As a renter, you have the luxury of choosing a place that meets your needs at the moment. Buying a home is a much bigger commitment, both in terms of finances and the length of time you’ll likely live there. When seeking out your first place – whether a house or condominium or anything in between – it’s important to do your homework.
Here are 5 things to consider as you begin the process of purchasing your first place.
Sure, you could leave that cluttered room as a shrine to your college freshman, but wouldn't you love to use that space? Break the news to your kid gently, don't throw anything out without consulting them and keep some closet space open for when they come back to visit. Then consider one of these redecorating ideas for your empty nest.
You can’t control all the variables when purchasing a home, but being aware of them can certainly help you along the way.
1. Low inventory means you have to act fast ...
Spring means getting your hands dirty for planting season. Whether it’s plants or vegetables, you might be thinking about creating a garden bed this year. Now, when it comes to gardening, I realize everyone has their own school of thought and specific way to address the year’s crop. However, if you’re new, here are a few pros and cons to building a garden bed.
The Good Side of Garden Beds
When it comes to real estate, “going green” is an investment in the future. The benefits to potential buyers are many and having money-saving, energy-efficient upgrades in your home can mean the difference between selling quickly or lingering on the market.
In fact, a study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found that 90 percent of homebuyers take energy efficiency into account when shopping for a home.
RE/MAX created a list of advantages a green home offers buyers and some environmental upgrades you should consider before you sell.
Vacation rentals only continue to gain in popularity. The concept is often a win-win, as short-term rentals can provide an income opportunity for owners and a unique way for visitors to experience a city.
If you are an owner considering offering your vacation home up for rental, here a few things to keep in mind before you dive in.
The rise in popularity of Airbnb and other sites hasn't been without controversy. There are concerns that short-term rentals threaten the jobs of hotel workers, and that a short-term rental doesn't have to pass the same certifications and inspections of regular hotels.
Some cities have enacted restrictions against short-term rentals. You may need to register and get a permit or a license – or you may not be able to host at all. Check with the local government to make sure you understand the laws and regulations.
Second homes and rental properties are subject to specific tax rules, so be sure you know what's expected and what you can deduct.
3. Additional Costs
Renting out your home could mean an extra insurance bill. Check with your insurance agent to learn what your current policy covers regarding short-term renters. Airbnb currently offers some insurance options for short-term renters, and many of the other sites have partnerships that make it easy to take out additional coverage, if needed.
In addition to insurance, you'll have to pay a percentage of the rental income to the website: Airbnb and FlipKey both currently charge a 3% host service fee, VRBO has an option to pay-per-booking or an annual...
Moving can be stressful for every family member – including the four-legged ones. Every animal reacts differently to new living quarters, and temperament has a lot to do with it. Some pets take a move in stride, while others exhibit anxiety or insecurity for days or weeks.
Here are 5 things to consider as the big move approaches and after you're in your new home.
1. A little help from the vet
For many first-time buyers, saving for a down payment is the most difficult step in the home-buying process. However, it's a common misconception that you always need 20 percent down to buy a home.
Here’s the lowdown on the most popular low-down alternative payment options:
One word sums up February home sales across the country – inventory. The lack of homes for sale continues to be the key factor as February marks the third consecutive month of year-over-year declines in home sales, coupled with quick sales and record prices. Here are key points from March’s report:
1. Slightly fewer transactions occurred
Of the 52 metro areas surveyed in February 2018, the overall average number of home sales increased about 3 percent compared to January 2018 and decreased .2 percent compared to February 2017. The beginning of the year is typically a slower selling season, but buyers should still work with their agents to navigate the competitive market.
2. Low inventory is driving prices up
The median sales price of a home sold in February was $228,700. That's nearly 8 percent higher than the median sales price in February 2017 and marks the 22nd consecutive month of year-over-year price increases.
3. Inventory continues to shrink
While the hot markets like Denver and San Francisco continue to see low supplies of inventory, we’re also watching more homebuyers migrate into unexpected markets. In one year, Billings, Montana, saw a 59 percent increase in home sales, along with Boise, Idaho, with a 25 percent increase in sales.
4. Days on market continue to drop
According to the March RE/MAX National Housing Report, home sales dropped 0.2% from February 2017, while the Days on Market average of 62 days was the lowest of any February in the report’s nine-year history.
Dig into the details of the ?...
March means the weather is (hopefully) warming up. It’s the perfect time to get ahead on home maintenance. Here are a few projects to focus on during a spring fling of home repair.
1. Wash away the winter
Power washing your home's exterior not only adds to its sparkle, but also blasts away any potentially damaging mold and mildew. Rent a power washer at your local home improvement store and hit your siding, deck and driveway.
2. Check your AC
Scheduling a tune-up for your cooling system now can save you big bucks in the long run. Change your AC filter and schedule a pro to come check your system before contractors get busy during the summer.
3. Go with the flow
Pull out a ladder and unclog gutters. While you’re up there, check that they're connected securely.
4. Bask in the sun
Catch some rays – and brighten your home – by cleaning your windows, inside and out. Use a squeegee instead of paper towels to avoid looking out through a filter of streaks and lint.
5. Hit the fridge
The dust and grime that collects on your refrigerator's coils forces it to use more energy to cool. Cleaning coils is easy with your vacuum's hose attachment. Then, enjoy efficiently-made ice cubes in a cocktail after all your hard work.
And add a paper drink umbrella. After all, it is spring break.
What else can you be doing to help your home sell quickly and at the right price? Reach out to me, and I’d love to share other ideas.
Even with St. Patrick’s Day, finding the right place to call home requires more than luck. It requires the skill and insight of a professional. If you're in the process of buying a home, here are 4 signs for when it's time to call in an agent.
1. You realize the inaccuracies of the internet
While you can view tons of listings online, not all of the information is accurate or up-to-date. You'll find outdated comps, conflicting forecasts and different ratings. With access to the MLS and insight on properties about to hit the market, a Realtor can provide the latest and most accurate data.
2. You're juggling a hectic schedule
You don't need to spend time sorting through listings and contacting sellers. An agent will do the research on your behalf to find the homes that best fit your needs and price range.
3. The biggest thing you've negotiated lately was your kids' bedtime (and you lost)
As professional negotiators with years of experience, Realtors know how to create, present and negotiate the best offer. Remember, you'll be going up against another professional negotiator: the seller's agent.
4. You’re unfamiliar with a neighborhood
A local agent can give you the scoop about market developments and changes that you won’t find online. He or she will also analyze the context of larger forces that could impact the future value of a home.
Don’t push your luck in your home search. I’m happy to help you eliminate the unknowns and variables – so you can find your perfect place.
Schools can have a big impact on property value and quality of life. If you're buying a home, here are a few reasons local school ratings matter – even if you don't have kids.
1. The next buyer will consider school ratings, too
According to a recent ?National Association of REALTORS Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers???, 25 percent of homebuyers listed school quality and 20 percent listed proximity to schools as deciding factors in their home purchase. Another survey conducted by Realtor.com showed that 91 percent of the people surveyed included school district boundaries in their decision-making process. You may be surprised to learn that not all of the shoppers involved in the studies had kids.
2. More money spent on schools means more money spent on homes
There's a correlation between school expenditures and home values in any given neighborhood, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. Their report, "School Spending Raises Property Values," found that for every dollar spent on public schools in a community, home values increased $20.
3. Higher school ratings equal higher home values
A Brookings Institution study looked at the 100 largest metro areas in the country and found an average difference of $205,000 in home prices between houses near high-performing and low-performing schools.
4. And good school ratings...
We typically have to wait until March or even April to see the housing market begin to heat up. But with a record number of January home sales, it seems things are kicking into gear early this year. Here are key points from February’s report:
1. Homes are still selling fast
The average Days on Market for homes sold in January 2018 was 60, up three days from the average in December 2017, and down six days from the January 2017 average
2. Prices continue to rise
The median sales price of a home sold in January was $224,000. That’s nearly 7 percent higher than the median sales price in January 2017.
3. Home for sale are still in short supply
We still need more homes for sale. The number of homes for sale in January 2018 was down 4.8% from December 2017, and down 14.8% from January 2017.
4. Slightly fewer transactions occurred
Of the 53 metro areas surveyed in January 2018, the overall average number of home sales decreased 27.4% compared to December 2017 and decreased 2.8% compared to January 2017. But we’re already starting to see the selling season heat up and whether you’re planning to buy or sell or both, now’s the time to contact an agent.
Dig into the details of the ?February 2017 RE/MA?X National Housing Report??? in the infographic below.
Before you make an offer, be sure you love these five traits about your potential new place
You gaze longingly at the curb appeal and your heart flutters at the open kitchen, but is the home you're considering buying really The One? Before you make an offer, be sure you love these five, hard-to-change traits about your potential new place.
1. Square footage
Too small and you may quickly outgrow your new space. Too big can mean unnecessary energy bills and money spent furnishing space you never use. Aim for "just right."
2. Drive time
Be sure your daily commute won't leave you sitting in traffic, rethinking your relationship with your house. Consider driving to work from your potential home a couple times during rush hour to know what you're getting into.
Being able to stroll to shops, restaurants, parks and public transportation can really boost your quality of life. If it's important to you, check out your potential home's official walkability score at ?www.walkscore.com???.
Does the neighborhood include features that are critical to your particular lifestyle, like yoga studios, late night takeout options or a safe playground for your kids (or pups)?
5. Planes, trains and automobiles
If you travel frequently, consider how close your potential new home is to the airport, main highways or public transportation. Not a fan of planes flying overhead – or the noise of late-night trains passing by? Keep that in mind when scoping...
Proud to be a part of a brand that is ranked a top 5 franchise in the annual Entrepreneur Magazine Franchise Top 500. The #REMAXHustle never stops!
RE/MAX is ranked 5th among the 500 franchise companies included in the 2018 Entrepreneur Franchise 500® survey.
The accolades keep on coming for RE/MAX, and I’m honored to be a part of it.
The #1 name in real estate continued to outperform its competitors in Entrepreneur magazine’s recent Franchise 500 ranking. In addition to being ranked the #1 real estate franchise in the country – for the 15th time – RE/MAX also climbed into the survey’s Top Five of all franchises for the first time!
More than 1,000 franchisors applied for the 39th annual ranking. It’s a pretty impressive performance for RE/MAX and more proof that the #remaxhustle never stops.
Highlights of the 2018 Franchise 500 survey include:
- RE/MAX ranked #5 overall, up from #10 in 2017, #21 in 2016 and #75 in 2015
- RE/MAX ranked #1 among real estate franchises
- Other real estate competitors were Keller Williams Realty at #22, HomeVestors of America at #37, Weichert Real Estate Affiliates at #139, Realty One Group at #230, Realty Executives at #424 and United Real Estate...
The skills of more than 115,000 sales associates in over 100 countries and territories have made RE/MAX the global leader in residential real estate transactions sides.
To be named the best in the world, professional athletes put in years of hard work, preparation and dedication to set themselves apart from the rest – wait – that sounds an awful lot like our network of real estate professionals!
As our bold new graphic proclaims, Nobody in the World Sells More Real Estate Than RE/MAX. Nobody IN THE WORLD. That means helping buyers and sellers achieve their dreams all around the globe. It means winning on the world stage – not just a national one. So what does it take to be number one?
1. Recognize And Develop Talent
Great things happen when you combine the industry’s most productive agents, a universally known brand name, an array of competitive advantages and a culture that attracts professionals who value customer service and big results. To be the best, you have to attract the best!
2. Work Hard And Keep At It
RE/MAX didn't reach the summit overnight. There's been 45 years of growing and nurturing the skills of sales associates, who in turn have done incredible work for their clients. Nothing has come easily, but going all-in is part of the RE/MAX culture. It's how you become the VIP.
3. Coach And Help Others
RE/MAX has a stated mission of "achieving our goals by helping others achieve theirs. Everybody wins." Raw talent needs infrastructure, equipment and facilities – and the quality of the support network depends very much on the mindset driving it forward.
In these global...
January 2018 Housing Report:
4 Things to Know:
1. Homes are selling fast
In December, homes spent an average of 57 days on the market. That’s the shortest time of any December in the report’s history.
2. Prices are rising
The median sales price of a home sold in December was $232,500. That’s nearly 3 percent higher than the median sales price in December 2016.
3. Inventory continues to shrink
Making sales harder was a low supply of inventory at 3.7 percent — which is the lowest December figure in the nine-year history of the report. That corresponds with a 14.6 percent decline in inventory, lengthening a streak of monthly declines that began in November 2008.
4. Slightly fewer transactions occurred
The overall average number of home sales fell 3.3 percent compared to December 2016, with 39 markets reporting fewer transactions. The end of year is typically a slower selling season, but buyers should still work with their agents to navigate the competitive market.
Dig into the details of the ?January 2017 RE/MAX National Housing Report??? in this infographic.
Ever thought about solar panels? LG&E has a Solar Share program now. (For more info click here https://lge-ku.com/solar-share/help. Solar panels are good for the environment, save money, and can increase the value of your home. However, with all the good, there are a few cons. Do you think there are more pros or cons when installing solar panels?
1. Pro: Demolish your electric bills
Obviously by capturing free energy from the sun, you'll pay less in your utility bill. In some states, you can even earn money back by selling the unused energy your panels generate to the utility company in the form of ?Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs).
2. Con: Upfront cost
While installation and materials are more affordable than ever, it might take up to seven years for the system to pay for itself through the money you save. Fortunately, there are considerable tax breaks, rebates, and solar-specific loans available to help homeowners get started. The federal investment tax credit allows you to deduct 30 percent of the cost of your system from your taxes. You can search for state programs on the ...
When buying or selling a home, an understanding of current market trends could help optimize your time and money. Here are a four real estate trends that defined 2017 and are expected carry on into the new year.
1. Competing Generations
The recent shift in home buying preferences is a generational one. Millennials are starting to abandon their condos in the city for starter homes in the burbs, putting them in direct competition with downsizing baby boomers. With these two groups both looking for similar housing, well-maintained single-family homes are expected to go very quickly in 2018.
2. Tightening Inventory
The fall of 2017 was tight in regards to the number of homes available for sale. In fact, total housing inventory was down 13.4 percent in October 2017 compared to the same time the year before, according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report. For most of the country, sellers currently have the advantage. Will that change in 2018? It’s possible, but buyers should prepare for a market where they will have to be aggressive to purchase the home they want.
3. Advancing Tech
Like most other industries, real estate today is profoundly affected by the advance of technology. Homebuyers and sellers can easily access information about a house or the market with the click of a button, and virtual walk-throughs allow a buyer to enter a prospective home for the first time with few surprises. In real estate, technology has the potential to reward those who do their homework and make the most of digital options before...
While selling your sofa or lawnmower on your own doesn't take a lot of sales skill, working with a professional real estate agent will help you get the most money in the shortest time when selling your home. Here are some of the top reasons I can help.
1. Increase your profit
Many people think they'll make more money if they avoid paying an agent a commission and instead handle their own home sale, but the statistics show otherwise. According to the National Association of Realtors, selling with an agent brings in a higher profit, enough to cover the commission and then some. For one thing, I have the experience and tools to price your home appropriately. Studies show that homes priced correctly when they first hit the market sell faster, and for a better price, than those that linger with a decreasing price tag.
2. Save you time
While it may take just moments to upload a Craigslist ad, handling prospective buyers, inspectors, and appraisers can suck up your time. From screening out unqualified buyers to helping you prepare your home for inspections, I can help drive the process more efficiently.
3. Make a better deal
You might be proud of your poker face, but are you really a savvy enough negotiator to put one of the biggest deals of your life on the line? As most buyers use a buyer's agent, you'll probably be going toe-to-toe with a professional negotiator. When you list your house with me, you not only get their marketing power and connections, but you get a pro negotiator advocating for you during the initial offer, the counter offer, and the post-offer period, which includes inspections and requests for concessions....