22 Ways to Prep Your Home For Sale

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Did you know a little preparation goes a long way with homebuyers? Preparing your home for a spring sale may increase its value and reduce its time on the market.

 

 

So, how should you get your home ready for a spring sale? Here are a couple of tips to prepare your home for the market:

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Tom would be happy to come by to help you assess your home!

Give him a call TODAY!  616-866-6766

Sell Your Home Without The Hassle!

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5 Reasons You Should Never Buy or Sell a Home Without Tom as Your Agent

It’s a slow Sunday morning. You’ve just brewed your Nespresso and popped open your laptop to check out the latest home listings before you hit the road for a day of open houses.

You’re DIYing this real estate thing, and you think you’re doing pretty well—after all, any info you might need is at your fingertips online, right? That and your own sterling judgment.

Oh, dear home buyer (or seller!)—we know you can do it on your own. But you really, really shouldn’t. This is likely the biggest financial decision of your entire life, and you need Tom as your Realtor if you want to do it right. Here’s why.

1. Tom has loads of expertise

Want to check the MLS for a 4B/2B with an EIK and a W/D? Real estate has its own language, full of acronyms and semi-arcane jargon, and Tom is trained to speak that language fluently.

Plus, buying or selling a home usually requires dozens of forms, reports, disclosures, and other technical documents. As a Realtor, I have the expertise to help you prepare a killer deal—while avoiding delays or costly mistakes that can seriously mess you up.

2. NextHome Champions has turbocharged searching power

The Internet is awesome. You can find almost anything—anything! And with online real estate listing sites such as yours truly, you can find up-to-date home listings on your own, any time you want. But guess what? At NextHome Champions, we have access to even more listings. Sometimes properties are available but not actively advertised. Tom can help you find those hidden gems.

Plus, a good local Realtor is going to know the search area way better than you ever could. Have your eye on a particular neighborhood, but it’s just out of your price range? Tom is equipped to know the ins and outs of every neighborhood, so she can direct you toward a home in your price range that you may have overlooked.

3. Negotiating for YOUR Best Interest

Any time you buy or sell a home, you’re going to encounter negotiations—and as today’s housing market heats up, those negotiations are more likely than ever to get a little heated.

You can expect lots of competition, cutthroat tactics, all-cash offers, and bidding wars. Don’t you want a savvy and experienced professional negotiator on your side to seal the best deal for you?

And it’s not just about how much money you end up spending or netting. As your Realtor, Tom will help draw up a purchase agreement that allows enough time for inspections, contingencies, and anything else that’s crucial to your particular needs.

4. We are connected to everyone

Tom might not know everything, but he makes it his mission to know just about everyone who can possibly help in the process of buying or selling a home. Mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, home inspectors, home stagers, interior designers—the list goes on—and they’re all in my network. Use them.

5. They adhere to a strict code of ethics

Not every real estate agent is a Realtor, who is a licensed real estate salesperson who belongs to the National Association of Realtors®, the largest trade group in the country. Tom does.

What difference does it make? Realtors are held to a higher ethical standard than licensed agents and must adhere to a Code of Ethics.

This is the biggest financial (and possibly emotional) decision of your life, and guiding you through it isn’t a responsibility Tom takes lightly.

Call Tom TODAY! 616-886-6766

 

 

 

Adapted from Rachel Stults is a senior editor at realtor.com, covering advice around all things real estate, home decor, renting, and moving. She is also realtor.com’s video programming manager.

 

 

 

7 Ways Hanging Curtains Revamp Your NEW Home

7 Ways Hanging Curtains Can Instantly Revamp Your NEW Home

When looking at homes to purchase, visualize your own personal touches and remember how much small changes can make to a space!  Love to help you find your Dream Home!  Call 616-886-6766 Today!

 

How does hanging curtains make a room look more polished? Let us count the ways. No matter your preferred design aesthetic, a good set of curtains can add a tremendous amount to your home. Even the sheerest pair of curtain panels can be the finishing touch needed to truly tie the room together.

“Curtains set the mood and attitude, and the right ones give a room a finished, tailored look,” says Julia Diamond of Julia Diamond Interiors in Los Angeles.

But beyond making the room look good, curtains can also change the feel of a room.

“Curtains can transform a room on many levels,” says Paula Grace of Paula Grace Design in Northern Virginia. “You can bathe yourself in soothing color, soften architectural elements, and muffle sound.”

In some instances, they can even affect the dimensions of the room and make it look bigger.

The following examples show how hanging curtains can be the best design decision you can make for your home.

1. Hanging curtains can make a room look taller


Photo by Tobi Fairley Interior Design
Did you know that curtains can raise the roof of a room? Not literally, of course. But while most people tend to put them at eye level, high-hung drapes can actually bring the eye upward.

In bedrooms and common areas such as the living room and family room, go for floor-length drapes and hang them above the window frame.

“I hang my drapes right under the crown molding, to elongate the space,” Grace says.

Janice Simonsen, U.S. design spokeswoman for Ikea, advises mounting the drapery rod as close to the ceiling as possible.

2. They can make a room look spacious


Photo by Lucy Call
You might also be surprised that curtains could make your room seem wider. It’s as simple as extending the curtains past the window frame on the wall.

“If the windows have wall space flanking them, I’ll extend the drapes wall to wall, to give the illusion of large windows and thus a large room,” Grace says.

3. They can keep out the cold (or let in a breeze)


Photo by Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs
“In colder climates, a heavier drapery with an insulated lining will keep a room much warmer,” says Simonsen.

Thick drapes also do a good job of keeping hot sunlight out of a room. Conversely, light, gauzy drapes will allow in a warm summer breeze.

4. They can improve the sound in a room


Photo by Reference Media Inc
Sound bounces off drywall, brick, cement, and glass, and that can make a room feel cacophonous. But if you draw the drapes, you can reduce the echo. When you want your room to feel more intimate, or you want to better appreciate the pure, sweet music of your favorite recording artist, your curtains can help with the acoustics.

5. They can introduce color into the mix


Photo by Carpet One Floor & Home
Curtains are an ideal way to add a pop of color to an otherwise neutral room. A subtle print can go a long way toward bringing interest to a monochromatic space. If you don’t want to commit to painting your neutral walls, hanging ready-made drapes may be just the ticket for adding warmth and interest.

6. They can change the mood of a room

Photo by Elizabeth Taich Design

The type of curtains you hang can affect the ambiance of a room and dictate how laid-back or formal a room is.

“Rich fabrics, swags, cascades, cornice boards, and tiebacks add a level of formality to a room,” says Simonsen. “Thin, neutral fabrics or curtains in bright graphic prints lend a much more casual look.”

Once you decide on the mood you want to set, you can pick your drapes or curtains accordingly.

7. They can be used outside


Photo by Everything Home
There are times when you want to enjoy your backyard or front porch, but the idea of having your neighbors staring in at you is not very appealing. That’s when outdoor curtains come in handy. They can transform your outdoor space into the ultimate party space; just pull them closed when you’re hosting a party and entertaining al fresco.

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning writer who covers lifestyle, entertainment, real estate, design, and travel. Find her on AtHomeInHollywood.com.

Why Is There SO MUCH Paperwork to Get a Mortgage?

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 Why Is There So Much Paperwork Required to Get a Mortgage?

Why is there so much paperwork mandated by the lenders for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today? It seems that they need to know everything about you and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form.

Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.

There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.

1. The government has set new guidelines that now demand that the bank proves beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of paying the mortgage.

During the run-up to the housing crisis, many people ‘qualified’ for mortgages that they could never pay back. This led to millions of families losing their home. The government wants to make sure this can’t happen again.

2. The banks don’t want to be in the real estate business.

Over the last seven years, banks were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures and also negotiating another million plus short sales. Just like the government, they don’t want more foreclosures. For that reason, they need to double (maybe even triple) check everything on the application.

However, there is some good news in the situation.

The housing crash that mandated that banks be extremely strict on paperwork requirements also allowed you to get a mortgage interest rate around 4%.

The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty years ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process, but also paid a higher interest rate (the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 8.12% in the 1990s and 6.29% in the 2000s).

If you went to the bank and offered to pay 7% instead of around 4%, they would probably bend over backward to make the process much easier.

Bottom Line

Instead of concentrating on the additional paperwork required, let’s be thankful that we are able to buy a home at historically low rates.

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Our friend, Tim Kleyla, over at The Mortgage House is a CHAMPION, through and one of the smartest in the industry! Whether you are a first time home buyer, moving up and a second time home buyer, refinancing, investment buyers, or seniors seeking a reverse mortgage, Tim & his team will work for you!

 

 

 

6 Reasons To Be Pre Approved

6 Reasons To Get Pre-Approved

 

Ever had an agent deny to show you a home because you weren’t pre-approved for a mortgage? It’s not because they’re mean, or they don’t value your business… it’s actually because they’re looking out for your best interests.

Let’s face it, shopping for a home before getting pre-approved for a mortgage is like walking into a grocery store without a wallet. You may have the desire to buy, but you lack the ability. Let’s cover some basics…

What is a mortgage pre-approval?

In a nutshell, a mortgage pre-approval is written assurance from a lender or broker that you’re able to borrow money to purchase a home up to a certain amount. It’s based on the income, employment and asset documentation you supply at the time of application, in conjunction with your credit history.

6 reasons to get pre-approved

1. It carries more weight than a “pre-qualification”.

pre-approval differs from a pre-qualification. With the former, the lender has actually checked your credit and verified your documentation to approve a specific loan amount (usually for a particular time period such as 30, 60 or 90 days). A pre-qualification can be useful as an estimate of how much you can afford to spend on your home, but it’s a less accurate indicator of your ability to purchase. A pre-approval always carries more weight.

2. You’ll know how much house you can afford.

Getting pre-approved before you begin house hunting allows you to know how much house you can realistically afford. Knowing this narrows down the options and makes the selection process more efficient. Not to mention, it protects you from the unpleasant surprise of realizing the home you fell in love with doesn’t fit your budget.

3. It adds clout to your offer.

In many markets, homes attract more than one offer. If the sellers are weighing one offer against another, they may lean towards the one accompanied by a pre-approval letter. That’s because pre-approvals instill confidence that the buyer is financially capable of purchasing their home.

4. It could increase your negotiating power.

In addition to strengthening your offer when compared to buyers who haven’t taken this step, getting pre-approved may give you the upper-hand when negotiating the price. If the homeowner is eager to sell, they may be more willing to accept a lower offer from someone they’ve been assured is financially capable of purchasing their home.

5. It saves time.

Obtaining a mortgage is a lengthy process. Getting pre-approved ahead of time shortens the time between contract to close — this way you’re ready to proceed with finalizing the mortgage once you’ve found the home you want to purchase.

6. Without it, most agents won’t work with you.

Makes sense, too. Right? Think about it: when you hire an agent, he/she will invest countless hours showing you homes over the course of your house hunt. If you were in their shoes, wouldn’t you want assurance that your hard work would lead to a favorable outcome for both you and your client?

TODAY is a PERFECT day to contact Tom: (c) 616-886-6766 or (e) tom@nexthomechampions.com

 

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West Michigan Housing Inventory Crunch Continues…List Your House Today!

 

Every winter, families across the country decide if this will be the year that they sell their current houses and move into their dream homes.

Mortgage rates hovered around 4% for all of 2017 which forced many buyers off the fence and into the market, resulting in incredibly strong demand RIGHT NOW!

At the same time, however, inventory levels of homes for sale have dropped dramatically as compared to this time last year.

Trulia reported that “in Q4 2017, U.S. home inventory decreased by 10.5%. That is the biggest drop we’ve seen since Q2 2013.”

Here is a chart showing the decrease in inventory levels by category:

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The largest drop in inventory was in the starter home category which saw a 19% dip in listings.

Bottom Line

Demand for your home is very strong right now while your competition (other homes for sale) is at a historically low level. If you are thinking of selling in 2018, now may be the perfect time.

Check out the FREE Technology Listing Package Offer thru March!

Call or Email Me TODAY!   616-886-6766 or tom@nexthomechampions.com