TASK TEAM UPDATES

Cleveland Real Estate

Last month, The Task Team sold 18 homes! The national median home price rose to $239,700; which is about an $8,000 increase from this time last year. Projected home sales also rose to 5.5 million this month. If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, now is the perfect time! 

FINANCIAL TIPS

Four Ways to Build Home Equity

Equity is the percentage amount of your home that you actually own. You have three ways to build your ownership stake: through the purchase, through the reducing principal and through the passage of time.

  1. Down payment: You gain instant equity when you put down a down payment. If you put 20 percent down, your equity ownership is 20 percent.
  2. Purchase price: You can also gain instant equity by buying your home below the market. That’s difficult to do because homes don’t typically sell below market unless there is some sort of problem, such as poor condition, lack of updates or foreclosure. To build equity, invest in updates and repairs to bring your home up to neighborhood standards.
  3. Paying down principal: As you pay your mortgage, little goes toward reducing the principal while a lot goes to paying interest.The longer the term of your loan, the less quickly you’ll build equity. Work with your lender to choose an adjustable rate or fixed rate for the length of time you think you’ll be in your home.
  4. Time: Historically, home values tend to beat inflation by one or two percentage points, which means you can estimate a rise in your home’s value to average about three to five percent annually in a normal market.

It takes time to build equity this way, but when you combine principal reduction with buying wisely and caring for your home so that it retains its desirability, you’ll find that you build equity quickly and steadily.

HOMEBUYING TIPS

Best Advice For First-time Home Buyers

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you’ll have a much easier time finding and financing your next home if you follow these tried and true tips

  1. Hire an experienced real estate professional:Buying a first home is a complex process. Your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices professional will assist you through the hurdles of neighborhood searches, comparing homes, making an offer, inspections and appraisals, as well as help you identify the best values.
  2. Check and repair your credit: Banks use your credit scores to make lending decisions, so make sure your credit is accurate and deficiency-free. Order your credit reports and scores by visitinghttp://www.annualcreditreport.com so you can make repairs, if needed.
  3. Get pre-approved: To get pre-approval, you have to apply for a loan and share your income, work history, debts and other information. Your lender will confirm your down payment source, interest rate, type of loan and loan term. Only then will you know exactly how much home you can buy.
  4. Check out federal, state and local government incentives: To learn about first-time home buyer programs, see: http://www.grants.gov or http://www.hud.gov. Click on Housing Authorities to find out what’s being offered in your community.
  5. Prepare to compromise: There’s no perfect home, so you’ll have to prioritize your wish list. Older homes often need cosmetic work so expect to pay more for a home in pristine move-in condition.
  6. Make a long-term investment: Equity is built over time, so plan to occupy your home for several years or more. Your home is also an investment in happiness and that can be the best deal you ever make.

HOMESELLING TIPS

Four Ways to Price Your Home To Sell

Is your home really worth your asking price? The best way to answer that question is to consider the same criteria that homebuyers do: market conditions, location, condition and price.

  1. Market conditions: Smart buyers hire a real estate professional to help them navigate market conditions—whether their city, neighborhood and price range is in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market and what strategies to employ to get the best home possible for their money. The greater the inventory, the more room buyers have to negotiate.
  2. Location: Buyers narrow their searches to neighborhoods within their price ranges. They look at your home and its competitors and choose the one they perceive to be the best value.
  3. Condition: Your competition is not only other similar homes in your area, but what buyers could get if they purchased brand-new. Your buyer is comparing size, number of bedrooms and baths, amenities, updates, views, landscaping and décor. The closer you can put your home to move-in readiness, the higher the price buyers will pay.
  4. Price: Price your home to get immediate and serious offers. You can’t put a price on everything, but many features such as fine workmanship, room flow and convenient storage are simply worth more to buyers. A buyer may compromise on a neighborhood, or they may pick a home in less than perfect condition, but only if the price is right.

Trust your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices professional to show you how to make your home the best choice in any market.

HOME IMPROVEMENT TIPS

The 60/30/10 Color Rule

To paint and decorate your home without worrying whether you’re going overboard with color, try the classic interior design rule known as the 60/30/10 rule. It’s a foolproof way to divide your color scheme into primary, secondary and accent colors by assigning them percentage values.

The primary color is the largest block of color and will act as your neutral. You can use a true neutral like beige, grey, or white, or try a soft tint of your favorite color. The secondary color is the anchor and works well on upholstery and bedspreads. The accent color should have the most color intensity and is used sparingly in pillows, chair seats or oil paintings. Outside, the primary color is the brick, stucco or siding, the trim is the secondary color and the front door, porch chairs, or planter pots are the accent.

If you choose a deep shade for walls, give the paint a satin finish for sophistication. A dark color can easily look chalky. And the opposite is true—a light color can become blinding in a shiny finish. If you have lots of fine wood trim, paint baseboards, crown moldings and door and window trims in a complementary hue like white or cream.

To test a paint chip for accuracy, hold it parallel to the wall under natural light. Buy sample jars and test the colors on large poster boards you can tape to the walls. Watch how the colors change throughout the day and evening under artificial light.

Remember, interior colors always tend to go darker, while exterior colors appear lighter.