Buying Your First Home? Make Sure to Avoid These Common First-Time Homeowner Mistakes

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Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Buying a home for the first time is extremely exciting. But like any new experience, as a first-time homeowner, you don’t know what you don’t know—and that lack of knowledge can lead to frustrating, challenging mistakes.

But what, exactly, are some of the most common mistakes people make after buying their first home?

recent article from realtor.com outlined some of the most common mistakes made by first-time homeowners, including:

  • Hiring a contractor without researching their background. Hiring the wrong contractor can lead to a lot of wasted time and money, and blindly hiring a contractor is one of the costliest mistakes a new homeowner can make. Before you hire anyone to do a home renovation project (whether that’s remodeling your kitchen, or landscaping your backyard), make sure to do your research, read reviews, and ask to speak to references.
  • Not budgeting for home-related expenses. When you bought your home, you budgeted for the major expenses, like your mortgage. But buying a home can come with a host of new expenses first-time homeowners aren’t used to paying, like homeowner’s insurance, homeowner association (HOA) fees, and monthly utility bills. If you don’t budget for those new expenses, it can put you in the red. When you buy your first home, make sure you’re looking at all the expenses associated with the purchase—and budget accordingly.
  • Putting off routine maintenance. Many first time homeowners don’t realize all the routine maintenance that goes into keeping your home in tip-top shape. And, as such, they let maintenance tasks slide—which can lead to expensive repairs down the road. When you move into your new home, make a checklist of all the maintenance tasks and how often/when they need to be completed—then review the list every month to make sure you’re not forgetting any tasks.

The Takeaway:

There are a lot of mistakes people make after buying their first home. But knowing the common mistakes first-time homeowners make can help you avoid those mistakes—and the headaches, frustration, and expenses that go along with them. Give us a call and let’s avoid those mistakes! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com

Is it Time for a New Roof?

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If you want to keep your home in tip-top shape (and avoid expensive problems down the road), you need to stay on top of home maintenance—and that includes your home’s exterior.

But what, exactly, on your home’s exterior needs maintenance, repair, or full-on replacement—and, just as importantly, when?

recent article from realtor.com outlined when and how often to repair or replace exterior elements of your home, including:

  • Gutters. Gutters need regular maintenance to function properly and keep water runoff from causing damage. Plan to clean your gutters at least twice per year and, if they’re made from aluminum or galvanized steel (the most common gutter material), replace them after 20 years.
  • Windows. Windows generally have a life-span of about two decades—but if you notice any damage to the glass or frame (for example, cracks in the glass or mold on the frame), you’ll want to replace them sooner.
  • Roof. Depending on your roofing materials, your roof should last anywhere between 15 to 30 years (for standard asphalt shingles) or 50 to 75 years (metal roofing). But that’s only if you take care of it! Make sure to keep your roof clear of any overhanging branches that could damage the roof or cause mold issues.

Give us a call today and let’s discuss upgrades that help your bottom line when you sell! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com

Selling Your Home in Today’s Market? Don’t Believe These Myths

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Between low inventory and high buyer demand, there’s no denying that we’re in a seller’s market. But just because it’s a seller’s market doesn’t mean that every house is guaranteed to sell—although you wouldn’t know that based on what people are saying.

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions going around about selling in today’s market—and if you’re planning to sell, it’s important to ignore them. So what, exactly, are the biggest misconceptions about selling in 2021? 

recent article from Realtor.com outlined things people are saying about selling in today’s market that just aren’t true, including:

  • It doesn’t matter if your home is in bad shape. There’s a misconception that buyers are willing to take anything in today’s market—including homes that are all but falling apart. And while fixer-uppers are certainly selling, if you’re hoping to get top dollar for your home, presenting your home in the best possible condition is a must—so make sure to take care of any necessary cosmetic changes or repairs (like painting your home’s exterior or replacing broken light bulbs) before you list.
  • You can price your home as high as you want. Home prices are going up, but that doesn’t mean you can list your home at an unreasonable price and expect it to sell. Pricing too high can cause your home to sit on the market, ultimately making it harder to sell—so when you list, make sure you price your property realistically.
  • You don’t need to market your home. Just because there are a lot of buyers—and not a lot of properties—doesn’t mean you don’t have to market your home! Working with your agent on a solid marketing strategy will ensure your home gets in front of the right buyers—and can help it sell faster and for a better price.

The Takeaway:

Bottom line? If you’re planning on selling your home, don’t believe everything you hear—especially these real estate myths that could put a damper on your home sale. Give us a call today and let’s separate the facts from fiction! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com

The Most Popular Interior and Exterior Home Styles by Generation

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Different people want different things in their homes—and that includes people of different ages. The perfect home style for a first-time Gen Z home buyer might not speak to a Baby Boomer looking to buy a home to retire in (and vice versa).

So what, exactly, are the most popular home style choices for each generation?

recent survey from Buildhome asked potential buyers across four generations—Gen Z, Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers—what type of home style they prefer between five different interior and exterior styles. For exterior options, respondents were able to choose from Modern Farmhouse, Cottage, Craftsman, Victorian, and Contemporary or Industrial Modern. For interior options, the options were Rustic Modern, Traditional, Modern, Zen, and Japandi (a style that combines elements of Scandinavian and Japanese design).

Gen Z, Millennials, and Generation X were all in agreement on their preferred interior and exterior styles: Rustic Modern and Modern Farmhouse. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, preferred a Cottage style for the exterior of their homes and Japandi for the interior.

What’s your home style? Get in touch and let’s find it! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

All Cash Offers on the Rise

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With low inventory and high demand creating fierce competition in markets across the country, in order to successfully purchase a home, buyers are doing everything they can to make their offer more attractive to sellers—including making all-cash offers.

According to the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey from the National Association of REALTORS®, a full 25 percent of offers accepted in April 2021 were all-cash offers—up from just 15 percent in April 2020. And while some of those all-cash offers are investors, many represent buyers purchasing their primary residences. In April, 15 percent of primary residence buyers made an all-cash purchase.

Whether or not you are purchasing a home with cash, we can help! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

Most Pandemic Buyers Happy With Their Home Purchase and the Process

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Between COVID restrictions, low inventory, and high competition, there’s no denying that the real estate market has been tough for buyers over the past year. But despite those challenges, the majority of buyers are happy with their decision to buy.

According to a recent survey from realtor.com, 71 percent of buyers who purchased their home over the past year said buying was a good decision—and a full 75 percent said their new home is the right fit for their family.

Not only are buyers happy with their home, but many were also satisfied with the process. For example, nearly half of buyers surveyed (48 percent) said they didn’t feel pressured or rushed while buying their home.

“Given the challenges of the year, it is surprising how many recent homeowners are happy with their purchase,” realtor.com Senior Economist George Ratiu, said in the article outlining the survey results. “We’ve had a very competitive housing market this year, characterized by very few homes for sale, steeply rising prices, and bidding wars. So it’s good to hear that the majority of buyers feel good about their decision to buy a home this year.”

Want to be happy, too? Let’s find you the perfect home! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

Getting Ready To Take Listing Photos? Hide These Things First

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Your listing photos play a huge role in drawing potential buyers to your home—and, ultimately, getting your home sold.

But if you want your listing photos to attract buyers, they need to frame your home in the right light—and that might mean saying goodbye to some of your home decor prior to snapping your photos.

So what, exactly, needs to go?

recent article from Apartment Therapy outlined advice from real estate photographers on things you’ll want to stash away before you take your listing photos, including:

  • Tall vases. Tall vases can make a statement in a room—but because they’re so large, they can make too much of a statement in a photo. If you want to display flowers or plants in your listing photos, keep vases to a more manageable height.
  • Area rugs. Area rugs may add color and character to a room. But they also can make a space feel smaller and cover up the home’s original flooring. Before you take your listing photos, get rid of small area rugs or runners to open up the space and show off your floors—particularly if your floors are hardwood or tile.
  • Appliances. Obviously, you’ll want to keep major appliances—like your refrigerator and dishwasher—where they are. But if you have a variety of small appliances cluttering your counter space, you’ll want to put them in storage so your counters feel as clean, spacious, and organized as possible.

The Takeaway:

Bottom line? Your listing photos play a large part in your home sale—and if you want your listing photos to attract buyers and help you get your property sold, plan to put these items away before your photo shoot.

We work with a professional photographer to create your best “home story” which helps us sell your home quickly and for the most money! Get in touch today and let’s starting telling your home story! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com

Flooding Isn’t Fun

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Flooding—whether it’s from a tropical storm, burst pipe, or overflowing bathtub—can cause serious damage to your property. And if you don’t want to deal with excess water damage (and all the costs that go along with it), it’s important to do everything you can to protect your home from floods.

recent article featured in REALTOR® Magazine outlined a few key steps homeowners can take to protect their homes from flooding, including:

  • Purchase flood sensors… Flood sensors alert you when water is present when it shouldn’t be—and placing them strategically around your home, in areas that are prone to flooding (for example, in the basement or bathrooms) can help protect your home.

  • …and an automatic shut-off valve. Flood sensors will let you know when flooding is happening. But if you’re not there to stop it, there’s not much you can do. An automatic shut-off valve can turn off your main water line any time a flood sensor is triggered—which can add an extra layer of floor protection to your property.

  • Invest in flood insurance. You can do everything you can to prevent a flood, but in case a flood does happen, you want to make sure your property is protected. Homeowner’s insurance policies typically don’t cover floods—so make sure to purchase an additional flood insurance policy.

We have other tips that we’d love to share with you. Get in touch today – Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com

Do You Believe in Any of These Real Estate Superstitions?

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Tons of people think the number 13 is unlucky. Some don’t. But pretty much everyone has at least heard that the number 13 is unlucky. 

With Friday the 13th upon us, I thought it’d be fun and interesting to send along some superstitions we come across in the real estate industry, which you may have never heard about…

Lucky numbers

Real estate agents sometimes find themselves working with clients who have superstitions based upon lucky (and unlucky) numbers. 

This is often a cultural superstition. And the lucky or unlucky numbers are different from culture to culture. 

This can affect whether or not someone will buy a house, if the street address is an unlucky number, or even adds up to an unlucky number. 

It can also affect the specific dollar amount they will offer or accept for a house…

What direction a house faces

Does your house face East? If it does, that’s great… for some potential buyers. 

But others may not see it that way, and would never buy a house unless it faces South.

Again, these superstitions are typically cultural, and no one direction is right for every culture.

So, don’t worry what direction your house faces…there’s always someone who will be fine with whatever direction it is facing.

Mercury in retrograde

This is less cultural, and more a matter of whether someone is into astrology…

It is believed that when the planet Mercury is in “retrograde” (backward), it is a bad time to enter a contract.

So, if a client is sensitive to this, there is a good chance there isn’t a deal good enough to get them to buy or sell a house while Mercury is in retrograde.

Smudging

Ever hear of smudging? That’s when you burn a sacred plant (often sage), and walk around the house wafting the smoke, in order to get rid of negative energy in a house.

Does that sound crazy? Sound like someone’s been smokin’ the smudge!?

As real estate agents, we wouldn’t call it crazy…

While an agent may not believe in a client’s superstition, or even understand it…they won’t consider it crazy.

It’s a real estate agent’s responsibility to represent their clients’ best interests.

So we wouldn’t consider any of the above examples (or anything else you could throw at us) crazy…because if it is a concern for our clients, it is a concern for us.

Wishing you nothing but luck this Friday the 13th.

P.S. Out of curiosity… do you have any superstitions when it comes to buying and selling a house? Let me know, we’d love to hear! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com

These Are the Kitchen Features Home Buyers Are Looking For

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The kitchen is the heart of the home; for many buyers, the design, features, and amenities of a kitchen can make or break a home sale.

So what, exactly, are buyers looking for in their kitchens in 2021?

recent survey from the National Association of Home Builders asked over 3000 recent or prospective homebuyers to rate how important different kitchen features were in their home purchase. Some of the top features buyers ranked as “essential” (defined as “unlikely to buy a home without this feature”) or “desirable” (defined as “seriously influenced to buy home if included”) are:

  • Side-by-side double sink: 81 percent
  • Walk-in pantry: 81 percent
  • Table space for eating: 78 percent
  • Central island: 77 percent
  • Drinking water filtration: 76 percent
  • Granite or natural stone countertops: 73 percent

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? If you’re thinking about selling your home (or renovating your kitchen!) knowing the kitchen features buyers want most can help you position your house in a way that appeals to potential buyers—which can help you sell faster and for a higher profit. Give us a call and let’s talk kitchens! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com