(ARA) – In today’s buyer’s market many homeowners are hesitant to put the “for sale” sign in the front yard — even if they are not happy with their current home. Instead, wise homeowners are sinking their dollars into remodeling — to increase their homes’ values and their own enjoyment.
There’s a reason why model homes look the way they do. Builders know that everything they do to make a house look visually appealing amounts to actual dollars, and often thousands of dollars, added to the sale price. The same principal applies to your home.
Whether you’re planning on selling, or just sprucing up your house to make it more enjoyable to live in, mimicking the ideal appearance of a model home can yield impressive results. Here are some tips and trends to help make your house a showplace:
* Start with curb appeal. This is especially important if you’re planning on selling. First impressions are lasting ones and unmown grass or shabby planting beds make the kind of statement you want to avoid. Keep grass well trimmed and planting beds watered. If you don’t have a green thumb, choose easy-to-grow flowers, like petunias, to add pizzazz to your landscaping.
* Cleanliness is essential. Whether you’re selling your home or living in it, keeping it clean is a top priority. Clean homes are better preserved, more healthful places to live. And homebuyers rank dirty houses at the top of their turn-offs list. You probably take care of the kitchen and baths regularly, but don’t forget the need to shampoo the carpet occasionally, especially if it is worn or old. And take the time to do the windows -– you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes to your home’s appearance, both inside and out.
* Cut the clutter. Living in a cluttered environment is harmful on so many levels –- from your home’s sell-appeal to your own self esteem. Decreasing clutter opens up the visual space in your home and can inspire greater decorating creativity.
* Take care of repairs as quickly as possible. Some things simply can’t wait, like a leaking roof. But try not to put off small repairs that may not seem consequential –- like the toilet that needs the handle jiggled every now and then. Small repairs can become big problems if they add up or get worse with time –- and they always do.
* Put your decorating dollars into the rooms and trends that give the biggest payoff in both your enjoyment of your home and appeal to potential buyers. Focus on the kitchen and baths. No penny spent in those rooms is ever wasted, whether you’re simply dressing up the bath with new towels or installing granite counter tops in the kitchen. Granite counter tops are a must in model homes, as are gleaming clean baths.
* Consider adding an interior designer touch, such as a custom wall mural. Increasingly popular among designers, wallpaper murals are popping up in model homes across the country. Designers are using them to enhance kitchens, brighten baths and create bold statements in common areas of the house, according to Murals Your Way, makers of easy-to-install custom wallpaper murals. “To have someone paint a mural costs thousands,” states interior designer, Lisa Fields who installed a wallpaper mural depicting Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam in a hallway ceiling. “I love being able to have the same look while staying within budget.” For more wallpaper mural ideas, visit www.muralsyourway.com.
Mimicking the design techniques and selling features of a model home can help you maximize your enjoyment of your home as well as its resale value.
Courtesy of ARAcontent
According to Policy Matters, a non-profit research institute, one in every 71 households in Ohio filed for foreclosure in 2005 — quite an astounding statistic. Predatory lending is especially prevalent among first-time homebuyers and consumers unfamiliar with home financing. How can you avoid the pitfalls of predatory lending as a prospective homebuyer?
According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), homebuyers need to ask the right questions when shopping for the least expensive loan. Questions such as:
*What is my credit score? Can I have a copy of my credit report?
*What is the best interest rate today? Do I qualify?
*Is the loan’s interest rate fixed or adjustable?
*What is the term (length) of the loan?
*What are the total loan fees?
*What is the total monthly payment? Does this include property taxes and insurance? If not, how much more will I need to pay for taxes and insurance?
*Is there an application fee? How much is refundable if I don’t qualify?
*Are there any prepayment penalties? If so, what are they and how long do they last?
It’s important to understand all the details of your loan before signing anything — and ask questions! Also, the NAR offers these other strategies that homebuyers can follow to protect themselves from predatory lending:
*Check out lenders with the Better Business Bureau®, government Web sites or other consumer groups. How long has the lender been in business? Have consumers filed many complaints? Does the lender belong to a trade association with ethics requirements for its members?
*Ask for an estimate and compare with other lenders.
*Refuse to participate in transactions that may be fraudulent.
*Avoid unnecessary contract extensions that could cause your loan commitment to lapse.
*Get educated on the value of your home by asking your Real Living agent for a comparative market analysis.
*Review the HUD-1 closing settlement statement before closing. This statement itemizes all charges imposed upon a borrower and seller for a real estate transaction. Upon request, homebuyers have the right to see this information 24 hours before the loan closing.
*Report possible violations to appropriate federal, state and local officials.
If you’re considering a home purchase and want to make sure you’ll be safe from predatory lending, working with a Real Living agent is a wise move. Contact me or visit http://teresabutler.com for more information.
A fresh listing number can re-energize the sale of your home.
If your home has been on the market for more than six months, your Multiple Listing Service (MLS) number can make it look stale compared to newer listings. It may be a good idea to take your property off the market for a few weeks, or even a month. This will give you a chance to improve your home’s general condition, and then re-list your property with fresh changes and a new MLS number.
There are a handful of laws today governing agency relationships designed to help you relax and feel comfortable with your home-buying or -selling transaction. Keep in mind these laws differ from state to state, and agency policies differ among real estate companies. Read on to learn about the basic types of agency relationships.
Buyer or Seller Agency:
When you choose to be represented by a real estate brokerage in the purchase or sale of a home, the buyer or seller’s agent and the brokerage must act on behalf of and promote your best interests, be loyal and obey your lawful instructions, disclose material facts to you, maintain confidential information (which includes anything that could have an adverse effect on your transaction), act with reasonable skill and care when answering your questions, present all offers in a timely fashion, be accountable for handling funds and paperwork, and execute all other duties as outlined in your buyer’s agency contract or listing agreement.
A dual agency is formed when the same agent and brokerage who represents the seller also represents the buyer. Agents and brokers who become dual agents must maintain a neutral position between the buyer and seller. This means that they may not support the position of one client over the other, or disclose any personal or confidential information to the other party without written consent. Dual agents must also disclose any material defects of the property and prepare and present all offers and counter offers to each party.
In Company Split Agency:
On occasion, the buyer and seller will each be represented by two different agents from the same brokerage. In this case, the agents may each represent the best interests of their respective clients. Or, depending on the company policy, the agents may both act as dual agents and remain neutral toward both parties. When either situation occurs, the broker will be considered a dual agent.
A common misconception about agency relationships is that they are automatically established at the first meeting between a brokerage and a homebuyer or seller. However, these relationships are typically established when agents disclose whose interests they are serving, which is usually done through an agency disclosure form. The state law mandates that agents must disclose their representation before they show you any properties.
When considering a home purchase or sale, it’s key to understand the differences among the various agency relationships. If you have any questions, contact me at 614-565-8161 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can provide you with a detailed explanation of these relationships and show how they’ll affect your transaction.
There’s a buyer for every home. Sometimes this is hard to believe if the buyer for your home remains elusive. What can you do to expedite the sale of your home?
The first step is to enlist the help of a professional Realtor® who knows your area well and has a great marketing plan. With his or her assistance, your home will have the greatest possibility of finding the buyer for your home. A Realtor® will use various advertising and marketing techniques to reach the greatest number of prospects in the least amount of time.
The second step is to price your home realistically. While you undoubtedly want the most for your home, knowledgeable buyers will not consider an overpriced home. When setting a sales price, rely in the CMA (Comparative Market Analysis). The analysis will provide valuable information on current listings and recent solds.
Call Teresa today for professional advice on selling your home.
A home warranty is a contract that guarantees that certain systems in the home are in good working order. If they fail, the warranty company will repair or replace them.
Home warranties can provide added security and peace of mind for all parties involved. Before buying a home warranty be sure that you review the list of all components that are insured. Most programs cover major systems such as heating and cooling, plumbing, electrical as well as built-in appliances and water heaters. Most contracts do not include the roof, foundation or structural components.
Be sure to find out the cost as well as the deductible amount for any repairs. Some programs limit the amount of service calls permitted. There may be a cap on the dollar amount the company will spend on a contract, as well as limiting the replacement cost.
Home warranties are great tools. Their effectiveness depends on a clear understanding of how they work.
Q: How do I choose between renting or buying?
A: Owning a home offers tax benefits, as well as the freedom to make decisions about where you live. Homeowners, unlike renters, can secure a fixed-rate loan and lock in their monthly payments, so they can make investment plans knowing their expenses won’t change substantially. Renters are at the whim of their landlord, who can raise the rent each year without a renter’s input. Homeowners, on the other hand, are in control of their property and decide whether they allow pets, decorating, or permanent improvements.