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How To Get Your Offer To Buy A Home Accepted

April 18th, 2014

Thomasville Home For SaleSo you have found the perfect Thomasville property and you are ready to buy? The next step is to make an offer on the home to the seller.

But what if the seller doesn’t accept your offer and someone else comes in and sweeps up your dream home right from under your nose?

With so many home buyers out there, many sellers are receiving multiple offers on their properties. This makes it more difficult for you to submit an offer that stands out and gets their attention.

You will need to make sure that your offer is impeccable and appeals to the seller. In order to help your offer get accepted, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1.  Make sure that you have your finances in order before you make the offer on the home, so that you can show the seller your pre-approval letter from your lender.This will demonstrate to them that if they choose you, the process will be quick and easy. 

2.  Make sure that your offer is neatly presented and includes all of the required information. If the seller receives incomplete offers they might just throw them out. 

3.  Be ready to make a decision as soon as possible. If you wait a few days, the home might get snapped up.

4.  Be flexible with your closing date, making things easier for the seller. 

5.  Make your offer as “clean” as possible without too many clauses and requirements. For example, avoid asking the seller to pay for lender’s fees, home warranty, etc. 

6.  If you can, give the seller more than the 1% earnest deposit on the price – which will show that you are financially stable and serious about buying the home. 

7.  Write them a personal letter explaining why you love their home and want to live there, including photos of your family. The personal touch will make you even more memorable.

8.  If it comes down to price, add an extra $500 onto your offer. Although $110,000 and $110,500 are not that different, they will look different enough to the seller.

The best thing to do is to speak to your real estate agent and ask them to figure out what is most important to the seller, such as the terms, the price or the closing date.

You can use this information to craft your offer. For more helpful tips and info about Thomasville property, contact First Thomasville Realty at 229-226-6515 or email us at general@FTRealty.com.

How You Can Get The Full Selling Price You Want For Your Home

April 17th, 2014

Sold Home For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of Beautiful New House.When it comes to selling your home and getting the full selling price you want, there are certain tactics and methods you can employ to ensure that this wish becomes a reality. Avoiding the commonly made mistakes that end up lowering the value of your home and discouraging people from viewing it is ultimately the key in getting top dollar, as well carrying out the showings and sale of your home in a professional manner. Listen to the professionals, and make sure you employ these real estate sale methods to get your desired number on your home sale.

Listing Tactic: Adding A Buffer

Always dependent on the type of market you find yourself in, a common and successful tactic in getting the price you really want for your home is adding a buffer on the list price. This means that if you want $200,000 for your home, you should list your home somewhere around $210,000 to $220,000 to allow for some negotiating room. Even if you’d prefer not to negotiate, the majority of buyers will always assume that you have room to come down on the price, and will put in their offers accordingly.

Overpricing: Avoid At All Costs

With that being said, you don’t want to overprice your home too much so as to discourage potential buyers from looking at it, or to put your home outside of a financial bracket. Make sure you speak to your trusted real estate advisor on exactly what the right list price should be to obtain your desired value.

Increase Desire: Have Your Home Staged

In order to get the price you want for your home, you need to make a good impression on the prospective buyers. Having your home professionally staged can dramatically increase the amount of interest you receive on your home, perhaps even creating multiple offers – which is the best situation a home seller can be in!

Appeal To Online Shoppers With Professional Photos

With so much of today’s modern real estate shopping happening online, you want to ensure that your home has a strong online presence with professional photos and a digital floor plan available to prospective buyers. Also make sure that all information online is full and complete, and presents your home in the best light possible.

Always Say Yes To Open Houses And Showings

Especially in a hot market, you want to ensure that you leave your home empty for your realtor on weekends so that they can hold it open to the public. This is especially important early on in your list date so that the buyers on the market who are ready to make a move can see your house right away. You should also apply the same importance to showings, and ensure that each showing request is promptly responded to with an easy “yes.”

If you put these tactics into your home selling plan, you will find that it will be much easier to obtain more interest from buyers. And with more interest, it will be much more likely that you will be able to obtain the price you want for your home. So don’t underestimate the importance of these factors, and discuss them today with your trusted real estate professional at First Thomasville Realty.

7 Things You Should Do As Soon As You Move Into Your New Home To Slash Your Electricity Bill

April 16th, 2014

Electric Bill with Electric Counter VectorMoving into your home is an exciting time, and you shouldn’t allow higher than expected electricity bills to dampen your spirits. Every day, households around the world waste large amounts of energy. If your home uses more energy than it needs to, you are the one that is paying the price. Luckily, there are many ways to make sure your home is running as efficiently as possible. Save yourself from ‘utility shock’ by taking these seven steps.

Make Energy Efficiency Your Electric Company’s Business 

When you first move into your home, have your appliances inspected by an authorized technician. You could call your appliance’s manufacturer or the electric company to find someone to inspect your appliances. If you do find yourself on the phone with the electric company, ask them if they have peak and off-peak hours. Often, there are times throughout the day where usage is at a premium, and the cost is higher than it would be at other times. You should also ask if they have any tips or resources pertaining to your home’s electrical usage. Electrical companies will often send you literature or an energy saving kit that can help make your home run more energy efficiently.

Get Fresh Furnace Filters And Examine Your Central Air System 

When you move into a new home, it’s difficult to know what kind of upkeep the previous owners performed on the furnace. Upon moving into your new home, you should have the filter on your furnace changed and your ducts examined and cleaned. Do the same for any central cooling systems in the home. This way you’ll feel confident that they are operating properly and producing the best air quality possible.

Wrap And Warm Your Hot Water Tank 

The hot water tank is another area where you can save a significant amount of money. Set your hot water tank to a warm setting, instead of a hot one (this makes little difference in the water temperature at your tap, but it will save you money). You could also purchase an insulating cover for the tank, and wrap the hot water pipes in the home. Insulation for your hot water tank and pipes is a cost-effective solution, and you can find plastic or foam pipe insulators at your local hardware store. 

Evaluate The Situation From Windows To Insulation 

Check the windows and doors of the home to make sure they are properly insulated. Fresh weather stripping and caulking will keep drafts out in the winter, and cool air in during the summer. Another way to regulate your home’s temperature is to replace the insulation in your attic. You could also install an attic fan to improve airflow.

A Bright Energy Saving Idea 

Replace incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent bulbs. The cost is only slightly higher, and fluorescent bulbs last over five times as long as incandescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs give off a softer light, but are bright enough to light your home and will save a significant amount of electricity.

Get Your Windows Working With The Weather 

Replace thin curtains with heavier weight window coverings. You can use the sunlight when you need it, and block it out when you don’t. Heavy drapes are also great at keeping warm and cool air in your home. Having high quality window treatments may mean you use your thermostat and light switches less.

Properly Power Down Your Electronics 

A surprising amount of the energy our electronics use is wasted while devices are powered down. Electronics that are off but are still plugged directly into an outlet do indeed burn energy. When you set up the electronics in your home, use power strips where you can. Flicking the bar off when electronics are not needed will lead to savings on your electric bill.

Once you have taken these steps, you can feel good knowing you are saving money and being environmentally responsible. Energy efficient handy work and home improvements also qualify for significant tax credits. Make sure you keep your receipts and invoices, as they could mean cash back in your pocket come tax season. If you decide to take your savings and move up and out, contact First Thomasville Realty for assistance in finding the perfect place to call home.

Give Your Home An Instant Facelift: Wallpaper Is Back In A Big Way, Baby!

April 15th, 2014

beautiful young woman with the wallpaper in the hands ofThough it can be an entirely different story for a trend shift in the opposite direction, which then requires you to get out the soaking bucket and scraping tool, wallpaper coming back into style is a home décor blessing for many. Wallpaper is back in – in a big way! – and it’s making your dreams of accomplishing a fashionable living space come true much faster and easier than you could have imagined. Quite frankly, wallpaper can do the “fashionable home” trick to virtually any room in your house, adding that touch of warmth and personality you’ve so far only seen in show homes. It’s time to get with the trends, and give your home a quick and easy facelift!

A World Of Design With Wallpaper

Let’s face it: wallpaper can achieve a world of options that paint simply never could! Now that wallpaper has come back in to style, we are seeing plenty of homes being “glammed” and “dolled” up accordingly. With many patterns and styles available, suddenly your home’s imperfections can easily be hidden. You can give the small room in your home a facelift with a wallpaper pattern with vertical stripes, instantly making the room feel larger. Or you can suddenly have the accent wall you’ve always dreamed of but have been to afraid to commit to, creating a focal point behind the bed in your master bedroom, or behind the sofa in the living room. Or if you’re an artsy person, you can add more art to your walls without lifting a nail – instead just install some patterned, decorative wallpaper.

Modern Innovations: Digitally Printed Wallpaper

Wallpaper is certainly back in style, but not without new and creative innovations since its last time around. Now, homeowners can get ultra creative and get personalized wallpapers for their homes with the technical innovation that allows for digitally printed wallpaper designs. Do you have a specific wall or room in your house that you want to transform for a particular theme? Do you have a photograph that you’d like to use as the inspiration for a one-wall mural in your living room? Well, with customized digital printed wallpaper, you’re in luck.

Vinyl Wallpaper: Easy Installation And Removal

Now that wallpaper is back in style, more innovations have been made in terms of how it is installed and removed. Luckily, for us wallpaper fans, we will no longer have to struggle when we choose to put it up or when we decide to take it down! Now there are many vinyl wallpapers that are self-adhesive and very simple to install. They are also available in a range of textures and finishes, and make use of eco-solvent inks. Easy to install, easy to remove, and cleanable with simply a damp cloth, a vinyl wallpaper print might be just the key to your home’s quick and easy facelift.

Whether you opt for the vinyl or digitally printed innovation of wallpaper or choose to stick with the good old paper version, you’ll have your home beautified in no time. There’s no need to worry about changing trends either; regardless of what you choose, advancements in the modern return of wallpaper mean that less rigorous activity will be required should the wallpaper trend go back “out.” So take advantage of this practical design trend, and give your home the facelift it deserves! And of course you can always contact your trusted real estate advisor for design tips or places where you can get your show home inspiration.

Millenials Have Great Homebuying Tools Available To Them

April 14th, 2014

celebrateThe economy seems to be finally turning, and home loan interest rates are still historically low. Real estate values are starting to climb as well, all of which makes for a growing opportunity for new homeowners to get into the market before it gets too expensive again. However, Millennials don’t seem to be on board. They represent the next generation of homebuyers, but a number of barriers can seem to be smack in the way, discouraging many. Yet there are ways around these issues.

According to the Boston Globe, only 32 percent of Millennials are homeowners in 2014, either with a house or a condominium. A number of factors contribute to this situation, and the big issue is finding a viable career. The general unemployment rate for young people is at 16 percent nationwide, almost double the regular average for all ages combined. Add in the fact that many have large student loans eating up what income is earned in loan payments, and that doesn’t leave much for saving into a down payment or a mortgage payment. In fact, one out of three college graduates right now has moved back in with the parents.

The career-chase situation is not a new one. The previous bunch, Generation X, experienced the same thing in the early 1990s with just as high an unemployment rate. The big takeaway from their experience is that the dip and labor famine is temporary. Most Generation X folks now are well-employed and living in regular, affordable homes across the country.

Further, some very helpful tools are still available for new buyers:

  • Any homebuyer with military status can take advantage of Veterans Administration loans with far better rates than the normal market, making mortgage payments cheaper.
  • Those buying in rural areas can take advantage of rural homebuyer’s assistance programs provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help people move to small towns and similar communities.
  • The Housing and Urban Development Agency provides HUD loans that make it very affordable for those with limited income to purchase HUD-owned homes as first-time buyers and get into real estate.
  • And the current market still has plenty of quality used homes from prior foreclosures that are marked well below their real value to move these units in sales.

Of course, the big response from Millenials is how do I earn more to even get started. Like Generation X folks before them, Millenials can’t wait for a job to be made available on a platter. While looking, many smart folks have started their own businesses on the Internet. If a current job is enough to cover current bills, a second income can be entirely dedicated to saving, which can generate thousands of dollars quickly. Even a part-time second job that creates $1,000 a month produces $12,000 a year and in two years enough for a sizable down payment.

Don’t give up, but definitely try smarter.

Interest Rates On The Rise: What’s The Next Move?

April 11th, 2014

Real Estate ImprovingAs the federal reserve continues to taper quantitative easing measures, financial experts project Thomasville mortgage  interest rates will climb in the next two years. Could this be the much awaited ray of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel for builders and investors or will it drive hesitant home buyers to dig in and shelter in place?

Homeowners who are vacillating between refinancing for a lower interest rate and staying the course may find the time has come to make a decision.

Shrinking unemployment numbers and rising retail sales figures signal that the economy is improving. Even if no one is ready to label the US economy as recovered, Fed Chairman Janet Yellon’s decision to follow through on tapering plans reinforces other market indicators that the economy is gaining strength.

What’s The Next Move

Bob Moulton, president of Americana Mortgage, told BankRate that people thinking of buying in the next year should move quickly if they find a property they like. Inventory is still fairly tight. Although there is no guarantee that rates will suddenly escalate, Moulton recommends locking in a property as soon as possible.

Harris Interactive reported that 39% of homeowners who planned to invest in renovations to increase property values in 2013 did not follow through with their plans. If upgrades and renovations are on the agenda, homeowners should evaluate how a 1% or 2% increase in Thomasville interest rates will affect their budget.

Mortgage rates are still historically low based on the average over the past couple of decades. As the economy strengthens and mortgage lenders lose a steady stream of customers seeking home equity loans, less-stringent lending requirements emerge.

Forbes reported that as much as 80% of mortgage activity in late 2012 was refinancing applications. Consumers with lower credit scores and budgetary constraints have a better chance of securing a loan with a higher rate.

Refinance Or Pay Down The Mortgage

Deciding whether to refinance or pay down the mortgage quicker is tricky for some homeowners. Cost of financing isn’t the only consideration. It is essential to consider long-term goals and risks. If doubling up on the mortgage compromises retirement planning, it defeats the purpose. Likewise, refinancing to gain a lower interest rate within one or two years of plans to sell the home would probably produce insignificant financial gains.

The Best Questions To Ask Before Refinancing Your Mortgage

April 10th, 2014

Calculator1) Do I have enough equity to get a mortgage?

To get a conventional loan, you will usually need to have at least 20 percent equity. This means that your house will have to be worth at least $250,000 to get a $200,000 loan. If you have less equity, you could end up having to pay for private mortgage insurance, which can easily add $100 or more to your monthly payment.

2) How’s my credit?

Most lenders will look at your credit score as a part of determining whether or not to make you a loan. With conventional lenders, your rate will depend on your score and the higher it is, the lower your payment will be. Other lenders, like the FHA and VA programs have an all or nothing rule. If you qualify, your rate won’t be based on your credit, but if your score is too low, you won’t be able to get any loan. Generally, 620 credit scores are the lowest that will qualify you for any loan.

3) What do I want to accomplish?

Mortgages typically offer a choice as to their term. While the 30-year loan is the most popular, shorter term mortgages save you money since you pay less interest over their lives. They also get you out of debt sooner, at least as regards your house. The drawback is that they carry higher payments since you pay off more principal every month. This can make them less affordable for some borrowers/

4) How’s my current loan?

If you have an adjustable rate mortgage, you may want to switch to a fixed rate mortgage simply for the additional security it offers you. On the other hand, if you are planning to move relatively soon, your current mortgage could be a better deal whether it’s fixed- or adjustable-rate. When trying to decide what to do, compare the cost of refinancing with what it would cost you in additional interest to hold on to your existing loan. While the breakdown is different for every borrower, generally, you’ll need to keep your current house and loan for anywhere from three to six years to break even on the costs of refinancing.

Deciding what to do with your mortgage can be complicated. Working with a qualified loan broker that can consider every angle with you can help you to make a better decision.

Baby On The Way? Baby Proof Your Home In Just One Weekend

April 9th, 2014

One of the most exciting times in a parent’s life is the time before a baby’s arrival. Between anticipation and preparation time passes in an instant, and before you know it you will babybe holding your little one in your arms. Although newborns are too small to get into too much trouble, in only a few short months your child will be looking to explore the world around them. Make sure your home is ready for the adventure, and baby proofing is done in advance. Over the course of a single weekend you can transform your home into a baby friendly safe zone, ready for discovery.

Getting Down To Have Look Around

Cupboards and corners are potential hazards, but are not the only places baby can run into trouble. Cracks and crevices can trap and scratch little fingers, and an exposed baseboard nail could lead to unneeded tears and medical attention. These problems can be avoided with minimal time and a little filler. By bringing yourself down to baby level, you can easily get the low down on your home’s toddler readiness. Another down and dirty danger is electrical outlets. If you have lots of cords in the home, consider using power strips to keep the number of plugs needed to a minimum. These are easy to unplug and replace with a cover when not needed, or when baby is at play. Not only will this make things easy at the outlet, but it will also save you money by minimizing wasted energy.

Switch To Greener Cleaners And Keep It Up

 

Of course keeping chemical cleaners and cleaning supplies out of reach is an important part of baby proofing your home, but what about the freshly mopped kitchen floor? Baby’s soft skin can easily pick up the chemical cocktail that is most traditional cleaning solutions. Switching to natural cleaners is a safe choice for both your home and your family. With green cleaning products, you won’t have to wait until baby is away or napping before chipping away at the daily chores.

 

Keep Baby In Bounds And Block Danger Out

There is a contraption for every possible danger, but regardless of the measures taken, accidents can always happen. Once you have baby proofed hazardous zones like bathrooms and offices, you can add extra assurance by placing baby locks or latches on the outside of doors. Baby gates can block off areas of the home beyond the staircase. You can use these safety gates to section off nearly any area, and portable gates are easily moved throughout the home.

Babies grow quickly, and sometimes we as parents feel unprepared for the phases and milestones that lay ahead. Knowing your home is ready to go from newborn to toddler will give the peace of mind needed to enjoy each moment that you share with baby in your home. If there are structural challenges that simple baby proofing cannot overcome, call your local real estate professional today. Connecting buyers with just the right place is both our pleasure and priority. Finding the perfect home for you and your growing family can be a great way to transition into a new normal.

Stage Your Home For Spring: Tips For Using The Season To Your Selling Advantage

April 8th, 2014

Rose GardenSpring has arrived! The flowers are blossoming, the greyness of the sky is clearing, and the air is warming. The best season to sell your home is here, and with the added natural light and blossoming colors, you can easily take advantage of the benefits of spring when it comes to selling your home. Make sure to show it for all it’s worth, and follow these simple tips for staging your home in spring that will make your home the one listing that buyers can’t resist.

Fresh Flowers: Put Mother Nature To Work

Nothing says spring like fresh-cut flowers. Bring the beauty of nature inside your home and brighten up your space with fresh flowers. You can get colorful tulips, lilies, and other flowers for use in your kitchen table centerpiece, as well as smaller arrangements for around the house. There’s no reason why a bouquet can’t brighten up your master bedroom or entryway, either. Orchids also make for lovely decorative pieces, and are best for bathrooms or anywhere that’s suitable to a smaller flower. Add that extra intrigue to your entryway with colorful flowers in hanging baskets, and tidy up your front garden with some new colors, all while making the prospective buyers much more enthusiastic about entering your home.

Get That Spring Feel With A Light And Airy Home

 

To make the most of the spring season, make sure you use the added light and the warmth of the air. Open up the windows and lift all the blinds in your home, and consider scheduling showing times during the time of day when the sun shines brightest.

 

Decorative Colors: Brighten Up Your Home

You can also further take advantage with the colors of spring by adding pops of color to your living room, dining room, and kitchen. Consider hanging colorful drapes or adding a decorative throw and couch pillows. Some new and inexpensive artwork for the walls can also be an inventive way to bring color into your home, while creating a warm and inviting space that the buyer will love.

It’s Time For Spring Cleaning

Just because you’re selling your house this year, doesn’t mean you get to excuse yourself from spring cleaning. Actually, partaking in this annual event can be a great way to sell your home faster. A clean home tells buyers that you have taken great care of the property and helps them to envision themselves living in the space. Get out the pressure washer and rid your front steps and driveway of the remnants of winter, clean out the gutters, and give the floors and bathrooms a scrub. Consider an early packing job, and box up your winter clothes to help create the appearance of well-organized and spacious closet space throughout the home.

Spring is a great season in which to sell your home. You can easily take advantage of the warmer weather and bright colors to make your house more attractive to potential buyers, which will help you sell faster and get a higher price. With an airy, clean and flower-filled home that bursts with color, you’ll be able to persuade buyers that your home is the perfect place for them – and you’ll be glad you put in the extra effort. For more great advice about selling your home in the spring, or to list your home for sale, call First Thomasville Realty at 229-226-6515.

Winter Blues, 9 Easy Ways To Brighten Your Home And Your Spirit

March 4th, 2014

Winter Blues, 9 Easy Ways To Brighten Your Home And Your Spirit

These gray, dreary winter days can really sap your energy and dull your enjoyment of life.  To survive the winter doldrums, brighten your Thomasville home.

Use These Easy Tips:

  1. Open your Thomasville home’s window treatments during the day to let the light brighten and warm your room.  Close them again as soon as night falls to retain heat.
  2. Brighten dark rooms with few windows by placing spotlights on the floor behind furniture.
  3. Add a mirror.  Wherever a mirror reflects light in a room, it visually doubles that light.  Place a mirror opposite a window to immediately brighten your space.  No window?  Hang a large mirror above a console table and place a pair of lamps in front of the mirror.
  4. Install higher watt bulbs in rooms that tend to be dark.
  5. Eliminate dark corners by adding recessed lighting.
  6. Use full spectrum lighting in areas where you read, knit or do other up-close work.
  7. Lighten living areas with colorful throws and pillows.
  8. Lift the winter blues by adding flowers and plants to your decor.  Colorful indoor blooming plants include the African violet, Cyclamen, Orchid and desert cactus.  Use tropical flowers to transport yourself mentally to climates where the sun always shines.
  9. Do A Little Winter Cleaning:
    1. Wash the inside of your windows. Fireplace and candle soot coats windows with a dingy film that blocks the sun.
    2. Polish your furniture. Shiny furniture reflects ambient light.
    3. Wash ceiling light fixtures in soapy water. Light is muted when filtered through dirty light fixtures.

Lighting can change how you (and potential buyers) feel about your Thomasville home. It’s one of the easiest and least expensive ways to quickly improve the ambiance of your home.

If you’d like to sell your home, First Thomasville Realty can help.  Give us a call today at 229-226-6515 or email us at Herndon@ftrealty.com .

Why January Is The Best Month For House Hunting

January 24th, 2014

January2014Have you made it your New Year’s resolution to find that perfect Thomasville home for you and your family? You might have thought that you needed to wait until spring to start house shopping, but the fact is that January is a great time to begin. Put on your winter jacket and get out there while the leftovers from the New Year’s party are still in the fridge – you’ll have the upper hand.

House hunting in January offers a number of advantages that will work in your favour. Here are some of the main reasons

Busy Social Calendars

First of all, most other people will be busy with parties, holidays and getting back to work after Christmas and they won’t want to venture out in the cold weather to go look at houses– so there will be fewer competition when bidding on homes. This means that you can get in there and put in an offer that the seller can’t refuse.

Desperate Seller

Also, if the home is on the market at this time of year, there is a chance that the home sale is somewhat urgent. If they were not desperate, they might pull their home out of the market and wait until spring to try again. With a motivated seller you are more likely to get a better price.

A Dedicated Realtor

Your realtor will have more time on their hands at this time of the year, because they will be less busy. This means that they will be able to dedicate more attention to you and help you move through the closing and moving process faster.

Cheap Deals On Furniture

Also, during the month of January retailers will sell off their excess inventory from over Christmas in order to make room for the new models. This means that when you move into your new home you will be able to furnish it at a great discount.

These are just a few of the reasons why you might want to consider getting out this January and searching for your new home. House hunting during this time of year can offer you a number of advantages and you could possibly find that dream Thomasville home you have been looking for at a great price.

For more helpful tips, contact First Thomasvile Realty at 229-226-6515 or email us at info@ftrealty.com .

Creative Ways To Recycle Everyday Household Items

November 7th, 2013

Creative Ways To Recycle Everyday Household ItemsEvery week the trash truck comes to pick up our garbage and unwanted items, which are promptly taken to landfills. Instead of filling landfills and just buying new items to stuff our homes, we can help the earth and recycle everyday household items.

Below are a few fun and creative ideas for recycling things around your home that you might be ready to trash.

Coffee Table Into Bench

If you just purchased a new coffee table, don’t give away the old one — repurpose it. Find a space in your home where you could use some additional seating, like at the end of your bed or in the entryway.

Push it up against the wall so that any drawers and shelves are facing out. Then add some cushions and pillow. Tada; a bench!

Copper Piping Into Bathroom Hardware

Whether you’re going for a modern industrial look or a French country theme, old copper piping can add an attractive and interesting conversation piece to your restroom.

Utilize a U-shaped piece of piping as a toilet paper holder and long pieces of pipe as towel racks. Polish the copper and then seal it with spray lacquer so that it keeps its sheen.

Light Bulbs Into Decorations

Recycle filament light bulbs with a fun little craft project for your children. Grab paint, twine, glitter and glue. You can make flower pots and hang them in the yard as a simple green accent.  Use the twine to create loops for hanging.

Pillowcase Into Shopping Bag

Take an old or vintage pillowcase, lay it flat and cut the top corners off of the open end. You’ll want to cut the corners off in a half-C shape so that that there is only about a two-inch strip left in the middle at the top.

Sew that two-inch strip together and you’ve got your handle. This reusable shopping bag rolls up tight and is easy to wash.

Drawer Into Dog Bed

The size of your animal will dictate the size of drawer you should repurpose. A cat might like a kitchen drawer while a bigger dog would use a large dresser drawer. Strip the wood off the drawer and repaint. Remove the hardware.

Maybe stencil your pet’s name on the front of the drawer. Then create a mattress using foam, batting and a soft and durable material.

Before getting rid of that broken side table or trashing those carry-out chopsticks, take a second look and tap into your creative side to see if you might be able to recycle and give them a second life. 

Be Proactive And Inspect Your Home Foundation

November 6th, 2013

Be Proactive And Inspect Your Home FoundationYou probably had someone check your foundation when you bought the house, but have you looked twice at it since? These problems don’t happen overnight.

They start small and they grow. By the time an issue comes to your attention, it might be too late. Learn to recognize the problems while they’re still small and cheap. Your wallet will thank you later.

Floor Level

You might be able to tell if your floor is level just by walking on it. Some people have a knack for recognizing this problem. If you suspect your floor of being a bit off balance, grab a tennis ball and see if it stays put.

If a door has been scuffing the floor when it swings open, double check the floor. That could be your culprit. A slanted floor can be evidence of a serious structural issue. A shifting foundation can slowly pull apart your house’s frame.

Sight Your Walls

Look down your wall from corner to corner and make sure there are not bumps or bulges. Walls should be flat. Grab a level and see if they’re leaning at all as well. Problems with the walls can mean problems with the concrete.

Check Your Foundation 

Walk around your foundation with a sturdy screwdriver, and poke your foundation firmly. If you can dig a hole in the concrete, that’s a bad sign. It should be firm enough, and dense enough to keep you from causing any damage.

Just give it the screwdriver test though. If you start using the jackhammer test, you’ve gone too far.

Know Your Cracks

Concrete is always shrinking and expanding. It shrinks with the cold and then spreads back out in the heat. This can cause cracks, and most of these cracks are no big deal. Some of them, however, can be evidence of serious problems.

Small hairline cracks between concrete blocks are not a problem. Cracks on areas where the concrete stair-steps down to follow a slope are also not a big deal.

They are probably just caused by shrinkage. If you’re worried about one, paint it over with some waterproofing paint, and make sure the crack doesn’t come back.

Stair-step cracks on the walls are a bad sign, especially if the wall is bulging. Also look out for horizontal cracks, near the soil. This can mean the moisture in the soil is working into your foundation and putting pressure on the concrete. For problems like these, it’s best to bring in a structural engineer.

4 Staging Tips For Your Vacant Land For Sale

November 5th, 2013

4 Staging Tips For Your Vacant Land For SaleIn some ways, selling vacant land is no different from selling a home. You still have to prepare it for sale, and you still need to make it look as good as possible. This process of cleaning and beautifying is called staging. Here are a few tips for staging your land.

  1. De-Clutter. Your buyer wants to actually see your vacant land, and clutter only blocks their vision. Remove fallen tree branches, trash, and junk like car parts and damaged buildings. Cut back large brush. Clear paths so potential buyers can easily walk around the property.
  2. Highlight the positive features. Do you have a section where birds like to feed? Keep it stocked with bird feeders. Is there a section filled with colorful wildflowers? Don’t cut down this section when you mow. Does a group of trees form a canopy? Place a picnic table under their shade. Point out these positive features to your buyers.
  3. Make minor improvements. Repair any damaged section of fence around your property. Dig a pond and use the dirt to fill low areas so they are level with the rest of your land. Keep the grass mowed. These small efforts can make the difference between whether or not a buyer chooses your property.
  4. Mark property boundaries. When you’re looking at vacant land, it’s difficult to see the difference between 5, 10, or more acres. At the very least, you should place stakes (like those used by a surveyor) to show where the property begins and ends. Your buyers will want to know exactly what they are purchasing.

Make sure your vacant land is ready to sell. Let me help you sell your property fast and for top dollar. Call your trusted real estate professional today.

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 4, 2013

November 4th, 2013

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week November 4, 2013Last week’s economic news came from a variety of sources. Most significant was the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee statement after its meeting ended Wednesday. The statement indicated that the Fed saw moderate economic growth. FOMC did not taper its purchase of MBS and Treasury securities.

The FOMC statement announced the committee’s intention to closely monitor economic and financial developments ”in the coming months,” which suggested that the FOMC is taking a wait-and-see position on reducing its $85 billion monthly asset purchases.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Fall

The Fed’s asset purchase program, also known as quantitative easing, was implanted in 2012 with a goal of stabilizing mortgage rates and other long-term interest rates.

The National Association of REALTORS® reported that pending home sales fell by 5.60 percent in September. Uncertainty over the FOMC’s decision concerning tapering its asset purchases during its September meeting and concerns over a then potential government shutdown.

These were noted as primary reasons for the drop in pending home sales, which are measured by signed real estate contracts. Pending Home Sales are used for estimating future closings and mortgage loan activity.

Tuesday’s economic reports included the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for August. Home prices increased by 12.80 percent year-over-year in August as compared to 12.30 percent year-over-year for August 2012. August’s reading shows a dampened pace of rising home prices.

The Conference Board, a research organization, reported that consumer confidence fell from a reading of 80.2 in September to 71.2 in October. A reading of 75.00 was expected, but consumer confidence crashed as the government shutdown and its consequences diminished consumer and investor confidence.

According to ADP, a payroll administration firm, private-sector payrolls came in well shy of the expected 150,000 new jobs with a reading of 130,000 jobs. October’s reading was also lower than September’s reading of 145,000 new jobs.

Weekly jobless claims brought good news; new jobless claims came in at 340,000 and fell by 10,000 new claims from the previous week’s 350,000 new jobless claims. Expectations had been for 335,000 new jobless claims.

Freddie Mac reported that average mortgage rates fell. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped by three basis points to 4.10 percent, with discount points down from 0.80 percent to 0.70 percent.

The average rate for a 15-year mortgage fell by four basis points to 3.20 percent, with an uptick in discount points from 0.60 percent to 0.70 percent. The rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped by four basis points to 2.96 percent with discount points unchanged at 0.40 percent.

Whats Coming Up

There is no housing or mortgage economic news scheduled this week other than Freddie Mac’s PMMS due on Thursday.

Reporting for this week includes Leading Economic Indicators, Weekly Jobless Claims, Non-farm Payrolls and the National Unemployment Rate will be posted. The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index will be released Friday.

This week’s economic reports are expected provide a general gauge of the economy and information about how consumers are responding to recent economic events and news. 

8 Tips On Making Candles Safe For Your Home

November 1st, 2013

8 Tips On Making Candles Safe For Your HomeCandles and candle accessories are very popular. However, when not used properly, candles can be extremely dangerous, resulting in property destruction and even injury or death. Here are some candle safety tips to help keep you and your home safe.

  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Walking away from an open flame inside your home is just not a good idea. You never know what may happen while you’re out.
  • Never burn a candle near something that can catch fire. This includes drapes, lampshades, furniture, bedding, books, and carpet. A flame in your home can quickly turn into a destructive fire.
  • Never burn a candle in a cracked container. A burning candle is filled with hot liquid wax that can burn you or damage your property. Only use sturdy, heat resistant candle holders.
  • Keep the flame in the center of the candle.  If the flame touches the candle holder, it can quickly crack or shatter the container.
  • Never let a candle burn over night. Candles are not nightlights. Make sure you extinguish all flames completely before going to bed each night. The flame is out when the wick stops glowing.
  • Never burn a candle within the reach of pets and children. The glowing flame of a candle is attractive to children and pets. They can easily knock over candles, which can lead to serious burns or a fire in a matter of minutes.
  • Never touch hot candle wax. Liquid candle wax is hot, and it can burn you. Teach your children to follow this rule.
  • Never burn a candle near a draft. The draft will shift the direction of the flame which will cause the candle to burn unevenly or start a fire in your home. If the candle flame is not burning in an upward direction, you need to move it.

If you follow common sense, you can enjoy the ambiance of candles in your home. For more information on candle safety in your home or have other questions about local real estate, please contact your trusted real estate professional.

 

12 Trick-Or-Treating Safety Tips

October 31st, 2013

12 Trick Or Treating Safety TipsGone are the days where parents sit at home while their costumed children run around the neighborhood alone. These days, most small children are walked door to door by family. While there is relatively little mischief they can get into under their parents’ watchful gaze, below are even more trick-or-treating safety tips for an untroubled, fun and haunted evening.

  1. Light Them Up – Put reflective tape on your children’s costumes and bags, so drivers can identify them easily. It’s dark out there!
  2. Plan A Route – Hit up familiar homes and don’t get too far from your house in case a small one gets tired or needs to go to the bathroom.
  3. Stay Out Of The Street – Keep kids on the sidewalk and be sure to look both ways before crossing the street.
  4. Take Stranger Danger Seriously – Don’t go into any dark, unfamiliar homes or get into cars with strangers.
  5. Hem Long Costumes – After purchasing a costume, make sure it’s at least three inches above the ground, so your little ghost won’t trip.
  6. Be Cautious Getting Ghoulish – Test makeup on a small portion of your child’s skin before putting it all over his or her face. Also, be sure to remove it before bedtime.
  7. Pack Away Pointy Toys – Make sure your children’s swords, knives and axes are short, flexible and made of foam.
  8. Wear Comfy Shoes – Avoid princess shoes with heals or anything that’s not flat and comfy for your tot. You don’t want them to trip in the dark.
  9. Watch Out For Flames – Keep flammable costumes away from luminarias or any open-topped glowing pumpkins.
  10. Pretend You’re At The Pool – Walk; don’t run.
  11. Put A Spotlight On Those Monsters – Carry a flashlight so that no one trips.
  12. Check Out The Treats – While this might seem paranoid, just quickly double-check the treats to make sure none have been tampered with or could pose a choking hazard.

Having your little witch in the emergency room instead of indulging in a late night sugar rush would put a damper on the entire holiday. So follow the 12 trick-or-treating safety tips above to help your child enjoy a hauntingly fun and safe Halloween.

Beware Of Zombie Titles

October 30th, 2013

Beware Of Zombie TitlesWith the economic downturn, anyone dealing in real estate quickly became familiar with previously little-known terms such as foreclosure and short sale. Now that the housing market is picking back up and people are moving on, a new term is coming to light — zombie titles.

The Zombie Title

This is when a home has been vacated because the owners defaulted on their loan and their bank started the foreclosure process. However, for some reason or another the bank never completed the foreclosure and sold the home.

So, when the city starts fining someone for the overgrown grass and dilapidated structure, the homeowner who thought they were finished with the property gets the bill.

A Home That Keeps Haunting

Homeowners think they don’t own the property any longer and therefore try to move on by rebuilding their credit score and finding a new place to live. It can be a rude awakening to find out that not only do they still own a home they could have been living in, but also its long vacancy has caused it to fall into disrepair.

Its Spooking The Neighborhood

These vacant homes can decrease the value of a neighborhood. If the bank or the un-suspecting homeowner are neither one taking care of the property, then it can become overgrown and an eyesore on the block. It becomes a problem with no solution because the owner won’t want to invest any money in fixing up the property when the bank could come back with the foreclosure at any time.

Nail Shut The Foreclosure Coffin

Homeowners who have foreclosed on a home should double check that their bank actually followed through to closing on a sale. They could contact their lender or check public property records just to make sure. Otherwise, they could be haunted by their housing nightmare all over again.

Don’t let the zombie title of a past property haunt your future! Check with your bank to make sure you’re free and clear of your foreclosure. If you’d like more information on zombie titles or have other questions about local real estate, please contant your trusted real estate professional.

What You Should Know About Pending Home Sales This Month

October 29th, 2013

What You Should Know About Pending Home Sales This Month Pending home sales fell in September by -5.60 percent, and were 1.20 percent lower year-over-year. This is the first time in more than two years that pending home sales have fallen below year-earlier readings. September’s reading was below August’s reading of -1.60 percent.

The National Association of REALTORS®, which released the report, expects lower home sales for the fourth quarter of 2013 and flat sales into 2014. NAR provided good news in its forecast of 10 percent growth in existing home sales in 2013 as compared to 2012.

A spike in mortgage rates in August coupled with rapidly rising home prices were seen as major factors leading to lower pending sales.

Real estate analysis firm CoreLogic has reported that August home prices were 12.4 percent higher than for the previous 12 months; this was the fastest annual growth rate for home prices since February 2006.

While positive news for homeowners and housing markets, rapidly rising home prices can cause some buyers to postpone or cancel their plans for purchasing a home.

Economic, Government Policy Challenges Reduce Buyer Enthusiasm

In addition to higher mortgage rates and home prices, recent concerns of investors and consumers about the government shutdown and its consequences were noted as factors contributing to lower pending home sales.

High unemployment rates are a lingering influence, as would-be home buyers waver in their decisions to take on a long-term obligation when unemployment rates remain higher than normal and job security is questionable.

Fed Expected To Maintain Bond-Buying At Current Level

The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve meets this week and is expected to maintain its current level of $85 billion per month in Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities. The fed’s program is intended to keep long-term interest rates, including mortgage rates, low as a means of supporting the economic recovery.

Mortgage rates are affected by bond prices; if the fed reduces its monthly bond purchases, demand for bonds would fall, and mortgage rates would be expected to rise.

Mortgage rates spiked in August on expectations that the FOMC would taper its monthly bond-buying, but have since trended lower. 

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 28, 2013

October 28th, 2013

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 28, 2013Federal government agencies issued reports that were delayed by the government shutdown; and Freddie Mac reported that average mortgage rates fell for all types of loans it reports. The National Association of REALTORS issued its Existing Home Sales report on Monday. While 5.30 million home sales were expected an annual basis, September’s reading fell short at 5.29 million sales.

August’s reading was adjusted from an original reading of 5.48 million, which equaled July’s reading. Higher mortgage rates and home prices were cited as contributing to the slip in September’s sales.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics issued the Nonfarm Payrolls report for September on Tuesday. September’s reading indicated that only 148,000 jobs were created as compared to economists’ expectations of 185,000 jobs and August’s reading of 173,000 new jobs.

National Unemployment Rate Dropped 

Analysts indicated that the modest reading for September was caused by uncertainty over the government shutdown, and also indicated that the economy is growing, but continues to experience ups and downs. The national unemployment rate for September fell from August’s reading of 7.30 percent to 7.20 percent.

According to the Commerce Department, construction spending rose by 0.60 percent in August as compared to expectations of 0.50 percent and July’s revised reading of 1.40 percent, of which 1.20 percent represented spending on residential construction. The Federal Reserve characterized residential construction as growing at a ”moderate pace” in September.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that August sales of homes connected with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac grew by 8.50 percent on a seasonally adjusted year-over-year basis. This represented monthly growth of 0.30 percent and was the smallest rise since September 2012.

Good News! Mortgage Rates Fall

Thursday brought encouraging news with Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Average mortgage rates fell across the board with the average rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage falling from last week’s 4.28 percent to 4.13 percent. 

The rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage dropped from 3.33 percent to 3.24 percent, and the rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped from 3.07 percent to 3.00 percent. Discount points rose to 0.8 percent for 30 and 15-year fixed rate mortgages and stayed steady for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages at 0.4 percent.

Weekly Jobless claims were higher than expected at 350,000 new claims; analysts had expected 337,000 new claims. The latest reading was below the prior reading of 362,000 new jobless claims.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index was released Friday with some telling results. October’s reading 73.2 from September’s revised reading of 77.5. A reading of 74.8 had been expected based on September’s original reading of 75.2. Consumers interviewed for the October CSI indicated that the federal government was the major factor in lower confidence in the economy.

What’s Coming Up

A number of federal agencies are still delaying their reports. Next week’s scheduled economic news includes the Case-Shiller Housing Market Index, Consumer Confidence report and ADP’s Employment Report. Weekly Jobless Claims and the Freddie Mac PMMS will be issued Thursday.