The Butcher, The Baker, and the Candlestick Maker – in the World of Real Estate


The Butcher, The Baker, and the Candlestick Maker –
in the World of Real Estate

Whether you’re buying or selling your first home or your tenth, a real estate transaction is a complex, convoluted ordeal. Your real estate agent is the one person who will be at the center of everything going on.

The process of buying or selling will seem like it is dragging on forever, and in the next instance be moving at warp speed. This is why having the necessary things in place is so critically important, especially for the home buyers.

Most homebuyers start the process by looking for a home on-line or by visiting open houses. Those are OK approaches; however, the problem is that if they find a house they would like to make an offer, they are instantly trying to find an agent or worse, they simply sign-on with the first licensed agent who passes the mirror test. Or even worse yet, they sign on with the listing agent who is contractually obligated to represent the best interests of the seller.

At the same time, the buyers are frantically looking for a mortgage officer who will put together a package they can afford and be approved for. All the time other potential buyers are looking at the same house and may want to buy it. There is a saying in real estate: The house you looked at today, and want to think about until tomorrow, may be the same house someone looked at yesterday, and wanted to think about until today.

When buying or selling real estate, you don’t just have a real estate agent, you have the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker -you will need a whole team to get you to the closing table. Having at least the beginnings of that team is critical.

To start, it’s a good idea to select a REALTOR® with whom you feel comfortable and can communicate with. The number one complaint that clients have about their real estate agent is communication. The number one complaint that agents have about clients – you guessed it – communication.

Next you need to have a mortgage officer who can put together a mortgage that works for you. Shop around for a mortgage just as you did for the real estate agent.

To round out the team, you will most likely need a home inspector, appraiser (mortgage company selects the appraiser), moving company , etc. A good REALTOR® will be able to help you fulfill your team as needed.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

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Home Security Tips You Should Already Be Doing


Home Security Tips You Should Already Be Doing

By the time you read this paragraph, another preventable break in will occur in the United States. Every 18 seconds, adding up to 200 an hour, home invaders successfully strike. Home security shouldn’t have to cost thousands of dollars with complicated devices. There are simple steps you can take to improve home security and peace of mind before leaving your home.

 

Lock your door and windows
This seems like an obvious tip, but 30 percent of burglars report breaking into a home through an unlocked window or door. Life gets busy and we rush to work, school, and activities. Take a few minutes before you leave to check the doors and recently opened windows on the first level. If you believe you’ll forget to, stick a note on your door to remind yourself before stepping out.

Get a dog
If you’ve always wanted a dog, here’s your excuse. Properly trained dogs are effective at deterring a burglar. Barking loudly will panic the intruder that they may bite or alert someone of their presence.

Speak to neighbors before going away on a trip
Before departing for a trip, set up security measures. Home intruders look for mail piling up, overgrown lawns, and dark houses as signs you’re not around. Ask a neighbor to bring in your mail for you, even if they just grab it and bring it to their house. Consider paying to cut your lawn while you’re away. If you’re comfortable, leave a dim porch light on. Timed lights are also relatively inexpensive to install.

Give the illusion you have an expensive system
Ever seen those home security signs in lawns? Those are effective at letting an intruder know that they will experience resistance in trying to break in, and they don’t want to deal with resistance. Stick a sign near your mailbox and porch that says something generic like, “security cameras in use” even if you don’t have any. Don’t be specific about brand of system, because they may try to disarm it if they know how. A home intruder will likely see the decoy sign and skip your house.

Close your blinds and curtains
Before entering a home, a burglar wants to know what they’re going to grab. The average home break in only lasts between 6-12 minutes, and this is because it is often planned. They will scope out a home’s valuable items through windows prior to the break in. An easy solution to this is closing blinds and curtains prior to departure. They won’t know what is in the house. If you don’t have blinds or curtains in a certain room, put valuable items out of sight.

Leave a radio playing near the window
Television and radio playing are typically a sign that someone is home. Since leaving your TV on can run up a cable bill, consider investing in a cheap radio to play near a window close to the front and back doors. Bonus: if you have pets, they love having music on while you’re away. Sounds of people are comforting when they’re alone.

Don’t leave an electronic trail of your whereabouts
In a growing age of digital footprints, we forget that you can’t always trust everyone around you. Refrain from posting about a big trip before or during it. If you have Snapchat, turn off your location in settings so no one can track in real time where you’re going. Only tell trusted neighbors, family, and friends when and where you’re going during the day and on trips. Give only two people access at any time to your home with spare keys. It is not advisable to give away a garage code, as that can be shared. Keys are a way to know only the people you trust know your whereabouts and have access to the home during your absence.

Motion sensor lights
Home invaders typically try to hide their identity. They’ll avoid lit up areas and attempt to cover most of their body. Budget friendly motion sensor lights on the porch, in the backyard, and near the garage are great, not only to deter burglars by revealing them but also to let you and neighbors know there is someone outside the home. These are also practical to light your path safely at night coming into the house.

Stay up to date on crime trends
Take a few minutes out of your week to check in on local crime trends. Using crime mapping websites allows you to see what neighborhoods are at risk and when home invaders are striking.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

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Non-Traditional Home Sales


Non-Traditional Home Sales

Home ownership is part of the American dream, but if you experience financial hardship, it can become a nightmare. Options are available, however, if you find yourself in less-than-ideal conditions—including short sales, deeds in lieu, and foreclosures—knowing what they are can help you make an informed decision.

Short Sale:
It’s a situation in which homeowners ask their lender to sell their house for less than their outstanding mortgage.
Pros: You could minimize having your credit rating affected. The lender may lose less money than the costlier foreclosure option. Plus, you’re still living in the home, so it’s probably still in good shape—making it a more attractive home to buyers.
Cons: The process can take several months, which may not be ideal for you or potential buyers. Also, the lender (usually a bank) has final say, so you and a potential buyer can agree to terms, but the bank can balk.

Deed in Lieu:
Also known as a mortgage release, a deed in lieu is a situation in which you transfer the title to your home to your lender so that you can be freed from your mortgage.
Pros: Your mortgage debt is erased. You may be able to stay in the house for several months or can possibly obtain relocation assistance. You’ll avoid being in foreclosure, which helps your credit rating.
Cons: Your credit rating is still impacted. The lender, having the upper hand, may offer tough conditions for accepting the deed in lieu, including the right to ask you to pay for financial shortfalls.

Foreclosure:
Because of mortgage payments not being made, the lender takes control of the property from the people living in it.
Pros: The house is usually sold as quickly as possible, which could benefit a potential buyer and the lender, who could recoup more money because of it.
Cons: You’ll likely have hundreds of points slashed from your credit score. There’s boom-or-bust potential for buyers because they usually can’t see the interior before it’s sold.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

PLEASE VISIT AND SHARE MY BLOGS AT
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Simple Tips to Upgrade Your Bedroom


Simple Tips to Upgrade Your Bedroom

Has your bedroom stayed the same the entire time you’ve lived in your home? Does your bedroom fail to match your personality? Or does your bedroom simply lack the relaxing atmosphere you crave? If your bedroom is in need of a change, follow this guide for how to combat any of these problems without spending a fortune.
If your bedroom has looked the same for the past ten (or twenty, or more) years…

Ditch your clutter.
We know, fashion moves in a circle. Everything comes back in style. Still, it’s time to get rid of those pants you haven’t worn in years. Take no prisoners and go through everything in your room. You’ll have to really commit to this. Go through decorations, clothes, health and beauty products, and any little knick-knacks you may have lying around. Make a pile to keep, a pile to donate or sell, and a pile of sentimental objects that you’d like to keep in a storage room in your home. Often, old items that no longer represent you can prevent you from making your bedroom feel like your space.

Get in the right frame of mind.
Of course, it’s wonderful to keep around old photos from your childhood, but if you’re a fan of keeping pictures around, make sure you keep current photos of your loved ones around as well. Old photos provide a happy nostalgia, while new photos can remind you of everything you have to be grateful for right here, right now. Shop around for a couple frames and choose favorite photos of you’ve taken with friends, family members, or a significant other. These are sure to make your bedroom feel more personal. To keep from overcrowding your bedroom with photos, be selective. Choose photos that evoke the best memories and save the rest for a photo album.
If your bedroom doesn’t represent your personality…

Decorate for you.
A family member or friend should be able to step into your bedroom and know it’s yours without you telling them. Your bedroom should radiate you because it’s your space. Go out and find a few favorite art pieces, wall hangings, or decorative objects that make you happy and that represent your personality. If you share your bedroom with a partner, spouse, or roommate, make sure to include them in this process so that you can decorate the room with objects that reflect both of you.
If your bedroom isn’t exactly a relaxing space…

Chill out.
Your bedroom should be a place where you can relax. After all, you’re supposed to fall asleep there every night. While you’re changing things up, make sure to search for objects that help you wind down and relax. This can range from anything like a lamp with warm lighting, to candles, to a weighted blanket, to an essential oil diffuser. Items that make your space feel cozy will make your bedroom a place you look forward to retreating to at the end of the day.
Your bedroom should reflect your essence and should serve as a place where you can relax. With these simple tips, you’ll be more excited to turn in for the night than ever before.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

PLEASE VISIT AND SHARE MY BLOGS AT
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Improvements to Increase Your Home’s Value


Improvements to Increase Your Home’s Value

If you want to increase the value of your home, it’s important to do some key renovations. But not all renovation projects are created equal. Some are worth the pretty penny spent, but many can be a waste of time and money, with the return not being quite as high as expected. When thinking of what renovations to make to your home, consider the following improvements that could boost the value of your property.

Flooring (Average ROI: 90%-100%)
While carpeting may have been popular at one point, now it could seriously deter a potential buyer from putting an offer in. Hardwood floors may be a large expense, but they’re the way to go for any flooring renovation projects. If you have the time and money, this is an investment to think about. But if hardwood is too much out of your price range, consider laminate wood flooring, which gives you a similar look at the fraction of the cost.

Exterior (Average ROI: 85%-100%)
When potential buyers pull up to your property and notice overgrown grass, poor landscaping, and a neglected walkway, that doesn’t give them the best first impression. The opportunity that curb appeal presents for your home is substantial. This includes everything from your front door to your roof to your garage door, which, let’s face it, could always use a fresh coat of paint.
DIY tip: Put out seasonal doormats, decorate your front door, and power wash the walkway.

Kitchen (Average ROI: 80%-98%)
There’s a reason many consider the kitchen to be the heart of the home—it’s the room where the most time is spent. People walk in and immediately look to the kitchen to make a quick judgment. If your microwave, stove, dishwasher, countertop, or any other commonly used appliance is over ten years old, it may be time to start thinking of updating.
Making improvements to your home can be quite the commitment, but it’s important if you want to Improve your home’s value on the market.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

PLEASE VISIT AND SHARE MY BLOGS AT
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What to Watch For When Buying a Flipped House


What to Watch For When Buying a Flipped House

Some house flipping projects are more withstanding than others, and you don’t want to be the buyer stuck with the flop. These red flags are what to look for if you’re in the market for a flipped house.

How’s the flooring? 

Floors are integral to a home’s look and foundation, and you don’t want to move into a place that has flawed flooring. Before you buy, do an assessment of how the floors look—especially near the trim—where any discrepancies could hint at other problems.

The doors and windows are faulty 

If the doors and windows throughout the home aren’t closing smoothly when you open and close them, that’s a problem. Same goes if the doors are swaying open after you’ve tried to shut them. When it comes to these features, every millimeter matters, which is why it’s important to make sure everything is installed properly.

Unkempt paint jobs

If paint on the walls is sloppily done or looks off in any way, this is definitely a sign that there are other red flags in the space, too. Check the walls carefully to ensure that you won’t be making these repairs down the road.

The neighborhood is vacant

If there are a lot of vacant properties in the neighborhood you’re looking to buy a home in, as well as high crime rates or other poor conditions, you may want to reconsider your decision to buy. If you’re buying the home with the intent of reselling down the line, a bad neighborhood could be a hindrance.

What’s that smell?   

If there are any noticeable foul odors in your walkthrough, that’s definitely a red flag. This could mean many things: rusty pipes, mold, or a number of other problems that may signify it’s not the flip for you.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

 PLEASE VISIT AND SHARE MY BLOGS AT

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Unrealistic Expectations from Real Estate TV


Unrealistic Expectations from Real Estate TV

Millions of people indulge in reality television—it’s what we do. In recent years reality TV has expanded to include home improvement shows where seemingly average couples meet with professional decorators and builders, armed with an insane budget and even more insane expectations.

These shows are fun and entertaining, and that’s why we love them. And while there’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from them, they also have a tendency to create unrealistic beliefs for our DIY projects.

Here are some of the most common misconceptions from these shows, and why you should be prepared for bumps in the road!

Demolition day is a fun and stress-reducing experience (you get to break stuff!).

If you’re doing a major home remodel, you’ll likely be knocking down some walls and lifting some floorboards, and that might sound like the ultimate way to get your anger out. But what TV doesn’t show you is how long this process can sometimes take, and that you can uncover unwanted snags (hello faulty wiring) along the way. In many cases, it’s best to work with a professional, and take things slow. Going to town on a wall with a sledgehammer only looks exciting until you end up doing more damage than intended.

Big renovations always equal big ROI. 

The majority of home improvement shows always mention full-scale kitchen and bathroom remodels as a necessity. While this can bring you a considerable amount of ROI when done correctly, it’s also among the two most expensive areas to renovate. Instead of updating them completely, think about more minor changes you can make first—think modern appliances and updated countertops—which will also give you bang for your buck and won’t break the bank all at once.

It only takes Chip and Joanna a week to remodel a house, so I can do it, too. 

Chip and Joanna Gaines are now among home improvement TV royalty, and they are extremely talented at what they do. But they are professionals. You get to see the behind the scenes process of their projects, which will always involve some sort of unexpected roadblock. But the beauty of TV is that the roadblocks are always overcome in a 30-minute period. Real life is not the same. Everything from building permits to adding finishing touches can take weeks or even months. Be patient.

 This hardworking family of four has a budget of $300,000 for their remodel—we need to be willing to spend more. 

The adage less is more can certainly be applied to home projects. It’s unrealistic for a young couple just starting out to have an enormous budget for their fixer upper, and yet, we see it on TV all the time. You don’t always have to shell out thousands of dollars for home improvement costs—think efficiently. Develop a realistic budget that won’t leave you underwater and try your best to stick to it. There’s no point in investing all of your money at one time into a home you plan on spending a longtime in.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

 PLEASE VISIT AND SHARE MY BLOGS AT

WWW.ROLANDLOW.WORDPRESS.COM

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Whether you are a first time home buyer, moving up, scaling down or an investor in real estate, this blog has something for you!

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