Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Protect Your Home By Tricking the Bad Guys

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Leaving on vacation or leaving your home for an extended period of time can be stressful for some. No one likes leaving their home, where they sleep at night, all their valuables, alone with protection or checking on them. But there are some tricks you can do to convince burglars that you are home, even though you are not! 

Before you leave, there are 7 things you can do to make your house less vulnerable to a break in and make your time away much more enjoyable: 

1. Dead-Bolts: dead-bolt window and door locks make it more difficult for someone to break in.

2. Alarm: Burglar alarms are the best way to alert emergency personal that there’s a problem. 

3. Exposed Hinges: Make sure all entry doors have the hinges on the inside.

4. Disconnect Internet: Keep your computers off and the Internet disconnected. If someone does break in they won’t be able to access your information and cause more damage.

5. Clean the Exterior: Put ladders, crow bars and anything else a burglar could use to break a window in a locked shed.

6. Timed Lighting: Put a timer on the TV and various lights. A flickering TV is all it takes to keep your house safe.

7. Don't be afraid to fake it: Fake camera on the outside of your home, high enough so it's hard to tell its fake. 

Best Time to Sell Your Home

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

When it comes to selling your home, the question always surfaces...When is the best time to sell? Late Spring and Early summer tend to be the most popular time to sell your home for many reasons. 

There are many pros to selling your home this time of the year; School is ending, Home Prices are up, and the summer months tend to free up more time. 

Pros of selling your Des Moines house now:

  • Larger Selling Price: With demand for homes high and inventory low, home prices are steadily increasing.
  • Better Home Evaluation: Home Value valuations are up as well.
  • Longer Days & Look Better: Longer summer days allow for more time to visit or show your home. Plus, spring & summer bring out the beauty in your yard....enhancing Curb Appeal. 
  • Bidding & Multiple Offers: Bidding may be a head ache for the seller at times but multiple offers is a wonderful situation to have!  Multiple offers normally up your Home's Price.

The Real Estate Market is HOT right now!  If you've considered Selling your Des Moines ara home, give Jon Smith a call for a personal consultation and up-to-the-minute market analysis!

Beat the Rising Interest Rates!

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Mortgage Rates have risen to the highest level since 2014, with a likely hood to keep increasing through out the year. What does this mean for you? Acting sooner than later will make sure that you are locking in a lower rate.

Rates have already passed 4% in the last months, property economists have predicated that mortgage rates may rise to as high as 5.5% by 2018. This small percentage difference may not seem like a lot, but over the life of a mortgage, this can mean tens of thousands of dollars to the buyer. 

Following the increase in mortgage rates, home prices are predicted to see an equal increase in 2017. This means that home buyers will see a double hit in the cost of owning a home in the next year. Combining higher mortgage rates with home values going up, it will become more difficult to buy that home you are looking for. So beat the increase, go find your future home! 

The Benefits of a Pre-Approval

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Whether you are looking to buy a house soon, or buy a house in the near future, applying for a pre-approval is a great way to prepare for the right house at the right time. By getting pre-approved, possible buyers can have all their financial concerns and questions answered before the special time comes to buy a new home. There are many reasons to get pre-approved:

  • Understanding total monthly costs, not just a monthly mortgage cost. Including tax rates, insurance, mortgage cost, possible HOA, property tax, and (depending on down payment) Private Mortgage Insurance. This will help the buyer narrow down a price range of a home they feel comfortable buying. 
  • Planning for down payment, closing costs, and any fees that are involved in buying a home. There is more than just the down payment on a house, and being prepared for all the cots makes the real estate purchasing process that much more stress free. 
  • Getting all the paperwork needed to apply for a mortgage together. Buying a house can be time sensitive, and the last thing you want to do is not be able to provide the correct paperwork needed to buy a home. 
  • Helps the seller know that they are choosing a serious buyer who already knows they are ready to purchase a home. 

Among the listed reasons, pre-approval to a home mortgage makes sure you are serious buyer! 

Common Misconceptions About Residential Appraisals

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

You have found the perfect home and are ready to buy, and you lender needs a real estate appraisal. If this is your first time buying you may not understand exactly what that is. A real estate appraisal is a detailed report that is created by a licensed appraiser in your state and establishes the market value of a residential property. A number of considerations go into an official appraisal, and it forms the basis of the bank’s determination of the loan value. While appraisals do consider market comparisons, the actual appraisal value comes from much more than a market analysis.

Here are the components of a residential appraisal:

  • Property details
  • Comparisons  to at least three similar properties
  • Evaluation of the market conditions in the area
  • Environmental conditions that could decrease the property’s value
  • Structural issues that could decrease the property’s value
  • Estimate of time on the market
  • Status of the home site – new development, established neighborhood, acreage

Common misconceptions

  1. Appraisals aren’t the same as home inspections
  2. Appraisals are owned by the lender and not the buyer
  3. Assessed values don’t necessarily match market value
  4. Realtors do not provide appraisals
  5. Consumers do have the right to question appraisal facts and contest them

Understanding the neighborhood and ‘comps’ are an important part of your buying experience, but you are also bound to the official appraisal given to the lender. Work with your realtor, lender AND appraiser to make sure you understand all the details in the appraisal report of your new home.

 

/kh

First Time Homebuyer Tips

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Every new homeowner will feel the sense of excitement and pride once they turn the key in their lock in their new home for the very first time. There are some thing that first time homeowners should try to follow to help make the transition into homeownership successful.

1. Don't Overspend on New Furniture and Remodeling 
Buying a home and moving is expensive, there is no argument on that. First time homebuyers can typically have an eye opener when it comes to all the costs involved as well as the increase in monthly utility expenses that may be substanically more than when they rented.  It can be very tempting to spend more money on new furniture, furnishsing for the home and remodeling projects. However, give yourself time to adjust to the expenses of home ownership and rebuild your savings - the projects and that new sofa will still be waiting for you when you can more comfortably afford them.

2. Address Important Maintenance Items 
New homeowners will need to budget for the new expenses that accompanies home ownership-  making repairs. It can be a shock to realize that you will need to address all maintenance issues that come up like plumbing problems, a leaky roof as there is no landlord to call!  It is important to not neglect any problem that could get worse over time, turning a relatively small problem into a much larger and costlier one.

3. Seek Professional Tax Advice When Filing Your Tax Return 
Even if you hate the thought of spending money on an accountant when you normally do your returns yourself, and even if you're already feeling broke from buying that house, hiring an accountant to make sure you complete your return correctly and maximize your refund is a good idea. Home ownership significantly changes most people's tax situations and the deductions they are eligible to claim. Just getting your
taxes professionally done for one year can give you a template to use in future years if you want to continue doing your taxes yourself. And remember, tax preparation expenses are tax deductible, so whatever your marginal tax rate is, think of that as a discount on the cost of the service.

4. Get Properly Insured 
Your mortgage lender will require you to purchase
homeowners insurance, enough to fully replace the property in the event of a total loss. However, you will also need to consider obtaining insurance coverage to help pay your mortgage should you be unable to make the payments.  If you share your home with anyone who relies on your income to help pay the mortgage, whether it's a spouse or a child, you'll need life insurance with that person named as a beneficiary so he or she won't lose the house if you die unexpectedly. Mortgage insurance is another option to help safeguard your home in the event you cannot make your monthly payments.

Owning a home is wonderful but also comes with great responsibilities. It can be difficult to manage your finances well enough to keep the home and maintain the home's condition well enough to protect your investment.

Tips For A Successful Negotiation

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

If you are buying a new home or selling the one you have, you want a successful negotiation and sale. The negotiation process can be both complex and confusing for both sides. Each party wants to have a fair transaction and achieve the best deal. Below are some tips to help you get the most from the negotiation transaction.

1. Time the market right. At this time, we are in a "buyers" market, where most sellers are very motivated to sell, this can give a buyer the upper hand. On the other side,  a "sellers" market, or a market where housing supply and demand are roughly equal might give the seller an advantage. If possible, you want to be in the market at a time when it favors your position as a buyer or seller.

2. Pay attention to the details. Buyers and seller pay a lot of attention to the transaction price. It is a good idea to consider other perks or benefits that can add to the overall worth. For example, if you negotiate that the roof be replaced or perhaps having the seller pay some of the closing costs this can sweeten the deal. Don't be stuck with the idea that the purchase prince is the only financial gain to the transaction.

3. Don't forget about financing. Keep in mind that there are several factors that can impact the final sale:

• Has the buyer been pre-qualified or pre-approved by a lender?  Having buyers that are "pre-qualified" or "pre-approved" are more likely to pose less risk than a buyer who has never met with a lender. This also shows the seller that they are serious about the offer and will give the seller more confidence. that they are a qualified buyer.

•If there is a low interest rate, then there will be a larger selection of potential buyers. More buyers equal more potential demand, which is good news for sellers. On the downside, high interest rates will cause buyers to be more selective or cause them to withdrawal from the market all together.

•The traditional 20% downpayment is not standard anymore. If the buyer has good credit, loans with 5 percent down or less are now widely available. Many loans where 100 percent financing are still available, although not as much as a few years back.

Negotiation is an important tool of the real estate transaction. To be a successful home seller or buyer you should have a basic understanding of negotiation methods, knowing the motivation of the other party and adapting to their style.

Home Buyer Loan Process - What You Need

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Once you have selected the type of loan you prefer and qualify for, the lender will ask you to complete a loan application, which will require a great deal of personal and financial information, including the following:

1) Your residence history
• Your previous addresses for the past two years
• The length of time you’ve lived at each address
• If you currently rent, your landlord’s name and addresses (for past 12 months)

2) Your employment history
• The names and addresses of all your employers for the past two years
• The dates you worked at each place of employment
• If there have been any gaps in your employment, explain why

3) All outstanding loans and credit cards
• The creditor’s name(s) and address(es)
• Your account number(s)
• The current total balance you owe and the months left to pay
• The amount of the monthly payment

4) Savings, checking or investment accounts
• The names and addresses for each financial institution
• Your account numbers • The current balance or value

5) Real estate you currently own
• The property address(es)
• The estimated market value
• The outstanding loan balance
• The amount of your monthly payment (including taxes, insurance, homeowner’s association dues)
• The amount of your rental income (if applicable) 6) Personal property you own • The net cash value of your life insurance
• The make, year and value of your automobile(s)
• The value of your furniture, jewelry and other personal property 7) Tax records • Some lenders may require copies of your tax records from the previous two years

If you would like to discuss the loan process and to become a pre-qualified buyer, please call us or request a loan analysis.

The The Count Down is On for First-Time Home Buyer $8,000 Tax Credit

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

The Count-Down is on for The First-Time Home Buyer $8,000 Tax Credit
By now you have most likely hear about the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit that is available till November 30, 2009.

What a great opportunity to invest in your future and build financial security for you and your family.  And, it is a buyer’s market out there right now and the ability for individuals to use the tax credit at closing should have a meaningful impact on home sales and will allow thousands of families to achieve the dream of homeownership.”

The process in purchasing a home is involved and you need to ensure that everything goes smoothly so your closing will take place before the November 30, 2009 deadline.

You need to allow four to six weeks for the loan process, which means your offer should be accepted by mid October and no later than Oct 31.

Don’t let this amazing opportunity pass you by.  Call me so we can discuss your options and receive your free mortgage pre-approval.  We can start looking today and just think you could be a home owner by Nov. 30, 2009 – Just in time for the holidays.

I would be happy to assist anyone you know that would like to become a first time homeowner as well.

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Share This Page

Contact Information

Photo of Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR Real Estate
Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR
Iowa Realty
3521 Beaver Ave.
Des Moines IA 50310
515-240-2692
Fax: 515-453-6404
 

 

 

Licensed in the State of Iowa