Archive for March, 2021

Five Places Mold Could Be Hiding In Your Home

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 31st, 2021

Five Places Mold Could Be Hiding in Your HomeEven the most aesthetically pleasing homes can have mold issues. A type of fungus that thrives on moisture, mold can trigger symptoms such as itching eyes, asthma attacks and bouts of sneezing or coughing.

As a result of the possible health issues, mold is the sort of problem that should be dealt with prior to listing a home, and people who are in the market to buy a home would do well to have a licensed professional conduct a mold test on any home they’re seriously interested in buying.

What follows is a rundown of five places in the home where mold could be hiding.

The Unwanted Basement Tenant

If climate control measures are not implemented, basements can end up becoming breeding grounds for mold. Most basements get little or no direct sunlight, are often more humid than other areas of the house, and get scant ventilation, which can pose a problem should water somehow get into the basement.

Mold can go undetected for years in such spaces since it can grow behind walls, baseboards and insulation. Fortunately, detecting mold is possible not only by sight, but also by scent. A moldy or musty smell should not be ignored since it could be evidence that there is a mold problem.

The Air Conditioner’s Chilly Reception

Unfortunately, mold can take root in places that people cannot easily access and monitor such as on the inside of their air conditioner units. Mold can grow on the coils and, when moisture enters into the picture, a small problem can become a big one quickly.

People who find themselves coughing or sneezing whenever they turn on their air conditioners ought to be suspicious since mold could be the culprit.

Not On The Kitchen Menu

Leaving leftovers in the fridge for too long can create conditions where mold thrives. The mold can then get into crevices where it will have even more places to grow. The problem can become even more serious if contaminated food and appliances transfer the mold to other areas in the kitchen.

Furthermore, kitchens that are insufficiently ventilated can also have negative implications as far as food safety is concerned,

The Chimney: Where There’s Smoke…

Leaky chimneys can cause mold problems that, if not fixed, may end up infecting other areas of the house. In a leaky chimney, moisture can seep into crevices and create mold areas that may eventually make their way down to the walls. Therefore chimneys that are in need of repair should be fixed promptly so that problems don’t pop up later.

If Walls Could Talk

One of the most common places for mold to form and grow is behind walls. Humid air behind the walls can be problematic, particularly if water finds its way back there as a result of things like flooding.

It’s also possible for mold to form behind wallpaper. People can determine whether or not they have mold behind their walls by having an inspector come in and check.

Mold is no laughing matter. Before listing, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to address any mold issues. People who are planning to buy a home should have an inspector conduct a test to ascertain if there are any problems.

Taking the proper steps will help to remedy any mold situation that may be present. Whether you’re looking to sell or looking to buy, the right real estate agent can make all the difference. Call your trusted real estate professional today for more information on how to deal with mold when buying or selling a home.

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Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time? How to Juggle These Two Transactions

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 30th, 2021

Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time? How to Juggle These Two Transactions There are few things that can be more stressful than buying or selling a home. When you are buying and selling a home at the same time, your stress level may understandably skyrocket through the roof. There may be financial aspects of both transactions that may be cause you stress, and you may be dealing with logistical issues or simply feel stressed by the stacks of documents piling up for both transactions. While this will inevitably be a challenging time in your life, you can more easily navigate through the transactions with success by following a few tips.

Consider the Timing of Both Transactions

One of the best things you can do when buying and selling a home at the same time is to plan ahead and consider the timing of both transactions. You may get lucky enough to get an offer on your home from a buyer who wants to close just a few days before you close on your new home. However, it is more likely that these two transactions may be finalized weeks or longer apart from each other. You may need to plan on finding an interim home or paying double mortgages for a period of time. You may consider which of these two options is more preferable to you based on your work situation, your family’s needs and your budget.

Prepare a Budget Ahead of Time and Update It Periodically

Financial stress can mount during this period of time. You will need to make a good faith deposit and pay for third party reports and mortgage application fees for your new home purchase. You may also need to pay money to make repairs and to stage your current home before you list it. It is common to rent a storage unit and to pay for boxes and moving supplies as well.

In addition, a buyer for your current home may request that you make repairs to your home before closing. It is important that you prepare a budget so that you can pay for all of these expenses as they arise, and you should consider leaving yourself ample funds for unexpected expenses. If you run into a cash crunch, consider completing the sale of your current home entirely before going under contract with your new home purchase.

Use the Same Real Estate Agent for Both Transactions

The knowledge and support of a real estate agent can be beneficial to you for both transactions, and you may consider using the services of the same agent for both. Dealing with one person who is familiar with your goals and needs can be truly beneficial to you throughout the entire process, and he or she may offer insight about the best steps to take to make the transition from one home to the other smoother for your family.

While buying and selling real estate can be stressful, you do not have to make the process more difficult than it needs to be. You can set up a time to meet with a real estate agent today to begin discussing your plans and to take the initial step.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 29, 2021

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 29th, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - March 29, 2021Last week’s economic news included readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes along with final March index readings on consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

Sales of New and Pre-Owned Homes Fall in February

Weather-related problems disrupted sales of new and previously-owned homes in February as low inventories of homes for sale further stalled sales. The National Association of Realtors® said that sales of new and pre-owned homes were slowed by persistent shortages of homes on the market.

Shortages of available homes were common before the pandemic and are more pronounced now. Realtor.com estimates that 200,000 homeowners stayed out of the market in the past year; this contributed to the two-month supply of homes available in February. Real estate professionals consider a six-month supply of homes for sale to indicate a balanced market. Sales of previously-owned homes were 9.10 percent higher in February 2020.

High demand for homes fueled competition among buyers and drove home prices higher. Rising mortgage rates, short supplies of homes, and rising home prices presented obstacles for first-time and moderate-income home buyers as the national median price for previously-owned homes reached $313,000.

New homes sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 775,000 sales in February according to the Census Department and was 18.20 percent lower than the reading of 948,000 new home sales reported in January. The inventory of new homes available rose to a 4.80 month supply as buyers were sidelined by winter weather and rising mortgage rates. Analysts expect high demand for new homes to continue as buyers move out of crowded urban areas and seek larger homes that meet increasing needs for work-at-home space and up-to-date technology.

Mortgage Rates Rise as Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week as rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages jumped eight basis points to 3.17 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose five basis points to 2.45 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages rose five basis points to 2.84 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 0.20 percent.

New jobless claims fell to 684,000 claims from the prior week’s reading of 781,000 first-time jobless claims.  Ongoing claims were also lower with 3.87 million continuing claims filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 4.13 million continuing claims filed.

The University of Michigan reported an index reading of 89.1 for its Consumer Sentiment Index in March. February’s reading was 83.0 and analysts expected an index reading of 83.7.

What’s Ahead

This week’s economic reporting includes readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Index and reporting on pending home sales. Private and public sector job growth and the national unemployment rate will be released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

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An Overview of Amortization: It Plays A Role In Monthly Mortgage Payments

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 26th, 2021

An Overview of Amortization: It Plays A Role In Monthly Mortgage PaymentsEven though this may sound like a fancy word, amortization is simply a long word for a straightforward topic. Furthermore, it plays a significant role in the determination of monthly mortgage payments.

Before taking out a home loan, homeowners need to understand how their payment schedule works and what this means for the future of the home loan.

Amortization refers to the way monthly payments are calculated to make sure that homeowners pay the same amount every month throughout the life of the loan. Even if homeowners do not stay in the house for the life of the loan, amortization will still play a significant role in the amount of money they receive if they decide to sell the home.

Amortization Plays A Major Role In Calculating Monthly Payments

First, amortization plays a major role in calculating monthly payments because it ensures that homeowners pay the same amount of money over the life of the loan. Even though there is interest on the home loan, and inflation will play a role in the value of money during the life of the loan, the monthly payment is going to stay the same.

This is particularly beneficial to homeowners who are still working and believe that their income is going to go up during the life of a 15 year or 30 year mortgage. Even if their income goes up, and even if inflation plays a role, their monthly mortgage payments will still stay the same thanks to amortization.

Amortization Divides Interest And Principal In Monthly Payments

On the other hand, amortization also plays a role in calculating interest versus principal in monthly mortgage payments. At the beginning of the loan, the majority of each monthly payment goes toward interest on the loan. At the end of the loan, the majority of each monthly payment goes toward principal.

This also means that if homeowners decide to sell their home at some point during the loan, they might not get as much money as they think because most of their monthly payments have gone toward interest and haven’t built up any equity. This is another key factor homeowners should keep in mind when it comes to amortization.

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Ready to Relocate? 3 Tips on How to Set a Moving Budget That Won’t Break the Bank

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 25th, 2021

Ready to Relocate? 3 Tips on How to Set a Moving Budget That Won't Break the Bank Relocating to a new area can be exciting, but it can also be expensive. There are many resources to help, but most cost money. However, if you take your time and plan carefully, you can reduce the expense so you don’t start your new life with new debt. Here are three tips to controlling your moving budget.

1. Find Out What’s Free

Nothing is better than paying nothing, right? Don’t assume you have to fork out money for everything you need to move. If you have accepted a new job, ask your new employer whether the company can cover any of your moving expenses.

When it comes to moving supplies, see what you can get without having to pay for it. Stock up on free moving supplies by asking your workplace, local grocery stores, and friends and family for unneeded, sturdy boxes. Instead of paying professional movers, see if you can barter with friends or family for help in moving boxes to and from the truck.

2. Focus On Essentials

After you’ve pursued every possible angle to cover your needs for free, you will likely need to pay for something. The trick is to only do so for what is absolutely necessary. Many providers will offer you help along the way, but you should only sign up for basic services. This could include moving big items such as a piano, paying for gas and tolls, or buying cartons for oddly-shaped or particularly valuable items. If you are not able to move things yourself, this could include hiring professionals.

3. Do It Yourself

If you have the time and are physically fit, start long before moving day and pack everything yourself. Rent or borrow a truck and move your boxes yourself, perhaps with the help of a friend. Take care of disconnecting old utilities and signing up for new ones. Handle both cleaning your old home and preparing your new one. Anything you can do with a little elbow grease will mean less money out of pocket.

Call your real estate agent for advice on keeping moving expenses down. Ask about providers who may give you a discount for being referred by your agent. Remember that you are in charge of your move, so don’t automatically sign up for every service available. By using free goods and services when available and doing much of the work yourself, you can set and follow a moving budget you can afford.

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Understanding The Difference Between A Co-Borrower And A Co-Signer: What Do They Mean?

Posted in Home Mortgage Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 24th, 2021

Understanding The Difference Between A Co-Borrower And A Co-Signer: What Do They Mean?There is a lot of jargon that comes with purchasing a home. Even though this could be confusing, purchasing a home is also a significant decision. Therefore, it is critical for everyone to understand exactly what they are signing before they scribble their name on the dotted line. In some cases, a co-borrower or a co-signer (also called a non-occupying co-borrower) could be needed to strengthen the application. What is the difference between these two terms? 

What Is A Co-Borrower?

First, a co-borrower is simply a co-owner. Both names are on the title of the home. The co-borrower also shares the responsibility of the debt. This arrangement is typically used when two people are purchasing a home together. Usually, the primary borrower is going to be the person with the higher credit score. At the same time, the credit scores of both owners will be taken into consideration. 

What Is A Co-Signer?

Also called a nonoccupying co-borrower, a co-signer is similar to a guarantor. Legally, a cosigner will not have any claim on the home. They will not take possession of the home and their name will not go on the title. On the other hand, they are still financially responsible for paying back the loan. In the event the primary borrower is unable to meet the monthly mortgage payments, the financial responsibility will fall on the co-signer. 

Choose The Right Co-Borrower Or Co-Signer

It is critical for everyone to make sure they choose the right co-signer if they need one. Ideally, a primary borrower will be able to file a successful home application on his or her own. On the other hand, if the bank or credit union says that a co-signer or co-borrower is needed, it is critical to find someone who is reliable and trustworthy. Remember that they are going to be responsible for paying back a loan in the event the primary borrower cannot make the monthly mortgage payments.

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Why Professionally Shot Aerial Photos and Videos Can Help You Sell Your Home

Posted in Home Seller Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 23rd, 2021

Why Professionally Shot Aerial Photos and Videos Can Help You Sell Your HomeToday’s home buyers are savvier about their buying options than ever before. They are able to research prices, browse listings, and investigate other important factors before even making the first call to a real estate agent. So professional photography and video can make the difference between your home getting a second look or getting skipped. In today’s blog post we’ll explore how professionally-shot aerial photos and videos can help you get your home sold that much quicker.

Buyers Love Having a Birds-Eye View

It’s increasingly likely that buyers will look for aerial photography to help them make their buying decisions. Just like professional ground-level photos of the home and property, and like the video tour that really gives that first-hand feel, aerial shots are something buyers like when evaluating properties.

People enjoy looking at aerial content because it gives them a new perspective. That helps them feel good about their choice to pursue a property. Plus, they take you seriously when you take marketing your property seriously using quality material.

Quality Material Makes Your Property Look Good

Professionals create quality products. They have the skills, tools, and professional eye to make your property and its best features look amazing. Quality marketing materials can even shorten sale time and raise the final list price, too.

Aerial footage is especially effective when topography, land features, and amenities are best displayed from above. Professional aerial shots can really enhance the overall impression of your property.

Professionals Are Certified

The use of unmanned aerial systems – what we commonly call “drones” – is becoming more frequent in the production of commercial photos and videos. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t issues.

Current Federal Aviation Administration regulation requires that UAS equipment be certified and operated by a certificated pilot when used for commercial purposes. This means that you can’t just buy a drone and take pictures to sell your house. You can’t pay your real estate agent to take them either, unless they also meet the FAA regulations. Hiring a certified operator can save you fines or even legal trouble down the road.

When you’re ready to take marketing your home to the next level, contact a reputable real estate agency to get started. Professionally shot aerial photos and videos can really make the difference for a prospective buyer when they make the list of “must-see” listings.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 22, 2021

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 22nd, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - March 22, 2021Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets and Commerce Department data on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Builder Confidence Slips as Materials Costs Rise

The National Association of Home Builders reported that its Housing Market Index fell to an index reading of 82 in March as compared to February’s index reading of  84. Analysts forecasted a reading of 83. Builder concerns included rising materials costs and mortgage rates, which impact home pricing and affordability.  Robert Dietz, Chief Economist for NAHB, said that lumber prices have more than doubled since August 2020 and have added $24,000 to the cost of a home on average.

Regionally, builder confidence in housing markets declined in the Midwest, Northeast, and West but remained unchanged in the South.

Demand for new homes remained high as shortages of existing homes for sale persisted. Homebuilder sentiment was unchanged in the South but declined in the Northeast, Midwest, and Western regions of the U.S.

According to Commerce Department reports for February, housing starts declined to 1.42 million starts n a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to January’s reading of 1.58 million housing starts. Building permits issued also reflected growing builder concerns as permits issued fell to 1.68 million permits issued from 1.89 million building permits issued in January.

Mortgage Rates Rise,  Jobless Claims Mixed

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week as rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by four basis points to 3.09 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by two basis points to 2.40 percent. Mortgage rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 2.79 percent and rose by two basis points.

Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

770,000 first-time jobless claims were filed last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 725,000 new jobless claims filed. Severe winter weather in Texas boosted new claims, which significantly exceeded analysts’ expectations of 700,000 new claims filed.

Continuing jobless claims fell to 4.12 million claims from the prior week’s reading of 4.14 million ongoing claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes, inflation and consumer sentiment.  Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

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In Less Than An Hour A Day, A Home Can Be Organized Quickly

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 19th, 2021

In Less Than An Hour A Day, A Home Can Be Organized QuicklyOrganizing a home seems like a significant challenge. Fortunately, there are easier ways to make this happen. In less than an hour per day, it is possible to organize a home from top to bottom. Getting these unnecessary items out of the way might even prevent people from stubbing their toes! How can this be possible? 

Start Getting Rid Of Unnecessary Items

Start by creating two boxes. The first box should have the word “donate” written on it. The second box should have the “trash” written on it. Then, go through every room in the home. Find items that can be donating. Take them to a local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Remember to get a receipt because these items may be tax-deductible, as long as you work with a trained tax professional.

Then, take items that can be thrown away and place them in the “trash” box. Be prepared to throw these out. This will instantly create more room in the home. 

Target The Spice Cabinet

A lot of homes have unnecessary space wasted in the spice cabinet. Think about organizing them alphabetically. Be sure to check if any spices have expired, as they might need to be tossed out. Once the spices are all in the right spot, there will be a lot more space in the kitchen. That way, it will be easier to organize utensils, appliances, plates, bowls, cups, and the pantry itself.

Time To Deal With The Decorations

Once the holidays are over, it is time to organize the decorations. Make sure that each holiday has its own separate box. Then, make sure the boxes stack on top of each other. With a separate box for each holiday, it should be easy to store all the decorations in one place. This will free up a lot of other space in closets, storage areas, and cabinets.

Get The House Organized In An Hour Per Day

Concentrate on each small area, going room by room and “decluttering” as it will create a lot more space in the home, and in sections, it is easier to get everything organized. Ensure that everything has its place. It might even be helpful to write this down somewhere. Even though it might take some time to get used to it, having more open space in the home is never a bad thing!

 

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It’s Almost Spring Cleaning Time! Kick Clutter To The Curb With These Home Cleaning Tips

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 18th, 2021

It's Almost Spring Cleaning Time! Kick Clutter to the Curb With These Home Cleaning TipsSpring is around the corner, and it’s time to get your home in order!

Spring cleaning can be fun and easy if you follow some general guidelines, which are sure to get your home ready for the nice weather and looking as beautiful as the weather is about to. Kick the winter clutter to the curb with these spring cleaning tips.

Start With The Closets

Spring is here, and winter wear is no longer needed! It’s time to box up all of the winter boots, jackets, gloves, and scarfs until next season.

Starting your spring clean with your closets is a good tip, and will get you prepared for the rest of the process while creating more space and organization in the bedrooms of the house. This is also the perfect opportunity to create a “giveaway” box full of clothes that are no longer being worn.

Reorganize: Bookshelves, Countertops, And Desks

Reorganizing is the perfect way to prepare your home for the spring and summer. Good clutter is common in many homes, like useful books that are interesting for guests to read or decorations that offer a sense of warmth and character to the home.

So pick up the fallen and leaning books on the bookshelf, reorganize your kitchen countertops, and de-clutter your home office. For busy home offices, purchase organizational tools like additional shelving units, compile and file away old bills and receipts, and toss anything else that is no longer needed or of any use.

Get Scrubbing: Removing Stains And Odors

Getting ready for spring means removing the stains, dirt, and odors that accumulated in your home over the colder months. First, you should start with wiping your painted walls with a wet cloth to remove scuffmarks and dust.

If the water doesn’t do the trick, you can try mixing a little dishwashing soap in with the bucket of warm water. You may even want to repaint certain high-traffic areas, like entrance halls and the baseboards around the front door.

Next, you can go for the floors. Having a fresh carpet cleaning is sure to kick-start your spring cleaning; this may be something that you wish to have done by a professional. To make the most out of your carpet cleaning, have it scheduled for when the kids are out of the house for a while, and wait until the worst of the weather is over.

Make sure the kids take their shoes off inside, but get them to leave their socks on to avoid natural oils from getting into your freshly cleaned carpet. Vacuum area rugs in the same fashion, and mop the kitchen and bathroom floors at the same time you clean your hardwood floors.

Give the showers, bathtubs, and toilets in the house a good scrub. In the kitchen, empty the fridge and freezer of their contents, and give the inside a good scrub down as well.

Once the tidying, de-cluttering, and scrubbing are done, you will get to enjoy the fun part of spring cleaning: spring decorating! And while you’re at it, why not buy yourself and your home some spring flowers for a job well done.

If you’re doing a big spring clean this year because you’re looking to sell your home, these tips will get your home ready for any buyer’s eyes. Contact your real estate professional today to get more tips on buying or selling a home.

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