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.
Read More »
Improve your credit score with these tips.
Credit Scores affect people in so many ways – it impacts either positively or negatively their approval for car loans, credit cards and mortgages, AND at what interest rate/terms they’ll get on that loan. If you are considering buying a home, you know this. Most credit scores fall in the 300-900 range, with higher numbers being the better credit score. Over the course of time, poor credit scores can cost thousands of dollars in fees and interest — but it doesn’t have to be that way. Check out the following tips to help improve your credit score.
Know your score
Regularly check your credit score and make sure it’s accurate. Any discrepancies on your report should be disputed with the credit bureau and reporting agency. You don’t want to let errors remain on your credit report!
Don’t be late
Late payments are one of the biggest contributing factors to your credit score. Set up a payment reminder system or use an auto-pay option to make sure your bills get paid on time. Always pay something and always be on time!Read More »
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
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 »
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 »
Here are some options if haven’t sold your current home and you’ve found a new one.
The perfect house – you’ve found it! It’s got the features you want in the location you desire and at the right price. Isn’t this the happy ending every home-buyer wants? Not if you still have a house to SELL. What can you do when you’ve found a new house to buy, but haven’t yet sold your current home? You do have a few options, some better than others.
Ultimately it comes down to your financial situation. If money is no object, you have all the freedom to buy that home without any worries. For the rest of us, here are some options.
Buy the house: This clearly holds the greatest risk, as lenders are quite cautious these day about lending a second mortgage to a buyer. And because there is no clear idea on just how long you might have to carry 2 mortgages, it’s a stressful jump for the homebuyer as well. Can you carry these 2 mortgages for 6-9 months? A year or longer?
Buy but rent: If you are able to secure financing and decide to purchase your new home, an option is to move into your new place and rent out the home you intend to sell to help offset your expenses. Some will do this and take their home off the market for a year or longer, depending on the real estate market. Some might attempt to sell it with renters in it, but that can be difficult as well, since renters don’t always understand the concept of keeping a home ‘show-ready’.Read More »
These room updates will give you the most enjoyment for your effort.
If money was no object, we would love to remodel our entire home, but many of us have to pick and choose which remodeling projects we tackle. Certain rooms are used more often and can greatly effect your home price.
The following rooms and spaces are the most important to update for many reasons. Either they are used a lot or they can greatly affect the price of your home and its ability to sell quickly.
KITCHEN: This room is the heart of the home and from an investment standpoint, it’s the most important room to do and one that potentially can recoup a chunk of the costs. A major overhaul (new cabinets, floors, counters and appliances) may get you back about 68 percent of your investment, but if your space needs just a minor remodel (refinishing cabinets, paint and counters), expect about a 72 percent return on your investment. Kitchens need to be updated if you have plans to sell.
BATHROOM: It’s a potentially expensive room to repair, but it’s another one that is important to have updated and in great condition. Kitchens and bathrooms are what buyers want, if you are considering placing your house on the market in the near future.Read More »
Buy your first home on time.
There is no magic formula for first time home buyers. There are, however, some general guidelines on how the process should go. Of course all these things can change or vary depending on the type of housing market you’re looking in. An active market might compress your timeline (act a bit faster) but in a slower market, you may be able to take a bit more time. Regardless, here is a basic timeline for first time home buyers.
3-4 months prior to preferred move date
At this beginning stage of the home search, you should be doing some serious background work:
- Make a checklist of your wants and needs for a home, including location and features.
- Mortgage pre-approval process is imperative. The sooner you get your finances in order the better! You’ll have a clear idea of what your budget is and be in a better position to make an offer and close in a timely fashion.
- Finding an agent important at this stage of your search. Find a Realtor you can trust and communicate well with. Make sure they know the market you’re interested in living in someday. Ask friends for referrals or visit open houses to meet agents in the area.
- The fun starts with house shopping! This is when you quickly figure out favorite neighborhoods, styles of homes and things you are willing to compromise on…and things you’re aren’t.
2-3 months out
- You’re still shopping at this point, but soon you’ll be finding a home you’re interested in purchasing. With the advice of your licensed Realtor, write up an offer and begin negotiations.
- Once you have a negotiated price, get an inspection by a qualified home inspector and make any repair arrangements with the homeowners to finalize the contract.
- Make your closing arrangements.
- Give your moving notice (if necessary) at your current residence.
Read More »