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Tag Archives: Real Estate Tips

Mortgages Made Easy: How to Choose the Right Home Loan

Key Takeaways:

  • As mortgage rates continue hovering near historic lows, many potential buyers are eager to make a move—but it can be hard to know which type of loan is best.
  • There are dozens of different mortgage options available today, and some even have low down payment or credit score requirements. This can help a variety of buyers finally achieve their real estate goals. 
  • Need help finding a lender or choosing the right mortgage for your needs? We’d be more than happy to offer a few recommendations.

Home Financing 101: The Most Common Types of Mortgages

Let’s face it—understanding mortgages can be the most complicated part of buying a home. Even experienced buyers sometimes have trouble deciding between lenders or shopping around for the best interest rate. And because there are so many options, it can be difficult to track down the mortgage that best meets your needs.

There are a variety of factors you should consider before committing to a loan, such as your income, debt, financial history, and how long you plan on staying in your new home. But if you play your cards right, you could end up scoring a great deal. Here are some of the most popular types of mortgages, as well as their pros and cons. Continue reading

How to Handle Getting Multiple Offers on Your Home

If you’re thinking about listing your home, you’ve probably heard that we’re in a seller’s market right now. As inventory dwindles and buyer interest intensifies, it’s not uncommon to see properties sell just hours after they’re listed, sometimes even tens of thousands above their original asking price.

This may seem like an ideal scenario, but navigating a multi-offer situation can be difficult for even the most seasoned sellers. And sometimes, selecting the right offer doesn’t always mean going with the highest bidder.

Your Guide to Choosing the Right Offer

As a seller, you’ll quickly find that not all offers are created equal. In addition to price, there are a few other factors you should consider, such as contingencies, financing, closing dates, and plenty of other extras that buyers can attach to an offer.

Feeling a little overwhelmed? This advice can help you streamline, and get the most out of, your home sale. Continue reading

5 Ways to Freshen Up Your Decor for Spring

The days are getting longer, temperatures are starting to climb, and the trees are finally starting to turn green again. As spring approaches, it’s a great time to freshen up your decor and add a splash of color to your space. Looking for some quick, easy, and affordable design tips? Here are a few ways to welcome spring into your home…especially if you’re thinking about selling in the next few months!

Our Top Spring Decor Tips

Do Some Spring Cleaning

Person cleaning a kitchen

Before you make any decor updates, it’s crucial to get every inch of your home looking pristine. Spring cleaning involves more than just a little scrubbing—you should take some time to reorganize, too!

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, just start by working room by room and removing any clutter. It may also be beneficial to make “keep,” “donate,” and “throw away” piles to ensure that everything stays in order. After you’ve freed up some space, break out the cleaning supplies and banish any dust, cobwebs, and grime. Can’t do it all yourself? Get the whole family involved!

Incorporate a Little Greenery

Roses in a vase

Want to breathe new life into your home? Take some inspiration from nature! Adding freshly-cut or potted flowers and greenery can turn your house into a home—and if you’re selling, your buyers might appreciate the extra pop of color.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider a ready-made bouquet or some low-maintenance houseplants for your living room, kitchen, or bedroom. Placing them in trendy planters and decorative vases can create an added level of style. For a final splash of spring, try hanging a wreath of seasonal blossoms or greenery on your front door to welcome guests inside.

Add New Accessories

Blue-themed living room

Take some time to get rid of your winter accessories and usher in a brand-new season. Light and bright colors, linens, textured pottery, and raw wood accents are all on-trend this spring, and adding these small details can really elevate your home’s style.

Start by incorporating some new accent pillows and paring down your current accessories in favor of a more curated collection. This is particularly important if you’re getting ready to sell; you’ll want to depersonalize your space, but it should still feel like a home. Hanging some different art on your walls can also help you transition to spring—we recommend floral prints or paintings.

Freshen Up with Inviting Scents

Lit candle in a living room

Is your home smelling a little musty after a long winter? Throw open the windows and freshen up with some invigorating scents.

Before you integrate spring fragrances, however, be sure to eliminate any unpleasant odors first. Once you’ve deodorized, swap out those holiday candles in favor of some fresher aromas. Lavender, fresh cotton, and lemongrass are all great choices, and they won’t be too overpowering.

Don’t Neglect Your Outdoor Space!

Spring patio with a table and chairs

As you prep for the warmer months ahead, the outside of your home matters just as much as the inside. Your outdoor space can really make or break a sale during the spring, as buyers are probably ready to spend some time outside. Even if you aren’t selling soon, your yard, porch, deck, or patio could probably use a little extra attention.

Brush off the winter blues by sweeping away any debris, addressing brown spots on your lawn, and getting rid of any dead or wilting plants. You might also want to incorporate some new outdoor furniture on your deck or patio to show off its potential.

Ready Sell Your Home This Spring?

If you’re looking for spring decorating tips because you’re planning on selling your home soon, we’d love to help you navigate every step of the process. Feel free to reach out to us for more staging strategies and seller tips—we can even help you list your home with just a few clicks! info@bouma.com or 734-761-3060

5 Ways to Keep Your Home Secure While Selling It

It’s no exaggeration that selling your home keeps you busy. In the midst of staging, pricing, listing, and scheduling tours, it’s easy to overlook the details… like home security.

Close up shot of a welcome mat in front of an open door leading to a home.After all, while selling your home, you’re probably allowing dozens of strangers to come inside for tours.

And while most of them probably have good intentions, it might not be a bad idea to beef up your home’s security a little bit.

Here are a few ways to protect yourself and your belongings while still welcoming potential buyers into your home.

Showings by Appointment Only

When advertising your home for sale, be sure to use phrases like “appointment only” in your listing. Never allow anyone into your home unless they have a verified appointment with your Realtor.

It’s okay to be extra cautious during this time! We recommend being alert whenever you allow anyone new into your home. Continue reading

How Buyers and Sellers Have Lost Thousands of Dollars to Email Scams

laptop and smart phoneEmail scams are as old as, well, email, but as the years go by, these scams have become more and more sophisticated. Recently, several home buyers have fallen victim to specially targeted email scams that attempt to rob them of their closing costs — sometimes up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

These types of scams are devastating both financially and emotionally, especially when your home is involved. But to help protect you from email scams targeting the real estate industry, we have outlined a few tips about what these scams are and how to avoid them.

What Email Scams Are Common?

Though the method through which hackers collect personal or financial information is always changing, there are a few basic types of scams that buyers and sellers should be aware of.

Phishing

fishingThis type of scam attempts to “fish” for sensitive personal or financial information (such as passwords or credit card numbers). Many emails used in recent phishing schemes look legitimate; they may use the name of a trusted company or individual as the sender name, but the email address is slightly different than the company’s or individual’s verified address.

These types of email messages may also ask you to verify information or click on a link, which could install harmful software on your computer. Continue reading

These 6 Simple Tricks Make Moving Surprisingly Effortless

two people packing cardboard boxesLet’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

When It Comes to Home Staging, Start Small

Home Staging to Attract More Buyers

The secret to selling your home for more money in less time is all in how you present it. Your home should look so beautiful—both online and in person—that home buyers can’t help but fall in love at first sight. The best way to create that wonderful first impression? Start small and focus on the details. Here are a few simple home staging tips that can have a significant impact on your home sale.

Start with Your Entryway

front door of a homeBuyers decide whether a home is worth a visit based on how it looks in listing photos. You can impress them in seconds by paying special attention to the area around your front door. Make sure your entryway is well lit, free of clutter, and looks inviting. Feel free to ask for a second opinion from a friend, neighbor, or even your real estate agent!

When it’s time for showings, don’t let a squeaky front door ruin a buyer’s first impression of your home. Spray WD-40 on creaky hinges, tighten any screws that are loose, and take care of any other issues well before the first home buyer steps over the threshold.

Move On to the Kitchen

Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, as the saying goes. Follow these tips to enhance your kitchen’s appeal:

  • Replace old knobs and handles with stylish new hardware to give your kitchen an updated look.
  • Decorate your counters with bowls of fruit or potted plants to create an artsy pop of color.
  • Store unnecessary appliances and clutter out of sight.
  • Replace any light bulbs that have burned out.
  • Prior to showings, bake cookies to make your kitchen smell like home.

Focus on the Bathrooms

bathroom that is clean and clutter-freeNothing makes a better first impression than a squeaky-clean bathroom. Wipe down all surfaces including the inside of your toilet, eliminate any surface mold and grime from the bathtub or shower, and lay out a stack of carefully positioned hand towels as a finishing touch.

Make Your Windows Sparkle

Clean your windows inside and out, and replace any screens if necessary. Since it’s a smart idea to open your windows and let the natural light in, you can impress potential buyers with how well you have maintained your home.

Want More Home Staging or Home Selling Tips?

When you focus on these small home staging tips, it will be easy to attract home buyers to your front door and impress them with the details. If you would like additional home staging and cleaning tips, or if you’re considering selling your home and want to know what it’s worth, contact us at The Bouma Group, Realtors at 734-761-3060 or email info@bouma.com. We are happy to help!

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Downsizing Your Home? Use These Tips to Plan Your Move

kitchen and dining roomMaybe 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.

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Where to Find the True Value for Your Home

woman surrounded by question marksEver wondered what your home is worth?

Want to know where to start looking?

Whether you’re just curious or are eager to find a competitive listing price, using the best resources to find your property’s value is crucial.

Today, we’re going to be talking about two types of home evaluation tools: neighborhood sold reports and comparative market analyses.

Comparing Your Home with Your Neighbor’s

A neighborhood sold report is a detailed list of homes that have recently sold in your area. They include information about the square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, address, neighborhood, and, of course, the sold price.

Since sales prices are determined in part by your home’s location, as well as a neighborhood’s housing supply and demand, honing in on your own neighborhood real estate market is the best way to determine what the housing market is doing and how it can affect your listing price.

How much did your neighbor receive for his 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom house down the street? Is your listing price thousands of dollars more?

If your home is priced too high, you’ll know immediately by looking at the comparisons in the neighborhood sold report. It’s better to learn sooner rather than later, when your home is on the market and you’re feeling frustrated by the lack of home buyer interest. The same goes with pricing your home too low.

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Shop Smart for Your Dream Home During the Spring Buying Season

Home Buying 14This is the time of year that has home buyers and home sellers alike excited: The Spring Home Buying Season!

For buyers, it’s a great time to purchase a home because the school year is coming to an end and residents have all summer to move before it’s back in session. For sellers, it’s a great chance to reach a lot of home buyers as they navigate the market searching for their dream home.

In preparation for the spring home buying season, we wanted to share with you some tips on how you can shop smart as a home buyer. Enjoy!

4 Home Buying Tips for the Spring Market

Don’t just rely on the Internet for your home searches. While you can certainly find a treasure trove of information on the Internet, it’s not the only way to find your dream home. In addition to searching real estate websites, you might consider also getting out and canvassing homes for sale the old fashioned way. After all, Internet pictures and listing information only tell part of the story. For full context, you need to view the home in person. And don’t hesitate, either! This year’s spring home buying market is expected to be particularly competitive and so you want to make sure you get to that home before other buyers do.

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