Tag Archive for find a home

What to Know About Finding a Good-Value Home

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One thing that should always be at the top of mind when home shopping is how to get the most bang for your buck. Buying a home is the biggest investment that you’ll probably make your entire lifetime so it’s important to know what actually makes a good-value home.

To some, a good value home may mean a high-cost home; however, that’s not always the case.

Here are some essentials to keep in mind to get the maximum value at a minimum price for your home.

Bigger Isn’t Better: Bigger spaces are associated with higher utility bills, increased property taxes, expensive insurance and even more maintenance concerns. Instead of picking the largest house you can afford, search for the one with the amenities that your family will truly use.

Good Neighbors in Great Hoods: Friends, family and wonderful neighborhoods are major attractions. In fact, research shows that homes located in top-rated school districts routinely fetch 10% or more than do similar-sized homes in less desirable districts. Family-oriented neighborhoods with parks and other amenities are highly desirable, while empty-nesters can save thousands by searching for similar homes outside of popular school districts.

Fruit Trees and Gardening Are a Big Trend: Throughout the nation, high-maintenance lawns are giving way to eco-friendly (and budget-happy) gardens, fruit trees and other down-to-earth activities. Ask about HOA restrictions and the cost of water bills prior to buying with the intent of starting a garden.

Going Green Is Bigger Than Ever: From energy-efficient appliances to environmentally friendly building materials, green is not only “in” but bigger and better than ever. Save thousands of dollars by searching for homes that have already implemented upgrades like LED lighting and Energy Star appliances.

Entertaining: As the economic excess of recent years continues to drive down the market, people are interested in entertaining, exercising and even eating at home more. Focus on properties that support your interests and lifestyle for today and tomorrow. Remember, the average person remains in a home for seven years, so buy right to make sure that your next house truly feels like home.

Landscape for Summer Outdoor Fun and Profit

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It’s hard to put a value on landscaping projects. A study by realestate.com indicates the return on investment for landscaping and/or man-made garden architecture can be as high as 150%, while others suggest a more reasonable 15% to 20%.

The bottom line, however, is that everyone wants a front yard with curb appeal and a secondary living space in the back. And while it may increase the value of your home, it also improves your quality of life. Particularly for those in cooler climates, summer is short, and a landscaped outdoors can be, well, priceless.

That said, landscaping can prove a very costly proposition indeed. The generally recommended figure for a landscaping budget is 10% of your home’s value, although that varies according to your local area. The majority of projects reported in a study of landscaping by houzz.com cost from $1,000 to $5,000 for minor planting or mulching, and $50,000 or more for “complete overhauls.”

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Remember, time is also money, and even small projects can take longer than you think. According to the Houzz survey, smaller projects averaged approximately three months of planning and three months of work to complete. Having spent time and money on landscaping, there are ways to reduce future costs:

  • Lawn care alone can cost upwards of $100 a month, so do as much of the maintenance as possible yourself.
  • Construct decks, stairs, and pergolas of maintenance-free materials such as composite decking.
  • Artificial grass can be a big expense up front, but it saves on maintenance (mainly the cost of water) in the long run.
  • Consider using recycled bricks instead of expensive rocks in your landscaping plan.
  • Perennials are a great choice, as they reduce the need to buy new plants every year.
  • Edible gardens can be lovely as well as a good source of delicious vegetables and herbs.

Now, step away from the lawn mower, take a break, and enjoy your newly landscaped property.

What A Beautiful Outside Can Do For Your Home’s Inside

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Creating an inviting landscape not only ensures a positive first impression with buyers, but may also increase your home’s value and lead to a quicker sale. You don’t have to spend a lot to make big improvements in your home’s curb appeal. Keeping your lawn manicured – mowed and edged – and trimming bushes and trees is an inexpensive way to make a positive impression on buyers. You’ll also want to remove any dead or diseased plants and ensure beds are weeded and freshly mulched.

Before beginning any landscape project, make a plan. And if you live in a neighborhood with restrictive covenants requiring approval by a landscape committee, be sure to follow proper procedures to avoid spending money on projects that you may be forced to undo later. A project plan will also help ensure that you make wise choices and stay within your budget.
Use color and depth to create visual interest, and select a variety of plants that bloom or change color throughout the year so your yard will be attractive regardless of the season. If your yard is open to your neighbors’ yards, a street, or public areas, consider screening to create a more private space. This can be accomplished naturally with evergreen trees and bushes, or with an attractive fence.

Sometimes what you remove from a yard can be as important as what you put in. If the front of your home is obscured by overgrown trees or bushes, remove them or trim them back to help buyers get a clear view of your home. Remember that the goal is to create a welcoming first impression that says, “Come in!”

Trends in Landscaping:

  • Low maintenance vegetation: less lawn to mow, helps keep weeds in check.
  • More trees: enhance beauty and provide shade.
  • Decks, patios, and terraces: an outdoor living space for entertaining and relaxing.
  • Outdoor lighting: provides enticing views of your home and landscaping at night.
  • Irrigation system: costs more but simplifies lawn care and is attractive to buyers.

Is a Condo or Townhome Right for You?

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Buyers from many walks of life are discovering the advantages of condo and townhome living.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer looking for an affordable way to own a home, a busy professional with little time to devote to home maintenance, or an empty-nester who’s “right-sizing,” a condo or townhome may be a good choice for you.

Advantages

  • A condo or townhome is very low maintenance; landscaping and maintenance of the exterior structure are typically handled by the homeowners’ association (HOA). This is attractive if you’re not “handy” or if you have a busy lifestyle that doesn’t leave much time for home maintenance.
  • Many communities offer amenities such as pools, tennis courts, clubhouses, and walking trails, which may not be available with many detached homes.
  • Newer construction offers greatly improved sound barriers and fire walls.
  • The proximity of neighbors may give owners a greater sense of security.

Disadvantages

  • HOA dues increase your monthly outgoings and can rise in the future as maintenance and repair costs go up. Increases or decreases in HOA fees usually must be approved by the HOA, but check the community bylaws before making an offer to purchase a condo or townhome.
  • HOA covenants and by-laws may restrict the way you can use or improve your property. Again, be sure to read them carefully before making an offer.
  • Available parking for guests may be limited.
  • Typically, there is less storage space than in a detached home.

Before purchasing any home, consider the potential for resale. So, begin your search at Guidance Realty Homes to spot that perfect condo or townhome in the community that’s right for you. Also, to determine if the property you’re considering is a good investment, ask about the condo/townhome market in your area. If you’re looking to purchase in Orlando, Florida, Maryland and NY Metro, well you’re in luck because Guidance Realty Homes’ buyers receive a commission rebate of the purchase price by using our agents. Not only that, buyers can also receive an additional $350 appraisal credit when financing online with Guidance Residential. 

 

 

6 Criteria in Evaluating Your Next Agent (Part 3)

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Summary: In Part 1 & 2 we shared 4 behaviors that would add meaningful value to your home search, in this post we will share the final 2 behaviors, providing a comprehensive rubric to evaluate your real estate agents.

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6 Criteria in Evaluating Your Next Agent (Part 2)

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Summary: In Part 1 we shared two behaviors (dedication and flexibility), that would add meaningful value to your home search. In this post we have added two more behaviors, check them out below.

1 Dedication

Finding a full-time agent is a foundational first step in the evaluation process. Someone who is only working in the field part time can only focus part of his or her energy on your needs. And in an industry that requires agility and speed to successfully sell or purchase a home, anything less than full-time focus simply will not cut it. Read more

6 Criteria in Evaluating Your Next Agent (Part 1)

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Summary: In our 3 part series we will be sharing 6 behaviors from interviewing our Gold Agents that resulted in an exceptional home buying experience for their customers.

Buying a home is arguably one of the most monumental purchases you will ever make. Consequently, it’s important for homebuyers – especially first timers – to utilize all the resources at their disposal before diving into the decision-making process.

And while one’s personal network and independent research are a good starting point, finding a trustworthy real estate agent can be integral in helping homebuyers find the most suitable property available.

However, as in any industry, there are poor realtors who can be a stumbling block for those with whom they intersect. Consequently, the question arises how a prospective homebuyer can differentiate the truly excellent realtors from the posers.

Well, since part of our goal here at Guidance dbc | Mortgage is to educate, we put together a list of behaviors for homebuyers to look for that would suggest a realtor could add truly meaningful value to a search.

Let’s take a closer look.

1. Dedicated
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Is the Housing Market Turnaround the Real thing?

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Ever since the recovery began in 2009, a weak housing market has held back the U.S. economy. The first rebound in home prices was lackluster and after only a year was followed by another dip. But the recent upturn in home prices looks like the real thing. One clear sign of a turning point: Read more