The Pros and Cons of Selling Your Own Home: Is It Worth the Risk?

Selling your own home, also known as "For Sale By Owner" (FSBO), can seem like an attractive option at first glance. After all, who wouldn't want to save money on commission fees? However, before diving headfirst into this process, it's essential to weigh in carefully.

While it's true that selling without an agent can potentially save on commission fees, there are numerous pitfalls that sellers may not consider. Here are top reasons why selling your own home may not be in your best interest:

Underpricing or Overpricing: Without the guidance of a real estate professional, sellers run the risk of pricing their home incorrectly. Underpricing can result in leaving money on the table, while overpricing can lead to extended market time and potential loss of buyers' interest. The latter may translate into less money in a seller's pocket.

Attracting Unqualified Buyers: FSBO listings often attract more curious "lookers" than serious, pre-qualified buyers. This wastes time and energy. Who wants someone walking through their home if they cannot afford to buy it?

Difficulty in Negotiating: Negotiating a deal requires skill and experience. Without proper guidance, sellers may find themselves at a disadvantage during negotiations. This can be particularly true if the buyers have a Realtor who is protecting their interest. No one is looking out for the sellers' interest which may have a negative effect on the sellers' bottom line.

Limited Exposure: FSBO listings typically receive less exposure than properties listed by real estate agents, leading to fewer potential buyers and a longer time on the market. Extended time may mean lower sales price.

Financing Challenges: Without professional guidance, sellers may encounter difficulties navigating various financing options, including mortgage types and creative financing solutions.

Handling Objections: Inexperienced sellers may struggle to address buyer objections effectively, potentially derailing a sale. A failed deal may translate into a lower price in the future.

Legal Understanding: Real estate contracts can be complex, and sellers may lack a full understanding of their rights and obligations without expert advice.

Time Commitment: Selling a home is a time-consuming process that requires marketing, showings, and negotiations. Many sellers underestimate the time and effort involved, especially while juggling other responsibilities.

Bargain Hunters: Buyers looking at FSBO properties often seek bargains, hoping to save on commission fees. This dynamic can lead to lower offers and less favorable terms for the seller.

Missed Opportunities: Without the expertise of a real estate agent, sellers may overlook valuable opportunities to maximize their sale price and terms.

In conclusion, while the idea of saving money by selling your own home may be tempting, it's essential to consider the potential drawbacks carefully. Working with a qualified real estate agent can provide valuable expertise, guidance, and peace of mind throughout the selling process, ultimately leading to better outcomes for sellers.

March 4, 2024

Buy vs Rent? That is the Question...

Being a HOMEOWNER is part of the American Dream for many people.  However, it can seem like a big and expensive endeavor.  Is it worth it?  Let’s weigh the benefits of buying versus renting. 

Purchasing a home is a good long-term investment.  You are building equity in a property which will contribute to increasing your overall wealth.  Mortgage payments go towards paying off the home which increases your stake in the property.  Typically, real estate also appreciates which further increases your wealth.  Equity in your property can be used in a variety of ways: funding other investments, providing a down payment for your next home, getting needed cash.  Consulting a financial advisor about your specific situation is usually smart.

Renting has similar benefits- for the ACTUAL OWNER NOT YOU.  The average rent for an apartment (likely a one-bedroom) in Charlotte is ~$1700 per month.  That is $20,400 per year.  You are effectively paying a nice chunk of the owner’s mortgage- or giving the owner a good return on investment….  And if you are renting a house, the rent is probably even higher with the added responsibility of maintenance (aside from major issues) falling on you, the tenant. 

Other things to consider.  When you purchase a home, you likely will get a fixed mortgage rate (or at least an extended arm).  You know what your principal and interest payment will be for a long while (of course taxes and insurance can change periodically).  Don’t forget the possible tax benefits for mortgage interest, home insurance, closing costs, etc.  Plus, it is YOURS.  You can make modifications that fit your needs.  You can have a pet if you like.  You can live there until you decide you are ready to move.  And you can RENT it out so someone else will start paying YOUR MORTGAGE or providing you with EXTRA INCOME.

If you are renting, there is always uncertainty.  Will the rent go up?  Will the owner decide to sell?  Can I paint a room?  Can I add shelves to the wall?  What about pets? And there are no tax benefits for renting….

Of course, there are times when renting makes the most sense.  If you are experiencing a life transition, you may not want to be tied to one area or one type of housing.  You may want no responsibilities for your housing except to pay your monthly rent and call the maintenance crew to fix your leaky faucet.  And that is perfectly fine for that time.  But once you are a bit more settled, grabbing a piece of real estate makes a lot of sense for growing your cents now and in the future!

 

Jan. 26, 2024

Is Prepaying Your Mortgage the Right Move for You?

Along with homeownership comes the need to consider some financial decisions, and one of them is whether to prepay your mortgage.  While it can be a smart move for some, it might not be the best choice for others.  Let's explore some of the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

PROS:

Cut Down on Interest:

  • Interest is the fee you pay your lender for borrowing the money to buy your home.  By prepaying your mortgage, you can reduce the interest you will pay over the life of the loan.
  • Example:  With a $200,000 mortgage at 4% for 30 years, an extra $100 per month could save you about $27,000 in interest over 25 years.

Get Mortgage Paid Off Sooner:

  • Accelerating payments shortens the loan term (ie you pay it off more quickly), providing more financial flexibility in the future.
  • Example: Parents may decide to pay extra each month with the goal of eliminating a mortgage payment by the time their children enter college.

Build Equity Faster:

  • If you make larger payments and apply the extra to loan principal, the result is quicker equity growth.
  • Example:  More equity is advantageous for potential home equity loans or lines of credit which could be used to make other investments.

Improve Credit Score:

  • Early mortgage payoff shows responsible debt management which can positively impact your credit score.
  • Example:  A higher credit score can be beneficial for future loans by potentially allowing you to qualify for a lower interest rate.

CONS:

Reduces Tax-Deductible Mortgage Interest:

  • Prepaying reduces mortgage interest paid which may affect potential tax deductions.
  • Consideration:  Tax laws and standard deductions may impact the overall tax-saving advantage so consulting with an tax professional is advised.

Miss Out on Investment Opportunities:

  • Funds used for prepayment could be invested in other ways that may yield higher returns.
  • Consideration:  Balancing risk tolerance is crucial when deciding between mortgage prepayment and investments.  Consulting a financial advisor can be helpful.

Neglect Higher Interest Debts:

  • Prioritizing mortgage prepayment over higher interest debts may not be financially wise.  
  • Example:  It may be smarter to pay more toward credit card debt with a 10% (likely as much as 20%) interest rate than putting it toward your mortgage payment which is likely to be a much lower interest rate.

Hinder Other Financial Goals:

  • Focusing solely on mortgage prepayment may impede saving for retirement, child's college fund, building an emergency fund, or making other investments.
  • Example:  Consider meeting essential financial goals before prioritizing prepayment, and seek financial advice from a trusted financial advisor.

Penalties for Prepayment:

  • Some lenders impose fees for paying off the mortgage early.
  • Consideration:  Check the details of your mortgage for prepayment penalties before making decisions about whether to increase your monthly payment.

If you're uncertain about prepaying your mortgage, seek guidance from a financial planner who understands your specific needs and situation.  Remember their goal is to guide you in ways to improve your finances.

Posted in Real Estate News
Jan. 3, 2024

Charlotte in Top Ten Best Places to Live in US

The greater Charlotte area is an absolute gem of a city, so of course it is near the top of the US News and World Report "best places to live" list!  Whether you enjoy a nice dinner out, partying at a local brewery, attending cultural and arts events, cheering on sports teams, or just basking in nature's beauty under Carolina blue skies, Charlotte has much to offer!

The Charlotte job market is quite strong, boasting the title of 2nd largest banking hub in the US behind NYC.  In addition, other large employers include Lowes, Honeywell, Duke Energy, Ingersoll Rand, Coca Cola, Jeld-Wen, Electrolux, Chiquita, and Sealed Air.  The popularity of Nascar teams in the area also offers unique employment possibilities.

Urban living is a big draw for many, especially when working in Uptown. Truly the convenience factor cannot be beat.  Walkability is typically higher in areas closer to the center of the city and adds to the overall energy of daily life.  Skipping daily driving hassles has its perks!

Naturally city life is not for everyone, so make sure to explore all the surrounding suburbs.  Some are still considered to be in Charlotte such as South Park, South End, University, Cotswold, Ballantyne, Arboretum, Elizabeth, NoDa, Plaza Midwood, Dilworth, and Myers Park to name a few.  A little further out are Huntersville, Davidson, Cornelius, Concord, Harrisburg, Denver, Mooresville, Kannapolis, Matthews, Mint Hill, Monroe, Weddington, Indian Trail, Pineville, Mountain Island, Belmont, and Mount Holly.  Lots to choose from for sure, and each has something special to offer.  Time to do some exploring!

But that's not all.  You can enjoy all 4 seasons in Charlotte. Spring and Fall often yield very pleasant temperatures that encourage many to enjoy all the outdoor offerings here- Charlotte is an active city for sure!  The winters tend to be pretty mild with minimal snow though a wintery mix typically slows the city down until roads are cleared (oftentimes from the sun melting it the same day!).  The summer can be hot and humid, but it is THE SOUTH after all...

One last piece of info.  Our beautiful city was named after the wife of King George III when it was founded in 1768.  So Charlotte is nicknamed the "Queen City".  Come and enjoy- you might never leave!

Posted in Charlotte Area
Nov. 27, 2023

Winter-Ready Homes: 8 Expert Tips for a Cozy, Cost-Efficient Season

As we usher in the winter season, it's crucial to strike a balance between staying warm and keeping utility bills in check. The impending El Niño weather pattern brings the promise of chilly temperatures, but fret not – I've compiled a range of energy-saving tips to ensure your home remains cozy without burning a hole in your pocket. From effortless adjustments to more involved strategies, these tips are designed to help you navigate the winter months more efficiently.

1. Optimize Your Thermostat Setting (Low Effort):  The Department of Energy recommends a cozy temperature of 68-70F when you're at home and recommends lowering when you are away or sleeping.  This simple adjustment can significantly impact energy costs.  Using a smart thermostat makes it even easier and more convenient.

2. Leverage Natural Heat (Low Effort):   Use "passive heating" by opening curtains/blinds during the day so the warmth of the sun naturally heats your home.  Once the sun sets, be sure to close curtains/blinds to keep as much heat in as possible.  Setting ceiling fans to rotate clockwise at a low speed is another trick to distribute heat efficiently.

3. Mindful Electronic Usage (Low Effort):  Electronic devices are said to contribute to nearly half of residential energy consumption.  Adopting energy-saving practices is key to keeping costs in check.  Set electronics to power-saving mode, turn them off when not in use, and unplug devices when away from home.  Smart plugs and surge protectors make this process even easier.

4. Upgrade lighting for efficiency (Low Effort):   Electricity prices seem to be on the rise, so choosing energy-efficient lighting is a smart move.  LED bulbs consume less energy and last longer.  You can use "smart" bulbs to schedule lighting, monitor usage, and adjust brightness in no time.

5. Choose Energy-Efficient Appliances (Low to Medium Effort):  Large appliances like washing machines and refrigerators can be big energy users.  Opt for high Energy Star Rated products when replacing appliances.  Also, simple habits, like using cold water to wash laundry and waiting until the dishwasher is at full capacity, can be significant energy savers.

6. Seal Air Leaks (Medium Effort): Prevent heat loss by identifying and sealing air leaks in doors, windows, and other openings.  DIY weatherstripping and insulation kits can be effective- but sometimes professional assessments are more thorough.  Insulating pipes and using rugs on bare floors can also help a home stay warmer.

7. Inspect and Maintain Heating Systems (Medium to High Effort): Regular maintenance of HVAC systems is recommended bi-annually.  In addition, chimneys and water heaters should be checked out to make sure they are functioning properly.  Change filters, ensure proper airflow, and schedule professional assistance as needed.

8. Conduct a Home Energy Assessment (High Effort): The most comprehensive approach would be to hire a professional home energy assessor.  This detailed inspection can identify specific areas where improvement is needed.

As the winter chill sets in, implementing these energy-saving tips will not only keep your home warm but also contribute to long term cost efficiency.  Whether you opt for simple adjustments or invest in a comprehensive energy audit, preparing your home for winter can be easy.  Stay cozy, stay efficient!

 

Nov. 4, 2023

35 Tips to Furnish Your New Home for Less

35 Tips to Furnish Your New Home for Less

 

 

Buying a new home is one of the most exciting experiences in life. And if you’re like most homebuyers, you’ll be planning your furniture placement and decor before the ink dries on your offer letter.

 

But before you run to the nearest home goods store, take a deep breath. First, you’ll need to delay any major purchases before you close on your new home. A large outlay or additional line of credit could lower your credit score and, thus, impact your mortgage terms.1 Second, moving and closing costs can add up quickly, so it’s important to be strategic with your remaining budget.

 

But don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to save on home essentials, and I’ve rounded up some of my favorites to share with you.

 

 

PRIORITIZE WHAT YOU REALLY NEED BEFORE YOU START SHOPPING

 

According to Home Advisor, the national average cost to furnish a new house is $16,000, but it can easily soar higher.2   That’s why I recommend starting with a thorough assessment of what you already have and what you actually need to start life in your new place. Here are some steps to help you prioritize your purchases and keep spending in check.

 

     Make a list of everything you need. Going room by room could help you brainstorm—for example, you might list items ranging from a mattress to blackout curtains for your new primary bedroom.

 

     Inventory what you already have. Cross the big (dining table) to the small (kitchen knives) off your list as you go.

 

     Divide the remaining items into three groups: things you need right away (a mattress), items you’d like to have in the near future (a coffee table for your living room), and pieces that can wait (an area rug).

 

     Calculate your budget. Figure out how much money you’ll have available for immediate purchases after the sale has closed and start researching the items on your priority list to understand how they’ll fit into your budget.

 

     Don’t rush the process. Bringing older items to your new space doesn’t mean you need to keep them forever. Consider hanging onto pieces that can tide you over for a year or two until your bank account has recovered from the costs of a home purchase.

 

Before you start shopping, make sure you know which appliances and fixtures are included with your home purchase. Together we will look at the standard contract terms when you’re making an initial offer and note any additional items that you would like to request.

 

 

TIME YOUR PURCHASES TO MAKE THE MOST OF SEASONAL SALES

 

Did you know that some home items predictably go on sale at certain times of the year? If you can wait to buy these pieces when prices are lower, you could save significantly. Here are some of the best times to buy household essentials:3,4

 

     Bedding and linens: January

     TVs: Black Friday/Cyber Monday and late January (before the Super Bowl)

     Furniture: February and August, as well as Black Friday, Memorial Day, and Labor Day

     Large appliances: Labor Day through October

     Small kitchen appliances: May

     Mattresses: Holiday weekends, especially Memorial Day, Labor Day, and 4th of July

     Vacuum cleaners: April

     Tools: June

     Outdoor furniture: August through October

 

Generally speaking, holiday weekends (as well as Black Friday and Cyber Monday) tend to be great times to find deals. If the item you’re looking for is seasonal—like patio furniture or holiday decorations—waiting until the end of that season usually pays off.

 

 

FIND ALTERNATIVE SHOPPING SOURCES

 

Can’t wait for a sale? It’s time to think outside of the box (the big-box stores, that is). There are plenty of surprising places to find great furniture and houseware deals.

 

     Check out overstock and liquidation stores. These stores purchase items other retailers haven’t sold and offer them at a steep discount. The inventory can be hit or miss, but you can often get a great deal if you find what you’re looking for.5

 

     Try private membership/warehouse stores. Retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club often have great deals on home goods. If you’re not already a member, ask family or friends if they are willing to take you to look around before you commit.

 

     Consider open-box items.  When buyers return items like furniture or electronics, retailers can’t always sell them as new, even if they haven’t truly been used. Look online for open-box deals from retailers like Wayfair and Amazon Warehouse or visit local retailers to see what they have in stock.

 

     Give scratch-and-dent appliances a chance. These appliances are brand new but sold at deep discounts because their external packaging was damaged. Typically, this means that flaws are purely cosmetic—but it’s always possible that the merchandise has suffered more serious damage. So, be sure to check out the appliances carefully and ask about included warranties.6

 

     Expand your window treatment search. Window treatments can be surprisingly expensive, but it’s often possible to save by buying off-the-shelf offerings in standard sizes. If you need a custom size or material, consider ordering online from a discount supplier and installing them yourself.

 

     Shop secondhand. In addition to thrift stores and garage sales, Facebook Marketplace, NextDoor, and Craigslist are all great places to find deals in your area.

Are alternative shopping sources still a stretch for your budget? Check out local Freecycle or “Buy Nothing” groups, which are often hosted on Facebook. Participants offer big and small items they no longer need—everything from furniture to clothing hangers—for free to other members.7,8

 

 

DON’T BE AFRAID TO NEGOTIATE FOR A BETTER DEAL

 

Many people don’t realize that prices for home goods, from furniture to appliances, are often negotiable. While asking for a discount can be intimidating, it’s common practice in many industries, although more so at independently-owned stores than chains. Here are a few tips:9,10

 

     Comparison shop before you walk into a store. If you can find a lower price for the same item elsewhere, many retailers will match it.

 

     Ask the store associate or manager for the best price available. They may be able to offer additional discounts or coupons.

 

     If you can pay in cash, ask if you can get a discount for doing so. The seller may be happy to offer a small price reduction to avoid paying processor fees.

 

     Call ahead to ask about applicable discounts. Some retailers offer price reductions for active military, veterans, teachers, first responders, or senior citizens on certain days or times of the year.

 

     Point out scratches or dings to the sales associate. They may be willing to offer a discount to compensate for the imperfection.

 

     Ask about floor models. Many stores offer these pieces at a lower price, even if they’re in like-new condition.

 

After you’ve negotiated a killer deal, don’t forget to ask for free or discounted delivery! Sometimes furniture and appliance stores will offer complimentary delivery or installation if you spend a certain amount or purchase multiple items.

 

 

MAKE THE MOST OF REWARD PROGRAMS AND COUPONS

 

Every penny counts when you’re on a budget—and spending a little extra time maximizing reward programs and discounts is usually worthwhile.

 

     Sign up for a change of address kit with the United States Postal Service. You’ll need to do this anyways to forward mail to your new address, and it comes packed with valuable coupons.11

     Make sure you never miss a sale.  Sign up for your favorite retailers’ email lists and follow them on social media for discounts and sale alerts.

     Take advantage of loyalty programs. If you’re making a big purchase or getting multiple items from one store, ask about free loyalty programs. Signing up often comes with an introductory coupon.

     Consider store credit cards (carefully). Store credit cards can offer significant discounts—but only charge items you can pay off right away to avoid interest, and never open new lines of credit until your home purchase is complete, since it can affect your credit score.

     Enroll in coupon and cashback programs. When you’re shopping online, programs like Rakuten and Honey can help you find coupon codes and give you cash back on purchases.

 

While you’re at it, why not set up a housewarming registry?12   You can share the link with family and friends if they ask what you need—and you can also use it to score discounts. Many stores offer a percentage off to help you buy unpurchased items on your registry.

 

 

GET CREATIVE

 

If you want to avoid a cookie-cutter home aesthetic—and save a few bucks—try reimagining your existing furniture and how it could fit into your new space. Here are a few of our favorite strategies.

 

     Repurpose what you have. Instead of buying a new item to fit a specific purpose, ask yourself if you can use what you have in a different way. For example, repurpose an old dresser as a television stand or use a mismatched dining chair in your home office.

 

     Upgrade existing items. Sometimes, a new coat of paint or varnish, or simply swapping out drawer pulls and handles, can lend a new lease on life to an old piece of furniture. You can also keep this strategy in mind if you see second-hand items that would be just right if they were a different color or had nicer fixtures.

 

     Reupholster instead of buying new. If you have a tired-looking sofa or chair that’s still comfortable and stable, think about getting it reupholstered in new fabric instead of replacing it.

 

     Get handy. Building furniture is certainly not for everyone, but with some basic tools and help from the internet, you may find that simple items like headboards are well within your grasp. You might also be able to repair pieces you already have and avoid shopping altogether.

 

Do-it-yourself projects can be fun, but they aren’t for everyone. If you’d like some professional help, reach out for a list of my recommended service providers.

 

 

I’M HERE TO HELP

 

I know budgeting for a new home can be overwhelming and want to make the process easier for you. If you’re considering a home purchase, I can advise you on a realistic budget and help you review your options. I can also offer insights on other financial considerations and programs and incentives that can help make homeownership more attainable. Reach out for a free consultation.

 

 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.

 

 

Sources:

1.     Bankrate -
https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/avoid-mortgage-closing-missteps/

2.     Furniture Bank -
https://www.furniturebank.org/how-much-does-it-cost-to-furnish-an-apartment/  

3.     US News -
https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/saving-and-budgeting/articles/the-best-time-of-year-to-buy-everything

4.     NerdWallet -
https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/finance/wht-to-buy-every-month

5.     Business Insider -
https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/strategies-to-save-money-on-furniture-for-my-new-home?r=US&IR=T

6.     CNET -
https://www.cnet.com/home/kitchen-and-household/buy-scratch-and-dent-appliances/

7.     Real Simple -
https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/green-living/buy-nothing-groups

8.     Freecycle -
https://www.freecycle.org/

9.     Consumer Reports -
https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2013/08/how-to-bargain/index.htm

10.   Realtor.com -
https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/furniture-stores-money-saving-tricks/

11.   The Krazy Coupon Lady -
https://thekrazycouponlady.com/tips/money/usps-moving-coupons

12.   Taste of Home -
https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/housewarming-registry/

Posted in Buying a Home
Oct. 4, 2023

Income Properties are Trending. But is Landlord Life for You?

 

If the thought of investing your money into brick and mortar—or perhaps some stylishly-painted 

siding—excites

you, join the club.

Investing in real estate has long been one of Americans' favorite ways to grow their wealth. In 

fact, over 70% of single-family rental properties are currently owned by individual investors 

rather than corporations, according to Census data.¹

 

Moreover, a decade's worth of Bankrate surveys has found that Americans often prefer real estate 

for long- term wealth building over other investments. According to Bankrate's latest survey, for 

example, Americans have historically embraced real estate, in part, because of the strong return on 

investment it can offer— especially to investors willing to stick with a property over time.² It’s 

also a popular way to hedge against inflation since both rental income and property values tend to 

rise in tandem with overall prices.³

 

Now, as higher interest rates continue to push priced-out homebuyers to the sidelines, a new crop 

of “mom and pop” investors are eyeing the mushrooming rental market as a potential goldmine.⁴ 

Interest in buying a home to both live in and rent is also on the rise, especially amongst 

cash-strapped buyers looking to supplement their mortgage payments.⁵

 

But how do you know if you’re well-suited to take advantage of these real estate investment 

opportunities? Here are three signs that owning a rental property could be right for you.

 

1. YOU'RE A HOMEBUYER WHO WANTS HELP COVERING THE MORTGAGE

If you're looking for a creative way to buy a home without overspending, “house hacking” could be 

the answer. Increasingly popular with first-time homebuyers and budget-conscious investors, house 

hacking simply means buying a home that you intend to live in while renting out a portion of it to 

one or more tenants.⁵

House hacking also tends to be easier to break into than traditional real estate investing since 

you don't need as high a credit score or as large a down payment to qualify for a mortgage. In 

fact, some government-backed mortgage programs will let you buy a primary residence with little to 

no money down.⁶ Buying a home you don't plan to live in, by contrast, may require you to put down 

as much as 15% to 25% to qualify for a loan.⁷

If you house hack, the money you collect for rent each month can help cover your mortgage and other 

homeownership expenses. Depending on your setup, you may also be able to save on utility bills by 

splitting them with your tenant or tacking a portion onto their monthly rent. Another major 

advantage of house hacking is that it entitles you to certain tax benefits and deductions available 

only to landlords.⁸

When it's time to start your search, I can help you find a property that's ideal for house hacking, 

such as a house with a walkout basement, a multifamily unit, or a home with enough outdoor space to 

build an accessory dwelling unit or garage apartment.

 

2. YOU'RE AN INVESTOR LOOKING FOR STEADY AND RELIABLE INCOME

If you’re not crazy about the idea of a live-in tenant but still desire an additional stream of 

income, a dedicated long-term rental property could be a better option for you. Besides the monthly 

proceeds, purchasing a rental home can also add diversity and long-term stability to your 

investment portfolio and help you build wealth over time.⁹

According to data from the Federal Reserve, real estate owners have historically prospered. In 

early 2020, for example, the median home was worth almost triple what it was 30 years prior. Then, 

during the pandemic-era real estate boom, average home prices grew at an especially frenzied clip, 

climbing by nearly 50%, on average, in just two and a half years.¹⁰

However, the rate of appreciation can be hard to predict, so it’s prudent to invest in a property 

that also offers positive cash flow, which means the rent you take in exceeds your expenses. This 

strategy helps to ensure that you’ll put money in your pocket each month, even if the property’s 

value takes time to grow.

While today’s higher mortgage rates can make it more challenging for landlords to turn a profit, 

investment opportunities aren’t reserved for cash buyers. In fact, currently, almost 60% of real 

estate investors take out a loan to finance their purchase, according to Thomas Malone, an 

economist at the real estate data firm CoreLogic.⁴ He also notes that more small investors are 

stepping in to meet demand for rental housing, which has grown since many would-be buyers remain 

priced out of the purchase market.⁴

If you want to explore opportunities for a residential rental property that's good for your wallet 

and attractive to renters, I can help. Reach out with questions or to schedule a free consultation.

 

3. YOU'RE AN EXPERIENCED INVESTOR LOOKING TO MAXIMIZE YOUR POTENTIAL RETURNS

Another increasingly popular way to draw income from an investment property is to convert it to a 

short-term vacation rental. But beware: This strategy can be riskier as some municipalities have 

tightened rental restrictions and others are suffering from market oversaturation.¹¹,¹²

With that said, if you're an experienced investor who can afford to take on some uncertainty, then 

investing in a short-term rental could make sense for you.

If you find the right property, for example, you could earn significantly more renting it 

short-term on a platform like Airbnb than if you rented the home to a long-term tenant.¹¹

The key is to keep it occupied as much as possible at a premium nightly rate. To do that, you’ll 

need some marketing savvy, hospitality skills, and business acumen. Of course, you can always hire 

a professional property manager, but you’ll need to factor the cost into your budget.

The vacation rental market enjoyed a boom during the pandemic, and some inexperienced investors are 

finding they bit off more than they can chew. As a result, there's an opportunity to snap up some 

of these properties, but you'll need some cash on hand and a willingness to learn the business.¹²

I can help you scout opportunities in our local market or, if you’re interested in investing in 

another area, I can refer you to an agent there for assistance.

 

BOTTOMLINE

Investing in real estate can be a great way to build your wealth long-term and earn some extra 

income. But to make the most of your investment, it pays to be strategic.

Call me for a consultation so we can discuss your goals and budget. I'll help you discover 

neighborhoods with the best income potential, point out the homes most suited to renting, and help 

you brainstorm the best investment strategy for you.

Before you take the plunge, make sure you can answer “YES” to these three questions:

 

1. Are you ready to be a landlord?

Owning a rental property can take a lot of time and energy. You're not just buying passive income, 

you're also building sweat equity since the time you spend maintaining, marketing, and managing 

your rental can add up quickly. So be prepared to do some soul-searching to ensure you’ll not only 

flourish as a landlord, but actually enjoy it.

If you want to invest in real estate but aren’t prepared to put in the day-to-day effort required, 

I can refer you to a property management service for help.

 

2. Can you afford to invest in real estate?

The last thing you want is to get over-extended with your new real estate venture. Besides the cost 

of purchasing the property, you’ll need to consider additional expenses, like property taxes, 

insurance, administrative costs, and maintenance and repairs. You will also need a cash reserve for 

unexpected issues or potential vacancies.

I can help you run the numbers to determine whether you can charge enough rent to offset your 

expenditures.

 

3. Have you found the right income property?

Even if you’ve got your finances in order and are emotionally ready to invest, your success as a 

landlord will also depend on the property you buy. The criteria for a good rental home and a good 

family home are often different, so it’s important to lean on professionals for advice.

I can help you find an ideal rental property, taking into account your budget, risk appetite, and 

investment goals. If you decide to invest in a different area, I'll connect you with an agent who's 

more plugged into that community. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation.

 

***The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be 

financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your 

individual needs.

 

Sources:

1. PR Newswire - 

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/census-data-show-individuals-continue-to-own-largest-share-

of- single-family-rental-homes-301725024.html

2. Bankrate -

https://www.bankrate.com/investing/survey-favorite-long-term-investment-2022/

3. Forbes -

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2022/04/14/why-income-generating-real-estate-is-t

he-best-hedge-against- inflation/?sh=1081ce921746

4. MarketWatch -

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/realestate/another-challenge-for-homebuyers-more-investors-are-snapp

ing-up-homes- and-40-of-them-are-using-cash/ar-AA1foWSB

5. Realtor.com - 

https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/on-the-house-house-hacking-your-way-into-your-first-home/

6. NerdWallet - https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/mortgages/government-home-loans

7. LendingTree -

https://www.lendingtree.com/home/mortgage/down-payment-for-rental-property/

8. Quicken Loans - https://www.quickenloans.com/learn/house-hacking

9. Investors Business Daily - 

https://www.investors.com/etfs-and-funds/personal-finance/rental-properties-investing-experts/

10. St. Louis Fed FRED Economic Data - https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MSPUS

11. Story by J.P. Morgan - 

https://story.jpmorgan.com/real-estate-news/thinking-about-investing-in-short-term-rentals-heres-wha

t- to-know

12. Skift -

   kift.com/2023/07/21/short-term-rental-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be 

financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your 

individual needs.

 

Sources:

 

1. PR Newswire - 

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/census-data-show-individuals-continue-to-own-largest-share-

of- single-family-rental-homes-301725024.html

2. Bankrate -

https://www.bankrate.com/investing/survey-favorite-long-term-investment-2022/

 

 

 

 

3. Forbes -

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2022/04/14/why-income-generating-real-estate-is-t

he-best-hedge-against- inflation/?sh=1081ce921746

4. MarketWatch -

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/realestate/another-challenge-for-homebuyers-more-investors-are-snapp

ing-up-homes- and-40-of-them-are-using-cash/ar-AA1foWSB

5. Realtor.com - 

https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/on-the-house-house-hacking-your-way-into-your-first-home/

6. NerdWallet - https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/mortgages/government-home-loans

7. LendingTree -

https://www.lendingtree.com/home/mortgage/down-payment-for-rental-property/

8. Quicken Loans - https://www.quickenloans.com/learn/house-hacking

9. Investors Business Daily - 

https://www.investors.com/etfs-and-funds/personal-finance/rental-properties-investing-experts/

10. St. Louis Fed FRED Economic Data - https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MSPUS

11. Story by J.P. Morgan - 

https://story.jpmorgan.com/real-estate-news/thinking-about-investing-in-short-term-rentals-heres-wha

t- to-know

12. Skift -

https://skift.com/2023/07/21/short-term-rental-saturation-leads-to-a-correction-and-lots-of-home-sal

es/

 

Posted in Buying a Home
Sept. 21, 2023

Top 7 Tips To Attract the Best Offers for Your Home

Not long ago, home sellers were in their heyday, as historically-low mortgage rates triggered a real estate buying frenzy. However, it’s no longer as simple to sell a home. Higher prices and rates have pushed homebuyers to their limits of affordability.

 

The reality is, home inventory remains low, so most properties will still sell with some basic prep and a good real estate agent. But owners who go the extra mile are more likely to sell faster and for a higher amount.

 

If you have plans to sell and want to net the most money possible, this list is for you. Here is my top 7 strategies to attract the best offers for your home.

 

  1. UNDERGO A PRE-LISTING INSPECTION

Ordering your own pre-listing inspection shows buyers that you’re committed to a transparent transaction. And in most cases, it’s better to know about and address issues upfront than to find out later- when it could cost you more in the form of concessions, a delayed closing, or a canceled sale. I can help you decide if a pre-listing inspection is right for you.

 

  1. CONSIDER STRATEGIC UPGRADES

Certain upgrades can help boost your sale price. For example, refinishing hardwood floors brings a 147% return on investment and new garage doors typically pay for themselves.[1] But before you make any changes, reach out. I know what buyers in your area want and can help you decide if an upgrade is worthwhile.

 

  1. HIRE A HOME STAGER

According to the National Association of Realtors, 53% of seller’s agents say staging helps homes sell faster and 44% of buyer’s agents see higher offers for staged homes.[2] There’s plenty of strategy behind the process, so it’s smart to consider a professional. Reach out for a local referral.

 

  1. EMPLOY A COMPETITIVE PRICING STRATEGY

I will run a comparative market analysis (CMA) to help us determine an ideal listing price based on the amount that comparable properties have recently sold for in your neighborhood. Combined with my local market insights, we’ll use it to set a price that will attract the best offers while maximizing your profit margin.

 

  1. OFFER BUYER INCENTIVES

Incentives are especially helpful in the current market, when many buyers are struggling with affordability. Options that can pay off include: buying down their mortgage rate, offering closing cost credits, paying HOA fees, or including furniture or appliances in the sale. I am happy to talk through the incentives that make sense for you.

 

  1. USE A PROVEN PROPERTY MARKETING PLAN

Buyers who don’t know about your house can’t make an offer. That’s why I utilize a multi-step marketing approach that starts with identifying your target audience, effectively positioning your home in the market, and communicating its unique value. Reach out to discuss how I can generate interest and offers for your home.

 

  1. WORK WITH AN AGENT WHO UNDERSTANDS YOUR AREA

I have my fingers on the pulse of the local market because I am working directly with sellers like you. I also represent local buyers who are active in the market, searching for homes like yours. That puts me in an ideal position to help you price and prep your home for a quick sale and maximum profit.

 

LET’S GET MOVING

Are you ready to get a great offer for your home? My multifaceted approach can help you maximize your real estate returns. Reach out for a free home value assessment and customized sales plan to get started!

 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.

 

Sources:

1.     National Association of Realtors

2.     National Association of Realtors

Posted in Selling Your Home
Aug. 31, 2023

Debunking Enery Saving Myths

In this era of increasing environmental awareness (and higher living costs), the quest for energy-saving solutions has gained momentum.  But how do you know which are right?  Amidst the abundance of "expert" suggestions it seems there are also some myths and/or misconceptions being shared.  Though I am not a handyman or contractor, I do talk with many and have gained a bit of knowledge about home maintenance over my years as a Realtor. The following are some examples that have come up, so I thought I would share.  

Myths:

1. "No need to service your hvac if it is working".  It actually is recommended to service your unit in spring and fall so it is in top operating shape.  This will probably extend the life of your unit as well.

2. "Smart thermostats save lots of money".  They give the homeowner the ability to control the temperature settings remotely which seems like a great idea- especially if homeowners know how to maximize the benefits.  In reality, most people likely would get similar saving benefits from using a programmable thermostat.

3. "Close off rooms (and vents) that you are not using".  Though that seems logical, it can cause stress to your hvac system.  The added pressure from shutting vents may lead to leaks in ductwork.  Not to mention the closed off areas could get musty.

4. "Turning down the heat or up the ac setting a couple of degrees when you leave uses more energy when you return".  Obviously it will depend on how long you will be gone and the temperature difference.  Short stints may not be beneficial.  But if you are leaving for many hours/days, changing by a few degrees may save on energy costs.

5. "Cranking up the heat (or ac) makes it warmer (or cooler) faster".  Apparently your hvac can not warm/cool all your space immediately like that.  Instead, it will make your system work longer/harder to reach the new setting.  A programmable thermostat can likely achieve that goal with more efficiency and less stress to your system.

6. "Keeping the hvac fan running all the time saves on energy (and money)".  While it does keep air moving, using the fan constantly requires the system is always engaged and using energy.  Not to mention the toll on the fan that is always being used.

7. "If you run your hvac fan all the time, you don't need to change the filters".  A plus for some homeowners is that allergens can be improved by using the fan.  However, the more a system runs, the dirtier the filters will get as air is constantly moving through.  If you have pets, there is a definite need to change/clean filters regularly (I personally notice a HUGE difference when the system runs compared to in between seasons).

8. "It is better to keep your home at a constant temperature".  Maybe if you are home most of the time, this is accurate.  But if you can lessen the time it runs while you are not there, it seems like a benefit.

9. "Using the dishwasher uses more water than handwashing".  With most modern dishwashers, the amount of water used is less than handwashing because there are energy efficient cycles (based on a full dishwasher).  If there are just a couple of items, handwashing is more efficient.

10. "When an appliance or electronic is turned off, it does not use power".  Appliances and electronics still draw power when turned off.  Unplugging infrequently used items is best.  And if you are going out of town, unplug small appliances, computers, printers, etc.  That might even prevent damage if there is a storm!

At the end of the day, this list is just an FYI for you.  But check with your trusted contractors and see what their opinions are!

 

Posted in Buying a Home
Aug. 25, 2023

Unleash Your Adventurous Spirit at the US National Whitewater Center

Are you ready for an adrenaline-pumping, nature-immersed adventure?  Look no further than the US National Whitewater Center nestled in the heart of lush wilderness just outside of Charlotte, NC.  It is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike.  This sprawling facility offers a diverse range of activities that promise to ignite your sense of adventure and provide unforgettable experiences for all ages.

Whitewater Rafting:  The main attraction for many is the artificial whitewater river designed to replicate the exhilarating rapids found in natural rivers.  Whether a novice seeking a gentle intro or a seasoned rafter craving challenging Class IV rapids, there is a course for you.  Certified guides ensure safety while navigating the journey through the swirling waters.  (BTW- kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding can also be done in the rapid area!)

Climbing and Ziplining:  The center has a climbing complex suitable for all skill levels from beginners to advanced climbers.  And don't miss the zipline course where you can get a unique aerial perspective of the facility and beautiful surroundings.

Mountain Biking:  Grab your helmet and hit the trails!  There are a variety of bike trails which cater to different levels of expertise and wind through picturesque landscapes. 

Flatwater Activities:  If a more relaxed water experience is your preference, enjoy kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding in the calm flatwater areas. 

Outdoor Yoga and Relaxation: Amidst all the heart-pounding action, there is also the need for balance and wellness.  Outdoor yoga classes highlight the serenity and rejuvenation while enjoying nature.

Live Music and Events:  River Jam is a popular offering which happens Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from April-September with a mix of genres.  In addition, there are outdoor movie nights, a variety of races, seasonal activities like ice skating, and festivals throughout the year.  

Drinks and Food:  There is a full service restaurant with a view of the river.  In addition, there are a variety of walk up drink/food options which are easily enjoyed as a picnic wherever you choose.

Summer Camps:  Based on age, interest, and ability, there are several offerings throughout the summer that allow kids 8-18 to enjoy the outdoors.

****NEW THIS FALL****:  There will be a 70-acre enclosed off-leash dog park with lake access.  Cannot wait to go!!!!

Though it does not cost to enter the facility (other than parking), many activities require separate fees.  Once you are there you can decide what you want to do.  This is truly an experience that will draw you back again and again.  If you have never been, it is well worth the trip!

 

 

 

Posted in Community News
Aug. 11, 2023

Decoding Multiple Offers: How to Pick the Perfect Buyer for Your Home ????????

Every seller dreams of a bidding war to drive up the sales price of their home.  But in the real world, multiple offers can present a challenging decision-making process. Each buyer likely is asking for different terms that make it difficult to compare and select the ideal buyer. As an experienced realtor, I understand the complexities of such situations and have prepared this simple guide to help you make the best decision when faced with multiple offers.

 

Step 1: Consult Your Real Estate Agent

Before diving into the selection process, reach out to your trusted real estate agent. They are well-versed in all aspects of the contract, including various financing types, and will help you understand the key aspects of each offer, enabling you to make an informed choice.

 

Step 2: Consider Type of Financing

Specifically, each type of financing has some unique properties.

1.    Cash Offers                                                                                                             Typically, cash offers settle faster without mortgage hurdles, making them an attractive choice if the price is comparable. Request a proof of funds letter from the buyer to confirm ability to close the sale.

2.    Conventional Loans                                                                                         Conventional loans are common and offer flexible terms. Keep in mind higher down payments can sometimes mean a buyer is more qualified but not always. 

3.    Government Backed Financing (FHA, VA, USDA)                                                                    Government Backed loans may appear riskier (to the seller) due to certain requirements.  But typically these loans lead to smooth closings.

 

Step 3: Evaluate the Entire Offer Package

Remember to assess the entire offer before choosing.  Consider aspects such as price, amount of due diligence fee and earnest monies, due diligence period, closing timeline, possible inspection waiver, special perks that make moving easier for you the seller, potential appraisal waiver, and buyer's need to sell current home in order to buy. Opting for the offer with the fewest contingencies, the best price, and minimal risk is usually the best choice.

 

Having multiple offers is a good “problem” for sellers to have.  As an experienced Realtor, I am here to help navigate the process and secure the best offer for your home. 

 

Posted in Selling Your Home