Robin Tanner's Blog
There are a lot of real estate agents out there to choose from. It might be hard to tell one from another. There’s so many ways to find an agent these days including recommendations from friends and family to simple online searches. You want an agent that understands your needs from the neighborhoods that you’re looking to buy a home in, to the layout of the market that you’re selling in. Each agent has different specialties from relocation needs to foreign languages to FHA approved property searches. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you find the perfect realtor for you.
Pick Someone Who You Can Have Straight Talk With
You’ll need to like the person you pick as your realtor, but you’ll also need someone who you can talk business with. You don’t want a family member who you don’t feel comfortable knowing your financial picture, or someone who won’t understand your desire for a certain location or neighborhood.
Match Your Personality
You’ll be in touch with and will be spending a lot of time with your realtor. You want to find a realtor who can work well with you. Match your personality with theirs. Do you like someone who is a bit aggressive? Would you rather have a realtor who is a bit more easy-going? How often do you want to be in touch with your agent? Just remember that if you don’t like your agent, there’s a good chance that other people may not like your agent either!
The Choice Is Yours
Remember that the choice is yours when you’re looking for a realtor. You want to find a realtor who you know you’ll work well with. You also want to know that your realtor will work for you. It’s important that your realtor be ethical, communicative, and be a part of your team throughout the process of buying and selling. Here’s some questions that you should ask your realtor in order to help you understand if they’re a good fit for you:
- Will I be working with you exclusively?
- Are you a full or a part-time agent?
- How much experience do you have?
- What broker do you work for?
- Have you closed homes in this neighborhood before?
- Do you work with any lenders or have a seasoned team to help us through this process?
What Is A Foreclosure?
A foreclosure is what happens when a property owner cannot make the required monthly mortgage payments for the property loan. This lapse in payment leads to the property being seized and then sold by the bank to make up for the loan deficit.
During the process of foreclosure, the homeowner does have the opportunity to make the loan current and avoid giving up their property.
When mortgage payments have been missed for 3-6 months, the lender will order what is called a Notice Of Default (NOD). This is the official notice that the homeowner is facing foreclosure. This notice begins the reinstatement period where the homeowner has the opportunity to make his account current. This period lasts up to about 5 days before the home is auctioned off.
If the defaulted loan is not corrected within 3 months, then a foreclosure state is established. At this point, a notice of sale will be given to the homeowner and it will also be posted on the property as an official document. The sale of the home is “advertised” in local news sources, typically over a three-week period.
Where The Sale Occurs
The sale of the foreclosed home usually occurs at the local county courthouse where the property is located. The details of the sale are located on the Notice Of Sale document. The sale is conducted as an auction in public, given to the highest bidder. A cash deposit must be made up front and the remainder of the price must typically be paid within 24 hours. The winner of the auction receives the deed to the property.
With a foreclosure auction, the opening bid is set by the lender. This starting number is usually equal to whatever the outstanding loan balance is including the interest and additional fees including attorney’s fees. If there are no bids higher than the opening bid, the property is purchased by the lender via the lender’s attorney. This makes the property known as “Real Estate Owned.”
Problems With Buying Foreclosures
One thing to be aware of when you’re considering buying a foreclosure is that the amount owed on the property can actually be more than the property itself is worth. Any liens excluding property taxes are typically voided at the time of purchase of a foreclosure, which is a slight bonus to a buyer.
The other issue with buying a foreclosed property is that you need quite a bit of cash up front in order to purchase the property. This is why buying a foreclosure may not be for everyone.
While no one wants to face losing their own property to foreclosure, getting a foreclosure notice isn’t the end of the road for homeowners. You’ll still have a few chances to make things right. If you’re looking to buy a foreclosed property, you really need to understand the ins and outs of what you’re getting yourself into before you make a bid.
While some home improvement projects are done purely for aesthetic reasons, window replacement projects offer a wide range of benefits.
If your current windows are decades old, they're probably difficult to clean, provide poor insulation, and get stuck every time you try to raise or lower them.
Old wooden window frames also tend to deteriorate over time, which negatively impacts both their appearance and their ability to seal out drafts and outdoor temperatures.
Modern, energy-efficient windows make older models look like they're straight out of the Stone Age! Many windows manufactured today meet strict U.S. government standards for energy efficiency and durability, which can help you save money on your home energy bills. These new features include multiple panes of glass, which provide improved insulation and impact resistance. Instead of using just plain air, many of these advanced windows are insulated with non-toxic gases, such as argon and krypton. (As long as you're not Superman, you'll do just fine!) If you're willing to pay extra, there's also the option of having mini-blinds inserted between the panes of glass.
Reducing Home Energy Costs
According to the EPA, "Replacing old windows with ENERGY STAR certified windows lowers household energy bills by an average of 12 percent nationwide. Lower energy consumption also reduces greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and shrinks a house's carbon footprint."
Energy Star-certified windows also have special coatings that reflect both infrared and ultraviolet light. That not only helps keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter, but it helps stop the sun's rays from fading furniture colors, flooring, and other materials.
Some of the newer windows are available with three or more layers of glass panes, which can help make your home more comfortable and quieter. If external noise is an issue, installing well-insulated windows with multiple panes can reduce that problem significantly.
Although many of the new window products are constructed of wood, they're often covered with vinyl or aluminum to be more weather resistant and durable. Fiberglass is another low-maintenance, durable material that offers good insulation qualities.
Cost Versus Benefits
While a window replacement project can take a big chunk out of your home improvement budget or bank account, it does provide a return on your investment. In addition to the fact that your home energy costs should decrease, installing new, energy-efficient windows will improve your home's marketability in the future. If and when you decide to put your home on the market, the fact that you've installed energy-efficient, easy-to-use window replacements will be a major selling point in the minds of prospective buyers.
As is the case with all home improvement contractors, it's always a good idea to get several estimates and check references, read online reviews, and take a look at Better Business Bureau ratings before choosing someone to handle the project.
Many homeowners or soon-to-be homeowners are anxious about making big purchases online. However, there’s a lot to be said for the perks of online shopping for things like furniture and appliances for your home.
As technology progresses and more and more retailers build their online presence, the selection has never been bigger. That’s why we’re going to show you how to find the nicest furniture and appliances online, get the best deals, and ensure that you’re buying from a trustworthy seller.
Read on for our tips on online appliance and furniture shopping.
The efficiency of online shopping
If done correctly, shopping online is much faster than driving to your local furniture store. The best way to achieve this is to know exactly what you’re looking for before ever opening up your browser. This will help you avoid scrolling endlessly through Ikea’s or Best Buy’s websites wondering what’s worth clicking on.
You’ll need to determine the following:
Your budget. This will narrow down the selection immensely and keep you from dreaming about unnecessarily expensive items.
Your style. Is there a specific color that you’re hoping to match? Does your furniture need to meet a specific style, such as mid-century modern? Using these search terms will help you find very specific results.
Practicality. There’s a difference between buying a washing machine and refrigerator for yourself and buying one for a family of five. Knowing the size and load specifications you need will help you narrow the search.
Take advantage of user reviews
One of the immense benefits of online shopping is the wealth of reviews that can be read. User reviews help the consumer and the company--it tells the company what products people prefer and it tells the consumer if the product met the description and quality standards of other customers.
It’s best to purchase items that have a higher number of positive reviews. A refrigerator that has a single five-star review might be of good quality, but I would trust that the refrigerator with twenty four-star reviews is consistently a top-quality item.
If you’re buying from a smaller online store, check out reviews for the retailer itself. Websites like Yelp and Google+ are both good places to look before hitting the “checkout” button.
Try before you buy
The internet is just one tool used for online furniture and appliance shopping. If possible, make a list of your favorite products and visit a local retailer who has them in stock. This will allow you to compare how the products look and feel in real life, as sometimes photos don’t quite portray the color and texture correctly.
This is also a good time to make sure the items are sized correctly to fit your home. Before leaving for the store, measure the space you have to work within your home. Remember that there often needs to be room behind your appliances for wiring. At the store, check to see if the products you looked at online will meet your space requirements.