Tag Archive for Home Buying

Improvements That Increase Your Home’s Value

Asian Chinese little girl playing in toy house
This year, if you’re looking to increase the value of your home but are unsure what home improvements to make, think curb appeal.
According to a recent report from Remodeling magazine, curb appeal projects, such as changes to windows, siding, and doors, lead to a higher return on investment (ROI) than interior improvements.
Over the past 30 years, Remodeling has compared the average cost of improvement projects with their value at resale, based on the experience of real estate professionals. The magazine’s 2017 Cost vs. Value Report supports the generally held opinion that today’s home buyers, while still enthusiastic about the bells and whistles, want to ensure their homes are structurally sound with all systems functioning efficiently.
Remodeling’s projects include a basement remodel, an entry door that was replaced with 20 gauge steel, and the addition of stone veneer. All of the 29 projects tracked returned on average 64.3 cents per dollar spent.
Among the trends, the higher return of curb appeal projects and projects that required the replacing of windows, doors, etc. Replacement projects generally scored higher than remodeling projects; the ROI of replacement was 74% and of remodels was 63.7%.
As in the previous year, adding loose fill insulation to the attic returned 107.7% and was the only project on the list whose value exceeded its cost. Steel door replacement and addition of stone veneer also paid off, at 90.7% and 89.4% respectively. Interestingly, these are among the cheapest projects, although their costs were up over the previous year.
Those who want to tackle an interior project might do well to consider a basement remodel, providing it’s done well; a high-end basement remodel was perceived as high value, returning 7.4% more than the same project last year, while a mid-range basement remodeling project only increased in value by 3.3% over the previous year.
Something to consider when you’re planning your next home improvement project.

Buying Investment Property? What You Need to Know

Investment property

With home prices competitive and interest rates at historical lows, now is the ideal time to consider purchasing an investment property.

Whatever your intent, your best bet is to start by doing two things. First, sit down and figure out what your goals are in purchasing a property, both short and long term. Second, figure out if it makes sense on paper.

A good real estate agent or appraiser should be able to help in determining property values in a given location, with specific attributes such as neighborhood desirability, square footage and number of bedrooms. They can also advise you regarding how much rent the properties could bear in a rental market.

Looking at foreclosures, short sales and bank-owned real estate is a good place to start looking for properties, as they are often below market value. Keep in mind that they may need a bit of remodeling or repairing.

Financing an investment property is similar to financing a primary residence, but the rates are higher as are the reserve requirements. Also, investment properties are financed primarily by conventional loans, as the Federal Housing Administration lends only on homes where the buyer intends to live, with the exception of multi-unit properties where the buyer plans on living in one of the units.

Plan on putting 25% to 30% down, and have six months worth of assets in the bank with which to make the payments. This is a bit steep, but lenders want to know that you are committed to making it work.

Guidance Realty Homes professional agents are valuable sources of information regarding purchasing investment properties.  If your future property is in Orlando, FL, NY Metro area, Northern Virginia, Maryland or Chicago, Guidance Realty Homes can help. Guidance Realty Homes’ buyers receive a commission rebate of the purchase price by using our agents. Plus, buyers can also receive an additional $350 appraisal credit when financing online with Guidance Residential.


Ask the Agent: What are Closing Costs?

Closing cost

What are closing costs, and how much will they cost me?

You’ve finally found your dream home and budgeted what you think you’ll need for expenses. But some first-time homebuyers forget that closing costs are part of the deal.

Closing costs are expenses outside of your mortgage that you’ll need to pay before you pick up the keys. Here’s a breakdown:

Appraisal – this is required for conventional mortgages and will typically run between $150 to $500.

Title Insurance – this insurance protects against problems that may arise with your title and can cost $350 and up.

Other costs can include title search fees, attorney fees, government recording fees, hazard insurance and home inspection fees. Be sure to ask your mortgage company early on in the process for a ball park estimate on what your closing costs will look like. If you’re considering purchasing a home in Orlando-Florida, NY-Metro, or Northern Virginia area, feel free to reach out to our knowledgeable Guidance Realty Homes Agents for more information on these costs plus ask about the $350 credit towards your appraisal cost when using our affiliated mortgage company.


How to Choose the Right Neighborhood

Small House

Location, location, location — is the popular saying regarding real estate.

Most home buyers start by looking for a suitable area. The following tips will help you find a neighborhood that feels like home:


Set priorities about things that matter most to you and your family:

  • Is safety a prime concern?
  • Are you looking for vibrant nightlife?
  • Do you need to live close to work?

The best purchase is usually a trade-off among several desirable elements.


These factors will help you gather more information regarding a neighborhood’s style:

  • Are there good local schools? Whether or not you have children, good schools increase property values.
  • Is the area close to services such as hospitals, public transportation, shopping, parks, and recreational and cultural sites?
  • How safe is it? Check with local police, and look in the newspaper for crime-watch statistics.
  • Friendly neighbors? Are people outside their homes, working in their yards or walking their dogs? Neighbors who interact with one another create a safer and more pleasant environment.
  • Is the area popular? Ask your Realtor, and check the number of “for sale” and “sold” signs.
  • What is the neighborhood’s price range? Have average property values gone up, gone down or stayed the same? Areas about to become trendy are often found on the fringes of highly desirable locations.
  • Is there vacant space nearby? What kind of development is planned for it.

Now that you’ve gathered more information, how do you begin? Let Guidance Realty Homes guide you toward finding the latest information about neighborhoods.Our Real Estate agents are valuable sources of information that can help you decide between two neighborhoods that on the surface, may seen very similar. Finding the right neighborhood definitely requires some homework, but it definitely will be worth it. If your future home happens to be in Orlando-Florida, NY Metro area, Maryland or Northern Virginia, Guidance Realty Homes can help. Guidance Realty Homes’ buyers receive a commission rebate of the purchase price by using our agents. Plus, buyers can also receive an additional $350 appraisal credit when financing online with Guidance Residential