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These days, the real estate market can seem quite literally all over the map, still super-hot in some areas while cooling off in others. Regardless of where you live, first-time home ownership can be an attainable goal with the right research and advance planning. Here are some smart money moves and home-buying tips you can make today to put you on the path to homeownership.
✅ Check your credit (and work on it)
✅ Nail down your budget
✅ Get assets in place
✅ Shop multiple lenders
✅ Get preapproved
✅ Look for down payment assistance
✅ Work with a real estate agent
✅ Put contingencies in writing
Are you house hunting in 2023? Use this checklist to help you as you navigate the market!
➡️ Make it easy on yourself by SAVING this post.
Whether you’re buying your first home or your 11th, there’s one thing we all think about when it comes time to negotiate the deal: finessing that pesky purchase price down as much as possible. So what all can you negotiate? Let’s get into it:
➡️ Repairs. If your inspection reveals any issues, you can ask the sellers to make repairs as a condition of the sale. Just remember: It’s not a given that the sellers will be willing to take on all repairs.
➡️ Time to close. If your schedule is flexible and you know that the seller’s is not, you can make your offer more attractive to sellers by being upfront about your flexibility.
➡️ Closing costs. Instead of playing hardball on the list price of the home, consider asking the seller for help covering closing costs. You can also offer to offset the seller’s credit toward closing by offering a higher price on the home.
➡️ Decor. If you are buying your dream house, and it’s already decked out to your liking, it’s totally fair to ask about decor, furniture, light fixtures, appliances, or other pieces you love.
➡️ Home cleaning. A new-to-you home isn’t necessarily a clean home. One way to conquer the yuck factor: Ask the sellers to pay for a deep clean before you move in.
➡️ Home warranty. A home warranty can provide peace of mind to home buyers. It covers the cost to repair or replace major appliances if they break down in your new home, and it can also cover fixes to HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. In some cases, it makes sense to negotiate for the seller to cover a home warranty as part of the buying process.
Now that you know what an escalation clause is, when do you use it?
➡️ Escalation clauses can be beneficial, especially in a seller’s market. If homes are selling fast, you’ll want something that can help your offer stand out in a competitive market and let sellers know you mean business. Therefore, the best time to use an escalation clause would be during a bidding war scenario.
There’s no need to stress when preparing your home for appraisal. By preparing for the appraisal ahead of time, you’ll have a better chance of getting favorable results. Here are a few simple ways to be sure that you get the best appraisal possible so you can enjoy all of the hard work you’ve put into your home.
✅ Be sure to have any safety equipment installed and working properly.
✅ Walk around your home before the appraisal with a critical eye. Look for any damage that could decrease your home’s value.
✅ Inform your home appraiser of any home improvements you have done on your home
✅ Do some sprucing up. Repaint the walls and hang new curtains. Install shiny new doorknobs or faucets.
✅ Do some research on other homes in the neighborhood. What is the value of homes similar to yours in your neighborhood? What about the sales prices of homes sold in your area in recent months? What problems may have been encountered during their appraisals?
✅ Pay attention to your yard. Mow your grass and trim your trees and shrubbery. Consider having dead trees removed, if possible, before your appraisal.
✅ Update the materials in your home. Update old countertops, paint cupboards or reface them and replace old flooring, if you can.
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A simple bedroom refresh can make a huge different on a small budget. Here are a few simple, but affordable ways to revamp your bedroom:
✔️ Switch out accent pillows
✔️ Add a pattern
✔️ Add a feature wall with paint or wallpaper
✔️ Elevate your bedroom’s style with molding
✔️ Update the headboard
✔️ Update window treatments
February Home Maintenance ‼️
Like a regular health check-up, a home maintenance schedule is important for every house’s upkeep. Continuing to check on your exterior, appliances, heating and cooling, plumbing, security, and electrical systems throughout the year will help prevent breakdowns, save money, and keep your home looking its best. Here is one for February, make sure to SAVE this post to refer back to it throughout the month.
The home selling journey can be a tough one, but you don’t have to do it alone. Thank you to my wonderful clients for the kind words. It’s always an honor (and an adventure) navigating the selling journey. Are you considering selling your home in 2023? Leave a comment below, shot me a DM or give me a call at (insert phone number) to chat!
But the real question is: When should you refinance your mortgage?
➡️ Mortgage rates have gone down (The traditional rule of thumb says to refinance if your rate is 1% to 2% below your current rate.)
➡️ Your credit has improved
➡️ You want a shorter loan term
➡️ Your home value has increased
➡️ You want to convert from an adjustable rate to fixed
Refresh your bathroom in a weekend with these affordable makeover ideas. With our simple decor updates and minor renovations, you can bring added style and function to your bathroom without a total overhaul.
✅ Hang Bathroom Wallpaper
✅ Upgrade the Vanity
✅ Tile a Bathroom Backsplash
✅ Try a Two-Tone Paint Treatment
✅ Hang a New Bathroom Mirror
✅ Replace Light Fixtures
What minor makeover idea is your favorite? Comment below ⬇️
Stop Panicking ‼️
➡️ A recession Does Not Equal a Housing Crisis!
Do you have any additional questions I can answer about the economy and today’s market trends? Comment below or DM me now!
I am nothing without my wonderful clients. Thank you for the kind words and trusting me on your home purchasing journey. Are you ready to take the plunge in buying or selling? I’d be honored to be your agent! Leave me a comment below, DM me or give me a call at: (insert phone number)
Are you looking to sell your home this Spring? Here are a things you can go ahead and get started on:
✅ Declutter living areas. Less is definitely more when it comes to getting your house ready to show. Do a clean sweep of counters, windowsills, tables, and all other visible areas, and then tackle behind closed doors: closets, drawers, and cupboards—since virtually nothing is off-limits for curious buyers.
✅ Depersonalize your space. The next step on your checklist for selling a house? Sellers should remove any distractions so the buyers can visualize themselves and their family living in the property.
✅ Touch up any scuff marks. Even if you’re not doing a full-on repainting project, pay special attention to scrubbing and then touching up baseboards, walls, and doors to make the house sparkle and look cared-for.
✅ Fix any loose handles. It’s a small thing, sure, but you’d be surprised by the negative effect a loose handle or missing lightbulb can have on a buyer.
✅ Clean, clean, clean. Once you’re done cleaning your house, clean some more. Even if you’re not worried about what buyers will think of your home’s scent, you want your property to look spotless.
✅ Find a great real estate agent. Your real estate agent should be someone you feel comfortable working with, whom you trust to sell your house for top dollar. Don’t be afraid to talk to a few real estate agents before picking one.
Working from home is normalized in the post-pandemic world. As a result, people are building home offices with must-need gadgets. If you’re investing up to eight hours a day, it’s important that you have the right accessories to provide you enough support to stay focused and get things done. Here are some of my favorite office must haves:
➡️ A stand up desk
➡️ Mini fridge
➡️ Dual monitors
➡️ Coffee machine
What are some of your home office must haves? Drop them in the comments! ⬇️
February Featured Listing 🏡
📍 (insert address)
🛌 (insert bedrooms)
🛁 (insert bathrooms)
💰 (insert price)
Do you want to come check out this property? Drop a comment, DM me or give me a call at (insert phone number) Don’t let this dream property slip by!
Paying off your mortgage early can help provide you with financial stability, and you may save money in the long term by accruing less interest. Here are some ways you can pay off your mortgage faster:
➡️ Refinance your mortgage. If interest rates decline, you may be able to reduce the amount you pay toward interest by refinancing your mortgage.
➡️ Make extra mortgage payments. Another way you may be able to save money on interest, while reducing the term of your loan is to make extra mortgage payments.
➡️ Make one extra mortgage payment each year. Making an extra mortgage payment each year could reduce the term of your loan significantly.
➡️ Round up your mortgage payments. Another way you can help reduce the term of your mortgage significantly is to round up. When budgeting for your mortgage payment, round up to the next highest $100 amount.
➡️ Try the dollar-a-month plan. Each month, increase your payment by $1. Simply pay $900 the first month, $901 the second month, and so on. For a 30-year, $900-per-month mortgage with a 6% fixed interest rate on a loan of $150,000, you could reduce the term of your mortgage by eight years.
When it comes to home renovation projects, your budget can quickly go from manageable to astronomical. But how do you know where you should invest and where to save when doing a home improvement project? While investing in premium upgrades in your life is usually a fleeting experience, investing in certain areas of your home will allow your home to work better for you for longer. Here are a few places you should invest more in your renovation project and a few where you can save money.
We hear about home staging all the time, but what is fact and what is fiction?
We’re here to debunk 3 home staging myths ⬇️
❎ Home staging isn’t necessary when the market is hot.
It may be easier to sell your home in a strong market, but without staging, you could be leaving money on the table. Staged homes sell anywhere between 3-50% over list price on average. Unstaged homes sell only an average of 1.6% over list price.
❎ When the market is down, you shouldn’t spend extra money to stage your home.
It’s actually quite the opposite. If the housing market is sluggish, it’s all the more reason to stage your home. Staging will give your home an attractive edge over the competition. Not only does a staged home sell for more money, but staging your home helps it sell 73% faster on average.
❎ You will have to move out to have your home staged.
You do not need to move out to have your home staged. Occupied staging is very common, although it may incur an additional fee. Another option to consider if you still plan to live in your home is virtual staging. With virtual staging, you don’t have to worry about having anything physically moved into or out of your home.
While interest rates increase and inflation continues many are wondering if there are still buyers out there. And the answer is YES. People are still looking to buy for job relocation, school districts and growing families. Don’t be intimidated at the current market if you’re ready to sell.
Your home is your biggest investment, so it’s important to avoid any of these common mistakes when selling:
❌ Not Expecting Home-Selling Costs
❌ Hiring an Inexperienced Real Estate Agent
❌ Selling It By Yourself
❌ Pricing It Wrong
❌ Hiding Major Repairs
❌ Skimping on Staging
❌ Not Clearing the Clutter
❌ Using Listing Photos That Look Bad
When you’re a first-time home buyer approaching the finish line in the journey to your new home, you want nothing to go wrong, right? So, what are the things to do before closing on a house? Lucky for you, I’ve put together a house closing checklist, which outlines your action points in those few days leading up to settlement.
Fun Events this February 🗓
Mark your calendar for these fun local events! Which one will you be attending? Drop it in the comments ⬇️
Whether you’ve been together three months or three decades, it’s no secret that coming up with some great Valentine’s Date ideas can be can be stressful. But I’m here to help! Here are some fun and creative date ideas for Valentine’s (or really anytime). Make sure to SAVE this post so you can refer back to it!
❤️ Go to Your Local Bookstore
❤️ Have a Pizza-Cooking Competition
❤️ Enjoy a Concert
❤️ Have an At-Home Trivia or Board Game Night
❤️ Go on a Bike Ride
❤️ Take a Scenic Train Ride
❤️ Visit Your Local Brewery
❤️ Take a Virtual Cocktail Class
❤️ Watch a Comedy Show
❤️ Whip Up Breakfast in Bed
❤️ Get a Couples Massage
❤️ Go on a Hike
Credit cards can be beneficial tools when used responsibly, but they can wreak havoc on your credit score and financial health when used the wrong way. Here some bad credit card habits you should avoid if you want to make the most of your credit cards.
❎ Making late payments
❎ Paying only the minimum due
❎ Taking out cash advances
❎ Using the wrong credit card
❎ Closing older credit card accounts
❎ Not repaying the balance during a 0% promotional APR offer
❎ Buying things you can’t afford
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