Posts tagged ‘buyers’

July 23, 2013

Considering a Vacation Home?

vacation-homesPurchasing a vacation home can be very rewarding – both personally and financially! Many look at vacation homes for entertaining purposes, while others simply want a home-away-from-home for annual family trips, or even a home that can be passed from generation-to-generation.

Whatever your reason may be, there are several things to carefully consider before taking the plunge!

  1. Rent First – You’ve done research, perhaps even stayed in a vacation community that you are considering for your purchase. It is definitely a good idea to rent a home in the community before you buy! If you plan to visit year-round, you will want to rent in each season to get a true feel for the home and the area. A home during the summer can be very different than a home in the winter! Also consider whether there are activities close by that your family enjoys, shops for browsing, sites to see, and restaurants to visit!
  2. Consider the Rental Potential – Even if you decide not to rent the home while you own it, it is still a very good idea to consider the rental potential of the property. Homes that can be rented are more valuable. Should your personal situation change……….you will at least have the option to rent if necessary. There are also some significant tax advantages to renting your vacation home that you may want to consider.
  3. 5 Year Plan – Real estate is not a liquid investment. To get the most out of your investment, it is recommended that you keep your personal residence for at least 5 years. This should be doubled for vacation properties! Market downturns can be much harder on vacation homes than on primary residences. It is best to have a long-term horizon so you can ride out the ups and downs of the market.
  4. Location – Your best bet is to purchase a home near a major metropolitan region. More than 80% of vacation-home buyers also make their purchase within driving distance of their permanent residence. Being close allows a homeowner to use their second-home more frequently! Buying a property in an isolated, far-off area will significantly reduce your resale potential.
  5. Budget – When creating your budget, be sure to include the mortgage costs, as well as an estimate for taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance. You should set aside approximately 2% of the home’s value for maintenance. (Landscaping, a caretaker, repairs, painting, etc.) Be realistic! Set aside extra funds for “surprises” and don’t forget to include the cost of traveling to your vacation home!

10 Most Popular Towns in which to buy a Vacation Home (courtesy Trulia)

1. Ocean City, NJ
2. North Wildwood, NJ
3. Kissimmee, FL
4. Ocean City, MD
5. Marco Island, FL
6. Big Bear Lake, CA
7. Lake Arrowhead, CA
8. Panama City Beach, FL
9. Gatlinburg, TN
10. Cherry Grove Beach, SC

July 18, 2013

Prep Your Home for Vacation

img-prep-home-for-summerBefore you head out the door to your favorite summer vacation spot, take a few minutes to run through this checklist and prep your home before you leave; it could make your return just a little bit sweeter.

  • Light it up – the kitchen (usually in the rear of the home) is a favorite break-in spot.  Move a lamp into the kitchen and arm it with a timer that you can set to come on at random times.  Also illuminate the main exterior entrances of your home with outdoor timers as well.
  • Keep it Quiet – Don’t post pictures on Facebook until you are home and don’t change voicemail greetings to say that you are out of town.
  • Keep it Cool – Don’t turn off your homes AC, mold and mildew can grow in a few days with warm temps.  Instead set the thermostat to 82 Fahrenheit and your home will stay cool enough to prevent both.
  • Power it down – A power surge can damage small appliances or cause fires.  Unplug all items that are not plugged into a surge protector, such as a toaster and coffeemaker; and turn all surge protectors to off.
  • Flush it – Flush the toilets and leave the lid up (just this once) so you won’t come home to icky, stagnant water.
  • Clean it – Run the dishwasher to clean all dirty dishes.  Remove them and leave the door open.  This will allow the interior to dry completely and it won’t smell musty when you return.
  • Trim it – Prune tree branches that extend over your house, especially if they are dying or are dead.  Doing this will help prevent expensive damage if a storm hits while you are away.
  • Stop it – Have your mail held while you are gone and suspend your newspaper deliveries.
  • Lock it – Most burglars will use force to gain entry, but they often look first for open windows and doors.  Double check that all are locked (even on the 2nd story), replace any broken window panes, and bring in any hidden keys.
  • Arm it – Set the alarm and notify your security company that you will be away.  Give a relative or friend the security code, the company name, your itinerary, and your contact numbers just in case.  Also test your smoke alarms before you depart to make sure they work.
  • Get help with it – Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your home every other day if possible and to bring in any unexpected deliveries like a phone book or circulars.  Make sure you give them a key.

Taking time to prepare your home can help give you greater peace of mind while you travel.

Go on, relax and have fun!

Take a look at these Homeowner Survival Skills for more tips on taking care of your home.
Looking for a career as a Maryland or Pennsylvania Real Estate Agent? Visit our Real Estate Careers website for more information.

June 10, 2013

Live in Your Dream Home Forever.

dreamhomebanner

To most, the phrase dream home brings to mind a home filled with fantasy amenities, custom trims, top-of-the-line appliances, the latest in home technology, swimming pools, and much, much more.  For smart homeowners, it now means a home that you can live in forever!  A home that can accommodate you and your young family, through a hectic mid-life, and finally to coping with the physical limitations that can sometimes accompany getting older.

Universal design, sometimes called lifespan design, is a term used to describe this type of home design. This design combines the best of accessible, ergonomic, and green design.  It creates spaces that can be used by everyone and are also appealing to all.  It doesn’t stigmatize any particular group of users.  Let’s take a closer look at some of the specifics of universal design, breaking it down by rooms in your home.

Entry and General Living spaces

  • A 3’-wide gently sloping, no-step entry – allows entry for wheelchairs, strollers, walkers, etc.
  • Lever-handled Front Door – easier to grip and open
  • No changes in floor levels through main area of the home – increases safety, eliminates tripping
  • Pocket doors where possible – Provides privacy and gives sense of extra space
  • Handrails on both sides of staircases
  • Open, spacious floor plan with 5 ½’ hallways (4 ½ ft. standard)
  • Rocker panel light switches are easier to “flip”

Bedrooms / Baths

  • One bedroom and full bath located on main floor – Can serve as a study or office until later in life
  • Mirrors – placed to been seen from sitting or standing positions
  • No-slip flooring material in bathrooms
  • Curb-less shower prevents tripping and allows wheelchair access
  • Securely anchored grab bars in shower ensure safe mobility, can double as towel bars
  • Molded shower seat looks attractive, can be handy for children and seniors

Kitchen / Utility Room

  • Paddle-handle faucet – easier and more convenient to use
  • Pull-out work boards at varying heights to accommodate standing or sitting positions
  • Main floor laundry room
  • Small rolling cart for workspace and to eliminate unnecessary walking
  • D-shaped drawer pulls are easier to grasp and pull open

Mechanics

  • Keyless locks use a remote control or keypad that is user-friendly
  • Smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide alarms that provide both audible and visual signals
  • Circuit breaker panel on the main floor rather than basement or garage is easier to access
  • Universally designed appliance controls with obvious symbols and colors to help clarify written instructions
  • Switches and controls are placed at easy-to-use heights, more convenient to more people

Consider these design ideas when you are contemplating building a new home or buying your dream home, or even if you choose to remodel your current home.  A few simple design choices now can make life a lot easier later; for you, your children, aging parents, even house guests. 

May 2, 2013

Market Changes for 2013

marketchangeWith it looking like the real estate market is in recovery-mode, a lot of individuals are making the leap into buying or selling a home. The housing market is very different than it used to be; even as recently as six months ago. Read on to discover some of the ways it has changed since 2012 and what the changes may mean for you, as a buyer or seller.

  • Fewer Distressed-homes for Sale – With the mortgage crisis fading, so are the cheap deals for buyers. Some of this is due to a back-log in the processing of foreclosed homes. Other reasons include banks giving homeowners more opportunities to keep their homes, some are being auctioned as rentals, and finally a large number of homes are being sold off in portfolios to investors rather than being listed for sale to individual buyers. This is all good news for sellers who should see an increase in their neighborhood property values.
  • More New Construction – Due to lower interest rates and an upswing in hiring, the market is seeing more activity by builders. Many buyers are welcoming the chance to buy new and have it designed their way. However, the prices for new homes are also increasing. A greater supply of new homes in the future could help slow the pace of the increases.
  • Lack of Inventory – Rates are good, but the home selection is not. The supply is the lowest it has been since the fall of 2005. Many homeowners still cannot get a sale price high enough to cover their debt and provide enough money to put down on a move-up home. This should change during the year. A high demand, low interest rates, and slowly increasing home prices should prompt more sellers to list their homes. Word to the wise, if you find a desirable home, move quickly or someone else will!
  • Higher Home Prices – A slight improvement in the economy and lower interest rates are boosting buyer demand, decreasing the supply, and helping to raise prices. The past few months have shown a steady incline in the price of homes. The increases should be a bit more restrained this year, which is good news for buyers.
  • Luxury Home Sales Stumble – Due to the capital gains tax increase in January, a lot of luxury homeowners rushed to sell their homes before the hike. Due to this mass sell-off and home buyers taking advantage of it, a slowdown is expected on luxury home sales this year. High-end buyers will have less to choose from, but will also have less competition.
  • New Mortgage Rule – A new rule to protect buyers has been announced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Not effective until 2014, many lenders will be putting it into place this year. It will require buyers’ financial information to be supplied and verified, along with their debt-to-income ratio. Buyers will no longer be allowed to purchase homes they cannot afford. Lenders can no longer offer a “teaser” rate on mortgages to mask the true rate of the loan and Lenders must also ensure that the loan has no excessive points, fees, or “hidden” features where the principal amount increases.
  • Home-Equity Loans Make a Come-back – These rates have fallen as well, allowing homeowners to do some long over-due remodeling. Gradually, lenders are becoming more willing to do these types of loans with the increase in home value; giving current homeowners more financing options.
  • Rates Could Rise – After reaching record lows, rates are expected to increase slightly in 2013. Costs associated with certain types of loans may also see an increase. These small changes are not expected to deter buyers.

After years of bad news, the future of real estate is finally starting to look a little brighter!!

April 15, 2013

Q1 Consumer Outlook Survey (Infographic)

Consumer confidence in real estate and home prices reaches a year-long high. Buyers and sellers are motivated entering the spring buying season.

q1-info-graphic2013

Want more information on today’s real estate market? Contact a Prudential Homesale Real Estate Agent today.

February 6, 2013

Why use a Realtor to buy your next home??

 

February 2013 IOV - Ecard

 

Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in a lifetime. Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it is worth using a real estate professional.

 Determining price range – By providing some basic information about your financial status (income, savings, debt, etc.), a Realtor can help you determine the price range for your home and refer you to a lender that is best qualified to assist you.

 Finding the right fit – A Realtor has access to more resources than average individuals and can help locate the property that is the best fit for you, whether actively listed on the market or not.

 Extra Information – In addition to finding the right home, a Realtor can provide other types of valuable information that may be critical to your decision; information on zoning, schools, utilities, etc. These items can be important in determining a home’s future resale value and if a home has the environment you desire.

 Negotiations – Real estate contracts involve a myriad of factors; more than just price. You may need to consider financing, date of possession, and the inclusion of repairs, furniture, or equipment. An agreement should also provide enough time to complete inspections of the property before you become bound to the purchase. Your agent can advise you on all of these items.

 Resources and support – If your contract includes inspections for pests, structure stability, roof condition, asbestos or others; a Realtor can suggest responsible professionals to do most of these and provide written reports. You will also want to see a report on the title of the property; a Realtor can help you interpret this document and clarify things like property lines, rights of access, etc.

 Financing – There are so many options; a qualified Realtor will be able to explain them and help you decide the best terms for your budget.

 Closing – A Realtor will guide you step-by-step through the process, making sure it is process is as smooth as possible.

Contact one of our real estate professionals today to help you find your next home!

 

October 15, 2012

PrudentialHomesale.com’s Web Stats

We take pride in our efforts to expand our online exposure to help people achieve their dreams of homeownership.  These are some stats for our web traffic from January – June 2012 to PrudentialHomesale.com, our cutting-edge real estate website that helps home buyers and sellers through all aspects of the real estate transaction.

May 21, 2012

Selling Your Home in the Summer…

  1. Create Curb Appeal
    Mow your lawn twice a week, trim the bushes, plant flowers, scatter mulch.  Sweep your sidewalk or porch and create a welcoming entrance.
  2. Decorate with Summer Accents
    Open your blinds to let in the summer sun and bring the light inside.  Use summer shades for rugs, accent pillows, table runners, and towels.
  3. Beat the Heat
    Avoid having a hot room by keeping the air moving with fans.  Keep your AC turned down so it is cooler inside so buyers don’t want to go back outside.  Supply a decorative ice bucket with bottled water for guests.
  4. Use Summer Scents
    Instead of overdoing it with too many air fresheners, cut fresh flowers and use them for display.
  5. Liven up the Outdoors
    Power wash your deck, take off the grill cover, place your cushions the outdoor furniture, and set the mood for summer entertainment.

Visit http://PrudentialHomesale.com for all your real estate needs

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