6 Things To Do After Buying a Home

August 24th, 2016

6 Things To Do After Buying a HomeYou are finally buying a home, congratulations! After a long journey of house hunting you found a place you can call home.

So what next? Many people don’t know that after buying a home moving in can be just as important and a little bit crazy as well. Here are six need-to-know tips for moving in so you can be organized and have peace of mind.

Make copies of your closing documents

After you’ve bought your home, the documents you received at closing can be the most important and expensive copies you have. It’s important that you take copies of them to make sure you have multiple copies just in case one gets lost. Several important pieces of information are in those documents including the deed, the bill of sale, and transfer tax regulations among other things. Once you make a copy get a folder or binder to put all these forms in and label them so you know where they are.

Change the locks

When buying a home, many people don’t think of this but changing your locks can be very important because unless the house has just been built, you never know who has a key. You can always buy new locks at any hardware store or you call a locksmith

Inspect the home

Your home inspector should have done this before the closing but it’s good to inspect yourself. Look around your home to check for dripping faucets or running toilets because those are major signs of leakage. Check that each light works around the house, and that all appliances function properly.

Clean Up

Even if you moved into a new home, after buying a home it’s important to clean the house thoroughly. If you moved into a used house with carpet, steam clean the carpets to make sure everything from the previous homeowner is out, including stains, or past smells. Wipe down the cabinets inside out before you start placing kitchen supplies inside. Deep clean the bathrooms so it is clean for you once you take a shower in your new home. Most places may look clean when you move in but you don’t know how long the place has been empty and if any critters have walked along your cabinets and bathrooms.

Call pest control

This is something you might want to do on move-in day, just so the first night you don’t have any surprise uninvited guests in your home. Your best bet is to call pest control and get it handled immediately anything such as mice, termites, roaches, ants all need to be terminated.  

Check the water heater

To save on their utility bill, a few developers might turn off the water heater and forget to change it before closing. Locate the water heater and make sure its on and working for you.

Moving in can be so exciting but these few details can fall through the cracks. Make sure to follow up on these tips to ensure that your first day at home will be a little less stressful.

Best Time To Sell Your Home

August 15th, 2016

Best Time To Sell Your HomeDo you know the best time to sell your home?

You can sell your home whenever you need to, but I’m are going to share the times I think it’s best to put your house on the market then you can determine the best time to sell your home.

Spring

Have you heard of the term ‘spring cleaning?’ Everyone collects items they haven’t used around the house and either donates or sells them. Well, it’s the same with selling a house, spring selling! Although you can sell your home in any season, the spring season is known to be the most popular time to put your house on the market. In the spring people receive their tax checks and are able to afford down payments. The days are longer so the chance for people to look at more houses is greater. More people shop when the weather is nice out, making this season ideal for realtors, and sellers.

Autumn

Before the holiday season is upon you, listing your house during the autumn season will the best time to sell your home. Everyone is back from summer vacation, and many realtors are willing to do what it takes to sell a home before the holiday season. Autumn is known to be the second best time of the year to sell a home, after the spring season. In the fall many empty nesters want a smaller more quaint home to live in, not worried about school starting.

Winter time is considered off season for realtors, so you have a couple of months until then to sell your home. The colder the weather the less likely people want to leave their homes and search for houses.

Stay away from summer months

Hot weather can make it difficult for people to go house hunting making this season a tricky one when it comes to selling your home. Many people are on vacation and the market for homes becomes smaller, leading it to not be the best time to sell your home.The houses can take longer to sell due to the inactivity of people buying and since most people bought their homes in the spring they are moving in during the summer time. If you are a buyer and are looking for homes, this could work to your advantage because the people who bought a home in the spring are looking to quickly sell their homes in the summer.

Realistically, homes can sell at any time if they are priced right and appeal to the right buyer. However, if you are looking to sell your home, the autumn and spring are the best times do so. When you are buying or selling property in today’s real estate market, it is important to have confidence in your real estate professional. My commitment as your local realtor is to provide you with the specialized real estate service you deserve.

Problems with For Sale By Owner

August 8th, 2016

Problems with For Sale By OwnerSelling your house as ‘For Sale By Owner?’ You might be tempted to forgo hiring a realtor and sell the house yourself, after all, how hard can it be, right?

With a realtor

A good real estate agent spends a great deal of time with every transaction trying to avoid problems before they happen and solving them when they do. Finding the right buyer for a home is only one step. A good agent steers a transaction to settlement through a maze of issues arising from negotiating a strong contract, home inspections, title searches, appraisals, financing and closing.

Are you really saving money?

Without a realtor

By far, the most common reason for someone to try to sell a house as for sale by owner without a realtor is to save money by avoiding a commission fee. The problem is, buyers know the seller isn’t paying a commission, so they take that into consideration and make a lower offer. Like any other real estate transaction, the final sale price, and who pays for any commission, a home warranty, and closing costs are all negotiable. Sellers without an agent need to be savvy in order to come out on top.

With a realtor

If the buyer has an agent, you’ll have to pay their three percent commission. And the fundamental problem is, the buyer’s agent represents the best interest of the buyer, and you wouldn’t know the difference because you’re not entrenched in the business every day.

Do you really have the time?

Without a realtor

You must always be prepared to show your home. There’s a knock at the door from a potential buyer (or maybe just a nosey neighbor). Is it safe? Is it legitimate? How would you know? Does a potential seller really want to answer calls or a knock on their front door from complete strangers and invite them into their home for a look?

With a realtor

An experienced agent will meet with and pre-screen a potential buyer prior to showing homes. The agent will also ensure that buyer is preapproved for the price range in which they’re looking. Safety and privacy are also points to consider when you’re selling a house without a real estate agent. Realtors have sophisticated tracking devices when monitoring your home during a sale process. Any agent showing a home must seek permission, schedule an appointment and obtain a unique security code to access the house or gate codes if in a gated community. A Realtor can screen visitors to your home, and follow-up with clients who have toured the home.

Can you spot a scam?

Without a realtor

Are you cognizant enough in real estate to recognize if someone is taking advantage of you? Buyers feel they may be able to leverage a better price and or incentives for the home because the seller often lacks the skills and knowledge to negotiate.

With a realtor

Most buyers employ an agent to represent them and would have the agent’s experience on their side.  For Sale By Owner properties also tend to attract the seasoned investor looking for a great deal.

Will you end up hiring a Realtor anyway?

According to the National Association of Realtors, For Sale By Owner properties accounted for eight percent of home sales in 2015. Oftentimes, homeowners are unsuccessful at selling their homes and will seek out the professional services offered by a real estate agent. Sellers become discouraged after they tried themselves for months to sell their home. They were tired of entertaining strangers knocking on their door and calling at all hours of the day and night, and weary of not being able to encourage those potential buyers to prove their financial ability. Not to mention trying to navigate the necessary disclosures, contracts, and closings. Hiring a realtor with a history of proven success can offer you peace of mind that any real estate transaction will be handled with the utmost professionalism. Selling a home is a complex process with many pitfalls, which can mean either receiving less money or potential legal liability or both. Working with a good real estate agent helps you overcome these issues so you net more money and won’t worry about problems coming back to you after the sale.

You think you are qualified to be a For Sale By Owner? The following tips are a good start for FSBO home sellers:

  • Don’t skimp on house preparation. Your house will be in competition with houses listed by agents who coach their clients on how to prepare their house for showings.
  • Learn about legal requirements for disclosures in your area. If you do not disclose certain information to the buyer, they might be able attack you later in court.
  • Familiarize yourself with the paperwork and contracts required by a real estate transaction. You may have to hire a lawyer to review the contract at a cost higher than you would pay a Real Estate Agent to handle the details for you.
  • Hone your negotiating skills and be prepared to turn down some offers. Real estate agents are expert negotiators, and the buyer’s agent might try to take advantage of your inexperience.

Of course, many sellers will gladly pay a real estate agent a commission when the seller can’t garner sufficient attention to sell the house on their own. Also, the idea of a property transaction, perhaps the most important financial move of someone’s life, without a professional may be unsettling. Agents know what agreements need to be signed and which laws must be observed, saving a lot of hassle for the buyer and seller, and keeping them both out of court. A real estate agent will also act as a buffer between the buyer and seller, who might feel uncomfortable dealing with one another directly.

10 Things You Shouldn’t do Before Buying a Home

August 1st, 2016

You’ve made a decision to buy a house.  From now until you close, you want to keep your finances in order when it comes to getting your mortgage.

Even if you have good credit, there are things you can do to make lenders think twice. It’s your duty to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Here are 10 things you shouldn’t do before buying a home:

  1. Don’t change your job before applying for a home loan. Along with that, now is not the right time to become self-employed or quit your job. You want to show lenders stability, which means you’ll be less likely to default on the loan.
  2. Don’t change banks. Like your employment, you want your banking history to show stability.
  3. Don’t buy a car or truck or any other form of transportation that you have to finance. Buying one increases your debt-to-income ratio and that’s something loan officers don’t want to see.
  4. Don’t buy furniture on credit before buying your house. Like financing a car, charging big-ticket items increases your debt-to-income ratio and now is not the time.
  5. Don’t be late on your credit card payments or charge excessively. You need a track record of responsibility and show that you can manage your money.
  6. Don’t make large deposits into your bank accounts. Lenders like the money that will be your down payment to be sitting in your account for at least two months, what they call “seasoning,” so that the funds don’t just appear out of the ether.
  7. Don’t lie on your loan application. Sounds simple, right? But don’t leave out any debts or liabilities you have or fudge your income. It’s fraud.
  8. Don’t co-sign a loan for anyone. Even if you’re not the one making the payments on that loan, it increases your debt-to-income ratio.
  9. Don’t have inquiries made into your credit. Looking for new credit translates into higher risk for lenders. If your inquiries are related to your mortgage search, it usually doesn’t affect your credit score because the assumption is you are rate shopping. But opening credit accounts within a short period of time represents some risk and your credit could take a hit. It may not be a huge factor in calculating your ability to repay a loan- but why take a chance?
  10. Don’t spend your money saved for closing costs. Part of the price of financing a loan is the closing costs and you’ll likely have some responsibility for paying them. Make sure you have enough for your share of the obligation.

5 Tips to Increase the Value of Your Home

July 20th, 2016

We’ve all seen home improvement shows and wonder if we could ever do that to our home? Well, you can.

And it’s not as hard as you may think. In fact, by implementing these simple improvements it can really increase the value of your house to potential buyers. Whether you are looking to sell your house or just desiring a new look, here are 5 tips you can follow to increase the value of your home.

Tip 1: Clean Up

Taking the time to deep clean your home, and getting into every nook and cranny can really make the home feel open and brighter and will significantly help increase the value of your home. As you clean you can also inspect the house to see any damages that you may need to fix and specific things you may want to change. There are some damages that you may want a professional to fix. As you inspect, take note of the things you cannot fix and call a professional to stop by and see what the next steps are.

Tip 2: Modify your Appliances

If your appliances are white and you have a stainless steel refrigerator you should try to make them all look cohesive by either changing your white refrigerator or your stainless steel appliances. You can also try adding handles to your kitchen cabinets that are cohesive with your appliances. This simple task could really make your kitchen look more modern and make a huge difference in a buyer’s mind when looking at your home

Tip 3: Paint, Paint, Paint

Fresh paint can make a great difference to your home by creating a fresh, new feel. The more neutral the paint the brighter your home will look and the better chance you will have to sell your home. Painting your front door can also make your chances of selling your home higher. Choose a color that best fits your house color and suites your personality. This slight change can drastically help increase the value of your home. Go brighter if you would like a pop of color like red, or a more neutral color like white. Make the look of your house stand out among the rest.

Tip 4: Upgrade your bathroom

Purchasing a new faucet for your sink and bathtub can really make your bathroom look and feel more luxurious, but make sure the faucet for the sink matches the one for the bathtub.You can also buy new handles for the cabinets in the bathroom to give it an extra touch that will go a long way.

Tip 5: Renovate your Lawn

The first thing anyone sees before entering your home is your lawn. You do not want the first impression of your house to be weeds that need to be pulled out or overgrown plants blocking the entry way. Power washing your sidewalk, and driveway all the way up to your front door can really make the house look newer and clean. Adding flower pots can help increase value to your home by making the outside look more friendly and pleasing to the eye, especially for the buyers.

These simple renovations can make a huge difference by adding value and authenticity to your home. There is always going to be more you can do to your home whether you want to sell it or for your own enjoyment, but that these simple and affordable tips can increase the value of your home significantly.

To Rent or To Buy, That is The Question

July 16th, 2016

Whether someone should rent or buy is the biggest question a family asks themselves while in search for a home.

Costs can be a significant consideration because it is one of the biggest purchases someone can make. Only you and your family can decide when the right time is for you to buy a house. Let’s look at three questions to ask yourself before considering purchasing a house for sale versus renting.

How long do you plan on staying?

Before consider buying a house, this is an important question to ask. Are you planning on looking for a place to settle in and make a home for you and your family? Then some would say buying is the better option. However, when renting, you are buying time to save up money or to find a place you really enjoy.

Is your job stable?

Having a stable job is an immediate plus when looking to purchase a home. When people look to buy or rent, they can budget out their finances. By doing so they are able to see what they can spend monthly for either an apartment or house. If your job requires you to move frequently, renting may be the best option.

Would you rather spend your finances elsewhere?

Ask yourself this question? Would you rather do something else with your finances, such as go on a trip, or buy something you’ve wanted for a long time? If the answer is yes then maybe renting may be your best decision and  having a mortgage is not your best option. Consider your options and make a pros and cons list, this will help you decide if purchasing a house or renting is your best option.

Many people would love to have a home to call their own, but remember, you can make yourself a home wherever you are. It’s like the saying goes “Home is where the heart is.” These three questions will help you determine what option is most suitable for you and your family.

BEWARE OF SPEAR PHISHING

February 2nd, 2016

REALTORS, SELLERS, BUYERS BEWARE! Yesterday after a morning closing the title company received an email supposedly from me asking the closing funds be wired to a different account other than to the seller’s bank account. They even provided a signed document from two of the sellers giving permission to do so. Luckily there were 3 sellers on title so the title company called me to confirm and asked for a permission slip from the third seller. When I told her that I had not requested this to be done we discovered that it was a fraud and the money was sent to the proper sellers account. Immediately I changed my email password and spent two hours with my email provider making sure my account was cleaned out. We tried to contact the authorities to expose this fraud and we were told that nothing could be done unless the money had been transferred to the person committing the fraud. And if they were not in the US then it could not be traced. Notify your title company’s to be aware of this fraud.

 

http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/spear-phishing

How to Make Your Home Less Appealing to a Burglar

December 29th, 2015

In order to keep your house and loved ones safe, here are some home security tips about what every homeowner should do to keep a Burglar out.

LOCK IT DOWN

Even though locking your house up tight there are many ways your home can remain vulnerable. A locked door is useless if you leave a spare key in an easily accessible location like under a flower pot or door mat. It’s much safer to leave a spare key with a friend or neighbor.

And don’t forget about the windows. Leaving a window open even a crack can be an invitation to a burglar. For added security make sure all windows are locked and add a wooden or metal dowel to the track prohibiting a bad guy from pushing their way in.

CLEAR THE WAY

Robbers love to hide out in bushes under windows and near doors. Not only does it give them a place to remain concealed, but bushes also give ne’er-do-wells the perfect vantage point to observe your comings and goings and get a peek at all the goodies you have inside that they want to take. Make sure that any landscaping is well-maintained and designed to avoid a blind spot.

THINK OUTSIDE THE SOCK DRAWER

Burglars know that you really do hide your valuables in the sock drawer, freezer or empty cereal box, It’s surprising that even though such hiding places seem like overblown clichés, they are very common and some of the first places a burglar will look.

Consider getting a safe or, better yet, move items you don’t need regular access to into a safety deposit box. The small annual fee to maintain a safety deposit box is well worth the peace of mind you’ll enjoy knowing Grandma’s pearls are safe and sound.

BE LESS HOSPITABLE

Outside lighting is crucial, and listed as one of the best deterrents for keeping thieves away. Look into flood lights that are triggered by motion – nothing’s more off-putting to a bad guy than being in the spotlight.

In addition, a gravel driveway or pathway is another way to make burglars think twice. Since you can hear their footsteps, it might be enough to make them feel like your house isn’t worth the risk.

FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE

The bad guys are getting more sophisticated and professional, so it’s time for you to do the same. One of the best ways to ensure ongoing security for your belongings and family is to install an alarm system. There are a variety of options available to meet your budget and security needs.

From a DIY system you can set up on your own to a professionally installed alarm with round-the-clock monitoring, there’s really no reason to risk going without. An alarm system is one of the best ways to tell burglars to stay away. If nothing more than just a barking dog it’s not worth it for a burglar to take the chance with a home that’s protected professionally.

Is your home sending the wrong signals to burglars?

Tax Related Identity Theft

December 29th, 2015

Tax-related identity theft is when someone uses your Social Security number to file a fraudulent tax return and claim a refund. This kind of theft usually occurs early in the filing season – because the scammers want to get their fake return in before you get your real return filed.

You might not realize you’re the victim of tax-related identity theft until you get a letter from the IRS telling you:

  • More than one tax return was filed for you.
  • You owe additional tax, have a refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
  • IRS records show you received wages from an employer you don’t recognize.

If you SSN is compromised and you know or suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft:

  1. Respond immediately to any IRS notice by calling the number on the letter.
  2. Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.
  3. Continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return.

If you previously contacted the IRS and did not have a resolution, contact the Identity Protection Specialized Unit at (800) 908-4490.

More information: www.irs.gov/identitytheft or FTC’s www.identitytheft.gov.

You’ll also need to do three things to protect yourself:

  1. File a report with the local police.
  2. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or the FTC Identity Theft Hotline at (877) 438-4338 or TTY (866) 653-4261.
  3. Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a ‘fraud alert’ on your credit records:
  • www.Equifax.com  (800) 525-6285
  • www.Experian.com (888) 397-3742
  • www.TransUnion.com (800) 680-7289

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5 Ways to Keep Yourself Safe with Lights

December 29th, 2015

         5 Ways to Keep Yourself Safe with Lights

  1. Motion-activated or motion-sensor lighting: The lighting turns on when something or someone passes the area being covered by a motion sensor. The light only turns on when triggered by motion, not by how dark or light it might be outside. It turns off when the motion isn’t detected anymore, which saves on electricity. This lighting is often mounted near the garage to light up when you get out of your car and startles intruders. Be sure it’s mounted high; otherwise, a burglar might try to unscrew it to disable it. Also, insure these lights are protected from the elements by a weatherproof box.
  2. All-night lighting: It provides constant lighting, so it would be hard for an intruder to enter your home without being seen. You can set it to turn on at dusk and off at dawn with a timer or a photo cell. Since it uses a lot of electricity, consider using a solar-powered version.
  3. Hi/low combination lighting: This lighting offers illumination when you need it. When someone passes by, the motion sensor makes the lights brighten. Overnight, it uses a low-intensity light.
  4. Moonlight effect: It’s lighting that’s not stronger than that of a full moon, and yet it’s strong enough to make shadows and highlights. This soft form of lighting gets rid of dark areas where an intruder might hide and spotlights movement on your property.
  5. Floodlights: Use them to light a dark garage, stairway or entryway. Light the way for your family to enter the home after dark and discourage intruders from trying to enter. Position floodlights high up enough so that they cast a wide cone of light.

 

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