The Search for Bathroom Space

Finding someplace to live can come with a long list of must-haves for each person contributing to the decision. The types of bathroom space can be a deal breaker for otherwise wonderful properties. The number of people utilizing those bathrooms and each person’s daily schedule necessitates the requirement of the bathroom space. 

What is out there

Searching and checking off all the must-haves takes time and a lot of communication. Most places have at least one full bath that has a tub and shower or a combination of both. Older homes may not have a dedicated master bathroom, but instead, have what is called an en-suite bathroom. This arrangement means there are at least two entry points one from the master and the other from a hallway. The layout can separate the tub and shower from the rest of the space so more than one person can utilize the facilities at one time. This plan may not be quite as convenient to a household that tends to have similar schedules. Or messy people that leave things lying around in the bathroom, which makes for a combative living arrangement. In those cases, a dedicated master bathroom might be your answer.

Master bath

Having a separate bathroom off a bedroom can feel like an oasis from the pressures of your day. Often, they boast extra amenities like a full-size soaking tub or a walk-in tile shower or both. A master bathroom can give you efficiency during the morning and evening routines since you don’t have to share the space with the entire household. Options can include double sinks, a water closet (toilet in a separate room with a door), connecting to a walk-in closet and radiant flooring to keep your toes warm on cold mornings. Master bathrooms don’t have to be super luxe to feel like a separate private space. They are a good idea if you need to get away without leaving home.

Jack and Jill

Another bathroom layout that not often seen in newer homes is the Jack and Jill bath. This design consists of a full bath between two bedrooms. This layout may have a door separating the shower/tub from the rest of the bathroom, too, allowing more than one person to use the bathroom at the same time similar to the en-suite layout. All the above-mentioned bathroom layouts need consideration when you are looking for a new living space.

Contact your realtor for more information on the options for bathroom layouts in your area.

Biggest Myths About Selling a Home

If you intend to sell your house, it pays to get expert support throughout the home selling journey. In fact, if you hire a real estate agent, you can put various home selling myths to rest.

Ultimately, there are many home selling myths that you may hear before you list your house. If you take these myths to heart, you may struggle to prepare for the home selling process.

Let’s take a look at three common home selling myths, and the problems associated with these myths.

1. Selling a house is a quick, seamless process.

The process of selling a house often can be long and complicated, particularly for a first-time home seller. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can reduce the risk of encountering home selling hurdles.

A real estate agent will learn about you and your home selling goals. Then, this housing market professional will offer recommendations about how to promote your residence to the right groups of buyers and maximize your house’s value.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is available to respond to questions at each stage of the home selling journey. He or she will guide you along each stage of this journey, and as such, help you identify and resolve problems before they escalate.

2. What you originally paid for your house matches what it is worth today.

The real estate market fluctuates constantly. Thus, what you initially paid for your house is unlikely to match what your residence is worth today.

A real estate agent can help you evaluate housing market data to better understand how your residence stacks up against the competition. That way, you’ll be better equipped than ever before to establish a competitive price for your residence.

Also, a real estate agent may recommend that you complete a home appraisal. This appraisal will enable you to receive a property valuation to help you determine the optimal initial asking price for your home.

3. There is no need to make home improvements, because a buyer will make home upgrades after finalizing a purchase.

When it comes to selling a house, it pays to go above and beyond the call of duty. Therefore, if you complete myriad home improvements before listing your house, you can increase the likelihood that your home will stand out to potential buyers.

Take some time to examine your residence both inside and out. If you identify any major problems, you should fix these issues immediately. Because if you fail to do so, you may miss out on opportunities to stir up interest in your house.

A real estate agent generally can provide recommendations about home upgrades. This housing market professional may even be able to put you in touch with the best local contractors who can help you upgrade your residence in no time at all.

Don’t fall victim to the aforementioned home selling myths. Instead, work with a real estate agent, and you can get the help you need to quickly and effortlessly navigate the home selling cycle.

Stage Your Home Without Breaking the Bank

If you’re in the process of preparing your home for the real estate market, get ready to roll up your sleeves and make your home as irresistible as possible!

While this may sound like an enormous undertaking that you don’t have the time or energy to tackle, remember one thing: When you put your home up for sale, there’s a lot at stake!

Generally, the longer your house stays on the market, the less marketable it becomes. If potential buyers learn that your house has been on the market for longer than, say, a few months, one of the first questions they’ll ask or think will be “What’s wrong with it?” Once questions like that start arising, the overall appeal of your home begins to decline. As you can imagine, your ability to get the highest possible price for your house also weakens over time. That’s why it’s important to do everything possible to enhance the look and feel of your home.

Home Staging Counts

Although effective home staging can be a crucial aspect of selling your house quickly, there is a point at which diminishing returns may come into play. Few home sellers have unlimited time and money to invest in staging their home, and it’s easy to go above and beyond what’s actually necessary to secure a buyer.

There are dozens of variables that affect a house selling strategy, including the real estate market and the condition of your home. If it’s a “buyers’ market” and there are a lot of comparable houses for sale in your neighborhood, then you might have to work a little harder to make your home stand out and attract offers. If you’re fortunate enough to be in a desirable area and not facing a lot of competition from other home sellers, then the law of supply and demand should work in your favor! However, it’s still important to make the most of your property’s curb appeal and the overall appearance of your home’s interior.

The cost of home staging can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, but your real estate agent can provide invaluable guidance on how to cost-effectlively maximize the “eye appeal” of your house and property. While perfection is generally an unattainable standard in home staging (or anything else), optimal results only come from putting your best foot forward.

Several words to remember and be guided by when preparing a house for sale are “immaculate”, “spotless”, “manicured” (lawn), “fresh” (looking and smelling), “updated”, “well-maintained”, and “charming”. If prospective buyers are using those words and phrases to describe your home, then you know you’re on the right track! Your agent can provide you with helpful insights and suggestions for making a great impression on potential buyers — without having to spend more on home staging than necessary!

Navigate the House Selling Journey Like a Pro

No one should be forced to deal with a long, complicated home selling journey. Fortunately, there are many things a seller can do to navigate the property selling journey like a pro.

Now, let’s take a look at three tips to help you enjoy a quick, profitable home selling experience.

1. Analyze the Housing Market

You may have entered the housing market in the hopes of enjoying a seamless property selling experience. Yet the real estate market offers no guarantees. But if you analyze the housing sector closely, you can gain the insights you need to price your home appropriately based on the present market’s conditions.

Take a look at the prices of available homes in your city or town that are similar to your own. This housing market data can help you see how your residence stacks up against the competition. It also may help you determine how to price your residence so you can ensure it garners lots of attention from potential buyers.

Furthermore, don’t forget to assess the prices of recently sold houses in your area, as well as how long these residences were available before they sold. If homes are selling quickly, a seller’s market may be in place. Or, if homes linger on the real estate market for many weeks or months, the current housing sector may favor sellers.

2. Perform Home Upgrades

For those who want to speed up the home selling process, improving your house’s curb appeal is ideal. Because if your home boasts amazing curb appeal, you can make it easy for buyers to fall in love with your house.

To bolster your residence’s curb appeal, you should mow the lawn, repair any damaged siding and perform other home exterior improvements. That way, your house is sure to impress buyers as soon as they see it for the first time.

In addition, allocate time and resources to transform your home’s interior from drab to fab. If each room of your home dazzles, buyers will have no trouble envisioning what life may be like if they purchase your house.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

Generally, it helps to hire a real estate agent if you are selling your home. And if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can quickly and effortlessly promote your residence to the right groups of buyers.

A real estate agent will offer recommendations to help you upgrade your residence’s interior and exterior, set up home showings and open house events and much more. Plus, if you are ever unsure about how to proceed along the property selling journey, he or she is happy to offer home selling advice.

For those who prepare for the home selling journey, it may not take long to sell a house. If you take advantage of the aforementioned tips, you can plan ahead for each stage of the property selling journey. As such, you will be able to navigate this journey like a pro.

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Easy Ways to Enhance Your Home’s Street Cred

The exterior of your home makes its first impression. It gives outsiders an idea of what is inside. If you are looking to sell your house or you just want your home to look more attractive, then there are many ways that you can make your home look more beautiful without spending too much money.

Flowers and greens

You can make your home more beautiful by adding some fresh flowers and greenery to your home front. Going all out for a garden isn’t totally necessary. A few planters and window boxes can do the trick. Combine standing planters with hanging ones to get a good façade of plants on your home. 

Maintain your lawn

The front lawn is a huge factor that affects a home’s look. Mow the lawn once the grasses are long, rake off the leaves and weeds to maintain a nice, even look. Install a sprinkler to keep it well watered and avoid brown spots from developing. Once if you tend to forget to water your lawn, buy an automated lawn sprinkler, set once and done.

Front door pizzazz

Instead of your front door blending in with the rest of the outdoor look, you can make it pop with a DIY paint job. Use bold, bright colors that enhance your home’s exterior color. Don’t be shy about your color choice. You can also accentuate your door with a hanging plant, a custom knocker, and fancy door numbers. Sprucing up your front door makes your home stand out on a lane. Check with your homeowners’ association to be sure there’s no rule against your plan too.

Mailbox Makeover

With less than $150, you can have a lovely mailbox in front of your home. Not only is this easy to do, but the difference is also always clear and attractive. Depending on the kind of mailbox you prefer, either standing or attached to a wall, there are many options to choose from online that will make your home more attractive. You can even get a themed mailbox of your favorite book or movie.

Clean gutters

Take some time to clean your roof gutters regularly. Clearing the gutters involves removing piles of debris that get accumulated over time. Scrub them till they all look shiny again. The effect that clean gutters give your home has to be seen to be appreciated.

Power Wash

Power washing is the equivalent of giving your home a bath! Call a professional power washing company to wash years of dust and grime off your wall sidings, porch, driveway, and garage door. 

Improving your home’s curb appeal can be achieved in a single day if you plan it well. The best part is that the overall effect is worth more than the time and money you will spend. For more ways to improve your home’s look, speak to a home decorator in your area for more ideas.

The Path to Successful Home Ownership

Although statistics may not be reflective of your individual real-estate buying habits, the “typical” homeowner tends to stay put in their home for around a decade — give or take.

One of the few “drawbacks” of being a long-term homeowner is that, over time, you tend to forgot many of the details of the home-buying process.

However, an advantage of buying a home in the Internet Age is the availability of instant information on everything from interest rates and real estate agent reviews to house hunting tips and choosing a moving company.

Your Real Estate Journey

Buying a home can be an extremely satisfying experience… or it can be filled with frustration and disappointment. However, by having a basic understanding of how the house-buying process works, you’ll be more effective at preparing yourself for what’s to come, anticipating what you need to do, and creating a clear picture in your mind of your requirements and ideal living environment. As various thought leaders have said over the years: If you’re not clear on what you want, you’ll probably end up with something else!

The cornerstones of a successful real estate search are knowing your credit score, having enough money on hand for a sufficient down payment and closing costs, enlisting the help of an experienced real estate agent, and being proactive about meeting with mortgage bankers and shopping for a competitive interest rate (and terms).

Staying organized, creating priority lists, and continually educating yourself about the nuts and bolts of buying a home will help ensure that your real estate experience will be a positive one. Even though there may be a few bumps and detours along the way, taking the time to be organized and well informed will help you stay on track and produce the type of results you and your family are looking for.

Although it does pay to read articles from credible online sources, you don’t have to achieve “expert status” as a house hunter and real estate buyer. If you choose your real estate agent with care, they should be able to provide you with the expertise, advice, and professional guidance you need to clear the hurdles and make it all the way to the finish line!

How does one choose a great real estate agent? The ideal way is to get a referral from a trusted family member, friend, coworker, or neighbor. If someone you trust can attest to the service level and results a particular real estate agent has produced, then chances are good that your experience would be comparable. If more than one person you know recommends a top-notch agent, then that creates a “multiplier effect.” In other words, it increases the likelihood that you’ll be satisfied with the service and results this agent provides. If you don’t know anyone personally who has worked with a great agent, there are well-known websites that post reviews, years of experience, and relevant sales information on licensed real estate agents.

Not Ready to Buy a Home?

Buying a home tops your long-range goals list, but are you ready? As a first-time buyer, you have loads of questions and concerns. After all, a home loan is an obligation for years into the future. You want to make savvy decisions and be comfortable that you’ve negotiated the best deal. On top of that, learning all about credit scores, how to pre-qualify and the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval. And what are options and closing costs?

Fannie Mae, the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) that serves the mortgage industry, knows what you need to know about buying a house. They’ve put together a course for new homebuyers called HomePath Ready Buyer Education Program.

Enroll now

The online course lets you attend from the comfort of your sofa. After completion, a “graduate” may qualify for assistance up to three percent of the closing cost of purchasing a qualified HomePath property. You won’t end up with an education loan either. Tuition is just $75, and Fannie Mae says it could even reimburse your tuition during closing on your new home. Now that’s a deal!

What you learn

Because the course design has new buyers in mind, you’ll learn to determine how much you can afford to buy and ways to figure out what home is best for you. Making the deal and learning about down-payment options will get you on your way. Finally, you’ll learn to avoid the pitfalls, and all the navigate the paperwork required to close the deal.

How long does it take?

The entire course is nine 30-minute sessions, so along with the quiz at the end (no final exam though), the total class takes about four to five hours. Designed to be intuitive and self-directed, you can work your way through the course over a few evenings, on your lunch hour, or even during your morning commute (provided you’re not the driver, of course!).

How you benefit

In addition to the three percent closing cost assistance and tuition reimbursement, your Certificate of Completion may qualify you up to take advantage of the First Look program. By giving first-time homeowners an exclusive “first look” at newly-listed foreclosed properties, this innovative program serves new home seekers and promotes neighborhood stabilization.

Fannie Mae relies on real estate professionals to follow through on the home-buying process. For more information, express your interest in the HomePath program to your real estate professional.

Questions to Consider As You Evaluate Your Mortgage Options

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage may prove to be a long, arduous process if you are not careful. Fortunately, homebuyers who plan ahead should have no trouble obtaining a mortgage so they can enter the housing market with a budget in hand.

Ultimately, there are many questions to consider as you assess your mortgage options, and these questions include:

1. What type of mortgage should I get?

The two most common types of mortgages are adjustable- and fixed-rate varieties. If you understand the differences between these mortgage options, you can make an informed mortgage decision.

An adjustable-rate mortgage generally features a lower initial interest rate than a fixed-rate option. However, after a set amount of time, an adjustable-rate mortgage’s interest rate will increase.

Comparatively, a fixed-rate mortgage has an interest rate that will remain intact for the life of your mortgage. This means you will pay the same amount each month until your mortgage is paid in full.

When it comes to deciding between an adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgage, it pays to look at the pros and cons of both options. Remember, no two homebuyers are exactly alike, and a mortgage that works well for one buyer may not work well for another. But if you evaluate adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages closely, you can make the best-possible decision.

2. What differentiates an ordinary lender from an outstanding one?

There is no need to settle for an “ordinary” lender as you pursue mortgage options. Instead, you should seek out an exceptional lender that goes above and beyond the call of duty to assist you.

Typically, an outstanding lender employs mortgage specialists who are ready to respond to any concerns or questions. These specialists can help you evaluate a broad array of mortgage options and decide which mortgage best suits your individual needs.

Don’t be afraid to meet with several banks and credit unions, either. This will allow you to assess many lenders and select one that matches or exceeds your expectations.

3. Which mortgage should I select?

There is no one-size-fits-all mortgage that works well for all homebuyers, at all times. As such, you should conduct plenty of research as you explore your mortgage options. This research will enable you to analyze assorted mortgages and lenders and make the optimal choices.

Once you have a mortgage, you can move one step closer to acquiring your dream house. And if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can receive expert support at each stage of the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is a must-have for any homebuyer, regardless of the current housing market’s conditions. This housing market professional can teach you everything you need to know about buying a house. Also, he or she can help you examine a vast collection of available houses.

Ready to kick off a house search? Get pre-approved for a mortgage, and you can enter the housing market with a homebuying budget at your disposal.