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Crystal Halley

Associate Broker

Crystal's Blog Corner

Renovation Reality: Actual Costs Of Four Popular Redos


So you want to redo your kitchen. Great! Now you have to do is pick out your new appliances, countertops, backsplash material and other assorted finishes, figure out what to do with your cabinets, find a contractor, and get started. Phew! Before you can do any of that, though, you have to set a budget. Yes, we said the "B word."

Let's face it: Budget is a bad word. Not just because it represents an amount of money you may not be entirely comfortable spending, but also because it's often a number that's based on what you think you can afford, not what things really cost. When perception meets reality in home renovations, you can be in for a serious sticker-shock experience.

If you're getting ready to do a remodel or make some updates, it behooves you to do the research before you get too excited about it. It just might turn out that what you think will be an easy and cheap little project isn't either. We've broken down four of the most popular renovations by expected cost so that you can make a more informed decision.

Redoing kitchen cabinets

If you've never priced out renovations, you really have no point of reference. We personally experienced one of those perception-does-not-meet-reality situations recently when we started gathering information about the cost of painting our kitchen cabinets to take them from the traditional Cherry tone we've never liked to something a little more modern. True Story: We had laughingly agreed that we would pull the trigger if it was less than $1,000, only to come to find out that it was going to be triple that. So, never mind on that whole painting the kitchen cabinets thing, unless we decide it's worth the hassle and stress (and family strife) of a DIY weekend.

When estimating the cost of your kitchen, contractors may calculate the cost per foot or by the number of cabinets you have, and your estimates may vary wildly due to a number of factors. It's important to beware of lowball estimates here. Repainting kitchen cabinets is no easy feat, and cutting corners can greatly impact the final product.

When comparing your estimates, look at what each includes; lower-cost jobs may not provide adequate protection for your floors, counters, and appliances, may not prep the cabinets properly, may not include the appropriate number of coats of paint, and may only include the outside of doors and drawers. Also pay attention to whether you are expected to provide paint and materials or if they're included in the estimate.

Expected cost: $1,200 - 7,000

New flooring

The cost of having new flooring installed will also vary greatly depending on factors including the material chosen, the amount of square footage involved, and the condition of existing flooring. If you've never explored flooring options, you may not realize that installation is typically priced per square foot. Many contractors have set prices, while some adjust the price depending on the ease of the material being installed. There may also be geographical differences that affect the cost of installation. And don't forget to check with big box stores like Home Depot, who may have installation specials tied to specific flooring product purchases. In general, these are the going prices for professional installation:

Expected cost: $2 - 2.50 per square foot

Interior painting

Painting is one of those activities that can give you great bang for your buck, especially if you choose to do it yourself. But not all of us are great at finishing what we've started (guilty!) or capable of painting challenging spaces, which makes outsourcing a smart move. Be sure to ask questions of potential contractors including whether or not they provide materials, any extra costs involved with taller ceilings, and steps they take to protect your home and furnishings - you don't want to end up with speckled everything. They should also be able to give you an estimate as to how many hours the job will take so there are no surprises at the end.

Expected cost: $24 - 45 per hour

New shower

Ever looked into redoing your shower? Would it surprise you to hear that a basic frameless shower door costs $1,500? Yes, what seems like a small job can quickly become a budget-buster, especially when you start to factor in the cost of materials. Get fancy with that tile, and you're really looking at an expensive renovation given the small amount of space involved.

But, if your shower is tired, not functional, or in need of a reno for other reasons, it can be well worth it. When comparing estimates, you want to look beyond the overall cost to examine what is involved. Is the contractor using the most modern and recommended materials behind the tile to ensure the area is water tight? Are there extra costs involved in installing the shower mechanisms and the drain? Are they updating the plumbing? Are they building out a tile floor or installing a shower pan?

Expect to pay: $1,200 - 2,500 for shower, $1,000 - 2,000 for frameless shower door.


Trends Cost Sellers Money


Every new and widely-adopted trend changes what's considered "standard." When this happens in real estate — inside or out — a seller's non-trend or off-trend house or condominium unit may become "substandard" in buyers' eyes.

Sellers who expect top dollar for their property must ensure it makes an on-trend impression with home buyers, especially millennials.

In interior design, the trend toward ensuite bathrooms combined with the trend to "spa-like" bathrooms has put expensive-renovation pressure on sellers' existing bathrooms. No matter how nice they are to use, if bathrooms don't have the magazine-look buyers lust after, their "this is a gut job" reaction means renovation cost and inconvenience to buyers and the home gets a "too dated to love" mark against it.

To understand what buyers expect, sellers benefit from taking a long hard look at their main rooms after spending a few hours binging on home-renovation shows or pouring over home-decor magazines. Get it?

If the resale house or condominium unit doesn't have spa-like bathrooms, an oasis-style master bedroom suite, and an airy (that means new, larger windows) open concept (down come those kitchen, dining room, and living room walls) central living space, buyers will only see massive, expensive renovations to achieve these "must haves." The result?

Buyers may dramatically under-value your house or condo or ignore it altogether. Ask local real estate professionals about the type of buyers who would be interested in the delayed gratification of paying for your "slightly dated" home's location and then undertaking extensive renovations themselves. Will they pay you top-dollar?

Kitchens and bathrooms are the most expensive rooms to renovate, so it's annoying to sellers that these are the only rooms that add value to a home. These key rooms may even decide whether a property sells at all.

The last renovation may seem a recent memory to sellers, but if it was more than 5 or even 10 years ago, this time lag puts sellers out of phase with millennial buyers — your home reminds them of their parents' or grandparents' place. Not a way to add value or evoke a "dream home" atmosphere.

  • Paint color trends now change every year in sync with fashion. The "shades of grey" look is out and color is back. If you have older beige or pink-green color schemes, buyers may discount your home's value dramatically.
  • Wallpaper is in again, but if you don't have current wallpaper styles (including ease of removal), you've got a home that represents hours of scraping — not a task most buyers want to spend top-dollar to inherit.
  • Stainless steel appliances and brushed nickle finishes were mandatory for years, but they are beginning to fade in popularity. Gold is the new hot metal color even though it hasn't made it to appliances yet. Buyers want new, matching, preferably high-end appliances. How do yours rate?
  • Floating bathroom vanities or at least vanities with slender, exposed legs are the new norm. Old chunky cabinets, especially those without double sinks, will generate expensive "gut job" reactions from buyers.
  • Solar panels and gas fireplaces have come down in price and so have increased in popularity in many locations. Skip these trends and your home may be considered "out dated" even though you have a new furnace and a classic wood-burning fireplace. "Needs up-dating" responses from buyers mean they see renovation dollar signs instead of the value that sellers believe they live with.

Staging can add cosmetic cleverness, but there still may be a few renovation projects necessary. Staging distracts from negatives and enhances positives with strategic furniture placement, scaled-down furniture, wanna-have pieces, and refreshing repaints. These elements can do a lot to enhance market value, but they can't overshadow a seriously out-of-date kitchen or a poorly-maintained exterior.

A real estate professional's thorough evaluation of market value for your property should include a list of simple and more-complex up-dates that may add to your bottom line.

Remember, sellers should concentrate on what target buyers want in their "dream home," not on what sellers have been comfortable living with for years.


Boost Your Property Value: 4 Smart Features Worth Adding


Your home may be your castle – but what that means for each person can be very different. Some people prefer light colors, some dark. Some want a location that lets them walk everywhere, while other people want to live far away from the hustle and bustle. However, there is one point that many home buyers do agree upon: smart home technology. Adding smart home technology solutions doesn't just make your home more covetable – it can increase the demand for and value of your home when you sell it.

Smart Home Technology

Almost two-thirds of new homebuyers say that smart home technology makes home life better (and safer too), according to a survey from Better Homes and Garden. They see these new technologies as the “new norm” and that fact is reflected in their home-buying preferences. A recent Houzz survey found that 28 percent of homeowners would consider smart technology integration important in any home renovation, while some 35 percent of first-time buyers prioritize smart technology. Moreover, people of all ages are willing to pay more for properties that include smart home technology.

Adding smart home technology to your home can increase the interest and value of the property, especially amongst smartphone users. According to J.P. Endres, a realtor based in Westchester County, New York, homebuyers will pay as much as five percent more for certain high-tech amenities.

Here are four smart home additions worth getting to boost your home’s property value:

Smart Thermostat

The first thing to put on your smart home technology list is a smart thermostat. Not only will it let you (or a new buyer) control the temperature from your smartphone but smart thermostats also learn from you. Over time, they can automatically adjust settings to reflect the way you live and when you are home. The features are convenient but they also help you save money on home heating and cooling costs.

Connected Lights

Smart home lighting allows you to turn lights on or off, dim lights, or even put them on a schedule – all from your phone. Inc reports that adding smart home lighting and a connected thermostat could help you reduce your energy bills by half.

Smart Locks

Adding smart locks can help you keep your home safer. You can program your door to unlock when you or a guest comes close using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi on your Samsung Galaxy S7. Not only is this much more secure than a fake key under a plastic rock, it is also more convenient. No more making sure your neighbor has a key to water your plants or that you remember to give your dog-walking friend the key. You can unlock your home from wherever you are.

Wireless Security

Having a home security system is a major burglar deterrent and a huge incentive for homebuyers of all ages. According to Redfin, roughly 9 out of 10 people say that home security is the primary reason they would choose a home with smart technology. If your home doesn’t have a security system, you could be limiting your home’s demand and, by extension, its value.

Technology can have a profound effect on your daily life. Raise your property value and reduce your energy costs by adopting smart home technology in your home.


Selling a Home With Pets


Home sellers often want to know what to do with their pets when prospective buyers come over for a viewing, but the answers aren't all that simple. There are the immediate and practical issues like dogs misbehaving and indoor cats sneaking out during the showing, but in more general terms, living with pets causes wear and tear on the house, and buyers know this fact. So for the pet lovers out there, here's a guide to preparing your house for sale.

Your best option is to relocate all your pets when you put your house on the market. You can have friends or family take care of your animals, or put them in a boarding kennel or just move yourself and your pets to your luxurious vacation home. Few will find any of those ideas realistic, obviously, so you've got to manage with your limited options.

Animals can behave defensively in unpredictable ways when strangers enter their home. You're probably not insured if one of your pets attacks a buyer or a real estate agent, especially if that pet is a dog breed stereotyped as violent like a pitbull. “Compensatory damages can really add up for personal injury cases,” says Edward Lake, attorney and co-founder of the law firm of Gacovino Lake. For this reason, it's best to get your animals out of the house if at all possible. Consider house showings a good opportunity to take your dogs on a trip to the park or the beach for some exercise. In the worst case, crate your dogs and cats in carriers during the showing, and post Please Do Not Disturb signs.

Beyond the safety fears, some people just don't like pets. If you want to cast the widest net when selling your house, you'll want to hide the evidence that furry critters dwell within.

Clean up after your pets, and clean daily. Brush your shedding animals, vacuum the carpets and furniture, sweep the floors often and keep their eating areas tidy. Put away pet toys. For those carpet stains, hire a professional cleaner. If you decide to scrub out the stains yourself, try enzyme cleaners.

Cat boxes need special attention. At the very least, change the litter regularly, but a better solution is to remove them while showing the house. Stash them in a garden shed in the backyard, for instance. The worst thing you can show would be a dirty cat box in a bedroom closet.

Remove the odors. Cat urine is the best way to keep your house from selling to anyone, ever. This point cannot be emphasized enough. You've got to deep-clean your carpets and furniture, and even your ductwork. Don't even think of trying to cover it up with air fresheners because it won't work. Living with those animals, you can become desensitized to the smells, but a homebuyer will have a nose for it. Get a friend or a neighbor to visit and check your cleaning progress with a whiff test.

Repair, replace or conceal furniture damage, like the arm of that chair your cats like to treat as a scratching post. Re-carpet those threadbare stair steps that are now showing the wood beneath. That backdoor where Fido scratches to get out needs to be repainted too. It's probably time to remove the stained drapes that are shredded to strips and replace them with shades, and swap out the scratched screens while you're at it.

Some evidence of pet presence is easy to remove or reduce. Don't include pets in the pictures you use to advertise your house, and take down the pet pics from your fridge. Close and seal up any pet doors. Store your pets' food and water bowls somewhere during showings. Get rid of that raggedy cat tree.

Repair your yard. Cover and smooth out any holes dug, and pick up any droppings. If your yard has been torn apart beyond hope, consider investing in new sod, wood chips or some sort of other cheap backyard makeover remedy for sellers.

If you've just got too much evidence to conceal, why not market to pet owners? If you've got chickens and other farm animals in the backyard, for example, go whole hog and promote your house as a hobby farm or sustainable homestead.

Some common sense will help you figure out the details. Just pity the homeowner with a child who loves raising pet rats and snakes.


How To Handle The Stress Of Selling Your Home


Three things are certain in life: death, taxes ... and undue stress caused by moving. Whether or not you use the services of a REALTOR® to help you wade through the uncertain waters of the buy-and-sell process, moving is stressful, period. And there's not much you can do to avoid it. And we're not just talking about packing and paperwork. Moving is an emotional process. If your'e not calming down your nervous children, you're trying to reassure yourself that you'll meet people in your new neighborhood, that you bought the best house within your means, and that your kids' new schools will measure up.

It's easy to forget while we're dealing with all of these jitters that moving actually can represent an exciting adventure, a growth opportunity and the prospect of new beginnings. Once the dust settles after your move, you're entering one of the most memorable times of your life. With any luck, you've recruited a REALTOR® who's familiar with the obvious stresses as well as the insidious (and subsequently more detrimental) ones.

Depending upon your relationship with your Realtor, you should be able to rely on him or her for more than just closing the deal. Your Realtor also should be able to calm your trepidation by giving you the support you need -- giving you the facts about that new school district, reassuring you that your jitters are perfectly normal, and giving you as much information about your new hometown as possible, increasing your familiarity with the previously unknown.

It's important to remember throughout the entire selling and buying process, however, to reserve time for yourself and your family. It's not a waste of time, but rather an insurance policy for your sanity and continued happiness. Stress is sneaky, as we've all discovered. It can eat away at us during what are supposed to be the happiest of times, because after all, any major change in life is stressful. If it's supressed, it can wreak havoc both emotionally and physically and spread throughout the family. And there's nothing worse than moving a grumpy family across the country. For the sake of your continued family unity, keep in mind the following stress-relieving measures:

First, remember that it's perfect normal to feel unsure of your decision right now. You've just made a major commitment, and all of us experience those last-second "What on earth did I just do" worries after signing contracts and making life-changing decisions. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with "what ifs" and dread, re-frame this decision as a prime opportunity to begin your lives in a new environment.

The old saying "When one door closes, another one opens" definitely applies here. Trust that your Realtor is looking out for your best interests, ask as many questions as you need to throughout the entire process (that's part of what your Realtor is paid for), and look forward to the adventure that lies ahead of you.


4 Easy Ways to Increase Your Listings Curb Appeal


Follow these 4 simple curb appeal hacks to create an attractive exterior and sell your home notably faster:

Tidy Up the Big Things

A quick clean up will go a long way. When potential buyers see your home for the first time you want to give the sense of a home that is well cared for and maintained. If there is any clutter or junk lying around it will clog their view of your home. Get the outside of the house as nice as the inside by packing away any extra belongings of your family (kid toys, bicycles, yard tools, etc). Next, focus on the walkways and planter beds. Rake up dead leaves from trees and any other weeds or plant debris. Then, after you’re finished cleaning up give the walkways, porch and driveway a good pressure wash. This simple half day job will really make a huge difference!

Update the Little Things

Now is a great time to make a small investment that will give you a great big return. Go for new hardware, doorknobs, house numbers, mailbox and porch lights. Start with your door and get a new knob and knocker that will compliment the color. Stick with that tone with all other hardware updates for consistency in design. Get creative with the house numbers and find something unique to catch the buyers eye. Lastly, a nice new mailbox with a lock feature will really stand out. All these little fixes will give the impression to buyers that your home is updated and ready to go!

Add Character and Color All Over

With the front of your home cleaned and updated you’ve made it to the staging step. Create an exterior of character and color by adding new vibrant plants in your pots and planters. Splurge on more mature plants to really fill the space and stick with plants that don’t lose their bloom too quickly. Make the exterior a place your buyers can see themselves relaxing on a Sunday afternoon by adding a nice bistro set or a pair of rocking chairs with a fluffy knit throw.

Weigh the Benefits of a Handyman

If you think you’ll need an extra hand for some of these projects, specifically replacing light fixtures or pressure washing, consider hiring some help. The time saved alone will be of great benefit to you. Getting your home on the market faster will save you money in the long run.


Pros And Cons Of Today's Flooring Trends


If you're thinking about doing your floors, you've probably done countless hours of research online, visited several stores, and pored over colors, textures, sizes, and styles. You may have some idea of what you like, but is it a good choice for your lifestyle or your budget - or both? We're breaking down the pros and cons of the most popular trends in flooring today.

Wide plank

Wide-planks are the most predominant trend in flooring today, regardless of color and finish.

Pro: The popularity of this type of flooring means there is a wide variety of options, from smooth engineered flooring to barn-like boards.

Con: DIY installation can be trickier because you're working with such a large area.


"The distressed floor style has been around for quite a while but has become even more popular just recently," said Sebring Design Build. "Distressed flooring undergoes artificial aging and styling processes that give it a slightly worn finish. It works best for spaces where a beautiful rustic look is desired.  In preparing distressed wood flooring, various actions are taken depending on the degree and style of ‘distress' desired. The edges of each wood plank are hand scrapped, swirl and kerf markings are added to imitate historic wood and the planks are brushed to remove glossing and give them a soft worn texture."

Pro: Because it's already distressed, it's a good choice for households with kids and/or dogs.

Con: If/when smoother wood looks come back into style, those who have gone the distressed route may not be be able to have their floors refinished, depending on the depth of the distressing.

Luxury Vinyl

This is another fast-growing segment of the flooring industry because today's vinyl planks can fool the eye, and, sometimes the foot and fingers, too. Luxury vinyl planks look like the real thing, but often at a much lower cost.

Pro: Choose vinyl planks that "float" and you can go right over the top of existing flooring. That makes it an easy choice for those who don't want to do demo. Luxury vinyl is also extremely durable and easy to take care of—great for active households.

Con: The best vinyl plank product will get close to the price of real wood unless you are lucky enough to catch a sale. It's not wood.

Lighter floors

"For years, lighter floors were viewed as outdated or inexpensive. That is no longer the case," said Flooring Inc. "As more homeowners embrace the light, airy feel in their home, you will see a huge resurgence in light wood floors. Blonde wood, in particular, can give you that light feel, while still feeling timeless. With blonde wood, your decorating possibilities are endless. You can go for a chic, contemporary feel or a rustic, homey vibe all without changing your floors."

Pro: Depending on how light you go, you may be able to enjoy an added benefit of disguising dirt! Also, "blonde wood makes any room feel larger and more open, especially if you use large planks."

Con: If trend cycles hold, darker wood will come back at some point. Choose an excessively trendy look, like bleached-out floors, and you may further limit your "in-style" window.

Gray finish

"Gray wood floors are increasingly common and are a 2018 floor trend. They provide a unique, clean look that fits well in modern houses that need to brighten up," said Family Handyman.

Pro: They look fresh and can make any home feel a little more current.

Con: Will the pendulum swing back to brown? Eventually…probably. Flooring that works in both brown and gray tones might help with the staying power. Also, gray can "lack the warmth of traditional natural-color wood flooring," they said.

Bamboo Floors

Those who lean green have loved bamboo floors for years because of the material's eco-friendliness. "Bamboo is considered as the fastest growing woody plant, reaching full maturity in five to six years," said Green Design Build.

Pro: Bamboo is also known to be very strong and durable, and, whereas options used to be somewhat limited, a growing green trend means more looks for buyers interested in eco-friendly floors.

Con: Bamboo can be pricier than many other options.

Wood-look tile

There is a huge trend toward going with tile that looks like wood instead of using real wood. "These are porcelain planks that are designed to mimic natural wood grains," said Family Handyman. Porcelain planks (tiles) are an attractive and durable floor trend."

Pro: With 3D printing, the looks you can achieve are endless, and mimic the appearance of wood so closely that people may not even realize it's not wood. Wood-look tile is also a great choice for areas like "the bathroom or other space prone to dampness" and is easy to clean and care for.

Con: It's hard under foot. And it's not wood.



Selling Your Home? A Kitchen Clean Up Pays Off


When it comes to selling a home, a kitchen clean up pays. You don't have to do an expensive remodel to make your kitchen appealing to buyers. If you're starting with a good kitchen space, then making a few inexpensive modifications can help you get your home noticed and sell for more money.

Here are a few things to start with. Some people like to leave every single appliance that they've used in the last week out, but, to show good space,you're going to have to clear your counters. One of the major mistakes sellers make is leaving the kitchen, or their home, the everyday way they live in it. The way you sell and show a home is not usually the way you live in it. Yes, it may be an inconvenience but it's worth the hassle if it brings in more money when your home sells.

So, look around your kitchen and see what you can put away. The more empty the counter tops, the better. A few subtle decorations that bring your kitchen to life are perfect. Leave open space for buyers to imagine their own belongings in your kitchen.

If you have any low-hanging pots and pans on racks from the walls or ceilings, consider removing them and patch the holes. Unless the rack is very necessary or really nice decor that doesn't block views or hang too low, removing it will help create a greater feeling of spaciousness.

Wipe the counter tops thoroughly. Sounds so ridiculously simple and obvious. But many sellers forget to do this and the counter tops are left sticky or with stains on them. A little elbow grease could remove a wine stain or watermark and make the kitchen look much more cared-for.

If you don't have an island in your kitchen but have some extra room, a rolling butcher block island works like a charm for adding convenient working space and a sophisticated look. You might also have some delicious-smelling freshly baked cookies out alongside your flyers for open houses.

Get some light in the kitchen. If you have all recessed lighting, you might try adding a few pendant lights. They add a completely different look and can be quite attractive.

Change your flooring if it's very old, torn up, or outdated. Putting in some inexpensive flooringthat gives an updated look will help. You don't have to spend lots of money and get the best flooring around; just make sure your flooring doesn't make your home look like it's in a time warp.

Add some plants and greenery to the kitchen. Using fresh herbs in simple containers is a great way to add some pretty decor plus their lovely aromatic odors help buyers think about the meals they'd cook in your kitchen.

Clean up or replace old worn-down appliances. You can sell the home with appliances "as is" but a broken dishwasher, for instance, is a point of price negotiation. You can expect buyers to want some money off or for it to be replaced.

The kitchen is one of the most important areas of a home for most buyers, even if they don't cook. Taking the time to enhance it before you list your home will help make sure your home sells for top dollar.


4 Condo Staging Tips to Sell Before Summer


Realtors and owners trying to sell condos in today's market will find that a lot of people are searching for condos. Yes, some people do prefer the low-maintenance of a condo, and selling them on a property means staging the condo properly.

Potential buyers want to envision themselves living in a home – not the other family living in the home.

Staging requires a bit of effort and time, but it will help sellers offload their properties before the summer rush begins.

Staging for success can be done with these simple tips:

1. Start with the Basics

The basics are the most important part of staging. A messy home is not one that people want to live in. The home should be free of clothes and items on the floor. Put laundry away, make the beds, and make sure dishes are done.

The key most important thing is to tidy up the rooms every day.

2. Pictures of the Area

Remove pictures of your family on the walls or even in frames on the end tables. You need to make sure that the potential owner can picture themselves living in the home.

One neat trick is to use pictures of the surrounding area to your advantage. JP Real Estate does this perfectly, showing pictures of the area to sell the locationIf you live near the beach, that's a major selling point. A picture of the views or the local beach placed on your mantle may help convert a sale.

3. Shower Curtains Matter

Yes, even shower curtains matter when staging a home. You want to have a new shower curtain, especially in bathrooms that have smaller spaces. Large, beautifully designed walk-in showers will speak of their own beauty.

Make the shower look and feel like a shower a person wants to be in.

4. Magazines Help a Lot

You don't want to make the condo feel cramped or look messy, but you do want it to have a personality. Magazines help bring attention to countertops and tables, and this is done tactfully.

If you live in an area known for tourism, waterfalls or some other natural beauty, you'll also want to bring this out with magazines. For example, using Myrtle Beach, you may have a magazine showing the nicest beaches in the area.


Staging properly can sell a home much faster, and if you're stuck on the staging process, you can hire a professional to help. A little money upfront can have bug payoffs in the end.

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- James Stevenson 

Get Ready to Buy This Spring


Once you decide that this Spring you want to buy a new home — or your first house — the question is, "Where do we start?"

Start With Success: Clarify what you really want and why, not just what's "in" right now. Explore this practical side before viewing properties. What matters is not the number of homes you see, but zeroing in on genuine good matches.

Your ideal time line:

  • Buying within a market cycle- this enables your real estate professional to identify specific properties that present the best return in that buyers', sellers', or flat market.
  • If you have a busy work and personal life, carving out time to consider listings, view properties, explore neighborhoods, investigate financing, and deal with all related details can be a stressful juggling act. Your priorities coupled with how quickly new listings sell will determine how you prioritize your home search. Consider how well you make major decisions when under stress.
  • When the goal is to enroll children at the start of school year or to arrive at a new job on time, back calculating with your real estate professional will reveal when the search should begin. When in doubt, start sooner, so you don't end up faced with time-pressured decisions.
  • Hot real estate markets are the hardest to plan timing in. You may be eager to purchase, but lose out on property after property in multiple offers. Decide what your worst-case scenario would be and act accordingly.
  • Waiting for your local real estate market to change gears so prices drop is risky. Timing the real estate market is no easier than timing the stock market. The best advantage in any market lies in selecting ighly-knowledgeable, experienced professionals fully committed to working with your best interests as their top priority.
  • You may not be 100% certain this is the Spring for you to plunge into the market, but if you're more sure than not sure, invest time finding the right professionals. If the timing is not right for you, that will become evident and you'll discover what your options are and why.

Real estate professionals, committed to understanding market pace in areas they work can help you manage timing. One thing they may suggest is not to wait for the Spring Market, but to get ahead of the mass of spring buyers and jump into real estate now. For instance, sellers who are listed now are serious about selling and, depending how long their property has been on the market, they may be more receptive to negotiation.

Here are Five Savvy Buying Tips that ensure you'll get the best property for your needs, at the best price, with the minimum amount of hassle and disappointment:

#1. Apply Smart Buying Rules: Set a realistic budget. Learn how things work. With all these issues, the right professional should save you time, stress, and money.

#2. Ensure Location Overrules Features & Decor: Where you buy is the prime value concern. Smart buyers look for the least property in the best area, so their real estate improvements result in increased market value. Values within a neighborhood or community are not uniform. There are specific streets, even ends of streets, that represent the highest value. Particularly in urban areas, proximity to the most highly-regarded schools, shopping areas, and sought-after local features like parks dictates price; your real estate professional will explain.

#3. Maximize Move-In Timing: The more flexible your move-in date, the more room to negotiate with sellers. Agree to their ideal move date and that may generate concessions in price or inclusions. When you have a fixed move-in date, you may find yourself paying more to buy what you want, when you want it. Timing is a significant consideration when deciding whether to buy your next home before you have sold your current property, that is, taking the risk of paying on two mortgages at once. 

#4. Own The Money Factor: Affordability encompasses costs ranging from purchase price (including legal fees and other costs), mortgage financing, and the cost of customizing the living space to including ongoing expenses like heating, cooling, commuting, and anything else that matters. With mortgage experts can also explain why there is so much more to consider than just interest rate.

#5. Face Reality Head On: Compromises to your "must have" list can maximize value and returns.

  • You may want four bedrooms, but if two younger children share a large room until the eldest child goes to college, maybe that 3-bedroom with significantly-better location and greater appreciation potential will really work for your family.
  • If cosmetic or minor renovations don't daunt you, this could also provide a location advantage and may even mean a larger home is affordable.
  • Compromising on location can also mean more living space, just be sure that commuting costs, including needing an extra car and possible lower appreciation rates, don't swallow up that saving.






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