Open House in Inclement Weather

Open House in Inclement Weather

“To cancel or not to cancel … that is the question.”

When selling your home in the fall, and as the weather becomes decidedly more winterish, you may question if having that open house is a good idea after all.

Here are some things to consider before cancelling your open house.

  • Buyers that venture out in the rain are more likely to be serious buyers and not simply curious lookers.
  • Buyers will know that your home is warm and cozy in bad weathers.
  • Your property’s solid structure will come shining through
  • If you cancel, buyers might be concerned that your home has leaks in windows, roofs or basement areas or that your drainage is less than optimal
  • And, if you cancel after someone made all the effort to come out in the rain to see your house, it might deter them from trying to see it another time

So what do you do to compensate for the weather?

Be prepared to make the experience as pleasant as possible:

  • Turn on all the lights. You want your home to be as bright as possible so that potentials buyers sense your home is warm and inviting.
  • Open up all the drapes, shutters and blinds.
  • Make sure your gutters are clear of debris and that water is flowing freely from gutter to downspout and diverted away from sidewalks
  • Provide doormats for people to wipe their feet and towels to dry off with
  • Provide an umbrella stand so that their wet umbrellas have a home
  • Recognize that odors may seem stronger on damp days, remove pet beds to the garage and use lightly-scented fabric refreshing sprays like Febreze to eliminate odors in carpets, drapes or furniture

In addition, you might have coffee and to-go cups on hand so your real estate professional can send them on their way with a warm cup of brew.

When a large number of real estate professionals were polled about cancelling an open house because of rain, a large number claimed they had sold several homes on rainy days.

If you have questions about having an open house during the late fall and winter months, consult your real estate professionals. They know your market, and they know the kinds of people that will take the time — rain or shine — to visit their potential new home.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Honoring our Veterans

Honoring our Veterans

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation.”
— George Washington

Appreciation

During the Veterans Day celebrations we want to let those who served know how much we appreciate them by sharing some good news: According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, the number of VA loans guaranteed under the G.I. Bill by its Loan Guaranty Program is now 630,000. This means that more than 300% more veterans are purchasing home with their V.A. loans since the housing downturn.

V.A. Loans are sitting between three and four percent and allow for up to 100% financing of your home loan. Translated that means … NO DOWN PAYMENT. This no-money down feature allows military borrowers to buy instead of rent without having to save up that large chunk of money first.

In addition, unlike other government guaranteed loans, the V.A. loan does not require mortgage insurance (also known as PMI or Private Mortgage Insurance), which reduces your monthly outgo.

You can use your V.A. loan to purchase your primary residents (the home you live in for most of the year). So, if you plan to spend more than six months in the warmer southern states, you can use your V.A. loan to purchase the home you plan to retire to.

There’s good news for Reservists too!

Those Reservists or men and women in the National Guard having completed six years of service are eligible for this benefit. In fact, if you served on active duty during wartime, your eligibility might be even shorter … as few as 90 days. This means that many more veterans might be able to get into a home sooner than they think.

Reduce your interest rates

If you’ve already used your Veterans Affairs Home Loan benefits, you might be eligible for a reduction in your interest rates. Check out the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (also available through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, to see if refinancing your loan might be useful to you. Some special features of the IRRRL are that it doesn’t require an appraisal or credit underwriting package and the fees and other costs of the loan can be absorbed into the loan or by accepting a high enough interest rate to allow the lender to take care of the costs.

Another advantage of the IRRRL is that you do not need to be living in the home now. You only need to certify that you lived in the home previously (when you obtained the original V.A. loan on the home). That means that if you’ve turned it into a rental or are allowing your children to live in it, you can still refinance it with this loan.

If you have questions about buying a home or need information about a lender that handles V.A. loans, your real estate professional can help. Just give us a call.

“On this Veterans Day, let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free.”
—Dan Lipinski

Compliments of Virtual Results

When Interest Rates Go Up

shutterstock_279166220The Feds have been pretty indecisive about moving interest rates up, but the down-low is that they plan to make the move upwards in December.

No matter where you are in the market, whether you’re buying or selling, or just saving up a downpayment, interest rates can inversely affect your transactions.

Here are some ways to prepare for a potential rate hike:

Buyers

Get Pre-Approved – If you’re in the market for a home now, DO NOT HESITATE … get pre-approved by your lender. Different from “Pre-Qualified” (which just means that you have the potential to be approved if there are no hidden skeletons in your credit closed), a pre-approval means that a lender has investigated your background and credit history and is willing to loan you money. At the end of the pre-approval process, the lender will give you a Pre-Approval Letter indicating the amount they are willing to loan you and the most likely interest rate in current conditions.

What this does for you – Having a pre-approval letter means that you know what price home you can afford. It allows you to shop for homes at that price or lower. It also gives you bargaining power with an anxious seller. He may be willing to reduce his price for a sure thing rather than wait for a better offer and miss his chance.

When you have a pre-approval letter, your real estate agent knows you are serious about buying now and might be able to negotiate some extras for you in the transaction, too.

If you wait for interest rates to go up, you may have to settle for less house for the same payments.

Sellers

Require Pre-Approval to Accept an Offer – After you go through all the effort to negotiate and meet the requests and demands of the buyer, you don’t want the transaction to fall through just because the buyer couldn’t get financing. Many real estate professionals will advise you not to accept an offer, or even entertain one, without a pre-approval. The challenge for sellers is that once you accept an offer, you can’t reject it in favor of a better offer that might come along. It just makes sense to protect yourself from offers falling through from lack of funding.

Not Great for Current Sales– Prepare yourself for the rate hike by knowing how much you can adjust your asking price to compensate for a higher rate. Discuss these variables with your real estate professional and have a plan of action in place.

Terrific for Future Sales – If you plan to sell your home in the future, the rate increases will be in your favor because home prices will begin to rise and you can ask more for your property than you can today. The Feds resist raising rates until they think the overall economy is improving.

Savers

Good News – Higher interest rates are good news for savers because over time the compounded interest will give you more money for that down-payment. Just make sure to keep investing in your savings plan because rate hikes typically signify that prices in all areas of the economy will rise, so you’ll need a bigger downpayment for the same house.

If you need advice on buying, selling or saving for a home, let your local real estate professional guide you.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Nifty Clutter-Freeing Hints & Hideaways

Nifty Clutter-Freeing Hints & Hideaways

Whether you’re planning to sell your home and want to make it show-ready, or just want to get organized to simplify the holidays, check out these creative options for extra storage:

  • Under Bed Locker
    That space under your bed is useful for more than just collecting dust bunnies. If you have a bedframe you love, you can purchase under-bed boxes for shoes or out-of-season clothing. Or, you can invest in a storage bed or (sometimes called Captain’s beds or platform storage beds). Once hard to find, you’ll readily locate thee beds in furniture showrooms. They come in a variety of configurations with drawers along the sides, or at the ends. Some beds take a page out of the recreational vehicle book and have lift-up hinges to provide for much larger storage of quilts, pillows and even vacuum cleaners.
  • Hidden Cabinets
    Similar to a bathroom medicine cabinet, look for shallow shelving with a “false front” that looks like artwork. Or, make your own by repurposing old mirrored cabinets by replacing the mirror with your favorite art.
  • Make the Laundry Disappear
    Use a bigger drawer (perhaps one of those under-bed ones, or create your own) trunk or a toy chest to hide that laundry basket.
  • Electronics Covers
    Tired of all the boxes and wires it takes to keep you connected? Grab some pretty file or photo boxes to stash them in. Just cut holes in the back for the wires to slip through. (Note: this method does not work with boxes that require the use of a remote like a Roku or AppleTV unless the box has a clear plastic front that lines up with the remote reader in the unit).
  • Under Floor Storage
    If you live in an older home, you may have access to the floor joists. You have to be handy for this one, but you can create a trap door that lets you store items under the floor boards between the joists. This might be harder to achieve in newer homes since floorboards now come in 4′ x 8′ sheets of OSB, but it could be done.
  • Modified Hide-A-Bed
    If you have a sleeper sofa that you don’t ever use for sleeping, you may be able to modify it into a storage sofa. You’ll need to remove the mattress and folding bedframe and replace it with a solid surface on hinges (like a toy box lid) and it might require reinforcing the structure of the sofa, but there’s a lot of room to be had under the sofa. If you hang plastic boxes under there, you can keep items from getting dusty too.

Other storage devices similar to these include cubbies and storage headboards, ottomans with lift off lids and over the door storage. Some folks never use their dishwashers (especially singles) so you can just use it to store all of your clean dishes, freeing up cabinet space for something else. If you never bake, consider keeping those pots and pans in the oven. You can squeeze out some extra storage even in smaller homes, so when the clutter starts to build up, take a look at these ideas and put some to work for you.

Your real estate professional can help you decide which items it’s important to hide away and which you should display so your home is show ready too. (And think how fun it will be for the new owners of your home to find those hidden spaces.)

Compliments of Virtual Results