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Why Home Inspections Are a Must

Buying a house is one of the best decisions you may ever make, and it’s always a thrill to go through the process. But there are ups and downs on the road to homeownership and sometimes things can get a bit overwhelming. The house you want to buy might seem like the perfect home, but upon further inspection, hiding underneath that dream home could be potentially serious defects that can make your future investment a costly one.

That’s why you should hire a home inspector for every sale. You probably know the general idea behind an inspector’s job—taking a thorough look at the house and finding out if anything is wrong with it—but it’s much more detailed than you think.

A home inspector will do a complete physical inspection of the entire structure and systems of your prospective home. While you may love how beautiful the living room’s wood floors are, your inspector can tell if the flooring itself will stand for another 20 years.

A typical inspector’s report will cover the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; and the foundation, basement and structural components.

Best of all, an inspector is an objective voice that will determine not only the condition of the home, but will also provide details of any immediate or future risks based on what’s in the report. Those are future costs you will need to consider.

A complete inspection will list the positive and negative aspects of the house, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. Once an inspection is over, both parties in the transaction will have a much clearer understanding of the property value and what it needs in terms of repairs and maintenance.

 Understanding these issues could help you at the negotiating table, as well. The home in good working order may have been worth $350,000. But if $20,000 of work needs to be done to fix the roof or replace faulty wiring, you may be able to argue that the price should be lower.

Before jumping into any contract signing, you should hire an inspector to look over the good, the bad and the ugly of what your new home really offers.

Trying to Sell Your Home Without a Real Estate Agent Is a Big Mistake — Here’s Why

Whether you’re new to the real estate game or you’ve bought and sold a home before, there are many details involved in selling. It can be enticing to think about taking on the responsibility yourself and going it alone, but there are a number of reasons it’s wise to use a real estate agent. Before you make a decision on selling your home, ensure you consider all the details you’ll have to deal with.

Misunderstanding Of The Market

It’s entirely possible for a home seller to look at the MLS listings and determine a price range for their home, but the right real estate agent will have a wealth of knowledge to draw from. In all likelihood, they will be familiar with the neighborhood and may even have sold a few homes in it. This means they’ll be able to determine the right offer for your home and ensure it’s feasible on the market, which may mean a higher price and a shorter selling time

It Takes Time

While a real estate agent will get a certain percentage of the price for helping you sell your home, you won’t be getting paid anything to do the legwork. However, it’s easy to underestimate how much time it can take to market your home, arrange open houses and deal effectively with all of the negotiating. It may be enticing to do it on your own, but what it might save in money, it may end up eating in time.

The Closing Details

If you’ve determined the price of your home and you’ve received an offer, it can be a great feeling to know that you’ve taken the right steps. However, what happens after you receive an offer is one of the most important parts of selling your home, and a real estate agent will be able to guide you through counter offers and lowering your price if needed. While it may seem like this will be easy enough to navigate, having an agent who’s waded through the waters can help to simplify things.

I know folks who change their own oil, build their own homes, manage  their stock market accounts and even set broken bones.  Using the internet makes do it yourself projects easy to undertake.  If you think selling your own property falls into a “diy” task, try it out.  If and when you have a question on how to keep more money in your pocket and protect your asset, we’ll be here to help.

Selling your home on your own may seem like a money saving opportunity, but the right real estate agent will be able to navigate the market and do the legwork for you while still getting a good offer. If you’re currently preparing to put your home on the market, contact Catskill Country Real Estate today for market tips.

5 Things Nobody Tells You About Selling Your First Home

It’s often so exciting to think of buying a new home that homeowners forget about the sale, but there are a lot of details involved in putting a home on the market. Whether you’re just considering selling or are readying to put your home up, here are some things you might not know about the process.

 Marketing Strategy Is Important

 The days of putting a sign on the front yard and waiting for buyers are gone, so it’s important to have a strategy that will successfully highlight your house. Whether you decide to make a website, use social media or invest in a professional photographer, ensure you’re prepared to put your home out there.

 The Right Price Is Everything

 You have the ability to change your asking price at any time, but it’s best to hit the market with a price that is both reasonable and competitive. This will not only prevent your home from lingering on the market, it will make it more likely you’ll get the offer you’re looking for.

 Fixing It Up Is Important

 You might want to avoid minor fix-ups before selling your home, but maintenance issues can impact the offers you’ll receive. Instead of leaving these for the next homeowner, put time aside to do paint touch-ups, repair doors or insulate the windows so the small things don’t affect your offer.

 Prepare To Pack

 It’s great to receive an offer on your home, but packing up can be one of the most stressful aspects of moving. Instead of leaving this to the last minute, do some preliminary ‘spring cleaning’ to discard the stuff you won’t use and pack up the stuff you won’t soon need. This will make moving out a little smoother.

 Be Ready For An Open House

 It can be a pain to stage your home and leave on short notice to accommodate an interested homebuyer, but a good open house is one of your best bets for selling your home. This means your house should be clean and clutter free all the time so only a few last-minute fix-ups will be required.

 There are a lot of things involved in selling your first home, but by completing the little fix ups and choosing the right price, you’ll be well on your way to an interested buyer. If you’re currently getting ready to put your home on the market, contact Catskill Country Real Estate real estate professionals for more information.

Six Reasons Why You’ll Need a Licensed Real Estate Agent When You Buy or Sell a House

Are you in the market to buy or sell a home? If so, you may be wondering whether to work with a real estate agent or not. While saving on the commission might sound tempting, it can cost you later.

Here are six reasons to choose a real estate agent the next time you buy or sell a home.

#1: Agents Get The Best Price

If you’re trying to buy or sell on your own, it’s going to cost you. When buying, real estate agents are able to tap into market data to know the best price to bid. When selling, they can use this same data to ensure you ask for the highest reasonable price.

#2: Agents Know The Market

Is now the best time to buy or sell? You might not be sure, but a real estate agent will know. They have daily access to local market trends that outsiders can’t see. And since they’re working in your market each day, they can get a sense for what’s coming.

#3: Agents Know How To Negotiate

Are you a strong negotiator? If not, you’ll want to let your real estate agent take care of the negotiations. Remember, the other party in the transaction is likely to have an agent. So, without one of your own, you’ll be up against a skilled negotiator with no backup.

#4: Agents Have The Time And You Don’t

Let’s face it: you’re busy. Unless you’re going to take a vacation to deal with your real estate transaction, you don’t have the time. Real estate agents spend all their time working on their client properties. They make the time to handle inspections, negotiations and other activities.

#5: Agents Know What To Look For

If you’re buying or selling for the first time, you’ll definitely want to contract an agent. They know how to spot deficiencies in the house or property. Their experience allows them to see problems that you might not spot on your own. And they’ll know what needs to be fixed and what can wait until later.

#6: Agents Can Deal With The Paperwork

Do you love dealing with contracts, legal forms and other paperwork? If not, this might be reason enough to work with a real estate agent. They will take care of all the necessary paperwork for your purchase or sale. And if you’ve ever participated in a real estate transaction before, you know there’s a LOT to deal with. Leave this to your agent so you can focus on more fun activities.

The above are just six of the (many) reasons to work with a real estate professional. If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, contact John Kavaller today.

Buying a Home soon? 4 Unconventional Ways to Save up for Your Down Payment

saveEverybody could use a bit of help saving up to make that bulk payment a little less intimidating.

There are plenty of unconventional ways to save up that may seem small, but will quickly add up and put a dent into that down payment.

Create A High Interest Savings Account

Talk to the bank about creating a secondary savings account with a higher interest rate. These super savings accounts usually come with the caveat that no money can be removed for a designated period of time. Using this account for the down payment works in everybody’s favor because it guarantees those extra dollars cannot be used for any other purpose.

Discard One Guilty Pleasure

Enjoy Starbucks coffee? Grab a pint every happy hour? Choose one vice and put the amount that would be spent on it into a jar. Most people will be surprised on how much money they spend each month on one guilty pleasure that can easily be cut out of their life. Every perk that’s cut will increase the amount by a decent margin.

Put Away Any Bonus Money

Holiday bonuses from work, tax refunds, birthday or Christmas presents, income from side gigs, any and all extra dollars that come in from any source outside of the main paycheck should be considered ‘down payment dollars.’ Sure it’s tempting to use that nice bonus or tax refund on a weekend trip or a night out, but all extra income should be saved away for that initial down payment.

Bring On The Roommates

People who already own a home and are looking to relocate can take this unconventional approach. Decent housing is hard to find so anybody with an extra room can rent it out and put that money towards the new house. Having a roommate can be a pain, but it’s for a limited time and can add up quickly.

While saving for a down payment can be stressful, you don’t have to go through the process alone. John Kavaller will be able to guide you and provide some helpful tips for how to make that down payment without breaking the bank. These men and women have seen countless couples go through the same thing and their experience can make a world of difference.

The Pros and Cons of Using Your Savings to Make Your Full 20 Percent Down Payment

downIf you’ve been perusing the real estate market with the hope of purchasing a home, you may be aware that the often-touted amount you should put down is 20 percent. However, there are good things and bad things involved in investing so much money into your new home. If you’re wondering how to decide on your down payment amount, here are some things to consider before putting in 20 percent.

No Rainy Day Fund

It might seem like the best option is to put down as much as you can, and use up your savings if needed, but putting all of your money into your home can be a mistake. While you may not foresee any financial issues arising in the next few years as you pay down your mortgage, not having any extra money can put you in a vulnerable position if the market shifts or other life issues appear. Investing in a home is a good choice, but you may want to protect some of your other assets.

Lowering Your Monthly Payment

While putting down the full 20 percent can seem like a huge chunk of change, it can be a boon for your monthly finances in the sense that your monthly mortgage payment will be automatically reduced. While this is a good thing and can make your monthly amount more manageable, it’s important to remember that your monthly payments should be affordable and you shouldn’t be stretching for extra house because you can. Make sure you’re buying a home you can afford, with or without 20 percent.

Avoiding Mortgage Insurance

Putting less than 20 percent may seem like a good decision if you’re ready to buy a home and don’t quite have the money saved, but putting less down can actually increase the cost of your home overall. Because you’ll have to pay mortgage insurance if you put down less, this will add to your monthly payment and will be money that you can’t get back. If you’re ready to dive into the market, you may want to move forward, but it can also be a better investment to wait and save a bit more.

20 percent is often the magic number when it comes to a down payment, but there are pros and cons associated with putting this much money down. If you’re currently on the market for a new home, contact John Kavaller for a frank discussion on how to best approach down payment percentage.

4 Financial Benefits of Home Ownership

BenefitsHome ownership may be one of the most familiar goals of adulthood, but there’s more than one reason why so many people flock towards this type of investment and leave the rental market behind. If you’re trying to decide if you should make the big plunge towards buying, here are some benefits of saving up for a down payment and finding the right place to settle in.

It’s More Economical

Many people eschew home ownership simply because it can be hard to wrangle together the funds for a down payment. However, while a monthly rental is money you’ll never see again, the money you put down on a mortgage is being invested back into your home, making for a solid investment you can capitalize on later.

Instant Tax Deductions

The interest that you pay on your mortgage payment can be one of the most tumultuous aspects of purchasing a home, but you may not know that you actually have the ability to deduct many associated costs on your taxes. From origination fees to property taxes, there are plenty of costs that go along with your home that can be claimed for a refund when tax time comes!

Paying A Lower Price

The real estate market fluctuates every day, but one thing is for the certain: the median price of a home is on the rise. While low inflation rates may not be ideal if you’re selling, they can mean a better deal if you’re delving into the market for the first time. Just remember, it’s important to buy a home you can afford as anything that goes beyond your budget is not a solid investment.

A Built-In Savings Account

It may be important to have liquid assets outside of the equity you have in your home, but many people struggle to pay off their home and save money at the same time. While saving outside of your monthly mortgage payment is still important, putting money down on a home is an act of investing, and it’s one you’ll likely make a solid profit on when you decide to sell.

There can be many financial benefits to renting in the short term, but purchasing a home is a more solid financial decision when it comes right down to it. If you’re considering a home and would like to know more about your options, contact John Kavaller for more information.

3 Psychological Hacks That Will Help You Sell Your Home Faster

TricksFrom real estate agents to home buyers, there are so many tips out there on how to sell your home that it can be overwhelming to determine which tricks will boost your success rate and make the sale. If you’re looking for a few sure-fire hacks for getting your home off the market quickly, the following may do a lot of the hard work for you so that selling won’t remain a worry for long.

Stick To A Neutral Palette        

Neutral colors like white and grey may seem like a boring approach to design, but they’re actually a great way to grab a potential buyer’s attention. While an especially bold color like red or dark blue can distract the viewer, neutral tones will not jar the eye and will enable the viewer to see the features that your home truly offers. Instead of a space they can’t see for the color, they’ll be able to pay attention to the details that really matter.

Discard The Oversized Items        

Most of us have an old, bulky piece of furniture that we still haven’t bothered to get rid of, but when preparing your home for viewings you may want to finally let go of this ostentatious piece. A bulky furniture item will make an undersized space look even smaller, whereas – in a large, sprawling space – it will swallow the size of the room. Instead of a large-scale item, stick to classy, medium-sized pieces that will effectively complement each other.

Keep Personal Items To A Minimum        

It may seem like personalizing your home, from pictures all over the fridge to movie posters, will add to its appeal, but it can actually take away from the impression that potential buyers will get. While a home that has a few personal touches here and there can make it more memorable, too many of these little details may actually make the viewer feel out of place. Since the end goal is an offer on your home, enabling potential buyers to imagine themselves in your space is key.

There are an endless amount of tricks involved in a successful home sale, but there are a few little hacks you can do that may work wonders on the minds of potential buyers. If you’re almost ready to put your home on the market and are considering your options for selling, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Is a Real Estate Lawyer Needed when Buying or Selling a Home? YES–Here is Why

LawyerVenturing into the area of real estate, whether you’re buying or selling, is a territory full of unknowns to the layman. While you’ll want to consider your knowledge level in real estate before moving forward with the process, a lawyer will disseminate the details for you and make the process more straightforward. The following are a few ways your lawyer will assist you with their expertise.

Diving Into Legalese Language

Whether you’re buying or selling, it’s very exciting to go through the final processes of a home sale, but a lawyer can help you ascertain the legal jargon in the final agreement. The agreement may seem standard, but a lawyer will be able to ensure that it serves your interests and does not indicate any additional fees or uncommon provisions. If anything needs to be changed or updated, they’ll be able to recommend this so you can avoid any issues that could be experienced as a result.

Insuring Your Title

The transferring of property from the hands of the buyer to the seller can be one of the last details of a property purchase, and a lawyer will be able to help with this matter. As this involves title insurance, a lawyer will be able to contact the necessary companies to have the final bills tallied for the upcoming shift in ownership. This can be an easy means of ensuring that all utilities and owed payments will exist in the name of the party who is responsible for them, and can mean one less thing to worry about.

Navigating The Final Sale

If this is your first foray into real estate, a lawyer can be beneficial with the final negotiations that will take place between you, the agent and the buyer. They will be able to ensure that what was negotiated and agreed upon for the sale is in place, as well as confirming that the funds owing have been received so the deed can be passed on to the buyer. Whether you’re purchasing a home before selling or vice versa, they can apply funds from the sale of your home to your purchase or handle any associated loans.

If you’re new to the real estate market, it can be beneficial to have a lawyer who can handle the transition for you and review the legal documents to ensure they’re in your best interest. In our area, the use of attorneys is the norm.  More than 99 percent of Catskill Country Real Estate’s transactions are closed by attorneys representing the buyer, seller, and if a loan is involved, the lending institution.

We work with several well qualified law offices and will be happy to provide contact information so you can retain a lawyer to work in your best interest.  Over the years, we have established  providers who expedite, rather than hinder, the closing process.  Here is a link to our provider list.