Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger - RE/MAX Executive Realty



Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 3/20/2019

If you’re buying a fixer upper, whether you plan to live on the property or flip it, there are plenty of things that you’ll need to consider. So you can budget appropriately, below, many of the costs and fees are laid to so that you can see what you’ll need to budget for when rehabilitating a home.



The Overall Costs


The costs that you’ll incur in buying and finishing a home that needs to be rehabilitated are as follows:


  • The team needed for rehabilitation
  • The purchase price of the property
  • The cost of owning the property
  • The cost of selling the property (if you plan on flipping the home)


The Team


The people that you put together to rehab your home will be very important to the entire rehabilitation process. You should take the time to research each person that you’re hiring to be sure that they are a good fit for the job.


Professionals who will be involved in the process include:


  • Lender
  • Attorney
  • Realtor
  • Contractor 
  • Insurance agent
  • Home inspector


You can ask your realtor or other trusted contacts for recommendations. Putting a team in place helps to make the entire, sometimes cumbersome process of house rehabilitation a bit smoother. 


Buying The Property


These costs are pretty standard as if you were buying any other home. You’ll need to pay closing costs, attorneys fees, realtor fees, and more. Costs typically included in a home purchase are:


  • Inspection
  • Purchase price
  • Closing costs
  • Appraisal


You should budget for all of these typical home buying costs when buying a rehab home. 


The Costs Of Home Rehabilitation


This is where things get expensive. You’ll need to first pay a contractor just to consult with them to see how they will create your vision for the property. You could also take another route an consult with a home inspector who has experience in construction. They can give you an idea of what the construction expense will be and what needs to be addressed. 


When you do get to meet with contractors, you’ll want to understand their construction experience and feel comfortable that they can produce the work that you need at a high level of quality.  


Owning A Home


Once you have the home in need of rehabilitation in your possession, you’ll need to pay the typical costs of any homeowner. These include:


  • Mortgage payments
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Maintenance


Even if you’re not currently occupying the home, once the property is purchased, all of these costs will need to be covered and considered. 


If you decide to flip the property and sell it, you’ll need to consider additional costs including realtor’s fees and other closing costs.  





Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 3/13/2019

Everybody loves a house with a great curb appeal. People pass by and say to themselves, “that house looks like I could buy it.” The greater the curb appeal of your house, the more buyers will be willing to pay for it if you decide to let it go. If you are willing to create a great first impression on anyone who comes visiting your home, you may try implementing any of these ideas to increase your curb appeal.

  1. Paint the front door and improve the exterior. Every visitor sees your front door so invest in a good coat of paint. Look for a bold and eye-catching color that makes the rest of the house stand out, but be careful not to mix clashing colors. Replace the bad mailbox, old number plates, and doorbell, and fix the sagging ceiling too.
  2. Clean your front windows and gutters. Clean up the windows and window blinds. Add extra lighting to make that view pop up. Rake up dead leaves and grass from the gutter. Remove vegetation that springs up in between the walkway.
  3. Install lighting outside. Add low voltage lighting everywhere around your home – the front porch, sidewalks and even on the driveway. This makes it look really great at night. It also serves as security lighting for you. If you can afford it, add a street lamp outside your home.
  4. Get rid of junk. Old furniture, bad vehicles, unruly garbage bins, and clutter around the front yard – all these add up to reduce the curb appeal of your home. Get rid of all the unsightly things that might distract from the image you are trying to create.
  5. Do some landscaping. Mow your overgrown lawn and plant flowers and shrubs. Get rid of weeds and fallen leaves. If you have space, you could plant two trees to frame the side of the house, otherwise stick to a garden and potted plants.
  6. Add outdoor artwork. For a classier and more sophisticated outlook, add external artwork like sculpture, marble or terracotta. Water sculptures and fountains are also a great choice, add some birdhouses and feeders to the mix, and you have got a great sight. You could also install wall art on your garage doors to give it an extra touch. Not sure of what kind of art to get, ask art students at any local art college near you, you might probably pick up a bargain.

Once you clean up your existing yard, talk to your real estate professional about the best look for the season.





Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 3/6/2019

Buying your first home is a big decision; one that involves a lengthy process of saving money, building credit, and planning the next phase of your life. However, owning a home comes with one major payoff: home equity.

Simply put, home equity is the amount of your home that you’ve paid off. However, it does get more complicated when we bring in factors like the market value of your home and how it shifts over the years.

In this article, we’ll discuss home equity and what it means for you as a homeowner. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when you finally make that last payment on your home or when you decide to sell.

Home equity and market value

As I mentioned earlier, home equity is more than just the amount you’ve paid toward your mortgage. Like most markets, the housing market shifts over time.

Most homes slowly increase in value over time. In the real estate world, this increase in value is called appreciation.

However, that doesn’t mean that your home is simply going to increase in value indefinitely until you decide to sell. As you will find out (if you haven’t yet already), owning a home can be expensive. Houses age and require upgrades. If you fail to keep up with the maintenance of your home, its value can diminish.

How to build equity

The most important thing you can do to build equity is to make on-time payments to your mortgage. Making extra mortgage payments will help you build equity even faster.

One method of paying extra on your mortgage that many people are adopting is to make bi-weekly payments. Twenty-six bi-weekly payments comes out to 13 full payments per year, the equivalent of making one full extra monthly payment.

The second method of building equity is something that you have less control over: appreciation. However, if you stick to a maintenance schedule for your home and keep it in good repair, you’ll most likely benefit from appreciation over the lifespan of your mortgage.

What can I use home equity for?

The most common way to use home equity is as a down payment or full payment on your next home. First-time buyers who don’t have a 20% down payment saved often buy a starter home and then later upgrade as their family grows and their needs change. In the years that they own their first home, they build enough equity to make a full down payment on their second home, avoiding fees like mortgage insurance.

Many homeowners planning on retiring in the near future use their equity toward their retirement home, often turning a profit in the process. If you plan on downgrading for retirement and have fully paid off your mortgage, you can often use your equity to pay for your next home in cash.





Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 2/27/2019

Because real estate is a people-oriented business, most agents are happy to answer questions and provide advice after the sale. Whether you've enlisted their help to purchase a house or sell one, your working relationship does not have to end the moment you sign the final papers.

Professionals in the real estate business are generally service-oriented and interested in cultivating ongoing client relationships. If you've been fortunate enough to find a real estate agent who exceeded your expectations, then they'll most likely be a resource you'll want to use down the road. Assuming you had good rapport and that you're satisfied with their service, here are a few solid reasons to keep in touch.

Reliable source of advice: When you consider the training, knowledge, and experience that a seasoned real estate agent has, having them as a professional contact can benefit you in a number of ways. As an example, many agents are familiar with the impact home improvements can have on resale value. In other words, if you're thinking about upgrading, expanding, or altering your property, a knowledgeable real estate agent can provide insights into how that might affect your home's current and future market value. Since every type of home improvement brings with it a potential return on investment (ROI), it's an important aspect to consider when remodeling, adding an addition, or making a major change to your property. Many real estate agents have cultivated relationships with dependable contractors, remodelers, and installers to whom they may be happy to refer you, too. As a homeowner, you will invariably need reliable recommendations, sooner or later, and real estate agents are often a great source of contractor referrals. As you may have already discovered, it can be a frustrating experience to try to find a good home improvement contractor or other service provider when you're starting from scratch or relying on the credibility of online reviews.

Help for friends and family: If you're not planning on buying or selling a home in the near future, there's a good chance someone you know would benefit from the help and advice of a proven real estate professional. Even if a family member or acquaintance just needs assistance in finding an affordable apartment or house to rent, real estate agents often have the connections and resources to provide options that others may have overlooked.

Income and Investment properties: After shelling out tens of thousands of dollars to landlords, over the years, some homeowners consider "turning the tables" and becoming landlords and real estate investors, themselves. While this is certainly not a guaranteed path to financial independence, some people do become quite successful at it. If you have a tolerance for risk and the tenacity to pursue it, then your real estate agent may be able to help you find some worthwhile income properties. It's not for everybody, though!

Finding a real estate agent who's results oriented, experienced, and a pleasure to work with is not an everyday event, but when it does happen, they're worth keeping as a trusted advisor for many years to come!





Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 2/20/2019

An open house can be a life-changing event for a homebuyer. If you plan ahead for an open house, you should have no trouble determining whether a residence matches or exceeds your expectations. And if the answer is "Yes," you can proceed quickly to submit a competitive offer to acquire a house.

What does it take to prep for an open house? Here are three open house preparation tips that every homebuyer needs to know.

1. Understand Your Budget

Before you attend an open house, you should find out how much money is at your disposal. Thus, you may want to meet with banks and credit unions to see if you can get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way, you can kick off your home search with a budget in hand.

Although you know that you have only a certain amount of money to spend on a residence, it may be worthwhile to consider attending open houses for residences with initial asking prices that are above your price range. Because in some instances, a home seller may be willing to accept an offer that falls below his or her initial asking price.

2. Create a List of Questions

A home is one of the biggest purchases that a person can make, and as such, it pays to be diligent. If you craft a list of questions before an open house, you can get immediate responses from the showing agent. Then, you can determine the best course of action.

When it comes to an open house, there is no such thing as a "bad" question. As a homebuyer, it is paramount to get as much information as possible about a residence to determine whether a house is right for you. Therefore, if you create a list of questions in advance, you can improve your chances of getting the most out of an open house.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

If you're uncertain about how to approach an open house, you're not alone. Fortunately, real estate agents are available nationwide who are happy to teach you the ins and outs of the real estate market. By doing so, these housing market professionals will make it easy to take an informed approach to any open house, at any time.

A real estate agent will always keep you up to date about new residences as they become available. Also, if you are interested in homes in a particular city or town, a real estate agent will notify you about open houses in this area. And if you need extra help prepping for an open house, a real estate agent is happy to assist you in any way possible.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent provides throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent will help you submit an offer on a house, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and much more.

Be diligent as you get ready for an open house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can fully prepare for an open house.