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5 Reasons to Be Thankful for a Great Real Estate Agent

Posted by on Dec 16, 2015 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Not all real estate agents are created equal. Like all industries, there are plenty of terrific pros, but once in a while a bad apple rubs a buyer or seller the wrong way and spoils it for the rest of us.

If you’ve had a bad experience in the past, don’t let it happen again. If you aren’t comfortable with your current agent, stop everything. You can find wonderful agents in every market — don’t move forward until you have.

Once you find an exceptional real estate agent, you’ll discover plenty of reasons to be thankful for them.

They’ll be there for you during the difficult moments (more…)

12 Home Maintenance Tasks to Prep for Winter

Posted by on Dec 11, 2015 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Before the first signs of winter arrive, take the time to insulate your home against the coming cold season.

The following tips will help you keep the cold air out, the warm air in, and your home safe from storm damage.

  1. Check out the chimney

Before hanging your stockings by the chimney with care, have it cleaned and inspected by a professional chimney sweep. Creosote and soot buildup, as well as other blockages, can lead to fires, so be sure the chimney cap is intact, and your chimney liner, firebox, smoke chamber, and damper are all in good working condition before you light the first log.

  1. Warm your water heater

(more…)

5 Common Misconceptions About Real Estate

Posted by on Dec 9, 2015 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Popular misconceptions about real estate make many people hesitant to get into the home-buying or -selling game. And that’s a shame.

If you’re considering buying or selling a home, don’t let the following conventional wisdom stop you. There’s not as much truth to it as you think.

Misconception: You don’t need a real estate agent to buy a home now that all the information is online

Today it’s more important than ever to have a great local real estate agent on your team. And there’s no cost to you, so why not get an experienced pro on your side?

It’s no longer about agents having access to the proprietary data — it’s all out there. But since buying a home is such an infrequent transaction in your life, you need someone along on your journey who knows and studies the market, understands the process and can act as an adviser to help you interpret the data. (more…)

5 Facts to Know About High-Efficiency Washers

Posted by on Dec 4, 2015 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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If your washing machine is more than 12 years old, it’s using approximately 27 more gallons of water to wash a load of clothes than today’s most energy-efficient models. With the average American family washing almost 400 loads of laundry each year, that’s an extra 10,800 gallons of water going down your drain annually.

It’s no wonder high-efficiency (HE) washers are now dominating the marketplace. According to Consumer Edge Research, 44 percent of U.S. households had high-efficiency washing machines at the end of 2013, and that number is growing by about two percent per year.

Whether you already have an HE washer or you’re in the market for one, here are five important facts you should know about these machines.

HE washers use 35 to 50 percent less water than traditional agitator washers (more…)

The 4 Most Important Mortgage Documents You’ll Sign

Posted by on Dec 2, 2015 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Laws affected in October 2015 require home buyers to sign new documents during the mortgage process. Here’s a look at what has changed, and what you’ll be signing if you buy a home now.

Mortgage disclosure law changes in 2015

Consumers financing homes in the U.S. are protected from fee abuses by two main regulations: the Truth In Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).

Respectively, TILA and RESPA protect you from closing cost abuses and prevent housing service providers (like lenders, real estate agents and title companies) from giving each other referral fees for your business.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) enforces TILA and RESPA, and on October 3, 2015, the CFPB combined all previously required mortgage rate and fee disclosures into two simple forms to make it easier for consumers to understand their mortgages. This initiative is called the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule (TRID).

The Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure (more…)

Why You Need to Get Serious About Going Solar

Posted by on Nov 25, 2015 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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The decision to add solar panels to your home can seem daunting. The unknowns and assumptions of costs and installation tend to leave homeowners uneasy about going solar.

However, just as home automation once seemed overwhelming, adding solar panels to your home is becoming more of the norm. U.S. solar power grew 30 percent in 2014 from 2013 — with the Solar Energy Industries Association expecting continued growth through 2016.

California already generates more than five percent of its “annual utility-scale electricity generation from utility-scale solar power,” becoming the first state to do so.

The reasons to invest in solar panels are abundant. In addition to increasing your home’s value and saving money on your electric bill, solar panels also help homeowners decrease their carbon footprint. Within 20 years, a residential solar power system can offset literally tons of carbon dioxide. (more…)

Go Bigger or Go to a New Home?

Posted by on Nov 20, 2015 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Many homeowners today face a serious housing dilemma. They love their home, its location, and even their neighbors. But they’ve outgrown the space. Do they trade up to a bigger or better house, thus entering a busy real estate market, or stay put and renovate?

Most homeowners have never sold and bought at the same time, nor have they lived through a renovation. Both experiences are incredibly stressful, and many people don’t know what to expect. Here are some tips for making an informed decision.

Know what you’re getting into (more…)

5 Tips for Renting in a Pricey Market

Posted by on Nov 18, 2015 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Many homeowners today face a serious housing dilemma. They love their home, its location, and even their neighbors. But they’ve outgrown the space. Do they trade up to a bigger or better house, thus entering a busy real estate market, or stay put and renovate?

Most homeowners have never sold and bought at the same time, nor have they lived through a renovation. Both experiences are incredibly stressful, and many people don’t know what to expect. Here are some tips for making an informed decision.

Know what you’re getting into (more…)

5 Ways to Make Your Space Feel Like Home

Posted by on Nov 13, 2015 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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There’s a difference between a hotel room and a bedroom. Even if the wall color and the furniture is the same, personalization is important. It’s what will make the space feel comfortable — a spot you’ll enjoy coming back to or spending time in.

Here are five ways to make a house or apartment feel like home.

  1. Choose a theme or style

What do you like? What are you drawn to? Your interests and aesthetic should figure largely in the way you set up a room.

Find your style by exploring room designs you like, seeing what you enjoy in other peoples’ homes, and by looking at your wardrobe and the other ways you express yourself. Even in a temporary space, small touches can allow personality to come through.

  1. Incorporate gifts

(more…)

Don’t Be a Scaredy Cat About Selling Your Home

Posted by on Nov 11, 2015 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Selling a home is one of the most challenging activities we undertake in life. It’s a huge transaction with financial, emotional and practical implications. Not unlike meeting with your CPA or going to the dentist, the thought of putting your home on the market may be enough to make you run for the hills.

If this is true for you, rest assured — you’re not alone. Here are five big fears many sellers face, and ways to cope with them.

My home won’t sell

The home sitting on the market is the number one fear of most sellers. Particularly if they need the money to buy another house or move on, the fear of the home not selling can be overwhelming. (more…)

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