Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 4/1/2019

Let's face it – buying a home in a hot housing market is no easy task. For example, if you wait too long to submit an offer on a house, you risk losing this residence to a rival buyer. On the other hand, if you rush to submit a home offer at or above a seller's initial asking price, you risk spending too much to acquire your dream residence.

Clearly, there's a lot to think about as you search for a home in a hot housing market. Lucky for you, we're here to help you overcome myriad homebuying hurdles and acquire your dream residence, even in a hot housing market.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you succeed as a homebuyer in a hot housing market.

1. Narrow Your Home Search

You know that you want to live in a specific city or town, but you still are uncertain about what type of house that you want to purchase. However, if you create a list of home must-haves and wants, you can narrow your house search and speed up the homebuying process.

Once you have a homebuying checklist in hand, you should have no trouble evaluating residences in a hot housing market. Then, you can check out these houses in person and move one step closer to submitting an offer to purchase your dream house.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

To acquire a home in a hot housing market, you'll likely need a mortgage. Thankfully, lenders are available that can teach you everything you need to know about a wide range of mortgage options.

Lenders can explain the differences between adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages, describe exactly how a mortgage works and much more. That way, you can assess many mortgage options and select one that matches your finances.

After you obtain a mortgage, you can enter a hot housing market with a homebuying budget. This will enable you to further accelerate your home search and ensure you can quickly submit an offer as soon as you discover your ideal residence.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Navigating a hot housing market sometimes can be tricky, particularly for a homebuyer who is competing against dozens of rivals. But if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive support as you pursue a home in a hot housing market.

A real estate agent is ready to assist you in any way possible. This housing market professional will offer insights into the real estate conditions in a particular city or town and help you map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

In addition, a real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to buy a residence in a hot housing market. He or she will help you put together a competitive offer on any home, at any time. And if your offer is rejected, a real estate agent will help you regroup and reenter a hot housing market so you can find your dream home.

Ready to buy a home in a hot housing market? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can accomplish your homebuying goals faster than ever before.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 4/1/2019

If you are preparing to sell your house, you need to be honest with yourself and others. That way, you can increase the likelihood of a fast, profitable home selling experience.

Ultimately, it pays to be an honest home seller for a number of reasons, including:

1. You can establish a competitive price for your house.

It is important to understand that what your house is worth today is unlikely to match what you paid for it, regardless of when you bought your home. Fortunately, an honest home seller is realistic about his or her house's value and can plan accordingly.

Generally, an honest home seller will allocate the necessary time and resources to conduct a home appraisal. Because with an appraisal report in hand, this home seller can establish a competitive price for his or her house based on actionable data.

2. You can identify home problems before a buyer does.

If a home seller tries to hide home problems from a buyer, the consequences could be significant. In fact, a seller may put a potential home sale in jeopardy if he or she fails to be forthright and honest with buyers from the get-go.

For example, consider what might happen if a buyer submits an offer on a house and discovers myriad home problems during an inspection. In this scenario, a buyer may ask the seller to perform various home repairs or request a price reduction. Or, a buyer may choose to walk away from a home sale altogether.

As a home seller, it helps to take an honest approach to inform potential buyers about the condition of a house. If a residence requires assorted repairs, a seller may want to complete these repairs before listing his or her residence.

Comparatively, a seller can always include information about a home's condition in a house listing. If a seller does so, he or she can help buyers make an informed decision about a possible home purchase.

3. You can avoid rash decisions throughout the home selling journey.

An honest home seller usually is calm, cool and collected throughout the home selling journey. This seller understands the pros and cons of his or her house, and as such, can take an informed, logical approach to make the best-possible decisions.

Perhaps most important, an honest home seller is unafraid to receive negative feedback about his or her house. As a result, this seller may be better equipped than others to avoid rash decisions during the home selling journey.

There are many great reasons why a home seller should strive to be honest at each stage of the home selling cycle. Of course, if you need extra help as you sell your house, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well.

Typically, a real estate agent will provide honest, unbiased home selling recommendations and suggestions. He or she will even help you get your house ready for the real estate market. And with this housing market professional's support, a home seller can move closer to achieving his or her desired results.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 3/25/2019

Selling a home may prove to be a long, arduous process. However, if you act as a reasonable home seller, you can identify home selling challenges and overcome such problems without delay.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that you can use to become a reasonable home seller.

1. Learn About the Housing Market

Real estate is complex, particularly for home sellers. Fortunately, many housing market resources are available to help you become a real estate expert.

For example, any home seller can perform an online search to evaluate the housing market in any city or town. Then, a home seller can use this real estate data to analyze the prices of houses that are similar to his or her own and price a residence appropriately.

Home sellers also should look at the prices of recently sold houses in nearby areas. That way, a home seller can find out whether he or she is preparing to enter a seller's or buyer's market and plan accordingly.

2. Try Not to Get Too Emotional

Let's face it – any home selling journey likely includes plenty of ups and downs. But a home seller who understands the best- and worst-case home selling scenarios may be better equipped than others to stay calm, cool and collected, even in the most challenging situations.

Although a home seller may expect his or her home to sell quickly, it is important to set realistic expectations before you list a residence. This will enable you to avoid potential pitfalls that otherwise can prevent you from achieving your home selling goals.

For example, a home seller who receives a home appraisal will have a good idea about the true value of his or her house. And if the home seller receives a home offer that falls well below the appraisal amount, he or she won't feel disappointed. Instead, this home seller should have no trouble politely declining or countering the proposal.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

If you're unsure about how to price your home or promote your house to the right groups of homebuyers, it often pays to get expert help. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can help you make informed home selling decisions.

A real estate agent possesses comprehensive housing market expertise and is happy to share his or her home selling insights with you. This means if you ever have questions about what to include in a home listing, your real estate agent can help you out. Or, if you are uncertain about whether to upgrade your house's interior or exterior, your real estate agent is available to provide honest, unbiased home improvement recommendations.

Becoming a reasonable home seller can make a world of difference in any housing market, at any time. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the home selling journey.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 3/18/2019

Planning to take your TV to your new home? For those who recently bought or sold a residence, you may have only a short period of time to pack your TV and other belongings and bring them to your new address. Fortunately, we're here to help you simplify the process of packing your TV for moving day.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to properly pack your TV.

1. Use the Right-Sized Box

If you saved the original box for your TV, you should use the box for moving day. That way, you can store your TV in a strong, durable box that offers maximum protection.

On the other hand, if you threw away the box for your TV, there's no need to worry. You should have no trouble finding a heavy-duty box that is big enough to hold your TV and will ensure your TV will be protected throughout your move.

In most instances, a double-wall corrugated box is ideal for a TV. Double-wall corrugated boxes are available in multiple sizes and are unlikely to get damaged or punctured while in transit.

2. Cover Your TV

Wrapping your TV in a soft blanket usually is a good idea. With this blanket in place, you can protect your TV's screen against scratches.

Also, don't forget to secure the blanket to your TV with rope or moving-grade shrink wrap. This will ensure the blanket will stay in place for the duration of your move.

If you can't find a suitable blanket to cover your TV, you can always substitute a blanket with bubble wrap. Cover your TV in bubble wrap and seal the ends with tape, and you're good to go.

3. Label and Secure the TV Box

Slide your TV into your moving box and keep it in an upright position. By doing so, you can avoid putting pressure on the TV screen – something that otherwise may cause permanent damage to your TV.

Before you seal the box that contains your TV, you'll want to add plenty of packing material. This will ensure your TV is firmly padded and won't tip or shift while you're on the go.

Finally, seal the box with packing tape and label it accordingly. Since your TV is sensitive, you'll want to label the box as "Fragile" as well.

If you need help packing your TV or other belongings, it often pays to hire a moving company. With a team of professional movers at your side, you can quickly and safely get all of your belongings from Point A to Point B.

Lastly, if you require extra assistance getting ready for moving day, don't hesitate to contact a real estate agent. In addition to helping you buy or sell a house, a real estate agent can put you in touch with the best moving companies in your area and guarantee that you can enjoy a fast, seamless transition to a new home.




Tags: packing   packing to move   TV  
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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 3/11/2019

Owning a second home or vacation home is the dream of many Americans hoping to retire in style. However, owning a second home can also be a huge financial asset and even an added form of income if you’re savvy with the rental process.

What stops most of us from buying a vacation home in our ideal getaway? The funding, of course. But, there are ways to plan ahead to ensure you’ll be ready to take the plunge and purchase a second home when the time comes.

In today’s blog post, we’re going to be talking about the steps to buying a home away from home and give you some tip on how to accomplish this goal in the most financially-sensible way possible.

1.  Location is Key

When you buy a second home, you take on all the responsibilities of homeownership a second time. Since you won’t be around every day to tend to maintenance tasks and troubleshoot problems, you risk discovering costly repairs that could otherwise be avoided.

The most common issues to be concerned with are frozen pipes in northern climates, flooding in coastal areas, and problems like pests that can be found just about anywhere.

Depending on your budget, you might want a home you can drive out to on the weekends, meaning somewhere close by to your primary home. This option also makes it easier to stay up-to-date on home maintenance tasks before they become an issue.

2. Try before you buy

If your ideal vacation home is in an area you’re not totally familiar with, it’s a good idea to visit the neighborhood, talk to the locals, and gain their perspective on the area before buying.

This trip will also give you a sense of what you can expect to spend each time you visit the home. And, if you plan on renting out the property when you aren’t using it, you’ll be able to gauge what a reasonable rent price is for the location.

3. Earning income from your vacation home

Making extra cash from a home that you get to use pretty much whenever you want. Sounds like a dream, right? It can be if done properly, but you’ll need to ensure a few things before you can start earning income from your vacation property.

First, be aware that investment properties often require a larger down payment (typically 30%). Lenders also charge extra interest on homes that will be rented out.

Finally, there are local and state-level laws you’ll need to adhere to. These laws are designed to protect your interests as well as the people who rent out your property, so make sure you use a standard rental agreement for your area.

4. Making an offer

You’ve been here before. Once you’ve decided on a home, it’s time to start crafting your offer and negotiating with the seller’s agent.

However, before you pick a number, do some research on all of the expenses you’ll be paying on the house in question. Property taxes, homeowners association dues, utilities, and any other costs should be on your radar before determining if it’s the right home for your budget.

You’ll also want to be aware of the stipulations of renting out a property you own. This includes reporting income from renting your home to the IRS.


Now that you know the steps you’ll need to take to move toward your goal of buying a vacation home, you’ll be better equipped to make decisions that are best for you and your family’s future.