Newsletter: August 2015

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New Loan Disclosure

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that new Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure requirements combining two existing disclosures under the TILA and RESPA are now in effect, making mortgage disclosure easier for consumers to understand.

Culinary Cleanliness

Kitchens take a lot of abuse, from everyday spills to years of grease build-up.  Is yours only superficially clean?  To give it a deep cleaning, tick off this list of chores that tend to go ignored for too long.

Home For Rent?

When your current home no longer meets your needs, you have a choice to make: rent it out or sell it?  Here are some questions you’ll need to ponder when deciding which way to go.

On the House

Misunderstandings over what’s included in a home purchase can be a major source of conflict with sellers.  So buyers: avoid confusion and increase the odds of getting what you want with these tips.

Knock on Wood

Inspecting your property’s trees for damage and disease doesn’t take much effort, but goes a long way towards protecting your home and its residents from natural disaster.

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Newsletter: June 2015

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Put Yourself First!

As a homeowner, you’ve no doubt perfected many household tasks yourself, from everyday home and garden maintenance to valuable home improvements.  Please recognize that there’s one area best serviced by a professional!

Paper or Paint

Which should you choose for your next (re)decorating project:  wallpaper or paint? That depends on factors like your budget, skill level, decor needs and goals, and where you plan to apply it.

Know Your Neighborhood

Changing what you don’t like about a neighborhood is considerably harder than changing what you don’t like about a home  Here’s how to get the lowdown on a neighborhood before buying into it.

Surprising Sales-Spoilers

It’s no shock when overpriced homes generate little to no interest, but here are a few surprising reasons why perfectly good properties spend more days on the market than they need to.

Compost Can-Do

Interested in giving your soil a nutrient-rich boost?  Make your own compost — it’s free and easy!  Get started with this beginner’s guide.

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Newsletter: May 2015

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PLANNING A MOVE? READ THIS FIRST!

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 35 million Americans move each year. If you’re one of them and are planning to hire a moving company, take a minute to read these tips from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

GOT YOU COVERED

You spend years collecting the belongings that make your house or condo a home. That’s why you insure your things against theft and damage as part of your homeowner’s insurance policy. Let’s walk through what you need to do to ensure your contents coverage is adequate and any claims you make are successful.

NEGOTIATING NO-NOS

Handling negotiations is one of the main reasons buyers work with professional real estate representatives. Nevertheless, buyers themselves sometimes sabotage the process by making negotiating mistakes like the following.

FSBO FRUSTRATIONS

Are you tempted to sell your home without representation? In a 2014 survey, FSBO (For Sale By Owner) sellers were asked what aspects of selling their own homes they found most difficult. Here’s what they said.

ALL ABOUT EAVES

They may not be exciting, but they sure are important. They’re your gutters, and what better season than spring to pay them some attention?

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Newsletter: April 2015

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DOES THIS FHA POLICY UPDATE AFFECT YOU?

You may have heard about the new Federal Housing Administration (FHA) policy, announced in January of this year, which reduces annual mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) on FHA loans. Is this something that might affect you?

CABINETRY CURES

Kitchens and bathrooms are arguably the most important rooms in a home, and their cabinetry is their focal point. Do you have cabinetry that’s looking worse for wear or is just plain outdated? If so, rest assured there’s a makeover method to suit every budget and need.

SALES FIGURES

A lot gets said about the costs of buying a home, but what about the costs of selling one? To help you plan your finances, here’s an overview of the kinds of expenses home sellers can expect.

LOOKING INWARD

Needs vs. wants lists aren’t just for first-time homebuyers. What are you looking for in your next home? To start you thinking about your answers to that question, ask yourself these questions.

GREENER PASTURES

Want a yard that’s green in more ways than one? Follow these eco-friendly tips for creating and maintaining an outdoor area that’s easier on the environment.

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Newsletter: March 2015

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READY TO SPRING INTO THE MARKET?

As we head into spring, there are reports that this year – even though we always expect somewhat of a spring sales revival – we may see a real increase in real estate transactions, courtesy of Millennials who are now coming of home-buying age.

SAFETY FIRST

Are you a pet owner, or thinking of becoming one? Do you occasionally take pets in, as a favor to family or friends or as a volunteer for your local shelter? Or are you hesitant about the possibility of pet ownership, worried about the havoc it could wreak on your home? If you answered yes to any of these questions, keep reading. The following tips will help ensure your home is safe for pets – and safe from them!

READY, SET, BUY

Want to see your home hunt come to an end quicker? Here are four ways that explain how getting pre-approved for a mortgage before you start shopping can help get you into your new home sooner.

LOOK AT ME!

Warmer temperatures are just around the corner, which means For Sale signs will be popping up like spring flowers. What can you do to make your property stand apart from the competition?

OVER THE CURB

Will you be listing your house this spring? If so, don’t ignore these all-too-often overlooked factors that can help make or break your property’s curb appeal.

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Newsletter: February 2015

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Consumers Show Confidence in Housing Market

Rising home prices are providing both household wealth and rising confidence for many of today’s homeowners, allowing them to renter the housing market with conviction.

Floor War

Alternatives like bamboo and cork are becoming increasingly popular, but for most homeowners installing new flooring in a home they’re moving into, selling, or renovating, the choice comes down to carpet versus hardwood. To help you decide which is best fit for your lifestyle and circumstances, let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of each.

The Rewards of Resale

Should you buy a resale home or build/buy new? Deciding isn’t a matter of which is inherently better, but of which is better suited to your particular needs and wants. Let’s look now at the benefits of buying a resale property.

Overpricing Implications 

Overpricing their home is the biggest mistake sellers make, though many don’t fully understand the implications of doing so. Here’s why overpricing is so problematic.

Inspection Initiative

Some say it’s really the home inspector that sellers should be concerned about. Don’t get caught by a big surprise –examine (and repair as needed) these major components before listing your house.

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Newsletter: January 2015

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Positive Consumer Sentiment Prevails

As 2014 began to wind down, consumer confidence appeared to strengthen, with survey results showing U.S. consumer sentiment rising in October to the highest in more than seven years.

Makeover Motivation

Welcome to the New Year!  Is it time your decor got a new look?  Here are some great reasons to take on a redecorating project in 2015, be it a whole-home makeover, or a one-room revamping.

Animal House

They may be our best friends, but when it comes to selling our homes, pets can be little saboteurs.  Don’t let them put buyers off — pet-prep your property before it goes on the market.

Don’t Delay

Finding just the right home can take long enough — once your offer’s been accepted, you don’t want any delays.  What can you do to avoid hurdles that could slow you down as you sprint towards closing day?

Energy Efficient Enticements

Lower utility bills, better resale value — it’s no wonder why buyers are increasingly interested in energy-efficient features.  But which ones are particularly popular with house hunters?

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Newsletter: December 2014

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Ho, Ho, Hold the Decorations

If you have just moved to a new suburban community or planned unit development, you may now be a member of a homeowner’s association, or HOA.  Since HOAs create and enforce the community rules and regulations, you’ll want to find out if they have any restrictions surrounding the display of holiday decorations before going to the effort of putting them up.

Paint and Paper Prep

You’ve finally found the perfect print or paint color and are itching to give that room a facelift!  Not so fast, though — surface preparation is the key to being happy with your results; as such, problems like the following need to be addressed before you go applying that wallpaper or fresh coat of paint.

If I’d Only Known

Buying a home can seem a complex and often confusing business  These are four aspects of the process buyers wish they had better understood before they purchased their homes.

Staging Services

If you’re a seller who’s written off the idea of hiring a professional stager due to price, think twice!  Stagers offer a variety of services, so you can spend as much or as little as you like.

Survey Says

Property surveys aren’t just for when disputes between neighbors arise.  Below are a few other occasions when having a survey performed is well worth the (modest) expense.

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Newsletter: November 2014

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Time to Go Shopping?

The holidays are almost here and you may have a long list of people to shop for.  In fact you may spend hours looking for the perfect gift for that special someone.  But how much time do you spend looking for that perfect mortgage?  Considering it’s the largest financial transaction you’ll probably ever make, the answer is likely, “nowhere enough time”.

Happier Holidays!

For many of us, the holiday season can be as stressful as it is happy.  But the good news is that you always know when it’s coming, which means you can prepare and plan for a holiday that’s more joyous for you — and less taxing on you — with these tips!

Back for Seconds

Especially in hot markets, buyers can feel pressure to make snap decisions.  Taking the time to view potential properties a second time can be invaluable in helping buyers avoid making a decision they will regret.

Pricing Dos and Don’ts

Establishing an asking price is a seller’s most critical decision.  These pricing dos and don’ts can mean the difference between a speedy sale and a listing that lingers.

Audit Season

Want to make money and make your house a more comfortable, eco-friendly place to live? If your answer is yes, your first step is an energy audit.

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Newsletter: October 2014

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Consumer Confidence Soars

Based on The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, Americans are feeling very positive about the economic forecast.  In fact, consumer confidence in July 2014 hit its highest level since October 2007!

A Clean Sweep

While just about everyone enjoys a clean house, there are precious few who enjoy the work involved.  Even the most hygienic of homeowners would rather spend their time doing something else.  Make cleaning your home an easier, faster and less unpleasant process with these tips.

Getting Settled

Moving day has come and gone; you’ll be unpacking and decorating for months.  In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to make your new house feel a little more like home.

Leave It

Much is said about what should go when you list your home — clutter, odor — but what should stay.  Here are some things a savvy seller might consider leaving in their for-sale home.

Ask Away

Attending the home inspection is a great opportunity to learn more about a house you intend to buy.  Here are some questions well worth asking during the inspection.

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