Parting with the family homestead can be a difficult — but logical — decision

Parting with the family homestead can be a difficult — but logical — decision

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Have the kids grown up and moved out of the house? Do you suddenly find that you’re living in and caring for a home that’s now too large for your current needs? If that’s the case, are you ready to start a new and exciting chapter in your life?

In most cases, selling the family homestead is a difficult and emotional decision. But when you achieve a certain age — for the sake of argument let’s say 65 and older — there are some very practical reasons for making this lifestyle change.

For starters, a smaller house is much easier to care for, and living arrangement all on a single level will cut down on trips to the basement or climbing staircases to reach the bedrooms. Fewer stairs and less clutter also results in fewer falls in the home. This is significant when you consider that those 65 and older make 2.5 million emergency room visits annually for serious injuries often caused by falls.

If you can’t decide what living arrangements are best for your current AND future needs, you may want to consult with a geriatric care manager who can help sort through the maze of choices available to seniors. Your neighborhood senior center or your county’s Department of Senior Services can also provide valuable information, often at no cost.

A happier and healthier lifestyle can begin with one decision. New memories are waiting to be made!

Parting with the family homestead can be a difficult — but logical — decision

Why getting pre-approved should be your first step

20160913-share-stmIn many markets across the country, the amount of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the 4 Cs that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.

Parting with the family homestead can be a difficult — but logical — decision

Staging your home: The bathroom

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Today we’ll continue our recent series on staging your home for sale, room by room, by stepping into the bathroom. Following are some tips for staging this well-used room, courtesy of a recent article on the real estate website “houselogic.”

Obviously, no one wants to walk into a dirty or smelly bathroom, so scrub and sanitize all surfaces — walls, floor, shower door, etc. Here are a few more tips to make your bathroom sparkle!

• Scrub tile grout and re-caulk around the tub and sink if necessary.
• If your tile is dated, you can try painting over it with a high-adhesion primer and either epoxy or latex paint. You may want to consult a professional painter for this job.
• Remove all clutter and pack up your personal belongings.
• Create a spa look and feel by adding fancy soaps, fluffy towels, decorative touches and a new bath mat.
• Fix any leaks and replace the toilet seat.
• Clean out your drains and deodorize with baking soda or vinegar.
• Consider switching out your old sink for a pedestal sink to give the appearance of more space.

Finally, bring a friend into the room for an honest second opinion. Does your bathroom pass the test?

Parting with the family homestead can be a difficult — but logical — decision

Fewer homes on the market increases demand for those willing to sell

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Each month, we receive statistics from the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors (BNAR) that provide a snapshot of the Western New York housing market. The July 2016 report contained one statistic that really stood out: A -23.5 percent one-year change in the total number of homes for sale.

In layman’s terms, it means there were nearly 25 percent fewer homes on the market in 2016 when compared to the same timeframe in 2015. As a result, those looking to purchase a home might find the competition a little more difficult than they anticipated. But if you’re selling, or thinking of selling a home, your timing is very good. Fewer homes on the market means more potential buyers per house, and the increased likelihood of a bidding war.

Whether you’re buying or selling, the process is made much easier when there’s an experienced real estate agent at your side to offer guidance and assistance. Please contact us today if we can be of service.

Parting with the family homestead can be a difficult — but logical — decision

50% of houses sold in 36 days or less in July [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Some Highlights:

  • The National Association of REALTORS® surveyed their members for their Confidence Index
  • The REALTORS® Confidence Index is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey sent to over 50,000 real estate practitioners. Practitioners are asked about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.
  • Homes sold in less than 60 days in 38 out of 50 states and Washington D.C.
  • Homes sold in less than 30 days in 17 states

    The Olear Team at MJ Peterson boasts an even better “days on market” average. In 2016, it takes us an average of only 21 days to sell a house. That compares favorably even within Western New York, where the 2016 average is 56 days.