Prepare Your House For Freezing Weather 41 Realty Group Sellers

How To Prepare Your House For Freezing Weather

Wind, snow, and ice may be dangerous to your house and your finances. Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to avoid the expense and bother of winter damage – as well as savings on heating bills.

Though typically winter house preparation should be completed in the fall, it’s never too late to take care of your home when the temperature drops. Here are a few tips to help you prepare your house for freezing weather.

Tips for Protecting Your Home From Freezing Temperatures

When it comes to weatherproofing a home in a cold-winter climate, the various structural and mechanical systems have an additional burden. Water might be challenging in any situation, but the difficulties are much more significant in locations where it stays snowy and icy for weeks or months on end.

Here are some guidelines to help you avoid the problems caused by frigid temperatures and weather.

Winter Weather Prep For The Outside Of Your Home

When the weather goes south, and the snow seems to trap you inside, you’ll be relieved that you have taken these precautions to secure your home.

Remove leaves, twigs, and other debris from your gutters to allow melting snow and ice to flow freely. This can avoid ice damming, which occurs when water is unable to drain through the gutters and instead seeps into the house, which might make water drip through the ceiling or into the walls.

You might also consider installing gutter guards. Gutter guards keep debris out of the gutters as debris might interfere with the water’s flow away from the house and into the ground.

Trim trees that are overgrown or dead branches to prevent them from breaking away and causing damage to your home or vehicle. Trimming excess branches could also prevent the weather from hurting someone who may be walking by your property.

It’s also possible that your stairs and handrails need to be replaced. When snow and ice accumulate on broken steps and railings, they become highly dangerous.

Use caulk to seal cracks and wall gaps to keep chilly air and dampness out of your house. Weatherstripping around windows and doors will prevent heat from escaping and cold air entering.

Prepare The Inside Of Your House For Freezing Weather

Water pipes can break due to extreme cold, snow, and ice. Likewise, water heaters are more likely to fail in the winter because of colder temperatures. Ensure your home’s internal systems are in working order for safety and efficiency. Consider having your heating system inspected. Furnaces, boilers, and chimneys should be serviced at least once a year.

Consider Adding Extra Insulation

Attics, basements, and crawl spaces can all benefit from extra insulating. For example, heat may escape through an attic when the temperature is too high, causing snow or ice to melt on the roof. Water then may refreeze, resulting in more ice buildup—and possibly ice dams that cause your roof to collapse. Well-insulated basements and crawlspaces will also aid in pipe protection. To keep pipes from freezing, consider insulating garages and other unfinished surfaces.

Insulation or plug-in heating cable can be used to prevent pipes in attics and crawl spaces from freezing. Make sure you get UL®-rated versions of heating cables with built-in thermostats; they will turn on the heat when it’s needed. Always follow manufacturers’ recommendations carefully when using the cables.

Install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system. This will prevent the system from being overwhelmed by freezing pipes and possibly causing a pipe to burst.

Take Steps To Prevent Flooding

Your experienced contractor can also help you avoid flooding from melting snow and ice runoff by suggesting actions to prevent it. For example, internal basement wall coatings, sump pumps, and other improvements may help protect your property and belongings from water damage.

Consider purchasing a sewer backup insurance policy. Sewer systems may be overwhelmed by melting snow flooding. Thousands of dollars in damage can be caused to floors, walls, furniture, and electrical systems if raw sewage backs up into the drains in your home.

Sewer backup is not covered by standard homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, and it isn’t covered by flood insurance; nevertheless, it may be purchased as a separate product. Contact your insurance provider and ask them what they recommend.

Prepare Emergency Kits

Make a winter survival kit: Road salt, non-perishable foods, a car charger for phones, flashlights, batteries, and sleeping bags. Extra cash is always helpful. Channel your inner Boy Scout by keeping emergency supplies available when severe weather strikes.

If possible, include any medicines or first-aid supplies in the kit. Most convenient stores have ready-made disaster kits available if you don’t want to make your own emergency pack.

Contact Your Insurer

Check to see if your policy covers any winterizing expenses, such as stormproof shutters or sensors that detect high water flow and automatically turn off the water supply. These fixtures can help you save money on your insurance premiums too. Keep in mind that the insurance company benefits when you take steps to safeguard your property.

Invest In A Home Generator

To ensure that your refrigerator, heating system, and lights stay operational in the event of a power outage, get a standby generator that can keep you and your family warm and keep your pipes from freezing. Generator prices for small homes can be as little as $500. First, do some homework to figure out what type of generator would work best for your family. Then, before you install one, consult an expert electrician and make sure what you’ve chosen is safe and efficient. 

Install A Carbon Monoxide Detector

Keep your family safe and warm! If you don’t ventilate your heating equipment properly, it might leak carbon monoxide, which is harmful. Carbon monoxide detectors will let you know if something is wrong so that you can address the problem.

Conclusion

Montana gets COLD. You want your home to keep you and your family safe and warm. Taking care of these weather tips on your home can help ensure that your home stays in good order for a long time. 

Did we miss anything? Share your thoughts about winter home prep with us! We’d love to hear how you prepare your house for freezing weather. 

Have more real estate questions? Get in touch with us here.

Mortgage Rates 41 Realty Group Buyers

Everything You Need To Know About Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates are the interest rates set for a home loan. It is also known as a “mortgage.”

Mortgage rates are derived from mortgage-backed securities (MBS), bonds backed by U.S. mortgages. Mortgage rates vary depending on the type of loan and the lender and can be confusing!

Understanding what factors influence mortgage rates might help you comparison-shop for mortgage rates and feel confident that you’re receiving a fair price. Ready to dive in?

How Mortgage Rates Are Determined

Comparing loan offers is critical if you want to get the greatest home deal. Unfortunately, loan estimates are jam-packed with data and statistics, which can be challenging to understand if you’re a first-time buyer.

Don’t let all of these figures overwhelm you, though. As long as you understand the mortgage rate you’re receiving, you have a solid foundation on which to compare your loan options. 

What Are Mortgage Rates?

A mortgage rate is the interest rate you’ll be charged to borrow money. The yearly interest amount will be a proportion of your total loan balance.

There are two types of mortgages: fixed-rate and adjustable-rate. Your interest rate is constant throughout the duration of your loan with a fixed rate.

For example, a lender quotes you a 6% fixed mortgage rate on a $300,000 loan. This means you’ll pay 6% of your loan balance every year until you sell the home, refinance, or pay it off.

An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is a type of home loan with an interest rate that fluctuates after a certain amount of time. For example, the 5/1 ARM is one of the most popular adjustable-rate mortgages. For the first five years, you will receive a set interest rate, and then it adjusts once a year after that.

Factors That Determine Mortgage Rates

Lenders set mortgage rates on a borrower-by-borrow basis. They consider many different factors, both larger economic and personal factors like the borrower’s individual financial situation.

Larger economic factors can include:

  • Strength of the economy
  • Inflation rates
  • Employment
  • Consumer spending
  • Housing construction and other market conditions

On the other hand, personal economic factors typically include:

  • Credit score
  • Credit history
  • Down payment size
  • Loan-to-value ratio
  • Loan size, type, and term
  • Debt-to-income ratio
  • Location of the property

Your unique financial position will have an impact on the interest rates you’ll get. The quality of your credit score, as well as factors like your down payment size, the amount of money you’re borrowing, your income, and more, will all play a role.

To get the lowest interest rate, you should have:

  • A good credit score
  • A down payment saved up
  • A low loan-to-value ratio
  • A low debt-to-income ratio

How To Shop For The Right Mortgage Right

Mortgage rates are unpredictable, changing without notice or warning. When shopping for a mortgage, it’s vital to understand the techniques as well as have a strategy. You must shop the “right way” if you want to get the best deal.

It’s also essential to keep in mind that when you’re looking for a mortgage rate, you’re shopping for a mortgage rate as well as any associated closing costs. You can’t have one without the other.

Mortgage lenders will never offer you a rate without including any associated costs, so keep an eye on your quotations – a rock-bottom rate is meaningless if your closing expenses are incredibly high.

There are two options for obtaining mortgage rates. You may either look for a particular mortgage rate or a specific closing cost. When you can isolate a single loan variable for comparison, such as “cost” or “mortgage rate,” it’s simple to determine which mortgage company is offering the best deal.

Let’s pretend you want a rate of 4.00 percent, for example. This is your “fixed” variable. So all you have to do now is inquire about mortgage lenders’ lowest closing fees at a 4.00% interest rate.

Alternatively, let’s say you want to take out a loan with no closing costs. In this scenario, closing expenses are your fixed variable – they’re $0.

To choose the best mortgage lender, simply inquire with each one about what their interest rate would be if there were no closing costs. Then, you pick the lender who offers you the lowest rate.

Conclusion

Are you looking to buy a home in the near future? If so, understanding what factors influence mortgage rates might help you comparison-shop for mortgage rates and feel confident that you’re receiving a fair price. Interest rates can be fixed or variable, depending on the type of loan product desired – it’s important to compare both types before making a decision. 

We can help you get a fair price for mortgage rates. So call us at (406) 969-4141 or reach out online today. We’ll get back to you with personalized advice on how to find the right loan company today!

We have contacts in Billings, Montana, that help our clients find the rate for them so that they can get the house they want when they want it.

2021 Yellowstone County Veterans Non-Profits General Real Estate

2021 Yellowstone County Veterans Non-Profits [VIDEO]

Every year, 41 Realty Group partners with local non-profits.  In 2021, our efforts will focus on non-profits serving veterans in Yellowstone County. 

This video details some of the work we will be doing, as well as introduces you to the non-profit we will be working most with – Veterans Navigation Network.

Intro: Montana currently has the highest veteran suicide rate in the nation.

30% of veterans have a significant disability rating through the VA.

7.5% of veterans live at or below the poverty level.

Montana has one of the highest per capita rates of veterans in the United States. Our rate runs about 10%, which means we have an incredibly patriotic state and for that  I ’m very grateful.

Nicole King: Hey there  I’m Nicole King, broker-owner of 41 Realty Group in Billings, Montana. Those are staggering statistics. Every year my brokerage partners with area non-profits to raise money and awareness for their causes.  In 2020 we focused on nonprofits working with women and children,  and in 2021 we’ll be working with non-profits serving veterans, so that hopefully those statistics will go down.

To prepare for this year’s work we met with about a dozen local nonprofits in October and November. During those meetings we asked where is the gap in services for veterans in Yellowstone County? And how can we either fill that gap or get a really good start at it?

Aside from funding their answers were consistently, 1) getting the word out about their programs and 2) connecting with those who need their services. So then the question became how can we help? One after another after another they told us about a unique and effective newer non-profit and said that if we could help spread the word about them and their services and then raise funds to help them stay in business, all the other veteran non-profits would benefit

I had the privilege of talking with Blake Fuhriman with the Veterans Navigation Network, or VNN for short, a few days ago. Check out our conversation to learn more about their incredible work.

Nicole: The first person that I wanted you to meet is Blake Fuhriman. He is the chairman of Veterans Navigation Network and they’re who we’re going to focus primarily on throughout 2021. Blake, tell us how you came up with the idea for Veterans Navigation, a little bit, about yourself, what (VNN is the initials for Veterans Navigation Network), what you guys do and how you also connect with all the other non-profits here in town.

Blake: Of course so yeah my name is Blake Fuhriman, I am an army veteran — served four years in the ranger regiment and just Veterans Navigation Network was completely born out of my transition from service into civilian life. It was very difficult for me and it is for a lot of veterans to go from this high stress, high-octane environment where you also have the support of all your brothers in arms or brothers and sisters in arms, and you go from that to the next day you’re out you can’t even get onto the military base in many cases, right?

So, you get into that realm and then you move home or move to wherever and you don’t have any of your battle buddies or people you served with in the military and it’s just a complete change of pace. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, which many many people don’t, then it can lead to a lot of challenges. So that’s what Veterans Navigation Network started out of — was my own challenge during that transition.

Nicole: Sure. How long ago did you transition out of the military into civilian life?

Blake: I got out of the military in 2013 and I think I’m still transitioning out of service, right? Even though I only served four years, I mean, it was such a huge part of my life and you know there’s still days that I struggle. Just like anybody would struggle, right? I miss friends, miss fallen comrades — all of that. But you know,  that is part of my life, so you never really transition away from that but you integrate into this new world that you live in.

Nicole: Absolutely. So the first couple of years that you were out because VNN has only been around for about two years? 

Blake: A year.

Nicole: A year, okay, so you were out in 2013 and now it’s 2021. Tell us about those few years — what were the things that you particularly struggled with? Did you just find that there were no services to meet your needs, or? Tell us about that.

Blake: Yeah so when I got out, I had just gotten divorced. I had three deployments to Afghanistan, one of those I lost a couple friends and throughout the three, several people that I knew had been killed in combat and seeing atrocities of war, you know? I just saw that and then I came home to my family, moved from Georgia where I was stationed, to Wyoming.

And my family, thankfully for me, I had a super supportive family and they were really awesome and tried to help out in any way they could but they just didn’t know what I had gone through. And so I turned to alcohol to numb the pain that I’d gotten from a parachuting injury and the emotional pain that I’d suffered from my time in service. Alcohol, gambling — everything, you know, that I shouldn’t have been turning to is what I was turning to.

So I didn’t have that support or that network and that’s what I relied on and it was pretty disastrous for me just as a person and as a human being to go down that road without support.  And not necessarily without support but without support that was targeted and knew exactly what I needed in those times, right?

Nicole: Definitely, and so your experience with not having the targeted support is what birthed, then, VNN, and you’re here in Billings now. So you went from Wyoming to Billings — tell us about that.

Blake: Yeah, so when I got back to Wyoming, you know, I struggled. I looked for other jobs and just couldn’t find anything that brought the camaraderie of the military back or filled the void that I felt in my life. And so I just applied to all kinds of jobs and struggled, struggled, struggled.

And finally I got in a position, a training position, where there was other veterans involved and they really guided me and mentored me and helped me turn my life around. That was in Alabama and then I moved back from Alabama to Montana with my current wife and just realized that that mentorship was so powerful and that I saw a ton of veterans in Billings, Montana that lacked that in their own lives.

And it just hit me like, why isn’t anybody doing this, right? And so, there’s so many great organizations in Montana and Billings, specifically that help veterans. But as a struggling veteran if I went to one and it didn’t work out perfect or something like that, right, I would have just, you know, I would have gotten discouraged. I would have maybe thought well that didn’t work out I’m gonna go drink or I’m gonna go, you know? 

For me, that was a challenge. So having somebody to walk that walk with me would have been immensely powerful and that’s that’s why I want to work to make VNN work in the Billings community and I think it will, it’s already starting to prove to work.

Nicole: Yeah it sounds like it! So what you guys do is you have mentor veterans who then you partner up with veterans who are either just brand new to the transition out or maybe have transitioned out years ago and are now needing to plug into the services that are available to them, like Adaptive Performance Center, Dog Tag Buddies, Horses Spirits Healing, there’s — it sounds like basically dozens of different  non-profits that they can plug into, plus then the services available to the VA.

And you help them do that with one person that they can talk to who then can help them.

Blake: Yeah, exactly. So there’s basically a constant, right? They may go to an organization for help and it may not be the right fit, right? And so what we want to be is that constant so even if this organization doesn’t work out or this option with the VA doesn’t work out or whatever it is, you have that constant that’s there by your side the whole time and just walking you through that and helping you problem solve.

You know, not necessarily holding your hand, but keeping you accountable and making sure that you’re getting what you need.

Nicole: It’s probably pretty similar to somebody having your back in the military, you’ve got your comrades that are right there that are going through that entire walk with you side by side, and this is essentially what you’re providing for them.

Blake: Exactly, that’s a great way of putting it and you know there’s organizations like Dog Tag Buddies and APC, and Horses Spirits Healing, and they’re all great and they do great things for veterans, but you know at any at any time they may not fit the whole bill.

So you know they all have their individual niches that they help the veterans fill and the gaps that they help them fill but at the end of the day, they don’t do everything, right? And neither do we at Veterans Navigation Network, but we’ll find out who does and that’s something that takes something off the plate of the veteran and helps them get what they need.

Nicole: And their friends and family. Like, your friends and family, when you first transitioned out, I bet they were sort of felt helpless saying I want to help so much but I don’t know how, I don’t know who to reach out to and you can step in and fill that for them. By helping both the caregivers the friends, the family members, and the veteran all at once to find exactly what that veteran needs, and I would imagine it also helps a bit with the isolation.

There’s somebody who’s checking back in with that veteran constantly. I mean one of the statistics we heard is that Montana has the highest suicide rate in the nation for veterans and I bet that constant checking in helps with a little bit of that isolation.

Blake: Yeah, yeah, that’s really what we want to see is just, you know, obviously everybody wants to see that number go down and that statistic disappear but, you know,  it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere right now and we would love to be a part of that disappearing.

So checking in on these veterans is something immensely important, right? In the military you had a team leader, a supervisor or somebody like that or even just your battle buddy — somebody who’s the same rank as you checking in on you,  just watching your back, having your six, whatever you want to call it.

Veterans Navigation Network may not be able to replicate that completely because, you know, you’re not going to have that same relationship you have with somebody that you cleared a room with in Afghanistan, but it’s somebody who knows what that was like and can provide something really close to that.  More than more than a spouse or more than a parent or friend who is a civilian could do, right? Because they just don’t understand that.

Nicole: Yeah, when you sit down with a veteran versus if I sit down with a veteran, they’re not going to tell me the same things. They’re not going to talk to me in the same way they’re not going to feel the same connection with me that they will with you or with any of the other mentors that you guys provide. 

You know, another statistic that we heard at the beginning of the video is that about 10% of Yellowstone County’s population are veterans and that’s actually a huge number. If you google Billings population or just Yellowstone County’s population,  161, 000 is what 2019’s population was estimated at. We’ll see what it comes out with the census but if you just take 160,000 that’s 16,000 people right here in Yellowstone County that have experienced some portion of the military and that’s a huge number.

Blake: It is, yeah.

Nicole: Really that’s just, everybody that we’re walking past in the street could be a veteran, right? Statistically, one in ten is going to be. So that’s a lot of people you can’t possibly serve all of them, not all of them necessarily need help.

Blake: Yeah a lot of them could be our mentors, right? Alot of them you know may not be mentors, may not be veterans who need help but they can help in some other way. Really, they’re the community that we live in. They’re business owners, they’re doctors, they’re nurses, they’re the different people in the community that you’d never know but together, you know, the veteran community in Billings — they’re the community of Billings, really.

Just being able to connect that community and, you know, just realize that there’s that family here is incredibly important.

Nicole: And it seems like, so one of the other things that we heard is that about seven and a half percent of veterans live at or below poverty and I would imagine there’s quite a bit of pride involved in asking for help, right? So if they’re going without food, going without necessities, going without housing — whatever it is that they’re needing, you’re a great place to reach out to and get this one person they can talk to and get the assistance they need.

Blake: Yes that’s exactly, with Covid, because we haven’t been able to do that face-to-face mentorship as much, that’s really what we’ve been doing, is a lot of resource guiding; guiding vets to resources that they need and then just being somebody they can call and talk to, you know, and, you know, just help guide them or help problem solve with different things it’s it’s been great to see that we can help even in these crazy, crazy times that we’re living in.

Nicole: I  bet even the smallest things are really making a big difference at this point too.

Blake: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Some examples of that are just whether it’s a family in the community that just wants to give something, right? Food, gas, you know, fill a veterans gas tank, something like that, has been incredibly powerful. One around the holidays like we are now but just with COVID and isolation, just veterans knowing that people in the community do care about them.

Nicole: Absolutely so one of the things that we’re setting up is working with coffee shops and restaurants and different vendors to both set up services directly for veterans but also for them to have information about VNN and about all the different non-profits here in town right there and available at their counters for people to pick up.

So maybe they don’t have to make that phone call but they can pick up a piece of paper and have that with them and connect with Blake later. Also several coffee shops in town are creating specials on their menus where you order that and the money that is generated from that special goes directly to VNN to help them to continue providing the services. 

That, I would imagine, all that community support helps those veterans feel like they belong, that they’re valued, and the community is there for them.

Blake: Oh, yeah definitely, definitely. You know, there’s a ton of support in the community and we love seeing it come together to support our veterans.

Nicole: We appreciate you, thank you for your service and thank you for starting VNN. I think 2021 is going to be amazing for VNN, for you, for everybody and we just so appreciate you.

Blake: Well, thank you, definitely and thank you for the work that you’ve done and your organization has done on this project.

Nicole: It’s been my pleasure for sure. 

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Nicole: Isn’t Blake amazing? I am so excited to work with him this year over the next few weeks we’ll be rolling out various partnerships throughout Yellowstone County that will 1) raise awareness for VNN but they’ll also raise funds for them so they can keep serving veterans.

I’ve been reaching out to local business owners over the past couple of months and have been humbled by our community’s support of veterans. So many have generously agreed to have info cards and posters and donation boxes of other businesses. And some have even created specials that when you purchase them, they directly raise money for VNN. We’ve created a tab on our website https://41realtygroup.com/2021-non-profits/ that list all of the businesses around town who are supporting our efforts this year and what they’re doing.

Go there right now to learn where you can shop to support VNN. We’ll also have a direct link to VNN’s website so you can learn more about them next month. We will post a video introducing you to a few of the other area non-profits who also serve veterans and to whom VNN gets to refer veterans.

Make sure that you like and subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you don’t miss that video. Thank you to everyone who has served or is serving in the military. We can never express how much we appreciate you.

See you next time.

Conclusion (Updated To Include Totals From 2021)

Here are our summaries from 2021: 

We donated $50,570.61 over the course of the entire year.

– $33,935.11 went to Veterans Navigation Network, $9,500 to HER Campaign, $4,800 to Yellowstone Foundation Properties, and $2,335.50 to the Billings Community Foundation. 

– $221.77 was also raised through donation boxes at several coffee shops throughout Billings.

– $470 was donated by Harper & Madison

At least 10% of every single commission generated by 41 Realty Group is donated. The more we sell, the more we are able to give! We are SO incredibly thankful for everyone who chose to use 41 Realty Group to buy or sell real estate this year and for all our agents who worked so hard to close those transactions. These donations are possible because of our clients and our agents.

Home Appraisals 41 Realty Group General Real Estate

Everything You Need To Know About Home Appraisals

A home appraisal is a critical component of any transaction, whether you’re buying a property with a mortgage, refinancing your existing loan, or selling your house to someone other than an all-cash buyer.

If you’re a buyer, owner, or seller, you’ll want to understand how an appraisal works and how an appraiser decides what a property is worth. So let’s dive into everything you need to know about home appraisals.

Your Guide To Home Appraisals

When it comes to purchasing, selling, or refinancing a property, the prospect of having an appraisal done may not be on your mind. But perhaps it should be: An appraisal determines how much a home is worth for everyone involved in the process, including the buyer, seller, and lender.

The aim is to prevent the buyer and the lender from paying too much. Although a home appraisal isn’t the most exciting aspect of purchasing or selling a house, it is essential. Learn more about how property appraisals work below.

What Is a Home Appraisal?

An appraisal is an expert estimation of a property’s worth. Appraisals are often employed in buy-and-sell transactions and occasionally used in refinance situations. They are unbiased and aim to accurately assess a property value so that everyone involved in the transaction has the truth. 

An appraisal is used to verify whether the property’s contract price is fair given its condition, location, and features in a purchase-and-sale transaction. In addition, an appraisal protects the lender in a refinance situation by ensuring that they are not providing the borrower more money than the home is worth.

Lenders want to ensure that homeowners are not over-borrowing for a house as collateral for their mortgage. If the borrower defaults on their mortgage and enters foreclosure, the lender will sell the property to recover the money it gave.

The appraisal protects the bank against lending more than it might be able to recover in the worst-case scenario.

The Appraisal Process and How Values Are Determined

Because an appraisal typically protects the lender’s interests, the lender will generally request one. A good expert evaluation costs several hundred dollars and is paid for mainly by the borrower.

According to the Appraisal Institute, a professional real estate appraiser should be licensed or certified—as required in all 50 states—and be familiar with the local market. In addition, the appraiser must be impartial and have no direct or indirect interest in the deal under federal rules.

Comparable sales and market trends determine the appraisal value. In addition, the home’s features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, floor plan functionality, and square footage, are critical criteria when determining the property’s worth.

The interior and exterior of the home must be thoroughly examined, and any factors that damage the property’s value, such as necessary repairs, must be noted.

Appraisers use the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report from Fannie Mae for single-family houses. The report requires the appraiser to document the property’s interior and exterior and its neighborhood and comparable sales. The appraiser then analyzes and concludes the property’s worth based on their inspections.

The report must include:

  • A map of your neighborhood showing the appraised property and comparable sales used
  • Exterior photographs of each comparable property used
  • An explanation of how the square footage was determined
  • A sketch of the exterior
  • Photographs of the front of the house, the back of the house, and the street
  • Any other pertinent information, including market sales data, public tax records, public land records, and anything else the appraiser used to determine the property’s fair market value.

How Can You Improve Your Home Appraisal?

It’s critical to obtain a precise house appraisal. However, for sellers or homeowners who wish to refinance their mortgage, it’s still ideal for achieving as high an appraised value as possible. The most significant influence on the value of a home is sales data in the immediate market area. If all the houses surrounding the home you’re interested in are increasing in sales price, then your property will also likely continue to increase in value with no changes.

Though home appraisals aren’t really within your control, there are a few things you can do that might ensure your property is appraised at a higher value.

It’s essential to have good curb appeal. Mow the lawn, weed the garden, and trim the hedges. Confirm that the home is in excellent condition. The appraiser should be able to detect your house’s potential. Your style may not matter much, but curb appeal and maintenance may influence its assessed value.

For sellers specifically, the most significant way you can impact the market value of your home is to make improvements. For example, fresh paint and new flooring can go a long way to provide the greatest return on investment.

Make a list of recent house enhancements. Make a note of any improvements or unique features you’ve added to your property and leave it for your appraiser. You should include things like if you installed new roofing or siding or replaced your heating system, as well as when the work was completed.

Focus on the crucial upgrades. Though pools and large yards can make a difference, updated kitchens and bathrooms definitely carry more weight when it comes to a home’s value. However, we should include a warning. Don’t get too attached to the repairs you’ve made. Even if you’ve spent thousands remodeling, it doesn’t automatically mean your house will increase its worth.

What Sellers Need to Know About Home Appraisals

As a seller, an incorrect appraisal might force you to decrease the price of your home to sell it. However, waiting for an all-cash buyer who doesn’t need an appraisal as a condition of closing the transaction will unlikely result in a greater sales price. No one wants to overpay for property.

Unfortunately, if your neighborhood has recently suffered from distressed sales, the appraisal value of your property will be reduced. However, you may be able to persuade the appraiser that your home is worth more if it’s in much better shape than foreclosures and short sales in your neighborhood.

What Refinancing Homeowners Need to Know

If you’re refinancing a standard mortgage and a low appraisal will likely prevent the refinancing from happening. Your loan must appraise at or above the amount you wish to refinance for it to be approved.

If you possess an FHA mortgage, you can refinance without an appraisal through the FHA Streamline program—a fantastic alternative for underwater homeowners. Ask your real estate agent if this might be the right option for you.

The Bottom Line

The home appraisal is simply another box to check off a closing checklist when everything goes well. However, when the appraisal value is lower than anticipated, the transaction might be delayed or even called off.

Whether you’re purchasing your first house or refinancing, a basic understanding of how the appraisal procedure works can only work in your favor. This is especially true if you’re buying your first property. Contact your local real estate agent if you need help with this process. The team at 41 Realty Group would love to help you with buying, selling, inspections, home appraisals, and more! When you need experience on your side, give us a call today.

Down Payment 41 Realty Group Buyers

How Much Do I Need For A Down Payment?

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home, then you might be starting to panic about a down payment. A down payment is the cash amount you’re usually required to pay upfront and is usually a certain percentage of the total. So, for example, a $350,000 home would be $35,000.

When applying for a mortgage to buy a house, your down payment will contribute to the home’s overall purchase price and represent your initial ownership of the home. After that, your mortgage lender provides the rest of the payment for your house, and you’ll make mortgage payments monthly for a pre-determined amount of time. 

Lenders require a down payment to show that you are serious about buying and have the funds to make payments. There are a few exceptions to that, however, and we’ll get into that here. Read on as we talk about everything you need to know about down payments. 

Everything You Need To Know About A Down Payment

Coming up with enough money for a down payment is usually the most significant roadblock when it comes to buying a house. So let’s discuss how much you really need.

Minimum Down Payment Requirements 

Though it’s not always required, you’ll likely hear the advice that you should put at least 20% down on a home to increase your chances of getting approved for a mortgage with the best rates. However, it’s important to note that most minimum down payments vary depending on the type of mortgage. 

FHA loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration and can require as little as 3.5% for first-time home buyers.

On the other hand, VA loans are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and usually do not require a down payment. These loans are reserved for current and veteran military service members and eligible surviving spouses.

USDA loans, supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program, are another loan program that requires no down payment. They are for rural and suburban homebuyers who meet the income limits and basic requirements.

Most down payment requirements can also vary by lender and the borrower’s credit history. For example, loan providers might require a higher down payment if you have a meager credit score, while those who have excellent credit get better rates.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Putting 20% Down?

Though you might not have to put 20% down on your new home, we thought it would be beneficial to look at the pros and cons of how a larger down payment can affect you.

Pros

If you can put 20% down, you’ll be able to avoid being required to buy private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI is insurance that protects your lender if you default on your mortgage.

Another benefit of putting more of a down payment down on your home is access to better interest rates. The interest rate is known as the percentage of the principal or outstanding balance on your mortgage that your lender will charge you every month. The more money you put down, the less of a risk you seem to lenders.

In addition, when you put down a larger down payment, your overall loan is smaller, which means that you’ll pay less in interest over time. This also translates to smaller monthly payments.

Lastly, larger down payments give you a competitive edge over other buyers. People who have saved more for the home buying process usually have their finances in order, which means you’ll have fewer problems finding a lender.

Cons Of Putting 20% Down

We know that putting that large of an amount isn’t right for every buyer. There are a few drawbacks to saving a 20% down payment.

First, it can feel financially risky. Once you put money down on your mortgage, it’s not easy to get it back. So some might warn you to put a little less down and instead keep liquid cash and build your emergency fund.

Secondly, less money in your bank account means less money for those minor repairs your new home might need. The larger the down payment, the less money you’ll have to take care of things that arise when you first move into your home.

Lastly, it can take a long time to save 20%, and each month you’re not spending paying a mortgage, you’re wasting on rent, which many buyers don’t think is worth the larger down payment.

Can You Buy A House Without A Down Payment?

Yes! As we mentioned above, if you qualify for specific programs, you can buy a home with no money down. In addition, government-backed loans are insured by the government, making them less of a risk for lenders because it promises that the government will cover the financial loss if you default on the loan. This means that lenders will be more willing to give you better interest rates and less strict down payment requirements.

Both VA loans USDA loans have a zero-down payment guarantee, given that you meet the minimum qualifications set by the USDA and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).

Bottom Line When It Comes To A Down Payment

Though at the end of the day, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. An excellent place to start is to look at how your down payment will affect your monthly payment. Talk to your mortgage lender or use any number of online mortgage calculators to help you plan out how much you can reasonably afford. With just some basic info, they can break down your estimated mortgage and help you plan what down payment amount makes sense for you.

Talk to your local real estate agent too. They deal with home buyers every day and have some great resources and references to help you make sure your finances are in order. Do you still have questions? Contact 41 Realty Group today.

DIY Home Projects 41 Realty Group Sellers

DIY Home Projects You Can Tackle In One Weekend

Got a free weekend and looking for DIY home projects that will improve your home and maybe even add to your home’s value? We’ve compiled a list of DIY projects you should hopefully be able to tackle in one weekend! We tried to choose items that weren’t too complicated or too expensive so that you could check off your to-do list and add value to your space without breaking the bank.

Ready to take on a home improvement project? Let’s go!

5 DIY Home Projects You Can Do Quickly and Easily

The coronavirus pandemic has driven most of us inside, and we are all spending more time at home than ever. Have you started making a list of home projects that would make your home a little more attractive or functional? Then, get ready to add a few more items to your to-do list! From installing a new backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom, or finally painting that front door, check out some of our easy DIY home projects that you can tackle this weekend.

Install Your Own Peel-And-Stick Backsplash

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home, and if you’re tired of looking at the dingy and dull backsplash in your kitchen, then it might be time to upgrade. Updating your kitchen is as easy as purchasing a peel-and-stick backsplash. Removable tiles are the way to go when you want to get your project done in one quick weekend. These are also a great option if you’re renting and want to personalize your space without damaging the walls.

In terms of DIY home projects, replacing the backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom is a great option because there are so many options so you can match your style exactly. In addition, you can make it bold and stand out to drawn attention, or keep it classic and neutral – whatever your heart desires.

Build Your Own Fire Pit

Love to spend time outside with your family? Why not install a permanent fire pit that looks elegant and inviting. Your local hardware store will have everything you need – concrete wall blocks, pebbles, and a paver base. In just a couple of hours, you can have a professionally looking fire pit that everyone will love. 

If you want your home to be the go-to place for parties and events, then a fire pit might just be the way to go. Here’s a guide to help you build it on your own.

Paint The Front Door and The Shutters

Another easy and fun DIY home project is to update the curb appeal! Paint your front door a fresh and bright color, replace the old hardware, and invest in some potted plants you can put near the entrance of your home. You might even consider installing outdoor lighting to enhance your home’s natural architecture and illuminate the porch or walkway. 

Consider replacing your welcome mat and painting your shutters to match your new door to make a bold and welcoming entrance. 

Construct A Set Of Garage Shelves

If you have a free weekend, now is a great time to take care of that cluttered garage. DIY garage shelves are excellent to handle that mess once and for all. Floor-to-ceiling garage shelves seem to be a staple in most garages, though they don’t always come with the house. Get all your family’s knick-knacks off the floor and on the wall so that you can finally park in your garage.

Clear storage bins are another great way to help you stay organized and quickly find what you need right when you need it. Organize by season and never again buy new decorations because you don’t want to wade through the clutter.

Switch To Energy Efficient Windows

Another project that is probably the most expensive on our DIY home projects list is switching to energy-efficient windows. Especially if you have an older home with single-pane windows, you could be wasting quite a lot of energy, making your bills go up more than they should. So instead, improve your home’s efficiency by replacing single-pane windows with high-performance double-pane windows. 

Though it costs a lot initially, it could save you a lot of money yearly. 

Replace Your Shower Head and Hardware

One straightforward and relatively inexpensive project is to replace the hardware throughout your home. One winner when it comes to adding value to your home is to choose a low-flow showerhead that gives you the same sensation but helps you save on your water bill. In addition, you should check your hard-water status. Many new showerheads provide more control options and are more efficient. 

Add new hardware throughout your bathroom or in the kitchen to add a spa-like or luxurious feel without remodeling the entire space. For example, new handles on cabinets can go a long way in making your whole home feel updated.

Ask Your Real Estate Agent For What Buyers Are Looking For

If you’re thinking about selling, or it might be a possibility down the road, then you might tailor your DIY home projects towards those potential buyers. The best way to find out what buyers are looking for when buying homes is to talk to your real estate agent. Trends come and go, and your real estate agent is usually right on the pulse of those trends. They might be able to give you good advice about which style of backsplash tile to use, what paint colors are best, and what things you should avoid. If you’re in the market and need help buying or selling, let 41 Realty Group hold your hand through the process. Our team really cares, and will be your champion when it comes to negotiations, paperwork, dealing with buyers, and more. We’d love to answer your real estate questions and help you on your real estate journey. Get in touch with us here.

Touring Billings, Montana - 41 Realty Group General Real Estate

Touring Billings, Montana Video Series (Videos 1-3)

Nicole King, broker, and owner of 41 Realty Group has been recording a Touring Billings series on her YouTube channel to showcase some of the best parts of Billings, Montana. So far she’s covered Pioneer Park, Rimrock Road, and Forest Park Subdivision. 

Watch the full videos of each place below or read the transcripts to learn more about each place.

Videos 1-3 of Touring Billings, Montana Video Series

What are your favorite neighborhoods in Billings? View our first three videos in the Touring Billings, Montana series, and then let us know which neighborhoods we should cover next!

Touring Billings #1 – Pioneer Park

Nicole: Hey there! I’m Nicole King, broker/owner of 41 Realty Group in Billings, Montana. A couple of weeks ago we introduced you to a new video series, where we explored various areas of Billings. 

Today, we’re in the area surrounding Pioneer Park. Pioneer Park is a 32-acre city park just north of Senior High School. It’s between 3rd and Virginia. Located within the park is a wading pool, playground, tennis courts, restrooms, horseshoe pits, mutli-use trails, barbecue areas, a folf course, and plenty of green space with mature trees which is perfect for winter sledding.

The Zimmerman Center also sits just inside the park just off of Virginia and Ave E. It is a great place to host events. With this park being centrally located and it providing so many activities and beautiful scenery, it’s no wonder that the neighborhoods surround it are some of the most requested by buyers.

The areas around the park have been formally and informally named The Avenues, North Elevations, The Tree Streets, and The Poets. Those names are mostly not a mystery in origin. The Poets are named after famous poets like Longfellow and Whittier. The Tree Streets have strong names like Elm and Maple. The Avenues include Avenues B – F. And lastly there’s the North Elevation, which is a several block radius slightly to the east of Pioneer Park that is on the national register of historic places. 

It’s easy to see why so many folks love these neighborhoods. The welcoming craftsman, bungalow, and tudor-style homes along well-manicured tree-lined streets harken back to what can seem like a much similar time in history.

There are creaky wood floors, stately fireplaces, cross-hatched windows, and built-in doors and cabinets that bring the famed “character” to these homes. Buying one of these homes means embracing the quirks and inconveniences of a by-gone era, plus oftentimes needing to do expensive updates, like replacing knob-and-tube wiring, getting rid of lead-based paint asbestos, and replacing windows and adding insulation to improve efficiency.

One truly must have the love and patients for the issues of an old home. Each of these areas has their own cost variations and frequency in which homes become available. In the past 5 years, between 4-7 houses have sold each year in The Poets, but in the year 2018, none sold. The average price-point of homes sold so far in 2020 is $343,000. However, many of the larger and more expensive homes haven’t been on the market in decades, but would easily approach several hundred thousand and even over a million dollars. 

In the past five years, about fifteen houses have sold each year in the tree streets. The average price of homes sold so far in 2020 was just under $285,000. The Avenues and the North Elevation overlap one another. Usually only about 10 to 15 home sell in this area each year, but 2020 has seen a spike in over 25 sold so far, with an average price of about $256,000.

No matter where you choose to live in Billings, you can’t go wrong. If you’re looking for turn-of-the-century charm amidst a canopy of trees, are comfortable keeping up with the demands of an older home, and are pre-approved for a loan in at least the mid-200s, the areas around Pioneer park might just be perfect for you.

Thank you for touring a bit of Billings with me today. If you have questions about these or any other parts of the Greater Billings area, feel free to call, text, or email me anytime. Until next time, make it a great day, y’all.

Touring Billings #2 – Rimrock Road

Nicole: Hey there! I’m Nicole King, broker/owner of 41 Realty Group in Billings, Montana. As you drive down Rimrock Road, heading west, you’ll see dozens of streets branching off near the Rims. These short, mostly dead-end streets feature an incredible array of architecture. No two homes are the same, and they range in age from the early 1900s to as recent as this year. 

There are a handful of vacant lots to be built on as well, but they’ll set you back about a little over $100,000 to purchase. As we continue our tour of Billings, let’s take a closer look at these less-traveled streets above Rimrock and find out what they offer. 

Many buyers ask to be in this area due to the towering trees, large yards, and easy access to most other areas of town. Rimrock Road itself connects to major roads like Airport, Virginia, 13th, Zimmerman, and Shiloh. From those, it’s just a few minutes to the Heights, downtown, King Avenue, Shiloh Crossing, and the interstate.

Aside from convenience, these sloped streets offer solitude that is often paired with incredible views of Yellowstone Valley and the nearby mountain ranges. The area is a comfortable mix of small and large homes, homes that could use some updating and homes that have already been fully renovated. 

There are pocket parks sprinkled throughout, some with play equipment while some are left natural. One of the best sledding hills in Billings, Rimpoint Park, can be found just above Rimrock, a few blocks west of Shiloh. Make sure you check it out this Winter!

Usually between 80 and 90 houses sell each year in this area. 2020 has already seen more than 75 sales, and the price point of those has been about $345,000. The better-known subdivisions of Gregory Hills, Wilshire Height, and Castlewood have large signs at their entrances. Watch for them the next time you’re driving down Rimrock and then maybe turn in and drive the quaint streets and fall in love with yet another great area of Billings.

Thank you for touring a bit more of the Billings area with me today. If you have questions about these or any other parts of the Greater Billings area, feel free to call, text, or email me anytime. Until next time, make it a great day.

Touring Billings #3 – Forest Park Subdivision

Nicole: Hey there! I’m Nicole King, broker/owner of 41 Realty Group in Billings, Montana. Do you drive by these walls all the time and wonder, “what is behind them?” You’d be right if you assumed they are stately homes, perfectly manicured lawns, and to-die-for master suites. You would also be right if you thought there would be friendly neighbors, meandering walking paths, and a labyrinth of streets that I quickly got lost on. Welcome to Forest Park! Let’s explore.

With the exception of this beautiful patio-home community located at the South entrance of the subdivision, most of the homes are single-family residences. The curbed streets of the subdivision keep the traffic moving slowly, as most people want to take their time admiring these beautiful homes.

Forest Park got its start in the late 60s. Many of the homes were built between then and the late 70s. A few were sprinkled in between the 80s and 90s, but there was a large push for construction between the early 2000s to about 2016. Most of the homes are very large with several bedrooms and bathrooms.

If you’re wanting to move into Forest Park, you’ll need to watch the market carefully, since only about 15 properties sell here each year. The average price point for the ten that sold in 2020 was about $421,000. Now, keep in mind that most of the homes that sell in this area are exceptionally well-maintained, but they can also be time-capsules for the era in which they were built. The average price point is high, and you might also need a healthy remodel budget for post-closing updates.

Thank you for touring another part of Billings with me today. If you have questions about Forest Park or any other part of the greater Billings area, feel free to call, text, or email me anytime. Until next time, make it a great day!

Dream Home 41 Realty Group Buyers

4 Ways To Get The Dream Home You Really…

Have you been imagining your dream home and are ready to get out of the rental game? Buying the home you’ve always dreamed about is one of those life accomplishments that tops everyone’s bucket list. Though we all have different items on our wish list, most of us hope to find a home that feels explicitly like it was made for us.

There are several things to consider as you search for that perfect property for you and your family. First, you’ll want to look for your dream home in a location that you’re family will be happy in for a long time. Then, don’t be afraid to be a little bit picky, and hold out until you find the home that feels right. Read on for more tips to help you find the right home (and be able to afford it when you do!).

Tips To Help You Get Your Dream Home

Buying a home is an exciting time, especially when you find the perfect home on your first try. However, there is a lot to do when it comes to the buying process. Here are a few tips to help you get into your dream home.

Get Pre-Approved

Assuming you aren’t going to pay for it with cash, the first thing you need to do is to get pre-approved by a mortgage lender. Pre-approval is essential when you’re ready to start looking for your dream home for two reasons. First, it tells sellers that you’re a serious buyer, and second, it means you exactly how much you’re qualified to borrow. 

Without taking this step, you might end up falling in love with a house that you can’t afford. Getting your finances sorted before you even start looking will help you set better expectations, and you won’t end up with any frustrating surprises later on.

Set Your Dream Home Budget

Now that you have a ballpark of how much you qualify for, you can start to set a reasonable budget for yourself. Typically it is recommended that you strive for a mortgage payment that is no more than 25% of your take-home pay on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. Though 30-year mortgages seem more affordable, you end up paying a fortune in interest – which only builds the bank’s wealth.

In addition, when you set your budget, you’ll also want to account for some of the costs that go into buying a new home, like higher utilities, new furniture, or even HOA fees. Don’t forget to budget for home-buying expenses, too, like moving costs, closing fees, and upgrades and repairs within the home itself. Finally, you want to plan for any hidden fees, so your savings don’t get any more depleted.

Find a Real Estate Agent You Trust

Once you’ve been approved for a mortgage and have a better idea of your budget, it’s time to find a real estate agent. There are several ways to go about choosing an agent. The first is to ask for referrals. Ask your friends and family who they’ve used and liked in the past. 

Your mortgage lender might also have a team or broker in mind when they meet with new clients. Once you have collected a few names from the people you trust, call and meet up with prospective agents and figure out who you might want to move forward with. 

When you choose your agent, you should keep in mind how long they’ve been working in the industry, what their main niche is, and how familiar they are with your area. It’s also a good idea to confirm their method of communication and make sure they are available when you need them.

Choose The Right Location 

You’ve heard the old adage – Location! Location! Location! This definitely rings true when it comes to finding your dream home. 

It’s important to remember that your house itself isn’t enough to be considered your dream home. Instead, it’s part of a larger community that you and your family have to exist in on a daily basis. With that in mind, you must find a neighborhood that suits your family’s needs too. For example, do you want to be close to downtown so you can walk or bike to local events? Are you looking for a suburb where you and your kids can play and feel safe? 

Creating this wishlist will help your agent narrow down their inventory and help you find the perfect home in the area you want to be in. 

Consider Lot Location and Size

The lot in which your home sits is often an afterthought when it comes to purchasing a home, but we think you should add it to the top of your list. Of course, you can always alter your home and upgrade its interior, but you can’t change the land. 

When looking at specific properties, consider the lot’s location and size before officially submitting an offer. Does it have that big backyard you’ve always dreamed about? Does it have a great view you’ll be happy to look out for years to come? If anything about the property seems like a compromise to you, it might be a good idea to walk away. It’s better to choose the better lot with a fixer-upper house than it is to select an updated house on a poor lot. 

Conclusion

When it comes to buying your dream home, it’s important that you are patient and don’t be afraid to be picky. Wait for the right house at the time. We’ve seen many buyers who just settle for a house they don’t love just because they were tired of looking. 

The key is to find yourself a good real estate agent who has a deep understanding of your needs and doesn’t want you to settle for good enough. The right agent will be just as committed to your dream as you are and will have your back throughout the entire process. 

Get in touch with our team at 41 Realty Group. We would love to help you prepare to buy a house and find your dream home. Start by searching our available properties here or calling us directly at (406) 969-4141.

Seller's Market vs. Buyer's Market 41 Realty Group General Real Estate

What Does Sellers Market Vs. Buyers Market Really Mean?

Are you wondering when the best time to buy or sell a home is? Though it does seem like certain seasons are busier than others, the real estate market fluctuates due to buy and demand rather than by the time of year. That’s why if you’re considering buying or selling a home, it’s essential to pay attention to the housing market and know the difference between a seller’s market vs. a buyer’s market. 

Not sure what those terms mean? Don’t worry! This article is here to give you a crash course on what buyer’s market and seller’s market means and how they can affect you. That way, you have the upper hand when you’re ready to buy or sell or just want to stay on top of the real estate market.

The Difference Between A Sellers Market Vs. Buyers Market

If you’re wondering if your local area is experiencing a seller’s market vs. buyer’s market, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re buying or selling, it’s crucial you understand what’s happening in your local housing market so that you can get the best price for your home.

Let’s start by defining a seller’s market.

What Is a Seller’s Market?

A seller’s market comes about when there are fewer homes for sale than buyers, giving sellers more negotiating power. When this happens, the median prices for homes increase significantly, putting buyers in difficult positions.

Read on for a few strategies that buyers can utilize when they find themselves trying to buy in a seller’s market.

Strategies for Buyers

You can do several things as a buyer to ensure you’re ready to go when the right house comes along. 

First, prepare for bidding wars. The market is competitive, and other buyers likely see the same things you see in a house. Talk to your real estate and decide a firm price limit at the start based on what you can afford and what the home is worth. Being the winning bidder means nothing if the home appraises too low for your financing to get approved.

Next, you should get pre-approved for a mortgage before you even start looking. Getting pre-approved shows sellers that you are a serious buyer who is financially capable of making good on your home offer.

Lastly, act quickly and make your offer simple. Homes won’t stay on the market long, so you want to make a move quickly. It’s also tempting to waive contingencies when trying to get the upper hand. Don’t do this and risk buying a home that has significant problems down the road. Instead, make offers simple by including the financing contingency, the inspection contingency, appraisal contingency, and a standard closing period of 30 to 45 days.

3 Strategies for Sellers

Though it seems silly to list a strategy for sellers in a seller’s market, there are still a few things you should do to get the best price for your home.

The first thing you should do is list your home at marketing value. It might be tempting to list it extremely high, but overpriced homes will likely turn buyers off, and mortgage companies will likely get denied when an appraisal can’t support the increased offer price.

Next, consult with your real estate agent so that you know how to choose the best offer. The offer that sounds the best and the offer that actually closes isn’t necessarily the same. The right buyer will have all their finances in order and are ready to go quickly, even if it’s not the highest offer.

It’s also a good idea to have your next home lined up, as it’s likely your home will sell within days. If you happen to get a cash offer, your house could close within a week or two. That doesn’t give you much time to find a new place to live, especially when inventory is already low.

What Is a Buyer’s Market?

A buyer’s market exists when more homes are for sale than potential buyers, giving buyers the upper hand over sellers. Let’s discuss strategies for buyers and seller’s in a buyer’s market. 

3 Strategies for Buyers

You can take advantage of your negotiating power to get a better deal in a buyer’s market. For example, you can offer less than the asking price, as a seller whose home has been on the market for a while might be willing to lower the price. 

You might also be able to ask for seller concessions, which means asking the seller to pay some or all of your closing costs. Other possibilities include asking sellers to be flexible with the closing date or asking them to include appliances in the price. 

Don’t be shy about asking for what you want – and that includes asking for repairs. The home inspection will let you know what needs to get fixed, and the sellers might be motivated to improve those for you.

3 Strategies for Sellers

In a buyer’s market, sellers shouldn’t let buyers walk all over them. So here are a few tips to help you handle a market that’s slightly working against you.

First, highlight your home’s competitive advantage. What does your home offer that other homes don’t have? Make sure your listing highlights those. Then, if you feel like your home doesn’t have some of those extra advantages, create them! Get the interior and exterior repainted, hire a handyman to finish all of those nagging projects, use a professional stager – anything you can to give your home a leg up.

Make room in your budget for buyer concessions. In a market where buyers will likely be asking for extras, plan for those in your listing price so that you still get a reasonable price without losing too much money.

Lastly, make sure you get a pre-inspection so that you can identify any potential issues before buyers do. This gives you a chance to fix the problems before you list or lower the price accordingly if you don’t want to fix them yourself.

A Final Word On Sellers Market Vs. Buyers Market

When you break it all down, it helps buyers and sellers know what’s going on in the market. As a buyer, you’ll want to purchase your home in a buyer’s market, as this indicates an influx of available homes, which means less competition. As a seller, you hope that you’ll be able to list during a seller’s market because it means there are fewer homes for sale, and your house will likely have several people interested.

Regardless of what’s happening in your area, the best thing you can do is hire a real estate agent to help you navigate the tricky waters that are real estate. Hiring a competent real estate agent can give you a leg up on the competition and ensure you get the best price for your home.

Get in touch with us here and let us help get your questions answered about the current market, and get some tips so that you get the most bang for your buck.

Prepare To Sell Your House 41 Realty Group Sellers

7 Things To Do As You Prepare To Sell…

Are you thinking about selling your house? Then there’s work to be done! If you want to get the most out of your sale, then there are lots of things you should do before listing your home. There’s a lot more involved than simply planting a “For Sale” sign on your front lawn or sharing photos of your home on social media.

Before you put your house on the market, there are a few things you need to do to prepare to sell your home. Some of these things are easy, while others are a little more time-consuming, but most of these tips will pay off in the long run.

Prepare To Sell Your House With These Easy Tips

The first thing we suggest you do before putting your house on the market is to ask your real estate what they think. They will be able to tell you what buyers are looking for, what your home will likely sell for as is, and so much more. Next, let’s dive into ways you can prepare to sell your house so that you can get more bang for your buck.

Find A Great Real Estate Agent

As we already mentioned, it’s best to consult a real estate agent. It’s not usually a good idea to try to sell your house on your own. Though you might save on commission fees, it could be disastrous and end up costing time and money. Instead, consult with a trustworthy real estate agent right from the beginning, and you’ll likely get much more than you would on your own. 

However, we’ll be the first to tell you that you can’t just hire the first agent you find on Google. In fact, it might also not be a great idea to hire your cousin or uncle’s friend’s coworker or whoever. Instead, do a little research and check out testimonials and reviews. The best real estate agent will be the one who is knowledgeable about the market and will take the time to get to know your specific needs. 

The ideal real estate agent will be someone you feel comfortable working with and someone you trust will sell your home for a great price and have your best interests at heart.

Welcome Buyers By Updating Your Curb Appeal

What is the first thing potential buyers will see when it comes to your house? Your front door! Make your front door visible and accessible to buyers by updating the curb appeal. Paint your front door, clear all trash and debris, mow the lawn, prune the hedges, etc.,. Another idea is to pot or plant colorful annuals and perennials to up the attraction. It’s also a good idea to fix any broken screens, doorbells, shingles, and even outdoor lighting. Any exterior defects can make a poor first impression on buyers. 

Declutter Living Areas

When it comes to preparing your home to sell, less is more. First, try. to do a clean sweep of counters and tables and clear out as much clutter as you can. Then search through closets and drawers and try to get rid of some of the excess junk you’ve accumulated over the years. After all, buyers will look everywhere if considering your home as theirs, and they want to be able to see the space they might live in. They want to imagine their own things in the house.

If your house is overflowing and overcluttered, buyers might worry that the house won’t have ample space for their own belongings. See if you can donate some of your extra things or pack them up early and store them off-site if you can. Not only will that look appealing to buyers, but it will also make it easier for your move since many of your items will 

Depersonalize The Space

The next step on your checklist when you’re trying to prepare to buy a house is to depersonalize the space as much as you can. Remove all distractions that might hinder buyers from visualizing themselves and their families living in your home. Remove personal items and family photos, and try to keep the house as neutral as possible. The end goal is to create a blank canvas so that buyers can project their own visions of living there and imagining themselves in the space.

Go Neutral and Fix The Little Things

The best thing to do is a well-done, no-frills paint job with a fresh coat of paint to make everything feel clean. Repaint any bright or eccentric walls, and give the house a nature or spa-inspired feel with neutral colors like taupe and gray. Don’t forget to spruce up the trim and molding, either! Even fresh paint on the kitchen cabinets can go a long way into making your home feel updated and new.

In addition, it’s essential to go through the house and fix the small stuff. Repair and replace broken or outdated hardware throughout your home. This could mean installing new door handles, towel bars, and even curtain rods. Any fixtures that are visible to homebuyers can be replaced relatively inexpensively. New hardware throughout the home can improve the functionality and show buyers you care about the house.

Clean Clean Clean

If you really want to go the extra mile, it might be a good idea to hire a professional cleaning crew before an open house or viewings. Some cleaning steps might include washing the windows, renting a pressure washer for the exterior, and polishing the chrome faucets and mirrors. In addition, ensure that all of the dust has been cleaned from under the furniture, on top of cabinets, and wherever else it might be hiding.

You can maintain a professional level of cleanliness by vacuuming daily, waxing floors, and constantly wiping down bathrooms and kitchen spotless. Another tip is to hang up fresh guest towels and keep the toilet lid down whenever people come over to view your house.

Kitchens are a big selling point for many buyers, so it’s crucial to make yours as uncluttered and spotless as possible. It’s also essential to make sure you avoid odorous foods such as fish, garlic, or cabbage – these smells linger, and you don’t want potential buyers thinking that’s the way the house smells all the time. The same goes for pets. Monitor litter boxes or other spots affected by pets and make sure everything smells fresh and clean. 

Get a Home Inspection

One of the main things you should do before selling your home is hire a home inspector. Although buyers usually have the home inspected, it’s a good idea to have the house checked beforehand. Getting an inspection done before you even list will help you identify any potential issues that may come up during the sale so that you can get ahead of them.

Let 41 Realty Group Help You Prepare To Sell Your House

Are you ready to sell your home but need help? Let the experts at 41 Realty Group help you navigate the selling process. We do the hard work for you so that you don’t have to. Get in touch with our team here.