Posted by Jeff Smith on 1/16/2017

The housing market has been heating up and lately there seems to be more buyers than homes. So where do you start when house hunting? Many buyers like to start at Open Houses to get a feel for the market. It is always best to try to find a real estate agent to help guide you through the buying process , however, if you want to try to get your feet wet first an Open House might be your best bet. There are some things you will want to know about how to tackle an Open House: 1. How do you find Open Houses? Your best bet is to find a real estate professional that represents buyers and have them help you find Open Houses that are right for you. Agents are familiar with the inventory and could save you an unnecessary trip to a house that isn't right for you. Most open houses take place on Saturday or Sunday, so Thursday is a good day to start your search. 2. Be prepared Plan your route, make sure you have the right directions and have plenty of gas to get where you are going. Take along a pen and paper to make notes on properties. 3. Get to know the area The house may be great; but how is the area? Take the time to drive around the surrounding neighborhoods of homes you like and get to know the area. A real estate professional is a great resource for community information. 4. Check for agency Most agents at an Open House represent the seller. You will want to work with an agent that is able to represent you as the buyer. If you like the agent at the Open House, and have not yet contracted with an agent, make sure to discuss agency and representation. 5. Take notes Take notes and write down a list of quick pros and cons after you have viewed a home. This will help you remember the houses you have viewed. Viewing Open Houses can help you get a sense for what’s out there in the marketplace. It will help you determine if the house you want and your finances match up with the houses that are on the market. It is always best to find a real estate professional to help you find the home of your dreams. Buying a home is no small matter.

Posted by Jeff Smith on 10/31/2016

If you are thinking of adding an addition to your home there are some things you will wants to be aware of. If you decide to add a new space, ask yourself the following questions: * Can I finance the home improvement with my own cash or will I need a loan? * How much equity is in the property? A fair amount will make it that much easier to get a loan for home improvements. * Is it feasible to expand the current space for an addition? * What is permissible under local zoning and building laws? Despite your deep yearning for a new sunroom or garage, you will need to know if your town or city will allow such improvements. * Should I make the improvement myself or hire a contractor? Many homeowners consider going to job alone to save money. Consider how much time you have, your level of expertise or willingness to handle the job, amount of help from friends or relatives, and how much you want, or need, to save by doing the job yourself. You could save up to 20 percent of the project cost through your own hard work. Be aware, however, that you may need to call in the pros. Going it alone can sometimes lead to spending more time and money. if problems arise. Most home improvement experts suggest that homeowners who do not have a lot of experience should stick to painting, minor landscaping, building interior shelving, and other minor improvements.

Posted by Jeff Smith on 9/5/2016

You have decided to sell. But before you put the sign in the yard there are some things you will want to make sure you have done. Time spent doing research and setting the right price will most likely yield you a better return in the end. A home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. Track your neighborhood values Find out what homes similar to yours are selling for in your neighborhood so you will have a good idea what your home is worth. Buyer or seller market You need to judge whether it's a sellers' market or a buyers' market in your neighborhood. Remember that all real estate is local. You will want to research things like interest rates, home inventory, job forecasts, and even time of year. Research inventory How many homes are for sale? If you live in a desirable neighborhood and there aren't many homes for sale, you will have a clear edge here. However, if you see lots of homes on the market and they're not selling very quickly, you might have to reduce the price you had in mind. Know the average days on the market Review the homes in your neighborhood and their days on market sometimes referred to as DOM. Look at trends for the past year and assess whether homes were appreciating or depreciating. Monitor the job market Is a big company relocating workers to your area? Or are they moving out and shutting the doors? The job market has a lot to do with the real estate market. Attend nearby open houses Observe how other properties are showing and compare them to your home. At an open house you can often feel the "mood" of potential buyers. Get a professional opinion A real estate professional will be able to help you gather all of the above information and come up with a CMA or comparable market analysis to determine the best price range for you home.