Real Estate

Tips to Make Moving Easier

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Moving has been shown to be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life.

Stress comes from more than just the physical act of packing and unpacking.  Moving requires you to leave behind the current security of your home and create a new environment for yourself.

Here are some things you can do to minimize the stress and make moving a breeze:

  1.  Start Early- You’ve heard the expression the early bird gets the worm, haven’t you?  This is true in packing as well.  As soon as you decide to move you can begin packing seasonal items, extra sets of dishes and all those items you don’t use regularly.  Waiting until the last minute will only add to your stress level
  2. Have a Plan- Whether you decide to pack one room at a time or a little bit from each room make a plan and stick to it.  Labeling and numbering each box will let you know where it belongs when it is time to unpack.  If you keep a list of how many boxes each room has you can be sure everything arrived at your new home.
  3. Pack Essentials Separately– Your toiletries, a set of clothes, clean sheets and anything else you may need when you first arrive at your new home should be packed separately in your suitcase.  This will eliminate having to search through every box for them when you arrive at your destination.
  4. Set up a”TRASH” and a “DONATIONS” Box- As you are packing, you are going to find items you no longer want or need.  If they are in good condition you can donate them to a local charity, if not go ahead and throw them away now instead of moving them to your new home.
  5. Set Up a Reward System- To make packing seem like less of a chore be sure to reward yourself with a special treat after every 10 boxes and when complete.

Following these tips should make your next move easier.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

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Real Estate

Hire a Licensed Contractor for Home Repairs

electrician-3531670_960_720If your home has storm damage or is in need of repair you may be tempted to hire an unlicensed contractor to take care of the repairs.

If the damage will be covered by your homeowner’s insurance your first step is to contact your insurance agent.  They will verify the repairs are covered and may even provide contractors to perform the repairs.  Whatever you do, do not sign a contract with anyone until you speak to your insurance agent.

When you are ready to hire a contractor make sure they are state-licensed.  This will ensure your contractor has the proper education, experience, insurance and they are qualified to perform the work you need.

You can verify a contractor’s license by checking the “verify a license” link on myforidalicense.com

You may be tempted to hire an unlicensed person to do the work for you.  Many people think they will save money doing so because an unlicensed person will often charge a much lower amount, but it can wind up costing you much more in the long run.

Why?

  1.  If the work is substandard you will have to pay to have it re-done by a professional
  2.  Your insurance may refuse to pay for the repairs
  3.  Unlicensed individuals don’t have the proper insurance which puts you at a liability risk if they get injured
  4. What if they accidentally damage your neighbor’s property?  Who is going to pay for that damage?
  5. A licensed professional will pull any permits needed and ensure the permits are closed when the repairs are complete

Here are some services that require a state license-

  • Roof repair
  • New or replacement roof
  • Installing new windows
  • Plumbing repairs
  • Electrical repairs

Protect yourself and your home by hiring a state licensed contractor.

Kelly Harden, Realtor

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

 

 

 

 

 

Real Estate

5 Common Contingencies in Real Estate Offers

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As a home seller, when deciding to accept an offer on your home from a buyer make sure you understand the different contingencies the offer may have.

Contingencies are contractual items that must be met before the sale can be successfully completed.  Most offers have at least one contingency.

Here are 5 typical contingencies you will find in a Florida sales contract:

  • Home inspection contingency. This gives the buyer the right to have the home professionally inspected and request repairs by a certain date — typically within 10 to 15 days of the contract being signed. Most repair requests are negotiable, though, so you have the option to negotiate with the buyer which fixes you’re willing to make.
  • Appraisal contingency. For a lender to approve the buyer’s mortgage, the home must pass an appraisal — a process during which the property’s value is assessed by a neutral third party. The appraisal verifies that the home is worth at least enough money to cover the price of the mortgage.
  • Financing contingency. A financing contingency protects the buyer in the event their lender doesn’t approve their mortgage. The Florida As-Is contract has a 30-day financing contingency.
  • Sale of current home contingency. Depending on the buyer’s financial situation, their offer may be contingent on the sale of their current home.  This could delay your moving plans because the closing is dependent upon the closing of the buyers home.
  • Title contingency. The lender will require a “clear title” — a process in which the title company reviews any potential easements or agreements that are on public record. This ensures the buyer is becoming the rightful owner of the property and the lender is protected from ownership claims over liens, fraudulent claims from previous owners, clerical problems in courthouse documents, or forged signatures.

Your agent should be able to guide you on any contingencies the offer you are considering has.  If you have specific or technical questions you should consult a good real estate attorney.

Kelly Harden, Realtor

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

Real Estate

Why is pricing my home right so important?

MoveRealtor.comPricingPyramidWhen selling their home all home owners have the same goal- to sell their home for the most money in the shortest amount of time possible.

The best way to do that is to price your home correctly to begin with.

Proper pricing ensures plenty of buyers will look at your house.  If a home is priced even 10% above market rate half of the available buyers will not look at it, while a properly priced home may generate multiple offers.

Buyers and their agents are smart enough to know when a home is overpriced and if they decide to submit an offer it will be lower than your asking price, reflecting their knowledge of the market.

If your buyer is financing their purchase, their lender will require an appraisal to determine the current market value of the home.  If the appraisal does not come in at the contract value the buyer will have to come up with the difference or the seller will have to lower the price of the home to meet the appraised value.

If your overpriced home does not get enough buyer interest you will wind up lowering the price to where it should have been priced to begin with.  The problem is now your listing is considered stale by most buyers and they will try to negotiate an even lower price if they make an offer.

A good real estate agent will suggest a proper sales price based on the current market conditions to help you sell your home in the fastest time possible for the most money possible.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

 

Design, Real Estate

Twilight Photography can make your home stand out from the crowd

DSC_0273Twilight photos use lighting to create a mood that enhances listing photos.  It is a great way to showcase your home and help it stand out from the crowd.

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If you have decorative outdoor lighting evening shots can look fantastic.

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Start with a professional photographer.  Then turn on every light inside the home and all outdoor lights as well.

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If you are getting pool photos turn on the pool lights too.

When done well twilight photography will help show the beauty of your home to potential buyers, and it’s a lot of fun too!

Kelly Harden, Realtor

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

Real Estate

Initial Expenses When Buying a Home

LRE+Social+StockClients always ask what initial expenses they need to cover when buying a home.

This list of deposits, fees and closing costs will answer some of those questions.  Your Realtor and loan office will be able to provide much more specific information to you based on the home you want to buy and the type of loan you are using, but this list is a great guideline to get started.

Initial escrow deposit–  Buyers using the As-Is contract in Florida need to place an initial deposit of about 1% of the cost of the home into an escrow account within 3 days or less.  This money will be held in an escrow account and go toward the buyer’s portion of closing costs.  It’s important to note this money could be forfeited to the sellers if the buyers do not adhere to the terms of the contract.

Inspection fees–  Buyers should always have a home inspection performed by a state licensed and certified home inspector along with a Wood Destroying Organism (WDO) inspection.  Pricing will vary depending upon the size and age of the home.

Appraisal fee–  If you are getting a mortgage your lender will want to get an appraisal of the property to ensure the home’s value is at least the amount of the sales contract price.

Closing costs and prepaid expenses–  Buyers are responsible for a portion of the closing costs which include things such as title fees, taxes, recording fees, insurance premiums and more.  If they are getting a mortgage they will most likely have to prepay a few months of insurance premiums and taxes.  Your lender will provide a more accurate description and estimate of the fees involved when you apply for a mortgage.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

 

Design, Real Estate

What is the difference between staging and decorating?

LRE+Social+Stock+InteriorWhen it’s time to list your home for sale I always suggest a consultation with my favorite stager.

This is when most clients ask why do I need a professional stager?  My home is beautifully designed, in fact it took a couple of years to get it perfect just the way it is today.

A stager and an interior designer both utilize the same design principles but they have completely different goals.  A designer wants your home to reflect you and your tastes while a stager is trying to make sure your home appeals to a large audience of potential buyers.

Stagers will show buyers how uses for various rooms in the home.  The will make sure each room has a single purpose.  Instead of having an office that doubles as a guest bedroom and tv viewing area they will design the room serve one function.  Buyers can get confused with too many options.

A good stager will make sure home looks it’s best when photographed.  Buyers shop for homes online before deciding what properties they want to view in person.  Stagers ensure the home will photograph well.

Investing in a good stager and following their guidance will help your home stand out amongst the competition and help your home sell faster and for more money.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

Real Estate

Why is it important to get pre-approved for a mortgage before shopping for a new home?

loan-application-1240982Home buyers always ask why I have them speak to a lender and get pre-approved at the beginning of our home search.

The most important reason for you as a buyer is so you will learn how much home you can afford and what the estimated monthly payments will be.  Once you know what the lender says you can afford you get to decide what you are comfortable paying each month, or what your comfort level is.

Getting pre-approved keeps you from searching for homes that are out of your price range.  Homes today are selling at close to asking price, and sometimes even over asking price.  If you are looking at a home that is over your budget you set yourself up for disappointment because the more expensive homes will have options and upgrades that the homes in your price range may not.

A pre-approval also shows sellers you are a qualified buyer.  We are in a competitive market right now, most sellers will not take your offer seriously (if they look at it all) without a pre-aproval included from a reputable lender.  If you are paying cash the sellers will ask for proof of funds.  Sellers do not want to take their home off of the market unless they are comfortable the buyer is going to be able to complete the purchase of their home.

To be clear, what is a pre-approval?

A pre-approved buyer means a lender has verified your information with documentation and provided you with estimates costs of the loan.

Pre-qualified means a lender has asked a series of questions and based upon your answers he provides you with an idea of how much of a house you can afford.  The lender has not reviewed your information as closely as they do in a pre-approval.

It may seem like a hassle to speak to a lender before shopping for a new home but it will make the process easier on you and help your offer stand out to the seller when you are pre-approved.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

Real Estate

Professional Photos Help Your House Sell!

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One of the most important pieces of the marketing puzzle when selling your home is getting professional photos.

Why?  Because buyers initially begin their home search online.  High quality photos capture the viewers’ attention faster than anything else.

A professional photographer will position his camera to capture the best angle of the room and take full advantage of the lighting.

He will use drone photography when necessary to showcase the exterior features of the home and the surrounding area.

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She will also use twilight photography to showcase the home’s special outdoor lighting features.

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When used together these photos will attract buyer attention to your home.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

Real Estate

Successfully Downsizing

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With a little careful planning you can successfully downsize when purchasing your new home.

First decide where you will be moving to and how much space you will have in your new home.  Are you selling the 5-bedroom family home to relocate into a smaller 2-3 bedroom home?  Or will you be moving into a small apartment at a senior center.

Take inventory of what you have and decide what items must move into your new home.  Make a list of everything that must move with you, from large items like your bedroom furniture to small keepsakes and mementos like family pictures.

Allow your children or family members to select anything they may want to keep from the items that are left.  Give them a timeline to finalize their decision so you are not having to wait months for them to finally decide or run the risk of getting rid of something they truely wanted.

Any remaining items can be sold at a yard sale or through an online classified app such as LetGo.  If that seems like too much work you can always donate what’s left to charity.

Make sure to have plenty of storage options in your new smaller home.  Anything you need to purchase should serve more than one purpose, such as a storage ottoman used for a cocktail table.  Purchase decorative boxes and baskets not just for their design aesthetics but also to help control the clutter.

Finally, be ruthless about what you allow in your new home.  Space is at a premium now, so if it doesn’t meet your needs or make you happy do not let it in the house!

Kelly Harden

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688