As a first time home buyer, real estate might seem like a crazy rules where the policies are made up and the norms don’t matter. As a disclaimer, the best policy is to TRUST your realtor. I know… it’s crazy to put your financial future into the hands of a trained professional. With that being said, here is a list of tried and true do’s and don’ts when diving in to real estate.
Do Your Homework
When you are buying a home, you have to have some idea of what you want. Do you want a rancher on a few acres or a cute bungalow in the old district? What sort of amenities do you want to have near you? Are community centers or events important to you? Do you prefer a neighborhood with a mix of cultures and backgrounds? These are the sort of questions you are going to be asked (if you picked a good agent 😉), because these questions will help them narrow down the perfect place for you.
Do Have Your Documents Ready
After you make that first call with the realtor, you will quickly realize that you needed more financial documents than you thought you had. It will seem like its too much, or that it’s unending and that they are asking for the same ones over and over again. That’s what it takes to have a professional take care of this for you. They are trained to work within the confines of Real Estate Law and they do the grunt work for you. Do get your credit report, do have several months of bank statements ready, as well as employment records.
DO. NOT. GET. CRAZY. WHILE. IN. ESCROW.
After you worked so hard and dealt with your lenders crazy demands and got through the inspection period and FINALLY put in an offer on your dream home- don’t ruin it all. When you send in all those documents to your lender you are painting a portrait of your finances. If you do something bananas like buy a car, get a credit card, max out your other cards, etc. etc. you will ruin that beautiful picture of yourself. While in escrow they are going to look for any discrepancies, don’t give them any reason to kick your offer back.
Do Stay In Touch With Your Realtor.
When your agents are working behind the scenes and taking care of all the little things that come up, they often need a question answered as soon as possible. When you don’t get back to your realtors in a swift manner, it could mean the difference in getting an offer accepted or missing out. Real Estate is a fast paced industry and you have to remain in good communication to keep things going.
Do Get a Home Inspection
Well, we pay for yours. But if you decide to buy or sell with the other guys, get that dream home inspected. It would be horrible if you move in and things start breaking all around you like in the Money Pit. You want to know, for sure, what shape the plumbing is in. As well as; the siding, chimney, septic, insulation, foundation. It is important for you as a buyer to do your due diligence and possibly the best way to do that, is to have the house inspected by a professional.
If you have any other awesome bits of advice for newbies, put it in the comments! We would love to hear from you!
Let’s Make Awesome Happen!
You already know the answer if you’re reading this on our blog. Of course you do! I have summed up a few reasons that will illustrate the why’s. Real estate is a complicated industry with lots of specifics and exclusions and but’s and why’s. I had to be specially trained to understand the depth of legal accountability that I am being held to as an agent so that you don’t have to worry about it.
We Aren’t Lawyers
We did, however get trained to act as your agent legally and navigate all the laws pertaining to real estate. There are tons of forms and processes that can leave the best of us spinning on a busy day. The best part of having a Realtor is that we handle this stuff for you. When you’re buying a home, you certainly don’t want to focus on the paperwork. We want you to think about the fun updates you might do- the remodeling or paint schemes. Let us handle the crazy paperwork.
We Know People
Did you know that 80% of buyers get their homes with the help of their agent? Think about it, that’s 80% of the buyers you might miss out on if you are selling your home by yourself. We are in an industry that relies on being connected, we know other agents, we know people who might just be looking for the same kind of home you are selling and wee know about listings before they hit the market. And most importantly, we create the visibility your home needs to be sold. This is what we specialize in, It isn’t houses and documentation, it’s people and marketing. As an agent, We are your best resource to sell your home.
We Have Tools
As Realtors, we have more tools at our disposal to help you buy or sell. We know about the market and it’s past and future trends. An important part of representing you is advising you when might be the best time to buy or sell. We have knowledge of the area that you might not be privy to. Such as which developments are in high demand, which one’s have certain attributes or how your home compares to your neighbors.
There are a whole lot more reasons that you need a Realtor, Check them out here. If you have any questions about having an agent, buying or selling, Let’s Connect!
Let’s Make Awesome Happen!
The Fear of Real Estate
We are making our YouTube videos a priority this year. Each month we will to cover several topics relating to a single theme. This month is for you, first time home buyers and the first video segment this month is about the fears of getting started. Our primary goal is to inform you, so that you conquer those fears and get on the road to home ownership. Enjoy the video and stay a while and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE!
When you decide to sell your home it’s all about appealing to the buyer. It can be a frustrating experience as a seller because you have built a relationship with the house. It’s not just a house, it’s your home and like most of us, you’re probably attached to it. Unfortunately, the buyer probably isn’t concerned with your sentiment to it. Here and in the video, we outline a few ways to remove the “you” from your home and make it an enticing property for prospective buyers.
Clean your house
This should be obvious. It isn’t. Some homes need a little extra care when it comes to making it appear tidy and in good order. some things to consider:
- Clean your walls- kids are messier than we think.
- Check your switch plates and baseboards- huge collection point for dust and grimy fingerprints.
- Get rid of the grease and grime on your appliances- remember that kitchens are a huge selling point and will probably be under scrutiny.
- Bathroom- toothpaste on the mirrors, dirty toilets, soap scum on the tiles; all of these are big turn offs for buyers.
- Laundry room- dryers are notorious for spitting out more dust than we can keep up with. Give it a good once over (maybe twice).
Remove personal things
I know it seems like you’re taking the character and soul out of the home when you remove those personal touches. But I guess that is the point. Buyers aren’t trying to learn about you, they really want to see if the house feels right and gives them a good feeling when they walk through the door. It can even be distracting to see who lived there before because the buyer will be focusing on the house’s past rather than its future. Some ways you can prevent this distraction:
- Take down any family photos, especially ones of any children who live in the house.
- Remove any personal objects, trophies, family names, or other identifying objects.
- laundry, we all have it but we don’t necessarily want to see yours. Keep clothes in dressers and neatly put away in closets (which will most likely be looked in).
- Valuables. This is pretty obvious. however, when doing a walk through before a showing, you might have forgot about things like keys, or collectibles or even jewelry. Best not to take any chances and keep it all out of sight.
- Declutter your house. the knickknacks and curio should get put away. Remember: you want the potential buyer to be able to visualize their things in the house.
- Stage. Stage. Stage.If you have moved your things out already, consider staging.
While you are probably like the majority of us and have put off your house repairs, they have never been more important for selling your home. Even the minor repairs are huge. I recommend starting from the front and working your way back. Just imagine that potential buyers are walking through your house and the first thing they see is broken floorboard or a minor piece of trim, they will probably be thinking, ” I wonder what else is broken”. You want them to have a good first impression of your home.
- Put a fresh coat of paint on your front door. It is one of the biggest aspects of curb appeal and it is so easy to do.
- roof, insulation and siding can be a big determining factor for buyers. Make sure they’re in good condition.
- A little landscaping goes a long way and a tidy yard will make people excited to see the rest of the house.
Do a sniff check
I think that everyone’s home has a certain smell or scent. not necessarily bad, just unique to that home. Most likely you don’t realize it either. Have someone who doesn’t live there do a sniff check for you. Their unbiased nose will pick up what you might not. If it doesn’t smell great, tackle the problem. Get carpet cleaners in there and clean it to high heaven. I don’t recommend covering up any smells with really powerful candles or wax warmer. As someone who has purchased homes and showed many, the strong smelling candles don’t fool anyone. Nothing beats the smell of clean.
Tidy up garage
Often garages become collection points for the uncategorized stuff that we accumulate. But when preparing a home to be shown to potential buyers, cater to all members of the family. My husband is easy to impress with an organized (mostly) garage. Basic things like a swept floor or painted drywall (discount paint sections in home improvement stores are great for this) make a huge difference. Also, consider that when you open your garage, anyone can see in there. I don’t like people seeing my mess, and it is no different when you’re trying to sell.
Remember, you want to give the buyer a blank slate so that they can see their future in that house. Help them to see the dream. I hope you found this helpful and if there are things that you found to be helpful in the past, tell us about it. We love hearing from you.Let’s Make Awesome Happen
John & Tracey Tindall
When buying a home for the first time you most likely want to save money any chance you get. It can seem like an overwhelming and never ending drain on your bank account. When you finally close on your new home you probably won’t want to even think about any more paperwork or transactions, but a quick trip to the County Assessor’s office to file a homeowner’s exemption will save you so much money each year in property tax.
What is it ?
An exemption that reduces the taxable value of your home up to a maximum of $100,000 in value.
Why do I need it?
By reducing the taxable value of your home, your taxes are much LESS and you SAVE! If you have a mortgage, this savings will likely reduce your total monthly mortgage payment.
If you live in your home at least 6 months out of the year as your primary residence, you qualify!
When do I need to file?
You must file by the 15th of April in 2018!
Where do I file?
The county assessors office for the county in which you reside.
Remember: Idaho is a non-disclosure state and this means that you do not have to share the value of your home with the county when you apply (what you paid for it)
If you are not sure about your home owner exemption status, give us a call and we would be happy to help you! We are here to help!
Now that 2018 is finally here, resolutions and goals seem to be all anyone is talking about. If one of your resolutions is to be a first-time buyer then here are a few tips to help you make that a resolution that doesn’t fall by the wayside. Maybe your resolutions don’t involve buying, maybe it is to sell your home or to build equity with your existing home or investing in your home. In any case here is an abbreviated list of some routes to consider. (Full Article)
For the first time buyers
Buying a new home is scary, but taking the first steps toward an organized and planned out purchase is half the battle. Having a structured plan and timeline gives you a set of instructions that you can follow. Near the top of the list you create should be finding a reputable and thorough realtor to take the mystery of purchasing and turn it into an understanding of the process. Regardless of when your planned purchase date is, NOW is the best time to start working on your credit. If you’re one of the majority who has room for improvement, the sooner you start working on it, the better. And speaking of now, remember that you are going to need a down payment for your purchase.
For the First time Sellers
Maybe you don’t plan to be a first-time buyer, maybe selling is on the top of your 2018 goals, then you need to start planning too! When you prepare your home to be sold, you need to make sure that you take care of all those repairs you’ve been putting off. Along with fixing, you need to start getting rid of the extra and unused stuff that has been accumulating. Personally, I don’t want to pay to ship the contents of my junk drawer or those broken things that I keep meaning to fix. Throwing away (donating, selling) is hard but once you’ve cleared out the clutter, you’ll be happy you did and it’s one less thing you need to worry about.
Trying to Add Equity
One of the most effective ways to add equity to your home is to bring your principle down. You can do this in several ways. Refinancing your home might be a good choice. Either for a shorter loan term or for a lower rate. Another way to bring down your principle is to pay more. That simple. Maybe you pay more each month or you make an extra payment. Either way you’re going to have to pay more.
Investing in Your Home
Investing in your home can be one of the more gratifying options. Most of us like to see transformations. And making your home more beautiful is always exciting. Make sure when you chose a project that you select one that has a good return of investment. It would be a good idea to do some homework and find out the most sought after home features. One type of renovation that will almost always yeild a good return of investment is increasing your home’s energy rating.
No matter what topic made your 2018 Real Estate goal list, we hope you were able to find some of this advice helpful. If you did, or have any other ideas- Reply and tell us all about them. Please don’t forget to check out the full Windermere article for any extra info.
LET’S MAKE AWESOME HAPPEN!
The holidays are no doubt my favorite time of year. I love the kindness and warmth and that people genuinely want to do good to others. This doesn’t have to stay in November and December. We have come up with a few ways to keep that magical holiday spirit alive throughout the rest of the year.
Don’t forget about your neighbors.
Goodwill toward mankind is in the air during the holidays. Giving is just part of the season, but as the food comas wear off and the gifts settle in, we get back to our busy lives. In some cases we start focusing on our careers again, or getting back to the gym. It’s (sadly) very easy to forget about those people you were so kind to. Not to say that you are now unkind, but we tend to start diverting our attention and efforts back on ourselves.
Making an effort to remember the people around us will make a difference. My granddaughter, though young loves to donate her toys because she wants other kiddos to have toys too. Ultimately, service to others is really the bigger picture and here are some ways to do so:
-Volunteer at a local charity
-donate used clothes or extras to people in need
-take the kids to talk with seniors in convalescent centers.
-make up care packages to send to troops overseas
-care packages for chemo patients
-be a cuddler at your local hospital’s NICU
-donate your time or extra clothes/food to our struggling veterans
Make Family Activities a priority
The amount of time we spend with family during the holidays is incredible. But why do we let it stop once we turn another page on the calendar? I personally believe that family is special and something to protect and cultivate. And this year I don’t intend on letting the family time slow down nearly as much. Just think about it, even getting together once a month is far better than being a Christmas/Thanksgiving gathering type of family. I’m guilty of it too, but small efforts go a long way.
-We have implemented friday night family pizza. We get together with the kids and grand-kids, have some pizza, some wine and catch up. It doesn’t always workout every week but its starting to become a recurring thing.
-Be present with each other, not just in the same room. Really interact and find out about their day etc.
Few holidays have the same warmth and widespread kindness as Christmas, but you don’t have to let those sentiments fade away when the lights come down. Maybe you can start making other holidays a big deal (if you don’t already). Here are a few that I think can be made in to holidays of service to others as well:
-Epiphany, celebration of the 3 kings presenting baby Jesus with the gifts
-Chinese New Year!
-National Freedom Day- the 13th ammendment was signed to abolish slavery.
-Holi! because who doesnt love color
-March Equinox- Welcoming in spring
Hope you were inspired by our post and thought of a few ways to keep the spirit alive in your family. Happy New Year!
Let’s Make Awesome Happen!
Maybe Winder is the best time for you to consider selling?
With Demand remaining high in our area combined with low inventory which continues to drop, this winter might just be a great combination of factors making it an ideal time for you to sell.
A balanced market will sit at six months of inventory. Less than six months of inventory and you start heading into a sellers market. Lower the inventory the greater the sellers market. In Kootenai County, our inventory sits at less than 3 months in most price sectors. A large number of price sectors are sitting at just one month. Low inventory with high demand will increase market values and your list price. Interest rates continue to remain low which continues to create a tremendous amount of buyers.
Winter is often thought a difficult time to sell, but in this buying climate it creates a perfect storm for selling! In the winter months there is even less competition and this increases demand even further. Buyers out looking in the cold and snow are much more serious buyers too!
If you are interested in knowing more about the inventory levels in your neighborhood or more about our market and in determining your next step, let’s connect, we would love to assist in keeping you up on the market.
Let’s Make Awesome Happen
John and Tracey Tindall
Windermere, Coeur d’Alene Realty
What is Radon?
If you are buying or selling a home, Radon might not be on your radar, but it should be! Learn more about Radon, and what you should consider before you sell your home or buy your next one.
Learn more about Radon with John and Tracey
Let’s Make Awesome Happen!
John and Tracey Tindall
Windermere, Coeur d’Alene Realty
If you’ve been outside anytime during the last week, you no doubt noticed the smoke. It’s fire season again in the Pacific Northwest. Before we talk about the multitude ways to help keep your investment safe from fire, I want to give a heartfelt thank you to all of those firefighters away from their families. Thank You! On to business.
When you decided to purchase a house and make the emotional commitment of being a home owner, I truly doubt you ever thought that a fire could happen to you. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, in 2015 there were 501,500 structure fires in the U.S. resulting in just over 10 billion dollars in damages and 2,685 deaths. No one wants to be a part of this statistic.
Smoke alarms probably seem like a no-brainer, but there maybe you forgot to test them or check the batteries. It is recommended that you test them monthly and replace the batteries every six months when you change the clocks for daylight savings time. Another thing to remember when putting in new alarms, smoke rises. Smoke is less dense than air so it rises, which is why smoke alarms are on the ceiling or no further than 6 inches from the ceiling on the wall.
typically associated with businesses, schools and hospitals but fire extinguishers are recommended for the home as well. The best places to keep your home extinguishers are anyplace that you would expect something to combust. Obviously the kitchen, but also in places like the garage or down in the basement by the furnace. You, the homeowner are also encouraged to have a fire extinguisher for every floor. You don’t want to be in a situation where you have to run upstairs to get the fire extinguisher.
Know your types of extinguishers!
There isn’t one fire extinguisher that works on all types of fires. And speaking of types of fires, there are 6. SIX! with 5 different types of extinguishers, the location of the fire will most likely dictate the type of fire. I am not going to go in depth with all of the types and appropriate applications. But for the sake of the homeowner, you’ll need to determine which one is right for the different areas of your home. It is worth noting that the dry powder type of extinguisher (also known as the ABC type) is not recommended for small spaces such as homes and offices. If inhaled, it can be very damaging.
Know how to use the extinguisher
Having an extinguisher is just half the battle. If you want to be effective in stopping fires before they do real damage, you need to know how to use them. remember the acronym PASS. P-pull pin A-aim at the base S- squeeze the trigger S- sweep back and forth. Here is a short video illustrating the proper technique.
Emergency Escape Route
I remember when I was young, I always thought it was silly to do a fire drill at home. It wasn’t until I grew up and had babies of my own and realized that you absolutely need to practice. If you live in a home with multiple stories, get a window ladder. You wont always be able to use the stairs. Some advice I would like to pass on. If there is a fire in your home. Do not get dressed. Don’t try to find valuables. Don’t search for pets. Just get your children and leave the house. Most likely the animals will find a way out on their own. They have instincts that guide them away from fire. Your valuables are worthless if you do not have someone to share them with. Keep your family safe.
Keep combustibles away from outlets and other electronics.
It makes sense when you think about it retrospectively. But how often do we push furniture up against outlets or not think about the power strip we have had around since the 90’s. Sure it might work just fine. But newer electronics like power strips are being made safer and besides, after years of use (or maybe abuse) it’s not exactly as safe as it used to be. Outlets, extension cords, open or lose wiring. Check them. As for your electronics, I’m sure you’ve noticed that after using tv’s or laptops they get warm (maybe hot) to the touch. With the right combinations of factors, you could have a fire on your hands. Keep electronics off when they’re not being used. While the electronics are in use, keep them away from combustibles.
Keep the dead and dry stuff away from the house
Not all fires start from inside the home, some start from your yard or property. As homeowners, you are advised to trim back or remove completely, any dead trees or shrubs, or any dried up debris. These types of organic materials serve as kindling in wildfires, and they pose a threat to your home as well!
If we forgot something or you know a good way to keep your home safe, please say so in the comments! We love hearing from you. Stay safe out there in the heat and smoke!