Before you Remodel

Before you Remodel

Before you begin remodeling, consider all your aspects of the project and how it fits into your lifestyle.  Choose the highest quality materials and do the job right the first time.  Lower quality items won’t last as long, and major repairs can be costly.  Talk to an expert, someone who has worked with different products and knows what works best. 


I have suggestions to guide you through home projects, give me a call!


5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional | Keeping Current Matters
Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite an adventurous journey. You need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.
The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but have rather been strengthened due to the projections of higher mortgage interest rates & home prices as the market continues to recover. 

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, who knows what these actions are to make sure that you acquire your dream?

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS“the typical FSBO home sold for $208,000 compared to $235,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”
Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.  

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer?
Dave Ramsey, the financial guru advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line:

You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of your most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional?

Timeless Improvements

Timeless Improvements

When considering improvements to your home, some add more lasting value than others.  Good lighting adds a sense of comfort and security.  The addition of a fireplace, be it gas or wood-burning, can turn a house into a home.  The addition or redesign of storage areas and adding built-ins are always a high commodity. Wood flooring never goes out of style. 

 Let me help you combine the trendy with the timeless to create a dazzling home and increase your homes value.


I am always available to give you helpful home tips — just ask us!  RE/MAX Realty Center agents, always available to help.  262-567-2455


Home Warranties versus Home Insurance – What is the difference?

Home Warranties versus Home Insurance – What is the difference?

One of the more stressful aspects of buying or selling a home is the uncertainty that both buyers and sellers face regarding the decision itself. In each instance, there is risk and liability. While there is no real way to overcome the risks involved in purchasing a home, it is worthwhile to understand and consider the value of a home warranty, especially during the period of listing or buying a home. Both buyers and sellers should research home warranties to understand how they work, what is covered, and the limitations of a warranty.

Home warranties are not homeowners insurance. Homeowner’s insurance covers the house itself, usually against fire, theft, vandalism, windstorms, natural disasters (with extended coverage for floods/hurricanes, etc.), accidental damage, or injuries. The job of this type of insurance is to protect your investment and your liability. But homeowner’s insurance rarely covers the home’s mechanical systems, leaving you vulnerable to the inconvenience and costs associated with breakdowns of these systems. This is where a warranty can come in.

In some states, new homes are required to have a home warranty offered by the builder. These differ from other home warranties in that they might have a longer duration, from one to five years, and they may be renewed by the homeowner. Usually these home warranties are much more robust in their coverage, but again, it is worthwhile to do the research and go in with your eyes open, knowing what is covered and what will be the responsibility of the homeowner. Buying a new home from a reputable builder may be more valuable than having a warranty, which might never be needed in a new home.

Home warranties purchased for older homes vary widely. These home warranties are more likely to be used, and should be considered a form of insurance designed to offer peace of mind to the homeowner when looking at the cost of repairs not normally covered under other insurance. Home warranties may be purchased for specific periods, for example, the duration of a listing of a home, or for longer periods of time.

Buyers benefit from a home warranty because they offer the assurance that repairs to mechanical systems in the home will be covered with only a small out of pocket expense.
Sellers benefit from them because they make the home more attractive to buyers and they are “off the hook” if a large repair is needed. For this purpose, a home warranty might indeed offer just that – peace of mind, and a message that everyone wants this deal to go through.

Here are things to be on the lookout for: Home warranties that are bought by the seller for the term of the listing expire upon the sale of the home, tend to cover fewer systems (often only heating/cooling, some plumbing and electrical). The advantage of these warranties are that if a problem is spotted during the inspection, and that system is covered by the warranty, then the seller can seek to have the problem fixed under the warranty, rather than have to cover the entire cost. A positive factor is that this type of warranty tends to cost less money up front.

Some home warranty policies are transferable and provide coverage up to a year, or a new policy may be offered by the seller to the buyer for the duration of one year after the sale. Buyers should ask about the nature of the warranty, and sellers should do the research to know what they are buying. When purchasing a home warranty there are a variety of options including duration of the plan and what systems are covered.

Comprehensive plans are more expensive than those that cover only the heating and cooling systems, plumbing and electrical. Hot tubs, pools, and other more elaborate systems or appliances may or may not be covered, so check carefully. Whether or not the appliance is built into the home may also be a key factor.

Generally, these warranties cost $300-$400+ a year, and the current owner of the home would pay a service fee of $50-$75 for a service call. Some companies require the use of certain service providers and will even schedule the calls; others provide a list of providers from which to work. In areas where there are many providers, service might happen in a timely fashion. In more rural areas you may be facing longer wait-times for a service call. When researching the warranty, ask questions about how to schedule service calls and the wait-times in your area.

Getting a home warranty is easy – most companies are willing to take your money after you fill out an online application, without a home inspection. Companies offer many different levels of coverage, with regard to duration and what is covered. The more comprehensive the coverage, the larger the initial cost. Some companies will advertise “no waiting period” and others advertise “no service fee” – but with each company there is research to do. After all, if home warranties were all great, or essential, everyone would have them.

Beware of the “hard sell” – most companies direct the consumer to a page online where they will have a representative contact you with an estimate. Before offering your contact information, it may be beneficial to research each company online to find out more about the service plan details prior to a sales person contacting you. You will be more in control of your shopping experience, and less pressured to make a decision.

Problems around home warranties usually arise when there is a dispute around coverage or there is a disagreement as to whether the system has been adequately maintained by the homeowner.
Clauses in the contracts often state that systems must not have been “misused, abused, or poorly maintained” and that the issue can’t be a “pre-existing” condition. Many contracts include a 30 day “waiting period” after enrollment, before a warranty begins. Additionally, if there is question as to the adequate installation of a system, there might be additional fees. For example, if a water heater did not have an earthquake strap, there might be an additional feel to install one. Finally, if problems compound and several separate repairs are required, multiple service fees may be charged, even though the service provider only made one call to your home.

Peace of mind can be worth quite a lot, and a home warranty might offer just that. When selling or buying a house, a home warranty can be just the ticket to ease troubled minds.
Purchasing a home warranty involves doing some leg-work to understand just what is covered, for how long, and for whom. Ensuring that each party understands the nature of the warranty is critical, but in the end it might be a good deal for everyone involved. Only you can decide.

Check out the MLS for homes for sale: www.wihomes4sale.com 

Need more real estate information? Call me — I am always available to help you out!

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Making an offer

Making an offer.. 

You are all excited, you found the perfect house and then…. comes the offer.  A written proposal, designed to cover all aspects of the purchase agreement.  Once accepted, it becomes a binding contract.  The offer details the property’s address, sales price and closing date. It must include provisions for any required and requested inspections and clearly state all financial obligations regarding mortgage, deposits and taxes.  

Call me, my job is to know the changing laws and requirements.


Call your RE/MAX Realty Center Agent today.  262-567-2455

Choosing an agent

Choosing an agent…

Who can sell your house the fastest and for the best price – that is the question.  Agents should be up front with you about their qualification. 

How long have they been working in the area?

What type of marketing plan will they use to sell or find your house? 

What type of fees are involved for their services?

Call me, I want your business!




Determine a Sales Price

An accurate selling price for your house can be difficult to determine because of the many factors involved.  Start with comparing sales prices of homes recently sold in your area. 

Calculate the going rate per square foot.  Visit other open houses to see what is on the market.  Take area market conditions into consideration. 

Call me for help determining what price range is best in your area.


Choosing a neighborhood

Choosing a neighborhood… before deciding on a house, first decide which area is most suitable for you.  Consider the following:

 – What is the crime rate?
 – How important is traffic and proximity to schools, shopping and  other activities?
 – Have property values been increasing?

Call me, my job is to know these important neighborhood characteristics.

Call your RE/MAX Realty Center agent today — 262-567-2455


Common Pests and Your Home

Real Estate Advisor: March 2015
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Common Pests and Your Home

The list of new responsibilities can seem overwhelming when you buy a home or become a first-time homeowner. One responsibility that tends to get overlooked until it becomes a larger issue is that of household pests. A household pest is “a destructive insect or other animal that attacks” your home. Pests range throughout the U.S., but the most common pests are those that have become almost commonplace in our lives. Here are some of the most common pests encountered by homeowners throughout the U.S., and what you can do to help prevent pests in your home.

Most common Spring and Summer Pests:

Termites:

Termites are generally grouped by their nesting and feeding habits: subterranean, soil-dwelling, dry wood, damp wood and grass-feeding. They feed on dead plant material, generally in the form of wood, leaves, soil and animal dung. Termites can cause significant structural damage to buildings. Those classified as subterranean and dry wood are those that are responsible for the damage to homes.

Ants:

Ants are the most common household pests in the north central states. They are social insects, and they have a wide variety of nesting habits. Ants can build nests in soil, behind moldings, baseboards and counter tops, and some types nest in decaying or moisture damaged wood. Ants will feed on all types of food, and ant damage varies. Most ants cause little damage, but carpenter ants can weaken wood structures similar to termites, and the majority of ants don’t transmit diseases.

Flies:

Flies are some of the most annoying pests in the home. They land on almost every surface, and their diet includes a wide variety of foods: human food, animal food, animal carcasses, garbage and excrement. Flies also carry germs and diseases. They are known to transfer over 100 pathogens, some of which include salmonella, anthrax, tuberculosis, and the eggs of parasitic worms.

Spiders:

Spiders are generally not harmful and they do feed on other insects like flies and other spiders. Most spiders found in the home are not venomous, but there are some that homeowners don’t want to find inside their house. The Black Widow and Brown Recluse are two of the most talked about spiders homeowners do not want to find in their homes. Black Widows can be found throughout the U.S., and Brown Recluse are predominately found in the Midwestern States, most notably Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. All spiders have the ability to travel to all states by ways of hiding in boxes, packages and produce.

Most Common Fall and Winter Pests:

Stink Bugs:

Stink bugs are found throughout the U.S., and most of the time homeowners don’t know they have an issue until early fall, when stink bugs turn up on the sunny side of homes where they can warm themselves. During the summer months stink bugs live outside, feeding on fruits, grains and other crops. During the colder months, stink bugs will hide inside walls or in attics and crawl spaces. These bugs get their name from the unpleasant odor they produce when they feel threatened.

Rodents:

Rodents are warm-blooded and are found throughout the U.S. The most common types of rodents are mice and rats. Both rapidly breed and are capable of squeezing through spaces that appear smaller than their bodies. Rodents seek warm shelter in the cold months, particularly mice, who seek food, water and warmth within homes. Generally, if one rodent is found, many more are hiding nearby.

How to Avoid Pests:

Most home pests can be avoided by doing simple, everyday things. As a homeowner, make sure your doors and windows are closed, as these are the most common ways for pests to enter a home. Make sure window and door screens are in good repair or working order. By eliminating moisture buildup in small areas and basements you reduce the risk of creating hospitable environments for pests. Sealing openings in a home’s foundation will help reduce access to your home.
Trees harbor pests — by keeping tree branches trimmed and away from the home you deter pests (especially spiders) from having easy access to your home’s roof. Moisture attracts pests — direct rain water away from the home and foundation to prevent possible moisture buildup. If you have fire wood, store it at least 20 feet away from the house. Flies and other pests are attracted to garbage, so ensuring that garbage cans are sealed tight and all animal deposits are picked up will help reduce the risks of attracting pests into your home. The best deterrent to pests remains a clean, uncluttered home, where food, crumbs, and anything else that has the potential to attract pests is put away, covered or thrown away.

Keep it Clean

Keep it Clean

A clean, well – maintained home is a happy home.  A clean home is inviting and creates a sense of comfort. A clean home is also healthier, and tells others that you have taken good care of it. 

Potential problems are easier to spot.  Staying on top of basic cleaning and maintenance can be a big payoff later.  Call me and I can help create a home maintenance plan.


Call your RE/MAX Realty Center agent today – 262-567-2455