What’s going on with my inspection?

The inspection process: generally speaking, this is an overall evaluation of a home’s condition.  If you’re not clear on how the process works, keep reading and I’ll lay out the general guidelines of what happens.

When the buyer gets the inspection done, the seller might not know what the results are for a few days. Once the buyer gets the results of the inspection, they need to get a copy of the report, digest it, and determine what they want the seller to fix, if anything. Most of the time, the buyer has 10 days to get any repair requests to the seller. In order to expedite things, the agent should help the buyer determine what is reasonable and what’s not.

Once the repair list is drafted, the seller has time to look at it and digest what’s on it. They can clarify what’s being asked for and they’re given some time to get bids and determine what items they should fix. An agent to help with this part of the process is crucial. An experienced agent will help provide information on what buyers generally ask for and what could be determined as “too much” or “over the top.” The seller will then respond and then the buyer will decide if they will accept this response.

The back-and-forth process can create a lot of dialogue and it’s very important that everyone understands each other. Whether it’s credits to the buyer or items that need to be completed before closing to meet buyer bank requirements, your agent has valuable experience in the negotiation process here. Take advantage of this experience and rely on your agent to help guide you along.

Buying and selling a home is full of many different steps and details. The inspection process can be complex, so if you have more questions about it, I’m happy to sit down and talk with you about it.

Posted on August 15, 2017 at 4:07 am
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Key items before closing on a home

The process of buying or selling a home is very detailed and requires a lot of moving parts. Once the end is in sight, you’ll need to prep for closing day. Planning for closing day can help make things run a little bit smoother. So whether you’re a buyer or a seller, here are some important must-knows on what you’ll need to have in place for closing day.

For the seller:

  • Repairs will need to be done and receipts obtained
    • Before closing can happen, all repairs that were requested during the selling process will need to be complete. Once everything has been done, be sure that all of that is documented well and that you have all receipts readily available.
  • Be ready for a buyer walkthrough
    • Once repairs have been completed, the buyer will likely want to do a walkthrough to make sure everything looks in order.
  • Arrange for your utilities to turn off
    • Call your utility companies, cable/Internet company, and any other services that will need to be turned off and transferred to your new residence. However, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t cancel your homeowner’s insurance on your current address until the final sale of the home has been recorded.
  • Gather all brochures, keys, garage door openers, etc.
    • If you have collected brochures/manuals on specific appliances in the home, or you have other important documents that need to be left for the new homeowner, make sure you have those readily available. In addition, you’ll need to leave them the keys to the home, mailbox, and any garage door openers you have.
  • Sign documents
    • This is the biggest step that transfers ownership and gets the process moving toward completion! It can happen several days before the “closing date.”

For the buyer:

  • Obtain receipts for completed repair work
    • If repairs were done in the home you’re purchasing, make sure you get all of the receipts and warranties associated with the work that was done. Keep these in your records in case you need to refer to them later or in case something goes wrong with the repair down the road.
  • Do a walkthrough
    • This is your chance to make sure that the repairs were done right and that things are good to go so you can move forward with signing closing papers.
  • Set up utilities
    • Call your utility company and schedule a time when you want water/electricity to come on. While you’re doing this, schedule a time for Internet/cable service to be hooked up, or any other services that you will need ready to go when you first move in.
  • Sign any last minute lender information
    • This is an important step! You will need to sign a closing disclosure that needs to be acknowledged to start a 3-day waiting period before you can sign final closing documents.
  • Sign documents at escrow
    • Here, you’ll sign papers that allow you to complete the home buying process. After the sale is recorded, you’ll get keys to your home and you’ll be able to start moving in!

If you’re confused about which step comes next, don’t worry! I will be there to walk you through the process. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, contact me today for information on how I can help.

Posted on July 3, 2017 at 4:11 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What is the other agent looking for in a potential buyer/seller?

Buying and selling a home is a process that some people just do once or twice in a lifetime, so oftentimes it feels unfamiliar and awkward. Having an experienced real estate agent that can walk you through the various steps is so helpful. Listing agents want buyers to have specific things when it comes to purchasing a home. Buyers agents want sellers to have specific things, too. Here’s what they are:

Listing agents generally want the potential buyer to have the following:

  1. A competent agent.
    Listing agents generally want to work with a knowledgeable agent that is experienced in managing contingencies and is ethical throughout the process, especially when there are multiple offers on a property involved.
  2. A pre-approval letter.
    Going house shopping without a pre-approval letter showing what home price you’re qualified to shop for, is a time drain for everyone involved. Before shopping for a home, buyers should have a pre-approval letter from their lender that has credit, assets, and income verified. That gives agents parameters on what homes are within the buyer’s range.
  3. Reasonable expectations.
    Buyers have many ideas on what they want their next home to look like, but those expectations need to be realistic. In other words, buyers need to have reasonable expectations of house conditions based on the age of the home.

Buyers agents generally want the seller to have the following:

  1. A knowledgeable, competent agent.
    Working with another agent who has experience in using the right forms and standard processes is important, and working with another agent that is ethical is also key. In today’s market, there are often multiple offers on homes and working with someone who follows ethical guidelines in those situations especially is important.
  2. Empathy and realistic expectations.
    Sellers want to sell their home, but it’s important to keep in mind that buyers are facing a lot of stress in the process trying to find a home. Buyers agents appreciate sellers that have empathy for what buyers are facing in a low-inventory market. In addition, sellers that have realistic expectations of what types of repairs a buyer will ask for as a result of the home inspection is also important to making the selling process go smooth.
  3. Resources and information.
    Sellers should be proactive about finding reputable, licensed contractors to get repairs done quickly and efficiently, the first time. This will help the selling process go a lot smoother. In addition, sellers should stay informed about the closing process and stay on top of getting their paperwork in order so there are no unnecessary delays.

Buying a home or selling one can be an exciting, but overwhelming time in your life. No matter what position you’re in, you and your Realtor should be able to work well together on whatever steps are coming next. If you’re looking for a Realtor to help make your home sale or home purchase a reality, contact me today.

Posted on May 22, 2017 at 4:48 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Home Remodeling Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Home Improvements That Add Value

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Thinking of listing your home for sale soon? Even if you’re not, you’re likely interested in what remodeling projects will reap the biggest returns when it does come time to sell your home.  Some renovations will add more value than others. Here are some home improvements that can add value to your home and make it look great in the meantime.

Improvement #1: An updated front door.
This is a pretty easy and inexpensive update and according to a 2014 report in Remodeling Magazine, you can add about 96% of the amount you spent to the value of your home. If you don’t need a brand new door, but you still want to update it, a fresh coat of paint will also help offer some payoff.

Improvement #2: An updated kitchen.
An updated kitchen can bring a great return. If you go to sell the house with an outdated kitchen, a potential buyer may come in and think that they need to redo it and overestimate how much it will cost when in fact, an average kitchen remodel is a lot less than a buyer might assume. And if you’re savvy when it comes to shopping and if you’re open to doing some of the work yourself, you can save even more money and still reap a good return later.

Improvement #3: Updated bathrooms.
Just like an updated kitchen, bathrooms can bring a good return when it comes time to sell the house. Be sure that the style ties into the rest of the home’s design. For example, if you live in an older home, you won’t want to do a contemporary/modern style bathroom.

Improvement #4: New windows.
If you live in a home that has old windows, there is a good chance that they’re leaky and inefficient. Replacing windows will not only add value to your home, but they’ll keep your home warmer/cooler throughout the year and you’ll likely see a decrease in your utility bills because less energy will be wasted.

When it comes to remodels or updates, remember to be aware of the specific flavor of your neighborhood. Sometimes, if you over-improve or over-remodel your home, it won’t provide as much of a return. If you have any questions about what updates would bring the best return for your specific home and neighborhood, I’m happy to help. Contact me today with any questions.

Source:
Mears, Teresa. “Which Home Remodeling Projects Are Worth Your Money?”
U.S. News & World Report. March 7, 2014. Accessed online September 20, 2016.
http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/03/06/which-home-remodeling-projects-are-worth-your-money

Posted on September 21, 2016 at 5:14 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Home Remodeling Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Latest options for dining room lighting

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Your dining room is a gathering space – the perfect place to entertain guests and to relax with some good food and fun conversations. If you’re planning on updating your dining space and you need the perfect light fixture to help bring all of your interior design ideas together, there are a lot of great options out there to choose from. Whether it’s a grand chandelier or track lighting that add ambiance, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll want to pick a light fixture that not only provides enough light, but one that complements your overall style and is sized correctly for the room and its furniture. Here are some of the most popular light fixtures out there right now.

Option #1: Chandeliers.
If you have an elegant space that you want to add a touch of sophistication to, a chandelier is a great way to do that, while also adding an instant focal point to the room. Crystal chandeliers are incredibly popular right now, especially for homes that have traditional dining room spaces. Chandeliers with dangling crystals can really accent dark wood floors or trim and they also provide plenty of soft light.

Option #2: Wall sconces.
This type of light fixture is mounted directly on the walls of the home. If you already have enough light for general lighting, wall sconces can be used as an accent feature by installing them into wall corners. They can help create a cozy, more intimate feel to dining rooms, especially when combined with candles.

Option #3: Pendant lighting.
This type of lighting is very versatile and can be incorporated into a variety of décor preferences. Pendant lights hang from a single chain and let off light throughout the room. They can come in bright colors or light shades so you can contrast your décor with the light easily. If you prefer a more traditional style, there are chandelier pendant lights that illuminate the space with classic elegance.

Option #4: Track lighting.
Track lighting is very popular for homes that have modern, contemporary, or industrial design themes. This lighting is very bright and it’s easy to install, either being installed flush to the ceiling or dangling from chains. They hold a variety of light styles including spotlights, mini-lanterns, and much more.

No matter what style you prefer for your dining room, there is a light that will make the area warm and inviting. A stand out light can transform the whole room!

Posted on August 21, 2016 at 4:35 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Home Remodeling Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Household Kitchens: Important Must-Knows

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The kitchen is the heart of the home: it’s where people naturally gravitate to. It’s where you spend a lot of time cooking, entertaining, and enjoy each other’s company. Gourmet and entertainment-focused kitchens are very popular, but space-friendly kitchens that accommodate everyone is just as important to homeowners nowadays. This is where a large, open-style concept kitchen space is helpful. Here are a few important things to remember when you’re shopping for a home or if you are looking to remodel the kitchen that you have in your current home.

Tip #1: Think long term
When you’re looking at kitchens or considering remodeling, keep in mind that you’ll need to think long term. Your kitchen may need to adapt to changes over time. For example, who will be involved in the cooking in your new kitchen and will that change over time? Think about how many social gatherings you have on a regular basis or how often you entertain or host large groups. This will determine what size kitchen you will want.

Tip #2: Make a list of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves”
The kitchen is arguably one of the places that many homeowners spend the majority of their time in. Whether it’s cooking, doing dishes, or sitting and chatting with your friends, partner, or family over the counter or kitchen table, think about how much time you spend in the kitchen and what items are “essential” and what are simply “nice-to-have” items. You want your kitchen to be functional for many years to come.

Tip #3: Consider open concept living
The kitchen and living room are usually the rooms that are in use the most, so having those two rooms flow together as much as possible is very helpful. For example, if you have young children that you want to be able to keep an eye on while you cook or do dishes, an open style concept that allows you to be a part of both rooms can be really beneficial. Open concepts are also great for entertaining, as it allows you to interact with your guests while you work on preparing and serving food. 

Tip #4: Seating is important.
A big enough seating area, such as a bar, small table, breakfast nook, or a coffee table is a huge positive for homeowners looking for a workable kitchen space. Having an area that provides everyone the opportunity to eat together will encourage sit down meal times. For entertaining, it will give guests the chance to sit down and relax in an area where most people tend to gather. 

Most importantly, remember that this is about your style and preferences. What works for one person won’t always work for another, so be sure to pick features in your kitchen that work well for you. Your kitchen is an essential part of having a home that you love, so always be sure to go with a layout that is convenient for your lifestyle. 

Posted on May 3, 2016 at 7:19 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Home Remodeling Tips | Tagged , , , , , , ,

DIY Project: Painting Vinyl Siding

 

Painting the house: no doubt, this is a big task to take on, but if you know how to paint vinyl siding the right way, the end result will be a successful do-it-yourself (DIY) home project that will leave your house looking great!  With some helpful, simple tips, you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently paint the vinyl siding on your home.

Tip #1: Time to clean.
A thoroughly cleaned and dried house before you start is necessary, so start by making sure that the siding is free of dirt, mold, or other debris that tends to accrue over time. If you avoid this step, you may run into some problems with painting, and that will just make you more frustrated and slow you down.  Pressure washers are usually the fastest and easiest way to clean off the vinyl siding.

Tip #2: Choose the color.
This seems pretty obvious, but there are a couple of things to take note of before you pick your color. Be sure that you look for paint that is labeled “Vinyl Safe.” This type of paint is designed to reflect heat rather than absorbing it. If you don’t use a paint that is specifically made for vinyl siding, it could cause damage, such as distorting or buckling.

Tip #3: Ready, set, paint!
Now, it’s work time! Plan on putting at least two coats of paint on the siding and don’t paint on extremely hot days or days that there is wind and rain. Cool autumn days or dry spring days are good options for painting. And once the job is complete, remember that you will need to take care of the vinyl. It’s not the same maintenance-free material you once had.  It should be treated like other types of painted surfaces and every 10 years, you should plan to reapply a new coat of paint.

If your siding is failing altogether, a paint job probably won’t do much.  Instead, you should look around and get some information on replacing the siding completely. This will help protect the home’s structure while adding great curb appeal!  

Posted on June 9, 2015 at 4:14 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Remodeling Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,