My Blog

Don't Replace Your Agent With The Internet

10/8/2018





With the influx of new technology and web based solutions, it isn't a surprise that everything is moving fast into the era of the internet. From sites like Uber to Grubhub, we generally can pull up our phones or laptops to order what we want with ease. And with every industry being revolutionized by technology, the same methods are "attempting" to be applied to the real estate industry. 

We could all agree that the simplification of the process through paperwork would be much appreciated by agents and buyers/sellers alike; but the attempt of replacing the agent by sites like Zillow and other third party resources, can lead to a snowball affect of disaster. Think about real estate being smack dab in the middle of fast food and a doctor. You can use your mobile device to quickly place your order for a $20 meal, but when it comes to getting a surgery, you'll want to put that phone down and visit a professional. Now think of your real estate agent being in the middle of all of that. You can use your devices to look for a home, look at market data the way you look at WebMD, knowing not to take it too seriously because you need a real professional's input, but it's fun and gives you a general idea of what to expect. But there in lies the issue, the data online is an oversimplified version of what goes into the process of buying and selling. The same way it oversimplifies medical diseases and surgeries, you'd still expect to get a professional's diagnosis.

Although a real estate agent isn't quite like a doctor, the industry in it's legalities, contracts, and processes is similar in the sense that it needs to be taken seriously. Looking for a house online and wanting to put an immediate offer on one can be exciting and fun, but the issues that require a professional's guidance comes after the initial contract is written up and the hard work comes into place to actually make the home your own. Same for sellers, if you decide to put your home on the market and want a website that will give you an automatic offer, how do you know you're not being taken advantage of in the price? But most importantly, how do you know you're not being taken advantage of in other aspects of the contract? Because there is a lot more to the sale of the home then just agreeing on a number. 

The next time you're digging through public sites for homes for sale, and getting instant home valuation estimates, keep in mind that this is a simple process to give you an idea of your market. A very general idea. But after you've found the perfect house, or after you've decided that the numbers make some sense for you to sell, call your favorite real estate agent and make sure they give you a more detailed look into the market and assist you through the full process, not just the exciting first parts. Because it's going to be in the middle of a contract when the lending is falling apart, or negotiations can't be made on repairs and emotions are at an all time high, that you are going to wish you had put down your laptop and had an agent fighting for you by your side. Use the internet, have fun with it's amazing resources, but don't let it replace your agent. We aren't in an age, just yet, where technology can do everything a professional can. 

Kitchen Improvements Under $100

10/4/2018




Want to spruce up your kitchen but stuck on a tight budget? Check out the list of improvements you can get started on for under $100. These tips can come in handy when you're ready to list your home to sell on the market.

1. REFRESH THE SINK

If your sink is starting to look outdated, find an affordable, yet stylish, replacement. If you have the eye for DIY, you can also purchase some sandpaper and a $4 can of spray paint that is made for metal, and dye it to refresh and brighten the color.

2. HANG A NEW LIGHT FIXTURE

A decorative light fixture doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. You can generally find some decent ones that are under $100. Go for a chrome finish or choose the rustic route, whichever suits the current decor in your kitchen. You can also add LED lights under your kitchen cabinets for around $10-$20. 

3. PAINT THE CABINETS

With care taken in the prep work, you can refinish the paint on your cabinets. You can generally get a kit around $75. Refreshing the paint color or the stain can make your kitchen feel brand new. 

4. TURN YOUR FRIDGE INTO A CHALKBOARD 

Chalkboard finishes are a hot trend, especially on the fridge! They add more functionality by allowing home owners to write grocery lists, menus, and even to-dos. Use painters tape to outline the shape and size you want to use as the chalkboard then coat it with magnetic primer, then chalkboard paint. 

5. REPLACE OUTLET PLATES

Replace the outdated outlet wall plates for your light switches. You can add some character to it by using bold patterns, bright colors, or elegant textures. If they look faded, yellow, or chipped, they're a cheap fix to replace.

6. CHANGE HARDWARE

Replacing the hardware on your kitchen cabinets and drawers can provide a drastic change to your kitchen. Not only can you get rid of hideous outdated hardware, but you can add a completely new feel to the theme of your kitchen just by updating the hardware throughout it.

7. EXPAND STORAGE

Have empty wall space? Search your local home stores for cute baskets or storage containers you can use to fill the space. Not only can it add some character to your kitchen, it also adds functionality and more storage options. A feature buyers love if you're thinking of listing your home. 

8. DRESS UP YOUR DECOR

Bring some color to your kitchen. Throw out decor that looks like it belongs in the 90's, rugs that are falling apart, and anything else that weighs down a fresh look. Add in some new rugs and hand towels that match your personality and the theme you're trying to achieve. You can also add some plants and decorative pieces to add character. 

9. CLEAN UP THE CLUTTER

The best cleaning tip I can give all of my clients is to remove the clutter. Nothing is a bigger eye sore than too many things. It also messes with the energy in a home. Throw out a lot of things that are taking up too much space. If it's sentimental, see if you can store it in a new place or even donate it. 

2019 Can Cost you Ten's of Thousands

10/2/2018

 

 

"I'll hold off buying a home until next year."

If you've thought of purchasing a home, but don't want to deal with the process now, you've probably had this thought cross your mind a time or two. A pretty common tendency to hold off things on our to-do list, especially the ones that seem like a lot of work. But would you hold off the task if I told you that waiting could make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars? Meaning it could cost you a $10,000-$50,000 (or more) difference to get the home you want today, in 2019's market. 

It's anticipated, by the national historical trend report, that homes are on the rise by over 5% each year. That house you've been eyeing online, listed for $225,000, could be listed next year for $236,250. That is over $10,000 more just for waiting till 2019. This isn't even bringing into question the rising APR rates for mortgages, that can increase your monthly payment amount on a home pretty significantly, as well. 

I get it, the home buying process can seem pretty intimidating. But with an experienced agent on your side, it can actually go pretty smoothly. Let's get in touch. It won't hurt to connect you with a preferred lender and run the numbers through to see what you qualify for. The right time is always right now, I want to help you save the money you deserve to keep, by avoiding the wait. 

Fall Leaves Bring Sold Signs

10/1/2018

 

 

Summer has come to an end and you probably are thinking you've lost the opportunity to sell, and need to wait till next summer. But that's far from the truth! Although it's not as hectic and crazy with the swarm of buyers on the market, the fall season brings out the most serious of lookers. They are the pool of buyers that waited out the summer frenzy to find their perfect home in the fall, and you don't want to miss these buyers! They are ready to make a move, today! And selling in a slower period does not equate to less money. That's a misconception that home owners have based on untrue data that floats around. With the right agent, and your home being priced correctly, you can get a great deal selling your home during the fall season. And might actually prefer it. Here are the top 3 benefits to listing during the fall season.

1. Serious Buyers - Let's be honest, if buyers are out during the busy season, looking for homes, they are serious and ready to buy. Although the summer brings in a larger crowd, that crowed contains a lot of people that are excited by the season, and fall into the "trend" of house hunting. These people end up not really being serious about the process, and tend to hold off for another time. If people are investing time to look during the fall season, they are more likely to be interested in actually buying your home, instead of touring it.

2. Less Competition - Selling in the fall isn't something many families can accomplish due to person schedules. That's why a significant amount of homes get listed during the summer season. Which means that summer time brings in a lot of competition. Selling in the fall means the potential house next door that has slightly more perks may have been listed during the summer, doesn't make your home sit stagnant since everyone wanted your neighbor's house. It also doesn't devalue your home because of the house that could up next door that could be under-priced in your neighborhood, and draw all of the attention.

With a slower season, you get dedicated attention to your property, which increases the chance of a sale.

3. Easier to Find Your Dream Home - Not only do get to benefit from a slower season during the selling process, but you can also benefit on the buying side. With less competition on your dream house, you can get a better deal. The summer brings a lot of missed opportunities for buyers on their dream homes, because they go off the market instantly. This will give you the opportunity to get your home on the market and take your time to find the right one to resize into. A much calmer pace to the transaction will make it less stressful, and everyone all around happier. Don't feel rushing in to buying a home overnight during the summer, it could turn into a headache. If you want a far more peaceful transaction, that has a calmer pace, then selling during the fall is perfect for you.

 

Save Your Home From Dryer Fires

9/28/2018

 

 

Every year, more than 2,900 home fires are started by clothes dryers. The leading cause of these fires are from a build up of lint from lack of maintenance. The removable link filter unfortunately doesn't catch all of the cloth and fabric particles, so maintenance requires a little more than just emptying the filter after each load. Whether you live in your own home or place to purchase in the near future, it is important to have safeguards in place for the utilities that you use that could put your home at risk. You want to make sure that the lint that gets trapped in crevices and in the hose on it's way outside are throughly cleaned.

Here are a few warning signs to look for that may indicate your dryer is getting clogged up by lint:

  • Clothes are taking a lot longer to dry, and sometimes not even drying all the way.
  • Clothes may be hotter by the end of the cycle.
  • The outside of the dryer starts to get really hot.
  • The outside exhaust vent flapper isn't opening much.
  • The laundry room begins to feel really humid.
  • There is a burnt smell in the laundry room.

If this seems to be the case, then you'll want to evaluate your dryer. The tools you need to clean it are as follows:

  • A vacuum with a long hose attachment.
  • Dryer vent brush kit.
  • Screwdriver
  • UL listed metal foil duct tape

Here are 4 steps to cleaning your dryer:

1. Remove the lint trap filter and make sure it's completely cleaned off. You want to make sure you're cleaning the filter after every load to help prevent lint build up.

2. Vacuum the space that houses the lint trap filter. The filter doesn't capture all of the particles, and this is the second place the lint will begin to accumulate. 

3. Disconnect the dryer duct and clean out the duct with a long hose from a vacuum. You can also use a duct brush to help you complete a more thorough job. 

4. Make sure the duct is connected properly. You don't want it cinched in any part of the duct, to prevent crevices where the lint can get stuck. 

No one knows the value your home has as much as this real estate pro, keep it protected by taking some simple cautionary steps to keeping everything in running order. And if you're in need of a brand new laundry room altogether, don't forget to give me a call.

Home Buying Myths

9/26/2018

 

Although the internet can be a great resource for a variety of information, a lot of that information is incorrect. One of the most important and expensive decisions in your life, home buying, tends to circulate a lot of misinformation. Most of that misinformation is in regards to how much of a down payment you need or what your credit score needs to be. Let's go over the real facts about buying a home and knock those myths out, so they don't hinder your ability to purchase!

CREDIT SCORES

Though it may come as a surprise, you don't need a perfect credit score to purchase a home. Traditional bank lenders will work with credit scores as low as 640, but your agent can also get you connected with local lenders that accept credit scores as low as 580! Although there are other required stipulations to quality for the loan, you don't need a perfect score in the 700's or 800's to get approved for a mortgage.

DOWN PAYMENTS

You don't have to sell an arm and a leg to be able to purchase your dream house. There is a huge misconception that you need to pay a minimum of 20% down to buy. That information is outdated. These days, there are a large variety of loan programs that only need an average of 3-5% down. Based on your income or military status, you may even qualify for mortgage programs that require 0% down. Although you'll expect to pay an additional 3% in closing costs, which is separate from the down payment, this is still significantly less than 20% of the purchase price. If you're in a buyer's market, you may even be able to negotiate for the closing costs to be covered by the sellers.

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Be sure to connect with a local real estate agent to ensure you have the right facts. Don't let online myths persuade you into thinking you can't qualify or afford to buy a home. There are a variety of programs to help you get into your dream house. Since these cary by county to county, and state to state, it's imperative to call your agent and let them fill you in on the facts.

 

Cleaning 101 Before Listing

9/24/2018

 

Before you put your home up for sale, you'll want to ensure it's clean for all of the buyers that will come through. A dirty house isn't appealing, and you won't get a good offer, if you get one at all, if your home isn't in tip-top shape. Cleaning your home doesn't have to be overwhelming, below I've listed the top things to remember to clean for each room.

FOYER:

+ Clean the door and hardware.
+ Wipe off all fingerprints on windows/furniture. 
+ Clean off scuff marks on floors and door.
+ Replace all light bulbs and ensure light fixtures are working.
+ Tidy/clean up the coat closet. People WILL look in there to see the size.

KITCHEN:

+ Wipe down all cabinets.
+ Clean all appliances, inside and out.
+ Clean stove hood, on top and bottom.
+ Clean behind the refrigerator, on top and bottom too.
+ Ensure the microwave is clean of food splatter. 
+ Clean the space behind the sink.
+ Wipe down blinds/shades.
+ Wash any kitchen rugs, clean the floors and baseboards.
+ Store all of your pet food/food out of sight.

BATHROOM:

+ Clean behind toilet and under sink.
+ Only display absolute necessities, declutter.
+ Organize and clean under the vanity.
+ Scrub floors and clean grout lines.
+ Keep dirty clothes and towels off the floor.
+ Be sure to lock away any medication.
+ Clean the fan and make sure it's functioning.
+ Replace any dead lightbulbs. 

BEDROOM:

+ Wash sheets, comforters, and blankets.
+ Clean the curtains and rugs.
+ Dust furniture. 
+ Remove any obvious stains from fabrics.
+ Keep closets clean and organized.
+ Store away dirty clothes and personal photos.
+ Clean marks on walls.

These are just the basics you don't want to forget about. If it's within your budget, we highly recommend hiring a professional cleaner to ensure your home is in its best condition. Contact your agent to get a great local recommendation.

 

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