Boost Your Wheatfield Home’s Curb Appeal in a Single Weekend!

It’s usually the curb appeal Wheatfield properties put out there that either plants a winning first impression…or a ho-hum (maybe it’s more interesting inside) reaction. This holds for casual passers-by as well as serious prospects who are pulling up for a scheduled house showing. It’s simply true: you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

If you will be listing your home this summer, adding a thoughtful extra touch or two to the outside can transform your Wheatfield property’s curb appeal into its first strong selling point. After all, what buyer won’t favor a home they’d be proud to have friends and co-workers visit?

Here are some simple and affordable projects—each of which can be started and finished in a single weekend!

  • Exterior lighting styles are constantly being reinvented, so if it’s been more than five years since the last time you thought about the amount of curb appeal your current fixtures add, this one’s for you! Once the sun goes down, take a look at what passers-by see—and compare it with your Wheatfield neighbors’. Explore the latest fixtures available at area lighting shops and the big-box hardware stores—there are plenty of imaginative new designs. Even consider improving your home’s nighttime sparkle by adding a lighted path from driveway to door.
  • Your prospective buyers will be favorably impressed when an Wheatfield home’s curb appeal invites them to see themselves as part of the picture. That’s not an abstract notion—investing in a few pieces of attractive, comfortable-looking outdoor furniture and arranging them on the front porch all but compels it! Buyers will automatically picture themselves enjoying a leisurely chat out there…and if the porch layout is right, you might make it extra-inviting with a warm indoor/outdoor rug and some weatherproof decorative pillows.
  • Extensive flower beds can turn some buyers off if they don’t want the hassle of upkeep—but a few flower pots or window planters look wonderfully inviting when people drive up to the house. Decide if some large pots along the driveway, sidewalk, or entryway would provide color and character; or put up a pair of ready-made window boxes. Filled with easy-maintenance annuals like marigolds, petunias, or impatiens, this simple touch can make a disproportionately effective difference.
  • Sometimes you don’t have to paint the whole house when you put your house on the market: just spruce up the front door, shutters, or trim. Some sandpaper, a wire brush and modest amount of paint can do the trick. This is a quick and affordable way to add curb appeal to the entire house—a facelift without spending tons on painters and paint.
  • Ancient, peeling house numbers on the mailbox or by the front door can destroy curb appeal. Wheatfield prospects usually spot them first when they search for your address, so save the day with a new mailbox (or just some gleaming new replacement numerals).

Ready to list in 2014? Preparation should start weeks (even months) before the marketing goes live—making for a much less stressful opening weekend. Contact us soon for a preliminary evaluation to get your Wheatfield home ready for the market!

Repair Demands: Par for the Course for Selling a Wheatfield Home

If you have taken good care of your property, you rightfully expect that selling your area home will result in its fetching a good price when it hits the market. That’s the right mindset for success, but it serves sellers best when it’s only a starting point. Dealing with flesh-and-blood buyers can require some judicious flexibility—for one reason, there is usually an inconspicuous (somewhat annoying) fly in the ointment. The metaphoric fly is the fact that no property is without its flaws; and its metaphoric buzzing is likely to get louder as your sale’s closing grows nearer.

Structural elements of a house have varying life spans since wear and tear is inevitable in any space where people live. Many of a home’s features eventually require repair, and if it’s very soon, given that most informed buyers expect to take over a property with as few problems as possible, post-inspection demands can result. Especially if you’ve put a good deal of effort into getting everything shipshape, it can be maddening.

Nevertheless, plan to ignore any impulse to scrap the sale and tell the buyer to take a hike. Since some post-inspection requests are par for the course, you should know your options when you’re selling a home in Wheatfield and your buyer requests repairs.

Repair Obligation for the Seller

As the seller of the property, you are not required to fix anything in the home inspection report. Any repairs cited are points of negotiation: just because an inspector cites flaws, that doesn’t mean repairs have to take place before the sale can be completed. If you don’t want to accept a purchase agreement that is conditioned on the completion of repairs, that is your option.

Purchasing a Home Warranty for the Buyer

Buyers sometimes request that you as seller pay for a home warranty. A home warranty generally covers the buyer’s outlay for major defects for a year following purchase. Such a warranty will typically cost no more than $600, and again, the decision to purchase one is up to the party selling a home.

Major Repairs

In many cases, requested repairs will be relatively minor, so it’s often preferable to have them made to proceed without further wrangling. But (you can almost hear that fly buzzing louder) should requested repairs be more extensive, you’ll have to evaluate the cost against the sale price.

Whether to Complete a Repair

Your home might be your pride and joy, but it is important not to take requests for repairs personally. Selling a Wheatfield home is most successful when the seller first carefully examines the request, then makes a rational assessment based on what will produce the optimal outcome. If a next-best offer is on the table, its terms should be reexamined. You can also offer to proceed with the original purchase agreement but not agree to complete the repairs as requested. If the buyer likes your home and believes the price is reasonable, he or she may agree to proceed with the purchase as-is.

Whether or not you are concerned about potential repairs, if you are thinking of selling your home in Wheatfield this summer, contact us today for a complimentary evaluation!

A Wheatfield Mortgage Application Should Be Smooth Sailing

Everyone expects that finding and buying the right Wheatfield, NY home will take a good deal of attention and energy. After all, it’s as important a purchase as we ever make. But when you add in the potential that something on your mortgage application could bring everything to a screeching halt, that’s one detail that has the potential to trigger what could turn everything into a truly harrowing experience.

The average credit score in America is around 688. That might look like a respectably large number, yet it’s considered mediocre when it comes to mortgages. And the truth is that most Americans are blissfully unaware of what is going on with their credit reports most of the time…that is, until they’re presented with a Wheatfield mortgage application. Ideally, everybody should take a look at their report well before they are faced with a mortgage application—but if you’re one of the majority who hasn’t done so, there is no need to panic. You may still be able to deal with credit issues that threaten to delay your otherwise smooth transaction.

The most common issue that Wheatfield homebuyers come up against during the mortgage application process is one or more late payments that ding the final score. In most cases, these are small amounts that were likely forgotten and can be quickly cured. Schedule an immediate payment—and be sure to record the receipt. Once the bank sees that the account has been brought current, they will most often proceed.

Issues stemming from a stolen identity can be more severe and may take a bit more time and effort to straighten out. First, let the bank know that the charges on your report are not yours; then document the entire process of disputing the charges with the credit bureau and having them removed from your report. The downside is that this typically takes from 1 – 6 months to complete. In most cases, your bank will proceed—but will delay closing until you can furnish proof that the issues have been resolved.

In the event that you have late payments that you cannot afford to bring current, you may be able to make a settlement with the creditor that the bank will accept. The Catch-22 is that they will typically want you to pay off the debt completely. This is when it’s going to be necessary to have a candid discussion with your Wheatfield mortgage specialist: once you have made the situation clear, he or she will explain your best options.

If you haven’t taken a recent look at your credit report, now is the time to do so. You don’t have to wait until you’re filling out a mortgage application to benefit from identifying potential credit issues…in fact, keeping tabs on your score can pay off in every situation where credit comes into play!

Questions? We’re happy to refer you to one of our great Wheatfield NY mortgage brokers even before you get your house hunt started. Call us!

Wheatfield New Home Market Reflects Shifting U.S. Patterns

For decades, the three-bedroom house has been a cornerstone of the American dream. Now, as with the rest of the nation, Wheatfield’s real estate profile for new single family homes seems to be changing. And last year we may well have reached a turning point in the national new home market: now four bedrooms seems to have become the new norm!

Last year, a full 48% of new homes—nearly half—were built with at least four bedrooms. That’s quite a jump when you compare it with just four years earlier: in 2009, the figure was 34%. We asked ourselves why the nation’s preferences would have undergone such a sizable shift. A little research revealed some likely answers—and some interesting history behind them.

The Rise of Bigger Homes

The footprint of the average new home built in the U.S. went Yeti in a very short time. In the late 1940s, Postwar America began producing single family homes on a massive scale—with an average size of about 750 square feet. As the economy expanded, so did house sizes until by 1973 the three-bedroom home dominated the new home market (Wheatfield included). By 2013, average new home sizes had reached 2,701 square feet according to the Census Bureau.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but at the same time the number of bedrooms was increasing, the size of the American household was heading in the opposite direction. The 3.6-person average of the 1940s had, by 2013, contracted to 2.58. That means the living space for each individual had grown by 80%!

House Sizes Shrink, Then Expand Again

In 2009, as a side-effect of the last decade’s real estate market downturn, single family home sizes had retreated by about 6%. But now the economy’s slow recovery has reversed the reversal. According to the most recent report from the National Association of Home Builders, the average size of a new home built in 2013 was 2607 square feet— a 300-square foot increase over just two years earlier.

Fewer New Buyers = Bigger Homes

One of the reasons for the new home market shift toward larger four-bedroom designs can be ascribed to a decrease in the number of first-time homebuyers. Largely due to previous tightening in lending criteria and rising mortgage rates (both trends have at least momentarily stalled in the Wheatfield new home market), the smaller homes favored by first-timers claimed a proportionately smaller chunk of the market.

It’s hard to avoid the general conclusion that what were once considered luxurious additions are effectively today’s norm. The en-suite bathrooms, two-car garages and even three-bedroom homes that would have been out of reach for most of the new home buyers of the past are practically standard fare in 2014. But another fact is that every Western New York area differs from every other. If this has you wondering how your home compares with what today’s buyers are looking for in your own neighborhood—why not give us a call?

Showing Your Wheatfield Home—Organization’s the Trick

When you’re selling your home, keeping it ready to show at a moment’s notice can sometimes make a major difference. In a perfect world, prospective buyers will always have time to schedule showings in advance—but exceptions do occur. That’s why experienced sellers know how to juggle living a normal life at the same time they are keeping their place ‘show-ready’ by calling on a few organizational tricks. They really aren’t all that difficult (but do take a commitment to stay organized). When you follow them, it makes showing your home in town a snap!

Supplies at the Ready:

The easiest way to stay on top of messes is to nail them when they start. Stock up on wipes and ready-to-use supplies (think pre-soaked wipes and erasers instead of rags, sprays and mops)—and stash them in key locations around the house. Between showings, you can even keep them in plain sight: it reminds you to wipe down surfaces after each use without making it a major project. Regular quick wipe-downs will keep your home shiny and inviting—even when showing your Wheatfield home comes as a last-minute surprise.

Simplify Storage

Place a few attractive bins and storage ottomans strategically in rooms that are prone to clutter (playrooms, bedrooms and dens). Encourage everyone to make a habit of throwing the odds and ends into them before the end of the day, and removing things only as they are needed. Showing your home on a dime becomes a no-brainer when the clutter lives out of sight.

Start Packing

If you haven’t already started packing, get going early. Pack up everything you don’t use regularly—like those shelves of books you haven’t touched in years. And deal with the off-season wardrobe: when you’re actively showing your home in Wheatfield NY this spring or summer, those fall and winter items should be headed into storage.

Make Small Adjustments

This idea is optional—but it really works! Encourage everyone to remove their shoes at the front door. Place a decorative mat at the entrance (and include a coat rack if the weather calls for it). This temporary house rule works to get everyone in on the act, and subtly helps keep them conscious that showing your home is partly everyone’s responsibility. It’s also a reminder to keep packages and bags from building up near those doorways.

When showing your Wheatfield, NY home is part of a well-planned and systematic project, just a few of these relatively minor adjustments can keep you and your family cool and collected—and make even last-minute showings a breeze. Our clients make the rules for what the minimum heads-up time for scheduling a showing will be, and we stick to it. But when they are able to create an environment when the odd last-minute showing is a no-stress possibility, it does seem to have a way of increasing the odds that the latest showing…becomes the last!

Wheatfield Home Sellers: Adapt to Millennial Real Estate Preferences

The generation born between the early 80s and just after the turn of the century (aka Millennials) have been slower to take the first steps toward home ownership than previous generations. That’s likely one of the byproducts of the cultural and economic shifts which have combined to make real estate less affordable (and proportionately less appealing). While there is no denying that lately it’s been a difficult environment for many Millennials to jump into the real estate market in Wheatfield, there are still plenty of young people who would like to buy a home.

But what makes Wheatfield real estate attractive to these younger prospects can be a lot different than what has traditionally drawn previous generations of buyers. And with fewer motivated prospects in this younger generation, if you will be selling your own Wheatfield NY property anytime soon, you should have your antennae up for how to include them in with your other potential buyers.

It’s no secret that Millennials devote a disproportionate amount of their time in the online world. In 2013, the number of hours Millennials spent on the Internet increased by 25% to nearly 25 hours per week. In short, homes with poor wireless and mobile connections will be a difficult sell to millennial buyers. If your current connection is slow, research other providers which will be available for a new buyer. Just the fact that such options are available can be enough to remove what could potentially block a sale.

Millennial buyers (well, most buyers, actually) don’t like cluttered homes—especially those littered with outdated furniture: it’s just too much of a leap to picture how they could make their own lifestyle fit into such a space. According to real estate website Homegain, sellers who invest just $500 in home staging can be expected to reap an average 343% on that investment.

Millennials work from home in greater numbers than ever before—so presenting one of your rooms as a home office can create an appealing environment. Even if a room is currently being used for other purposes, having a wireless device working in a corner will usually be enough of a cue to point out its home office potential. If no dedicated room is available, staging a corner in the kitchen as a mobile docking/work station can also do the trick.

Millennials aren’t just refraining from purchasing homes—they’re also avoiding car purchases in the same numbers. The percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds with driver’s licenses has been dropping since 1997 (it’s now under 70% for the first time since the early 60’s). Walkability is the term describing how easy or difficult it is to walk to work, public transportation, stores, parks and other facilities. If this factor is a real estate plus for your home, create a bullet point list of approximate times or distance to local features that are closest to your property. Five or six should be enough (even if some are just a pond or small local market!)

There is a convincing amount of evidence indicating Millennials are simply delaying real estate purchases—rather than planning to skip home ownership altogether. As the economy slowly improves, we expect greater numbers of younger buyers to enter town’s real estate market. For now, if you will be listing your property in town this spring or summer, it’s important to keep all potential client pools in mind. We’re here to help cover all the bases—call us today if you want get going with a marketing plan designed to sell!

Spring is Prime Time to List a Wheatfield Vacation Home

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Before April 15<sup>th</sup> came and went, perhaps you and your accountant had one of those occasional chats about your assets and liabilities. If owning your vacation home in Wheatfield has resulted in more taxes or less financial gain than you’d planned for—or if you and your family just don’t use the place as often as you used to–this spring or summer is a good time to consider selling. If you have lost some love for your extra house, but don’t want to go through the rigmarole of renting it out season-to-season, the selling alternative could be at hand.

USA Today recently featured an article headlined, “How to Sell Vacation Property.” In it, author Jennifer Eblin pointed out, “Your real estate agent should understand that selling a vacation property is different from selling any other piece of property…and have intimate knowledge of the surrounding area.”

That kind of experience is doubly helpful when it comes from dealing with vacation homes similar to your own. If your home-away-from-home is in a condominium community, a Realtor<sup>®</sup> who is  familiar with the community is most likely to have intimate knowledge of price points, selling points—and deal breakers that can sometimes make all the difference for your own sale.

Just as important as teaming with the right real estate agent is making sure the property is in top condition. Few Wheatfield NY vacation home buyers will be looking for a “fixer-upper”—so plan to spruce up the house before it goes on the market. Make small repairs, repaint dull or off-color walls, and depersonalize as much as possible. Picture what drew you to the property back when you bought it: present that same space and feeling to the new owners.

In almost every case, right about now is a highly favorable time to list a Wheatfield, NY vacation home. This is the season when people are looking forward to the warmer months and wishing they had a great place of their own in which to enjoy them. With winter still fresh in people’s minds, a well-priced Wheatfield vacation home listing stands the best chance of drawing a crowd.

The bottom line is that selling a vacation home in Wheatfield is about selling an idea—whether it’s a rustic escape or a luxurious retreat from the daily grind. Make sure your property speaks that language, and we’ll be standing by–ready to do the rest!

Wheatfield Mortgage Rates May Rise—But You Can Still Save!

Mortgage rates may rise or fall this spring (lately they seem to be falling!)—but that needn’t prevent you from saving even more money when it’s time to structure your own Wheatfield mortgage. The underpublicized fact is that mortgage rates are only one of the factors that affect how much you wind up paying. No matter what happens to mortgage rates in 2014, here are some keys to making mortgage decisions that result in significant savings:

Tailor the term

Evaluate your budget and see whether it is possible to increase the amount of your monthly payment. By increasing monthly repayments, you reduce the term of your Wheatfield mortgage. Over the course of the loan, this can save tens of thousands of dollars.

Refinance for five years instead of two

The interest you pay on a refi loan isn’t the only cost. The origination and other fees can easily end up costing four figures. It’s a numbers game: simply calculate the anticipated savings from refinancing, then subtract the amount of the fees. The difference tells you your net savings…and demonstrates why one of the easiest ways to grow those savings is to refinance less frequently.

Change to biweekly

Changing to biweekly payments instead of monthly payment can save you more than small change. The reason is on the calendar: there are 52 weeks in a year, but only 12 months. If you make 26 1/2 payments every year, that equates to 13 monthly payments. It’s a stealthy way to make an additional month’s payment every year without really noticing it. When choosing a loan, opt for one where the bank allows you to choose biweekly payments (as long as they don’t want to charge an additional fee). Also request that the extra payments be deducted from the principle.

Improve your credit score

On this count, every mortgage guru sounds like a broken record. Although the average quoted mortgage rate may rise or fall, that’s not necessarily the rate that you pay. Your FICO score is the primary determinant of your Wheatfield NY mortgage rate. The difference between a good FICO score and a bad one can be significant, so get a copy of your credit card record and challenge any damaging inaccuracies. Lenders want to see a long history of paying on time with a mixed use of credit.

Mortgage rates in Wheatfield will almost certainly increase in the future because they’re still well under historical averages. But there are plenty of steps you can take to cut thousands of dollars from your ultimate Wheatfield mortgage costs. And if you are ready to buy a house in Wheatfield this spring, contact us today—We’re ready to show you what’s coming up at your price point!

Taking Advantage of Wheatfield Commercial Property Opportunities

This year, it looks as if the busy spring real estate season extends beyond the residential arena. Latest reports show commercial property sales on the rise throughout the nation—and in volumes that make it one of the main contributors to the overall economic upturn.

The most reliable data comes from the National Association of Realtors®, whose latest quarterly survey shows year-over-year sales increasing a full 11% (with prices rising 4%). It’s an encouraging backdrop for businesspeople and individual investors who are gauging the opportunities in today’s Wheatfield commercial property market. Despite the vagaries of the tax and political climate (it is an election year, after all), with rental rates increasing and leasing activity up across the nation, the market does invite a closer look by anyone considering a fresh entry into Wheatfield’s commercial property arena.

While working with a buyer’s agent to find and purchase a Wheatfield commercial property isn’t an absolute essential, it certainly can be more efficient to have professional assistance and guidance throughout the process. When you choose a Realtor who has specifically commercial experience in the Wheatfield area, you make the same kind of choice as when you seek expert help in any other area of your business or personal endeavors—an expert’s insight can be priceless!

Whether you are buying or selling a commercial property, it’s also important to avoid fixating on short-term impacts. Today’s cash flow may be your leading financial factor, but balancing with the long-term impacts is a juggling act worth mastering. Buying or selling a commercial property has long term impacts that spread out well beyond this year’s bottom line. Don’t hesitate to discuss your current business model with your accountant or tax professional. They are sure to have concrete ideas about potential impacts that will be quite real five and ten years from now. The right commercial property in Wheatfield NY will be one that is able to accommodate your needs both now and into the future.

With the right agent and clear-cut financial goals, your search for a Wheatfield, NY commercial property can result in the best financial move you make this year—or for many years to come.If you’re weighing the value of purchasing a commercial property or placing your own for sale, call us to open the discussion about the opportunities in today’s market.

Remodel or New Home in Wheatfield? The Pros and Cons are Significant

Last week’s Rasmussen Reports survey reported that the majority (52%) of Americans consider their home to be a family’s best investment at the same time that the number of people who are choosing to remodel their home is on the rise. According to the Houzz & Home survey, the number of people who planned improvement projects rose a dynamic 12 % last year. Of those, 40% wanted to remodel their home or build an addition.

While remodeling may be becoming more popular, there are still plenty of advantages to the alternative route: purchasing a new home in Wheatfield. Here are some of the pros and cons of each route:

    • Before you start your remodeling project you should take a personal inventory. Do you have the experience and skills to manage the project…and is the prospect appealing? Remodeling your home will require that you deal directly either with tradesmen, contractors, architects— or the whole bunch! It may be the greatest advantage to purchasing a new Wheatfield NY home: getting the additional space and amenities without the work.

 

  • The loss of privacy during a remodeling project is not something to be underestimated. Depending upon the scope of the project, it may be months before the dust settles and you have the house to yourself again. There is also the inconvenience of not having access to multiple areas of your home while work is proceeding

 

 

  • For most of us, there really is no place like home. If you’re like us, even when you’ve been on a terrific vacation, eventually you begin to yearn for the comfort and familiarity of your good old home base. Although one or two irksome features of your current house make moving seem like a no-brainer…before you commit to a move, be sure that you really want to leave. History, a sense of community, and the roots you’ve established in your current neighborhood are all reasons to opt for a remodel rather than a new home.

 

 

  • Selling your existing home and buying a new Wheatfield home is a sizable financial commitment. Moving costs, transaction fees, commissions and taxes are part of the equation to weigh against remodeling costs. A sharp pencil is definitely in order before the dollars and cents can be realistically reckoned—particularly if your finances have improved, and the remodel is meant to bring your home up to an improved standard of living.

The danger lies in overcapitalizing a property in a location where the resale won’t support the expense. Even a great home will still fetch a price that’s relative to other properties in the neighborhood, obliterating the wished-for ‘investment’ value of extensive remodeling.

While it’s important to be informed about the factual tradeoffs of your decision, it’s likely the end choice will also be influenced by what just feels right—as it should be. Whether you’re considering a remodel or a purchase, if you’d like to run some numbers, call us today for a confidential price evaluation!

First-Time Home Buyers in Wheatfield Have a Familiar Question

Wheatfield NY first-time home buyers in 2014 are faced with a question that hasn’t changed for generations: is it more practical to buy right now, or to continue to rent?

Over the past few years, buying has been the easy choice. Nationally, in 2013 it cost 35% less to own a home than to rent according to that year’s study by real estate website Trulia. That despite rising house prices and mortgage rates. But that was last year, and the experts have been pretty unanimous in predicting that interest rates will continue to rise—ending up somewhere near 5.5% by 2014’s end (per the National Association of REALTORS®).

In the face of higher interest rates and house price tags, will 2014 be the year when renting becomes more affordable than buying?

While first-time home buyers in Wheatfield are faced with increasing house prices and mortgage rates, renters also find another national trend: higher rents. Rents have been on the rise for the past few years, with continued increases expected throughout 2014. According to Axiometrics, the folks with the latest data, apartment rents are on course to rise by 3.04% in 2014. Research firm Reis puts the expected rise at 3.15%— and both say the causes are the potent combination of tight supply and rising demand. Whenever the economy improves, each incremental gain puts even more pressure on rents—which acts as an offset to any financial benefits of renting versus owning.

Where does that leave our typical Wheatfield, NY first-time home buyers? Most recently, national averages show it is still about 21% cheaper to own rather than rent. According to the Trulia study, by fall of last year, the earliest tipping point at which it would have become more expensive to own rather than rent would have been expected to occur if interest rates hit 5.2%—but only in San Jose, California—and only if rents had remained fixed (which didn’t happen, even in San Jose). Nationally, out here in the real world, Trulia admitted, “mortgage rates will not tip the housing market in favor of renting over buying until rates hit 10.5%…”

Wheatfield first-time home buyers can be a bit more confident as they take in one more piece of information from the real world of April 2014 (no matter what the experts predicted): over the past few weeks, national mortgage interest rates have been edging down instead of rising! That may well change direction again (probably will), but for now at least, we have to say that it’s a pretty clear call in the spring of 2014: time to get pre-qualified!

That’s the first-time home buyers’ Step One…it also happens to be an ideal time to give us a call!

Some Wheatfield Jumbo Mortgages Go Mini

We call them oxymorons: terms with built-in contradictions. George Carlin made fun of ‘jumbo shrimp’; Jerry Seinfeld pointed out the unlikelihood of anything being ‘found missing’ or ‘clearly misunderstood.’

But for some Wheatfield NY homebuyers, there is more reason to smile than laugh over the new popularity of a formerly miniscule part of the home loan market: what I call ‘mini jumbo’ mortgages.

That’s not the name Wall Street Journal writer Lisa Selin Davis used in a fascinating article in their Mansion section earlier this month. She called them ‘starter jumbo’ loans in a nod to their popularity among younger, upwardly-mobile borrowers. But whether you call them that, mini jumbo mortgages, or just jumbo mortgages, Wheatfield, NY homebuyers may well find increasing availability for home loans above the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae limits—but still under $1 million.

“Loans at the lower end of the jumbo market are on the rise,” writes Davis, “…driven…primarily [by] the rebounding real-estate market.” Although the issuing of higher-ticket jumbo loans has been on a slight decline since the start of the year, those between $417,000 and $625,000 have jumped from 19% of jumbo loans in 2009 to a full 29% last year.

Corelogic echoes the theme, pointing to the fact that sales of homes between $800,000 and $1 million rose more than 32% from 2012 to 2013. “It’s the safest and most popular part of the market,” according to the publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance; pointing to their appeal both to buyers and lenders.

Lenders see mini jumbo mortgages as a good way to attract new borrowers. Bank of America, who reports that 75% of its jumbo loans were under the million dollar mark, recently lowered its minimum down payment requirement from 20% to 15% to attract such loans.

And for borrowers, the interest payments that accompany big ticket (but not too big ticket) jumbo mortgages can maximize the tax advantages of home ownership. For some Wheatfield, NY jumbo mortgage candidates—especially those who don’t intend to stay in the same home for 30 years—jumbo mortgages can make irrefutable financial sense. Whether your own plans include regular, mini jumbo, or traditionally-defined jumbo mortgages, the first step is finding the right property…which is your cue to give us a call!

What You Should do if Your Wheatfield NY Home Won’t Sell

Even in today’s Wheatfield real estate market there are still a surprising number of homes that have been on the market for a few months with no obvious signs of activity. If your Wheatfield, NY home has been on the market for a while without any serious offers, it’s probably time to take another look at your strategy and your home to make it more attractive to buyers:

1. Review your asking price
The number one reason we see Wheatfield, NY homes sit on the market is because of listing price. If your home is priced above the market the likelihood of selling it are greatly reduced. Your Realtor® should have provided you with a list of comparable recent home sales in your area along with a professional analysis to figure out the proper selling price (if your Realtor didn’t provide this, contact us and we’ll send you one).

Drive by the homes on the comparable sales list your Realtor provides to get a feel for what’s been selling.
• Are those homes really comparable to your home?
• Are they in the same condition as your home?
• Are the schools of the same quality as the schools in your neighborhood?
Pay particular attention to any differences (or in any variances in HOA or Mello Roos) as they can significantly impact your home’s value versus the Wheatfield marketplace. A good comparative market analysis will help you figure out the RIGHT listing price for your home.

2. Take a video of your home
Shoot a video of your Wheatfield home both outside and inside. Then watch the video (preferably on a computer or larger screen) objectively as if you were a potential home buyer. What do you see? Look for negative elements such as weeds growing in the yard, dirty carpets, or a cluttered interior. It’s important to notice negative elements you can quickly fix to make your home more appealing to buyers. It may surprise you to see what your home looks like when viewed on camera.

3. Leave during your home’s open house or showings
It is vitally important that you leave the house when buyers are touring your home. Potential buyers will not feel comfortable looking in closets or in drawers with you standing over their shoulder. They will also be less likely to express their true opinion about your home. Therefore, do everything you can to be scarce during showings. Additionally, if you have pets, take them with you along with items like food bowls and litter boxes. The last thing you want is for potential buyers to contend with your pet pitbull or the odors coming from a litterbox.
4. Hold an open house on a weeknight
While most buyers in the market for a Wheatfield home are accustomed to attending open houses on weekends, there are those for whom weekends just don’t work. By holding an open house on a weeknight you face less competition than on a weekend and may draw in buyers who normally would not have seen your home.
5. Consider staging your home
To stage a home simply you can just remove all personal items, add neutral window coverings, paint in neutral colors, and take down most decorations (most homes are over-cluttered). Ask your Realtor for advice. For example, you may love zebra print and red accents; however, that’s not going to appeal to most buyers. Loud designs and bold colors can easily detract from the positive aspects of a home. If you feel you can handle the staging project yourself, have at it. However, if the process of staging your home seems overwhelming there are companies that can professionally stage your Wheatfield NY home for you. Contact us for a reputable referral.
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If you find yourself in a position where your house just won’t sell, DO NOT just sit and wait for things to change. Take action before market conditions change! Feel free to give us a ring if you’d like some advice.

Considerations When Buying a Wheatfield,NY Condo or Townhouse

The lifestyle of condo or townhome living is a great fit for people in all walks of life. Lower prices for Wheatfield, NY condos and townhomes when compared to single family residences enable first time home buyers to affordable them. Price and ease of social interaction appeal to those who are separated or divorced. Boomers wishing to downsize, but don’t wish to move to a “senior-only” community find them most desirable.

If you think that condo or townhome living is possibly for you it’s important to keep in mind that there’s a lot more to consider than just the condition of the particular unit itself. Take a look around the development and make a mental note of these important items:

  1. Are the common grounds well maintained?
  2. Are the exteriors of the buildings in states of disrepair or are they updated?
  3. Do the residents of certain sections seem to have more pride of ownership than others?
  4. If properties for sale back up to the main road, what kind of a buffer has the association provided to block out the noise from traffic?

 

Talk to residents about the positives and negatives of living there (especially the negatives). Remember, you’re not only buying a home, but you’re also buying into the community as a whole.

Here are things you’ll need to know about the community before you buy:

Are there any pending lawsuits or liens against the association?
Accidents can happen at any time. This is why associations have insurance. But if an association has a lawsuit pending the bank may not lend you the money to buy in that development until the lawsuit is settled. Additionally a lawsuit could put the association into fiscal bind, and that will significantly impact resale value.

What percentage of the units are investor-owned?
Banks have a strict limit on the number of investor-owned units that they like to see in a condo or townhouse development. Usually this number is around 30%. If the number of investor-owned units is close to this number (or higher) you might be better off considering another development. The reason for this is that banks negatively view a large population of renters in a community (the theory being that renters don’t take care of a property as well as owners and if the number of renters hits a tipping point, it will bring down property values across the community).

Is the Association fiscally sound?
An association that is financially struggling to keep up with the maintenance and needed improvements will begin to show. It may have a pool, but can’t afford to open it. It could have tennis courts but they are in such disrepair they cannot be used. If you are looking in a development after the pool and/or clubhouse are closed, you need to find out if these things were in fact open and operating well during the summer season. All of these factors contribute not only to your enjoyment of living in a community, but will affect your return on investment when you wish to sell. A development that has not been carefully maintained lowers everyone’s property value.

Read the Association Rules and Regulations
One item that many buyers forget to review before purchasing a Wheatfield, NY townhome or condo is the Association’s Rules and Regulations. Here are some examples that could impact your life:

  • Pets – May or may not be permitted. If dogs are allowed there may be a restriction on size.
  • Parking – Trucks or vans may not be permitted to park in the development. If you have one, you may have to have alternate arrangements to park somewhere else. Also in general is the parking situation a free for all or are there assigned parking spaces.
  • BBQ Grills – Many do not permit gas or charcoal grilling.
  • Gardening – You may or may not be permitted to plant flowers, shrubs or other vegetation.
  • Decks or Patios – You may or may not be permitted to add one or the other.
  • Window Treatment Restrictions – Some associations require that all window treatments used have white liners to give the exteriors a uniform appearance.

 

The list could go on and on. While you may or may not agree, with them, they are the rules and you need to decide if you can live by them. Successful associations in Wheatfield, NY have strict guidelines in place to help retain and improve the values of the homes within the development – but sometimes these rules can impact your ability to enjoy living in the development, which is why it’s imperative to learn all you can in advance.

Overall buying a condo or townhome can be an involved process and you’ll want to ensure you have the best possible real estate agent on your side to ensure there are no surprises. Give us a call, and we can find the ideal Wheatfield townhome or condo for you!

Credit Score Review Pays Off for Frugal Wheatfield, NY Homeowners

Your credit score will have a major impact when it comes to the cost you wind up paying for a Wheatfield, NY mortgage. A buyer with a high credit score of 750 or above will qualify for the most competitive interest rates available; but today’s tightened lending standards mean that some borrowers with scores under 600 may not qualify for a mortgage at all. And no matter what, a low credit score can mean paying an extra 3%-4% interest charge on every payment.

There is nothing permanent about a credit score. Wheatfield, NY homebuyers who realize its importance—and who take early steps to improve their own—can save literally thousands of dollars.

  1. You can’t improve your credit score until you know what you are working with. Your first step is to obtain your credit reports. They are available for free once a year from each of the three major reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
  2. The fastest way to improve your credit score is to correct any inaccuracies. Because this takes time – anywhere from 30 days to as long as six months, the earlier you begin the process, the better. To remove items that are incomplete or inaccurate, verify the correct information using the dispute procedure on the agency’s website. The creditor has 30 days in which to validate the debt; if the credit agency does not receive a response to your claim, they are required by law to remove the entry from your report. Remember that there are three major agencies, so an incorrect item may appear on all three— and all three need to be contacted.
  3. If you have an older credit card that you haven’t been using for a while, it’s a good idea not to cancel it; even to use it now and again, paying the balance in full. This will mean that the issuer keeps reporting information to the credit bureau, which can be valuable. A longer credit history improves your credit score.
  4. A low credit utilization ratio measures how much of your available credit you are using. In order to improve your credit score, keep your credit utilization ratio below 20%. One way to quickly improve a utilization score is to move credit card debt onto cards with higher limits. While this will not make a difference to the amount that you owe, it will alter individual cards’ credit utilization ratios.
  5. Consider a Personal Loan. If you have a family member or friend that you can borrow from, consider taking out a loan in order to pay down a portion of existing debt. By removing some of that debt, you can give your credit score a boost.
  6. Moving away from being measured as a poor credit risk has the biggest impact on whether a future mortgage is approved—and how much interest you wind up having to pay. Your credit score in Wheatfield really matters! If you would like an introduction to a mortgage broker to begin the conversation about the home loan your current credit score qualifies you for, contact us today.

 

Homeowners in Wheatfield, NY Hope to Match National Price Rises

2014 has already given an encouraging start for Wheatfield, NY homeowners who consider national price movements as the best pointers for what we can expect for local real estate. Already in February, median house prices were up 7.6% nationally year over year (that according to the US National Housing Trend Report). It followed a similar 8.3% increase in January. The question many Wheatfield, NY homeowners have is whether this upward movement can be sustained throughout 2014.

Two Years of Historically High Growth
If we look at the historical record, values normally rise somewhere in the area of 3% to 5% annually. But over the last couple of years, gains have been considerably higher. As measured by the Case-Schiller Index, property prices in the 20 largest U.S. cities have increased 21% since they bottomed out. Even considering the depth from which they started, that is still remarkable.

Factors Likely To Influence Home Prices
Among factors which could influence performance in the year ahead, one of the most prominent is the continuing historically low interest rates. According to the leading financial website Bankrate, as of this writing, the average no-point, 30-year fixed mortgage was edging downward again to 4.32%. That may be up from a year ago, but, by way of contrast, the long-term average for a 30-year mortgage is estimated to be 8.56%!
Even considering Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s stated intention to continue the Fed’s expansive monetary policy, most observers consider it all but inevitable that as the economy improves, quantitative easing will be cut back…pressuring interest rates to rise (and last month the Federal Reserve made a $10 billion cut in its economic stimulus program).
Two other factors likely to weigh heavily on future price moves are foreclosures and negative equity. As real estate prices increase, the number of Wheatfield, NY homeowners whose homes register negative equity will steadily decrease. An improving economy will also mean that foreclosure rates continue to decline.

Predictions for the Year Ahead

According to Zillow’s national Home Value Forecast, homeowners can expect residential real estate prices to rise 4.8% across the nation through December 2014. Economists also expects that inventory—the number of homes offered for sale—will increase as more sellers are encouraged by higher prices and new home construction ramps up.
All in all, it’s easy to see why overall expectations are for this to be a solid year for residential home price increases—even taking into account expectations for rises in interest rates and housing inventory. Exactly when is, of course, something that’s impossible to predict. While this year isn’t expected to duplicate the spectacular gains of the past two years, all indications are that it will wind up being another good year for homeowners in Wheatfield, NY.
In case the forecasts have you wondering what your home is now worth, why not contact us today to discuss your own home’s prospects in this spring’s active market?

When Your Wheatfield, NY Home Inspection Becomes Priority #1

Congrats! Your offer has been accepted and you are officially in escrow. Now what? Usually the first order of business is to arrange your Wheatfield, NY home inspection. When you were house hunting, you were weighing so many factors it was next to impossible to thoroughly examination of every nook and corner of every one of the serious contenders…in fact, it wasn’t necessary. But now that you’re moving forward to a purchase, you want to do more than kick the tires. It’s time to get under the hood!

Here is a taste of just some of the areas you and your inspector will be examining during your Wheatfield, NY home inspection:

Plumbing

You will be taking a close look at the tiles around the handles on the bath tub or shower. If they are a different color, it could indicate a plumbing problem. A look under the kitchen sink for stains beneath the pipes can also indicate leaks—something you’ll want to know more about from the seller.

Mold

HGTV’s home inspector Rick Yerger lists water as enemy #1. “Of the many homes I have inspected,” he says, “water damage to the structure has been the most damaging and costly, causing foundation problems, rot and the dreaded mold.” He recommends close examination of exterior grade for sloping (or draining) back toward the home; stucco issues where they’re applicable, and roofing materials.

Inspect the Yard

If there is a yard on the property, take the time to do a thorough walkover. Look at the condition of the shrubs, grass and flowers. Check the irrigation, the lighting. You should also look closely at the fencing and gating: they can be expensive to repair.

Electricity

Exposed wires can result in a house fire or other devastating damage. Open splice wire (where wire is conjoined using only electrical tape and/or wire connectors) is a common do-it-yourself mistake often seen in attics, garages, and crawlspaces. Any issues found with the wiring should be corrected ASAP.

These are only a few of the many areas your Wheatfield, NY home inspection will cover, so when you are scheduling the day, don’t make other appointments that might rush the process. Of course you hope that everything will be found to be flawless, and if only minor problems are uncovered, the seller may simply volunteer to correct them. But if the home inspection reveals that a significant amount of work will have to be done to bring it up to an acceptable standard, you and your agent will probably be submitting additional terms reflecting the requirements. As always, if you’re looking for that agent—the one you will want by your side throughout the entire home-buying process—We hope you’ll give us the call!

Wheatfield Rental Property Gains Make Selling Tempting

It’s one of the skills a successful Wheatfiel rental property investor needs to cultivate: if or when to sell. With property prices on the rise, some Wheatfield landlords may in fact be asking themselves whether now is the time to cash in. Especially for most everyone whose rental property investment was made during the last few years, it’s already been a profitable gambit. According to the Case Schiller Index, by last year’s close, property prices across the nation had risen at the fastest rate in the previous nine years.

But if—and then when—to sell a Wheatfield rental property can be a tough call. As a relatively illiquid investment, it takes a great deal more commitment than the decision to sell a stock or cash in a bond. But sometimes there are circumstances that can make the decision a little easier. For instance:

-Cash flow

One clear reason why you might choose to sell is if the rental property is losing money. The rental may have been vacant for too long, or the rent level may not have been sufficient to cover expenses. In many cases, other real estate investors will be willing to lose money in the short term on a property they believe will appreciate in the future. It’s also possible that a full-time rental property professional may be able to tap economies of scale that are not possible for every individual investor.

-Greener pastures

Your Wheatfield rental property may be doing fine—making money and showing substantial value growth—but now an unusually promising alternative investment has appeared. With the strong spring market, it may make sense to sell now to reinvest the profits elsewhere.

-Taxes

Everyone’s tax situation is different, and the tax environment is subject to change. Even if that weren’t the case, there are some years when personal finances mean that a sale would be a much better idea than others. As with any substantial financial decision, your accountant or other financial adviser will have the relevant input.

-“Landlorditis”

Being a landlord is not for everyone. Sometimes a professional property manager can alleviate nearly all the stress for an investor who doesn’t relish the vocation, but even then, there can be other chores: bookkeeping, manager management, a leak-through of tenant personality issues…that prompt a landlord to decide he or she would rather direct energy elsewhere. Opting for more passive forms of investment is always a possibility.

Wheatfield has already benefited from some of the fruits of the national real estate recovery – but that alone doesn’t answer whether this spring is an opportune time for you to consider selling your Wheatfield rental property. Call us today or use the contact form on this page for a comprehensive property evaluation—the key piece of information that will help you decide!

 

Keeping Wheatfield Real Estate Sales on Track

The slick, entertaining formats of HGTV’s many buying and selling programs makes for great entertainment – but, as anyone who has ever actually bought or sold a house knows, they tend to leave some key information on the cutting room floor. Sure, real estate sales in Wheatfield can in fact involve elements of creativity, presentation, personality, all of which make for interesting television viewing. But in real reality, successful real estate sales are largely based on contracts, disclosures, inspections, contingencies, and time. They may be less telegenic, but can be dramatic, especially when you’ve done everything in your power to make sure that a deal works out smoothly, only to be faced with last minute surprises that threaten to prevent you from closing (or cost you a bundle!).

 

Here are some of the major issues that can impede Wheatfield real estate sales—and how to prevent them from happening:

 

  • Not Weighing the Comps

When you are in the process of making a major decision, it’s natural to seek the opinions of the people who are closest to you. When it comes to real estate sales, however, personal opinions from well-intentioned non-professionals can create distractions that wind up doing more harm than good. In the realm of contracts and negotiations, it’s important to give weight to the opinions of experienced real estate pros. They know how to provide unbiased guidance based on comps and statistics rather than emotion.

  • Verbal Agreements

Whether you are selling or buying, it’s essential to get any agreements about repairs or updates in writing. Parties will often discuss repairs or credits and assume that a verbal agreement will suffice. Not true. Not only can a repair come back to haunt you later, but certain repairs left uncompleted can delay the close of escrow.

  • Last Minute Changes

Whether it’s taking out a loan on a new car or holding one final goodbye party at the house, last minute actions by buyers and sellers have an uncanny ability to hold up a deal. When you are in contract for a property, keep your eye on the prize: if you’re the seller, don’t do anything that increases the risk of damage to the house. If you’re the buyer, don’t make sudden changes in your financial life until you are the legal owner of that property.

 

Buying and selling property is more intricate than a 30-minute TV show, but the end of the episode should feature the same broad smiles and satisfied handshakes—particularly if you don’t let an innocent move derail the purchase. Real estate sales in Wheatfield, NY are our business; call us anytime or visit Great Lakes Real Estate!

 

Private Mortgage Insurance in Wheatfield Bridges Risk Gap

Many of Lewiston’s would-be first time home buyers are stopped short when they come up against the need to raise the initial deposit. But just because you don’t have a hefty down payment, it needn’t mean you can’t own your own home. You can still purchase a house with less than a 20% down payment if you are otherwise qualified—that is, if you take advantage of something called private mortgage insurance (“PMI”).

The reason there is a market for private mortgage insurance in Lewiston is because lenders face an increased risk when they issue a loan with a low down payment. The simple fact is that the less money a home buyer invests in a property, the greater the possibility that he or she will choose to simply walk away. Someone with 5% equity in a home has a lot less invested than had they plunked down 20%—so if anything goes wrong, it’s proportionately easier for them to just hand the keys to the bank. Mortgage insurance covers the lender in such a default.

The cost of private mortgage insurance in Lewiston comes in the form of monthly premiums in an amount set by the PMI issuer. The amount charged depends upon the loan-to-value ratio of the property, factored in with the borrower’s credit score. The insurer guarantees the difference between a 20% down payment and the amount put down by the borrower. For instance, if the borrower puts a 15% deposit on a $200,000 home, but then defaults, the PMI provider would cover the lender for $10,000—the difference between a standard 20% down payment (here that would have been $40,000) and the amount actually made as a down payment ($30,000).

The obligation to continue making PMI policy payments ends once the principal balance on the mortgage falls below 78%, since the borrower’s stake in the property will have risen to 22%—a touch above the 20% threshold. Borrowers can reach this benchmark early by choosing pay extra on their home’s principal balance or by making improvements that result in raising the value of the property: another way to improve the LTV. That route requires a request for PMI cancellation and borrower’s payment for an updated property appraisal (the appraiser will be named by the insurer).

For prospective buyers who are otherwise fully qualified — but for one reason or another can’t supply a 20% down payment — private mortgage insurance makes homeownership possible. No matter what your financial profile, starting the pre-qualification process is your first step. Contact us to get the ball rolling this spring!