for mingling is more important than having large, clunky pieces of furniture all over the place. If you have large living areas, try to stage them with more of an open concept in mind.

Embrace Technology And Make Upgrades

As you might imagine, millennials are very tech-savvy and gravitate towards homes that already have their technology interests in mind. Of course, you do not need to run out and invest in a massive solar panel setup for your roof – although solar is certainly popular. Smaller, more thoughtful investments like strong WiFi signals, Internet-connected thermostats and video-based home security options are all useful tech upgrades.

Highlight The Local Community And Amenities

Finally, you will want to highlight your local community as much as possible. Everything from the local elementary and middle schools to walking trails to community centers and shopping is important to the millennial crowd. Many of this generation prefer walking and cycling over driving and aren’t interested in long, horrific commutes to work each morning. If you have a nice coffee shop or bakery that you like to frequent, try to have some of their products on hand at your open house as well.

Following the selection of tips above is sure to make your home more attractive to millennial homebuyers. To learn more about how to sell to younger buyers, or to list your home for sale, contact us today. Our professional real estate team is happy to meet with you and share how we can get your home sold quickly.