The 3 Best Reasons to Buy a Home in 2018 (but You’d Better Hurry)

Figuring out when to plunge into the real estate market can be quite intimidating—especially when prices are high, choices are limited, and history urges restraint.

“We’ve seen two or three years of what could be considered unsustainable levels of price appreciation, as well as an inventory shortage that resulted in a record-low number of homes for sale across the country,” says Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com®. “When you factor those together, you have a market that has to either explode or see some relief.”

Comforting, right? Well, take heart: Experts agree that relief is indeed on the horizon.

New predictions for 2018 forecast more moderate gains in home prices and rising inventory levels, while low unemployment and record levels of consumer confidence mean more buyers are feeling good about their finances.

A lot depends on where you live (and how much you plan to finance), but these factors combined could mean 2018 will be your year to take the buying plunge.

1. Rates are going up

After years of record-low interest rates (hello, 3%!), the Fed is finally making some noticeable increases: The rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage broke the 4% mark last year. And with economic growth continuing to carry momentum, Vivas predicts we’ll see at least two to four more rate increases throughout 2018. Rates are anticipated to hit 5% by the end of the year.

“The big story there is that those increases will further constrict affordability,” Vivas says. “The more buyers wait, the more expensive it will get to buy—not just because of home prices, but because of inflationary pressure.”

In other words, if you want in on the American dream, now might be the time.

2. Prices are climbing, but not crazily fast

Home prices have soared over the past few years, pricing otherwise well-positioned buyers out of high-cost areas and leading some experts to cry “bubble”. But in 2018, price increases are expected to moderate.

Vivas forecasts a home price increase of 3.2% year over year, after finishing 2017 with a 5.5% year-over-year increase. Existing-home sale prices are predicted to increase 2.5% year over year.

Of course, it all depends on where you live. While red-hot markets such as San Francisco are predicted to finally lose some steam, sales numbers and home prices are poised to climb in Southern states such as Texas and Florida, where economic momentum continues chugging along and new construction is happening in the right price points.

So what does that mean? Basically, home prices will still increase, but not at the same pace as they have over the past few years.

3. Inventory levels will begin to increase

An inventory shortage has plagued the U.S. housing market since 2015, forcing some buyers to settle (a tiny house with linoleum floors for $1 million, anyone?) and keeping others out of the buying game entirely. But by fall 2018, the tides will begin to turn, with markets such as Boston; Detroit; and Nashville, TN, recovering first.

The majority of inventory growth will happen in the middle- to upper-tier price point, in the ranges of $350,000 and $750,000 and above $750,000, Vivas predicts.

New home construction is also expected to expand. But that will happen slowly, thanks to a constricted labor market, limitations on the amount of lots and land that’s available, tight bank financing for building loans, and a run-up in building material prices, says National Association of Home Builders chief economist Robert Dietz.

“It’s been a slow climb back from the recession, and now we’re confronting all of these limiting factors and supply-side constraints,” Dietz says.

It’s particularly tough, he says, for builders to break ground at the entry level for first-time buyers, particularity in high-cost coastal markets such as California. That means it will take longer for those inventory levels to recover.

But there’s a bright spot: Builder confidence is at its highest level since 1999, according to the NAHB. And that means hope is on the horizon.

“As we head into 2019 and beyond, we expect to see the inventory increases take hold and provide relief for first-timers and drive sales growth,” Vivas says.

The wildcard: Taxes and politics

When the Republican tax plan was introduced, the proposed elimination of the mortgage interest deduction was all anyone could talk about: While the new limitations on the deduction will affect only 2.5% of all existing mortgages in the U.S., it will have a disproportionate effect on Western markets, where 20% to 30% of mortgages are above the new threshold, according to Vivas.

Across the board, experts agree that the new tax plan decreases incentives for homeownership and reduces the tax benefits of owning a home—particularly in highly taxed, expensive markets such as California, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey. But on the flip side, that means that if fewer folks are motivated to buy, then there’s less competition for those who want in the game. Plus, some taxpayers—including renters—will see a tax cut. That increase in buyers’ disposable income could spur demand from folks who are looking to build equity as a homeowner, rather than flushing away their savings in rent.

“Buying remains the more attractive option in the long term—that remains the American dream, and it’s true in many markets where renting has become really the shortsighted option,” Vivas says. “As people get more savings in their pocket, buying becomes the better option.”

Original Source: https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/reasons-to-buy-a-home-in-2018/

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The Advantages of Selling Your Home Using a Real Estate Agent

Do you own a residential property that you are looking to sell? Have you searched for buyers around you? Have you seen that it is not so easy to close a real estate deal on your own? Most homeowners that try to sell their homes one their own end up selling their house for a lower price from the value that it deserves. It is important to take help from professionals to complete this process as they know the right tactics to close the sale with benefit.

You might have overlooked the importance of having real estate professionals for selling your home; but here are few essential advantages to hire them.

Priced Right

The house selling process takes a potential turn when it begins with a reasonable asking price. The real estate agent can help you to stay up to date about property price variations happening in the local market so that you can set a strong selling amount for closing potential deals. Also, to improve the value of your house, the realtor may suggest few repairs and improvements in the space. This significant contribution can help you to sell your home at a beneficial price.

Marketing

The next important step for selling a house is a strong marketing plan. If you focus on the right market with a strong marketing strategy, you will find more buyers for your property and then it will become easier to close deals at a beneficial price. The expert real estate agents make use of multiple real estate listings along with cooperative marketing networks; they can help you to reach up to more people.

Security

When properties are sold without real estate agent; they often face troubles on security criteria. You may find strangers at your doorstep and it is risky to let them enter inside to view your property. But when you hire real estate agents for your home selling process, buyers come from right channels. These experienced sellers will help you to get qualified prospects for your property to lead the process safely.

Expert Knowledge

An expert real estate agent can help you to evaluate buyer’s proposal as per market position. Homeowners often find it difficult to negotiate the price point with buyers due to lack of knowledge about market prices. An expert agent can stay with you from the beginning of the process until you sign the final sale agreement. He will fight the whole case on behalf of you and will bring the best value to your pocket.

Efficiency

The home selling process involves lots of paperwork and it must be done carefully. To complete everything safely, it is good to hire professional real estate agent as they know the right procedures to close the deal. They will handle all the paperwork for you without making any mistake and you will be able to get your money on time.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.

 

The 10 Biggest Real Estate Stories of 2017

Courtesy of Legacy West

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

As we enter the eighth year of an up-cycle, Dallas-Fort Worth looks a lot different than it did during the Great Recession.

The commercial real estate industry in North Texas is not without its challenges: construction costs, labor shortages, lending hurdles, increasingly scarce land, and stiff competition. But forward-thinking pros spanning every asset class and industry continue to push the sector forward. To determine the top real estate stories of 2017, we analyzed traffic from our D CEO Real Estate website and asked industry professionals, including D CEO Power Brokers and contributing editors, to share their insights. We went beyond specific deals to analyze market hardships, impactful projects, and game-changing trends. As we’ve heard dozens of real estate insiders remark in one form or another: “Come what may nationally and globally, we’re lucky to be in North Texas.”

A Lasting Legacy

The Karahan Cos. opened Legacy West’s 38-acre urban village in June. (Courtesy of Legacy West)

When Fehmi Karahan and his so-called Team Legacy, consisting of KDC and Columbus Realty, competed to develop some land near the J.C. Penney campus in 2014, much of Plano was still farm land and greenfield sites. Today, Karahan Cos.’ master plan for Legacy West has been realized with the opening of Toyota, Liberty Mutual, and JPMorgan Chase’s offices, the 38-acre urban village-style retail center (which was fully leased by October), a 304-key Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West hotel, the 55,000-square-foot Legacy Food Hall, and 800 apartment units. Additional developments—namely, a 29-story apartment tower called LVL 29—are still in the works. Gaedeke Group also opened its 308,000-square-foot One Legacy West. Shortly after, Gaedeke’s anchor tenant NTT Data made another big statement by leasing an additional 233,000 square feet at neighboring project, the Campus at Legacy West. Legacy has come a long way since the days of Electronic Data Systems.

Boeing Finally Lands

(Courtesy of Legacy West)

Adding to the lineup at Legacy West, Karahan Cos. scored Boeing’s new Global Services business unit. Though the aerospace giant’s lease is 18,000 square feet—a drop in the bucket compared to Toyota’s 2 million square feet—on the third floor at the 5905 Legacy Drive building, the significance of the deal requires a long memory. Back in 2001, the Dallas-Fort Worth real estate world was on edge, waiting to see where Boeing would locate its new headquarters. When Dallas and Denver ultimately lost out to Chicago, Big D took the loss hard. Though the Global Services division landed in Plano, not downtown Dallas, a collective feeling of vindication swept through North Texas when this news broke earlier this year.

Stroke of Co-Work

North Texas has more than 60 co-working concepts, including WeWork and Common Desk. (WeWork: Zach McNair; Common Desk: Brent Baxter)Thanks to local pioneers such as Fort Work and The Dallas Entrepreneur Center, big co-working names like WeWork and Spaces scouted locations in North Texas. New York-based Serendipity Labs Coworking excited Craig Hall so much that he not only leased it 29,000 square feet in KPMG Plaza, but also invested in the concept. Neighboring Arts District office Billingsley’s One Arts Plaza, welcomed Industrious. Chicago-based Level Office joined local concepts in the West End. And it’s not just the urban core that has seen co-working growth. Shortly after WeWork opened its southern headquarters in Thanksgiving Tower, it made plans to expand to Legacy West and Fort Worth’s Clearfork. After opening a McKinney Avenue location in late 2016, Regus’ Spaces leased more than 20,000 square feet at Granite Place in Southlake. Illinois-based 25N Co-Working opted to open its first location outside its home market at Stoneleigh Cos.’s Waterford Market in Frisco. Hometown concept Common Desk has expanded aggressively, opening Fort Worth and Plano locations to join its Oak Cliff office and its Deep Ellum flagship. At press time, 61 co-working spaces were calling DFW home.

Gateway Status

Foreign investors have been flocking to gateway cities such as New York and Los Angeles for decades. But over the last couple of years, Texas—and Dallas, in particular—has become a safe haven for foreign money. Texas now outshines California and the national average for foreign investment as a percentage of total sales, according to CoStar. In 2016, foreign buyer sales in Texas topped $5 billion, and at press time 2017 looked to be similar. Though DFW fell slightly from past years in PwC and ULI’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, the region still ranks as the sixth-best U.S. market for overall investment (foreign as well as domestic), and the fifth-best market overall. Push factors and pull factors play a role in large amounts of capital crossing the Texas border. But as long as DFW retains its low-risk profile, we’ll be sitting pretty for all that overseas money.

Out of House and Home

Though recent reports show single-family home gains are cooling slightly from this time last year, home-buying Dallasites probably still feel the burn. North Texas home costs are up more than 50 percent since 2012. In 2017, the median home price in Dallas surpassed $236,000, topping the national average for the first time.

1980’s Update

Trammell Crow Center will get a new front entrance as part of its update. (Courtesy of Neoscape Inc. 2016)
Fountain Place owners are spending $70 million for upgrades. (Courtesy of Goddard Investments)

The ’80s real estate cycle brought some of the most iconic structures to the downtown Dallas skyline. And this decade’s real estate cycle will update many of those same skyscrapers. Fountain Place owners Goddard Investment Group pledged $70 million to update much of the interior, to construct a 10-story garage anchored by restaurants, and to renovate the building’s namesake fountains. A few blocks away, Trammell Crow Center is getting an upgrade to its existing 1985-era tower, plus a second phase on the full city block across from the skyscraper on Ross Avenue. Owner JP Morgan Asset Management will spend $135 million adding amenities to the existing tower and bringing in retail space, a 200-room hotel, multifamily units, and a parking garage to the new development. Fortis Property Group, the new owners of the 55-story Chase Tower, will make the skyscraper interact better with the surrounding street with an updated plaza and entry, reminiscent of Thanksgiving Tower’s $40 million renovation from owner Woods Capital. Neighboring buildings Ross Tower and Saint Paul Place both completed renovations in 2017.

Remaking History

The Statler reopened in October. (Allison Page Photography)
The former Dallas High School has become a mixed-use office project. (Courtesy of Merriman Anderson/Architects Inc.)

Downtown Dallas has several planned or proposed developments on the horizon, but 2017 solidified footing for a different type of project: historic redevelopments. Between major renovations at Dallas High School, Factory Six03, Butler Bros. Building, Tower Petroleum Building and Corrigan Tower, The Statler, and others, Dallas developers have clearly realized the value of good bones and a prime location. “When people wander around downtown and see dead buildings—which is what you used to see—they don’t want to be there. It repels investment,” Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston said at The Statler’s grand opening in October.

Multifamily Mania

(The Epic: courtesy of Perkins + Will)More than 50,000 apartment units sit in the DFW pipeline. Many jaws dropped after 2016 brought 17,000 new units online, but 2017 was slated to exceed that by 10,000 units. “More apartments are coming online here in DFW than anywhere else in country,” Jay Denton, Axiometrics vice president of analytics, says. And 2018 will be much the same, with around 25,000 units scheduled to come online. North Dallas suburbs account for the largest chunk of new apartments, with more than 9,000 units planned by the end of 2018. Other hot submarkets include downtown, Uptown, Richardson, East Dallas, and downtown Fort Worth.

Labor Shortage

In an issue that touches every asset class in the business, finding—and keeping—skilled laborers continues to pose problems for developers. Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Labor increased their H-2B visa capacity in 2017, allowing an additional 15,000 temporary workers into the U.S., but many construction laborers consider DFW a less-than-ideal market in which to work. There are approximately 245,000 construction workers in Dallas and, according to Abodo, many of them become transient, chasing higher wages or safer working conditions elsewhere. Meantime, construction costs jumped 12 percent between 2011 and 2016, according to CBRE.

AT&T Renews

After kicking the tires of several alternative office headquarters in late 2016, AT&T decided to renew its commitment to downtown Dallas—and then some. The telecom giant is in the midst of a $100 million revamp that will turn its more than 2-million-square-foot headquarters on Akard and Commerce streets into a so-called Discovery District with street-level retail and restaurants. AT&T, which has six buildings for its headquarters, aims to appeal to its employees, tourists, and downtown citizens alike with its retail-lined plaza. True to its promise to pull out all the stops, the Dallas City Council agreed to finagle the surrounding streets to make the district more pedestrian-friendly, including closing and narrowing some streets while making other one-way streets two-way. Renovations are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019.

Original Source: https://www.dmagazine.com/publications/d-ceo/2018/real-estate-annual/biggest-dallas-fort-worth-real-estate-stories-2017/

Staging Your Home for Resale

A real estate agent will advise that you improve the attraction of your home to make it marketable. This is important if you genuinely want to increase profitability and sell faster. Although staging your home for resale is optional, an experienced real estate company handling the sale of your house will take you the process you need to achieve superb home staging. For this discussion, we will take you through budget-friendly steps to stage your home for resale below.

Clean

The idea of cleaning is to clean up significant items in the hope that a new buyer would like to see if you do not have the fund to buy new ones. Pay particular attention to the kitchen, bathroom, and the balcony. You need to clean up all significant items in these areas. Your real estate agent should advise on other places that need cleaning.

Take out Personal Items & Clutter

Before you remove the clutter the home to get it ready for sale, make sure you remove all your personal belongings to make the house ready for the new buyer. After you removed all personal belongings, you need to remove clutter from the home, remove everything not contributing to the resale purpose. When you remove clutter you free the home of impediment and it gives the impression of larger space to attract prospective buyers.

Sanitize

The primary purpose of sanitizing as a staging process is to rid the environment of offensive odors. Take time to clean up the walls, furniture and scrub the floor and deodorize. The cleaning process would remove strong odor-causing germs and dirt, but you need to purposely disinfect the environment to make it friendlier to prospective buyers.

Rearrange Rooms & Define Space

Unless it’s an open space, you need to rearrange every room where you have the room items in place. Also, describe the purpose of each room and let the things in such room meet the goal it is defined to serve. If necessary, consider painting the rooms that could use some fresh paints in the staging process.

Lighting

This is not about electric light; we are talking about natural lighting from the environment. A well-lit home also means natural ventilation that promotes good health in the house. As you prepare for staging, take care of broken windows; fix the blinds and all fixtures that promote lighting.

Bring out the Aesthetics

Pay close attention to the curb to boost its look. Buyers are interested in what they see, and if it looks good and convincing, nothing is stopping them from making an offer if the fund is available.

Furniture

Let the furniture be the perfect size for their space to avoid cluttering the room. The furniture needs to make each room look bigger and not shrinks it. Make sure to use appropriate furniture that befits the environment.

Improve the Exterior

Your home’s exterior is the first point of contact with buyers, so you need to see to it that it’s the best you can offer. A real estate company should suggest great landscaping ideas to make your exterior look perfect.

Before concluding the staging process, it is best to go over every element in the process to ensure a thorough job has been delivered. Allow a real estate agent to reevaluate the home and point out any area that may need additional staging done to it. After that, you are ready for the market.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.

 

How to Sell or Buy a Home In Any Market

Selling or buying a home in any market can be tough if a seller or buyer doesn’t pay attention to some basic principles that are followed by both potential buyers and sellers. Being prepared before placing your home on the market, proper preparation and planning for your home selling or buying process reduces stress once the process of showing your home to prospective buyers begins. Whatever decisions you make surrounding the details of home selling, remember, the home has to sell itself. Always make sure that the home displays its value to customers so that they will be willing to give a value that matches the home.

Your Reason For Selling

The most critical component in the whole home selling process is the reason for selling. Why are you selling your home? Is it time to resize your household and move to a larger home? Are you downsizing and looking for lower maintenance living? Are you relocating for employment? Are you selling because you want to or because you have to? This is the key question that you must answer, as it will be the driver for everything else in the selling process. A must sell answer will require a more aggressive approach to the preparation, pricing, and marketing. The want to sell answer can allow for a more laid-back strategy.

Begin Preparation

Preparing a home for sale should be made a priority as soon as you have decided to sell. If you take time to clean and ensure that it is clean, home price can increase and the seller holding time reduces. Today’s buyers frequently want a move in ready home that requires as little work as possible. They want to move their personal belongings in, hang their pictures and start enjoying the home as soon as the movers are gone.

Using a Realtor Or Not

Next, a home seller must decide if they are going to use a realtor or sell their home themselves. Both come with a cost. If you don’t choose the best realtor in your market area, the one with the hard data available to demonstrate their success in the home selling process, you could be in for a stressful and unpleasant selling experience. When selling the home personally, so that you may save some money, be ready to have enough time and have your patience tested every time a prospective buyer enters your home.

When you decide to sell or buy a home, their various factors that lead to a successful sale. The above three are only the beginning of the items that need to be considered as you move forward with the selling process. Buyers are out there in every market and the planning and preparation you do today can help you get your home sold in the shortest amount of time, for the highest possible price and with the least amount of stress.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.

From Renting to Home Ownership

Reaching the decision of wanting to own a house can be a difficult one considering all the risks involved in it. However, if you have finally decided to buy a house a real estate agent or a realtor can help you.  First however, we should tell you that owning a house has many benefits but a few disadvantages.  As an educated buyer you will want to weigh out the pros and cons before jumping into the home buying process.

There are many steps involved in going from renting to homeownership.

How you can own a home

  • Get your credit score or report

Those who have a fat bank account and can pay the cost of a house upfront don’t need to consider evaluating their credit scores or report. There is a difference between knowing your score and evaluating how that score has been determined.

A credit report is basically the history of the entire loan that you have taken, accounts that you have opened or closed, payment history, and credit balance. On the other end, a credit score is a score given to the actual amount that you possess. Through this, a lender or a renter decides whether a person is worthy of consideration for the sale or rent of their property.

In order to impress lenders, you should have a recommended score of 740 although many individuals with credit scores lower than this have been able to secure a mortgage without too much hassle.

  • Hire a realtor

A realtor is a professional that facilitates the buying and selling of houses. Also called a real estate agent, you should hire a realtor based on your needs. In doing so, you should always hire a buyer’s agent realtor because they are going to represent your interests, not the sellers.

When it comes to hiring the right realtor, you should keep in mind that the ones who don’t ask for a contract are the professionals to go for. This is because there is no need for a contract between you and him if he has a good reputation and works better.

  • Choose the right mortgage option

There are many mortgage companies out there who can provide you with the necessary capital for buying a home. When it comes to finding the right mortgage company which can provide you with low closing rates, you need to do a bit of a research. Eventually, when you find one, you should look whether it is a direct lender or a correspondent lender.

We highly recommend a direct lender because this type of lender would not charge you any additional fee.

  • Know what your desired property is worth

If you have your eyes on a house that you want to buy, then you should see how much it is actually worth. The people who can help you in this are property inspectors. Hire an outside property inspector who can check the house that you are buying and based on several important factors he or she can evaluate the reasonable price of the property.

Check The House Appraisal

In addition to this, the bank which is giving you mortgage can also provide you with a home appraisal.  Once the appraisal’s been done, you can pay the owner the value of the house and move in without any further ado.

Let your Realtor Be Your Guide

After you have gone through the 4 stages stated above, you will be able to own a house undoubtedly. Every person or institute involved in the process is important. However, it is the realtor or the real estate agent who can guide you thoroughly from the start to the end.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.

No Second Chances: Our 7-Step Plan to Making a Dazzling First Impression on Buyers

Studies show that we make up our minds about people within seconds of meeting them. So it stands to reason that prospective buyers are doing the very same thing with your house, especially in a red-hot real estate market. More buyers these days are sizing up your space and making lightning-quick decisions about whether it’s worth investigating further—or whether they should hop back in the car and move on to the next house.

So if you want to be sure buyers don’t scurry out the door moments after they arrive, you have to create a fantastic first impression.

Not sure where to begin? It all starts with looking at your home with fresh eyes. Luckily, we’ve broken down seven simple steps you can follow to put your home’s best face forward.

1. ‘Break up’ with your house

If you want to sell your property, you’ll need to distance yourself from it first, says Ronique Gibson, an associate architect and lifestyle expert at Stagetecture.com in Jacksonville, FL. Cut the cord!

“Once you put your home on the market, it’s time to let a professional come in and market it,” Gibson says. “If you stay emotionally attached, the process will be harder and longer.”

2. Focus on curb appeal

You wouldn’t wear soiled sweatpants on a first date—you’d go out of your way to look presentable. So why would you approach the process of selling your home any differently?

Your home’s first impression starts with the exterior, so take a good look at what you’re presenting to the world: What’s the first thing you notice? If it’s peeling paint, dirty windows, and dead plants, you have work to do, says Michael Rosenblum, a broker with Koenig Rubloff Realty Group, a division of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Chicago.

“Ask yourself: ‘If I was buying this home now, what would my expectations be?'” he says.

Remove debris such as fallen tree limbs and leaves. Keep grass and shrubs trimmed, freshen up the mulch in your flowerbeds, and clear away lawn clutter such as yard ornaments, garden tools, and that circa 2007 Big Wheel.

“Putting out some flowers in front of the house or by the front door always makes people smile; it creates the warmth before they even get inside,” says Rosenblum.

Invest in a new doormat, and consider replacing old address numbers and your mailbox if it’s worn or rusty. Patch cracks in the driveway and, while you’re at, give the front door a fresh coat of paint.

3. Ditch as much of your stuff as possible

So now that you’ve addressed the outside, you have to work on your home’s inner beauty. Decluttering is your first priority. So start clearing out the junk and depersonalizing the space—toss or hide mementos, kids’ drawings, and most knickknacks.

“If the seller has all their personal photos out, then the buyer usually gets distracted,” Rosenblum says.

The main goal is for potential buyers to envision themselves in your home, and they can’t do that if your crap is everywhere they look. “All signs of you should be gone,” Gibson says.

That said, take care to find a balance; you don’t want the home to feel sterile—and you’ll want to make sure that none of your rooms are completely empty, a tactic that tends to make a space actually look smaller.

4. Fix the broken stuff—all of it

This should be obvious, but perhaps even you’ve forgotten about that faulty light switch in the upstairs hallway. The thing is, buyers will notice it almost immediately.

So here’s a mini to-do list to tackle those minor issues fast:

  • Check for leaks throughout the house. A drip may not seem important, but it suggests lousy maintenance elsewhere.
  • Check and repair loose door handles and cabinet hinges.
  • Caulk around tubs and sinks.
  • Replace lightbulbs that don’t work. Yes, every single one.

Bottom line: Meet and exceed a buyer’s expectations by paying extra attention to the fine details.

5. Plan a small makeover that packs a punch

You might not want (or be able) to do major renovations before putting your property on the market. But if you focus your attention on the kitchen, bathrooms, and flooring, you can boost a tired home’s overall appearance without completely busting your budget.

“Homeowners can easily change out countertops and appliances, or paint cabinetry,” Rosenblum says. You may want to restain the floors or repaint the walls.

Keeping your carpets? Make sure to splurge on getting them professionally cleaned, especially in high-traffic areas—it’ll immediately brighten a room.

6. Appeal to all the senses

Once your home is clean and decluttered, think about how you can engage potential buyers through other senses, Gibson suggests.

“Play soft music during showings, or have a nice water feature outside if you live in a noisy neighborhood,” she says. “Soft throws and textured fabrics will warm up a space. Brewing fresh coffee and baking cookies makes your house smell great.”

Remember not to clean your house the day of a showing; harsh chemicals can be overpowering, and may turn off potential buyers.

7. Keep up appearances—indefinitely

Unless you’re in a red-hot market, your home might not sell immediately after it’s listed. Remember that every week, you might have potential buyers traipsing through—sometimes without much notice from your agent.

That means keeping up all these changes you’ve implemented—and not dragging out the massive toy bins, dog beds, and other daily life items you actually use.

While it might not be easy keeping your house in tiptop shape for days on end, try to remember that the effort you put in now will pay off later—when that one buyer is so wowed by her first impression that she makes an offer you won’t want to refuse.

Original Author: Wendy Helfenbaum
Original Date: Dec 6 2017

A Guide to Home Buying

Buying a home can be an overwhelming process if you are a first time homebuyer. It pays to do your homework and know the important steps in the home buying process so that you do not feel surprised or overwhelmed. It is the dream of every individual to have his own home. Congratulations to you if you have decided to buy a home for your family.

Real estate transaction are a major financial decision involving lots of money. As you will be living in your new home for years to come, it is prudent to do your homework and make a move only when you have found a house that fulfill your requirements.

Hire a real estate agent to represent you

Many people think that hiring the services of a realtor can be a burden on their pocket. The fact is that the fee of a buyer’s agent is paid by the seller. But this professional provides invaluable help and assistance with his knowledge and experience.

Get pre approval letter from your lender

Many buyers make the mistake of starting their search for a home without this all important document. Pre approval document in your hand is a clear sign for the homeowners that your offer can be taken seriously. Your bid is also preferred over other buyers when you have been preapproved for a mortgage loan.

Search for your new home

Make a list of your requirements and start your search. It becomes easier to conduct this search when you know what you want and for how much. Try to find a house in a neighborhood where there are good schools for the education of your kids. Do not buy a house at a low price if it is too far away from your place of work.

Make an offer

Once you have found the right home, let your agent make an offer based upon price and other terms you have chosen for yourself.

Negotiate and enter into contract

These are two very crucial steps in home buying process. Your offer may not be accepted by the homeowner. Allow your agent to negotiate with the seller on your behalf.  Once the price and terms are acceptable to you, it is time to draw up the contract. This document specifies the time within which you agree to make the payment and also the time within which you need to get the property inspected. Your real estate agent gets incorporated points that you wish to focus upon so that there is no dispute later on. Negotiation and contract are two steps where the expertise and negotiation skills of your agent are tested to the core.

Final details

Once you have got the property inspected, you can review the report one last time before you are ready to close the deal. You arrange the money by getting the mortgage loan from the lender. Discuss the terms of repayment before singing the mortgage deed.

Closing on your new home

This is the last step in home buying process. You hand over the check and take the possession of the property. A title company facilitates closing after studying the title deed of the property.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.

5 Surprisingly Smart Reasons to Buy a Home During the Holidays

Turkeys and tinsel, dreidels and pumpkin pie. Yes friends, the holidays are here again, and it’s the perfect time for … house hunting? OK, we know you’re busy enough planning family feasts and much-needed vacations while dealing with blustery weather, but hear us out. While it might seem counterintuitive to put a big-ticket item like a home on your holiday shopping list, it really does make sense.

Don’t believe us? Check out these surprisingly smart reasons to let everyone else hit the mall to buy half-off sweaters while you make the purchase of a lifetime: a new house to ring in the New Year.

1. Less competition from home buyers

Most buyers take the month off to celebrate the holidays, attend parties, host out-of-town guests and, quite frankly, avoid trudging around in inclement weather to look at houses. Or, maybe they’ve heard that this is a lousy time to buy a house. Whatever the reason, shopping for real estate at a time when fewer buyers are in the market can pay off big.

That’s because competing with multiple offers is one of the most stressful parts of the home-buying process, says Brian Wasson, a real estate broker with Center Coast Realty in Chicago.

2. Motivated (OK, desperate) home sellers

The December seller is likely to be serious and motivated—and therefore more open to negotiation. So what you might lack in choice of available homes could be balanced out by dealing with a more flexible seller.

Most sellers have a compelling reason for putting their house on the market during the holidays. (Let’s face it: It’s no holiday party for them to have strangers wandering through their house.) They might be facing a relocation and want to get their kids settled before the new term. Or they might just be feeling some stress if they listed their home in the fall and it’s still languishing post–Turkey Day, making them just a little more desperate and anxious to deal.

Many sellers might also want a contract in hand for tax advantages. If it’s a rental property on which they incurred a loss, they are likely to want to take the deduction this calendar year, Wasson says.

Another tax-related reason: If sellers are likely to make a hefty profit and have a salary raise set to kick in on Jan. 1, they might be subject to a higher capital gains tax on their home sale in the coming year. In this scenario, sellers may want to unload a property before the new year.

Sellers are exempt from paying capital gains tax on the first $250,000 in proceeds from a home sale for a single person, or $500,000 for a couple. After that, the capital gains tax kicks in, based on their income bracket.

3. Tax advantages

In case you weren’t aware, the tax benefits go both ways, notes Realtor® Al Cannistra with Texas Premier Realty in San Antonio. Buying now can help you save in April and beyond. Homeownership brings numerous tax perks, from deducting mortgage interest to property taxes. (Update: The House of Representatives just passed its version of the GOP proposed tax plan, which would cap the property tax deduction at $10,000. The House bill also would only allow homeowners to deduct the interest on mortgages up to $500,000, down from the current $1 million.)

Some states also might have a homeowner’s tax exemption, says Cannistra: “If your state does, closing the deal by Dec. 31 rather than waiting for the first week of the new year can make a year’s difference in whether or not you get that valuable tax savings.”

Also, many closing fees are tax-deductible if you itemize—although you should always double-check with your accountant about any tax questions.

4. A realistic picture of the house

What house doesn’t look amazing in the typical spring buying season, with newly planted flowers and plenty of sunlight streaming through the windows? Checking it out during the miserable winter season, on the other hand, might give you a more accurate idea of what you might be living with the rest of the year.

In addition to seeing the house, warts and all, you can check for issues that you’d notice only during cold weather.

“Maybe there’s a bedroom in the home that doesn’t get sufficient heat, or the front door gets jammed in icy conditions,” says Wasson. “Inspectors are less likely to catch these issues with the home when they check them out of season.”

Of course, don’t forget that issues that crop up more during summer will be less accessible—such as how well the air conditioning works or what the roof really looks like under all that snow and ice—so make sure that your home inspector does a thorough job on those fronts, too.

5. Greater accessibility to professionals

“Since December is usually a slower month all around, you will have easier access to movers, inspectors, and mortgage brokers,” says Jennifer Sommers with Sotheby’s International Realty in Boca Raton, FL.

In addition, motivated real estate agents will bend over backward to provide service with fewer client demands and will share your desire to get it done and in the books before the new year rolls around.  Ditto on your mortgage broker, who is bound to speed your closing through.

Original Source: https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/reasons-to-buy-a-home-during-the-holidays/

Original Date: Nov 16 2017

Original Author: Cathie Ericson

Downsizing is a Good Idea as Homeowners Age

You purchased a large property to fulfill the requirements of your family with kids. Now your kids are gone and settled in their own homes and careers. You are living with your spouse in the same large house, somehow coping with the maintenance costs and huge utility bills. Why don’t you move into a smaller apartment or house to cut down on your expenses and maintenance costs? Referred to as downsizing, this concept has become very popular among old age couples preparing for their retired life without kids and their families.

Cut down on your expenses

Are you frustrated by the fact that you have to mow the lawn on your own in an attempt to save on the fee charged by a gardener? Do you find it irritating to pay for the cost of heating and cooling such a large area inside the house when you and your spouse are effectively using only a small percent of the area?

Well, this is the case with most couples staring at their impending retirement with their children having moved to faraway places, settled in their careers. You can get rid of these extra expenses by simply selling your large house and moving into a smaller house or apartment. You can even start to live in a rented place, depositing all the cash you get by selling the house into your bank account.

There are emotional costs of downsizing

Cost of ownership is not limited to just financial costs. There are so many memories attached to the place you called your home for so many years. You have the neighbors and your friends living in the area. It can be painful leaving all these memories behind. Also, you need to find your new home in a place that is not too far away from the kids and your friends otherwise traveling back and forth could add to your expenses.

Calculate the cost of selling and buying

Selling your large house will no doubt fetch a lot of money in your hands but do not forget the commission of your agent and other related costs of selling. Add to this the cost of buying your new small home and take a decision to downsize only when you are able to save a considerable amount of money for your retired life. Downsizing proves counterproductive if you cannot give up on your ego and plan to splurge on furniture and other household items like before.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.