Tammy Stone
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Articles Tagged "real estate"

Should I Sell My House Home

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Buying A Home | 4 Posts
DIY | 3 Posts
Selling A Home | 10 Posts
Support Local | 1 Posts
February
8

December
13

November
16

October
15

August
24

July
27

August
4

July
21

July
14

July
13

August
1

April
7

WHERE TO UPDATE YOUR HOME TO INCREASE HOME VALUE

 Sometimes people have the funds to update their home before they sell it, in order to increase the overall value.

 The question usually asked is, "How much money should I put into my renovation and where should I spend it?"

 The SINGULAR room in your home that will get you the most bang for your buck is the KITCHEN.

No matter what your budget or home goals, there's one simple and cost-effective update that can get you the most money when you sell: updating your kitchen. Whether it's a total gut job or just adding some more efficient appliances, kitchens are consistently one of the biggest sellers in any real estate market. Here are some ways you can update your kitchen - from the full remodel to less expensive options in updating a kitchen.

 

A NEW KITCHEN - FULL REMODEL

A new kitchen and bathroom are big ticket items, but they're also some of the most valuable improvements you can make to your home. From replacing appliances to new cabinets, adding granite countertops, and installing a backsplash, these updates have a long-lasting effect on your home value.

Changing Out the Countertops

If you're looking to sell your home for top dollar, you should consider replacing outdated countertops. Replacing outdated countertops will make a huge difference in your house's resale value.

Paint

Picking a fresh color or painting a room is one of the easiest ways to make a home feel like it has new life. When you paint, your walls may look new and bright again, and even your old furniture can look modern with a coat of paint on it. Choosing paint colors that are popular for houses in your area will help you get more money when you sell because buyers don't have to worry about stepping outside their comfort zone if they like what they see at first glance.

Bonus - Stainless Steel Appliances

Stainless steel appliances can add over $15,000 to your home's value. If you're planning on selling your home anytime soon, it might be time to upgrade your appliances to stainless steel. Stainless steel appliances will often make buyers think of high-end kitchens and may prompt them to offer more money than if they were seeing a kitchen with more traditional materials like laminate or granite countertops.

March
29

Easy Ways to Increase Your Home Value

  • Repaint your door
  • Paint kitchen cabinets
  • Update kitchen handles
  • Add extra seating areas outside
  • New outlets and light switch plates
  • Front porch – flowers – First impression of the home. Same with landscaping
  • Get rid of popcorn ceiling
  • Add visible storage
  • Stash the majority of your specifically personal items
  • Take care of tiles
  • Swap out lighting
  • Neutral paint colors
  • Paint the inside of your window frames
  • Paint older bathtubs
  • Invest remodel money into the kitchen
  • Call the inspector before you list
  • Find out from Realtor what buyers are looking for and then do those things.
  • Update your laundry space – organization spaces
  • DIY Built in Bookcases
  • Add a Bedroom by installing a closet
March
22

If you're buying a home and have gotten the clear to close from your lender, then CONGRATULATIONS! - all of your efforts to purchase your dream home are about to become a reality!

What they don't tell you is that there are a few actions that can bring this process to a complete HALT.

I'm here to let you know what these mistakes are so that you DON'T make them before you reach the closing table!

All of the following items are RED FLAGS for your lender and they could decline the transaction because of one of the items below happening right before buying your home:

  1. Don't purchase items such as a new car, new furniture or new appliances.
  2. Don't open a new line of credit or close an existing line of credit.
  3. Don't quit or switch jobs.
  4. Don't make a late payment on a bill.
  5. Don't ignore questions/requests from your lender and/or broker.
  6. Don't authorize a credit check.
  7. Don't make large deposits into your bank account outside of your normal paycheck amount.
  8. Don't cosign a loan with ANYONE.
  9. Don't change bank accounts.
  10. Don't take out a payday loan.

Wishing you Every Success!

February
15

How Can I Balance Needs Versus Wants As I Home Shop?  That is a great question.

 

Here's the trick to buying your best house: know what you need. Really, you only need a solid roof, good floors and walls, plumbing, heating, and lighting. Everything else is preference.

Imagine your dream home. Review each item that makes it ideal. Ask which items you could live without and which ones you would pay extra to have. Embrace delayed gratification. Items you want are often those you can add later. You can change features such as light fixtures, countertops and paint. Answering these questions can help you determine budgets for the home purchase and future renovations.

Make a list. Think about a home's different features: bedrooms, bathrooms, lighting, landscaping. List characteristics of each. Determine which ones you need to have, would like to have and don't want. This will help you avoid looking at homes you know don't interest you.

  • Know exactly what you want to a fault – Open kitchen, quiet street, backyard. Be flexible
  • Realize that you will probably buy several homes during your lifetime and it may NOT be your forever home. Lifestyles change, you have kids, parents move in with you.  Your kids move out and the house is to big.  Job change.
  • You think home improvement reality shows are actually realistic. While some things are easy fixes, others are not even though it looks EASY on HGTV.
  • If you don't like the home, we don't need to look at every aspect of the home. Time is valuable and let's make the best use of our time.

January
4

One of the things I advise my clients to do before beginning their home search is to establish their purchasing power by getting pre-approved with a reputable lender.

As a buyer, getting pre-approved for your home purchase—before actually starting your home search—is imperative because it allows you to determine what homes you can actually afford. You may be surprised to find that it is higher than you think! Getting pre-approved is also becoming a standard practice these days and puts you in a much more powerful position as a buyer when you bring an offer to the table; sellers are more likely to take your offer more seriously when it's backed by a pre-approval and they know you are well-qualified to purchase their home.



In addition to helping you determine how much house you can afford, your lender will show you a variety of different types of financing and how much you qualify for with each type; determine what your down payment will be based on your available funds; and determine what your monthly payment will be to ensure you are comfortable with your total monthly payment.

I would be happy to provide you with the name of a dependable lending professional. I know experienced and reliable loan agents and lenders whom I can recommend with confidence as they've always offered first-class service to my clients.

 

December
6

 

 Buying a home is one of life's most important investments and exciting adventures. Whether you are a first-time or experienced buyer, it's important to spend some time preparing yourself before you start your search so you are aware of the potential pitfalls and stumbling blocks that may pop up during your path to homeownership success.[/caption]

Here are some things to keep in mind before and during your search:

  • Do the math and establish your purchasing power. Meet with a lender who will help you determine which type of financing will work best for you and how much you qualify for with each type. Getting pre-approved can put you in a much stronger negotiating position because it shows the seller that you are a committed buyer, financially capable of buying the property and more likely to close on it.
  • Commit to working with a strong buyer's agent like me who will look after your best interests and work with your schedule.
  • Start surfing. One of the most important tools you'll need for your house hunt can be found right in your own home or office—the Internet. Nearly every home on the market is listed somewhere on the Internet because real estate agents know the majority of people turn to the Web first when looking for a new home. You can register for e-mail alerts from my website to have homes sent to you so you can investigate further.
  • Location, location, location. Narrow your search before you start touring every house in town. Decide what neighborhoods work best for you and your family. Check out school districts, shopping and dining, public transportation, recreational areas and crime statistics.
  • List your priorities and prepare to compromise. Make a list of the features you are looking for in a house and rate them on a scale of one to five, with five being a feature you can't live without. Then, bring your list with you as you tour homes to keep score.
  • Would you like French doors with that? Once you've found a home you like, consider the costs of upgrades, repairs or remodels and factor those in to your short or long term budgets. Remember that any upgrades you make, will likely add value to your new home. So it may be worth the extra investment up front if you are planning on selling your home in the foreseeable future.

With this checklist and the right market conditions, you are well on the road to home happiness. For additional information on the opportunities in today's market or for expert representation, contact me today.

November
22

7 REAL ESTATE FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW

  1. Property taxes are ASSESSED every year - this means your taxes will probably go up after you purchase your home.
  2. HOA Dues DO matter - the amount and frequency of the HOA dues in a community could make or break your financing.
  3. Real Estate Websites aren't ALWAYS accurate - some real estate websites feed from multiple sources, aren't regularly updated or can be updated by just anyone. Information that you find on the web regarding a specific house may not always be correct depending on how quickly the website updates its listings.
  4. Home Value Estimates are NOT always ACCURATE - these online estimates are calculated by a computer and not an experienced realtor which leaves out a lot of important factors used to price a home.
  5. Seller's PAY the commission - sellers pay the entire real estate commission for the sale of the home, half of the commission goes to the listing agent and half to the buyers agent. This means that if you are buying a home, then it is virtually free for you to use a real estate agent.
  6. Going directly to the Listing Agent DOES NOT SAVE money - some buyers believe they will save money going directly to the listing agent instead of hiring a buyers agent. This isn't true because the commission is always paid by the seller. It's also not recommended because the listing agent won't have a buyers best interests in mind.
  7. Not All Types of Properties QUALIFY for financing - not all financing programs accept all property types and not all sellers accept all types of financing. This is why it's recommended to explore available financing options before searching for a home.

January
18

Buying a BRAND NEW home may seem daunting when you can get a resale for a couple hundred dollars less a month but let me tell ya, buying a new home can actually SAVE you money in the long run (plus a few other benefits!)

 The word NEW is the key here because everything in a new construction home is brand new.

 This includes a 1 year warranty on everything PLUS a 10 year structural  warranty. This comes in handy when appliances break or the foundation of the home starts to shift. If you don't buy NEW, then you will have to pay out of pocket for those items. New construction homes are VERY low maintenance in comparison to buying a resale home.

 When you buy a new construction home, you have the ability to have ALL or part of your closing costs paid, this saves you money INSTANTLY.

 New construction homes are also energy efficient which means you will be saving LOADS of money on your electricity bill whereas a resale home doesn't offer this same benefit.

 You can customize EVERYTHING when you build a new construction home - from flooring to backsplash to faucets and light fixtures. It will be custom tailored to YOUR liking and exactly how you want it.

 No need to worry about replacing that hideous tile flooring throughout the kitchen of a resale home or updating light fixtures that are outdated.

 Also - most new construction homes also come standard with SMART features which are very convenient in this day and age.

 New construction communities offer other benefits like superior drainage, which makes it much less likely to flood compared to an older community.

 Builders also don't sell to investors, so the newer community will retain its integrity for a longer period of time.

 Most people who purchase a new construction home plan to live in that home rather than rent it out every year or so. This means that you'll get to know your neighbors and your property value is protected.

 Ask me how we can get you into a new construction home today!

February
22

You've made the decision to sell, now what?  What needs to be done?

First Impressions Count

Here's a few things to think about:

  • You need to take an honest look at everything in your house. The exterior, interior, kitchen space etc… from a fresh set of eyes.  You HAVE to see this from a buyer's point of you and what they would like and not like about your abode.  What would you want if you were the buyer looking at your home for the first time?  If you are unable to see this with clear eyes, have a friend come over and have them give you an honest opinion of your home and what "they see."
  • Take out the emotion. Selling a home is an emotional experience because you have memories tied to it.  When your home goes up for sale, you will receive feedback comments from a buyer's showing experience.  Sometimes, these comments are hard to digest.  It's ok.  That's normal.  As you're getting ready to sell, and looking at items that need to be fixed, try to remove the emotion from that process.
  • Buyers want to be able to move right in and not have to do any repairs or cosmetic changes. Knowing this information, will help you decide what projects need to be a priority to get top dollar.  If you need more advice on whether or not to tackle a project, I'm here to help.

Repair, Repair, Repair

If you know the gutters are falling down and need to be tightened up, Do it!  First impressions count and Curb Appeal is the first impression that someone has of your house.  Take a good hard look at the exterior of the house and see what loose ends need to be fixed.

Let's just make this easy… Fix everything that needs to be fixed in order to sell.  If you are questioning this or money is tight, let's chat.  I'll come over and tell you what has to be done.  FYI, if some items are not repaired, it may have to be reflected in your listing price.

Declutter

You knew I was going to say this!

November
9

WHY I BECAME A REALTOR

 I had actually never considered being a realtor until I started working as a loan processor for a bank.  I HATED this job, so when someone offered me the chance to try something different, I jumped.

 I found out some of the incredible benefits of it and it matched up perfectly with what I wanted out of my life.

 It was important to me to:

- Work with people and help them make smart moves.

- Provide valuable information.

- Love what I do & feel fulfilled in my work.

- See some really cool homes and figure out what I wanted for my dream home.

  It was in 2002 when I finally decided I was going to go for it and when I started studying to get my license.

 It took me 1 month to get licensed and 3 months after that to sell my first home! It was incredibly exciting & I remember it like it was yesterday!

October
25

Please, please don't make me tell you the following.  It is so incredibly awkward to do so…

Your House Has a Bad Odor

Here's the deal, you probably don't even realize it because you are used to it.  But a buyer will definitely notice the smell.  Here's some of the causes:

  • While your animals are adorable to you, they may not be so adorable to others…
    • Animals that have urinated on the carpet, which has now penetrated the baseboards and continues to leave a smell.
    • Kitty litter needs to be cleaned
    • Scratches, chewed and scratched baseboards
    • Extra pet toys – remove
    • Some people are allergic to animal hair
  • Your house just smells bad.
    • Trash
    • Garbage disposal
    • Cooking ingredients (bacon, curry)
    • Dirty shoes
    • Laundry
    • Mold/wetness

The HOUSE NEEDS To SMELL CLEAN.  Time for spring cleaning.  Throw away what you can.  Those things need to go into the trash can, need to leave.  This also is good for the decluttering process.  Wipe down walls, baseboards, floor boards, air it out and don't just cover it up with an air freshener.  That is definitely a sign to the buyer that you are covering up a bad smell.

Ugh... I know that's incredibly harsh, but sometimes it's the unpleasant conversation that has to happen in order to sell your home.  Just try to see and smell your home from the buyer's perspective.

October
19

Simple Steps in the Staging Process

  • You want buyers to visualize themselves in that space. Kitchen… they are cooking in their kitchen.
  • You want the buyer to be attracted to the beauty and style of the kitchen or space.
  • Space needs to be clean and ready to use.
  • Stagers create a story. Place settings are out on the table for example.
  • Use high end finishes to make a statement.
  • Replace light fixtures
  • Replace kitchen hardware
  • Use space more efficiently by adding built-in storage
  • Add architectural interest – Have a focal point in room
  • Storage!!!

Balance – Sometimes, the "against the wall theory" is not the greatest idea.  Is the room balanced?  Is all the furniture to one side?  Create a balance so that there's a natural walking flow path around the sitting area.

Function - Lighting, use natural and ambient lights.  Living rooms (even formal) should have a coffee table and a place to put down a drink.

Color Neutral with a splash of color.

October
6

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION...

We all know that living near a good school increases the value of your home. But who knew a neighboring cemetery can adversely affect your property value? Or that proximity to a hospital isn't a good thing? In fact, we now know—or should know—that nothing is more important when selling your home than your neighborhood. So if you're buying, think ahead; purchase your dream home in the wrong location and you may be buying into a nightmare.

Here are some location no-nos:

  • Realtor.com research has found that living near a cemetery will lower your property value by 12.3%
  • And having a hospital nearby means when you sell you can expect an impact on your sale price of 3.2%.
  • Also note: make sure you move near a "good" school; a "bad" school will reduce your home's value by 22.2%. ·
  • An article in the Journal of Transport Economics and Policy indicates that having an airport nearby can discount the value of your home. The greater the noise level, the greater the negative impact.

Among the amenities to look for in your neighborhood-to-be:

  • Proximity to transit. According to a Transit-Oriented Development in America survey, 55% of Americans would pay more to live near good transit options. The study, conducted by consultant HNTB Corporation, found that 57% of respondents liked not having to depend on cars to "work, live, and play." ·
  • A neighborhood on its way up—not down. In transitional neighborhoods, you get a lot of value for your home-buying buck. Your real estate agent is the best source of information and will also know if there are any planned roads or developments that may impact the neighborhood—positively or negatively.
  • Water, parks, and green spaces. A nearby waterfront can add up to 25% to the value of your home

September
23

With a little bit of forethought, selling a home doesn't have to be a difficult process.  Here are some things you should think about:

   

Starts with the Decision to Sell

  • Why are you selling?
  • Do you have equity?
  • Do you understand what's going on in the market?
  • Are you looking for something different in life?  A different lifestyle?
  • Do you need to move?  Job change? Loss of job

 

What's the Plan?

  • How are you going to find a buyer??
  • What about the paperwork?
  • Who's going to negotiate with the buyers?
  • A good Realtor should be able to answer the typical time frame for selling in your neighborhood, the best marketing strategy for selling, how the listing price will be determined, what the staging process looks like, the hurdles in selling your home, the best way to stay in contact with you.

 

You've made the decision, now what…

What needs to be done? Fix Repairs, Declutter etc… Staging. How can you stand out from the competition? Curb appeal, Move-in condition

 Make the List!

How do we determine home price?

Zestimate, Realtors. What you should be looking at.

 

Listing a Home – What to Expect

1) Marketing Buzz

2) Someone to give you advice on which improvements to tackle

3) What the listing contact says and how it reads

4) Communication within 24 hours.  What we expect of you … that you're flexible, try not be offended, and that you do respond and communicate as well.

 

Marketing Buzz

 

Offer

Everything is Negotiable – Go through contract – Price, Closing time, possession time etc…) See if from the buyer's perspective (meeting of the minds)  Results – What's your End Goal?

 

Let's Chat.  I can help!

September
15

Ok, so that was just a tease because I am a great Realtor and I do hope you use me to help your sell home.  What I will do, is say it like it is, give you all the information you need, and lead you through all the steps.

How much time do we have?

Let's face it, all you care about is that your home gets sold for top dollar, in your time frame, and with the least amount of hassle.  Correct?

First Question… What is your time frame for selling?  If you need to be at a new job in 60 days out of state, and once you receive an offer on your house (typical time frame is 45 days from start to finish), then there's not much time to do much of anything but put your home on the market.

Few things to remember:

  • Your home selling price is determined by the sold homes in your neighborhood and like qualities. Apples to apples.  A Ranch home with 3 bedrooms compared to another ranch home with similar features that sold within the last six months in the area.
  • Buyers want to purchase a move-in ready home. The condition of your home will be reflected in your selling price.
  • What is the time for selling in your neighborhood?

 

If you truly want to sell for top dollar

  1. You need to have a plan!
  2. How are you going to find a buyer?
  3. What are the buyers looking for?
  4. What should you fix?
  5. Should you put money into repairs?
  6. How are you going to determine a price?
  7. What about the paperwork?
  8. Who's going to negotiate with the buyers?

Here's where a good Realtor comes into the picture.  They should be able to answer the typical time frame for selling in your neighborhood, the best marketing strategy for selling, how the listing price will be determined, what the staging process looks like, the hurdles in selling your home, the best way to stay in contact with you.  Their job is to take care of you their client and handle all these things that you may not have time to deal with.

If you would like some help, you have my number and email. :)

 

September
8

  How are you going to find a buyer for your home?  You need to think like a buyer.  Put yourself in their shoes.

What are the buyers looking for?  Does your home have those features?  What type of buyer is the perfect fit for your home?

Market – Demographic/Psychographic

In order to think like a buyer, you need to know WHO that person may be?  Does your home attract the first-time home buyer or someone looking for a second home?    About how much they would have to make in order to buy your house at your price range?  What makes them tick?

The Typical Buyer

  • Wants at least 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths
  • If they have kids, they are driven by school districts and being in a good one!
  • Women usually are concerned about the living space – bedroom size, living room, kitchen.
  • Men usually need a man cave, garage or basement space.

Who is YOUR perfect buyer for your home?

  • How old are they?
  • What gender?
  • Interests and Hobbies?
  • Occupation?
  • Level of Education?
  • How much do they make?  This determines how much they can afford to buy.
  • Do they have kids?

What does YOUR perfect buyer need?

Are they looking for a certain school district?

How many beds/baths will they want?

Want a backyard?

Need a basement?

Want an updated or open kitchen?

They work from home and need great internet speed?

Marketing – Find/Attract Them  Where are They?

Everything Virtual

In the good ole days, we used to advertise in the newspaper.  What's a newspaper, you say?  Exactly!  Now, it's a race to see who finds your home the fastest and what's the best way to market online?

  • Obviously, the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), is your best option. Yes, you need to use a Realtor and pay a commission to use this service but EVERYTHING pulls from the local MLS.  Zillow, Realtor.com and all those beautiful sites, actually pull from the local MLS boards.  So don't shoot yourself in the foot and NOT get the most exposure that you possibly can get when marketing your home.
  • Google search – how do you find a home? Well, we just googled, "homes for sale in ada mi."   2nd best way to get exposure but tricky for everyone to make the front page of google unless they (Realtors) are paying for Ad words.
  • Facebook Ads – another tool that Realtors use to push out a home. This one works well, but because it's an "Ad", there is obviously a cost associated with it.
  • Virtual Tours these are popular to add on to a listing since it works like a video and video ranks high in searches.
  • Videos – my favorite!!! I love video walk throughs on listings.  I do this quite often for buyers who are out of town and I need to be their eyes.  You physically video tape while walking through the home.

There is a lot that goes into marketing your home.  The goal is to give you the most exposure to drive up the price, to have you bank the most money!  Creating a Marketing Buzz is the best way to get that result!

Contact me if you are interested in seeing how I create a "Marketing Buzz" around your home!

September
1

So, you've been thinking about selling your home but are questioning if NOW is the time to sell?  How's the market?  Is it a buyer's market, seller's market?  Will my home sell quickly?  Do I have enough equity? If I do sell, what's next? 

It Always Comes Back to Your Why

First things first, the home selling process begins with the decision to sell.  Here's what's funny.  As a Realtor, we tend to forget how this process goes until we actually have to go through the home selling process ourselves.  And while I know the ropes inside and out, it was still stressful, it was emotional, and it was a lot of work to get the home ready to sell BUT…

It was also worth it!  I knew what I wanted. 

I sold my home three years ago after making the decision that it was too much work for me to maintain.  I went through a divorce a few years back and held onto the house, for a secure place for my kids to come HOME to.  Once, they graduated from high school and were heading off to college, I knew it was time for me to move on. It was my opportunity to pursue what I really wanted, which was a home on an all-sports lake.  I have so many fond memories of going to my grandparent's cottage and spending time on the lake, that I know this is my dream home. My lifestyle changed.  My kids moved out of the house.  Now, it was time for me to pursue my dream home.  

You can't time the market or your life… but you can make a plan (Be sure to check out LifeHack below).

 Start planning ahead…

  • In the next year… what does your family need? Do you need more space?  Would you like a bigger kitchen? 
  • Is your family getting bigger? Is there a possibility that parents/grandparents may have to live with you?  Will you be an empty nester soon and want to think about a smaller home?
  • Do you want a better lifestyle? Do you like the hustle and bustle of city life?  Love suburbia?  Prefer the woods and no neighbors?  Love the peace and enjoyment with lakefront living?

 One of my Favorite Life Hacks I use this life hack every year when I reset my goals.  I absolutely love it!  Thanks to Dean Grazoisi and his book Millionaire Success Habits.) Check it out…

If you could fast forward a year and then look back and it was the BEST YEAR of YOUR LIFE, what does that Best Year look like?

  • How much money are you making? How much money do you have saved?
  • Where do you work? From home or in the office?
  • Are you taking your company to the next level? Do you own your own business?
  • How does your significant other look at you in the morning after a long day?
  • How is your relationship with your family, kids, and friends?

Sometimes, we need to look at the bigger picture of life, and then make a plan to get there. I have the plan to get you where you want to go and lead you through the process!

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