Ann Bennett - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY / Metropolitan



Posted by Ann Bennett on 2/15/2018

For some home buyers, a home older than a certain date is automatically off the table. But for others the more history a home has the more interested they become in placing a bid. If you are in the latter camp, this article is for you. Owning a historic home isn’t for everyone and there are a few things you should know before beginning your search.  

One disappointment for potential homebuyers can be the limitations historic districts or easements put in place. They can limit what you can and cannot do aesthetically to your home such as paint colors and architectural changes, especially to the front of the house. If you find yourself dreaming of new siding colors, tearing down walls or building additions to make the house “just right”, you may find yourself disappointed. These are common changes that don’t go beyond the drawing board due to limitations in place and can even bring down the value of your home.   

On the plus side, because of these rules in place, the area probably has an active neighborhood association. You can expect well taken care of homes on your street that stay authentic to the historical charm you so love. You’ll have a community to turn to when you’re looking to gain knowledge on renovating and repairing your home. Chances are pretty high they have had to make similar repairs and know the best contractors in the area or where to source materials you’ll need.

And this is great because you’ll want to be prepared for repairs throughout the years to maintain your home. When renovating it’s important that you use the right materials as not doing so could damage your home in the long run if they don’t play well with your home’s existing infrastructure. For this reason, you’ll want to hire historic home specialists and preservationists when it comes time to make repairs.

In historic homes, repair bills can add up especially if you’ve taken on a “project” home. Take your current and projected income into consideration and if you’ll have the ability to keep up with costs. No one wants to live in a permanent construction zone and this can very well be the case if you run out of funds. You may want to consider an FHA 203k loan, aka a rehab mortgage, to help cover these costs especially any large ones you’ll need in the beginning. Some states also offer grants and tax deductions for repairs and maintenance on historic homes.

For each home you consider, hire an inspector that specializes in historical houses and therefore well versed on what to look out for and what the common (and uncommon) warning signs are. Be on the alert for asbestos, mold and lead paint especially if you have or plan to have small children. And know when to walk away, homes with structural issues are usually not worth their while and the issues you’re sure to have with time.

Purchasing a historical home is more than just a buying a house. It’s buying a piece of history with memories imprinted into its floors and walls. It is for this reason you also want to ensure those memories are not toxic or unsafe for your family. This house buying, perhaps more than any other, is one best-given plenty of time to find “The One” that’s perfect for you.  





Posted by Ann Bennett on 2/8/2018

Launching a search for your next home can be a daunting prospect -- especially if you're a first-time home buyer. It's not only a life-changing decision that will have "ripple effects" for years to come, but it's also one of the largest financial commitments you'll every make. So there is a little "pressure" associated with this choice!

The good news is that once you're approved for a mortgage and you know what you want (and can afford) in your next home, then the actual searching part should be a "piece of cake!" Well, as you can imagine, things can and sometimes DO go wrong along the way, but there are effective strategies for simplifying the process and increasing the probability that you'll be delighted with the house you finally close on.

Identify Your Priorities

Knowing what your priorities are and being familiar with all the different features you'll need to evaluate are the first steps to a successful house-hunting campaign. Your real estate agent can be enormously helpful in asking you the right questions, pinpointing your preferences, and guiding you toward the house that will offer the best combination of features, qualities, and characteristics.

Rarely will you find the property that is absolutely perfect in every imaginable way, but when you're clear about the important things you're not willing to compromise on, your final choice is bound to be one that fulfills your requirements and makes you happy! Also keep in mind that once you're the owner, you can customize, decorate, and landscape that home to become whatever you want it to be. Perhaps the only two things that are set in stone are the location and the proximity of the house to neighbors.

I don't know whether this saying has been attributed to any particular person, but it contains a lot of truth about achieving goals, attaining happiness, and finding the home of your dreams: "If you don't know exactly what you want, it's highly unlikely you're going to find it!" That holds true whether you're looking for the ideal job, home, or life partner.

So the question is "How can you zero in on what you need, want, and would find the most satisfying in a house?" Your real estate agent can help you create a priority list or provide you with a boilerplate list that you can work from. If you haven't chosen an agent yet, there is a free home-buying checklist available from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

There are literally dozens of items you'll factor into your home-buying decision, including the square footage, the quality of the neighborhood, the number of bathrooms and bedrooms, the condition of the roof, electrical, and mechanical systems, the size of the backyard, proximity to neighbors, and whether it's conveniently located near supermarkets, medical offices, parks, recreation, good schools, transportation, highways, entertainment, shopping, and much more. The bottom line is this: When you're organized, focused, and clear about what you're looking for in a new home, you're well positioned for a successful outcome!




Categories: house hunting  


Posted by Ann Bennett on 2/1/2018

For homebuyers who want to do everything possible to discover their dream residences, it generally is a good idea to attend open houses. These events make it simple to analyze residences and determine whether they match or surpass your expectations.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to attend an open house, and these include:

1. You can get a first-hand look at a home.

A home listing often provides a great starting point for homebuyers. However, a listing alone fails to empower buyers with the information that they need to fully analyze a house.

By attending an open house, you can get an up-close look at a residence. An open house allows you to walk around a home and view each section of a residence at your convenience. Plus, an open house usually is stress-free, and if you don't like a residence after the event, you can simply continue your search for your dream home.

2. You can receive comprehensive home insights.

During an open house, you can gain home insights that you may struggle to obtain in a home listing. Therefore, homebuyers may want to prepare a list of questions before they attend an open house to ensure they can obtain deep insights into a home's condition.

Moreover, an open house may help you determine whether there is substantial or minimal interest in a residence. If an open house is attended by dozens of potential buyers, you may need to act quickly to submit an offer to secure this residence. Comparatively, if you are the only person to attend an open house, you may be better equipped than ever before to negotiate a home's price with a seller.

3. You can envision what life might be like if you purchase a residence.

When it comes to deciding whether a home is right for you, attending an open house is paramount. In fact, an open house enables you to envision what life may be like if you purchase a residence. And if you feel comfortable with a home after you attend an open house, you can always submit an offer to help transform your homeownership dream into a reality.

If you plan to attend open houses in the foreseeable future, there is no reason to attend these events alone. Fortunately, real estate agents are available who can help you prepare for open houses and ensure you can discover your dream residence.

A real estate agent is a housing market expert who can teach you everything you need to know about buying a home. This housing market professional first will learn about your homebuying goals and craft a personalized homebuying strategy. Then, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about open houses, offer homebuying insights and do everything possible to help you find a home that you can enjoy for years to come.

Reach out to a real estate agent today. By doing so, you can start attending open houses and boost the likelihood of a successful homebuying experience.




Categories: Open House   Buying a Home  


Posted by Ann Bennett on 1/25/2018

After you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your house, it may be only a few weeks until you finalize your home sale. However, problems may arise that slow down the home selling process. And if these problems linger, they may stop your home sale altogether.

As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to ensure the home selling journey is quick and seamless. If you know what to expect after you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your residence, you can prepare accordingly.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you wrap up a home sale.

1. Negotiate with a Homebuyer As Necessary

Typically, a homebuyer will request a house inspection after his or her offer to purchase your residence is accepted. This appraisal will enable a buyer to identify any underlying problems with your home. It also may lead a buyer to request a price reduction or property repairs in order to finalize a home sale.

Although you may have allocated significant time and resources to upgrade your residence before you listed it, a home inspector still might identify assorted house issues. In this scenario, you should be ready to negotiate with a homebuyer to find a solution that satisfies the needs of all parties involved in a home transaction.

2. Remain Patient

Ultimately, the period between when you accept an offer to purchase your house and closing day may seem endless. At this time, try to remain patient and focus on the big picture, and you may be better equipped than ever before to limit problems that could slow down your house sale.

It generally is a good idea to be open to communication with a homebuyer as well. If you keep the lines of communication open with a buyer, both parties can work together to ensure a home sale goes according to plan.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

For those who are stressed out about the home selling journey, there is no need to worry. In fact, if you work with a real estate agent, you can receive expert guidance at each stage of the home selling journey.

A real estate agent is committed to helping you achieve the best-possible results. He or she will collaborate with you throughout the home selling journey and help you identify and address any potential home selling hurdles.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides after you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about a home inspection request and the final results of an inspection. Plus, as closing day approaches, a real estate agent will help you get ready for the big day.

Take the guesswork out of selling your house – use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble wrapping up a home sale.





Posted by Ann Bennett on 1/18/2018

Thankfully, the human brain is usually a pretty efficient mechanism for keeping our lives organized, healthy, and safe.

However, when we're rushed, overwhelmed, or feeling stressed, important tasks, safety measures, and priorities are sometimes forgotten.

Most of the time, this does not pose an imminent health or safety threat, but there are exceptions. Fortunately, there are often simple solutions available and preventative measures we can take.

Finding high-tech (or low-tech) ways to remember important things can provide you and your family with improved home safety, more peace of mind, and other benefits.

Here are a few strategies for overcoming the pitfalls of occasional forgetfulness.

  • Practice present moment awareness. You'll tend to be happier, healthier, and safer when you condition your mind to stay in the present moment as much as possible. Although there is a lot of value in planning for the future and dwelling on happy memories, it's counterproductive to worry about problems that might never happen or regret things from the past that can't be changed. People waste a lot of energy and create self-imposed stress when they spend more than a few seconds worrying or regretting. Staying focused on the present moment also has some health and safety implications worth mentioning. For example, how many times have you left the house (or gone to bed) and wondered if you locked the door, turned off the oven, or unplugged the iron? Getting yourself in the habit of bringing your mind back to the task at hand and being more aware of what you're doing will help you avoid some of these potential dangers, concerns, and distracting  thoughts.
  • Set an alarm as a reminder. If you set an alarm on your mobile device or computer to remind yourself to get ready for an appointment, send an important email, make a phone call, or check on the progress of dinner in the oven, then you never have to worry about getting distracted and losing track of time.
  • Good habits can be a lifesaver. Going through a mental inventory before you leave the house or go to bed can help reduce forgetfulness about locking doors, turning off kitchen appliances, and reactivating the smoke alarm. And speaking of smoke alarms, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) recommends that homeowners check the batteries in their smoke detectors once a month and replace them with fresh batteries at least once a year. It also urges people to completely replace their smoke alarms every 10 years. Important safety note: The federal agency strongly discourages people from removing smoke detector batteries to silence the device while cooking. Instead, it recommends opening a window, waving a towel at the alarm to clear the air [a paper plate also works], pressing a "hush" button if the unit has one, or moving the alarm several feet away from the cooking area.
While you can't always depend on old-fashioned memory techniques like tying a string around your finger, effective ways to jog your memory can range from using cell phone alarms and appointment-reminder software to low-tech strategies like Post-it notes, to-do lists, wall calendars, and calendar books.







Tags