Selling Your Home During The Holidays

You may be thinking that homebuyers won’t be looking for homes during the holiday season, but with today’s Seller’s market* and the way people shop for homes on the internet you might want to re-think your ideas.

Many homebuyers have time off during the holiday season and they use that time to look for homes. Internet shopping is often their first step. That is why using a real estate professional with a strong internet presence is so important.

House shopping sites like Realtor.com, Zillow.com and Truila.com and can get your home in front of the active buying market,  but using a real estate professional or a Realtor© to sell your home gives you an added advantage. Not only do REALTORS© link their advertising with 100s of internet home shopping sites, your property is offered on the local Gulf Coast MLS system where for 1000s of other Realtors© can also search for their customers.

Using a local REALTOR© is even more important, because they know the market where the buyers looking. Most often they get their customers directly thorough direct internet contact with the buyers.

People visit their families during the holidays and many buyers who want to come back home or who are travelling or transferring jobs will want to look at properties.  If you have a local REALTOR© setting up a showing is easy.  You can set the times you want to show the house and limit the stress of cleaning up after every family event.

Selling your home during the holidays doesn’t have to be a hassle. Keep the decorations to a minimum, use smaller trees and less tinsel so the home buyer can see your home. When you are away, your agent can show your home and keep an eye on your property.  Your agent can contact you via internet, email, text or phone to keep you informed and even send you documents to sign for the sale of your home.

Don’t let those anxious first time homebuyers, travelers or internet shoppers miss your home because of the holidays. List your home or property with your local Realtor© at Azalea Real Estate.

We market your property to thousands of potential purchasers with a wide network of internet, social media and local advertising. Why not take advantage of our years of sales and marketing experience?  Contact Aleta Boudreaux, REALTOR© at 251-656-4576, or at www.aletab.com, or visit our agency website at www.mygrandbayhome.com

©Aleta Boudreaux, 2017

Are you ready to buy a home?

If you are considering purchasing a home there are several important questions you should ask yourself and be honest with the answers.

Are you ready to buy a home? With interest rates still low, less than 4%, monthly payments are often less that rent. You will be building equity in a home that will be your biggest asset. However making the payment is only part of home ownership, there is maintenance and insurance, and land taxes among other things. When you rent you agree to obey the landlord’s rules and pay the rent. When you get a home loan you agree to pay the notes, which typically include property taxes and insurance, and keep the property in good condition. Another plus is that you can deduct the cost of your mortgage loan interest from your federal income taxes, and usually from your state taxes.  And you will have something to show for all your hard work, a home.

How much you can afford? If you’re using FHA, typically your home payment can’t exceed 31 percent of your monthly income. But sometimes they will let you go higher. With conventional loans, the percentage is closer to 28 percent of your monthly income. Debt-to-income ratios are 29/41 for USDA Loans. These ratios may be exceeded with compensation factors. Knowing how much you can afford and having a pre-approval letter from your lender will help you and your agent negotiate a better price. Statistics show that sellers are more willing to accept a lower offer from someone who has already gotten pre approval from a lender.

How is your credit? FICO Credit scores for USDA should be at least 620.  For most other loans, with scores below 640 or 680 you’re going to have to pay sizable fees or make a higher down payment. On the other end of the score 700 to 720 will get you a good deal. Above 750 will get the best rates. You can get your free credit score at mycreditscore.com or my.bankrate.com

Don’t give up if your credit isn’t good or you don’t have any credit. Contact a lender and ask them to help you get your credit fixed so you can work with them on a loan. Most types of loans require at least two credit lines to establish a pattern of payment. These are payment you have made over a year’s time. Examples are credit cards, car payments and sometimes rent can be considered as a credit line. But you need at least two lines of credit for at least for a year.

How long do you plan to live in the house? If you plan to keep the property for at least five years it should appreciate in value. If you plan to move or upgrade to a larger home in less than 5 years it might be wiser to save your money for a larger down payment or a bigger home.

Do you have funds to make a down payment? Unless you are able to get a USDA 100% loan, or the sellers are willing to help you with your closing costs and prepaid items, you will need between 3 – 10% of the homes price for the down payment. You will also need funds for the closing costs and prepaids.  You can often finance some of your closing costs, or a seller might pay for some of the costs on your behalf. You can’t borrow the down payment, but someone can give it to you. However, both you and the giver will have to show proof of where the down payment originated by showing bank statements.

Do you have a real estate agent to help you? A local agent will know the market and can advise you about properties in your price range. An agent can also give you a list of mortgage lenders.

At Azalea Real Estate in Grand Bay we can help you from first showing to closing. We can answer your questions and Why not take advantage of our years of experience. Visit www.mygrandbayhome to preview homes or contact Aleta Boudreaux, REALTOR© at 251-656-4576

©Aleta Boudreaux, 2016

 

WHAT IS YOUR HOME WORTH?

WHAT IS YOUR HOME WORTH?

Straight and simple. Your home is worth what a purchaser is willing to pay for it. In real estate terms the value of your home is called its market value. The definition for market value is: “the highest estimated price that a buyer would pay and a seller would accept for an item in an open and competitive market.”

Certainly all of us believe we have the best home on the market. But if other homes similar to yours are selling and your home is not, then a CMA or Comparative Market Analysis may be what you need to determine its true value. The value of your home should be determined by using comparison sales and not emotion.

If your home isn’t selling then you have to price it right. This is where a real estate professional with local market expertise can help. Using comparative sales, your REALTOR© will compare your home with homes that have recently sold, homes with similar plans, amenities and features, homes similar in age and condition and location. Realtors analyze and adjust and then calculate values.

A savvy REALTOR© will know values in the local market, know what buyers are looking for and how your house stacks up to the competition. They can also help with suggestions on upgrades and repairs that will help your house rise above the competition to help it sell.

A general rule in a good selling market is that if you have no showings in the first two weeks that your home is on the market, then something needs to be adjusted. Either the house isn’t being marketed properly or the price is too high.  Lots of showings means it is marketed well but if you get no offers that is another indication that the house may be overpriced for the market.

One of the pitfalls if your house is overpriced is that it can sit there for months and get over exposed. Almost the first thing a prospective buyer asks is how long the house has been on the market. No matter the reason, a buyer will automatically think they can get it cheaper and will offer much less than the asking price.

By overpricing your home, you can lose money and time.  If the house is priced high and the house stays on the market for let’s say 6 months, you have effectively lost 6 months of house payments, accrued land taxes and insurance payments. You are also losing months of time you could be enjoying living somewhere else.

The house doesn’t have to be a palace with everything completely repaired to be but on the market but the house needs to be marketable and in good enough condition to be financed. Most lenders want a house to be safe, sound and sanitary.  Cash buyers are few and far between. So most buyers will need to get a loan.  In addition to getting a contract on your home from a willing and able buyer, the home will have to appraise for at least the purchase price.

Don’t rely on online estimating sites. Those values are not always accurate. They are based on tax information, past sales of the home and neighborhood or similar house sales and web site and internet algorithms. No one from these online sites really know the local market, let alone the unique characteristics of your home and property.

Similarly, don’t rely on County Tax Assessments for your current home’s value. The value they assign to the home may be from a year ago or from a mass assessment of similar homes in your neighborhood. And what you paid for your home may have no relationship to what it is worth now because markets change week to week, depending on what sales have recently closed. And recently means within the past 6-9 months.

When you price your home, be prepared to negotiate. Both buyers and sellers have closing costs. Typically the seller pays what it takes to transfer the clear title to the buyer and the buyer pays for his loan closing costs and insurance. Be prepared to allow for some seller assistance with the buyer’s closing fees, sometimes called seller concessions.  Everyone wants to get a good deal and if your home is priced right, both the seller and the buyer should walk away from the closing feeling good.

A REALTOR© can explain what you, the seller, would be expected to pay for in a typical sale and they can advise you what a buyer in the current local market will expect to pay.

At Azalea Real Estate in Grand Bay we can help you determine the value of your home with a free market analysis. We will answer your questions and if listed with our company we can help guide you through the sale of your home. Why not take advantage of our years of experience? Visit www.mygrandbayhome to search for homes or contact Aleta Boudreaux, REALTOR© at 251-287-9097 ext. 1.

 

 

 

Inspections, Appraisals, and Surveys: What is the difference?

Buying a home is a big investment and you should feel confident that your investment will be a good one, because once the property is transferred from seller to buyer at closing, the home belongs to the buyer with all its wonderful aspects and all its flaws.

No properties are perfect, that is why there are several inspections that can occur during the course of a home purchase. They are: a home inspection, an appraisal of value, a wood infestation report (WIR or Termite Letter), a land survey and a final homeowner inspection. Not all of these happen with every purchase, but a few are mandatory for the mortgage lender.

At the time the offer to purchase a property is written the buyer can request to have a professional home inspection performed on the property within a definite time. A home inspection is an all-encompassing inspection of the properties condition and the fee is usually paid by the buyer. A written report will cover features of the house such as electrical wiring, plumbing, roofing, insulation, as well as structural features of the home and it may unveil issues that are not noticeable to the buyer’s, or the seller’s eye. Often these problems are correctable. If not the buyer may decide to withdraw the offer within the time frame.

An appraisal of value is performed by a State Licensed Real Estate Appraiser and is ordered directly by lender. The type of loan determines the type of appraisal that is completed. An appraiser will inspect the home to determine its value by using current sales data within the neighborhood of the home and compare homes and properties similar to the subject. If the home does not appraise for at least the amount of the purchase price, the buyer and seller may need to renegotiate the offer. With the assistance of an experienced REALTOR©, the home should be listed at or near the market value at the beginning of the selling process.

A WIR or wood infestation report is performed by a certified inspector with a pest treatment company. The inspector will look for and note any previous damage or current infestation of wood destroying insects, like termites or beetles or organisms like mold. If current infestation is found then it must be treated prior to closing.

A land survey is sometimes required when boundaries of the property are unknown. A licensed Land Surveyor will survey the property, stake the boundaries and deliver a written plat of the property.

A final home inspection, or final walk through is done by the buyer and is usually accompanied by their real estate agent before closing. During this inspection the buyer is encourage to look thoroughly at the home to make sure it is what they have expected. Real estate agents are not professional inspectors so they will accompany the buyer as a courtesy.

When the inspections have been completed and approved by the buyer, the purchase can proceed to a closing of the sale.

At Azalea Real Estate in Grand Bay we can help you from first showing to closing. We can answer your questions and help guide you through the home purchase. Why not take advantage of our years of experience? Visit www.mygrandbayhome to preview homes or contact Aleta Boudreaux, REALTOR© at 251-656-4576

 

©Aleta Boudreaux, 2016

 

FSBO- SHOULD YOU SELL YOUR HOME YOURSELF?

There are a lot of things to consider before you offer your home ‘For Sale By Owner” commonly known as a FSBO. Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. The main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can get a better deal and negotiate a lower price on a home.  Both seller and buyer want to get the best deal. Often times neither wins without a real estate professional to take the sale from showing to closing.

With a FSBO, an owner should be prepared to do a lot of research before embarking on selling their home. A few weeks of internet research can’t replace the knowledge of a real estate professional.  A few mistakes can cost the owner much more than the real estate commission. Failure to disclose a known defect, overpricing the home or ignoring Fair Housing Laws can result in lawsuits, fines and court costs. Become familiar with real estate laws, most pertain to licensed real estate professionals as well as home owners.

There are seven basic questions that a home owner should ask themselves before marketing their home.

  1. Do you know the value of your home in your market? Don’t rely on tax information or your gut feeling, what your neighbor’s home sold for last week or what you paid for your home 10 years ago, or how much you have spent remodeling. Markets change quickly. Improvements you’ve made to your home don’t necessarily make it more valuable. REALTORS© have current data on for market values in your area. If you don’t want to discuss your home value with a REALTOR©, you may want to have a valuation perfomed by a real estate appraiser. Leaving dollars on the table is just as bad as asking too much for your home and having it sit on the market overpriced and ‘shop worn’.
  2. Are you willing to work with a buyer’s agent? In a typical real estate transaction, there is a seller’s agent and a buyer’s agent. Normally when a home is listed with a REALTOR©, the seller pays a total commission which both agents split depending on their agreements.

A buyer’s agent typically gets a percentage of the sale price.  If you sell your home yourself you may decide not to work with an agent to represent you but that leaves behind the buyers in the market who are working with an agent and who might want to see your home.  Consider working with a buyer’s agent and paying their fee. While real estate agent’s commissions may seem high to some Real estate agents provide a great value to homeowners, and usually get them much more money than they could on their own. Real estate agents REALTORS© are not paid just for the time they spend selling your house, they are paid for all the licensing courses and continuing education they must take. They are paid for their experience marketing homes and getting the most money possible for a seller.

  1. Can you handle the marketing of your property? It takes a lot of effort and time to properly market a property. Professional photos will show your home in its best light. Cell phone photos will not be sufficient. Most real estate professionals will have access to the equipment needed to portray your home for the buyer’s optimum viewing. Realtors also have access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) which will allow your property to be instantly marketed to other agents who have clients looking for similar properties. Recent studies have shown that 92% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 28% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote property sales with automatic feeds to hundreds of websites that specialize in Homes and land for sale. com, and other internet sites offer FSBO listings for a fee, but the agents who are Premier Agents with Zillow will still get top spots for contact information. Before paying any money to a third-party company to list your home for sale, research to determine if the company has a good reputation and has earned favorable reviews
  2. Can you bear criticism of your home? It may be perfect to you, but a buyer may not see it that way. Often a buyer will tell you all the shortcomings of your home in order to negotiate a lower price. Try not to take criticism of your property personally. A REALTOR© often serves as a buffer between the seller and the buyer and can handle the critique of the property professionally and objectively.
  3. Can you effectively negotiate the price and terms? Are you willing to give and take on the spot? Without a real estate professional to negotiate for you on your behalf, the buyer may want to know immediately what you will take for your home. If you are not a good negotiator, don’t try to sell your home yourself. By using a REALTOR© they will write up the contract for the buyer and present it to you along with your costs and proceeds. This will allow you time to make the right decision.
  4. Can you bring the sale to closing? A REALTOR© will investigate whether a buyer has the potential to purchase your home by working with the buyer and requesting for a pre-approval letter from the buyer’s lender.  Often a buyer doesn’t want to disclose this information to the seller directly, like showing your hand in poker.  Realtors work with lenders all the time and with the buyer’s permission they can acquire this information, thereby screening the buyer’s ability to purchase a home.
  5. Are you willing to take the time to work with all the people involved in finalizing the sale and bringing the sale to close. Appraisers, home inspectors, surveyors, lenders, title agents, attorneys, termite inspectors… the list is not endless but it takes time and coordination and patience to get everything prepared. A REALTOR© does this all the time. They are trained to do it correctly and efficiently.

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional and see what they have to offer. At Azalea Real Estate in Grand Bay we can help you from first showing to closing. We can answer your questions and help guide you through the home purchase. Why not take advantage of our years of experience? Visit www.mygrandbayhome to search for home or contact Aleta Boudreaux, REALTOR© at

251-656-4576

 

REFRESH YOUR HOME BEFORE YOU SELL

A lot of “do it yourself” programs and articles tell you that you get the most return on your home selling price by upgrading your kitchen and bathrooms.  This is true, if those upgrades won’t price you out of the market for the location of your home and if you have the money to make that investment. For example, there is no sense in adding a 2nd bathroom in a 2 bedroom home. However adding a 2nd bathroom to 4 bedroom would be more logical.

A better and less expensive alternative would be to fix up what you have. First impressions are very important and you only get one chance to make it. A potential buyer must want to come inside your home.

Starting with the yard, do a little landscaping. Plant a tree or some decorative shrubbery.  Make sure what plants you have are trimmed and neat and make sure the grass is mowed.

Walk around the house and look up and look down. Do the windows need caulking or repairing? How above the eaves and exterior of the home? Chipped or peeling paint will not pass a either a buyer’s or appraiser’s inspection. Pressure washing the mud stained bricks and sidewalks will show the prospective buyer that you care for your home. Don’t forget to clean your gutters from the winter leaves.     

Paint or re-stain your front and back door and garage door so it looks brand new. And while you are painting, at least paint the key rooms, master bedroom, kitchen and baths, to refresh the interior. Take one room at a time and use neutral colors throughout. Remove all the switch plates, outlet covers and doorknobs. If they are stained or faded, replace them with new covers. Emmy

If your budget will allow, replace your old luan covered interior doors with new six panel colonial style doors. Wash the windows inside and out and show them off by opening the windows and blinds before showing the home to prospective buyers.

In the kitchen and bathrooms consider replacing the faucet and get new knobs for the doors and drawer pulls. This might seem pricey at first but it will pay off in the long run.

If your countertops are chipped or damaged you may want to consider replacing them. If your home is a high priced area, granite or similar would be warranted, but a stone patterned style of Formica would probably suffice. Clean and sanitary always wins over luxury.

Think about new light fixtures or clean and replace the glass in the ones you have. Replace light bulbs and always turn on the lights before showing the home. The brighter the better.

On the mechanical side, change your air filters. This will not only help with your power bills it will show the buyers that you take care of your home. Make sure the thermostat is modern and that the markings are visible.

Now for the hardest task of all… get rid of the household clutter. Put away keepsakes and souveniers.  Pack up photos of grandmother and grandchildren. You will need to pack them up when you move so you can display them in your new home. Toss old magazines and papers.

Make a basket for bathroom toiletries and hide them before a showing. Put unused appliances away after use. Keep your dishwasher empty or at least keep the dishes inside clean.

Empty your closets and leave only what you are currently wearing for the season. A half empty closet makes it look much bigger. Do the same thing for the garage and storage areas. A garage is built for cars, not to store boxes and unused items.

Have a yard sale or better yet, donate those unwanted unused items to your favorite charity and spend your time getting your home ready to sell.

The best investment you can make is to allow a real estate professional to sell your home.

At Azalea Real Estate in Grand Bay we can help you market your home to thousands of potential purchasers with our wide network of advertising. Why not take advantage of our years of sales and marketing experience.

Visit www.mygrandbayhome to preview homes or contact Aleta Boudreaux, REALTOR© at 251-656-4576

©Aleta Boudreaux, 2016

RENT TO OWN – Good Deal or Bad Deal?

It’s not always clear what the term RENT TO OWN or LEASE/PURCHASE means, but most times it is very complicated and very speculative process. It can be very risky for both the buyer and the seller if the terms are not understood completely.

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Typically the buyer/tenant puts up a sizable deposit and rents the home for a set time, such as a year or two. When that time is up they have the option to purchase the home. Sometimes a portion of the rent paid can be credited to the purchase price of the home. A future sale price is set for the home and depending on the market, it may or may not be worth the value when the time comes for the buyer to purchase the house.

Buyers should be aware of terms that are too good to be true. Most rent to own contracts are geared to benefit the seller since they are the one taking the biggest risk. The large up front non-refundable deposit may go toward the purchase price but what if the buyer ends up unable to purchase the house? Buyers can lose the up-front money they have invested and still not have a home and often the “rent” payments are more than the typical market rent for the area.

For the seller, the risk for is that the tenant/buyer will be living in the dwelling and may or may not be taking care of it. The seller will still be paying the taxes, which will now be higher because the property is does not qualify for homesteaded exemption in Mobile County. Another risk for the seller is that at the end or the RTO term the home may need repair or the tenant/buyer will have to be evicted. If a buyer has credit problems when they enter into the agreement they may still not be able to get a loan at the end of the agreed term.

If you are dedicated to the idea of buying a home it is best to get pre-approved for a traditional loan.  If needed, fix your credit problems or start to establish credit. If your credit problems are unfixable, then RTO is not a good option because in the end you will need to get a loan to buy the home. If you have enough money for the sizable down payment needed to rent to own, use those funds to pay off your bills and fix your credit.

If you have a large amount of funds for a down payment but your credit is shaky, look for an owner financed home. With owner financing, the title to the property is transferred to the buyer with a Warranty deed and the seller holds the mortgage lien just like a bank. Payments are made to the seller and when the property is paid in full, the seller will cancel the lien.

Interest rates have never ever been this low, still around 4%.There are loans, like USDA that don’t require a down payment and loan closing costs are financeable. Sellers are often willing to help pay part of the closing and prepaid fees, so you could feasibly get into a home with little or no money at all and most times the loan payments are less than market rent.

Buying a home is one of the largest purchases a consumer will make and it is well worth the effort to become knowledgeable about your home purchase. REALTORS© are real estate professionals that can guide both sellers and buyers through the process of real estate transactions. Take advantage of our years of experience and let us help make your real estate experience less stressful and more fulfilling.

Visit www.mygrandbayhome to preview homes or contact Aleta Boudreaux at Azalea Real Estate Agency at 251-656-4576 for more information on selling or purchasing a home and to tour homes in the area.                                                                     ©Aleta Boudreaux, 2016

 

 

 

BUYING A FORECLOSED HOME

by Aleta Boudreaux, Broker. Azalea Real Estate

Buying a foreclosure is not as easy as buying a typical home that is on the market. You may get a fantastic price but sometimes it takes a lot of time to find just the right property. Most foreclosures are real estate owned (REO) properties. They are owned by the lender, usually a bank, HUD or Fannie Mae as a result of the previous owners default on the loan.

Two common ways to purchase a foreclosure is through a real estate agent or through a public auction. If you have never purchased a home before it is a good idea to have a real estate guide you through the process. You should work with an agent that is experienced in foreclosures. They can assist you in negotiating the purchase price and terms of a foreclosed home but it may take a little longer than a typical real estate transaction.

There are two types of auctions that may occur, a public foreclosure auction or public auction through an auction company. A public foreclosure auction can occur when ownership of the property officially goes back to the bank. If it is not sold, the property is listed with a real estate agent. A sign will go up on the and you can purchase the property from the bank through your real estate agent.

If the property still does not sell then it may go to either an in-person auction or an online auction. These auctions happen fast and you may not have time to inspect the property and instead have to rely on photos and printed descriptions.  Do your research and set a budget before you attend an auction. If you win the bid, the house is yours.

There are several things you should know. Foreclosures are sold “AS IS” and it’s going to be up to you, the buyer to pay for repairs. This can be tricky if the house has a lot of work to be done.

You will need a preapproval letter from a lender or bank proof that you have the cash to purchase the home before a seller will accept an offer. Getting prequalified will tell you how much home you can comfortably afford.

Banks or lenders want to sell these properties quickly. If you find a home listed at $50,000 that is in a $100,000 neighborhood you need to ask yourself what could be wrong with the home that is it priced so low?

Because the property is a foreclosed home, the seller will have no first-hand knowledge of the condition of the property. Therefore it is up to the buyer to determine the property’s condition. This can be done through a professional home inspection. They will make a list of everything that needs to be fixed, then you can research the costs, and factor in those costs to any offer you make to ensure you could cover the costs on top of your new mortgage payment.

You will also have other pre purchase expenses which may include an appraisal and earnest money or ‘good faith’ deposit to demonstrate your sincere interest in purchasing the home.

As with a typical real estate transaction, out-of-pocket expenses can occur before and after an offer to purchase a property has been submitted. These out-of-pocket expenses may include lender required documentation such as an appraisal or home inspection and bank-required minimum earnest money.

A good mortgage lender will tell you about all the loan products available for this type of transaction, including traditional loan products or an FHA 203(k) Renovation Loan (a mortgage that provides the purchase price plus funds for renovation by financing the “as improved” value of the home).

Most foreclosed homes are listed for sale with real estate agents the same way as traditional homes. However, in addition to searching through REALTOR.COM or ZILLOW.COM or Mygrandbayhome.com you can do an online searches for “REO properties” or “foreclosures”.

Always request a title for any real estate transaction. A title company will check the property for liens (outstanding debts someone is attempting to collect against the property) as well as verify that the deed to the home is correct. In Alabama there is still a previous owner’s right of redemption, meaning that with payment to the lender, they can reclaim their home within a certain time.

You are the only one that can decide if buying a foreclosed home is a good match for you. Do your research and work with qualified professionals to help you make the right decision.

At Azalea Real Estate in Grand Bay we can help you from search to closing. Take advantage of our years of sales and marketing experience.

Visit www.mygrandbayhome to preview homes or contact REALTOR© Aleta Boudreaux at 251-656-4576 for more information on purchasing or selling a home in South Mobile County.

©Aleta Boudreaux, 2016

REPAIR, RENOVATE, REMODEL OR RESTORE YOUR HOME?

There are several reasons to buy a pre-existing home and the purchase comes with both benefits and challenges. Often they are less expensive than newer homes or they are located in established neighborhoods that are closer to shopping, schools and other amenities.

If you want to upgrade the home to modern standards or change the home to suit your needs or your decorating tastes you will need to decide if you want to repair, remodel, renovate or restore it.

Before

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Repairing the home would include fixing whatever is needed to make you comfortable and make the house sound and safe for your family. This can be as simple as repairing a few pieces of siding or repairing weak handrails or patching drywall.

Renovate means “to make new again”. This includes things like repainting, installing new light fixtures, re-facing kitchen cabinets and countertops. The design of the house isn’t altered but updated to new standards. Often we call it ‘refreshing’ a home.  Renovating a kitchen or bathroom will increase the change of a sale and is usually the best renovation investment you will make.

Remodeling means to alter the structure. This would be a significant change to the use of space like taking out a wall, opening up the kitchen to the living area or adding an addition to the home. This is a more costly investment because it often involves electrical and plumbing changes as well as the construction and design costs.  Find out from your REALTOR© if they think your remodeling plans will add value to the home or potentially price it above the value of other home in your neighborhood.

Restoring means to bring the home back to its original appearance or condition. Typically this is done to historic homes but the term can also be applied to modern homes. If the house has a good structure and needs no major mechanical repairs or renovations this can often be the most cost effective treatment. Taking out the carpet and restoring the wood flooring for example would be a restoration project. If the floor is in good condition, this might cost less than installing new wood flooring. However, taking off the vinyl siding to reveal the original wood siding underneath can become a ‘fixer uppers’ nightmare.

Always expect the unexpected. Restoring an historic home comes with its own set of rules, depending on the location and the house itself. If you want to add a recreational room to that Craftsman bungalow, make the addition blend with the home.

You should ask yourself these questions before you begin to make any changes to your home. Will the work I do on the home be a good investment or do I just want the pleasure of enjoying the changes I am making while I live in the home?

Don’t be afraid to repair, renovate, remodel or restore. Just do your homework before you invest your time and money (and energy) into any home improvement project.

Ask your local REALTOR© at Azalea Real Estate and take advantage of our years of experience and let us help make your real estate experience less stressful and more fulfilling.

Visit www.azalearealestate.us to preview homes or contact Aleta Boudreaux at Azalea Real Estate Agency at 251-656-4576 for more information on selling or purchasing a home and to tour homes in the area.                                                                ©Aleta Boudreaux, 2015

 

How to Find and Buy your Dream Home

Now that you have been prequalified for a loan or at least have a good idea of what you can afford, you can begin looking for your home. The most important thing to consider is location. You can change the house, remodel it to your tastes, rework the landscape or renovate but you can’t change the location. So make sure that the home is located where you will feel comfortable.

Ask yourself, is the property close to the schools you need, it is close enough to the stores you frequent, to churches or other places you like, and is it convenient for getting to work? Most of all make sure the property is located in a neighborhood that suits your lifestyle. If you are a city person, you may not like living deep in the woods, or next to a cattle farm. If you’ve lived in the country all your life, living in a townhome might not be for you.

Many home buyers are cruising the internet to find properties. Websites like Realtor.com© and Zillow.com© can help you locate potential homes on the market in the towns you want. Realtor.com© shows only those homes and land that are definitely for sale. Zillow.com© also lists potential homes that may come on the market. Read the fine print carefully. Many of the websites that offer foreclosure information for a fee may not have the most up to date and accurate information.

If you are local, the best thing to do it to make an appointment with an agent, preferably someone who knows and lives in the area. He or she can tell you about the town and show you what is available. If you give the agent permission, they can work with you and help you navigate the purchase of a home once you find the right property.

The next thing to do is to drive around and preview the homes you’ve picked out to see if they are located in the area where you want to live. You can do this with your REALTOR© or on your own. If you have visited with a real estate professional and they have given you their time or information on homes, it is common courtesy to return to that agent to show you the homes that interest you. They work on commissions and will appreciate your business.

Once you settle on your home, the next step is making a written offer on the home. If you have been prequalified you will l have the upper hand with negotiating a purchase. If you haven’t been prequalified your Realtor© can also help you by estimating closing costs and how much your payments will be.

On the Offer to Purchase, the REALTOR© will write down the terms you request and present it to the seller or to the agent representing the seller. Everything is written down, most importantly the purchase price, who will pay for what closing costs and items, and how you will want your name on the deeds. Once the terms are accepted, you are much closer to owning a home.

Visit www.azalearealestate.us to preview homes or contact Aleta Boudreaux at Azalea Real Estate Agency at 251-656-4576 for more information on how to buy a home or to tour homes in the area.

©Aleta Boudreaux, 2015