Important Must-Know Real Estate Terms

There are a lot of real estate terms out there. The good thing is: you don’t need to know them all! There are a few important terms, however, that every homeowner or potential homeowner should understand. Here, I will break down some of the most essential real estate terms.

Appraisal and appraisal fee:
The appraisal fee is a one-time fee that’s paid for the lender’s appraisal of the property. The home needs to appraise at the price the home is being listed at, in order for the bank to finance the loan.

Fixed rate vs. adjustable rate:
When you take out a loan on a property, a fixed rate mortgage will give you a mortgage rate that is set right when you take out the loan. Fixed rate mortgages won’t change. Adjustable rates, otherwise known as ARMs, generally start out at lower interest rates, but they can rise – the rates can go up and down throughout the life of the loan.

Loan amount:
Your loan amount is the total purchase price, minus the down payment amount that you choose to put down. The loan amount can be spread out over 15, 20, or 30 years.

PMI:
PMI, otherwise known as Private Mortgage Insurance, is insurance for the lender to help cover potential losses if the borrower stops making payments on the loan. It’s usually required when your down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price of the home.

Ready to get your real estate journey started? Contact me to start a conversation about what it takes to purchase or sell a home. I’ve been helping clients of all kinds for more than two decades. As a Realtor®, I can help you start the process, help answer questions on any terms that you need clarification on and can provide helpful tips along the way. I am glad to help you with the information you need to start your adventure.

Posted on November 29, 2018 at 8:17 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Inexpensive Curb Appeal Tricks That Offer Good Return on Investment

What does your home look like from the outside? Curb appeal makes a big difference, especially when it comes to selling your home and enticing prospective buyers to look at it. If you don’t want to drop a lot of cash on things like expensive landscaping, there are some simple solutions that can bolster curb appeal in addition to offering a good return on investment.

#1: Paint the little things.
Painting your entire home can be expensive, so instead of investing in a whole home re-paint project, work on painting smaller things on the outside of your home, like the mailbox, the home’s trim, or porch hand rails. Potential buyers will notice the attention to detail and it can help make your space look fresh.

#2: Add a welcoming spot to the front of the home.
If your porch or patio in the front of your home is lacking a sitting area, adding some cozy chairs, a small bench with some decorative pillows, and/or a little table can create a friendly, welcoming atmosphere for people walking or driving by. Not only does that, it allows people to imagine themselves sitting there someday enjoying their new home and neighborhood.

#3: Clean up the clutter.
Garbage bins, recycling containers, tools, or kid’s toys should all be kept out of sight from the front of the house. If you’re short on space and don’t have a place to put these, try arranging some large pots of flowers or shrubs around the items so the clutter is out of the line of vision for people looking at your house.

#4: Mow and edge the lawn.
Trim hedges, mow the lawn, and weed flower beds. Overgrown yards are almost always an eyesore and can have a real negative impact on curb appeal. It won’t cost you any money to keep up on yard maintenance if you do it yourself, but the time you put in will pay off when potential buyers notice the beautiful yard.

Adding curb appeal and making your home look great on the outside can be simple and affordable. When it comes time to list your property, you’ll increase the likelihood of having more showings. Need other tips on the appearance of your home before you’re ready to put it on the market? My two decades of experience as a Realtor® can help! I love working with buyers and sellers around Clark County.  I’m happy to help you start your adventure in buying or selling a home.

Posted on May 25, 2018 at 8:38 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Home Remodeling Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why Spring Is A Great Time To Sell Your Home

The market is hot, and it is a great time to be a seller in Clark County. Potential homebuyers are out and about and are ready to put down roots in a new home. Spring is usually the most popular season for buying and selling a home and here’s why.

#1: Inventory is tight, and demand remains high.
Home inventory in Clark County is still relatively low, which means that many buyers are clamoring to get in the real estate game and find the home of their dreams. This means that there is more competition out there, so buyers and sellers should be prepared for multiple offer situations, which requires patience and plenty of discussion with your experienced real estate broker.

#2: The weather is great.
Garden flowers are starting to bloom, the grass is green and inviting, and the weather is getting warmer. Not to mention, the days are getting longer, and we have more daylight to work with, so that boosts the amount of people that can see the home during the day. The springtime brings buyers out of winter hibernation and they are generally excited and more energetic when it comes to looking at homes in person, with the goal of getting settled in before the summer heat starts.

#3: Kids can remain in school.
Moving in the middle of the year is a hassle for kids and parents alike. Spring is a great time to sell because kids can finish out the school year and you’ll be able to move, register for a new school district if needed, and have everything in place before autumn starts and the new school year begins.

If you’re ready to list your home this spring, or if you’re ready to buy and want to start looking, my two decades of experience as a Realtor® can help! I love working with buyers and sellers around Clark County and am happy to help you with the information you need to start your adventure in buying or selling a home.

Posted on May 8, 2018 at 5:25 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mortgage Insurance: What Am I Insured Against?

If you’re buying a new house, you’re likely looking at the various terms on your paperwork and have noticed “mortgage insurance” on there. It’s not something that everyone is familiar with, so here is some basic info that can help answer your questions.

What is mortgage insurance?
Mortgage insurance is not a benefit to the home buyer and does not protect them against anything. Actually, it will only protect the mortgage company/bank in the event that the borrower defaults on the loan and doesn’t pay their mortgage. It is required when a borrower puts less than 20% down on the purchase or has less than 20% in equity during the refinance process on a home.

Aaron Hicks, Mortgage Consultant with Homestreet Bank shares that when a borrower is looking to get a mortgage, it can affect the loan approval process. Hicks shares, “It can increase the borrower’s monthly payment, which overall effects a borrower’s debt-to-income qualifications. Mortgage insurance companies require stricter guidelines depending on a borrower’s debt-to-income, credit score, loan to value, and type of property. Sometimes mortgage insurance companies require additional supporting documentation above what the bank may require and/or additional underwriting review.”

What kind of mortgage insurance is there?
Hicks says that there are multiple types of mortgage insurance for conventional loans. There is monthly mortgage insurance, single premium mortgage insurance, or split premium mortgage insurance. There is also lender paid mortgage insurance. For some loans, especially FHA loans, the premium will last for the life of the loan, even when your equity position gets you above the 20% mark. If the homeowner has a conventional financing method, the insurance can be removed once 20% equity in the home is reached. I can do a quick market analysis to determine if borrowers are at the 20% equity mark.  The lender will require a formal appraisal to remove mortgage insurance, which costs $400-$600. So, it is a good idea to verify you’ve reached that point before ‘getting official’ with your request.

Purchasing a home is very involved and requires various steps and attention to detail. Oftentimes, questions and issues will arise, and this is one of the many reasons why it’s critical to work with an experienced Realtor. Whether it’s a question about mortgage insurance or something else entirely, I’m happy to answer your questions and will work with you to help get the answers you need. Contact me for info!

Posted on March 19, 2018 at 10:38 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Redesigning & Remodeling Can Open Up Your Floor Plan!


Open floor plans are one of the most desirable features in homes today. In fact, many of the remodeling and design shows on TV feature knocking out walls, adding support beams, and changing up the whole floor plan, making it feel open and spacious. Sometimes it makes you think, “Can I do that to my home?”

Open layouts provide a welcoming space that doesn’t feel cramped or cluttered. Unfortunately, some homes simply don’t have the open space that you might desire. But, there is good news! You might be able to remodel or redesign the space in your home so that you can have the open plan that you want.

Idea #1: Remove unnecessary walls.
If you have walls in your home that aren’t supporting or load-bearing walls or ones that don’t cover plumbing pipes, you may be able to take down the walls and combine the space to make the area feel bigger. After all the necessary permits are in place, this is a pretty simple task for construction companies, as they simply will need to knock out the wall and rewire any electrical lines that need to be adjusted. Even if a whole wall isn’t removed, even partial wall removal might be an option to help open up the space.

Idea #2: Paint, paint, paint.
Even though you might love that dark purple color, it might not be the best choice to lighten up the room.  Choosing lighter colors for your walls and floors can make your home look and feel bigger. So, when choosing colors, keep in mind the size of your room. In addition, be sure that the paint color, and furniture colors flow together from room to room, in addition to using matching or similar flooring throughout the home. If these things don’t flow, the space might be made to feel choppy rather than fluid and open.

Idea #3: Add more light.
Adding more natural light is a fantastic way to make the rooms feel brighter and bigger. Add French doors or a sliding door at the back of your home. Or, consider installing skylights or new bigger and brighter windows in your rooms to bring in more light. When it comes to window coverings, avoid bulky curtains and instead, consider adding fabric blinds or lighter sheer drapes so the space doesn’t feel heavy or too dark.

Your home should be your retreat space, so making it feel warm and inviting is important and these projects are often affordable and won’t cause you to dip into your savings account too much!

Posted on March 2, 2015 at 5:20 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Remodeling Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ideas for Winter Curb Appeal

Brrrr….it’s cold outside!  The cold winter months are now upon us! During the summer months, it’s easier to keep your yard and garden looking great, but in the winter, the idea of getting outside to do yard work is not an inviting one. If your home is on the market, it’s important to remember that if you neglect the exterior, then you may be at risk for deterring prospective buyers. Instead, keep it looking warm and inviting! Be sure that the leaves are raked on a regular basis and mow and edge the lawn regularly so it doesn’t get unkempt and overgrown. If the house is vacant, keep newspapers and other flyers off the porch and be sure to keep the heat at 65 degrees so the house isn’t cold when it is being shown to potential buyers.

Looking for some other ways to create curb appeal in the winter? It doesn’t require a lot of money or complex changes. It just requires a little bit of effort.

Add color: In the dead of winter, color is often lacking. So, add some plants that will survive the winter, such as evergreens or hearty plants that can add a splash of color to the winter landscape. Add some planters filled with evergreen plants and put them by the door. Or add a nice wreath to the door.

Keep paths clear: If your pathways to the home are icy or snowy, be sure to make it as non-slippery and clear of snow/ice as possible. Pour salt on the area and be sure to keep things clear so it is safe. In addition, if the area is cleared, it also gives buyers a good idea of the true size of the area.

Sparkle and lights: Some of most inviting homes have a special seasonal sparkle. Add some simple sparkling lights to the exterior of the home, either with Christmas lights, or some nice lights that line the walkway or driveway to the home. Or, if you have a bird bath, fountain, or other area that goes unused in the winter, consider transforming that area into something else for a few months – maybe add a planter or an outdoor sculpture with some lights to that area instead. In addition, because it gets dark early during the cold winter months, be sure that there is plenty of lights around the home. Be sure that your flood lights or porch lights are in good working order and keep some lights on in the exterior of the home as well.

A drab and dreary winter doesn’t have to wreck the curb appeal on your home. With quality landscaping and a little bit of creativity and effort, your yard can shine even during the coldest part of the year!

Posted on December 1, 2014 at 4:59 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Remodeling Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,