Friday, December 20, 2013

How Should You Prepare Your Home When You Are Ready To Sell?

Once you have made up your mind to sell your home and found an agent to handle the transaction for you, there are a few important steps to take to make it look appealing to potential buyers who are looking to buy a home more than a simple house. Even though you may not realize it, the appearance of your home on the day a buyer looks at it can make or break the sale, so be diligent and create the perfect setting to influence their decision. Keep it clean – nothing can make a house more unappealing to a potential buyer than walking into a mess. Because of this it is important to keep your home clean at all times. Make sure the sink is free of dirty dishes and there are no dirt trails to be seen. This is extremely important, as your cleaning habits will speak volumes to a buyer about the way you’ve maintained the property. Make it look homely – a home is exactly that, a place for a family to get together in an environment of peace and love. One of the best ways to achieve this ambiance is to simmer some cinnamon sticks on the stove and set out a few plates of baked goodies for visitors in strategic areas of your house, including the kitchen, living room, dining room and hallway. Make sure you use pretty plates, and offer a cup of hot cocoa or tea during their visit. Decorations are the key to success – nothing can bring out the true spirit of a house as a few well-placed decorations. This is especially true during the holidays, so without running the risk of making the place look gaudy and overloaded, decorate with a few nice pieces and place the focus on them by using indirect lighting. During Christmas you can have your favorite carols playing softly in the background and a fire going in the chimney to ensure you add that special touch the season can provide. Keep your front yard in top shape – regardless of the season, the front yard should always be kept free of debris, garbage, and snow. The front yard will create the first and most important impression on a potential buyer, so make sure you make it the best one you possibly can. Even though winter snow and ice can be quite annoying, especially in the Grand Junction Colorado area, always keep the walkway shoveled and well salted, and you can add some sand to ensure your visitors have a secure footing as they walk to the door. Many times a sale will be more about the small details than the price, and providing a potential buyer with an environment that will give them a good idea of how pleasant their life will be if they purchase your property will go a longer way than lowering the asking price. No matter how you choose to prepare your home for selling, always put yourself in a buyer´s shoes and create an environment that is welcoming and friendly, as well as warm and comfortable, because that may help them decide they want your home to be theirs.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Should you remodel or move?

It can happen suddenly, when you least expect it, the realization that your current home is no longer adequate to your needs can come in a flash, or creep up on you over time. It may happen because you finally notice the clutter that’s been piling up in the middle of your living room, or you are planning on adding a new member to your family and need the extra room, or maybe you just realized your house is falling apart around you. But, do you really need a new place, or can you simply get an expert to remodel your house and convert it into the home of your dreams? The answer depends on a few very important points. 1. Taking a long, hard look at your reasons for wanting to expand. Regardless of the decision you ultimately reach, you must get to that point after pondering the reasons you have for wanting to make a change. Considering what the future holds for you can be a deciding factor in the case of wanting more space for your children. If you are starting to plan a baby, then a larger home may be the best choice, but if you have teenagers who will be leaving for college in a relatively short period of time, remodeling may be your best bet. 2. Consider your existing structure and the size of your land. In many cases, a house is already as big as it can be, and the structure may not be able to withstand another addition. If this is the case, a move will probably be beneficial, but if not, you may want to consider adding additional space. You should also determine whether the size of your land will be able to accommodate an expansion on your home, because in the end, you may not want to give up your garden for a new kitchen, in which case your best option would be to move to a larger home. 3. Keep the long term market value of your home in mind. In a recessive economy, investing money into remodeling your home may not be the most viable option, especially if the investment will be larger than the potential sale price of your home in 5 or 10 years. If this is the case, you may be better off finding a new property, but remember to consult an expert realtor for a realistic estimate on the viability of your project. 4. Moving can eat into your savings. Even though you may think that remodeling is more expensive than moving, in many cases this is not true, especially considering the cost of moving. When you move you have to pay a wide variety of fees and commissions, not counting the cost of the new property, which will not add any value to your finances, whereas remodeling will add value to your property and increase your equity, which can be a good move for a future sale. Regardless of whether you choose to move or decide to add to your existing property, always weigh your options carefully, and consider a future that may come faster than you think. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Keeping it all straight.....

Purchasing a home can be a daunting experience, and one that too often is driven by emotions. While you should love the home you ultimately decide to purchase, you should exercise some practical reasoning and methods to ensure you're getting the best possible home for the money. Using the services of a reputable realtor is invaluable. They are familiar with the area, values, and common concerns.
When touring homes with your realtor, it is wise to have done a little bit of research on your own. Aside from the material likely available from your realtor or the seller's agent, consider looking up the home's property records and building permits online if possible for the area. Review some reliable home inspection sites to get a feel for common issues in the area, as well as some tips of things to look for as you walk through homes.
Some obvious things to keep your eye out for include signs of water damage. This can be on ceilings, walls, window sills, and even baseboards. Look for bubbled or blistered paint, discoloration of the area, or a musty odor. Water damage often leads to mold, which in turn can lead to health concerns and some serious cash to correct both the source and result of the water.
Look for signs of poor maintenance. This can include simple things like cracked outlet covers, or drippy faucets in need of a gasket. Take a good look at the exterior of the home, keeping vigilant for signs of cracks in masonry, pest infestations (like termite tubes), and rotting woodwork in the eaves or fascia of the house. While all repairable, these are often signs that basic maintenance has been neglected and may incur costs that quickly add up.
Check all the mechanical systems in the home, including the furnace, air conditioning system, hot water heater, and appliances (if they will remain with the home). Ask if there are existing warranties in effect as well. It often pays to bring along someone who is experienced with home repairs to give their opinion.
Not all aspects of home-viewing require that you look for signs of potential trouble with the home. It is every bit as important to look for positive features; particularly those that will increase the value of your investment. In addition to looking for signs of a well-maintained home, consider the location of the home. Is it near services and amenities such as good schools, easy access to shopping, and medical facilities? Look at the homes in the same neighborhood to get a sense of the overall pride of ownership within the community. Look for quality workmanship and professional installation of things such as cabinets, exterior hardscaping (patios and the like), and for overall functionality and flow within the home.
Don't simply trust your emotions when it comes to buying a home. Do a little research on common pitfalls, take along a qualified friend or relative for a second set of eyes, and carefully examine structural details to ensure you're not falling in love with a money pit. It's often been said that the wisest purchases are those based on location. After all, you can paint, remodel, renovate, and re-imagine a building. But you can't often move it to a better area.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Location, Location, Location!

When looking for a home, whether your first or fifteenth, the old adage "location, location, location" will never change or steer you wrong. Whether as your family home or an investment property, considering the services and amenities in proximity to a home are key factors in making a wise purchasing decision.
By utilizing the services of a local, respected Real Estate agent, you will be getting years of specialized experience in not just the process of buying, but expertise in the area you are looking to buy in as well. When looking for a home in Grand Junction, Colorado, for instance, you want to seek out a realtor with a proven track record in that area. By engaging the services of a professional realtor you are assured of a smoother experience.
If you aren't quite certain just where to buy a home in Grand Junction CO, a realtor can be invaluable. They will provide you with details about the various areas, the pros and cons of each area, and historical information on the real estate market in each.
Considerations when purchasing a home include not just the look and feel of the home, but its location and proximity to services and facilities your family will use now and in the future. Consider how close you want to be to loved ones in the area, the educational system (particularly top-rated schools), transportation ease, and community facilities such as convenient shopping, parks, and recreational facilities. View areas with an eye toward the future whenever possible. While you may have no children now, someday you might, and a solid school system is a must. Even if you are buying a home for rental income, your tenants will want quality schools and community amenities as well. This will be reflected in the amount of rent you can expect to receive from the property. Homes in poorly-performing school districts or far from shopping options command lower prices.
As with most real estate markets in the United States, the Grand Junction market has many types of homes and price points available. By working closely with your real estate agent, view as many homes as possible. Create a checklist of the features you would like in a home, along with some common areas to be aware of when viewing homes. Don't be afraid to ask for your realtor's professional opinion on matters that you're unclear about, such as whether that addition was legally permitted or that stain on the ceiling might be a sign of a failing roof.
First time home buying is often the most stressful time in your and your family's life. With so many options available, so many potential pitfalls, and the sheer amount of the financial investment required to buy that home, the process can be intimidating. Don't go it alone. Rely on a qualified real estate expert to help you navigate the market wisely.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Saving money by working with a Realtor

With the burgeoning numbers of home buying shows on television, more and more first time home buyers may be lured into thinking they don't need the services of a qualified realtor. Just find a foreclosure, gut it or renovate it, and voila'!  A perfect home. If only life were as simple as portrayed on TV. The reality is just a tad different.  When dealing with real estate, such as a home or condo, experience is key. Knowing the area, understanding the market and values, and being able to recognize potential pitfalls are all a part of a savvy realtor's skill-set.  This expertise comes from years of involvement in real estate in a given location. When looking to purchase a home in a given area, such as Grand Junction Colorado, selecting a realtor who has a proven local track record is a boon.  Working with a realtor can not only narrow down the number of homes you visit to just those that meet your needs, it can also save you loads of money. The realtor will work for your best interests. Their experience includes affiliations with other professionals, such as mortgage brokers, lenders, and home inspectors. Each of these associations can help save you time and money that might be spent hunting for the best prices, most  reputable professionals needed for your purchase. It will also reduce your stress dramatically knowing you don't have to handle every facet of the process alone. Realtors will listen to your needs and concerns as well.  By letting them know what you are hoping for in a home (three bedrooms, split-level, swimming pool, fireplace, location, design, price range), they will set to work to assemble a wide range of options to show you. They will tour the homes alongside you, providing information and answering your questions gladly. Many times they will also verify legal issues, such as making sure that garage out back was properly permitted or that swimming pool light meets current electrical code requirements. All of these value-added services can make your life, as a first-time home buyer, much less intimidating and stressful.  Additionally, realtors can spot signs of neglect or impending disasters in homes. They are more likely to notice a foundation crack, water or mold issue, or even a neighborhood in decline. They will do the research for you on the best school districts, best value for the dollar, and other issues that can make home buying simpler and safer for you.  By steering you clear of  pitfalls and assisting you through the maze of options and processes involved in purchasing your home, a realtor truly does work for you and can save you both money and heartache. By keeping an open line of communication between the home buyer and the realtor,  you will have the ability to ask questions,  get answers, learn about homes and the real estate market, and successfully find and fall in love with your first home.  If in the market for a home in the Grand Junction, CO area, consider the expert services of  The First Time Home Buyer Guy.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How to actually LIKE your first home!

When it comes to buying a home, many families have a difficult time finding their dream home. There isn't a shortage of homes in the Grand Junction Real Estate market. It's buyer being too meticulous in their wants instead of sticking to their needs. Once buyers realize there is no such thing as a perfect home, meaning having 100-percent everything a family can want, then their home selection process will be much smoother.

First time homeowners spend thousands of dollars over their budget sometimes because they want the perfect home. This is not necessary. Eventually, once you settle in, there are bound to be things you want to change. So it's important to distinguish what you would like to have in a new home versus what you need to have in a new home.

Location Matters

First, you should have a budget in mind. This may be key in determining the area of Grand Junction you will live in. You want to make sure you feel safe in this area. Think about your family's transportation needs. Do you need access to public transportation or quickly access the highway? Is there particular schools you want your children in and how close do you want to live to the school? Living close to the mall is not a need unless you work there and must take public transportation.

Family Needs

You must consider your family needs. Do you have a large family and is privacy important? If so, make sure you have enough bedrooms. Are you willing to compromise on bedroom space? If so, you can possibly find a beautiful home with a recreation room and smaller bedrooms will be fine. Also, consider anyone that works from home. Make sure there is an area that can be converted to an office space.

Do you have large dogs? Having a home with a nice size backyard may be necessary for your pet. Ask yourself questions such as do you need a gourmet kitchen because that's where your family spends most of their time or you entertain guests. If you order takeout generally then you may only desire a large gourmet kitchen.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Another final thought about a home is its size. Think about the maintenance and upkeep. You may want a large yard with a lot of shrubbery. However, are you able to manage that yourself or hire someone to upkeep it? Think about the costs to upkeep a swimming pool. Consider your utility bills for heating and cooling a large space. Think of the entire monthly budget you have and if these additions will interrupt your quality of life.

Consider these tips and more of the First Time Home Buyer Guy. You can eliminate stress and find the home of your dreams that you will actually like rather than regret. Other wants include carpet, hardwood flooring, and a fireplace. You may need a newer furnace or spacing for a home gym rather than membership costs. There will be plenty of time to make upgrades to your home and venture into new ideas later.

Friday, September 13, 2013

As anyone who has ever bought a house can tell you, when it comes time to buy a home you need to know that that decision is the start of a process rather than an event. A myriad of emotional highs and lows awaits the first time home buyer, and taking steps to level out those highs and lows will go a long way towards helping you maintain your sanity during the ups and downs that are sure to come.

As such, every journey begins with a first step, and your first step should be to work with a realtor to get pre-qualified for your home loan before you even consider hopping in the car and cruising potential new neighborhoods. Getting pre-qualified for a mortgage loan provides you peace of mind while greasing the entire process, and so getting the "pre-qual" should be the necessary precursor to any successful house search.

Three Advantages to Getting Pre-Qualified…

Getting the Facts…

Pre-qualification involves a cursory look at your income and debts to arrive at a ballpark determination of how much house you can realistically buy into. Conversely, the pre-qualification review may indicate corrective measures are needed prior to picking out new kitchen curtains. Should that prove to be the unfortunate case, then the pre-qualification process can highlight those areas in need of repair, and knowing what to fix is the first step in getting your house hunt back on track.

Focus Your Search…

The data you get from working with a realtor makes it much easier when it comes time to buy a home. Armed with a realistic appraisal of what you can reasonably afford to pay for your new home greatly streamlines the house hunting process.

There is no point in falling in love with that quaint three bedroom bungalow if it's priced three times more than what you are comfortably able to pay, so pre-qualifying to buy a home gives you the ability to fall in love with a home that you can actually live with. When it comes to buying property, it's all about having options.

Peace of Mind…

Once you have been pre-qualified for a home loan you're given a Pre-Qualification Letter, which shows that you have taken the necessary steps to be considered a serious player when you signal an interest in their property.

When it comes to fostering peace of mind in a seller, a buyer who is pre-qualified has gained the confidence of the home owner that their time won't be wasted as you chase after mortgage approval. Likewise, the confidence it will inspire in you will make the entire home buying ordeal as stress free as possible.

Get started with The First Time Home Buyer Guy…

To get an honest assessment of where you stand in the house buying process, you should call The First Time Home Buyer Guy at 970-765-4135. Let me help you discover which neighborhood is going to host your new home, and remove the stress and aggravation out of the home buying process.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What First Time Home Buyers Need

You're buying your first home. You have dreams of granite countertops, a beautiful wooden balcony that wraps around your house, marble floors, and more bathrooms than bedrooms - each with its own clawfoot tub. All lovely thoughts, but all things you don't actually need. When it comes to your first home, it's important to make sure you're not overlooking the things you need in a home in favor of all the things you simply want and dream about having. Here are some things that are imperative for you to think about.

How many bedrooms?

If you already have a family or you're thinking about starting one, you'll need to consider bedrooms. Do you want each kid to have their own bedroom, or can they share? Do you want an extra guest bedroom? Too many people are overwhelmed by beautiful kitchens and it results in them buying homes that may not accommodate their growing family.

How many bathrooms?

Equally as important are the bathrooms. If you have a family of five, making it work with one bathroom is going to be next to impossible. An easy rule of thumb is that for every person add a half bathroom. If there's only two of you, you only need one bathroom. If there's four of you, you probably need two bathrooms - even though you might want everyone to have a bathroom of their own.

What location?

While expensive renovations can account for a lot of early mistakes, your location will never change. That house with the bargain price looks great now - but once you have a kid and realize that every school in the neighborhood is horrible, it won't be so great anymore. When it comes to location, you have to factor in how the location affects every member or soon-to-be member of the household.

Do you want a yard?

Like location, a yard either comes with the house or it doesn't. Unless you're willing to buy the lot next to yours, you'll never have the chance to expand your yard. If you don't plan on having kids, maybe a small yard with a little patio big enough for barbecuing is perfect for you. If you want a large family, a little extra yard space never hurts.

What's your budget?

While it's unlikely a first-time home buyer will overlook this part of the shopping process, it's important to have a firm budget. If you walk up to a home and it's $50 000 out of your price range, you have to be prepared to walk away. Also, if you purchase a home you'll need to renovate, you need to factor in those costs as well. Don't forget to factor in the time it will take you to renovate.

Buying a home is a big step in anyone's life. It's easy to get swamped by the intricate wood paneling and hardwood floor and sacrifice the basic necessities. Remember - while you can always improve your floor or your counters later, it's either impossible or extremely expensive to get the needs you don't have.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Deciding to Buy or Rent?

If you're looking into whether to buy a home or rent a home, there's a lot to take into consideration and we at The First Time Home Buyer Guy, your source for Grand Junction Real Estate are here to help you with this very big decision.
When deciding whether to rent or buy, first ask yourself these questions:  How long do you plan on being in your house of choice? Would it be more affordable for you to rent or to own? At the end of the day, which would make you happier? Can you buy now and rent later or vice versa?
These are the most important questions that you'll need to ask yourself. An interesting fact to be aware of in making this decision is that according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 report, the home ownership rate was at 65.4%, which is significantly lower from 2004 when it was at 69%.
Even though mortgage rates are at an all-time low and there are more homeowners statistically, the number is beginning to decline, because many people are choosing to rent for one reason or another vs. buying.

How long do you plan on being in your home?

If you're looking for a place to really settle down into, then you might prefer to buy a home. However, there are many people out there that choose to be long-term renters. Some people never buy a home, while others buy and then decide later that they want out of their mortgage.
Maybe they're having financial difficulties, maybe the house itself just needs a lot of work and they can no longer afford it, or maybe they decide to move out of state, so they decide to sell and then become renters. Many people also sell just because they simply retire or reach an age where they feel they just need something smaller and sadly have to sell.
Renting is also a great option for a first time home buyer, because you can rent while you save up to buy that dream house later. If you like to travel a lot and move from state-to-state or if you think that maybe one day you'd like to relocate, then maybe it's best to rent for now and buy later once you're settled somewhere that you plan on residing for a long time to come.

Would it be more affordable for you to rent or own?

This is an extremely important question that you'll want to ask yourself before jumping into any living arrangement. You want to know your finances inside and out. You want to know what you can and can't afford. The good thing about being a renter is that you don't have to worry about repairs if something needs to be fixed.
That's when you call the landlord and they take care of it for you, whereas if you're a homeowner, then that repair money will be coming out of your own pocket when your heating systems decides to kick the bucket or the roof needs to be replaced because it's suddenly leaking.
If you have an abundance of money coming in to afford repairs, then maybe that's not a worry for you, but if you survive paycheck-to-paycheck, then think long and hard about that one. If you happen to be handy, then you could always save on paying a repairman by doing a lot of your own repairs. That's something to take into consideration, as well.
Another fun fact is that as a renter, you don't have to pay all of the lovely property taxes, school taxes, homeowner's insurance, etc., but do those things make renting cheaper? Not always. Sometimes rent can be just as expensive as a mortgage and taxes. If you're considering becoming a first time home buyer, but are on the fence as to whether to buy a home or rent, then you'll want to take these next two steps.

  • You'll want to get a rough estimate of what your mortgage would be plus all of your taxes and insurance, then calculate the cost of all your utilities, while also setting money aside in the event of any needed future repairs.

  • Calculate the cost of rent plus utilities. Sometimes, the cost of utilities and rent are equal to the expenses of buying, minus repairs of cost. The cost of rent these days is pretty high.

  • Once you've done these two things, compare the two figures and then decide which option would be more affordable for you.

    What makes you happier?

    In the end, the decision to buy or rent also boils down to your own personal happiness. If it makes you happier to have a place to call your "own," then maybe becoming a homeowner is right for you. If it is your dream to buy a home, well then buy that home, but just make sure that you can afford it.
    If you feel like you can still find a place to call your "own" while renting and you're just more comfortable leaving future repairs to a landlord, then maybe being a renter is more for you.
    Here at The First Time Home Buyer Guy your source for Grand Junction Real Estate, we'd like to help you with this decision, so get in touch with us today and we'd be happy to answer any questions you may have or to set up a time to meet with you.