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Top Lifestyle Considerations for Buying a Home

You’re not just buying a house, you’re buying a lifestyle! That means when you’re writing out your list of must have home features and deal breakers, you need to think beyond the “house data” and figure out which features to focus on that will give you the lifestyle you want to live! As a buyer, you might say you’re looking for a 3 bedroom home with a finished basement on at least an acre and with an updated kitchen. An example of what you really might be looking for is a place to raise your growing family, a kitchen that overlooks the private backyard where you can watch your kids play catch while you make dinner, and extra space in the basement for games, toys and movie night! That’s just an example but I think you get the idea. So the lifestyle you are going to have in your new home is something you want to consider when determining which home features are best for your needs.

Number one – LOCATION MATTERS FOR YOUR LIFESTYLE! You hear it all the time in the real estate world – it’s all about the location, location, location, location… and it really is true! Because while you can change paint colors, counter tops and put on that massive deck you’ve always dreamed of, you can’t move your house to a new spot (not without a lot of money anyways).

Think of things like what your work commute will be like, how far of a drive you’re willing to have each day, the features you want in your community, and the school district you want to be in if that is important to you. Do you want to be in walking distance to the downtown? Do you want to be set further back from the road for privacy? What about the size of the city you live in? Do you want the feel of a small town lifestyle or are you happier in a busier city? The location of your home will be something that isn’t going to change so figure out what is essential to you when it comes to the location of your home and the lifestyle it will create!

Now let’s talk about the home features that fit your lifestyle. When you think of home features it’s easy to automatically jump to your running list of criteria such as the size of the garage, how many bedrooms you want, that must have updated kitchen and all of the “house data” like I mentioned. However, you are ultimately buying a lifestyle, not just a house. So I have some things for you to consider when it comes to the type of lifestyle you are ultimately looking for when you make a move! Write down these questions and really think about what your answers are:

  1. Where do you spend most of your time at home? If you love to cook and spend most of your time in the kitchen, you’ll want to prioritize the layout of the kitchen when looking for a home. You can always add in upgraded quartz countertops or that dreamy double oven but the size, layout and location of the kitchen should be a top concern if you don’t want to do any major renovations.
  2. What is something you wish you had in your current home?
  3. What is something you don’t want any longer in your current home? Is your yard a lot to maintain and you want something smaller with a lot less maintenance? Maybe it’s the opposite and your current yard is just too small for the lifestyle you have making one of your top priorities having a bigger yard with privacy.
  4. How much space do you need to live comfortably and be able to enjoy the things you love the most?

Are you hoping to have enough bathrooms to avoid chaotic mornings?

These questions will help you determine which features could be the most important to focus on when the time comes to look for a new home. Maybe features like hardwood floors aren’t as necessary as having a layout that is perfect for entertaining and hosting holiday parties. You can always swap out flooring later but the layout will be a little harder to change!

Think about how much time you want to put into your house. Do home flipping shows on HGTV resemble your homeownership goals? Many buyers are intent on finding a house they can remodel exactly they want they want which is awesome! However, they often don’t realize how much work, time and money it can take. HGTV can make remodeling and flipping houses look a lot easier than it is in reality. Consider how much time you have to spend on home projects before getting yourself into something that is over your head and potentially over your budget which leads us to…

Your lifestyle budget. Lastly, make sure to budget for your lifestyle, not just your house. It’s important to consider how much you can afford comfortably, not just what you can afford on paper.  Many buyers are pre-approved for a significantly higher amount than what they are actually comfortable spending on a monthly basis. Think about other expenses you have when it comes to your lifestyle – what else is important to you? Do you love to travel or go out to nice dinners on a regular basis? Do you love attending as many games of your favorite football team as possible? What hobbies do you have that cost money every month?  Make sure the amount you spend on your house doesn’t eat up all of your extra funds so you’re glued to the house and can’t have any fun doing the things you love!

There you have it, the top lifestyle considerations for buying a home! Location, home features that fit your lifestyle, how much work you’re willing to do and remember to budget for your lifestyle! If you’re considering buying a new home in the near future and you want to chat more about the type of lifestyle you’re looking for, comment below or send me a direct message so we can set up a time to grab coffee!

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What is the One Thing You Can Do as a Seller to Impress Buyers When Selling Your Home?

As a seller, there are a lot of things you can do to prepare your home for sale that will help attract buyers! However, there is one specific detail that really makes an impression that not many sellers are doing!

My #1 Tip: PROVIDE THE PAPERWORK

Get a binder for $3 at Target and start to accumulate all of the paperwork you have on your house. Receipts from updates you’ve done, permits that were pulled, manuals for appliances, smart home tech how to’s, and any information you have on the age of the Roof, AC, furnace and other mechanicals.

As a bonus, you could create a 1-2 page document that lists the ages of your mechanicals, the updates you’ve done, your favorite features and any other important information about your home. Put this list at the front of the binder and stick everything else inside.

Providing buyers with all of the home’s information up front, will not only make you stand out as a seller but it will really give the impression that the house has been well taken care of and that you also care about the next owners who are going to live there.

Do you want to learn more tips on how to impress buyers when listing your home for sale? Make sure you’re following my Facebook page and scroll through for other helpful blog articles and local information!

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The Reasons Why Your Offer Was Rejected

You find the perfect house, start creating all of your Home Décor Pinterest boards and BAM – you find out that the sellers didn’t accept your offer. Your dreams of making dinner in the beautiful farmhouse kitchen are crushed and you’re wondering what you did wrong. Well here are a few reasons your offer could’ve been rejected that can help you next time you find a house you want to write an offer on.

PS – I promise your real estate dreams aren’t crushed. There will be another one!

Reason #1: You’re Missing a Pre-approval Letter – Not only is it important to have a pre-approval letter so that you know how much house you can afford, but the sellers are very unlikely to entertain offers without them. If you haven’t taken the time to get pre-approved and show that you are serious about buying a home, why would the seller risk taking their house off the market before knowing if you can even afford the mortgage.

How to Correct This: Talk with local lenders about your options and get a pre-approval letter from them that you have in hand, ready for your Real Estate Agent to scan over with the offer.

Reason #2: You’re Unrealistic – This could relate to a few things, one of them being that you have too many contingencies. Do you have a home sale contingency before even having your house up for sale with an accepted offer? Did you include a long list of items that your offer is contingent on in addition to the absolutely necessary ones. Did you ask for the wine fridge and pool table when the sellers said they are not included? Many items can be negotiated but if you really want the house, you need to be realistic and not over the top.

Another way you can appear unrealistic is to low-ball the sellers with your offer price. When this happens, the sellers may get offended of think you’re not serious. Have market data that backs up your offer price rather than throwing out a number that you think you want to pay if you want to be taken seriously.

One more reason you might be being unrealistic is that you gave the sellers an extremely short turnaround time to respond to your offer. This is a MAJOR turn off. Even if you are in a competitive offer situation, you should focus on strengthening your offer and submitting what you feel is the best you can do rather than pushing the sellers to respond in an unreasonable amount of time.

How to Avoid This: Stick to what is the most important to you when it comes to writing offer contingencies. Make sure you’re going over market data with your Real Estate Agent so that you’re backing up the offer price you’re putting out there. Lastly, give the sellers a reasonable turnaround time. Pushing them into a corner will not result in getting what you want and it will only get you off to a bad start with them.

Reason #3: The Seller is Difficult or Unrealistic – This one isn’t necessarily you can do much about but it could be the reason your offer didn’t get accepted. Unfortunately there are some sellers who are going to be very difficult to work with or unrealistic no matter how strong your offer is.

How to Avoid This: While this one isn’t entirely avoidable, it’s important that before starting your home search that you understand that some sellers are just going to be difficult. Having the expectation that not every seller will agree to what you offer will help eliminate a lot of frustration for you as a buyer when your offer is rejected.

Reason #4: Your Buyer’s Agent Isn’t Easy to Work With – You might be wondering what the buyer’s agent has to do with how much you’re offering the seller. Well the buyer’s agent actually plays a very crucial role in this process because whoever you choose is going to be the one communicating with and negotiating with the listing agent and therefore the sellers, throughout the entire transaction. If the listing agent has had bad experiences with them in the past, they may share this with the sellers, making your offer less appealing.

How to Avoid This: Make sure you’re interviewing your Buyer’s Agent before committing to working with them. Find out what their negotiating style is and get a feel for their personality. Do they seem easy to work with or like they’d make others mad?

Reason #5: You Didn’t Find Out the Seller’s Timeframe or Situation – If you and your agent write an offer without ever asking the listing agent what is important to the seller such as their timeframe for closing or any other factors that might be deal breakers, you might put yourself out of the running when the seller has to decide whether or not they want to accept your offer.

How to Avoid This: Make sure your agent takes the time to get in touch with the listing agent and find out any details that may help you write a more desirable offer.

If your first offer got rejected, there is likely a reason. The best way to make sure your next offer is accepted is to go in fully prepared. Following these guidelines will not only prepare you for what to expect but can help set you up for success! Soon you’ll be entertaining in that beautiful open concept space you’ve been dreaming of!

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5 NEGOTIATING TACTICS THAT KILL A SALE

Negotiation is a subtle art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly. Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate professionals) should avoid:

  1. Lowball offers: Going far below market value when you make an offer damages your credibility as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept, and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider the offer.
  2. Incremental negotiations: Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities.
  3. “Take it or leave it”: Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive and consider other offers if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it.
  4. Nitpicking after inspection: Obviously if inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate.
  5. Asking for more, more, more: Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to build up resentment and think that you’re being greedy.
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Random Acts of Kindness – Part 2 (Santa Style)

Ella & I have been showered with multiple acts of kindness in recent days. Example #2.

For the 2nd year we went to the Egg Nog Jog at the speedway, it’s a 5k through the Christmas lights the night before they open it up for the cars to drive through.

We went with Ellen Key and her thoughtful son Hudson. (Friends, why don’t more of you join us for this? It is really so much fun!) After the race (aka walk) they have fireworks and their Christmas Village is open.

Busy weekend, we were running late, although we were not alone. We hit the Start Line about 20-30 minutes after the actual start, which was ideal. It’s a very crowded event so it was nice to have space.

We had a prime spot for the fireworks. After we finished we went to the Christmas Village. It was so late (in kid time) by the time we were ready to head out. Before the drive home Ellen & I took turns running to the bathroom while the kids watched Santa talk to kids on his sleigh.

Of course, while I was in the bathroom, Santa walked over to visit with Ella. I heard about it when I returned. But they didn’t know what Ella wanted for Christmas and couldn’t figure it out. I told Ella we would write him a letter and probably see him again before Christmas to tell him. She didn’t like my answer but didn’t fight leaving.

We were headed to the parking lot when we were chased down by an Elf. Santa wanted to see Ella. And here comes Santa, outside following us. He had wanted to see her again after I was out of the bathroom to see if I could help him understand what she wanted for Christmas – and to have a free photo opportunity with him. Ella & I were able to tell him exactly what she wants for Christmas ❤️

And did you know that one of Santa’s favorite books is Go Dog, Go!???

Example #2 was the same day as Example #1 and this mama’s heart is overflowing with joy. I believe in the genuine kindness of people. I challenge everyone who reads about our experiences to spread this kind of love and joy! #eggnogjog