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April 2019

 

Whether you are looking to buy or sell, I can offer the highest levels in real estate expertise and professionalism. Don’t hesitate to contact me and allow me to help guide you through that process!

Jennifer J. Brown
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate REALTOR®
jennifer@yourlifesdreamfulfilled.com  

616-635-9158 Cell | 269-488-3852 Office Direct
http://www.yourlifesdreamfulfilled.com

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HOMESELLERS’ ADVICE

Make Your Small Home Inviting

There’s something to be said for a compact home – it’s efficient, easier to clean, less expensive to heat and cool and requires less stuff to fill it. If you’re buying your first home, or you’re downsizing from a larger home, you may feel the squeeze of small spaces at first but follow these tips and you’ll soon appreciate that less can really be more.

Go for quality. You can buy a smaller home in a better neighborhood that’s closer to the jobs, schools, and amenities you need. That’s much better than enduring a long commute to have more space. Instead, choose fine furniture and accessories that make a statement about who you are.

Minimize clutter. Nothing makes a space feel cramped like overcrowding. Too much furniture, too much clutter, and not enough storage can reduce your comfort. If your home doesn’t flow well, it’s time to declutter.

Be clever. Decorating a small space can be a lot of fun if you think in terms of furniture doing double duty. Ottomans can triple up as a footrest, coffee table or extra seating. Nesting tables can provide extra tabletop space when needed and store compactly.

Let the light in. Bright spaces look larger than dark spaces. Light cheerful colors on walls and in your décor can expand any room. Reduce the need for bulky lamps and tables by installing sconces and recessed lighting.

The trick is having what you want but recognizing that there’s no need for extras or excess.

HOMEBUYERS’ ADVICE

Moving with Teens

Teens will still love you after you tell them you’re moving to a new house. Even if it’s just to another school district, the move will upset your teen’s sense of balance. You can keep drama to a minimum by listening to their concerns, finding solutions together and inviting them to join in the process.

Let them know early. Let your family know a move is coming before you go home-shopping or put your home up for sale. Teens will be upset by moving away from friends, activities and familiar surroundings, so it’s best to give them time to get used to the idea. Wait until they’re no longer upset to share more information about the move.

Let them vent.  Teens can feel powerless, so let them voice their feelings of anger, fears and sadness. Agree that it’s going to be challenging for everyone in the household, and that you’ll do your best to help them make the transition as easily as possible. 

Let them make choices. As you shop for homes online, let them look alongside you. Your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional will show you the company’s website with homes for sale, school and neighborhood information, and interesting statistics about your new area. Find amenities with Waze or Google Maps on your laptop or phone.

Let them contribute. When you’ve narrowed the selection, take your child to see the top three contenders. Being able to choose a bedroom or have a vote in which home to buy will help the adjustment.

HOME IMPROVEMENT ADVICE

Updating Your Home’s Wiring

Older homes tend to have inadequate wiring for today’s multiple electronic needs. An updated electrical system can protect your family and home now, reduce your property hazard insurance premiums, and provide a “surge” of interest to future homebuyers.

If your lights dim when you plug in an appliance, lights flicker for no reason, lightbulbs burn out too quickly, or if you’re loading up outlets with power strips, it’s time to call a licensed electrician. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), faulty or frayed cords can spark a fire within seconds and multiple power strips at full capacity among the top reasons for house fires.

The problem could be loose wiring, worn-out or loose connections that cause arcing and crackling sounds, or you’re using too much voltage for the wiring capacity. Start with the electrical outlets. If they’re two-pronged, you can’t plug in any devices that require grounding in the outlet, such as your computer or flat screen TV.

Updating your fuse box to a 200-amp circuit breaker will provide you with more power and fault circuit interrupters that can protect against fires and shocks (AFCI) and water damage (GFCI.)  HomeAdvisor.com suggests that a circuit panel offers easy care, no fuse replacements and a better foundation for modern appliance use. Fire codes require that electrical panels are located outside the home, so plan on moving yours may if you upgrade your electricity.

A licensed electrician can make sure all your wiring and electrical devices are functioning properly.

FINANCIAL ADVICE

What to Expect with Low Down Payment Loans

A down payment is your offer to share the risk of financing your home with the lender by putting your own money toward the purchase.

Fortunately, there are programs that allow low down - payments, but be prepared for some caveats. These loans are available only on primary residences, not investment properties or second homes, and they come with higher costs in your monthly payments.

The typical down payment to get the best interest rate and avoid mortgage insurance is 20% of the purchase price of the home. Anything less means the lender and guarantor such as FHA, VA or Fannie Mae, must ameliorate the added risk some way or another. So, what can you expect?

Expect to pay higher interest rates. Mortgage interest rates are variable, according to where you live, your credit, terms, and the amount of your down-payment. A low down-payment will result in a higher rate unless it can be offset by excellent credit or some other factor.

Expect to pay PMI. Private mortgage insurance, just like hazard insurance, will be added to your monthly payments. According to Interest.com, you’ll pay approximately 0.20% to 1.50% of the balance of your loan. With the exception of FHA loans, PMI will end automatically when you build 22% in equity.

Expect to pay fees. On VA loans, there’s no PMI, but you will pay a fee of about 2.15% of the loan amount your first time, and 3.3% on the second home loan. 

Straight from betty Murphy's desk!

News from Lake Michigan Credit Union April 1, 2019

February Pending Home Sales Weaker

By RISMedia Staff

RISMEDIA, Monday, April 01, 2019— Last month, pending home sales slid 0.1 percent, according to the latest National Association of REALTORS® Pending Home Sales Index, based on contract signings. Activity climbed in two of the major regions in the U.S., but dipped in the other two. On an annual basis, pending home sales slipped 4.9 percent—the 14th consecutive month  of the negative trend.

"In January, pending contracts were up close to 5 percent, so this month's 1 percent drop is not a significant concern," says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. "As a whole, these numbers indicate that a cyclical low in sales is in the past but activity is not matching the frenzied pace of last spring.
 
"If there is a change at all, I would say the Fed will lower interest rates in 2019 or 2020," Yun says. "That would stimulate the economy and the housing market—but the expectation is no change at all in the current monetary policy, which will help mortgage rates stay at attractive levels."
 
For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

http://rismedia.com/cs/28402/1070777/45553608/104682?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email

Clients Wanted!

Jennifer's Looking for Clients!

All of you have a first hand experience of working with me, as your Realtor. Did you know, that the only way I get to help anyone else buy or sell their home, is through making public your experience? Would you be willing to refer me to a friend who is considering selling their home? If so, why? Would you be willing to ask them if you could share their contact information with me? That's how I can help more people, the way that I helped you.

Please share as it comes up in your life! And, do let me know if you would be willing to write anything that would help other people know what to expect, when they work with me. I would appreciate this very much.

 
 
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