Real Estate has many aspects to it and it is wise to engage a real estate professional to help you and to answer questions.

The tips here are not intended to be all-inclusive.  We have picked some topics, that relate to real estate questions that we find come up on a regular basis.  Please feel free to ask us a question on any real estate topic and we will do our best to answer it or direct you to someone that can.

We will provide you with full support to make your purchase or sale of a property the best that it can possibly be.

This article will give you some practical advice on home improvement planning.

Real_Estate_ScaleHome sweet home – This article will help to guide you through the thought process of a home improvement project. The Upper Valley area is a place with spectacular winters. It is fun to see the snow and play in it. It is also a great time for an indoor home improvement project. A home improvement project is a great way to spend time during the winter months and will provide you with a great sense of accomplishment. During our warm and pleasant summers you can take on that outdoor or backyard project such as a patio or built-in barbeque.

Take advantage of the great variety of weather we have in New England and plan, with the weather in mind, those great home improvement projects.A home improvement investment can actually provide a great return on your money and provide you with greater sense of pride of ownership.  It can also make your home more functional as a well thought out project customizes the home to your specific needs. If you intend to stay in it forever or if plan to move someday the chances are high that you will undertake a home improvement project (or a few of them) while you live there. Make sure you spend your money wisely.

As a homeowner you’ll complete many routine maintenance and repair projects. When something breaks, you fix it. But there may be even some important improvements that you’ll want to make to customize your house to your family’s needs and truly make it your own. These projects can be fun and financially worthwhile if thought out properly.

The features and key aspects of a home changes as you and your family change.  Things that are important to young family become less so as children grow and move out of the home. It is likely that you and your family will experience many changes in lifestyle, family dynamics and personal preferences. The house you bought a few years ago may not continue to suit your family’s changing needs.

The solution is to make changes that you’d like to make, stay within your budget and do all this while keeping an eye on your home as an investment. This is not a simple task, but by following a few solid guidelines you’ll be able to have confidence in your decisions and enjoy the results of a well thought out and managed project.

Your First Step

Take an inventory of all the maintenance projects large and small that need to be done. Pay particular attention to the following:

  • Mechanical Systems — Plumbing, wiring, heating and cooling must be maintained in top working order. Make repairs or upgrades as necessary to ensure that these systems work efficiently. Dripping faucets and inefficient air conditioning systems will only cost you money — faulty wiring can be a very serious issue if not addressed.
  • Structure — Maintain the roof, foundation, walls, floors, doors, windows, stairways, decks and the insulation that surrounds them. Inspect for leaks (water and air) and cracks, peeling paint, etc. Be sure that your home’s “skeleton” is clean, weather-tight and structurally sound. Also, check for pests, either small furry ones or those of the insect variety.  Sealing a home against pests, water and wind is a very important maintenance item.  We live in an environment that takes it toll over time.  A properly sealed house is very important.
  • Cosmetic — Additional important aspects are the things that make a home truly yours. Look at interior/exterior paint, floor coverings, wall coverings, landscaping, etc. and keep them updated and fresh.

Keeping your home in good working order not only keeps your household running, but also saves you money and prolongs the life of your home. Doing regular maintenance will also serve you well when it comes time to sell your home, since these are the areas that potential buyers evaluate first. I know that I always check for basic maintenance first and the modern home buyer often does a building inspection. A building will always look at basic maintenance and it reflects poorly on the home and the home owner if the home is not maintained well.

Priorities — Wants versus Needs

Make a list of all the things that could be done to customize your home for your family. Talk this out with family members to get their inputs. Try to make an honest assessment of how you really live, paying attention to your habits and the family’s lifestyle.  Consider:

  • Having People Over — Are your gatherings for large groups or small? Do you like a big kitchen where people can gather?
  • Activities — Do you need extra room for projects?  What does the family do for sports or hobbies?
  • Storage — Are you a collector? Do you need seasonal storage?  It is always wise to consider proper storage for pool supplies, yard tools or the children’s outdoor toys.
  • Dining — Do you prefer formal, informal or both?
  • Sleeping Areas — Do you have to only accommodating your own family, or do you need extra space to house visiting friends or relatives?
  • Private spaces — This is important for all family members.  Is there room for everyone to “get away” for a while?
  • Outdoor living areas — Is your preference a deck or covered porch?  How about a patio or even a gazebo.  It is a great additional to any home to integrate an outdoor area into the living areas.

Remember to evaluate your home in terms of those that are always there versus those who only visit a few times a year. If you are an “empty nester” with family members who only come home during the holidays, your housing needs are different than they were a few years ago. Your changing family situation should be a consideration as to where you want to spend your home improvement dollars.

After reviewing your lists, prioritize your ideas. Sometimes setting a priority is easy. If you need space to sleep five in a two-bedroom house, then it only makes sense to postpone the new deck. Sometimes priorities may be set based on personal choice. For example you may decide to add a fireplace and built-ins to the family room this year and build the new sun room the next.

Family dynamics should be considered to define the scope of some projects. If your son is going off to college soon then you soon may have some extra space. If you become the caretaker for an aging family member then first floor space may become a priority for a bedroom over a second floor bedroom.

Changing the way your house works and flows may not involve having to add on. Look for ways to use existing space for different purposes to meet new needs. For example, you may be able to covert a bedroom into a hobby room or a home office.  You may be able to use the dinning room as a library by simply adding bookshelves.

It’s a good idea before you begin any major projects to establish a master plan to determine the order of execution of your projects. A plan allows you to see the big picture so you can better understand the overall impact of the changes to your house, your family and your budget.

Budgeting For Change

When budgeting for your improvements, get specific about the details of the project:

  • Planning — Will you design your project or will you pay a designer or architect to help? Determine the scope of the project to get an overall picture of what will be involved. A detailed plan minimizes construction changes and costs.
  • Execution — Who will actually do the work? Will you hire someone to do all or part of the job? Will you be doing most of the labor yourself? Make an honest assessment of your experience and comfort level as a do-it-yourselfer before tackling a major project. You can save a lot of money in some cases — if you know what you’re doing. Depending on the difficulty of the project, labor can account for a major portion of the total budget.
  • Finish materials, fixtures, etc. — What kind of materials will you use? Choosing marble over plastic laminate, for example, will up the cost of a countertop considerably. Explore the possibilities; then make a decision based on your preferences with consideration for your budget.

Additional costs to consider include permits, site preparation, cleaning up before and after, and time spent out of the house (you could be sleeping and/or eating elsewhere during major renovations). All of these need to be reviewed and added to the bottom line.

When setting the budget it is wise to get referrals on contractors or specialists.  You should not decide based on price but also on reputation, timing and the ability to work together.  I once had a person laying tile in my home for five weeks when he had committed to two. When I asked about why he was coming only in the afternoon he said he had taken on another job.  He more than doubled the time in my home and three weeks of not having a kitchen in order started to play on the nerves of the family.  When I looked into this after the fact I discovered that this was standard for this contractor.  I was happy with the final results but it took much longer than expected.

A well thought out project list can lead to many successful and rewarding home improvement experiences.  Projects can be fun and the investment in money, time and effort well worth it.

Please always exercise reasonable caution, follow applicable codes and regulations, and check with a professional if in doubt about any procedures.

Also, we can provide you with references for contractors and specialist in the Enfield, Lebanon, Hanover, Canaan and Grafton, New Hampshire areas.  Real estate is our area of expertise and real estate and home improvement are closely related. Take advantage of our great NH weather and define the right project for the right time.

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This simple checklist will have you plan out the process for securing an real estate mortgage.

Here is a list of essential items that you will need in most situations as supporting materials to be submitted with your mortgage application.

1. Copy of your Purchase & Sale Agreement

2. Your present mortgage information

  1. Two-year history of employment and verification of all income sources4. If self-employed, copies of past two years Federal Income Tax Returns

    5. Information about your checking, savings and credit card accounts

    6. Name, account number and outstanding balance of each of your debts

    7. Application deposits

    8. Information about any assets

    9. Information regarding any other assets that will be used as funds to close

    10. If FHA – Copy of Social Security card and photo ID

    11. If VA – Certificate of Eligibility or DD214

  2. If Employee Relocation Client – include relocation information and copy of offer, promissory note and copy of check on bridge loan.

 

It is wise to go through this checklist prior to submitting your application for a mortgage to make things go smoothly and efficiently. Any mortgage application with incomplete information or missing supporting documentation gets put on the side and this only leads to delays.

At Moose Mountain Realty we can help guide you through the mortgage application process and make referrals to you for lenders for all situations.  We are real estate specialists in the Enfield, Hanover, Lebanon, Canaan and Grafton, New Hampshire and surrounding areas and can help to put you in contact with financing professionals to make your real estate transaction go smoothly.

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Don’t make these real estate selling mistakes when selling your home.

Pricing Your Property Too High

Confusion - Six Selling MistakesEvery seller obviously wants to get the most money for his or her product. Ironically, the best way to do this is NOT to list your product at an excessively high price!

A high listing price will cause some prospective buyers to lose interest before even seeing your property. Also, it may lead other buyers to expect more than what the property has to offer.

As a result, overpriced properties tend to take an unusually long time to sell and this often looks bad for the property as people may start to wonder (and imagine) what is “wrong” with the property. You want them to “imagine” living in the home but they instead may suspect the price is too high and also be thinking about what else may be a factor for the long time on the market. If this starts to happen then the property may end up being sold at a lower price than if it had initially been more properly priced.Moose Mountain Realty will work with you to meet your needs of both time-on-market and best possible selling price.

Mistaking Re-finance Appraisals for the Market Value

Unfortunately, a re-finance appraisal may have been stated at an untruthfully high price. It has been known to happen that lenders estimate the value of your property to be higher than it actually is in order to encourage re-financing. The market value of your home could actually be lower. Your best bet is to ask a few real estate agents for their opinion on the value of your property and also for recent information regarding property sales in your community. This will give you an up-to-date and factually accurate estimate of your property value.

Forgetting to “Showcase Your Home”

In spite of how frequently this issue is discussed with the seller by the listing agent, and how simple it is to avoid, its prevalence is still widespread. When attempting to sell your home to prospective buyers, do not forget to make your home look as pleasant as possible. Make necessary repairs. Clean. Make sure everything functions and looks presentable. A poorly kept home in need of repairs will surely lower the selling price of your property and will even turn away some buyers.

A home in poor repair can also lead to a purchase and sale contract with many contingencies. This may result in you having to quickly address issues to make the sale go through. Often this will lead to you to have to pay a high price for standard maintenance or repairs.

At Moose Mountain Realty we can perform an inspection prior to show casing the home to help maximize its market value at an appropriate time on the market. First impressions matter!

Trying to “Hard Sell” While Showing

Buying a house is always an emotional and difficult decision. As a result, if you are present with the potential buyers you should try to allow them to comfortably examine your property. Never try haggling or forcefully selling. It is the job of the real estate agent to make things comfortable with both the buyers and the sellers. Let them do their job.

Instead, be friendly and hospitable. A good idea would be to point out any subtle amenities and be receptive to questions. We will be present at every showing and you can remain calm and pleasant knowing that all will be handled courteously and professionally.

Not Knowing Your Rights & Responsibilities

Real_Estate_ContractIt is extremely important that you are well-informed of the details in your real estate contract. Real estate contracts are legally binding documents, and they can often be complex and confusing.

Not being aware of the terms in your contract could cost you thousands for repairs and inspections. Know what you are responsible for before signing the contract.

Can the property be sold “as is”? How will deed restrictions and local zoning laws affect your transaction? Not knowing the answers to these kinds of questions could end up costing you a considerable amount of money. It is typical that you will have an attorney help you with this important transaction. This is a wise more and your attorney should answers any questions that you may have in plain English.

We can provide advice on competent real estate attorneys in the area to assist you with this selling of your home.

Limiting the Marketing and Advertising of the Property

Your real estate agent and his/her company should employ a wide variety of marketing techniques. Your real estate agent must be committed to selling your property. He or she should be available for every phone call from a prospective buyer and should be available for every showing. Most calls are received, and open houses are scheduled, during business hours, so make sure that your real estate agent is working on selling your home during these hours.

At Moose Mountain Realty we are committed to selling your home and will bring many marketing approaches into play to sell your home at the best possible price.

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This could save you some money the next time you sell a property.

Real_Estate_Home_MoneyA 1031 tax deferred exchange may be an appropriate way for you to save on capital gains tax as a result of a real estate property sale and purchase. We can explain the requirements and also refer you to a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) that can step you through the process.

It is proper for you as a home seller or purchaser to fully understand the tax law when buying or selling.   At Moose Mountain Realty we can help to guide you through the 1031 tax deferred exchange process and can put you in contact with professionals in 1031 tax deferred exchange. We are here to help make your real estate transaction the best it can possibly be.

Call us to find out more about a 1031 tax deferred exchange. Look to Moose Mountain Realty for your real estate needs in the Enfield, Lebanon, Hanover, Canaan and Grafton NH areas. We are specialist in real estate in the Upper Valley area of New Hampshire.

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