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Scott Kerstetter

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Finding the Right Location for Your Home Purchase

7/19/2017

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.

Pros and Cons of Selling to a Family Member

7/12/2017

Family Matters: The Pros and Cons of Selling Your Home to a Family Member

 

It can be a stressful experience to put your home on the market and wait for offers in the hope that you've priced it right. However, for those who are considering selling to family members, the sale of a home can be fraught with just as much stress before and after sealing the deal. If you're wondering if it's a good idea to sell to a family member, here are some things to consider beforehand.

 

Providing A Discount

 

Whether you're selling to a sibling or a child, you may be considering offering the home at a discount to help them out. Fortunately, since the discounted value will be different than the market value of the price, this may mean a taxable gain when it comes time for them to sell the property after a few years of residing in it. On the other hand, if your financial health is not the best, selling at a lower price to a family member can create an undue financial burden for you.

 

An Owner-Financed Sale

 

If you're trying to help your child get on their feet, the option exists for an owner-financed sale where your child will be making monthly payments to you. This provides the benefit of not having to worry about a lender and avoiding interest rates on top of the payment. While this can be a great feeling as a parent to be able to help your child, it's important to weigh the decision carefully to determine that your child will not default on the loan and it won't be tiresome for you to act as the lender.

 

Keeping It In The Family

 

For most people, the home they live in has sentimental value, whether they've lived there for a few years or it's been in the family for generations. That's why it can be a great comfort for many to sell to a family member who will understand the house's history and the family traditions. If the deal is going to put a strain on relationships, though, it may not be worth the well-being of the family to keep the home among the relatives.

 

It can be a comfort to sell a home to a family member and secure their well-being, but there can be financial hurdles involved that can have an adverse impact on the relationship. If you're currently considering selling to a family member, you may want to contact our real estate professionals for more information.

Tesla's new Solar Panels, the next wave

7/6/2017

Exploring Tesla's New Solar Roof Tiles - Are They the Ultimate Home Upgrade?

 

Tesla may have become the famous brand it is for the creation of the electric car in 2008, but it has since burgeoned into a company that has diverse ambitions for how we utilize energy. Recently, Tesla has moved into the business of solar roof panels, which have become a hot commodity on the market with their green ethos and energy savings. If you're curious about solar power and want to know the details on this product, here are some things to consider before buying in.

 

The Details On Tesla's Solar Panels

 

With the recent release of Tesla's solar roof panels, many homeowners interested in green energy have flocked to this new product for its innovation and famous brand. According to Tesla, these panels will last for approximately 30 years or as long as the house stands at 1/3 the weight of regular tiles. Utilizing a tempered glass to make stronger roof panels and solar cells created in conjunction with Panasonic, the connectors for these panels have been created to last through every kind of weather condition.

 

The Install Involved

 

The installation of Tesla solar panels is estimated to take approximately 5-7 days and is expected to be easier than a regular solar panel install. According to Peter Rive, CTO and Co-founder of Solar City, "We have learned a lot about installing solar from over 300,000 installations so we took all that and included that into the development." Fortunately, because of the lightweight quality of these panels, they can be installed without any changes to the structure of the roof they're placed on.

 

Should You Invest?

 

Tesla may be all the rage when it comes to utilizing electrical energy, but it's important to determine if this panel system will meet your needs. Most solar panel systems last longer than the 25-year warranty, which is in line with Tesla's own warranty. The aesthetics of this panel system may be improved, but it will likely be a while before this product can service the needs of homeowners. Before investing, it's important to get quotes from multiple suppliers to determine a timeline and probable budget.

 Here is some additional information:

 

https://www.tesla.com/solarpanels

 

Solar panels may be the wave of the housing future, but it's important to ensure that the projected cost and timeline will work for your needs as a homeowner before investing. If you're currently preparing to buy a new home, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Keys to consider as a first time home buyer.

6/28/2017

5 Things That First-time Home Buyers Wish They Knew Before They Signed

 

Without a doubt, it can be both overwhelming and exciting to find your dream home and be able to put the money down for it. However, there are a lot of things to know before signing on the dotted line so you can avoid buyer's remorse. Instead of going it alone, here are a few tips to keep in mind before you decide to commit to your new home.

 

A Good Agent Is Important

 

Many homeowners want to find the right place on their own, but having an agent along to assist you in the process can go a long way towards finding your ideal home at the right price. Instead of risking it, choose an agent that comes highly recommended and has an abundance of experience in the business.

 

Is The Price Right?

 

It's easy to be taken in by a beautiful home, but before putting money down you'll want to calculate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio to make sure it's within reach. You may feel like you can make it work, but paying a too-high mortgage will become a drain over time and may ruin the happiness of your home investment.

 

What's The Potential?

 

When it comes to first-time buying, many potential homeowners go into it with unrealistic expectations. However, demanding too much of your investment can mean you miss the gems that have a lot of hidden potential. Instead of saying 'no' right away, consider what you can improve for little cost.

 

Researching the Neighborhood

 

The focus for many homeowners is the house, but 'location, location, location' is a cliché for a reason. Instead of focusing only on your home, ensure you'll be living in a neighborhood where you can feel safe and will have access to all the amenities you need.

 

Investing In an Inspector

 

A home inspection may feel like a formality, but it's important to have the right inspector so they will notice maintenance items that can hugely impact your finances. While little items that need to be fixed-up are not a big deal, issues with the foundation or the roof can cause major grievances if they're not detected.

 

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when it comes to buying a home, but by doing your research and being aware of your financial outlook, you'll be well on your way to a good investment. If you're currently on the market for a home, please contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Design Features to Remove to Help Sell Your House

6/21/2017

4 Dated Design Features to Get Rid of Before Listing Your Home for Sale

 

Most homeowners get used to a certain aesthetic in their own home that they're comfortable with, but if you're putting your home on the market it may be time to get rid of some of the old familiarities. While it won't be worth your time or money to renovate everything, here are a few design-style duds that you may want to update before you decide to sell.

 

Oversized Bathtubs or Jacuzzis

 

It may be very appealing for most people to find an oversized tub in their hotel room, but when it comes to the home you live in, big tubs have made their exit. While a tub can certainly allow a person to stretch out in comfort, gone are the days of big homes and large bathrooms. Instead of a sizeable tub, you'll want a bathroom space that you can maximize.

 

Tiled Counter Tops

 

The concept of kitchen tiles may look great in a magazine, but when it comes to the real deal tile can be a huge drawback. Despite your best efforts, it's quite likely the grout will need to be replaced and will provide an unclean appearance over time. Instead of leaving the tile behind, you may want to stick with a solid surface like marble so there will be no issues with cleanliness or damage.

 

Too Bright Colors

 

An accent wall or brightly hued design feature may have made a comeback in recent years, but the popularity of colorful pieces has died away in recent years. Instead of the kind of feature that will turn off potential homebuyers, opt for neutral tones so that homebuyers can imagine themselves in your place without the necessity for renovations.

 

Bulky Furniture Pieces

 

Much like the oversized tub in the bathroom, the boxy piece of furniture in your living room may be comfortable, but it's not the best when it comes to selling your home. Instead of having a huge piece of furniture command the attention of your entire room, choose smaller pieces that will offer comfort but still provide a positive impression to potential buyers. Plus, furniture too large for the room can give the impression of less space that can turn off buyers.

 

Design trends can change a lot over the years, but by being aware of how styles are evolving you can be on the cutting edge of selling your home in style. If you're currently making some small renovations and are preparing to sell your home, you may want to contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Secure Your Home!

6/7/2017

3 Simple Home Security Upgrades That Will Help to Deter Burglars

 

Whether you're going on an extended holiday or are just concerned about security in your neighborhood, you might be curious about the best ways to pursue safety in your home. If you're wondering how you can successfully stave off theft without a high price tag, here are some tips for protecting your property.

 

Keep It Clean

 

It's often said that one of the first things a burglar will look for when it comes to a prize home is an unkempt property. Fortunately for you, this means that keeping your property clean and tidy is a great way to prevent your home from being targeted. While everything doesn't need to be spic and span, it's a good idea to ensure that the lawn is mowed, the trees are well maintained and no tools or toys are hanging out on your yard for days on end. It might seem inconvenient, but it has the double-convenience of keeping your property clean and preventing crime!

 

Install Motion Activated Lights

 

It might have seemed like a good trick a few years ago to leave on the lights in the hope of scaring away burglars, but with more sophisticated technology comes more sophisticated methods. While you may want to use timers for your lights so they can go off randomly and give the illusion of you being at home, you may also want to spring for motion-activated lights. There is no 100% guard against crime, but motion-activated lights can work to scare off someone who's up to no good and illuminate your property for observant neighbors. 

 

Secure Doors and Windows

 

Locking your doors and closing your windows might seem like the most apparent of security tips, but it actually goes a long way in deterring crime. Burglars are often looking for the easiest target and that means that an unlocked door or a slightly ajar window can go a long way in convincing them of a prospect. Instead of risking it, ensure that your doors are locked and all windows are secured before leaving your home. You may also want to use extra reinforcements if you have sliding windows or French doors.

 

Protecting your home may seem like it comes at a high premium, but there are very simple and economical ways to keep your home secure. 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.

Fence Option Discussion

5/24/2017

Let's Talk Fencing: How to Put a Fence Around Your Home Without Destroying Its Appeal

 

Many homeowners consider a fence around their property for a variety of reasons, whether it's to keep the dog in the yard or to maintain privacy. However, the wrong fence can entirely change the look of your property and make a beautiful yard a bit of an eyesore. If you're trying to determine what kind of fence will work for your home, here are some tips before you start to dig in the dirt.

 

What's Your Fence For?

 

Before deciding what kind of material to use, it's important to know what type of utility you want for your fence. While a stone fence may be elegant and offer a lot of privacy, it can also be quite expensive; on the other hand, a wooden fence may be more affordable but it can deteriorate over time. It's entirely possible you have a material you've already decided upon, but ensure that it's something that will live up to your expectations and have the functionality you're looking for.

 

What's Your Home's Style?

 

An imposing stone fence may be the style that instantly draws you, but if you have a relatively unassuming home or a more whimsical style, it can be a bit much for what your home. Instead of basing your fence purchase around the budget you can afford and the style you like, ensure that it will complement the style of your home and the yards surrounding yours so there is no marked contrast between your fence and the rest of your property.

 

What's The Neighborhood Vibe?

 

Most neighborhoods have a distinct style, so to get some ideas for what type of fence will work with your property, look around your local area. There will likely be homes that look similar to yours and they may be able to give you a good idea of what options you have when it comes to fencing. You'll also want to take note of how particular fences look around the gardens and patios of other homes, as these are features you won't want to obscure.

 

There are many fences available on the market that serve every purpose, but it's important to be aware of what will work for your property so you can make a good aesthetic decision. If you're currently renovating your home and are looking to put it up for sale, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Pros and Cons of Tankless Water Heaters

5/17/2017

Going Tankless: The Pros and Cons of Installing an Energy-efficient Tankless Water Heater

 

There are so many ways in which you can green up your home and make it more sustainable these days that many people are considering tankless water heaters. While this can certainly be the right option depending on the space you have and the type of water you use, here are some things to consider before you decide to invest in the switch.

 

Maximizing Your Space

 

One of the biggest issues with a traditional water heater is the amount of space it takes up, whether it's a side closet or a closed-off area in the basement. Fortunately, one of the benefits of tankless water heaters is that they can be wall-mounted almost anywhere in your house so they won't need their own separate space. The traditional water heater may be bulky and require an area of its own, but your tankless water heater will not have to work around the needs of the rest of the house!

 

Heating What's Needed

 

While a traditional water heater stores water and will be able to supply hot water at a quicker rate, a tankless water heater works more slowly. Because it is heating the water as it's being used, it's only using the energy it needs to to provide the water required. While this will have a positive impact on your energy costs over time, it can also mean waiting on hot water a little longer than expected. To go tankless, you'll require a minimum water flow amount.

 

Do You Have Hard Water?

 

A tankless water heater can be more efficient when it comes to space and energy, but if you have an issue with hard water, the tankless option may not be the way to go. Because a tankless heater essentially warms water within the tank, it is vulnerable to scale build up, which can cut into its overall efficiency. While a traditional water heater does not experience this issue, a tankless water heater working with hard water may end up being less useful due to this build up. 

 

There are several benefits associated with a tankless water heater, but it's important to determine if this option will be truly energy efficient for you before you decide to invest. If you're currently working on home renovations and are getting prepared to put your home on the market, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Newborn coming home? How to baby-proof your home!

5/10/2017

Expecting a Newborn? Baby-proof Your Home With This Quick and Easy Checklist

 

It's a very exciting time for most parents when their kids begin to crawl, but it can also be much more difficult to watch over your child and ensure their safety. If your child is starting to get along on their own and you're preparing to baby proof, here are the main areas and items you'll want to watch out for.

 

Clearing Away The Crib 

 

There's no place your child is going to spend more time, so ensure that there are no toys left in their crib when they're going to sleep. You'll also want to stay away from fluffy blankets that can smother their breathing. It's entirely likely that you'll have a lot of stuff to store for your baby, but ensure there are no heavy pieces of furniture in the room that they will be able to pull over or move.

 

In The Bathroom

 

It goes without saying that you should never leave a baby in the bathtub alone, but there are other things to do as soon as they become mobile. In addition to non-slip mats for the tub and the area outside of the tub, you may also want to invest in soft covers for the knobs and the spout on the bathtub. It's also good to keep any hazardous cleaning products out of reach.

 

Care in The Kitchen

 

Your baby is likely to wreak havoc on all the door handles they can, so ensure that you have cabinets that don't close automatically and a latch for your oven door. If you happen to be cooking in the kitchen when your baby is about, ensure that all pot handles are turned in and all cooking items are kept away from the edges of the counter.

 

Around The House

 

Your quickly crawling child will be able to find many hazards if they move fast, so ensure you've covered up any electrical outlets or cords that can be pulled out. If there are sharp edges your infant can reach, put safety guards on them to protect your baby's head. Safety gates should also be used at the top and bottom of stairs to avoid any falls. 

 

Most parents get enthusiastic about the idea of their baby starting to crawl, but it's important to be prepared for that time by baby proofing your home. If you're currently getting ready to buy a home for your growing family, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Is Refinancing worth your effort? Here are some checkpoints:

5/4/2017

Thinking About Refinancing Your Mortgage? 4 Ways to Ensure It's Worth Your Time

 

If you're familiar with the real estate market, you've likely heard the term 'refinancing' and may be wondering what this can mean for your mortgage and your financial well-being. While refinancing can be a great benefit for those who are looking for a lower interest rate or a different mortgage type, here are the details on what it can offer and whether or not it will work for you.

 

Acquiring a Lower Interest Rate

 

The most common reason people consider refinancing their home is to take advantage of a lowered interest rate. While it might seem like a minimal savings each month, a lower interest rate can add up to considerable savings over time and help you pay off your home loan more quickly. It's just important to ensure that you're aware of all the associated costs with refinancing before pursuing this option.

 

Limiting Your Loan Term

 

Refinancing also offers homeowners the opportunity to change the term of their loan, which can offer improved financial stability much sooner than expected. Many homeowners may avoid this option because it can bump up their monthly payment, but the difference in cost can be relatively insignificant while still offering financial freedom in less time.

 

Changing Your Mortgage Type

 

There are benefits and drawbacks of adjustable-rate and fixed-rate mortgages, and that's why many people make the decision to refinance and opt out of their rate profile. While fixed-rate mortgages offer stability since you'll know what you're paying, an adjustable-rate will move with the market and can actually mean more savings at the end of the day. The option that will work best for you is dependent upon how comfortable you feel with the market.

 

Consolidating Your Debt

 

For homeowners who have a high debt load, refinancing can be a means of paying less in order to pay down debt at a more rapid rate. However, it's important before choosing this option to determine a budget plan you can stick with, as refinancing to consolidate your debt does not necessarily mean you'll be successful at paying it down. Ensure you weigh your options and potential savings carefully before making a decision.

 

Refinancing may seem like a good financial decision, but there are costs that go along with this mortgage option so it's important to crunch the numbers to ensure it will work in your favor. If you're currently considering refinancing, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

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