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Buyers Are Considering Fixer Uppers

5/17/2019

 

 

The limited number of entry-level homes for sale coupled with rising prices is turning many homebuyers’ attention toward homes that need updating or repairs.

Homes that need work are in less demand than homes that are in pristine condition, affording homebuyers the opportunity to pay less for a home, yet get the features and ambiance they want through remodeling.


According to realtor.com's most recent homebuyer survey, over half of participating homebuyers are willing to spend $20,000 or more on renovation. Why? Ninety-59% of them are confident they’ll get a positive return on their investment.

The survey found that about three out of five home shoppers under 55 years-old are considering buying a home that needs renovating, and fifty-nine percent of homebuyers between 18 and 34 years-old are willing to tackle a fixer-upper.

Ideas for renovations are easy to find on your cellphone or tablet from Pinterest and Instagram to Houzz, to a plethora of home remodeling shows on your television. In fact, 60% of homebuyers surveyed said they were influenced by home remodeling shows to consider buying a fixer-upper.

One-third of homebuyers said that a kitchen upgrade would be their first priority, and one-quarter said they wanted to remodel a bathroom, followed by 20% who want new wood flooring.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, homebuyers are most interested in having a laundry room to close off piles of dirty clothes and linens, along with Energy Star appliances and windows throughout the home.

Quick Ways to Build Equity

10/23/2018

Quick Ways to Build Equity

Equity is the percentage of market value that you own in your home. Your lender owns the rest, so your goal should be to pay the lender’s share (the principal) down and build your share (equity) up.

You don’t need to go to extreme lengths to pay down your mortgage. Just follow these few easy tips:

  1. Buy wisely. Buy as much home as you can without straining your resources, so you can occupy your home longer. Moving and closing costs eat away equity.
  2. Pay a little extra. Pay a little more every month toward reducing your principal. Use bonuses or cash back on your credit cards to apply to your mortgage. Making one extra payment a year could shorten your loan payoff by as much as four years, saving you thousands of dollars in interest.
  3. Pay off other debts. Don’t incur new debt. Spend less on automobiles, dinners out and other expenses. Pay off credit cards and student loans as quickly as you can, so you’ll have more money available to pay toward your mortgage.
  4. Make improvements. Keeping your home repaired and updated helps you preserve equity by making market value higher.
  5. Let time work for you. Think of your home as a savings account where the money you put in can be retrieved one day – with interest. Historically, homes have increased in value as much as three percent a year in normal markets, which is a great way to build instant equity.

Winterize Your Home

10/19/2018

Winterize Your Home

Winterizing your home is one of the best ways to get comfortable and save energy costs. It’s not too late to get a few projects done before the holidays, so here’s a short weekend list of to-dos to help you.

Check the furnace. Typically, a heating system has a heat/cooling source, distribution system, and thermostat, so there is plenty of room for error. Make sure that your system is properly inspected and cleaned and has fresh filters according to maintenance directions. Call a master certified plumber to look for potential dangers such as carbon monoxide leaks.   

Check detectors. Since you’ll be indoors more, it makes sense to also check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. According to EPA.gov, smoke detectors with a UL rating have a useful life of 10 years so don’t just push the button to see if it’s working. Stick a real flame source, such as a candle or a match, to see if the detector can actually pick up on the smoke being emitted.

Check insulation. Energy leaks put a hole in your wallet, so do your best to identify and seal all leaks in your ceiling/attic and cracks in or around your windows and doors. A quick way to check if you have enough insulation is to go into your attic and look at your rafters-if you can see ceiling joists you can add some more insulation. Though this will be an expensive process, your heating costs will drop right away.

Your Rights As a Borrower

10/12/2018

Your Rights As a Borrower

When you shop for a mortgage loan, you have certain rights that are guaranteed by the federal government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Knowing your rights will help you get the best loan possible.

You have the right to:

  1. Receive equal treatment by the lender, so that a credit decision isn’t based on your race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or whether any of your income is from public assistance.
  2. Shop for the best loan type for you, whether adjustable or fixed rate, and compare the fees of different lenders.
  3. Be informed about the total cost of your loan including the annual percentage rate (APR), points and other fees. Your interest rate is based on your credit history and credit scores, the borrowed amount and how much you’re putting as a down payment.
  4. Receive a Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure Form, formerly known as a Good Faith Estimate, before you agree to the loan and pay any fees. Compare the exact loan product you want as offered by two or more lenders.
  5. Know which fees are not refundable if you decide to cancel the loan agreement, such as the fee to research your credit.
  6. Ask questions about loan terms and fees that you don’t understand.
  7. Know the reason if your loan was turned down.

Ask your lender to show you the advantages and disadvantages of each loan product so you can choose the best one to suit your needs. As always, consult your financial advisor before making any decision.

Does Your Home Have An Odor?

10/12/2018

Does Your Home Have An Odor?

You’ve worked hard to get your home ready to sell. You’ve cleaned, decluttered and painted. But there’s still one more thing you need to do – make certain your home smells great for every showing.

Here are four things to keep in mind to ensure your house smells fresh and clean for potential buyers:

Stuffiness. Energy-efficient homes lock in odors. Open the windows and air out stale, musty rooms. Steam clean carpets and curtains, wash all bedding, and store stinky athletic gear and out-of-season clothing and shoes away.

Pets. From goldfish to iguanas to cats and dogs, all pets produce odors. Dogs need baths, and most need brushing. Cat boxes need daily scooping. Animal cages need constant cleaning. Steam clean all fabric surfaces where pets sleep and play with their toys.

Food odors.  If you love foods like garlic, cabbage and fish, your kitchen holds odors, too. Clean your oven, burners, sink drains, and any other equipment that may carry odors. Grind up a lemon in the disposal and let the water flow. Clean out the refrigerator.

Mold and mildew. If you can smell moisture, it will soon turn worse. Check pipes and floors for leaks. Toxic mold can grow anywhere that contains cellulose, poor light, and low air circulation. Replace cloudy shower curtains and wash towels frequently. Replace cleaning and dish sponges with fresh scrubbing tools.

To keep your home showing-ready, wash dirty clothes and bed linens frequently. Take baby diapers and other disposables to the outside trash every day.

A good rule of thumb is – if you can’t remember when you cleaned it last, clean it now.

Are You Really Ready to Sell?

10/5/2018

Are You Really Ready to Sell?

If you find yourself saying any of the following to your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional, you may be hurting your chances of selling your home quickly and for the most money possible.

“I’m not making any repairs.” According to the 2018 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report from the National Association of REALTORS®, 47 percent of buyers under the age of 37 purchased new homes to avoid renovations and problems. If many buyers don’t have the will, skill or time to make repairs, you’re eliminating a number of buyers who would otherwise love your home.

“My home has to be worth more than that.” You may believe your home should be worth more than you paid for it and provide you with enough equity to move. Your listing agent will supply you with tools to understand current market value. The comparable market analysis shows what homes have recently sold for and what other sellers are asking for similar homes as yours, as well as price and sales trends.

“Let’s price it higher and see what happens.” Pricing above comparable homes is a real risk. You’ll outprice buyers who would want your home. Buyers who can afford your home will quickly find that your home doesn’t compare to others.

In any of these cases, you’ll be looking at a price adjustment, and have lost valuable marketing time. Realistically, your home is only worth what the most qualified buyer is willing to pay for your home.

Home Insurance and Replacement Costs

9/28/2018

Home Insurance and Replacement Costs

How do you know if you have your home insured for the right amount? Your lender may require insurance to cover the loan amount, but what you owe and actual replacement costs can be vastly different.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), replacement costs are the amount it would take to replace or rebuild your home or repair damages with similar materials and quality, without deducting for depreciation. Actual cash value is the amount it would take to repair or replace damage to your home after depreciation. Standard plans require policy limits of at least 80% of replacement cost.

Replacement costs should include loss of your possessions.  Create a room-by-room inventory of your possessions, including photographs and/or video, cost of goods, and how long you’ve had them. Give documentation to your insurer and keep copies in a safe place or on the cloud.

The NAIC advises that you compare cost-to-repair and cost-to-replace prices for your area with your insurer. There are different packages of home insurance that protect against specified damage-causing events, such as fire, windstorm, and theft. They also contain coverage for property damage, living expenses during repairs, personal liability and medical payments.

Review your policy annually. If you’ve made improvements to the home, or purchased more goods, you should inform the insurer. You may also get a premium discount for long-time loyalty, combining car and home insurance, raising your deductible, and other initiatives.

Remodeling Trend to Rise

9/21/2018

Remodeling Trend to Rise

According to the Federal Reserve, the primary residence accounts for about one-quarter of all assets held by households, ahead of other financial assets, business interests and retirement accounts.

It’s important to protect the value of your home by keeping it repaired and updated. Not only does an update make a home more attractive, it should improve functionality, make it more comfortable, increase the enjoyment, and increase the value, upping the chances of a higher resale price.

If you’re planning on making home improvements, you’re in good company. Home improvement spending is expected to increase by seven percent over the next year, according to research by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. Homeowners will spend about $350 billion on updates by mid-year 2019, confident that they’re making a good investment, thanks to rising home values and a growing economy.

How are they spending their money? The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said in May 2018 that bathrooms have overtaken kitchens as the number one remodeling choice.

NAHB surveys of homeowners who recently remodeled their homes found that over four out of five remodeled baths (81%) while 78% remodeled kitchens. Nearly half of respondents replaced doors, remodeled whole homes or added a room to existing homes. Most homeowners start with smaller projects such as new front doors, green-friendly appliances, programmable thermostats, low-emissivity windows and new HVACs.

As home remodeling continues to be popular, you will likely to see increased benefits from your home improvements.

Too many Clothes, No Down Payment

9/21/2018

Too many Clothes, No Down Payment

Crazy fashion trends do more than strain closet space. They can sometimes send the message that trendiness is more important than building wealth. Here’s to save the money you spend on new clothes for something more rewarding – a down payment on your own home.

Reduce your wardrobe. Consign, donate or give away clothes you haven’t worn in a year or two. Keep anything that goes with at least three other items, like a jacket that works with a dress, skirt and blouse, or jeans. 

Take better care. Fast fashion doesn’t last, so when you wash clothes, turn pants, skirts and blouses inside out first. Don’t use wire hangers. Fold knits instead of hanging them. Your clothes will look better and last longer.

Buy less. If you buy something for $100, look at how long the season is to wear it (four months) and how many times you’ll actually wear it (17). Take the cost ($100) and divide by the number of wearings. That’s a tax of $5.88 every time you wear it.

Bank the money. If you spend $200 a month on clothes, try a year without buying anything new and let that $200 multiply in a savings account, 401K, or CD. That’s $2,400 that could grow with compound interest and investment growth. In three years, you could have over $10,000 or more and that’s a good start toward owning a home.

All About Contingencies

9/14/2018

All About Contingencies

As you browse listings on BerkshireHathawayHS.com or  realtor.com, you may find homes you like that appear to be unavailable, due to some kind of contingency. If you find the perfect home, but it’s labeled Active Kick Out or Contingent, should you pursue it or forget it?  

The reality is that contracts fall through sometimes. If you have a back-up contract, you can buy the home should it come “Back on Market” or “BOM.”

Active kick out
Active kick out means the seller has accepted a contingent offer, such as the buyer has a home to sell before they can close on the seller’s home. The seller can reserve the right to accept a better offer and “kick out” the previous buyer. They must give the first buyer 48 to 72 hours to either remove the contingency and move forward with the purchase, or back out of the contract.

Contingency
Nearly all offers-to-buy have contingencies. Typical contingencies include provisions that the home must meet the appraised value by the mortgage lender’s third-party appraiser, or it must pass a professional third-party home inspection to the buyer’s satisfaction. The buyer may make the contract contingent upon the lender funding the purchase.

Option period
Option periods give the buyer time to get financing and complete home inspections and the appraisal. Unless the buyer acts on a contingency, the home is considered out of option but it can still fall out of escrow.

To learn more, contact your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional.

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