Increasing the value of your home when selling can be a difficult task, but a few home improvement ideas can help you stage for success while keeping within your budget.
The summertime real estate season is as hot as the weather, but you might want to postpone your purchase until fall.
For the first time in recent history, October surpassed June as the most popular month to get married. And these autumn-loving brides may be on to something: Although the spring months are notoriously the best time to buy real estate (as well as have a wedding), fall may be the new ideal season to buy a home.
Hear us out: One obvious reason is that it’s easier to get from open house to open house without questioning if you’ll need an AC repair ASAP upon moving into that home for sale in Phoenix, AZ. Also, families on a mission to move into a new home before school starts are out of the picture. Besides these two more obvious reasons, here are seven expert insights on why you should consider a fall real estate purchase.
1. There’s less competition
Competition for houses drops off in the fall, a time many people consider to be off-season in real estate. But there are still homes for sale — and in some cases, there’s just as much inventory as there was during the spring and summer. “[Fall] means new inventory and repositioned old inventory that did not sell in the prime season,” says Wesley Stanton, a New York, NY, agent with The Stanton Hoch Team.
This puts you in a great position to negotiate. “Fall homebuyers should consider [making] lowball offers, followed by more aggressive negotiation,” says Brian Davis, a real estate investor and director of education at Spark Rental. Davis points out that many sellers are very motivated to sell before the holidays. If possible, buyers should let these sellers know that they can close before Thanksgiving or before the school winter break.
2. Sellers are worn-out
Some sellers who put their homes on the market during the prime selling times of spring and summer might have been a tad overconfident by listing their homes for more than buyers were willing to spend. After months of no action, these sellers are often ready to make a deal. “Sellers who were unrealistic earlier in the year about price will now be more willing to reduce the price come fall,” says Thomas Miller, a Washington, DC, real estate agent. “Because there [are fewer buyers] and because the sellers are now eager to sell, they are more inclined to take the low offer than wait another six months for spring to come around.”
3. Sellers are serious
Not all homes on the market in fall are summer leftovers. Some people need to sell in the fall because the timing is right. Maybe they were having a home built, and it’s now ready. Maybe they need to move because of a job. “The sellers with houses on the market in the fall tend to be serious,” says Sam Heskel, president of Nadlan Valuation, an appraisal management company in Brooklyn, NY. “That means sellers could be more open to negotiating and accepting a lower offer.”
4. You can take advantage of tax breaks
First-time homebuyers, take note: Although you can’t escape paying income tax, you can make a dent in what you owe when you become a homeowner. “Property tax and mortgage interest are both deductions you can take for your whole year’s worth of income, even if you closed on your home in December,” says David Hryck, a New York, NY tax adviser, lawyer, and personal finance expert. “Any payments that are made prior to the closing of the loan are tax-deductible. This can make a serious difference in the amount you owe the government at the end of the year.”
5. Fall is a safer time of year
Did you know that burglars have peak seasons? They do, says Sarah Brown, a home safety expert for SafeWise.com. “July and August are prime months for burglaries to take place,” she says. “Waiting until the fall [to buy] gives you an advantage when learning about a home and the neighborhood.” You’ll be settled in your home and can take precautions — like setting up that new alarm system — before the next burglary season rolls around. Note: Check Trulia’s local maps with the crime filter before you buy.
6. You’re the center of attention
Because spring and summer are ideal times to buy a home, real estate agents are usually busier then. And that could mean you might not always get the attention you want. This is also true for other professionals you’re working with to buy a house. “Service providers, such as mortgage lenders and title companies, are moving out of the summertime sales swamp and can often respond more quickly,” says John Lazenby, president of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association in Orlando, FL.
The same goes for movers. “Because summer is peak moving season, people often experience more delays and service issues, such as moving companies reaching capacity and running out of trucks to pick up shipments,” says Jack Griffin, president and chief operating officer of Atlas World Group. “The probability of experiencing a delay goes way down in the fall season.”
7. You can take advantage of end-of-year sales to outfit your home
There are bound to be improvements you’ll want to make after buying a house. You’ll also probably need to buy items to maintain your home, and if appliances weren’t part of the deal, you’ll need those too. Wouldn’t it be great to coordinate your home purchase with sales on items you’ll need? According to Consumer Reports, the calendar determines when it’s a good time to buy all sorts of consumer goods. In particular, September is a great time for buying carpet and paint. October means lawn mowers go on sale, and appliances and cookware are cheaper in November.
Source: trulia.com ~
Buying a house and moving in is gonna cost you. There’s no way around it. Right? Well, actually, there may just be a way to make it not quite so painful. A willingness to negotiate and put in a little work plus a little inside info on special deals you can take advantage of can help you cut some costs. Here are eight ways to save money on your move and move in.
1. Don’t take it all with you
Furniture you’re no longer in love with or appliances like washers and dryers or the fridge you have in the garage can be a pain to move. You can potentially save money (and time and hassle) by including them in your home sale. First-time buyers or someone moving from out of state may appreciate your old stuff far more than you, and you don’t have to pay to haul it to your next place.
NOTE: You can also haul furniture and appliance out to the street and call a non-profit to come pick them up.
2. Leave the flat screen
If you have a mounted flat screen TV that’s at least a few years old, consider leaving it behind too. The cost of taking it down and repairing the wall behind it plus the care involved in moving it might not be worth it. Flat-screen technology is always improving while costs are coming down, so it’s a good excuse to buy something bigger and better without spending a lot.
3. Negotiate everything
If you’ve been looking for a house or have bought one before, you’re probably already aware of closing costs. But you might not be aware of how much you can negotiate with your lender.
“Shop around before choosing a mortgage lender, but don’t stop there,” said Bankrate. “When you receive your good faith estimate of closing costs, or GFE, the negotiation hasn’t ended.” This itemized list of estimated closing costs includes lender’s fees as well as items such as appraisal charges and title insurance premiums.
“The lender or broker charges some fees, and third parties charge others. The first step is to find out which are loan origination fees and which are third-party fees. Don’t guess. Ask the lender or broker.”
Bankrate advises that while “some items are non-negotiable: taxes, city and county stamps, recording fees, prorated interest and reserves,” negotiating on others that can “be waived or reduced” can save you money.”
4. Barter for services
Need a handyman and have appliances or furniture you’re getting rid of? You just might be able to make a deal. Ask around for referrals and then introduce a barter system into the equation during your first conversation. You might be surprised what you can get for what you’ve already got.
5. Move Smart
Once you’re out of college, or maybe out of your first post-college apartment, thinking about renting a U-Haul and moving yourself (or with a few good friends) seems less than desirable. But if you’re willing to sweat a little (ok, a lot) you can save a bundle. Just remember two important things to entice and thank your friends: Pizza. And beer.
If you don’t want to do the whole thing on your own, think of ways you can save by doing a hybrid move:
- Do the packing and unpacking yourself
- Have everything on one floor. Stairs can add considerably to the cost of a move.
- Pare down. Maybe you don’t need to bring all that stuff with you. Selling it will earn you a few bucks and save you a few more.
6. Consider moving and storage hybrid options
A company like PODS or U-Pack might be a solution for you if you need self storage wrapped into your move. Essentially, the company drops off a mobile storage unit at your house and you pack it up yourself. They then pick it up and move it for you. You can tack on storage at the end if needed, making this a particularly good solution for those who have time between their move out and their move in. This type of move can cost up to 35 percent less than traditional movers, but keep in mind you will be doing the labor – just not the driving.
7. Take advantage of special offers
Move-in offers for cable, Internet, and phone service can save you a lot of money. But they often come with a catch that could cost you down the line. Look out for special limited-time offers – one-year or six-month specials that expire, leaving you with much higher rates after the introductory period.
8. Don’t rush the renos
Chances are, after you move in, you’re going to start receiving all kinds of junk mail asking if you want to refi, redo your lawn, and apply for 72 different credit cards. In what seems like an endless pile of junk mail will be some special offers for new homebuyers, but they might not arrive for a month or more. Look out for coupons from handymen, companies selling flooring and window coverings, home furnishing companies like Bed Bath and Beyond and World Market, and offers from landscapers with discounts for new clients. If you’re planning to shop, renovate, or do some work on your interior or exterior, taking advantage of a few of these offers can help shave down the cost.
Source: realtytimes.com ~ By: JAYMI NACIRI
From the desk of Modesto REALTOR Lynn Albro: Planning to sell your house this year? Don’t be overwhelmed by all the details involved in preparing it to go on the market. Set aside a couple of weekends to do the work, and follow these four simple updates.
Before you list, tweak your home decor and finishes to up your odds of attracting a sale.
When you’re putting your home on the market, you want it looking its best. You know you’ll need to clean and declutter, but what about making cosmetic updates?
Investing in a new look for your home might be well worth the effort. The recent Zillow Paint Colors That Sell Analysis reported that certain paint colors in specific rooms can impact the sale price of a home. And many buyers perk up when they see terms like granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and subway tile in a home’s listing.
Let’s take a look at ways to work these trends into your home for maximum impact.
More natural, less fussy
Today’s buyer is looking for fresh and natural design elements that easily blend between varying styles, from tailored and traditional to ultra-cool and modern.
Zillow discovered that shades of cool blue spoke to these home buyers, and offered a semi-blank canvas for them to put their own spin on. A natural blue tone also looks best in listing photos and videos.
Many elements impact a home’s value
While Zillow’s research shows that applying a fresh coat of paint to your home helps boost its value, there are many more components that impact a buyer’s willingness to pull out their checkbook.
In addition to paint, other elements of the kitchen and bath are important to keep in mind. Updating the countertop or flooring often breathes new life into a space.
If you don’t want to dip into construction territory, smaller scale projects like swapping out hardware, adding artwork, or installing stylish storage are all great fixes that signal your home’s been well cared for.
Dip your toe
We always tell clients who are nervous to jump into a new color or pattern this simple piece of advice: Dip your toe in and try it out.
As Zillow found, shades of blue are the go-to for home buyers today. However, that doesn’t mean you have to splash navy blue paint across your walls.
If you’re staging your home to sell, or just want to see what the color looks like in your environment, start small with throw pillows, an area rug, or window coverings. These decorative accents are small but mighty, and may offer just the right amount of impact to boost your home’s value.
Now that homeowners are gravitating toward fresh, bright and clean coloration, we can expect hues of blue and gray to offer the tranquility potential buyers are looking for.
Paired with classic white countertops and cabinets, these shades complement nearly every kitchen and bathroom, making your next home sale a slam dunk — especially if sky blue or periwinkle is involved!
- California single-family homes sold in an average of 22.4 days in June, while homes in the nine-county Bay Area sold in an average of 20.4 days.
- The median sales price in the Bay Area rose to $908,740 in June, a year-over-year increase of 7.9 percent.
- Home prices rose from June 2016 in all nine local counties. San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, and Santa Clara counties are the only ones in California where the median sales price is higher than $1 million.
From the desk of Modesto REALTOR Lynn Albro: This is good news for home sellers. If you’re thinking about selling or know someone who is – text me at 209-614-8010.
Stubbornly low inventory conditions motivated Golden State homebuyers to act quickly in June, while prices continued to rise statewide and in the Bay Area.
The latest home sales and price report from the California Association of Realtors says that single-family homes in the state sold in an average of 22.4 days in June, the fastest pace of sales recorded since May 2004. California home prices remain at their highest level in a decade, climbing to $555,150, an annual gain of 7.0 percent. According to CAR President Geoff McIntosh, the state’s inventory drought is the primary factor fueling the brisk pace of sales and price appreciation.
“With active listings 13.5 percent lower than last June, we’ve now experienced a full two years in which active listings have fallen on a year-over-year basis and the lowest inventory level this year,” he said. “Would-be sellers aren’t listing their homes as many of them would also face an inventory challenge if they were to turn around and buy another property.”
California’s monthly supply of inventory of single-family homes fell to 2.7 in June, down on both a monthly and yearly basis. The nine-county Bay Area continues to suffer from the state’s fewest number of homes for sale, with the MSI declining to 1.8. San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, San Francisco, and Contra Costa counties have California’s most severe inventory shortages, all ending June with less than a two-month supply of homes on the market.
A limited number of homes on the market continues to drive Bay Area appreciation, with the median sales price for a single-family home at $908,740 in June, a year-over-year gain of 7.9 percent. Home prices rose in all nine local counties from June 2016, ranging from 12.6 percent in Santa Clara County to 3.2 percent in Sonoma County. Five local counties have the state’s most expensive home prices: San Francisco ($1,469,000), San Mateo ($1,433,750), Marin ($1,272,500), Santa Clara ($1,182,500), and Alameda ($900,000).
Bay Area buyers needed to act in less than three weeks to score a home last month, with single-family homes in the region leaving the market in an average of 20.4 days. San Mateo County had the state’s fastest pace of sales, with properties selling in an average of 17.6 days, followed by Alameda (17.8 days) and Santa Clara (17.9 days) counties.
To keep your pool’s water sparkling clean, a few basic maintenance steps are required. Find information on the usage of products, care and how to test your water for easy pool maintenance in this section.
The Role of the Pump
The center of the circulation system is the pump. It moves water from the pool and sends it through the filter for removal of any dust, dirt and debris prior to sending it back to the pool.
How long should you run your pump? Piping size, pool size, swimmer load and the actual pump size all play a role in determining how long you should run your pump. For the proper time consult your pool professional. They can determine, based upon your specific pool, the proper amount of time required to keep your pool clear and clean. A good rule of thumb is to run your pump about 1 hour for every 10º of temperature.
If your pump is not running, the water from your pool is not being properly circulated or filtered. Running the pump and circulating the water is the best way to help prevent problems.
The Filtration System
The job of the filtration system is to remove any undissolved dirt and debris from the pool water. While the skimmer basket and the hair and lint basket in the pump all play a role in the filtering of the pool water, the primary element of the system is the filter itself. If you backwash sand or DE filters too often, the filter cannot reach its cleaning potential and you are wasting water. Most filters require back washing when the pressure gauge rises 8-10 psi from clean. Consult your pool professional to understand the role that the skimmer and pump basket play in keeping your pool clean. Always consult your owner’s manual for specifics related to the type of filter you have.
Testing your pool 2-3 times a week during the summer and once a week during the winter is important to maintain adequate water balance and sanitizer levels plus to insure swimmer comfort. Test strips are a quick way to test the pool for adequate sanitizer levels as well as pH and total alkalinity. Proper testing also ensures that calcium levels are maintained and that there are no metals present in the pool water. These tests can be completed by you or your pool professional. In order to prevent scaling or corrosive action and to achieve maximum swimmer comfort, the pool water should be balanced to the following levels:
pH is the measure of acid and base in the pool water. The pH of the pool should be tested and adjusted, if necessary, on a weekly basis. If the pH of the pool water drifts to the acid side of the scale, corrosion of pool surfaces and equipment can occur. If the pH of the pool water drifts to the base side – scaling, deposits, and cloudy water can occur. Use a pH increaser to increase the pH of the pool. At 8.5, chlorine is only about 10% active. At 7.0, chlorine is about 73% active. If you maintain pH around 7.5, the chlorine will be 50-60% active. Keeping the pH in check will allow you to use the full potential of the chlorine that is already in the pool. To lower the pH of the pool, use a pH decreaser. Follow the label directions for the proper amount of the products to add based upon test results and pool size. Take a sample of water to your pool professional dealer every 2-3 weeks for complete test and analysis.
NOTE: Always follow label directions when adding any pool maintenance products to the pool. Never mix products together. If unsure how products are to be used, contact your local pool professional.
Calcium Hardness is the amount of dissolved calcium in the pool water. Low calcium hardness levels can cause plaster finish etching and shorten the life of vinyl liners. High calcium levels can result in calcium deposits on the pool surfaces as well as equipment. The proper range for calcium hardness in pool water is 200- 250 ppm (parts per million) for concrete pools and 175-225 ppm for vinyl pools. Your pool professional can advise you of the best method for treating your pool if you encounter high calcium hardness. If tests indicate that you have extremely high calcium levels in your pool, take a sample of your fill water (water used to fill the pool) to your pool professional for analysis as well.
NOTE: You will get more out of chemicals if you add them after the sun has set.
Sanitize with Bromine
You may want to use bromine instead of chlorine to sanitize your pool. Bromine tablets provide a reliable method for killing bacteria and keeping your pool clear and clean. To utilize bromine effectively, an automatic brominator should be installed in your pool.
Shocking the pool on a regular basis is an important element in keeping the pool clear and clean. Swimmers and the environment add waste to the pool that must be eliminated on a regular basis in order to prevent problems such as algae and cloudy water.
Preventing algae is the key to an enjoyable pool. Algaecides act as a backup to your normal sanitization program and prevent algae from starting and growing in the pool. Algaecide should be added after every shock treatment.
Source: swimmingpool.com ~ Toll Free Number: 888.476.7665
From the desk of Modesto REALTOR Lynn Albro: I get this question often, this article is very helpful.
With your house-hunting and lender searches now in the rear view mirror, you can start steering your way around the final bend that leads to the driveway of your new San Angelo, TX, home: settlement day and closing. A few days before you meet with your real estate agent, a title company representative, and your loan officer for this joyous event, you should have received from the title company a copy of your closing documents. Read these documents carefully — they will include details on the closing costs that are due upon settlement.
Closing costs are lender and third-party fees paid at the closing of a real estate transaction, and they can be financed as part of the deal or be paid upfront. They range from 2% to 5% of the purchase price of a home. (For those who buy a $150,000 home, for example, that would amount to between $3,000 and $7,500 in closing fees.) Understanding and educating yourself about these costs before settlement day arrives might help you avoid any headaches at the end of the deal.
What’s included in closing costs?
Closing costs will cover both recurring and nonrecurring fees that are a part of your transaction. Recurring costs are ongoing expenses that you will continue to pay as a homeowner, with a portion due upon closing; nonrecurring fees are one-time fees associated with borrowing money and the services that were required to purchase the property.
Recurring closing costs are placed in your escrow account, which you might view as a forced savings account for those upcoming home expenses you’ll be facing. They can vary, but the most common ones are property taxes (one to eight months’ worth, depending on when your home purchase coincided with the local tax billing cycle), homeowners insurance (the annual premium is typically due at closing, plus another two or three months’ worth of payments), and prepaid loan interest (for the number of days you’ll have the loan until its first payment is due). Also placed into escrow are costs for title insurance, which is considered a must because it protects you in case the seller doesn’t have full rights and warranties to the title of the property.
Nonrecurring closing costs are fees paid to your lender and other professionals involved in the transaction. They include: any home inspection fees; any discount points you’re paying upfront to lower your interest rate; an origination fee, which is charged by the lender to process your loan; a document-prep fee, which covers the cost of preparing your loan file for processing; an appraisal fee, which covers the cost of a professional estimating the market value of the home; and a survey fee for verifying the home’s property lines. Also expect as nonrecurring costs: an underwriting fee for the cost of evaluating and verifying your loan application; a credit report fee for pulling your credit scores; title search and recording fees; and a wire-transfer fee for wiring funds from the lender to your escrow account.
How to prepare for closing costs
The best time to study closing costs is when you’re shopping for a lender and can compare your desired loan amount with interest rates you’re offered (plus any discount points you might plan to pay upfront to lower those rates). Then use a closing-cost calculator to determine what your costs might be. The calculator will gauge your monthly mortgage payments, based on whether you’re financing the closing costs into your mortgage or whether you’ve decided to pay them upfront.