Oct 26 2017

By Jim Vogel

 
Real estate trends are always changing. Who's buying, what's selling, geography, pricing ... it's all seemingly constantly in flux. According to a recent study by the
National Association of Realtors, the most recent data outlines some surprising trends. One of those is that single females are buying more homes than ever.
 
The reason for this trend in homebuyer relationship status is not entirely clear. It could be partially due to the fact that more women are raising children on their own. This would also explain why the number of married couples buying properties together is decreasing. Rapidly rising rent and the possibility of increasing interest rates are a couple of potential factors. Steady job growth and less stringent credit requirements are a couple more.
 
Still, there are challenges for any single person who wants to purchase a home. It's more difficult to get a home loan on one income with one credit score, for example. Without that second income, you're also more at risk of defaulting if you happen to lose your job. That's why single people should approach the process a little differently.
 
Phone a Friend
One of the advantages to buying a home as part of a couple is that you can walk through the process together. From researching neighborhoods and viewing homes to discussing finances and reviewing contracts. Hopefully you have a reputable, experienced real estate agent you feel comfortable with, but that isn't quite the same.
 
Throughout the process, single homebuyers should consult with friends or family members they trust. These people can visit homes with you, help you negotiate, or just serve as a sounding board for your concerns. They can also celebrate with you when you finally find the perfect home of your own.
 
Budget Wisely
Good news! It is easier now than ever for a single person to get a home loan. If you have a good job and a great credit score, your likelihood of being approved is high. In fact, the bank may offer to let you borrow even more money than you thought. While it may be tempting to utilize all your borrowing power, you should spend some time figuring out how much house you can actually afford.

One way to do it is to pick a monthly mortgage payment you're comfortable with, and use that to determine a reasonable house value. Be sure to factor in how much you spend on other bills and utilities, as well as entertainment. Then leave yourself some room for unexpected expenses, like home repairs, illness, or job loss. The more savings you have, the better off you are. The last thing you want is to be house poor
 
Be Confident
Single women still face issues like the wage gap, lesser retirement benefits, and, in some cases, discrimination. There is  some evidence that women even pay more for loans than men with the same qualifications. Even the accidentally-demeaning question, "Where's your husband?" can make a woman feel ill at ease.
 
But women shouldn't let these circumstances keep them from achieving their personal and financial goals. The truth is, regardless of your relationship status or gender, the market treats everyone the same. With the right research, good planning, and sound decision-making, you can be sure your investment will return at the same rate as anyone else's.
 
So, whether you're a young professional looking for a sound financial investment, a single mother who wants to raise her two kids in a house with a yard, homeownership welcomes you. As with anything worth doing in life, the challenges of finding, buying, and maintaining a home abound ... but so do the rewards.

 

 

 

Oct 25 2017
 
 
Our team had a really fun event recently called 'Parking Lot Potluck Party with a Purpose'. Our friends, clients, vendors, and family got together in our parking lot for some yummy potluck dishes and raised money for kids impacted by the hurricanes. 
 
We raised over $900 to help purchase backpacks and school supplies for kids who lost everything in the recent hurricanes. 
If you still want to donate to the cause, call us today! (208) 327-2127.

 

Oct 04 2017
Choosing home projects and updates that will enhance and transform the look of your house can be daunting.

Our next several newsletters will feature updates and easy cosmetic fixes that won't break the bank account and take months to finish. We'll focus on easy weekend projects that will help you transform every room in your house.

Enhance your Exterior
Painted Door
Adding a pop of color to your front door or some new flower pots can really make your home feel rejuvenated and inviting. There are so many ways to freshen up the front of your home and enhance the curb appeal.

Here are some great ideas for not a lot of dough:
  • Paint your front door, trim, or shutters
  • Install new house numbers
  • Install new window boxes or colorful pots
  • Upgrade your mailbox to something more decorative than a post in the concrete
  • Upgrade exterior lighting
  • Plant a new tree
These changes can make a huge impact on the feel and curb appeal of your home for less than a nice dinner out on the town!
Sep 28 2017
 
  • The kids have all graduated from college. You and your husband finally have time to yourselves ... then they move back home!
  • You have three spare rooms in a four-bedroom house.
  • You have to shuffle your cars each morning to leave for work.
  • You spend more time driving to work than you do with your family.
  • You spend more money each month for storage than you do for your mortgage.
  • Your neighbor found a loophole in the homeowner's association rules and is raising donkeys.
  • You keep hearing faint voices telling you to 'Get out!' and they are getting louder.
  • Grandpa Jed just struck oil while hunting in your backyard.
  • The dog's house doubles as a guest room.
  • You have to take a number to use the bathroom.
If any of these apply to you or someone you know, please call us at (208) 327-2127 and us know and we'll be happy to help you out!
Sep 27 2017
It's been a little over a week since we've returned from Mega Relief down in Texas. It was an incredible experience and very humbling to be a part of such an amazing outpouring of support for a community hit hard by Hurricane Harvey. Check out our video below to see how it went.
 

 

Sep 14 2017
Choosing home projects and updates that will enhance and transform the look of your house can be daunting.

Our next several newsletters will feature updates and easy cosmetic fixes that won't break the bank account and take months to finish. We'll focus on easy weekend projects that will help you transform every room in your house.

Change out the faucets
Changing out your kitchen or bathroom faucet is a great first-time do-it-yourself plumbing project. Just make sure you properly shut off the water valves and follow the directions carefully!

A new fixture in the kitchen or bathroom will add that extra shine you are looking for. Many new kitchen faucets have more functionality and the upgrade can be more than just aesthetic.

A Google search will yield more faucet options than you may want to view. This will be a great opportunity to add a more modern or contemporary feel to any kitchen or bathroom, or even get rid of some brass!
Sep 12 2017
 

When preparing to move, I always envision our perfectly organized boxes fitting in a small U-haul that will arrive at the new house and be unloaded in a few short hours, just in time for a quick shower and a fun BBQ at a friend's house. What actually ensues, at least in my experience, is procrastination, followed by panic, finished with chaos. 

 
Where's the packing tape? Who's brilliant idea was it to fill a jumbo box with all of our text books that we mustkeep from college? Why is this box leaking? Where's Bernie, the beloved goldfish?! Finished off with the not-so-occasional audible sigh and a pointed glare at my husband.
 
So, with the invention of Pinterest and a pending move on the horizon, I did what every millennial does in this situation. I 'pinned' all the checklists I could about a stress-free move. And do you know what happened? A relatively low-stress moving experience! Here's a list of my favorite things that made the move a little less painful.
 
Photos - not just for nostalgic purposes
It seems like you finally get your house decorated just right when it's time to move again. Before you start removing wall hangings, shelf décor, and rearranging furniture to go into the moving truck, take several pictures of each room from each angle. Grab close-ups of bookcases and shelves. When you start settling into your new home, you'll have a great guide for where you last had things placed.
 
Fuel - moving makes you hungry... lack of fuel makes you hangry

Make sure to keep healthy and protein-packed food within arms reach when moving. Stock the pantry with granola bars, nuts, and fresh fruit, while loading the refrigerator with yogurt, cheese, and veggies. Create an easy meal plan prior to the move and prepare everything that you can before you start boxing things up. Leave out any pots and pans you'll need to use and don't forget the salt and pepper! This will help keep you from running to a greasy fast-food joint because it's easy, and ensures your spouse makes it to the new house alive.
 
Prepare - the essentials are ... well ... essential
Gather your favorite cleaning products, furniture pads, hooks, and rags - anything you'll need for cleaning and organizing both your old house and your new home. Find a spot that is out of the way and leave it all in a laundry basket so the items don't accidentally get packed into a box. Nothing is more frustrating than losing the all-purpose cleaner and having to run to the store to buy more!
 
Boxes - pack it up room-by-room
We know not to pack all the books you own into a huge box, but think about packing one room at a time and resisting the urge to pack like items from one room in with items from another. Pack one room entirely and clearly label the box as such. This will help eliminate confusion when unpacking your boxes at your new home, and when your spouse asks, "Where does this go?" you can tell him to read the box ... probably 12 times until he finally gets it.
 
Purge - lightening your load one keychain flashlight at a time.
You don't need that purple shimmery eye shadow you've been carrying around since the early 2000's, because I hate to break it to you - you're not going to wear it! Get rid of all the bath bombs and shower gels you get each year for Christmas from Aunt Jan, promotional mugs from your insurance agent, and your copy of 'Hope Floats' on DVD that is still in it's original plastic packaging. You don't need it and Aunt Jan will never know!
 
Use your luggage - pack like you're going on vacation

Resist the urge to use your luggage to pack up your bedroom. Use it to make sure you have all the items you'll need to function for at least two weeks. Clothes, hair dryer, toiletries, towels, and anything else you'll need to feel human. Include any important documents you may need as well as cash for tipping any movers you may hire. Put any rings you wear on a daily basis in your luggage too, your fingers will likely swell from carrying boxes to and fro, this will help ease any discomfort caused by the swelling.
 
While this list is not all-encompassing, it's a good place to start when preparing to move.
 
I'd love to hear what has worked for you in the past! Email me at info@jillgiese.com to submit your moving tips and tricks!

 

Sep 07 2017
Choosing home projects and updates that will enhance and transform the look of your house can be daunting.
 
Our next several newsletters will feature updates and easy cosmetic fixes that won't break the bank account and take months to finish. We'll focus on easy weekend projects that will help you transform every room in your house.
 

Build a Headboard

Building a headboard will add a great look to any bedroom in the house and will definitely make your house look updated.
 
Like with our last issue of installing a new kitchen backsplash, there are so many different designs and ways to make a new headboard. You can add one to any themed room.
 

Headboards can be made out of nearly anything! 

  • Find something you're passionate about and turn it into a headboard. 
  • If you love skiing, turn the old skis into a headboard. 
  • Make a collage by decoupaging magazines or attach family photos to an old headboard. Salvaged materials like old windows, doors, fencing look great and are easy to give a distressed and hip look.
Also like our last issue, a simple Google keyword search or browsing Pinterest will give you many inspiring ideas. Here's one of our favorites!
 
Sep 06 2017
Thank you to those who have already reached out to us to see how you can help! It means a lot. 

For those who don't know, our company, Keller Williams Realty International, is headquartered in Austin, Texas. This means we have hundreds of agents in the Houston and surrounding areas that were hit by Hurricane Harvey. At present count, at least 300 of our agents, and thousands of other non-KW folks, are out of their homes and many more are severely impacted. 7,000 people will take refuge in Austin where many of us, including Dana and me, will be heading to volunteer next week. Not only have they lost their homes, their pets, and belongings - they will be impacted for months to come since their livelihood is dependent on the housing industry.

 

We have many personal friends who have been impacted and many others who have been heroes, literally pulling people out of the water. One of many stories shared yesterday: "We finally found our cat. Floating by on a mattress."

 

YOU CAN HELP.
 
Our company has an established 501(c)3 charity, KW Cares, with a long history and lots of experience in helping with disaster relief and recovery. We own multiple 18-wheelers for this purpose, the first of which arrived in Houston with supplies last week. 

Rather than collecting water, clothing, and other supplies, the best way you can help is to donate money. KW Cares is then able to buy in bulk. They are working closely with the Salvation Army & Red Cross, and will adjust what is purchased based on needs as they change day by day. 100% of all donations go to disaster relief because ALL admin costs are personally handled by our Chairman, Gary Keller, and Vice Chairman of the Board, Mo Anderson!

 

 

Please donate and choose 'Boise' or 'Other' when instructed to choose a Market Center. Designate your donation to Hurricane Harvey Relief.
 
Our company has committed to raise $20 million and so far we have raised $4 million. We have a LONG way to go. Thanks for stepping up. It's in times like this that the good in people comes out and our friends and family shine. We appreciate you. Please keep all those affected in your thoughts and in your hearts.
Aug 31 2017

Before you put your home up for sale, use the right comparable sales to find the perfect price.

A house is comparable to yours in price if it's in the same neighborhood, on a similar street, and in the same school district.

How much can you sell your home for? Probably about as much as the neighbors got, as long as the neighbors sold their house in recent memory and their home was just like your home.

Knowing how much homes similar to yours, called comparable sales (or in real estate lingo, comps), sold for gives you the best idea of the current estimated value of your home. The trick is finding sales that closely match yours.

What makes a good comparable sale?  

Your best comparable sale is the same model as your house in the same subdivision - and it closed escrow last week. If you can't find that, here are other factors that count:

Location: The closer to your house the better, but don't just use any comparable sale within a mile radius. A good comparable sale is a house in your neighborhood, your subdivision, on the same type of street as your house, and in your school district.

Home type: Try to find comparable sales that are like your home in style, construction material, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, basement (having one and whether it's finished), finishes, and yard size.

Amenities and upgrades: Is the kitchen new? Does the comparable sale house have full A/C? Is there crown molding, a deck, or a pool? Does your community have the same amenities (pool, workout room, walking trails, etc.) and homeowners association fees?

Sale sweeteners: Did the comparable sale sellers give the buyers downpayment assistance, closing costs, or a free television? You have to reduce the value of any comparable sale to account for any deal sweeteners.

Agents can help adjust price based on insider insights

Even if you live in a subdivision, your home will always be different from your neighbors'. Evaluating those differences - like the fact that your home has one more bedroom than the comparables or a basement office - is one of the ways real estate agents add value.

An active agent has been inside a lot of homes in your neighborhood and knows all sorts of details about comparable sales. She has read the comments the selling agent put into the MLS, seen the ugly wallpaper, and heard what other REALTORS®, lenders, closing agents, and appraisers said about the comparable sale.

More ways to pick a home listing price

If you're still having trouble picking out a listing price for your home, look at the current competition. Ask your real estate agent to be honest about your home and the other homes on the market (and then listen to her without taking the criticism personally).

Next, put your comparable sales into two piles: more expensive and less expensive. What makes your home more valuable than the cheaper comparable sales and less valuable than the pricier comparable sales?

Are foreclosures a good comparable?

If one or more of your comparable sales was a foreclosed home or a short sale (a home that sold for less money than the owners owed on the mortgage), ask your real estate agent how to treat those comps.

A foreclosed home is usually in poor condition because owners who can't pay their mortgage can't afford to pay for upkeep. Your home is in great shape, so the foreclosure should be priced lower than your home.

So you have to rely on your REALTOR's® knowledge of the local market to use a short sale as a comparable sale.

Visit www.Houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.