Let’s say you have your heart set on buying a home in a community with a swimming pool, a clubhouse, and maybe even a playground or trails. Having access to these amenities often means living in a community with a homeowners association, or HOA.
Generally, an HOA is responsible for keeping the neighborhood looking beautiful — and as a result, keeping property values high. But since no two neighborhoods are the same, no two HOAs will be the same, either.
What You Should Know About the Homeowners Association
Doing your research on homes and communities means finding the answers to dozens of questions. As a savvy home buyer, you’ve probably already considered some of the most important topics early on in your home search, such as the local property taxes and whether the neighborhood is appreciating in value.
But if you’re considering a neighborhood with an HOA, there are a few additional things that you should know. Here are the essential questions you should ask. Continue reading
Make Your Move Stress-Free for Your Pet
You’ve just bought a new home, and Fluffy and Fido are starting to worry about all the moving boxes going into the truck outside. Pets can easily become stressed during a move, which might cause them to lose their fur, become aggressive, or even run away.
Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to reduce your pet’s anxiety before, during, and after your move. Read these tips to make your move stress-free for your pet.
Plan Ahead and In Detail
Many people consider their pets as part of the family, so it’s only natural to be concerned for their comfort and safety during a move. Meticulous planning well in advance of moving day is the best way to ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible with moving to a new home. Continue reading
Let’s face it, moving to a new home is no picnic. Moving day will be here before you know it, and you feel like there’s no way on Earth you can sort through all of your belongings and pack your entire life into a moving truck in time.
We know how stressful a move from one home to another can be, so we wanted to share a few helpful moving tips to make it a much easier experience.
Create a To-Do List and Pin It to Your Wall
You probably won’t remember everything you have to do in the chaos of researching moving companies, calling your insurance provider, and closing on your new home. So before you start the bulk of cleaning and decluttering, take a few minutes to compile a detailed list of the tasks you will need to complete, no matter how small. These tasks can include:
- transferring your homeowners insurance to your new address
- compiling a list of your emergency contacts
- labeling your moving boxes
- fixing a squeaky door hinge
- meeting with friends for coffee before you leave
If it helps you stay organized, categorize your tasks by room, deadline, or importance. As you’re completing all your to-dos, make sure you check them off your list as you go. It will help you see how far you’re come in accomplishing such a gargantuan goal. Continue reading
You have it all planned out. You know exactly which shopping centers and conveniences you want to live near, you know which amenities you need within a few miles of your community, and you have a general idea of where your workplace, grocery store, and soon-to-be-favorite hangouts are located.
When it comes to searching for the right home, many buyers like you have “the perfect location” at the top of their must-have lists. But what exactly is “the perfect location”? And have you considered all of the conveniences you need near your next home?
Shops and Services That Buyers Take for Granted
You know where the basic conveniences are located near your home search location — shops, restaurants, grocery stores. But how about the services and places that you take for granted? As you’re trying to decide where to live and which home best suits you, use this list to determine which amenities you can and can’t live without. This will help you settle on the perfect location — and your ideal home.
1. Specialty Grocery Stores or Farmers’ Markets
You likely already know how far the closest grocery store is from your home search location. But if you love cooking and trying gourmet recipes, you may also want to live near shops that offer the ingredients that traditional grocery stores don’t.
2. Medical Facilities That Take Your Insurance
While you’re searching for homes and determining your ideal location, call around to the doctors, dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, and other medical professionals that you are considering. Find out which insurance providers these places accept to help you decide whether you need to change your location or your provider. Continue reading
Your home is likely the largest financial investment you have, so it makes sense to carefully choose the right agent to represent you when you sell it. The best real estate agent will walk you through the whole process, showcase your home in the best light, give you feedback from showings and open houses, and let you know whether you should accept a buyer’s offer up front or negotiate for a higher price.
It’s a good idea to talk to more than one listing agent before you sign on with one. As you’re interviewing Realtors, ask these questions so you can determine who will best help you sell quickly and for the most money possible.
1. What’s Your Real Estate Experience?
A listing agent who has been in real estate for several years or has sold plenty of properties has seen all kinds of scenarios. If this agent has overcome challenging home-selling hurdles before, he or she will know how to avoid or mitigate these stressful situations during your home sale, should they arise.
2. What’s Your Sale-to-List-Price Ratio?
This percentage will tell you if this agent consistently sells homes close to or over the list price, which is the price that’s set when the home goes on market.
3. What are Your Average Days on Market Stats?
In other words, how quickly do sellers’ homes go under contract with this agent? Agents who sell homes quickly often use advanced marketing or advertising techniques and are highly skilled negotiators. Continue reading
Maybe the thought of moving to a smaller, low-maintenance home has only briefly crossed your mind, or maybe you’re seriously considering downsizing. But before you trade your too-large house in for, say, a cozy condo downtown, there are a few things to consider.
Downsizing requires quite a bit of planning: You may need to figure out what to keep and what to discard, choose between the love seat and the sofa for your new living room, and determine which furniture pieces can serve multiple functions.
Here are a few downsizing tips to help you prepare to sell your current home.
Start Reducing Your Possessions Now
The sooner you are able to get rid of furniture, household items, and knickknacks you no longer use or need, the better off you’ll be. When you do decide to sell your home, you will thank yourself for spending a few hours a week decluttering now rather than waiting to do everything all at once.
Anytime you relocate to a new area, whether it’s a city just a few miles away or across the country, you face a unique set of challenges.
The housing market, the transit, and even the weather may not be what you’re used to. Planning your move can be difficult, too, since you need to coordinate when, where, and how you’ll be moving your belongings to a new area.
Because moving to a completely new area means learning about a new housing market and a new community, we wanted to share a few helpful relocation tips to make it a much easier experience for you.
1. Research Housing Costs
Home prices for similar properties can vary drastically from one city to another. Take some time to research the real estate market, and consider these questions when searching for your new home:
- How much are local property taxes?
- How large a home can you afford?
- Is it cheaper to rent or buy a home?