Foreclosures – What is a Foreclosed Property?

Foreclosures – What is a Foreclosed Property?

Unfortunately since the mortgage meltdown, foreclosed properties have become more common. Many home buyers see this as an opportunity to find a great home for a bargain price. While foreclosures can offer some nice discounts, understanding how foreclosures work and how this affects the buyer is critical to ensure you are getting a good deal and not a disaster.

What is a Foreclosure?

First it’s important to understand what qualifies as a foreclosure. A foreclosure is a property which has been taken back by the lender in order to satisfy an unpaid mortgage debt. It is owned by the bank or lender and they have now listed the property for sale.

Can I save money buying a foreclosure?

Yes and no! It’s true that lenders do not want to hold onto their foreclosed properties longer than they need to, but they also understand the value of the home in its current condition. While deeply distressed properties might be listed at very low prices, good homes in decent condition might not be listed below comparables in the same area.

Is the buying process different from a traditional sale?

The actual buying process is the same; you write an offer, obtain financing and close. The differences lay in the protections and opportunities for negotiation during the process. Most foreclosures are sold “as is” and the lender will not negotiate repairs of any kind. There could also be clauses which remove other contingencies, such as financing or appraisal. The buyer needs to read the agreement very carefully.

Buying a foreclosure can be a great way to find a nice property at a discounted price. Not all properties are a good deal however. Understanding the foreclosure market and reading the contracts very carefully is the key to buying a foreclosure – this way you get the most home for your money without buying a problem.

5 Pool Design Trends in 2020

5 Pool Design Trends in 2020

Now that warmer weather is upon us, the focus turns to the outdoor space of our home. As Americans spend more and more of their time at home, this might be the perfect time to invest in a new pool or pool remodel. Here are 5 trends in pool design for 2020

  1. Natural Pools – As more of us consider the effect of chemicals on our health, more pool owners are installing natural pools. These pools are built to resemble a natural pond with boulders, waterfalls, and plants which filter the water naturally. The pool is filled with filtered water and maintained in an organic filtration process using gravel and plants.
  2. Saltwater Pools – Another way to avoid chlorine is by installing a saltwater pool. These pools use a salt-chlorine generator to provide residue-free water and this process has been growing in popularity for over a decade.
  3. Tanning Ledges – Also known as a Baja shelf, or sun shelf, a tanning ledge is a shallow shelf that allows you to stay cool while still enjoying the sun.
  4. Rimless Infinity Pools – Infinity pools have been enjoyed at expensive resorts and spas for years, and more homeowners are now opting to include these beauties in their own yards.
  5. Custom Fit Pools – As yards get smaller, the pre-formed pools are no longer practical. Almost any yard can fit a pool by having a custom pool designed to fit the space. Summertime is pool time. As 2020 requires more of us to stay home, a new or remodeled swimming pool is a great way to enjoy our own backyards.
Public vs. Private Schools

Public vs. Private Schools

Homebuyers know that the quality of the local schools is a critical component of their home search. Nothing is more important to parents than making sure their children receive quality education. Competition for college admission has increased to a fevered pitch over the past few decades, and parents want to set their children up early with the best opportunity for their future success. More and more, homebuyers are not simply looking at the public school system when choosing a new home, but the private school options as well.

Making the important decision about where to send your children to school requires some thought; here are a few of the benefits of each that can help you the right choice.

Benefits of Public Schools

  • Higher Qualified Teachers – On average, public school teachers have higher educational qualifications than those of private schools, many having Master’s degrees.
  • Strong Focus on Core Subjects – Public schools focus on the basics with an emphasis on mastery.
  • Wider Extracurricular Activities – Public schools tend to have a larger population and can offer a vast array of sports teams, theater, arts, and music programs.
  • Diversity – Public schools have students from all economic and ethnic backgrounds. Benefits of Private Schools
  • Smaller Classrooms – On average, private schools have a smaller student-to-teacher ratio than public schools.
  • Strong Parent Involvement – Private schools not only encourage but rely on parent involvement.
  • Less Red Tape – Private schools are not required to follow the strict state guidelines, which allows them to make quick decisions and adjustments based on each child’s needs.

Both public and private schools can offer students a solid education and school experience. Every community is different, and understanding the pros and cons of the local choices is becoming more and more important to parents.

Outdated Staging Tricks You Need to Stop Using Immediately

Outdated Staging Tricks You Need to Stop Using Immediately

If you are selling your home, no doubt you’re getting lots of advice about how to stage your home to appeal to potential buyers. Maybe you’ve spent time online reading about curb appeal, maybe your friends have given you advice about how to make your home brighter, or maybe the advice has even come from your listing agent; regardless of the source, here are a few outdated staging tricks you should NOT be using.

  • Baking – While it’s a nice idea to have treats available, buyers know that the smell of freshly baked bread is a trick, and they may be suspicious of any odors you’re trying to mask.
  • Fresh Scents – Of course, it’s important that the home smells fresh; however, using overpowering candles or room fresheners can be overwhelming. It’s better to open windows to allow a crisp breeze to enter the space, or perhaps place freshly cut flowers.
  • Elevator Music – It might seem like a home filled with smooth jazz would lend a relaxing feel, but it could have the opposite effect. Not only is it difficult to gauge the right volume, but it’s outdated and corny.
  • Matchy-Matchy – Matched sets and uniform color palettes will make a home feel dated. Mix up the colors and patterns of pillows, bedspreads, and window treatments.
  • Holiday Decorations – If your home is listed during a holiday, keep decorations to a minimum. Less is more for decorations of any kind; keep the home clean and as much of a blank slate as possible.

Staging a home is an art. The best-outdated staging trick is to consult with an expert. Your agent can offer some suggestions for a professional stager who will make sure your home presents itself in the best possible light.

Things to Consider before Buying a Rustic Hot Tub

Things to Consider before Buying a Rustic Hot Tub

The popularity of rustic décor has shifted the way we view home improvement and enhancements. The charm of reclaimed wood and cool natural stone adds a modern flair to the home without compromising warmth.

Over the past few years, wooden hot tubs have reemerged as a cost-effective, sustainable option for backyard soaking that adds that rustic feel to the outdoor space. Before taking the plunge, here are a few things to consider when buying a wooden hot tub.

  • Size and Location – The size of the tub depends on one’s preference, of course. Smaller tubs are more intimate and easier to place than larger ones. Choose a location with a firm foundation, as a fully-filled tub will be heavy. Remember to consider the view and any privacy needs when picking the location.
  • Wood Type – Wood options include Spruce, Oak, Larch, and Red Cedar, each with advantages regarding durability, color, and lifespan.
  • Heating System – The heating stove can be exterior, interior, or integrated. Interior stoves take space within the tub while exterior or integrated heaters are placed outside. An interior stove needs more protection and maintenance but tends to be the least expensive.
  • Maintenance – Unlike its in-ground counterparts, wooden hot tubs require careful maintenance. The wood needs proper care, and the stove and water area should be covered and insulated when not in use.

Wooden hot tubs have made a comeback as more and more homeowners search for design elements that add a classic look to their homes. Combining modern efficiency and rustic design, choosing the right tub will bring enjoyment to your outdoor space.

Real Estate Home Inspections and Appraisals in the New Normal

Real Estate Home Inspections and Appraisals in the New Normal

Even during the COVID-19 outbreak, real estate transactions go on. Buyers and sellers still need to move, and the industry is looking for new ways to accommodate both the needs of the transaction and, of course, the safety of everyone.

Many traditional real estate activities can be performed virtually. While no one is suggesting that a buyer will be comfortable buying a home they have only seen during a Zoom visit, they can minimize the number of homes they physically visit by pre-screening these homes ahead of time through virtual tours.

There are a few vital pieces of the transaction that require in-person visits, however. Among these are home inspections and appraisals. Both of these professionals need access to the property to properly perform their duties, and it leaves some potential home sellers and buyers wondering if it’s even possible to conclude a real estate transaction right now.

While everyone should cautiously move forward according to their personal sense of comfort, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself, your family, and the professionals while they are in your home. Before setting the appointments, think through the parts of your home the inspector or appraiser will need to access and think through the process.

Contact the home inspector and appraiser and work out a plan together to keep everyone safe:

  • Communicate with them about off-limit areas, and what parts of the home they can access.
  • Have a notepad in which they can communicate what parts of the home they came in contact with, and offer hand sanitizer and wipes for them to use before and after touching parts of the home.
  • Finally, leave the home during the appointments, and clean properly once you return home.

Life does move on – if you are trying to buy or sell a home during this challenging time, it might take extra effort. However, working with your real estate team, you can conclude a successful real estate transaction amid the COVID-19 outbreak.