Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 38

Make an Offer Like a Boss

by The Schnoor Team

 

These 10 money- and time-saving steps can help you craft a winning bid.

Ah, the offer!

Cinematically speaking, this is the iconic moment — we’d forgive you if you imagined, say, putting a hand on your agent’s shoulder and whispering (in your best Vito Corleone) that you’re going to make them an offer they can’t refuse.

In reality, it’s not that simple (or dramatic). Your offer marks the beginning of a back-and-forth between you and the seller, typically with real estate agents advising you both.

The more intentional you are about your offer, the better your chances of making a successful bid. Follow these 10 steps, and you’ll be well prepared — that’s a true story. (“The Godfather” again. We couldn’t resist.)

#1 Know Your Limits

Your agent will help you craft a winning offer. You can trust your agent’s advice on price, contingencies, and other terms of the deal: It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. The more collaborative you are with your agent, the more quickly you’ll be able to move.

But ultimately, it’s you who decides what the offer will be — and you who knows what your financial and lifestyle limits are. Buying a home means mixing strong emotions with business savvy, so now is also a good time to reflect on your “musts.”

Have a top limit to your offer price because you’re also saving for retirement and love beach vacations? Stick to it. 

Want a vegetable garden or to paint your home’s exterior purple? Make sure your homeowners association rules permit it. 

Besides reading HOA rules, find out how much the HOA has in reserves to cover common area repairs. You don’t want to be slapped unexpectedly with a special assessment. 

Want a dog-friendly community? Make sure there are no pet weight limits or preventing you from cohabitating with your (extra-large) 

#2 Learn to Speak "Contract"

Essentially, an offer is a contract. The documents and wording vary across the country.

In the spirit of due diligence, take time to review sample offer forms before you’ve found a house (LawDepot.com has purchase agreements for each state). If you’re high-maintenance, a real estate attorney can explain the documents to you so you’re familiar with their vocabulary when you’re ready to pull the trigger on an offer with your agent. Your agent will have offer forms for your state. 

#3 Set Your Price

Homes always have a listing price. Think of it as the seller’s opening bid in your negotiation to buy a home.

As the buyer, your offer will include an offer price. This is the first thing home sellers look at when they receive a bid.

Your agent will help you determine whether the seller’s listing price is fair by running comps (or comparables), a process that involves comparing the house you’re bidding on to similar properties that recently sold in the neighborhood.

Several factors can also affect your bargaining position and offer price. For example, if the home has been sitting on the market for a while, or you’re in a buyer’s market where supply exceeds demand, the seller may be willing to accept an offer that’s below the list price. Or if the seller has already received another offer on the home, that may impact the price you’re willing to offer. Your agent will help you understand the context here.

#4 Figure Out Your Down Payment

To get a mortgage, you have to make a down payment on your loan. For conventional loans (as opposed to government loans), making a 20% down payment enables borrowers to avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), a monthly premium that protects the lender in case the borrower defaults on the loan.

But 20% isn’t always feasible — or even necessary. In fact, the median down payment was 10% in 2017, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Your lender will help you determine what the best down payment amount is for your finances. Depending on the type of loan you get, you may even be able to put down as little as 0% on your mortgage.

You might qualify for one of the more than 2,400 down payment assistance programs nationwide. Many of them make funds available to households earning as much as 175% of area median income. In other words, middle-income households. And the savings can be substantial: Home buyers who use down payment assistance programs save an average of $17,766 over the life of their loan, according to real estate resource RealtyTrac. Find out more about down payment assistance programs in your state.

You can use an online mortgage calculator to see how different down payments would affect your mortgage premiums and how much you’ll pay in interest.

#5 Show the Seller You’re Serious: Make a Deposit

An EMD — short for earnest money deposit — is the sum of money you put down as evidence to the seller that you’re serious (read: earnest) about buying the house. If the seller accepts your offer, the earnest money will go toward your down payment at closing. However, if you try to back out of the deal, you might have to forfeit the cash to the seller.

A standard EMD is 1% to 3% of the sales price of the home (so, that would be $2,000 to $6,000 on a $200,000 loan). But depending on how hot the market is where you live, you may want to put down more earnest money to compete with other offers. 

In most cases, the title company is responsible for holding the earnest money in an escrow account. In the event the deal falls through, the title company will disperse the funds appropriately based on the terms of the sales contract. Title companies also check for defects or liens on a seller’s title to make sure it can be transferred cleanly to you.

#6 Review the Contingency Plans

Most real estate offers include contingencies — provisions that must be met before the transaction can go through, or the buyer is entitled to walk away from the deal with their EMD.

For example, if an offer says, “This contract is contingent upon a home inspection,” the buyer has a set number of days after the offer is accepted to do an inspection of the property with a licensed or certified home inspector.

If something is wrong with the house, the buyer can request the seller to make repairs. But most repairs are negotiable; the seller may agree to some, but say no to others. Or the seller can offer a price reduction, or a credit at closing, based on the cost of the repairs. This is where your real estate agent can offer real value and counsel on what you should ask the seller to fix.

Just remember to keep your eye on the big picture. If you and the seller are bickering over a $500 repair to the hardwood floors, keep in mind that’s a drop in the bucket in relation to the size of the bid.

In addition to the aforementioned home inspection contingency, other common contingencies include:

A financing contingency, which gives home buyers a specified amount of time to get a loan that will cover the mortgage.

An appraisal contingency, where a third-party appraiser hired by the lender evaluates the fair-market value of the home to ensure the home is worth enough money to serve as collateral for the value of the mortgage.

A clear title contingency, where the buyer’s title company verifies that the seller is the sole owner of the property and can legally convey ownership to the buyer.

A home sale contingency, where the transaction is dependent on the sale of the buyer’s current home.

Although contingencies can offer protection to buyers, they can also make offers less appealing to the seller because they give buyers legal ways to back out of the sale without any financial repercussions. So, if you’re going up against multiple offers, making an offer with fewer contingencies can potentially give you an edge over the competition.

In other words: A chill offer is an attractive offer. But keep in mind you have to be comfortable with the risks that come with this strategy. If you don’t have a financing contingency, for example, and you can’t get a mortgage, you’d likely lose your earnest money deposit since you’re on the hook. (An outcome that’s decidedly un-chill for you.)

#7 Read the Fine Print About the Property

The sales contract states key information about the property, such as the address, tax ID, and the types of utilities: public water or private well, gas or electric heating, and so on. It also includes a section that specifies what personal property and fixtures the seller agrees to leave behind, like appliances, lighting fixtures, and window shades. The seller provides prospective buyers with a list of these items before they submit an offer. This can be another area of negotiation.

Carefully reviewing the property description also helps you know, for example, if the seller plans to take that unattached kitchen island with them when they move. (Stranger things have happened.)

#8 Make a Date to Settle

The sales contract you submit to the seller must include a proposed settlement date, which confirms when the transaction will be finalized. The clock starts as soon as the purchase agreement is signed. If you don’t close on time, the party that’s responsible for the delay may have to pay the other party compensation in the form of “penalty interest” at a predetermined rate.

A 30- to 60-day settlement period is common because it gives the typical home buyer time to complete a title search and obtain mortgage approval, but settlement periods can vary. Some sellers, for example, prefer a longer period so they have more time to move or look for their next house. Being flexible, with respect to the closing date, could give you more negotiating power in another area of the deal.

One thing that’s the same no matter where you live is that you’ll have a three-day period prior to settlement to review the Closing Disclosure, or CD — a five-page form that states your final loan terms and closing costs.

Once the sales contract is signed, the parties can change the settlement date if they both sign an addendum specifying the new day.

#9 Write a Fan Letter to the Seller

Want to make a truly compelling offer? Pull on the seller’s heartstrings by attaching a personal letter to the bid documents. Tell a compelling story about your family and your connection to the area. Get deep about your roots.

Also, sincere flattery can go a long way. Compliment the seller on how their kitchen renovation looks Apartment Therapy–worthy, for instance, or how the succulents in their landscaping remind you of a resort in Palm Springs.

Your agent can help you gather background on the sellers (e.g., are they crazy about their labradoodle, like you are about yours? Did they run a small business from the home, like you dream of doing?). And you should — of course — refer to information you gleaned during the open house or private showing. Use this intel to write a message that really speaks to the seller, and it may very well seal the deal.

#10 Brace Yourself for a Counteroffer

If you’re making a lowball bid or going up against multiple offers, the seller may decide to make you a counteroffer — a purchase agreement with new terms, such as a higher sales price or fewer contingencies.

At that point, it’s up to you to accept the new contract, make your own counteroffer to the sellers, or walk away.

Don’t panic: The next part of our guide walks you through the counteroffer process, and it offers strategies to give you more negotiating power.

Source: https://www.houselogic.com/buy/how-to-buy-step-by-step/tips-for-making-an-offer-on-a-house/?site_ref=mosaic

HOUSELOGIC
helps consumers make smart, confident decisions about all aspects of home ownership. Made possible by REALTORS®, the site helps owners get the most value and enjoyment from their existing home and helps buyers and sellers make the best deal possible. 

How to Rent Your Home

by The Schnoor Team

 

Step-by-step directions for getting the highest possible rent and the best tenants when you rent your home.

Whether you plan to turn your home into a rental property, or if you purchased a property specially as a rental property, the steps for finding a tenant are the same. You’ll need to:

  • Check local laws.
  • Get yourself the right paperwork.
  • Price the property to appeal to renters.
  • Vet the people who want to move in.

Regardless of whether you manage the rental yourself or hire a professional real estate manager, you’ll earn top dollar from your investment property by following these 10 steps:

1. Make sure you’re allowed to rent the property.

If you live in a homeowners association, check for rental restrictions and find out if local government requires a rental license or inspection. A professional property manager will know the local laws, but may not know your HOA’s rules.

2. Know the local eviction laws.

Talk to a real estate attorney or your professional property manager to find out how the eviction process works in your area. In some places, you can remove a non-paying tenant within a month, but in others, it can take months and months — during which you’re not being paid.

3. Establish the rent.

Do market research to set your rental price. See what similar homes are renting for on Craigslist, in the local newspaper, and on the local multiple listing service. If you allow pets, compare pet-friendly properties’ prices. If you have a REALTOR® managing your rental, she will show you comparable prices.

4. Do your rental home paperwork.

You’ll need to set up these finance and legal items before you rent your home:

Apply for any rental licenses your local jurisdiction or community association requires.

Open a savings account to hold the security deposit. Most states require deposits be held in a separate account rather than an account where you keep your own money.

Purchase a landlord’s insurance policy.

If you’re doing your own property management:

Open an account with a company that does credit and criminal history background checks on prospective tenants.

Have a local real estate attorney draft a lease and a rental application for you.

Set the minimum credit score, credit history, and income you’ll take. In an upscale community, you can demand a credit score of 720 or higher and no late payments (that’s stellar credit), but in a low-income area where tenants are often unskilled laborers and therefore more at risk of unemployment, expect to reduce that to 620 and no late-rent payments.

The tenants should have income of about three times the rent. So if your place rents for $1,000 a month, look for at least $3,000 a month in income.

5. Photograph your home with your furniture in it.

Stage and take pictures of the rooms before the first tenants move in. That way, if your current tenants have awful decorating taste or are clutter bugs, you can use your pictures to show your house in its best condition when searching for new tenants.

6. Advertise everywhere you can.

If you’re in a college town, contact the university’s housing office.

If there’s a large employer within walking distance of your home, contact its employee relocation division to see if it posts rental listings.

Sites such as Craigslist offer free ads, but watch out for check scammers who answer your ad along with the legit renters. A REALTOR® can help you post your property in the local multiple listing service.

These last four steps apply if you’re showing the property yourself, rather than having a REALTOR® find tenants for your rental:

7. Group showings into one or two days per week.

When you respond to prospective tenants, showing the house every day wastes your time and annoys your current tenants. Having multiple groups viewing the property at the same time will make prospective tenants realize they could lose the place if they don’t make an offer.

A Friday night showing gives you a jump on the landlords doing Saturday showings. Follow up with a Sunday showing to catch everyone who couldn’t make Friday night.

8. Get your deposit ducks in a row.

Get an application, a deposit check equal to at least one month’s rent, and a signed lease from everyone who wants to rent your place. Process them in the order in which you received them. You’ll cash the check and sign the lease back to them only after their background and credit checks come back clean and you’ve verified income and employment.

Anyone who won’t give you a deposit check isn’t a serious applicant, so don’t waste your time vetting them.

9. Verify everything the tenant says on the application.

You’ll definitely want to weed out prospective tenants who give you a cell number that’s answered by a friend pretending to be the applicant’s employer or landlord.

Look up the phone number for the employer and verify employment and income with someone in human resources.

If you can, call your prospective tenants’ previous landlord — not the one they currently have. If they’re bad tenants, their current landlord may tell you they’re wonderful — just to get rid of them.

Call the bank branch listed on the deposit check and verify that there are sufficient funds in the account to cover the check.

10. Take the first tenant that meets your income and credit requirements.

If you don’t, you risk violating Fair Housing Laws. The credit checking company will give you the paperwork you must send to anyone who fails the credit check. Call everyone else who wanted your house promptly so they can move on.

Source: https://www.houselogic.com/home-thoughts/how-rent-your-home/

DONA DEZUBE

has been writing about real estate for more than two decades. She lives in a suburban Baltimore Midcentury modest home on a 3-acre lot shared with possums, raccoons, foxes, a herd of deer, and her blue-tick hound.

6 Ways to Find More Money for Your Down Payment

by The Schnoor Team

 

Here’s how to get creative. But understand the ins and outs to make the right decision for you.

You’ve done your research. Interest rates are low, and you know the exact area you want to buy your future home in and the details you desire down to the type of flooring in the kitchen. Now the only thing standing between you and a seat at the offer table is figuring out how you’re going to come up with a reasonable down payment.

Aside from going the traditional route of saving slowly and consistently over time to reach your savings goal, consider these other creative options for funding your down payment:

1. Negotiate a Pay Raise

If you’re not comfortable asking for what you want, now’s the time to learn. Research comparable pay for your position, create a list of your accomplishments and the value you’ve added to your company, and schedule a sit down with your boss to discuss compensation. 

Tack on an extra $5,000 to the pay you’d be comfortable with in order to give yourself room to negotiate down if necessary. Anything extra you get in your paycheck should be earmarked for your down payment fund.

2. Tap Your IRA (But Be Aware of the Consequences)

A traditional IRA allows you to contribute pre-tax income to an investment account, which can grow tax-deferred, meaning you pay no taxes on principal (contributions) and earnings until funds are withdrawn from the account. For 2017, tax-deductible contributions may be made up to $5,500 to an IRA account. Translation: You’re saving money on your taxes at today’s rates, but you’ll be paying a future (possibly higher) rate upon withdrawal.

A Roth IRA is similar to the above traditional IRA except that contributions are made with after-tax income and therefore aren’t tax-deductible. For 2017, non-tax deductible contributions may be made up to $5,500. Translation: You’re paying taxes upfront at today’s rates, instead of paying the (possibly higher) rates in place when you begin withdrawals. 

As a first-time buyer, or if you haven’t owned a house for at least the past two years, you can withdraw $10,000 penalty-free from your traditional or Roth IRA to fund a down payment. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll still have to pay income taxes (state and federal) on the distribution you take from your traditional IRA. (That money did go in tax-deferred, after all). Also the $10,000 is a lifetime withdrawal limit.

Remember that if you’re tapping into your retirement account and withdrawing funds, you’re not only setting yourself back on retirement savings, but you’re also losing the opportunity to let time and compound interest work on (and grow) those funds for you. Given the pros and cons, which will depend on your particular circumstances, research and decide if borrowing from your retirement is right for you.

3. Borrow From Your 401(k) (With Eyes Wide Open)

While not an ideal situation for the reasons listed above (you’re losing out on time and compound interest growing your money), borrowing money from your 401(k) could be an option if your company savings plan allows it. 

Keep in mind that this isn’t a withdrawal, but is a loan that you’ll have to pay back with interest. The  monthly payments you need to make repaying the loan may impact the amount of mortgage you qualify for. The plus side is that the interest you’re paying will be going into your account.


4. Leverage Certificates of Deposit (CDs) or High-Yield Savings Accounts

While you don’t want to take risks with the money you plan to use in the next few years to purchase a home, you also don’t want it sitting stagnant either. Look into your bank’s high-yield saving accounts and CD rates to determine if you can get a better rate on your money.  

Consider laddering CDs to maximize your earning power by purchasing different certificates with a variety of maturity dates, such as 6, 12, or 24 months. This provides you flexibility to reinvest the money as the CDs mature and take advantage as interest rates change (increase or decrease) to earn a higher return on your money.  

5. Hang On to Extra Money

Whether it’s a bonus, tax refund, holiday gift, or cash from items you’ve sold, set a plan to stash all extra cash in your home down payment fund. If that feels to stringent, give yourself a little wiggle room with an allocation of 85% to savings and 15% towards a personal splurge.

6. Start a Side Hustle

If your current pay is already stretched as far as it can go with expenses, consider starting a side gig where you can leverage your talents in web design, tutoring, pet sitting, writing, or whatever interests you have. 

Free up a few hours a week in your calendar to dedicate towards building this second income stream and put all funds earned in your separate “home down payment” savings account.

5 Tricks to Keep Your Pipes From Exploding this Winter

by The Schnoor Team

New homeowners may have heard that winterization is important, but in the hubbub of your first year living in a home you own (finally!), it can be easy to overlook the need to prepare for the cold weather ahead. After all, it’s just not something renters deal with; prepping pipes for winter is often the landlord’s job.

Ideally, you should winterize your pipes in the fall, before winter seriously sets in. But if you’ve forgotten and all of a sudden you’re in the middle of a deep freeze, there’s still time to prevent disaster.

Here are some easy techniques to save your pipes from bursting:

#1 Turn On Your Faucets

If the temperatures have dropped into freezing and intend to stay there, turning on your faucets — both indoors and out — can keep water moving through your system and slow down the freezing process. There’s no need to waste gallons of water: Aim for about five drips per minute.

#2 Open Cabinet Doors

During cold weather, open any cabinet doors covering plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom. This allows the home’s warm air to better circulate, which can help prevent the exposed piping from freezing. While this won’t help much with pipes hidden in walls, ceilings, or under the home, it can keep water moving and limit the dangerous effects of freezing weather.

#3 Wrap Your Pipes

If your pipes are already on their merry way towards freezing, wrapping them with warm towels might do the trick. You can cover them with the towels first and then pour boiling water on top, or use already-wet towels — if your hands can stand the heat (use gloves for this). This should help loosen the ice inside and get your system running again.

#4 Pull Out Your Hairdryer

A hairdryer (or heat gun) can be a godsend when your pipes are freezing. If hot rags aren’t doing the trick, try blowing hot air directly on the pipes. Important note: You don’t want to use a blow torch or anything that produces direct flames, which can damage your pipes and turn a frozen pipe into an even worse disaster. You’re trying to melt the ice — not your pipes.

#5 Shut Off The Water if Pipes Are Frozen

Have your pipes already frozen? Turn off the water immediately. (Hopefully you know where the master shut-off is, but if not, now’s the time to find it!)

Make sure to close off any external water sources, like garden hose hookups. This will prevent more water from filling the system, adding more ice to the pile, and eventually bursting your pipes — the worst-case scenario. This also will help when the water thaws; the last thing you want after finally fixing your frozen pipes is for water to flood the system — and thus, your home.

 

6 Near-Genius Ways to Fool Burglars Into Thinking You’re Home

by The Schnoor Team

 

Like telling your lights to turn on and off when you’re miles away.

Your home: You love it, but sometimes you have to leave it.

Whether it’s the eight hours a day or eight days on a dreamy beach, allowing your biggest investment to fend for itself can be stressful. And it’s a legit concern; when your home looks empty, break-ins happen. A lot. Ugh.

You could deter burglars by never leaving your house again. Or you could do the next best (OK, way better) thing, and just make it look like someone is there all the time. Here’s how.

#1 Light Up a Room (From the Road)

Your parents may still rely on their lighting timer — on at 8 p.m., off at 7 a.m. That old-fashioned option still works, but apps are more fun. They not only turn your lights on and off, but can do so randomly for a more realistic effect. And you can decide to flip on your porch light while sipping a mojito in Fiji.

You can Google your options, but one affordable example is the Lutron Caséta Wireless system (about $80 for the device and $55 per switch). You replace your current wall switches with these wireless ones and “talk” to your lights from afar.

#2 Fake a Netflix Binge

Nothing says “we are definitely home” like the colorful glare of a television dancing in the window.

Put the little FakeTV gizmo where it can project light onto a curtain, and that’s exactly what your home will say to passersby.

The device (which runs between about $20 and $40 depending on size) plugs into an adapter and can either work on a timer or with a light sensor, so it can switch on when it gets dark.

#3 Change Up Your Shades Remotely

Leave your window shades down while you’re gone and you might as well put out a “Gone Fishin’” sign.

Check out wireless options to throw some shade on the go. Several companies have systems — including Hunter Douglas PowerView, Pella Insynctive, and Lutron Serena — that allow shades to go up and down at your command for about $300 to $500 a window.


#4 Make Some Noise

Burglars can change plans in a hurry at the first sound of life inside a home — they’re a bit tetchy that way. So one option when you’re just gone for the day is a noise app, like Sleep And Noise Sounds that can play on a homebound phone, tablet, or computer. With noises like vacuuming and a boiling kettle, it can deter a thief who cracks open a window.

#5 Make Them Ring And Run

“Burglars will often ring your doorbell, and if no one answers, they’ll go around back and kick in the door,” says Deputy Michael Favata with the Monroe County Sheriff’s office in New York. Now you can answer the door with the Ring Video Doorbell ($180 for the basic model).

If someone pushes the doorbell, you can talk to them through an app on your phone. Whether it’s your nosey neighbor or a sketchy stranger, you can say, “I’m in the basement” while you’re really on the slopes. They’ll never know. And even if they don’t believe you, they know they’re being watched (insert devilish laugh here).

#6 Try a No-Tech Technique

Not everything requires a gadget. Here are ways to up your home security without downloading a single app:

  • Hire a house sitter. Then someone will be home.
  • If there’s snow, have a neighbor walk up and down the path to your door, shovel a passage up to the garage door and drive in and out of the driveway. If it’s hot out, ask them to keep your plants looking fresh with regular waterings. And don’t forget to bring them a nice gift from your getaway.
  • Ask friends, family, or neighbors to just be present on your property — use your patio, play in your yard, or bring in the mail.
  • Invite a neighbor to keep a car parked in your driveway. During the holidays, they may be happy if they need overflow for visitors.
  • Install a fake security camera for as low as $8. Burglars may not notice these fakes don’t have all the wiring necessary to be real. And their blinking red lights offer reasonable doubt.
  • Get a dog. A real dog. While you’re at work or running errands, nothing deters bad guys and gals like a barking, slobbery security guard. And when you go away, having a pet sitter stay can be as economical as some boarding facilities (especially if you have multiple dogs), and you’ll get the benefit of a human and canine sentinel.

Is Your Home Making You Happy?

by The Schnoor Team

 

We thought you might be interested in this discussion of how your home can be a powerful influence on your emotions and if it such a force, how do we create an environment that makes you happier?

Take a tour of your home. Grab a pen and a piece of paper.

Start from outside the front door and notice your mood. Are you feeling tense or relaxed? Are you happy – or anxious, angry, or depressed?


As you walk in, do you feel relief, excitement, anxiety, dread, joy, or despair? Briefly write down your feelings.

Continue to pay attention to your emotional reactions as you walk through your entire home even those places that make us feel uncomfortable. As you enter each room note how your mood changes. Perhaps the soft light and scented soap in your bathroom make you feel relaxed, but you tense up when you near the disorganized pile of unpaid bills in your home office. Maybe you love the thought of snuggling into the soft cushions on your living-room couch, but you feel gloomy as you approach the darkness of your bedroom closet.

Give each area of your home a number representing how you feel in that space.

Don’t forget to take into account the smells and sounds of a room!

If your breakfast nook fills you with bliss, give it a score of +10. If an area is disgusting, it gets a -10. If you feel nothing at all about a room, it gets a score of 0. If a room is okay but not great, it may get a +4, and so on. Pinpoint the problems. Go to the lowest number on your list. Imagine standing in the designated space, and scan it slowly with your mind’s eye. Observe how your mood reacts to different elements of the room.

Sensory elements are everything you experience physically. Start with the visuals. How do the room’s colors, lighting, and patterns make you feel?

Touch things, are your modern chairs are hard and cold, you’ll never be able to fully relax in them.

Utility: Is it convenient to do whatever you need to do there?

Organization is about order and chaos. Is your space too tidy, or too cluttered? Either merits change.

The Fix!

Once you’ve identified your least favorite part of your least favorite area of your home, write out a list three adjectives that describe your less than delighted assessment of it. For example, your kitchen might be “disorganized,” “cluttered,” and “crowded.” Perhaps a corner of your family room is “stark,” “unremarkable,” and “boring.” Then list an antonym for each one. For instance, an obvious antonym for disorganized is organized. For boring, you might use exciting. Now think of objects would suit the space and would cure your antonym. Kitchen items that fit the word organized might be drawer dividers and ceiling-hung cookware racks might come to mind. If the antonym for a stark family room is comforting, you might want to add big pillows and homey wallpaper. Focus your attention on the objects, colors, and lighting you could use to transform the room.

Bring in one thing that makes you happy, and you’ll think of ways you can complement that object. Transforming one area of your home from an emotional downer to a source of uplift has a double benefit: It cheers you up, and it reminds you of your capacity to create places that shelter you emotionally as well as physically. By recognizing that you have the power to change one small space, you can move on to make sure that your whole home brings you happiness and satisfaction.


5 Ways To Increase The Value Of Your Home

by The Schnoor Team

There are plenty of ways to improve the value of your home whether you want to sell up or just invest some money into the place that you live.

Of course building an extension is one strategy, but that isn’t exactly a practical or affordable option for the majority of people. So here are 5 alternatives which won’t cost quite as much and can quickly add a little Hello bit of value whilst at the same time making your home a little bit nicer to live in.

Redecorate

This is one of the simplest ways to quickly reinvigorate your home if it is looking a little bit shabby. You are never going to make a fortune just cheap mlb jerseys by painting a few walls of course, but if your decor is looking a little shabby, a fresh lick of paint can make your house a whole lot more salable and it will certainly pay for itself in terms of the cost.

Update the Exterior

Curb appeal really does matter and if the outside of the building is out of date or run down it could knock significant value off of your house, so consider putting right what you can, make sure your windows look solid, clean and are in fitting with the Innovative type of home (sash and case windows go great with cottage style homes) – replacing them if needed, make sure your guttering is all in place and consider re-painting your front door if needed.


Redo the Garden

Just as can the outside of your house, having a shabby and unkempt garden can cost your house a significant amount of money. Tidying up your garden doesn’t have to be expensive, just having a well kept lawn and keeping it free from weeds might be Commerce all you need – but a nicely landscaped

Loft Extension

This is a slightly more expensive job, but it is certainly cheaper than a full extension and if you happen to have a good sized loft an extra bedroom can actually add significant value onto your home. The key is to use the space effectively, don’t leave yourself with a house that doesn’t make much sense – like having 4 bedrooms and only 1 rest room.

New Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your house in terms of value, and if your kitchen is looking a bit old or ???? un-inspiring, getting a new one can often add significant value. If you are able to fit the kitchen yourself you can potentially make a profit, but even if you have to pay someone else, you will probably add enough value to offset the cost of the investment.

Follow me on twitter and Facebook for more home improvement tips!


Refinancing Your Home Mortgage and Why YOU Should Do it Now!

by The Schnoor Team

 

Anyone who is looking at refinancing their home mortgage will inevitably come across the “Big Four” reasons to refinance. However, there are many more reasons that depend on your specific lifestyle and your future financial planning.

First, let’s quickly go over the “Big Four” for those who haven’t.

You will almost certainly get a lower interest rate.

Current interest rates are still hovering at near-historic lows and most likely are lower than the interest rate you currently have.

You will save money.

Having a lower interest rate means you will have a lower mortgage payment each month. Not only that, if your financial status and credit score have improved you will now be eligible for an even lower rate.

You will build more Equity, faster.

Your lower interest rate will result in more of each payment actually going toward your principal payoff.

You will pay less interest to the bank.

As more of each payment goes toward the principal payoff, less of that payment is going to the bank as interest on the loan.

More Reasons to Refinance

Those are all certainly great reasons to refinance but what other reasons could there be to entice you to refinance? We have added another four reasons for you to consider. These depend heavily on your lifestyle, financial situation, and your own future plans.

You may want to INCREASE the term of your mortgage.

Changing from the number of years left on your mortgage to a new 30-year mortgage will result in even lower monthly payments and you will save more each month. The tradeoff is that, in the long run, you will increase the amount of interest paid to the bank and it will also decrease the rate that you build equity.

You may want to DECREASE the term of your mortgage.

Depending on your financial planning, you may be able to convert from a 30 year mortgage to a 15 year mortgage. The big advantage here is that banks will offer you an even LOWER interest rate, therefore increasing the rate at which you build equity. The downside, of course, is that your monthly payments will be higher. This does mean that you will pay off the mortgage sooner which results in NO monthly mortgage payments.

Debt Consolidation

This new, low interest, single payment will allow you to get rid of high interest, high monthly payments on a 2nd mortgage, home equity loan, or other debts such as credit cards or car loans.


Changing to or from an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)

You may be at a point where you want to get rid of your current ARM, or balloon payment, or you may want to change TO an ARM. Either of these choices really depends on your specific financial situation, planning, and goals.

The Down Sides

Now that we have gone over 8 reasons that make refinancing seem like a ‘can’t miss’ opportunity but refinancing isn’t for everyone. There are some situations and instances that eliminate refinancing as a good option. Let’s go over 4 situations/considerations that will steer you away from refinancing.

Older Mortgages

As your mortgage ages the proportion of your payment that is credited to the principal of your loan increases substantially each year, while the proportion credited to the interest decreases. You will lose those perks by refinancing late in the term of your mortgage.

Potential/Planned Move

If you plan to move from your home in the next few years, the monthly savings gained from the lower monthly payments may not exceed the costs and inconvenience of the process of refinancing. You will need to carefully calculate the costs of refinancing to determine if it is worthwhile and profitable to refinance if you are planning to move in the near future.

Prepayment Penalty

If you pay off your Mortgage loan early, including for refinancing, you should carefully consider the costs of any prepayment penalty against the savings you expect to gain from refinancing. Again, a break-even analysis is necessary.

The Cost of Refinancing

Nothing is free and refinancing your home mortgage is no exception. You will need to seriously consider the actual cost of refinancing in addition to the terms and condition of your new mortgage.

With every new mortgage there are closing costs. These can amount to 3% to 6% of the loan amount. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Loan Origination Fees
  • Credit Report
  • Recording Fees
  • Title Policy
  • Title Company Fees
  • Appraisal
  • Survey

Lenders may be able to waive many of these items reducing your cost refinancing.

Be sure to look carefully at the details of the specific mortgage you are getting not just the interest rate. The terms and conditions of the mortgage are also pretty important and are often overlooked when refinancing.

At the end of the day, your decision must be based on the numbers. How many months of lower payments will it take to recoup your closing costs of the new mortgage? Are the costs too excessive? Will you be able to truly benefit from refinancing? Only after you’ve considered all of the costs and benefits should you make your final decision.

Get experience on your side and contact The Schnoor Team Today!

30 Verano Loop, Santa Fe, NM - The Schnoor Team

by The Schnoor Team

30 Verano Loop, Santa Fe, NM

See full details here: goo.gl/9mmHHe

Beautiful remodel! Entire interior updated while the exposed beams keep the original charm. Stunning kitchen boasts new cabinets with self closing doors, beautiful hardware, new stainless steel appliances, fixtures, gas range with stainless steel exhaust. New bamboo flooring throughout. All new bathrooms with custom tile, cabinets and fixtures. New windows, stucco and a new tank-less boiler/water heater. All on 1.46 acres with an awesome view of the mountains from the huge covered patio in back. A large 2 car garage too! A must see!

Day Trips: Roswell, NM 70th Annual UFO Festival

by The Schnoor Team

 

Open since 1992 the museum has attracted everyone from the curious to the silly to serious researchers. The Museum provides information to the general public on all aspects of the UFO phenomena. People from around the world travel to Roswell to see what the Museum has to offer and to simply "be in Roswell where it happened."

Museum exhibits include information on the Roswell Incident, crop circles, UFO sightings, Area 51, ancient astronauts and abductions. The exhibits are designed not to convince anyone to believe one way or another about their subjects. Visitors are encouraged to ask questions. Many visitors come numerous times and some spend days or even weeks doing research in the library.While in Roswell, most visitors at least buy gas and a soda, or they may spend a week learning about the phenomena and Roswell.

 

Since its opening, the Museum has outgrown two downtown locations, finally landing in the old Plains Theater on North Main Street in Roswell. The number of visitors continues to be the envy of many other tourist attractions in the state.  Not only is there the museum that you can visit year round but every year in the first week of July the annual UFO Festival is held.  It is a Festival for the curious and has been a very successful event.  Activities range from carnivals to trade shows, from alien costume contests to UFO lectures, from Fourth of July fireworks to a parade downtown, from Hollywood celebrities to local children in costume and on roller blades. Known UFO researchers attend to present the most up-to-date information on the subject.

If you are looking for a truely unique experience, if you are a believer or not, this museum is sure to please.  For more information on the Museum you can find them at http://www.roswellufomuseum.com

Take a #DayTrip to Roswell for their 70th Annual UFO Festival!

See more details at: http://www.ufofestivalroswell.com/

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 38

©2017 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Information is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. This is not a solicitation if you are currently working with a real estate broker. Equal Housing Opportunity