Is Summer or Winter the Best Season to Buy a Home?

You hear it a lot – there are best and worst times to make any sort of purchase. Whether it’s a television, a car, or a home, statistics are available that may influence your decision on when would be the best time to make a purchase.

Numerical data isn’t the only thing you should be taking into consideration, though. Each season has something different to offer in terms of making the home buying process easier or more challenging. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of buying during the summer or winter.

What to Think About When Buying a Home During the Summer


Did you know there are more homes on the market during summer? According to the National Association of Realtors, inventory in the U.S. is actually 15% greater in the warmer months than in the colder months.

If you have a lot of items on your home wish list, you might be better off searching during summer as you’ll have more homes from which to choose. The only disadvantage (depending on the climate where you live) is that summer results in more competition, as a greater amount of people are likely to visit open houses in nicer weather.

It probably goes without saying, but moving during summer is a bit more pleasant than moving during winter. For many, sweating beats freezing while trying to pack and unpack a moving truck. You can always cool yourself down, but it’s usually harder to warm up. It also tends to be safer if you reside in or are moving to an area that gets snow or ice.

If you have school-aged children, moving during their summer vacation offers more flexibility than trying to move during the winter holidays or spring break.

Lastly, one nice thing about summer is the lack of snow. That can be a huge obstacle when trying to look at the exterior of a home. You might miss the fact that a few shingles (or the entire roof) need to be replaced when there’s a pile of snow on top of it. The same goes for cracks in the driveway, and curb appeal in general.

What to Think About When Buying a Home During the Winter

There’s less competition in the winter as most people are busy with the holidays, their new year’s resolutions, or getting back into the swing of things at work. At this time of the year, buying a home isn’t typically at the forefront of most people’s minds.

What does that mean for you? No bidding wars, and more room to negotiate if a seller is feeling a bit desperate.

They might be if the reason why they’re moving is a pressing one. Combined with having to work around their real estate agent’s holiday schedule, having less showings, and subsequently, less interested buyers, sellers might be willing to give you a better deal or include more bonuses in the offer.

Again, depending on where you live, the weather during winter can be brutal. You’ll be able to easily identify drafts from windows in a house, and you’ll notice how effective the heating system is.

While snow can work against you, it can also work for you as you’ll be able to see how well the roof and driveway handle several inches of accumulation. Are there noticeable dips in the driveway? Have ice puddles formed on the property? These fairly major repairs can give you an advantage during negotiations.

Considerations for Both Seasons
There are a few factors to be concerned with during both seasons – namely, your real estate agent’s availability, and your neighbors.

Obviously, real estate agents may take time off during the holidays in the winter, but if they have children, they may also be likely to take off during the summer as well. Before you work with an agent, ask them about their availability over the next few months. You want to ensure that their planned absence won’t negatively affect your intentions to buy.

On the other hand, an agent looking to work through the winter holidays may be more motivated to help you, given the number of prospective buyers is lower.

Additionally, when you buy a new home, you’ll want to be surrounded by good neighbors, right? Summertime is great for seeing which neighbors excel at lawn maintenance and which ones let their grass grow for weeks on end. If you’re someone that cares a lot about a home’s upkeep, this might concern you.

At the same time, you’ll be able to see if neighbors work together to get rid of snow during the winter, or if houses on the block are nicely (or obnoxiously) lit up with holiday decorations.

Which Season is Better for Buying a Home?
As you may conclude, there’s no right or wrong answer. There are benefits and impediments to searching for a home in any season. You shouldn’t let weather or the trending numerical data hold you back. When you’re ready to buy, you’ll know it.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

Posted on August 16, 2017 at 8:40 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appraisal, backyard, bid, Bidding War, Buyers, buying, closing costs, community, curb appeal, Homeowners, mortgage, neighborhood, real estate, Spring, summer, trends, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pare Down and Declutter By Knowing How Much Stuff Is Enough

So you want to pare down your belongings. But how much, exactly, do you get rid of? And how can you prevent stuff from simply piling up all over again? Part of the solution to a lasting clutter-free existence may lie in numbers. As in, the number of pairs of shoes, towels, place settings and so on that you decide to keep in the house. By deciding how many items in each category of stuff you really need, those numbers become a sort of fail-safe, preventing your home from free-falling into its formerly cluttered state. Check out these ideas on how to get started, then share your own numbers in the Comments.

The “sometimes” dilemma: What to do if you use something but only occasionally? Fancy china and highly specialized cookware come immediately to mind. If you really do love to have these things when the occasion calls for it, and you have storage space for them, by all means keep them. Just be intentional about what and how much you are keeping, and know why. Try to avoid keeping large sets of anything purely out of guilt — if you’ve inherited something you don’t want, see if someone else in the family wants it, sell it or donate it to charity.

More tips on what to do with sentimental pieces

How much to keep? Set a space limit. One way to keep rarely used items in check is to limit the amount of storage space you afford them. Instead of allowing your entertaining arsenal to multiply indefinitely over time, taking over not only cupboards but basement shelves and the attic too, decide on one space to store these items in and stick with it. For instance, keep all china in one nice china hutch — if you acquire more down the road, give away or sell something to free up space.

The Rule of Three: One in the wash, one in the cupboard, one in use. You may have heard this one before, but it bears repeating because it really works. It can be difficult to come up with what seems to be a rather arbitrary number of items to keep, but sticking with one for the shelf, one to use and one to wash keeps things simple. I follow this rule for sheets (per bed) and towels (per person).

What about guests? Unless you are running a boarding house, two sets of sheets for each guest bed and two sets of towels per guest are plenty.

The seasonal exception: Even minimalists may want to keep extra stuff on hand to rotate in depending on the season — and that’s whether or not there are chilly winters.

It can be a nice change of pace to bring out thicker blankets in warmer hues for the winter and light, airy linens in summer. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should double the number of sets you have, if some sets work well year-round. For instance, you could decide to keep one set of sateen sheets for year-round use, two sets of flannels for winter and two cool, crisp sets for summer.

Special case: Clothes. Clothes and shoes may be the most personal (and difficult) category of stuff to put limits on. That said, even those with intense attachments to their wardrobes can find it worthwhile to do a proper inventory.

After figuring out that you actually have 100 pairs of shoes or 20 nearly identical black tops, you may decide to bring that number down … or you may not, but at least you will be informed.

Special case: Kids’ stuff. When a child’s room is overflowing with stuff, it’s hard to focus on any one thing, and pretty soon all of those lovingly chosen toys become just part of the mess. Setting space constraints is a smart way to handle this situation. Dedicate certain shelves, plus perhaps a toy closet (for toys not currently being used in the rotation) for your child’s belongings, and keep it at that. When a bin or shelf begins to overflow, or you notice that stuff is piling up on the floor (because it has nowhere else to go), take that as a cue to give something away.

The everyday stuff: Count it out. Do you know how many basic plates, bowls, cups and wineglasses you own? If you’re not sure, go count them — you may be surprised at just how many pieces of “everyday” tableware you have. Of course it’s nice to have enough of everything that the whole household can eat a meal or two and not worry about getting everything washed and dried, and you’ll want extras on hand for bigger casual dinners with family and friends if you host that sort of thing, but you won’t likely need more than that.

Not everyone wants to stick with one set of white dishes (although for simplicity’s sake, that’s surely an easy way to go). But you can still set a limit at a certain number of sets. If you go over your number, it’s time to start culling.

Special case: Tupperware. What is it about plastic containers that makes them seem to multiply when you’re not looking (but hardly ever with a matching lid)? Start by removing any lids that don’t have mates, then count what you have left. Most of us probably have too many food storage containers — really, how many leftovers are you likely to wrap up at any given time? Three? Four?

Special case: Your passions. Book lovers, athletes, outdoorsy types, musicians, crafters … you know who you are. And more important, you know how easy it is to collect more and more stuff to support your passion.

Being aware of exactly what you already own is a good first step toward reining in your collections — perhaps your yarn stash is in such disarray, you end up buying yarn you already have.

But it’s also a good idea to start paying attention to what you actually use. If you treasure your books, notice which ones you actually pick up from time to time — I realized a while ago that I rarely pick up novels after I’ve read them, so I decided to let go of most books in that category.

Pain-free ways to declutter your library

Just because you have the room to store it doesn’t mean you should. Extra space is deceptive. If you are blessed with large closets and ample storage space, you may be thinking you’re off the hook — but the truth is, everyone can benefit from paring down a little. Having fewer belongings means less time spent cleaning, moving and mending them; less time looking for things; and generally less to worry about. And if you ever need to downsize in the future, the process will be far less gut wrenching if you have already chosen to live with less stuff.

Set your own rules. The point of this ideabook is to help you gain awareness of what kind of and how much stuff you need, so you can tailor your stuff to fit your life. And no one else can really do that for you. It may take a while to figure out exactly the right amount of stuff for you, but once you do, it’s bound to make your life a little easier.

Tell us: What are your numbers? How many sets of sheets, dishes or pairs of shoes are enough for you?

Related Reads
Keep All Fancy Dinnerware in a China Cabinet
Dedicate a Toy Box for All the Kids’ Stuff
Get Help From Local Professional Organizers

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on August 10, 2017 at 2:28 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appliances, buying, cleaning, community, credit cards, curb appeal, DIY, Fixer Uppers, gadgets, inspections, interior decorating, maximizing space, moving, organization, real estate, remodeling, selling, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Condo vs. Townhouse

Condo and townhouses are often lumped together, but have some significant differences. Agent Jessica Riffle Edwards explains the differences between the two.

I’ll admit it, I’ve owned a condo for the last three and a half years and just found out what the difference was between a townhouse and a condo. While you would think that they’re pretty much the same thing, there are some key differences that might be critical to you depending on your situation and appetite for being responsible for home repair.

Here’s star listing agent Jessica Riffle Edwards explaining what the differences are between the two.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog
Posted on August 9, 2017 at 9:08 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appraisal, bid, Bidding, Buyer's Market, Buyers, buying, closing, closing costs, credit score, debt, equity, escrow, first time buyers, Foreclosures, Homeowners, hot market, Offers, real estate, selling, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What to Consider Before Buying a Home on the Golf Course

Traditionally considered the ultimate location, here is what you need to know before you purchase a home on the golf course!

Is there anything on par with living on a golf course?

Before you buy that home on the fairway, there are a few things to consider. From maintenance to memberships, privacy to views, life on the golf course comes with a few questions. To settle the score, we turned to our golf pro, Cara Ameer with Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty, Inc. to learn her tips for what to consider before buying a home of the golf course. In the segment below, which first aired on NBC Open House, Cara explains how to tee your home search up for success and avoid any bunkers along the way.

To find a home on the green, visit Kappelgateway.com. You can find golf properties around the world using the lifestyle search found in the top navigation of the site.

Source:  CB Blue Matter

Posted on July 20, 2017 at 7:46 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: buying, Golf, Golf Course, real estate, Resale Value, selling, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Kids? Here’s Why You Should Still Buy in a Good School District

Even if you don’t have kids, buying in a good school district is always a good decision — if you can afford it.

Ever hear the old adage “Location, Location, Location”?  Well, here’s more proof!

Learn why buying in a top-notch school district can benefit you — even if you don’t have kids.

Living in a good school district doesn’t just bring better teachers, better books, and better test scores — it also can help preserve home values and ensure faster resale rates.

It’s a smart move to consider the quality of school districts in your home-buying decision — although there are pros and cons to buying in top-notch school regions. Parents hoping to land a good home deal and give their kids access to a high-quality education have several costs to weigh. If you do the math, you’ll find that pricier homes in a strong public school district may actually be better bargains than affordable homes in districts where many children attend private schools.

Seeking good public schools

Many buyers search for real estate by school district, and say school districts are among the key factors in their home-buying decision. In a recent Trulia survey, 19% of Americans indicated that their dream home is located in a great school district. But among parents of children under 18, the percentage of Americans who want to live in a great school district jumps to 35%.

How can you tell if your potential new home is in a district that makes the grade? Consider the age of the schools, the condition of their facilities, the student-to-teacher ratios, and, of course, standardized test scores.

The bigger picture

It’s not as simple as it may seem to draw conclusions between school districts and real estate, though. A poorly ranked public school district doesn’t necessarily mean that the overall quality of local education there is poor.

And there are private schools to consider as well. Parents looking for homes in lower-rated districts but who still want quality education may need to factor in the cost of a private education, which runs well into the thousands per year. Tuition rates vary widely, but the average tuition cost is $10,940, which is the same as $912 per month in mortgage payments, according to a 2014 Trulia analysis.

Put it this way: A homeowner with a $1,326 mortgage payment on a $300,000 house who is also paying the $912-per-month average tuition could, in effect, afford a $520,000 house with public school education in a better-quality school district. Because home prices and school tuitions vary so widely, buyers will have to calculate these differences on their own (and obviously there are more factors than just local school districts and housing prices that drive real estate decision making).

Considering the future

When it comes to resale value, though, even for buyers without children, investing in a home in a good-quality school district can pay off. Homes in good school districts tend to sell faster than homes in lower-quality school districts. And during tougher economic times that trigger declines in home values, homes in better school districts usually hold their value more than homes in lower-quality school districts.

On the downside, these homes in better school districts also tend to be more expensive. Buyers here will pay higher property taxes, and much of that money will be allotted right back to the schools. For childless buyers, that’s no bargain. But in general, buying in a good school district does matter and, with more stability in home prices and more savings from costly private school education, it usually works in favor of the buyer.

 

Posted on July 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: buying, community, family, Location, neighborhood, parent, real estate, Resale Value, schools, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

What Is Equity and Why Is It Important?

This is information, that you, as a homeowner or buyer, really need to know. Read on for the ins and outs of equity!

Have you heard that owning a home helps ‘build equity’ but still not sure what that means? Get the information from the experts at Coldwell Banker.

You’ve probably heard people throw around the word “equity” when they’re talking about homeownership. You might have heard someone say that owning a home helps you “build equity” or perhaps you heard someone talk about “borrowing against equity.”

But what exactly is equity? And why does it matter?

What Is Equity?
Equity is what you own, minus what you owe. It’s the percentage of your home value that belongs to you free and clear.

If your home is worth $250,000 and your outstanding mortgage balance is $200,000, then you have $50,000 of equity in your home.

How Does Equity Grow?
There are three common ways in which your home’s equity can grow: market appreciation, forced appreciation, and debt reduction.

Market appreciation takes place when the value of your home rises due to factors caused by the overall local, state or national economy. If your home is located in a neighborhood that is experiencing a sudden burst of new jobs and population growth – and if that population growth is outpacing new housing starts – then there’s a likelihood that the value of your home may rise due to market appreciation.

Let’s return to the previous example. Your home is worth $250,000 and your mortgage balance is $200,000, meaning that you hold $50,000 in equity. Let’s assume that home values in your area start climbing steeply. Your home is now worth $300,000. Guess how much equity you hold? You now have $100,000 in equity. As the homeowner, you benefit from all market gains.

Forced appreciation is another common way that homeowners build equity. While market appreciation is based on factors outside of your individual control, forced appreciation is the direct result of your actions.

When you hear about people making upgrades for the sake of boosting resale value, they’re referring to forced appreciation. Imagine that you carefully plan and execute a kitchen remodel. You replace the 30-year-old cabinets with a new set; you replace the laminate countertops with builder-grade-granite; you replace the linoleum flooring with hardwood, bamboo or tile.

Assuming that you managed this remodel in a cost-efficient manner and made upgrade choices that are consistent with your neighborhood, the value of your home may exceed the cost of the renovation.

For example, if you spend $8,000 on the renovation, which results in a home that’s now worth $15,000 more, this means you increased your equity through forced appreciation.

Finally, you can boost equity through debt reduction, which means that you reduce the principal balance of your mortgage. Mortgages are amortized, meaning that a larger percentage of your payments apply to interest at the beginning of the term, while more of your payments apply to principal near the end. If you want to accelerate equity growth at the start of your term, you can make extra principal payments. This boosts your equity while also lowering the total interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.

A combination of these factors can accelerate your equity growth. Since equity is the difference between “what you own” and “what you owe,” the 1-2 combination of boosting home value while also reducing the mortgage balance can be an effective way to rapidly build equity.

Why Does Equity Matter?
There are many advantages of holding equity.

First and foremost, equity boosts your net worth. The higher your equity, the higher your overall net worth. Your net worth can give you feedback on your overall financial health, and can help you make crucial financial planning decisions.

Secondly, you can borrow against your equity and, if you choose, invest this money. Some homeowners borrow against their equity to start businesses; others borrow to remodel their homes or to purchase investment properties.

The home equity loan, home equity line of credit, and cash-out refinancing are several options that homeowners can choose from if they want to borrow against their equity.

Finally, homeowners who decide to move can use the equity from the sale of their home to make a down payment on another home. This allows homeowners to “trade up” without needing to save cash for a down payment.

Furthermore, homeowners who downsize (meaning sell their current home and move into a smaller and less-expensive home) may cash out their equity – using some of their equity to purchase their less-expensive home and receiving the rest as cash.

What Should I Do?
Equity can be a form of ‘forced savings.’ Once this equity is locked into your home, you’ll have the advantages and opportunities that come from holding a high-equity position, without the same temptation to spend this money that you might have if it were liquid cash.

Assuming that you’re not planning any major projects that require a large cash outlay – such as starting a business, buying an investment property, launching a renovation or paying for college – you may want to focus on boosting your equity by accelerating your mortgage payoff, making strategic value-boosting upgrades, or both.

Source: CB Blue Matter

Posted on July 8, 2017 at 1:28 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Buyers, equity, first time buyers, Homeowners, real estate, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Why You Really Need a Home Inspection

This is such an important topic and a MUST READ for buyers!

Buying a house is probably the single largest investment you’ll ever make – learn how getting a home inspection can help you get the most value for your home.

Buying a house is probably the single largest investment you’ll ever make, and you want to ensure you get the best value for your hard-earned dollar. That’s why more and more home buyers today are turning to professional Home Inspection experts. A professional Home Inspector takes a close look beneath a house’s surface, and then prepares a detailed written report for the prospective buyer on such things as the condition of the foundation, electrical service, roof, insulation, and other critical structural factors. Your Coldwell Banker sales professional can help you connect with an experienced trusted Home Inspection service in your community.

Although costs will vary, you can probably expect to spend two to three hundred dollars for an inspection of a single family home. And who pays for it? Well, since the benefit is almost entirely that of the home buyer, it’s usually the buyer who pays the cost of the home inspection …particularly in a “hot” real estate market, where the home sellers have more leverage. All things considered, it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind it provides, and the negotiating power it can give you — especially if it indicates that there are major repairs required, but you decide to make an offer anyway.

When it comes to making your offer to purchase, your Coldwell Banker professional can provide you with good advice on how to allow for a home inspection as a part of this process. Subject to the homeowner’s permission, you can commission a Home Inspection before or even after submitting your offer to purchase. This is done by having your Coldwell Banker salesperson prepare a conditional offer that’s contingent on a Home Inspection report that’s acceptable to you. This approach gives you some distinct advantages: if the conditional offer is accepted, the property is temporarily held against other offers, yet you still have a legal escape route if the report turns up some major negative surprises, such as a bad roof or a crumbling foundation. On the other hand, if the conditional offer isn’t accepted, then the need to pay for a home inspection may never arise. Your Coldwell Banker professional can counsel you on the best approach to suit your market and your individual situation.

Source: CB Blue Matter

Posted on July 8, 2017 at 1:14 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Buyers, first time buyers, inspections, real estate, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

What to Buy (and Not Buy) in May

 

With Spring upon us and spring cleaning is done, its soooo tempting to purchase new items because, of course, everything feels so fresh and new. Here is a good guide on the best (and worse) purchases to make at this time of year!

The month of May brings traditionally heavy shopping periods for spring clothing, cosmetics, and a wide variety of spring and summer outdoor goods.

While some retailers will tempt us with early summer sales, spring apparel will see the deepest discounts closer to Memorial Day weekend, according to consumer watchdog DealNews.com. Look for coupons in print and online to get the best prices on your favorite stores and brands.

The best deals any time in May will be on certain home goods, with a few surprises thrown in:

Buy a Mattress  – Memorial Day historically offers a chance to buy mattresses at 40 to 50 percent off regular prices. Check local sales and coupons.

Buy Patio Furniture – Sales on backyard furnishings, as well as camping gear, begin in time for Memorial Day and may not be good again until after July 4.

Check Out Big-Screen TVs … but not too big. While spring is not the best time to buy a TV, you should find really good prices on 42- and 55-inch screen models.

What About Jewelry? Wait until just after Mother’s Day, when many retailers are anxious to unload unsold inventory.

Hold Off on Laptops – The best deals on Apple and PC laptops are found just before graduation in June or in time for back-to-school sales in September.

Stay out of the Water – Swimsuits are just hitting the stores in May, and sales are not the norm. Hold off until July 4, if you can. That’s when the sales kick in.

Source:  RisMedia

 

 

Posted on May 23, 2017 at 11:07 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, buying, decorating, Spring, summer | Tagged , , , , , ,