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Category Archives: Buy a Home

Top 7 Home Preps to Tackle Before Fall Temps Drop

Top 7 Home Preps to Tackle Before Fall Temps Drop
Ahhhh, fall – the air turns crisp and cool, yellow patches of leaves appear to take over the treetops and you’re prepped for sweater weather. But, is your home ready for the season? Whether you do the dirty work yourself or hire out, RE/MAX put together a checklist to help you tackle fall home preps that can make a big difference of how your home handles the season.

Get your mind in the gutter. If you’re not on top of clogged gutters, you’re just asking for water damage. Water with nowhere to go can lead to exterior and foundational damage and maybe even a flooded basement. It’s a dirty job, but you can do it-or hire it out.
Check the chimney. While you’re up on the roof and the weather’s still calm-check your chimney for damage. Search for loose or broken joints and if the flue cap is still in place. Now’s the time to also attend to any damaged roof shingles or flashing.
Let’s get physical. Once the temperatures begin to drop, you’ll crank up that furnace and put it through quite a workout. Make sure it’s ready to handle the workload by replacing the filter and keep all the vents open so heat can circulate throughout your home.
Turn off outdoor plumbing. Blow out sprinkler systems, drain outdoor faucets and cover them to protect them from the freezing weather to come.
Clean outdoor furniture and gardening tools. Don’t let the harsh fall and winter weather get to your outdoor furniture and garden gadgets. Give them a quick clean up so they are ready for storage over the winter.
Stay safe out there. Fall is as good reminder to perform an annual check of the safety features in your home. Make sure the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors get fresh batteries, check the fire extinguisher or replace if it’s six years or older and take this chance to update or practice your fire escape plans.
Pre-plan for spring-blooms. Fall is the perfect time to plant bulbs for a big pay off in the spring. Set your sights on a spot in your yard that gets full sun and get digging.
Looking for that perfect home where you’re in charge of home preps and maintenance? Look no further than remax.com to help you find a local agent who can help make your dream of owning your own home a reality.

The Power of ‘Kidfluence’ When It’s Time to Buy a Home

While parents may have a handle on the household budgets, it’s the kids who influence one of the biggest purchase decisions you make as a family-a new home. In the U.S., there are 50 million children 11 years old and under who have a hefty $1.2 trillion in annual purchasing power and they mean business. We’re not just talking about their mini-opinions on everyday purchased like food, clothing and toys; their influence extends to larger life purchases including cars, vacations and yes, even homes.

According to a recent Harris Poll, 55 percent of homeowners with a child under 18 said the opinion of their child played a factor in their home buying decision. For millennial parents, the influence grows to nearly 75 percent-now that’s some ‘kidfluence.’

While parents study and search for the best school zones, other home features like having their own room, a large backyard and a swimming pool were more popular to the Mini-Me in the family. This might explain why many couples move out of the city to suburbs when they start a family-even as some urbanists continue to stay put in city life raising their city kids.

Finding the right home that’s just right for your family starts with finding the right agent. RE/MAX agents are more recommended because they recommend what’s right for you-and your kids. When you’re ready to start the process of buying a home, RemaxAllPro.com will be ready to help.

5 Reasons School Ratings Matter

Schools can have a big impact on property value and quality of life. If you’re buying a home, here are a few reasons local school ratings matter – even if you don’t have kids.

  • 1.The next buyer will consider school ratings, too

According to a recent National Association of REALTORS Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 25 percent of homebuyers listed school quality and 20 percent listed proximity to schools as deciding factors in their home purchase. Another survey conducted by Realtor.com showed that 91 percent of the people surveyed included school district boundaries in their decision-making process. You may be surprised to learn that not all of the shoppers involved in the studies had kids.

  • 2.More money spent on schools means more money spent on homes

There’s a correlation between school expenditures and home values in any given neighborhood, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. Their report, “School Spending Raises Property Values,” found that for every dollar spent on public schools in a community, home values increased $20.

  • 3.Higher school ratings equal higher home values

A Brookings Institution study looked at the 100 largest metro areas in the country and found an average difference of $205,000 in home prices between houses near high-performing and low-performing schools.

  • 4.And good school ratings help homes maintain value

While changes in the economic landscape and local area can ripple across the market, a great school district can sometimes help insulate a home from market fluctuations.

  • 5.Great school districts usually mean great neighborhoods

Often there’s a correlation between super school districts and safer neighborhoods, better shopping and transportation and great public amenities – like parks. All of these factors increase the desirability of the neighborhood, which translates to higher home values and a better deal for you when it’s time to sell.

Looking for a home near a great school? RE/MAX can help you get started with the school finder search engine located on remax.com.

Virtual Reality in Real Estate

The day many tech lovers have been waiting for is here: Google Daydream View is now available in stores. The new virtual reality headset connects with a smartphone (specifically, Google Pixel) to immerse users in their favorite games, movies or even the latest news story. And at just $79, Daydream is making VR technology more accessible to consumers than ever before.

But the uses of virtual reality technology go beyond entertainment. Here are a few ways VR is making its way into real estate.

1. Open houses

Virtual reality headsets, about the size of a scuba mask, can provide 360-degree virtual reality property tours of homes. The headsets completely fill the user’s field of vision with a view of the home, allowing them to look up, down and from side to side. Developers are working on adding more tactile features to the experience, so users can do things like see their own hand opening a door, reports the New York Times. They’re even developing smells. One day Realtors might be able to add the smell of virtually baking cookies to their virtual open house.

2. Long-distance shopping

Virtual reality home tours give out-of-town buyers (and local buyers, too) another tool to help narrow down their choices of homes they’d like to physically visit in a limited amount of time.

3. Staging

More affordable than hiring a pro to stage your home, several virtual options allow you to add furniture and decorations to vacant rooms using computer technology. It can help buyers envision a property with different furniture and paint.

There’s a lot more to a real estate transaction than VR goggles can replace. When you’re ready to buy or sell your home, work with an experienced RE/MAX agent. Find a local RE/MAX agent here who can help you find the right place for you.

5 Things to Think About When Buying Your First Place

As a renter, you have the luxury of choosing a place that meets your needs at the moment.​ Buying a home is a much bigger commitment, both in terms of finances and the length of time you’ll likely live there. When seeking out your first place – whether a house or condominium or anything in between – it’s important to do your homework.

Here are 5 things to consider as you begin the process of purchasing your first place.

1. The growth possibilities. Shop for a place that meets your current spaces needs, but also consider one that can adjust to a changing household. A five-year plan may not pan out as you expect, so think about possible life changes that could impact your need for bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage.

2. What’s under the hood. Your first place may not come with many frills or luxury features – but all the basics should be in good condition. Thoroughly inspect prospective properties. And before any purchase is made, hiring a professional inspector is a must. Your real estate agent can guide you through this key step.

3. Know that no home will be perfect. Your first home may likely not be the perfect place. But make it the right one. Finding the right home is often a matter of prioritizing. Make a list of “must haves,” along with “nice to haves” and “not necessary to haves.” A three-car garage is nice, but would you rather have a larger kitchen or live in a good neighborhood? Only you can measure the importance of the amenities you are looking for.

4. Consider ALL the costs of ownership. When you buy a home​, you take on recurring costs you don’t have to worry about as a renter. Look for a home that meets your budget in terms of full living costs – mortgage, utilities, trash pick-up, sewage fees, homeowner’s association dues and other fees. Your lender doesn’t take into account these costs when approving your home loan. A good real estate agent can help you calculate estimated monthly costs to determine the most appropriate price range for you.

5. The lifespan of things. In addition to identifying cosmetic and structural flaws before you buy, know what to expect from the home’s components. How long until you need to replace the roof, appliances, furnace or carpet? Everything may be in working order now, but all homes need these types of repairs at some point. Researching the expected remaining life on large-ticket items can help you plan for the future.

When you’re ready to start the process of buying a home, RemaxAllPro.com will be ready to help.

5 Tips for Getting Over “The One That Got Away”

Imagine you finally find the house of your dreams. It has everything you hoped for in a home, from the right countertops to the right landscaping. You spend hours envisioning the parties you’ll throw in the backyard and the baths you’ll take in the clawfoot tub. But fate intervenes. For some unfortunate reason – perhaps a fierce bidding war or a fickle owner who decides to stay put – deal falls through. How do you recover? Here are some tips.

1. Get right back in the saddle

If you must have a pity party, do it quickly. Perhaps a quick toast to what could have been, then dive straight back into search mode. In today’s market, things move fast. You don’t want to miss an even better home while you’re mooning over photos of the lost listing.

2. Don’t dwell on one dwelling

Delete the listing of the home that got away. Erase the pictures you took with your phone when you toured. Do your best not to compare new homes to the one you lost. There are lots of homes with lots of new possibilities. Keep an open mind.

3. Don’t settle

Don’t let your frustration push you into a hurried purchase of the next available property simply to get the process over with. Stay true to your shopping list of features you need and want.

4. Re-evaluate your budget.

Take another look at what you can spend and what the homes you’re looking at have been selling for. Do you need to add cushion to be more competitive when making an offer? Or do you need to start looking at a less expensive neighborhood to find a home that has everything you want?

5. Talk to your agent.

Your RE/MAX agent will be full of advice for surviving the lows – and highs – of your real estate journey. Find an agent here: RemaxAllPro.com.

Own It! Separating Wants From Needs

By Carriann Johnson, interior designer and TV personality

As an interior designer for 16 years, I understand falling in love with the details. And it’s so downright exciting to shop for one of your largest investments – a home! But before you get carried away with your list of “dream features,” have you truly defined what you want versus what you need in your next home? In my years of working with hundreds of clients, I have found that the things we think are “must-haves” aren’t what we really need once our lifestyles take over.

Recently my husband and I found ourselves home shopping. When I sat down and really thought about what I needed – and not just what I wanted – to my amazement, we decided to look for a smaller home. The fancy outdoor living space and grand front entrance I used to want had been taken off our list. Entertaining space and a dining room weren’t ‘needs’ any longer due to our hectic schedules. We found a home with more intimate spaces that bring us closer as a family compared to the sprawling oasis of rooms we once wanted. Carefully considering our lifestyles helped us create a list of what we really needed.

What do you need from your home? Remember, key word here is “need.” A need should always trump a want when it comes to big decisions in life. Agree? Take a look at my list to help you find the right attitude when looking for your next home.

1) Make a list
Make a list with two columns – wants versus needs. Your needs should include things like location, school districts, neighborhood, your budget, number of bedrooms, features and amenities, plumbing and electrical that are updated, lot size, number of garage spaces, HOAs and Covenants. Wants may include nonessentials such as the specific style of the home, a newer furnace and hot water heater, remodeled kitchen or baths, deck, pool, hot tub, flooring material, fireplace or wood stove, newer windows and/or landscaping.

2) Consult with other family members
If you’re purchasing a home for more people than just yourself, consult with other family members to further define your wants versus needs. A larger kitchen may be important to your spouse, whereas your son or daughter may need extra closet space due to hobbies or interests. Consider how you want your family to live in your home. Believe it or not, studies have shown that square footage and the floor plan of your home can affect your relationships. Bouncing thoughts and ideas off one another can be very helpful in determining your wants and needs.

3) Consider tomorrow
Consider how long you may plan to stay in your next home. That in itself can determine your wants and needs. If you are planning to stay short term in your home, its location, value and neighborhood will be important, as will current market activity.

If you are planning to stay in your next home longer than five years, think about upcoming life changes. Are you planning to expand your family? Will you be needing an extra room to accommodate an aging parent? Will you need a generous lot for a future home addition? Is remodeling certain features in your budget?

4) Compromise and trade-offs

The home shopping and purchasing experience can be exhausting. However, being realistic will ease your mind and reduce your stress. We have been suffocated by the pressure to live a life that tells us we need certain things to be happy. Avoid the noise. Ask yourself: What makes you happy? If having a large kitchen brings you joy so you can cook for family and friends, make that a need. But be okay to let go of a large backyard if you live in a state where mosquitoes and rain dominate your summers. Spend time defining your lifestyle and what you could forgo in order to be happy in your home.

Keep these perspectives in mind when defining the wants versus needs of your home and you’ll be sure to find a home you love!

Find an experienced professional to work with – visit RemaxAllPro.com.

6 Decisions to Make Before Your Home Search

 

In the market for a new home but have no idea where to start? There are several decisions you should begin to make before you even start your home search. By asking yourself the right questions, you can quickly pinpoint what you want – and can afford – in your next home.

1. What’s your budget? See how your finances stand up to the 28/36 rule, which lenders use to see what you can afford to pay each month. A financial adviser or your real estate agent also can help you crunch the numbers. Going through the mortgage pre-approval process lets you know how much lenders will allow you to borrow – plus it helps you show sellers that you have the funds to backup your offer.

2. What do you need in your new home? How many bedrooms or bathrooms do you need? What about a large kitchen, a home office or a playroom for the kids? How many cars need covered parking? It’s critically important to ensure the home you select meets your family and lifestyle needs.

3. Do you want a condo or single-family home? Condos come with much less maintenance. You typically won’t be shoveling snow in the winter or replacing the roof, but you’ll likely pay monthly association fees to cover services and repairs in the community. Houses, on the other hand, come with more privacy and freedom to customize. They also come with full responsibility for maintenance.

4. How do you feel about living under covenants? Depending on where you buy, you may have to pay homeowner association (HOA) fees in addition to your mortgage. There are benefits to HOAs, such as maintenance, community centers, and maybe even a pool or gym. But you also could be faced with more restrictive rules about the look of the outside of your home, down to the color of your front door, types of window coverings, and whether you can plant flowers in your yard.

5. What school district do you want to be near? Even if you don’t have children in the house, local schools will affect your property value. Prospective homebuyers tend to search with education in mind. Do your research on the schools in the areas you’d like to live in.

6. Should the home be move-in ready? Ask yourself how much elbow grease you’re willing to put into a home – or how much you’ll pay someone else to do the work. Fixer-upper homes can be great after the work is done, but you’ll want to figure out your renovation budget before you start your home search. A203k home-renovation loan might be the right resource for you. If you’re not ready for the extra financial commitment of rehabbing a home, or you can’t or don’t want to wait for remodeling projects to finish up, then a home that’s move-in ready might be right for you.

After considering all these factors, you’ll be ready to start the home search with a clearer picture of where you’re headed. When that time comes, let a RE/MAX agent guide you all the way there.

Five Things to Know: Millennials and Home Buying

Millennials are now major players in the home buying arena, according to the recent Home Buyer and Generational Trends report released by the National Association of Realtors:

1. Millennials accounted for 35% of buyers in 2015. This is up from 32% in 2014, and is the third year in a row Millennials have composed the largest group of recent buyers.

2. In 2015, the number of Millennials purchasing in an urban or central city area decreased to 17% from 21% in 2014. Suburbia-phobe? Perhaps not.

3. They have help getting their foot in the door. Twenty-three percent of Millennials used a financial gift for (or toward) their down payment.

4. An online search was the first step for 56% of Millennials, whether they were looking for properties or searching for information about the home buying process.

5. Almost 90% worked with a Realtor to buy their home.

Are you a Millennial looking for your next home? Work with an agent prepared for the changing marketplace. Find one here.

4 Steps to Launch the Home Buying Process

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You’ve decided you’re ready to buy your own home­ – now what? Start with these initial steps:

1. Get your financial ducks in a row.
Calculate how much money you have in savings and assets, your total annual income and your expenses. Know how much of it you can allocate toward a downpayment and other expenses. Check your credit report and fix any errors. This will help you determine what type of loan you qualify for, and the price range of homes you want to look at.

2. Determine how much house you can afford.
A common rule is that your monthly mortgage payment should not exceed 28 percent of your pre-tax income. You can plug your information into an online mortgage calculator to get a starting idea of exactly how much you’ll pay each month with different interest rates and terms.

3. Find a real estate agent.
Interview several agents to find one that specializes in the communities you’re interested in and has experience representing buyers with the type of home you’re looking for. Search for a local agent now.

4. Shop!
It’s important that you keep an open mind and look at a wide range of properties. Go to open houses. Cruise the Internet. Peruse different neighborhoods. Your agent will also help by finding properties that match as many of your “wants” and “needs” as possible. When you fall in love with a house and are ready to make it official, your agent can help you navigate the process from putting in an offer to the closing table.

Whether you’re buying, selling or looking to make your house a home, you can find more advice on the RE/MAX blog.