Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland and Livingston County Real Estate News

Aug. 13, 2020

4 Timeless Bathroom Design Trends

Bathrooms spotlight your home’s interior design scheme. Because of this, enhancing the bathroom likely makes a big impact. Click through for some insight into making your smallest room dramatic.

Many people love classic, timeless and clean looks in the bathroom. These bathroom designs not only are dazzling to the eye but also won’t need to be changed with every passing trend. Instead, an investment in a classic bathroom scheme will last for years.

Following are four bathroom design trends that will never go out of style.

Porcelain Bathtubs

Let the stresses of the day fall away with a nice warm soak in your tub. Consider breaking away from bulky-wall units and choose a standalone tub. If you want an added touch of style, opt for a vintage tub with a clawfoot base. You can even attach a showerhead so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Having a bathtub comes with the bonus of increasing your home’s resale value if you ever plan to sell.

Marble Tiling

Marble has become an increasingly popular interior material in the last few years. The gorgeous swirling grains of marble make it a winning choice for creating a luxurious bathroom that won’t fall away with the times.

Marble is durable, high-quality and instills a larger “wow” factor than laminate. Because marble is a real stone, it is a bigger investment — but it’s worth it.

Simple Decorations

Everybody loves accents, but the best choices are plain and basic. Selecting elaborate decorations may create a hectic atmosphere instead of the clean and timeless look you’re going for.

Avoid themes that may get old quickly. For example, the nautical decor might be great during the summer, but it’ll likely seem out of place on those dreary winter days. Choose key items that seamlessly blend into whatever circumstances come and go as the years go on.

White Color Schemes

Although the trendiest interior decor articles will tout that dark-colored bathrooms are all the rage in today’s world, that may not be the case tomorrow.

If you’re looking for a beautiful, clean and timeless color scheme for your bathroom, stick with lighter colors. White is a great baseline for adding light touches of high-value colors, like a flushed pink or baby blue.

Light paint colors are easiest to replace, whereas a dark hue is more difficult to cover up when you’re tired of the heavy colors in the bathroom. White may be overused in bathroom design, but it truly is timeless.

 
Posted in Home Design Ideals
Aug. 13, 2020

What Are Quitclaim Deeds?

Quitclaim deeds offer very limited buyer protection — they're used most often for transferring property between family members. Are they right for your situation? Click through to learn more about these contracts.

Property deeds are written and signed legal documents used to transfer ownership of real property from a previous owner, or grantor, to a new owner, or grantee. Deeds can be official or private. General warranty deeds offer the highest level of buyer protection, while quitclaim deeds typically provide the least protection. So why are they used?

Quitclaim deeds are most often used for transferring property between family members. These deeds are relatively common, and most real estate agents have experience dealing with them. Because the parties know each other, they're more likely to accept the risks associated with the lack of buyer protection. Quitclaim deeds are used when no money is involved in property transfer ownership.

What are you getting into when you obtain property this way?

  • A quitclaim deed also is called a nonwarranty deed and conveys whatever interest the grantor currently has in the property, if any. The grantor only "remises, releases, and quitclaims" his or her interest in the property to the grantee. There are no warranties or promises regarding the quality of the title.
  • Accept a quitclaim deed only from grantors you know and trust. Quitclaim deeds are best for low-risk transactions between people who know each other. Quitclaim deeds are commonly used to transfer property from a parent to an adult child or between siblings or when a property owner gets married and wants to add his or her spouse to the title. Married couples who own a home together and later divorce also use quitclaim deeds. When one party acquires the home in a divorce settlement, the other may execute a quitclaim deed to eliminate his or her interest in the property.
  • Quitclaim deeds can be used to clear a title defect, also known as a cloud on the title, in the recorded history of the real estate title. Title defects include issues with wording, like not complying with state standards, missing a signature or even failing to properly record the real estate documents.
  • Quitclaim deeds are as effective as warranty deeds to transfer titles but only if the title is good. It's the lack of any warranties that makes a quitclaim deed less attractive from a grantee's perspective. If the title contains a defect, the grantee has no legal recourse against the grantor.
  • A quitclaim deed affects ownership and the name on the deed but not the mortgage. If there's still a mortgage on the property, the grantor may remain liable for the mortgage even after ownership is transferred through the execution of a quitclaim deed. Quitclaim deeds transfer titles but don't affect mortgages. For this reason, a quitclaim deed may not be a good idea when a property still has a mortgage. 

Think of quitclaim deeds as a fast way to accomplish real estate transfers among family members or to place real estate into a trust. Of course, this is just an introduction to a complicated legal issue. Let us know if you're involved in a property transfer and think this might be right for you.

 

 

Posted in News
Aug. 13, 2020

Applying for Veterans Benefits: 5 Tips for Caregivers and Spouses

Countless family caregivers help aging veterans and surviving spouses apply for veterans benefits and manage their payments. Qualifying for VA benefits is usually the primary concern for veterans and their caregivers, however there are several areas of confusion that can significantly impact the way families interact with the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Whether you’re looking to help an aging loved one apply for veterans benefits and/or manage their payments and VA health care, the following tips are crucial to successfully navigating the VA system and ensuring loved ones get the VA benefits they're eligible for.

5 Things to Know When Applying for and Managing VA Benefits

  1. The VA doesn’t recognize power of attorney (POA).

    This revelation often comes as a shock to family caregivers who are used to hearing about how important it is for seniors to draft durable power of attorney documents for health care and finances, naming agents to act on their behalf in these matters. However, the VA sets its own strict rules for recognizing power of attorney. (Much like the Social Security Administration does not recognize financial POA for managing another beneficiary’s benefits.)
    If a veteran is still competent and simply wishes for a person, such as a family member, to handle their claim for benefits, then they can complete VA Form 21-22a to appoint them as their one-time representative. Similarly, a competent VA beneficiary may use VA Form 21-0845 to designate an authorized third party to receive information contained in their VA record, but this authorization does not grant the ability to manage or change any information therein.
    If a veteran (or related beneficiary) is incapable of managing their own financial affairs, a durable power of attorney for finances is insufficient in the eyes of the VA. Whether the beneficiary is just now applying for benefits or they have been receiving them for decades, a VA fiduciary must be appointed to receive and manage their VA benefit payments. Incompetence must be documented by a medical professional or determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.
    A family member or friend typically serves as one’s fiduciary, but they must pass a thorough vetting process conducted by the VA. This evaluation includes a criminal background check, credit report check, personal interview and review of character references. In cases where a veteran does not have a trusted individual who can serve in this capacity, the VA will appoint a professional fiduciary.
  2. You can expedite a VA application.

    The VA has specific rules in place to expedite the applications and appeals of veterans and survivors who are terminally ill, of advanced age or experiencing serious financial hardship (homelessness, bankruptcy, etc.). If any of these conditions apply, make sure that the VA office handling the application or appeal is aware of this by filing a written request for priority processing along with their other paperwork. An expedited determination isn’t guaranteed, but it can’t hurt to provide the VA with all information pertaining to a claimant’s medical and financial situation.
  3. You don’t have to be ill to qualify for a VA pension.

    One little-known element of the VA pension program is that when a veteran turns 65, they are considered 100 percent disabled in the eyes of the VA. This means that a vet or their surviving spouse with low income and limited assets could be eligible for a pension, even if they have no major health conditions. Of course, increased pension amounts are available through the Aid & Attendance and Housebound benefit programs for eligible veterans and surviving spouses who are ill, disabled and/or require higher levels of care.
  4. Current VA benefits end when a veteran dies.

    If a veteran dies before their dependent(s), any pension or disability compensation benefits they had been receiving will stop. A completely new application must be submitted to the VA for new types of benefits intended for veterans’ survivors and dependents.
    Along with a death certificate, the survivors must supply all additional documentation required for the specific benefits they are looking to apply for or reinstate. Necessary paperwork might include the deceased veteran’s discharge papers, marriage certificate, information regarding income, assets and expenses, a physician’s statement detailing the survivor’s medical diagnosis and ability to care for themselves, and a statement from their long-term care provider (assisted living community, home care agency, etc.) detailing their cost of care information.
    Even if these documents were already submitted to the VA, they must all be re-sent after a veteran dies. It can take time for the VA to process applications for benefits like the Survivors pension, so it’s important to be prepared and start the paperwork as soon as possible.
  5. Calling the VA can be tricky.

    When calling the VA to ask questions or check the status of an application, make sure you’re talking to the local VA office that services the area or region in which the veteran or surviving spouse lives. Be aware that the VA phone number (1-800-827-1000) automatically routes callers to the local VA office that’s nearest to them. For long-distance caregivers, this routing process is most likely not connecting to the same office that is handling a loved one’s application or VA record. If you are directed to a different VA office, you won’t be able to obtain any information. The individual offices are not allowed to pull files on beneficiaries or applicants who do not live in their jurisdiction.
    If you don’t feel like spending time on the phone, the VA also offers a comprehensive online platform at VA.gov, where veterans and survivors can file claims, check the status of claims and appeals, manage health care benefits and more.
Posted in News
Aug. 13, 2020

Home Furnishings Trend: Brass is Back

For years brass has been on the sidelines, but it’s making a comeback. Here are ways homeowners can incorporate the finish to add glamour and help homes stand out.

After years of chrome, stainless steel, and nickel being the shining stars of interior metals, brass is back and starting to steal the show.

brass overhead light fixture with crystal accents in library room

© Van Inwegen Digital Arts

 

 

After years of chrome, stainless steel, and nickel being the shining stars of interior metals, brass is back and starting to steal the show.

As with many home furnishings trends, the comeback was inspired by what’s occurring in fashion. In this case, gold and rose gold watches became influencers a few years ago, says Chicago designer Tom Segal of Kaufman Segal Design, who thinks that home furnishings styles tend to be cyclical. Now he’s adding small brass details to rooms in the same way a gold watch might peek out of a shirt cuff.

Using brass now is an easy, affordable way for homeowners to customize and stay on trend.  “Many people want a warmer look, which is also visible in fabrics as warmer colors return,” Segal says.

Erin Imhof, showroom supervisor at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery in Lansdale, Pa., has noted an increase in brass finishes. She attributes it to how they complement a wide range of colors and other finishes. “Many of today’s top color trends for kitchens and bathrooms, including all-white, blue, and black, pair beautifully with brass fixtures,” she says.

 

twin brass light fixtures over kitchen island

© Capital Lighting Fixture Company

 

 

Others concur that brass is a universal mixer. “Our designers like to integrate brass into their designs, whether it’s an accent like a decorative bowl, object of art, light fixture, or metal base on an end table,” says Julie Sprouse, design sales manager at Ethan Allen, the home furnishings chain based in Danbury, Conn.

Caitie Smithe, a design coordinator and stylist at the Walter E. Smithe Furniture + Design retailer based in Itasca, Ill., also considers brass a material that can be used throughout a home, including light fixtures, hardware, and even light switches and vent controls. Other good places to use brass include bathroom hardware, plumbing fixtures such as sinks, and accessory details like candleholders or picture frames.

Here are five tips for using brass that you can pass on to your clients.

1. Use sparingly. Brass works best when used in small doses. Too much can create a “too matchy-matchy” look, according to Smithe. Overuse can make it start to look cheap, says Segal. “Moderation is key,” he says.

 

coffee table with brass accents

© Ethan Allen

 

 

2. Mix finishes. Brass appears more timeless rather than trendy when it’s matte, brushed, or aged, which helps soften its sheen, Segal says. But be careful, Smithe says, when mixing brasses in a single space from different manufacturers. “There is a huge range in color and brightness. Some take on a bright yellow color while others can be more of an aged gold,” she says.

3. Combine warm metal colors. Brass, gold, and bronze can work well together since they share similar warm values versus shiny nickel, which leans toward the colder side, says Sprouse.  

 

mixed metals used in kitchen

© Walter E.Smithe Furniture + Design

 

 

4. Mix metals. Some designers also think brass, satin, brushed nickel, stainless steel, and oil-rubbed bronze can be used together. But Imhoff still offers some caution. “Go with similar warm, muted undertones for some consistency,” she says. Chicago designer Summer Thornton likes mixing metals, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms where she might use brass, nickel, and steel combinations.

5. Consider longevity. How long brass will stay fashionable is unknown. When it becomes too ubiquitous in retail stores, shelter magazines, and on design websites, it may be time to move on. The good news is that brass touches are easy to add in and switch out.

 

Aug. 13, 2020

Is This Your Situation: Looking for Budgeting Tips to Save for a Down Payment?

If you can add a little more to your down payment, you can save on your monthly mortgage payments. Click through to learn the details of just how much.

The size of your mortgage payment is determined by two factors – the interest rate and how much you borrow.  There is little you can do to reduce interest rate. However, you can reduce your mortgage payment by having a larger down payment.  Using an automatic savings plan is the easiest way to build your down payment. 

Here is a little chart showing the effect of having a larger down payment for a home costing $250,000.

Cost of the home

Down payment

Mortgage Amount

Monthly payment

$250,000

$25,000

$225,000

$1,010.35

$250,000

$50,000

$200,000

$898.09

$250,000

$65,000

$185,000

$830.73

$250,000

$75,000

$175,000

$785.83

$250,000

$100,000

$150,000

$673.57

(Assumes an interest rate of 3.5% and a 30 year amortization.) 

You may already have some savings, but establishing a disciplined savings habit can help you increase those savings, increase your down payment and reduce your monthly mortgage payment. 

Here are some examples of how little you need to save monthly to add to those savings.

Increase your savings by

Over 6 months

Over 12 months

Over 18 months

Over 24 months

Over 30 months

Over 36 months

$10,000

$1,656

$822

$544

$405

$321

$266

$15,000

$2,484

$1,233

$816

$607

$482

$399

$25,000

$4,141

$2,055

$1,360

$1,012

$804

$665

$35,000

$5,797

$2,876

$1,903

$1,417

$1,125

$930

$50,000

$8,281

$4,110

$2,719

$2,024

$1,607

$1,329

(Assumes a 3% earnings rate.) 

Start Your Automatic Savings Today
There is no easier way to save than with an automatic savings plan. If you are already using direct deposit for your paycheck, have your financial institution transfer the amount each month. You can also have your employer deduct the amount each month and deposit into the account of your choice. Or you may be able to have your bank automatically move money from a checking to a savings account each month.

 

 

Posted in News
Aug. 13, 2020

The Link Between Dementia and Depression

Memory trouble, excessive sleeping, decreased interest in hobbies and activities, social withdrawal—all of these are textbook symptoms of depression. They also happen to be hallmark signs of behavioral changes related to many types of dementia, including the two most common types: Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

In fact, the early and middle stages of dementia and depression share so many symptoms that it can be difficult even for physicians to differentiate the two, especially because they often co-occur. The undeniable connection between these conditions has spurred a great deal of research in recent years. Much of the scientific debate centers on a quintessential chicken and egg dilemma. Which comes first: depression or dementia?

Can being diagnosed with dementia cause a senior to become depressed, or is late-life depression a harbinger of cognitive impairment to come?

The Relationship Between Dementia and Depression

Several studies focused on illuminating the relationship between these two mental health conditions have shed some light on how depression might affect a person’s risk for cognitive decline.

One study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that the emergence of depressive symptoms in midlife, late life or both are associated with an increased risk of dementia.

Scientists from the University of California, San Francisco, found a significant link between depression, Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. The timing of the onset of depression appeared to be associated with different types of dementia.

For example, individuals whose depressive symptoms emerged in their 40s or 50s and persisted later in life were found to have more than a 3-fold increase in the risk of developing vascular dementia. This type of dementia is caused by vascular injuries and/or disease within the brain. This study also found that individuals who presented depressive symptoms later in life (with or without symptoms in midlife) were twice as likely as their non-depressed peers to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Additional studies on the connections between vascular disease, depression and neurological changes in the brain have supported these findings.

How Does Depression Affect Cognitive Function?

When asked to explain the mechanisms behind the depression-dementia link, experts cite a variety of theories. According to Kenneth Freundlich, Ph.D., clinical neuropsychologist and head of the neuropsychology and consulting divisions of the Morris Psychological Group, there are currently several different biological factors that may help explain the relationship between depression and dementia. However, he cautions that no one model has been identified as the explanation for the depression-dementia connection.

“Despite a variety of theories, the depression-dementia link is one that is not fully understood,” Dr. Freundlich admits. “People who are experiencing the early stages of dementia frequently become depressed and people who are depressed have an increased risk of developing dementia.”

Biological Effects of Depression on the Brain

  • Higher cortisol levels: Depressed individuals tend to produce higher amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which can impair the areas of the brain that are responsible for short-term memory and learning.
  • Increased inflammation: Depression causes increased inflammatory activation of the immune system, which, in turn, affects all aspects of the nervous system. Long-term inflammation can damage the brain, affecting memory, learning and mood.
  • Structural brain damage: The hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for turning information into memories, can be harmed when exposed to extended periods of stress. Chronic depression may also cause structural damage to areas of the brain responsible for executive function, attention and emotional regulation.

Behavioral Effects of Depression on the Brain

Alzheimer’s educator Robin Dessel believes there are also certain behavioral elements which may play a role. “Depression and dementia mirror each other in a catalogue of symptoms and triggers,” she explains. “There is a very real and integral connection between the health and well-being of brain and body, mind and spirit.”

For example, one of the primary symptoms of depression is an unwillingness to engage in regular activities and socialization opportunities. Social withdrawal and reluctance to participate may lead to what Dessel refers to as an “inactive brain and a depressed lifestyle.”

Two separate studies have found that loneliness and a lack of social engagement placed individuals age 65 and older at greater risk for developing dementia. This lack of engagement can enhance an individual’s susceptibility to showing signs of dementia, especially when compounded by certain genetic, physiological and environmental factors that have been shown to contribute to cognitive impairment.

Since depression seems to contribute to dementia and vice versa, it can be difficult to tell exactly what physical and mental health conditions are primarily responsible for a senior’s cognitive decline and changes in mood.

Managing Depression in At-Risk Groups

The specific factors that underlie the depression-dementia link are still foggy. However, the need to effectively identify and treat depression in adults—regardless of their age—is clear.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that major depression affects more than 17 million American adults each year. Although depressive symptoms can strike at any age, older adults are particularly susceptible, especially those living with one or more chronic health conditions. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that up to 40 percent of Alzheimer’s patients suffer from significant depression. However, depression is not a symptom of aging; it is a legitimate psychological condition that requires intervention.

Family caregivers are another at-risk group. Caregiving is a high stress job that can be physically and emotionally taxing. Many family members provide unpaid care for months or even years, and chronic caregiver stress can take a heavy toll on one’s physical and mental health. It is important to watch for the warning signs of depression, both in yourself and in your elderly loved one.

Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness or helplessness
  • Excessive worrying
  • Trouble sleeping or concentrating
  • Becoming socially withdrawn
  • Thoughts of suicide

If you feel that you or your loved one may be clinically depressed or experiencing memory issues, seek immediate medical attention. Make an appointment with a physician or a licensed mental health practitioner to determine whether the problem truly is depression or if depressive symptoms could be related to another underlying health issue. Swift treatment with antidepressant medication and/or psychotherapy can help manage these symptoms and prevent additional physical, mental and social problems.

Bruce Webb is a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) and has an extensive network of senior related referrals.

Posted in News, Senior News
July 28, 2020

Mortgage Rates Remain at All-Time Low

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage stayed at its record low this week, offering an opportunity for home buyers to lock in the lowest rate in Freddie Mac’s records dating back 50 years.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.13% this week.

The mortgage market has seen a resurgence in applications for home purchases in recent weeks. “The rebound in purchase demand partly reflects deferred sales as well as continued interest from prospective buyers looking to take advantage of the low mortgage rate environment,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending June 25:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.13%, with an average 0.8 point, unchanged from last week’s all-time low average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.73%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.59%, with an average 0.8 point, rising slightly from a 2.58% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.16%.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.08%, with an average 0.5 point, falling slightly from last week’s 3.09% average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.39%.

Freddie Mac reports average commitment rates along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining a mortgage.

Posted in Buyer News, News
July 28, 2020

5 Reasons to Think Long and Hard About Building a Home?

Your dream home will have French double doors, a wood-burning fireplace, a fully finished basement, and a private office in the back of the house. Should you just build a custom home? Click through to learn what this involves.

In a perfect world you could have the perfect home of your dreams. Who wouldn't want a brand-new home that no one has ever lived in, designed to their specifications? Perhaps you've always wanted a sunken living room or a huge bay window with cushioned seats or even a spa-style master bathroom, but there are no similar homes in your area. Building is a no-brainer right? Not so fast!
 
Temptations of Building a Home
 
Most homebuyers want a brand-new home even if most buyers go for resale homes. Trulia found that all things being equal, more than 40% of homebuyers would rather own a newly built home over an existing one.
 
At the beginning of the year, the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) compared the average price of a new home to existing homes. There was a more than $70,000 difference, with new homes costing considerably more. However, many builders will offer you enough discounts to make building tempting.
 
Besides the obvious benefit of building a new home, like being able to make it exactly the way that you want it, there are many other pros that can be very tempting including:
 
●    Modern floor plans.
●    Upgraded features.
●    Energy-efficient appliances/equipment.
●    Cheaper than a remodel.
●    Practically no maintenance/repair costs.

 
Building today comes with built-in savings. For instance, with newly built homes those energy efficiencies built into the windows and appliances can add up to thousands of dollars off of your energy bill each year. You don't have to worry about undisclosed leaky basements or hidden water-damaged ceilings. 
 
So why isn't every homeowner opting for a newly built home? It's because we have only given you the pluses. Let's take a look at the reasons why you should factor in the cons too before choosing to build a home.
 
Reasons to Think Long and Hard
 
Many builders offer big enough discounts to lure you in and make building as cost effective as buying resale, but are they? Often those discounts do not account for upgraded features. You may be shown a model home with everything that you want in your newly built home.
 
However, that discounted price goes up exponentially when you start adding in the features that you really want. A newly built home will cost between 10% and 20% more than a comparable existing home.
 
The difference may be negligible on a million-dollar home, but if you are counting on financing and a huge debt burden to buy it, you should take a moment to think long and hard about it. Keep in mind the points below.
 
●    Too far away: Your commute may get ten times longer in order to build where there is space.
●   
 Takes too long: It can take up to six months before you can live in your new home and that's if permits and other delays haven't extended the construction time.
●  
  Finding some place to live: While your home is built, you will need to rent an apartment or a hotel room for six months at least! Are you prepared for that?

 
Think about all of the things that you want in a new home and search for resale homes first. If certain features are that important to you and worth the extra cost, then go for it.

Posted in Buyer News, News
July 28, 2020

7 Factors That Affect Your Home Insurance Rates?

Insurance rates are anything but static. In reality, a number of factors can influence the details of your home insurance package. Click through for important details about how insurance policies work.

Homeowners should be aware of exactly what is shaping their insurance rates to gain a better understanding of what they’re paying for — and how they can save.

The following seven factors can affect your home insurance rates:

1. Square Footage

When considering insurance, a home’s size isn’t ignored.

Larger homes are more expensive to insure because they pose a larger risk for incidents to occur. More space means more items, more possibilities and more coverage. If you do have to make a claim, it will be more intensive than a smaller home.

2. Home Style

Not all homes are built the same, and a home’s style has a significant influence on the issues that are bound to occur down the line.

As a result of basic construction differences, certain claims are associated with specific home types. Because of this, the type of home you buy will affect your insurance rates.

3. Construction Materials

Homes that are built with high-end materials have a correspondingly high insurance rate, whereas lower-budget homes will cost less to insure. What your home is built out of contributes to the insurance policy because it will need to be replaced in case a claim is made.

4. Property Age

If not taken care of properly, homes deteriorate with age. To an insurance company, an older home represents a greater risk for damage and problems.

The diligent homeowner, however, can overcome this generalization by alerting their insurance agent to recent repairs, renovations and damage-mitigating systems they have in place.

5. Amenities

Although it seems like everybody is caught up in having the latest and greatest home amenities, these items actually can cause your insurance rates to spike.

Home features, such as garages, decks and sheds, will cause your interest rates to increase. Potential risk factors such as pools, hot tubs, fireplaces, trampolines and swing sets and even certain animal breeds will also affect interest rates.

6. Neighborhood Considerations

Insurance companies aren’t only keeping their eyes on your household. They’re zooming out and considering the neighborhood at large.

Your area’s crime rates, insurance claims and proximity to risks like lakes and rivers will cause your interest rates to respond accordingly.

7. Credit Score

The homeowner’s credit score is often overlooked when setting insurance rates. Insurance companies use this score to understand how well you’ll keep up with your insurance bills — and how much of a risk you’ll pose to the insurer.

For some, this can be beneficial, but that won't be the case if you have a low credit score. If you’d like to skip this consideration, you can opt-out of this step. Just be sure to inform your insurance company upon applying.

Always consider these aspects to better understand which factors will affect your home insurance rates.

Posted in News
July 28, 2020

Want Help Pricing Your Home Correctly?

Testing the market is usually not the best way to go about selling your home. You're really better off pricing it right the first time.  Click through to learn the real story on how to sell your home quickly.

 

If you're a homeowner considering putting your house on the market for sale, the assumption is that you want to sell your house. Right? Selling it is the ultimate goal.
 
There are several ways to accomplish the objective of selling your property, but the fastest way to get to the closing table is to price it right the first time. Homes priced at what the market will bear sell in half the time of over-priced, comparable listings.
 
Speed is just one of the reasons testing the market is a bad sales strategy. Here are more reasons: 
 
The asking price is out of their budget and won't show up in search results for a particular price range. These days 85% of real estate transactions begin on the internet. Buyers search listings according to ZIP code, school district, amenities, and price. If your home is in the right geographic location, but at too high a dollar amount, it will not show up in the buyer's search results.
 
In most real estate markets, a house is considered "stale" at 30 days past the list date. Potential buyers wonder why it is still available and might think there is something wrong with the house. The longer the house remains on the market, the less a buyer is willing to pay. It's better to get multiple offers that would drive up the price than to price it too high and have it sit on the market.
 
The mortgage lender will only approve a loan for the amount of the appraisal. If your list price is above the appraised value, a bank or other lender won't fund the loan. This situation puts any potential buyer using mortgaged dollars to buy the home at a disadvantage.
 
Your neighbor's house is cheaper and will get more attention. If there are multiple properties for sale in your area buyers will choose the less expensive version of their dream home. They will not pay more for the same (or very similar) product, a fundamental lesson in shopper buying behavior.
 
Behind-The-Scenes Information
 
Here's another thing that might occur if your price is too high: real estate agents will be hesitant to show it to their buyers. As Realtors, we are held by oath to represent the best interest of our clients.
 
It is our job to have the most up-to-date information on available property in the area. We know what has sold recently, and why. If your house is above what the market will bear, we will relay this information to clients.

Please contact me today for help pricing your home correctly and ensuring you a smooth and quick home-selling process. 

Posted in News, Seller News