Rent-To-Own Opportunities For Those With Bad Credit

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 26th, 2019

Rent-To-Own Opportunities For Those With Bad CreditFor those who have less than a stellar credit history; yet, who still want to have their own home, a rent-to-own option is worth considering. A rent-to-own (RTO) agreement is a hybrid between buying a home and renting a home.

Usually, RTO deals require a significant down payment that applies towards the home purchase. An RTO tenant/buyer gets the option to buy the home for a certain price at some date in the future. The down payment is lost if a tenant/buyer does not go forward with the home purchase.

Another common characteristic of RTO deals is that a portion of the rent applies to the home purchase.

The Pros Of Rent-To-Own Deals

The significant down payment on an RTO deal is usually more than would be required as a security deposit for a lease agreement on a home of a similar type. This down payment gives the home seller/landlord the financial security needed to let a person occupy the home even if they have a bad credit history.

In some cases, the party offering an RTO sale does not even bother to run a credit history check on the RTO buyer.

The seller/landlord gets to keep the down payment no matter what happens. Usually, a person putting down a significant amount is a good tenant in spite of having bad credit. Having money invested in the property gives the tenant/buyer a strong incentive to take better care of the property than if renting or leasing.

Another advantage for the tenant/buyer is the ability to lock in a home purchase price for a sales transaction completed far in the future.

Typical RTO deals last for two years or longer, with the average being five years. This gives the tenant/buyer time to improve credit records and to qualify for the financing needed to consummate the home purchase.

The Cons Of Rent-To-Own Deals

If property values go down in the area where the home is, the value of the RTO deal can suffer. A few years later, the home may not be worth the price for buying it that is in the RTO agreement.

If any life circumstances change, the tenant/buyer may lose the down payment by having to forgo purchasing the property. If the tenant/buyer does not consummate the purchase they lose the down payment plus any portion of the rent applied to reduce the purchase price.

The tenant/buyer in the RTO transaction typically has to take on full responsibility for the home after they occupy it. This is an advantage for the seller/landlord but a disadvantage for the tenant/buyer who becomes responsible for all the maintenance, repairs, and upkeep of the property.

Summary

Rent-to-own deals are quite popular and effective for both sides in the deal under certain circumstances. Certainly for those that have a poor credit history an RTO deal is a convenient way to reduce the waste of paying rent and gain some potentially valuable home ownership instead.

Please consider meeting with your trusted real estate and mortgage professionals to discuss your options before entering into a risky financial agreement.

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4 Times When Laminate Flooring Is Better Than Hardwood

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 21st, 2019

4 Times When Laminate Flooring Is Better Than HardwoodHardwood flooring is considered a premium flooring material. It’s natural, long-lasting, durable and comes in a wide assortment of colors, wood, stains and plank widths. But hardwood flooring isn’t always the best choice. If you’re looking at homes to buy and eliminating the ones with laminate flooring, you could be overlooking some important considerations.

There are at least four times when laminate flooring is a better option than hardwood:

1. You Live In A Very Humid Climate

Excess humidity isn’t kind to hardwood floors. Wood is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs moisture from the surroundings. Too much moisture in the air can make hardwood floor planks “cup,” which is when the lateral sides curl up. Wood swells when it gets wet, which can cause displacement of individual planks. Remember too, that you can live in a temperate climate, but if the house is lakeside or within 10 miles from the shoreline, that will increase the humidity levels in the home.

2. You Live In A Very Dry Climate

Hardwood floors don’t respond well to dry climates, either. In times of very low humidity, wood contracts. This can lead to cracking and the development of cracks in between planks. While the gaps can be temporary, if grime gets in there, they can become permanent. Cracking is permanent and needs to be repaired and then sealed. 

3. Your Family Is Hard On Floors

If you have youngsters, a big dog, or other factors, those can be hard on floors. In some cases like this, it can be damaging to hardwood floors, which are expensive to buy and maintain. Laminate flooring is much more accepting of wear and tear, and if you need to replace it, the cost isn’t exorbitant.

4. You Have Special Hobbies

If you have certain activities you engage in, such as painting, fishing, wood carving or other special hobbies, you might want to reconsider the value of laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is a lot easier to clean up when it comes to paint splatters, muddy boots and wood shavings. With laminate flooring, instead of worrying about protecting your hardwood floors, you can focus on enjoying your hobby.

If your real estate agent wants you to see a house with laminate flooring, give it a chance. You might just discover that there are times when laminate flooring is better than hardwood. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in selling your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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How Long Should I Spend Looking For a New Home?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 19th, 2019

How Long Should I Spend Looking For a New HomeWhether you’ve been looking for a home for a long time now, or you’re just about to get started on the hunt, you’re probably wondering how long should you spend looking for a new home. Does it take weeks to find your forever home, or months or even a year? What’s typical?

There Is No Typical

The reality is, there is no typical amount of time it takes to find your home. There are too many variables, including how actively you’re looking. Maybe you’ve heard horror stories of people who’ve been hunting for a house for a year. But come to find out, they’ve only really devoted one weekend a month to looking at houses.

Or you’ve heard of a couple who found their dream home in just two days. Well, odds are they spent many nights online, sifting through hundreds of house images and only went to see a handful of homes in person which really met their search criteria.

The Market Plays A Part

It takes longer to find a home when the market is slanted toward sellers. In times like that, there’s less inventory and the houses that are available may be out of reach financially. Keep looking, though, because your real estate agent may find the ideal house on the market from a motivated seller who’s wiling to come down on the price. Hang in there and you’ll find your dream home in any market.

Does Your Dream Home Exist?

If you feel like your home search has been dragging on despite a favorable market, it could be you’re looking for something too elusive to find. Maybe it’s not the houses you’re dissatisfied with, but something else. You may be unconsciously trying to recapture something you’ve lost, like your old childhood neighborhood or a feeling of community.

These are all valid desires that you can acquire with the right home in the right place. Try to identify what you’re really looking for so your real estate agent can help you find it. 

When it comes to finding your home, it takes as long as it takes. Enjoy the process, communicate with your real estate agent and try to keep an open mind. One day, when you least expect it, you’ll walk through the doors of your next home for the first time. 

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4 Reasons to Take Your Own Car When Viewing Homes

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 18th, 2019

4 Reasons to Take Your Own Car When Viewing HomesWhen you’re in the market for a new home to buy, your real estate agent will likely invite you to ride along with them to view homes. This is a convenient courtesy, but you may want to reconsider. Your other option is to follow the real estate agent in your own car instead.

Here are some reasons to take your own car when viewing homes:

1. It Gives You Time To Confer With Your Partner

After you’ve looked at one house, getting back into your private vehicle with your partner allows some time to openly talk about the house you just saw without worrying about how it may influence others. 

2. It Lets You Drive Slower

Real estate agents do quite a bit of behind-the-scenes preparation when showing homes. They may have driven to a property several times before they bring you to see it. As such, they may drive with the intent of “getting there,” while you may might like to drive slower so you can see more of the area.

When you follow behind in your own car, you can take your time or even slow down more if you see something of interest, like a park or an interesting coffee shop.

3. It Lets You Contemplate Specific Features

When you get back into your own car after viewing a house, you and your partner can sit in comfortable silence if you wish to think about certain features you really liked. This is also an opportune time to make mental notes of features you’d be interested in seeing in future houses. Once you get your list together you can talk about it later with your real estate agent.

4. It’s More Convenient If You Decide To Make An Offer

Let’s say you’ve just seen the house that you are positive you want to buy. You ask your agent to make a formal offer. Now the agent has to head back to the office to submit the offer.

If you’ve driven your own car, you can simply part ways and you go back to work or home and await the results. Otherwise, there’s a delay on the submission while the agent drops you at your house first.

The next time you spend an afternoon looking at houses with your agent, consider taking your own car. As you can see, it’s the smart option.

Partnering with a trusted real estate agent is an important part of your home buying experience. Be sure to communicate your needs every step of the way.

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4 Simple Tips For Staying Organized With Kids

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 13th, 2019

4 Simple Tips For Staying Organized With KidsIt can be challenging to be organized when you have children. But this is only because, as a devoted parent, you want to be sure your child has everything they need to become happy, well-rounded adults some day.

This usually means you’ll be bringing your kids to extracurricular activities, play dates, fun events and family outings. It also typically means that over the years there will be a steady stream of school supplies, toys, new clothes and maybe even a musical instrument or two. So how can busy parents stay organized with kids? 

Share A Calendar

Depending on how you prefer to organize your days, consider sharing a digital or paper calendar with the entire family. Family members can add events as needed and everyone can access the latest updates. This way, no one gets caught off guard when the dinosaur diorama is due on Monday morning or your child’s ballet recital gets moved from Friday to Saturday afternoon.

Don’t Be Too Detailed

Toys and art supplies have a way of ending up on the living room floor no matter how many tidy storage bins are in your child’s room. Try keeping a large wicker laundry basket in the corner of the living room and let your child pile their things randomly inside the basket. This allows for fast cleanups and doesn’t require you to supervise the “organization.” It also lets smaller kids feel like they’re being a big kid by helping to straighten up.

Store Papers In Accordion Files

Keep accordion folders on hand in the kitchen for when your child comes home with artwork or papers with A grades. Have one accordion file for each month, because they will fill up fast. At the end of each month, go through and filter out anything you don’t want to save permanently. With this method you’ll automatically have your child’s best papers saved according to date.

Do Things On The Same Day

It’s surprisingly helpful to make a practice of always doing certain things on certain days. For instance, every Saturday is bath night, or every Wednesday is change the sheets day. This lets kids know what to expect in their lives and makes it easier for parents to remember things. 

Children add so much joy to parents’ lives. When you’re organized, you’ll probably find that you have even more time to share with your little loved ones.

Need some extra space for the kids in your life? Call your trusted real estate professional to help you find your next dream home today!

 

 

 

 

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Smooth Move: Do These Six Things When Transitioning Towns

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 12th, 2019

Smooth Move Do These Six Things When Transitioning TownsIt can be physically and emotionally challenging when moving from one town to another. There are lots of things going on at once; the actual packing and moving your belongings, saying goodbye to friends, changing jobs and just getting used to a new way of living.

It can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Try these six tips for a smooth transition.

1. Let Go

Try to look forward instead of back. You will certainly want to remember all the wonderful moments you’ve had in your “old” town, but give yourself permission to be excited about your new place to live. Leave the past in the past while still treasuring the times you shared with friends and loved one. This will enable you to fully open yourself to new possibilities.

2. Learn Your Way Around

Do some exploring in your new town. If possible, stroll or bicycle around to acclimate yourself to your new surroundings. If it’s too far away and you haven’t yet moved, use Google Earth’s street view to wander around virtually. Locate the places you’ll definitely need, like the post office, coffee shop and dry cleaners. 

3. Join Local Groups

Do a search for Facebook groups in your new town and ask to join. You’ll get a sense of the community and get better tuned into what resources are available and what people are talking about. Try searching Meetup groups in the new town for activities in which you’re interested.

4. Plant Roots

Make your new house a home by planting some pretty perennials out front or creating a vegetable garden out back. When you literally plant roots, you’ll feel more like you really belong.

5. Get Involved

It’s hard sometimes to make new friends as adults, especially out of work. But if you make an effort to get involved in the community, you’ll likely find that people are eager to get to know you. Keep your eyes and ears open for ways to join in with community events.

6. Fling Open The Doors

Say yes to life. You’re in a new town, and this is the perfect time to start new projects, try new things and meet new people. Try doing something new at least once a week. You just might find a new favorite activity or a new friend.

These six tips for transitioning to a new town will help you begin your new life with a positive outlook. Remember, there’s no time like the present to start the future!

One of your best assets to navigate the properties in a new town is an experienced real estate professional. Be sure to make contact with your wish list before you start your search.

 

 

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How Color Can Affect Your Home and Psyche

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 11th, 2019

How Color Can Affect Your Home and PsycheAre you dreaming in color of your future new home? You probably can’t wait to get your hands on a paintbrush and a bucket of beautiful new paint. But how will you choose the colors to decorate your new home?

If you’ve been to a paint store recently, you know there are thousands upon thousands of shades to choose from. Choose wisely, because color can affect your home and psyche.

Shades of Purple

Whether you call it purple or eggplant or violet or plum, purple evokes feelings of warmth and vitality in a home. The dustier shades of plum are ideal for walls in the dining room, where taste buds are tantalized. Light lavenders and lilacs are perfect for a little girl’s room, perhaps dotted with white and yellow daises as a border around the baseboard.

Crimson Reds

Red is a dramatic color to use in the home, yet it works in many contexts. Try dark red in a bathroom with dark wood cabinets for a sophisticated look. Burnt red in the bedroom is sultry and inviting. A statement wall of red in a home office denotes serious business and power.

Bluesy Blues

Blues can evoke serenity and peace, but they can also spark creative thought. Blue green colors are ideal for vintage kitchen themes, whereas navy blue in a boy’s bedroom is a classic look. Try white tinged with blue for your new home’s ceiling; it’s said to make a room feel more spacious because it simulates the sky.

Going Green

Kelly green isn’t a color that most people would use in the home, but sage green is perfect for a bedroom in which you want to instill tranquility. Sea foam green is a classic choice for a bathroom even if your home is miles from the ocean. Lime green can be surprisingly uplifting, especially when used in the kitchen. 

Pinkies

Though little girls seem to adore pink, it’s been psychologically shown to be a color that induces upset. It’s not a particularly passive color, but in pastel shades, pink can be soothing, especially when combined with calmer colors like beige or blue. 

Sunny Yellow

If you want a room to feel happy, consider painting it a shade of yellow. Yellow makes you smile; it’s cheery and friendly. Of course, if you get into the neon shades of yellow, it can have the opposite effect, so to stay safe, stay on the lighter side of yellow.

Color can certainly affect the way your home looks and feels, and how you feel in it. The wonderful thing about paint is that it’s an easy way to make a house a home.

If you are in the market for a new home, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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Renovations That Improve Resale Value And Those That Don’t

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 7th, 2019

Renovations That Improve Resale Value And Those That Don'tThose who want to renovate a home usually do this to make it more spacious, improve its condition, and to add amenities. However, it is also important to consider if the renovation has the potential to add value to a home.

Unless the plan is to live in the same place for life, there is a strong likelihood that, at some point, the home will go on the market for sale. It is nice if it sells for a high price and there is some profit for the seller in the transaction.

It is not the amount spent on renovations that is the key consideration. In fact, spending a lot of money making certain renovations may not improve the sales price, when the home sells. This guide helps decide between renovations that add value and ones that do not add value.

Renovations That Add Value

Renovations that add value are those things that almost everybody wants, which include:

  • Upgraded Kitchen: Having a professional-style cooking area and all the appliances with matching stainless steel-finishes creates an attractive upgraded kitchen. Many appreciate having an island area in the center for use as a working area when cooking large meals that doubles as an eating area for breakfast.
  • Luxurious Master Bedroom and Bathroom: Homes with a large master bedroom with big windows and a king-sized bed usually sell for a top price. If the master bathroom has a large renovated bathroom with a big tub, then this is a plus.
  • Extra Bedroom: Having another bedroom puts a home in a higher-valued category.
  • Lots of Closet Space: Many think that adding an extra bedroom is sufficient; however, adding extra closet space is also a great idea, especially when adding walk-in closets with his/hers vanity areas that are accessible from the master bedroom.
  • Green Systems: Solar energy systems that reduce the monthly utility bill are desirable. Energy-efficient windows are also attractive.
  • Smart Home Systems: These systems offer computer control of the home for energy efficiency, security, and convenience for the occupants.

Renovations That Do Not Add Value

  • Carpeting: Carpet colors are a matter of personal taste. If the carpet is not brand-new or thoroughly cleaned, it will lower the interest in the home. It is better to have nicely-finished wood or tile flooring with rugs strategically placed to create different usage areas. Offer to sell the rugs for their value with the home or to take them away.
  • Excessive Front Yard Decorations: There are a few homes that have so many garden gnomes in the front yard that adding another one is nearly impossible. Avoid this because not everybody appreciates this style.
  • Swimming Pools: For many, this is potentially negative. The cost of building a new, in-ground, swimming pool is not usually an amount recouped in the selling price. Some like pools; however, many others do not like the idea of continual maintenance and monthly expenses. Families with young children may see pools as very dangerous.
  • Bright-Orange Exterior Paint: It is not surprising to learn that most people do not like houses painted this color and other garish colors. Even if the paint is new, they do not usually sell for a higher price.

Summary

In general, in order to add value with renovations, do the things that most people appreciate. Complete the project for a budget to add to the purchase price of the home that will not exceed the average market value of a home of a similar type.

Homeowners who follow this general rule, get to enjoy the renovations and get their money back, perhaps with some profit, when the home sells.

If you are in the market for a new home, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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How To Turn A “Dumb” Home Into A Smart Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 6th, 2019

How To Turn A Dumb Home Into A Smart HomeHaving a “smart home” is a trend that is popular. What does it actually mean? Smart home technology improves energy-efficiency, increases security, and creates more convenience for the home’s occupants.

Innovative smart home technology improves with the deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G wireless broadband, and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) programming. Many things that an owner and/or occupant of a home needs or wants may be done for them by smart home technology.

Energy-Efficiency

Green energy systems include installing energy-efficient windows and perhaps solar panels along with battery storage. Moreover, by managing micro-zones within a home, money is saved by not wasting it on heating or cooling when not needed.

Management of temperature control is possible with smart home technology that allows the heating and air-conditioning system to direct hot or cold air to the rooms that need it, only when occupied. These systems turn off the zone when the room is not in use.

Advanced systems learn the occupant’s typical home-use patterns and anticipate them. For example, if a person comes home around the same time each day, the house prepares the rooms for that person in advance of their arrival.

Advanced systems link vehicles with the home. For example, the climate control system may receive the GS location of the vehicle over the IoT. Then, the AI software of the house can determine the distance the car is from the home and the direction it is traveling. The AI guesses if the person is driving home and adjusts the home accordingly.

Increased Security

This is one of the best reasons to install smart home technology. Increased security may help to reduce risks of burglary, home invasion, and damage caused by unavoidable disasters.

Home security may use biometrics, such as facial recognition, fingerprints, iris scans, and others, to authorize entry for specific people and prevent unauthorized intruders.

Video surveillance of the property, inside and out, keeps a record of what is happening. Innovation in AI detects camera images that are not appropriate, such as someone trying to break into the home and alert the homeowners as well as law enforcement.

Alarms trigger for many things such as a break-in of a door or window or someone coming to the front porch to steal a delivered package.

Sensors, which are much more sophisticated than a basic smoke alarm, may warn of smoke, fire, natural gas leaks, carbon monoxide levels in a garage, and even plumbing problems. With nanny cams, monitoring of babies and children is helpful for their safety.

Convenience

Smart Home technology can respond to the occupants’ use automatically or be manually chosen. For example, the coffee maker can turn on automatically in the morning to have the perfect brew ready for those who wake up. The dog door can be unlocked from bed for the dog to go outside in the morning.

A real-time inventory, using the barcodes of foodstuffs, automates the re-ordering of regularly used items when depleted.

The car can be started remotely and warmed up or cool before the driver and passengers enter it. During wintertime, entry steps can be heated to melt ice and snow just in time for people’s arrival. A hot tub can be turned on remotely so that it is fully heated up and ready for use when the owner’s come home.

Summary

There are so many innovations in smart technology already available and more on the way. Homeowners who invest in this smart technology may not only get to enjoy their home more, they may save on energy bills, and might also get a higher resale value for the “smart” home when selling it. It’s worth considering.

If you are in the market for a new property, be sure to tell your trusted real estate agent if a “smart home” is on your priority list!

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The Benefits Of Adding An In-Law Apartment To A Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 5th, 2019

The Benefits Of Adding An In-Law Apartment To A HomeOne renovation that may add value to a home is an in-law apartment. Even if a homeowner does not have any relatives, an in-law apartment makes wonderful guest accommodations. It is possible to rent it when unoccupied to earn some money.

Homeowners who rent out part of a home need to check with their insurance agent to upgrade insurance to accommodate commercial use of a part of the home.

Additionally, a person staying in an in-law apartment, who is not a member of the owner’s household, may need to get renter’s insurance to cover any personal property kept in the in-law apartment.

Renovation Plans

An in-law apartment may be in a basement or attic. Creating one is possible as a home addition, a garage makeover, or as a tiny house in the backyard.

Check the building regulations for the area where the home is. It is wise to get the proper building permits needed for the construction. Work done without permits usually does not add value when reselling because it creates a liability.

Some people make an in-law without having to do major renovations if partitioning the house is possible. It may be possible to separate an area to create an in-law apartment if the house has an extra bedroom with a connected bathroom.

If no existing part of the home is suitable for remodeling, then adding an addition is an option. A better choice for a backyard that usually increases the resale value is building an in-law cottage rather than investing in installing a swimming pool. Some people may prefer having in-law accommodations when compared to the cost of maintaining a swimming pool.

Multiple Uses For An In-Law Apartment

Almost everyone has a use for an in-law apartment. This is why they are attractive to potential home buyers. Children can stay with parents as they become adults. Elderly parents can live with their children. Couples without children can use the room as a home office. Single people can rent out the space to help pay the bills.

Use of the space may change over time, so be sure to think creatively about the space. The value-added for having this space is the privacy it allows. Living together is normally easier when the parties also have some privacy.

Having a private bathroom, a separate entrance, and a kitchenette in the in-law apartment covers all the needs. This allows the space to be self-contained.

Summary

Consider adding an in-law apartment for the convenience, potential improvements in the resale value of the home, and to reduce the expense of supporting family members who live elsewhere and pay rent for an apartment to others.

If an in-law space is on your wish list for your next home purchase, be sure to advise your trusted real estate professional.

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