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!
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 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!
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!
Let’s Make Awesome Happen
Independence Day is just around the corner and we’ve come up with some tips, tricks and design ideas to help you be the BBQ champion. Some of my favorite childhood memories were any given summer outside, circled around the grill with friends and family. Here’s to you and yours. Here’s to turning those summer days in to wonderful memories.
Clean your Grill!
The key to having almost anything ready to use, is cleaning it up after you use it. But if you are like me, sometimes the food coma sets in and cleaning up is out of the question. Here are some ways to keep your grill ready for a cookout at a moments notice.
- Leave your grill on for a few minutes with the hood closed. This is a super easy, coma-friendly way to burn off any excess foods and fats left on the grill.
- Give your grill a good scrub with something abrasive. Grill brushes, tin foil, abrasive sponge. Put a minute of elbow grease in to it to remove any charred junk.
- To ensure a non-sticking grill when you fire it up the next time, spray on some non-stick spray or a bit of vegetable oil. I’ve even heard that rubbing a 1/2 onion on the grate can do the trick.
- That’s it. These easy steps will have your grill laying in wait, ready to pounce at any moment to help you keep your throne of Grill King- or Queen!
If you hate following instructions like me, here is the video version from diy network: How to clean your grill in 15 minutes
Here are a few hacks to make serving, eating and cleaning up after your festivities easy as pie!
Here are some recipes that we either love or want to make this summer. And I may be a bit biased for bourbon. Not sorry. Photos and titles are linked.
Yes. All of those!
These look amazing. I cant wait to make these. Ribs are such a guilty pleasure of mine. They’re messy, they’re not exactly on the skinny menu, but Lord they are delicious.
You read that correctly. Made these last year for a family gathering. I wish I had made more, there wasn’t nearly enough to go around twice.
This is another recipe I am looking forward to using this Independence day. I hope it has as much kick as they say.
BBQ Grill Station Ideas
Maybe this summer your mind is set on remodeling or updating your back yard. Here are some BBQ stations that are functional and add to your back yard setting.
These concrete counter tops have plenty of room for prepping. I really like the clean and fucntional design, as well as the low cost of concrete.
This one is really great too, I think the portable design is perfect for a more laid back yard. And having a sink nearby is such a smart idea. You handle tons of raw meat when you grill, and being able to wash your hands is an obvious way to prevent food-born illnesses. It even has a built in chopping block…. ok, ok. It’s a cutting board. A girl can dream right?
If putting together a large permanent station isn’t something that your bank account will allow, this might be a good solution. You can set up a semi-permanent station by using cinderblocks and paver stones to accomplish a similar built-in feel. This way you won’t spend a fortune and you will still have all that work and prep space.
We hope you enjoy these tips and tricks. If you’re feeling motivated, we’d love to see how your projects are coming along. And feedback on the recipes is always encouraged. Enjoy!
From our family to yours, We hope you have a wonderful and proud Independence Day!
God Bless America!
5 Mortgage Myths Many Buyers or 1st Time Buyers Have
Borrowers still have a lot of confusion when it comes to mortgages; from closing costs to minimum down payment requirements and questions over credit scores. Some mortgage myths are even preventing some would-be home buyers from entering the market too.
Read more: Buyers Overestimate Mortgage Requirements
The National Mortgage News recently highlighted some of the following mortgage myths that still seem to perplex borrowers, including:
1. Closing costs: New mortgage rules that took effect last fall, TILA-RESPA, are providing borrowers with a clearer picture of mortgage closing costs prior to settlement. However, those expenses can still come as a shock to your clients. They may be surprised to see the costs of closing on a home loan when they receive their Loan Estimate disclosure upfront.
2. Who can cover closing costs: Borrowers may believe that they are the only ones who can pay their closing costs. However, closing costs also can be offered as a seller concession.
3. The credit-less: Consumers who don’t have credit cards may think their lack of debt history will be a positive when applying for a mortgage. However, lenders are looking for how well consumers manage their debt and a lack of history could be problematic in qualifying a borrower.
4. Minimum requirements for qualifying: Home buyers may be under the impression that their credit needs to be a lot more stellar to qualify for a mortgage than it actually needs to be. To qualify for a Fannie Mae-backed loan, borrowers only need a 3 percent down payment and a minimum FICO score of 620.
5. Eligible tax breaks: Mortgage interest deductions are not limited to just primary residences. In some situations, second-home loans and home equity loans of credit may also be eligible.
Source: “7 Mortgage Myths That Still Befuddle Borrowers,” National Mortgage News (May 2016)
Source: Realtor Magazine
Here are 10 Valuable Lessons for First Time Home Buyers! Its worth a read.
Thinking about buying and not sure if you can? Let's connect. Often you can buy a nicer home than you rent for the same amount or less than you pay now.