Save Your Big Investment From Big Trouble

For six years, Sydney Walters wondered why his home was so hot in summer and so cold in winter. And why his family developed allergies and asthma.

There was a reason for that: When Walters purchased the home from its original owners, he hadn’t hired a home inspector. That home inspection could have revealed that the home’s attic had no insulation – resulting in wild temperature fluctuations and mold.

Buying a home is often the biggest investment a family can make. While you may not want to spend extra money, a home inspection can reveal a host of problems needing repair. Without it, your big investment is vulnerable to big trouble.

According to associations of home builders, a typical home inspection will include examination of a home’s heating and central air conditioning systems, plumbing and electrical systems, roof, attic and visible insulation, foundation, and structural components.

It should be done by a certified professional who can spot things an untrained eye may not.

When choosing among home inspectors, be sure to look at their credentials and certifications. They should be members of a professional association of home inspectors.

The cost of a home inspection varies and can be based on such factors as the size and age of the home.

While incurring an additional cost during the home buying process is frustrating, it can save you thousands of dollars by alerting you to areas of concern and give you much needed peace of mind that your big investment won’t cause you big trouble.

Housing Sector Still Contributing in a Big Way

If you’ve purchased a home recently or intend to purchase soon, you may not realize you’re part of a vast industry that has made a significant contribution to the North American economy.

Consider the following from an April 2012 report by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR):

“Research has consistently shown the importance of the housing sector on the economy and the long-term social and financial benefits to individual homeowners. The economic benefits of the housing market and homeownership are immense and well documented. The housing sector (in the U.S.) directly accounted for approximately 15% of total economic activity in 2011.”

That includes such things as mortgage lending; home construction; real estate agents’ commissions; lawyers’ fees; and home appraisal costs, as well as moving costs. And the sector generates taxes and other forms of income for government at all levels.

But the housing industry also produces economic ripples that extend well beyond the home purchases and related expenses. Real estate transactions create jobs and economic growth in a number of sectors you might not even consider.

A NAR study on the economic impact of real estate in Oregon tells the tale: For every house sold in the state in 2011, there were additional expenditures on consumer items, such as furniture, appliances and paint, totaling $5,234. An Oregon home priced at $229,500 had a total economic impact of $67,003.

When you consider the number of homes sold across North America, you realize the numbers of manufacturers, suppliers of goods and services, tradespeople and sales forces that are dependent on the housing industry. The industry remains one to be reckoned with.

Naysayers notwithstanding, it will continue to be so. Even now with housing markets in flux, homeownership remains ingrained in our psyche. The North American dream is still very much a reality for many people.

Ask the Agent: This Month’s Question

What things concern sellers most about the selling process?

As a seller you are often told to consider buyers’ concerns when placing your home on the market. And that makes sense. But you also have concerns, and they’re not about renovations.

A recent survey found many sellers are more concerned about understanding the legal documents and processes involved in selling their homes than they are with their homes’ physical appearance. Unlike the quick-fix decorating solutions offered on TV shows, legalese is confusing and overwhelming.

Your listing agent will likely recommend an experienced real estate lawyer to provide these answers.

Real estate agents can help address your other concerns, such as the state of the current real estate market. Like the lawyer who can explain complex legal documents, your agent can demystify the real estate market.

 

Trust Your Agent to Negotiate a Win-Win Deal

You’re about to make one of the most important purchases of your life – a home for you and your family. But here you are, handing over those all-important home purchase negotiations to your real estate agent.

Relax. Your negotiations are in good hands.

Strong negotiating skills are among the many reasons you use an agent. He or she has been specially trained in negotiations and has many years of experience putting this training into practice.

Here are some of the reasons you should trust your agent to bargain on your behalf:

  •  While your agent wants to make the best deal possible for you, he or she knows that, by definition, negotiating requires some compromise to make it work. (For example: “Give on the price, we’ll loosen our demands for a 30-day close.”) Both parties should emerge from negotiations feeling they’ve gotten a good deal – a win-win.
  •  The adage that everything is negotiable in real estate isn’t necessarily true. You don’t want to go for everything, because you may end up with nothing. Your agent will decide what mountains to die on according to your priorities. And let’s face it – that refrigerator you want but the seller won’t surrender, probably doesn’t qualify as that mountain.
  •  Your agent has the experience to correctly size up the seller, which can give you a major advantage during negotiations. Is the seller motivated and prepared to give concessions, or are there other offers waiting in the wings?
  •  Most important, your agent negotiates based on facts, not emotion. He or she can table a home inspector’s report proving that repairs are needed without recriminations and present stats to support your offer without arguing over value.

So you can relax; your agent’s negotiating skills will get you that deal. And chances are it will be a win-win.

Impress Buyers:Feng Shui Brings Harmony Home

Want to infuse your home with energy to make it attractive to buyers? Why not consider feng shui – an ancient Chinese science that focuses on creating harmony and maintaining balance so energy flows well through your house.

You can’t control everything (such as the view from your backyard) but a tidy property will stand you in good stead. Most important, keep your house well-lit and clutter-free.

These tips may impress buyers looking for good feng shui:

  •  Invest in your front door – where energy enters the home. Remove distractions leading up to it, such as garbage cans and scruffy planters. Make sure door decorations fit the season. Paint the door in fire (reds and oranges) or wood (greens, browns) colors. Maintain hardware. And address squeaking hinges.
  •  Focus the energy in the main entrance. Create a focal spot but keep it simple, such as a table with flowers nicely arranged in a vase or a colorful rug. Never put a mirror facing the front door. If you can’t remove it, put a plant in front of it.
  •  Keep the energy flowing in each room. For the kitchen, this means good light; paint it yellow. In the bedroom, keep beds away from doors and windows and make sure they have lots of space around them.

Need more help? Call a feng shui master to help you determine if the house you want to sell – or buy – is harmonious and balanced.

Housing Sector Still Contributing in a Big Way

If you’ve purchased a home recently or intend to purchase soon, you may not realize you’re part of a vast industry that has made a significant contribution to the North American economy.

Consider the following from an April 2012 report by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR):

“Research has consistently shown the importance of the housing sector on the economy and the long-term social and financial benefits to individual homeowners. The economic benefits of the housing market and homeownership are immense and well documented. The housing sector (in the U.S.) directly accounted for approximately 15% of total economic activity in 2011.”

That includes such things as mortgage lending; home construction; real estate agents’ commissions; lawyers’ fees; and home appraisal costs, as well as moving costs. And the sector generates taxes and other forms of income for government at all levels.

But the housing industry also produces economic ripples that extend well beyond the home purchases and related expenses. Real estate transactions create jobs and economic growth in a number of sectors you might not even consider.

A NAR study on the economic impact of real estate in Oregon tells the tale: For every house sold in the state in 2011, there were additional expenditures on consumer items, such as furniture, appliances and paint, totaling $5,234. An Oregon home priced at $229,500 had a total economic impact of $67,003.

When you consider the number of homes sold across North America, you realize the numbers of manufacturers, suppliers of goods and services, tradespeople and sales forces that are dependent on the housing industry. The industry remains one to be reckoned with.

Naysayers notwithstanding, it will continue to be so. Even now with housing markets in flux, homeownership remains ingrained in our psyche. The North American dream is still very much a reality for many people.

Save Your Big Investment From Big Trouble

For six years, Sydney Walters wondered why his home was so hot in summer and so cold in winter. And why his family developed allergies and asthma.

There was a reason for that: When Walters purchased the home from its original owners, he hadn’t hired a home inspector. That home inspection could have revealed that the home’s attic had no insulation – resulting in wild temperature fluctuations and mold.

Buying a home is often the biggest investment a family can make. While you may not want to spend extra money, a home inspection can reveal a host of problems needing repair. Without it, your big investment is vulnerable to big trouble.

According to associations of home builders, a typical home inspection will include examination of a home’s heating and central air conditioning systems, plumbing and electrical systems, roof, attic and visible insulation, foundation, and structural components.

It should be done by a certified professional who can spot things an untrained eye may not.

When choosing among home inspectors, be sure to look at their credentials and certifications. They should be members of a professional association of home inspectors.

The cost of a home inspection varies and can be based on such factors as the size and age of the home.

While incurring an additional cost during the home buying process is frustrating, it can save you thousands of dollars by alerting you to areas of concern and give you much needed peace of mind that your big investment won’t cause you big trouble.

Make Moving Less Stressful for Your Kids

When it comes to major life events, moving is among the most stressful. But did you know that changing where you live can be just as traumatic and worrying for children as it is for adults?

If you’re a parent, it’s wise to consider the impact a move will have on your youngsters well in advance of moving day. Try to minimize any negative effects by talking through the realities of the changes your child is likely to experience.

Even very young children can become fearful or insecure if they see familiar pictures disappearing from walls and rooms filling with boxes as cherished items are packed in preparation for the move.

Older ones can become withdrawn as they ponder the unknown with questions like “Will I make friends?” and “Will I like my new school?”

So while moving can be hectic, it’s important to make time to listen to your children’s concerns, to be sensitive to any changes in their behavior and to provide plenty of reassurance. Let them know that while there may be challenges ahead, you’ll be there to support them. If you need help, any bookstore has many excellent children’s books that are appropriate for a range of ages and help explain the moving experience.

Once in your new home, set up the kids’ rooms first. Quickly explore your new neighborhood with your children to help familiarize them with their surroundings.

You never know – you all might meet a few new friends along the way.