RE/MAX Advantage I



Posted by RE/MAX Advantage I on 9/20/2018

American homes have been growing larger for decades. This trend is partly due to personal preference for more space, and partly caused by local laws mandating minimum square-footage of all new properties.

Owning and maintaining a home is a huge expense. Especially if you’re heating and maintaining parts of your home that you don’t really need.

As a result, a growing number of people are renting out parts of their home in various ways. From Airbnb to subletting, and all the way up to renting out their basement as a separate apartment, there are a number of ways you can earn money on your home.

The appeal is obvious. However, there are a number of factors you should consider before renting out part of your home. After all, your home is the place you and your family spend your days and nights, and sometimes the idea of having a stranger in your midst can be frightening to some homeowners.

For others, however, welcoming people into their home is a fun way to meet new people, help someone find affordable housing in a place they otherwise wouldn’t, and earn some extra money.

Know your local laws

It should be noted up front that not everyone can just legally rent out a portion of their home. Whether it is due to local laws, building code requirements, or homeowners association rules, there are a number of reasons you might not be able to rent out part of your home.

Before you consider listing a room or portion of your home, read up on the landlord-tenant laws in your area to make sure you’re comfortable with your legal obligations.

Make the necessary preparations

Renting a room in your home isn’t just a matter of giving someone the key to the front door. You’ll have to plan to install deadbolts, remove doorknobs with inside locking mechanisms, make repairs to the room and any amenities the tenant will have access to and document the state of your home.

Make a clear renter’s agreement

Would it make you uncomfortable to have a dog or cat in your home? Does your home have a smoking policy?

There are a number of things you should think about and add to your renter’s agreement and any online listing you post. This will help you narrow down your renter options and give you a better chance of finding someone right for your home.

Finding a tenant

There are a number of ways you can find people to live in your home. Most homeowners list their spare room or apartment online, but it can also be a good idea to reach out to people you know and trust.

Once you have interested parties, you might want to purchase a background check and determine if you’ll require certain documents (proof of income, credit score, etc.).

Document everything

There’s a reason you have to do so much paperwork when you rent an apartment--the landlord wants to make sure they are covered in case anything goes wrong.

Before signing an agreement with your new renter, make sure it covers all of the “what-if” scenarios that could happen. There are several sample lease agreements online that you can use as a template.

Furthermore, once the tenant moves in, be sure that your discussions and agreements are documented. If the tenant denies you access to perform a check for pests, make sure you have some documentation that shows this denial.




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Posted by RE/MAX Advantage I on 9/13/2018

If you've set a goal of buying your first home within the next year, there are several things you can begin doing now to set the stage for a positive experience.

While it pays to familiarize yourself with everything from your credit score to mortgage options, choosing a good real estate agent will prove to be an invaluable advantage when navigating through the process of buying a home. An experienced, knowledgeable agent will help keep you on track, prepare necessary documents for you, and answer the myriad of questions that will occur to you.

Should you choose the first real estate agent you talk to? People occasionally find a perfect fit right off the bat, but it's often a good idea to interview a couple agents before you make your final decision. Having one or two points of comparison can provide you with a wider perspective of available choices.

Not only would you want to work with a professional who has a successful track record in helping first-time home buyers, but you also want to make sure your personality is compatible with your agent's communication style and energy level. Unless you stumble on the home of your dreams on the first day, you're probably going to be spending a lot of time with them. Most real estate agents do tend to be knowledgeable, resourceful, and service oriented, but your journey will be a lot smoother and more satisfying if you sign on with an agent who's a good match for your individual needs and personality.

One of the most effective ways to prepare yourself for a real estate search is to create lists of things you need to do, have, and schedule. It's also helpful to prioritize what you want in your ideal house. By identifying and reminding yourself of the features that are most important to you, you'll have a greater tendency to recognize what you want when you see it. You'll also find yourself communicating your needs and wants more clearly to your real estate agent. As is the case with any professional or personal relationship, good quality communication usually yields the best possible results.

As a home buyer, there are many property features and priorities you'll want to ponder and discuss with your significant other. In addition to your future home's square footage, bedroom space, and number of bathrooms, you may also be interested in the reputation of school districts, the character of neighborhoods you're considering, and the amount of privacy each property affords.

Another list worth compiling before you get too far into the house hunting process is a personal budget. By seeing how your income stacks up against your monthly expenses, you'll be in a stronger position to determine a realistic price range for your next home.





Posted by RE/MAX Advantage I on 9/6/2018

Searching for a house should be a fun, exciting experience. It represents an opportunity to discover a residence that you can transform into your very own home. As such, conducting an effective home search may require both hard work and patience to ensure that you can achieve the best-possible results.

Ultimately, there are many factors to consider as you search for your ideal house, and these factors include:

1. Location

A home's location can have far-flung effects on a homeowner's day-to-day activities, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

For example, a city home may provide quick, easy access to a wide range of attractions. On the other hand, this home may be located near major highways, which could create traffic problems for those who need to commute to school or work regularly.

As you search for your dream house, consider where you want to live both now and in the future. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life, you may want to pursue houses in big cities. Or, if you prefer the serenity of small town living, you can search for a top-notch home in the suburbs.

2. Home Condition

It is paramount to assess a house's condition. Otherwise, you risk making an offer on a home that may have many "hidden" problems that probably will need to be corrected in the foreseeable future.

A home requires maintenance over time, and an older house may be more susceptible than others to costly, time-intensive structural problems. Thus, depending on a home's age, you may need to account for many potential upgrades sooner rather than later.

It also may be worthwhile to find out which home upgrades that a home seller has already completed. If a seller recently replaced a house's roof or heating and cooling system or performed other major home upgrades, you may be able to reap the benefits of these house updates for years to come.

3. A Home's Price

The initial asking price of a home rarely, if ever, is set in stone. Therefore, if you find a house that is priced above your budget, you may be able to negotiate the house's price with the seller.

If you find a house that you want to buy, it helps to submit a competitive offer right away. This offer should account for the age and condition of a house, as well as the current housing market's conditions. And if the offer meets a seller's expectations, he or she should have no trouble accepting the proposal.

Lastly, if you need help searching for a house, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can keep you up to date about new houses that become available, provide plenty of homebuying tips and suggestions and help you submit an offer on your dream house. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your homebuying questions, guaranteeing that you can make informed decisions at each stage of the homebuying journey.





Posted by RE/MAX Advantage I on 8/30/2018

You’ve been paying off your mortgage for 10 years, building equity while making careful financial decisions to ensure that you’re on track to pay off your mortgage. So, all of those payments are essentially money in the bank for you, right?

Not quite. The equity you’ve built toward is home isn’t really accessible until you either fully pay off the home, sell your home and use your equity toward a down payment, or use it to take out a second mortgage.

In today’s article, we’re going to be talking about second mortgages--what they are, when to use them, and when you should seek out other options. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision.

What is a second mortgage?

A second mortgage is somewhat deceptively named. The process of taking out a second mortgage revolves around using your equity as collateral toward a second loan. That loan amount doesn’t have to be used toward a home, however. It can be spent pretty much at the discretion of the homeowner, as long as you stay within the spending limits of the loan terms.

Why take out a second mortgage?

Homeowners typically take out a second mortgage when an expense is tossed their way, whether foreseen or unforeseen. It could be a costly house or vehicle repair, a child’s education, or any other large expense that you might not have been aptly prepared for.

Types of second mortgages

There are two main types of second mortgages that homeowners qualify for. First is a standard home equity loan. You receive a fixed-rate loan that usually paid off over a loan term of 15 or 30 years.

The other type of second mortgage is a home equity line of credit (HELOC, for short). A HELOC is similar to a credit card in that you are approved for a certain amount but don’t need to spend the full amount.

Risks of home equity lines of credit

This type of loan is ideal for expenses that you maybe don’t know the full cost of. However, there is an inherent risk in taking on an expense that might go over the credit limit of your HELOC.

Just like with credit cards, interest rates vary. However, the interest rate is linked to something called a “benchmark rate.” When interest rates for the benchmark increase, so do your HELOC rates.

Aside from the variable interest rates, HELOCs can also prove to be difficult to manage for people who are already in credit card debt. So, it’s only recommended that you take out a HELOC if you are sure that you can stay on top of your monthly payments and are in good standing with other credit lenders.

Risks of home equity loans

Standard home equity loans aren’t without their own risks. For one, you’re putting your house on the line when you take out a second mortgage. So, before taking out a home equity loan on a new expense, be sure that you can manage that expense or you could risk losing your home.

Having a second mortgage can also make it difficult to refinance your home loan, which could cost you in the long run if it would otherwise pay off to refinance.

Benefits of second mortgages

Second mortgages do have their time and place. Home equity loans, for example, can help you achieve a lower interest rate than a typical loan if you have a great deal of equity built in your home. This could make the most financial sense over the long term.

Similarly, a HELOC might be a better option than a credit card for homeowners who don’t have a credit score high enough to land them a good interest rate.




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Posted by RE/MAX Advantage I on 8/23/2018

As a first-time home seller, it is important to avoid shortcuts. By doing so, this home seller may be better equipped than others to reduce the risk of accepting a "lowball" offer on his or her residence.

A lowball offer is something that every home seller would like to avoid. Yet a home seller who lacks real estate knowledge and insights may struggle to identify a lowball offer, particularly if he or she is listing a residence for the first time.

Ultimately, there is no need for a first-time home seller to settle for a lowball offer. Lucky for you, we're here to teach you how to identify a lowball offer in any real estate market, at any time.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help a first-time home seller identify and address a lowball offer on his or her residence.

1. Learn About the Housing Market

The housing market often fluctuates, and a real estate sector that favors home sellers today may morph into one that favors homebuyers tomorrow. As such, a first-time home seller should allocate the necessary time and resources to monitor real estate market patterns and trends closely.

To learn about the housing market, it is essential to analyze available houses in your city or town. Furthermore, don't forget to assess available houses that are similar to your own.

Housing market data can provide pivotal insights that a home seller can use to stir up substantial interest in his or her residence. Plus, these insights can help a home seller establish a competitive price for a home, thereby reducing the risk of receiving a lowball offer on his or her house.

2. Understand Your Home's Value

For first-time home sellers who want to avoid lowball offers, a home appraisal is ideal. In fact, a home appraisal can make it simple for a first-time home seller to understand what his or her property is worth based on its current condition.

As part of a home appraisal, a property inspector will assess a house both inside and out. After the appraisal is completed, the inspector will provide a home seller with a report that outlines his or her findings. Then, a home seller can use the report findings to review a house's strengths and weaknesses and complete home improvements as needed.

A home appraisal can help a home seller uncover ways to bolster a house's interior and exterior. In addition, the appraisal can provide insights that highlight a home's true value and help a home seller minimize the risk that he or she will accept a lowball proposal.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A first-time home seller may be uncertain about how to proceed with an offer. Fortunately, real estate agents can provide unparalleled insights into the housing market and help home sellers make informed decisions.

In most instances, a real estate agent is happy to discuss an offer with a home seller. This housing market professional can offer honest, unbiased home selling recommendations to ensure a home seller can differentiate between a lowball offer and a strong proposal as well.

Avoid the danger of accepting a lowball offer on a residence – use the aforementioned tips, and a first-time home seller will be better equipped than ever before to accept the best proposal for his or her house.




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