For Buyers, For Investors

Debunking Myths To Home Buying

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Finally ready to make the transition into home ownership? That’s awesome, and in this exciting time you can be turning to friends and family for an insight into the process. However, there seems to be a circulation of misinformation spreading around, so we’re here to clear up a few myths.

1. THE FIRST STEP IS SEARCHING FOR A HOME

You know the saying, “Don’t put the cart before the horse,” well that’s important to remember when it comes to buying a home. You don’t want to start looking for a house until you have sit down with a lender and discuss what you would qualify for. For example, if you fall in love with a house that’s $250,000 and come to find out you’re only qualified for $200,000 you can get your hopes crushed and waste a lot of time. Don’t start the process on the wrong foot and make sure the numbers line up.

2. YOU DON’T NEED A REAL ESTATE AGENT

For starts, when buying a home, 99% of the time the buyer’s agent gets paid by the sellers. That random 1% can be for odd circumstances. So you’re getting to use the services of a real estate agent for free. Having a real estate agent on your side means you’ll get to see homes that aren’t as readily available on public searches, you avoid outdated listings and scammers (there are lots of them), and you have protection when it comes to navigating the legalities of contracts and buying a home. Why wouldn’t you want an awesome negotiator working to ensure you get the best from the transaction? For FREE!

3. YOU CAN’T BUY A HOME WITH BAD CREDIT

Fortunately for some, this is a myth. Lenders and banks come by the hundreds of thousands and all though there are a few loan options, a lot of lenders can work with credit scores down to the low to mid 500’s. Get in touch with an agent to help you connect with the right lender who can help you potentially approved. There is a lot of factors that go into approvals, but your credit doesn’t have to be a sore thumb during the process. However, you will be doing yourself a favor if you connect with a credit repair specialist to at least get those numbers in the 600’s. A better score will lower you interest rate.

4. YOUR DOWN PAYMENT HAS TO BE 20%

Think you have to sell an arm and a leg to buy a home? Not at all! An FHA loan only requires 3.5% while a conventional only requires 5%. There are a lot of programs that can potentially help you with down payment assistance or be 0% down mortgage. USDA and VA loans are the most popular 0% down programs. If you qualify, this can take a big chunk off the amount of cash you have to bring to the closing table.

5. DOWN PAYMENTS ARE THE ONLY UPFRONT COST

This is one of the biggest misconceptions. There is a lot of cost that goes into buying a home, and that includes upfront costs. One of the mandatory ones are a termite and appraisal. If you are getting a mortgage, the home will have to appraise and get a letter stating there are no termites in the home. Termite can range between $25-$75 dollars. An appraisal can range from $300-$700 dollars. Aside from your down payment, you then have to pay for closing costs. And NO, they are not the same thing. Closing costs can range anywhere between 3-6% of the purchase price. In certain markets, this can be negotiated for sellers to cover by rolling into the offer price, but whether that decision is smart to do or not when it comes to landing your dream home will need to be discussed with your agent.

Now that you have some knowledge to get the process started, get in touch with an agent who will help you get through the process as smoothly as possible.

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For Buyers, For Investors, For Sellers

Kitchen Improvements Under $100

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Want to spruce up your kitchen but stuck on a tight budget? Check out the list of improvements you can get started on for under $100. These tips can come in handy when you’re ready to list your home to sell on the market.

1. REFRESH THE SINK:

If your sink is starting to look outdated, find an affordable, yet stylish, replacement. If you have the eye for DIY, you can also purchase some sandpaper and a $4 can of spray paint that is made for metal, and dye it to refresh and brighten the color.

2. HANG A NEW LIGHT FIXTURE

A decorative light fixture doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You can generally find some decent ones that are under $100. Go for a chrome finish or choose the rustic route, whichever suits the current décor in your kitchen. You can also add LED lights under your kitchen cabinets for around $10-$20.

3. PAINT THE CABINETS

With care taken in the prep work, you can refinish the paint on your cabinets. You can generally get a kit around $75. Refreshing the paint color or the stain can make your kitchen feel brand new.

4. TURN YOUR FRIDGE INTO A CHALKBOARD

Chalkboard finishes are a hot trend, especially on the fridge! They add more functionality by allowing home owners to write grocery lists, menus, and even to-dos. Use painters tape to outline the shape and size you want to use as the chalkboard then coat it with magnetic primer, then chalkboard paint.

5. REPLACE OUTLET PLATES

Replace the outdated outlet wall plates for your light switches. You can add some character to it by using bold patterns, bright colors, or elegant textures. If they look faded, yellow, or chipped, they’re a cheap fix to replace.

6. CHANGE HARDWARE

Replacing the hardware on your kitchen cabinets and drawers can provide a drastic change to your kitchen. Not only can you get rid of hideous outdated hardware, but you can add a completely new feel to the theme of your kitchen just by updating the hardware throughout it.

7. EXPAND STORAGE

Have empty wall space? Search your local home stores for cute baskets or storage containers you can use to fill the space. Not only can it add some character to your kitchen, it also adds functionality and more storage options. A feature buyers love if you’re thinking of listing your home.

8. DRESS UP YOUR DECOR

Bring some color to your kitchen. Throw out décor that looks like it belongs in the 90’s, rugs that are falling apart, and anything else that weighs down a fresh look. Add in some new rugs and hand towels that match your personality and the theme you’re trying to achieve. You can also add some plants and decorative pieces to add character.

9. CLEAN UP THE CLUTTER

The best cleaning tip I can give all of my clients is to remove the clutter. Nothing is a bigger eye sore than too many things. It also messes with the energy in a home. Throw out a lot of things that are taking up too much space. If it’s sentimental, see if you can store it in a new place or even donate it.

For Buyers, Uncategorized

Tips To Get Settled In A New Home

 

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Moving into a new home? We know how exciting it can be! We’ve compiled a list of a few things you can do after your move to make sure your experience is comfortable. The hardest part of a move is getting settled in, after that, let’s handle a few loose ends that sometimes get forgotten about till the last minute.

CHECK MAJOR APPLIANCES

Be sure to check all the appliances to ensure everything is still in working order after the move. You want to make sure nothing was broken in the move or stopped working suddenly. Look at things such as your stove, dishwasher, washer and dryer, refrigerator, and microwave. If you brought any appliances yourself and you used movers, you’ll want to make sure everything still works with them, since mover’s insurance companies give a limited timeframe for when you can make a claim.

CHECK ALL OF YOUR BOXES & FURNITURE

Be sure to go over all your boxes and furniture to make sure nothing got damaged during the move. Be sure that everyone has arrived and didn’t get lost in the process. If you notice something is missing a month later, it may be too late to file a claim with the moving company. Even if you don’t plan on unpacking everything as soon as you move in, just do a quick review and inventory everything you brought to protect yourself and your belongings.

SET UP UTILITIES

Did you remember to set up your utilities before moving in? There’s nothing more frustrating than moving into your home to realize the lights don’t work. Make sure you’ve gotten with all of the necessary utility companies to have everything turned on in time for your move.

REGISTER INTO A GOOD SCHOOL

You may have already known to look for a school for your kids prior to your move, but if you haven’t yet found one, be sure to research all the schools local to you to find the right fit for your family. The sooner you can find the right school and register, the easier and less stressful it will be to get them in and settle.

REGISTER YOUR CAR

If you’ve moved to a new state or country, you’ll want to make sure to register your car in your new hometown and update your driver’s license, tags, and plates.

CONNECT TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

Join sites like Nextdoor.com or get a subscription to your local magazine/newspaper to stay in touch with what’s going on in your neighborhood. Be sure to also join local community Facebook groups. You can find out about events or concerns relating to your community.

GETTING YOUR MAIL

Have you updated your address from all the people you’ll be expecting to get mail from? Like your bank, friends, family, and services you still pay for after your move. Check with the post office to have things redirected to your new address while you work to update your info with everyone else.

FIND THE RIGHT PROFESSIONALS

If you’re moving far from your last home, you’ll want to have the right connections. Find a new doctor, dentist, vet, handyman, plumber, etc. Add them into a contact book that’s easily accessible.

EMERGENCY CONTACT LIST

If you’re moving to a new country, 911 won’t be the local emergency number. Make sure you have all the correct numbers in the case of an emergency. This can also include doctors, the local police station, a vet, etc.

INSURANCE COMPANIES

More than likely, you handled home insurance and home warranty during the purchasing process. If you haven’t, be sure to get those taken care of right away. You’ll also want to get your auto, health, and any other necessary household insurances sorted for your move.

 

Nydia Marrero LOGO

For Buyers, For Sellers, Real Estate

Avoid The Wrong Real Estate Agent

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In what will likely be the biggest investment you make in your life, buying a home needs the attention and assistance a professional real estate agent can provide. But not just any real estate agent, it’s important to find the “right” one. With the ease of being able to land a license, you want to make sure you’re hiring an agent who has the experience and drive to ensure you’re provided the tools and skills to walk away from a closing knowing your needs were met. Let’s jump into issues you can face if you don’t have the right agent on your team.

1. THE “WRONG” AGENT WON’T LISTEN.

It’s important to find a real estate agent that sits down with you and actually listens to your needs. What type of home do you want? Where do you want to live? Does the commute to school or work have to be a certain distance? Etc. Working with an agent that doesn’t take the time to listen to your real estate needs will end up wasting your time and sending you homes to look at that don’t match your needs. Sit down with an agent that wants to get to know your needs and wants to help you achieve your goal of buying your dream house.

2. YOU’LL GET TERRIBLE ADVICE.

Choosing the wrong agent means you’ll find yourself in situations with terrible advice. Make sure you choose an agent that is able to give you the proper direction when it comes to the whole sales process. From negotiations, to repairs, you want to ensure you choose a trusted adviser that can guide you on the right path.

3. THEY WON’T NEGOTIATE THE BEST DEAL FOR YOU

A great agent will negotiate for you to get an amazing deal. Now this isn’t to equate to unrealistic negotiation expectations of what the market will sell a home for – because that can mean losing your dream house. But the “wrong” agent won’t bother to negotiate on any part of the sales process. You want to find an agent that not only negotiates for you, but does it in an effective way and advises you on the best steps to take, to ensure you still get the right home.

4. DIFFICULT TO GET IN TOUCH WITH

A great agent has a set and active schedule that allows you to get in touch with them, or a member of their team, on a reasonable time frame. The “wrong” agent will be difficult to get a hold of, even not getting back to you during the sales process for days (sometimes even weeks.) To find a great agent, you want to find one that has dedicated business hours that allow you to get in touch with them at anytime during those hours, and is available to call you back if they miss your call, in a timely manner. This is incredibly important during the sales process, if something needs immediate attention, and your agent is nowhere to be found, you can lose the deal.

5. CAN LEAD TO A LEGAL MESS

The “wrong” agent can be unethical, or simply not have the proper knowledge about the legalities within the industry that is standard for agents to follow through on. As a professional, in an industry with a lot of accompanying laws, it’s a great agent’s job to know how to protect you throughout the sales process. While providing the necessary contracts and guidance to ensure you’re protected by the decisions you make as well.

6. AN UNHAPPY BUYING EXPERIENCE

Buying a home is an important and big process in a person’s life. If you’re buying your first home, or you’re purchasing your dream home, you don’t want the experience to be traumatizing. A great agent will be able to navigate the bumps that come up within the sales process in an experienced and professional manner. The “wrong” agent will create a mess of the sales process, not find you the right home, and you can end up with a home you don’t actually love – or one with too many issues. Find a great agent that knows the process and can ensure it goes as smoothly as possible, giving you the time to prepare for common situations that may cause delays. Although some things can occur that neither party is aware of, having an experienced agent will help you through general hurdles that could arise through the sale.
You need the right agent to find you the right home.

Nydia Marrero LOGO

For Buyers, For Sellers, Real Estate

Don’t Replace Your Agent With The Internet

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With the influx of new technology and web based solutions, it isn’t a surprise that everything is moving fast into the era of the internet. From sites like Uber to Grubhub, we generally can pull up our phones or laptops to order what we want with ease. And with every industry being revolutionized by technology, the same methods are “attempting” to be applied to the real estate industry.

We could all agree that the simplification of the process through paperwork would be much appreciated by agents and buyers/sellers alike; but the attempt of replacing the agent by sites like Zillow and other third party resources, can lead to a snowball affect of disaster. Think about real estate being smack dab in the middle of fast food and a doctor. You can use your mobile device to quickly place your order for a $20 meal, but when it comes to getting a surgery, you’ll want to put that phone down and visit a professional. Now think of your real estate agent being in the middle of all of that. You can use your devices to look for a home, look at market data the way you look at WebMD, knowing not to take it too seriously because you need a real professional’s input, but it’s fun and gives you a general idea of what to expect. But there in lies the issue, the data online is an oversimplified version of what goes into the process of buying and selling. The same way it oversimplifies medical diseases and surgeries, you’d still expect to get a professional’s diagnosis.

Although a real estate agent isn’t quite like a doctor, the industry in it’s legalities, contracts, and processes is similar in the sense that it needs to be taken seriously. Looking for a house online and wanting to put an immediate offer on one can be exciting and fun, but the issues that require a professional’s guidance comes after the initial contract is written up and the hard work comes into place to actually make the home your own. Same for sellers, if you decide to put your home on the market and want a website that will give you an automatic offer, how do you know you’re not being taken advantage of in the price? But most importantly, how do you know you’re not being taken advantage of in other aspects of the contract? Because there is a lot more to the sale of the home then just agreeing on a number.

The next time you’re digging through public sites for homes for sale, and getting instant home valuation estimates, keep in mind that this is a simple process to give you an idea of your market. A very general idea. But after you’ve found the perfect house, or after you’ve decided that the numbers make some sense for you to sell, call your favorite real estate agent and make sure they give you a more detailed look into the market and assist you through the full process, not just the exciting first parts. Because it’s going to be in the middle of a contract when the lending is falling apart, or negotiations can’t be made on repairs and emotions are at an all time high, that you are going to wish you had put down your laptop and had an agent fighting for you by your side. Use the internet, have fun with it’s amazing resources, but don’t let it replace your agent. We aren’t in an age, just yet, where technology can do everything a professional can.

Nydia Marrero LOGO

 

For Buyers, For Investors, For Sellers, Real Estate, Zen Tips

Durable Kitchen Floor Options

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DURABLE CONCRETE

Concrete is a great option for ground level kitchens and are a long lasting option for homeowners. Sometimes, concrete slabs may have already been placed beneath your existing flooring. The surface of it can then be polished or stained to provide a stylish look for your kitchen.

NATURAL STONE

Natural stone is a hard rock that allows it to remain durable and long lasting. The only drawback to stone is that it is porous, which makes it susceptible to water and liquid stains. This can be avoided with an annual application of chemical stone sealer, which simply provides an invisible coat of protection.

HARDWOOD

Hardwood can be tough to work within a kitchen because the material is porous and relatively soft. However, if you like the look of hardwood in a kitchen, you’ll just want to have it treated with a quality polyurethane-based finish. Keep in mind, it will, overtime, take on a more aged look. If you find character and personality in imperfections, then hardwood will work great for you.

BAMBOO

Bamboo has a similar look and feel to hardwood, and can be a great alternative. It is a harder and more durable material that helps it become more resistant towards moisture and water damage. The only drawback? It’s tough to refinish them because there is no direction to the natural grain.

LINOLEUM

Made popular about 50 years ago, linoleum seems to be making a comeback. Linoleum is made from all natural linseed oil, which makes it pretty environmentally friendly. They’re also pretty easy to clean and maintain. If it is properly cared for, it can generally have a lifespan for upwards of 40 or so years. However, if it is immersed in water, it is highly susceptible to damage. Be sure to avoid basement quality linoleum in your kitchen or they will begin to curl when faced with humidity.

VINYL

Vinyl is a great and affordable kitchen flooring option. Their lifespan generally tens to run around 7 to 10 years before they start showing significant signs of wear and fade. Vinyl is man-made and is nearly impervious to water issues, stains, and other damage. It is also very easy to clean.
Don’t want to replace your flooring? You can always give me a call and we’ll find you a house with the type of kitchen flooring that you love!