Remodeling Your Home

Hello,

The classic way for homeowners to increase the value of their house is by remodeling existing rooms or adding on to its current plan.
Some choose to build recreation rooms and studies while others add new appliances, fixtures and cabinets to enliven rooms and make their home more attractive to future buyers.
But, when should you decide to stop sinking money into a home and buy a bigger place? And how much rehab is too much when it comes time to recovering remodeling costs through a home sale
For instance, if you’ve just spent $1,000 remodeling your living room and didn’t expand your small bathroom, the chances of increasing the number of interested buyers are slim.
With these concerns in mind, Century 21 sales associates offer a few tips for those struggling to add value to their home.
First, always protect the character of your home. Nothing sticks out more than a new addition that is in a completely different architectural style. Be consistent. Recognize your home’s character and stay within its framework.
The most financially rewarding areas to remodel are usually the kitchen and bath. Newly re-done cooking spaces and cabinets can attract more buyers and may command a slightly higher price for the home than a comparable one on the market. Simple repairs that are made to last will bring you the biggest returns upon sale.
Enlarged bathrooms are the most popular attraction for new home buyers, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Today, the most popular additions for younger buyers are sunken whirlpool baths and showers. But be sure to install modest, solid amenities. It’s easy to quickly over-spend on bathroom fixtures.
Buyers are, by convention, more interested in above-ground living space – not basements, yards and walkways. Swimming pools can be a poor investment if installed for the sole purpose of increasing a home’s value; it’s rare that a pool’s cost will be recovered in a home sale. It can also be a negative feature for potential buyers with very young children.
Replacing worn carpeting, tiles and wood floors can give your home an immediate advantage over similar properties in the area. Updating paint colors in all areas of your home can also prove beneficial.
However, it’s recommended that you use neutral colors, such as gray, beige and off-white when adding new floor and wall coverings. Fewer buyers will then turn away because of differing tastes.
Stay simple with your remodeling and look at your home as though you were the buyer. Chances are that if you find the upstairs bedroom could be brightened by a larger window, potential buyers will probably feel the same.
Don’t go overboard. Concentrate on improving two or three deficiencies in your home. More than likely, the time and money you spend adding quality to your home will be rewarded with greater profit at selling time.

Please give us a call with any questions.

Sincerely,

Scott Myers,
Century 21 Scott Myers, Realtors
(210) 479-1222C21

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HOW TO SPOT A GOOD BUY

Hello Everyone,

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, particularly when it comes to buying a home. Features that attract one home-buyer may repel another.
However, the one feature of interest to every home-buyer is price. Getting the most home for your money is paramount. The real problem is figuring out whether that fixer-upper on one street is a better buy than the home in next-to-new condition two blocks away. That’s why knowing what to look for before you buy can save you time, energy and money down the line.
The first step is figuring out what kind of house you need. A good buy is only a good buy if it meets your current and future living requirements. Before shopping for a home, decide how much space you and your family require. How many bedrooms, bathrooms? Is a family room necessary? Do you need a layout that will accommodate a lot of entertaining? Do you prefer a spacious or compact work space in the kitchen? If you have small children, can the house easily be childproofed?
Evaluate the front and back yards. Is there enough space to accommodate your children? Do you want a park-like or garden setting? Do you enjoy yard work and gardening, or do you want a low-maintenance yard? Take into consideration the cost of extensive landscaping and upkeep.
Next, determine how much work is required to make the house you are considering livable. Make an honest assessment of your fix-it abilities. How much work are you willing to do or pay someone else to do? Do you have basic decorating, carpentry and plumbing skills? If you plan to learn as you go, make sure you have accurately determined what you are getting into. Ask an experienced friend, family member or your real estate agent for their opinion, and be sure to consider how much remodeling inconvenience the rest of the family can handle.
Unless you are ready and able to tackle a major remodel, look for a house or condominium that needs only cosmetic improvements. These include painting, wallpapering and replacing items like flooring, window treatments, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, light fixtures, cabinet and interior door hardware and appliances. Remember that even these simple changes can be costly if you have to make many of them.
Beware of improvements that seem easy enough at first glance buy may turn into major headaches and require a lot of money once you’ve moved in. Remodeled kitchens and bathrooms, changes to the floor plan, room additions and redesigned landscaping are examples of seemingly minor changes that can easily eat away the money you thought you saved by selecting a so-called “bargain priced” home. Of course, you may be perfectly willing to spend whatever money is needed to customize the house to match your tastes and needs.
Make sure major systems in the house are in good working condition. The furnace, air-conditioning and plumbing should be up to date, since repairs can be costly. Your agent can arrange to have a professional inspector determine whether the electrical wiring and any room additions are to code. Local utilities often offer free or low-cost inspections to tell you if the house is energy-efficient.
Look for a house with universally popular selling points. If you’re impressed, the next buyer down the line is bound to be, too. For example, a roomy, modern east-to-clean kitchen is the best selling point a home can have. A house with only one bathroom is less desirable than a house with two or more. Many buyers expect at least three bedrooms, with a master bedroom that offers a feeling of privacy. Lots of storage space and closets, especially walk-in closets, will be a real selling point. Family rooms or “great rooms” also are desirable. On closer examination, a house that looks like a bargain may lack some of these key features.
Don’t forget the old adage: location, location, location. Unless you’re looking for a fixer-upper, the house should be in a condition that is comparable to other homes in the neighborhood. Avoid buying the biggest or fanciest home on the block. Consider the amount of traffic or noise. Homes located in a quiet area away from a busy street will command a higher price. Make sure the schools in your district have a reputation for quality education and safety. Nearby supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants and theaters also will make a location more desirable.
Good community facilities also add appeal; pools, athletic fields, community centers, libraries and hospitals all add to a neighborhood’s value and desirability. Transportation needs also should be considered. Is local public transit available? How long are typical commutes to places of current and potential employment? Are there several alternate route? How close is a major airport? All of these can affect a home’s pricing.
Consider the cost of living in a home. It’s important to consider not only purchase price but the monthly cost of living in a home. Estimate your utility and maintenance costs. For example, will the house need to be painted on a regular basis and will you need to spend money maintaining a swimming pool? Ask your agent about the property tax rate and whether increases are anticipated. Will you have to pay special assessments for a homeowner’s association? Consider the point in the life cycle of major household systems, such as the furnace, air conditioning, roof and kitchen appliances.
You can find a bargain! Your first step should be to seek out a knowledgeable real estate agent with experience in the market areas where you wish to purchase a home. Your agent can help you locate those properties that truly are “bargains” and help find the home that most closely matches your desires and needs.

For all of your Realty questions or needs please contact us today!

Sincerely,

Scott Myers,
Century 21 Scott Myers, Realtors
(210) 479-1222sa1

EASING YOUR WAY INTO HOMEOWNERSHIP: HOW YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT CAN HELP YOU QUALIFY FOR A LOW DOWN PAYMENT MORTGAGE

Hello Everyone,

For many renters, the first step in buying a home is becoming educated about the process. If you’re like many people considering a home purchase, you’ve spent nights and weekends poring over your local real estate section. You’ve talked to friends and relatives about their experiences. Maybe you’ve even purchased a book or tow to help you become more familiar with real estate terminology and the various types of mortgages commonly used today.
Coming up with a down payment and finding a loan that meets your needs are the greatest hurdles faced by first-time homebuyers. So, you may even have leafed through stacks of brochures and flyers from lenders offering down payments that are far less than the 20 percent you’d always thought you’d need to save before you could buy. With so many excellent first-time buyer programs to choose from these days, you practically need to be an expert to sort through them all.
That’s why if you’re a first-time homebuyer seeking a low down payment loan, you’ll save time by selecting a professional real estate agent who is experienced in working with people just like you in the area where you plan to buy. An agent who frequently assists first-time buyers will know from experience which lenders in your area offer a low down payment program that will most closely match your needs.
A professional real estate agent can help you determine whether you are likely to qualify for these special programs, since participation in some may be limited to buyers under a certain income level or for the purchase of homes below a certain purchase price. Your agent also will be able to tell you whether there are other requirements you must fulfill in order to be considered. With some programs, for example, you must attend an educational seminar before you can be considered for one of these low down payment loans.
`It’s important that your agent become familiar with your current financial situation. Before you meet with your agent to discuss your financial situation and housing needs, you’ll want to collect some basic information to make the process easier. Be prepared to show recent paycheck stubs or pay vouchers to certify sources of income; a complete list of current credit card, auto and other consumer credit payments you make each month; and recent bank and savings statements. These documents will help you and your agent determine how much home you can afford. It’s also important that you disclose any prior credit problems or late payments. Your agent may be able to suggest ways to remedy any negative remarks on your credit report that could disqualify you from a low down payment loan program.
In addition, because most lenders w2ill require that you have several months of house payments in the bank as a reserve, your agent may be able to suggest ways you can increase your savings in the weeks and months leading up to your home purchase. Don’t forget that some programs allow you to apply a cash gift from a family member to cover the required down payment and losing costs.
Your agent also may know a motivated seller who would be happy to assist you in accomplishing your home purchase by caring a second mortgage. A second mortgage is helpful because it reduces the amount of the first mortgage you need to obtain. In some cases, a second monthly payment and generally is required to protect the lender when a down payment is less than the standard 20 percent of the loan amount. Even if your seller isn’t willing to take a second mortgage to complete the sale, he or she may be willing to pay your closing costs, which will reduce the amount of cash you need to have on hand up-front.
With interest rates edging up, innovative mortgage financing programs that require a low down payment are even more important than ever to first-time buyers. A professional real estate agent can help you sift through the countless programs that are available and help find the one that’s mortgage can eliminate the need for private mortgage insurance, which is added to your right for you. To locate a CENTIURY 21 agent near you, call 210-479-1222c21

Sincerely,

Scott Myers, Century 21 Scott Myers, Realtors
(210) 479-1222

Moving Tips to Avoid all the Headaches

Hello Everyone,

Moving from one house to another is always a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Here are some simple tips on how to get it done with minimal stress and strain.

• Look at all the alternatives: hiring a moving company, for example, versus renting a truck and doing it yourself. Whichever alternative makes most sense for you, get bids from more than one vendor.
• A few days before the moving company is scheduled to arrive or you’re supposed to pick up your rental truck, call to confirm that everything is on track to happen when it’s supposed to .
• Prepare your change of address cards in advance and send them out as soon as it’s appropriate to do so. The post office, utilities, companies and people you do business with, city hall, friends, relatives – all should be notified of your move.
• Get an early start on packing by concentrating on seldom-used items first. Each box should have its contents and the room those contents belong in written on it clearly.
• Take a hard look at things you seldom or never use and throw away as many of them as you can. The more you throw away, the less you’ll have to move. Every item you throw away is one less item to clutter up you new home.
• Use your extra towels and linens to protect breakables. When your supply of these things is exhausted, crumpled newspaper makes an excellent substitute. Write “Fragile” on all appropriate boxes.
• Put your valuables (such as jewelry) and important documents (birth certificates, car titles, etc.) aside in some safe place where they won’t be misplaced.
• When the house is empty, go back for a thorough final inspection. Check closets, crawl spaces, basement, attic, out-of-the-way nooks and crannies of all kinds. Have a second person make the same inspection separately.
• Clean your new home thoroughly before moving in. It’s infinitely easier that way.
• Decide in advance where you want the heavy furniture. Changing your mind after the movers have departed is no fun – especially for your back!
• Locate all fuses, circuit breakers, and water/gas and electrical valves. Record the meter readings and check the smoke detectors.
• List the phone numbers of the local police and fire stations, doctors, nearby hospitals, etc. Put a copy of your list near each phone.

I really hope this information helps ease some of the headaches of moving.

Please give us a call to speak to one of our Agents.

Sincerely,

Scott Myers, Century 21 Scott Myers, Realtors
(210) 479-1222c21