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The 4 Key Trends Home Buyers and Sellers Should Watch in 2019

We’re entering the home stretch of 2018, when you can actually say, “See you next year!” to someone you’ll see in just a few weeks. It’s a time to look ahead, to make new plans, to achieve new dreams.

And if those dreams include buying your own home, you should keep an eye on the ever-changing tides of the housing market. Now, markets are like the weather: You can’t entirely predict how they will act, but you can get a sense of the forces that will push things in one direction or another.

The realtor.com® economic research team analyzed a wealth of housing data to come up with a forecast of what 2019 might hold for home buyers and sellers—and it looks like both groups are going to be facing some challenges.

1. We’ll have more homes for sale, especially luxury ones

We’ve been chronicling the super-tight inventory of homes for sale for several years now. Yes, homes have been hitting the market, but not enough to keep up with the demand. Nationwide, inventory actually hit its lowest level in recorded history last winter, but this year it finally started to recover. We’re expecting to see that inventory growth continue into next year, but not at a blockbuster rate—less than 7%.

While this is welcome news for buyers who’ve been sidelined, sellers must confront a new reality.

“More inventory for sellers means it’s not going to be as easy as it has been in past years—it means they will have to think about the competition,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s chief economist.

“It’s still going to be a very good market for sellers,” she adds, “but if they’ve had their expectations set by listening to stories of how quickly their neighbor’s home sold in 2017 or in 2018, they may have to adjust their expectations.”

Although next year’s inventory growth is expected to be modest nationwide, pricier markets will tell a different story. In these markets—which typically have strong economies (read: high-paying jobs)—most of the expected inventory growth will come from listings of luxury homes.

We’re expecting to see the biggest increases in high-end inventory in the metro areas of San Jose, CA; Seattle, WA; Worcester, MA; Boston, MA; and Nashville, TN. All of those metro markets, which may include neighboring towns, could see double-digit gains in inventory in 2019.

2. Affording a home will remain tough

It’s no secret that home sellers have been sitting pretty for the past several years. But is the tide about to change in buyers’ favor?

“In some ways, life is going to be easier for home buyers; they’ll have more options,” Hale says. “But life is also going to be more difficult for home buyers, because we expect mortgage rates to continue to increase, we expect home prices to continue to increase, so the pinch that they’re feeling from affordability is going to continue to be a pain point moving into 2019.”

Hale predicts that mortgage rates, now hovering around 5%, will reach around 5.5% by the end of 2019. That means the monthly mortgage payment on a typical home listing will be about 8% higher next year, she notes. Meanwhile, incomes are only growing about 3% on average. That double whammy is toughest on first-time home buyers, who tend to borrow the most heavily and who don’t have any equity in a current home to draw on.

3. Millennials will still dominate home buying

Just a few years ago, millennials were the new kids on the block, just barely old enough to buy their own homes. Now they’re the biggest generational group of home buyers, accounting for 45% of mortgages (compared with 17% for baby boomers and 37% for Gen Xers). Some of them are even moving on up from their starter homes.

As we mentioned above, things will be tough for those first-time buyers. But the slightly older move-up buyers will reap the benefits of both their home equity and the increased choices in the market.

And regardless of whether they’re part of that younger set starting a career or the older set that’s starting a family, “they’re going to be more price-conscious than any other generation,” says Ali Wolf, director of economic research at Meyers Research.

That’s because they typically are still carrying student debt and want to be able to spend on experiences, like travel. That takes away from the funds they can put aside for a down payment, or a monthly mortgage payment.

“They want to maintain a certain lifestyle, but they still see the value in owning a home,” Wolf says.

So they might compromise on distance from an urban center, or certain amenities, or space—70% of millennial homeowners own a residence that’s less than 2,000 square feet, Wolf notes.

There’s plenty of time to expand those portfolios, though, as millennials’ housing reign is just beginning: This group is likely to make up the largest share of home buyers for the next decade. The year 2020 is projected to be the peak for millennial home buying—the bulk of them will be age 30.

4. The new tax law is still a wild card

At the time of last year’s forecast, the GOP’s proposed revision of the tax code was still being batted around Congress. While there was talk that it might discourage people from buying a home, no one really knew how it might affect the real-estate market.

This year … well, we still don’t really know. That’s because most taxpayers won’t be filing taxes under the new law until April 2019. And while some people might have a savvy tax adviser giving them a better idea of what’s in store, for many, the reality check will come in the form of a bigger tax bill—or a bigger refund.

Renters are likely to have lower tax bills, but might not be tempted to buy while affordability remains a challenge, and with the new, increased standard deduction reducing the appeal of the homeowner’s mortgage-interest deduction.

“I think the new tax plan will affect mostly homeowners and home buyers in the upper parts of the distribution,” says Andrew Hanson, associate professor of economics at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. “Those who either own or are buying higher-priced homes are going to pay a lot more.”

Sellers of those pricier homes will also take a hit, as buyers anticipating bigger tax bills won’t be as willing to pony up for a high list price.

The biggest change resulting from the new tax law, Hanson predicts, will be in mortgages, since people will be less inclined to take out large mortgages.

“If anyone is going to be upset about the tax plan, it’ll be mortgage bankers,” he says.

Original Source: https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/real-estate-trends-expect-2019/

Original Date: Nov 28 2018

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Embracing Winter When Selling Your Home

There really is no reason to wait until spring to sell your home if you find yourself ready right now.  The winter weather doesn’t have to give you pause.  In fact, if years past is a predictor of the future, selling your home during the winter months has gotten easier.  This is especially true as the inventory for homes continues to struggle to meet buyers demands, leaving home buyers to seek out homes throughout the year and not just during the spring and summer seasons.

When placing a home up for sale during the winter it may be wise to avoid marketing your home for sale during the holiday months.  November and December are filled with the chaos of the holiday season and therefore it can be quite stressful to have realtors and potential buyers in and out of the home all the while you are preparing to entertain.  There are many reasons not to wait until spring to sell your home and instead to list it for sale at the beginning of a new year including:

Winter Home Buyers are as Serious as Winter Home Sellers

Winter home buyers prove how motivated they are to purchase a new home each and every time they layer up to go house hunting.  Think about your motivation even with the idea of opening up your home for walk throughs even though the beauty of the snow has faded into the muck of melt.  Winter sellers and buyers are some of the most serious, motivated individuals.  They are ready to find what they are looking for if only to prevent having to trek out and about in the cold once again.

Days on Market Means Less in The Winter

Although there are fewer buyers throughout the winter months, their motivation is higher and therefore they are less concerned with the frivolous details that can lose a sale such as the number of days the home has been on the market.  During spring, a home that has been on the market over 50 days gives buyers the impression that something is wrong with the home.  This criterion however is not the same for homes for sale in the winter where homes are expected to be on the market a bit longer just because of the decreased number of buyers looking.

Lack of Competition

Let’s face it, there are fewer homes to choose from in the winter, so the competition isn’t quite as fierce as it can be in the spring and summer months.  Home sellers are most likely looking to sell their home because they have found one, they are interested in purchasing.  Negotiation when a contingency is in place may be more acceptable during the winter months where there are fewer buyers competing to buy your home.

C21 Lady of the Lakes is a full-service realtor serving Livingston County and the surrounding areas with all their real estate needs.  More information can be found at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com/

‘The Best Mortgage Advice I’ve Heard, Ever’

When it comes to mortgages, there’s an avalanche of advice out there—some good, some bad, and some that’s flat-out great. You know, the type of wisdom that makes you so grateful you heard it, it sticks with you and gets passed along to all who care to hear it.

With the hopes of delivering only these golden nuggets of wisdom, we asked homeowners to tell us the very best mortgage advice they’ve been lucky enough to learn. You won’t be sorry you read this!

Keep your monthly mortgage payment under one paycheck

“This might seem pretty simple, but I was once told not to freak out so much about the total cost of the mortgage, but to make sure that when all is said and done, I could handle most if not all of the monthly payment in one paycheck. That has worked out really well for me and my husband, especially because we work in media, which is unstable. But with a low mortgage payment, we know that whatever happens, we can handle it.” – Starrene Rocque, Brooklyn, NY

Shop around for the best interest rate

“My brother told me to shop for the best interest rate, even if it means that I had to get quotes from more than five lenders or brokers. At first I resisted, not only due to the hassle, but because I didn’t want those companies individually pulling my credit report, since I’d heard this type of ‘hard’ credit inquiry would drag down my score. He told me that a credit pull for mortgage purposes within a set period of time only counted as one hard credit inquiry. His suggestion helped me get the interest I needed and will save me a lot of money in the long run.” – Allan Liwanag, Lexington Park, MD

Multiple quotes can help with more than just interest rates

“When I first started shopping for homes, my real estate agent advised me to start the application process with more than one lender by filling out online financial forms for my top three. Though I was initially hesitant because of the extra time it would take to fill out the paperwork, doing so set me up for multiple interest rate quote estimates. Plus, the lenders knew I was serious and [were] in competition for my business, so they were especially prompt and attentive in answering my questions and returning my calls. The interest rates I qualified for were all comparable, so I ended up going with the lender that was the best communicator, which is worth its weight in gold when getting a mortgage.” – Rebecca Graham, Provo, UT .

Lock in your interest rate for as long as possible

“I bought my first home in 2016, a bankruptcy sale. Even though the listing agent and the attorney both told me that the escrow would last no more than 60 days, my agent recommended that I lock in my mortgage interest rate for the longest time possible, 90 days. It is a good thing I did, because my escrow ended up taking five months! Since I locked in the rate for the longest time allowed, the bank accommodated my situation and I didn’t lose my great rate.” – Goldie Winge, Los Angeles, CA

An ARM is a risk—even if you think you’ll move soon

“In 2007, when purchasing my first property, I anticipated owning the house for three to five years max. This led many mortgage brokers to say I should get an adjustable-rate mortgage or, ARM, since they had lower interest rates than fixed-rate loans, and besides, I’d be long gone before the interest rate on my ARM ballooned. I’m so glad I stuck to my guns about not wanting an ARM, no matter how enticing the low interest rate. Although I’d planned to move, the economy and life caused me to adjust my original plan and stay put in the house much longer than I thought.” – Nerissa Marbury, Katy, TX

Make extra mortgage payments whenever possible

“Although you only have to pay a certain amount for your mortgage each month, pay extra when you can. You would be shocked at what even one or two extra payments per year can do over the length of a loan.” – Dave August, Point of Rocks, MD

Get a mortgage that allows you to save for retirement, too

“The best advice I’ve gotten was to get a 30-year fixed-rate loan, even though I could have afforded the higher payments of a 15-year loan. Why? My lower payments bought me a ton of flexibility. I’ve been investing the difference, and it’s been quite rewarding. I figure that if I invested that extra $1,000 each month in stocks that earned 7 percentage points over the 3.5% interest on my loan—I’d be about $100,000 ahead over the seven-year period that I’ve held the loan.” – Kathy Kristof, Los Angeles. CA

Original Source: https://www.realtor.com/advice/finance/best-mortgage-advice-ive-heard-ever/

Original Date: Nov 12 2018

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Selling Your Home During the Holiday Season

The holidays are upon us!  Some of us are seeing snow flurries, the cold temps have settled in, and you need to sell your house!  While most of us are busy preparing for family gatherings, feasting on festive meals, and wrapping last minute presents some of us are preparing to relocate.  Yep, you probably guessed it, the holiday season is not ideal to be selling or buying a home for most of us.  Our plates are already too full and the last thing we want to be doing is having people trekking through our homes in wet boots.  It is also not an ideal time due to the already abundant financial and emotional stresses that find most of us during the holidays.

This is how the experts at Century 21 Lady of the Lakes can help!

Asking Price – Price Your Home to Sell

If you are trying to sell your home during the madness of the holiday season it is not time to over price your home.  Listen to your realtor, they know what they are doing when it comes to pricing your home to sell.  Buyers often have the luxury of waiting until the warmer weather approaches if they think your asking price is too high.  Buyers have the option to keep looking, do you have that same luxury?  All sellers want to sell their homes for the highest price possible, however it is important, especially given the time of year that you listen to your realtor.  They know what you can expect based on the current market, the sale price of other homes in your area, and the amenities your home has to offer.

Incentives

Create an environment that is open and inviting.  Offer buyers incentives to buy your home and deal with moving in the winter.  Consider updating the appliances in the kitchen or covering the buyers closing costs.  Sellers concessions and improvements to the home are just some of the many ways that you can make your home more appealing to buyers.

Decorate – Festive Displays

Buyers want to be able to picture themselves living in your home, so create an environment that does this for them.  Create the holiday spirit by staging your home with all of your very best décor.  Create curb appeal with outdoor decorations, fill the house with festive smells, and create a space that buyers cannot resist.  A space where they can totally immerse themselves in as their own.

Use the Weather to your Advantage

As miserable as it is to have people trampling through your house, think about the buyers who are trekking in and out of homes day after day.  Of course, this would put even the jolliest home buyers in a bad mood, so it is your job to make sure that doesn’t translate into how they feel about your home.

You can help create a more positive vibe by creating a warm, welcoming space.  Light candles, start a fire in the fireplace, provide warm beverages, and homemade treats.  The longer they linger in your space, the more likely for it to feel like their space.

C21 Lady of the Lakes is a full-service realtor serving Livingston County and the surrounding areas with all their real estate needs.  More information can be found at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com/.

6 Reasons Why Selling a House in the Winter May Be the Best Decision Ever

Spring is generally the most popular time of year to sell a house, with hordes of buyers looking to move into a new place before the school year begins. But if you decide to sell your home during the winter, experts say you could reap a reward in cold, hard cash.

“I have personally had my best months in real estate during the holiday season, so the idea that the markets are very tough to sell in the winter might be a myth,” says Emil Hartoonian, managing partner of The Agency in Beverly Hills, CA.

He’s not the only one who believes selling in the winter can make you a real estate winner. Read on for the top reasons why you should consider unloading when the temperatures drop.

1. Low inventory = less competition

Since spring is the most popular home-selling season, the housing market is ultracrowded with options at that time of year. And if you paid attention during Econ 101, you understand the law of supply and demand.

“Most sellers still think they need to sell in the spring, but that means there is more competition for buyers’ attention,” says Matt Van Winkle, founder of Re/Max Northwest in Seattle.

But in the winter, there are fewer homes for sale. That competition over low inventory can make winter an ideal time to sell your home.

“In the Atlanta market, January is one of the strongest months for homes to go under contract,” says Ally May of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s.

2. You get to show your home’s winter-readiness

Selling in the winter also gives you the opportunity to show that a home is designed to handle the harsh elements.

“Sellers in places like Lake Tahoe can show off features like a south-facing driveway to speed up snow melting, how snow will fall off of a roof, a short driveway that will minimize shoveling or plowing, heat tape on the north side of the roof to avoid snow accumulation, and how recently the roof and furnace have been replaced,” says Sandy Soli, regional manager at Engel & Völkers in Lake Tahoe, NV.

Plus, during winter months, homes with features like fireplaces and hot tubs are certainly more appealing.

3. New parents may be looking to upgrade

The baby boom in September may lead to more buyers later in the year. According to data from the Center for Health Statistics and the Social Security Administration, there are more birthdays in the month of September than any other time of the year. Therefore, there’s likely to be a crop of growing families looking to buy a larger house.

“Once baby is home and settled, these parents may want to start the year in a new, and more spacious, family home,” according to Melissa Temple, real estate adviser and partner at Engel & Völkers in Aspen, CO.

4. Winter brings out the serious buyers

News flash: Not everyone looking at houses intends to make a purchase. Some people are contemplating moving and may just want to see what’s on the market. Since more homes tend to go on the market in spring and fall, this is also when window shoppers are likely to be out looking.

However, these looky-loos tend to be scarce during winter months, according to Jennifer Baldinger, licensed associate real estate broker at Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty in Scarsdale, NY.

“When I have buyers looking for homes in January and February, they’re real buyers looking to make a purchase—especially if it’s a great house. They don’t want to take the chance of waiting until spring and losing out on the home,” Baldinger says.

“There may be less people at these open houses, but I would rather have 10 real buyers come through than 20 people who are just curious,” she says.

5. Year-end financial bonuses and payouts

As a seller, year-end performance reviews could mean that more people have money to spend on a home.

“End-of-year financial bonuses or workers retiring with large payouts could mean opportunities for these buyers to upgrade their living situations or for first-time buyers to enter the housing market,” according to Temple.

6. Corporate relocation

You could also encounter buyers who are relocating for a job.

“One of the biggest months for corporate relocation is January/February, so those buyers, who need to move quickly, are out in full force looking for new homes,” Baldinger says.

Relocators typically have a limited amount of time to uproot their families and, as a result, don’t have the luxury of spending a lot of time looking at properties. The kids need to get settled into school, and dealing with selling their old home can add another level of urgency and stress. So it’s likely that once they find a home that meets their requirements, these buyers will be ready to sign on the dotted line.

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

Original Date: Oct  8 2018

Original Author: Terri Williams

Problems and Solutions to Common Issues in Real Estate

If you want a job in an industry where everyday is different and no two transaction are ever the same, you into real estate.  A boring day just doesn’t happen when you are working daily with a wide variety of people and personalities.  As much fun as it is to work with several different types of people on a regular basis, there are some challenges that can arise when working to find a buyer their dream home or a seller who is selling more than just a home, but an abundance of memories as well.

Common Real Estate Problems and Solutions

  1. Market Conditions That Are Not Ideal

Realtors do not have control over local real estate markets.  It is inevitable that local real estate markets will have ups and downs that need to be dealt with.  The longer you are in real estate the more you will see the market conditions fluctuate. The market conditions will play a huge role in if a home sells or not and if it sells at, below, or above the average market value. Realtors must understand and recognize if they are currently dealing with a sellers or buyers’ market.  The advice that you offer to your clients will make a huge difference in their perception and the outcome of the transaction.

  1. Emotional Sellers

Many times, the sale of a home can be quite emotional.  Real estate agents will get the full brunt of the emotion’s sellers are feeling during this process.  A wide range of emotion is felt from sadness, stress, excitement, uncertainty, and nervousness.  Selling a home is a time of mixed emotions for homeowners and you as their agent will need to help them overcome the feelings that they are having to get to the point of sale.  It will be important to remind the sellers of their initial motivation to sell, the benefits that come from the sale of a home, and how these play into their situation.  It is important not to become invested emotionally yourself in the sale of any home so that you can remain impartial throughout the process.

  1. Listing Price

There are many sellers and buyers out there that will take your recommendation when it comes to putting an offer in on a home or listing their home for sale.  However, there are times when people will feel like their home is worth more than it is or that a lower offer is better for later negotiations.  Price points are the biggest challenge most realtors will face with their clients. It is important that you as the realtor educate your clients with concrete evidence and current stats to validate your reasoning.   Point out how long comparable houses have stayed on the market and the difference in pricing points.

Most of the time real estate professionals can work out issues with their clients by listening to them and providing concrete information to reassure them.  Proper wording and empathy can often overcome any challenge that arises to help facilitate a compromise.

C21 Lady of the Lakes is a full-service realtor serving Livingston County and the surrounding areas with all their real estate needs.  More information can be found at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com/.

‘House-Rich, Cash-Poor’: Here’s What It Really Means

“House-rich, cash-poor” sounds like the title of a country song. After all, how can someone be rich and poor at the same time, unless they’re fighting some poetic struggle in a twangy ballad? Well, it all comes down to how much you have tied up in your home, compared with how much you have in your pocket.

‘House-rich, cash-poor’ explained in real numbers

Being house-rich and cash-poor means you have more equity locked into the value of your home than you have in liquid assets.

Leon Goldfeld, co-founder of the New York–based real estate brokerage startup Yoreevo, breaks down how the house-rich, cash-poor scenario can play out:

  • You have a debt-to-income ratio higher than 40%, which means your homeownership expenses take up over 40% of your income. (As a general rule, it’s best to not spend more than 30% of your income on living expenses.)
  • Your home equity makes up more than 80% of your total net worth.
  • You have less than six months in cash reserves to cover your total monthly expenses if the need arises.

Is it bad to be house-rich and cash-poor?

As a real estate professional in St. Petersburg, FL, Patricia Vosburgh advises her clients not to become house-rich and cash-poor due to her first-hand experience in the 1980s.

“I can tell you it’s not a great place to be,” she says. “The slightest financial hiccup in your life can become an issue.”

Get Pre-Approved

Find a lender who can offer competitive mortgage rates and help you with pre-approval.

For instance, if you run into large medical bills or a costly home repair, you may not have the money to pay for it. Beyond that, being house-rich and cash-poor can lead to a downturn in your quality of life.

“You’re working constantly to hold onto the asset and not really enjoying the benefits of homeownership,” says Vosburgh.

How common is it to be house-rich and cash-poor?

These days, it’s a bit of a mixed bag: Thanks to a healthy economy, low unemployment, and stricter lending requirements put in place after 2008, many homeowners are house-rich, meaning they have good equity in their home. Yet many of these same homeowners are also cash-poor, lacking the reserves necessary to see them through life’s ups and downs.

“First-time buyers are saving up lots of money for the down payment—usually between 5% to 20%,” says Cedric Stewart, a residential and commercial sales consultant at Keller Williams in the Washington, DC, area. “But they often don’t leave any money for the ‘what if’ fund, such as emergency home maintenance.”

Another group vulnerable to becoming house-rich and cash-poor are buyers looking to trade up their current home.

“These buyers take the money from the sale of their current home and plunk it all down on the next one,” explains Stewart. That’s a risky move, he says, since it leaves you no financial wiggle room for whatever financial curveballs may come your way.

The bottom line: A buyer should never leave themselves cash-poor, says Ralph DiBugnara, vice president at Residential Home Funding.

“If it’s going to cost you every bit of savings just to acquire the house, you may not be ready for that specific home,” he says.

How you can avoid it

Deeply understand your finances before you buy a home, recommends Goldfeld. For starters, try entering your income and debts into a mortgage calculator to figure out what price you can afford on a home. Speak to a lender to find out how large a home loan you qualify for, too.

These moves will help you figure out what your monthly expenses would be if you had to pay for that mortgage. Take note: Even if you qualify for a large mortgage, you don’t want to get yourself into a position where every little expense is difficult to pay for.

So make sure you have at least a year of whatever your recurring monthly payments would be in reserve and shoot for a debt-to-income ratio under 30%. Then set a reasonable budget for the purchase price of a home. Look for a healthy balance between investing in a new home and creating your ideal quality of life after the home is bought. (It’s plain common sense to hold enough cash back to have a financial cushion in case of an emergency.)

Another option is to get a home warranty to cover any unexpected home expenses.

“I tell all my buyers to ask for one from the seller or pay for it themselves,” says Vosburgh.

Original Source: https://www.realtor.com/advice/finance/house-rich-cash-poor-meaning/

Original Date: Oct 12 2018

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The Most Important Repairs to Make Before Selling Your Home

Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance… I can’t stress the importance that keeping up with your home’s maintenance, repairs, and overall general well being can make when it comes time to sell.

For many buyers it is important to get into a home without having to do a ton of repairs to make it inhabitable.  It is also not on many buyers’ agendas to make an offer on a home only to determine upon inspection that there are issues that they just don’t want to deal with.  With a little bit of preparation before you place your home for sale, along with regular maintenance and consistent updates while you are actively living in the space your home should be buyer ready when you decide it is time to sell.

Listed below are just a few of the areas to pay special attention to as they are high on the list of priorities that buyers are looking at when buying a new home.

Kitchen & Bath Renovations and Updates:

  • These two spaces have the potential to make or break the sale of a house.  They also employ the most technical mechanics of the house from appliances, to plumbing and electricity, there is a lot that can go wrong.  If not kept up on kitchen and bathroom spaces can easily fall into despair.
    • Kitchen Appliances: Although it can be beneficial to have updated, energy efficient appliances when selling your home, the most important aspect is that they are all in solid working condition.  Maintenance is key in keeping appliances running properly.
    • Cabinets: Cabinets are an essential visual and functional element in both the bathroom and kitchen.  Not only should cabinets be free of damage and in good working order, new hardware never hurts to modernize a slightly older space.
    • Faucets, Sinks, Showers & Tubs: Not only are aesthetics important so is the functionality of drains and faucets. The drains within sinks, showers, and tubs should all drain properly, free and clear of any problems.  Overflow drains should also be in proper working order.  The hot and cold faucets should be properly installed.  (Believe it or not many homes I have remodeled have the hot and cold feature set up backwards) Exhaust vents should be working and clear of debris. Check all surfaces for cracks, chips, and peeling.  Homes that undergo routine maintenance should have addressed all of the above issues as problems arose.

Walls & Ceilings:

    • As part of regular maintenance homeowners should take care to repair nail holes, dings, and dents that occur. If discoloration is seen on the ceiling this will instantly turn off a buyer.  Damage from water should be repaired and brought back up to par aesthetically before placing a home for sale.  All water damage and repairs should be properly documented to give future homeowners a record if asked upon inspection how the problem was solved.

Flooring:

  • Flooring does not need to be replace before selling a home. What is important however is that it is clean and in good condition.  Chips and cracked tiles have been replaced, carpet has been cleaned, and hardwood refinished if scratches and dents are an issue.

HVAC:

  • The heating and cooling systems in the home should be in working order with updated filtration installed. Thermostats should work properly or be replaced.  Hiring an HVAC tech to complete a tune up can be a bonus to ensure everything is in proper order and can be used to market your home.
Electrical Panels and Circuit Breakers:
  • Take time to have the electrical panels in your home meet current codes. This is a perfect time to have the electrical in your home inspected by a professional.  This documentation can be given to your realtor to use as added bonuses that prove maintenance on a home has been done.  This looks really good in the eyes of a buyer even if there is a hiccup somewhere else in the home.

C21 Lady of the Lakes is a full-service realtor serving Livingston County and the surrounding areas with all their real estate needs.  More information can be found at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com/.

Real deal: Realtors share safety tips for sellers

It is the Realtor’s job to protect consumers in the real estate transaction. Seller, particularly, can be vulnerable as they allow strangers into their home to view their property.

An open house can be a great tool for marketing a home, but it also exposes Realtors and their sellers to unfamiliar people for the first time. Thieves and assailants have been known to prey on open houses. The Silicon Valley Association of Realtors cautions its members and their clients to be watchful of suspicious behavior.

Practicing safety measures is the smart thing to do. As Realtors celebrate Realtor Safety Month in September, they share the following tips to protect their clients against crime, especially at an open house.

Sellers should remember that strangers will be walking through their home during showings or open houses. Sellers should hide any valuables in a safe place, including prescription medications and alcohol, as well as personal information, such as bank statements that could be used for identity theft.

Realtors warn their clients that not all agents are who they say they are. If a stranger stops by a listing unannounced, the seller should ask the person to make an appointment with their Realtor. Sellers should never show a home without their Realtor present; nor should they let a stranger, including an unfamiliar real estate agent, into their home unannounced.

Sellers are responsible for their pets. If possible, animals should be removed during showings. If buyers and agents are attacked by an animal, the owner will be held liable.

At an open house, be alert to the pattern of visitors’ arrivals, especially near the end of showing hours. In some cases, the modus operandi of thieves is to show up in a group near the end of an open house and, while the supposed buyer distracts the Realtor and the seller, if present, the rest of the group walks through the house and steals valuables.

Inform a neighbor that your Realtor will be showing your home and ask if he or she would keep an eye and ear open for anything out of the ordinary.

When leaving a property after an open house or a showing, the Realtor should make sure that all doors and windows of the home are locked. Thieves commonly use open houses to scout for valuables and possible points of entry, then return after the Realtor leaves.

While the Realtor will take all of the above safety precautions, their clients should know when they return home that they should immediately verify that all doors are locked and all valuables accounted for.

This article is part of the National Association of Realtors’ Realtor Safety Kit. Sources are the Nevada County Board of Realtors (CA) and Realty Times. For more ideas on how to protect your personal safety, visit NAR’s website at www.REALTOR.org/safety.

Original Source: https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/09/28/realdeal/

Original Date: Sept 28 2018

Written By: Rose Meily

Buying and Selling a House at the Same Time

The process of buying and selling a home can be very stressful especially if you find yourself in a situation where you are doing both at the same time.  Depending on the housing market in your area it can be tricky for to juggle both process at the same time.  It becomes incredibly important to rely on a reputable, local realtor to facilitate.

 

In this installment, we will provide valuable tips and recommendations to educate homeowners in the process of achieving what may seem like an impossible task, to sell their current home while purchasing a new dream home.

 

Understand the Housing Market

Before you jump right in and look to buy and sell a home, you want to be sure that you find out about the housing market. If you are looking to buy a new home in the same market that you currently live it should be slightly easier than if you were leaving the area for whatever reason.

 

Create a Plan of Action

One of the best ways to ensure that you will be more likely to be successful in buying and selling a house at the same time is to plan. This plan should be as realistic as possible, make all your goals actionable and attainable. There is no sense making a goal that is not achievable, that would be one sure fire way to be unsuccessful. Including a professional real estate company in the process is a must.

 

Don’t Rely on Timing

When buying and selling at the same time there are so many things that can go wrong and timing may seem right, but it could easily change when the buyer of your home runs into problems during closing. It could also happen to you when you are set to close on purchasing your new home and then something sneaks up and throws a monkey wrench into the works and you are stuck. Sometimes even the best plans can go awry, and you will have to go back to the drawing board to salvage your overall goal.

 

Align Your Finances

One way to make buying and selling houses simultaneous much less stressful is that if you are able to work with a new lender that is willing to work with you to establish your new mortgage and discuss the possible need for a bridge loan to help with paying both mortgages until you can sell your home. You can also request a contract contingency option which means that your home purchase is contingent on the sale of your home. This may or may not be a viable option in all circumstances.

 

Don’t Let Fear Make Your Decision

When it comes trying to buy a new home and sell your existing home at the same time it can be a bit unnerving. The likelihood that you could be stuck carrying two mortgages for a brief or not so brief amount of time is fairly high. However, you must at all cost not allow yourself to let the fear of not being able to afford the two mortgages at the same time to make a bad decision that could end up costing you a lot of extra money.

C21 Lady of the Lakes is a full-service realtor serving Livingston County and the surrounding areas with all their real estate needs.  More information can be found at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com/.