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Selling During the Holidays

Selling your home during the holidays requires a balance between family
celebrations and public access. While your home may look its best, it can
be challenging to accommodate the last-minute showings. Communication
with your agent is critical and with proper planning, you can minimize the
disturbances while still allowing potential buyers to view your property.

· Showing Windows – Working around your holiday schedules, as
well as your agent’s, state clearing in your real estate listing the show times
you will allow. An example might be a 4-hour window on weekends or a
2-hour time frame weekday evenings.

· Advance Notice – State clearly that all buyers must reach you prior
to showing up. Of course, some will still stop by, but you can minimize the
impact by asking for advance notice.

· Online Tools – The more pictures and videos the better. If your
potential buyers can view your home online, you are more likely to get the
right buyers setting appointments. You may get fewer showings, but they
will be the right ones.

· Clean-up Stations – You want your home to look festive, but this can
lead to clutter. Keep clean-up bins in strategic locations so you can easily
hide unnecessary items on short notice.

Again, communication is more important than ever during the holiday
season. You are in control. Set realistic privacy boundaries and hold to
them. This allows you to showcase your home in its best light, without the
disruption to your family traditions.

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Market Outlook

There’s been some concern lately about another housing market crash.
Maybe you’ve read articles linking today’s environment with the Market
Meltdown of 2008. Even with the talk of recession, this real estate market is
very different and that means that most experts do not expect a crash, just
a normal ebb-and-flow slowdown. There are some significant differences in
today’s situation:

Heading into the 2008 crash, loans were very easy to find. Almost anyone
could qualify for a loan with zero down payment and lower FICO scores.
The lending industry was taking huge risks, and this pushed home prices
higher, artificially. With stricter lending policies in place, not only do
borrowers need to qualify properly, but appraisals are based on true value,
avoiding over-inflated prices.

Housing Supply
Another difference is the housing supply. As home prices soared, so did the
number of homes for sale. Currently, there is still a shortage of available
inventory for the buyers still looking for a new home.

Equity Levels
Another huge difference is near record equity for most homeowners. The
strong housing market during the pandemic pushed home values higher
than ever before. Contrast this to the Market Meltdown era of short sales
and foreclosures, and it’s clear that most sellers can still afford to negotiate
and reap a healthy gain in the process.

What this means to you
The bottom line is that if you are a buyer looking to purchase or a seller
ready to move, there is no reason to wait or worry that there is a crash on
the horizon. The frantic pace of the market has slowed, interest rates have
risen, but opportunities are still available in this market.

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Why You Should List Your Home During Holiday Season

Listing your home during the holiday season can be a fantastic idea!

Here are some compelling reasons why:

✨ Less Competition: Fewer sellers mean your home stands out to motivated buyers.

🏠 Serious Buyers: Many house hunters during the holidays are ready to make a move.

🌟 Festive Appeal: Decorated homes exude warmth, creating an emotional connection.

📆 Flexible Timing: You can choose when to schedule showings and close the deal.

💰 Year-End Tax Benefits: Buyers may want to take advantage of tax benefits.

🎁 A Fresh Start: Buyers might see your home as a holiday gift to themselves.

Ready to make the most of the holiday season in real estate?

Let’s chat!

#HolidayHomeSelling #RealEstatePros #FestiveOpportunities

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Looking for a Mortgage? Review Your Resume

When evaluating a potential borrower, lenders consider a number of
factors. You already expect to produce a good FICO score, proof of
income, and a reasonable down-payment, but have you reviewed your
resume? A crucial aspect of loan approval is your employment and
employment history – your resume.

Your employment history provides lenders some insight into your financial
stability and income consistency. They want to ensure that you have a
steady source of income that will cover your mortgage as well as
household essentials. Typically, this involves pay stubs, W-2 forms, and tax
returns. They will also verify employment with your human resource
department, including hire date. If you have been in the same job for a
while, this strengthens your application by reducing the risk the lender
assumes in loaning you the money. Sometimes, the lender will need to look
closer and ask for more documentation if your employment history reveals
potential issues.

Self-Employment

The approval process for self-employed borrowers may be slightly different.
Lenders will expect a strong, steady income stream that will be verified with
bank statements and tax returns. A company profit and loss statement will
also be requested.

Employment Gaps

Extended, unexplained employment gaps may be a concern for lenders.
The key is to explain, and most lenders understand reasonable
explanations such as education, caring for a family member, or extended
illness.

Changing Industries

Recent changes to your career track or industry can be a red flag to
lenders. Remember they are looking for consistency. However, as with
other issues, having a strong reason for the change and demonstrating
financial stability can alleviate these concerns.

Before you send off your loan package, it’s worth giving your resume a
quick review. Proactively offer documentation for anything that seems
unusual or that may cause questions. Working with your mortgage
professional can help you navigate the process and result in a loan
approval.

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How to Respond to a Lowball Offer

After all the hard work it takes to ready a home for sale, it can be so discouraging to find the first offer you get is a lowball offer. Regardless of the market,there are buyers who write offers 10%,20%,even 30%below list price. While most of these offers are just“throw-aways,”it’s still possible to turn it in to a successful sale.

Before you do anything,take a deep breath and stay calm. There are many reasons why a buyer throws out a low offer. It could be they are getting bad advice from a family member or nervous first-time buyers afraid of leaving money on the table. It’s also possible that they are working with a new or poor real estate agent. The one thing you know is that they were interested enough in your home to write an offer,and they expect to negotiate.

The next step is to send a counter offer. Be respectful and thank them for the offer. If you do have room to negotiate,then offer to reduce your price to a reasonable level. If you have priced the home well to start with,then explain how you arrived at the list price and present any available comps.

Remember to look at the other terms offered and be flexible where you can. For example,they may have asked for a longer escrow period,and you can accommodate their timetable.You may also want to ask that the home inspection is“information only”that removes the option of repairs.

A lowball offer may take the wind out of your sails,but it doesn’t mean that there is no opportunity for moving forward. Working with your agent,send a reasonable counter offer back to the buyer and you may find that there is still a successful sale down the road.

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The Real Reason Your Agent Wants You Gone During Showings

There are several good reasons for homeowners to make themselves scarce when potential buyers come to view their house. While one motivation is avoiding problematic comments,there are other benefits to giving prospective buyers space during showings.

For one,an empty home allows potential buyers to envision themselves living there.With the sellers out of the way,buyers can move freely through the rooms and picture where heir own furniture and belongings could go. An unoccupied house becomes a blank canvas for buyers to mentally customize to their own lifestyle and needs.

Leaving also allows buyers privacy to discuss their impressions and point out pros and cons to each other candidly. They may feel more comfortable critiquing elements of the home or debating if it meets their wish list when the sellers are not present. This facilitates an open dialogue between potential buyers.

Finally,an empty house also provides a neutral atmosphere for buyers to evaluate it objectively,without sellers unconsciously influencing their perspectives. Buyers can take their time forming their own opinions when touring alone,without chatting with sellers or feeling pressured in any way.

Vacant showings also enable buyers to visualize a future here,speak freely,and decide independently. These benefits make it advisable for sellers to make themselves scarce during viewings.

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Prioritizing Lifestyle Amid Rising Interest Rates

The real estate market has changed over the past year. One of the biggest
issues facing anyone considering a home purchase or sale is rising interest
rates. After enjoying years of mortgage rates in the 2-3% range, many
borrowers are shocked to see a conventional 30-year fixed loan offering
rates as high as 7 per cent. While historically reasonable, this increase is
having an impact on the real estate market. If you are considering a move,
it’s important to remember that your lifestyle still needs to take precedence
over these temporary changes.

First, your mortgage interest rate is just one aspect of your overall financial
situation. Taking a more holistic view of the potential move, including
lifestyle and personal needs, may provide a more favorable picture. For
example, if the move is a downsize, what is the savings in loan amount
(less expensive home), maintenance and repair costs, utility costs, property
taxes, etc.? One must also consider the potential tax deduction difference
that mortgage interest might provide.

Another important consideration is that property values may have dropped
in some areas as rates have increased. While one may not completely
balance the other, it can make the increase more palatable. Additionally,
rates fluctuate and if interest rates decrease, you might have the option to
refinance down the road. Meanwhile, home values have historically been a
great vehicle for wealth building as values rise over time.

Finally, and most importantly, if your lifestyle has changed and you want to
move, then that should be your priority. Quality of life is the single most
important aspect of health. While rising interest rates may change your
decision, it should not keep you from moving if that’s what’s best.

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Unusual but Important Considerations When Choosing the Right Neighborhood

Most people know that choosing the right neighborhood is one of the most
important aspects of a great lifestyle. When buying a new home, this
becomes even more important. While everyone knows that property values,
safety, schools, and commute ranks high in importance, there are some
considerations that are not commonly thought about in advance yet make a
huge impact on satisfaction.

· Vibrant Community and Social Scene – While some people are
looking for a quiet life in the country, for those craving more action, consider
this when choosing a neighborhood. Look for farmer’s markets, art
galleries, festivals, bars and clubs, community events; ways to create a
sense of belonging and involvement.

· Pet-Friendly Environment – For pet owners, finding a welcoming
community for their furry friends is important. Look for places with lots of
green space, dog parks, and pet-friendly establishments.

· Unique Architectural or Historic Value – There are many cities with
historical districts and heritage sites. Buying a home in these areas can be
a distinctly inspiring experience. One caveat, before buying, it’s important to
make sure to understand the rules and restrictions; often there are
ordinances which prevent changing the exterior of the home.

· Natural Surroundings – For nature enthusiasts, living near green
spaces and outdoor recreational opportunities can be important. In addition
to community parks, trails, or lakes, these buyers should consider proximity
to national parks, BLM land, or public waterways.

· Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Communities – If environmental
sustainability is important, then look for communities with eco-friendly policies and amenities. Watch for communal gardens, bike lanes, and
renewable energy initiatives.

Choosing the right neighborhood is about more than just property values
and school systems. By looking beyond the traditional aspects and
considering the unique things that enhance lifestyle, buyers can make sure
that the community, as well as the home, suits their needs.

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Important Things to Consider Before Buying a Fixer Upper Home

Purchasing a fixer-upper property can be an exciting and rewarding
experience. HGTV is filled with programs of amateurs knocking down walls
and tiling bathroom floors. The fact is that this is much harder than it looks
and before diving headfirst into this kind of project, it’s critical to consider
whether you are prepared for the venture.

5 Important Things to Consider Before Buying a Fixer-Upper Home

1. Financial Planning – The first step in buying a fixer-upper home is to
establish a realistic budget. Include the purchase price, repairs costs, and
any expected expenses for renovation or restoration. Once you have
created a “known” list, then add extra for unexpected issues that will arise.

2. Time and Effort – Renovating a fixer-upper takes time and effort,
even if you hire a general contractor to oversee the project. Consider the
overall scope of the project and evaluate your skills and level of time
commitment.

3. Structural Condition – Before making an offer, thoroughly inspect
the property’s structure and foundation. Recognize the impact of any issues
uncovered and make sure to budget for the proper corrections.

4. Real Estate Market and Location – Even a beautiful home in a
terrible area is a bad investment. Consider such factors as property values,
market trends and the potential for future appreciation. Work with a
financial planner to make sure the investment fits your long-term goals.

5. Legal Considerations – Before writing the offer, familiarize yourself
with local building codes, permit requirements, and zoning regulations.
Ensure the changes you anticipate align with local requirements.

Purchasing a fixer-upper home can be a wonderful investment and
worthwhile project. By evaluating your budget, time commitment, property
condition, and potential appreciation, you can be sure to choose the right
situation for your goals and experience.

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Buying a New Construction Home? A Few Tips To Avoid Panic

A brand-new home! Who hasn’t dreamed of creating the perfect home from
scratch and moving into a space that no one has ever lived in before.
There’s something special about a fresh home, but remember, new doesn’t
mean perfect. And it certainly does not mean that there won’t be
imperfections, small or large, to contend with.

One of the most important things to understand up front is what does your
warranty cover? A builder’s warranty covers typical defects and other
problems, but the fine print outlines timelines, procedures, and limitations.
A thorough reading prior to closing will clarify how to handle any issues that
arise when you move in.

When you are ready to move in, your checklist will differ from a typical
resale home. First, always have an independent home inspection, just as
you would if you purchased a used home. Alert the builder immediately of
anything that the inspection uncovers. During the final walk-through, you
will also want to make sure the home was completed correctly; are the light
switches level, are the floors even, is the paint free from nicks and
scratches? You are buying a new home and it should look new.

Buying a new home is exciting. The good news is that most issues are
minor and can be quickly corrected by the builder or home warranty
company when discovered. No need to panic when imperfections show up.