Complete These Repairs Before You List Your Home

Complete These Repairs Before You List Your HomeThere are several things to do when you prepare to list your home for sale. One of the projects you’ll need to do is complete certain repairs. Your home should be in the best possible condition before your real estate agent shows it to potential buyers.

While your home doesn’t need to be perfect, here is a list of repairs you should strive to get done before you open your home to showings.

Front Steps And Deck Issues

The front entrance and back deck should be in good shape for curb appeal and safety. Replace or repair wooden steps that pose a danger or feel unstable. Hammer down any nails on the deck that have popped up over the years. Reinforce loose railings and hand rails. Refinish decking that has dried, cracked or peeling paint.

Sticking Or Noisy Hinges And Sliders

Buyers will likely be opening doors, drawers, windows and cupboards. Don’t let them be disappointed. Go through your home and identify doors, windows and drawers that don’t open and close smoothly. Lubricate hinges, drawer sliders or window sashes as necessary. Tighten loose screws on door hinges to ensure the door swings easily.

Cracked Or Broken Window Panes

Windows in disrepair often signal that the home hasn’t been well-maintained. Replace or repair cracked or broken windows or window glass that’s clouded over from loss of insulation.

Stained Carpets

Buyers’ eyes may instantly be drawn to visible stains on your carpet. Have carpets professionally cleaned with added stain removal services. Camouflage any stains that won’t come out with an area rug or a piece of furniture. Alternatively, consider replacing carpets that are in extremely poor condition.

Broken Tiles And Peeling Flooring

Flooring in poor condition often ruins the look of the room and is a safety hazard. Replace chipped or cracked floor tiles. Repair any corners where the flooring has begun to peel up.

Electrical Issues

Go through your home and make sure all the sockets, outlets and wall switches are in proper working order. Have a certified electrical technician do the work; otherwise the work may not be approved on home inspection report.

First impressions are extremely important when it comes to selling your home. Don’t assume that buyers will be able to look past needed repairs. Instead, take care of these issues before your agent shows your home.

Your trusted real estate agent is available to help you prioritize the home repairs that really matter to buyers. Your trusted home mortgage professional is ready to assist you with your financing for your next home. Be sure to get pre-approved before you start your new home search.

4 Signs You’re Going To Need A Bigger House

4 Signs You're Going To Need A Bigger HouseThere comes a time in every young homeowner’s life when they need a bigger house. When you buy a starter home, it’s unlikely that will be your forever home. But how do you know when it’s time to spend the time and effort to upgrade to a larger home?

Here are four signs you’re gonna need a bigger house!

1. You Have To Move Stuff To Get To Other Stuff

In a house where there is enough room for everything, you can move freely and access all your things without having to rearrange furniture. If you find yourself constantly pushing other things aside in order to get to what you want, there isn’t enough space in your home.

2. You’re Always Misplacing Things

The key to organization is having a spot for everything. But if you’re short on space, everything can’t have its own spot. That’s when things get lost or misplaced. If you repeatedly misplace your belongings, you probably need a bigger house.

3. You’ve Got A Growing Family

Do you have a little one on the way? As your family grows, your need for space will increase. It’s hard to imagine that a small baby will take up much space, and they don’t. It’s the baby accessories that take up the space; the high chair, the playpen, the walkers, the crib, the toy chest and more. It’s all fantastically fun, but you are going to need a bigger house.

4. You Just Feel Cramped

You and the other members of your family should each feel like you have space to be alone, spend time on hobbies, and have private conversations. If you just feel cramped all the time or you feel like you don’t have any privacy, it could be because your house is too small.

When you finally realize that the problems aren’t with you, but with the size of your house, it’s very liberating. Now you have the answer to the issues. All you have to do is go out there and find a bigger house to move into.

Whether you are looking to purchase a larger home or refinance your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

Strategies For Buying And Selling A Home At The Same Time

Strategies For Buying And Selling A Home At The Same TimeIf you’re already a homeowner and you’re getting ready to buy a new home, you know it’s tricky to buy and sell a home at the same time. There are lots of questions about how to handle this scenario. What if your old home doesn’t sell quickly?

Will you have to make two mortgage payments? What if you sell and the new owners want to move in before you close on your new home?

Depending on your situation, here are some strategies available to you.

Get A Bridge Loan

If you find yourself facing more than one mortgage payment – one on your old house and one on your new house – consider taking out a bridge loan to pay the monthly mortgage on the old house. Bridge loans are a solution to a temporary problem. When your old house sells, you pay off your bridge loan and you’re left with just the one mortgage payment.

Move Into A Short-Term Rental

If your old house has sold and the owners want to close before you can close on your new house, you could move into a short-term rental. This could be an apartment with a short-term lease. Or it could be a long-term hotel accommodation. You’d likely have to move your furnishings into storage; again, only for the short-term until your new house is available.

Ask If You Can Lease Back Your Home

You could ask the buyers of your current home to allow you to rent your home until you’re able to move into your new house. This is called a lease-back. It’s not ideal to pay rent on your own house, but it saves you from having to move twice.

This strategy usually only works if you already have a new house deal, so the owners of your old house have a known estimated time-frame when you’ll be moving out.

It’s definitely tricky trying to figure out the arrangements when you’re buying and selling a house at the same time. But one of the strategies mentioned above will likely work out for you.

Your trusted home mortgage professional is a valuable resource and can help you secure the best financing options while you are transitioning into your new home.

4 House “Flaws” You Can Safely Disregard

4 House Flaws You Can Safely DisregardWhen you walk through a house with your real estate agent, you’re seeing if you and your family would be happy living there. But you’re also probably looking for signs of trouble that might spell big expenses later on. Be careful, though. It’s important to see the “bones” of the house rather than focusing on minor issues.

Here are four flaws you can safely disregard.

1. Stained Carpet

Stained carpet is more an indication of the owner’s poor cleaning habits than of any real problems with the house. It’s so easy to replace carpeting that it’s not worth even paying attention to when you’re viewing a house for sale. In fact, once you pull up that carpeting, you could discover beautiful hardwood flooring!

2. Funky Paint Colors

They say that there’s no accounting for bad taste. If you’ve seen enough houses with your real estate agent, you’re bound to encounter some less than traditional paint colors. However, paint can easily be painted over. You can safely ignore the flamingo pink bathroom walls or the putrid brown bedroom color.

3. Lack Of Curb Appeal

Every homebuyer wants to pull up to a house for sale and think, “How charming!” Unfortunately, a lack of curb appeal gives a sour first impression. However, don’t let that deter you from see the house for its true value. The inside might be magnificent. You can always add your own curb appeal later with pretty landscaping, shutters or window boxes.

4. Outdated Kitchen

If the kitchen is a little dated but the rest of the house meets your expectations, it’s okay to overlook this “flaw.” It’s fairly easy to update a kitchen with new or refinished cabinets, new appliances and a fresh coat of paint. Yes, it will cost a bit, but the outdated kitchen might be reflected in a lower selling price. Ask your real estate agent for their recommendation in this regard.

Sometimes it’s challenging to find the right house in the right location. When you do find one that checks all the boxes, don’t let any of these minor “flaws” deter you from making an offer. The little things won’t keep you from enjoying your new home, and you’ll be glad you focused on the things that really matter!

Your trusted home mortgage professional is available to help you secure your financing for your new home. Be sure to make an appointment to get your pre-approval so you can be ready to make an offer as soon as you find the home of your dreams.

4 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal

4 Ways to Improve Your Curb AppealYou have about five minutes to impress (or not) prospective buyers at a showing. For curb appeal, you get about five seconds for buyers to decide whether they want to go inside.

Here are four tips to help you get the wow factor from your home’s street-facing views.

Update Entryway Hardware

A wall-mounted mailbox, chic house numbers and a pretty porch light add interest to your entryway. However, dated and dinged hardware impress no one. In a perfect world, all your hardware matches in style, color and finish. Of course, it should also tie-in to the style of your house. Brushed nickel house numbers look fabulous on a modern home but might clash with your Victorian-style house.

Splash On The Color

A gallon of high-quality paint costs about $25 and should cover the front door, trim and shutters. This simple upgrade gives the whole property a fresh look. Of course, if the street-facing side of your home has peeling or faded paint, you’ll have to paint that too. If you end up painting the facade, it’s best to do the entire house at the same time to maintain color conformity.

Plant Power

A walkway trimmed in plants and flowers creates an inviting look. You can buy pre-planted greenery at your local home and garden center for an easy makeover of your walkway. For a less labor-intensive effect, install window boxes to add color and perk up your home’s exterior. Be careful to maintain them, since dying plants don’t increase curb appeal.

Create An Outdoor Living Space

If you have plenty of space on your patio or porch, use it to create a comfortable seating area. An outdoor rug, loveseat, chair and small table give buyers the idea that they could relax and entertain in this space. Colorful cushions in outdoor fabrics provide durable color and long-lasting wear the new owners can also enjoy. Make sure existing furniture is clean and maintained since moldy cushions and broken lawn chairs are not the upscale look you’re going for.

The main point of curb appeal is to attract prospective buyers who can’t resist the charm of your home. This makes it far more likely they’ll like what the see on the inside.

Whether you are interested in buying a new home or refinancing your current property, your trusted home mortgage professional is available to help.

Top 5 Ways To Pick A High Quality Real Estate Agent

Top 5 Ways To Pick A High Quality Real Estate AgentYour real estate agent can be the difference between a successful home buy and a bad purchase. Take a look at the characteristics of a good real estate agent and how you should vet your next partner in real estate.

Patience

Does the real estate agent immediately tell you to give up your rights to audit a home for a quicker sale? You may want to move on. The best real estate agents realize how big of a commitment a home is, and they are willing to walk you through the process at whatever pace you are comfortable with.

Localized Knowledge

There are major differences in the buying process between cities. You need a real estate agent with a knowledge of local ordinances, building and zoning laws and culture. This will save you a great deal of money, believe it or not.

Negotiation Skills

You will go through a number of negotiations with opposing parties during the course of buying or selling a house. You can take them on yourself, but they can be difficult considering that you will likely be facing a real estate agent on the other end. It is usually advisable to have a professional with similar experience on your side. Pick a real estate agent who is not afraid to fight for you at the closing table.

Connections

The best deals in any real estate market may not be public knowledge. You may not even be able to get into certain neighborhoods or business districts unless you know somebody. Your agent should be able to help you in this regard. Pick an agent who is established in your marketplace and well connected.

Other Clients’ Experiences

No real estate agent worth his or her salt will have a problem showing you testimonials and reviews of clients that they have served in the past. You may ask to speak to other clients of that real estate agent if you would like to know their experience buying or selling their home.

Sometimes the best indicator of success is the stories of other people who have been in your shoes. Also, look at the ratings, reviews and testimonials of your agent on their website or other review sites. These are great resources to learn about other clients’ experience.

Another key partner in your home buying experience is your trusted home mortgage professional. Be sure to make contact if you are ready to get pre-approved for a new home loan or find our about options to refinance your current property.

Should You Buy A Fixer Upper Or Move-In Ready Home?

Should You Buy A Fixer Upper Or Move-In Ready HomeThere’s a lot to be said for buying a move-in ready home. All you have to do is put your things away and start living your life. On the other hand, buying a fixer upper has its advantages, too. You can get a great bargain on a fixer upper home. So which one should you choose?

Here are some things to consider.

You Can Easily Afford To Buy What You Want

If money is no object, then a move-in ready home is the best choice. You’ll be able to get exactly the home you want with little or no effort decorating it the way you want. If you’re the kind of person who can hire an interior decorator, then you’ll likely want to spend time decorating, not reconstructing.

You Like A Challenge

If you think of owning a home as an adventure rather than a convenience, consider buying a fixer upper. You’ll have lots of interesting challenges, like figuring out where to buy those non-standard replacement windows, how to reinforce a floor for a tile installation and much more.

You’re Older And Just Want To Settle Down

Renovating a fixer upper requires energy and strength. If you’re older or you tire easily, buying a move-in ready home might be a better strategy. A fixer upper might be too much to handle if you attempt all the work without professional help.

Money Is Tight

If you feel you would be strapped financially to buy a move-in ready home with all the bells and whistles, consider a fixer upper. You’ll be able to easily handle the mortgage payment. You’ll be able to renovate on your own schedule, according to when you can afford new building materials.

You’re Looking For An Investment

If you’re looking to get fast equity out of your home purchase, a fixer upper is definitely a smart move. Once you complete the renovations you could refinance on the higher value and bank the profits.

As you can see, fixer uppers and move in ready homes are both good values, depending on your own situation. Hopefully this list of pros and cons will help you make the right choice for your lifestyle.

Your trusted mortgage professional is available to go over your financing options and get your pre-approval ready for when you find your perfect home.

5 First Steps For New Homeowners

5 First Steps For New HomeownersAs a new homeowner, now is the time to take control and organize your house for safety and security. The following first five steps should be carried out in the first few weeks if possible.

1. Change The Locks

There’s no way of knowing if the previous owners gave copies of the house keys to a friend, neighbor or cleaning staff. The very first thing you should do when you take ownership is to re-key the locks on all the doors, including the garage and any outbuildings there may be on the property.

Alternatively, you can install brand new locks. Either way, a locksmith can take care of this for you.

2.  Locate Shut-Off Valves

Don’t wait until a water leak to run around searching for the main shut-off valve. Instead, take a few minutes to locate all the shut-off valves for your new home. Write down their locations and post the list next to your circuit breaker.

3. Label The Circuit Breaker Switches

As the new homeowner, you’ll want to know what each circuit breaker switch controls. Work with a family member to methodically go through and flip each switch off and on to figure out the controls. Then carefully label each switch so you never have to guess again.

4. Place Fire Extinguishers

Be ready for a small fire emergency by placing fire extinguishers in each room of your new home. For the kitchen and garage especially, be sure to purchase the correct type of fire extinguisher. The labels on the extinguishers will guide your decision. Even bedrooms could have at least a small extinguisher handy, in case of an electrical malfunction.

5. Survey The Land

It pays to walk the land around your property to visually survey it. You’ll want to know about potential issues, such as poison ivy growth or a broken fence panel. You might also find some happy surprises like a hidden rosebush or a nest of birds.

Taking the time to do these five steps will assist in making your new home more enjoyable for your family. They will also help you to familiarize yourself better with your new property.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact us today.

How Tech Can Change the Real Estate Process

How Tech Can Change the Real Estate ProcessVirtual reality, artificial intelligence and drone video are just a few of the ways that technology is changing the real estate industry. If you are in the market for a property, understanding these new processes can help you in many ways.

Using Artificial Intelligence

Doing business with an AI-infused process helps you more quickly identify properties that meet your standards. AI also reduces human error in the closing process. Agents using AI can get you more information about properties more quickly, and they can also cut the fat out of the close, possibly saving you money.

Using Virtual Reality

Taking a virtual reality tour of a property can save you a lot of gas, time and effort. You no longer have to physically be at a location to understand its potential – you can see everything that you need to see online. Of course you can follow up in person, but you save huge amounts of time by visiting only the properties that have impressed you online.

Organizing Big Data

Buyers and sellers have access to more information than ever – information that was once only available to full time professionals in the industry. Dealing with it can be quite overwhelming, but you must in order to be a sophisticated investor. In many cases, your agent serves as your information filter, keeping you from becoming distracted by false or misleading information.

Remote Transactions

A growing number of real estate transactions are being done without ever meeting the other party involved. The entire process can be conducted online from search to close, if need be. Buyers and sellers can save a great deal of money through reduced overhead with remote transactions. Biometrics help to maintain the security of the transaction.

The technologies above are just a few of the new things that are changing the real estate process for the better. Keep your ear to the street, because the landscape is always changing.

As soon as you are interested in looking for a new home, be sure to contact us to secure your financing and get your pre-approval ready.

4 Reasons Why Home Ownership Is Better Than Renting

4 Reasons Why Home Ownership Is Better Than RentingAre you trying to decide if you should rent or buy? There are many reasons why home ownership is better than renting. Here are just a few to consider when you’re making your decision.

1. Stability For Your Family

When you own your home, the life of your family will be more stable. If you have children, this is a an even more valuable benefit. Your kids will be able to settle down into the routine of school and extracurricular activities. They’ll be able to make lifelong friends in the neighborhood. You and your spouse will be able to feel a strong sense of community and belonging.

2. Personalization

Owning a home is better than renting because you can personalize and customize your living environment. In many rentals, you can’t even paint the walls if you want to.

When you own, you not only can paint walls whatever color you want; you can knock them down if you like! You spend so much time at home, being able to make stamp your personality on it is a huge benefit!

3. Peace And Quiet

When compared to renting an apartment, there is a lot more peace and quiet in your own home. In an apartment, walls are shared. Often, there isn’t a lot of insulation inside the walls, either. It’s likely you’ll be able to hear your neighbors, their kids or their barking dogs. When you own your home, you’ll be able to enjoy the peace and quiet you deserve.

4. Outdoor Property

When you own your home, you may have access to outdoor space in addition to your house. That property is yours to do as you wish. You could make an outdoor living area, plant a garden, install a pool or erect a badminton set. The outdoor property around your house certainly adds to the satisfaction of owning your home.

It’s likely that these four benefits will give you some reasons to pursue home ownership. Chances are you’ll never want to go back to renting again!

When you’re ready to begin the search for your next home, contact a trusted mortgage professional in your area to get your financing pre-approved!