Monday, August 30, 2010

Does Moving Up Make Sense?

These questions will help you decide whether you’re ready for a home that’s larger or in a more desirable location. If you answer yes to most of the questions, it’s a sign that you may be ready to move.

1. Have you built substantial equity in your current home? Look at your annual mortgage statement or call your lender to find out. Usually, you don’t build up much equity in the first few years of your mortgage, as monthly payments are mostly interest, but if you’ve owned your home for five or more years, you may have significant, unrealized gains.

2. Has your income or financial situation improved? If you’re making more money, you may be able to afford higher mortgage payments and cover the costs of moving.

3. Have you outgrown your neighborhood? The neighborhood you pick for your first home might not be the same neighborhood you want to settle down in for good. For example, you may have realized that you’d like to be closer to your job or live in a better school district.

4. Are there reasons why you can’t remodel or add on? Sometimes you can create a bigger home by adding a new room or building up. But if your property isn’t large enough, your municipality doesn’t allow it, or you’re simply not interested in remodeling, then moving to a bigger home may be your best option.

5. Are you comfortable moving in the current housing market? If your market is hot, your home may sell quickly and for top dollar, but the home you buy also will be more expensive. If your market is slow, finding a buyer may take longer, but you’ll have more selection and better pricing as you seek your new home.

6. Are interest rates attractive? A low rate not only helps you buy a larger home, but also makes it easier to find a buyer.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Take the Stress Out of Homebuying!

Buying a home should be fun, not stressful. As you look for your dream home, keep in mind these tips for making the process as peaceful as possible.

1. Find a real estate agent who you connect with. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the REALTOR® you chose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality. This is where I of course say contact me, Krista Jameson!

2. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, just as there’s no perfect time to sell.
If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer — you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. The housing market usually doesn’t change fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.

3. Don’t ask for too many opinions.
It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of your immediate family — the people who will be living in the home.

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect.
If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go.

5. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator.
Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or by refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love. Negotiation is give and take.

6. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself — room size, kitchen, etc. — that you forget about important issues as noise level, location to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.

7. Plan ahead.
Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.

8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget.
Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass.
Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment. But it also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased.

10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation.
While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually over from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live.

Contact me today to begin house hunting!

Thanks Realtor magazine for great tips that will help my clients!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Krista's Tips to Selling a Home

With lots of competition and a high inventory of houses on the market, here are just a couple suggestions I give to clients preparing to sell a home.

1. Contact me for a pre-listing package!

2. Clean, Organize & Stage!
-By far this is one of THE most important steps. I hire professional photographers for my listings and I want the home's pictures to look outstanding! If the interior of a home looks roomy and decluttered, the pictures will turn out much better! (Oh and better pictures will bring in more traffic since 9 out of 10 homebuyers preview homes online before ever going in one!) De-clutter the closets, bookshelves, nooks, desk, rooms, counters, etc. Clean the windows, floors, carpets, etc. Stage it to look show-worthy! I go very in-depth with my clients on this step.

3. If something is broken, have it fixed. Many times people can not see past your homes faults. For example, if a window or cabinet is visibly broken, have it fixed. If lightbulbs are burnt out, replace with new ones! The last thing you want is a potential buyer walking in and seeing the flaws that could have been easily fixed. Along this line is having a pre-inspection done to fix any problems you may be unaware of.

4. Curb Appeal! Most buyers will make a decision within just a few minutes about whether they want your house or not. Have the lawn and flower beds looking fabulous! Once again, remember this is a high competition market because of lots of inventory. Stand out! Make your home's exterior shine! Clean your steps, siding, driveway, windows, fix any paint chipping, etc.

5. Think about easy updates or upgrades that will give you a return. I will say this from personal experience. Most buyers do not like my personal taste of a very dark brown bedroom. It's almost cave-like. Well, when I go to sell my home eventually I know that the walls will have to be repainted with a neutral, light colored paint. It's an easy and cost effective change. Also, if you have bathrooms or a kitchen with old dirty linoleum, think about having them tiled. Contact this guy for tiling work! :) Replace dated fixtures with updated fixtures from the local Home Depot or Lowes.

* Have a friend that has thought about selling? Give me their info and I'd be happy to send over my personalized pre-listing package!