7 Ways to Boost Your House’s Value

Renovating your home is exciting but it does come with a few surprises and overlooked expenses. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty wants to give you the opportunity to complete your dream renovation, CLICK HERE to find out more information on the BHHS $50,000 HGTV Fixer Upper Sweepstakes. You have until June 15th to enter. In the meantime, here are some ideas on how to increase the value of your home!

May IOV ECard

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

7 Ways to Boost Your House’s Value

It’s Time to Spring Ahead

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It is almost that time of year to “spring ahead” and to enjoy an extra hour of daylight each day!  Mark your calendar and get set to change your clocks this Sunday, March 8, 2015.  Daylight Saving Time (DST) officially begins at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday.  DST is observed in most of the United States (except AZ, HI, PR, and a few other US territories) as a way to conserve energy.  In order to avoid confusion or possibly forgetting, it is recommended that you set your clocks ahead one hour before going to bed on Saturday night.

DST is a great time to get into the habit of taking care of some very important items around your home. 

Here are a few great suggestions:

• Change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.

• Replace your smoke detector if it is more than 10 years old
• Replace your carbon monoxide alarm if it is more than 5 years old

• Check around your home for any hazardous materials that need to be discarded…make sure you handle their disposal properly.

• Check your medicine cabinet for out-of-date medications and discard them.  This applies to over-the-counter medications also!  Some can cause serious problems if you use them after the expiration date.

• Check the contents of your home emergency kit.  Replace any item that is outdated or needs to be replenished…don’t forget to replace old batteries.  If you don’t have a kit, this would be a great time to put one together.

• Check the contents of your car emergency kit too!

• Practice and review fire escape routes and family disaster plans.

• Reprogram your thermostat if applicable; check the filter on your furnace while you are thinking about it.

• Check all the lights and signals on your car and/or bike.

• Now is also a great time to think about those annual/semi-annual medical exams, vaccinations, dental visits, or other appointments you may have forgotten for you, your family, and pets.

Daylight Saving Time will end at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of November…begin making it a habit to run through these checks twice a year!  It will help make you and your family safer and more prepared!

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advise and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,000 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium.  Pennsylvania real estate offices include York,LancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, andSchuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

It’s Time to Spring Ahead

5 REMINDERS FOR HOMEOWNERS

March IOV Flier

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advise and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,000 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium.  Pennsylvania real estate offices include York, LancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

5 REMINDERS FOR HOMEOWNERS

Adjusting Pets to Your New Home

Moving to a new home can be stressful for every member of the family, including the Brown Lab Ballbeloved family pets.  Don’t forget about their wants and needs during this hectic time, it can be rough on them too.

Transitioning to new surroundings is difficult for many pets.  The stress and worry can cause out of character behavior, as well as lowered immune responses.  Here are a few suggestions to help keep them happy and healthy!

  • Keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible.  Be consistent with feedings, walks, playtime, and bedtime.  Keep accommodations consistent; if your dog is used to using a doggy door, install one in your new home right away.  If your cat likes outdoor time, arrange for it, using a leash initially for safety and to prevent him from running away.
  • If you will be traveling long distances with your pet, plan on making frequent stops so they can stretch, eat, and for bathroom breaks.  Confirm that hotels you will be staying in allow pets.  Make sure they are secured safely in your vehicle using either crates or restraining harnesses.  Practice on short trips, before moving day, to help them become familiar with traveling in the car if they aren’t accustomed to it.  For fish or smaller pets, visit a local pet store for suggestions on transporting them.
  • Bring along favorites; this is not a good time to introduce new items.  Bring your pet’s favorite bed, toys, food and water dishes, treats, and other familiar items.  Put them in places that are similar to your previous home.  This helps your pet feel more in control and at home more quickly.
  • If you are moving out of the area, visit your Vet to make sure your pet is current with all vaccines and treatments, to refill prescriptions, and maybe even consider micro-chipping your pet.  Moving is a common time for pets to get lost.  Obtain an updated copy of your pet’s medical records as well.  Since your Vet is familiar with your pet, ask for their advice on making this move easier.
  • Get a new pet ID tag as soon as you know your new address and phone number.  This improves your pet’s chances of getting back home if they take off.  Do this before traveling should they decide to wander off at a rest stop.  Having a recent photo of your pet is also a good idea.
  • Be patient while your pet sniffs around their new digs.  Let them explore.  If they decide to hide for a little while, this is ok, as long as they know where the litter box or doggy door is located.  Their behavior may change for a little while, including eating, barking, pacing, or being protective.  They will need time to adjust, just as you do.  If bad behavior persists, talk to a professional.
  • Find a dog park, local veterinarian, and other pet resources in your new hometown to aid in the transition.

Be sure you give your pet the attention they are used to and maybe even a little extra during this tough time!

Moving in to or out of Maryland or Pennsylvania? Take a look at our online relocation guides.

Central Pennsylvania Relocation Guide
Berks / Schuylkill Haven Pennsylvania Relocation Guide

Baltimore Maryland Relocation Guide

Metro DC Relocation Guide

Adjusting Pets to Your New Home

How to Prepare for Selling in the Spring Market

If you are planning on putting your home on the market, don’t wait around for the April showers to bring May flowers before you get ready to sell. Preparing a few months in advance allows for an easier selling experience. Spring is an extremely busy season for real estate; make sure you stay ahead of the crowd by being proactive now.

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Remove the Clutter

Model homes and staged open houses have something in common; they are both clutter free. Even though everyone has clutter, when buyers walk through a home they want to be able to envision themselves living there with their own things. That is why it is extremely important to keep your house as neat as possible once your home is on the market. A simple way to make this task easier is to decrease the current amount of clutter you have now. For example, pack away items that are collecting dust and knick-knacks that are barely used.

Break out the Cardboard and Tape

Even though you might not be moving for a few months, you will eventually have to, so you might as well get a head start on the process. You don’t have to pack away your entire house, organize items in your storage closets, basements…etc., and determine what you want to sell, toss and keep. Once you box up these items, certain spaces/rooms will look larger and more organized when it comes time to show your house.

Improve Your Home

You should consider minor repairs and improvements that will give your home a fresh look for prospective buyers. Repair little things such as replacing the caulk/grout in your bathroom, old doorknobs, doorbell, outdated fans and light fixtures. Even painting your front door and trim will add curb appeal to your home.

Interview a Real Estate Agent

When choosing a Real Estate Agent to represent your home, your decision should be based on recommendations, experience, compatibility, trust and instinct. Using the right listing agent will make a significance difference in how quickly your house is on the market. Ask your friends to recommend their previous Realtors and interview agents to see which one is the right fit for selling the type of home you live in; price range and location.

If you are planning on selling your home now or in the next few months, then contact your local Homesale Agent for buyer/seller help. For more real estate information, please visit our Homesale website.

How to Prepare for Selling in the Spring Market

Closing the door on 2014

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Yesterday, S&P Dow Jones Indices released the latest results for the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Indices. The index tracks home prices nationwide and in 20 major cities.

There are two composites conducted; 10-City and 20-City. Both of the composites saw year-over-year declines in October compared to September. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded prices grew 4.6% in October 2014 compared to October 2013. Although this is the slowest paced price growth since September 2012, many economists say it is healthier for buyers and sellers than the aggressive growth (double-digit) growth last year at this time.

From September to October housing prices scantily climbed to 0.7% (after adjustments). The results from the 20-City composite reveal that San Francisco and Tampa, Fla were the strongest gains, and Chicago and Cleveland were the weakest gains. Even though the price gains have been gradually slowing since the beginning of 2014, David M. Blitzer, chairman of Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, noted that the October numbers could be a positive change in direction. “After a long period when home prices rose, but at a slower pace with each passing month, we are seeing hints that prices could end 2014 on a strong note and accelerate into 2015,” stated Blitzer.

Stan Humphries, Zillow’s Chief Economist, commented on the report, “Housing definitely came back to earth over the second half of 2014, and we welcome and expect to see more of the same as we look ahead at 2015.” Humphries also stated, “A slower-moving housing market is inherently more stable, more balanced between buyers and sellers and more sustainable over the long-term. We’re ending 2014 on a good note, and this momentum will continue.”

If you are planning on moving or know of someone who is thinking about moving in 2015, then contact your local Homesale Agent for buyer/seller help. For more real estate information, please visit our Homesale website.

 

References: RIS Media, Forbes
Closing the door on 2014

7 Things to Avoid Before Purchasing a Home

 

If you have been approved for a mortgage for your next home, you might be assuming you can breathe easy now and concentrate on packing. Not quite yet though.mortgage

While most of your hard work of building a good credit profile and gathering savings for a down payment and closing costs is behind you, it’s important to remember that the lender will recheck your credit just prior to your settlement date and will also need confirm a few details such as your place of employment to make sure nothing has changed.

That’s the key phrase—“nothing has changed.” You will want to maintain the same credit profile you had for the loan approval until your mortgage paperwork is completely signed.

Source: money.aol.co.uk

 

Avoid the following actions to ensure a smooth settlement:

 

1. Don’t apply for new credit: It may seem natural to apply for a credit card at a home improvement store or a furniture store when you are about to become a homeowner. It’s almost become cliché in the mortgage industry, but the warning still bears repeating: Don’t buy a truckload of furniture until after your loan closes. Applying for credit can lower your credit score. Not only will you lose a few points because of a credit inquiry, but if you are approved for new credit, a lender may worry that you will spend up to your new credit limit and then default on your loan.  If you absolutely need to obtain new credit or accrue debt before closing, talk with your loan officer as soon as possible.

 

2. Don’t close any credit accounts:You may be feeling that this is a good time to get your financial house in order by closing unused credit accounts or transferring your debt to a new credit card with a zero-interest balance transfer offer. While that’s a smart move financially, it’s a bad one for your credit score because you lose points when you have a higher usage of debt compared to your limit on one credit card and to your overall credit availability. Wait until your closing is complete before you make these changes. 

 

3. Don’t shuffle around your dollars & cents:Your lender will need the most recent bank statements before you go to settlement, so if you have any unusual deposits you will need to provide complete documentation of where the money came from. If possible, it’s best to move the cash you will need for your home purchase into one account before you apply for a mortgage. If not, make sure you have complete and accurate records readily available.

 

4. Don’t increase your debts:In addition to your credit score, your debt-to-income ratio is extremely important to a loan approval. If you take on more debt you could be in danger of going above the maximum acceptable debt-to-income ratio. Along with increasing your debts, do not co-sign on a loan. It is especially risky during the mortgage lending process since you will be financially liable for someone else’s debt.

 

5. Don’t skip a payment or make a late payment: One of the most important elements of your credit score is your history of on-time in-full payments. Payment history comprises about a third of your credit score. 

One solitary 30-day late payment can clip 60 to 110 points from your credit score. Maybe not a huge deal if you had an 800 score, right? Possibly. However, if that 30-day late payment is a mortgage or rent payment, some lenders will boot your application altogether. Many will require at least 12 consecutive months of on-time payments in order to qualify for a home loan. So don’t get so caught up in your move that you forget to keep up with paying basic bills.

 

6. Don’t buy a car: You may be feeling that a new car would be a nice addition to the driveway of your new home. Resist that feeling. Even if you can easily afford a new car, the depletion of your savings or the addition of a new car loan could derail your mortgage application. Wait until after you have moved to switch to a new car.

 

7. Don’t change jobs if you can help it: While a job change could mean a raise or a path to a better future, it could also delay your settlement. Your lender needs to verify employment and will need paystubs to prove your new income before your loan can go to settlement. Lenders crave stable, reliable income that’s likely to continue.

Lenders are likely to slam on the brakes if you take a new job in a different field, or if you decide to start your own business. Or even if you get a promotion but see some or all of your income shift to a commission basis.

The bottom line: Any change to your employment is significant. Keep your loan officer in the loop, and ask questions when in doubt. The last thing you want is to waste time and money on a home loan you have little chance in getting approval.

 

*****In other words, no matter how hard it is at this exciting time, it’s better to do nothing than to do anything.

 

Sources: Realtor.com & Yahoo.com
7 Things to Avoid Before Purchasing a Home