Was Your Offer Rejected? Here’s What to Do Next

Buying is home is a lengthy and, at times, stressful process. So, it can be discouraging when your offer is rejected.

If you’ve recently had a purchase offer rejected by the homeowner, don’t worry–you have options.

In this post, we’re going to cover some of those options so you can start focusing on your next move and potentially even make a second offer that gets accepted.

1.  Reassess your offer, not the seller

You could spend days guessing the reasons the seller might not have accepted your offer if they didn’t give you a straightforward answer.

However, your time is better spent addressing your own offer. Double check the following things:

  • Is your offer significantly lower than the asking price?

  • If so, is it lower than comparable sale prices for homes in the neighborhood?

  • Does your offer contain more than the usual contingencies?

Once you’ve reassessed, you can determine if a second offer is appropriate for your situation, or if you’re ready to move onto other prospects with the knowledge you’ve gained from this experience in hand.

2. Formulate your second offer

So, you’ve decided to make another attempt at the house. Now is the time to discuss details with your spouse and real estate agent.

Out of respect for the seller’s time and their timeline for selling the home, you should treat your second offer as your last.

So, make sure you’re putting your best offer forward. This can mean removing those contingencies mentioned earlier or increasing the amount. However, be realistic about your budget and don’t waive contingencies that are necessary (commonly appraisals, inspection, and financing contingencies).

3. Consider including a personal offer letter

In today’s competitive market, many sellers are fielding multiple offers on their home. To set yourself apart from the competitors and to help the seller get to know your goals and reasoning better, a personal letter is often a great tool.

Don’t be afraid to give details in your offer letter. Explain what excites you about the house, why it is ideal for your family, and what your plans are for living there.

What shouldn’t you include in your offer letter? Avoid statements that try to evoke pity or guilt from the seller. This seldom works and will put-off most buyers to your offer.

4. Moving on is good time management

If you aren’t comfortable increasing your offer or if you receive a second rejection, it’s typically a good idea to move onto other prospects. It may seem like wasted time–however, just like a job interview that didn’t go as planned, it’s an excellent learning experience.

You’ll walk away knowing more about the negotiation process, dealing with sellers and agents, and you might even find a home that’s better than the first one in the process!

4 Reasons Why Hiring a Real Estate Agent Is a Must for Homebuyers

Getting ready to buy a new home? You’ll want to hire a real estate agent to guide you along the homebuying journey, as this professional will possess the skills and know-how needed to ensure you can find your dream home quickly.

There are many great reasons for homebuyers to work with a real estate agent, including:

1. You Can Check Out a Wide Range of Homes That Fit Your Needs.

Whether you’re looking for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the city or a small residence on the outskirts of town, a real estate agent can arrange home showings to ensure you can check out a variety of houses that fit your needs.

Remember, a real estate agent works for you and will do everything he or she can to help you find your ideal residence. This professional will conduct research into homes that meet your criteria and even work with a home seller’s real estate agent to make sure you can view a house at your convenience.

2. You Can Receive Expert Support During the Negotiation Stage.

No homebuyer wants to enter the negotiation stage alone. Fortunately, a real estate agent will help you manage negotiations.

Negotiations with a home seller can become contentious if you’re not careful, but your real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to help you get your dream house at the right price, regardless of the circumstances.

3. You Can Get Extra Help with a Home Inspection.

Completing a home inspection is paramount before you finalize a purchase agreement with a home seller. And with a trusted real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble finding a reliable home inspector who will be able to identify potential issues with a house before you buy it.

Your real estate agent also can help you minimize stress if a home inspector encounters problems with a house.

For example, your real estate agent will speak with a home seller to ensure any home repairs are completed before you finalize your purchase agreement. Thus, you’ll be able to buy a home that you can enjoy for years to come thanks in part to the support provided by your real estate agent.

4. You Can Enjoy a Simple Closing Process.

The closing process often represents the final step before you can move into your new home. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the paperwork that is included as part of this process and ensure you are comfortable with each form you sign.

Your real estate agent, meanwhile, will be with you during the closing process and can explain the importance of each form. Furthermore, your real estate agent will be happy to respond to any concerns or queries and help you feel comfortable throughout the closing process.

Ultimately, your real estate agent may play a key role in your ability to find the perfect house. As a result, be sure to spend some time interviewing prospective real estate agents in your area to find a real estate professional that you can collaborate with during each stage of the homebuying journey.

How to Troubleshoot Your Home WiFi Connection

Wireless technologies are constantly improving. Yet, many of us still experience slow internet speeds at home. A poor connection and slow speeds can be caused by any number of issues. So, in this article, we’re going to talk about some common problems that cause a slow internet speed and poor connection and discuss ways to get your internet speeds up to par.

Get what you pay for

The first thing you need to find out is what internet speed you pay for and whether your Wifi connection enables you to take full advantage of those speeds. Take a free, online internet speed test over at speedtest.net. This will tell you your download and upload speed. You can revisit this website throughout this process to see what effects your speeds.

Troubleshooting

A good process for finding the problem with your internet speed is to start with the most common issues. First, eliminate speed as the factor. Restart your router and bring your laptop or tablet into the room where your router is located. Retake the speedtest to see if you get better results.

Note: speed tests may vary greatly at different times throughout the day. This is because internet providers experience different loads depending on when users are home, at work, asleep, etc.

If you found that the problem is the distance to your router you have a few options. First, you could simply move your router to an area that makes more sense for your usage. A router that is hidden in a basement or tucked away in a closet might not perform as well as one that is located in your home office or living room.

Another option would be to install multiple access points. This option is ideal for bigger houses because it allows you to disperse the access points equally. That means no poor connections in the basements or in the top floor bedrooms.

Common issues

If location isn’t the issue we’re going to have to rule out other problems. First, you’ll want to make sure your router is a recent model that is able to handle the internet speeds you are paying for. If the router is relatively new, try checking for firmware updates that may be affecting your connectivity.

If all of the above are taken care of, it could be a good idea to change your WiFi password or add one if you don’t currently have one set. This is especially important if you live in a city or have a lot of neighbors close by who might be using your WiFi, be it intentional or not.

A final solution would be to change the frequency and channel of your router. If your neighbors’ routers or an electronic appliance is using the same frequency or channel as your router they could be interfering with one another.

3 Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

Paying off a mortgage early is a dream of many homeowners. By making larger payments on your home loan, you can cut years off of your loan term and save thousands of dollars in interest payments that you can use toward savings or investments. But in an economy that has seen decades of wage stagnation and increasing costs of living, it can often seem like an unattainable goal.

With some planning and initiative, however, there are ways to pay off your home loan before your term limit.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about three of the ways you can start paying off your mortgage early to avoid high interest payments and save yourself money along the way.

1. Refinance your mortgage

If you’re considering making larger payments on your mortgage, it might make sense to look at refinancing options. Most Americans take out 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages.

If you can afford to significantly increase your mortgage payments each month, you could refinance to a 15-year mortgage. This will save you on the number of interest payments you’ll have to make over the years. But, it will also help you secure a lower interest rate since shorter term mortgages typically come with lower interest rates.

This option isn’t for everyone. First, refinancing comes with fees you’ll have to pay for upfront. You’ll have to apply for refinancing, get an appraisal of your home, and wait for the decision to be made.

But, you’ll also have to ensure that you can keep up with your higher monthly payments. If your income is variable or undependable, it might not be the safest option to refinance to a shorter term mortgage.

2. Make extra payments

An option that entails less risk than refinancing is to simply increase your monthly payments. If you recently got a raise or are just reallocating funds to try and tackle your mortgage, this is an excellent option.

Depending on your mortgage lender, you may be able to simple increase your auto-pay amounts each month, streamlining the process. Otherwise, it’s possible to set up bill-pay with most banks to automatically transfer funds to your lender.

3. Bi-weekly payments or one extra payment per year

Making bi-weekly instead of monthly payments is an option that many homeowners use to pay off their mortgages early. Bi-weekly payments work by paying half of your monthly payment once every two weeks.

The vast majority of homeowners make 12 monthly payments per year. But by switching to 26 bi-weekly payments, you can effectively make 13 full monthly payments in a year without seeing too much of a difference in your daily budget.

This doesn’t seem like much savings in the short term, but let’s take a look at how much you could save over the term of a 30-year mortgage.

On a 30-year fixed mortgage of $200,000 with a 4.03 annual interest rate, you would make a monthly payment of $958.00 and a bi-weekly payment of $479.

Over 30 years of an extra monthly payment, you could save nearly $20,000 on the total interest amount and pay off your mortgage almost 5 years early.

Key Traits of a Buyer’s Market

For homebuyers, there may be nothing better than searching for a house in a buyer’s market. Typically, a buyer’s market is defined by several key characteristics, including:

1. Shortage of Homebuyers

In a seller’s market, competition among homebuyers remains fierce. Therefore, a homebuyer may be forced to compete against several homebuyers to secure his or her dream home.

Comparatively, a buyer’s market features a shortage of homebuyers, resulting in less competition for quality residences. As a homebuyer, this is ideal because it means that you may be able to improve your chances of securing a great house at a price that matches your budget.

If you’re a homebuyer in a buyer’s market, the ball is in your court. As such, you should take your time exploring the housing market and find a residence that suits your budget and lifestyle perfectly. By doing so, you likely will be able to secure your dream home without having to worry about the stress of competing against other homebuyers or exceeding your budget.

2. Abundance of Home Sellers

A buyer’s market may be a tough time for home sellers. At this time, there may be many homes available, and home sellers might need to reduce the prices of their residences to stir up interest.

Meanwhile, an abundance of home sellers ensures there is a large supply of homes available. This may make it easier for a homebuyer to check out many terrific homes and find one at a below-average price.

Although a buyer’s market presents many opportunities for homebuyers, it is important to avoid taking shortcuts. Instead, a homebuyer should devote ample time and resources to assess homes that meet his or her criteria and respond accordingly.

Furthermore, homebuyers should avoid the temptation to submit a lowball offer on a residence – even in a buyer’s market. If you submit an offer that falls below a home seller’s expectations, you may miss out on the chance to acquire your dream home altogether.

3. Steady Supply of Real Estate Agents

When it comes to shopping for a home in a buyer’s market, working with a real estate agent is a great idea. A real estate agent can provide you with plenty of information about first-rate residences that you can enjoy for years to come. Plus, a real estate professional may be able to offer insights into a home that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere, making it simple for you to purchase a top-notch home at a bargain price.

Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent can offer recommendations throughout the homebuying journey. He or she also will be able to respond to any concerns or questions you have, ensuring you can remain calm, cool and collected as you transition from homebuyer to homeowner.

Employ a real estate agent to guide you along the homebuying journey in a buyer’s or seller’s market. With a real estate professional at your side, you can navigate the challenges of the real estate market and secure your dream house without delay.

New Windows Can Provide Comfort and Savings

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.

Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Moving Company

If you recently bought or sold a house, it may be only a matter of weeks before moving day arrives. As such, you may want to start planning ahead and contact a moving company to help you prepare for the big day.

Ultimately, not all moving companies are created equal. And if you make a poor selection, you risk encountering problems with your moving company as you try to take your belongings from one address to another.

Differentiating one moving company from another can be simple. In fact, there are several questions that you should consider before you hire a moving company, and these are:

1. What do I need from a moving company?

Moving from a big house to a small one is very different than relocating from an apartment to a home. Thus, you should consider your moving day needs and tailor your search for a moving company accordingly.

Don’t forget to evaluate your moving day budget too. If you consider how much money is at your disposal, you can map out a search for a mover and discover a moving company that falls within your price range.

2. What services does a moving company offer?

Many moving companies will help you pack up your belongings, move them to your new address and help you unpack. Comparatively, some moving companies only offer limited support on moving day.

Think about which moving day services you’ll need before you choose a moving company – you’ll be glad you did. If you know what you want out of a moving company, you can narrow your search and quickly find a mover that will match or exceed your expectations.

3. What are past clients saying about a moving company?

Oftentimes, it helps to look at client reviews for moving companies. These insights can help you understand what it is like to work with a particular moving company before you make your final decision.

If customers frequently rave about a moving company, this is a positive sign. In this instance, you may want to move quickly to hire a moving company for your upcoming relocation.

On the other hand, a moving company that receives many negative reviews should raise red flags. If most customers are not satisfied with the support they receive from a particular moving company, you may want to consider other movers.

Finding the right moving company may seem difficult, particularly for individuals who have only a limited amount of time to relocate. But if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you may be able to discover the ideal moving company in no time at all.

In addition to helping you buy or sell a home, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to enjoy a seamless move. A real estate agent likely can put you in touch with the top moving companies in your area. As a result, a real estate agent can help you find a great moving company, regardless of when you need to relocate.

Best Practices for Packing Small Kitchen Appliances

Need to relocate from one address to another? In all likelihood, you’ll need to pack a variety of small kitchen appliances before moving day arrives. Luckily, we’re here to teach you what it takes to safely and effectively pack up your microwave, toaster and other small kitchen appliances.

Now, let’s take a look at three best practices for packing small kitchen appliances.

1. Clean and Disassemble Your Appliances

Before you start packing, spend some time cleaning your small kitchen appliances. This will ensure your appliances are neat and tidy prior to storing them in assorted moving boxes.

Unplug a kitchen appliance prior to cleaning. Then, allocate the necessary time and resources to wipe down your appliance’s interior and exterior. After you clean your kitchen appliances, make sure they are completely dry before you pack them.

In addition, remove any loose parts from your small kitchen appliances. This will allow you to secure all associated appliance components in moving boxes.

2. Choose an Appropriate Moving Box

If possible, use a small kitchen appliance’s original box for moving day. The appliance will fit perfectly in this box, thereby reducing the risk of damage while your appliance is in transit.

For those who failed to save the original boxes for their appliances, there is no need to worry. You can purchase moving boxes in a wide range of sizes, ensuring you can find a moving box that will hold any small kitchen appliance.

In most instances, small and medium-sized moving boxes are ideal for myriad kitchen appliances. Use plenty of packing or sealing tape on the bottom of these moving boxes to ensure the boxes won’t fall apart. Also, prepare these moving boxes with packing paper to further protect your small kitchen appliances.

3. Wrap Your Appliances in Bubble Wrap or Packing Paper

When it comes to small kitchen appliances, it always is better to err on the side of caution. Therefore, you should wrap each of these appliances in bubble wrap or packing paper and secure it with packing tape. This will help you minimize the risk that the appliance will get damaged during your move.

If you need extra help with moving small kitchen appliances or other items, it never hurts to reach out to a professional moving company for assistance, either. This moving company will learn about your moving needs and help you plan accordingly.

Lastly, if you require assistance with buying or selling a house, it pays to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you enjoy a fast, seamless homebuying or home selling journey. Furthermore, if you are uncertain about the best ways to prepare for moving day, a real estate agent can offer expert recommendations.

Take the guesswork out of packing your small kitchen appliances – use the aforementioned best practices, and you should have no trouble getting your small kitchen appliances packed up and ready to go for moving day.

How To Find Art For Your Home Like An Adult

Decorating your home as an adult can be a taxing task. Transitioning from a college student to a professional can take some time. Once you buy your first home, you may find that your tastes for decorating need an upgrade. Those old posters and funny magnets have got to go along with your more sophisticated lifestyle. The decor in your home should make you feel comfortable in your surroundings. You should express your own personal interests through the artwork that’s displayed in your home. 

Pieces of artwork shouldn’t just be run-of-the-mill. You need something that will let your personality shine through. You can collect unique pieces in your travels, use personal photographs that you have taken, or simply find things that have meaning for you.

It can be sort of intimidating to dive into a more mature way of decorating but, it can be very rewarding. You’ll also learn a lot about your own style and yourself. Through this self-discovery, you’ll find artwork that you can continue to grow with in your home. Below, you’ll find some tips for choosing the right artwork for your home. 

Set A Budget

Buying artwork can be an investment. If you’re a new homeowner, you may need to hold back on getting expensive art for a few years. Set a limit for how much art you want to buy and what you can afford. There are plenty of ways to get decorating pieces for your home for less money. Many stores offer artwork that can add some character to your walls. Even if these aren’t Picasso originals, they can certainly add some flair to the emptiness of a new house. Everything that adds personality to your home isn’t hanging on a wall either. Your decor includes the small figures on your tables, statues, plants, and more.  

Have Goals In Mind

If you begin hanging artwork without some reason, your decorating scheme could end up being a disaster. Map out a plan for each room. Think of themes, colors palettes, and the vision for the space. You don’t want to make a serious investment in artwork only to find out that it doesn’t fit with your wall color or furniture. When choosing artwork, it’s important to consider each room as a whole. 

Know That Tastes Change Over Time 

If you do invest in an expensive piece of artwork, know that it may not suit your needs forever. That’s OK! You can always sell artwork and find replacement pieces over time. It’s not expected that whatever you hang in your home when you move in will stay there for the next 20 years! Artwork very much flows with our lives, so go with the flow.              

3 Moving Tips for Home Sellers

Selling your home and relocating to a new residence may seem difficult. Fortunately, we’re here to help you take the guesswork out of packing up your belongings and moving to your new house.

Here are three moving tips that every home seller needs to know.

1. Make Reservations with a Moving Company.

After you sell your house, you’ll want to make reservations with a moving company as soon as possible. By doing so, you’ll be able to ensure that you can get movers to your house before you need to have all of your belongings out of your residence.

Remember, the longer you wait to book a moving company, the less likely it becomes that you’ll be able to find one in time for your upcoming move. But if you take a proactive approach to your move, you’ll be able to book a moving company with plenty of time to spare.

Don’t forget to shop around for a moving company too. This will ensure that you won’t have to break your budget to employ friendly, professionally trained movers to help you transport your belongings from Point A to Point B.

2. Clean Out Every Room in Your House.

Although you’ve already devoted plenty of time and resources to keep your home clean and neat as you tried to sell it, you’ll want to conduct a final sweep of every room before you move.

Cleaning out your entire home will enable you to double-check to ensure that you’ve packed up everything and reduce the risk that you’ll leave something behind. Plus, doing a final sweep will enable you to locate and get rid of any forgotten items that you won’t need at your new address.

Spend some time cleaning out your home, and ultimately, you’ll be better equipped to pack up all of your belongings and avoid the risk of forgetting items hidden in your attic, basement or other areas of your house.

3. Disconnect All of Your Home Services.

Contact your electric utility provider, phone and internet services provider and other utility services companies to inform them about your upcoming relocation. This will enable you to cancel services or transfer them to your new address.

When it comes to disconnecting services, be sure to give your service provider as much notice as possible. For instance, calling your internet services provider to cancel your services on the day of your move could be problematic, as you may need to return equipment.

However, if you reach out to a service provider at least a few weeks before your move, you can plan accordingly.

Furthermore, if you ever have concerns or questions about moving, your real estate agent may be able to help you. This professional can offer moving recommendations and tips and might even be able to put you in touch with expert movers in your area as well.

Start getting ready for your upcoming move now, and you can streamline the process of vacating your current residence and relocating to a new house.