Lynn Rand's Blog
If you intend to list your residence in the near future, you might believe your house is worth more than you originally paid for it. However, there are many factors that impact a house's value, and these factors include:
1. The Current State of the Real Estate Market
The housing market can vary from city to city, town to town and state to state. So it's generally a good idea to analyze the local real estate climate. You then can use housing market data to determine whether the current real estate climate favors buyers or sellers.
In a buyer's market, there is typically an abundance of quality houses. Meanwhile, a seller likely will need to dedicate time and resources to differentiate his or her home from the competition in a buyer's market. A seller will also want to hire a real estate agent who can help them navigate the challenges of listing a residence in a buyer's market.
Comparatively, in a seller's market, a seller has a golden opportunity to maximize their house sale earnings. In this market, there is usually a shortage of first-rate houses, and homes may sell shortly after they become available. If the market is currently favoring sellers, you may be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a seamless house selling experience.
2. Your Home's Condition
Over the years, you may have committed substantial time and resources to upgrade your residence both inside and out. As such, if you list your home now, your residence may be worth more than you initially paid for it.
On the other hand, if your home has its fair share of problems, these issues may negatively affect its value. But if you upgrade your house before you list it, you could improve your house's value accordingly.
Of course, a home appraisal may help you verify the current value of your residence based on its condition, the housing market, and other factors. During a house appraisal, a property expert will analyze your residence both inside and out. They will provide you with an appraisal report that can help you determine how to price your house.
3. The Economy
Economic fluctuations are common across the United States, and the present state of the national economy may have far-flung effects on your house's value.
For example, a thriving economy may lead people to pursue their dreams of owning a house. In this economy, a seller who lists a top-notch house could reap the benefits of a fast, profitable home selling experience.
Conversely, in a fledgling economy, the number of home sellers may exceed the number of homebuyers. In this scenario, sellers will need to work diligently to promote their residences to the right groups of potential buyers and price their residences competitively.
Consider these factors as you get set to list your home. By doing so, you can analyze your home's value and explore ways to boost the likelihood of getting the best price for your residence.
If you’re finding that your finances are a bit tighter these days, you might need to adjust your budget a bit. Have you ever thought about alternatives in helping you to pay your mortgage? There’s a few things that you might be able to do in your home to save a few bucks and be more comfortable with your budget and finances.
Share The Space
This might sound crazy, but it works for many people. If you’re willing to share your living space with others, it could help you to make a dent in your mortgage. This works especially well if you have a home with a separate entrance like an in-law apartment or something similar.
Make Adjustments To Your Expenses
There are many different costs that come along with owning a home. If you reduce some of these expenses, you’ll be able to cut your overall spending. You don’t need to completely adjust your entire way of living to do this. Some ideas:
- Cut the cord on cable and install streaming devices
- Go on a family cell phone plan
- Skip the gym membership
- Use public transportation
- Cook at home instead of eating out
- Use coupons
Put Tax Refunds To Good Use
If you normally get a tax refund, you can apply that money to your mortgage instead of using it to buy something else. You could also adjust your withholdings. This would allow you to get a bit more money in your paycheck each week. You’ll get less of a refund during tax time, but the extra money may help you to pay down bills throughout the year.
Pay More Towards The Principal
To make the most of your hard-earned savings, use your money wisely and pay down the mortgage faster. Just be sure that there’s no penalty for a prepayment of the loan. You can either make an extra loan payment each month or you can pay a bit over what you owe on the mortgage each month. If you pay the mortgage faster, you’ll save potentially thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan. You’ll need to check with your mortgage company to see what their process is for paying more towards the principal of the loan. Keep in mind that the first few years‘ worth of your mortgage payments will be going towards interest unless you specify extra payments to go elsewhere.
Whether you’d like a little more of a financial cushion or are just looking to get rid of all those pesky monthly bills, it’s never a bad idea to focus on paying your mortgage down as quickly as possible.
Every industry has its specific vocabulary. Real estate is no exception. If you are new to the home-buying market, you may find yourself stumped by the abbreviations, lingo, acronyms, and unfamiliar jargon commonly used in real estate sales materials, online listings, contracts, and the like. Do not be confused. Learn the terms so you can read that paperwork with ease. Abatement is a real estate term with which you need to become familiar.
In standard legal terms, abatement means the removal or diminishment of something. In residential real estate, this term usually refers to property tax in the form of a property tax abatement. Since property taxes become ongoing annual homeowner expenses even after you entirely pay off a mortgage, being able to access a property tax abatement is an asset. For example, if a municipality such as a city, county, state, or other property-tax entity offers you a tax reduction, it could reduce the monthly housing costs by up to five percent during the period of abatement.
Property tax abatement programs can make it easier to qualify for a larger mortgage by reducing your income/debt to housing cost ratio. Also, while the reduction is effective, it adds value to your home when you're ready to put it on the market.
Certain tax abatements are for one-time improvements to an existing property. These could be for upgrades such as:
- Converting non-residential buildings to residential use
- Installing environmentally friendly additions
- Renovations that increase property value
Typically, these improvements must conform to the requirements, and follow building codes and permitting processes. If you've planned to purchase a home for renovation purposes, make sure that your agent knows so that you get advice on any reductions in effect for the houses you consider.
Along with state or local abatements, there are some federal tax incentives for restoration and preservation of homes designated as historical or with public value. Other abatements may be for qualified newly constructed homes.
Some municipalities have property tax abatements that are effective for several years. Most often these are in place to attract buyers to redeveloping neighborhoods or areas that are under renewal, in the process of revitalization, or are in lower demand. The specific qualification requirements for tax abatements differ, so be sure to talk with your agent about access to potential abatements when house-hunting.
Asbestos and Lead-Paint
Other uses for the term abatement relating to real estate include some expenses associated with buying an older property or a property's repurposing from commercial to residential. For example, when purchasing a home built prior to 1978, any renovations or improvements might need to conform to lead paint abatement requirements. A potential abatement cost is for asbestos removal. Before the 1970s, asbestos featured regularly as insulation in ducts and pipes, concrete exterior siding, floor tiles, as vermiculite attic insulation, in wall or ceiling acoustical tiles. The Environmental Protection Agency oversees asbestos removal, so if you plan to make changes to a property older than the 70s, your realtor can help you navigate all the requirements of asbestos abatement and may recommend qualified professional asbestos removal contractors. Certain older homes might be eligible for asbestos or lead paint removal grants.
Your agent can help you determine for which programs the home you are considering buying might qualify. Be sure to ask them about both tax abatements and asbestos or lead paint abatement grant programs.
If you want to maximize your home sale profits, it generally is a good idea to conduct a property appraisal before you list your residence. That way, you can receive a property valuation from an expert home appraiser. And with this property valuation in hand, you can set a competitive initial asking price for your residence.
A home appraisal may prove to be a stressful experience, particularly for a seller who is unsure about the value of his or her house. Lucky for you, we're here to provide insights into the home appraisal process and ensure that you can prepare for this evaluation.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you approach a house appraisal with confidence.
1. Understand How a Home Appraisal Works
Although you've allocated significant time and resources to upgrade your house, it is important to remember that the condition of your residence is one of several factors that a home appraiser considers. In fact, an appraiser will evaluate the current state of the housing market, the prices of comparable houses in your area and other factors to provide an accurate property valuation.
Oftentimes, it helps to work with a real estate agent if you plan to sell your home. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive immediate responses to any of your home appraisal concerns and questions.
2. Establish Realistic Expectations for Your Home
Let's face it – what you initially paid for your house is unlikely to match your residence's current value. If you set realistic expectations for your residence prior to an appraisal, you may be better equipped than ever before to accept the evaluation results.
It may be beneficial to look at the prices of houses in your area prior to an appraisal. This information can help you understand whether the housing market currently favors buyers or sellers – a factor that may influence the valuation of your house from an appraisal.
3. Explore Ways to Boost Your Home's Value
There are always options to bolster a house's exterior and interior. Therefore, following an appraisal, you should plan to complete home repairs that could help enhance your house's value.
As you search for ways to upgrade your residence, you may want to reach out to a real estate agent too. This housing market professional can offer recommendations and tips to help you improve your residence, even if you're working on a tight budget.
Of course, a real estate agent provides extensive assistance throughout the home selling journey. He or she will promote your residence to prospective buyers and host home showings and open house events. And if you receive an offer to purchase your house, a real estate agent will help you determine the best course of action.
Ready to conduct a home appraisal? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of a successful house appraisal that leads to a fast, profitable home selling experience.
The concept of a starter home is an American tradition that has existed for decades. Buying a starter home makes it possible to achieve homeownership, financial independence, and to build equity and credit while you transition to a larger home.
However, your first home doesn’t need to be a tiny, one-bedroom house with none of the amenities that you want.
In today’s post, we’re going to look at some of the things that are desirable in a first home or starter home, so that you can make the best financial decision now that will help you save more in the long run.
Top things to look for in your first home
1. Resale value
Perhaps the most important thing to think about when buying your first home is the day that you eventually decide to sell it and upgrade. There’s a lot that goes into the purchase value of a home. But, if you maintain the home or even make some upgrades, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to sell it for more than you paid.
Other factors that affect resale value are the location and real estate market trends. While you may not be able to change the economy, you can choose to buy a home that is in a location others will find desirable in the coming years.
The cost of your first home will be determined by its location, as mentioned before, but another huge factor will be the size or square-footage of the home and yard.
If you don’t plan on having children in the next few years and don’t currently have kids at home, having several bedrooms and a large backyard probably aren’t huge priorities. This means you’ll be able to save by buying a small home on a small property.
Similarly, if it’s just you and a significant other living in the home, you may be comfortable with just one bathroom for the next few years. These omissions can save you a ton of money on your first starter home.
3. Transportation and proximity
Typically, when people buy their first home they are just getting settled into their career and may still change jobs a few times. Most workers in today’s economy change jobs between 10 and 15 times throughout their career and do so more often toward the beginning.
This means it will make sense for you to buy your first home within commuting distances to companies in your industry.
4. DIY and fixer-uppers
Homes that are in need of repairs or renovations can be a great way to save money and see a return on your investment when you decide to sell. Of course, there are limits to how many repairs are reasonable while still getting your money’s worth from a home.
You’ll know from your home inspection or by doing a walk-through with professional contractors how much work is required to bring the home up to standards. Use those resources to ensure that you’re making a sound financial decision for your first home.