4 Ways to Update Without Renovating
What to Know About Today's Busy Market
You’re probably well aware that the real estate market is more competitive than ever (due to low inventory, among other things).
Still, it’s not a bad time to buy a house. Mortgage rates are low, home values are on the rise and, in many cases, buying is still more affordable than renting.
Are you considering purchasing a house in today’s fast-paced market? Here are five tips that can help.
Get preapproved. Applying for a mortgage preapproval is critical in a competitive market. Not only can it give you a good price range to shop in, but it can also help sellers feel more confident in your offers (and maybe even choose yours over others).
Be flexible. If you can be flexible on your closing date or willing to waive a contingency or two, it will often work in your favor. Sellers are looking for the easiest, most lucrative sale in most cases. We can discuss what makes sense for you when the time comes.
Make a decent earnest money deposit. Earnest money deposits are “good faith” deposits that indicate how serious you are about a home purchase. A larger deposit may help your offer stand out.
Be prepared to bid more than the asking price. Consider searching in a lower-than-maximum price range so that you have room to bid upward if necessary. In many cases, you’ll need to increase your bid to compete with other buyers, so maxing out your budget from the start probably isn’t the best strategy.
Be patient (but stay alert). In the current conditions, you may not find what you’re looking for immediately. On the other hand, things could start moving quickly at any time. To find success, remember that communication and flexibility are key.
It can be challenging to buy a house in today’s market — but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Reach out today if you need assistance.
Buying a Fixer-Upper: 5 Things to Know
Easy Ways to Boost Your Curb Appeal
Great curb appeal can make a big difference when selling a home. Not only can it make your property stand out from the competition, but it could also bring in higher offers.
An attractive house can also be a benefit even if you’re aren’t planning to sell right now. After all, who doesn’t want to take pride in their home while keeping it in excellent condition?
Do you want to boost your home’s curb appeal without spending a lot of time or money? Take a look at these budget-friendly ideas:
1. Freshen up your door. You don’t have to replace your door to give it a makeover. Try a new coat of paint, new address numbers, upgraded hardware or even just a decorative welcome mat. A brassy kickplate can be nice, too.
2. Update your mailbox. Still stuck with that old aluminum mailbox up front? Upgrade to brick or another stylish look. You can also paint the old box a new color or replace the pole if it’s rusted.
3. Make the porch more inviting. If your front porch looks a little bland, add a sitting area with chairs and a rug or install a bench swing. Potted plants and warm lighting also go a long way.
4. Clean up the exterior. Power-wash the brick and siding, give your shutters a new coat of paint, and fix any holes or stains on the driveway. You’d be surprised what a little deep cleaning can do.
5. Outline your garden. Add a new layer of mulch and install pavers around the outside of each garden area. They make the yard really pop — even without flowers or other foliage.
Planning to list your house soon? Just want to check in? Reach out today.
4 Key Questions About Down Payments
Down payments can be a challenge to navigate, even for experienced homebuyers.
How much do you need to put down? Do current market conditions change anything for you? Even the most basic questions aren’t always easy to answer.
Whether you’re thinking of buying soon or planning ahead for a purchase in 2022, now is a good time to clear up any uncertainties and come up with the right strategy for your household.
Take a look at these frequently asked questions, and reach out if you need a helping hand.
How much should your down payment be?
The minimum down payment depends on what type of mortgage loan you’re getting. Some loans (conventional and FHA mortgages) require 3 to 3.5%, while others (VA and USDA loans) require zero. Your credit score will also play a role in some cases.
Is a large down payment always better?
It depends on your budget and goals. A big down payment will mean a smaller monthly payment and fewer interest costs in the long run. If it eats into your emergency savings or puts you in dire financial straits, though, it’s probably not the best move.
What should you consider when setting your goal amount?
You’ll want to look at the price range you’re shopping in, your budget and the types of loans you’re eligible for. Talking to an experienced loan officer can help you get an accurate idea of what to expect.
Do you have to come up with all of it on your own?
Many loan programs allow “gift” funds, which means money given to you by your parents or another family member. You’ll just need a letter stating that the funds are a gift, not a loan, before you can use them.
Need help finding your next home? Get in touch today.
How to Make the Most of Your Home Equity
Home equity is a powerful thing.
As you pay off your mortgage, your equity — or the stake in the home you actually own — increases. And the more equity you build, the more you stand to gain when you sell.
But even if you aren’t planning to sell your property, equity can be used in a few different ways. Consider these four possibilities if you’d like to make the most of what you have.
With a home equity loan or line of credit (HELOC), you can turn your stake in your home into money that you can use for renovations, repairs or any other cost you might be facing.
Buy a New Home
Taking out a home equity loan or other product may give you the money you need to buy a vacation home or investment property. You could also sell your existing home, turn a profit and use those funds toward your next place.
Pay Off Debt
If you have high-interest credit card debts, personal loans or car loans, you might consider using a home equity loan or cash-out refinance to pay them off. This essentially rolls those balances into your new loan (and mortgages tend to have lower interest rates than other loans or credit lines).
Use It Toward Retirement
Equity also makes a great nest egg. Once you retire, you have the option to sell your home, downsize and use the profits your equity gave you to boost your income.
Do you want to learn more about home equity? Are you looking to buy or sell a home? Reach out today for assistance.
Why Working With an Agent Is So Important
HGTV and home renovation shows may be entertaining, but they’re not always accurate. In particular, most of them skip over the important ways real estate agents can help homeowners.
In the real world, agents play a huge role in home purchases, sales and even flips.
Are you planning to make a real estate move this year? Here are just a few of the ways an agent can help make the experience a success.
Experience and Local Knowledge
Agents know how to draw up your contracts, handle the paperwork and save you valuable time (which is vital in today’s busy market). We also have on-the-ground knowledge of the local market, which can help you better evaluate properties, make offers and negotiate pricing.
Negotiation Skills and Key Partners
Experienced agents also know how to negotiate successfully and can leverage inspection results, sales reports and other data to get you the best bang for your buck — whether you’re buying or selling.
Working with an agent also provides access to deep professional networks, which comes in handy when it’s time to find an inspector, contractor, financial adviser, mortgage lender, real estate attorney and other partners on your journey.
The Bottom Line
Finally, agents know all about home values — as well as what features, amenities and styles can increase your property value down the line.
There’s no need to navigate a stressful, complex and high-stakes process alone when you could have a knowledgeable and compassionate agent working on your behalf.
Do you want help with your next home sale, purchase or fix-and-flip? Get in touch today.
5 Home Features Buyers Are Looking For
The housing market typically slows down in the fall, so if you’re thinking of selling in the near future, it may take a little more effort to stand out from the crowd.
Knowing what buyers want and making a few smart updates can help make your home more marketable and improve your selling price.
Are you considering a home sale soon? Here’s what potential buyers might be looking for this fall:
You might consider upgrading your garage door, adding an alarm system or repairing your fence. Anything that improves the safety and security of your home is an automatic value-add.
Making your home more energy-efficient has a two-fold benefit: It helps the environment and cuts down on utility bills. Most buyers are happy to pay extra for both.
Plenty of Storage
Storage space is always worth a premium. If you can, find ways to add additional storage to your property before listing it, maybe with a set of garage shelves, a closet system or a more streamlined pantry.
Can you make your home more enjoyable? This might mean adding an outdoor kitchen, building a theater room or installing a small fire pit in the backyard. As we’ve learned over the last several months, outdoor areas are practically essential.
Homes equipped with no-touch faucets, mudrooms, air filtration systems and other health and comfort-focused items are sure to align with modern buyers’ needs.
Of course, it’s always important to keep up with your home’s general maintenance and perform any major repairs that may be necessary as well.
Need more guidance about selling your home? Get in touch today.
How to Prep for a Successful Home Sale
Are you thinking about selling your home?
Supply is low and demand is high right now, which means many sellers are seeing quick turnarounds and healthy profits.
Still, despite the hot market, selling a home isn’t easy. If you want the experience to be as smooth as possible, prepping early and enlisting help are key.
Want to make sure you’re primed for a fast and profitable home sale? Here’s what you can do:
Focus on curb appeal. Curb appeal can make a huge difference, so spend time painting the shutters, power-washing the exterior and tidying up the landscaping to make sure your home catches buyers’ eyes.
Declutter and clean. Pare down your belongings and get the house looking cleaner than ever. You want it to be pristine for any listing photos and videos.
Have an exit plan. Showings can be tricky, especially if you have kids or pets. Make sure you have a plan for how you’ll keep the home clean, and know where you’ll go when a showing is scheduled.
Know your next steps. Where will you go after you sell? In a hot market, it may be hard to find a home to buy right away. Make sure you have a backup plan, like a friend’s house or a rental you can use in the meantime.
Prep for the costs. Selling isn’t free. You’ll need to budget for things like repairs, upgrades, staging costs and commissions. If you’re buying a new home, you’ll have additional costs, too.
Do you need help with your sale or want to find out how much your home is worth? Reach out today.
When the market is competitive, many homeowners opt to renovate their properties rather than sell or buy.
This can be a smart move for many reasons, but as you know, home projects can often end up being expensive and time-consuming.
Don’t want to make a costly mistake or even regret a renovation altogether? Take a look at these four common missteps — and find out how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Choosing the Wrong Project
Ultimately, you want your upgrades to increase your home value and deliver a return on your investment when you eventually sell. You also want to use your precious time wisely. When selecting a project, make sure you choose one that isn’t more trouble than it’s worth.
Mistake #2: Going Too Big
You don’t have to completely redo your kitchen or bathroom to make a big impact. Could you simply repaint the cabinets or replace the fixtures instead? Try to consider low-cost, low-effort alternatives that could deliver a similar result to what you’re aiming for.
Mistake #3: Trying to DIY Something You Shouldn’t
You can tackle some projects yourself, but if it requires specialized skills like plumbing, electrical work or structural updates, you’re better off leaving it to the pros. DIY work is typically best reserved for small-scale renovations like painting or landscaping.
Mistake #4: Failing to Budget Properly
Make sure you have a plan to avoid the most common budgeting problems. These include underestimating your costs, not saving enough before starting your work, and failing to have a good buffer set aside in case of surprises.
Considering buying new instead of renovating? Get in touch today.
Hawaii Island Realtor® Broker,