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Friday, February 23, 2018   /   by Bret Johnson

Rock-Solid Reasons to Remodel in 2018

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Today’s topic comes from a conversation I had recently with a previous client. They wanted to know if they were better off selling their home this year or if they should look at remodeling it instead. After thinking about it for a while, the answer was clear. Here are four-rock solid reasons to remodel in 2018:

1. You might have more cash. With consumer confidence high and the economy doing well, there is a good chance that you have a little bit more cash flow this year than you have in the past. It might be a good idea to invest in yourself and your future equity by remodeling now instead of trying to cash out on your current equity in a buyer’s market.

2. Interest rates on building loans are low. While rates have been going up everywhere else, building loan rates have stayed very low. Talk with a lender about what kind of rate you can lock in now. We’d be happy to ...

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Monday, February 12, 2018   /   by Bret Johnson

6 Unexpected Closing Costs You Shouldn’t Forget About

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There are six closing costs buyers may not know about but you definitely should if you’re getting ready to buy a home.

1. The down payment. There are various loan programs out there that can affect your down payment, but not everyone knows what they are. There are 0% down payments, low down payments, and the standard 20%-or-more down payment. If you’re a non-owner occupied buyer or an investor, sometimes you’ll need a down payment of more than 20%.

2-3. The closing costs and/or parts of the loan fee. These include things like the escrow fees and title insurance. Even the appraisal fees are paid up front. Working with a knowledgeable agent can help as far as negotiating with the seller to have them pay some of these fees.

4. Impound accounts. Oftentimes, the lender will require that you put money up front in an impound account to cover insurance costs, HOA fees ...

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Monday, January 29, 2018   /   by Bret Johnson

8 Small Things That Make Your Home Look Like a Big Mess

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I had a seller appointment about a week ago, and the homeowner asked, “What kind of things make my home look cluttered or messy?”

That is a great question. There are eight small things that can make your home look messier than it actually is.

1. Open shelving. A lot of homes have this nowadays, especially in the kitchen or bathroom. If you have too many items sitting out, they really draw the buyer’s attention away from the features of your home. If you do have open shelving, make sure the plate sets match and that the items on the shelves are organized so it doesn’t affect how things look.

2. Tangled tech. Wires hanging from your TV in the living room or from your computer in the office can be a big distraction. Make sure you hide those wires.

3. Too many prints. Now that wallpaper is back in style, you may have too many colors on the walls or in a ro ...

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Monday, January 15, 2018   /   by Bret Johnson

2017 Market Recap and 2018 Real Estate Predictions

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How did the real estate market do in 2017, and what can you expect from the 2018 market?

Let’s take a look at supply, demand, and appreciation.

Economics 101 dictates that price is simply a function of supply and demand. If we look at supply in 2017, there were basically no homes available for sale. There was limited supply under $500,000, but under the $200,000 market, housing inventory basically did not exist.

At the start of 2018, we already had a 12% dip in supply. Buyers need to be prepared because it will be very difficult to find a home in 2018. In fact, it may be even more difficult than it was last year.

Demand was very stable in 2017, and I expect that will continue in 2018.

Loan limits have been increased on FHA and conventional loans, which does give buyers some more power as far as the amount of money they can qualify for. Those new loan limits could i ...

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Tuesday, January 02, 2018   /   by Bret Johnson

What 3 Questions Should First-Time Homebuyers Ask When Making an Offer?

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What kind of questions should you ask as a first-time homebuyer when making an offer on a home?

There are three general questions you want to ask, and each one relates to an important aspect of the home:

1. What have comparable sales in the neighborhood or surrounding area sold for?

When it comes to making an offer, most first-time buyers look at the wrong things. They ask me things like “What did the seller pay for the home?” and “How much do they owe?”

While things like this might contribute a little bit to the property, asking what comparable sales have sold for will help you understand what the price may be when it comes to an appraisal and have more weight as far as what kind of offer the seller will take.

2. What condition is the home in?

This question relates to the condition of the home, including the roof, major electrical or plumbing sy ...

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