The home buying process can be exciting and fun…but also complicated, stressful, and overwhelming.
Maximize your chance of success and minimize the amount of time spent trying to keep track of all the details by working with a buyer’s agent. There is a plethora of benefits to using a buyer’s agent, and here are our top four!
They can find the right properties for you. When starting your search, generally you will already have a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves for your new home. Your buyer’s agent will have access to extensive search resources and all the new listings hitting the market, so they can ensure you are looking at homes that meet most, if not all, of your criteria.
They know the background. Experienced buyer’s agents have a breadth of knowledge on different neighborhoods in the area. They can let you know what similar homes in the area have recently sold for, if there are any new commercial projects on the horizon, what the nearby schools have to offer, and more.
They are in your corner during negotiations. A buyer’s agent is your advocate when it comes time to put in an offer and negotiate. They have your best interest in mind, understand what you are looking for, and can help you get the best price and terms for the home.
They provide trusted recommendations. Buyer’s agents that have been in the business for several years have likely built strong relationships with professionals in other parts of the industry. Turn to your agent when you are ready to find a home inspector, moving company, lender, and more.
One of the best perks of owning your own home is having the space and privacy of your own porch. It’s the ideal place to relax and spend time with family during the summer months. Here are some suggestions for getting your porch back in shape after the winter.
Cleaning and maintenance Start by removing the dirt and debris that has probably accumulated on the deck throughout winter and spring. Then give it a good inspection—and replace boards and nails as necessary— before using a cleaning solution to give it a thorough cleaning.
Consider your seating options What’s the main purpose of your porch? Is it for kicking back and relaxing? Hang a hammock and you’ll have the perfect place for an afternoon nap. More interested in entertaining? Invest in some patio furniture, and assemble a bar cart that you can roll outside when you have guests.
Decorate Add some personality to your porch with some plants (perennials are ideal), ambient lighting, outdoor rugs, and any other decor that seems appropriate. Your porch may be exposed to the elements, but you still have plenty of options for creating a cozy and compelling space.
Kick back! The hard work is over. Invite some company over and enjoy the season!
When temperatures skyrocket, it can be so tempting to crank up the A/C with little to no regard for the impending electric bill that arrives at the end of each month. If you want to save a few bucks without sacrificing your comfort in the summer, consider taking some of these measures to decrease energy usage.
Don’t keep the house cool for no one. This one seems simple, but how many times do you find yourself running out of the house without turning up the air conditioner. Lucky for you, most thermostats are programmable, and you can set times when the temperature should increase and decrease.
Seal it up. Take a weekend morning, buy some caulk and weather-strips, and get your DIY on. Survey your home, especially near windows and doors and in attics and basements, and seal any cracks or gaps you find. Reports have found sealing leaks can lessen your energy costs by 15 to 30 percent. That’s a huge difference!
Don’t underestimate the power of fans. Adding one or two fans to the main living areas of your home can help circulate air, allowing you to use far less energy to cool it. You can buy them in so many colors, styles, and materials so they can simultaneously complement your décor.
Use heat conducting appliances in the evening. Try to wait until after 7 pm when the sun is setting to use appliances that expend heat, like stoves, ovens, dryers, and dishwashers. This will not only keep the house cooler, but you won’t be paying peak hour pricing for electricity.
Buying a home can be a long process. The last thing you want after all your time spent searching for homes and getting the best mortgage rate is to have everything go wrong on closing day. Here are five tips that’ll ensure it goes smoothly.
1. Schedule a date that works best for you: You have every right to request the closing take place at an ideal time for you, and the other parties in the transaction will usually work with you to make it happen. Whether it’s timing the closing around a pay date or the end of a lease, the first step is finding a date that minimizes stress or conflicts.
2. Clarify your payment: Many title companies do not accept personal checks, so give yourself a few days to get a cashier’s check or set up a wire transfer.
3. Double check insurance: You’ll need to arrange for a title insurance policy for your mortgage and purchase homeowner’s insurance (plus flood or earthquake insurance, depending on the area). Make sure your policy begins by your closing date.
4. Do a final walk-through: You’d be surprised to find that buyers skip this step! Schedule a final walkthrough to ensure that all requested repairs have been made and everything is in working order.
5. Take action based on walk-through: If any issues are identified, you may need to delay closing or negotiate a discount before the closing date to avoid delays.
6. Make sure to have a Yancey Realty agent on your side: our agents can walk you through each step of the process, and explain any confusion so you know where you are, and what still needs to be done in the process.
When buying a new house, it’s easy to get distracted by size and think that bigger is better. However, depending on your situation, the opposite may be true.
So how can you determine if your new home is too small, too big, or “just right?” You’ll want to consider these elements.
What’s Your Long-Term Goal? How many years do you see yourself in this house? Is this the place where you want to raise your kids and retire? If not, then size shouldn’t be as crucial as you think. Consider the fact that you will likely move again, which means that you can upgrade in the future if necessary.
What’s Your Financial Limit? For the most part, you don’t want more home than you can truly afford. While you may be getting that promotion in a couple of months, you can’t buy now expecting to have more money in the bank later. Overextending your financial reach is always a bad move, so it’s best to avoid putting yourself (or your family) in that position.
How Many People are Living Here? In a perfect world, everyone would be able to have their own bedrooms, but when you have kids, that’s not always possible. When thinking about this situation, consider how imperative it is to have sufficient space for everyone, and what it will do to your budget.
Overall, buying a home should be about your current needs and how you plan to grow into space in the future. Don’t buy big for the sake of showing off – in the end, you’ll probably regret it!
Of course, one of the dirtiest objects in anyone’s home is the toilet. But, that’s not the only place where dirt and germs accumulate. Here are five other dirty places and suggestions for cleaning them.
Bath Towels – When you and your family dry off from your shower, your bath towel absorbs the water from your body. Then it sits all day breeding bacteria that thrive in warm, moist areas. Combat this issue by changing your bath towels out every two days and washing your dirty towels in hot water to kill anything living on them.
Shower Curtain – Shower curtains easily pick up bacteria the same way bath towels do. They also attract germs from the toilet if they are near each other. Clean your shower curtain by spraying it down with a bleach-based product. Spray the rings and rod, too. Also, when the shower curtain is beyond cleaning, replace it.
Doorknobs – Entryway and bathroom doorknobs are exposed to myriad germs daily. Thankfully, doorknobs are easy to clean. Wipe them down with antibacterial wipes regularly.
Window/Door Tracks – Window and door tracks are harbingers of dust and dirt. The grime that builds up can make you and your family ill. You can easily clean these areas by vacuuming out large pieces of debris and then spraying the stuck-on dirt with water, letting it loosen up and wiping it with a damp cloth.
Toothbrush Holders – Your toothbrush holder is likely teeming with germs and bacteria. Wash it with hot soapy water twice a week. If you can, run it through the dishwasher to ensure it gets clean and sterilized.
When you’re selling your home, adding some extra perks can help you find a buyer quickly. An incentive is essentially a marketing spend for your home sale. But you want to make sure your marketing dollars are being used effectively, so consider these do’s and don’ts:
DO recognize your home’s flaws, and offer an incentive that compensates. Buyers will look at extremely dated decor or appliances as a big looming expense, so you can alleviate their anxiety with a warranty or repair/renovation allowance.
DON’T use an incentive to try to get buyers to bite on an inflated sale price. If your home isn’t priced properly, it’s unlikely that an incentive—even one with significantly monetary value—will hide that fact. You’re better off revaluating your pricing, rather than spending big on an incentive.
DO consider homebuyer incentives when there’s close competition. If there are other listed homes in the area with similar features and pricing, an incentive can be a winning factor.
DON’T forget to check on the legality of your incentive offers. The laws on incentives can vary greatly between states, so work with a knowledgeable, trustworthy real estate professional to ensure that your homebuyer incentives are above board.
Is there a home maintenance project that’s been lingering on your to-do list for too long because you’re dreading the trip to the hardware or craft store? There are some projects you can tackle with items that are almost certainly already in your home.
1. Vinegar: There’s probably a jug of vinegar in your pantry right now. You can soak items in vinegar to remove mineral deposits (like in a clogged showerhead), and you can boil vinegar in your microwave to remove odors and make it easier to clean.
2. Cola: A can of Coke or Pepsi can be used to clean many surfaces, including your glass windows, porcelain toilet, or chrome fixtures. Just do some research before using it on metal surfaces, as it can be corrosive.
3. Baking soda: This item may actually be more useful for applications other than baking. A baking soda-vinegar paste is great for cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. Baking soda can also be used to absorb odors.
4. Butter knife: Screwdrivers are easy to misplace. If can’t find a screwdriver when you need one, a butter knife—preferably an older one that you no longer need for table setting—is pretty effective for both Phillips- and flat-head screws.
5. Toothpaste: Is there an unsightly scratch on your car or bike? The grit in tarter-control toothpastes makes for an effective scratch remover. Clean the scratch, apply some toothpaste, let it sit for a few minutes, and then buff it out with paper towel.
Negotiation is a subtle art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly. Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate professionals) should avoid:
1. Lowball offers: Going far below market value when you make an offer damages your credibility as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept, and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider the offer.
2. Incremental negotiations: Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities.
3. “Take it or leave it”: Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive and consider other offers if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it.
4. Nitpicking after inspection: Obviously if inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate.
5. Asking for more, more, more: Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to build up resentment and think that you’re being greedy.
6. Not having a Yancey Realty agent on your side!: Our agents are expert negotiators, and have extensive knowledge of the Charlotte area and market. We have the resources to find comparable homes and past sales to best align you with the current market depending on the zip code, neighborhood or area you’re looking in. Give us a call today at 704.467.8877!
An accent wall can totally transform a room, taking it from boring and drab to bold and exciting. Accent walls create a new focal point for your space, add liveliness and contrast, and are typically a very inexpensive DIY project.
The starter accent wall You can easily add an accent wall to your room in one afternoon by applying a new paint color. Deep blues and bright oranges are common choices for accent walls, but choose a color that will complement your existing decor and overall design aesthetic.
Interesting textures Bright, contrasting paint is a good starting point, but there are other options for accent walls that are even more eye-catching and distinct. Floor-to-ceiling wood planks can make your home seem both rustic and modern all at once and provide a natural, outdoors-inspired feel. It’s more work than simply painting a wall, but it’s still relatively inexpensive. You can source the wood from pallets on Craigslist and stain it yourself before attaching it to your wall. It takes a little extra elbow grease, but it’s worth the effort.
Patterns, murals, and more Paint and wood are bold enough on their own to transform a room, but they’re still pretty subtle compared to other accent wall options. A chalk paint accent wall is a creative idea for any room and makes for some fun moments when you’re entertaining. There are also endless options for wallpaper and stenciling if you want some patterns or you can get really bold with a mural or oversized art print.