Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 12/8/2017

Ready to add your residence to the real estate market? A home appraisal may prove to be a great first step.

With a home appraisal, you'll be able to understand the true value of your house. This comprehensive home assessment enables an expert home appraiser to evaluate every room in your home. Then, a home appraiser will provide details about your home's strengths and weaknesses.

Ultimately, there are many questions for a home seller to consider after a home appraisal is completed, including:

1. What did the home appraiser discover during the evaluation?

A home appraiser boasts in-depth home maintenance knowledge and insights. As such, this professional will do everything possible to identify problem areas with you home that you can repair before you add your residence to the housing market.

Consider the results of a home appraisal closely. By doing so, you can understand your home's strengths and weaknesses and search for ways to transform your house's weaknesses into strengths.

Also, it is important to establish realistic expectations for your residence after a home appraisal.

If a home appraiser discovers myriad problems with your residence, there is no need to worry. You can always repair these issues on your own or hire home maintenance professionals for extra help.

Or, if you decide not to complete home repairs following a home inspection, you should price your residence accordingly. That way, you can be honest with homebuyers about the pros and cons associated with your home and enable these homebuyers to make informed decisions about your residence.

2. Are there major or minor problems with my house?

What differentiates a major home problem from a minor one? The time and resources required to fix a problem often serve as key indicators about whether an issue can cause major headaches over an extended period of time.

For example, an oven light that has gone out can be replaced quickly and effortlessly. On the other hand, your home's obsolete, inefficient furnace may require thousands of dollars to replace.

Simple home improvements can make a world of difference in homebuyers' eyes. Following a home inspection, you may be able to find a variety of quick, easy and effective home improvement tasks that you can complete to enhance your home's appeal.

Be prepared to complete major home improvement projects as well. Remember, if you finish assorted home improvement tasks now, you may be able to help your residence stand out in a highly competitive real estate market down the line.

3. Which home repairs should I prioritize?

Home repairs should help you maximize the value of your residence. Therefore, you should prioritize home maintenance projects that will help you transform your ordinary residence into an exceptional one.

If you need help to determine which home repairs to prioritize, don't forget that a real estate agent may help you do just that. This real estate professional will work with you throughout the home selling process and ensure you can enhance your residence both inside and out.




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Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 12/1/2017

There’s a lot of things to think about before buying a home--some financial, others personal. Most people tend to focus on one or the other. However, both are instrumental in choosing the right house and buying at the right time.

In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can determine if you’re ready for homeownership. We’ll discuss things like credit scores and down payments, but also important life factors like your career and future plans.

Getting your finances in order

There are a few simple things you can do right now that will help you understand if you’re financially secure enough to start looking at houses. First, you’ll want to look up your credit score.

Lenders strongly consider your credit when determining how much risk is involved in lending to you. A higher credit score can not only get you approved for a mortgage, it can lower your interest rate and make you eligible to borrow without having to pay private mortgage insurance.

The amount of money this saves seems trivial in the short term, but over the lifespan of your loan it can save you tens of thousands of dollars. So, read a free credit report and if your credit is lower than 700 start finding ways to improve your credit.

In the meantime, you’ll want to save for a down payment. While it’s possible to buy a home with a small or no down payment, it can come back to haunt you in the form of interest as you pay off your loan. Furthermore, many lenders won’t pre-approve you unless you make a down payment of a minimum amount (often 20% of the loan).

If you have a high credit score and you’ve saved for a down payment, another thing to check off your list would be proving your stable income. This can be difficult for the self-employed, contract workers, or people who have recently changed jobs.

Lenders want to see that you have a stable income history to ensure that you’ll be able to pay your mortgage each month. If you recently changed jobs or are in between jobs, it could be to your benefit to wait 3-6 months before getting pre-approved. In that time, you can continue to raise your credit and save for a down payment, further increasing your chances of getting a low-interest loan.

Preparing for homeownership

While the financial aspects of homeownership are important, so are the personal aspects. You’ll want to consider several life factors before buying a home.

First, think about your longterm goals. Do you want to live in the same area for the next 10 to 30 years? Will your career bring you to different regions or will you attend school somewhere else? These questions will help you decide if it’s a good time to buy or a better investment to save money while renting.

If you have a family (or plan on having one soon), you’ll also have to find a way to balance all of your living needs.

Finally, ask yourself if you have time for homeownership. Many people who are used to renting aren’t aware of the amount of time and money it takes to maintain a home. You’ll have more bills, you’ll have to mow your own lawn, and you’ll be responsible for maintenance of your home.





Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 11/24/2017

Did you every hear the old expression, "Trust in God, but lock your door"? Not only has that adage been passed on from one generation to the next, but it's a lyric in an old Kenny Rogers song, and you'll occasionally see it on bumper stickers. Although keeping your home safe from intruders is a serious topic, that old saying reminds us, in a humorous way, that we shouldn't take home security for granted. In addition to high tech approaches to home protection, there are also easy and inexpensive steps you can take to discourage burglars. Although many of these safety measures seem like common sense, you'd be surprised at how many homeowners forget to lock doors, leave lights on, and take other simple precautions when they're away. Here's a handful of smart steps you can take to substantially reduce the risk of having your home broken into.

  1. Make a habit of locking your doors and windows. While this piece of advice may sound like a "no-brainer," many reports of home break-ins mention an unlocked window or door as the point of entry for burglars. The first thing you can do to tighten up security and feel safer in your own home is to increase your awareness of potential threats, and emphasize to your family the importance of taking precautions. The ideal scenario involves reinforcing positive habits, without instilling a sense of fear. After all, your home should be a peaceful place where your family always feels safe and comfortable.
  2. Shine a light on the problem. You would think that everyone would leave lights on when they're not home at night, but -- for one reason or another -- many don't. Keeping your home well lit, both inside and out, is a good strategy for thwarting crime. To save money on energy bills and to avoid the appearance of always having your lights on, you can purchase inexpensive lighting timers. Leaving a radio or TV on when you're not home, or connecting it to a timer, is another way to create the illusion that someone is home.
  3. Barking dogs are a known burglar deterrent, as are "Beware of Dog" signs. The actual dogs are obviously more effective than the warning signs, but many people bring their pets to a boarding facility when they're away on vacation. One solution is to arrange for a house sitter or an on-site pet care service to stop by. If you have a trusted neighbor or family member who can feed and walk your dog while you're away (maybe, water your plants, too!), then your canine security guard can remain on duty in your absence. Many communities also have licensed and bonded pet care services that can stop by and take care of your dogs, every day, eliminating the need for your pets to be away from home.
  4. Landscaping features can be a risk factor. Be aware that high bushes and hedges can make it easier for burglars to hide while breaking into windows. Keep shrubs and branches trimmed back as much as possible to eliminate this chink in your security plan. If you're still concerned about the effect of bushes on home security, then make sure your window locks are sturdy and fully functional. Inexpensive battery-operated window and door alarms are also an option.
One method that can virtually eliminate the problem of forgetting to lock your doors and turning on lights is to have a high-tech security system installed. This technology enables you to activate locks, lights, and even thermostats from any location with your cell phone, laptop, or other mobile device. While these automated systems and monitored alarms incur a monthly service fee, the peace of mind and added control you get over your home environment is often more than worth the expense.





Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 11/17/2017

When you buy a home, you may wonder what the benefits of having your own realtor to represent you are. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you probably will have a lot of questions. If you’re a second-time homebuyer you may still have a lot of questions! Buying a home can be a long, tedious process. It’s very helpful to know that you have a knowledgable realtor by your side to represent you and help you through the home buying process. If you’re looking to buy a home in a tough market, hiring your own realtor to represent you as a buyer is especially important. 


First, you should consider interviewing some prospective buyers agents in your area. Maybe you can get recommendations from friends and family as well. Learn what you can expect from a top realtor who will represent you as a buyer. 


Honesty Is The Best Policy


Your agent should be completely honest with you. While they can’t tell you what you personally want in a home, they should give you every last disclosure. No agent should put a home value or their own commission above their clients. This means that there’s strict documentation that realtors must follow including a code of ethics and standards for practice. A realtor must uphold these promises.  


Judging honesty in a realtor can be difficult. An honest real estate agent will help you through the home search process, for example. This is a good place to start. If the realtor points out some of the potential issues that you may have as a buyer in a home, you can see that honesty is one of their main policies.


Good Communicator


A realtor should be in frequent communication with you. Even if your home search isn’t active, they will check in, and see where you’re at in the process and if your needs have changed. 

Your realtor should alert you if offers have been made on properties that you’re interested in as well. Your buyer’s agent should reply to texts, e-mails, or calls within a short time frame of receiving them. Having a realtor that’s on top of things for you is important when it comes to buying a home since, without their help and information, the perfect home could slip through the cracks for you.                  


Knowledge Of Rules, Regulations, And Best Practices


Your buyer’s agent should have extensive knowledge of the real estate rules and regulations that are within your state. Each state has different practices when it comes to buying a home. Hiring a buyer’s agent is especially helpful if you are unfamiliar with a state or city. Your agent will be well-informed on all of your responsibilities as a buyer, as well as how and when you should complete these tasks and signings throughout the entire home buying process.





Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 11/10/2017

If you are looking to sell your home and move out of a major city, there is no need to worry. In fact, there are many quick, easy ways to ensure that you can enjoy a seamless home selling experience, even if your residence is located in the heart of a major city.

Now, let's take a look at three tips for selling a home in a major city.

1. Know Your Target Homebuyer

Think about what led you to buy your city home in the first place. Then, you can put together a home listing that highlights your home's features, thereby increasing the likelihood that your house will generate plenty of interest from potential buyers.

When you create a home listing, think about a city homebuyer's perspective. By doing so, you can ensure that your home listing hits the mark with the right group of buyers.

For example, if your home is located near popular city attractions, it may be worthwhile to include this information in your home listing. Or, if your home includes a new roof and other upgrades, you should incorporate lots of details about these upgrades into your home listing.

2. Establish an Aggressive Price for Your Residence

What you originally paid for your city home is unlikely to match the value of your residence today. However, with a comprehensive approach to analyzing your home's strengths and weaknesses, you can establish an aggressive home listing price from day one.

It often pays to conduct a home appraisal prior to adding a city home to the real estate market. During a home appraisal, a property expert will evaluate your residence, as well as compare and contrast your house against similar homes. After a home appraisal is finished, you will receive a property valuation that can help you set a competitive initial asking price for your house.

Don't forget to check out the prices of comparable houses in your city, either. With this housing market data at your disposal, you can see how your residence stacks up against the competition and price it accordingly.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you're unsure about how to put together a home listing, price your residence or perform assorted home selling tasks, you should contact a local real estate agent. By hiring a real estate agent, you can receive expert assistance as you try to sell your city residence.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of selling a house in any city, at any time. Therefore, this housing market professional will make it easy for you to maximize the value of your city home.

Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your home selling goals. He or she then will add your city residence to the real estate market, promote it to potential buyers and keep you up to date throughout the property selling journey.

When it comes to selling a home in a major city, it helps to take an informed approach. Use the aforementioned home selling tips, and you can boost your chances of enjoying a fast, profitable home selling experience.




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