Real Estate News

Buying Your First Home? Know These 3 Things

I LOVE working with first-time home buyers. Helping you find your first home, learn the home buying process, and guiding you from house-hunting to move-in day gives me the warm and fuzzies. Here are three things you should know before you start looking.

  1. Work with one real estate agent. It’s best to have one agent who is helping you with your search. Your agent will be dedicated to finding you the right property, and then negotiating on all the terms of your transaction on your behalf. You want that person to get to know you and your family’s needs and preferences, rather than starting over with someone new each time you go look at a house. Keep in mind that the agent who shows you a home is, ethically, the one who should continue the transaction. Also, when you call an agent from a yard sign or advertisement, you are dealing with the seller’s agent. While most real estate professionals are adept at handling both sides of a transaction professionally, it makes more sense to deal with someone you have already taken time to get to know and who has your best interests at heart as the buyer. You aren’t paying your agent; unless otherwise stated, he or she is paid by the seller upon closing. Still, you are hiring someone to work for you, so feel free to interview multiple agents and pick the one that you feel fits you best.
  2. You need to be pre-approved for financing. Unless you are paying cash for your home, you do need to talk to a lender before you start looking at houses. One reason is that it helps you set an accurate price range for house hunting. Looking at homes that you can’t afford to make an offer on just leads to frustration. A mortgage lender will not only tell you what amount you can borrow, but also your projected monthly payment, your...

Check Off These Items Before You List Your Home

Thinking of selling your home this year? Maybe you are ready to upsize or downsize, move to a new neighborhood, or take advantage of a sellers’ market. In any case, there are some smart moves you can make before you list to ease the process of selling your home.

  • Bring in a handyman. Have repairs made to leaky faucets, torn screens, broken door or window locks and handles, faulty electrical outlets, drywall damage, missing grout or caulking, broken sprinkler heads, rotten wood and anything else that would give a buyer reason to wonder, “What else is wrong with this house?”
  • Clean out storage spaces. Closet by closet, cabinet by cabinet, and drawer by drawer, get rid of items you no longer use. Your goal should be to show that the home has plenty of storage space, not spaces bursting with clutter.
  • Put away excess décor. Go for a minimalist look so that buyers can see the bones of the house and not have to move or look around decorative items to see the home.
  • Ditto on the Family Photographs. Humans are naturally drawn to people’s faces. If your home has family photos on every wall and shelf, buyers will be distracted by all the pretty faces.
  • Have the exterior pressure-cleaned. Make sure to include the roof, patios, porches,  driveway and walkways.
  • Spruce up the landscaping. First impressions are everything. You want buyers to want to come inside and not drive on by. Increase your curb appeal by trimming shrubbery and trees, putting down fresh mulch and planting some annuals.
  • Perform a deep cleaning. Consider hiring professional cleaners to tackle everything from...

Questions You Should Ask When Buying New Construction

There’s nothing like moving into a home that is truly new, with no smells, smudges or dust left behind by a previous owner. Even better is when you get to make your own custom selections. But buying from a builder is a different ball game and it’s important you know how to play. Consider these questions if you are considering new construction.

Should you use a real estate agent? I think so! The builder may have sales agents or an assistant that helps buyer’s through the process, but those people work for the builder. It’s always a good idea to have a professional advocating for you, and most builders will pay agents a commission for bringing the buyer. It’s important that your agent accompany you to the first visit to the model center or builders’ office so that representation is established.

Does the builder have a good reputation? We’ve all heard stories of builders who fail to deliver on their promises, using lower grade materials than quoted, or even disappearing before the work was completed. Check out your builder before signing anything. Find out if there are any complaints registered against them and ask for references from other homeowners. Find out if you can tour a model or a recently completed home, and bring someone who can judge the quality of the workmanship.

Should you use the builders’ lender? Many builders work with a preferred lender that offers attractive discounts on closing costs when you finance through them. It’s important to know if the lender is working as a referral or if the mortgage company is owned by the same company that is building your home. If your lender and builder both work for the same company, it’s a good idea to have an attorney review your...

Avoid Emotional Decision Making When Falling in Love with a Home

Every home buyer hopes to find the perfect house. The one that, as soon as you walk through the front door, you know it is the one for you.

It happens, and when it does, I am really happy for my buyers. I always want my buyers to fall in love with the perfect house and live happily ever after.

Just like in relationships, however, emotions often come into play during the home buying journey…Emotions that may result in some not-so-loving feelings.

While I’m not a therapist, I can help you talk through your emotions about the homes we visit and help you identify if you are making decisions with your heart and not your head.

There are six basic emotions; let’s look at how they can affect your decision-making skills.

Fear: We have all learned that fear triggers a “fight or flight” response. In terms of making decisions, fear may cause you to “flee” from making any decision at all, which could make your home buying experience exhausting. If you are afraid you will run out of time, or that if you pass on a house you won’t find another one, you may “fight” by making a rash decision too quickly.

Sadness: Feeling sad can cause you to lower your expectations and settle for less than you truly want. You may decide you don’t need certain features that you previously wanted. Or you may settle for one of the first homes you see instead of persevering with the search.

Disgust: Disgust can cause you to eliminate choices that otherwise might have been in the running. You might find the perfect floorplan, style, or location, but if the home has a bad odor, a filthy floor, or some other off-putting defect, you might not be able to...

Home Trends for 2020!

From colorful Kitchens to pretty powder rooms. Check out these trends sure to hit the home in 2020. Whether you’re settling into your dream home, sprucing up a house to sell, or just looking to make some changes, here are some predictions for hot home décor trends in 2020!

Colorful Kitchens – The classic white kitchen has held its top spot for years, but décor experts predict that 2020 will bring more color into the kitchen, like grays, soft blues, and natural wood elements. Wood Range Hoods – As homeowners seek to bring warmth to their farmhouse-style décor, wood range hoods are a rising way to marry cool color palettes with warmth and whimsy. 

Formal Dining Rooms – More and more homeowners have gone casual with their eating spaces, but it’s looking like formal dining rooms will make a comeback, with new focus given toward the impact and statement a great dining room can create.

Seating in the Bathroom – As bathrooms become more useful as a spa-like retreat in the home, extra seating can be a valuable asset, whether it’s a window seat, a bench, a cute vanity seat, or a catch-all chair by the bathtub, seating in the bathroom is a logical next step in decorating. Tiled Bathtub Aprons – Tiles have long been used as an inexpensive way to create beauty in the bathroom, but the experts are predicting that this year will see an expansion of the idea, with bathtub aprons the next option for a quick spruce-up. Double Floating Vanities – Homeowners have been growing in their use of floating vanities. They open up space and create a clean, minimalist feel. This year, there will likely be a rise in double floating vanities.

Creative and Clever Laundry Rooms – The functional laundry room has been neglected in design for too long, and experts predict that 2020 will see a...