Shellye Blake REALTOR® - CENTURY 21 Classic Gold



Posted by Shellye Blake REALTOR® on 5/6/2021

A home inspection enables a buyer to examine a residence and identify any underlying structural issues. Plus, the assessment allows a buyer to receive a report that details a home inspector's findings to help him or her determine how to proceed in the homebuying journey.

Ultimately, it helps to prepare as much as possible before you conduct a home inspection. If you allocate time and resources to get ready for a home inspection, you'll be better equipped than ever before to achieve the best-possible inspection results.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare for a home inspection.

1. Hire an Expert Home Inspector

There is no shortage of home inspectors for hire in cities and towns nationwide. However, differentiating an average home inspector from an expert one can be difficult.

When it comes to getting ready for a home inspection, it pays to hire an expert to assess a residence both inside and out. Because if you have an expert home inspector at your side, you can learn about myriad home problems before you finalize a house purchase.

To find an expert home inspector, it helps to reach out to home inspectors in your area. Learn about each home inspector's expertise and ask for client referrals. After you perform an extensive evaluation of home inspectors, you can hire an expert home inspector to assess any residence, at any time.

2. Develop a Game Plan

If you want to achieve the optimal results during a home inspection, it helps to enter the inspection with a plan in hand. That way, you can evaluate all aspects of a residence and improve your chances of identifying both minor and major home issues.

Ensure your home inspection plan includes assessments of a house's interior and exterior, as well as a residence's attic, basement and roof. Also, you should test a home's heating and cooling system during an inspection.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A home inspection may prove to be difficult if you fail to plan accordingly. Luckily, if you hire a real estate agent, you can get the support you need to maximize the value of a home inspection.

Typically, a real estate agent will guide you along the homebuying journey. Once a seller accepts your offer on a home, a real estate agent can put you in touch with the best home inspectors in your area. Then, you, your real estate agent and your home inspector can work together to perform a successful home evaluation.

A real estate agent will provide plenty of assistance after a home inspection too. And if you are uncertain about how to proceed with a house after an inspection, a real estate agent can offer recommendations to help you make an informed decision.

Want to take the guesswork out of a home inspection? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can prepare for an upcoming home inspection.




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Posted by Shellye Blake REALTOR® on 4/29/2021

Home staging is one of the most tried-and-true methods of selling your home faster. It can also help you increase the purchase price of your home by between one and five percent.

However, working with a professional home stager--while a good investment--is not always in everyone’s budget.

The good news is, there are a lot of simple and inexpensive ways to stage your home that will give visitors a good first impression, make for great photos for your online listing, and hopefully help speed up your home sale.

In today’s post, we’re going to break down six of the most effective and inexpensive home staging tips to help you sell your home faster.

1. Declutter everything

Cleaning out your home is one of the best ways to make it appear more spacious and welcoming. It gives you the chance to start packing items you won’t need until you move into your new home, and it opens up space to use a few choice decorations around the home.

For things like cabinets and closets, remove all of the items you won’t need until you move. A closet that is half-full will look much larger for guests viewing your home.

2. Clean carpets and polish wooden furniture

Carpets, flooring, and furniture make up a large percent of the visible space in your home. Leaving these items dirty or worn when selling your home is missing out on a huge opportunity to make your home look up-to-date and well-maintained.

You can rent a carpet cleaner for as little as $20, and a gallon of wood polish costs around $15, making these two items a solid investment for staging your home.

3. Paint with bright colors

When we paint our homes we usually choose colors that we like, rather than ones that appeal to the largest number of people. And although that’s a great thing while you own a home, it can be detrimental when it comes time to sell. Repainting dark walls in bright, neutral tones will make the room feel larger and well-lit.

4. Paint the front door while you’re at it

A freshly painted, bright colored front door can be the secret weapon when it comes to making your home stand out amongst your neighbors. It is a cheap way to quickly freshen up the exterior of your home and increase curb appeal.

5. Purchase a new welcome mat and mailbox

Welcome mats tend to get a lot of use and wear down. Similarly, mailboxes often get dented and faded over the years.

These two items can be excellent accents to improve the curb appeal of your home. Choose colors that match the overall color scheme of your home to establish a sense of continuity.

6.  Rearrange furniture to allow foot traffic

When someone comes to view your home, you’ll want to sure they have ease of access to each part of the house. Rearrange the furniture in your kitchen, dining room, and bedrooms to make it easy to tour the home.





Posted by Shellye Blake REALTOR® on 4/22/2021

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases that you’ll ever make in your lifetime. You’ll spend decades of your life making mortgage payments to pay off your home loan. Buying a home is more than just simply finding a place to live. It’s also a financial decision. Your home helps you to build equity, gives you tax deductions, and helps you to have some security in your financial future. 


One of the biggest questions that you’ll have when you buy a home is “How much can I spend?” To answer this question, you’ll need to dig a little deeper. 


Do You Have Money For A Down Payment?


The standard amount of money that you’ll need for a down payment is 20 percent of the purchase price of a home. If you don’t have the money for a full down payment, you’ll need to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). This could add up to be an extra cost of hundreds of dollars per month in additional insurance payments on top of your mortgage and every other kind of expense that goes along with buying a home. You’ll need to take the time to save up for a down payment if you’re a first time homebuyer. If you already own a home, the equity that you have in that home can help you with the down payment.


What Are Your Other Financial Responsibilities?


There’s more to buying a home than just the monthly mortgage payment. You’ll need to get insurance, pay taxes, and have some money set aside for repair and decorating costs. You’ll need to look at your monthly income to find out just how much you can afford on a home. You should take an honest look at your lifestyle and existing expenses in order to determine a comfortable monthly mortgage payment for you.    


Know Your Credit Score


Your credit score will be a major factor in how much house you’ll be able to afford. Your lender will use your credit score and credit history to help determine what type of interest rate you’ll get and how much they’re willing to lend you in order to buy a home.


Understanding what you can afford for a home purchase is crucial before you even start shopping. It’s a good idea to meet with a lender to get pre-qualified. This is different than getting pre-approved. Your lender will give you a general idea of how much you can spend on a home without digging too deep into your finances. Getting pre-qualified is a great place to start when you’re looking at the numbers of being a homeowner.




Tags: Buying a home   finances  
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Posted by Shellye Blake REALTOR® on 4/15/2021

Putting your house on the market is a lot like preparing to host a holiday party; you want to make the best possible impression on people without having to spend a small fortune in the process!

Assuming your home is not drastically outdated or in disrepair, there are a lot of simple things you can do to make it more appealing to visitors.

For a lot of reasons, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms of the house. The impression your kitchen makes on potential buyers can easily make or break your chances for a quick sale. Although everyone's looking for different features in a home, it will always be to your advantage to spend a little extra time sprucing up your kitchen.

While it may not be practical or affordable to give your kitchen a complete makeover, here are a few simple ideas for enhancing its overall appeal.

Lighting affects perception: As a home seller, one of your primary objectives is to create an environment that's comfortable, attractive, and relaxing. Lighting, both natural and artificial, can play a big role in how people perceive your home. If you're fortunate enough to have sunny weather on days when your house is being shown, it will be easier to present your kitchen and other rooms to their best advantage. By letting in a lot of natural sunlight, colors tend to be more vibrant and your home's mood will be a lot more positive. Turning on electrical lights can also help give your living space a more cheerful feeling.

Cleanliness is crucial: Although the "grunge factor" is something you want to avoid anywhere in your house, prospective buyers will pay special attention to the cleanliness of your kitchen and bathrooms. Thoroughly cleaning counter tops, floors, sinks, and appliances will go a long way toward making a positive impression. If you can use cleansers that have a mild, natural-smelling fragrance -- like citrus, for example -- then you won't risk turning people off with the overpowering smell of harsh chemicals or artificial scents.

Staging your kitchen: A few things you can do to make your kitchen look more inviting and memorable include adding touches like a vase of fresh flowers, a bowl of colorful fruit, and a green plant or two. Removing distracting clutter from counter tops, tables, and desks can also help give your kitchen a more organized, tidy, and spacious appearance.

If your refrigerator door is covered with outdated children's drawings, coupons, photographs, and other miscellaneous memorabilia, it might be worth your time to weed that out a little bit! Not only does it detract from the beauty of your kitchen, but it also makes it impossible to clean the door of your fridge. Another tip to keep in mind is that too many personal items on display make it more difficult for prospects to visualize living in your home -- which is the first step to winning them over as buyers.





Posted by Shellye Blake REALTOR® on 4/8/2021

Image by Lorenzo Cafaro from Pixabay


 

The need for accessible new construction homes may never be higher than it is right now. U.S. soldiers have returned home with disabilities, and the number of aging Americans with growing physical limitations is expected to increase dramatically. The first wave of Baby Boomers reached retirement age in 2011, and more than 54 million Americans are 65 or older, according to the U.S. Census. These demographic facts point to a prevalent need for more accessible residential homes.

Although everyday people might expect the government to mandate accessible living regulations through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the federal law does not necessarily apply to private residential homes. That means contractors are free to capitalize on popular design elements. But accessible homes may already be highly sought after, even though modern homes and architectural magazines are not in tune with the data. By overcoming the minor challenges of building state-of-the-art accessible homes, contractors may discover that those properties could be listed at a premium.

What Makes Accessible Homes Different?

The ADA became law in 1990, and it establishes the legal rights of people with disabilities to enjoy unimpeded physical access to public buildings and spaces. It does not necessarily create building codes for private-sector residential homes. This is not to say that architects and contractors cannot build ADA-complaint houses. These are general concepts worth considering that underscore accessibility.

  • Mobility: Doors, entryways and pathways should be wide enough for wheelchair accessibility and eliminate ground-level obstructions.
  • Countertops: These spaces must be set at heights conducive to people who use wheelchairs, walkers or have physical limitations. They are typically positioned lower than traditional countertops and have free space underneath.
  • Ingress & Egress: Getting from a vehicle and into a new construction home is essential. People with limitations often struggle or cannot use standard stairways.

The ADA establishes detailed building criteria for public buildings and adapting existing living spaces. Builders may discover that the sometimes subtle differences are worth negotiating even if they are building spec homes.

Rethinking the Challenges of Building Accessible Homes

From the builder’s perspective, accessibility may have largely been considered retrofitting. Until the last decade or so, maximum return on investment for new construction homes were driven by factors that included comfy starter homes with room to grow, gated communities for retirees and upscale houses with expansive floor plans. Those types of houses are being retrofitted today. Getting ahead of the real estate curve by adapting new construction to the ADA calls for only minor changes such as the following.

  • Embracing Accessible Layouts: Open floor plans increase mobility by nature. By going one step further to widen existing doorways, use more archways and create spacious closets, accessibility can be achieved.
  • Going Big with Bathrooms: The traditional bathroom with high tubs, step-up showers, vanities and toilets positioned in tight spaces, are not accessible. Spacious and luxurious bathroom designs with walk-in showers, wall-mounted countertops and wheelchair-accessible toilets add value for every demographic. They also open the new construction build to buyers with physical limitations.
  • Integrating Technology: Smart technology has developed into an expectation among Millennial homebuyers. Technologies such a remote climate control, voice-command lights and entertainment help raise listing prices. These same elements also help overcome accessibility challenges.

Any hesitancy that architects and new construction home builders have about making homes fully accessible can be offset by recognizing these properties may be more valuable on the market. Real estate professionals can promote them toward families who have a loved one with limitations, aging Americans or point out that ADA-compliance also tends to be ergonomically beneficial.




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