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Jutta "Utah" Burden

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Five Reasons to Use a Real Estate Agent When Selling

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Five  Reasons to Use a Real Estate Agent When Selling

When selling real estate, sometimes it better to hire the professional that to ensure the job gets done right.  This can be said for many things in life.  Nobody is an expert at everything, which is why there are trained and experienced professionals in every industry. Unless you’re experienced in selling real estate, hiring a real estate agent to sell your home is the smart way to go.

U.S. News & World Report came up with 5 reasons why they think it’s important as well….

1. Employ an expert: A typical property owner does not have anywhere near the home-selling experience of a real estate agent. Agents can recommend relatively simple improvements—painting, making repairs, de cluttering—that can help a home sell faster and for a better price. “The Realtor is the neighborhood expert,” Moore says. “We can walk through a property and see right away what needs to be done to [get the home sold].” Independent sellers might not be aware of these tricks of the trade.

2. Use better tools: Homeowners using agents can get their property listed on Realtor.com, “which has more far-reaching access to market that property—with over 3 million properties on it—than the for-sale-by-owner sites, which have tens of thousands,” Moore says. Independent sellers do not have access to this service.

3. Sidestep lawsuits: Agents can also protect sellers from potential litigation. “There are all kinds of liability issues that a seller could potentially face when…dealing one on one with a buyer,” Moore says. A homeowner could, for example, tell a potential buyer that hardwood floors extend to all corners of the house underneath the wall-to-wall carpeting. But if even one room has cement flooring, the homeowner could be sued, Moore says. Agents, who have experience dealing with these liability issues, can help homeowners dodge such scenarios.

4. Duck the riffraff: Independent sellers might not have any idea whom they are letting into their homes during open houses. These potential buyers might not have the credit to make the purchase—and would therefore be wasting the homeowner’s time—or could even “try to rob them later on,” Moore says. “It’s a very scary kind of thing.” She says that homeowners working with agents will have qualified buyers visiting their properties.

5. Avoid hardball tactics: It’s a buyer’s market out there. And with all the information available online, today’s well-informed buyers are tough negotiators, too. Real estate agents have been through the home-selling process before and are trained in negotiating tactics—giving them a potential edge in hammering out a deal in the seller’s best interest. “It’s hard to do that with your own property, particularly if you are not a professional,” Moore says.

All these points are important, but #5 caught my attention the most. It is a buyer’s market, you know it and so do the buyers! If you are not trained in negotiating tactics when the potential hone buyer approaches with an offer, you could be manipulated to sell well below what you’re asking. A trained professional will ensure this does not happen.

In the end, paying the real estate agent fees may be worth it. It could cost considerably more to be out-negotiated.

Relocating?

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

There are many things to consider when you’re relocating.  Packing, finding boxes, moving, paper work, and staying sane while your family drives you crazy are just a few of many things you will have to juggle when relocating. With these tips, you can salvage a bit of your sanity.

Ask for help. Why spend more money than you have to? Buying boxes can be a big pain, so being on the lookout for free boxes should be a priority. Look around for places you shop, friends and families that have a surplus of boxes, or inquire in offices for boxes. While you’re at it, ask your friends if they can help you move, or if you could borrow a few moving tools!

Pack with finesse. Don’t throw everything in boxes without thinking; be a bit conscientious when you pack. By having a plan of attack when you pack, you can make an easier unpack! Place the important items together while leaving unimportant items in the same box. Label your boxes, so you immediately know the general items in the box. Coordinate which boxes will go into what room.

Don’t cook food. After a day of moving, the last thing on your mind is cooking your family a nice meal. Research the area and find a delivery service. Granted, you might be limited to only pizza or Chinese, but it’s better than eating nothing! Ask your new neighbors if they have any suggestions, this could be a great way to introduce yourself to them. Look at reviews before you order. I’ve heard some horrific pizza delivery stories.

Slow down. One reason you may be stressed out is because you are on high speed. Take a deep breath and slow down. One way to make a move easier is to move in your new place little by little. You can also use a storage unit to make it a bit easier. Moving doesn’t have to happen all at once. Take a deep breath and take it slow.

 

 

Your Home Buying Goals

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

For most people, buying a home is about giving household members more comfortable living arrangements and putting them closer to jobs, favorite activities, family and friends.

What are your goals for buying a home?

Consumers have new respect for homes as investments. But your investment is still a home, one you're likely to occupy for many years.

When you buy, make your goals long-term. Buy within your means, but choose the best home you think will serve your household's needs for the longest period of time. The longer you own a home, the more equity you'll build. Today's market conditions and affordability make it more likely that you will reach your home buying goals, no matter what they are. If you're not certain, you might think about what would.

You might want a different kind of living experience, such as moving from an apartment to a single-family home with a private garage and yard. Your family may be growing, so you have to think about school districts and proximity to parks and other recreation. Affordability may also be an important factor for you. The combination of low interest rates and still-low prices allows you to buy more homes for the money.

Homeownership brings many benefits. When you buy your first home, you’ll become part of a community and experience the security of owning the roof over your head. As a homeowner, you may also be able to

Take control. Avoid rent increases and cancelled leases while creating a home that meets your needs and tastes.

Build home equity. Grow your assets with the principal portion of your mortgage payments as your property value potentially increases.

Get tax benefits. Deduct mortgage interest and real estate property taxes on your income tax returns. (Consult a tax advisor regarding the deductibility of interest).

Build your credit. Create a strong credit history by making on-time mortgage payments.

What should You Consider before buying a home?

Home ownership is a serious and long-term commitment: financially, geographically, emotionally, and more.

Give careful thought to these factors.

Financial responsibility. You’ll need to pay for utilities, maintenance, and repairs — on top of your mortgage payments, property taxes, and homeowners insurance.

Potential risk. Real estate often increases in value over time, but not always. Your property value can also go down.

Tighter ties. As a renter, you can pick up and move with short notice. When you own a home, selling it before moving on is more complicated.

Buying a Home for your Parents?

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

If you’ve reached the point where you’re financially stable, helping Mom and Dad obtain a new home may seem like a dream come true. But it’s also a decision that’s more complicated – and more risky. There are a number of ways in which adult children can assist their parents with a new home purchase, from cosigning on a loan to offering funds for a down payment. Before proceeding, it’s important to realize the pros and cons of each approach.


 

Cosigning on a Mortgage

If your parents have limited income, the simplest way to help is by cosigning the mortgage.

Cosigning-The act of signing for another person's debt which involves a legal obligation made by the cosigner to make payment on the other person's debt should that person default. Having a cosigner is way for individuals with a low income or poor/limited credit history to obtain financing.

Cosigning may also benefit you if your parents are reaching a more advanced age. The reason: When the child’s name is on the title and designated as a joint tenant with right of survivorship, the property will immediately transfer to them after the parents’ death. That can eliminate a lengthy and complex probate process.

Cons:

Regardless of whether you live in the home or not, you’re equally responsible for the mortgage payments. If your parents fall behind a few years down the line, it will likely end up on your credit report. In fact, cosigning can hurt your credit even if your folks consistently pay on time. Other lenders will see that you’ve taken out a large loan, even though you don’t live in the home. Should you want to find a bigger house yourself, the decision to cosign could make it more difficult to get approved for a mortgage. The upshot is that while cosigning might seem like a relatively trivial move, it can have some very real consequences down the road.


Down Payment Assistance

Another way to help – and one that won’t put your credit in peril – is offering assistance with your parents’ down payment. This can be a powerful tool for seniors in particular, because a smaller loan is easier to pay down on a fixed income.

But unless you have unusually deep pockets, it’s worth considering the long-term effects of this strategy, too. Any money you provide your parents now is money that you won’t be able to have during your own retirement, or for your kids’ college tuition.

To avoid that problem, experts say it’s better to give the money far in advance. That way, when your parents do apply for the mortgage and the lender asks for the most recent bank statements, that deposit won’t show up.

Be aware that there may be long-term tax implications, depending on the size of the gift. The IRS allows individuals to give up to $14,000 a year to each recipient. Any amount beyond that goes against the donor’s lifetime gift-tax exclusion, which could result in a tax on larger estates.

If you’re giving money to both parents, that means you can give each one $14,000 without cutting into the lifetime exclusion (if you have a spouse, he or she can also gift up to $14,000 to each parent). For amounts larger than that, you may consider breaking the gift into separate installments to stay under the annual limit.

Know Your Expenses Before You Buy

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

For many, home ownership is still a dream. Moving from renting can seem like it’s an impossible mission. But if you plan ahead and carefully budget, the goal of home ownership can be yours.

When budgeting how much home you can afford, it’s important to understand and anticipate the costs of owning and maintaining a home. Here are a few things that some first-time buyers forget to include. 

Private Mortgage Insurance

This is added on to your mortgage when the down payment is less than 20 percent. You can buy a home with less money but you’ll pay the PMI which covers the lender should a home buyer default on the loan. As you build up equity, your PMI drops off.

Taxes

Property taxes generate revenue for municipalities, counties, and schools. It’s an expense that can vary across the U.S. However, on average, it’s 1.38 percent of the home’s value. Back East tends to have the highest property taxes.

HOA Fees

Homeowners’ Association fees (HOA) can add several hundred dollars to your monthly household expenses. These HOAs help to maintain common areas, typically within condominium complexes. They also govern what can be done to the unit and the surrounding area. While there is an up side to HOAs, some buyers prefer to have more freedom over their property, perhaps, until the neighbor paints his house turquoise with red accents.

Homeowner’s insurance

Lenders require homeowner’s insurance on your property. The amount you’ll pay depends on many variables including: where you live, the age, type, size of your home. For example, older homes can cost more to insure due to the fact that they may require more repairs than newer homes. Also, high-hazard areas can cost more to insure and some insurance companies may not offer an insurance policy for your home, if you’re in a high-risk area.

Utilities and appliances

These areas can be overlooked because, often, when people are renting the appliances are taken care of. When you own your own home, be sure to consider expenses such as the water heater or dishwasher breaking down. While, you can’t exactly figure out when an appliance is going to quit working, you can set a monthly allowance aside to start establishing a household repair fund. Just don’t touch the account or when you really need it, you’ll find it’s not there for you.

Inspections, appraisals, and closing costs

Many buyers understand they will have closing costs but they fail to budget for other items such as a home inspection. Sometimes inspections are paid for by the seller but it’s usually the buyer who pays for the inspection. And, even if the homeowner recently had a home inspection and has the report, a buyer still might want to pay for an inspector to have another look to compare the findings.

Depending on the home, there may also be other inspections such as for lead paint, pests or radon gas.

While the extra expenses do add up quickly, if you carefully budget and plan ahead, the goal of home ownership is achievable and very satisfying.

 

 

A Few Aberrations For Property Sellers To Avoid

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Is is true to say that being ignorant in the real estate world can lead to the complete frailer. Actually, any occupation requires that the person working there has some special knowledge. But in the sphere of real estate the knowledge of market and strategies of sales and buys is of high importance. So if you notice that your property has been in the market too long, you should look back on the things you have done before and in the process of selling.

You may have the feeling that you are the only one experiencing these complications. In fact you are mistaken because a number of proprietors are also going through the same difficulties as yours. Here I’ll show you a number of frequently committed mistakes by most home sellers.

It can occur that people decide to sell their home because of desperation, this is the most common mistake committed by home sellers. This as well the frequent reason why they can’t sell the house. The majority of homeowners think that the easiest and quickest way to earn money is by selling their property. That is how the must sell house appears. When you at short notice decide to sell house fast, you may have problems selling it, because you may have not have prepared yourself and your home properly.

Also it can happened that you have not correctly calculated the price of your property because you disregarded its real market value. It’s really important not to underestimate or overestimate the cost of your house. Keep it in mind that the majority of buyers are turned off by overly priced homes because that intimidates them. They can also get suspicious when they see properties that are very cheap, they may think that there are legal issues included with the purchase.

One more mistake would be to give prospective clients dishonest offers in any selling transaction. You shouldn’t ever do this. Just remember that doing so will look like you have devised a scheme on how to offer a cheap price, but put in a lot of extra charges later on. Actually if you would add last minute changes before turning over the property this may result in legal arguments, don’t forget about this.

Let us consider one more reason why your property may be in the market for a long time. This may happened because you did not hire professionals like appraisers, real estate agents, lawyers, and brokers to help you in selling. Look through some advertisement in the Internet; you need to look for something like this: “sell homes in The Woodlands”. With the help of these real estate agents you can analyze the appropriate price, settle legalities, screen possible buyers, transact with lenders, and advertise your home. These will definitely make your sale more successful.

To sell your property, you need to have some special knowledge, try to avoid mistakes and be really perseverant. Hiring the professional can make the process faster
Check this link for for info
http://www.utahburden.com/seller-Resources/seller-Suggested-Reading

Avoid 10 Common Potentially Devastating Mistakes that First Time Home Buyers Make

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

 

Buying a home can be a “hair-raising” experience. It can be a roller coaster of emotions... finding the right place... securing the loan.., moving in. And, if you’re like most of us, your home will be your largest investment. The emotions over such a large and personal purchase can often cloud good business judgment.

Many home buyers do very little research before “diving in” and investing their hard-earned money. Before doing that, doesn’t it make sense to be as informed as possible? That’s what this report is all about. It’s designed to help you avoid 10 common, critical mistakes many home buyers make. If you follow these 10 suggestions, with the help of the right real estate professional, you’ll make a good sound business decision that you’ll be happy and proud of for years to come.

1. Inspect, Inspect and Inspect- Go over the inspection report with a fine tooth comb. Make sure the report was done by a professional organization. For condo purchases, go over the by-laws, and association fees. Don’t take anything for granted... inspect everything!

2. Imagine the Property Vacant- Your furnishings and decorations will be the ones filling this new residence. Don’t be swayed by beautiful furniture ... it leaves with the owner.            

3. Income Plus Lifestyle Equals Mortgage Payment- Sit down with a competent real estate professional and honestly discuss your income level and living expenses. Take into account future considerations like: children, add-ons, amenities or fix-ups. Your dream home is certainly worth a sacrifice but don’t mortgage your entire future.

4. View Several Homes- See at least 3-5 properties. Don’t move on the first property you see but... don’t move too slowly either. With your agent’s help, you’ll be able to view enough properties to get a good overall perspective of your market. And when you find the right property, all the leg work will be worth it.

5. Utilize Your Team- By aligning yourself with the right real estate professional, you’ll have an entire team working for you. Top real estate professionals have lenders, title reps, inspection teams - an entire group of trained professionals to make the whole buying experience simple and easy for you.

 

6. Failing to Have Adequate Insurance- Investment property brings liability. Tenants, cars, parking lots, property liability — the list is quite extensive. Adequate insurance coverage is an absolute must! Be sure to consult with an insurance professional and protect your hard earned assets.

7. Inspect, Approve, and Confirm All Documents- The list of documents that need to be proofed can be overwhelming to the first time investor. Building permits, zoning laws, rental and lease applications, health licenses, laundry leases, underlying loan documents, by-laws, title policies, mineral leases, inspection reports, purchase contracts, insurance., don’t attempt to do it alone. The right professional can remove most of the stress and bring the transaction to a conclusion smoothly.

8. Get a Bill of Sale For All Property Involved- Many types of personal property (appliances, furniture, fixtures, etc.) can be involved in an investment sale. Be very detailed... know who owns what!

9. Charge Fair Rents- Vacancies, turnovers and lease terminators are your biggest expense. Charge fair rents, treat your tenants with respect and respond as quickly as possible to their needs. It’s a lot less costly in the long run to take care of the little problems before they become big problems. Vacant property is your Achilles heel.

10. Select Qualified, Good Tenants From the Start- Take the time to check references. Previous landlords, employers, financial references, credit, judgments are all vitally important. If there are any questions, investigate fully. Drive by their previous residence. A little work up-front can save tremendous problems later on down the line.

11. Make Sure You get Estoppel Letters- Get letters from tenants confirming the status of tenancy. Make sure their version of the rental or lease agreement corresponds with the seller’s interpretation.

12. Don’t Spend Positive Cash Flow- Most of successful investors have free and clear properties. Be sure to re-invest your cash flow back into the property payment and speed up the amortization schedule. This decreases your debt load and increases your equity... which builds your net worth.

Investment property can be one of the most rewarding aspects of your financial portfolio. Be certain to have all your “ducks in a row” before you invest. Do your homework! Consult with a professional real estate agent and relieve yourself of the hidden troubles that can plague first time investors.

I hope this brief report has been of value to you. It is my ultimate desire to help you achieve your real estate investment goals and provide you with the most professional, efficient and effective service possible! If you have any questions or there is any way I can help, please give me a call.

Why Is My Home Not Selling?

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

 

When you first listed your home with your real estate agent probably he or she gave you some advice, that the market is tough, that buyers are picky, and that you'll have to do some work to get your home to "show" well. Maybe you didn't have the time or the money to do the repairs and updates your real estate agent suggested. Now, it’s three months later, and you've had few showings and no offers. So what can you do to help the situation?

You overpriced your home

You didn't listen when you were told that you're asking too much money. Sit down with your real estate agent and have a new price strategy to attract more buyers.

Repaint your home.

Pick a nice neutral paint color. Take everything you can out of the rooms to be painted, Put back only what is sleek, new looking, and in great condition. Anything else doesn't need to be seen by buyers, it will only drag down your home's value.

You’ve got too much stuff.

Buyers don't like overstuffed closets, and toys strewn everywhere, it just makes your house look smaller, dated and storage-deprived. So pack anything that isn't absolutely necessary for daily living and put it in storage.

Clean everything

Cleaning is essential to remove the daily odors and stains of living. Kitchens and baths are the two areas where eat-off-the-floor cleanliness is called for. Scrub tiles of mold and mildew stains, and remove hard water deposits. Clear  counter tops and polish appliances to shiny brightness.

Do those repairs

Nail down loose boards, trim bathroom drawers that stick, brighten the rooms with higher watt bulbs, and fix that leak and anything else that got you negative feedback from previous showings.

Stage the house.

Set a nice tone for showings by lighting a candle in the bathroom, putting out pretty place settings on your dining table, adding fresh flower arrangements, opening the curtains, and lighting a fire in the fireplace. Having a room do too much confuses buyers and makes the home look inadequate.

HOW TO FIND A GREAT HOME FOR SALE IN THE WOODLANDS, SPRING AND MAGNOLIA

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

How to Find Great Homes for Sale in the Woodlands, Spring and Magnolia

When you are house-hunting with kids in the ever-changing landscape of the real estate world of homes for sale in the Woodlands, comfort and security should always take precedence over other aspects, such as a big backyard or modern amenities like dishwashers and microwaves. What should be far more important is the neighborhood your children will be growing up in and the services that are nearby, most importantly the school.

All of this can be extremely stressful for most parents, but this article will help to alleviate your stress and give you a good starting point from which to start looking for homes for sale in the Woodlands.

1. Start at the bottom. The most important thing for your child is the school that they attend; your house should always be within the schools area. Keep in mind that your children's education will have a significant effect on their future, which means that it would be best for you to pick the schools you’re interested in and then aim to find homes for sale in the Woodlands near that area.

2. Tour the grounds. Before you commit to the school you’ve picked, it’s always a good idea to have a look around the campus of the prospective schools. Taking your child along will also give them an idea of which school they would like to go to and often enough, the deciding factor that determines which house you pick is based on which school you pick.

3. The area. It’s always a good idea to get a feel for the area before you move in. Take a weekend to go look around the areas that you’re interested in and get a hands on feel for the area. Pay attention to cleanliness, the state of the buildings, and the types of homes you’ll be near, is everything neat and tidy? All of these factors will help keep your houses value up.

Learning the area where your child could be growing up is of crucial importance, so take a wander through on a school afternoon to see the environment your child will be living in, as well. Are there other kids playing in driveways that could be potential friends for your child? And last but not least, make it a point to come back at night; this will help you to get a truer feel for the neighborhood. Is it full of loud parties, hooligans and drugs? Does there seem to be an inordinate amount of activity going on, with people walking the streets, or loitering on street corners? Or is it a quiet peaceful area where you can raise your child in peace?

Despite your stringent screening process, (which is entirely necessary) there will still be an abundance of homes for sale in the Woodlands within your price range. At this point, it all comes down to personal preference. Review all the information you’ve gathered in order to decide which neighborhood is best to raise a child in. After all, your child's happiness - and your own - are paramount to create a happy home.

How to Stop Paying Rent Forever... And Own a Home of Your Own!

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

 

Paying rent is like pouring money down the drain. But it's true, buying a home can be a "hair-raising" experience.. It can be a roller coaster of emotions... finding the right place.... securing the loan._ moving in. And if you're like most of us, your home will be your largest investment The emotions over such a large and personal purchase can often cloud good business judgment..
Many home buyers do very little research before "diving in" and investing their hard-earned money. Before doing that, it make sense to be as informed as possible. That's what this report is all about.. It's designed to help you avoid 10 common, critical mistakes many home buyers make. If you follow these 10 suggestions, with the help of the right real estate professional, you'll stop paying rent and make a good sound business decision that you'll be happy and proud of for years to come.


1. Inspect, Inspect and Inspect- Go over the inspection report with a fine tooth comb. Make sure the report was done by a professional organization. For condo purchases, go over the by-laws, and association fees. Don't take anything for granted.... inspect everything!


2. Imagine the Property Vacant- Your furnishings and decorations will be the ones fining this new residence.. Don't be swayed by beautiful furniture .„. it leaves with the owner..


3, Income Plus Lifestyle Equals Mortgage Payment- Sit down with a competent real estate professional and honestly discuss your income level and living expenses. Take into account future considerations like: children, add-ons, amenities or fix-ups.. Your dream home is certainly worth a sacrifice but don't mortgage your entire future..
 

4. View Several Homes- See at least 3-5 properties Don't move on the first property you see but...... don't move too slowly either. With your agent's help, you'll be able to view enough properties to get a good overall perspective of your market.. And when you find the right property, all the legwork will be worth it.

5.  Utilize Your Team- By aligning yourself with the right real estate professional, you'll have an entire team working for you, Top real estate professionals have lenders, title reps, inspection teams - an entire group of trained professionals making the whole buying experience simple and easy for you..

 

6.  Check out all your costs and expenses before you sign: utilities, taxes, insurance, maintenance and homeowner dues, if applicable.. Make sure all utilities are on (gas, electricity, and water), so you can inspect everything in working order Ask lots of questions and be very detail conscious.

 

7.  Do a Final Walk-Through- Visit the property after all the furnishings have been moved out to be sure there are no surprises Be absolutely positive the property was left exactly as you had agreed upon in the contract. Many times, things are unintentionally overlooked that could have been spotted in a final walk- through.

 

8.  Plan For Flexibility- Closing dates are not written in stone.. Allow for contingencies and have a back-up plan. If you or the sellers need a little more time to conclude the final agreement, don't let these delays upset or frustrate you.. These types of circumstances are not uncommon in a real estate transaction.
 
 

9.      If It's Not In Writing, It Doesn't Exist- All promises and discussions are to be in writing. Don't make any assumptions or believe any assurances. Even the best intentions can be misinterpreted. Have your real estate professional keep an ongoing log (in writing) of all discussions, and get the seller's written approval for all agreements.

 

10.   Loyalty Breeds Loyalty- Be open, honest and up-front with your team.. Bad feelings and disloyalty will cause headaches, delays or may even keep you from getting into the home you worked so hard to locate. Take the time to select the right team in the beginning and your first home purchase will be a simple, easy and profitable experience you'll have fond memories of.. for years to come.


Go ahead, pick up the phone and give me a call.. I'd love to hear from you!
Check out homes for sale in The Woodlands and surrounding area at http://www.listingthewoodlands.com/

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