Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Year Resolutions and Your Home Buying Process

Happy New Year! It’s a new year and we all know what that means….New Year’s resolutions!  Sure, there are the typical New Year’s resolutions like lose weight, eat healthier, travel more, stop smoking, or get a new job but, do you have a different goal in mind?  Is buying a new home on your New Year’s resolution list?  If it is, fantastic!  There are various reasons why beginning your new home search now is a great idea.

Agents are more determined than ever!  

With a few weeks of holiday lull in the real estate market, agents are more ready and eager than ever to find you a home (or sell your property).  Agents had a few weeks to reorganize their business techniques and get prepared for their new successful year.  That means that they are ready for YOU!

Don’t wait, look now!

It may seem too early for you to begin your new home search but, it’s actually a great time to get started!  If you begin now, you’ll get a better feel for the market, neighborhoods, and what it is that you’re exactly looking for.  The earlier you begin your search, the more knowledgeable become and clear on what your “must haves” are and what you are willing to be flexible on.  It’s always a great idea to get a head start on the home buying process, before the market picks up and competition rises.  Work closely and openly with your agent and let them help you throughout your home buying process.

Don’t mind the snow, selling is a go!

Don’t let snow hinder your thoughts on finding a new home and don’t let it make you think that you won’t have many options to choose from.  In reality, seller with properties for sale in the wintertime are usually more motivated than those in warmer months.  There are numerous reasons why homes go on the market and they go on the market all of the time.  You may come across the right home at the right time, but only if you look.  Sellers may be more willing to negotiate during the winter because their more motivated to sell and move on with their next step in life.  

Who likes competition, nobody!

Despite there possibly being less homes on the market during the winter, there are usually less buyers.  This is a good thing when you’re on a search for a new home.  Although there may be less homes, you only need one that suits you!  Also, with a slower market you’re more likely to get more attention and time from agents.  

Beat the rise in interest rates

In the beginning of the year, interest rates slowly begin to rise.  Be sure to lock in the lowest rate possible and get preapproved for a mortgage.

Find an Agent

Find the right agent for you.  One who can help educate you on the market and help you find just what you are looking for.  Find an agent who maintains open communication and availability.  To find an agent, search on sites like and Zillow.

Apart from finding a new home this year, here is a list of other great possible New Year’s resolutions:

Clean up your credit
Budget wisely
Automate your down payments
Build up your savings
Pay off debt
Get more organized
De-clutter your home
Prepare for retirement
Manage your daily spending better
Make extra mortgage payments (which can dramatically shorten the time until your mortgage will be paid in full)
Pay off your second mortgage
Refinancing your mortgage (to decrease your payment or lock in a low fixed rate)
Cut down on your energy usage to save money and to be more environmentally friendly (Try sealing and insulating your ductwork to improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system)
Create a yearly budget for home improvement and maintenance (to prevent overspending and to encourage putting aside money for major replacements)
Volunteer or do more community service
Spend more time with the family (try planting a tree, having a staycation, or going to the park more often)
Get fit by doing home repairs!

  • Building a fence: 340 calories per hour
  • Interior painting: 136 calories per hour
  • Chopping firewood: 340 calories per hour
  • Mowing the lawn: 306 calories per hour
  • Planting shrubs: 238 calories per hour

Whatever you choose as your New Year’s resolutions, make sure that they’re ones that only aid to you and your family’s happiness and overall well-being.  Remember to enjoy your home buying process.  Be sure to find the right agent to help you reach all of your home-buying needs and desires.  Start this New Year off right.  Challenge yourself, try something new, be more optimistic, travel far and wide, love deeper, smile more, and simply love life.  Happy 2017!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Millennial Homebuyers Are on the Rise, What to Keep in Mind if You're a Home Builder or a Realtor

The housing market is currently experiencing and further preparing for a wave of millennial buyers, those between the ages of 20 and 37.  It’s believed that millennials have long delayed buying homes due to reasons including student loan debt, the recession, and the idealistic movement toward city living.  Now that the amount of millennial homebuyers are on the rise, home builders are consciously constructing properties that satisfy the needs and desires of millennials and Realtors are adjusting their marketing techniques to attract millennials.  

Why Millennials are Looking to Buy

Many millennials are now looking to buy homes in suburbs and locations where they can begin a family of their own. There is more space for dogs and children to run and play.  

Other millennials are looking to buy in the city, closer to public transportation and their jobs.

They want to avoid the rise in apartment rental costs and put their hard-earned money towards an investment

What Home Builders Should Keep in Mind When Constructing for Future Millennial Homebuyers

They are looking for patio-style homes and smaller yards that are easy to maintain

Energy-efficient homes are rising in popularity due to the desire for environmental conservation and lower monthly bill costs

They are still seeking a high level of quality in homes along with character and comfort

They want plenty of space to entertain friends and family such as open floor plans with kitchens that open into the living room and a large outdoor living space.

Millennials seek areas to socialize within their homes and lounge around

They want rooms that they can easily turn into a home office or a study area, a guest room, or storage or extra closet room.

They seek low maintenance homes that require little up-keeping such as properties with wood floors and granite countertops

What Realtors Should Keep in Mind and How they are Adjusting to Reach Millennial Homebuyers

Millennials are budget conscious

Most of budget will go towards furnishings and the down payment

They are looking for homes with less repairs

They want to add a personal stamp on the property

If any home alterations are made, they will be to add value to the property for the future

They want updated and finished baths and kitchens

Millennials are looking for reliable wireless service and internet connection, therefore, it’s important to be prepared for any internet-related questions.

Staging a home is important and often effective.  For first-time homebuyers, it’s easier for them to envision living in a home when it is staged

Many are interested in buying a condo but, due to being budget-conscious, they are looking for places with no special assessments and with FHA financing

Millennials do almost everything online.  Therefore, it’s crucial for Realtors to have a completed online presence and a quality online listing including complete websites and Trulia, Zillow, and profiles, as well as professional photos of your listings.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Great "Stay-cation" Ideas for You and Your Family for this Fall and Winter

Do you and your family desire to go on a vacation this Fall or Winter but that just doesn’t seem possible?  There are bills to pay, business slows down during the cold seasons, kids are in school, and there are just too many things to get done around the house?

Don’t let responsibilities prevent you and your family from enjoying life and each other.  You and your family can still enjoy a vacation from your daily routine and life stresses without spending tons of money or going very far.  Have a “Stay-cation”. 

“Stay-cations” can be fun, relaxing, and create new family memories without costing a lot of money, requiring traveling very far, having the kids miss school, or making you feel the stresses of leaving all of your responsibilities far behind.  It’s a nice way to get away while staying on a budget.

Benefits of “Stay-cations”

You can include other family members or friends to come along since it’s not much of a commitment

You teach your children how to enjoy life and have fun without having to spend much money

Experience nearby activities, opportunities, or establishments that you often overlook

There is more money to allocate towards other things rather than hotels and airline tickets

If commitments dictate, you can skip a day in the middle of your Stay-cation to do work or take care of something and then pick back up on your vacation

Appreciate all that your state or region has to offer with activities, attractions, and natural beauty

Avoid small expenses that can add up like airport food, baggage fees, travel documents, taxis, laundry fees, and more.

Cook, prepare, and pack meals to bring along to avoid the costs of restaurants and hotel food

“Stay-cation” Ideas
Visit a pumpkin or animal farm or take a road trip to visit several farms in your region

Enjoy a day at the zoo

Take a road trip to beautiful parks nearby and admire the colorful changes in the trees

Cook a delicious family meal and have a candlelit picnic on your living room floor
Go on a nature walk and collect leaves and acorns to use in art projects

Find awesome corn mazes to get lost in

Make a trip to grandma’s house and have a baking day.  Make homemade pies and cookies

Have an arts and crafts day.  Make Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas decorations or get an
early start on Christmas gifts such as cards, decorative candles, ornaments, or painted coffee mugs.

Spend a day at an animal shelter to play with and pet the animals.  Stop at the store beforehand to pick up a few treats, bones, toys, and cans of food to donate.

Go to a drive-in movie or a movie in the park

Take a local chocolate, candy, or food tour

Make your rounds to local and nearby museums of different types: history, science, children’s, art, and any others that may interest the family

Build a fort in the living room, fill it with pillows and blankets, bring snacks, and tell each other stories

Spend an day at an elderly home.  Make a bring them holiday cards or small homemade gifts.

Plant a “thankful tree”

Write and create your own homemade books.  Take them to elderly homes, hospitals, or shelters to read to others

Carve or paint pumpkins

Attend Fall Festivals in your area

Create a scavenger hunt for the kids to enjoy

Choose a favorite non-profit organization and spend a day volunteer at an event or donate your time helping with anything that they need

Go to a theme park or an indoor water park

Take a road trip to a nearby family-fun hotel or water park to stay for the weekend

Buy and create care packages for the homeless in preparation for the cold season

Tips on Creating Your Best Family “Stay-cation”

Visit for ideas

Look on Groupon or LivingSocial for deals and ideas

Google “things to do” in your area

Visit the website of your local Chamber of Commerce or Visitors Bureau for ideas

Have the kids brainstorm fun and creative ideas

Find Volunteer opportunities and events on

Don’t let a tight budget or work prevent you from enjoying this season with your family and loved ones.  You may not be able to jump on a plane and fly to a tropical island right now but, that doesn’t mean that you and your family can’t have a wonderful and fun time together on a budget-friendly and more local “Stay-cation”.  With the weather cooling off and Winter just around the corner, there are lots of great ways to have a fun and memorable “Stay-cation” with your family!