Consumer Real Estate News

    • First-Time Homebuyer Checklist

      28 January 2020

      As more millennials start to think about homeownership, first-time homeowners are on the rise. But not everyone is as prepared as they should be. 

      There are some obvious questions first-time buyers need to answer, such as “What can I afford?”, “Where do I want to live?” and “What size home do I want?” But some less obvious considerations need to be asked as well, including things about school districts, neighborhoods and access to public transportation.
      Here are some things first-time homebuyers should be doing to make sure they’re prepared:

      Choose a Reputable Agent
      Buying a new home is one of the most important decisions of your life, so you want to make sure you’re working with someone you’re comfortable with and who has a strong reputation. This doesn’t mean you have to go with the most experienced person—some might prefer to work with an eager up-and-comer—but make sure it’s someone who will communicate with you the way you want and knows the neighborhoods you’re  interested in.

      Get Your Finances in Check
      Just because you have money in the bank doesn’t mean you will qualify for a mortgage. Meet with a financial advisor and get a handle on what you can truly afford. If you want to do the numbers yourself, make sure to create a comprehensive list of every possible expense—loans, student debt, monthly expenses—and don’t rely on your lender to figure out a total for you. Lenders look at your debt-to-income ratio and not necessarily at your day-to-day spending habits. 

      Get Pre-Qualified
      Now that you know what you can afford, check that the bank agrees with the assessment by getting pre-qualified for a loan. The pre-qualification process is not a guarantee that the lender will offer you funding, but it does take into consideration your credit score and income level. This will determine how much the lender might be willing to offer through a mortgage program. The next step is getting a pre-approval letter so that when you find your dream home, you can offer proof that you can get the financing to buy.

      Shop for Lenders
      Mortgage rates are still great, but that doesn’t mean you should jump at the first one that comes along. Compare at least 3 - 5 lenders to determine which one best serves your interests. Make sure to disclose that you’re a first-time buyer because that could potentially make a difference in the types of programs a lender offers you. 

      Seek Out First-Time Homebuyer Programs
      There are a slew of programs designed specifically to assist first-time homebuyers with benefits, such as down payment assistance and no closing costs. Others offer first-time buyers competitive interest rates designed to make borrowing easier. Be sure to understand what’s out there to help you.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Essential Bed-Buying Tips

      28 January 2020

      After finding the perfect home for you and your family, it may also be time to buy the perfect bed.

      After all, your old bed may be pretty worn out, and buying a new one is an effective way to make your move a bit easier as you won’t have to worry about lugging your current bed from your old home to your new one. All you have to do is order the new bed and wait for it to be delivered to your home.

      However, buying a new bed is a big deal. Beds aren’t cheap, and it’s something you spend a third of your life in, so be sure to put some thought into the process.

      Do Your Research
      Starting out your search for the right bed online is fine, but part of your hunt should include a visit to a store so that you can see the bed for yourself. You want to know that the bed you have your eye on is comfortable, but it’s also important to consider its size and design.

      Get the Family Involved
      One person shouldn’t decide what everyone in the family is sleeping on. While couples need to work together when it comes to choosing the right bed and mattress, be sure to give your children the opportunity to test out beds, as well. After all, if your kids aren’t sleeping well at night because they’re not comfortable, you won’t be getting much rest either.

      Mattress Options
      Pillow-top mattresses are popular these days, but while they can feel like a dream when you first use them, the pillow-top effect can wear out over time. They’re also pricey. The three basic types of mattresses include innerspring, which are an affordable and dependable option; memory foam, which is more expensive but provides more cushioning, and latex foam.

      Pick the Right Bedding
      When you buy a new bed, you should also buy new sheets, blankets and comforters. If you’ve moved into a large house with a stately bedroom, go with a color scheme that matches the room. If you’re moving into a country home, choose something homey and inviting.

      Buying a bed isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. If you take the time to do some research before making a purchase, you’ll be sure to enjoy restful nights for years to come.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Home Design Trends to Implement in 2020

      28 January 2020

      With every new year, a new set of home trends comes to the forefront. While you don’t want to remodel your whole home based on a whim of style, it is important to be aware of current home design trends to ensure that your home stays modern and welcoming. Here are the top trends to implement throughout 2020.

      Add Color to Your Kitchen:
      The all-white kitchen trend is on its way out the door. White cabinets are still the most prominent choice, but it has some up-and-coming competition. Breath life into a sterile white kitchen with a little paint. Opt for tuxedo kitchens (featuring color on the bottom row of cabinets and white on the top) or ditch the white entirely and replace it with soft and rich hues. Light blues and greys will star in your kitchen for the subtle pops of color.

      Imperfect Wood:
      Rattan had its heyday in years prior, but exposed or lightly stained wood will be the highlight of any room in 2020. Wood’s organic imperfection is the perfect compliment to any style of decor, but will especially complement existing trendy boho or minimalist decor. 

      Embrace the Blues:
      Navy blue increased in popularity in 2019 and gained fame when classic blue (a shade of navy) was chosen as the 2020 Pantone Color of the Year. This rich and warm hue pairs nicely with maximalist and minimalist design alike. Whatever your decor preference, navy blue should find its way into your home to ground and add depth to your current decor.

      Wild Wallpaper:
      If the thought of wallpaper makes you cringe, you’re not alone. It should come as no surprise that the generations cursed with removing the stubborn wallpaper of the past, are naturally a bit hesitant to embrace the burgeoning wallpaper trend. However, animal print and large floral or fauna prints are on-trend and will find their way into foyers, hallways and bathrooms all throughout the year. Thankfully, with new easy to apply (and removable) wallpaper, you don’t have to be afraid of embracing a bold choice.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Is It Time to Sell Your Home?

      27 January 2020

      Choosing to sell your home is a big decision—one that requires the careful weighing of a variety of factors, both lifestyle and financial. To help sort things out, here are a few telling signs that now might be the time to finally put your home on the market.

      You’ve outgrown your space—really.
      Truly needing more space is about more than an overflowing closet or two. Do you have kids outgrowing shared bedrooms? An in-law moving in? A new virtual work opportunity that requires a home office? These are the life events that truly necessitate a bigger home—not the inability to curb one’s shoe-buying habit.

      Your neighborhood is booming.
      Are you smack-dab in the middle of a hot housing market? Contact your local real estate agent and check out comparable sales. If homes in your neighborhood are selling above listing price and you’ve been on the fence about selling for a while, now might be a wise time to take the leap and cash in on the opportunity.

      You’re letting things go.
      Remember when home improvement projects and landscaping chores were fun? Well, if that’s a distant memory and your grass is knee-high and the porch railing is rotting, this may be a sign that you’re ready to move on to a maintenance-free way of life. Realize that the more you let things go around the house, the more money you’ll have to invest to get it ready for market. So, honestly evaluate if it’s time for a home that offers a simpler, less work-intensive option.

      Your life has changed.
      An important life change can surpass all other reasons to sell your home. Growing or shrinking families, a new job with a new, long commute, retirement, divorce, etc., are all cause to seriously consider moving to a home that makes more sense for life as you now know it. Ultimately, a happy home is one that’s in sync with your current phase of life.

      Of course, these are just a few signs that it might be time to sell your home. Reach out to a real estate agent for more information that may help you decide.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Quick-Fix Items for Your Home to Have on Hand

      27 January 2020

      Maintaining your home requires more than your seasonal large maintenance projects. It also requires small day-to-day fixes to keep your home looking its best. Keep these handy items nearby for a quick fix whenever your home is in need.

      Extra Paint:
      Whether you opt to have paint samples or just save your current wall paint, it’s always a good idea to keep extra paint around. Scuffs, small scratches and holes can be quickly repaired or covered with a small bit of matching paint. While yes, your paint will never dry exactly the same as your first application, it will still be the perfect solution for minor issues.

      E6000 Glue:
      No mere super glue, E6000 is specifically formulated to handle your most intense gluing projects. With its praises sung by crafters and hardware stores alike, there is no doubt that this glue will come in handy. Said to be able to handle heavy materials like wood, metal and concrete. As well as an array of craft mediums, you will be grateful to have this at the ready the next time something chips or breaks and requires a hardy-but-simple fix.

      Spackle and Putty Knife:
      For obvious reasons, this is a must-have for home repairs. Don’t wait until you need it to buy it, however. It’s a small item that can be easily stored for later. Small holes from furniture, nails and other issues can be easily repaired with a little spackling compound and a little extra paint. To save time and hassle, look for a spackle with primer already in the compound.

      Everyday Tool Set:
      If you don’t already have a set of tools, there are basic items you need to have for everyday repairs. A simple toolset can be purchased at nearly any store, but will do wonders for your home the next time a small issue arises. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.