SELLERS

Home Inspections – Items That Aren’t Deal-Breakers

Contract 01After making an offer on a home, you’ll enter into a contract. Part of that contract should always include getting a home inspection. It is recommended that any homebuyer make an offer to purchase contingent upon a home inspection. This allows you to withdraw your offer if there are any major issues discovered during an inspection.

More than likely, the home inspector will find problems that need to be fixed before closing. Major foundation issues and significant water damage are at the top of the list of signs to walk away from.

On the other hand, there are some home defects found during an inspection that don’t have to be deal-breakers. Many of them can be fixed, and they can be used to negotiate with the seller for a lower price point or additional help with the closing costs.

homeinspection2Lead-Based Paint
Lead-based paint was banned in 1978, but it’s still possible that you could purchase a home that contains it if it was built before the ban. The sellers should disclose this, but the home inspector may find it, as well.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide how comfortable you are with purchasing a home that has lead-based paint, but it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. You can hire a contractor who is certified to remove lead-based paint, and the home will be completely safe.

Concrete Floor Cracks
Cracks in a concrete basement floor may seem like a structural problem, but this is natural and not indicative of significant damage. Small cracks occur in concrete because it’s a porous substance. These cracks can be fixed at a relatively low cost, and shouldn’t be a reason for you to back out of a contract.

What is something that’s cause for concern are cracks in concrete walls, as these may or may not be associated with the structure. If the wall has moved or if the cracks have a large opening, then these would be deal-breakers.

Mold
Mold is something that no one ever wants to see in a home you put an offer on, but a little bit of mold by the shower doesn’t mean you need to back out of your offer – at least not immediately.

If mold is found during the home inspection, have a qualified mold inspector take a look. Not all molds are toxic, but the safest way to determine if this is a deal-breaker is by hiring a mold professional.

pestcontrol1Bug Infestations
Bug infestations can cause significant damage to the home’s structure if they aren’t exterminated quickly and efficiently. A home inspector may find signs of an infestation during an inspection, but how do you tell if it’s truly a deal-breaker?

The best way to know if there is pest damage to the home’s structure or foundation is to ask a qualified pest expert to do an additional inspection of the home. Someone who is a specialist will be able to tell you if the home just has a few bugs, or if you need to rescind your offer.

When problems arise during home inspections, it doesn’t always mean you have to back out of your contract. Home inspectors will often find problems outside of their scope of expertise, so always get a second opinion from a specialist before making a final decision. In many instances, these problems are opportunities to negotiate with the seller. You can request that the seller do the repairs, or ask for money to put towards repairs.

homeinspection3You can also ask the seller to include a home warranty on the home in the contract of sale, but it won’t repair the problems found in a home inspection contract. A home warranty is there to protect you from aging systems and appliances after you buy. Think of getting car insurance on a car that was just wrecked and then opening a claim – it wouldn’t work, because the insurance was put on after the damage happened. The same goes for a home warranty.

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs!

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6 Surefire Signs It’s Time to Sell Your Home

shutterstock_563839786Most people don’t plan on living in their first (or second or maybe even third) home forever, but knowing when the time is right to put that baby on the market can be tricky.

In fact, it can feel kind of like breaking up with a longtime boyfriend or girlfriend. Deep down, you knew you wouldn’t be with that person forever—but ending things can be way easier said than done.

Sometimes life changes force the issue: There’s little reason for self-doubt or trauma-level angst if you’re relocating to another state or you know your newborn twins won’t fit in your one-bedroom bungalow. But without a pressing reason staring you in the face, it can be hard to know when you’ve outgrown your home.

So how do you know when it’s the right time to let go?

1. You’re feeling cramped, and you can’t add on

Your family might not be growing, but that doesn’t mean your lifestyle still fits in your current house.

If you’ve started working from home, for example, or you’ve adopted an extended family of indoor cats—or maybe you’ve just never gotten over your dream of having a sewing room—your house might be too small.

But before you jump to conclusions, see if paring down your possessions works to free up some space.

Another option might be to finish an attic or basement, add another room, or even add a whole story to your home. But, of course, that won’t work for everyone.

“If your property isn’t large enough or your municipality doesn’t allow it, moving to a bigger home may be your best option,” says Will Featherstone, founder of Featherstone & Co. of Keller Williams Excellence in Baltimore.

To decide which route to take, check your local building laws and get estimates from two or three contractors. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with your Realtor®. Sometimes adding on won’t increase the value of a home, and you don’t want to make big-time improvements that will bring only a small-time return on your investment.

2. You have too much space

mature coupleOn the other hand, perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed by vacant rooms and silence. (Hello, empty nesters!)

“In this case, it no longer makes sense to have, say, four bedrooms and a basement,” Featherstone says.

Saying goodbye to a family home can be difficult, but you should consider how feasible it is to stay. If yardwork and house upkeep are getting to be a little too much, or soaring utility bills are cramping your style, it might make more sense to move.

3. You’re over the neighborhood

Maybe you can no longer deal with the rigid rules of your Homeowners Association, or perhaps your neighbors turned their house into a rental for frat guys. Whatever the reason, neighborhood dynamics can change dramatically over time.

And sometimes, you can change. Maybe the 40-minute commute to work didn’t seem like such a big deal the first few years, but now you’re dreading it every day. Or your kids are getting older, which can be a big problem if you’re not in the right location.

“If you can’t afford a private school system, you are limited to one school for your children,” Featherstone says. “Moving may be a benefit to your child’s education.”

4. Remodeling won’t offer a return on your investment

Giving your kitchen or bathroom a face-lift can make your house feel like new again, shutterstock_378127240 (1)which might be all you need to decide you want to stay put for years. But that doesn’t mean it’s a financially sound decision.

“Before making significant improvements, you should really study the neighborhood and know the highest price point of your neighborhood,” Featherstone says.

If your home is already similar in style and condition of some of the priciest homes in the neighborhood, remodeling might be a bad idea, and you should consider selling instead.

5. You can afford to sell

Sure, you’re going to make money when you actually sell your house, but as the adage goes, it takes money to make money. So seller beware: You probably won’t be sitting around and waiting for the dollars to roll in.

“Before you consider selling, you should have the funds available to prepare your home for sale,” Featherstone says.

Most sellers need to make some minor improvements such as painting, landscaping, or updating flooring to get a good price on their home. Those costs will come out of your pocket at first, so it’s a good idea to have a cushion before you start.

6. You’re ready to compete

If you’re living in a seller’s market, you might be enticed to offload your home before things cool off. But don’t forget—once you sell, you’ll probably be a buyer, too.

“If your market is hot, your home may sell quickly and for top dollar, but keep in mind the home you buy also will be more expensive,” Featherstone says.

If you’re going to get out there, you should make sure you’re ready to compete.

By Angela Colley; reprinted from realtor.com

It’s highly beneficial to have a professional, knowledgeable, local Real Estate Agent by your side! Call Keller Williams Dallas Metro North today for all your real estate needs!

How to Move with Kids Without Losing Your Mind

by Cathie Ericson |  Reprinted from realtor.com
kids - 1

There’s no doubt that moving can be a life-draining experience under the best of circumstances. Add in kids—and it most certainly does not qualify as “the best of circumstances.” In fact, complete chaos can ensue. But don’t despair: Here are some tips to minimize the insanity of relocation with little tykes in tow.

Give them an early heads up

Kids are insightful little critters, and even the really young ones have likely gathered that something is up. Rather than letting them fret, give them the low-down on the plan as soon as you know you are moving.

“Set up a special dinner night with pizza or their favorite food and inform your kids of the move,” recommends Brad Pauly of Pauly Presley Realty in Austin, TX.

Explaining details—that mom has a new job, that the house will have a room just for them, and that the new town has a great park—will help to allay their concerns. Reassure them that all their familiar items will go with them, and that they will have ample time to say goodbye to friends.

Let them decorate the boxes

If you have younger kids, consider doing the majority of packing while they are with a baby sitter or friend, or at night. Not only are they likely more interested in shutterstock_28772560unpacking boxes, but they also might be upset seeing their things go away, even if it’s only temporarily.

Older kids can help fill boxes, and then let them unleash their creativity with stickers and markers.

“Allowing them to personalize their box of belongings keeps them busy and also makes it easier for you to identify what goes to their room when you arrive at the new house,” Pauly says. Kids will want to set up their new digs as soon as they can.

Keep kid ‘essentials’ on hand

Set aside one box of items you will need ASAP, and take it with you in your own car rather than placing it on the moving truck. Let your children choose the “essentials” in their life and place them in this box. For them, it might be a certain teddy bear or toy. No judgments!

This box is all about what your kid will want on hand. That way if the moving truck ends up late or boxes get lost, your kids know they’ve got the things they love most within reach, which curbs the odds of a first-night-in-new-house meltdown.

Keep important family paperwork around, too

Also keep in your own car a box of any important school-related documents (e.g., birth certificates, medical records, and transcripts) to ensure your kids are prepared for their new school.

“It’s easy to misplace papers when moving, so making sure important documents are ready to go will make the move less stressful on the other end,” Pauly says.

Purge while packing—with consent

Kids are hoarders by nature, and that can spell trouble when you realize you are paying to move the bottle cap collection or stuffed animal menagerie.

“This is a great time to go through their belongings and donate items that have been outgrown or overplayed,” says mom and Realtor® Susan Chace of Avenue Properties in Seattle. Talk about the fresh start they will have setting up a room sans clutter, and underscore that the donations can help someone else.

However, you want to make sure they have bought into the whole “letting go” thing; if they’re overly upset, it might be wise to table the purge.

“While you might be tempted to get rid of that broken toy or that shirt that no longer fits, you should keep it unless you’re certain your kid is OK parting with it,” Pauly warns. “Young kids tend to be attached to all their things, and ensuring they see their familiar belongings in their new home will provide comfort.”

Say farewell properly

Closure is tough for everyone, but especially for kids, who may be incredibly anxious about whether they’ll find a new BFF or if their new teacher will be as kind as Ms. Jacki.

“Have kids take photos of their room, yard, school, friends, and anything else that’s important to them so they can create a memory book of this chapter in their lives,” suggests Chace. You also might want to throw a going-away party to allow for proper goodbyes.

Enjoy the journey

If you’re moving out of the region (road trip!), make the drive part of the excitement. Show them the route you’ll be taking, and highlight areas of interest you’ll see along the way. Try to plan a few fun stops along the way. And don’t forget the souvenirs.

“If you’re traveling across many states, collect a magnet from each place you visit and display them on your new refrigerator,” says Chace.

Stick to routines

Make sure to stick to your schedule throughout the moving process, including naps and rituals like family meals or family game night, says Pauly: “Maintaining familiar routines as much as you can is reassuring.”

Finally, remind them that the most familiar thing they are bringing is still with them: their family. Cheesy we know, but deep down, your kids really do care.

Cathie Ericson is a journalist who writes about real estate, finance, and health. She lives in Portland, OR. Follow @CathieEricson

Is Home Flipping for You?

Luann 1While you may think that home flipping went the way of the dinosaurs after the real estate bust, flips actually rose 3.1 percent from 2015 to 2016, with gross profits averaging $62,624, according to research from ATTOM Data Solutions.

Home flipping enjoyed a boost last year thanks to low inventory in many areas of the country and an infusion of foreign and domestic capital, says ATTOM, who reported that roughly 6 percent of condo and single-family home sales in 2016 were flips – the highest share in three years.

Hot markets in California – like San Jose, San Diego, and San Francisco – along with cities such as Baltimore, Md., Boston, Mass., New York, N.Y. and Seattle, Wash. earned more than $100,000 in profits. The most flipping took place Florida and Tennessee, where it comprised 11.7 percent of all sales in Memphis, Tenn.

Are you ready to get into the flipping game? Consider these pros and cons:

Pro: Home flipping can be very lucrative, earning you a sizable sum of money within a very short period of time.

Con: Conversely, when a flip becomes a “flop,” you can lose money. This can happen when unexpected expenses for home repairs or taxes arise, or when holding costs accrue from paying the mortgage and other expenses for a longer than anticipated period of time.

Pro: Home flipping is a great learning experience and will sharpen your skills on all things real estate, including construction, related finances and the local market.

Con: The process can be very stressful. There will be bumps along the way and there is always a risk involved, so make sure you’re ready for the roller coaster ride.

If you’d like more detailed real estate information about your market, please contact Anne Lakusta, Keller Williams Dallas Metro North, at 972-874-1905.

Furnish Your Home For Less

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Starting out with a “blank slate” can be both a blessing and a curse. The blessing comes if you have enough money to furnish your home with whatever you want from wherever you choose. Furnishing a home on a shoestring, though, takes creativity, an eye for a good value, and possibly some elbow grease.

While some discount stores, such as Ikea, sell inexpensive new furnishings, careful shoppers can find better quality for less money with used furnishings. Here are a few ideas for getting what you need at dramatically discounted prices.

Inspiration

Whether you are furnishing one room or a whole house, it’s important to have an idea of how you want the room to look before you go shopping. Once you have the design in mind, it’s easier to shop for the components.

Model homes in new home communities are great places to get decorating ideas. These homes are carefully decorated to appeal to a broad range of homebuyers’ emotions. Color schemes, accessories, and furniture choice and placement all play to the shopper’s emotions.

Interior design and decorating websites may also be good sources of inspiration. Check out Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV, Real Simple and Southern Living for budget project ideas to get your household furnished for less.

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Used is Good

One of the hardest things to learn is how to look beyond the obvious wear and tear to the actual “bones” of used furniture.  Look beyond the fact that the upholstery is ratty or the legs are scuffed – look at style.

If you like the lines of the coffee table, buy it. Scratches and dings are easy to fix. Hate the ugly green upholstery on the otherwise perfect Chesterfield-style sofa? Buy it. Have it recovered in a yummy fabric of your choice.

Once you’ve mastered the technique of not judging furniture by its cover, it’s time to go shopping.

Garage and Estate Sales

Yes, there are differences between garage sales and estate sales. The latter is the disposition of goods of a person’s estate. The garage sale, on the other hand, is the sale of a person’s extra belongings or things they no longer need. Both sales offer used items, but estate sales typically have a better variety, and the items are usually in better condition.

Expect to pay more for estate sale items than garage sale items, and prices are typically not negotiable. In both cases you’ll need to supply your own moving labor and transportation, so factor that cost into the cost of the items you want to purchase.

You can find garage and estate sales advertised on Craigslist, in newspaper classified ads, and by following directional signs in neighborhoods.

Consignment Stores

Furniture prices tend to be a bit higher in consignment stores than if you were to purchase the items directly from the owner’s home, but you can occasionally find some bargains.

Thrift Stores

Salvation Army, Goodwill, Deseret Industries (in the western U.S.) and hospital auxiliary thrift stores are sources of deeply discounted used household items. Finding something decent is a bit challenging, but once in a while you’ll find just the piece you’ve been searching for, so don’t disregard these sources.

Online Shopping

Craigslist is the best online site for inexpensive home furnishings – mainly because it’s local. The first place to navigate once you arrive on your local Craigslist page is the “For Sale” section, where you’ll find a link named “Free.” Everybody loves free, right? Within this category you’ll see ads that are headlined: “Curb Alert.” These ads contain free items that the owners place at their curb, available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Directly beneath the “Free” section is a link to the furniture section. Here you can find everything from new furniture to gently used designer pieces and ratty junk. Craigslist gives you the opportunity to search by owner or by dealer and to use keywords, which saves you from having to scroll through hundreds of ads for headboards when you’re looking for a dining room table.

You may also want to peruse the “Household” and “Antique” sections, also located under “For Sale.”

Another website where you can search for furniture is eBay. You can find some bargains here, but keep in mind that shipping charges may just destroy any savings you realize on the items themselves. One way around this is to click the down arrow next to “Sort.” At the bottom of the list you’ll find “Nearest First.” Click on that link to re-sort items according to geographic location.

Etsy is an interesting website for perusing handmade items, such as artwork, containers, planters and pillows suitable for accessorizing.

Finally, join the freecycling group in your area at Freecycle.org. Membership is free, and so are all the items posted.

Shopping frugally allows you to make big, dramatic changes to your home décor without breaking the bank.

KW DALLAS METRO NORTH IS BEATING THE AREA ONCE AGAIN!

Year to date we have doubled our competition in closed units…

AND WE SELL HOMES FASTER!

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

You should be talking to a Keller Williams Dallas Metro North agent if you are thinking of buying or selling your home! You need a PROGRESSIVE, PROVEN, PROFESSIONAL AGENT on your side.

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Reuse, Refurbish and Recycle: How to Go Eco-Friendly With Your Home Design

Furnishing, decorating or redecorating a home can be expensive, tedious and sometimes a bit frustrating. We must try to keep up with the latest, ever-changing fashion trends while also attempting to carefully balance expenses with the social responsibility of not creating additional landfill waste. We live in a crowded world where the unnecessary dumping of bulky furniture items or interior finishes that are still in good shape shouldn’t be tolerated.

Try to keep sustainability in mind as you decorate your home. Seek out items containing recycled content or made from eco-friendly materials. Donate or sell items that could be salvaged whenever possible, as they should be given the opportunity for a second life in another home.

Here are a few simple design ideas with a sustainable approach, to help give a fresh look to your home while remaining eco-friendly.

Focus on the Finishes

If you’re starting bare bones with your home décor, you can select interior finishes that contain recycled content or that are made from rapidly renewable resources. There are many flooring options available today that provide style and are also quite cost effective—bamboo, cork or linoleum, to name a few. For carpeting, look at selections bearing recycled materials, or that contain wool or even corn fibers, for a sustainable choice.

For bathroom or kitchen countertops, consider ceramic tiles or beautiful glass made entirely from recycled content. More exclusively for kitchens, look for counters made from concrete, stainless steel, recycled paper or even reclaimed wood. Consider cabinetry materials that are sourced from sustainably harvested forests, such as from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and steer clear of products containing added urea-formaldehyde to offer a healthier interior environment.

If you’re redecorating your existing home, try and salvage what you’ve already got! Refinish those beautiful hardwood floors that can last another lifetime, instead of replacing them. Refurbish existing cabinetry or interior doors by adding a fresh stain, a coat of paint, or updated hardware.

“New” Furniture Doesn’t Have to Be New

Shop at thrift stores, antique shops, flea markets or second-hand online retailers for one-of-a-kind treasures and give them a fresh look. Consider stand-out pieces such as oversized wooden or metal headboards, table and chair ensembles, distinctive dressers, buffets or armoires—then refurbish them to compliment your existing décor. Vintage pieces establish an effortlessly unique appeal and help divert unnecessary waste from already overflowing landfills.

Another eco-friendly and cost-effective option is to refinish the furniture you’ve already got at home. Some sanding, new hardware, and a fresh stain or paint color added to a single piece of furniture—or a complete ensemble—will give a room an entirely new look. Consider a distressed look or even add stenciling or texture. Encourage a family project and the whole gang will take pride in the finished product!

Use some imagination and creativity to give new meaning to existing pieces or eclectic, previously-owned treasures. Antique dressers make gorgeous bathroom vanities; and with a reclaimed wood top, you can make exceptional kitchen island creations. Search out vintage lockers for storing mudroom essentials and display houseplants on rustic hutches or armoires left lazily ajar.

If you absolutely must have something new, seek out furniture derived from eco-friendly products and those made from recycled plastics or metals. Consider ethically sourced wood or accent pieces made from rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo.

Addressing the Finer Details

Don’t forget to also think sustainably when fine-tuning your home décor. Seek out throw rugs or blankets derived from natural or recycled fibers. Do the same for your fabrics and textiles, and consider green options such as organic cotton or linen, hemp or jute.

Most importantly, instead of buying new, search again for unique, second-hand treasures. Make a bold statement by adding one-of-a-kind light fixtures to any room. Refurbish vintage mirrors or antique picture frames. Utilize abandoned window panes for your photo collections.  Consider rustic galvanized tubs, wicker baskets or ornamental canning jars for your storage needs and add a touch of classic elegance with a single glass vase or antique table lamp.

As consumers, it is our social and moral responsibility to think about how our individual actions affect the world we live in. We can help not only to divert unnecessary waste from already overcrowded landfills; we can have a lot of fun doing it.

Eco-friendly home design resources:

http://recycledinteriors.org/being-green/
http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/Ecofriendly-Kitchens
http://www.bhg.com/kitchen/remodeling/planning/eco-friendly-kitchen-ideas/

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