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New Home? Tips for an Easy Transition!

So you did it! You are now a homeowner!! Whether it’s your first home or your 10th, a few tips will help you make a smooth and more stress free transition into your home and home ownership.

  • As much as possible, plan to do all your painting, new flooring/lighting installation, Kitchen/Bath renovations including new appliances/counters/backsplashes, etc.  being installed PRIOR to moving in. This will allow you to be less stressed by disruptions to your life…especially if you have kids!
  • Wait until you move in and get a true feel for the space with regard to making new furniture purchases. Once you actually “live” in your home, you may discover that what you thought was the best use of a space actually wasn’t and now you’re stuck or have to return furniture and start over.
  • Wait to order window treatments which can become costly when you’re dressing an entire home. You might be shocked that certain rooms get way more natural light than you expected and others are just way too dark. Walk through your home deliberately at all different times of day to truly experience your spaces.
  • Don’t think that just because the previous homeowner used a space as a formal dining room that that is what that room has to be used for with your family. Maybe you would love a music room, library or kids play room. Forget what your home presented when you bought it and make it what your family needs and wants to enjoy your perfect lifestyle.
  • First time you have a lot of land? Plan ahead, if the sellers didn’t leave lawn equipment, so you have the right amount and size of yard maintenance tools (ie: a tractor instead of a push mower, hedge clippers, tree trimming tools, power washer if there’s a big wood deck or lots of sidewalk to keep clean, etc). Nothing worse than having to spend more on items because you need them right now vs just need them.

Whether you’re a new homeowner or repeat homeowner, moving and settling in can be stressful. Follow these tips and you can reduce that stress and even possibly relax and enjoy the process!! And hey, take before and after pictures!! They’re fun and when you’re finished with all the “work” you’ll be able to really appreciate your effort!!

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Good Time to Sell? Buy? Both? Neither?

If you watch tv at all or read the newspapers, it can be confusing when you’re trying to decide if it’s a good time for you to sell? Is it a good time for you to buy? Are people still looking? Are interest rates a problem? Are values going up? Going down? How can you make the best decision with confidence about moving forward…or not? Perhaps once you realize it’s all about perspective you can determine the best decision for you.

Why is it a good time to sell?

  • Interest Rates Are Still Low
  • Interest Rates Might Be Going Up
  • Economy on Upswing
  • Prices Are Still Rising or are Stable
  • Buyers Are Still Shopping

Why is it a good time to buy?

  • Interest Rates Are Still Low
  • Interest Rates Might Be Going Up
  • Economy on Upswing
  • Prices Are Still Rising or are Stable
  • Buyers Are Still Shopping

Get the point? It’s all in perspective. If you want to sell…sell! If you want to buy…buy!  We’re in a unique time so take advantage and give yourself the authority to move forward into your future!!

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TIPS TO KEEP YOUR HOME COOL IN THE SUMMER HEAT

This has already proven to be an extraordinarily hot summer after an extraordinarily cold winter. Other than spending a fortune running your central air conditioner, here are a few tips to help keep your home and your attitude cool!

  • Landscape with shade trees around your home and around your outdoor patio or deck. There are numerous species of trees that don’t take 20 years to grow above your home. Before taking the word of the professional that you’re thinking of hiring, do some online research with regard to your location and plant options. It may be more cost effective to choose a large leafy tree to give great shade plus add shrubbery around your home’s perimeter to help maintain your home’s internal temperature.
  • Window treatments have come a long way! You may pay a little more up front for blinds or draperies that block the sun at the height of the day’s heat but the money you’ll save on your electric bill will compensate sooner than later!
  • According to the US Dept of Energy, by raising your thermostat to run less often while you’re gone during the day (they recommend around 78 degrees) you can save as much as 10% on your power bill. Using a programmable thermostat is very cost effective!
  • Go retro….run some fans. You can cool yourself off in an area you’re working/sitting in with an oscillating fan while again keeping your thermostat from kicking on so often.
  • Make sure and change the direction of your ceiling fans to run counter-clockwise in the summer. (remember to change it back to clockwise in the winter!)
  • Have a basement? Even if it’s not officially finished create an area for yourself with a rug, chair, tv or a place to work out. The basement can be a full 15 degrees cooler than your main or upper levels. You can even leave a vent open slightly down there to allow the a/c to cool it down and then it will stay that way for an extended period of time.
  • Instead of turning on your stove or oven, use a countertop oven (ie:Breville mini smart oven) or cook outside on your grill.
  • This could be an expensive tip but if your a/c system is old, the money you’ll save by replacing it with a new efficient model will pay for itself within a couple of summers.

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Declare Your Independence!

Let today be the day you use ByOwner.com to help you declare your independence from renting by helping you find your dream home! As a seller, let us help Set You Free from your current home so you can move on to your new life adventure!!

Happy Independence Day!!!See the source image

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Social Media Can Be Your Best Marketing Friend!

Are you feeling stressed and challenged about moving from your comfort zone neighborhood to a new one where you know no one? Is this especially difficult because you have young or teen children who are not happy at all with your decision to move and tear them away from their friends and the school they love? Then take advantage of a medium you’re probably already very familiar with to “move in” to the area before you ever make the physical move.

  1. Check Facebook pages for Neighborhood Posts for the area you are moving to. If you find one, send a post or message to the administrator for that Facebook group introducing yourself and letting them know that you’re moving into the neighborhood with children (mention ages) and would love to join the group and glean input and general info about all the area offers you and your children.
  2. Check Nextdoor.com and see if your new neighborhood has a group on there and do the same thing.
  3. Go to the new school’s website and see if they have facebook/instagram/twitter groups that you can join and follow.

Not really a social media follower or subscriber? Be bold and create a postcard on a site like shutterfly with a family photo and take a walk around your new block(s) leaving them at your new neighbor’s homes with a note on it introducing yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable having your family’s photo out there like that, simply buy a pack of note cards, write a short note and leave those in the neighbor’s doors. (Do NOT put in mailboxes as that may not be allowed by the city or your association.)

Another friendly proclamation of your becoming their new neighbors is to plan an open house once you move in and invite the neighbors on your block and surrounding blocks if not a huge area to come on over and meet you.

Once your kids make some new friends in the neighborhood and school, not only will their stress level be reduced, so will yours!

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Traveling This Summer? Some Great Home Security Tips!!

Often during the summer, even though your home is on the market, you still do a lot of traveling to weddings, reunions, family picnics and family vacations.  You might only be gone over a weekend or perhaps a week or two.  So what can you do to ensure that your home is secure while you’re away from home? Here’s a few tips.

  • It’s great to put your lights on timers but it’s a mistake to use one that illuminates the same lights at the same times every day. A better choice is using timers that can be set for different times each day and to not all go on at that same time. You want it to appear that you are randomly moving from room to room throughout the day and evening.
  • There are numerous systems with apps now that you can purchase that allow you to control your lights from wherever you are. If you travel a lot, this may be the best way to provide yourself with a stress free trip.
  • Consider a Ring or similar type doorbell/security system. You can keep a constant watch via the camera view in your app and alert the police if you see any suspicious activity around your home. These systems are fairly inexpensive, easy to install and provide priceless sense of peace while gone.
  • Join a neighborhood online group like Nextdoor or Neighbors, an app that is tied into the Ring system so that you will be aware of anything that is happening in your neighborhood while you’re gone. Sometime it can be your neighbors camera that will keep you aware of any issues at or around your home.
  • If you’re road tripping in your own vehicle, see if a neighbor, friend or family member can stop by at different times while you’re gone and pick up your mail or just hang out for short periods of time so there are cars in your driveway while you’re gone. If the live nearby and can leave their car in your driveway overnight once in a while even better!
  • In the past it’s been suggested that you have your mail delivery stopped while you’re gone. This can be an ok idea but keep in mind that you are letting people in the local post office with whom you’re not acquainted know that no one is home. Better to have someone pick up your mail or if it drops through your mail slot, just gather it up when you get home.
  • This may be the most important tip. DO NOT POST on social media that you are heading out to your reunion or someone’s wedding or that you’re anxious to hop on that cruise…..WAIT and when you return you can post that you just got back and what a great time you had. Still get to share but do so wisely!
  • Don’t be afraid to let your local police department know that you’ll be gone and ask if they can periodically patrol your street and keep an eye on your home. They really don’t mind doing so.

With a few well thought out plans, you can enjoy your summer journeys while still marketing your home and feel safe and secure all the while!

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Create Front and Back Curb Appeal

Image result for Homes with Spring LandscapeSome homeowners exert tremendous time, effort and money creating a wonderful first impression for buyers to view as they pull up to their home. That is a good thing. What is not so good, is using your entire budget and effort in the front while ignoring the side and back portions of your home. You may draw them in with your beautiful front yard, flowers and swing under your covered front porch BUT if they walk out your back door to a moldy deck, trash cans, overgrown weeds and a yard that looks like the NFL just practiced there; well, the front yard is no longer at the forefront of their minds.

It is important to create all around curb appeal so that no matter where they are looking, they are excited about what they see. You wouldn’t think of just painting the front of your Image result for Homes with Spring Landscapehome and leaving the sides and back chipped and revealing rotting wood, would you? (Ok, now I know some of you said yes to this, but that would be the wrong answer so please continue on).

Before you head to the garden center or big box store, develop a plan on paper that includes cleaning, painting and planting needs for all exterior portions of your home. If you are not an avid gardener (as many of us are not) ask questions and learn which plants will offer the longest blooming life, most vibrant colors and require the least maintenance (this is at the top of my list!). If you don’t have a lot of yard, create potted plantings. You often see beautifully detailed flower pots on either side of a home’s front entry. Do the same at your side and back entry doors, too.  A simple thing that will yield great rewards!  See your home as a total exterior package and use your budget to maximize the entire picture.

Don’t like to garden or too overwhelmed to attempt it on your own? (I am so with you here) Have a “Curb Appeal Party”. Invite your friends over one Saturday, hand them a hoe, garden shovel, flat of flowers and a hug to say thanks for coming. (Of course they’re going to want food and beverages to go along with that hug!) I guarantee you know a man who would jump at the chance to power wash your deck! (Yes, ladies they do consider that a power tool!) Or, hey, feel the power yourself….it’s not difficult and you see instant results! Very gratifying.  (ps: this should NOT be a surprise curb appeal party….ask so your friends can gracefully bow out if they are not in any way interested….and if they’re not make sure they know that it’s completely ok!)

End the day with a relaxing barbecue sitting on your clean deck amidst your beautiful plantings.  Everyone will feel refreshed and satisfied with the results of their efforts.  Now, here is the key.  Make sure and be ready to reciprocate when they schedule a Curb Appeal Party of their own!

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It’s Not Closed Until It’s Closed!

You’ve been shopping for weeks or maybe just a few days and you believe you have absolutely found the home of your dreams. Then, sadly, you discover the property has a pending contract. Before you walk away completely deflated, remember these important words, “It’s not sold til it’s closed!” BUT does that mean you can still make an offer on it?

Typically, once a home has a pending sale, you won’t be able to place your bid because both seller and buyer have agreed on the terms of the sale and signed the contract. But real estate deals have been know to fall apart for multiple reasons. Again, until it’s closed, it’s not a done deal!

Though you can’t submit an offer, you absolutely can contact the listing agent or if the home is being sold by owner, the seller, and make them aware of your interest and ask to be notified in the event something happens and the home is going to go back on the market. This way, you have the possibility of putting your offer in before others even know the home is once again available.

Now, it’s important not to get your hopes up that the deal will fall through or tell yourself this is the only home for you. Keep shopping with an open mind and heart. You may discover that not getting that home was a blessing in disguise as you step forward into a different home that makes you even happier!

An important note: If the other deal does fall through, before you jump in gleefully and with reckless abandon, keep in mind, there might have been a reason it fell through that might cause you to want to run away from it too!

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CHOOSE YOUR CLOSING DATE WISELY!

It’s often noted that there are benefits to closing on a home you’re buying at the end of the month. Are there any advantages to closing at the beginning or middle of the month? What’s the difference? If I’m buying a home for a certain price, why should it matter when I close? If you’re obtaining a mortgage, the day you close will determine how much money you need to bring to closing. It won’t, however, change the monthly date your payments will be due. Let’s say your due date is the 1st of each month. Then you won’t have a mortgage payment due until the first of the second month after you close. So now let’s break down “best day to close” theory.

Because mortgages are paid in arrears (for the month passed), the date you close will determine how much money you have to bring to closing as you’ll be paying the interest needed to cover the remainder of the current month.

Examples:

If you close on May 6th, you will need to bring enough money to closing to cover 25 days of interest for that month (31 days in May – closing on May 6 or 31-6 = 25 days of interest due).

If you close on May 28th, you will only need to bring enough money to closing to cover 3 days of interest for that month (31-28 = 3).

With either option, because you’re closing in May, you won’t have a mortgage payment due until July 1st. So, if you’re already stretching yourself to have enough funds for your down payment at closing, setting your date at the end of the month will reduce the amount f cash you’ll have to bring. Closing at the beginning or middle of the month will require you to bring more cash to closing but you will have more time in the home before your first mortgage payment is due. This might be helpful if you need to get kids registered for school or start your new job, etc.

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Current Mortgage Interest Rates as of 4/19/19

Type                                         Rate                               Yield

30 Yr Fixed                               4.12%                             4.25%

15 Yr Fixed                               3.56%                             3.78%

1 Yr   Fixed                               3.9 %                              5.15%

Jumbo 30 Yr Fixed                   4.30%                             4.42%

30 Yr FHA                                 3.78%                             3.85%

5/1 ARM                                    4.05%                             7.12%

5/1 Jumbo ARM                        3.77%                             6.85%

 

Data Provided by BANKRATE.COM