Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Have you ever picked a color from the myriad of paint samples available, put it on the wall and decided that it was all wrong? It shouldn't have to be that difficult but trying to pick the perfect color from those little swatches is just not that easy. Painters and decorators suggest you buy a small amount of the colors you're considering. Your paint store should be able to mix them in any brand and any color. Once it's on the wall, it will be easy to determine if it needs to be lighter or darker or if it's completely wrong. Take them home and paint a 2' x 2' area on the wall. If you're concerned about testing the colors on your wall, you can paint some sample boards that can be easily moved around to see how they'll look with the furniture, floors and other items in the room. Instead of guessing what it's going to look like, you'll actually see how it looks during different times of the day, in natural and artificial light. While $30 to $40 a gallon for paint may seem like a lot of money, the cost in time and labor to put it on the wall is even more. It's worth taking the time to test the color on the wall before you buy all the paint needed.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
The American Society of Home Inspectors publishes a column in their newsletter titled Postcards From the Field. Take a look at some of the findings in the January 2013 Issue. Here is a sneak peek: "Gun, Bag of Money and Video Camera." Found under the fireplace.
Buyers who have delayed purchasing a home due to concerns about what might happen to the tax laws affecting home ownership should feel comfortable about getting back in the market. The recent legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President continues to value homes as a favored investment. For a summary of specific real estate provisions in the "Fiscal Cliff" bill, click here. Whether the delayed purchase is for a home to live in as your principal residence or to use as rental property, taking action sooner is better than later. Reasons to buy now:
- The house payment with taxes and insurance is probably cheaper than the rent.
- Rents will continue to rise making the difference even greater in the future.
- Lock-in the principal & interest payment with a fixed-rate mortgage.
- 30 year mortgage terms are available to most borrowers.
- The mortgage interest deduction is intact for the majority of taxpayers.
- The capital gain exclusion for principal residences up to $500,000 remains in place.
- Prices are going up due to lower inventories and several years of low housing starts.
Monday, January 7, 2013
As the market shifts from a buyer's market, it's good to know how to improve your chances to have the seller accept your offer.
Once you decide on a home, don't waste time; write an offer and submit it as soon as possible. Competing with another buyer happens more frequently than you'd expect. Multiple offers are a seller's advantage but here are some tips to level the playing field:
- Realistic offer - don't give the impression you're trying to "steal" the property. Submit comparable sales that justify your offer.
- Pre-approval letter - this satisfies seller's biggest concern that an unqualified buyer will unnecessarily take the home off the market and the seller will lose other opportunities.
- More earnest money - it shows you're serious and makes the seller feel like the contract will actually close.
- Minimize contingencies - from a seller's standpoint, each contingency is one more reason why the sale won't go through. They feel the home is "off the market" and they're in limbo.
- Shorten inspection period - your agent can help you set a reasonable date but let the seller know you're willing to close prior to that if possible.
- Write a personal letter to the seller telling them why you want their home - this can be the emotional connection to the seller that makes the difference in you getting the home.