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Take a Few Steps Before Putting Your Home on the Market

listing home

Thinking of getting in on the hot seller’s market? Who could blame you? There is certainly more demand than supply right now. To get top dollar for your home, take these simple steps before listing:

cleaning
  • Give your house a deep cleaning. First impressions are everything, so don’t let dirty floors or dusty surfaces overshadow all the great things about your home. Foul smells are a major turn off to buyers. You may want to consider hiring a professional.
declutter
  • Declutter and organize. This means closets, cabinets, pantries, countertops, etc. It’s hard for buyers to focus on the actual home when it is full of clutter and overflowing closets.
repair
  • If you’ve been putting off fixing that leaky faucet, squeaky doors, or running toilets, now is the time to do all those repairs and maintenance that you’ve been putting off. Buyers will think the home hasn’t been well maintained.
gray living room
Photo Credit: Sherwin Williams
  • A fresh coat of neutral paint on the walls will make your home appear bigger, brighter and more welcoming. Especially get rid of any bright walls. Favorite neutral paints are whites, light grays, and light beiges. Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace is a favorite true white and Sherwin Williams’ Repose Gray is a great gray wall color choice.
front porch
  • Now that you’ve gotten the inside in tip-top shape, spruce up the exterior by making any necessary repairs. Make sure the grass is cut, the weeds are pulled, and the landscaping is trimmed.
real estate
  • Hire a professional real estate agent to list your home. By enlisting a professional, your home will get the maximum exposure by being listed on the multi-listing service where thousands of agents and potential buyers will see it.

Stutesman Action Realty can help you list and sell your home. One of the professional real estate agents will offer you additional tips to maximize your home’s selling potential and will be there throughout the purchase negotiations and closing. Call today, 833.286.8400.

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First Time Home Buying

The real estate market continues to be at the top of financial news with headlines ranging from supply shortages and rising interest rates. Although housing affordability continues to be a major challenge for buyers, a bit of good news is that first time homebuyers were responsible for 29% of sales in February, a 2% increase from the prior month. Are you thinking of joining the nearly 30% of homebuyers, but aren’t sure where to start? Buying a home can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are a first-time homebuyer. Don’t worry just follow these steps and you will be living in your new home before you know it.

real estate market
  • Check your credit score to determine whether you qualify for a mortgage and the interest rate lenders will offer. You are entitled to an annual free credit report, go to AnnualCreditReport.com. Also, from now until the end of the year, the government is allowing a weekly credit report, so take full advantage of this free service. Take this time to review the report and fix any errors or issues.
budget
  • Determine your budget and what you are comfortable with. Just because you may qualify for more, doesn’t mean it is right for you. Most buyers prefer not to be “married to a house payment” so they can travel and do other things.
mortage
  • Find a trusted mortgage lender to get the best mortgage and mortgage rate. Once you are approved, a mortgage lender can give you a preapproval letter. A preapproval letter is a great tool when purchasing a home, because it lets real estate agents and sellers know you are serious and can give you an edge over other buyers that aren’t as prepared.
trusted
  • Choose a real estate agent that will help you find the perfect home that meets your needs within your budget. Once you’ve decided on a home, an agent will guide you through the entire process from negotiation to the final closing process.
real estate agent tips
  • Tips to help your real estate agent find the perfect home:
    • What is important to you? Schools? Nearby recreational activities?
    • Will this be a starter home or a forever home?
    • Do you want to be within walking distance of amenities such as parks or grocery stores?
    • Do you want to live in a neighborhood or prefer to have a larger lot?

First time home buying doesn’t have to be scary. Just follow the steps above and find real estate professionals that you can trust to help you throughout the entire process. Stutesman’s Action Realty can help you with all your real estate needs in Missouri and Kansas. Call today, 833.286.8400.

For more information about current housing statistics, visit the National Association of Realtorsâ.

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How to Prepare for the Impending Interest Rate Hikes

interest rates

All indicators are pointing to interest rate hikes in 2022. When, how much, and how many are still under speculation, but the one thing experts agree on is that they will rise. How can you prepare for the upcoming rate hikes?

home owner
  • If you are considering buying a home, now is the time. Work with your mortgage broker to lock in a low rate. Make sure the rate is fixed and won’t vary.
  • If you have your eye on a home, but the current owner needs a longer move out date, go ahead and purchase it at the lower rate and lease it back to the owner. A real estate professional can help you properly write up a contract with the specific details.
house debt
  • Pay off as much debt as possible, especially credit card debt and any sort of variable rate loans. These are the things that can get out of hand quickly and cause many financial problems that will  hurt you homebuying potential.
mom and son

On the other hand, rate hikes aren’t all bad for homebuyers. Last year’s soaring demand and low-interest rates sent prices rising beyond reach for many would-be homebuyers. Buyers found themselves in bidding wars and/or making hasty decisions. For most Americans, the main way of accumulating wealth is through homeownership and last year’s dramatic price increases squashed that dream for many. That is a problem that not even low-interest rates could fix. Experts don’t expect a dramatic decline in home prices, but the dramatic increases are forecast to tamper down a bit allowing a larger pool of buyers to become homeowners.

One thing is for certain, planning is crucial, so get with an agent, find a lender, and start planning. Stutesman’s Action Realty has a line-up of professional real estate agents ready to help their clients make that purchase or sell. Reach out today, 833.286.8400.

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How to Sell Your Home Fast if Foreclosure is Looming

house

Although the housing market is the hottest it has been in recent years, some people have been adversely impacted by the pandemic and are facing the possibility of foreclosure. When foreclosure is looming, sellers are typically anxious to sell their homes. To assure your home sells fast, make sure it is in top condition, priced to sell, and marketed appropriately.

decluttering

Although money may be tight, it is important to make sure the house is in the best condition possible. Often the things that need to be done only require good old-fashioned labor and your time. Decluttering is the best place to start. This allows buyers the ability to truly see the house and all it has to offer. Piles, messes, and odors are a sure way to turn a buyer off. If the house needs some repairs, don’t invest too much money. It is best to opt for less expensive items such as re-painting, caulking cracks, fixing minor leaks, and patching holes in the walls.

money house

Price your home a realistic price for the market. Overpricing will guarantee a house to sit on the market. Although houses are generally selling for more in today’s market, remember a house will only sell for what the market is willing to pay. If it’s too high, they won’t buy it.

marketing

There is more to marketing a house than putting a for-sale sign in the yard. It is important to have an online presence exposing it to an unlimited number of buyers. You will need several quality photos to give viewers a good idea of what your house looks like. Online views lead to in-person showings.

Selling a house can be overwhelming and the best way to remedy that feeling is to hire a professional real estate agent. A professional will help you get the house in top condition by offering advice on what needs to be done to attract buyers. No one knows the real estate market better than a real estate agent. An agent can conduct a comparative market analysis to determine what homes similar to yours are selling for in your market. This helps determine the most likely sell price. Once an agent lists your home, it will be listed on the open market making it available for thousands of buyers and other real estate agents to view. Stutesman Action Realty can get your house sold fast! Contact an agent today at 833.286.8400.

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New Year, New Home

new year, new home

As 2021 is wrapping up with a record housing year, 2022 is shaping up to be another one. Although the Fed has signaled, they are open to raising interest rates to offset inflation, the housing market is expected to continue to remain strong. While many may think this could slow the housing market (and it could), this will help lower the cost of materials and supplies such as lumber and plumbing supplies. As the old saying goes, “It will all come out in the wash,” is relatively accurate when considering the correlation between the two. Are you thinking about selling your home in the new year and curious if the time is right for you? Here are a few things to consider:

clock in hand

Is this the right time for you?

Of course, factors like seasonality and local market trends play a role in your decision-making process, the most important considerations are personal. The first step is to consider your finances. Yes, you may be able to get top dollar for your home, but you could also pay top dollar for another one.  

budget worksheet

How much can you afford to spend?

Now that you’ve considered your finances and what comfortably fits your budget, it is a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage if you will be financing your new home. Today’s market is very competitive and buyers that can show sellers they are serious are more likely to have their offer accepted.

home needs list

What are your must-haves?

If you have decided that now is the time to make the move, make a list of your must-haves that you can’t live without. Do you want to stay in a specific school district? Do you need a home office? Do you want a bigger lot?

couple shopping online

Start shopping!

Now the fun begins, and you can confidently start your search knowing that when you find your dream home, you will be ready to make an offer. Hiring a professional real estate agent is one of the best ways to buy and sell a home. They will help you search for homes, schedule showings, help you make an offer, and work with you throughout the entire process.

Contact Stutesman’s Action Realty today to find your new home in the new year.

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Should You Sell Your Home During the Holidays?

holiday table setting

The holidays aren’t always considered to be the best time to sell your home, but that isn’t necessarily true, especially in the current real estate climate where demand is high, and supply is low. People typically associate the time of year when the grass is turning green as the optimal time to sell, but don’t limit yourself to the warmer temperatures if you are considering selling. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Inventory is lower, limiting competition.
  • Buyers that are actively looking during this time of year tend to be more serious and ready to make a decision when they find what they want.
  • Holiday decorations can make your home more inviting and create an emotional connection to potential buyers.
gingerbread house

If you decide to list your home during the holidays, here are a few tips:

  • Make your home festive, but don’t go overboard. If your home is too crowded it will give the impression that it isn’t large enough and/or keep potential buyers from moving freely to get a good look.
potpourri
  • To solidify the holiday experience, fill your home with the smell of the holidays. Try this stovetop simmering potpourri recipe from A Modern Homestead.
  • Make sure decorations don’t block beautiful views or unique architectural features.
boots in the snow
  • Keep stairs and walkways free of snow, ice, and leaves to maintain everyone’s safety and curb appeal.
  • Create a great video tour to entice online shoppers to want to take an in-person tour.

Are you ready to list your home this holiday season? Give Stutesman’s Action Realty a call, 833.268.8400. A real estate professional will give you tips on making your home holiday perfect to entice any buyer.

Photo credit source:  https://stayhomestyle.blog/2020/12/07/a-simple-guide-to-decorating-a-small-porch-for-christmas-on-a-budget/

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Remote Working Has Proven to Be Successful in Allowing Ease of Moving

remote working

Thanks to the pandemic fast-forwarding remote working, many people have been given the opportunity to move their residences without compromising their careers and salary. A large number have taken full advantage and moved to places they thought would be possible only after retirement or at the cost of their salaries.  

Zoom meeting

According to PwC in a January 12, 2021 article titled, “It’s Time to Reimagine Where and How Work Will Get Done,” remote work has been overwhelmingly successful for both employees and employers. In just one year, employers’ attitudes about the success of remote work jumped from 73% to 83%. Both employers and employees agree that productivity has improved due to remote work. The pandemic certainly accelerated the possibility of remote work for people and these survey findings prove that it can successfully work to benefit both employees and employers.

ease of moving

Have you been afforded the opportunity to work from home and have considered moving your family to areas with a lower cost of living, slower pace, and bigger possibilities of owning your dream home? Based upon income data and home prices homebuyer.com compiled a list of the 15 least expensive states to buy a home. Both Kansas and Missouri made the list. The Missouri median home price falls around $157,000 of which is roughly 12% of the typical household income. The average household earns approximately $72,000 annually. Neighboring Kansas has an average home price of $152,000, which is about 11% of the median household income. To make your move to one of these beautiful states, contact Stutesman Action Realty today, 833.286.8400.

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Making the Best Offer on Your Dream Home

arm wrestling

The housing market has been and continues to be competitive for buyers. The demand is outpacing supply in many areas resulting in buyers losing out on their dream home by not making the best offer possible. As a buyer, it is important to make a good offer. A few tips to keep in mind when you are ready to make that offer on your dream home are:

budget
  1. Knowing your budget is crucial to making a valid offer. It’s just like buying a car or anything else, you know what you can afford and that’s what you are willing to spend. Find a lender you trust and get pre-approved before you begin your search. This will take some pressure off you and let the seller know that you are serious with a pre-approval letter in hand. Pre-approval also lets you act quickly when you’ve found the perfect home.
home contract
  • Speaking of acting quickly, when you’ve found the home of your dreams, make an offer as quickly as possible before someone else does.
real estate agent
  • A real estate professional is one of your best assets. They will help you throughout the entire process from showing you homes to the day of closing. Their expertise and experience is valuable as they will help you make an offer in your best interest.
  • A real estate professional will help you develop a strong, fair offer. They have access to information such as recent sales trends in the area for similar homes and help you determine the market value of the home.
purchasing a home

Making a strong offer is an important step in owning that dream home. Contact one of Stutesman’s Action Realty’s real estate professionals to help you make your best offer that will ultimately lead to buying your dream home, 833.286.8400.

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Fannie Mae Just Made it Easier to Purchase a Home

couple cooking

Interest rates continue to hover around 3.0% and now Fannie Mae has added another means to aid people in becoming homeowners. They will allow a home buyer’s rent payment history as a part of the approval process. The change is effective immediately, but the underwriting system won’t be complete until September. This is especially important for borrowers with limited credit histories looking to finance a home. In my opinion, this is one of Fannie Mae’s better moves as it proves a borrower’s ability to consistently pay a home-related payment. In many markets today, monthly rent costs more than a mortgage payment given the low-interest rates. It only makes sense that a good history of making rent payments is proof of creditworthiness.

bank statement

Most landlords do not report residential rent payments to credit reporting firms, which can be a problem. However, Fannie Mae’s underwriting system will soon allow it to automatically identify rent payments from an applicant’s bank account information. If 12 months of consistent rent payments are proven, it can help the borrower qualify for the mortgage. One caveat is it could have an adverse impact on those that don’t consistently pay their rent on time. Note: The borrower will need to give permission for their bank account information to be shared.

fannie mae loan

Fannie Mae will not make it a requirement that a lender look at a borrower’s rent if a borrower meets their criteria otherwise. However, if they need the rental history to prove their creditworthiness the option is available.

Now that purchasing a home just got a little easier, contact Stutesman Action Realty for all your real estate needs, 833.286.8400.

Sources:

1 https://www.housingwire.com/articles/on-time-rent-now-counts-in-fannie-mae-underwriting/

2 https://www.realtor.com/news/real-estate-news/fannie-mae-aims-to-make-home-loans-more-accessible/

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What Can You Expect When a Real Estate Appraisal is Ordered

binder with paperwork

Buying and selling real estate entails a variety of steps, most of which have been designed to protect consumers. Many new guidelines were implemented after the 2008 stock market crash. The crash happened because too many people had loans they couldn’t afford due to relaxed lending practices. The relaxed lending practices led to high demand driving housing prices to levels that many could not afford otherwise.

bubble

This housing bubble was built long before 2008, it just eventually burst in 2008. The housing prices had risen so sharply at a fast rate, eventually the lenders were left holding the bag when the homeowners could not make the mortgage payments. Many lenders and other real estate market participants laid some of the blame on real estate appraisers as they were the ones determining the home values. This ultimately led to more guidance handed down to appraisers. However, in the defense of real estate appraisers everywhere, an appraised value is an opinion based on what the market will accept. Therefore, if the market was accepting a certain amount at the time of the appraisal, they were not necessarily wrong. Additionally, real estate appraisers must adhere to state-specific licensing requirements as well as Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices (USPAP) and if they do not they can face penalties and loss of license. Most appraisers aren’t willing to lose their license over an appraisal.

Whether you are financing your home or paying cash, the best way to determine its value at the time of the transaction is a real estate appraisal by a licensed appraiser. An appraisal is an unbiased professional opinion of the value of a home. Once an appraisal is ordered, you can expect the following:

tape measure

            •           The appraiser will contact the homeowner to schedule an appointment for a visual inspection. At the inspection, the appraiser will take pictures of the home’s interior and exterior and measure to determine the square footage. He or she will make notes as to any deferred maintenance or other issues observed.

person researching

            •           Once all the information is gathered at the inspection, he or she will then develop the appraisal report. The research includes examining the current market trends and recent sales of homes similar to the home being appraised, e.g., amenities, square footage, finishes, etcetera.

calendar

            •           Depending on the appraiser’s workload, you can expect an appraisal to take between two and four weeks.

Once the appraisal is received, the transaction can move forward. When entering into a real estate contract, it is always a good idea to add a contingency that the appraised value is equal to or more than the sale price. If it is lower than expected, this gives the buyer the opportunity to cancel the transaction and be entitled to any earnest money paid.

For all your real estate questions about buying and selling, contact Stutesman Action Realty at 833.286.8400.