4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Home with an In-Law Suite

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There’s many reasons why you might be considering having your mother-in-law (or your mom) move in with you. Perhaps it’s for health reasons. Maybe it’s due to finances. Or, it could just be that you all want to be closer to each other. 

There’s no single definition of what comprises a mother-in-law suite. But, in the grandest sense, they are often considered to include a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen (or kitchenette), a living room, as well as an entrance that’s separate from the main house. Sometimes they may be free-standing structures, known as “accessory dwelling units” (ADUs). In other instances, homeowners get creative and simply repurpose a room in the house, basements, attics, or even garages to accommodate their loved ones.

For a variety of reasons, multigenerational living continues to increase in popularity. In fact, in 2016, a record 64 million people, or 20 percent of the U.S. population, lived with multiple generations under one roof, according to the Pew Research Center’s analysis of census data.

Some families choose to buy a home with an in-law suite, or add one to their existing property because it makes financial sense. In other situations in which both parents work full-time outside the home, having built-in babysitters who are ready and willing to lend a hand is a welcome relief.

That said, blending generations isn’t always easy, especially after years of both parties living independently.

Whether you’re overjoyed or not-so-secretly seething at the thought of your mother or mother-in-law becoming a permanent fixture on your property, there are certain things you’ll want to consider.

Here are four questions to consider before moving in with your in-law.

1. Can everyone coexist peacefully?

It’s one thing to visit with your in-laws during the holidays, it’s another to see them 24/7. No one wants to watch the phrase “Familiarity breeds contempt” come to life in their own home. Still, you don’t need to be a family therapist to know that too much togetherness can quickly lead to trouble. 

Chances are you’re accustomed to having your privacy, as is your mother-in-law. A separate entrance, kitchenette, and soundproofing can go a long way toward establishing boundaries that will ensure your relationship survives your new roommate status. But will these be enough to allow for harmonious living? 

It’s not a bad idea to give the scenario a test run by having Mom spend a week or two and see how it goes before you commit to adding on to your home.

2. Will your city or town allow it?

If you’re considering constructing an addition for your in-laws, check with local and city zoning regulations as many have strict building codes. You may or may not be able to extend your house, or enough to accommodate your plans.

Some homeowners contemplate placing an entire new structure—an accessory dwelling unit (ADU)—on their property. Again, you’ll have to check on zoning laws before just plunking down a free-standing structure on your property. 

But even something quite simple as renovating the garage, a basement, or section of the house with a separate kitchen area may not be allowed.

Every municipality will have different regulations. Check with yours before making any concrete plans to move mom in.

3. How much will it cost?

Whether you add on to your home or repurpose an area within it, most likely it won’t be cheap. According to Realtor.com, an in-law suite will set you back anywhere from $40,000 to $125,000, while ADUs (aka Granny Pods) are estimated at $85,000 to $125,000. 

You may also want to separate the utilities between the unit and the primary residence if possible, to divide expenses. This can also save money if your relative goes out of town for lengthy periods, and you want to shut down the utilities temporarily. 

Compare these expenses to the cost of an assisted living facility or nursing home if your motivation is to ensure the safety of older family members. 

You should also weigh your options to buy a house that is already set up with a mother-in-law suite. It may actually cost you less (and easier), than doing construction on your existing house.

4. How will it impact your resale?

Because few homes include in-law suites, having one can attract multigenerational families. So when it comes time to sell your home, you may find that you have a lot of interest. Or at least specific interest from buyers who this would appeal to.

However, the layout and flow of the house may not appeal as much (or at all) to buyers who have no need for this kind of set-up. So, it may also reduce the pool of buyers your house will appeal to.

Not that resale value, or the ability to resell it, should dictate whether or not you create this sort of space in your home. You need to make the decision based upon your own situation, wants, and needs. Life needs to be lived, and enjoyed. If resale value is higher in the future, great. If not, perhaps you can renovate it back to the original layout if it makes good financial sense to do so.

While these are certainly not every question you may want to consider before making a decision, it’s a good start. And, hopefully, taking the time to ask and answer questions before moving Mom in, will save you time, money, frustration and, most importantly, your relationships.

We helped several customers over the years who bought a home with an in-law (or adult child) suite. We are ready to help you! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com

Moving with Pets – Mistakes to Avoid

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For most pet owners, pets are a part of the family. And so, of course, wherever the family moves? The pet moves, too. And while moving might be a stressful process for you, it’s arguably even more stressful for your pet. 

Pets respond well to structure and routine—and so the packing, moving, and settling into a new place can make them feel anxious and stressed out. But there are ways to make the process easier on your pet. A recent article on Realtor.com outlined the five mistakes to avoid when moving with your pets, including:

  • Having your pet around on moving day. Moving day can be chaotic, which can stress your pet out. Make sure to board them or have them stay with a friend or family member while you’re managing the big move.
  • Washing your pet’s things before the move. Familiar smells are comforting to pets—so while you might be tempted to wash their bed, toys, or blankets before you move, resist the urge. The familiar smells will help them acclimate to their new home and feel more comfortable.
  • Not supervising them in their new home. When you move into a new home, you’re not totally familiar with the layout—and there could be areas where your pet could escape. As you’re settling in, make sure you keep an extra close eye on your pet. 
  • Changing their setup or routine. Again, most pets are creatures of habit—so when you’re moving to a new place, you don’t want to change their setup or routine too much. If they’re used to having their bed in your room, put it in the same place in your new house. If you typically walk your pet at certain times of the day, continue with that schedule. Keeping the same setup and routine will make it easier for your pet to transition to your new home.

Bottom line? Moving can be a stressful experience for everyone—including your pets. So make sure you make the moving process as easy as possible for your four-legged family member.

Call us and let’s make your next move stress free for both human and pet! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com

Housewarming Gift People Actually Want!

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We’ve all experienced the stress and tension of moving, right? Even after you’ve done all the footwork to find the perfect place, you’ve still got to deal with utilities, packing, moving trucks, lukewarm fast food meals, lost and broken items… 

Oh, and if you’ve moved more than 20 minutes away, even after you’ve unpacked, you’ve got to find a new grocery store, school, park, favorite restaurant, etc. etc. etc….

So yeah, we all know…

Moving is a seemingly endless stress buffet.

When someone you love is going through it, how can you help to alleviate that stress? Well, outside of paying for their movers (PS SO WORTH IT), you can give them one of these moving/housewarming gifts. Some are gifts of time, some are thoughtful treats, and some are available on Amazon so even if your friend is moving to a new town, you can send Prime to the rescue! Best of all, you don’t have to get cutesy or craftsy; you can send any of these goodies as-is.

Check ‘em out and you, too, can be the most thoughtful friend/family member ever when you send housewarming gifts people actually want…

1. FOOD


At the end of a long day of taking all their worldly possessions off of a truck, your friends are going to be HUNGRY. And this isn’t any run of the mill hunger; it’s more like an I-just-ran-a-marathon hunger. The really bad part of this is that they won’t have food in the house and will probably be too tired to hit the ol’ grocery store. Solve this problem by sending them dinner. If you’re in town, you can bring it by (but don’t stay a long time), and if you’re not, you can send DoorDash or UberEats to feed these hungry folks for you. 

2. COFFEE


Ahh, the first morning in a new house. So calm, so quiet, so… WAIT, where the heck did we pack the Keurig? And what box are the K-pods in?! Doing a Starbucks run (or, again, sending a delivery driver to do it for you) will have your tired pals crying happy, caffeinated tears faster than you can say Cinnamon Dolce Latte. 

3. WINE / BEER / COCKTAILS IN A CAN


When your friend is done bringing in boxes, they probably want to relax with a frosty adult beverage. Let them know you’re thinking of them with booze in a can. Canned bevvies are all the rage right now and so easy to enjoy. No need to locate the bottle opener, corkscrew, or bar accessories; they can just pop the top and sip away. 

4. YOUR ELBOW GREASE


While this is the least fun option, it’s also probably the most appreciated. Whether it’s running to buy more boxes and tape, helping to load that absurdly heavy table, or sitting and chatting while you both unpack the kitchen, your friend will appreciate you for pitching in on their hardest days. Also, they’ll owe you one heck of a big favor.

5. CLEANING SUPPLIES


Running out of paper towels and Windex when you’ve got to clean out the fridge in the place you’re leaving is just about enough to make a person cry. Same thing when you get to the new place and it’s… less than spotless. Coming by with a box of essentials will elevate you to a godlike status… and if they don’t end up using them right now, you know they’ll get used in the future. 

6. BATHROOM ESSENTIALS


Just like the paper towels, there are other paper products that you absolutely, positively HATE to run out of. Bring a package of TP — the GOOD stuff, not the kind that feels like tree bark… and some premium hand soap. Again, you know they’ll appreciate it mucho and it’s definitely not going to go to waste. (Err, no pun intended.)

7. A CLEANING SERVICE


If you owe your friend-on-the-move big time, or you’re just #ballerstatus, send them a cleaning service. Having someone do the work for you is a beautiful thing, and walking into a sparkling clean home when you’re still trying to get everything in your life back to normal brings such a sense of relief. It might not even be as expensive as you think. Depending on the size of the house and the location they’re in, you might be able to get this great gift for less than $100.

8. A CUTE DOORMAT

Via Amazon

There’s nothing like a fresh, new start at a fresh, new house, and nothing says, “Welcome!” quite like a fresh, new doormat. There are so many neat ones available on Amazon or at your local Target. No matter what their taste is, you’ll be able to find something that applies.

9. PLANTS


Houseplants lend a homey vibe no matter what the season. Bring over a few potted plants and know that you’re enriching your friend’s new home environment — both with a pretty plant AND with life-giving oxygen. Not sure if your friend is a plant-y person? Bring a succulent or two; they’re notoriously hard to kill. 

10. A LIST OF FAVES


If your friend is moving into your area, save them a ton of time by bringing them a list of neighborhood favorites. Add things like restaurants, things to do, and local services they might need. Big ol’ bonus points if you have a trustworthy babysitting reference — that alone is worth its weight in gold. 

11. POOL FLOATS


Did they get a new pool along with the new digs? Pool owners LOVE getting goodies for swim time. Ride on floats, beverage floats, remote-controlled boats — it’s all good! Also, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll secure an invite to go swimming when summer hits. 

No pool? No problem. Get them something to help them enjoy their new garden or patio… whatever form of the great outdoors they have. After all, no matter how nice the house is inside, sometimes it’s nice to hang out outside, too!

12. KITCHEN TOWELS


When you’ve got a sparkly new kitchen, putting your dingy old towels on the counter is kind of a downer. Gift your pal some spiffy, clean kitchen towels and they’ll think of you every time they walk into the kitchen. 

13. A SUBSCRIPTION CRATE


From candy to coffee, dog treats to dinners, there’s a subscription crate for just about anything your friend is into. If they’ve moved away, let them know you’re thinking of them on the regular with a monthly crate. It might not get there on moving day, but it will relieve some stress and make them feel loved all the same!

14. NOTHING PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE


This should go without saying, but sometimes well-meaning people think that just about any time is a good time for “advice.” Moving time is NOT the time to gift a Dave Ramsey book (even if the house is on the pricey side), nor is it a time to ask why they have so darn much stuff and then offer a trip to Goodwill. Your friends are already under enough stress, so no matter how much you “wonder if you ought to say something,” the answer is NO — or at least, not right now.

We have some good advice about buying a home so you get some house warming gifts, too! (BTW – we give some darn good closing gifts to our customers!) Give us a call – Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com Team@HanleyHomeTeam.com

Nearly Half of Buyers Cite Bidding Wars as Biggest Hurdle on the Path to Homeownership

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Thanks to historically low inventory and rising prices, today’s real estate market has been challenging for many buyers. But what, exactly, are the biggest challenges facing buyers today?

According to recent data from the National Association of Home Builders, nearly half of buyers in Q1 2021 (45 percent) cited continually losing out on bidding wars as the reason they haven’t been able to successfully purchase a home. (Not being able to find an affordable home was the second most cited reason, with 32 percent of buyers being unable to find a home in their price range.)

The Takeaway:

So, what does that mean for you? If you’ve been thinking about buying a home, it’s important to understand the challenges of the current market; that way, you can better prepare yourself for bidding wars—and be prepared to make offers that grab the attention of a seller and increase your chances of getting that offer accepted. We have worked in this type of market in the past and are experienced in helping our customers WIN the home they want and deserve! Give us a call…Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com

Homebuyers Should See an Increase in Listings Within the Next Year

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There’s no denying that we’re in a tough market for buyers. With historically low inventory, high competition, and rising prices, finding a home has been a real challenge.

But buyers, get ready, because it looks like things are about to get at least slightly better for people searching for a home.

According to data outlined in a recent realtor.com article, about 10 percent of homeowners plan to list their home this year—with another 16 percent planning to list in the next 24 to 36 months. That translates to an additional 1.5 million homes hitting the market—which, while not enough to completely end the historic inventory shortage, is certainly a solid start.

Options for first-time buyers should also improve. More than half of the buyers planning to list their homes this year (58 percent) have homes valued at $350,000 or less—which means more affordable options should be hitting the market soon.

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? While lack of inventory and high competition has made for a challenging market for buyers, more sellers are preparing to list their homes—and when they do, things should get a bit easier for buyers. Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

Rent vs Buying – Is The Time Right to Buy?

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Making the decision to buy a home is a big one—and you want to make sure you’re ready.

But how do you know when you’re ready to make the transition from renting to homeownership?

recent article from realtor.com outlined key questions to ask yourself when you’re determining whether you should keep renting or make the jump to homeownership, including:

  • Do I have enough savings to cover closing costs? If you’re considering buying a home, chances are, you have enough saved up for a down payment. But before you make the decision to buy, you’ll also need to make sure you have enough saved to cover all the closing costs associated with buying a home (like the appraisal and inspection).
  • How long do I plan to stay in the property? Ultimately, you want buying a home to be a smart investment; you don’t want to lose money. And in order to not lose money on the deal, you typically need to stay put for two to three years—so make sure you’re willing to settle in for at least a few years before you buy.
  • Are you prepared for maintenance? When you rent, your landlord takes care of home maintenance—but when you buy, that responsibility falls to you. Before you make the decision to buy your own home, make sure you’re ready to tackle all the home maintenance projects—and costs—that come with owning property.

The Takeaway:

Bottom line? You want to make sure that, when you buy a home, you’re ready—and asking yourself these questions can help you gauge how prepared you are to make the transition. Let us help you with your decision – Kevin and Jennifer Haley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com

Need To Come Up With A House Down Payment Fast? Try Tapping These Resources

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Ideally, when you’re ready to buy a home, you’ll have spent a significant amount of time socking away money for your down payment. But sometimes, you find your dream home earlier than expected—and you need a way to come up with some extra cash for the down payment, fast.

So, the question is, if you find yourself in that situation, what options may be available to help you get the cash you need to buy your home?

recent article from realtor.com outlined speedy ways to come up with a down payment, including:

  • Your 401(k). Most 401(k) plans allow you to borrow against the balance—often up to 50 percent of the balance or $50,000. Generally, you can access funds in about a week—but keep in mind that if you withdraw funds from your 401(k) early, you may have to pay a penalty and those funds will be counted as gross income, and it can also have tax implications. 
  • Your IRA. Generally, withdrawing funds early from your IRA carries the same penalty as withdrawing from your 401(k)—but that penalty is waived for first-time home buyers. So, if you have a balance in your IRA and you’re buying a home for the first time, it’s a better resource to tap for your down payment.
  • Explore down payment assistance programs. Certain cities, states, and local nonprofit organizations sometimes partner with banks to offer down payment assistance. If you need help getting the cash for your down payment, do your research to see if there are any local programs you qualify for.

The Takeaway:

Bottom line? You should definitely invest time into saving for a down payment—but if you need a bit of extra cash (and quickly), these resources can be a great way to get the funds you need to buy your home. But, since many of these options may have tax or financial implications, you should consult with your accountant or financial advisor before doing so.

Need more tips or are you ready to get started on your home search? Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com

These Are the Pandemic’s Most Popular Home-Related Purchases

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to spend more time at home than ever before—and, for many homeowners, all that extra time at home has translated to extra spending.

recent survey from Cinch Home Services found that more than half of the 1,000+ homeowners surveyed (52%) spent more on their homes since the pandemic hit—$1,329 on average.

So what, exactly, did homeowners spend on during the pandemic? Top home-related purchases included:

  • Furniture (54 percent)
  • Appliances (48.5 percent)
  • Decor (47.1 percent)
  • Home improvement tools and products (44.3 percent)

Homeowners cited a variety of reasons for increasing their home spending during the pandemic, including improving home comfort (57.2 percent), modifying home atmosphere (37.9 percent), and improving home organization (29.8 percent). 

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? If you invested in your home during the pandemic, you’re not alone. Lots of people weren’t just spending more time in their home, they were also spending more on their home. If it made the experience of lockdown more tolerable and comfortable, it was money worth spending.

Ready to find out what those improvements did for your home price? Get in touch today for a FREE market analysis of your home. Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com Team@HanleyHomeTeam.com

The Pros and Cons of Building a Home

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A lot of people dream about building their own home from the ground up. But do the benefits outweigh the challenges?

recent article from realtor.com outlined the pros and cons of building your own house (versus purchasing an existing property), including:

  • Con: It’s generally more expensive. Building a home typically costs more than buying an existing home—so if you want to build a home, you’ll need a bigger budget than if you were to buy an existing home of a similar size.
  • Pro: Less maintenance. When you build a home, everything is brand new. That means you’re much less likely to have to deal with any significant maintenance or repair issues in the early years of living in your home—which can save you time, money, and frustration.
  • Con: More time-intensive. Depending on the size and complexity of the home, building a house could take anywhere from months to years. Home builds are also notorious for running into delays and taking longer than the builder or homeowner originally anticipated—and waiting that long for their home to be move-in ready just isn’t feasible for some people.

The Takeaway:

What does this mean for you? Building a home is a big decision. There’s no right or wrong decision, but if you’ve been thinking about building your own home, it’s important to understand both the benefits and the drawbacks—so you can make the best decision for you.

Interested in building a home? Get in touch today and let’s see if it’s the right decision for you! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2700 HanleyHomeTeam.com

8 Bad Reasons to Not Make An Offer On a Home

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Buying a home can be a nerve-racking experience, no matter what price range you’re in. Spending (or borrowing) hundreds of thousands of dollars, uprooting all of your belongings, and stepping into the semi-unknown can stress even the most level headed people, causing second thoughts and doubts. 

There are plenty of legitimate reasons not to make an offer on a house, like: structural issues, it’s over your budget, or the location isn’t ideal, to name a few. 

But, not all doubts are created equal. And sometimes we mistake trivial concerns for real ones, creating reasons not to buy a house that shouldn’t be there. 

Here are eight bad reasons for not making an offer on a house: 

1. Because you want to wait and see if the price goes down 

A wait-and-see approach is much more likely to end with someone else buying the house before you get a chance to. If you like it, there’s a high likelihood that someone else likes it too. Even if a house you like is overpriced, you’re better off making an offer and negotiating, than simply waiting for the owner to lower their price.

2. Because one of your friends doesn’t like it 

People’s opinions can impact us a lot. But when it comes to homeownership, you shouldn’t necessarily listen to what your friends think. After all, you’re the one who’s going to have to live there… so if you like it, go for it! 

3. Because the listing sites have a price estimate that’s different from what the seller is asking 

Some listing sites provide an approximate estimate of what a home is worth. But keep in mind that these are based on algorithms and publicly available data, not an in-person inspection and analysis of value. So, take them with a grain of salt, not as gospel. 

4. Because you don’t like the light fixtures (or something else that’s easy to fix) 

Small cosmetic defects can make a huge visual impact, but always try to focus on the big things, and not on things that are easy to change or fix. Items like light fixtures, paint color, and decor are easy to fix, so try and see past even the worst of taste.

5. Because you think mortgage rates will continue to fall 

In a competitive market, or on a nice-enough house, there are likely to be other bids, and sometimes more than just a few. Don’t let this deter you from making an offer though; you have as good a chance as anyone else, so just give it your best shot! 

6. Because there are already other bids 

In a competitive market, or on a nice-enough house, there are likely to be other bids, and sometimes more than just a few. Don’t let this deter you from making an offer though; you have as good a chance as anyone else, so just give it your best shot!

7. Because you’re afraid that the process will be too complicated 

Buying a home is a bit complicated. There’s a lot more to it than the average person ever knows. But, as long as you work with a great agent, the process shouldn’t be all that complicated for you. Most of that stuff goes on behind the

8. Because you want to wait for the “perfect” time to buy 

The “perfect” time to buy is when you want to or need to move. Timing the market is almost impossible to pull off. Usually, if the market does go down considerably, there are other factors at play that may get in your way of buying at that time anyway, whether it be interest rates, ease of getting a loan, or the overall economy and employment.

And #9 – the worst thing you can do is to not call us to help you! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com