We invite you to join us in the efforts to help us share the warmth this winter by bringing new and/or clean gently used coats to our office. As part of Windermere Realty Trust’s long-standing commitment to help those in need, our offices will be collecting coats and blankets NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 15, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. All sizes are welcome from kids, teens to adults! HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND HOPE YOU CAN SHARE THE WARMTH.
If you’re looking to buy a house, you’re bound to have well-meaning friends and family pull you aside and say, “Let me give you some advice.” After all, they’ve been there, done that. Or they’ve watched an ungodly amount of “House Hunters.”
We know they’re trying to be helpful, but just because people have an opinion doesn’t mean they’re informed. And when it comes to buying a house, that seemingly friendly direction can send you down the wrong path.
So to keep you from jumping into the market armed with half-baked “wisdom,” we’ve gathered the worst home-buying advice people have heard and explain why these maxims are myth rather than gospel.
‘Hold off, home prices are going down’
Why you might hear this: The predictions have been going on for years: The housing bubble is going to burst again; income is stagnant; the zombie apocalypse will free up stock.
Why it’s bad advice: Sadly, we have yet to find a Magic 8 Ball that’s spot-on when it comes to predicting the future. So if you want or need to buy a home, the time isn’t someday—it’s now. And “with a lack of inventory and the busiest time of the year approaching, home prices aren’t going down anytime soon,” says California Realtor®Tracey Hampson.
‘You don’t need to use a real estate agent’
Why you might hear this: See a home you like, then make an offer—how hard can it be? Cut a buyer’s agent out of the picture entirely and you’ll do just fine. Plus, with no agent to collect a commission, you’ll be able to negotiate a better deal with the seller. Right?
Why it’s bad advice: In a market where houses are moving so fast it’d give you whiplash, a real estate agent is indispensable. Not only will your agent know about properties long before you do, he or she can also guide you through mountains of paperwork, pointing out potential problems that could cost you big-time down the road.
“Also, though you may consider yourself a great negotiator, an agent’s knowledge and experience will help you get the house you want at the best price,” says Atlanta-based Realtor Bill Golden of Re/Max Metro Atlanta Cityside.
‘Just use the listing agent to represent you’
Why you might hear this: While listing agents work for the seller, they might offer to help you, too. What’s wrong with that? It certainly seems to cut down on the number of cooks in the kitchen, and maybe it’ll give you an edge in a competitive bidding situation.
Why it’s bad advice: You need someone in your own corner with a water bottle, cool towel, and an eye on getting you the best deal.
Put simply, “the seller’s agent represents the seller,” says Evelina K. Vatkova, associate partner at Partners Trust in Beverly Hills, CA. It’s akin to going to court with just one lawyer—one who’s working both sides of a case. You want someone who has your interests in mind, first and last.
‘Make a lowball offer and negotiate up from there’
Why you might hear this: Someone read Donald Trump‘s “The Art of the Deal” (while moving their lips, most likely) and thinks everything is a negotiation.
Why it’s bad advice: Making a major lowball offer can very often start negotiations off on the wrong foot with the seller. Worse, “you end up paying more in the end than you would [have] had you been more reasonable to start with,” says Golden. Serious buyers and sellers know what homes are worth. Which leads to our next piece of bad advice…
‘Never pay full price’
Why you might hear this: Because only losers pay full price, right? (See: “The Art of the Deal.”)
Why it’s bad advice: There’s no such thing as absolutes in real estate.
“If a home is overpriced, you don’t want to pay full price,” says Golden. “However, if it seems that the house is well worth the money after carefully studying the comps your Realtor provides, paying full price may be the only way to get it, especially in a seller’s market.”
‘Remove contingencies to make your offer stronger’
Why you might hear this: A house has tons of bidders, and you want to be the most attractive to the seller.
Why it’s bad advice: In a competitive market, it’s tempting to feel pressure to cast off contingencies—you know, those safeguards where you agree to buy the home only if certain requirements (e.g., passing a home inspection or title clearance) are met. Of course sellers dislike contingencies, because they’re designed to protect you against utter catastrophe—say, your buying a home riddled with toxic mold or liens that will cost you thousands of dollars.
“Never remove contingencies unless you are 100% positive the property is the right home for you,” say Erfan Haj, an associate partner at Partners Trust.
‘Don’t bother hiring a home inspector’
Why you might hear this: You’ll spend a lot of money on an inspector to point out a leaky faucet. Besides, the home looks fine! Um, right?
Why it’s bad advice: Oh boy. That property that looks just perfect at an open house could be rife with issues only a pro will uncover. And saving those few bucks from skimping on an inspector could cost you loads down the line. And Los Angeles stager Michelle Minchof Moving Mountains Design reminds us not to skip inspection even with a home warranty from the seller.
See full article from Realtor.com
Whether you're thinking about buying an investment property for steady cash flow, a vacation home for your family or a temporary home for your college-bound son or daughter, there are a few things you should consider before making the investment:
Local Market — Both the local resale and rental markets are important factors. Are home prices on the rise, increasing the possibility of a profitable sale in the future? Is the rental market tight, causing average rent prices to go up? You'll want your rental income to be able to cover mortgage costs, taxes and expenses.
Maintenance — When calculating costs, include routine maintenance and potential repairs. If purchasing a property to rent out, note any requirements and safety obligations for your area. If you're not the handy type or your desired property is far from your primary residence, consider hiring a property management company to handle ongoing maintenance concerns.
Insurance Costs — Find out if you need additional disaster coverage such as flood or earthquake insurance. In general expect to pay higher insurance costs, especially if you plan on renting out the property.
Financing — Plan on being subjected to more scrutiny than you were on your primary residence. Banks often require a higher down payment on second homes, and interest rates may be higher as well.
Tax Implications — Make sure you understand the tax implications of owning a second property. If you plan on renting it out, you'll need to report the rental payments as income. On the other hand, operating expenses, such as insurance, utilities and repairs, may be considered deductions.
Windermere Foundation and Mary's Place – Working together to house families in need….
Home renovation reality shows have inspired many homeowners to consider costly upgrades for their own homes. While many home improvement projects are worthwhile, it's important to know which ones are worth it from an investment standpoint.
Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind when you're deciding on a renovation project.
Value Added (or Subtracted) for Future Buyers
Many buyers won't even look at homes that lack the right number of bedrooms, and a garage ranks as one of the most popular amenities in newly built homes.
Remodeling magazine's 2016 Cost vs. Value Report showed that replacement projects, like changing a front or garage door, offer serious gains.
Which large projects pack the most punch when it comes to adding value? Two-story additions, master suite upgrades and major kitchen remodels top the list.
Your Neighborhood's Market Conditions
Every neighborhood has a price threshold of what buyers are willing to pay, so a $75,000 kitchen remodel may not be worth it in a neighborhood where home values top out at $200,000.
Yours could be next! Call Tina with Windermere Stellar at 503-440-9957 if you would like a free market evaluation of your home or if you are in the market to buy!
This adorable John Kline home sold for $314,000 filled with natural light and beautiful wood throughout. Walls of windows to overlook a gentle rolling creek around the front. A spacious designed kitchen for everyday living. Cozy upstairs master retreat setting with vaulted ceilings and a jet tub to feel like your in a private sanctuary. Refinished hardwood floors and new roof! Sit on the deck and listen to the birds and water in this truly one of a kind home!
539 N Hemlock Street ~ Nested in the Heart of Cannon Beach Oregon!
10 Upgrades Under $1,000 That Increase Home Values
A clean, well-maintained home in tiptop condition will yield maximum profit when it comes time to sell. However, you don’t have to shell out the big bucks to make sure your house is in mint condition. There are a number of upgrades you can do for under $1,000 that will impress buyers and prompt strong offers.
Add a water filtration system
Installing a whole-house water filtration system is a serious game changer. Additional filtering to remove pollutants and chemicalsfrom our drinking water has become necessary in many cities across the U.S. However, many homeowners have been dealing with the issue on their own, by either using a clunky, refillable filtering pitcher or purchasing drinking water in environmentally unfriendly plastic bottles. Increase your home’s value and impress buyers with filtered water directly from any faucet in the house — it’s pure luxury, and this amenity will pay off now and in the future when it’s time to sell.
Install a programmable thermostat
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating your homeaccounts for more than 40% of its total energy usage. Programmable thermostats allow you to customize a temperature profile throughout the day. Reducing the temperature inside your home by a degree or two while you sleep can lead to huge savings on a monthly basis. And with energy costs on the rise, many buyers will appreciate your forward thinking in assisting them with long-term savings — especially if you put in a Wi-Fi–enabled thermostat that can be controlled by your smartphone or computer.
Add more grounded outlets, or upgrade the outlets you have
If you live in an old house, chances are, two-prong-receptacle outlets outnumber grounded, three-prong outlets in your home. Adding more three-prong outlets is a small project that can greatly improve the functionality of your home. It’s possible to retrofit a new three-prong or GFCI receptacle into the two-prong outlet box without rewiring, as long as the box itself is grounded. Or if you’re happy with the electrical structure you have but are sick of looking at dingy tan switches, consider updating to new white ones. You can even add fancy new outlets that have USB ports or timers to control lights.
Update your fixtures
Updating tired, worn fixtures will breathe new life into any space. Give your bathroom and kitchen a critical look — could the drawer pulls and cabinet handles use an update? If new kitchen cabinets are outside your budget, new hardware is a simple way to update the room’s entire look and feel. What about the faucets? A sleek new kitchen faucet with a sprayer combines practicality with design and will be appreciated by buyers. Anticipating and tackling these smaller projects will have a big selling impact. And — bonus! — you can enjoy them in the meantime.
Replace the toilet
Replacing an old, cracked, or outdated toilet can make a significant impact on your bathroom aesthetics. Purchase a stylish new one for a few hundred dollars or take the environmentally friendly route and opt for an almost-new secondhand toilet (just be sure to buy a new seat). Repurposed construction material outlets offer a variety of well-priced goods.
Reglaze the bathtub
You can see buyers hold their breath as they slowly pull back the shower curtain, hoping for a sparkly new tub. Exceed their expectations for just a few hundred dollars by reglazing your existing bathtub. The process can be accomplished in a day and will be ready to use in just a few days. Roll up your sleeves for a DIY weekend or call in the professionals; either way, you’ll come in under budget.
Install a tile floor
A shiny new tile floor can breathe life into the darkest bathrooms. They’re easy to clean, resist microbes and allergens, and wear well in high-traffic areas, making them a perfect material for the bathroom. Flooring liquidators typically sell a variety of quality tile, so start there. If your bathroom is small, you can probably even splurge on some designer options! Then save the rest of your budget for a professional installation.
Add new blinds or plantation shutters
Is your home still sporting aluminum blinds or old-school vertical blinds? Consider replacing them: New window coverings can really modernize a room. If your windows are a standard width, you can buy basic wood blinds at a home improvement store (and most allow you to customize the length). If your window size is irregular, you’ll have to special-order them. To add a truly upscale look to a room, try plantation shutters — they can be a major selling point with the next people to own your home.
Replace the front door
The front entry is the focal point of your home’s curb appeal. Give your home a face-lift and replace — or repaint — the front door. With security and safety in mind, choose a door that will appeal to a buyer’s practical side (and don’t forget to consider new hardware too). Another way to add interest and style to your home is by adding color to make your front door a statement.
Add a walkway
A new path leading to the front door can really elevate the look of your home. While brick pavers add a traditional and classic look to the exterior of your home, you can also choose stone, concrete, or even rocks — just make sure the look of the pathway matches your home’s style. Regardless of the material, a walkway is a welcoming feature, beckoning guests (and buyers!) inside to have a look around.
What affordable upgrades have you made to increase the value of your home?
Article by Forbes JAN 22, 2016
The loan is approved, the contract is signed, the title is clean, the closing date is set, and everything seems on track to get that home.
And then some people do the unthinkable that costs them their dream home.
“I’ve had clients call me and say they’ve quit their job, or bought a new car,” just before close, says Mark Livingstone, a mortgage broker with Cornerstone First Financial in Washington, D.C. “All I can do is say, “What were you thinking? I’ve seen a number of deals fall through that way.”
It’s tempting to splurge just before you buy a home. After all, you’ve probably got big-ticket items to buy like a washer and dryer, or a lawn mower, or new furniture, or bedding. And you’ve probably paid down your other credit cards and paid off car loans and otherwise cleaned up anything bad on your credit ahead of applying for a mortgage. Now there’s a store offering you a $10,000 line of credit for furniture with no payments for a year so you can fill your new house?
Don’t do it. At least, not before you close.
“Banks are going to question almost any meaningful transaction you make while you’re applying for a mortgage,” says Douglas Boneparth, a financial planner in New York City. “So, until you close and the keys are in your hands, you are under the magnifying glass,” he says.
There’s one thing most people don’t understand in the home-purchasing process: Their credit is monitored, right up to the day they sign the contract says Tom Wind, executive vice president of home lending for EverBank in Jacksonville, Fla. “When people think they’re approved [they also think] they’re done,” he says. “They’re not done until the loan closes,” he said.
Take, for example, the furniture store line of credit. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t making payments yet on the $10,000 of furniture you just bought, Wind says, because the bank assumes you’ll be making a monthly payment straight from the start, which will likely throw off your debt-to-income ratio. “All that installment debt goes on your credit before you make a payment,” he says. “Even if we find that there’s a deferment, we have to take that future payment into account.” (For the most part, most lenders say your total debt-to-income ratio can be no more than 43%, and prefer no more than 28% for your house payment portion.)
If you need new furniture to fill your house, consider renting for a few months. There’s often no hard credit check and given that your store-bought furniture will likely take several weeks or months to be delivered, and it can be a more cost-effective option.
Car leases can also trip up potential homebuyers, because the bank treats the lease payments like any other debt payment and the lease includes a hard credit check, says Sabine Schoenberg, a former realtor in Greenwich, Conn. who now runs SabinesHome.com, a real estate advice and home design website. Leases often require more cash at signing, which could be used for paying down credit cards or increasing your down payment. “Anything that might gobble up cash is money you should have in your account,” she says.
Even if you avoid the temptation to splurge before the close, another frequent hiccup occurs when home buyers switch jobs at the last minute, Wind says. “People think in their mind it doesn’t make a difference if it’s company A or company B or if I make $100,000 here, or $100,000 there, but the difference is we still have to validate all if it,” Wind said. “The risk you’re going to have is we’re going to have to call the old company if we find out you’re not there. It’s going to be an issue,” he said.
Wind says even if you leave a job for more money or even the same money, it may be difficult to get pay stubs at the last minute. “If you’re not talking to your lender it could delay your closing or put your deposit at risk,” he says.
Of course, scraping up the cash to ensure you can close is one of the hardest parts of the real estate transaction. Many buyers opt to borrow from their 401(k) accounts or withdraw from their IRAs. What you shouldn’t do, says Boneparth, is use cash advances from your credit cards to bring more cash to the table. Naturally you run up more debt, and you’re going to pay more interest on the cash advance (usually double digits and sometimes even higher than 20%).
It’s also important to let your lender know if you’re getting large deposits, such as gifts from family members or withdrawals from your IRA to help with the down payment, Wind adds. “Those are very easy things to explain, but we need to know where the cash is coming from and clearly document that it’s not a loan,” he says.
Author: Daniel Goldstein