3 Signs Are You Ready to Buy a Home

Blog-Post---Signs-You-are-Ready-to-Buy-a-Home---DaneneIf you are renting an apartment or a home, you may feel like you are throwing money away month after month.  But how do you know if you are ready to buy a home?  There are many factors that go into what will be one of the biggest decisions of your life, and here are 3 signs that you may be ready to start looking for your first home.

  1. Are you ready to commit? Buying a home encompasses many different types of commitment. While people don’t usually spend the rest of their lives in the same home, they typically spend 5+ years in a house.  If you have been in your current location for several years you may be ready to choose a long-term location.  Also, realize you are committing to the care and upkeep of your home.  If you find yourself completing small repairs and improvements around your current space, you are definitely ready to care for your own home.
  2. Are your rent costs close to or larger than a mortgage payment would be? If you are spending close to what a house payment for your area, (taking credit, available loan programs, and other factors in to consideration) perhaps you are ready to purchase a home. When you purchase a home, you are building equity that will benefit you in the future.  When you are paying rents, you retain no benefit and build no value.  Talk with a qualified Loan Officer to see what your mortgage payment would be.  If your rent is equal to or greater than a payment on a similar sized home, you may be ready to buy.
  3. Do you have money in the bank? I am not talking about a few dollars left over at the end of the month. If you have been saving and have amassed more than just an emergency fund you may be ready to buy a home.  While most home purchases do require some type of down payment that you would need money for, the larger factor is that you are in the habit of living within your means and saving money.  Buying a home is a large investment that you will be paying on over time and strong money management skills are a great sign you are ready to take the next step.

If you answered yes to one or more of these signs the next step will be speaking with a qualified Loan Officer and looking at all your options.

 

5 Tips for Planning Your First Garden

Blog-Post---5-garden-tips---DaneneMoving into a new home is abundant with opportunity and the addition of a home garden is usually at the top of the list.  Whether you are a master gardener or a first timer the steps to planning out a garden are about the same.   Follow these simple steps to ensure you get a garden you’ll love and actually use.

  1. Draw up a rough plan- start by mapping out a rough shape and size. A good way to do this is to take a look at where you will be placing the garden and sketch it and other major features (trees, fences, etc.) onto graph paper.  Remember that you will be moving things around so a pencil would be best.
  2. Start small- The best rule of thumb for creating a garden is to go small and leave room to expand later. Many ambitious gardeners set out to develop a large garden that quickly becomes overwhelming with upkeep and the amount of produce being produced.  You can always add additional area, but you can’t undo gardening burnout!
  3. Consider prep work- when mapping out the area to turn into your garden keep in mind the work that will be required to prepare for gardening. If you have very rocky soil are you going to do rock removal, bring in dirt, or build raised beds?  If the area you are looking at is currently overgrown with thorny bushes or is set up as a pond are you willing to put in the work to use the area?  Is there another area that would also be great but take much less effort to set up?
  4. Consider watering- When setting up a garden most gardeners don’t consider the availability of water, one of the most essential ingredients to healthy plants!! Of course, in most areas water is easily accessible; however, will you need to pull hoses to the area, haul large buckets, or set up a water delivery system?  All these factors will add to or subtract from how much you enjoy your garden.
  5. Plan for food you already eat- moving into a new house, setting up your first garden, and overhauling the way you eat are pretty difficult to tackle at the same time. The thought of fresh produce being readily available at any time tends to inspire new gardeners to plant everything they can get their hands on, even if it isn’t something that they eat regularly.  Over planting adds to the workload and can decrease the enjoyment of your garden is a couple of different ways.  First, you will have more area to water and more area to control the weeds.  Second, if you don’t use the produce it will decompose in the garden which attracts pests and smells terrible; however, if you pick the produce and it goes to waste in your fridge or on your cupboard you will feel like your hard work is being tossed in the garbage.

Remember that gardening is supposed to be enjoyable!  By following these steps in planning your garden you can avoid a few of the pitfalls that can have you off the gardening bandwagon in less than one growing season.

5 Apps To Help Save You

Blog-Post---5-Apps-graphics---DaneneIn true millennial fashion saving for your first home has gone mobile.  Believe it or not here are a few apps to help with just that…

Simple– True to its name this app makes managing your budget so easy.  It will tell you how much money you have left over to spend (or save) after taking your goals and bills into account.

YNAB–  YNAB stands for “you need a budget” and its goal is to give you just that.  This app has a 34 day free trial period to let you test the waters.  You connect your accounts so that the app can decide just how much you are working with.  Then, you set up your spending categories (or use their defaults) to track where your money is going.  The interface looks very user-friendly and since it is an app is easy to use on the go.

Tiller– Do you love manually entering in data and tracking spending in spreadsheets?  Yeah, neither do I, but Tiller offers a solution that does it for you.  Link you accounts and walk through the setup tutorial to create an automated spreadsheet that is customized to your financial goals (also offers a 30 day free trial).

Digit– This brainy app checks your spending habits and automatically moves a few dollars from your checking if you can afford it.  You can withdraw your money anytime from your digit account but won’t see it in your checking account for frivolous spending.

Tip Yourself– This is by far my favorite spending but saving app out there!  Tip yourself does just what it says.  You reward yourself for different things by giving yourself a “tip.”  You have unlimited transactions for those times you are on fire.  This way you can save for your down payment or for anything you deem worthy of breaking into your tip jar.

No matter how you decide to start or manage your savings these tools can help.  What are some of your favorite budgeting/saving apps?  Do you use them frequently?  Do they help you save?

 

What Are The Different Types of Home Loans Available in Utah?

canstockphoto27398 (1)VA, USDA, or FHA?  Are you wondering what all the terms mean?  When it comes to buying a home, there are so many terms it’s hard to keep them all straight.  Here is a quick guide to demystify the names used for different types of loans and loan products here in Utah.

  • Conventional- a conventional loan or conventional mortgage refers to a loan that is not insured or guaranteed by the federal government. A conventional, or conforming, mortgage adheres to the guidelines set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  It may have either a fixed or adjustable rate.
  • FHA- FHA stands for Federal Housing Administration, FHA is not actually a type of loan but insurance that protects the lender from a loss if the borrower defaults on the loan.
  • VA- VA stands for Veterans Affairs and is a loan in the United States guaranteed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The loan is issued through qualified lenders.  The VA loan was designed to offer long-term financing to eligible American veterans or their surviving spouses.
  • Utah Housing- Utah Housing Corporation loans allow an eligible borrower, to borrow all or a portion of their down payment and closing costs. Qualified borrowers are able to purchase a home with little to nothing down if they qualify.  This loan is a second mortgage.
  • USDA- USDA loans are mortgages backed by the United States Department of Agriculture as part of its USDA Rural Development guaranteed housing loan program. USDA loans may offer up to 100% financing with reduced mortgage insurance premiums and feature fellow-market mortgage rates.
  • Jumbo- Jumbo loans refer to any loan amount that exceeds the conforming loan limits established by regulation.  For most of the United States the limit is $417, 000 (as of the time of this posting).  These loans typically require 2 appraisals instead of just 1 and require higher down payments (up to 30%)!
  • Construction- A construction loan is typically a short-term loan used to pay for the cost of building a home. It may be offered for a term (typically one year) to allow time to build your home.  At the end of construction, when the house is done, you will need to get a new loan to pay off the construction loan.
  • Fixed- A fixed rate mortgage is a loan that has a fixed interest rate for the entire term of the loan. The distinguishing factor of a fixed rate mortgage is that the interest rate over the entire period of the loan is set at the time the loan is originated.
  • Adjustable- An adjustable rate mortgage is a loan on which the interest is figured according to a predetermined formula. The interest rate can vary through the life of the loan through specific terms.  It is typically tied to the prime rate or another interest rate.

Working with a qualified Loan Officer will take all the worry out of what type of loan is right for you.  If you are ready to start your home buying process but feel overwhelmed with all the lingo, options, and steps just click here to be paired with a Loan Officer that will work with you.

 

New Build Advice

Are you building a home in 2017? That’s exciting news! Now, here’s what you need to know before you break ground on your new house.house-1158139_1280

Location
The old real estate adage “it’s all about location, location, location” couldn’t be more true especially when you’re constructing a new house. Housing, zoning and even real estate laws vary state-by-state, county-by-county and city-by-city. Understanding the laws relevant to where you are going to live is paramount to new build success. Our agents make it relatively easy to learn and digest all of the information you need about permits and home building regulations.

Price
Building a home can be more complicated than simply purchasing one. Instead of using a lump sum to buy a home, you have to decide upon all the conjoining labor, materials and finishes to acquire a final price. Often times this means balancing different materials used in different parts of the home to stay within budget. Aside from cost, personal preference plays a large role in choosing materials. However, certain materials continue to stay trending in 2017 such as granite counter tops while others like bamboo flooring can stay in 2016. Concerning the general market, experts predict that mortgage rates, home sales and prices will continue to rise in the coming year.

Reputation
While there are many builders in the sea, not all of them are created equal. It’s vital that you shop around. Do your research and check the reputation of builders you are considering. Start by searching reviews online. Find out what did their previous liked or disliked. Then inquire about builders from family, friends and coworkers who have recently built a home. We recommend using builders who are members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Green
The trend of going green and building homes that are energy-efficient and environmentally friendly has been gaining popularity for more than a decade now and continues to do so in 2017. Selecting energy-efficient options when building your dream home will pay off in the long run due to reduced utility costs and increased resale value. Materials and products across the board have gotten better throughout the years. However, there are styles that are better still. Take windows for example, overall windows are more efficient but picture windows that do not open are better at protecting your home from drafts.

Resale
Whether this your first or fifth build, it’s highly unlikely that it will be your last. No matter how much you end up loving the house, you should be mindful of its potential resale value. Avoid adding so many upgrades that force you to overprice your home for the neighborhood. Don’t go crazy and choose anything too out of the ordinary. In reality, our homes are investments and as a general rule of thumb ask yourself, “Will the features I am considering appeal to others?”

Sticking to New Year Resolutions

rock-1573068_1280From losing weight, getting organized, quitting smoking to spending less or saving mire, we often make grand resolutions at the start of a new year. Did you know that only eight percent of people keep the goals they set in January? Don’t be disheartened. We’ve compiled a list of the best advice to help you stick to your resolutions.

  1. Phrase them as if you’ve already achieved success

Positivity is truly a powerful force. Instead of saying, “I want to lose 10 pounds” or “I want to quit smoking” you might say, “I’m so grateful to be fit and healthy.” When you use gratitude to describe your goal, you spark the front portion of your brain. Research has shown that this part of the brain enhances focus and helps you identify more possibilities for success.

  1. Set small, SMART goals throughout the year

SMART goals ensure success. They are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Based. You may have a goal to lose 50 or more pounds over the course of 2017. If you break this goal up into smaller and smarter portions, you are more likely to meet your goal and create lasting habits. For example, a more realistic and measurable goal might be to lose five pounds in January and reevaluate from there.

  1. Repetition strengthens new habits

You have to do more than write down your goals and get excited about them for two weeks. Breaking old habits is tough unless you understand how the brain works. Your die-hard habits have formed deep-rooted neuropathways. If your new goal is bigger or different than you have to create new beliefs, habits and neuropathways to achieve success.

  1. Plan ahead

One reason for resolutions not working out is that the makers’ lack self-control. Get ahead of yourself and plan for temptations and dealing with setbacks. Before you start your new resolution, think about potential barriers. Next, identify and create contingency plans for when you’re feeling lazy or can’t resist a smoke break.

  1. Accept failure

If you happen to sneak a cigarette, miss a work out or get short with kids, that’s okay. Accept the failure but learn from it. Identify and remember the triggers that caused the set back. Try, try and keeping trying again and again. Perseverance is the key to success.

Virtual Reality in Real Estate The Next Big Thing

As we move into the New Year, we are going to see a lot of changes—good and maybe not so good—but one that is changing the real estate industry is virtual reality. In today’s world, the better experience you can give your clients the better you’ll be able to grow your business and brand. One of those ways is through virtual reality tours. Although they’ve these types of tours have been around for awhile, there are growing in popularity and for good reason. clouds-1845517_640

According to an article by LinkedIn, there are a lot of benefits for using virtual reality in your real estate business. From the studies mentioned in the article, some of the benefits include:

  • Real estate listings which have virtual tours received 403% more inquiries than those listings that don’t have a video.
  • 73% of homeowners are more likely to hire an agent who uses virtual reality tours to market their homes.
  • When looking to buy a home, 40% of prospective buyers say that virtual tours were very informative and useful when making a decision.

In addition to grabbing people’s attention and providing potential homebuyers with 3D images to increase the chances they’ll make an offer, there are some benefits for real estate agents too. Virtual reality tours allow agents to show a home or give clients a tour of the property if there are certain time constraints or if you aren’t able to show the property in person (i.e. overscheduled and unable to meet with a client or if a client is stuck in traffic).

Agents, are you using virtual reality? What have you found most beneficial with using virtual reality in your marketing and advertising campaigns? Share your comments with us below.

Welcome Ben Eddy

Ben Eddy WelcomeWe are moving closer to the New Year and with it brings new agents! RE/MAX Metro is excited to introduce you to our newest agent, Benjamin Eddy! Ben joins our team with a passion for real estate and helping people find their dream home. In his spare time, Ben enjoys golfing, exercising, and hanging out with his friends and family.

Welcome to the team, Ben! We are thrilled to have you join us and are looking forward to working with you.
Ben Eddy
801-710-0008
BenEddyRealtor@gmail.com

Fun Winter Activities

ice-skating-235541_640As we settle into the winter season, enjoying the snow and fun that comes with the cold, now is the time to get outside and enjoy some wonderful winter activities. This year, take a moment to explore some of these events—

Running from December 1st until the 6th is the Simple Treasures Holiday Boutique in Ogden. This is a great craft fair with lots of items to get you in the holiday spirit. Plus, have some neighbor gifts you need to buy? This is the place to get all your holiday shopping done.

In the mood to see a live show? The Grand Theatre is putting on the play, Amahl and the Night Visitors, from December 1st until the 3rd. Or, if you are looking for a show that is more familiar, Centerpointe Theatre is putting on It’s A Wonderful Life!

If you’re looking to get out into the fresh air, make sure to visit the Station Park Holiday Ice Rink. If you’ve never been ice skating before, this is a fun experience for the entire family to enjoy. Another fun idea is to check out the Glass At The Garden at Red Butte Garden (running until December 18, 2016). This is a stunning art show of glass (which is also is available for sale).

What do you love most about winter? Tell us about some events and activities you love to do once the snow flies.