RE/MAX Journey



Posted by RE/MAX Journey on 2/18/2020

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

If you're a first-time homebuyer and you've already started exploring available properties, you might think to yourself, "Why do I even need a buyer agent?" After all, you've been looking at homes for sale and the realtors who showed you the properties were very nice and helpful. But here's the deal: Those realtors are seller agents. They represent the home seller. They are legally, morally and ethically bound to get the best possible deal for the seller -- not for you as the buyer! This is just one of the reasons why first-time homebuyers can really benefit from working with a buyer's agent. Here are some more advantages.

Buyer Agents Work for You -- The Buyer

Once you're prequalified and your buyer agent understands the features you want in your first home, the agent will locate for-sale properties that fit your criteria. Not only that, but the buyer agent will coordinate and schedule showings of those properties for you. You don't have to do all of the legwork. And remember: As your representative, the buyer agent is out to find the best possible deal on a first-time home purchase for you.

Buyer Agents Are Great Negotiators

Every home sale and purchase is bound to hit a snag or two along the way. It's a lengthy process to buy or sell a home, and it's also a highly emotional transaction for buyers and sellers. It is, after all, the largest emotional and financial transaction that most people will make in their lifetime. Therefore, the negotiating skills of a buyer agent will be of great benefit to you as a homebuyer. If something starts to go wrong, they know how to negotiate a fix and they know professionals within their network who can help iron out problems -- from titling companies to real estate attorneys and even contractors to fix unexpected problems with the property.

Buyer Agents Are Property Experts

If you look at a home, do you know all the potential problem spots to examine to ensure that it won't have hidden costs? For example, can you tell if the plumbing is too old and will need major repairs within five years? Can you assess the age and functionality of the furnace, hot water heater and other features? Probably not -- but the buyer agent can because he or she has that experience.

Best of all, buyer agents don't charge any upfront or ongoing fees for their services. They split the commission with the seller agent who works for the home seller. For all these reasons and more, it makes great sense to put the expertise of a buyer agent to work for you!




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by RE/MAX Journey on 2/11/2020

Receiving a low offer on a home can be frustrating for a seller. But, youíre likely to see at least one or two offers on your property that are lower than you would like.

Right now, the housing market is filled with young professionals burdened with student loans, rising costs of living, and stagnating wages. So, itís no wonder that theyíre trying to save money anywhere they can.

In todayís post, weíre going to talk about what to do when you get a low offer so you can set yourself up for a sale that youíre happy with.

Donít refuse outright

The first thing to know about low offers is that they can sometimes turn into something that both you and the buyer are happy with. Many successful home sales started at a number that the seller considered too low, but--through negotiation--was brought to a higher price and better deal overall.

Many sellers are uncomfortable with the idea of negotiation. Most people seldom negotiate prices unless they are buying a car, and even then would prefer to avoid the hassle.

For others, negotiation is a normal part of everyday life. Flatout refusing an offer, especially if you arenít receiving many other higher offers, could be a missed opportunity.

Compare your asking price with similar homes nearby

Odds are that you and your agent have already done your research and found an asking price that is comparable in your neighborhood. But home prices fluctuate. To reassure yourself that your asking price is fair, take another look at homes up for sale that are around the same age and size of your home.

Take time to craft a counteroffer

Once youíve had time to talk the offer over with your family and real estate agent (and maybe vented a bit), itís time to come up with a counteroffer.

There are a few options for making a counteroffer that donít involve significantly lowering the amount you stand to gain from the home sale. First, you could offer to relieve the buyer of some of the closing costs, such as paying for the inspection. Or, if you planned on leaving new appliances in the home, you could lower your asking price but take the appliances when you move.

Weigh your options

If the buyer still wonít raise their offer close to your asking price, itís probably a good time to move on and rethink your sale strategy.

Take some time to consider the sale as a whole. If you arenít receiving many other offers, it might be time to consider lowering to price or rethinking your marketing plan. You might consider repainting and taking new photos, or changing up your listing to highlight some other features of the house.





Posted by RE/MAX Journey on 2/4/2020

Image by pascalhelmer from Pixabay

You’ve spent months scouring home listings and viewing houses. Once you found your dream home, you signed the contracts and successfully closed. Congratulations! It’s time to get started on this next exciting chapter of your life.

While you’re probably eager to move your belongings into your new home, it’s a good idea to pause for a moment and plan to give your new house a deep cleaning. Here are five areas you’ll want to focus on before you start hauling in your possessions.

1. Bathrooms

Bathrooms are a priority because you’ll want to eliminate any potential germs lurking about. Even if everything looks clean, you can’t know for sure if it’s only been surface-cleaned, so you’ll want to give it your own deep cleaning. This way you can ensure any bacteria or other icky germs aren’t lingering. Focus on the toilet, sink, and tub. Don’t forget the toilet seat—ideally, install a new one.

Tip: Change the shower curtain and liner or, if you’re keeping the existing curtain because it matches the décor, give it a good machine wash.

2. Kitchens

Kitchens are another room where germs tend to linger. To start, clean the interiors of the oven and refrigerator. Next, use disinfectant to wash down the sink, faucet, counters, cabinets and all appliance exteriors. Don’t forget any handles and knobs.

Once you’ve got the kitchen clean, cover the cabinet and pantry shelves with new liner. Not only will it help protect your dishes and other wares, but it’ll give these spaces a fresh clean look and feel when you place your items in it.

3. Floors & Carpets

If you aren’t immediately replacing carpets, give them a deep cleaning with a rug cleaner. If you don’t own or have access to one, you can rent one from a grocery or hardware store. Wash any hardwood floors. To avoid harsh chemicals, you can use water and white vinegar, they’ll eliminate most bacteria and remove most dirt and grime.

Give the bathroom and kitchen floors additional attention by thoroughly washing these floor surfaces with a disinfecting cleaner. Be sure not to miss any nooks and crannies. Clean tile, vinyl or linoleum with a bacteria-killing cleaner and don’t forget any grout—a baking soda paste works nicely.

4. Air Filters

It’s hard to know when air filters were last changed. It’s always a good idea to replace them, just to be on the safe side. Mark the filters with the date, so you know when it’s time to swap them out again.

Tip: Don’t forget the vent filter above the stove if you have one.

5. Door Knobs

Door knobs are easy to overlook but they are a prime area for lingering germs. Go through your home and disinfect doorknobs, cabinet pulls and drawer handles. Don’t forget the handles on sliding glass or shower doors.

Tip: Use disinfectant wipes on doorknobs if you’re short on time

Once you’ve given your house a deep cleaning, you can confidently move your possessions into your home with a fresh, clean start.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by RE/MAX Journey on 1/28/2020


 Photo by Mohamed Hassan via Pixabay

For years home ownership has been the American dream, but, according to the Pew Research Center, a higher percentage of us are renters than at any other time in the last 50 years. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. For many people renting may be the right choice. Every individual and family needs to consider all the factors and make the decision that’s right for them.

The Financial Consideration

There’s a rule of thumb called the price to rent ratio. You get it by dividing the price of a house by the annual rent. For example, if you can buy a house for $300,000 or rent it for $1500 per month, the ratio is 300,000 / (12 * 1500), or 16.7. When the number is 15 or less, buying is the better choice, when it’s 16 to 20, renting becomes more favorable and when it’s over 20 renting is significantly better. However, this fails to take in factors like down payment amount, financing terms, taxes, insurance and other costs, which can vary widely. A more accurate number, telling you how long it will take to cover the up-front costs of ownership and pull even financially with renting, can be found using one of many calculators available.

The Other Considerations

While this sort of calculation is valuable, there are other questions, both financial and lifestyle-related, that the potential renter or buyer must ask.

  • What can I spend upfront for down payment and closing costs?

  • Can I afford a major repair such as replacing a furnace or air conditioner? There are insurance-like plans to defray some of that cost, but those make up another annual expense.

  • How long do I plan to stay? Selling a home and buying a new one is costly and time-consuming.

  • Which is more important to me, stability or flexibility?

Advantages of Home Ownership

As the inheritor of the American dream, the homeowner has some opportunities and privileges that the renter can’t enjoy.

  • Appreciation and equity. As home value rises and morgage balance drops, homeowners gain equity, which for many is their most valuable asset.

  • Building credit.

  • Freedom to remodel. There’s no landlord telling you what you can and can’t do with your property.

  • Stable monthly payments. Taxes and insurance can increase, but principal and interest payment remains the same. If you stay there long enough, eventually you’ll have no principal/interest to pay at all.

  • Tax advantage. For most people, it isn’t what it was before the 2017 tax changes, but interest and taxes may still be deductible.

  • Stability. You can become a member of your neighborhood and your children can stay in the same school system. No landlord can decide to sell and give you notice.

Advantages of Renting

  • No large upfront expenses.

  • Your landlord is responsible for major repairs.

  • Still some opportunity to build credit by paying rent promptly.

  • You have less at risk. You won’t be affected if property values fall.

  • Flexibility. If you choose to move you can easily give notice and do so.

Here’s one last question: which feels better, the satisfaction of owning your own castle or the freedom to change your life quickly? The answer may go a long way toward pointing you in the right direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by RE/MAX Journey on 1/21/2020


 Photo by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

Energy Efficiency

As home buyers become younger and younger, energy-efficient structures become more popular. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the most sought-after green features in a home include:

  • Energy-Star rated windows and appliances.
  • Toilets that conserve water.
  • Tankless water heaters.
  • Solar panels.
  • Extra insulation.
  • Triple-paned glass in windows and doors. 

Home buyers in 2020 want an efficient home that boasts big creature comforts, combined with a small monthly utility bill.

Sustainability

Hand-in-hand with energy efficiency comes sustainability. Recycled building materials such as reclaimed wood and recycled steel are gaining ground as viable alternatives to traditional building materials. The use of pre-cast concrete and bamboo is increasing as well. But homebuyers who really want to flaunt their devotion to sustainable products this year may be able to choose sheep's wool or straw bales as home insulation. Houses made of earth may even begin to crop up in places where they weren't previously welcome. 

Technology

It's a digital world in which we live in 2020. That's why young home buyers want more tech features in the homes they're considering living in for the next three-to-five years. CNET includes the following devices in their list of top home tech:

  • Smart speakers.
  • Smart displays.
  • Mesh routers.
  • Smart plugs.
  • Smart light bulbs.
  • Smart thermostats.
  • Video doorbells.
  • Home security systems.

These devices not only protect your home from intruders and show you who's at your door from across the country, they do the little things, too. They can read you a recipe so you're free to keep your hands in the bowl. They can ensure you have seamless WIFI connection all through the house and have your rooms warmed up and waiting for you when you get home from work in the evenings. Today's tech is all about hands-free convenience at the simple command of a voice, and today's home buyers are crazy for it. 

Wide-Open Spaces

Open-concept areas are still big this year, but in 2020, they're expanding to include the great outdoors. Homes that offer a seamless transition from indoors to an upgraded, outdoor living space are in demand. Walls of sliding, glass doors that simply fold away to remove the barrier between a kitchen and an outdoor deck are prime real estate. 

Other top trends in home design this year include industrial living spaces and rooms that boast high-contrast decor. The majority of home buyers going forward are expected to be some of the youngest, most professional that the market has ever seen. Younger buyers means more adventurous floor plans and garages capable of housing multiple cars. In short, 2020 is shaping up to be a real estate agent's dream.