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Top 5 Reasons to Buy instead of Renting


Getting Tired of Renting? Here Are the Top 5 Reasons Why Young People Prefer Owning a Home


At some point in their lives, every renter thinks about home ownership and whether it's worth it. Let's explore the top 5 reasons why young individuals prefer the idea of owning a home over renting.


It's All About Control


It's unlikely to come as a surprise that having control over their living space is the number one reason that younger buyers prefer owning over renting. Living in a home owned by someone else limits your ability to customize your home. Want to expand a room or rip out the kitchen cabinets? Good luck with getting your landlord to pay for that!


Privacy and Security Are Key


More than 90 percent of millennials reported that having a sense of privacy is an important factor when choosing between buying and renting. And this makes a lot of sense, especially in areas where a landlord has the right to enter the premises on short notice. It's tough to imagine feeling secure when a landlord can demand access to their home for whatever reason they so choose.


Your Own Space Is Just Nicer


Take a look around your home. Is it as luxurious as you'd like it to be? While you can furnish a rented apartment or house however you want, in many cases, renters just don't put the same amount of effort into it. 81% of young renters shared that one reason they want to buy is so that they can live in a nicer place.


You'll Be More Engaged In the Community


If you want to feel more engaged in your local community, buying a home is an excellent idea. More than 75 percent of young and first-time buyers reported that community engagement is a key reason that they want to be a home owner. Not only are you more likely to care about the area around your home if you're responsible for its upkeep. But as the value of your home is influenced by the surrounding area, you also have a financial incentive to staying engaged in the health of your community.


Owning Gives You Flexibility


Finally, consider that owning your own home will offer flexibility that you can't get from renting. Not only will you be able to customize your home the way you want, but you'll also have a productive financial asset. And that can be a huge help in securing additional credit if you want to make significant investments or other financial moves.


When you're ready to expand your freedom by purchasing your own home, contact one of our professional real estate agents. We're happy to help.

First Time Home Seller Tips for Success!


First-Time Home Sellers: Don't Miss These 4 Tips That Will Keep Your Sale Moving Smoothly


Are you selling your home? If it's your first time going through a home sale, you've probably got a lot of questions about the process. In today's post, we'll share four tips that can help to keep your home sale moving along smoothly. Let's get started!


Tip #1: Enlist The Help Of A Professional


First, you'll want to ensure that you enlist the help of an experienced real estate agent. Selling a home is a significant financial transaction and the process can be especially daunting the first time. A professional agent with sales experience will be a major asset in having a stress-free sale. They'll know all the legal and other requirements to selling so you won't be buried in paperwork. Plus, they'll have insight into other local sales which can help with listing your home at a competitive price.


Tip #2: Focus On Your 'Curb Appeal'


As the saying goes: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. With that in mind, you'll want to ensure that you focus on how your home looks when a potential buyer shows up. If you feel the home could use it, a fresh coat of paint is an inexpensive upgrade that can give your home a new look and feel. Don't forget your lawn and other landscaping, which should look well-maintained. The last thing a buyer wants to see is a nasty jungle of uncut grass or dying flowers!


Tip #3: Don't Turn Down A Solid Offer


While you likely shouldn't jump on the very first offer you get for your home, you also won't want to pass up on a fair one either. It can be tough attracting a buyer, especially for larger, more expensive, or luxurious houses. If your agent advises you to accept a competitive offer, his or her advice is well worth considering.


Tip #4: Have Your Share Of The Paperwork Ready


Finally, it's worth having your share of the paperwork ready to go. There's a lot of documentation required to complete a home sale, and being unprepared is a guaranteed way to make the closing process take longer. Spend the time gathering what you need before you accept an offer and you'll enjoy a faster sale.


There you have it – four tips that will help to keep your home sale moving along smoothly! When you're ready to discuss selling your home, contact our professional real estate team. We're happy to share our guidance and experience to help you with your sale.

What's in a handsfree smart assistant?


Upgrade My Life, Alexa: 4 Great Reasons to Invest in a Home Smart Assistant


In an age of rapidly changing technology, doing things like programming in temperature changes and monitoring your home security from afar are pretty par for the course. Fortunately, having a smarter home is even easier these days with Alexa, which was created by Amazon in 2014 as a smart home assistant. If you're looking for an instant home upgrade that will utilize the smart technology on the market, here's why Alexa might be a great option for you.


Hands-Free Convenience


Whether you're doing laundry or cutting up vegetables, being able to do a lot of tasks around the home hands-free can be a great benefit. Fortunately, with Alexa, users can use their voice to get things done whether it's activating an app, turning on their music or even getting the weather report. The only thing that's required is for the user to make the command.  


Control the Temperature


Having to set up the temperature in your home so it goes down at night and heats up throughout the day can be a challenge, particularly since the outside temperature is always changing. Fortunately, Alexa allows you to adjust the temperature wherever you are. Whether you want to increase, decrease, or set the temperature, the command is as easy as: "Alexa, set the temperature to 67."


Adjusting the Lights


In addition to the temperature, Alexa also gives you the ability to adjust the lights in your home using a variety of different commands. Whether you want to turn the lights on or off, dim the lights or even adjust their color temperature, you just need to call Alexa's name. Conveniently, you can even create groups of lighting that will turn on at a specific command!


Making Simple Purchases


Whether you want to order take out for dinner from places like Domino's or purchase home necessities that you're running low on, all you need to do is engage Alexa with the appropriate command. While there has been known to be issues with using Alexa to order products, it tends to work well for household items that you order frequently.


There are many great upgrades available on the market, but Amazon's Alexa is a great choice for those who want a product that's easy to use and technologically adaptable. If you're currently on the market for a new home, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

The Time is Right to Buy a Home!


With Mortgage Rates This Low, Should You Lock In? 3 Reasons Why Now Might Be the Time


Whether you've just finished school or you're on the market for a new place to live, investing in a home can be one of the biggest investments of your life. As a result, it can be difficult to know what the right choice is and if you're in a good position to make it a solid financial move. If you think the time might be right for you, here are some questions to ask yourself before making the big decision. 


Do You Have A Down Payment?


There are a lot of numbers mentioned when it comes to the down payment, from 5% to cash only offers, but 20% is the ideal percentage to put down when it comes to buying a home. Because putting 20% down will enable you to avoid having to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), you'll be able to lower your costs of home ownership over time. While 20% isn't the be-all-end-all if you're ready to hit the market, it's worth re-tooling your budget to save up.


Will You Struggle To Make Ends Meet?


Lower mortgage rates can certainly improve your overall outlook for investing in a home, but buying a home can be financially debilitating for many people. While you'll be required to make your monthly mortgage payment, there will also be insurance costs, property taxes, home maintenance and other associated fees that add up. If you feel it's going to be a huge financial risk to sustain home ownership, it may be worth sitting down with the numbers to determine how much leeway you have.


Are You Ready For Ownership?


Home ownership is often considered a rite of passage as one gets older, but it's important to determine how a new home will fit into your current lifestyle and what will change. The costs of home ownership are usually higher than renting, and you'll have to take care of things like the yard and general home maintenance yourself. It might not be the best time if a home strongly imposes on your lifestyle, but if you're looking forward to domestic duties, it can be a step in the right direction.


The mortgage rates have been hovering at a relatively low rate for a few years, but it's important to know that home ownership is right for you before moving forward. If you're currently contemplating a home in your area, you may want to contact one of my mortgage professionals for more information.

How to Throw a Memorable Summer or Early Fall Party


Squad Goals: 4 Steps to Throwing a Patio Party Your Friends Never Forget


Summer may be the season for swimsuits and beachside barbecues, but it's also a great time to get your friends together for a party in your own backyard. Whether you're ready to show off your new home or are just looking for a good reason to celebrate the season, here are some ways to ensure your party is one that will make the summertime memorable.


Choose Dollar Store Decorations


When it comes to throwing the best party, nothing will work to create an atmosphere like the decorations! Instead of heading to the party store, take a trip to the dollar store where you'll be able to find a variety of fun stuff for an inexpensive price. To have a theme that will work, just ensure that you stick with a color pattern so your guests won't be overwhelmed.


Prep the Food Options


Planning the food for a big patio party can sometimes be difficult, but by determining a theme and getting prepared ahead of time, you should have a good handle on the offerings. Whether you opt for a Mexican theme with tacos and nacho chips or a barbecue with beer and brisket, preparing what you want to serve ahead of time will make party time more manageable. It's even better if you can prepare a few items ahead to make the day a little smoother.


Pick the Right Tunes


Putting the tunes on full blast might seem like a summertime solution, but this can scare away your guests and negatively impact the conversation. In addition to making sure that the music is at an appropriate volume, it's also good to offer up a lot of classics your guests will know. If conversation is at a standstill, a great song will get them into the partying spirit. 


Mix It Up


Many people have a variety of different friends they share interests with, but it can sometimes be hard to get them all in a room together. Fortunately, a fun party is the ideal time to get people talking and make your crowd mix! There's no assurance that everyone will become friends, but there's bound to be some fun conversation.


Throwing the best summer party might seem like a high-stress situation, but by picking the right tunes and sticking to a theme, you'll have a party your friends will remember. If your party is a pre-home selling celebration, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Why you need to do a Pest Inspection


Investing in a New Home? 3 Reasons You Can't Skip the Pest Inspection


There are so many small details involved in the final sale of a home that it can be easy to forget about all the things that need to be done. While you won't be able to forget about a home inspection, a pest inspection can be every bit as important before you sign on the dotted line. If you're wondering why you shouldn't forego this important step, consider the following information.


The Final Offer


For many people, a pest inspection can reveal problems with a home that they may not be willing to deal with. However, if you want to move forward with the deal, it's important to have this information so you can adjust your offering price and negotiate a new deal. Whether you want the homeowner to fix the pest problem or you want the home at a reduced price, it's necessary to have the information at hand so you don't discover an unpleasant surprise early on.


Insurance May Not Help


Homeowners insurance may provide coverage for a variety of problematic situations from flooding to fire, but damage due to pests often occurs over time so it may not be included in the standard insurance package. While insurance usually covers sudden events like natural disasters, it is often expected that incurred long-term damage will be known before it can cause unavoidable problems. Luckily, inspecting for pests ahead of time can save you the grievance of needing the costs covered.


Feeling Home At Home


Much like experiencing a burglary, discovering a pest problem in your home can be an unsettling experience. Unfortunately, if you've just moved into your new home, it can be even more difficult to get comfortable in your new place. Instead of risking the good vibes of your new home, it's important to schedule a pest inspection so you can be sure there are no impediments to enjoying your new home. There may be a few costs involved before the deal is sealed, but the cost will be well worth your comfort.


It can be tempting to skip out on the pest inspection given the costs involved in buying a home, but it will be worth your comfort and the money you may save to get it checked out. If you're currently getting ready to invest in a new home, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for the inside scoop.

Pay off that Mortgage!


Finding Your Latte Factor: 3 Ways to Find the Money to Make Extra Mortgage Payments


It's not common for many a homeowner to struggle with making their monthly mortgage payment. However, simply because it can seem hard to come up with the funds monthly doesn't mean it's not possible to find the money for extra mortgage payments each year. If you're wondering how you can pay down your mortgage debt much sooner with extra money, here are some tricks you may want to try.


Relinquish Your Refund


Many people look forward to tax time because it's an opportunity to spend their refund on shopping, dining, or a much-needed vacation. However, using your tax refund to pay down your debt can be a satisfying way to put more down on your mortgage and achieve something lasting from the extra boost of cash. While you may want to set a bit of it aside for an outing or a special treat, the amount remaining on your mortgage will seriously benefit from the extra payment.


Re-Tool Your Budget


It's quite likely that you have a working budget you stick to if you've been successful at making your mortgage payments. Like most things though, a budget can change, so you may want to sit down and do the calculations on your spending if you haven't in a while. There's a good chance that some expenses exist that you may be able to pare down or get rid of entirely. While it may not make a significant difference in one month, it can add up to a lot in just a few short months. 


Plan A Yard Sale


It's easy to acquire a lot of things that you don't necessarily use, whether it's technology or kitchenware or home decorations. Fortunately, planning a yard sale for your infrequently used items can be a great way to come up with a small fortune to pay off your mortgage sooner. While you'll need to be ready to haggle to get the prices you're looking for, you may want to consider making it a neighborhood event for even more selling success.


It may seem nearly impossible to come up with the money to put more down on your mortgage, but using your tax refund and re-tooling your budget can easily add up to savings that make a difference! If you're considering buying a new home in the future, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Highest isn't Always the Best


Understanding Why the Highest Offer Isn't Always the Best One When Selling Your Home


When it comes to the real estate market, nothing is better than putting your home up for sale and finding a potential homebuyer who offers you the price you're looking for. However, while the right offer is ideal, there are a lot of things that may come along with a high offer that may be less than perfect. If you're wondering what kinds of things can hamper a good offer, you may want to watch out for the following.


What's The Timeline?


If you're almost packed and you're prepared to go, there won't necessarily be any inconvenience in dealing with a 30-day closing period. However, if you're not quite ready and are going to struggle during that time, having to close quickly can add a lot of pressure to a stressful situation. While it may be do-able to make the arrangements to move in a short amount of time, if it's not the way you want to leave your old house and move on, you may want to go with a more flexible offer.


The Details On Cash


The right price is indeed a good offer, but when it comes to homebuyers who can pay with cash, there's a lot less to worry about on the back end. As a result, cash can easily trump many other offers for the convenience of not having to deal with lenders or many other factors involved in closing the purchase. While it might not seem like most people have the available cash on hand, cash purchases on real estate are becoming more common, and with less complication, they can be more enticing.


Are There Contingencies?


If you're experiencing a bidding war with your home, it's important to look at all the details of the offer and ascertain which one can best be relied upon. That's why it's important to look at any contingencies on the home sale that may have to do with the financing, appraisal, or inspection. An offer may be more than a little striking at the start, but if there are a lot of strings attached, there may be a bidder with a lower offer who's less likely to back out.


It's easy to get snared by the highest offer when selling your home, but it's important to be aware of your timeline and any contingencies before accepting an offer. If you're currently preparing to put your home on the market, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Investing in Real Estate? Here's what you need to get a Second Mortgage


Thinking About Investing in Real Estate? Here's What You'll Need to Get a Second Mortgage


The decision to invest in a home is a big one for many people, but if you're making the foray into real estate the second time around, it's even more important to be financially aware and prepared. If you're wondering what you'll need in order to get approved for an investment property, here are some things that you'll want to consider before deciding a second property is in your future. 


 A Larger Down Payment


Due to the risk factor involved in taking on more than one loan, acquiring a second mortgage for an investment property will likely require you to put more money down up front. Because you're already paying into your home and are taking on an additional loan, you'll have to prove to the mortgage lender that you're a viable choice and have the financial wherewithal to stick to your payment schedule.


Knowledge Of The Market


It's well and good to want to invest in a property so that you can find renters and turn a profit, but you'll need to have a good place at the right price to make the investment worthwhile. Before you decide on a place, make sure that you research the neighborhood and the type of home you're looking to buy so you can ensure there's a viable market. A rental property is good, but you'll need to have reliable renters in order to make it profitable. 


A Property Manager


If you're planning on being the landlord and doing all the little fix-its, you may not need to worry about a property manager. However, it's important to weigh the decision carefully beforehand and ensure what will work best for you. If you're not prepared to do emergency work or basic property maintenance, you'll need to look for a property manager you can trust.


A Mortgage Pre-Approval


Without a doubt, a second mortgage will require you to take on more risk, so it's important to speak with a lender about pre-approval before getting too involved. If you've crunched the numbers, you may already have an idea of what you can and can't afford, but a lender will be able to give you a price range that suits your financial position and income set.


Investing in a second property can be a financially lucrative decision, but it's important to be knowledgeable about your investment and your finances before diving in. If you're currently getting prepared to invest in a home, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Finding the Right Location for Your Home Purchase


Location, Location, Location: How to Ensure You're Buying a Home in the Right Community


When investing in a home, one of the most important things is buying a place that you and your family can feel comfortable in. However, while a place you can envision yourself in is important, it's not worth neglecting the neighborhood you'll be moving into for the perfect home. If you're wondering what you should be looking for in the neighborhood you choose, here are a few things to consider before making an offer on a home.


Is It Safe?


It may be common to feel bowled over by a home and want to invest immediately, but the right home in the wrong neighborhood may not be the best choice for many reasons. Part of feeling comfortable in your home is being safe among its streets, so ensure you research the neighborhood and its history, and check in on the crime rate. You may even want to consult with your agent or some local neighbors to see what information they can provide about the area's history.


Are There Local Amenities?


If you're used to getting in the car to run errands, it might not be important to not have a grocery store or pharmacy nearby. However, if there are no amenities you use frequently close by, it can start to be a bit of a drain on your lifestyle. While you don't necessarily need to have the trendiest restaurants or best shopping, it's important to have a few choice places in case you run out of something and need to make a quick run to the store. 

Are You Close to Public Transportation? 

If you want to commute to work, or just for family outings, it can be important to have access to public transportation. Even if you are a person who likes to drive, you never know what can happen (new job, car breakdowns, gas shortage, etc), therefore it is important that you are in a community with access to public transportation.


What's Your Neighborhood Style?


It might seem like a strange thing to ask yourself, but the neighborhood you live in is going to become a big part of your life and that means you'll have to see yourself in it. If you want neighbors you can trust and community-mindedness, you'll want to seek out an area with these qualities. On the other side, if you happen to prefer a busier urban atmosphere that offers more independence, this may be the way to go.


There are a lot of things that go into finding the right home, but it's important not to forget about the neighborhood you're living in and what it will mean for your lifestyle. If you're currently considering homes and are trying to determine an area that will work for you, you may want to reach out to one of our real estate professionals for more information.

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