PRIORITY TASKS FOR YOUR MOVE IN

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Moving into a new home is an exciting time, and you’re probably daydreaming about decor and paint schemes and new furniture. But before you get into the fun stuff, there are some basics you should cover first.

 

Change the locks

Even if you’re promised that new locks have been installed in your home, you can never be too careful. It’s worth the money to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else has the keys to your home. Changing the locks can be a DIY project, or you can call in a locksmith for a little extra money.

Steam clean the carpets

It’s good to get a fresh start with your floors before you start decorating. The previous owners may have had pets, young children, or just some plain old clumsiness. Take the time to steam clean the carpets so that your floors are free of stains and allergens. It’s pretty easy and affordable to rent a steam cleaner—your local grocery store may have them available.

Call an exterminator

Prior to move-in, you probably haven’t spent enough time in the house to get a view of any pests that may be lurking. Call an exterminator to take care of any mice, insects, and other critters that may be hiding in your home.

Clean out the kitchen

If the previous occupants wanted to skip on some of their cleaning duties when they moved out, the kitchen is where they probably cut corners. Wipe down the inside of cabinets, clean out the refrigerator, clean the oven, and clean in the nooks and crannies underneath the appliances.

Have any questions or are you ready to start your new home search in 2019? Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com


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HOA Drama and Other Issues Buyers Wish They’d Considered Before the Deal Closed

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 | Sep 6, 2019 |Terri Williams is a journalist who has written for USA Today, Yahoo, the Economist, U.S. News and World Report, and the Houston Chronicle. Follow @Territoryone

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Being a first-time home buyer is exciting. After you finish signing a gazillion documents and the keys are finally placed in your hands, there’s an undeniable sense of accomplishment and pride. However, not long thereafter, buyer’s remorse can set in. New buyers might wonder if they made the right decision or if there were warning signs that they missed—or outright ignored.

Everyone hopes that life after closing on a house will be smooth sailing, but some unsuspecting buyers end up in turbulent waters. The following anecdotes outline missteps that first-time home buyers can make and, most importantly, how to identify those red flags before you’re locked into the sale.

No room to grow

Many of the first-time homeowners Chicago-based real estate agent Jonathan Self speaks to say that they underestimated how much space they would need.

“The family expanded faster than they had planned, and they now need to move without owning the house for enough time to reap any benefit of price appreciation,” he says. “Life happens, but you want to make sure you’ve had four to five years minimum in the home at the normal rate of appreciation—and that’s just to break even.”

To avoid having to move because of a lack of space, buyers should ask themselves the following questions: Is the size of your family going to change? Is there a chance an older family member will need to move in with you? Do you have space for a dog, if you want one?

Some first-time homeowners get tripped up by perfectly staged homes.

“Finding the right home isn’t just the sexy, fun stuff like finish selections,” Self says. That’s why you need to consider how much space you and your family will really need down the road so you can stay put.

HOA drama

First-time homeowners would do well to understand the pros and cons of a homeowners association before moving into an area that has one. That’s why Self goes as far as going through the HOA’s meeting minutes with his clients who are considering living in one of these communities.

“Neighbors are always an X factor, and as agents, we do what we can to investigate. But your best bet at spotting any internal HOA drama is to check out those meeting minutes and budget line items,” he says.

A lack of HOA meeting minutes or transparency with the budget is also a big red flag.

Becky Beach, a business owner and blogger at MomBeach.com in Austin, TX, says her HOA dues are $500, but a lack of communication means she and the other homeowners do not know what the money is going toward.

Living in a community with an HOA suits many buyers, but you want to know what you’re in for before signing on the dotted line.

Rushed to buy a home

Aleka Shunk, founder of the blog Bite Sized Kitchen, warns first-time home buyers against a hasty home purchase like the one she made.

While searching for a home in New Jersey, one of her friends sent a flyer from neighbors looking to sell their home. The Shunks loved the home and the area, and the highly motivated sellers wanted to move within six weeks. One of the sellers was an agent, and preferred that the Shunks didn’t use an agent on their behalf—and also said the home would be sold as is.

“I found a local inspector who said there were a few small problems, but overall the house was in good shape,” Shunk says. “I also hired a lawyer to handle the legalities.”

However, a few months after moving, the problems started.

“I woke up to no water in the bathroom faucet, and then a neighbor informed me that the water was gushing down the driveway,” Shunk says. Water was flowing from the ceiling in both the garage and living room. After a week of frigid temperatures, two pipes burst—to the tune of $40,000 in water damage. The cause of all of these problems? There was little to no insulation throughout the house.

“We were just so excited and could not wait to get into our own home,” Shunk says. “However, because we rushed, we did not have time to ask many questions.”

It took three months to fix all of the damage, and the family is saving up enough money to properly insulate the house. The lesson: Don’t rush into buying a home, and always get a second opinion.

DIY real estate transaction

Many buyers—first-time or not—underestimate the value of having a real estate agent represent them. You may be capable of combing through online listings, but navigating the negotiations, paperwork, and legal stipulations that arise during a real estate deal requires experience.

“This is a big transaction, therefore, it is very helpful to have another qualified person speak and deal on your behalf,” says Mark Cianciulli, a real estate broker and founder of The Crem Group in Long Beach, CA.

For example, he says, even a home being sold as is can be negotiated—especially one like the Shunks’ that came with major problems.

“Because we did not use an agent, we did not know the right questions to ask,” Shunk says. “What does ‘as is’ even mean?”

While she did use a lawyer and got a home inspection, Shunk says she trusted the seller to ensure that everything was taken care of.

HP_logo.pngGive us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

The City Of Jacksonville’s 2019-2020 Preparedness Guide Is Now Available!

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In an emergency, every second counts. Planning what to do before a disaster strikes provides the best protection for you and your family.

The 2019-2020 Emergency Preparedness Guide is your one-stop resource to help you and your family stay safe in a storm, fire, flood, tornado, or hurricane. This guide offers information regarding  what to do before, during, and after an emergency situation.

Plan ahead and don’t be caught unaware. Know the hazards, make a disaster plan with your family, and assemble an emergency supply kit. Take time now to learn more about designated shelters and identify your best sources for up-to-date emergency information.

Don’t just be ready, be JaxReady!

Read and download the guide.

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Brought to you by: Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

Consider this: When to refinance?!

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Refinancing your mortgage is something most homeowners consider at least once throughout the lifespan of their home loan. It allows you to pay off your previous loan by applying for a new one that has better financial advantages. While there are many good reasons to refinance, here are five common ones.

  • Scoring a lower interest rate. The number one reason homeowners decide to refinance is to secure a lower interest rate on their mortgage. Not only does this save you money in the long run and decrease your monthly payment, but you can start building equity in your home sooner.
  • Using an improved credit score. Even if interest rates have not dropped in the market, if you’ve improved your credit score over the last few years, you may be able to reduce your mortgage rate.
  • Shortening the loan’s term. If interest rates are decreasing, there is a chance you may be able to get a shorter loan term with little to no change in your monthly payment, allowing you to pay off your loan sooner.
  • Switching from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate. If you chose an adjustable-rate mortgage with great introductory rates when you initially financed your home, that rate may increase significantly over the years. By switching to a fixed rate while interest rates are low, you can protect yourself from future increases.
  • Cashing out home equity. If there is a big purchase or payment on the horizon, such as funding a wedding or going back to school, your best option may be to use the equity you’ve built in your home to borrow money at a lower cost.

Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

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Having the Talk with Your Aging Parents

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Having The Talk

A Challenging First Step

By Joe Gilmore, Landmark Senior Living

Talking about long-term care needs with an elderly parent or other loved one can be a difficult thing. You may not know exactly how to approach it without coming off as rude or disingenuous. However, when it comes to a loved one’s health, it is important to cast aside how you feel to ensure that they can live safely and happily later in life. It is especially important to have this conversation before a problem occurs, not after.

An American Assoc. of Retired Persons survey found that two-thirds of adult children have never had this conversation. This is most likely due to the fact that a lot of adult children don’t know how to engage in this type of talk, or how to begin it. To begin, you have to decide who is going to be there during the talk and what the discussion is going to center around.

Keeping your loved one or parent safe later in their life is a priority, and talking to them about living situations, such as assisted living or even enlisting the help of a caregiver, is the first step. This is especially true if your parent or loved one has experienced a traumatic event in the recent past, such as a fall or the loss of a spouse.

Tips for the Talk

• Decide how you are going to do it and who’s going to be there. Sometimes a one-on-one talk is best; however, if you need someone to back up your points or provide another point of view, it may be a good idea to get other family members involved.

• Go over which talking points you will speak on before approaching your loved one, and set up a time and place to talk.

• Express each idea as an opinion of yours rather than a need for them. For example, choosing phrases like “I think” or “I need” rather than “you should” or “you need” are good ways to avoid conflict.

• Remind your loved one that everyone is there because they care and want to help keep them safe.

• Stay calm. Don’t raise your voice, speak over your loved one, or encourage any hostility during this discussion, as it will only make the situation worse.

• If your loved one immediately dismisses the idea of leaving their home, it may be best to drop the issue for the moment and bring it back up at another time.

The first step in beginning the talk is setting up how you are going to do it and who’s going to be there. Sometimes it is best for the talk to be a one-on-one; however, if you need someone to back up your points or provide another point of view, it may be a good idea to get other family members or loved ones involved. Every family is different, and it may be a good idea to disregard some family members when deciding who is invited to speak.

It is best to go over which talking points that you will speak on before approaching your parent or loved one. Meeting beforehand to talk about these things is recommended. Create a plan on how you wish to talk about this.

Understanding Your Loves Ones’ Goals for the Future

Your conversation about the future doesn’t have to focus only on a caregiving plan. You may also consider talking generally with your loved ones about what is important to them as they grow older. This checklist can be used as a starting point to better understand their priorities. Start by asking then to check all those that apply and then spend some time talking about each one in a little more detail:
__ To remain as independent as possible for as long as possible

__ To remain healthy and active

__ To remain in my home as long as possible

__ To focus on a hobby

__ To work for as long as possible

__ To become involved in the community

__ To remain as financially independent as possible

__ To take classes

__ To create a safety net in the event of an emergency or crisis situation

__ To start my own business

__ To buy a second home

__ To move closer to my family

__ To relocate to a smaller home

__ To retire in a different place

__ To travel

__ To be able to help my children and grandchildren

After going over the points you will make, the first thing you’ll want to do is set up a time and place to talk with your parent or loved one. This may require the use of some type of web communications like Skype or just over the phone if someone can’t be there or lives in a different area.

Depending on how you are hoping to help your parent, there are a few ways to go about this. For example, if you are just hoping to enlist the help of a caregiver, or become the caregiver yourself, it will take less convincing than, say, getting them to agree to be admitted to an assisted-living or residential care facility.

When speaking with a parent or a loved one about what you feel they should do, it is best to phrase it in a way that expresses that it is an opinion of yours rather than a need for them. For example, choosing phrases like “I think” or “I need” rather than “you should” or “you need” are good ways to avoid conflict.

Be sure to remind your parent or loved one that everyone is there because they care and want to help keep them safe. It may even be beneficial to bring up times when your parent may have had their health put at risk — maybe a fall or another incident.

This is also true for other major events like the loss of a spouse. There is evidence that the social isolation that stems from living alone and independently can lead to problems like loneliness and depression.

It is also important not to raise your voice or encourage any hostility during this discussion, as it will only make the situation worse. You should also be aware of when your parent is trying to talk. Do not try to speak over them, as it will likely lead to an argument. Keep your cool and remain calm during the discussion, even if others don’t.

Some parents will dismiss the idea of moving to an assisted-living facility immediately or adamantly. If this is the case, it may be best to drop the issue for the moment and bring it back up at another time down the road.

At the end of the meeting, make sure everyone has a clear understanding of the issues, concerns, and considerations presented.

Must-Have tools for Homeowners!

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When you own your home, things are going to break and, unless you want to spend your money on visits from a neighborhood handyman, you’re going to need to fix them yourself. Luckily, you don’t need an arsenal of tools to handle most home maintenance fixes. These five tools will cover most of your basic projects.

  1. Cordless drill. A cordless drill is a must-have for installing cabinets, drawer pulls, hinges, picture frames, shelves and hooks, and more. Whether it’s for do-it-yourself projects or repairs, you’ll use your cordless drill just about every month.
  2. Drain cleaners. Shower and bathroom sink drains are susceptible to clogs because of the daily buildup of hair and whisker clippings. You can use chemical clog removers like Drano, but they’re expensive and the lingering chemical scent is unpleasant. Instead, buy some plastic drain cleaners that can reach into the drain to pull out the clog of hair and gunk. You can purchase them on Amazon or at a local hardware store for a low price.
  3. Shop-vac. No matter how careful you are, spills and accidents will happen and there are some tasks that just can’t be handled with paper towels or a standard vacuum, like pet messes or broken glass.
  4. Loppers. Even the minimum amount of care for your landscaping will require some loppers to remove damaged branches, vines, thick weeds, and any other unruly plants in your yard.
  5. Flashlight. You’re going to want something a little more powerful than your iPhone flashlight when you’re in the crawlspace!

Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

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Analysis: Homeowners’ Cost Working with an iBuyer? 13-15%

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Instant offers work well for sellers who want quick closings with minimal preparation, but a study by Collateral Analytics found that homeowners make less money than selling their home on the open market – even after backing out a real estate agent’s commission.

 

NEW YORK – iBuyers – companies that offer homeowners cash upfront for their home with a promise that owners can just walk away – are a relatively new phenomena with new players entering the business every month.

OpenDoor is the largest iBuyer, but the instant-offer market already has other firms involved, such as OfferPad, Zillow Offers, Redfin, Knock, Realogy CataLIST, Perch, Keller Offers and may more.

The real estate industry has been debating the pros and cons of iBuyers, both for the industry and for home sellers, and a study authored by Dr. Michael Sklarz and Dr. Norman Miller with Collateral Analytics took a closer look at the issue in their study, “iBuyers: A new choice for home sellers but at what cost?

“iBuyers offer quicker closings for sellers who would like to avoid the uncertainty of knowing when and if their home will sell,” the authors say in the study “For motivated sellers who want a predictable sale date and need to move … there is no question that iBuyers have provided a welcome alternative to traditional brokerage.”

The purpose of their study is to “address the question ‘Who are the iBuyers, how do they make money, what risks do they face, and what are the benefits for sellers?’”

Overall, the study found that iBuyers cost homeowners 13-15% of their home’s value. While taking a home to market comes at a cost too – generally a real estate commission – it was better to go with an agent if the seller’s goal is to maximize profit rather than move quickly.

The authors concluded that iBuyer sellers “are paying not just the difference in fees of 2% to 5% more than with traditional agencies, and a generous repair allowance, but another 3% to 5% or more to compensate the iBuyer for liquidity risks and carrying costs. In all, the typical cost to a seller appears to be in the range of 13% to 15% depending on the iBuyer vendor.”

Noting that some buyers want a quick-and-easy sale, the authors believe there’s a place for iBuyers in the market, but “what percentage of the market will want this service remains to be seen.”

© 2019 Florida Realtors®

Turning a Bedroom into a Lux Bedroom.

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For most of us, our bedroom is little more than a place to sleep and relax. However, just because it’s always been that way doesn’t mean that we have to settle for drab and dreary.

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One trend that’s gaining steam these days is converting your current bedroom into a luxury suite (or something comparable). If you want to live like you’re renting a room at the Ritz, then you want to follow these tips.

Compartmentalize Your Activities

Making your bedroom more functional is going to make it more luxurious. Add a gorgeous desk for working and a TV area for entertainment, and you’ll be living it up in no time.

Make it Chic

Choose a color palette that is both luxurious and classy. Silver and gold can seem tacky, so choose muted shades that compliment each other.

Also, a brilliant and commanding headboard can instantly upgrade the look of your room without any other changes.

Light it Properly

Finally, make sure that you have the right light to show off your designs. If it’s too washed out or yellow, then it will look drab and run down. Switch to brilliant LEDs and see the difference.

Choose Your Accents Wisely

We already mentioned a headboard, but some elegant drapes can also make your room feel more royal. Being strategic with your furniture accessories is going to both keep you under budget and avoid doing too much with the space.

Are you ready to lux your bedroom? You’ll be impressed by the results, and the feeling of decadence will make you more confident in your surroundings.

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Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

10 Tips to Prepare for Back to School brought to you by the Jacksonville Public Library.

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While the heat may not be winding down, the summer freedom is. That means it’s time for school supply shopping trips, earlier bed times, and the dread of homework to come. Heading back to school doesn’t have to be stressful though. Follow these tips to make your life easier come the dreaded first week back.

  1. If your kids are not already participating in Summer Learning, encourage them to read at least one age appropriate book before school starts.
  2. Make sure your student has their most valuable school supply item, their library card. The Jacksonville Public Library Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) student card program has been extended this year to include all students grade K-12! Their DCPS ID card can be used as their library card. Check out our website for more information about the student card. Not a DCPS student? No problem. If your child is age 17 and younger, they could qualify to get a juvenile card.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the online homework and tutoring help the library offers.

    brainfuse_logo_150pxYour library card gets you admittance to more than just physical materials. Unlock access to research databasesfor school papers, Brainfuse HelpNow for homework and tutoring, ebooks, and much more!

  4. To save money, take advantage of Tax Free Weekend, August 2-6.
  5. Print out your school’s supply list and inventory school supplies from previous years before shopping for new supplies.
  6. Visit educational and local attractions to get your kids excited about learning again. Tour places like the library (duh!), the Cummer Museum and Gardens, The Museum of Science and History (MOSH), and other cultural attractions.
  7. Get your kids ready for their normal “school night” bed times by starting the routine two weeks before the first day of school. Check out these recommended hours of sleep per age group from WebMD.
  8. Have a discussion with your children about what they should expect on the first day so they feel more prepared.
  9. Look up the school lunch schedule ahead of time and discuss the healthy options with your children.
  10. Remove distractions like mobile devices and games from your child’s room to help them get a good night’s sleep.

Whether you’re dreading back to school or welcoming it, being prepared is always a sanity saver. Now if only we could come up with tips to guarantee kids will be out of bed, fed, and dropped off on time! Here’s to another successful school year, good luck.

Have any questions or are you ready to start your new home search in 2019? Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

 

Take 5: What to negotiate when buying a house!

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Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned veteran, the negotiation part of the transaction can be a little daunting and stressful. However, it is necessary to ensure you are getting the best possible deal for your money. So, what should you negotiate when buying a home?

  1. Closing costs. Your closing costs are determined by a variety of factors, but you can expect it to be between 2% to 5% of the purchase price. Ask the seller to cover some or all of the closing costs upfront or request a closing credit that can be used to make specific updates and fixes to the home.
  2. Furnishings. Love how the seller has furnished and decorated the home? Buyers often negotiate keeping couches, fixtures, landscaping items, patio furniture, appliances, and more. And many sellers agree, wanting to make the home more appealing.
  3. Inspection and closing timing. Buyer offers that include a quick inspection and close timeline are often more attractive to sellers who have been going through the process for far too long. Just ensure you allow yourself ample time to get your financing in place and complete proper, thorough inspections.
  4. Home warranty. Sellers will often agree to pay the premium on the home warranty at closing and then hand it off to the new homeowner, who is responsible for the deductible on any future claims.
  5. Repairs. Your inspection may uncover small or large repairs needed to bring the home up to standard. You can negotiate to have these items fixed before closing or ask for a price reduction to cover the costs.

Have any questions or are you ready to start your new home search in 2019? Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

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