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Fixer Upper Tips

5/19/2017

Home prices have been rising for five years, and spring sales are outpacing last year, according to the National Association of REALTORS.® When it’s harder for buyers to find the perfect home, what’s a great strategy? Buy a fixer upper!

There are real advantages to buying a home that needs work. Unloved or outdated homes don’t attract as many buyers, allowing you to mine the gold under the dirt. You’re getting the home at a discount compared with the rest of the neighborhood. You’re not paying top dollar for someone else’s improvements and you can make the home your own. You’ll wow your friends and family with the result.

Shop for the best neighborhood you can afford. Look for the worst home in the best neighborhood. Usually that home is older, smaller and not as well maintained as other homes. You’ll build instant equity when you improve the curb appeal, so the home looks like it belongs with its neighbors.

Ignore the cosmetics. Don’t stress over ugly paint, shag carpet or gingerbread trim. Your Berkshire Hathaway Home Services network professional can help you distinguish features that matter and which are easy to change.

Consider the bones. You need to know whether or not you can open a kitchen to the den or add on a bathroom or other square footage. These updates can be costly but they add value to the home. Talk to your lender about loans that pay for remodeling such as FHA's 203(k) program or Fannie's HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage.

The Joy of Older Homes

3/26/2017

If you’re planning to buy your first home in 2017, chances are good it will be an older home. The latest American Housing Survey (AHS) showed that 41% of housing stock in the U.S. was built prior to 1969 and that the median age of owner-occupied homes was 37 years.

In most areas, smaller pre-war Tudor cottages, Craftsman bungalows, and mid-century ranches comprise many older homes. Each style has its own charm.

  1. The fairy-tale Tudor revival. The English Tudor revives late medieval architecture popularized during the House of Tudor reign, a period of unequaled enlightenment known for political reformation and the Renaissance. Late Gothic and ecclesiastical influences include charming leaded and stained glass windows, steep-pitch cathedral ceilings, arched doorways and exposed wood beams.
  2. The solid and home-y Craftsman bungalow. Popular as the middle-class retort to the fussy, formal Victorian style, the Craftsman ushered in minimalism, thanks to Frank Lloyd Wright and others. Craftsman homes celebrate wood, stone, iron, ceramic and glass artistry, with wood floors and wainscoting, large windows, built-in cabinets and hand-made Art Nouveau tiles.
  3. The automobile-loving Ranch. The mid-century ranch helped post-World War II families move to the sprawling suburbs while they commuted back to the city for work. Built with speed, ranch-style homes typically have no load-bearing walls in the interior of the home, making them easy and inexpensive to remodel. Get your atomic décor on with low-slung furniture, sputnik light fixtures and abstract art.

No matter which older home you choose, knowing a little history should bring you added enjoyment.

Jason Lash
Team Lead and Associate Broker
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate
616-447-7045
http://www.GRHomes.Net

Tags:

Ada Homes for Sale
 Byron Center Homes for Sale Caledonia Homes for Sale Cedar Springs Homes for Sale Comstock Park Homes for Sale  East Grand Homes for Sale Forest Hills Homes for Sale Grandville Homes for Sale Grand Haven Homes for Sale  Grand Rapids Condos for Sale Grand Rapids Homes for Sale Greenville Homes for Sale Holland Homes for Sale Hudsonville Homes for Sale Jenison Homes for Sale Kent City Homes for Sale Kalamazoo Homes for Sale Kentwood Homes for Sale Lakefront Homes for Sale  Lake Michigan Homes for Sale Lowell Homes for Sale Newaygo Homes for Sale Muskegon Condos for Sale Norton Shores Homes for Sale Paw Paw Homes for Sale  Portage Homes for Sale Rockford Homes for Sale Sparta Homes for Sale Vicksburg Homes for Sale

Clutter Free Counter Tops

2/16/2017

Today's kitchens are filled with all kinds of gastronomical gadgets, but if you want to show your kitchen to its fullest advantage, here are five ways to keep clutter down:

  1. Store unused equipment. Which appliances do you use the most? Chances are they’re not vegetable curlers or pasta makers. Store those appliances somewhere else, such as a butler’s pantry, food pantry or the garage.
  2. Build an appliance garage. Many cabinetmakers offer an appliance garage that can be closed when not in use. You can also customize an appliance garage to extend the length of the counter.
  3. Update appliances. If you need a microwave, get one that’s also a convection oven. Commercial-grade mixers have attachments that can make pasta and knead bread. The newest coffee machines can make tea, hot chocolate and all kinds of coffee shop specialty brews.
  4. Mount what you can. Under cabinet mounting is easy to install. Paper towel racks, electric can openers, and task lighting can all be mounted under the cabinets to free up counter space. Throw out smelly dishrags and sponges, and store fresh cleaning aids in caddies under the sink.
  5. Invest in organizers. Corner cabinets can be better utilized with swing out organizers. Drawers on rollers allow better access to all your storage. One charging station should serve multiple devices. Try installing one in the hall or utility room.

Once your kitchen is better organized, you’ll find it easier to prepare for showings and buyers will have an easier time seeing the kitchen’s best features.

Talking to Your Children About Moving

1/10/2017

So the new school year is just around the corner.  Or you're moving in the middle of the school season. It is extremely important to prepare your children for the new neighborhood, school system, and life style.

Before you sit down to talk to your children about the upcoming move, prepare a comforting strategy:

  1. Keep your children updated as to what is happening and what is likely to happen next.
  2. Explain the advantages in the move. For example, it will be closer to family, less commute to work so the parents can be home more, new job or activity, etc. 
  3. Talk about the new home and be as positive as possible.  Share about the new bedrooms, bathrooms, play area, yard, etc. 
  4. Show your kids the new home online and in person.  Also show them where the local schools, parks, and other points of interests are. 
  5. Be ready for complicated questions.  Make sure they know they will still be able to keep in contact with their old friends, play the same sports, and do the same activities.  

Your preparedness will go a long way in reassuring your children that their needs are being considered, even while big changes are happening around them as your family prepares to move into a new home.

Jason Lash
Team Lead and Associate Broker
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate
616-447-7045
http://www.GRHomes.Net

Tags:

Ada Homes for Sale
 Byron Center Homes for Sale Caledonia Homes for Sale Cedar Springs Homes for Sale Comstock Park Homes for Sale  East Grand Homes for Sale Forest Hills Homes for Sale Grandville Homes for Sale Grand Haven Homes for Sale  Grand Rapids Condos for Sale Grand Rapids Homes for Sale Greenville Homes for Sale Holland Homes for Sale Hudsonville Homes for Sale Jenison Homes for Sale Kent City Homes for Sale Kalamazoo Homes for Sale Kentwood Homes for Sale Lakefront Homes for Sale  Lake Michigan Homes for Sale Lowell Homes for Sale Newaygo Homes for Sale Muskegon Condos for Sale Norton Shores Homes for Sale Paw Paw Homes for Sale  Portage Homes for Sale Rockford Homes for Sale Sparta Homes for Sale Vicksburg Homes for Sale

Is a Low Price or Low Interest Rate Better?

12/20/2016

As home prices are experiencing a seasonal slow down and mortgage rates are still low (although they have gone up in the last month).  Should buyers wait for home prices to go lower or jump on deals before the mortgage rates go up?

Here are a few things you should consider:

  • If you buy a home at $400,000 and put 10% down, with a 30 year rate at 3.5% your payment will be $1,617. If you keep the mortgage for the entire term, you’ll pay $221,962 in interest.
  • However, the same home at 4% will raise your payment to $1,719.  You will pay a total of $258,730 in interest over the life of the loan. The difference in interest payments alone is $36,768.
  • If you’re able to buy the home you want for five percent less ($380,000 less 10 percent down) and 3.5% interest, your payment would be $1,536, $81 less per month than in example one.
  • You’re able to buy the home for $380,000, but in the meanwhile, mortgage rates go to 5%. Your monthly payment is $1,633, $97 more per month than if you’d purchased at 3.5 percent.

As rates continue to go up, so will the cost of your next home.  In a lot of cases, it is cheaper to jump on a lower mortgage rate than it is to get the price of the home down.  Take advantage of slowing prices and low interest rates while they’re both available. Happy home hunting!

Jason Lash
Team Lead and Associate Broker
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate
616-447-7045
http://www.GRHomes.Net

Tags:

Ada Homes for Sale
 Byron Center Homes for Sale Caledonia Homes for Sale Cedar Springs Homes for Sale Comstock Park Homes for Sale  East Grand Homes for Sale Forest Hills Homes for Sale Grandville Homes for Sale Grand Haven Homes for Sale  Grand Rapids Condos for Sale Grand Rapids Homes for Sale Greenville Homes for Sale Holland Homes for Sale Hudsonville Homes for Sale Jenison Homes for Sale Kent City Homes for Sale Kalamazoo Homes for Sale Kentwood Homes for Sale Lakefront Homes for Sale  Lake Michigan Homes for Sale Lowell Homes for Sale Newaygo Homes for Sale Muskegon Condos for Sale Norton Shores Homes for Sale Paw Paw Homes for Sale  Portage Homes for Sale Rockford Homes for Sale Sparta Homes for Sale Vicksburg Homes for Sale

How to Market Your Home During the Holidays

12/14/2016

The holidays can be an ideal time to market a home. Families spend more time together, and sellers making a move during fall and early winter tend to be highly motivated.

Also, companies transfer employees according to need, and January is one of the busiest times of the year. When relocating transferees often have only a few weeks to find a home so make sure your house stands out with a few well-placed holiday decorations.

This may not be the year to put up a big tree because it can make a room appear cramped. One of the top reasons why buyers choose a home is to have more space so let them look around without stepping around gift packages or avoiding fragile ornaments.

If you want a live tree, make sure it’s watered so the tree won’t turn brown or drop needles. Use fresh garlands to decorate mantles and doorways, and you can throw them away after the season.

Your time is best spent cleaning, staging and packing nonessentials in preparation for moving. Your home will show better and you’ll feel less stress if you don’t take on too much.

Jason Lash
Team Lead and Associate Broker
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate
616-447-7045
http://www.GRHomes.Net

Tags:

Ada Homes for Sale
 Byron Center Homes for Sale Caledonia Homes for Sale Cedar Springs Homes for Sale Comstock Park Homes for Sale  East Grand Homes for Sale Forest Hills Homes for Sale Grandville Homes for Sale Grand Haven Homes for Sale  Grand Rapids Condos for Sale Grand Rapids Homes for Sale Greenville Homes for Sale Holland Homes for Sale Hudsonville Homes for Sale Jenison Homes for Sale Kent City Homes for Sale Kalamazoo Homes for Sale Kentwood Homes for Sale Lakefront Homes for Sale  Lake Michigan Homes for Sale Lowell Homes for Sale Newaygo Homes for Sale Muskegon Condos for Sale Norton Shores Homes for Sale Paw Paw Homes for Sale  Portage Homes for Sale Rockford Homes for Sale Sparta Homes for Sale Vicksburg Homes for Sale

Should You Buy A "Fixer Upper"?

11/25/2016

Everyone wants a home that reflects the owners taste and style. But sometimes it isn’t possible to find that “perfect home” and the next home isn’t exactly what a buyer wants. For these buyers choosing a “fixer-upper” is a compelling argument.

However, a lot of buyers don’t have the patience or experience to do a remodel. And because of the cost, some people might be hesitant to hire a builder or a contractor. Others just simply don’t have the vision of what the home could be.

The national median sales price for new homes was $284,000 and $240,200 for existing homes. Average market time in the West Michigan Real Estate market was just a few weeks in some local markets. 

A lot of home buyers will pay top dollar if the home is in “move-in ready” condition.  As opposed to a home that needs work.  However, it might be easier to negotiate a better deal for a home that does need some renovations.   

If buyers have the ability or “stomach” to purchase a home that needs work, they might be able to find a home in a more expensive neighborhood. Purchasing what might be a less desirable home in a neighborhood that is in high demand could be a great long term investment.  Their home might not be the most impressive home in the neighborhood, but the marketability for the area will bring the value of their home.

If you are thinking of purchasing a home, please contact The Lash Group at 616-447-7045. Or you can search for homes by using the search feature on the top of the screen.

Jason Lash
Team Lead and Associate Broker
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate
616-447-7045
http://www.GRHomes.Net

Tags:

Ada Homes for Sale
 Byron Center Homes for Sale Caledonia Homes for Sale Cedar Springs Homes for Sale Comstock Park Homes for Sale  East Grand Homes for Sale Forest Hills Homes for Sale Grandville Homes for Sale Grand Haven Homes for Sale  Grand Rapids Condos for Sale Grand Rapids Homes for Sale Greenville Homes for Sale Holland Homes for Sale Hudsonville Homes for Sale Jenison Homes for Sale Kent City Homes for Sale Kalamazoo Homes for Sale Kentwood Homes for Sale Lakefront Homes for Sale  Lake Michigan Homes for Sale Lowell Homes for Sale Newaygo Homes for Sale Muskegon Condos for Sale Norton Shores Homes for Sale Paw Paw Homes for Sale  Portage Homes for Sale Rockford Homes for Sale Sparta Homes for Sale Vicksburg Homes for Sale

How to Stage a Small Home

11/18/2016

One of the biggest reasons why home buyers buy a new home is for more space. So if you are trying to sell a smaller home, here are a few tips.

Bring in as much light as possible. Reflective surfaces such as mirrors or polished floors can bounce more light and make the rooms look bigger and brighter. Glass-topped tables look light and show more of the floor, which makes any space look larger.

Raise your curtain rods as high as possible and replace those heavy drapes with lighter fabric, blinds, or shutters. Try to avoid letting the drapes touch the floor.

Limit the number of pieces of furniture if possible.  

If they are available, use your built-in bookcases, cabinets and entertainment areas to help you save space. Do what ever it takes to limit what is on the floor and counter-tops. 

Try to reduce the clutter if possible.  Pack and store up out-of-season clothes, collectibles, and anything else that creates clutter.

By showing your home at its best, the right buyer will see the beauty of a small space.

Jason Lash
Team Lead and Associate Broker
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate
616-447-7045
http://www.GRHomes.Net

Tags:

Ada Homes for Sale
 Byron Center Homes for Sale Caledonia Homes for Sale Cedar Springs Homes for Sale Comstock Park Homes for Sale  East Grand Homes for Sale Forest Hills Homes for Sale Grandville Homes for Sale Grand Haven Homes for Sale  Grand Rapids Condos for Sale Grand Rapids Homes for Sale Greenville Homes for Sale Holland Homes for Sale Hudsonville Homes for Sale Jenison Homes for Sale Kent City Homes for Sale Kalamazoo Homes for Sale Kentwood Homes for Sale Lakefront Homes for Sale  Lake Michigan Homes for Sale Lowell Homes for Sale Newaygo Homes for Sale Muskegon Condos for Sale Norton Shores Homes for Sale Paw Paw Homes for Sale  Portage Homes for Sale Rockford Homes for Sale Sparta Homes for Sale Vicksburg Homes for Sale

CMA vs. Appraisal

11/10/2016

Establishing the properties market price is equally important to sellers, lenders, buyers, and real estate agents. To help with this, real estate agents and appraisers usually use information from the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS

One of the biggest misconceptions is the MLS is used just for marketing.  While it does greatly help market the home, it is also a member-based cooperative that provides a ton of information that includes listings, homes that have sold, historical data, market trends and much more.  Real Estate agents use this information not only to help accurately price a home, but to predict how quickly homes are selling and at what percent to list price.

This data is used to create “Comparative Market Analysis” (CMA) reports to help sellers decide on a listing price for their property and also help buyers decide how much of an offer they want to make. The CMA report usually includes recent sold properties that have similar characteristics to the subject property.

Appraisals are usually ordered by the bank and uses similar data.  However, there are some differences. An appraisal generally by a licensed appraiser to determine how much the lender should base the mortgage on. Appraisals use similar homes that would be in a CMA.  But they base the appraised value off slightly different information.

In short, a CMA determines what a home should sell for.  An appraisal is information that the bank uses to determine if the property is financeable.  These two numbers could be exactly the same or could be very different.  Before you put your home for sale or buy a home, it is extremely important to have a CMA and let the lender order their own appraisal.

Jason Lash
Team Lead and Associate Broker
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate
616-447-7045
http://www.GRHomes.Net

Tags:

Ada Homes for Sale
 Byron Center Homes for Sale Caledonia Homes for Sale Cedar Springs Homes for Sale Comstock Park Homes for Sale  East Grand Homes for Sale Forest Hills Homes for Sale Grandville Homes for Sale Grand Haven Homes for Sale  Grand Rapids Condos for Sale Grand Rapids Homes for Sale Greenville Homes for Sale Holland Homes for Sale Hudsonville Homes for Sale Jenison Homes for Sale Kent City Homes for Sale Kalamazoo Homes for Sale Kentwood Homes for Sale Lakefront Homes for Sale  Lake Michigan Homes for Sale Lowell Homes for Sale Newaygo Homes for Sale Muskegon Condos for Sale Norton Shores Homes for Sale Paw Paw Homes for Sale  Portage Homes for Sale Rockford Homes for Sale Sparta Homes for Sale Vicksburg Homes for Sale

 

What is a "Reverse Mortgage"?

11/1/2016

The FHA-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, was signed into law on February 5, 1988 by then President Ronald Regan.

It is very easy to qualify for a Reverse Mortgage. The biggest requirements is generally the home owner has to be at least 62 years old and the primary residence.  The home has to be a 1 to 4 unit property.  Manufactured homes and condos may also qualify.

Other “general” guidelines are that the borrower must have enough residual income to cover monthly expenses including taxes and insurance.  Also, the borrower must have a 12 month history of making all of their installment debt payments in the last 12 months and have no more than two 30 day late payments on their mortgage.

The amount the loan is usually between 50% to 60% loan to value.  To determine the maximum LTV, the underwriters will review the borrower’s age, and the area that the home is located.

Borrowers will receive the funds in four ways:

  • One lump sum
  • Monthly payments (similar to an annuity)
  • Line of Credit
  • Or any combination of the above

Usually closing costs and liens are paid off with the mortgage. 

If you use the line of credit, the “credit option” accrues growth and the unused line will grow.  The borrower can potentially gain access to more cash over time. 

It is important to note that this is a “loan” and the IRS does not consider this income.  Also, this should not impact any social security benefits.

In 2008 they released a program that allowed potential home buyers to use a Reverse Mortgage to purchase a primary residence. This was designed to allow the elderly home buyers to purchase a new principal residence and obtain a reverse mortgage within a single transaction by eliminating the need for a second closing.

With reverse mortgage there are no required monthly payments so the life style of the borrower is similar to a home paid off.  The loan is not due payable until the last borrower sells the house, or fails to live in the home for a period greater than 12 months, the borrower fails to pay the property taxes or insurance, the borrower transfers the title to a non-borrower, or the condition of the home significantly deteriorates.  This is when the borrower will have to either refinance the mortgage, sell the home, or pay it off with their own funds.

It is important to note that a reverse mortgage is a “non-recourse” loan.  This means that the only asset that can be used to repay the loan is the home itself.  If there isn’t enough equity in the home to “settle up” the loan balance, the FHA mortgage insurance covers the rest.

Jason Lash
Team Lead and Associate Broker
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate
616-447-7045
http://www.GRHomes.Net

Tags:

Ada Homes for Sale
 Byron Center Homes for Sale Caledonia Homes for Sale Cedar Springs Homes for Sale Comstock Park Homes for Sale  East Grand Homes for Sale Forest Hills Homes for Sale Grandville Homes for Sale Grand Haven Homes for Sale  Grand Rapids Condos for Sale Grand Rapids Homes for Sale Greenville Homes for Sale Holland Homes for Sale Hudsonville Homes for Sale Jenison Homes for Sale Kent City Homes for Sale Kalamazoo Homes for Sale Kentwood Homes for Sale Lakefront Homes for Sale  Lake Michigan Homes for Sale Lowell Homes for Sale Newaygo Homes for Sale Muskegon Condos for Sale Norton Shores Homes for Sale Paw Paw Homes for Sale  Portage Homes for Sale Rockford Homes for Sale Sparta Homes for Sale Vicksburg Homes for Sale

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