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Posted by RE/MAX Professional Associates on 9/15/2019

What if your move to downsize doesn't include a yard? Maybe you opted for a small balcony or patio to maximize your living area or community amenities. Whether your outdoor pet is used to a larger yard or your indoor pet is accustomed to a larger house, they'll be transitioning to the new lifestyle at home just as much as you, if not more. Finding ways to help your pet adjust to their new indoor space is just as crucial for their happiness as it is yours. Here are some tips to assist.

Keep them entertained while you’re away. 

You don't want your dog to become bored, and you definitely don't want to come home to a torn apart couch or your dog having marked all over the house. Whatever your financial ability is to invest in entertainment for your dog, there are simple purchases and DIY options for at home entertainment.

  • A room with a view - Make sure there's a space in your home where your dog can see out the window. Being able to observe the goings-on around your house can help stimulate your dog during the day. A window seat is a useful way to allow your dog to see outside, while in a laid down position, keeping them calm and less likely to bark. They can lackadaisically watch the outdoors while lying in a sunbeam.
  • Interactive feeding - Toys that incorporate mental stimulation, and food or treats, can be very effective for your pet, especially small dogs. You can purchase ball toys that slowly dispense kibble as your dog rolls it around the room or make one of your own by poking holes in a PVC pipe, filling it with food and capping the ends. For short stints out of the house filling a hollow ball toy or tube with peanut butter is a great option—for this treat make sure your pet knows the designated area for eating or for food toys, so you keep any stray peanut butter to the kitchen or the dog’s bed and off your couch!
  • Tear-apart Rope Toys - Not all rope toys are created equal. To keep your pup occupied for hours at a time find a tightly woven rope at your local hardware store or purchase a rope toy with small threads tightly woven together. For a dog that loves pulling things apart, a tight weave is crucial. They need to get interested in figuring out how to pick the toy apart and help them stay interested as they see the progress of their meticulous work. Sure, there will be some cleanup of string mess, but your grandmother's afghan (the one with the fringe? Yeah, that one) will be safe.

Prepare for transition before buying. 

If you know you'll have to lose the yard in your move to downsize think about the qualities in a new home or community that will keep life good for your pet. These qualities are especially necessary if your dog is transitioning from being an outdoor pet to a fulltime indoor pet. Check out part three in this series to learn more about the best community features for you and your dog. As always, your trusted real estate agent is here to help you find the best new home for you and your best friend. Talk with them about both of your needs to downsize in the way that works for you.




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Posted by RE/MAX Professional Associates on 9/15/2019

With rent prices shooting soaring across the country, many young Americans who were previously happy renting while they saved for a home are now turning to other options.

One common solution is a starter home. If you want to keep your monthly mortgage prices low while being able to build equity and slowly save for your “forever home.” a starter home can be a great option for first-time buyers.

When does it make sense to buy a starter home?

Buying a home means mortgage payments, home maintenance and repairs, and closing costs. However, they can also be a great introduction to the responsibilities of homeownership.

Better yet, starter homes allow you to build equity that can be used toward the down payment of your next home, something that first-time buyers often struggle with. This could help you secure a lower interest rate and avoid costly private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Sounds great, right? But when shouldn’t you buy a starter home?

It might not make sense to buy a starter home if you don’t plan on living in it at least 3-4 years. You might find that the cost of renting is less than that of your mortgage payments and closing costs if you don’t live in the home long enough to reap the rewards.

It also might not be a good idea if your family is going to outgrow a small home in the next few years for the same reasons mentioned above. That makes it all the more important to discuss your long term plans with your spouse before considering a home.

Things to look for in a starter home

1. Resale value

One of the most important aspects of your starter home should be the ability to resell it in the future. Now, there is an endless number of factors that go into the marketability of a home. Key factors include the condition of the home and keeping it well-maintained, as well as the location of the home. Buying a starter home in an area that will attract young professionals down the road is typically a good investment.

2. Small size = low price

It probably goes without saying, but finding a home with a low price, at the expense of square-footage, is most often a smart choice when it comes to starter homes.

Small homes are cheaper to buy, cheaper to heat, and cheaper to maintain. However, since housing prices are trending upward, you’ll likely still see a positive return on your investment in ~5 years time when you’re hoping to buy again.

3. Reasonable home improvements

If you can spare the time, buying a starter home that needs some work can be an excellent investment. It can be more difficult later on when you have a large family to care for and less time to focus on making improvements.




Tags: first home   starter home  
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Posted by RE/MAX Professional Associates on 9/15/2019

There are many factors to consider when buying a home. As a first-time home buyer, you may know some specific features you’re looking for in your new home, but the rest of your preferences might not be in focus yet. In addition to the bedroom, garage, kitchen and yard requirements you’ll be starting to consider the style of home you want to purchase.

When it comes to architecture styles, there are many options from home designs based on classic architecture styles to those with mixed design or new innovative designs. So, how do you figure out your personal architecture preferences? Before you begin your search, you can look online and in architecture and home catalogs to see if any particular style strikes your fancy. Then, in preparation to work with an agent to narrow down your search try visiting homes with different architectural styles to see what you think in person.

While you’re just exploring styles, you don’t need to limit yourself by budget and individual requirements. It might be wise to avoid looking at mansions if you’re a first-time home buyer looking for a starter property, but you can keep it loose with the requirements to get a feel for your preferences. Just take a look at available homes in your area that have upcoming open houses and take a look at the underlying architecture.

So, what are the basic architectural styles you can explore?

Colonial — Quite popular in the northeast colonial style homes use symmetry in their design. Lots of windows flanked by largely structured shutters and white or light-colored siding and red brick. 

Mid-Century Modern — For a more open and simplistic design check out mid-century modern architecture. This style features flat lines, wide, single-story design and big glass windows. 

Craftsman/Bungalow — These homes have square layouts, large front porches with straight or angular columns with a wide base. Big shutters frame sizable windows and interiors feature lots of built-in shelving and molding.

Ranch Style — Originally designed based on rural ranches in the US ranch style homes use single-story and split-level, open floorplans and focus on usability. These homes have easy access to outdoors from many areas of the house and will typically have a garage.

Cape Cod Style — Marked by steep roofs, dormer windows and typically cedar shingles. This style is a North American take on the classic British cottage with more massive fireplaces and chimneys and has white trimmed interiors with crown molding. 

Art Deco / Art Nouveau — A modern style in the 1930s these structures will have flat roofs, are built with rounded corners and balconies and display decorative features on the home’s exterior. 

Contemporary — Referring only to the current architecture of the day. Today this means a sleek appearance both on the interior and exterior: large windows and outdoor garden space and a connection between inside and outside. You’ll see a lot of natural materials and neutral tones used in these homes. 

Mediterranean — You’ll find the Mediterranean style used in small bungalows and large mansion homes. Marked by tiled terracotta roofs, exterior elements like balconies, porticos, and archways this design models the hacienda style.

Tudor — A typical home style, the Tudor style comes from England and uses multi-gabled roofs with a steep pitch. You will find lots of brick and wood ornaments in these homes along with built-in features in the interior. 

These are just a few of the home architecture styles you’re likely to see during your home search. Take a look around at the prevailing styles in your area, mark different styles and features you like and review these along with your other home requirements with a trusted real estate agent. Now you’re ready to dig into your search and find the perfect home.




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Posted by RE/MAX Professional Associates on 9/15/2019

Have you tried getting a mortgage from your bank and instead been given an endless series of hurdles with no approval in sight? Then perhaps it’s time you moved your search for home finance online. Here you will find a host of companies willing to fund your home ownership dreams, even if you have a bad credit score. 

Some will give you the funds themselves while others are brokers who will lead you to the lenders. In the long run, what a homebuyer truly wants is a reasonable interest rate, quick approval, transparent communication, and top-notch customer service. Here are a few companies that fit those criteria.

Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans started as a brick-and-mortar shop in 1985 before going online at the turn of the millennium. It holds the position of one of the country's most popular lenders, and with good reason. First-time homebuyers are drawn to this mortgage company because of the wealth of guidance they get. Quicken Loans’ range of products includes Freddie Mac and Fannie Mac loans that ask for a down payment of as little as 3% of the property purchase price.

Lenda 

Besides offering applicants quick and stress-free pre-qualifications, Lenda has made a name for its concierge service that guides you through the application process. Their platform makes it easy for you to keep track of the documents you need to submit each step of the way. It even sends alerts to remind you which documents you still have pending. 

Rocket Mortgage

Within a few minutes, you will know how much you qualify to borrow from Rocket Mortgage. This company takes its service a step higher by offering you support from a mortgage expert online. Their digital platform works effortlessly on mobile devices allowing you to monitor your application on the go. 

Guaranteed Rate

This company makes life easier for would-be homeowners by allowing them to complete the entire application process online on a user-friendly platform. Documents can be uploaded there so that human interaction can be avoided through the whole process. First-time homebuyers are attracted to Guaranteed Rate because of the relatively low down payment required. 

Sun Trust

Households that fall in the middle-to-low income bracket will appreciate the affordability of Sun Trust home loans. With them, you can get fixed and adjustable rate loans backed by the Federal Housing Association or the Veterans’ Association. 

Visit an online resource you know for more detailed reviews of various top-rated lenders. Or talk to your real estate professional for local lenders they recommend.




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Posted by RE/MAX Professional Associates on 9/15/2019

Selling a home comes with some challenges that can frustrate a homeowner's sales effort without care. It is possible to think that your home will sell as soon as you put it up for sale. Sometimes it does not work that way, and a house may be on the market for several months or even years. Faults or problems around the house may repel the right buyers. Therefore, it is essential to get all identified problems fixed before making your house available for sale. Here are some issues that may hinder your home from selling: 

Water Problems

Prospective buyers walk away immediately when they discover that the house is having water issues. Home buyers do not want to deal with problems associated with basement flooding and roof leakage. Plumbing and leaks can degenerate into more significant issues which why they are quite dangerous. Water has the capacity to destroy most of the materials of the home. Most buyers will pull out on any deal once they discover there is water problem because it can cause damage in all areas of the house.

Structural Issues 

These are problems related to the foundations, walls, support system and other things that support a house. Buyers will be worried about their safety in the house. Also, they will be concerned about the longevity of the house. They consider it safer and wiser to walk away from a house with structural defects instead of buying it and trying to fix it.

Foul Smells

Home sellers should get rid of all foul smell before inviting buyers for inspections. The smell of pets puts off most home buyers. Therefore, if you have a smelly dog or cat, it is advisable to keep them away while trying to sell your house. 

Failed Septic system 

Sellers should be knowledgeable of the fact that they cannot sell a home without a properly functioning septic system as it is one of the most critical parts of a house.The fact that septic systems are costly to repair makes most prospective buyers avoid a house without a proper septic system. 

Poor water source 

There should be safe drinking water in a house at all times. Buyers will not go for any home without a functioning water system. If the source of water supply in your house is a well, you should make sure that it is working correctly and can supply safe drinking water at all times before putting the house up for sale.

Speak to a real estate agent today to get your home ready for sale.




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