7 Steps to Decluttering Your Home
May 23, 2015
When it comes to preparing to sell your home, the best place to start is clearing the clutter. Clutter includes all of those things we have a tendency to save that we no longer use that just lie around or take over extra space in our homes.
We're all guilty of saving things in our homes, garages and basements that we forget we even still have. However, the more you declutter, the cleaner and more spacious your home will appear to prospective buyers and the quicker it will sell. If just thinking about it makes you feel overwhelmed, here are a few easy steps to get you started.
When you're ready to move, give us a call. We'll help you sell your current home and then find the one you want.
The Letters Behind an Agent's Name
February 24, 2015
In your search for a real estate agent to help you buy or sell, you'll probably come across some who have one or more acronyms listed after their names. It looks something like this: Sally Smith, ABR, CRS
It's not just alphabet soup. Those letters are sending you a message about the agent's specialized training and unique qualifications - above and beyond the education for their real estate license. Read below for more information.
Here are some common acronyms you might see (referred to as "designations" in the real estate industry).
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Be sure to ask agents you're considering working with about their designations, and what specialized skills and knowledge they'll bring to the table.
Home Improvements: What's a Good Investment?
January 23, 2015
You want to invest in your home - wisely. So how do you decide where to put your money?
Improvement projects don't automatically increase the value of a home - factors like the state of the neighborhood can be more important to your bottom line. But knowing which improvements give a higher return can help boost your home's value and save you time and money.
Here's a quick look at how you could prioritize projects around your home.
Address the small stuff
A home plagued with many minor issues is usually considered less desirable and harder to sell. Those dripping faucets, running toilets, torn vinyl flooring and damaged carpet instantly make a bad impression on buyers. Put your money into those first and use what's left to make larger improvements.
Boost curb appeal
It comes as no surprise that exterior home improvement projects rank as the most cost effective, according to Remodeling magazine's 2014 Cost vs. Value Report. It ranks projects based on their cost and how much money they recoup after selling.
Consider interior investments
If you're thinking about selling your home, give us a call. We know your neighborhood, and can guide you toward projects that will make the home buyer-ready and also give you the biggest bang for your home-improvement buck.
We're happy to answer all of your real estate questions. Just give us a call!
5 Places You Need to Clean Before Showing Your Home
December 12, 2014
When you're selling a home, the elbow grease you put in to keeping it clean and neat can come with an added bonus: a quicker sale. Even though most homeowners wouldn't dream of leaving dirty dishes in the kitchen sink or clothes on the bathroom floor when potential buyers will be coming by, there are five areas of the home that often get overlooked.
How Much Does Your Agent Need to Know About Your Finances?
November 12, 2014
Money is a delicate issue. How much we earn and how much we owe is information many of us prefer to keep close to the vest. If you're concerned about detailing your finances to your real estate agent, rest assured that there's plenty of privacy in the client/agent relationship.
Contact us if you have questions about buying a house or selling one. Your RE/MAX Realty Affiliates real estate professional can guide you - with discretion - toward your next home.
Real estate agents don't need, or expect, you to disclose everything about your money. That said, we must understand your overall situation to help guide you to a home that's within your budget.
An agent's job is to negotiate a home purchase or sale on your behalf, keep the transaction on track and help you navigate real estate paperwork. Our strength lies in understanding home values, and property and neighborhood features. Home financing is an altogether separate story from a home search or sale; therefore, agents usually don't delve into your finances to crunch the numbers.
Leave it to the lender
Agents are happy to let your mortgage lender handle the financial questioning. A loan officer at a bank or mortgage company calculates your maximum purchasing power and your monthly payments based on your loan application, financial documentation and debt-to-income ratio.
Be prepared to supply your lender with your last two years of tax returns, recent pay stubs, bank statements and investment accounts. Agents then present a lender-generated preapproval letter to listing agents, indicating the amount you're able to borrow.
We're happy to answer all of your real estate questions. Just give us a call!
5 Advantages of Buying a Fixer-Upper
October 14, 2014
We all have fantasy images of our dream house. These images may be hard to let go of when buying a home, especially when all you can afford are homes that, well, let's just say need some TLC.
That's when it's important to keep in mind that the fixer-upper you're looking at could have the potential to someday become your dream house. It's just one advantage fixer-uppers can offer. Below are a few others.
We're also here to help, so don't hesitate to ask for guidance when you're ready to buy. Or sell.
Top Yard and Gardening Questions For Prospective Buyers to Ask
August 21, 2014
Many first-time home buyers move from apartments or condos to a single-family home, and may have little background in yard maintenance. If that describes you, here are some questions to help you learn about your target property and gauge what kind of care it might involve.
The homeowners, or their agents, will be a good source of much of this information. You can also turn to the home inspector, or a local gardening center or university extension programs that specialize in local gardening. We're also happy to help, so ask away!
If you want information about buying or selling a home in the Carson City and Carson Valley area, please give one of our great agents a call. We're here to help.
Questions for homeowners or listing agents:
Questions for home inspectors:
Questions for local gardening experts:
Paint Pointers: Change Things Up With Color
July 23, 2014
Paint is a terrific way to update your surroundings in a relatively inexpensive way, and we've included some tips below on what different colors can help you achieve.
However, if you're selling your home, you probably should save the experiment for your new place, as bold paint choices aren't usually recommended for home sales. That's when you can turn to one of our experienced RE/MAX Realty Affiliates agents for guidance. He or she can advise you on what buyers in your area want and what they don't want. In many cases, the safest color for a home for sale is a neutral shade with the broadest mass appeal. If you want information about buying or selling a home in the Carson City and Carson Valley area, please give one of our great agents a call. They'd be happy to help!
Updating a room? Want to bring some new energy into your home? A brush, a roller and a strategically chosen color can accomplish a lot.
There's no scientific consensus on the psychological effects of different shades of paint, but plenty of interior designers - and Feng Shui practitioners – play by a few basic rules when decorating.
June 23, 2014
If you're thinking about buying your first home (it's certainly a good time for it!), getting pre-approved for a mortgage should be the first item on your to-do list. So, what does that mean and why do you need it?
Pre-approval means that a mortgage lender has gone over your financials and can state, in writing, how much you're qualified to borrow. This is crucial information because it helps you define your price range, the amount of the down payment you'll need in that price range, and even the neighborhoods that are within your financial reach. There's nothing more heartbreaking for hopeful buyers than realizing the home they've set their hearts on is priced too high for their borrowing power.
But these aren't the only advantages of pre-approval. Having that lender "seal of approval" makes you a more solid candidate in the eyes of sellers. And that can make the difference between moving into and saying goodbye to a home you love.
More buyers today are competing with each other for properties. In many markets, there is a limited supply of homes for sale. The RE/MAX National Housing Report indicates that across the U.S. there's about a three-month supply. That means it would take just three months to sell every property that's currently on the market in the U.S. That's fairly shocking, considering a "normal" inventory is about six months' worth. In areas with low inventory, pre-approved buyers already have a leg up on the competition, because they're that much closer to being able to complete a sale.
In some cases you have to be pre-approved to even be able to put in a bid. That's typically the case if, for example, you're considering buying short sales and foreclosures. So take that important first step toward homeownership by getting pre-approved. Then give us a call so we can help you find your dream home.
Smart Ways to Use Your Tax Refund at Home
May 26, 2014
Wondering what to do with your tax refund? Consider putting the money to good use by investing it in your home. Here are a few relatively inexpensive home improvement ideas most people don't think of right away - yet ones that may quickly boost the look and value of your house.
If you're not necessarily looking to make home improvements, there's another great way to put your tax refund to use for your home: Make an extra mortgage payment. One additional payment a year can trim years from your loan
April 17, 2014
The real estate market is continuing to get better and prices are going up. If you have been putting off a move because you were underwater, you might want to get your home reappraised to see if that's still the case. And if you short sold or foreclosed in the last few years, you might be in a better spot to buy than you thought. Give us a call and let us help you get back where you want to be housing-wise.
If you're interested in a national perspective, please click here to watch the highlights from the latest RE/MAX National Housing Report. Home sales slowed in February, while prices increased by double digits over last year. The RE/MAX National Housing Report, a survey of MLS data in 52 metropolitan areas, found the February results to be nearly identical to January. Just like January, the median home price rose 11.6% compared to the same month in 2013, and is now at $180,450.
If you want information more specific to the Carson City and Carson Valley area, please give one of our great agents a call. They'd be happy to help!
Getting approved for a loan prior to your home search is a smart move that offers several advantages. It gives you a benchmark for how much you can afford, helping you narrow down your home search from the start. It also allows you to be taken more seriously in the bidding stage, which can help tremendously in your negotiations, especially when dealing with distressed properties.
Getting pre-approved is simply a matter of your lender checking your financial situation and writing a letter stating that it would be willing to lend you a certain amount of money.
You'll need to assemble several documents to start the preapproval process:
Vacation Property: Dream Responsibly
March 11, 2014
It happens a lot. The dream vacation on the beach, at the lake or on the ski slopes suddenly morphs into a dream of buying a piece of paradise.
If you're motivated to do the same in your dream getaway area, here are some preparatory steps you can take as you embark on your property search:
Decide whether you want the place to be primarily for your use or also serve as a rental property. If you will try to recoup some of the purchase and maintenance costs through renting, the property you purchase should have a broad appeal, include popular amenities and maybe even be professionally managed.
Speak to your accountant about potential tax advantages or obligations involved with your vacation property. Second homes and rental properties are subject to specific tax rules, so be sure you know what's expected and what you can deduct.
Think about location, location, location. Yes, it's a cliché, but no less true for vacation properties than for other real estate. Homes near beaches or mountains tend to attract the greatest number of interested buyers or renters. Check out all four seasons in your targeted area because the atmosphere can change dramatically based on busy or slower seasons. Finally, if you plan to use the place often, consider something within a few-hours drive or flight. Anything much farther tends to discourage frequent visits.
Consider renting first, then buying. This will give you time to get to know the development, the area and the turnover rate among your future neighbors. All these factors are crucial to your enjoyment of the place - and its resale potential.
A number of people are considering buying a house with vacation in mind, according to the National Association of Realtors. In 2013, 80% of investment buyers were motivated to purchase a new property primarily as a family retreat.
Pricing Your Home to Sell
November 27, 2013
Smart, competitive pricing is essential. When you price too high, your home stays on the market longer, prolonging the process and increasing your expenses along the way.
Home Seller Mistake No. 1: Pricing Too High
That statement costs home sellers millions of dollars every year. Yes, you can always lower your asking price, but that's not a good strategy. Time and time again, experience shows that sellers who list competitively from the start get a better price than sellers who list high and then go lower and lower.
When you price too high, here's what buyers think:
Sound Pricing Strategies
A far smarter approach is to find a knowledgeable agent who understands the local market and then work together on setting the right price. A good agent can help you avoid the overpricing trap.
We'd be happy to sit down with you to discuss your options. Just give us a call!
The Importance of Home Inspections
October 30, 2013
One of the best pieces of advice you can heed when it comes to buying a house is to order a home inspection. Regardless of whether you're a first-time homebuyer or an old pro, you might have on rose-colored glasses when it comes to buying a house - your future home. Luckily, a certified home inspector has no emotional attachment to your new place and can impartially and appropriately identify structural, electrical and plumbing problems. Plus, this person can offer insight into the safety and value of the house. During your home search, you'll probably notice the great front yard, charming breakfast nook and spacious bedrooms. What you won't notice, however, are the termites in the basement, nests in the chimney or cracks in the foundation. That's why it's important to speak with your real estate agent, who will be able to recommend inspectors who can reliably and responsibly check the nooks and crannies, walls and roofs.
The inspection will cost you several hundred dollars, depending on where you live, but it's a small price to pay to ensure your home is worth the investment. Usually conducted after an offer is accepted, the inspection also provides leverage for negotiating concessions with the seller before the sale is finalized. Based on the inspector's detailed report, you're able to alert the seller to all issues you'd like fixed or addressed before the sale is closed. In other words, a home inspection allows you to know exactly what you're buying - and if it truly is the perfect place for you.