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Selling Uncategorized

10 Uncommon Home Inspections To Consider Before Selling

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The savvy seller knows to get ahead of the game. Pest inspections, foundation assessments, mold testing — there are plenty of specialty inspections you can have done on your home while prepping it for sale.

Hiring these specialized inspectors can help reveal potential problems before you’re scrambling to close on your home sale.

Selling your home can be a frightening idea even if your market is booming. In particular, the home inspection can keep you up at night with fear.

What will the inspector discover inside your home for sale in Atlanta, GA? What hidden home flaws will end up costing you?

However, a savvy seller knows to get ahead of the game. From pest inspections to foundation assessments and mold testing, there are plenty of specialized precautions you can take to prep your home for sale.

Here are 10 uncommon presale home inspections you should consider before listing your property.

1. Termites and other pests

Mice are the pests you see; termites are the ones you don’t. A proper pest inspector will get into your home’s crawl space and turn up any evidence of critters in your beams. They can also spot dry rot, which is caused by fungi and can lead to wood disintegration.

2. Asbestos

If your home was built before 1975, there’s a good chance asbestos is present in one or more of its building materials. Scary but true. It’s most commonly seen as thermal insulation in basements, but pre-1970s, asbestos could be found in anything from window caulk to attic insulation.

Asbestos is hazardous only when it begins to crumble. Bring in an inspector to assess the condition of any known asbestos; if they recommend removal, tackle that before listing.

3. Foundation

If you live in an older home, the threat of foundation settling looms large. A bit of settling is expected, but when you’re heading into Tower of Pisa territory, that’s where the troubles begin.

Have a foundation engineer look for signs such as a cracked wall, twisted window frames, or horizontal cracks in the foundation itself — and then offer a timetable for repair. (Pro-tip: Foundations settle very slowly, and if a buyer plans to stay in the home for only a few years, they might not be as concerned.)

4. Electrical

Homes go through many stages: a home business here, a couple of rental apartments there. That also means a lot of electrical rewiring, which can lead to code violations. Bring in an electrician you trust who’s also familiar with the neighborhood architecture and history so they know what problems to look for.

5. Chimney

While that wood-burning fireplace is a major draw to buyers, prepare yourself for questions about its condition. A chimney inspector can make sure the flue liners and inside bricks are in good shape and that smoke is exiting the house properly.

If you have a nonworking fireplace with the potential to be reopened (another buyer draw), you might want to send someone to your roof to inspect the chimney exterior.

6. Lead

Just because lead paint was banned in 1978 doesn’t mean it isn’t still lurking in your home.

If you have any concerns — especially if your home will attract buyers with young children — bring in a certified lead abatement contractor. At the least, you’re doing the neighborhood a public health service.

7. Roof

Roof repair is one expense that makes buyers wish they had never entered the real estate market in the first place. Hire someone who specializes in your roof material (rubber, slate, etc.) to confirm whether damage exists, and get a firm estimate on the repairs or replacement so a buyer doesn’t overstate those costs later during negotiations.

8. Soil

If you live on a hill, you run the risk that soil could crumble in ferocious weather. Before you sell, a soil inspector can affirm your land’s stability. If you have a large plot that would captivate potential gardeners, an inspector can also test for soil contamination.

9. Trees

You’ve love that old chestnut in the backyard but have always wondered why its leaves grow so sparsely. Before pitching the idea of a treehouse to the next owners, bring in an arborist to test the tree’s long-term viability.

Tree care and removal are surprisingly costly, so buyers may be wary if those gorgeous and towering trees are unstable or otherwise unhealthy.

10. Mold

It’s not just for hypochondriacs anymore. The health dangers of mold are well-documented, and its threat is on the minds of real estate shoppers. A good mold inspector will ask you the history of the home, including past water damage, and then do a visual tour of your place before testing for various spores.

 

Posted by Meaghan Agnew on Trulia

 

Categories
Buying Uncategorized

Renters: Are You Ready to Buy a Home?

While you save up your down payment, take these 5 steps to get you closer to closing.

For renters planning to buy a home, preliminary steps like creating a budget and saving for a down payment are obvious. Here are five more advanced steps toward moving out of your rental and into a dream home of your own.

Understand the full cost of homeownership

As a renter, a single rental fee covers your monthly housing payment. But as a homeowner, four main factors go into your monthly housing payment: principal, interest, taxes and insurance (P.I.T.I.). Understanding these costs will help you determine how much house you can afford.

Together, principal and interest comprise your monthly mortgage payment, with the principal paying down your loan balance each month, and the interest paying your fee for borrowing the money. Use a mortgage calculator to determine how much of your payment goes toward principal versus interest each month.

Taxes refer to property taxes, which are assessed by the county you live in. They average 1.2 percent of your home’s value each year.

Insurance — paid to a homeowner’s insurance company of your choice — is required when you have a mortgage. Lenders require that your insurance cover the cost of rebuilding the home if it is ruined by fire or other disaster. This “replacement cost” is determined by your insurer, and must be agreed to by your lender. Insurance will typically cost $700 to $1,200 per year for a single family home.

For condo owners, there’s a fifth monthly cost category: homeowners association (HOA) dues. These fees cover common area amenities, landscaping, ongoing upkeep and reserves for future maintenance like roof replacement or exterior painting. These monthly dues range from $100 for cheaper condos to $1,000 or more for luxury condos.

Single family home buyers can take a useful cue from HOA budgets, which generally require that at least 10 percent of dues go toward reserves. Even if you’re not buying a condo, it’s a good idea to set up a similar savings plan for future maintenance like replacing a roof or major appliances.

Know your homeowner tax benefits

Mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible when you file your annual tax returns, and reduce taxable income.

These deductions significantly lower your cost of homeownership. For example, for a $300,000 home with 20 percent down and a 30-year fixed mortgage at 4 percent, monthly P.I.T.I. is about $1,545. Tax deductions reduce this total housing cost to about $1,215.

Study rent-vs.-buy math

Often, people judge the cost of renting vs. buying by comparing P.I.T.I. to a rental payment. But to get an apples-to-apples comparison, you actually have to look at after-tax-benefit homeownership costs and rent costs.

Using the example above of a $300,000 home that costs $1,215 per month after taxes, you could compare this residence to a home that rents for about $1,200. If the $300,000 home was more spacious or in a more desirable area, the math would seem to favor buying — but don’t forget this example requires a $60,000 down payment.

Identify mortgages that fit your budget and timeline

If you don’t have 20 percent to put down, you can still get a mortgage with as little as 3 percent down. However, if your down payment is less than 20 percent, you’ll have to pay mortgage insurance, which is about .85 percent of your loan amount, and isn’t tax deductible.

Your monthly P.I.T.I. (which includes mortgage insurance) is about $1,995 on a $300,000 home with 3 percent down and a 30-year fixed mortgage at 4 percent. After tax deductions, this total housing cost drops to about $1,614. And you’d only need $9,000 for the down payment.

You can also lower your rate and P.I.T.I. with a shorter-term loan like a 5-year ARM, but rates on these loans will adjust in 5 years, so you risk having a much higher payment if you plan to stay in the home longer than that.

Start preparing your credit score now

Credit scores are critical for getting the best mortgages with the lowest rates. Lenders want reliable on-time payment history as well as credit depth.

More credit accounts are better, so renters with only one credit card should consider obtaining more credit. Just note that your credit score can drop 5 to 15 points when you first open a new account, then will come back up when you’ve established a good payment history.

Have questions about purchasing a home? Check out our Home Buyers Guide.

Posted by Julian Hebron on Zillow

Categories
Buying

Why Getting Pre-Approved Should Be Your First Step

In many markets across the country, the amount of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the 4 Cs that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.

Posted by The KCM Crew

Categories
Organization

5 Steps to a More Organized Home for Back to School

This A+ plan will have your family ready to greet the first day of school with a smile.

As if summer isn’t crazy enough, the transition to school can make home life even busier and messier. Schedules are a mix of school activities and the last-hurrah-of-summer, and the house is strewn with important school papers and wet beach towels. Here are a few tips to help you organize the chaos this year.

Clean the fridge out (and off) and restock

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Shutterstock ID 266450780;

Clearing the front of the fridge of summer camp art projects and already-happened wedding invitations will signal a new season and leave room for important phone numbers and all those A+ papers your young scholars bring home.

Then, clean out the refrigerator, tossing all those picnic leftovers, and get it ready for quick breakfasts, packed lunches and after-school snacks. Anything grab-and-go is sure to be appreciated, especially during the first few weeks of school while your family is still getting used to the new schedule. A basket of fresh fruit by the door is also handy.

Take stock of closets and clothes

Courtesy of California Closets.

A new first-day-of-school outfit is a childhood ritual. But before you add to your child’s wardrobe, take stock of what they’ve outgrown during the summer months. And don’t forget the weather will probably be changing soon. See if your kids will be needing any new warmer clothes for the coming season.

A clean and organized closet and dresser will make getting out the door in the morning easier for everyone.

Similarly, catching up with laundry and creating a laundry system if you don’t already have one will keep your life running more smoothly.

Create a scheduling center

This is Mission Control for the family, so it should be in a central place in your home, such as the kitchen or entryway. You’ll want to keep a calendar, filing system, address book, notepads for taking phone messages, and plenty of pens, since they always seem to go missing.

This is also where paperwork should go to be sorted and put away, or signed and sent back to school. Create a system for paperwork and scheduling the family so Dad isn’t slated to tee off with his co-workers at the same time he’s supposed to chaperone a field trip.

Make mealtime easy

Meal-planning will save you time and money — not to mention protect your sanity when you’re running home from work and PTA meetings.

To keep the grownups fueled, set up a coffee station in your kitchen where they can grab a to-go mug easily.

Create a menu, and make a master shopping list to prep for the week. That way, you’ll know exactly what to make when everyone’s hungry, and you won’t waste ingredients.

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Shutterstock ID 117974122

Keep a list on your fridge to remind you of the week’s menu. And when inquiring minds ask what’s for dinner, you can direct them to the menu.

Prepping a few extra meals to throw in the freezer now will ease the busy first few weeks of school, too.

Tackle the mudroom and entryway

School brings with it a lot of paraphernalia: backpacks, lunch bags, gym bags, artwork, and library books. The mudroom or entryway will be the drop-off point and can quickly become a disaster without a system.

Courtesy of California Closets.

Are shoes taken off here? If so, make sure everyone has a designated spot for their shoes. Same with coats and backpacks.

Lunch bags should go in a specific place, or back to the kitchen to be cleaned out for the next day.

Establishing these routines at the beginning of the school year will help them become engrained so by the time winter, with its extra layers, and spring, with its muddy boots, come along, you won’t be pulling your hair out.

While the transition will take some getting used to, having solid systems in place in your home can help you ease the stress, and focus on the enjoyment of an exciting new school year.

Get more home design ideas to keep you inspired.

Posted by Natalie Wise on Zillow

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Uncategorized

4 Ways The Real Estate Market Changes After Labor Day

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Fall offers the perfect recipe for a buyer’s market: When the leaves start falling, home prices typically follow.

The summer home-buying frenzy wanes after Labor Day, but you can still take advantage of what the fall season offers.

The time between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, unofficially known as fall, is prime time for enjoying the great outdoors. And while there’s no substitute for spending time in natural green spaces, if you’re in the market for a house, fall weather presents an ideal backdrop for strolling through potential neighborhoods and checking out real estate for sale in Atlanta, GA, or Minneapolis, MN.

While some homeseekers might throw in the towel after Labor Day and wait until spring to begin a new search, others will find some definite advantages to starting their home pursuit in September. Find out how the market changes after Labor Day and what makes it a pivotal day for the real estate industry.

1. Fall real estate can be more of a buyer’s market

A buyer’s market means you, as a buyer, are in the driver’s seat. That’s good news if you’re home-hunting in the fall: There are typically fewer buyers after Labor Day. “This, of course, is dependent upon local market cycles,” says Michael Kelczewski, a Pennsylvania and Delaware agent. “But typically, families need to be settled into a home by the start of the school year.” And the date school starts can’t be moved. “This results in plenty of ‘fun’ conversations between spouses, as there’s no negotiating when they need to be in the house,” Connecticut agent Scott Elwell says.

But if you don’t have school-age kids, the school year doesn’t matter and you can take advantage of this. You might find that competition is down for homes after Labor Day, meaning you’re probably in a buyer’s market. And this is significant. “I find that I am able to negotiate better prices for buyers [during September and October] because we have less competition and the market is slower,” says Joan Brothers, an agent in New York, NY.

2. Vacation-home sellers see action

Summertime is prime vacation season. Even Congress breaks for the entire month of August. After you’ve had a particularly lovely time at your summer getaway spot, you might consider buying a place in the area and going back every year. “If you start looking for a vacation home in the fall, you can have it purchased and furnished by spring,” says Tammy Barry, director of sales and marketing for Heritage Harbor Ottawa resort in Illinois. By purchasing in the fall, you can see what the area has to offer in the off-season.

Winter is also a popular vacation time, particularly for skiers and people who love ice-skating and snow tubing. If you buy at a ski resort in the fall, you can enjoy the resort yourself or earn some serious dollars renting the place to winter-wonderland enthusiasts. “Resort communities, like in Colorado and the Rocky Mountains, offer robust winter rentals,” says Tricia McCaffrey Hyon, a Colorado agent. “Purchasing in the fall allows a buyer to see immediate rental income from their property during peak holiday times.”

3. Home prices, like leaves, fall

Many people list their home for sale during what they think will be the best time to sell: summer. And it often is. “Summer is peak selling season,” McCaffrey Hyon says. But not everyone is successful. “When a property hasn’t sold by Labor Day, sellers will reevaluate asking prices, creating greater room for negotiation.”

4. There’s no deadline for most fall home buyers

When you’ve picked a certain neighborhood because of the school district for your kids, it’s imperative that you are actually in your home before school begins. But if the first day of school is not your concern, you don’t really have a deadline. You might want to be in a home before the holidays, but the stakes aren’t as high if you aren’t. “Plenty of buyers have aspirations of moving in by certain holidays,” Elwell says. “But that can always be adjusted depending on the financial implications.” Let’s say you prefer to be in your new home by Thanksgiving, but you can get a better deal if you wait. You’ll probably adjust accordingly, Elwell says.

 

Posted by Laura Agadoni on Trulia

 

Categories
Selling

5 Reasons to Sell This Fall

School is back in session, the holidays are right around the corner, you might not think that now is the best time to sell your house. But with inventory below historic numbers and demand still strong, you could be missing out on a great opportunity for your family.

Here are five reasons why you should consider selling your house this fall: 

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Realtors’ Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

According to NAR’s latest Existing Home Sales Report, the supply of homes for sale is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market at 4.7-months.

This means, in most areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market this fall.

Also, as builders regain confidence in the market, new construction of single-family homes is projected to continue to increase over the next two years, reaching historic levels by 2017. Last month’s new home sales numbers show that many buyers who have not been able to find their dream home within the existing inventory have turned to new construction to fulfill their needs.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Fannie Mae announced that they anticipate an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007’s pace. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing-time lines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler. 

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.3% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

According to Freddie Mac’s latest report, you can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 3.46% right now. Interest rates are projected to increase moderately over the next 12 months. Even a small increase in rate will have a big impact on your housing cost.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire. 

That is what is truly important.

Posted by The KCM Crew

Categories
Entertaining

6 Ways to Bump Up Your Barbecue Decor (Just in Time for Labor Day)

NelleG/iStock

No summer weekend (or fall or mild winter weekend for that matter) is complete without grilling a few awesome meals in the great outdoors. So why isn’t anyone ever enthusiastic about coming over to your place for some hot dogs, bean burgers, or even wagyu steaks? Could it be that your backyard barbecue decor is a little less than appetizing?

Well, look no further than these ideas to get the creative juices running. From hanging lights to a full-on bar cart, these simple tweaks will make your Labor Day or any old excuse for barbecuing all the more memorable.

Hang lights

Candles are fine, but unless you get an early start, you’ll be eating your grilled emu in near darkness. Instead, transform your backyard with better lighting, whether by spotlighting a few significant trees or adding solar-powered lanterns along the walkway. Lorena Canals, a home living expert in Hastings on Hudson, NY, likes Christmas lights for their price and ease of use.

“Just put in a few wooden posts if you don’t have a pergola to drape with them,” she suggests. Place the posts around the seating and grill area, and string twinkle lights in between. Or go old-school and hit up the hardware store for half a dozen Tiki torches. Insert them into the ground to light the way to your backyard, or arrange them to light up dark corners of your yard.

Photo by Native Son Design Studio

Add a prep place

There’s more to hosting a barbecue than tossing meat onto flames. Think dip mixing, salad tossing, and egg deviling. To this end, consider creating a flat surface that can be used for prepping side dishes and plating appetizers. It could be as simple as a couple of saw horses and a piece of plywood covered with a bright tapestry. Or invest in a built-in outdoor kitchen counter near the spot where you grill. Best of all: You won’t have to leave the party to do your prep work.

Photo by Olive Branch Integrated Outdoor Design

Define your backyard barbecue space with an outdoor rug. There are literally thousands of inexpensive options that are relatively easy to clean and maintain.

“Most backyard barbecue areas a have a cement, brick, or wood floor,” notes Canals. A rug adds instant warmth to cold flooring and makes your backyard look like an extension of your indoor style. A fire pit is another smart bonus outdoors.

“You can easily build your own with a DIY tutorial online or pick up one at your local home or garden center,” she says.

Or add a swing.

“A hanging chair or swing are two fun ways to inject a little energy into the party scene,” notes Jessica Sutton, lead curator with Dot & Bo. In particular, bold geometric patterns look great outside, like this black and white rug for $197.

This bold geometric pattern looks fabulous outside. Dot & Bo

Tap into the power of pallets

If you have a few extra wooden shipping pallets hanging around—or you know someone who does—you can get very creative, notes Canals.

“Pallets can be taken apart and made into the most perfect seating areas for your patio,” she says. Just toss on a few cushions—and you’re done. Or stand up two pallets and connect them with a slab of concrete to make a patio bar. Paint pallets in a coordinating color, install hooks on one side to hold bar towels, and then top it with a colorful set of melamine glasses on a tray.

Drinks are served! This DIY pallet bar can also double as a prep space. fabartdiy.com

Wheel in a bar cart

Your friends love you (really, they do!), but they aren’t coming to your backyard to watch you fiddle with marinated octopus on the grill. It’s all about the drinks—fresh mojitos, icy cold lemonade, rum punch, summer sangria, or plain ol’ beer. Add a bar cart or create an outdoor bar area off to the side, and stock it with an ice bucket, openers, and a serving tray, suggests Sutton. This bar cart from Dot & Bo is $272.

Synthetic rattan is easy to clean and makes this bar cart a winner. Dot & Bo

Arrange better seating

Your lawn chairs are most likely fine, but why not curate a look that’s way more inviting? Backyard barbecue furniture should have the same consideration as your indoor dinner parties. Think cozy and comfortable, and toss out a few outdoor cushions in bold colors and patterns that pop. Or take a cue from Sutton.

“One of my personal favorite arrangements is simple: Place an outdoor sofa facing two chairs to encourage conversation, and then add a side table in between the seating or use an ottoman,” she explains. A stool plays double duty, functioning as a table when topped with a tray or as additional seating when guests are over.

Photo by AZEK

Posted by Jennifer Kelly Geddes on realtor.com

Categories
Uncategorized

9 Homes Under $150K That Deliver Bang For Your Buck

Home1

Who says you can’t find a home well within your budget?

You asked for them, here they are: gorgeous single-family homes well within the budget of the average American.

Captain Obvious here with some breaking news: Not everyone can afford a home that costs seven figures. In fact, the vast majority of us can’t: The median value of the owner-occupied American home is $175,700. Not that we’re above ogling or drawing inspiration from those multimillion-dollar dream homes — far from it. Who doesn’t enjoy falling down the rabbit hole of real estate dream homes for sale in Philadelphia, PA, or Seattle, WA?

But the real question is: Can a home be simultaneously affordable and ogle-worthy? Heck yeah! And to prove it, this roundup of affordable houses sees that $175,700 and drops it to $150,000, an asking price well within the reach of the typical American homebuyer. Feast your eyes.

 

Home2

Easy living in the Big Easy: $150,000, 7924 Sandy Cove Drive, New Orleans, LA 70128

Two palm trees flank the entrance to this single-story brick home in Little Woods, a community in New Orleans bordered by the 630-square-mile Lake Pontchartrain. A light-filled living room, headlined by a tiled fireplace, greets visitors just beyond the foyer. The home also includes three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, hardwood floors throughout, and an updated kitchen within its 1,650 square feet. Outside is a barbecue-ready covered patio and private yard, the latter of which awaits a gardener’s touch.

Home3

Kid-friendly craftsman: $149,900, 100 South St., Belmont, WI 53510

Located 65 miles southwest of Madison, the bucolic town of Belmont, WI, is home to this four-bedroom, two-bathroom craftsman. Dating to 1911, the 2,363-square-foot charmer sports a new roof and HVAC system, an updated kitchen, and new carpet, yet the home retains its early-20th-century character (check out that millwork!). The fourth bedroom is sized just right for a playroom, or you could shoo the kids across the street to the neighborhood park, outfitted with swings, a slide, a basketball court, and picnic tables.

Home4

Spanish style in the Sonoran Desert: $149,000, 44747 W. Paitilla Lane, Maricopa, AZ 85139

Fun fact: Maricopa, AZ, the hometown of this Spanish-style residence, is the only city in the country bordered by two Indian reservations. Besides this icebreaking piece of info, the 12-year-old home offers potential residents three bedrooms, two full baths, and a laundry room within 1,402 square feet. The roomy eat-in kitchen exits to a covered back patio and a fenced-in gravel yard. Bonus: There’s an attached garage for keeping your car shaded from the Sonoran Desert sun.

Home5

Room to romp in Houston: $145,000, 13922 Crestbourne Court, Houston, TX 77014

The kids probably won’t care about this 1,510-square-foot home’s unique exterior brickwork, warm tile floors, and generously sized master suite, but they’re sure to appreciate the fenced, grassy backyard. There’s ample room for a swing set, games of tag, and any four-legged family members (if the kids aren’t begging you for a dog now, they soon will be). Inside, the home features an open foyer-kitchen-living-room layout, with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. A two-car garage and Houston address are just icing on the cake.

Home6

Close quarters in Montana: $149,900, 306 Yellowstone Ave., Belfry, MT 59008

Located in the tiny town of Belfry, MT (population in 2010: 218!), this pocket-sized home packs one bedroom and bathroom, a mudroom-sunroom, living room, and an eat-in kitchen into a wee 720 square feet. It’s sized just right for two, provided that you stay on good terms with your living companion — there aren’t many places to hide here. Of course, you could always retreat to the pergola’d patio when things get too real. After ruffled feathers are smoothed, you can snuggle beside the gas stove in the living room.

Home8

Making the grade in the Equality State: $144,900, 620 W. 14th St., Casper, WY 82601

Have a thing for farmhouse-style kitchens? Peep the goods in this newly listed rancher, built in 1920. You’ll spot a vintage-style sink, a beadboard backsplash, and all-white cabinetry that sets off the warmth of the home’s original hardwood floors. Elsewhere throughout the 1,300-square-foot home, built-in shelving, crisp white woodwork, and trendy wall colors create an aesthetic that toes the line between modern and historic. And let’s not forget the location: The ranch is located directly across the street from the local middle school. That perk — partnered with the home’s spacious finished basement and backyard — makes this place ideal for families.

Home9

BYOB (bring your own blueprints): $149,900, 115 Sunset Ridge, Greenville, KY 42345

What would you do with the unfinished attic in this picture-perfect craftsman in western Kentucky? Mull it over as you take in the 8-year-old home’s 10-foot ceilings, roomy master suite with his-and-hers closets, and the cozy living area that’s surely seen its fair share of family movie nights. There’s a large kitchen and dining room, both ideal for entertaining, and how sweet are those covered front and back porches? Toss the Frisbee to Fido on the huge lawn while you flip burgers on the grill.

Home10

Everything but the porch swing: $144,900, 322 S. Main St., Winchester, KY 40391

Cute as a button in historic Winchester, KY, this bright and sunny home dates back to 1907. There are 1,858 square feet of living space under the double-gable roof — three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a glass sunroom, a partially finished basement, and a contemporary kitchen that looks straight from a design blog. The real draw here, however, is the home’s old-fashioned charm, which is shaped by the tall ceilings, extensive millwork, hardwood floors (original to the home), built-in shelving, wood-burning fireplace, and graceful chandeliers. The only thing that could make this place more inviting is perhaps a wooden swing on the front porch.

Home11

Peace, privacy, and a Pinterest-worthy porch: $150,000, 325 Rowe St., Hawley, PA 18428

Walk up the driveway, past a bed of hostas and a Pinterest-worthy covered porch, and you’ll end up at a white picket gate at this craftsman in northeast Pennsylvania. Beyond the gate is a private backyard with a garden shed and, depending on whom you ask, the two-bedroom home’s most endearing feature: acres upon acres of undeveloped land on the other side of the property line. It’s this wooded location — and a dead-end street — that guarantees a sense of privacy and seclusion. Head indoors, and you’ll encounter a decidedly vintage feel throughout the newly renovated 1,600-square-foot bungalow.

Posted by Julie Davis on Trulia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Selling

5 Types of People Who Attend Open Houses

Not everyone who walks through the door is a potential buyer.

In real estate showings, the Sunday open house is the gold standard. As the name implies, a property is open to just about anyone who learns of the showing in an online or print ad, drives by and sees the agent’s A-frame sign, or receives a notification postcard in the mail.

But not everyone who goes to an open house is a potential buyer. Here are five types of people likely to pass through a property during an open house.

1. The real buyer

These people are somewhere in the home-buying process. They’re either testing out the market or they’re serious and fully qualified, ready to take action. For the seller, these are the ones you want coming through the door.

Buyers may use the open house as their second or third visit, after having seen the home with their agent during the week. The open house provides them the opportunity to get more comfortable in the home.

2. The nearby neighbor

This guy or gal has been waiting for years for an excuse to get inside your home, for various reasons. Their home may be similar to yours — maybe even designed by the same architect — and they want to compare their property to yours.

There might be other reasons to see it, too. Once, at an open house of a view property in San Francisco, a neighbor came into the house and made a beeline for the back deck. Meanwhile, in the neighboring home across the backyard, the neighbor’s son sat in the window. What followed was a cell phone conversation in which the father instructed his son to move to the right, to the left, go upstairs, and so on. The father’s goal was to determine from exactly which points in this home he and his family were visible to their neighbors.

You’ll no doubt encounter nosy neighbors, too. They live nearby and just want to satisfy their curiosity about your home — or even about you.

3. Agents scoping out the place for clients

Agents constantly check out properties for their buyer clients. The vast majority of the time, they’re professional and courteous.

There are exceptions, of course. Not long ago, in the living room of a packed Sunday open house, an agent sat on the couch and spoke to her client on the phone. The agent summarized the property loudly and in none-too-complimentary terms.

“The finishes are cheap, the floor plan is off, and the bathrooms need updating,” she said. “Don’t waste your time coming over here.”

The listing agent politely asked the other agent to continue her conversation outside.

4. The agent who lost the listing

In many cases, a seller interviewed multiple agents before selecting their listing agent. Sometimes agents spend a lot of time, and even some money, working with a potential seller to secure a listing. Obviously, not every agent interviewed will get the listing.

When the property lands on the open house circuit, an agent who lost the listing may visit. They want to know if the seller took any of their suggestions. Did they paint the orange room a more neutral color, or renovate the kitchen or bathrooms as suggested? It ‘s their chance to run through the property anonymously, as most agents usually won’t know with whom they competed for the listing.

5. A previous owner, or one of their relatives

Over years of open houses, a busy listing agent will surely run into an old seller, or their children or grandkids who grew up in the home. These people come to the open house to see how it looks and to reminisce. Lots of memories happen in a home, and the opportunity to go back in time can be a real treat.

A good listing agent will welcome any and all visitors to an open house. They solicit feedback from buyers and make notes of their comments, reactions and questions.

If you’re attending an open house with no intentions of buying, keep it to yourself. Be as subtle and unobtrusive as possible, and don’t waste the listing agent’s time — unless you have some helpful feedback for the agent or seller.

Posted by Brendon DeSimone on Zillow