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October 2019

Whether you own a home or are looking to buy or sell one, here are some useful tips, ideas and advice. When you’re ready to make your move, give me a call or drop me a line.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Texas Realty
Nicki Turner
REALTOR®
563-343-7193
Nicki.Turner@BHHSTxRealty.com
www.NickiTurnerRealtor.com/

 

HOMEBUYERS’ ADVICE

Buying a Condo Just Got Easier

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently revised its condominium loan policies to allow consumers greater access to mortgage loans that are federally guaranteed through the Federal Housing Administration(FHA). After Oct. 15, 2019, as many as 60,000 additional condo units will meet FHA-certification, making them eligible for buyers to purchase with an FHA loan.

The new guidelines will extend project certifications from two years to three, allow for single-unit mortgage approvals, allow a higher owner-occupant vs. renter occupancy ratio, and increase the number of units eligible to be purchased with FHA loans in a single project.

The FHA certifies eligibility for both condo projects and individual units, but according to the National Association of REALTORS, only 17,792 FHA condo loans were originated in the past year, out of approximately 8.7 million condo units nationwide.

The new relaxed guidelines are a significant improvement as condos are often more suitable and affordable to many singles, couples and small families who wish to take advantage of easier qualification, low-down-payment FHA loans - particularly first-time buyers.

Any impediment to buying a property can impact its desirability and market value.  With approximately 84% of homebuyers purchasing a condo for the first time, the relaxed rules will promote more “affordable and sustainable homeownership, especially for credit-worthy first-time buyers.” The result should also make condos more marketable and easier to resell since the pool of available buyers and loans will be larger.  

Contact your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional for more information.

HOMEBUYERS’ ADVICE

Should You Buy a “Haunted” House?

Spooky houses look like they haven’t seen a living occupant, gardener or handyman in years. Many so-called haunted houses are so dilapidated they look occupied by ghosts, or they’ve been on the market so long, buyers suspect there’s a skeleton hidden in the closet. But that house for sale that gives you the creeps may actually turn out to be a good investment. 

So what makes a house seem haunted? It could be the tumbleweed landscaping,

paintless trim, broken steps or crooked roof—, material problems that can easily be repaired or replaced. But a house can also carry a stigma (which has nothing to do with the home’s structure) that evokes fear or repulsion, including a history of death within the home from murder, suicide or suspicious circumstances. The house could previously be occupied by an unsavory hoarder, drug dealer or occultist.  Or, there could be a real ghost. MMMMWWWWAAAA!

Would you be able to look past a home’s creepy appearance or scary reputation? According to Realtor.com, nearly half of homebuyers wouldn’t touch a haunted house, but one in three buyers would purchase one if they could get a lower price.  

That spells opportunity, especially if the home is in a nice neighborhood. If your low offer is accepted, get an inspection and renovation estimate from a local contractor. If the total costs are lower than or equal to the other home values in the area, you could end up with the friendliest bargain on the block.

community events

Events in the Austin area

Looking for things to do in the Austin area? Click here for more information on events in or around Austin during the next few months.

Don't want to head into the city? Check out these events in Williamson county.  Click here for more information.

Looking for events geared towards younger children and families? Check out the 365thingsaustin website to see updated events and activities to help keep the little ones entertained.

HOMEBUYERS’ ADVICE

Super Sleuth Your Next Home

You’re ready to make an offer on a home. You’ve got the seller’s disclosure of material (physical and environmental) defects, but is that all the information you need to move forward? Before you sign your purchase offer, do a little quick research.

Get a loss history report. The Insurance Information Institute advises homebuyers to obtain a loss history report from the seller. This LexisNexis free service tracks hazard insurance claims. You’ll learn when the roof was replaced from hail damage but also if there have been any water leaks or other damage. During the home inspection phase, you can see how the damage was corrected.

Check Housefax.com. – Your first Property History Report is free and includes property details and building permits, among other information, so you can learn whether that room addition was done by professionals.

Visit DiedinHouse.com. For $11.99, you’ll receive an instant report that reveals if there’ve been any deaths in the home, because in many states, anything that isn’t a material fact doesn’t need to be disclosed to you. You’ll also learn if there’s been any fire damage, and whether the property was ever used as a meth lab. It also alerts you to nearby sex offenders.

Ask for an updated CMA. Your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional can provide you with an up-to-the-minute comparable market analysis (CMA) report. You’ll soon know if there’s been a change in the marketplace, such as new listings or solds that can help you decide how much money to offer.

HOME IMPROVEMENT ADVICE

Five Improvements that Scream Cheap

If you’re a seller refreshing your home for resale or an investor selling a remodeled home, you should know that some updates won’t impress today’s homebuyers. Inexpensive updates in lieu of the more durable and sustainable materials that buyers prefer may scare buyers into wondering where else you cut costs.  

Single coat paint – Single coats can leave a ghost of the previous color that peeks through, nor do they deliver the rich color and texture of carefully applied second coats.

Peel and stick tiles– Nothing says cheap like peel and stick tile for floors or backsplashes. Yes, you can remove them, but the real thing wears and looks better.

Faux Granite – What makes granite beautiful and the focal point of a kitchen or bath is the natural veins and spots of color. While some laminates and quartz closely copy granite, you’re better off choosing a solid color countertop replacement and putting the wow factor somewhere else, like a decorative tile backsplash.

Acrylic one-piece shower/tub— It may look clean and new, but you don’t want your bathroom to look like it belongs in a motel. Spend the money for a new tub, fresh grouted tile and a contemporary glass door.

Painted cabinets – Paint eventually chips and doesn’t really update worn, outdated cabinets. It doesn’t make up for the lack of easy sliding drawers, pull-out shelving and hidden hinges that are standard features of modern cabinets. New factory-painted doors could be an inexpensive update that will look and wear better.


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