Preparing to Sell Your Loft in the Fall: Boomers and Millennials Don’t Follow the Spring Trend

31 Jul 2015 · by Virtual Results PubSub

Preparing to Sell Your House in the FallIf you put your Loft on the market in the Spring, and it hasn’t sold, you’re probably thinking about taking it off the market until next year. Conventional wisdom says that Spring and early Summer are the only times to sell a Loft. But, even though families typically move in late Spring and early Summer, an entire other buyer group doesn’t care what time of year it is. In fact, many of them wait until after the early market buying frenzy to start looking for a Loft to buy.

Since this buying group comprises disparate (and not desperate) population groups, you may need to market your Loft differently to each. Your professional real estate agent can help you take the best approach(es) with your property.

Empty-Nesters

One of the groups that often waits for the slower selling season is the empty-nester / Boomer. They aren’t worried about fitting in with the school year, but often want to be settled before the holidays so that family can visit. When marketing to this group, pay attention to the cultural amenities (music venues, theaters and restaurants), medical facilities and access to travel available in your area. With no children in the Loft, many in this group look for areas with adult social spaces (outdoor dining, parks—not just playgrounds, beaches or hiking trails), walkable streets and easy access to shopping.

Empty-nesters also look for a lower mortgage and cheaper utilities, lower taxes and minimal maintenance costs. After all, they are closer to retirement and want to protect that nest egg. They also look for Lofts that do not require a lot of upkeep. If you’re thinking of changing your landscaping, flooring, windows or other upgrades to your Loft, consider utilizing low maintenance versions to add appeal to your Loft for this group.

Millennials

When marketing to Millennials (or Generations Y and even Z), consider that they have a generation of Loft design shows on television to inform their ideas of Loft ownership. Spending a little to update your Loft’s colors is the first step. To truly hook this group on your Loft, you may want to spend a little more to address the items they look for most often. According to a recent survey while nearly half of the potential buyers in these age groups look for Lofts in the city, up to 43% intend to live in suburban or rural areas. In the same survey in 2013 respondents preferred Lofts where the living and dining areas were joined. If your Loft has a separate dining room, removing a wall between it and the living room can boost its appeal with this group. When the dining area cannot be joined to the living area, turning it into an office space has the most potential for attracting these young entrepreneurial buyers.

Here are some quick changes that younger buyers prefer

  • Colored walls. Gone are the days of the all-white wall. Younger buyers prefer a deeper neutral on the walls, or even bold color. For neutrals, consider various shades of grays, or warm café au lait with cream trim.
  • Hard flooring. Many younger buyers want hardwood flooring. Or, if you’re in a particularly warm area, a natural tile (slate, porcelain, travertine) that helps keep the air conditioning costs down is preferable to carpet.
  • Public transportation. If your Loft is near public transportation, a bike path or is walkable to shopping and dining, highlight that in your selling points.
  • Wireless and cell service. You can’t move your Loft nearer to a cell tower, but you can invest in a booster for cell service for a few hundred dollars if your Loft is on the edge of cell range.

Both groups look for usable outdoor space with low maintenance. If your lawn requires a lot of upkeep, consider replacing some of it with paver stones, xeriscaping or other low maintenance options that protect the environment and require less intense care.

For either group—empty-nesters or Millennials—consider hiring a Loft stager. Removing the “family” appearance of your Loft gives it a clean canvass for either category to imaging living there.

We can help you determine the best changes to make to sell your Loft in the Fall, so give us a call to get started.




Are You Ready to Buy a Loft?

25 Jul 2015 · by Virtual Results PubSub

Are You Ready to Buy a Home?

Okay, it’s one of the biggest decisions of your life, so when do you know if you’re ready?

Loft ownership readiness can come at any age … there are young twenty-somethings that took the plunge, and there are empty-nesters that buy after the kids are gone. The right time for you could be now, or anywhere in-between now and retirement.

Loftownership isn’t just about affordability (although that’s helpful). It’s about responsibility. When you own your Loft, you are responsible for the mortgage, the taxes, the insurance, the repairs, maintenance and upgrades. If the toilet overflows, it’s up to you do call the plumber or learn to fix it yourself. When the leaves fall … you get to rake them up. No more calling the landlord, property manager or maintenance staff. Just because you CAN buy a Loft is not the strongest indicator that you should.

Here are some things to think about before you jump in:

  • Do you still have school debt? If you have debt from education loans, or personal loans and credit card debt from a misspent youth, you may need to work on getting your “financial Loft” in order before you take on a mortgage too. In fact, debt can be a symptom of not having enough available money. If you tie up all the rest of your cash into a mortgage payment and then your car breaks down … you’ll be out of both your ride and your Loft.
  • What does your credit score look like? If you don’t already know, get your free credit report and make certain everything on there is correct. Then, get your credit score or sign up for a free monitoring service like CreditKarma or credit.com. Use their online tools to discover ways to improve your score. If your score increases month over month, you’re probably on the right track.
  • Have you saved up enough for a downpayment? An FHA loan on a $200,000 Loft requires just 3.5% or $7000, so it seems like a no-brainer, right? But in addition to that downpayment, you’ll have closing costs, insurance, taxes and of course, you’ll need money for new furniture, paint and a few other upgrades. Consider saving up at least double what’s required for the Loft you want.
  • Consider the monthly costs. Your payment is just the beginning … if you’re moving from an apartment to a Loft, you’ll have sewer, water and trash bills, taxes, Loftowners insurance, association dues and a little money to set aside each month for future repairs. In fact, your little repairs kitty should equal at least as much as the deductible on your insurance. Don’t fall into the trap of relying on online mortgage affordability calculators to determine if you can afford it.
  • Do you plan to stay in this location for a while? If there is a chance that you’ll be moving in a year or two, or even three or four, you might want to reconsider purchasing. You really need to be in your Loft for five or six years for its value to increase enough to cover those hefty closing costs you just dished out.

Well … are you ready?

If you’ve addressed each of these issues and know you have them covered, you may well be ready to buy. If you’re ready—we can help! If you’re close to ready, we can give you some pointers.




Protect Your Loft-Buying Budget

17 Jul 2015 · by Virtual Results PubSub

Protect Your Home-Buying Budget

You know you love Loft hunting, and shopping for the perfect Loft is a fun pastime, but to move from being an open Loft and model Loft butterfly requires that big initial financial outlay … the dreaded downpayment. In fact, sticker shock sometimes deters potential Loft owners from making the decision to buy at all.

To get from where you are to where you want to be, you don’t need a windfall (although that would be awesome), you need to create a budget allows you to live today AND save for that downpayment—and don’t forget those closing costs. Then, once you’ve created a budget … you need to protect it from the temptation to dip in now and again along your way to Loftownership.

Here are some savings tips AND some budget-busters to navigate around:

Strategies for saving:

  • Open a savings account. This might seem like a no-brainer, but many people don’t have one savings account, let alone more than one. If you already have one, open another one specifically for your downpayment. Having an account earmarked explicitly for your downpayment might make you think twice about raiding it for other expenses that crop up.
  • Use a separate bank. There are two main options for options for your savings account: use the same institution you use for your checking account OR use a different institution. Some people advocate opening up the savings account at the same bank as your checking account for the convenience of transferring money. BUT, if you’re already having trouble saving up that downpayment, you want to make it a bit harder to get at, so consider opening up a credit union account or a savings account in a different bank.
  • Use direct deposit. If your employer’s payroll system allows it, have the savings portion of your paycheck sent directly to your savings account. That way, you’ll have less immediate access to it, won’t see it in your checking account and may be less likely to spend it.

Establish a budget:

Once you have a mechanism for saving in place, establish a budget around your remaining income. You can find many online programs to help you create and keep track of your budget. Many are free to use, but some offer the opportunity to consult with a financial planner for a fee. Here are is a short list to get your started:

Budget busters:

Many people resist living on a budget because it seems so restrictive. That idea, that a budget ties you down like a parent looking over your shoulder, keeps many young people from reaching even simple financial goals. The challenge is that many of us see spending money as a reward, but money is really just a tool to help get you what you truly want. If you REALLY want to own a Loft, watch out for these budget-busters that will keep you from getting there:

  • Overpriced vacations. Whether it’s the dog days of summer, or wanting to escape the winter blues, the lure of travel is everywhere in every season. Cheap flights with hotel, rental car and tour or show ticket add-ons seem like the perfect solution, but before you pull out that credit/debit card, think about what you really want: a new Loft or a temporary break. That doesn’t mean you don’t take vacations, just that you think twice (or three times) before paying too much and being sorry later.
  • Overpriced coffee. Well … not just coffee, but if your coffee/tea/cola/energy drink habit adds up to more than $10 a day you’re probably busting your budget. If you saved just half of that ten dollars a day, you’d have $1825 in your savings account by the end of the year. If two or more members of your Lofthold curb their caffeine habit, by year’s end you could have $3600 to $4500 saved up.
  • Dining out. Much like your caffeine fix, dining out can break a budget real fast. According to The Simple Dollar, the average American spends $232 each month eating out. You don’t have to give up eating out, but like your caffeine fix, if you just cut that in half, you’ll have an extra $116 a month—a whopping $1392 a year—to add to your savings.
  • Expensive clothes. These days, many offices allow casual dress, but if you work in a highly professional environment that requires a more put-together look, you still don’t need to break the budget. Purchase just the key pieces you need—those that can do double duty—and change up with accessories.

Added together, these savings of about $5800 (or more) can be enough to qualify you for the downpayment on a $100k Loft using an FHA loan. If you add to that all, or even part of any extra money you get through out the year (birthdays, holidays, bonuses, rebates) your downpayment account can grow significantly in just one year.

 




TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure will add a week or more to closings

10 Jul 2015 · by ChrisSampaio

The article below is from housing wire. 30 days closing will be a thing of the past if the buyer is getting a loan. This law will be in effect on October 1st, 2015 and is actually to protect home buyers.

closing-disclosure-delivery-timeline-chart

The bottom line effect of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure requirements that go into Oct 1st will be to add at least a week to closings, say industry experts.

The TRID rule, which was brought forth by the CFPB, has a sweeping impact on the real estate market through the implementation and compliance costs it requires.

Industry observers say the effect on individual home sales will be that it adds a week to closings. Marketwatch has the story:

Benjamin Niernberg, executive vice president of business development with Proper Title LLC, a title insurance company in Northbrook, Ill., said he expects closings this summer to take a week more than usual, which could hurt homebuyers who are depending on financing to come through quickly to have a chance against all-cash buyers.

“It can push the closing six days out, but we’re talking about business days, so if it falls on a weekend, it could be even longer.” Niernberg said the new rules, which have been in the works since November 2013, could widen the advantage all-cash buyers currently have over those dependent on bank financing when it comes to closing quickly in this red-hot real-estate market.

Here’s what’s happening. The changes the federal government is requiring that loan disclosure documents starting Aug. 1 combine the information required in the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). Now, under the new rule change, known as the “Know Before You Owe” rule, or the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) regulation, consumers must be given the new combined Loan Estimate (LE) with all the charges, fees and line items three days before the closing, rather than at the closing on the HUD-1 form, which itself will disappear.

 




Capturing Clutter

3 Jul 2015 · by Virtual Results PubSub

clutterWhether you’re preparing your Loft to sell, or your packing up to move to your new Loft … clutter can be your worst enemy.

But, getting chaos under control isn’t always easy.

The problem isn’t that you lack resources.

In fact, a whole industry sprang up to help folks tackle the problem of clutter: from simple lists and organizational tools to crews of “clutter police” to tackle your disarray for you, and even reality TV shows. You can find YouTube videos like this one to help you organize your linen cabinets and this one for your socks and underwear.

The abundance of resources might just seem like more clutter. For some people, even the thought of trying to de-clutter can seem overwhelming. And looking at pictures of the perfectly organized closets, cupboards and garages of organization gurus makes them feel like failures.

If clutter is messing with your Loft sale or move, don’t try to become the perfectly organized maven right now. Just get the basics down so that you can move on:

  • Take small bites: Remember the old adage, ” How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” Don’t try to tackle the whole house at once. If you have children, consider starting with their toys. Look for ones they’ve outgrown and no longer play with. You don’t need to get rid of them just yet; try putting them in a clearly marked box out of sight. If your biggest challenge is your closet, pull out the clothes from the season farthest away (winter if it’s spring or summer if it’s fall) and put them in clear storage bins. That way, you can see them, but they aren’t taking up the space that your current wardrobe needs.
  • Time yourself: give yourself just one hour (or less) at a time to declutter one space. Tackle the junk drawer in the kitchen (yes, we all have one) and get rid of the odd paperclips, rubber bands, loose screws and broken pencils. Once you’re done with that one task, just get on with life … don’t think you have to do it all in one day.
  • Use the doubling rule: if you think it’s going to take one day to organize—plan for two. If you think you can do it in two weeks, plan for four. That way, if you get done in less time you’ll be energized rather than being disappointed that it took longer.
  • Use simple strategies: When organizing a room, use one box for KEEP, one for GIVE, one for DISCARD and one for SAVE. The KEEP box is for items that need to go back into that room, so it is a temporary resting place while you sort. The GIVE box is for anything you plan to give to friends, family or charity. Use the SAVE box for items that belong in a different location or that need to be in long-term storage. As you move from room to room, you’ll resort this box and return items to their proper room. The final box—DISCARD—may be the hardest one of all. Use it for anything broken, torn, damaged or otherwise unusable: just get rid of it. One caveat: if you plan to have a garage sale, add one more box called SELL for those items. If you don’t sell the items at your garage sale, move them to the GIVE box.
  • I have my own strategy and works for me. Its a two step process, first a move the stuff I am not using anymore under my bed where I have a storage bin. If I don’t miss or use any of the stuff I have there in the next three months I either donate or give away. This way I feel confident that I am making the right decisions.

If you need to know which items to declutter for your Loft sale, talk to us. We know what types can turn off a buyer or make your Loft sale take longer … so tackle those items first.

 


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