Kimberly Van Hal, REALTOR
The Best Real Estate Advice of 2019
Buying, owning, and selling a home can sometimes feel like an emotional roller coaster. There are new processes to navigate and seemingly endless roadblocks to overcome. It’s only natural that you have questions and seek advice along the way. All year long, realtor.com offers detailed advice and guidance to help you navigate just about any real estate topic that you could encounter—from home buying to refinancing to getting ready for a sale and beyond. Here’s a look back at seven of their most-read advice pieces of 2019. Click the headlines below to become a more knowledgeable homeowner now and in 2020!
Buy Now, Hate Later: 6 Things in Your New Home That Will Soon Drive You Nuts
Purchasing a new home is a long-term financial commitment, and you probably have a list of must-haves for the home. But you’ll likely be living in the place for decades, so before you seal the deal, take a look around to make sure the home will meet your needs for years to come.
Many buyers think they’ve snagged their dream homes, but, down the road, start hating what used to be some of their favorite features. Look over this list of buyers’ most-wanted features that later drove them nuts to save yourself from buyer’s remorse.
Great takeaway: An open floor plan offers little in the way of privacy. This layout style has been a sought-after feature for house hunters, but many homeowners find that an open floor plan means everyone in the home is living on top of one another. Bummer.
5 Unwritten Etiquette Rules Home Buyers Might Not Even Realize Are a Big Deal
Real estate deals come with a set of steps, like the need to get pre-approved for a mortgage and putting down earnest money when you make an offer. Yet along with these set-in-stone directives, there are many unwritten rules that can make or break a deal. Don’t overlook a few etiquette rules when buying a home to keep your deal on track.
Great takeaway: Sign on with a real estate agent before asking the pro to show you homes. A buyer brokerage agreement is a legal contract that spells out the relationship between the buyer and the real estate company and lists the services the agent will provide. It shows that you’re serious about buying a home and committing to working with the specific agent. It’s poor etiquette to work with more than one agent at the same time.
6 Surprisingly Petty Issues That Can Sabotage a Home Sale
Selling a home can sometimes take a while, and major issues understandably delay a sale. But, sometimes, smaller, seemingly petty details can sabotage a home sale, too. Here are a few issues to get in check before putting your home on the market.
Great takeaway: Specify whether window treatments are included in the sale. As a seller, make it clear to buyers if you plan to take drapes, blinds, and curtain rods with you when you move—and whether you plan to offer replacements.
Outdated Mortgage Advice You Should Ignore Right Now
Mortgage loan requirements, down payment rules, tax laws, and the overall financial climate can change from year to year. It may be tempting to seek advice from parents or others who have purchased homes before, but their guidance could be outdated and inaccurate. Beware!
With mortgage rates at an all-time low, it may be a great time to buy. Just be sure to have a firm understanding of what you can afford and your overall financial situation, and stay up to date with the current mortgage requirements. Talk to your lender and real estate agent over friends and family. Sorry, friends and family.
Great takeaway: You probably don’t need a 20% down payment. Buyers with a good credit score may need only a 3% down payment to secure their dream home. Shopping around to see what different lenders offer and require will help you get the best mortgage terms.
5 Questions to Ask Your Mortgage Lender Before Refinancing Your Home
Should I refinance? That’s a question on many homeowners’ minds these days, especially as mortgage interest rates continue to drop. Along with a lower interest rate, refinancing also brings a lower monthly payment, which means you could pay off the loan faster and tap into the home’s equity. But there are several questions you should ask a lender before refinancing to make sure it’s the best financial decision for you in the long run.
Great takeaway: Individual lenders can provide the exact amount of money you’ll need to bring to closing, but homeowners can expect to pay 2% to 3% of the loan amount to refinance.
8 Surprising Things You Should Never Put in the Washing Machine
It’s tempting to load everything in the washing machine for cleaning. While the powerful appliance is adept at keeping clothing, towels, and linens spotless, some items could be destroyed when put through the spin cycle. Others could destroy your machine.
Not sure what can go in the washer and what can’t? Read our story!
Great takeaway: Keep king-size comforters out of the washer, but pillows can go in. Large comforters are usually too big for typical at-home washing machines. They could cause the water to overflow and break the machine. It’s best to take big comforters and blankets to a laundromat and wash in the industrial-size machines.
DIY Flops: The Most Costly and Time-Consuming Projects People Attempt and Fail
Pinterest and HGTV showcase stylish homes and inspire homeowners to take on DIY projects to spruce up their spaces. But these platforms also tend to make projects look a lot easier than they are. And in fact, the opposite is often true: They can cost more and take more time than you think. And, if a project fails, you’ll end up with the added cost of hiring someone to fix the mistake.
Great takeaway: Installing new floors is the most expensive and time-consuming project to fix. Floors must be level, and the space must be measured meticulously so that new flooring fits perfectly. Making a mistake early in the process can cause many problems down the road.
As a residential agent since 1987, Kim has helped home buyers and sellers in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area. achieve their real estate goals.