How to move when you’re in between homes.
In an ideal selling/buying scenario, you’d be able to schedule your closings for both houses so that a move occurs with ease in terms of timing and with minimal upheaval. Many times, however, an owner finds themselves needing interim housing. Perhaps they just haven’t found a house yet to buy, but have to move out…or maybe they are building a new home and it’s running behind schedule, or perhaps the closing dates are ‘off’ by a month or so. Regardless the reason, what are some tips for moving before your new home is ready for you?
The shorter the distance and the fewer the furnishings, the easier things will be. But all of these tips are applicable for anyone needing interim housing, near or far.
Perhaps the buyers of your home have the flexibility that allows you to rent the home from them after closing and you can stay put. This could be for a few days or a few weeks, but just until your new place is ready for you. The benefits for this is having the security to stay in a familiar place, same schools and you don’t have to move more than once.
Move out and find alternate housing
Sometimes renting back isn’t an option, or perhaps you’re moving far away so you need to rent an interim apartment or house for a month or so. What are some options for rentals?
- Extended stay hotel ~ if you can tolerate hotel living, these hotels have small kitchens and housekeeping. Be prepared to travel VERY light.
- Rentals ~ It is possible to find apartments, houses, rooms for rent, townhouses, and mobile homes, for short-medium or long-term leases. Find rentals that work for you, unfurnished, furnished, and even pet friendly. If you have a longer gap between homes, this might be your best choice.
- Vacant homes ~ perhaps you know someone who needs a house-sitter for a few weeks or the home is sitting vacant and could use some furnishings in it for a season. These arrangements usually come by knowing someone, who knows someone.
- Family or friends ~ depending on how long you’re looking at, you can always bum some space in the basement of family or friends, and sleep on the couch.
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Dropping the price of your home can help you sell.
One of the hardest decisions to make when selling a home is trusting that it has been priced correctly for the market conditions. A licensed REALTOR® is most qualified to help you make that decision. Sometimes, though, the price just isn’t bringing buyers in, or the market conditions change, or the timing of your move changes, which requires a faster sell. When is the right time to drop the price of your home?
There are a lot of unknowns when selling a house since potential buyers change by the day (as does the competition). But there are some basic standards that many agents follow throughout the country.
- Re-evaluate your listing price every 3-6 weeks, compare your situation with similarly priced homes and then decide if a price reduction makes sense.
- If your home is getting lots of showings and action, good feedback, but no offers, a small price reduction of 1-2% might be enough to get someone who has seen the home, to bite.
- If your home isn’t seeing a lot of action and is getting so-so feedback, a greater reduction of 5% might be your best option.
- No showings – you are not priced right, so reduce it about 10% and see if you get people through the doors.
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Choosing a home appraisal company.
Whether you’re buying a house or refinancing, an appraisal is part of your future. In a nutshell, appraisal companies look at your home, compare it to similar homes in the area to determine the market value of your place. Appraisals are safeguards against spending more on a house than it’s worth. What do you need to know about appraisals and appraisal companies?
Appraisal companies have appraisers who visit homes to determine its value. The appraiser will look at the following key things:
- Square footage of your home
- Damage that is visible on the interior and exterior of the home that might affect its value
- Verify any upgrades that have occurred
- Verify types of heating and cooling systems; and appliances
- Document the number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Determine property size
- Note the condition of the basement
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The value of your home could be rising.
Historically, homes have been a smart investment. Owners lived in a house, then got their money back when they sold…it was a better deal than renting. Borrowers got tax breaks, too, and built equity that could be leveraged into bigger houses as their incomes grew.
But there have been hiccups over the years where home values have dropped significantly and many homeowners found themselves underwater or with a drastic loss of value in their property. Many families today are still waiting for their homes to regain some of its losses so they can move on. When will that home reach its value again?
All key indicators are showing that there is confidence in Minnesota’s economy, which is translating to a positive trend in housing, according to the year end housing report from the Minnesota Association of REALTORS®.
With the continued addition of employment opportunities coupled with low mortgage rates and a tight rental market, many people made the homeownership choice in 2013. Prices are on the rise in Minnesota and inventory is low, so many of those homeowners who found themselves underwater a few years ago, can now consider making a move.Read More »
How to add value to your cabin.
Many cabin owners are generational – they’ve inherited the family cabin that grandpa and his buddies built in the 1950s. Some have gotten a great deal on a little log cabin that was once loved long ago, but has suffered from neglect. Unless you are one of the lucky few who can start from scratch and build the lake home of their dreams, you will likely need to do some work on that old little cabin of yours. What are the best ways to add value to your cabin?
Cabins are generally for those who love and crave the beauty and quiet of the great outdoors. So cabins NEED to maximize all things that highlight the trees, the water, and the wide open skies.
If your cabin is boxy and dark, it’s time to open things up with new windows and doors to take that beautiful view and bring it indoors. Replacing doors and windows can dramatically improve the aesthetic of your cabin as well as help improve energy efficiency.
Every cabin needs a beautiful deck or patio to enjoy star-gazing at night or a cup of coffee in the morning. Perhaps a screened porch would be beneficial for late-night card games in a mosquito-free environment. Fire-pits are easy to add and create a gathering spot for young and old. Make the most of your outdoor space.Read More »
What to look for in a quality home inspector.
Once you’ve found your next home and have a signed purchase agreement, you will need to have that new place properly inspected for structural issues or necessary repairs prior to closing. How do you know who to select for this important job? Here are some characteristics of a quality home inspector:
Not just any handy-man will do! You want to hire someone with an extensive background in building materials, mechanical and electrical systems and modifications, energy efficiency issues and repair processes. Having someone who understands both new and old products and their pros/cons as well as maintenance and repair needs is also beneficial. This person needs to know it all – from driveways and foundations to windows and appliances.
Contractor expertise on its own is not enough. You need your inspector to be clear and concise in their assessment of your property – which might mean delivering difficult news. They need to be able to translate sometimes complicated or technical subject matter in a way that you can understand and process. Both in writing and orally, this inspector needs to communicate very effectively the concerns of your new home and their recommendations prior to closing on the home.Read More »
What are some tips for buying vacation property with family?
Oh, to own a vacation home – some quaint place not too far away to spend weekends fishing, boating and relaxing. Or perhaps it’s in the mountains for skiing and hiking. Regardless where your fantasy vacation home is, you have to find a way to afford it. Some people opt to buy vacation properties with family, to share the expense, work and fun. And that can be a successful venture…but it has some risks, as well. What are some tips for buying vacation property with family?
Set Guidelines: You need to, together, set guidelines ahead of time on certain expectations. Family members have varying personalities and those personalities come with the joint agreement, so expect differences in styles, opinions and ways of handling conflict. There will for sure, be healthy banter in the process of buying and sharing a vacation home.
Create Property/Family Boundaries: It’s important to make the purchase of a vacation property a business agreement. Define how often you will meet to discuss property matters but don’t bring conversations or conflicts into family time – resist the temptation to discuss the new dock while at a family birthday gathering or around the Christmas tree.
Communication is Key: Make sure you have opportunities to express yourself and then LISTEN to others as well. Don’t assume anything – talk things out, work through things. There is bound to be one person who is SURE they work harder or put more $ into the property, so listen to each other and figure it out.Read More »
Finding the right school district can make moving easier.
Your family has a move in its future and it includes changing schools. As if finding a new place and managing a move isn’t enough stress, but adding in a school change can be a challenge for the entire family. So how do you go about finding a home you love with a strong school system? Here are a few tips for researching school districts:
When you are starting your home search be sure to use a reputable REALTOR, as they are knowledgeable on neighborhoods and school districts. Many times, listings have links to the affiliated schools so you can easily find information about the system in that neighborhood.
The MN Department of Education (education.state.mn.us) has a website that includes a section called “MN Report Card” (find it under the Data Center tab) where you can find all sorts of district or school specific information on public schools. It’s easy to use – you can select from any district in the state or a specific grade school, middle school or high school and you’ll have all sorts of information at your disposal. Information on test scores, demographics and general school and district wide information are available via this site.Read More »
Hiring a REALTOR instead of doing it yourself can save you stress and time.
It may seem that homes are selling really fast in your neighborhood these days. So fast, in fact, that you are tempted to just stick a “FOR SALE” sign in your yard and handle the selling of your home yourself. Before you go ahead and do that, consider why it pays to hire a REALTOR vs doing it yourself. You just might be surprised how much time and work it takes to sell a home.
Education and Experience
Real estate agents have the background necessary to price, market and sell your home in a timely fashion. If they are part of the National Association of REALTORS , they also have extra education to meet the association’s high standards and code of ethics. This education and training means you have a highly skilled professional working on your behalf to get your house sold.
Not only do REALTORS understand the current market climate, they also understand the nuances from one neighborhood to the next and how that might affect price, competition and time on the market.
Agents know people who know people…who might be in the market for a house just like yours. They also have access to new house listings days before they hit the MLS. Those precious days can mean a jump start in finding or selling a home.Read More »
Hiring a moving company can save you a lot of hassle.
Your house is sold and plans are falling into place for the move to your new home. But what is the best plan for your move? If you’re moving from a dorm room back home, that is simple. Pack it into the back of a truck and drive yourself. Or if you’re moving out of your parent’s basement to your first apartment, you might be able to get away with buying pizza and beer for your friends to help. But if you’re moving your family of five from one home to another that is across town or across the country, you may want to consider hiring a moving company. What are the benefits of hiring a moving company?
When deciding whether or not to hire a moving company, first consider what it would take to do it yourself: your time, proper packing materials (boxes, tape, packing peanuts or bubble wrap), at least one truck, gas $ and plans for childcare and pet-care while you work your tail off. Can you manage all that? Do you want to do all that?
Or for a modest investment, you can instead hire out the move and have a very different experience. Hiring a moving company has the following benefits:
Time: Selling a home and moving takes over your life – do you have the time to spend wrapping and packing every last knick-knack in your home? Every framed photo, every pot and pan, toy and candle and book? It’s possible, but it requires an enormous amount of time. Hiring a moving company will save you tons of time and free you up to work on other important details involved with a move, like registering for new schools, requesting address changes and finding new doctors and orthodontists.Read More »