Benefits of Being a Homeowner

There are many milestones in life – completing college, getting married, celebrating a big birthday, and becoming a parent are just some of the “big” things that happen in life. One of the other monumental things that happens for many individuals and families is buying a home. Becoming a homeowner is exciting and it comes with several benefits. If you are considering what it will take to buy a home, consider some of these benefits to factor into your decision.

#1: Buying a home gives you a chance to put your unique stamp on something.
Your home is uniquely yours. You can customize it according to your one-of-a-kind personality and style. Decorating it, designing it, and keeping it well-maintained will help keep you happy.

#2: Buying a home means you are a part of a neighborhood.
When you buy a home, you become a part of the neighborhood as a whole. Establishing a strong connection with neighbors, neighborhood associations, and the overall city means that you get to build a sense of belonging as an individual and even for the friends and family that visit your home.

#3: Buying a home is an investment for the future.
Homes on average appreciate annually, which is an automatic investment for your future. Each month builds equity and you can use that equity if needed to remodel your home, pay off other debt, send kids to college, or put down on another home that you can use as a vacation spot or as a rental.

#4: Buying a home gives you stability.
A fixed mortgage payment gives you the stability you need to live your life without surprises. You won’t need to worry about increasing rent prices and you will have the opportunity to save for future house projects that will add value and curb appeal to your home.

Buying a home is a worthwhile decision that offers both personal and financial benefits. If owning a home is part of your dream, we can help you with the process and all the details that go along with it!  Whether it’s your first time buying a home, or you have bought and sold one before, we are experienced in helping buyers of all kinds find a home as quickly and stress-free as possible. Contact us today to get started! We look forward to talking to you.

Posted on March 26, 2019 at 8:48 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tips to Reduce Stress While Selling Your Home

The process of selling a home can be stressful and cause anxiety for many people. While it does involve a lot of moving parts, selling your home doesn’t have to be all consuming. Here are some important tips to reduce stress while selling your home.

Tip #1: Get rid of clutter.
Most homeowners need to get rid of a few things before they move. Before you list your home, declutter as much as possible. This can make your house look cleaner and even bigger, and it will make things easier when you move. The fewer things you have to clean and put away for house showings, the better!
Tip #2: Choose the right agent.
An experienced agent is your advocate throughout the selling process and should be there to help answer questions or clarify things that may be keeping you awake at night. We are experienced Realtors® that have walked hundreds of clients through the selling process. No matter what, we are there to make the selling process as easy and wrinkle-free as possible.
Tip #3: Stay flexible.
Setting expectations is a good thing but be sure to build in a little wiggle room on those expectations, too. For example, don’t get ahead of yourself and hope to sell your house within days of listing it. Putting parameters on the whole process can end up being frustrating in the long run. Stay flexible in order to reduce your stress level.
Tip #4: Keep clean.
Once your house goes on the market, showings can happen quickly. Maybe you’re at work or you’ve headed out to do some errands and you get a call that someone wants to see the house in an hour. If you keep your house clean before you leave, you won’t be as stressed about showings on short notice. Stay on top of the dishes, keep the laundry put away, and make sure the floors and bathrooms are cleaned.  Get everyone in the household on board in on this so it isn’t overwhelming!

Ready to sell your home? We will help offer tips on getting your home on the market and will walk you through the process along the way. We are experienced in helping sellers of all kinds sell their homes as stress free as possible. Contact us today to get the process started! We look forward to talking to you.

Posted on March 15, 2019 at 9:58 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to List Your House

Winter is a time where many people stay inside and avoid contact with the bitterly cold weather as much as possible and for this reason, it’s common to see fewer real estate listings during these months. With the first day of spring just four weeks away, buyers are starting to think more about getting out there to look at homes. That means if you’re a seller, now is a great time to consider getting things in order to list your home. Getting your home on the market during the early spring can be advantageous. Here’s how.

#1: Inventory.
Waiting for late spring when home listings start coming on the market quickly and inventory starts increasing simply means that you as the seller will have more competition with other homes that are on the market at the same time. Get your house listed before the rush and you could have greater opportunity for more showings & more exposure.

#2: Peace of mind.
If you know that you need to list your house soon, there are details that you’re likely thinking over in your head. By listing your home at the beginning of springtime, you won’t need to wait with any uncertainty or stress to get your questions answered on some of the details that you may be unsure about. Over the years, we have seen many different types of real estate scenarios and that gives us the tools and expertise to help explain anything that you may have questions or concerns about.

#3: Serious buyers.
When the days get longer and spring has sprung, more and more people start visiting open houses or schedule home showings. Early spring can bring serious buyers.  That means you are more likely to get an offer on your home and catapult you into your next adventure in your new house.

Ready to get your home listed for sale? We will help get your home on the market! We’ll also assist you in finding a new place that allows you to start living in the home and area that you have in mind. Contact us today to get the process started! We look forward to talking to you.

Posted on February 20, 2019 at 6:56 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why You Shouldn’t Sell Your House as “For Sale By Owner”

If you’re planning on putting your home on the market soon, chances are, you are crunching numbers to determine what the different costs will be. Some people may consider trying to sell their home on their own in order to save money, but this could end up being a negative in the end. Here are some main reasons why you shouldn’t sell your house by yourself.

#1: Exposure.
Putting a sign in your yard or an ad in the paper will simply not bring the results that it did in years past. Experienced real estate agents have an Internet strategy to promote the sale of your home and that means you’ll get more exposure. Looking for homes online is the primary way people search for homes today and if you don’t have the ability to promote it via a well-known website, it’s likely that the home simply won’t get the exposure it needs to bring in the right buyer.

#2: Negotiations.
Negotiating the right deal is a process that real estate experts have fine-tuned. You will need to plan to negotiate with the buyer and buyer’s agent, home inspectors, and appraisers, just to name a few. If you are unfamiliar in how each of these people work on the various parts of a home sale, it could be confusing for you and you may end up missing something important along the way.

#3: Paperwork.
The paperwork involved when buying and selling a home is very complex. There is a lot of legal verbiage as well as intricate clauses and details that many homeowners simply do not have the training to fully understand. Experienced Realtors® can explain what the language means and how it will impact you as the seller.

People may think that they can save money in the long run by selling a home on their own. But in fact, many buyers rely on a “buyer’s agent” and you often will end up paying them for their services.  This means you are unrepresented by someone with expertise, while the buyer has that advantage.  However, an experienced real estate agent could end up helping you get more money for your property when everything is said and done.

Before you decide to sell your home on your own, talk to us about what we can offer you. We bring years of industry expertise in real estate negotiations in addition to helping answer the abundance of questions that come up during the process of selling a home. We are glad help you start the process of putting your home on the market so you can sell it as quickly as possible and move on to your next place in a new home. We are glad to help you with the information you need to start your adventure, so contact us today!

Posted on January 17, 2019 at 10:00 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tips For Selling Your Home During The Winter

 

The winter season is often known as a difficult time to sell a home. While the weather might be colder and it might not be as convenient to move during the colder winter months, selling your home during this time isn’t impossible. Here are some helpful tips for putting your home on the market during the winter.

#1: Capitalize on curb appeal.
Trees have lost their leaves and things aren’t blooming as much during the winter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t maintain some great curb appeal on your home. Touch up the paint on the exterior of your home, make sure gutters are cleaned out, and remove leaves or fallen branches. Purchase some pots that you can pot some plants in that could be set near your door and withstand the wet and cold weather. Make sure everything is swept off walkways and lights are on outside during dark house showings so people can see the exterior of the house well.

#2: Work with an experienced Realtor®.
Real estate agents work hard all year long and will work to get your house sold during the winter. We have more than two decades of expertise helping clients of all kinds finding a home that fits their unique home-buying requirements. We are glad to talk to you about your budget, the size and style of house you are looking for, and then find some great homes that are on the market. This will help make your home search process more efficient.

#3: Make your home warm and inviting.
Searching for houses in the cold weather is hard work! Make your home feel warm, cozy and inviting during each showing, by making sure the heat and lights are on, as well as having some relaxing music and comforting, mild scents around the house. By encouraging prospective buyers to spend more time in the home, you are giving them more opportunity to picture themselves living there!

As Realtors®, we can help you start the process of getting your home listed for sale, then help get it listed so you can sell it as quickly as possible and move on to your next place in a new home. We are glad to help you with the information you need to start your adventure, so contact us today!

Posted on January 3, 2019 at 7:46 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ways to Increase Your Down Payment

If you have decided to make the leap into home ownership, chances are, you’re thinking a lot about your down payment and what you will need to have saved for it. When you look at the funding needed and break it down into small pieces to see what actions you can take to increase it, you will likely be able to save more than you initially thought. Here are some helpful ways that can help you bulk up your down payment amount.

Know what you need.
Oftentimes, people hear that you’ll need a 20% or higher down payment, but there are other options that allow you to put less down. Lenders don’t generally require 20% down, but rather can structure your down payment to meet your needs, considering that if you put less down, you’ll have a higher payment—both in principal and interest, as well as potential mortgage insurance which protects the lender if you default on the loan at any time. When it comes time to talk to a mortgage professional about your down payment, talk to them about low down payment options that could include FHA loans or VA loans for eligible veterans or active duty military. Most lenders will be happy to sit down and help you look at the info for your total down payment amount, which can then give you a solid goal.

Get creative with saving.
If you get a raise or a bonus at work, or you get money as a gift from a parent or other family member for a holiday or birthday, don’t spend it and instead put it straight into your down payment fund. If you pay off your car, resist the urge to go out and buy a new one with a monthly payment and instead use that money for your house savings. Another helpful idea is to set up an automatic transfer from your checking account into your savings on the same day each month. This is not only convenient and save you the time of manually entering the transfer, but it may make it a little easier to save, too.

If you’re ready to start a conversation about what it takes to purchase a home, contact me. I’ve been helping clients of all kinds for more than two decades. As a Realtor®, I can help you start the process and can provide tips along the way. I am glad to help you with the information you need to start your adventure.

 

Posted on November 9, 2018 at 4:32 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips | Tagged , , , , , , ,

3 Ways To Improve Equity In Your Home

Buying a home is a dream come true for many people and the longer you live in it, the more opportunity you have to build equity. Equity is the difference between what the home’s market value is versus what you owe on it and with each house payment you make, the more equity you gain. Also as your home’s value starts to increase your equity also grows. If you’re looking for additional ways to improve equity in your home, here are a couple of ideas.

#1: Large down payment.
When you’re ready to buy a home, you can get a head start right at the get-go, by making a large down payment. Putting down 20% or more of the property’s value is a great way to not only add instant equity, but it can also keep your house payment lower and it will also allow you to avoid paying private mortgage insurance each month which doesn’t insure you but rather insures the lender against a possible loss.

#2: Shorter mortgage terms.
It’s very common for homeowners to take out 30-year loans on their home, but if you can swing refinancing your home to a 15-year mortgage, you will be able to pile on the equity and help pay off the loan quicker. Your monthly payments will be higher, but the payoff can be significant when your mortgage is paid off in half of the time. If you can’t swing the refinance to a 15-year mortgage, consider paying a little more on the principal of your loan with your payment each month or make one or two extra payments a year and apply it toward the principal. This can help you pay off the loan sooner and will help bolster equity over time.

#3: Home renovations.
There are some remodeling and home improvement projects that can help increase the value of your home and boost the equity. Replacing windows and doors, adding attic insulation, and completing a kitchen or bathroom remodel can all help with increased property value and greater home equity. There are certain home projects that do not add as much value. If you’re not sure, I’m glad to provide advice on which to-dos reap the most return.

If you’re ready to explore the option of buying or selling a home, contact me. I’ve been helping clients of all kinds for more than two decades. As a Realtor®, I can help you start the process and can provide tips along the way. I am glad to help you with the information you need to start your adventure.

 

Posted on October 22, 2018 at 8:37 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Home Maintenance, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Things That Make a Great Neighborhood

When it comes to buying a home, finding one in the right neighborhood is one of the most important considerations to keep in mind. Living in the area you want, in the home you want is the recipe for being a satisfied home buyer, giving you what it takes to live there for many years to come. Here are three main factors that make a great neighborhood.

#1: Schools.
Even for people that do not have kids in the school system, it’s important to know what your neighborhood schools are like. Quality schools ensure that good families want to move to that specific area, which will help increase the value of your property. Southwest Washington public schools are among some of the best in the state. Each school district employs high-ranking, award winning teachers, administrators, and support staff. Our primary districts are:

  • Vancouver School District
  • Battle Ground School District
  • Camas School District
  • Washougal School District
  • Evergreen School District
  • Ridgefield School District
  • La Center School District

#2: Accessibility.
Whether you’re a city person or someone who wants to be surrounded by forested areas in the country, making sure your home is accessible to the things you want is key. Research what places are nearby for public transportation, grocery stores, restaurants, activities, or hospitals. Consider what parks and other green spaces are around and factor in how long you will need to commute to work in your new neighborhood. If you telecommute, be sure you know how you’ll get that done in your new location. All of these are important questions to figure out answers to, so you can be sure you’re spending time at home rather than in your car traveling a long way to the places you need to be.

#3: Pride in ownership.
When you find a neighborhood that demonstrates pride in ownership, it’s obvious. Residents that keep their homes and yards maintained well will generally also value in the neighborhood and the neighbors they meet. A great neighborhood has neighbors that look out for each other, bringing them together for the betterment of the neighborhood as a whole.

If you want to explore the option of buying a home, contact me. I’ve been helping customers of all kinds for more than two decades. As a Realtor®, I can help you start the process and can provide tips along the way. I am glad to help you with the information you need to start your adventure.

Posted on October 9, 2018 at 8:08 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yard Staging Projects That Can Help Sell Your House

When it comes to selling your house, first impressions really matter.  If you are spending time to ensure the inside of your home is in pristine condition, you should also put some time and effort into making your yard look great too. After some hard work in the yard, your efforts can pay off. But what to-dos will reap the most reward? Here are some yard staging projects that can help sell your house.

#1: Lawn clean-up.
Imagine driving up to a home that you’re thinking about buying and seeing that the lawn is overgrown and full of weeds. Not the greatest first impression, is it? If you have grass in your yard, potential buyers will notice how it’s taken care of. Be sure to keep it cut short and invest in having a landscape team professionally edge it.

#2: Goodbye, clutter.
The outside of your home should look as clean and tidy as possible. Stash kids toys and bikes in the garage or in a shed, get rid of any personal belongings that are out front, and move your garbage cans and other recycling products to the side of the home or to the back where it’s not as visible. Don’t forget that the porch or front doorway entry is where the realtor and potential buyers will be standing when they are getting the key from the lockbox, so the area should be clean and welcoming.

#3: Hello, color.
Head over to your local garden center and stock up on flowers to brighten up your yard, as well as your walkways. Use large pots and other hanging baskets for added color around your front doorway, porch, or patio. New bark dust can also freshen the space and help reduce weed growth. A little bit of color goes a long way and if you invest in perennial flowers, the new owners will be able to enjoy the beauty in future years.

Remember that your yard is part of the overall ambiance of your home. When prospective buyers see your home, think about what memorable impression you want them to have. The better the home shows, the better chance you have to sell your home with ease.

Ready to talk through listing your home this fall? I have more than two decades of experience as a Realtor® and can help you start the process and can provide tips on the whole process, including what you should do to get your interior and exterior ready. I love working with people around Clark County and am glad to help you with the information you need to start your adventure.

 

Posted on August 7, 2018 at 11:06 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How your credit score affects your mortgage

If you are considering stepping into the housing market to purchase a home, chances are, you are doing some research on mortgage rates and what it takes to obtain a home loan. Figuring out what the mortgage rates are right now and figuring out how you can get the lowest rate possible is an important part of the home purchasing process. There are several things that determine what your mortgage rate is and your credit score is one of the primary things that lenders will look for before they loan you money.

What is a FICO credit score?
This is a credit score that is determined by FICO, a company specializing in predictive analytics, which is used to analyze and predict future happenings. For credit scores, the company uses a variety of credit information to develop scores that will help lenders predict consumer behavior, including how likely it is for the person to pay bills on time and if they are able to handle a large mortgage or credit line. Your credit score is based on several factors including your payment history for all accounts, the amount of debt you currently have, how long you’ve been using credit, and what types of credit you use.

There are several minimum requirements to receive a credit score, including at least one credit account opened for at least six months. If you have a poor credit score, there are several things you can do to help improve it. First, bring active past due accounts current and keep on top of paying things on time. Keep credit card balances as low as possible and limit your applications for new revolving debt such as credit cards. (1)

Can you get a mortgage with a low credit score?
You can generally obtain a mortgage if your credit score is poor, but keep in mind that you may not get the lowest rate available.  However, if your score is below 580, it may be difficult to get a loan approved. The higher credit score you have, the more likely you are to get a lower mortgage rate. Raising your credit score even by 20 points or so can really help in getting a better rate.  For some people it’s best to wait to buy a home and improve your score and work on financial planning before you apply for a home loan.

A home purchase is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make in your lifetime. Maintaining good credit, paying your bills on time and managing your overall finances with responsibility are all important things to have figured out before you take on a large home loan.

When you’re ready to take the leap to home ownership, I have more than two decades of experience as a Realtor® and can help you start the process of looking for a new home and can provide tips on the whole process. I love working with people around Clark County and am glad to help you with the information you need to start your adventure.

  1. American Reporting Company. FICO Source Overview. Accessed via Lynn Posselt, Penrith Home Loans, NMLS#41393.
Posted on July 25, 2018 at 5:21 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,