PHRASES TO AVOID WHEN YOU’RE BUYING A HOME!

three things not to say

AVOID THESE PHRASES WHEN YOU’RE BUYING A HOME!

Sometimes you need to keep a poker face when you’re buying a home. It’s not in your best interest to be totally candid with the seller and listing agent when you’re considering a home. Here a few things that are better left unsaid until you are along with your buyer’s agent OUTSIDE of the home and property.  Even if the Seller or the listing agent is not there, it’s always best to not say anything about the home until you are away.  Many of the security systems nowadays have audio AND video capabilities and the home owners COULD be watching and listening  while you tour their house.

“This is at the top end of our budget”: Don’t let the listing agent know that a home is at the top of your budget. You want to keep all the bargaining chips you can, and letting the seller know your budget can hurt you when it comes time to negotiate.

“I hate the paint”: Or furniture. Or cabinets. Or any of the decor. No matter how hideous the wallpaper in the kitchen is, take care not to insult the seller’s taste. If they’re considering multiple offers, you don’t want to be the buyer that offended the seller!

“We can’t wait to renovate”: Customization is one of the big perks of homeownership, but it’s best to keep your renovation plans quiet for the moment. The seller may have a lot of memories in the home, and may not appreciate your plans to immediately tear down some walls.

REFINANCING: THE RIGHT MOVE?

refinance

REFINANCING: THE RIGHT MOVE?

If you have an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage, consider these factors about refinancing.

The federal reserve recently raised interest rates, and if you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), it may be a good time to consider refinancing your home. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to whether your should refinance, so here are a few of the main considerations.

How long does your introductory rate last?
Most ARMs have a fixed rate for the beginning of the mortgage. This is an introductory period (usually 3-10 years) when your rate will remain constant before it can be adjusted. If you have several years left in your introductory period, you can monitor interest rates for a while before making a decision. But if the intro rate is ending soon, it’s a great time to explore refinancing at a fixed rate.

How long are you staying?
If you plan to sell your home soon—especially if you’re still on a fixed introductory rate—there’s not much motivation to refinance. But if you’ll be at your home indefinitely, you should consider your refinancing options. You could eliminate the stress of not knowing what your future mortgage rate and payments will be.

What’s your loan balance?
The change in your mortgage payment will of course be determined in part by your remaining balance. If you owe $100,000-$200,000, a new interest rate may not greatly affect your monthly payment. On the other hand, if you owe $500,000, a change in interest rate could lead to a much higher payment.

Other factors
The previous items are just a few of the factors that should go into a decision about refinancing. Changes in income and your current credit score should also be considered, so be sure to weigh your options and make an educated decision.

FIVE THINGS THAT MAKE US HAPPY WITH OUR HOMES

happyhome

 5 THINGS THAT MAKE US HAPPY WITH OUR HOMES

According to a recent survey conducted by houzz.com, here are five things that consistently make people happy with their homes.

  1. Big windows and comfortable furniture: Nearly 75 percent of respondents listed these two items as major difference-makers. It’s a no-brainer—people like lots of light and a good place to relax.
  2. A big-screen TV: This is more likely to be a key feature for men than women. 40 percent of men said having a big-screen TV makes them happy with their homes, compared to just 17 percent of women.
  3. Overall design and layout: 87 percent of the 6,000 people surveyed said the design of the home is a major contributor to overall happiness. If you’re unhappy with your home and there’s a project you’ve been wanting to tackle, get to it!
  4. Home cookin’: 39 percent of respondents said the scent of good cooking or baking made them happiest. Clearly, it helps to have a capable chef around the house!
  5. Keep it tidy: 72 percent of homeowners said they’re happiest when their houses are clean and well-organized. If you want to be happier with your home, try having a place for everything, and put everything in its place.

WHICH FEATURES ARE MILLENNIALS LOOKING FOR IN A HOME?

millenials

WHICH FEATURES ARE MILLENNIALS LOOKING FOR IN A HOME?

Millennials are the second-largest segment of home buyers, ranking behind only baby boomers, according to the National Association of Realtors.  Here are five features that tend to entice millennials who are looking to buy.

An up-to-date kitchen and bath
Younger buyers often have limited funds for renovations, so it’s important that they have functional and inviting bathroom and kitchen spaces from the very start.

An open floor plan
Having a formal dining room isn’t of particular importance to millennials, in fact, many prefer open spaces with no separation between kitchen, living room, and dining room. An open concept makes it easier to entertain everyone at once.

An office
More and more jobs are offering work-from-home options, and there are also plenty of freelancers and telecommuters among millennials. A dedicated space for getting some work done can be a key attraction.

Friendly location
With gas prices rising, many millennials prefer walking, biking, or public transit for their commutes. A great location is key.

Energy savings
Millennials are often more conscious of energy conservation and efficiency. Energy-efficient appliances, energy-efficient windows, and quality insulation can make a huge difference.

THINKING OF SELLING?

time to sell

NOW MAY BE THE TIME.

Low inventory is a problem in many markets throughout the country. In a healthy market a particular neighborhood would have six months of inventory. Many neighborhoods are seeing inventory as low as one or two months. This means home buyers are not finding the homes they are looking for.

Eric Sachs, President and Co-founder of BreakthroughBroker.com, said he speaks with Realtors throughout the country, and the main concern voiced by Realtors is that there are not enough listings.

One agent told of a recent story where a new listing had 19 offers on the first day listed. As the spring selling season ends, now is the time to list if you have thought about selling in the past or may want to sell in the future. Call your trusted real estate advisor to see if you live in a low inventory area.

5 MYTHS ABOUT SUN SAFETY

sun-safety-myths

5 MYTHS ABOUT SUN SAFETY

The warm weather is here, and it’s the perfect time of year to get outside and have some fun with your family and friends. But it’s also important to protect your skin. Here are five common myths about sun safety.

Myth No. 1: It’s fine to tan as long as you don’t burn.
A sunburn is certainly more harmful than a simple tan, but any extended exposure to the sun can be harmful, regardless of your skin tone.

Myth No. 2: An umbrella will completely protect you from the sun.
Though an umbrella will go a long way toward keeping your skin safe during a day at the beach, the sand still reflects 17 percent of UV radiation. Wear sunscreen in addition to staying in the shade.

Myth No. 3: You don’t need sunscreen on overcast days.
False! About 80 percent of the sun’s rays still pass through on cloudy days, so you still need sunscreen.

Myth No. 4: The sun can’t pass through windows.
Glass filters out some UV rays, but not all. Be especially cautious if you or your passengers are exposed to the sun on a long car ride.

Myth No. 5: You need sun exposure to avoid vitamin D deficiency.
Extended exposure isn’t necessary—your body will get enough vitamin D from food, multivitamins, and minimal time in the sun.

QUICK TIP FOR BUYERS TO COMBAT MULTIPLE OFFERS

multiple offers

A NEW OPTION FOR HELPING BUYERS COMBAT MULTIPLE OFFERS

There’s intense competition for homes in areas where home inventory is low, and cash buyers often get the nod in situations where there are multiple offers.

But there’s a new option for non-cash buyers that could help them compete in these situations, according to an article in the New York Times.

Some mortgage lenders are beginning to offer “pre-underwriting.” Rather than a simple pre-approval for a loan, which is usually based on the borrower’s credit report, pre-underwriting is a complete review of all documents that would be required for loan approval. This “pre-underwriting” strategy puts borrowers on more equal footing with cash offers.

Pre-underwriting is much more involved and time-consuming than a typical pre-approval, so not all buyers are eligible, but that could change in the future.

No two markets are the same, so if you have questions about your market and your financing options, get started by contacting your trusted real estate professional.

MAKE THE MOVE

making the move

THREE WAYS TO EASE YOUR FEARS ABOUT MAKING A MOVE

With low inventory in many markets throughout the country, many homeowners are afraid to make the move and sell their homes because they’re concerned that they may not be able to find a new one.

This can be a real problem, but if you are seeking to sell—whether to upgrade or find a new neighborhood—there are a few ways to combat the low inventory.

Look to buy first

In most markets it is a real mistake to put your home up for sale before you start looking for your new property.  Identify the geographic area where you are interested in buying. Even if you don’t see anything on Zillow, it doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t find the right home.

Think outside the box

Be proactive! Keep in mind that there are probably many people like you who want to make a move but are afraid as well. Have your real estate agent send a letter to the neighborhoods in the geographic areas where you want to live. The letter should be heartfelt and personal while announcing that you are ready to buy a home in that neighborhood. You could find a home to buy that may not even be currently listed or for sale.

Protect yourself legally 

Each state varies in how the purchase process is conducted. Talk to your real estate professional about adding a clause in the purchase contract for the home you are selling that will enable you to not sell the home if you cannot find a suitable home to buy.

THE DIRTIEST ITEMS IN THE HOME AND HOW TO CLEAN THEM

dirty jobs

5 of the Dirtiest items in your home

Of course, one of the dirtiest items in anyone’s home is the toilet. But, that’s not the only place where dirt and germs accumulate. Here are five other dirty items and suggestions for cleaning them.

  1. Bath Towels – When you and your family dry off from your shower, your bath towel absorbs the water from your body. Then it sits all day breeding bacteria that thrive in warm, moist areas. Combat this issue by changing your bath towels out every two days and washing your dirty towels in hot water to kill anything living on them.
  2. Shower Curtain – Shower curtains easily pick up bacteria the same way bath towels do. They also attract germs from the toilet if they are near each other. Clean your shower curtain by spraying it down with a bleach-based product. Spray the rings and rod, too. Also, when the shower curtain is beyond cleaning, replace it.
  3. Doorknobs – Entryway and bathroom doorknobs are exposed to myriad germs daily. Thankfully, doorknobs are easy to clean. Wipe them down with antibacterial wipes regularly.
  4. Window/Door Tracks – Window and door tracks are harbingers of dust and dirt. The grime that builds up can make you and your family ill. You can easily clean these areas by vacuuming out large pieces of debris and then spraying the stuck-on dirt with water, letting it loosen up and wiping it with a damp cloth.
  5. Toothbrush Holders – Your toothbrush holder is likely teeming with germs and bacteria. Wash it with hot soapy water twice a week. If you can, run it through the dishwasher to ensure it gets clean and sterilized.

DRIVE TIME

drive time

HOW YOUR DAILY DRIVE TIME CAN FACTOR INTO YOUR MORTGAGE

It’s easy to overlook some of the things that can affect your budget and purchasing power when you’re considering a home, and one of the biggest factors that buyers overlook is the cost of their daily commute.

We’ve all heard that real estate is all about “location, location, location,” and properties in more desirable locations typically come with a higher price tag than similar properties that aren’t in a hot neighborhood.

Yet the overall cost of living for choosing one location over another might be negligible when you factor in the commuting costs that are required—gas, vehicle maintenance, insurance—if you purchase a home that is significantly further from your workplace. If your mortgage is $200 less per month, but you’re spending an extra $200 in commuting costs, are you really saving money?

Commuting costs aren’t just about the disposable income left in your bank account, either. It can even affect how much money you can borrow. If you’re a long-distance commuter, a loan officer may factor your travel costs into your debt-to-income ratio.

Aside from how commuting affects your purchasing power or disposable income, there’s also the question of how it affects your quality of life—no one wants to spend hours a week just getting to and from work.

The real estate market varies greatly from location to location, so the best way to get a complete picture of your purchasing power—and all the factors that go into your home budget—is to speak to your trusted real estate professional.