Tag Archives: Buying a Home

Tips for Purchasing a Luxury Home

khIf you’ve worked hard for years in an effort to accrue a certain income level, at some point, you’re likely to want to invest your hard-earned money into a home that you and your family can truly enjoy.  Whether it’s a modern high-rise condo or a sprawling golf course estate, there are a few items that should be considered before purchasing a luxury home.

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Top Questions to Ask Your Realtor

Couple meeting with financial advisor.Oftentimes, a home-selling strategy is only as good as the Realtor working to develop it; however, it’s not uncommon to find sellers who have gotten so lost in the process of cleaning, painting, and prepping their home that they forget to ask some of the most important questions.

While your overall strategy and list price may vary depending upon the season and other variables indicative of the current real estate climate, as you get closer to finalizing your listing, it’s important to ask your agent the following questions.

What is the most I can ask for my home based upon the current market? 

Location obviously plays a huge role in how much you can ask for your home, especially since it’s clearly something that cannot be changed.  With that, unless you plan on undergoing a full-scale remodel before you list, chances are good that your number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage will remain relatively static.  With that being said, it’s important to make a point to discuss a proper listing price with your Realtor and to trust that, given the current market, they will do what’s best.

Based upon the current market and my asking price, when can I expect to field a serious offer?

Clearly, your Realtor cannot see the future, but it’s worth asking for their opinion on how long they think you’ll have to wait for a buyer.  If you’re looking to list your home at the top end of your asking range, you may have to wait longer, so it’s good to understand this dynamic in advance.

What is your strategy regarding open houses?

Just like all markets are different, all Realtors are different, as well.  While some agents refrain from staging open houses in favor of viewings, others feel that open houses are a great way to get your home seen by a lot of potential buyers.

Before assuming that your buyer will conduct business in a certain way, make a point to ask them how they develop their strategy and why they choose to do it that way.

In the end, as with most things in life, communication is key.  If you have questions, it’s important to speak up!  The Realtor/client relationship is just that—a relationship—and most of us understand that healthy, successful relationships are dependent upon open and honest dialogue.

A Realtor’s job is to serve the client, so it’s important to make sure that the handling of your home is done in a way that aligns with your interests.  If you’d like to learn more or would simply like a bit of advice, I’m always available to help.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Smart Ways to Reduce Expenses After Purchasing a Home

o-OLDER-WOMAN-TALKING-ON-PHONE-facebookWhen it comes to purchasing a home, while you may have been vigilant about budgeting in an effort to make sure that your new property would be affordable on a long-term basis, it’s no secret that the actual act of moving can cost a bit of money.  From movers to interior adjustments such as window treatments and paint, your wallet may take a hit for a few months.  However, while reducing your expenses in the beginning is important, there’s something to be said for fresh starts and cutting costs for an extended period of time.

Therefore, if you’re looking to start fresh with your move, consider the following tips to save money over the long-run.

AVOID THE LANDLINE: Sure, there is some benefit to installing a landline in your home; however, if you currently have one, when was the last time you really used it?  The number of people who are connected to landlines has rapidly fallen over the last few years, which makes sense since most of us have very little need or desire to pay for two phone lines.  Chances are pretty good that your cell phone lives within a 10-foot radius from you at all times, so skip the landline and spare yourself the expense.

SWITCH LIGHT BULBS: While incandescent lightbulbs may appear to be the cheaper option at the checkout, it’s important to realize that CFL or LED lightbulbs are up to four-times as energy efficient, turning a total home switch into a real money saver.

CONSIDER A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT: Most new homes are going come with thermostats that allow you to determine the automatic heating and cooling of your home for all hours of the day, which is great news if you work long hours.  If you find yourself purchasing a home that does not have this option, it may be worth your money.  Plain and simple, if you can turn your thermostat down by 10 degrees while you’re at work for eight hours, you can save anywhere from 5 to 15% on your heating bill—and the same goes for your air conditioning bill in the summer.

UNPLUG UNUSED DEVICES: While you may think you’re saving money by keeping unused devices turned off, the reality is that—whether on or off—if those devices are plugged in, they are still using electricity.  While the amount of electricity actually used is relatively small, when you multiply it by the number of plugged, but turned off, appliances in your home, it adds up.

Clearly, it’s not practical to unplug everything in your home when it’s not being used; however, you may want to consider keeping lesser-used items like the blender or pencil sharpener off the grid.

EAT IN YOUR NEW KITCHEN: While this may sound a bit silly, a large number of people find themselves eating out more than making food at home, which can place unnecessary strain on the wallet.  Even if you’re not much of a chef, what’s the point of having a beautiful, new kitchen if you don’t use it?  Bring a bit of savings into your life by skipping the takeout and packing a lunch or making dinner in the evening.  Aside from being healthier, your bottom line will thank you.

BUNDLE YOUR INSURANCE: If you’ve ever shopped for car insurance, you’ve probably been peppered with options about purchasing homeowners or renters insurance during the process.  While irritating if you’re not in the market for other services, as a new homeowner, bundling your policies can actually be a great thing.  Many insurance companies offer a sizeable discount if you combine your homeowner’s policy with your auto insurance policies, so if you’re currently using separate companies, you may want to look into making a switch.

For other tips, tricks, and ideas for saving money before, during, or after your move, feel free to contact me.  I’d love to hear from you.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Difference between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor

iStock_000000849291_Large1If you’re looking to buy your first home, chances are good that you may not have had a lot of prior experience in the real estate market.  Aside from the fact that the entire prospect of purchasing a home is daunting to most people, it can be even more confusing if you are not sure of the differences between a standard real estate agent and a REALTOR.  While it’s common to use both terms somewhat interchangeably, there are actually variances between the two titles that separate them from each other.

Yes, both are licensed to sell real estate; however, one is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which means they are bound by the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.  As a consumer, it’s not surprising that you may be wondering what this means since the idea of a code of ethics is somewhat arbitrary, but it’s important to note that the code which bounds each member of the National Association of REALTORS® is strictly enforced.

In short, The Code contains 17 articles, as well as certain Standards of Practice that bind REALTORS in a way that does not impact individuals who simply hold a real estate license.  While it’s impossible to guarantee that all REALTORS will adhere to the standards at all times, The Code exists as a way to regulate and require ethical behavior.

While it should be noted that this in no way means that non-member real estate agents fail to be ethically-minded, it’s important to realize that most REALTORS take their promises very seriously.

To help aid in your understanding, the 17 REALTOR promises are as follows:

  1. Pledge to put the interests of buyers and sellers ahead of their own and to treat all parties honestly.
  2. Shall refrain from exaggerating, misrepresenting or concealing material facts; and is obligated to investigate and disclose when situations reasonably warrant.
  3. Shall cooperate with other brokers / agents when it is in the best interests of the client to do so.
  4. Have a duty to disclose if they represent family members who own or are about to buy real estate, or if they themselves are a principal in a real estate transaction, that they are licensed to sell real estate.
  5. Shall not provide professional services in a transaction where the agent has a present or contemplated interest without disclosing that interest.
  6. Shall not collect any commissions without the seller’s knowledge nor accept fees from a third-party without the seller’s express consent.
  7. Shall refuse fees from more than one party without all parties’ informed consent.
  8. Shall not co-mingle client funds with their own.
  9. Shall attempt to ensure that all written documents are easy to understand and will give everybody a copy of what they sign.
  10. Shall not discriminate in any fashion for any reason on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
  11. Expects agents to be competent, to conform to standards of practice and to refuse to provide services for which they are unqualified.
  12. Must engage in truth in advertising.
  13. Shall not practice law unless they are a lawyer.
  14. Shall cooperate if charges are brought against them and present all evidence requested.
  15. Agree not to bad mouth competition and agree not to file unfounded ethics complaints.
  16. Shall not solicit another REALTOR’S client nor interfere in a contractual relationship.
  17. Shall submit to arbitration to settle matters and not seek legal remedies in the judicial system.

If you’d like to learn more or are interested in buying or selling a home, I’d love to show you what makes REALTORS so great.  Please feel free to contact me at my direct number below.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.MarieDinsmore.com | 770-712-7789

Are You Prepared to Deal with New Changes in the Mortgage Process?

iStock_000014023045LargeWhen the housing market collapsed in 2007, it was understandably necessary for the federal government to react by making a point to keep a tighter leash upon the financial industry.  Therefore, in response to the mortgage crisis, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was passed in 2011, which created a new government agency—the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

TRID

In an effort to avoid another housing disaster, the CFPB settled upon a set of stricter mortgage rules and regulations that recently went into effect on the 3rd of October.  Known as “TRID,” (which stands for: Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA) + Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) + Integrated + Disclosure) the goal was to:

  1. Overhaul and improve the abundance of archaic industry forms, which date back to the late sixties and mid-seventies, and
  2. To slow down the mortgage process in an effort to give the borrower more time to review their forms.

In short, these new rules are expressly geared towards improving the home-buying experience for consumers; however, it’s important to note that the overall mortgage process is going to be a lot longer and more challenging than it was in the past.

THE PROCESS

For starters, once the borrower completes the loan application and gives the sales contract to their lender, the lender must then return a loan estimate to the borrower within three business days; however, before the lender can take any steps to either require loan documentation, order a title search, or mandate an appraisal, the borrower must respond to the lender with “their intent to proceed.”  In other words, to keep things moving in a forward direction, it is imperative that the borrower respond to the lender as quickly as possible after receiving a loan estimate.

With that being said, once the seller has accepted the buyer’s offer and the closing process begins, it’s important to realize that the new regulations also slow down the end of the mortgage proceedings as well.  Basically, the loan cannot close until the lender has:

  1. Sent the borrower the final Closing Disclosure (CD)
  2. Confirmed that the borrower has received the CD
  3. Waited for the three-day waiting period to pass

STEPS FOR BUYERS

Therefore, if you’re a buyer, you may want to consider the following steps, which will help you complete the entire process with as little fuss as possible.

  1. Submit a pre-approval application before making an offer in order to minimize the processing delays that will occur if you don’t already have a loan lined up
  2. Don’t drag your feet. Make a point to give the sales contract to the lender as soon as it’s available
  3. Consider doing things electronically, such as signing the loan disclosures
  4. Provide the lender with your “Intent to Proceed” as soon as your able
  5. Make sure you have all of your loan docs ready for delivery to the lender within the first week of the process
  6. Confirm receipt of the CD immediately after receiving it so you can get the ball rolling on the three-day waiting period

CONCLUSION

In the end, while these new laws make things a bit more complicated—especially if you’re operating under a time crunch—their purpose is to give buyers the necessary time to make sure they’re closing on a deal that truly fits into their life.  No one wants to see another foreclosure crisis, so these types of laws will hopefully go a long way towards making sure buyers are absolutely sure before they sign on the final dotted line.

If you have any questions or you’re a seller and would like to know more about how these new regulations will impact your sale, please feel free to contact me.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Community Resources

WELCOME

2019 Welcome Services

The Dinsmore Team has created this handy guide for both Buyers and Sellers. The guide lists trusted service providers that we use personally and professionally. The providers listed service the Forsyth and North Fulton County areas.

2014 Complete Guide to Moving

This 20-Page Guide will be your comprehensive source for selling your home and planning your move. It includes tips for getting ready to sell, planning your move, packing and transitioning into your new home.

2014 Home Owners Tip Guide

This 20-Page Guide will help you develop an annual maintenance schedule for your home's systems and appliances to help you avoid bigger problems by taking care of them while they are small. It's also a great resource for trouble shooting malfunctions on your own, saving you time and money.


utilities

Looking for a fast way to connect all of your utility services online? Try Connect Utilities.

Please let us know if there are other resources you'd like to see.

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com

770-712-7789