January 18 2019

4 Major Mistakes to avoid when buying home

by Erin

woman with keys in hand

Without doing your research, it may seem like the only major step in the home buying process is to find the home of your dreams.  There is so much more to the journey of becoming a new homeowner and it can be easy to make a few mistakes along the way.  Here are 4 major mistakes to avoid when purchasing your first home.  

 

1. Emptying your savings 

You’ve worked hard for your money and worked even harder to save every dime for the ultimate goal of one day purchasing a new home.  Where would your finances be if every penny went into your new home purchase and you were forced to begin the process of saving all over again?

 

Be sure to save enough money to cover both the expected and unexpected costs of buying your first home.  This will include your down payment, closing costs, moving expenses, and cost of possible repairs. Don’t rush the process of buying a home if you are not ready financially.  Take your time to become financially prepared and save as much as you can. This is a lifetime investment.  You should be able to have a little breathing room when it’s all said and done.  Who wants to eat Top Ramen in their brand new gourmet kitchen?

 

2. Not taking advantage of first-time home buyer programs

First time home buyer programs can provide you with so much knowledge prior to going through the home buying process.  It is very beneficial to spearhead the process head first with as much knowledge as possible. Make sure to take all of the necessary steps to ensure that you are fully equipped to proceed in the home buying process and take advantage of the free recourses that are available to you.

 

3. Thinking a home inspection is not needed

Some buyers want to save a few dollars by not having an official home inspection completed prior to purchasing which in turn puts them in a position where they are actually spending much more than they initially expected. 

Real estate agents see this type of thing happening more often than not.  In today’s climate, many home buyers are more interested in closing in on a home before someone else does.

Avoid falling through a rabbit hole of ongoing repairs because you were blindsided by a nice paint job.  Be sure to include the price of a professional home inspector into your home buying budget so that there are no surprises or hiccups on your journey to becoming a homeowner.  Think about it.  You’ll have to get an inspector either way, so why not start off right. 

 

4. Making decisions based on your emotions

 

House hunting can be a very joyous experience. You can easily fall in love with that claw foot bathtub in the master bathroom or the stainless steel appliances in the gourmet kitchen.  Leading with your emotions rather than common sense and your budget in mind can place you in a difficult position when making wise decisions.  The home may seem perfect at first glance, but there may be underlying issues that may come up down the line that you may not be prepared for. When making decisions based on how you feel rather than what you know, you may find yourself trying to make your budget fit the house rather than the house fit the budget.   You can put yourself in a bind when spending more money than you can actually afford.  Try your best not to allow your emotion to guide these important decisions. 

 

All and all, be mindful of each step you take during your home buying journey.  Be prepared and gain the knowledge it takes to make smart moves when closing the deal on the home of your dreams. 

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December 21 2018

5 Budget Friendly Home Staging Tips to Boost Home Sales

by Erin

master bedroom

Every detail counts when it comes to selling your home. It always helps to be intentional about making your home appealing to potential home buyers. Of course, it always benefits your pockets even more when you can save a few dollars while doing so. Here are 5 budget friendly home staging tips to help boost the sale of your home.

Ensure your home consists of unisex décor throughout

You never who may show up at your door when it’s time for your first open house. Your home should appeal to buyers of both sexes. A home plastered in bubblegum pink might not appeal to everyone that walks through the door. Take the time out to remove certain features that come off as too gender-specific. Paint your walls a neutral color and choose décor and accessories that not only match but complement the design scheme as a whole. Allow potential homebuyers to use their imagination as they walk through the home so that they can see themselves decorating to their liking.

Update your outdated fireplace

The fireplace can be one of those features of your home that can easily be overlooked but can also be a top feature for those looking to buy. At first thought, updating your fireplace may sound time consuming and maybe even expensive, but don’t fret! It’s not as bad as you think. Take the time to remove the fireplace screen and wipe it down really well. After that, grab some soap and water and give the fireplace a much needed scrub. You can spruce up the bricks by grabbing a stone color enhancer to polish them and give them a little shine. Lastly, pick up a can of heat-resistant spray paint in a color that compliments your décor and go to town on the screen you wiped down. A quick coat of paint makes all of the difference. Before you know it, you won’t even recognize your old fireplace and it’ll be a hot selling point.

Update your appliances without the expense

Stainless steel appliances are on almost everyone’s checklist when on the search for a new home. Take your outdated appliances to the next level while on the budget. Don’t worry about purchasing a new dishwasher just for looks. Remove the front panels and clean them. Then pop on a stainless steel stick-on covering after cutting it to size. There you go. Good as new for about 20 bucks!



Make your space a blank canvas and get rid of the clutter

It makes it much more difficult to imagine how you will be living in a space when it is filled with clutter. It can add frustration to the decision making process if buyers cannot see the space entirely. Before showing your home, take the time to declutter and pack up any unnecessary items and even furniture that is taking up space.  The goal is to allow the potential home buyer to see themselves living in your home. Pack up your family photos and put away any keepsakes or memorabilia. Transform any areas of the rooms that heavily themed into more neutral spaces. You want to provide the home buyer with a blank canvas.

Do not neglect the outer appearance

The outside of your home is the very first thing buyers see either online or in person. You want to make sure that you’re offering curb appeal when placing your home up for sale. Plant a few flowers near the entrance way to give a more welcoming and homey feel. Make sure the yard is groomed at all times. No one wants to look at a home with an unkempt yard laced with weeds. Add a fresh coat of paint to your front door and replace doorknobs and doorbells for a more updated look.
 
With these simple tips, you’re sure to score a sale without breaking the bank.

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January 25 2018

How Home Buyers will Search for New Homes in 2018

by racheal

Search New Homes in Denver Under 300K

As consumers spend more and more of their time using smart phones to check their social media platforms, emails and search the web, it was no surprise that Google released mobile-first indexing in December of 2017. For those of you that are unfamiliar with mobile-first indexing, it simply means that the way Google sees or indexes your mobile version of your site is how it will determine to index and most importantly start to rank other versions of your website like desktop and tablet. In other words, your mobile site becomes the primary determination on how your site is ranked across all devises.

With the development of voice search and an increase in mobile use, consumers have evolved how they search the web. According to ComScore, by 2020 half of searches will be made via voice search. Gone are the days when a consumer would type a short keyword query into a Google search bar. Now, consumers simply ask “Siri”, “Alexa”, “Cortana” or whatever device they are using, long keyword phrase of exactly they are looking for. Meaning, "mobile voice searches will use natural language, which means long-tail keyword phrases are more important than ever." says Sherry Bonelli from Search Engine Land.

For homebuilders this means we need to re-think our keyword planning. Instead of optimizing for “new homes Denver”, we should start to think what a homebuyer would ask in a voice search, such as “new homes Denver under 300k”. While “new homes Denver” may have a larger number of search queries then “new homes Denver under 300k”, the longer keyword term delivers higher quality traffic. "Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase or when they're using voice search." according to WordStream. The homebuyer searching for a specific price range is further down the sales funnel then a buyer that is just starting out and not quite knowing exactly what they are looking for. Being found for long-tail keywords not only helps you gain traffic from voice search, but it also helps deliver higher quality leads.

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May 20 2016

15 Tips for First Time Homebuyers

by racheal

First Time Homebuyers

When buying your first home, there are a lot of unknowns and it is easy to get caught up in a situation you are not prepared for. Here are fifteen tips that will guide you to making smart decisions on the purchase of your first home.

1. Loan
The preapproval process for a home loan is an important step when buying a home as it will let you know how much you qualify for. However, it takes some time to get the needed documents organized and sent to the loan officer. So make sure the first step you take when buying a new home is getting preapproved. You don’t want to start looking for homes in the $450,000s when it turns out you only qualify for $410,000.

2. House Hunting
Here comes the fun part: searching for your new home. Best advice here, is try to not get overwhelmed. You are going to check out many properties, some you will love, others you will not. It’s very common to get excited about a home, place an offer and get outbid, especially in a booming market. Just remember the perfect home for you is out there, you just have to stay positive.

3. Homeowners Insurance
Once you find out what type of home you are going to be purchasing, whether it be single family, townhome or condo, you will need to start shopping for homeowners insurance. Insurance companies offer different type of homeowners insurance for different types of properties, which is why it is smart to start shopping around for the best rates after you know what type of home you will be purchasing.

4. Open House
If looking to buy a resale home, make sure you don’t visit the home only during the open house viewing. Open houses can be crowded and loud and can cause you to miss details like cracks in the wall or stains on the carpet, as well as traffic noise outside.

5. The Community
Make sure when you are looking for a home to buy, you check out the community as well. Are the neighbors loud? Does the community seem family-friendly? Is there a park nearby for the kids? Is there a grocery store close by? If you commute to work, do you have quick and easy access to the freeway? And remember a home’s appraisal is based on the surrounding homes. You will want to make sure the other homes in the neighborhood are well kept so you can count on your home appreciating in value over time.

6. Think Outside the Box
Let’s face it, if money was no object we all would have the home of our dreams. Unfortunately, that is not the case for many of us. Be willing to compromise. Don’t turn down to view a home just because the exterior is not what you were hoping for or the yard is smaller then what you hoped for. You may miss out on a great floor plan inside.

7. Ask Questions
No one is an expert the first time they do something, and the same thing goes for buying your first home. Don’t be afraid to ask your realtor or new home sales specialist any questions you may have. Chances are they have been asked the same question by a pervious buyer. There are no stupid questions when it comes to the biggest purchase of your life.

8. Warning Signs
In real estate, there is an unspoken rule that if a home has 3 unfixable flaws, a homebuyer should walk away. Say a home has airport noise, no street parking and is in a flood zone. DO NOT PURCHASE THIS HOME!

Home Staging

9. Staging
There is a reason why staged homes sell quicker and for more money. They highlight a home’s attributes. But, you can be missing out on a hidden gem if you bypass a home because the house is cluttered and un-staged. Look past a home’s furnishings and pay attention to the little details like molding, fixtures and floor plan.

10. Placing an Offer
When you find the home you have been looking for and are ready to place an offer, talk to your agent about the absolute max price you are willing to pay. Then place an offer below that value and include anything you want the seller to contribute towards escrow or in the sale of the home. For example, you can ask they include the refrigerator and washer dryer or that they pay for the inspection. This will give you negotiating power if they come back with a higher offer.

11. Negotiations
We all want to feel like the one walking away with the best deal. But you will save in the long run if you let the seller win. When you place your first offer ask for more than what you are expecting to get (see tip 10). That way, when the seller counters, you can take off some items you where demanding for in the first offer, but really never expected to get. That way it seems like you are willing to compromise, and that will make the seller less likely to come back again with another counter offer after you already negotiated to meet their demands.

12. Non-Fixtures
Anything not attached permanently to the property like appliances, hot tubs and even potted trees are not fixtures and not included in the sale of the home. If you want any non-fixtures included in the sale of the home, make sure it is said so in the contract.

13. Inspections
While a home inspection can be a financial burden, especially to a first time homebuyer, it’s an investment you do not want to pass up. You don’t want to purchase a home and find out a year later the foundation is cracking and the repair cost is a fortune. Instead, pay for the inspection and if any major damage comes up, you can ask the seller to lower the cost of the home accordingly.

14. Closing Costs
The cost of closing catches many first time homebuyers off guard. You will not only be responsible for the down payment, but you may have to pay prepaid interest, escrow fees and transfer tax fees. Ask your lender for a list of all the upfront cost you are required to pay.

15. Moving
Here is list of items needing to be accomplished for an easy move:

A) Start packing — it takes FOREVER (well it seems like that). Make sure to take your time and label each box with its items and what room it belongs in. Keep your clothes on the hangers to save both packing and unpacking time.
B) Book your mover.
C) Contact the post office to forward your mail to the new address.
    a. Make sure when you receive the forwarded mail you contact the sender and give them your new address.
D) Give the DMV your new address.
E) Donate any food, clothes or furniture that you do not want to take with you to your new home.

Now go and conquer the American dream of home ownership!

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March 24 2016

Design Trends Builders Should Know About

by racheal

Open kitchen

It is important for homebuilders to stay on top of the latest design trends, since homebuyer preferences are constantly changing. Here’s what builders need to know about the designs motivating new homebuyers in 2016.

Two trends builders need to incorporate in their homes designs in 2016:

1.    Gone is the day of separating the kitchen, dining room and family room. Here to stay is the open floor plan. Great rooms and open kitchen designs have been a growing trend for some time now. The kitchen is now the center point for entertaining and has become somewhat of a new living area. Islands have replaced the traditional dining tables for family gathering at meal time.

2.    The second trend incorporates the first. Indoor/outdoor rooms are becoming a norm in 2016. Buyers are showing high demand for kitchens that flow seamlessly to outdoor rooms. Separated normally by bi-folding doors from an open kitchen, outdoor rooms are large enough for dining tables or an extra living space. Builders should have options available for buyers to choose from appliances and upgrades that work with this outdoor space.

Tips for builders when designing a kitchen

There are two words for homebuilders to keep in mind when designing their kitchens: “open” and “simple”.

Homeowners want an open kitchen with modern touches that make their life simpler. Builders can accomplish this by dedicating one wall for appliances for easy flow during cooking and cleaning. Building floor-to-ceiling cabinets will continue the open floor plan feel, yet will meet the need for storage space. Including the highly demanded long island will allow for extra storage space as well as for a gathering area for family and friends. Include windows wherever possible within the kitchen to increase natural light.

Incorporating indoor/outdoor rooms and open kitchens when designing new homes can make a huge impact on a home’s aesthetics. Builders will need to meet these needs to stay in tuned with their buyers.

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