A Higher Level of Service

     


We have all heard that the biggest investment that each of us possesses is our home, so it is extremely important that your investment is handled with the care that it deserves.  Years ago, I realized that the approach to handling such an important part of people’s lives requires a team of people to make the process run smoothly.  With that in mind, I made it my purpose to reach out to some of the best people in the business to assist us in the process.
 
The purchase or the sale of a home goes far beyond just the Realtor that lists or helps you with that new home purchase.  It requires lenders, inspectors, appraisers, surveyors, title companies, as well as others to get through the home buying or selling process.  So, I believe in working together with those that also have your best interest in mind.  So I have experience and access to a great network of people to answer your questions and get you the best results.
 

Together, we have worked to create a truly caring alliance throughout the transaction that works to provide our clients with the highest level of attention and the very best service possible.  This allows you the comfort of knowing that I will be with you from start to finish with access to the very best…and continue to be there whenever you need me.  

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8 Signs Your House Is Holding You Back  (Maybe it's time to downsize)

Owning a home can be a powerful thing. It can bring happiness and security to you and your family, and it's often a wise financial decision. But sometimes, your house can be a problem.

Many of us fall for the temptation to purchase a home that is ultimately too costly for us to sustain. We pursue our "dream home" only to find that the costs of ownership and maintenance are actually preventing us from achieving other goals. Let's examine the signs that your house may be holding you back.

1. It is costing you more than 30 percent of your income

It's fine to budget a certain amount of your income to housing costs, but at a certain point, that share becomes too much. The federal government advises spending no more than 30 percent of your income on housing. This is not a requirement — very wealthy people may be able to afford more — but it's a good rule of thumb. For most people, once you pass that 30 percent threshold, you may find it hard to make your housing payments and cover other expenses in your life. (See also: How to Make Ends Meet When You're House Poor)

2. You're barely making a dent in the loan principal

One of the major advantages of owning a home versus renting is that you have the opportunity to build equity over time. This can be a major part of building net worth. But, a large mortgage loan with unfavorable terms could mean that you are paying mostly interest and very little principal.

With most home loans, homeowners can build equity over time — if they're patient, they can pay off the interest and begin chipping away at the principal. But some mortgage loans (such as interest-only or negative amortization loans) can leave a homeowner with little to no equity and may even leave them owing more than the home is worth. This is a hard situation to get out of, but if you can find a way to refinance your mortgage into a fixed-rate loan, the house will be less of a financial burden over time. (See also: 8 Signs You're Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage)

3. You are taking on other debt

It's OK to have some mortgage debt, but when you find yourself borrowing to pay for other things, that's problematic. Have you been forced to finance your cars instead of pay for them outright? Are you taking on credit card debt? Your house may be responsible for an ever-increasing debt load that could eventually destroy your financial dreams. (See also: 5 Surefire Signs You Have Too Much Debt)

4. You're struggling to hold onto it

When that mortgage bill is due each month, are you scrambling to get the funds together? Have you been late on payments or skipped them altogether? Is the bank threatening to take your home away? This is a horrendous way to live. Chances are, you've taken on too much house. That home, which is supposed to provide your family with shelter, security, and comfort, is now something you can barely afford to keep. It may be time to devise an exit strategy.

5. You've come to resent the house

A home should be a source of pride. It's the place where you watch your kids grow up, grow vegetables in the backyard, and host Thanksgiving. Your home should be your refuge and a place of happiness.

Have you instead found yourself simply hating the place? Have you ever said, "Gosh, I can't stand this house?" Maybe it's because the house is haunted or backs up to the city dump. Or it could be that the costs of owning and maintaining the house stresses you out. If your house is a source of strain rather than joy, it could be that it's too much of a financial burden.

 

6. Your life has shrunk

OK, so you have your house. You go to work every morning. What else are you doing with your time? What dreams are you pursuing?

Sometimes, our housing costs impose such a burden that we find ourselves unable to really "live" life in a meaningful way. Taking time to travel? Forget it. Going back to school? No way. Starting a business? Not a chance. Even going out to eat with friends and family may be out of the question.

You may feel "rich" living in a large, expensive house. But how rich is your life, in the final analysis?

7. Investing seems impossible

Your employer offers a 401(k) plan, but you haven't even thought about contributing. You've heard about things like IRAs and mutual funds, but can't bother to research what it all means. The notion of putting money aside for retirement seems almost ridiculous, because you're barely treading financial water.

There's no question that investing can be difficult when you have other living costs to consider, but you need to budget for the future in the same way that you budget for groceries and other costs. If you find it hard to set aside even a small amount, it could be that your house is eating up too much of your income.

Reducing your housing costs and freeing up even $50 to $100 per month could represent tens of thousands of dollars in savings over time. If you can further reduce your housing costs by thousands and invest toward retirement instead, you'll be sitting pretty. 

8. You feel stuck in your job

Maybe you're not satisfied with your career path, or aren't getting along with your boss. Perhaps you can't stand your commute. Ideally, you can simply leave your job and find a new one. But sometimes, we stay at jobs because the pay and other benefits are simply too good to pass up. How many of us have said, "I can't leave this job because I've got a mortgage to pay?"

If this sounds like you, think about how your house is actually forcing you to stick with a job you hate. While we all must earn income to live, we also all deserve the right to pursue careers based on reasons other than money. Moreover, we should ideally be able to take time off work — or endure a job loss — without it resulting in immediate financial disaster. If you feel trapped in a job you don't like, are your housing costs to blame?


 


Sell Faster in 2018: Design and Staging Tips

Selling your home can often be stressful as you live life in limbo. Once the house is listed, you want to receive a good offer as quickly as possible. Here are tips for staging and upgrading your home for a faster sale in 2018:

Start With the Basics

Buyers are going to be turned off if they see a leaking roof or furnace on its last leg. It's not going to matter how impressive your kitchen is if your home has major issues. While new siding isn't glamorous, the improvement can return nearly 92.8 percent of your investment, according to Remodeling magazine. Window and roof replacements also return a high investment of around 80 percent.

Cleaning Your Home

Getting every nook and cranny clean is the cheapest way to increase appeal. Potential buyers need to picture themselves living in your home. Dirt, grime and disrepair can distract them from the highlights of your home. Make sure your home is spotless for each showing, vacuuming floors and double-checking surfaces for streaks before leaving.

Hiring a professional to deep-clean and get into the crevices may not be a bad idea. You won't want dirty dishes or laundry sitting around, so make sure they are either done or taken with you during the showing.

Instagram-Ready

Photogenic homes are more likely to excite buyers and get them placing bids faster. Here are a few ways to make your home Instagram-worthy:

  1. Dramatic Color Accents: Purple is a big color for 2018. Update your home with trending accents. Lavenders are projected to be a popular decorating color and Pantone announced Ultra Violet as the 2018 Color of the Year. Using jewel tones in your floral arrangements, including mixed metal decor and choosing the right faux fur throw can help modernize your house to appeal to buyers.
  2. Light and Bright: If at all possible, brighten your spaces with natural lighting from windows, unique light fixtures and bright walls. Brighter interior spaces are easier to photograph.
  3. Moody Interiors: If natural light isn't readily available, dark charcoals and navy colors can exaggerate the furniture and room features; however, buyers can be easily scared off if they feel like they need to repaint the walls. While moody can be a big payoff for the right house, it can be a devastating choice for the wrong house.
  4. Two-Tone Cabinets: Finishing upper and lower cabinets differently can create an interesting dynamic in the kitchen. A HomeAdvisor survey says the national average cost of refinishing cabinets is $2,600. Bleached wood lower cabinets can be contrasted with a vibrant paint color on the cabinets above.

Clutter-Free

All clutter has to go. If you have to rent a storage space offsite to house your items until you move, then do it. Clear clutter from your closets, cupboards and garage, as well—buyers are going to be looking at the storage spaces in your home. If you really can't move the clutter to another site, box it up and put it in the garage or attic until moving day. You want everything looking move-in ready and showing off what your home has to offer.

Staging the Home

Set up every room to show off how it can be used by the new buyer. Even though a spare bedroom might feel larger if it's empty, adding a bed and dresser that fit the space can make it more inviting to a potential buyer. Photographs, memorabilia and themed rooms, like Disney princess or a favorite sports team, should be swapped out for decor that keeps a personal touch without feeling exclusive.

Curb Appeal

When potential buyers arrive at the home, what kind of first impression is your home presenting? Curb appeal is typically a low-cost upgrade that can lead to faster sales. Make sure the exterior is clean by power washing the siding, driveway and walkways. Keep the lawn mowed, bushes trimmed and trees pruned back from the house. Keep the gardens free of weeds, mulched and edged. Spruce up the entrance with potted flowers or cute furniture that makes the space feel inviting and inspiring. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint and hang house numbers that are visible from the street.

Selling your home can be a very stressful process, but it doesn't have to be! Follow these tips and up your chances of having solid offers come in quickly.

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