PLANNING A MOVE? REDUCE THE STRESS!

PLANNING A MOVE? REDUCE THE STRESS!

PLANNING A MOVE? REDUCE THE STRESS!

If you are planning to take that step and move into a new dwelling, or perhaps to a new city or community, here are some moving tips that will help you get through it as easy as possible. Keep in mind that getting organized FIRST and staying organized is the secret to a reduced-stress-move!

You may want to consider having a professional organizer handle your relocation. There are local organizers who will provide on-site energy, motivation, and fun – giving expert guidance for those tuff decisions you will have to make on what to keep and what to throw out!

If you have ever moved before, you will probably agree that it is best to let a professional moving company help you with your move including doing the packing. If you are moving long-distance, their packers are trained to do the job efficiently, guarding against breakage and loss. Plus, your household items will be insured by the company. It is a general rule that items labeled “packed by owner” (meaning anyone other than the mover) are not insured during the move.

As always, when considering a company to hire to assist with jobs such as moving or organizing, do your research. Comparing costs is one thing, but most importantly would be to make sure the company is a professional and responsible one. A business that provides moving services should only have bonded employees working for them, and an insurance policy that will cover damages to any items they transport. Checking customer and business reviews is a good way to better know who the company really is. It is not hard to check out service companies online or on your social networks – ask for recommendations from your friends on who they have successfully used.

When it comes to unpacking, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself. Keep in mind that when you pay movers to unpack, they don’t put anything away. So everything you own ends up on all surfaces, including the floor. Be sure to label the boxes with the content and location they belong to so the movers can place them in the appropriate place, then you go to work room by room, unpacking and placing the contents.

With so many things to consider in the process of a move, here are some helpful ideas:

1 – Create a moving notebook or folder or ask your Realtor for a MOVING CHECKLIST. Keep all of the paperwork related to your move in one place. Make notes, keep your checklist current, and keep receipts and documents.

2 – Log on to your utility sites or a website like https://myutilities.com/ that can manage all of your utility changes in one place. Shop and set up your utilities and complete your change of address notification. Most utility companies will allow you to search for and connect to the services you need in your new area including: electricity, water, gas, cable/satellite TV, Internet/phone, and more.

3 – Create a moving calendar to schedule and track all aspects and tasks required for a successful move, such as changing utilities, change of address notification, make hotel reservations, defrost the refrigerator, order storage container, pet lodging, etc.

4 – Do your research about resources such as housekeepers who clean empty homes, carpet cleaners, reputable van lines and technology specialists, etc. Ask your Realtor for local recommendations.

5 – It’s time for the “great-give-away”. Why move things you no longer need or use? Find another home for them: favorite charities, recycling centers, family members, and garage or estate sales. People want what you don’t need.

6 – Don’t forget that all-important survival box packed with your bed linens, coffee pot and other must-have items. This box should be last-on and first-off the moving van.

7 – Cash for tipping the packers, loaders, and driver for superior service. You want them to take good care of your belongings.

Congratulations! You and your stuff made it to your new digs. Now, save your back by using furniture moving pads to slide heavy furniture around – it’s a cinch and doesn’t scratch the flooring.

Today’s Opportunities are Better than Ever for Real Estate Investing

Today’s Opportunities are Better than Ever for Real Estate Investing

In today’s real estate market there are deals available for those who are ready to invest.In fact, today a buyer can buy real estate and have a better cash flow than in years past. A few years ago an investor would be happy with buying an investment property that could cash flow $200.00 a month over the mortgage payment. That was figured on a 20-year mortgage including taxes and insurance. Today you can buy rentals that will cash flow up to $400.00-$500.00 or more per month.

TODAY’S OPPORTUNITIES ARE BETTER THAN EVER.

 

 

Plan your future with rental houses in it. Buying investment property today comes with low interest rates, resulting in lower payments. PLUS, due to the high demand for housing across the country and in DFW, rent prices continue to rise.

Once you buy an investment property, follow the model of successful investors and hire a professional management company to handle the day-to-day minutia. Spend your time locating those real buys and let a property management company do the management.

Be sure to look at homes that need work. Mortgage companies are not generally interested in spending more funds repairing them, resulting in you getting a lower price. All sounds real simple, right? It doesn’t have to be complicated, following a few simple steps will help you get started. The following tips will keep you on track as you grow into a real estate mogul with successful investing!

5 TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL REAL ESTATE INVESTING

Make a plan – Determine how many houses you want to purchase per quarter, per year, and know how much cash-flow you want each property to produce for you over and above mortgage, insurance and expenses. Other items to plan for are:

  1. What areas do you want to target? Look for properties that meet your criteria in the areas that you choose.
  2. Look for a win/win in every purchase; it needs to work for you, the bank and the owner.
  3. Don’t get emotional, learn to negotiate – this a business purchase.
  4. Remember that ugly ducklings can be made beautiful. Look for properties you can fix up to increase the value of the neighborhood – which in turn increases your investment.
  5. Know your objectives – Write out your objectives for investing.

Do you want to –

> build future wealth on investments that will cash-flow itself while building a retirement income on a 20-year note,

> build short-term wealth that provides a monthly income from the cash-flow on a 30-year note,

> or, get immediate cash by buying low and flipping (fixing up and selling for a profit)?

Set your Parameters – Determine the parameters in advance, i.e. what type of house will you buy? What type of lease will you take? What can you afford to buy?

> Go for the lower maintenance, more popular styled home for your area: i.e. 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2-car garage, central heat and air, with brick exterior. Remember, the better quality home the better quality tenant/lease you will be able to secure. Stay away from homes that require continuous maintenance and upkeep (i.e. homes with wood siding).

> Go with a minimum 2-year lease. A tenant who signs a 2-year lease will most likely sign for another 2 years, and another 2 years – you are already 6 years, into paying off your investment!

> Know how much money you can invest in a property without breaking YOUR bank! Look for REO’s and houses that have been on the market for a very long time (180 days +).

> Get your $$$$$ in order – Of course you will have to get your credit in order and have a good relationship with your lender.

Here are a few “secrets” from the experts to continue your success:

  • Have a 6 month “emergency” fund put back to protect you and your investments.
  • Save money to take care of your future. No one else can do this for you.
  • Pay attention to your business, your assets, what you are spending and what you are saving.
  • Learn to GIVE. It will come back to you.

Use a property management company – One of the biggest mistakes and “time guzzlers” is in trying to manage your investment properties yourself. Experts advise you NOT to manage your properties yourself…”don’t worry about the $45 and $50 items that need to be fixed at your property, instead focus on the $40,000 equities that are out there!”

A property management company will take care of these things for you, freeing your time and resources to develop your investment portfolio:

  • advertising your vacant property
  • thoroughly screening a prospective tenant
  • performing move-in, move-out and periodic inspections d. expediting emergency repairs
  • handling regular maintenance and upkeep of your property
  • overseeing any legal or collection issues

Real estate investing is a proven way to build wealth, and anyone can start! Use these simple tips to get started then contact Norma Langston to help you with your first purchase.

 

 

 

10 TIPS TO MAKING YOUR HOME MORE ECO-FRIENDLY

10 TIPS TO MAKING YOUR HOME MORE ECO-FRIENDLY

10 TIPS TO MAKING YOUR HOME MORE ECO-FRIENDLY

Did you know it’s possible to cut down your energy bill and reduce your carbon footprint without drastically changing your lifestyle at home? The following are several quick and easy ways to make your home more eco-friendly while keeping your home stylish and comfortable.

1. Swap those old bulbs

It’s possible to save more than 66% energy just by tossing out all your incandescent light bulbs and switching them with Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs. The difference is enough that you’ll save 400 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions for every incandescent light bulb you replace.

2. Use more extension leads

Sometimes, you’re using energy without even realizing it. By hooking up more appliances and electronics to the same multi socket extension leads, you can consume up to 15% less energy by turning the the extension leads off at night, when nothing is in use, or when you’re on vacation.

3. Look for the Energy Star seal

If an appliance is Energy Star Qualified it means that it is designed to consume much less energy than other models. Depending on the device, some can use anywhere from 10% less energy to even 50% less.

4. Use vinegar, the natural cleaner

Instead of buying chemical-heavy products, you can often just use vinegar as a green, natural multipurpose cleaner. Keep in mind that vinegar shouldn’t be used for everything, such as stone tile floors or hardwood floors.

5. Cook more efficiently

Although not every dish comes out as good, using a microwave can reduce energy consumption by up to 50% when compared to a conventional oven. It’s also wise to use certain cookware that don’t require as high a temperature, mainly: silicone, glass, and ceramic dishes. It’s also wise to only open a heated oven when you absolutely need to since opening the door for only 30 seconds can decrease the temperature by more than 100 degrees.

6. Use eco-friendly scents and paints

We all love using fragrances, especially in the bedroom. But those made of synthetic and chemical materials are not helping our planet. Instead, go for scents that are non-aerosol and made entirely of essential oils. Eco-paints also do their part by containing much less volatile organic compounds when compared to regular paints.

7. Watch for wasted water

You’d be surprised by how much water some people waste. For example, keeping the water running while the toothbrush is scrubbing away in your mouth is a big no-no. Leaving a leaky tap on the to-do list all year can also cost you nearly 200 liters of water per week.

8. Go for low-flow

Nothing uses more water in your home than the toilet. Although it’ll cost you some cash at first, replacing your old porcelain thrones with low-flow ones can drastically reduce water use and save you money in the long run. While you’re at it, you can also opt for low-flow showerheads to save thousands of liters of water a year, especially if you have a big family.

9. Hang dry once in awhile

Dryers require producing a lot of energy to heat up and dry your clothes in the time that they do. Give them a break occasionally by hang drying your clothes instead. And when you wash, try using cold water more often since doing so can save a whopping 85-90% of your energy when compared to using hot water.

10. Garden lover? Use water butts.

A water butt is a container designed to collect and store rainwater, normally for garden use. Putting one or more of these outside during the rainy season can reduce your water consumption by a lot once the hotter months arrive and you want to keep your precious plants alive. While we’re talking about gardens, it’s also very eco-friendly to compost your organic waste instead of buying fertilizers, pesticides, etc.

10 Benefits of Buying a Home at the End of the Year

10 Benefits of Buying a Home at the End of the Year

 Benefits of buying a home at the end of the year. . .

In addition to low interest rates, there are other benefits to buying at the end of the year, including:

Tax savings. Closing on your new home by Dec. 31, 2017, means you can deduct mortgage interest, property taxes and points on your loan on your 2017 income tax return. You can also deduct the interest costs associated with a home equity loan. These deductions are significant, especially in the early years of your loan when you are paying off so much interest.

Motivated Sellers. Many sellers will also be anxious to sell by the end of the year so that they can also enjoy tax savings on the next home they purchase. That means you may have more leverage during negotiations and they may be willing to accept lower than their listing price. However, if you’re in a strong seller’s market, be conservative and always seek the advice of your real estate professional.

Special Incentives. If you’re buying a new house, there’s a good chance builders will be offering incentives. Many builders will throw in nice little extras to sell as many houses as they can by the end of the year.

More visibility. Generally speaking, the housing market slows down in the fall as fewer homes are being listed. This gives your home a chance (with the right marketing) for higher visibility by serious buyers, not to mention that the weather in November makes it a great time for house hunting!

It’s easier to move. Many moving companies are booked six or so weeks in advance during the busy summer months. In the fall and winter it’s normally easier to secure the services of a moving company or rental equipment on shorter notice.

A new home for the holidays. The holiday season is a great time to celebrate your new home with family and friends.

In addition, you’ll enjoy the many benefits that come with homeownership, regardless of what time of year you buy, including:

Paying toward something you own. If you’re renting, your rent payment goes toward something that will last you a month — a place to live for 30 or so days. When you buy a house, your monthly mortgage payment goes toward something you own.

Consistent payments. Landlords have the discretion to increase your rent, plus it’s exposed to inflation. Once you secure a mortgage, you can rely on consistent payments (if you have a fixed-rate mortgage).

A place to make your own. When you own your house, you can update your kitchen, paint your home’s exterior in any color you choose, change your fixtures, and replace your carpeting – all with the knowledge that the changes you make are your own.

Gaining equity. In the beginning, most of your payment goes toward interest. But gradually more will go toward paying off your principal, meaning you build up equity – or savings – in your home. Another factor in equity is appreciation. As home values go up in your area, so too does your rate of equity.

If you are thinking about buying a new home, contact Norma and her team today to get more information about the options available to you.  

How to choose the right neighborhood – Part 2: Finding the real estate lifestyle that fits you

How to choose the right neighborhood – Part 2: Finding the real estate lifestyle that fits you

Whether you like big yards or hip nightclubs, there’s a community type that fits your lifestyle – here is a look at 12 neighborhood types that will help you decide what is right for you whether you are in Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas or Fort Worth.

1. Urban Core (Downtown) – Condos, apartments and skyscrapers in downtown Dallas

Where to find it:
Downtown, the heart of major metros

What you can call home:
Aging single family homes and apartments, modern luxury lofts and condos converted from old warehouses and multi-use developments

Your Neighbors:
Ethnically diverse mix of young single professionals, low to middle income families and seniors

Why You’ll Like It:
Affordable housing, eclectic mix of high-end and modest, close to nightlife and city attractions

Why You May Not:
Little to no public parking, typically has higher rate of crime, transients

2. Urban Pioneer (Up-and-Coming) – Modest, affordable older homes are the hallmark of urban pioneer neighborhoods.

Where to find it:
Near downtown and inner-ring suburbs
What you can call home:
Fixer uppers, older single family homes ranging in style from ranch to modern, garden-style apartment buildings

Your Neighbors:
Ethnically diverse mix of young singles and couples, recently divorced and single parents, aging retirees who have lived in the neighborhood for years, immigrants

Why You’ll Like It:
Cheaper homes that are likely to increase in value, working-class sensibility, new development

Why You May Not:
Construction noise and eyesores, neighbors who can’t renovate their homes

3. New Urban – Neo-traditional architectural styles are a staple in new urban neighborhoods.

Where to find it:
Near a business hub other than the city’s main downtown

What you can call home:
New single family homes in retro styles, upscale apartments and condos, lofts above businesses

Your Neighbors:
Educated, affluent-to-middle income couples with no or few children, young single professionals

Why You’ll Like It:
Close to work, shopping and nightlife

Why You May Not:
Too many hipsters, inflated home prices push some buyers out of the market

4. Cul-de-sacs & Kids (Bedroom) – The ‘burbs”, where yards are green and houses look alike.

Where to find it:
Suburbs and new subdivisions

What you can call home:
Large single family homes with manicured lawns and privacy fences, tract homes, newly built homes

Your Neighbors:
Middle-aged soccer moms and dads whose lives revolve around their children

Why You’ll Like It:
Lots of curb appeal, playmates for your children, active neighborhood associations and good schools

Why You May Not:
You’re single or don’t have children, not close to city hotspots, too generic

5. Pedestrian – Built to a human scale, the brownstone/townhomes neighborhoods are pedestrian friendly.

Where to find it:
Small pockets in major metros

What you can call home:
Cozy condos and apartments, lofts above businesses

Your Neighbors:
Hipsters and single professionals

Why You’ll Like It:
You don’t need a car to get what you need

Why You May Not:
Little to no parking, noise, density

6. Historic – The past rules in historic neighborhoods that were once the hub of the city

Where to find it:
Anywhere

What you can call home:
Large, well-preserved, older single family homes known for their architectural styles ranging from Victorian/Queen Anne to Colonial Revival

Your Neighbors:
Style-conscious middle-aged couples, aging adults who grew up in the neighborhood, home-improvement buffs

Why You’ll Like It:
Lots of curb appeal, history and character

Why You May Not:
Stringent home maintenance and style requirements

7. Status/Destination – A McMansion behind a gate: the essence of the status neighborhood.

 

Where to find it:
In the hills or mountains, by water, behind gates, under the trees

What you can call home:
Large, custom-built single family homes and McMansions on the water, in the hills, under the trees, with city views, in gated communities; plush penthouses and lofts in trendy, urban areas

Your Neighbors:
Affluent high-powered executives and wannabes, upper-middle income achievers, celebrities, millionaires

Why You’ll Like It:
Status, exclusivity, privacy, security

Why You May Not:
Keeping up with the Jones is hard work

8. Ethnic – Chinatown in Chicago or San Francisco are both classic examples of an ethnic neighborhood.

Where to find it:
Near downtowns in major metros

What you can call home:
Small apartments, older single family homes

Your Neighbors:
Immigrants from a particular ethnicity, young couples, budget-conscious singles

Why You’ll Like It:
Affordable housing, interesting cuisine and products

Why You May Not:
If you’re not the same ethnicity, you may feel like an outsider

9. Active/Resort – Palm Springs, California, is the epitome of an active resort area.

Where to find it:
Sunbelt and coastal cities, in the desert, by water or in the mountains

What you can call home:
Large single-family homes in newer architectural styles, luxury cabins, upscale condos

Your Neighbors:
Affluent and active middle-aged adults and seniors

Why You’ll Like It:
Outdoor activities to fit your lifestyle, tons of places to get a tan, go fishing or hiking

Why You May Not:
You’re a couch potato

10. Golf – Having dinner watching golfers on the ninth hole

Where to find it:
New subdivision surrounding a golf course

What you can call home:
Upscale single family homes and condos in mostly contemporary styles

Your Neighbors:
Families with young children, retirees, golf fanatics

Why You’ll Like It:
You love golf, tons of amenities

Why You May Not:
You hate golf

11. Retirement – A mobile home community in the Sunbelt where retirees go to look for better days

Where to find it:
Sunbelt and coastal cities

What you can call home:
Small, low-maintenance apartments and condos with all kinds of amenities

Your Neighbors:
Empty nesters, single seniors

Why You’ll Like It:
Weather, organized activities and social events

Why You May Not:
You’re young and single

12. Rural – If wide open spaces and no next-door neighbors are your bag, head to a rural place

Where to find it:
Miles from the city

What you can call home:
Custom-built homes with lots of acreage and room to grow

Your Neighbors:
Nature

Why You’ll Like It:
Space and privacy

Why You May Not:
Far from everything

Now that you know the different types of neighborhoods, call Norma and let her help you find the real estate lifestyle that is best for you.

 

How to Choose the Right Neighborhood – Part 1

How to Choose the Right Neighborhood – Part 1

How to Choose a Neighborhood – Finding the real estate lifestyle that fits you

5 steps to finding a place where you belong

If houses are like spouses, a neighborhood is like the extended family. But while you can have a good marriage and still dread holidays with the in-laws, you’ll never love a house if you don’t like your neighborhood. How can you choose the right community? Become a neighborhood detective. Figure out what you’re looking for, do research and find a neighborhood that fits your description.

 

STEP 1 — Profile Your Perfect Neighborhood

Before you start scrutinizing neighborhoods, turn the magnifying glass back on yourself.

Think about what you’re really looking for in a new neighborhood. Remember, you’ll probably have to make compromises, so put the “must-haves” at the top and the “would- like-to-haves” at the bottom.

Here are some things to consider:

· Do you have children or are you planning to have children anytime soon? Parents know that the first thing to do when looking at a neighborhood is to research the school system. Even if you’re single, living in an area with a much sought-after school system raises your property value. If you have kids, you’ll also want to live close to parks and community centers.

· What type of home do you want? Are you interested in a single-family home or an apartment, townhouse or condo?

· How far are you willing to commute? Do you plan to drive, walk or take mass transit to work? Factor in time, do you need to be home at a certain time after work?

· Do you want to be in a historic neighborhood or a new development? Historic neighborhoods have tons of character, but often require lots of repair work and are governed by community associations with strict standards. Newer developments have more modern features, but are typically far from the city center.

· What is your current community lacking? If you’re currently landlocked, but have always wanted to live on the water, put that at the top of your list. If you’re a coffee junkie, having a Starbucks down the street may be a dream come true.

· Do you want to be able to go places on foot? Would you like to be within walking distance of shops, restaurants and bars? Or would you be willing to drive to nearby businesses?

· Think about what you don’t want in a neighborhood, too. If you can’t stand late-night noise, you’ll probably want to steer clear of the college area or an area with a lively bar scene.

STEP 2 — Zero In on the Area

If you’re moving within the same city, you may already know the various neighborhoods. Choose the ones that best match your list of wants. If you’re moving to a new city, you’ll have to do more research. Start by picking a part of town to search in. For instance, if your job is on the west side of town, start there. In a really large city, narrow it down to a few-block radius. This will make your search more focused.

 

STEP 3 — Get the Suspects

With your area of the city in mind, start digging up information. Find interesting neighborhoods online, ask local real estate agents for recommendations, and compile all the background information you can, including:

· School information: Look into the local public and private elementary, junior and high schools, as well as daycare programs.

· Crime statistics: Most real estate sites have statistics that tell you how the zip code’s crime rates measure up to the national average. If you want specifics, call the local police station.

· Parks and recreation: How far is it to the closest park or recreation center?

· Neighborhood associations: Does the community you’re looking at have one, and, if so, are there lawn or construction restrictions? Is there a yearly fee?

· Tourist attractions: Get a guidebook or check out the convention and tourism bureau’s Web site to see all the city has to offer.

STEP 4 — Find the Clues

Once you’ve done the background research, visit neighborhoods that made the preliminary grade in person. There’s no better way to paint a real picture of life in the neighborhood. Use your senses to get a complete picture of the prospective community.

 

Sights:

· Remember your first impression. What do you notice first about the neighborhood? Do the streets have curb appeal? Are the houses well-maintained? Do the shops and restaurants look hip and inviting? You’ll want to feel good about where you call home, and impress buyers when you’re ready to move on.

· Visualize yourself in the neighborhood. Think of your daily routine. If you can’t live without a morning latte, is there a coffee shop nearby? Where will you walk your dog or go jogging? You’ll enjoy the neighborhood more if it’s easy to do what you like.

· Observe the neighborhood at different times of the day. Driving through will help you get a snapshot of life in the community — good and bad. Do the roads turn into a parking lot after school or during rush hour? Are people using grills or decks in the evening? Are neighbors and kids socializing or do people keep to themselves? Are the streets well-lit at night? These visual clues can help you decide if you’ll fit in.

· Make sure the local schools make the grade. Even if you don’t have kids, pay a visit to the nearby schools. High ratings are great, but seeing the buildings is much more telling. It will be easier to sell your house later if the schools are nice.

· Look for warning signs. Be on the lookout for signs that the neighborhood is in trouble. Do you see abandoned buildings or vandalism? Are there a lot of “For Sale” signs or rentals? If the community goes downhill, so does your house’s value.

Sounds:

· Stop and listen. Bird and nature sounds are generally pleasant, but what about noise from the highway, airport, hospital, train tracks or nearby clubs and bars? It’s not very relaxing to listen to trains screech by during your morning coffee — especially not every morning.

· Talk to your future neighbors. Ask how they like the area, and get the dirt on anything they don’t like about the place. What do they want to change? What’s their favorite place to hang out? If they’re rude to you, they probably wouldn’t be good neighbors anyway.

· Talk to more people. You’ll get the best information from regular people who live and/or work in the are. Hit up your waiter for information when you’re checking out the local food, or ask a gas station attendant to spill what they know about your chosen neighborhood.

Smells:

· Specifically, are there any? You can’t experience unpleasant smells on the Internet and they’re not advertised in tourism brochures, but they can certainly affect your decision to live in an area. Take a big whiff of the air, and ask around if you smell any fishy (or just bad) odors.
Taste:

· No, I’m not asking you to lick your prospective home’s mailbox. But ask yourself if the neighborhood matches your taste in a living environment — and if it meets your criteria. Just because it’s a nice neighborhood doesn’t mean it’s the one for you. If the neighborhood meets your list but still feels wrong, search out another area. Trust your gut feeling — after all, you’re the one who has to live there.

STEP 5 — Close the Case

You’ve chosen your neighborhood. Now for the hard part: finding a house you love. Luckily, you’ve narrowed it down to a few streets. Now, make sure to:

· Find out how much house you can afford. The amount of money a lender offers you is often more than you can truly afford to pay. Talk to a mortgage specialist to see how much you can afford. You don’t want to be stuck eating ramen noodles for the next 15 to 30 years.

· Compare your loan options. Visit with a mortgage loan professional to find out what mortgage is right for you. Decide between fixed and adjustable rate mortgages, then length of the loan, the terms and rates that are available. Use a handy RENT vs OWN comparison tool to explore various rate options and find out the cost difference in owning your own home.

· Draw up your vision of home. It worked for your neighborhood — now think about what you want in a home. Write out your vision of your home, your wants and your needs, and stick to it while you’re house hunting. Educate yourself on difference architectural styles and the most current trends and amenities on the market.

· Find the perfect house! Go online and begin your search for homes in the Dallas/Fort Worth Market or visit www.NormaLangston.com and search for the perfect property!

Don’t Budge: 7 Compromises You Should Never Make When Buying a Home

Don’t Budge: 7 Compromises You Should Never Make When Buying a Home

Every successful home search begins with a wish list. Armed with your inventory of must-haves, you’ll know how to focus your search and recognize a potential home that isn’t worth your time.

Still, there’s a strange thing that seems to happen when you’re deep in the trenches of house hunting: The more you look, the longer that wish list seems to grow. But sooner or later, you have to own up to the fact that you can’t have everything—it’s inevitable that you’ll make some compromises somewhere.

And, in these days of tight inventory and cutthroat competition from other buyers, you might feel forced to waver far afield from your hallowed wish list in order to land a home.

That’s OK—it’s important to be flexible. But there are a few times when you absolutely should draw the line. Here are seven areas where you’ll want to dig in your heels.

1. Buying a fixer-upper when you really want turnkey

You have never swung a hammer, have a phobia of power tools, and always pictured yourself in something new and shiny. But that doesn’t mean you won’t fall in love with a charming, century-old farmhouse that needs a ton of work. Now’s when you have to decide: Are you up to the financial and emotional challenges of taking on major renovations?

It’s an option you should seriously consider (with the help of an experienced general contractor) if you’re in a highly competitive market. But if you don’t think your bank account or your marriage could survive many months of upheaval, stick to your guns and insist on a turnkey home.

2. A good school district

Even if you don’t have children, you should make sure the house you’re eyeing has desirable schools nearby.

Does it matter if you’re not looking to have a few kids? Well, things can always change. But even if they don’t, good schools typically translate to a higher resale value—potential buyers with families will want to be in the right district.

Just make sure to do your research and determine where the home sits in relation to the school district boundaries.

Sometimes a property may be advertised as being near such-and-such school area, but not necessarily specify the district, which can be very confusing. Go to the school district’s website to get a map of the district boundaries.

3. The floor plan

Does the home fit your minimum criteria in terms of number of rooms and the flow of the main living areas? If not, cross it off your list.

Stick to your guns when it comes to layout – if you NEED four bedrooms, then don’t waiver on that. You can change a layout to make it an open floor plan, but it’s a lot more difficult to change the bedroom and bathroom count. In the long run, you could end up having a lot of problems and taking on a really big financial undertaking.

4. The neighbors

During your search, don’t just focus on the house you’re interested in—check out the neighboring homes as well. Are the properties well-kept, or candidates for an episode of “Hoarders”?

The condition of the properties around you can affect your future resale value. And they can just plain drive you crazy. Make sure you look—and listen—any time you visit your prospective home.

You can’t change the house in front of you or to the side of you, and if there’s a barking dog every time you’re viewing the property, that’s another thing that you absolutely cannot change.

5. Your budget

You’ve probably already determined how much you’re willing to pay for a home—and you shouldn’t budge on that number. But you should also dig in your heels on the additional costs beyond the sticker price. That means setting a budget for your monthly payments, HOA dues, utility costs, and real estate taxes—and sticking to it. (Hint: You want to do this before you start looking at homes, and definitely before you start making offers.)

Yes, a lender will give you a pre-approval and tell you how much house you can afford. But this is just one piece of the puzzle, and the costs of homeownership can still land you in a mountain of debt if you’re not careful.

Preplan carefully with your agent, you never want to be house poor.

6. Commute time

If you’ve already determined that you’re willing to take on a 30-minute commute, don’t be swayed to take something that’s even a few minutes longer.

Sometimes buyers fall in love with all the shiny bells and whistles of a house that’s an hour away from work, and want to compromise on what they have decided ahead of time. It doesn’t matter right now because you really love this house, but that’s two hours every day that you’ll be sitting in the car and not enjoying your house. Is that worth it to you?

Until you’ve actually driven the route to and from your potential home and your office, at the times you’ll be commuting, you should never consider compromising.

In some large cities, being just a few miles from the highway can tack on an additional hour of commuting. Could you handle that after a long day in the office? Think carefully before making the sacrifice.

7. Parking

Speaking of your car, if you own one (or two), you absolutely want a guaranteed spot to park, whether that means an enclosed garage, a driveway, or assigned parking.

There are many communities that now restrict outside parking, guest spaces, and overnight parking, which could be a real homeowner nightmare if you have to fend for yourself.

To avoid frustration after you’ve closed a deal, stick to your guns about the things that are most important to you while making your choice, and ignore the rest of the noise.

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ATTENTION FIRST-TIME BUYERS: HERE’S THE KEY STUFF YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT MORTGAGES

ATTENTION FIRST-TIME BUYERS: HERE’S THE KEY STUFF YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT MORTGAGES

Attention First-Time Buyers: Here’s the Key Stuff You Don’t Know About Mortgages

When it comes to mortgages, there’s a big gap between what people think they need in order to get one and the reality of what buyers are successfully doing—especially young people.

But you know what? When it comes to what might be the biggest purchase of your life—one that can be incredibly intimidating for first-time buyers—it’s nice to know real facts. And in the mortgage market, reality is very often different from perception. Or, for that matter, myth.

Last week, the National Association of Realtors® issued its 2017 Aspiring Home Buyers Profile report. The report cites data from surveys taken in the third quarter of 2016 about down payments.

The report summarized that 39% of nonowners believe they need more than 20% for a down payment on a home, 26% believe they need to put down 15% to 20%, and 22% believe a down payment of 10% to 14% would work.

So on average, those nonowners thought a down payment would need to be about 16%. The reality? The average down payment on purchase mortgages in 2016 was 11%.

In fact, when we drill into the purchase mortgages taken out by people under 35, who represent the majority of first-time buyers, we see the average down payment was even lower, at just under 8%. In other words, aspiring first-time buyers think it takes twice as much to buy a home than it really does.

Perception, meet reality

But averages can be misleading, right? Especially when there is a wide distribution, like we observe with down payments. When we dig into what actually happened in 2016 we find that most young people buy homes with … less than 5% down. That’s less than one-third of what the average nonowner had assumed!

As with many things in life, the most correct answer to the question of how much you need to put down is “it depends.” There are a slew of important factors like who you are, your financial circumstances, the home’s location, and the price of the home.

It is possible to buy a home with a mortgage with no money down. VA and USDA loans are the most popular loans that offer the ability to put no money down. In 2016, 16% of buyers under 35 put no money down.

The largest share (36%) of loans for buyers under 35 in 2016 was for people putting down something less than 5%. The options there include loans offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but also 3% down payment programs backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (aka conforming loans). And, of course, this includes the traditional 3.5% FHA mortgage that is primarily targeted to first-time buyers.

More than half of young people who successfully bought a home with a mortgage in 2016 put at most 5% down. The average dollar amount for these buyers was $3,500. That’s right, if you have #FOMO from your friends buying homes, the majority of them are putting down just a few thousand dollars.

How are they doing it? The aforementioned mortgage products (conforming, FHA, VA, and USDA) represent almost 99% of the mortgages to people under 35 in 2016. There is nothing exotic about this.

And it doesn’t require perfect credit, just fair credit. The average FICO was 713, and the floor we observed in FICOs (below which very few mortgages were made) was 639.

Put that all together and you can see that for the millennial dreaming of buying a home this year, you need a FICO score of at least 639 and enough money that you could put down at most 5%. If you live in a typical American town, what you need could be as little as $3,500.

That sounds a lot more attainable than most people think. The truth is out there! Take advantage of it.

Article source: Jonathan Smoke for Realtor.com.

BUYING A HOME: REVISITING SOME OF THE LESSONS OUR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS LEARNED LONG AGO

BUYING A HOME: REVISITING SOME OF THE LESSONS OUR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS LEARNED LONG AGO

When preparing to buy a home, it is good to revisit some of the lessons our parents and grandparents learned long ago.

HOW MUCH CAN I AFFORD?

Your housing budget depends on your situation and priorities. Two-income households with strong earnings potential can probably spend a little bit more than one-income households — as your income rises over the years, your housing costs are likely to become a smaller piece of your expenses. (Of course, that is not necessarily the case if you later buy a bigger house.) The same goes for individuals who have saved extra money or people who may earn less, like teachers, but who are unlikely to lose their jobs. Just be sure you stick with a plain-vanilla 30-year fixed mortgage because payments will remain steady.

One exercise I remember from school involves simple math and planning. Write down all of your expenses. Break them down into expenses that are fixed (utilities, groceries, auto expenses, insurance, etc.) and variable (everything else). Now, look at the variable costs…what am I willing to give up that could be reallocated toward housing?

Another exercise is to start by establishing savings goals, and then working backward. Set aside 10 to 15 percent of your salary, preferably in tax-deferred accounts, and then work with what’s left over for living expenses and housing costs.

DO THE MATH

Before you start hitting open houses, sketch out a rough budget based on the 28 percent rule of thumb, using a simple mortgage calculator. For instance, a family that earns $10,000 a month — or about $7,000 after taxes — should keep their total monthly housing costs, including mortgage, taxes and insurance, to about $2,800 a month. In one example, the family may be able to spend $440,000 on a home, or about 3.6 times their annual income, as long as they can come up with a 20 percent down payment (and closing costs). If they finance the remaining $352,000 with a 30-year mortgage with a fixed rate of 5.5 percent (of course lower rates are available, but let’s be conservative here), that would translate into a monthly payment of about $2,000, leaving $800 to pay real estate taxes and insurance. That leaves $4,200 of their monthly after-tax income to pay for everything else, giving them some breathing room.

DOWN PAYMENT

A higher down payment is usually required, but if you have a good credit score, you can get by today with historically lower down payments (FHA loans are also an option). If you do not, or cannot afford a higher down payment, it can cost you dearly in the form of a higher interest rate or fees. The ability to put down at least 20 percent is often emblematic of your financial discipline and ability to afford the monthly payment.

TAXES

Consider the tax savings associated with buying a home, but do not use it as an excuse to buy more than you can afford. Property taxes and mortgage interest are generally tax-deductible, but only if you itemize your deductions. Itemizing makes sense when your individual deductions exceed the standard deduction. For many taxpayers in the 28 percent tax bracket who itemize, a $350,000 mortgage may reduce their tax bill by as much as $5,357 in the first year of the mortgage. Since you pay more in interest in the loan’s early years, your tax savings will decline over time.

RESERVES

Ideally, homeowners should have six months of net pay in the bank. But if you halve that figure and save three months of your take-home pay that generally translates into eight months of payments. That does not account for food and other necessities, but it does provide some cushion. Two-income households can get away with just a few months of savings put aside, but single-breadwinner households should have at least six months. You also need to account for unforeseen costs.

To the homebuyer or the homeowner, saleability matters!

To the homebuyer or the homeowner, saleability matters!

To the homebuyer or the homeowner, saleability matters!

What makes a house sell?

Whether you are a homeowner thinking about selling or a homebuyer in the market for anew home, saleability matters! You want to make sure you are taking care of and getting the most from your real estate investment. This month we are exploring the keys to making your home more appealing to the buyer, AND how to add value to your real estate investment. There are many ways to do both – from home improvements to “fixing up” before your home goes on the market, to pricing and location – they all factor in to your home having “saleability”.

What makes a house sell?

A successful sale requires that you concentrate on six considerations:

  1. the listing price
  2. the terms of sale
  3. the condition of your house
  4. location of the house
  5. accessibility, and
  6. Marketing exposure your house receives.

While some of these factors are beyond your control (such as the list price the market demands), you can compensate by taking advantage of other items, like a new paint job or landscaping the front yard, to make your property as attractive to prospective buyers as possible.

What about home improvements?

Renovating your home for sale may or may not be a wise move depending on how much you plan to spend. In some cases, a home is in bad shape and the money must be spent to make it salable. On the other hand, spending too much may represent a loss. It is important to discuss with your real estate agent how much home improvement upgrades needs to be done. A new toilet, sink, and shower stall in your bathroom, a new paint job for the first level floor, and new kitchen sink fixtures might create the best overall value for the least investment. Your agent can tell you after an evaluation what aspects of your home are a liability and which problems will actually kill the sale. An experienced agent will know what they need to fix to make the sale. Other issues can be negotiated.

Statistically, there is only one improvement that a homeowner can make which will actually produce a profit when the home sells. We call it “Paint & Petunias”. Yes, it’s curb appeal. Research available from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University tells us that paint touch up and minor landscaping will actually return 109% of its cost. It is interesting to note that research shows yellow flowers are the most appealing to prospective homebuyers.

The same Real Estate Center report says that other fix-ups and updates return less than their actual cost. A kitchen refurbishment will return about 78% of cost on average, and a bathroom update recoups about 67% of the cost for a Seller. In addition, the lowest recapture of investment is the good ol’ swimming pool. It will return about 15 to 20% of the installation cost.

The obvious question is: “If I’m going to take a loss on the improvements, why do them anyway?” Think of it this way: your house might not be competitive and won’t sell at all without the updates. The partial “loss” on a component upgrade will actually make the overall product, your home, sell more quickly and for more money.

Home Staging

“Staging” is the latest buzzword in real estate, but it simply means to present your home in its best and most appealing light. If you are preparing your home to sell, it is to setup your home to appeal to prospective buyers and showcase the property in a way that makes buyers eager to purchase! In theory, “staging” isn’t hard or costly, but in reality, many homeowners find it difficult because it’s often hard to see something objectively when we love it.

Professionally staged homes sell in 80% less time than non-staged homes, according to a survey conducted by ASP* (Accredited Staging Professional). The money spent on staging will always be less than your first price reduction and statistics also show that 94.6% of staged homes sell on average in 35 days or less.

The following is HomeGain.com’s national survey, based on the ten areas of home improvement identified by real estate agents in HomeGain’s survey. They are listed from the highest to lowest returns on investment:

 

PROJECT: COST: PRICE INCREASE ROI
Clean and de-Clutter $100 – 200 $1,500 – 2,000 872%
Stage Home for Sale $300 – 400 $1,500 – 2,000 586%
Lighten and brighten $200 – 300 $1,000 – 1,500 572%
Landscape Front/back $300 – 400 $1,500 – 2,000 473%
Repair Plumbing $300 – 400 $1,000 – 1,500 327%
Update Electrical $300 – 400 $1,000 – 1,500 309%
Replace/Clean Carpets $400 – 500 $1,000 – 1,500 295%
Paint Interior Walls $500 – 750 $1,500 – 2,000 250%
Repair Damaged Floor $500 – 750 $1,500 – 2,000 250%
Update Kitchen $1000-1500 $2,000 – 3,000 237%
Paint Outside $750 – 1000 $1,500 – 2,000 201%
Update Bathroom $750 – 1000 $1,000 – 1,500 172%

 

If you are thinking about selling your home, contact Norma and her team today to get more information about the options available to you.  

Empty Nesters – Now What?

Empty Nesters – Now What?

Our lives are a series of changes, many that we initiate and many that are out of our control. We reinvent ourselves, our children grow up and leave home, we get divorced or struggle through personal loss of a loved one. Whatever it may be, we find ourselves with choices. One of those choices is where to live and HOW to live.

POSSIBILITIES FOR EMPTY NESTERS

For many people, being an “EMPTY NESTER” offers seemingly unlimited possibilities. Some of the most popular choices include:

Move to the mountains, lake or ocean to enjoy resort-style living: This is a great option for the over 65 crowd, or for those who are ready and willing to pull up your roots and relocate to a more desireable area to live and play!

Pay off your mortgage and stay put: You may be perfectly happy as an empty nester and ready to settle into the peace and quiet of your home. Consider planting that garden you have always wanted or build a workshop for your hobby. Who knows there may be a new business in the making!

Downsizing: Selling a large house and opting to move into a smaller house, apartment, condo or retirement housing is often a good decision, especially if the mortgage on your existing house is paid off.

Going into business: If you have a large house (or the money to invest in one) and a flair for hospitality, you may wish to consider running a bed-and-breakfast out of your home. This can be a great source of income, particularly if you live in a touristy or urban area, or near a college – these areas have lots of travelers arriving at various times during the year.

Hosting an exchange student: Providing a temporary home for a foreign-exchange student can be a rewarding experience. Empty nesters who miss having children and teenagers around often enjoy having a young person in the house again, and they get the opportunity to learn about other cultures from the students they host.

THE EMOTIONAL FACTOR

Transitioning from an active household to an empty nester can be an emotionally troubling time. Some people lose their sense of purpose when their children leave home or when they find themselves alone from divorce or death. Others are reluctant to sell the house in which they watched their children grow up and where so many memories have been made. But staying in a house that’s too big for your needs can create an unnecessary tax burden. It’s always better, from a strict financial standpoint, to downsize or use your larger home to generate income. But take the time to make sure it’s the best decision for you emotionally.

REAL ESTATE DIVERSITY OFFERS OPTIONS

Whether you are living in Dallas Fort Worth, Austin, Portland, San Diego or Boston, the diversity in real estate offers generous opportunities for the empty nester. Finding the type of home that fits your needs is key. Here’s our list of options that match the statement for your lifestyle choice. What would you choose?

Luxury, downtown or historic lofts – I like open space and want to be around people and the buzz of activity. I am an artist and want lots of open space and light.

Luxury high-rise – I want something with a fabulous view of the city and concierge services.

Townhomes and condominiums – I like living around a lot of people but I’m done with yard work!

Mixed-use Development living – I want to be close to shopping and food, no more commuting for me!

Suburban homes – The kids and grandkids are around the corner and I want to stay active in the grandkids school activities.

Luxury homes – I have worked hard to get to my position and with the money I have saved and earned from my investments, I intend to live in style!

Farm and Ranch – I hate traffic and the city, I want land and space to breathe and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Mobile and modular homes – I am on a limited income now and just need to get into something that will be easy on my pocketbook.

Lake homes – I’m ready to retire and fish and play!

Duplexes – It would be nice to have rental income to help on my house payment.

Garden/zero lot homes – I want a real house but since the kids are gone, I don’t need a big yard, besides, I hate to do yard work!

Vacation homes – I need a small place I can escape to but don’t want to give up my home and all it’s memories.

Gated communities – I want a place to feel safe and secure.

Remember, when you decide to make a move, don’t do it alone. Contact The Norma Langston Home Team and we will be there for you every step of the way!

HOMESICK AFTER A MOVE? HOW TO BEAT THE BLUES

HOMESICK AFTER A MOVE? HOW TO BEAT THE BLUES

 

HOMESICK AFTER A MOVE?
HOW TO BEAT THE BLUES

Moving to a new place can be exciting, but if you’re missing your old digs, homesickness can linger for a long time. In fact, psychologists are beginning to consider homesickness a distinct emotional state, somewhat akin to grieving. So if you’re feeling homesick after a move, rest assured that you are not alone—and there are plenty of things you can do to feel better. Here are some tips from people who’ve been through a tough move (or many) and found smart ways to cope.

The snail mail solution

“As strange as it sounds, ‘snail mail’ helped me feel less homesick. It’s old-fashioned but true. Seeing the familiar handwriting of my friends and family on envelopes and cards instantly brightened my day. The art of letter writing is not lost!” – Emily Kennedy, Cincinnati, OH

Take advantage of tech

“Video chatting via smartphones and tablets is a lifesaver. Not everyone has an iPhone or uses FaceTime, so we use apps like Duo, which is more user-friendly than Skype. I’ve experienced homesickness here as well, but it helped when I gathered several brochures at local tourist attractions and looked up places we could visit. Moving is expensive, so we started out with the areas that were little to no cost, and we have found some fascinating places to visit and learned about the culture and rich history here. I challenged myself to focus on the things we did like about our new town. I also got involved in our local church. That emotional support system has been a lifesaver.” – Tonia Clarke, Lafayette, IN

Join an activity you enjoy

“In the past four years I’ve moved three times for my job—including stints living overseas—so I have honed the art of overcoming homesickness. You have to be proactive or it will get you. Whenever I first move somewhere, I get straight into the process of seeking out events that interest me, whether they offer me a chance to engage with similarly minded people, make professional connections, or learn something new. I only tend to feel homesick when I feel disconnected, so making myself feel like I’m part of a community helps right away.” – Monica Mizzi, Taipei, Taiwan

Try new things, but keep the old

“One cure I’ve found is doing a combination of both your old favorite things and activities that are unique to your new city. If you just stick to your old habits, you’ll miss the way they were back home. If you just do new things that your new city is known for, you’ll also quickly start missing what you had in your old life. But by capitalizing on new opportunities while still satisfying your old habits and hobbies, you’ll find balance and enjoyment of both.” – G. Brian Davis, Abu Dhabi

Hit the local highlights

“You need to really get excited about the new place. What are you looking forward to? What are the kids looking forward to? And what are things that you could only do in the new place? For us, so much of that is about the beach—being able to get on the sand in half an hour has been mind-altering. Focusing on that beforehand made the actual move so much easier and more enticing.” – David Panarelli, San Diego, CA

Make some road trips back home

“My biggest concern when we moved was for our 13-year-old—an athlete and a very popular child. So after we settled in, I would drive him back home—six hours in the car—every two weeks to spend time with his friends while my husband and I would work diligently to fill his activities and sports calendar in [our new hometown]. The next step was having some of his friends come out and spend time with him. Within six months, I was done taking frequent road trips up north and he had stopped asking to go. It took a lot of work and accommodations on our part, but it has been smooth sailing for the past three years.” – Tonya McKenzie, Redondo Beach, CA

Virtual tours and care packages can go a long way

“I am currently living apart from my 9-year-old and 12-year-old while they gear up for the move from New York City to Colorado. To keep from missing each other too much, sometimes my daughter and I connect on FaceTime, then go virtual grocery shopping together, or I take her on virtual tours of houses I’m looking to buy. Once the whole family sat in the living room there and I sat in the living room here, and we watched the same TV show together on demand. We also get each other gifts. They sent me an amazing care package and a card that says ‘Love went with you … and love waits for you each day until you’re home again.’” – Erika Parker, Boulder, CO

Article by Sasha Brown-Worsha for Realtor.com. @sashabrownworsh

The ABC’s Of House Flipping

The ABC’s Of House Flipping

While house flipping can be very lucrative, you can lose everything with one bad decision. It’s important to approach this profession with caution and educate yourself as much as possible.

Before you even dream of entering this field, you have to be great with your hands or at the very least well versed on the topic of trades and renovations. You should also have a feel for the market. The last thing you want is all your profits sunk because you bought at the wrong time. It’s not as fun and easy as it looks on TV. This is a job that is not only very stressful but requires a lot of hard work.

It goes without saying that you need investment capital and excellent credit before embarking on a project of this magnitude. This step-by-step guide will set you in the right direction, but it’s important to remember that this isn’t an exact science. Never be complacent and always stay on your toes.

1. Scouting Homes

The most typical way to find homes is through the regular channels, finding a real estate agent, searching online, etc. However it’s important to be patient, always look out for the right deal.

The best bang for your buck is foreclosed homes. Make a habit of routinely checking the Internet for new foreclosed homes. Once you find one that looks good, never buy it on a whim. Always see it in person and bring an inspector.

2. Timing

The real estate market is generally steady, but there can be significant fluctuations from time to time. The last thing you want is to be a victim of these fluctuations. The most important thing to take into consideration when scouting a new home is locations. The better the location, the easier to flip. Selling fast mitigates the risk of these fluctuations. It’s also important to have great relationships with contractors so you don’t get caught with them dragging their feet.

3. What to look for in a house

It’s important not to purchase a potential tear down. What you’re looking for is a home that is structurally sound and only requires cosmetic upgrades. That’s why it’s important to have an inspector to verify that there is no mold or asbestos and that the wiring is sound. You also have to ensure that it’s built on a solid foundation.

4. Which renovations to focus on

As mentioned in step 3 you want a house that only requires cosmetic renovations, structural ones are very pricey. Even when narrowing it down to cosmetic, make sure you are focussing on cosmetics that will actually increase the value of the house. For example, installing a swimming pool is very costly and while it attracts more buyers, it won’t make you any extra money.

The most important room to focus on is upgrading the kitchen. Fresh tiles, a new backsplash, and marble or granite counter tops are essential. It’s also vital that you upgrade the appliances to stainless steel.

Other essential renovations include upgrading the bathrooms, installing fresh hardwood floors and fresh paint of course. Be sure not to neglect painting and landscaping the outside of the house to increase curb appeal.

5. Flip

Once you’ve located a sound house in a good location and finished all the renovations, flipping it should be a cinch. Also, it’s a good idea to be proactive and look for buyers before the project is complete.

WHEN BUYING A HOME THESE REQUESTS AREN’T WORTH ASKING FOR

WHEN BUYING A HOME THESE REQUESTS AREN’T WORTH ASKING FOR

Buying a home is probably one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make in your life, which is why it’s so important that necessary repairs are made to ensure your safety, financial stability, and overall happiness. However, where do you draw the line when requesting repairs from sellers as to not jeopardize the sale of the property all together?

Cosmetic repairs.

Cosmetic repairs are arguably at the top of the list of what to never ask sellers when interested in a home. Sure, the tile in the kitchen may look worn out and the backyard’s grass may be almost completely dried out; but you should avoid asking sellers to fix them. These repairs are completely cosmetic– meaning they don’t pose a threat to your safety or day to day well-being; therefore, they’re not worth risking the sale. The bright side? You can pick contractors and repairmen that you trust and can be sure the job gets done exactly the way you want it.

Inexpensive fix-its (under $100).

Fixing things like faulty faucets or jammed windows are considered inexpensive and somewhat petty. Many real estate agents encourage buyers to eat the costs of minor repairs as to not become annoying to the seller. If sellers become too agitated with buyers, they may decide the deal isn’t worth it and will move on. If you find a home you can’t live without, don’t ruin your chances with petty repair requests.

Minor water damage.

It’s not uncommon to find water stains along sinks or along bathroom walls– leaks happen. For little water stains that pose no real threat, they’re not worth complaining about to sellers. However, if there is an underlying problem, like a severe leak or mold, your inspector should let you know so you can negotiate with the buyers and handle it appropriately.

Basic electrical issues.

Requesting things like light switch replacements aren’t really worth the risk of losing the sale– they’re fairly easy to fix and don’t cost too much. If you already have a long list of things that need repairing, this definitely doesn’t need to be one of them. But, if your home inspector sees something major you’ll have to bring them up with the seller or walk away.

Looking for someone to help you navigate the home buying process? Contact Norma Langston Home Team, we will walk you through the process and get you to the closing table successfully.

CAN YOU HANDLE THE TASK OF STAGING A HOME YOURSELF?

CAN YOU HANDLE THE TASK OF STAGING A HOME YOURSELF?

Home Staging is a method of decorating that is designed to showcase a home’s best features by making the space appealing to a broad range of potential buyers’ tastes. First impressions are a key factor in selling a home– most buyers make up their minds within just ten seconds of entering the property. Contrary to common belief, home staging is more than just preparing your house for a sale; staging is what you do after you’ve cleaned, painted and decluttered. When preparing to sell your home, it’s important to convince potential buyers that your house is perfect for them, and that it will fit all of their needs.

IS HOME STAGING NECESSARY?

According to a 2015 study done by the National Association of Realtors, 81% of prospective buyers said staging their home helps them visualize the property as their future home, while 46% said it makes them more willing to walk through a home after seeing its pictures online. While it’s easy to assume home staging costs a fortune, the average cost to stage a home is actually just $675. Some home stagers will even drop the price if your own furniture is used as opposed to pieces they’d provide.

WHAT TO EXPECT.

Once you’ve put your home on the market, it’s time to decide if you want to invest in a professional home stager or just do it yourself. Before making the decision, you need to ask yourself if you’re prepared to take on the task of home staging. Although you may have an eye for decorating, when confronted with the grueling tasks of painting, hiring workers, and searching for the perfect accessories to make your home feel complete; the time you spend on these tasks can be exhausting. When you hire a home stager, you relieve that extra stress and can use your time focusing on the many other important aspects of home selling. Investing in a professional home stager could even increase your home’s value from one to five percent.

If you don’t decide to hire a professional home stager, be prepared to take on the following tasks:

  • Remove clutter
  • Add clean, attractive furniture (minimal furniture is always best)
  • Paint walls with neutral colors
  • Depersonalize (take down any family photos and loud artwork)
  • Tend to front and back yards
  • Clean floors and carpet

When selling your home, there are many factors that contribute to your home’s worth. Whether or not you decide to stage your home yourself or hire a professional, these improvements can make a big difference in your home’s selling price. Showcasing your home’s best attributes is an excellent way to attract and secure buyers, and it’s sure to increase your home’s market value.

Would you stage your home yourself or hire a professional? If you’re looking to sell your home, contact Norma, she and her team will help you get a plan together for staging and preparing your home to sell to achieve the best results possible.