Blog Blog posts for Blog Sat, 03 Dec 2016 00:49:12 +0100 FeedCreator 1.7.2 How to Decorate for the Holidays on a Budget <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Dec 1, 2016</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We are well on our way to the holiday season, and now is the time to begin to think about decorating your home. If you&rsquo;re thinking about selling your home during this wonderful time of year, it&rsquo;s worth decking the halls to make it look attractive to potential homebuyers. Sounds expensive, right? The thing is, it doesn&rsquo;t have to be. You can make your home look extremely festive and attractive to guests and visitors without breaking the bank. You can take a frugal approach to the holidays, without anyone knowing the difference. Here&rsquo;s how to get started:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Find a Bargain on Trees</h2> <p>You know what they say, &ldquo;If you want something done right, do it yourself.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s certainly true if you want to save money on a real tree for Christmas. It&rsquo;s easy to find a local tree farm that gives people access to nearly a forest of options. Of course, it is a little more work to chop down your own tree, but it can make for a fun family outing. If you want to stick to a Christmas tree lot, look for coupons from sites like Groupon to score a great deal. Looking to save money in the long run? Go with an artificial tree that never requires replacement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Bake Your Own Treats</h2> <p>Nothing sparks the holiday spirit quite like a plate full of gingerbread or sugar cookies. Sure, it&rsquo;s easy to hit the bakery and load up on delicious Christmas treats, but you pay a premium for that convenience. You might not be the best baker in town, but Christmas gives you the opportunity to improve your skills and serve something delicious to people at your home. If you&rsquo;re selling your home and having an open house, serving your visitors mouthwatering treats probably won&rsquo;t seal the deal, but it sure won&rsquo;t hurt it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Make Use of Candles</h2> <p>What better decoration to use around the holidays than one you probably already own? Candles are great to have around the house year-round, but they add some festive cheer to your home around the holidays. There are many scents that evoke thoughts of the holiday season as soon as they hit your nose: think cinnamon, baked goods, and pine scents. If you don&rsquo;t happen to have any candles around the house, they aren&rsquo;t too expensive to pick up. Most dollar stores sell a wide variety of candles for a price that you can&rsquo;t pass up.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Create Your Own Wreaths</h2> <p>A wreath is a wonderful thing during the holiday season. Not only does it inspire holiday cheer, but you can build one with just about anything. That&rsquo;s right &ndash; a wreath doesn&rsquo;t just have to be made from evergreen twigs, you can get even more creative with your materials. Buying a package of bows to put on your presents? Use the extra ones to serve as a decorative part of a wreath. All you need is a wire coat hanger (to serve as a circular base) and some glue to connect the bows. That&rsquo;s just one idea, but the possibilities are endless: candy canes, flowers, pine cones and much more can form a wreath with a little bit of effort. Bring out your crafty side for this beautiful Christmas decoration.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The holidays are supposed to bring out the best in everyone, and if you take some time to decorate, they can bring out the best in your home, too. If you want to sell your house, there&rsquo;s no better way to stage it than to set up some holiday decorations. It doesn&rsquo;t matter which holidays your family celebrates, so long as you create a festive mood that everyone can enjoy. Get creative to get the most out of your home this holiday season.&nbsp;</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results New Home Construction Trends: Considerations for the Latest Home Designs <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Nov 29, 2016</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When contemplating a new home, it&rsquo;s important to be forward thinking. Whether it&rsquo;s considering the features you&rsquo;ll need for a growing family, or looking for ways to keep your home from becoming dated and requiring renovation, it&rsquo;s smart to think ahead. In many of the latest home designs we see an emphasis on efficiency, technology, and functionality, in conjunction with uncompromising style. Here are some trends to look out for when beginning your search for a new home, or deciding what you need in a custom build:</p> <h2>&nbsp;</h2> <h2>Guest Space</h2> <p>Whether you&rsquo;re an empty-nester who may or may not have a college student looking to move back in after graduation, have aging parents who will be needing more care, or simply host a lot of guests, having first floor guest space is essential. As one of the top new home construction trends, this additional bedroom/bathroom suite can serve a variety of purposes, making it easy to host family members and friends for short &ndash; or long &ndash; periods of time without feeling like you&rsquo;re on top of each other. If you are looking for a two-story home, having this space on the first floor is a must. In this location in the home, the space provides more separation between you and your guests, plus it&rsquo;s easily accessible for older generations.</p> <h2>&nbsp;</h2> <h2>Intelligent Features</h2> <p>Technology is changing just about every aspect of our lives, including what we find essential in our homes. Smart home technology ranges from smartphone controlled <a href="">blinds</a>, to self-programming <a href="">thermostats</a>, to <a href="">refrigerators</a> that have a camera that you can check while away to see if you&rsquo;re out of milk, and everything in-between. These features are becoming in-home staples, providing homeowners with a way to control their houses from afar.</p> <h3>&nbsp;</h3> <h3>Think Small, Intelligently</h3> <p>Another facet of the intelligent home design trend comes from the tiny house movement. Many of those searching for new homes are looking for space saving, multi-use features that provide the most &ldquo;bang&rdquo; for your square footage. Whether you&rsquo;re looking for a 200-sq. ft. tiny house, or a 1,800-sq. ft. or larger home, features like storage under the stairs provide you with the most livable space possible.</p> <h2>&nbsp;</h2> <h2>Going Greener</h2> <p>For just about all homebuyers and custom home designers, efficiency is an absolute must. From having solar panels mounted on roofs, to future homes that <a href="">create more energy than they use</a>, the new home construction trend of creating homes that are energy efficient and environmentally friendly appears to have no end in sight &ndash; which is definitely a good thing. No one wants to overpay on utilities or live in an overly cold or warm home. If you&rsquo;re buying a home, look for newer windows, fully insulated attic spaces, and pipes and solar panels where possible. If you&rsquo;re building, talk to your contractor about how you can ensure the efficiency of your new home.</p> <h2>&nbsp;</h2> <h2>Your Future Home</h2> <p>When searching for a home, it&rsquo;s easy to get wrapped up in the stylish tile or fine finishes, but just because a home may feature some bells and whistles, it might not be equipped for your specific needs. Remember to consider how intelligently the space is laid out, the efficiency of the structure and appliances, and of course, if it gives you enough room to grow. If you do that, you should be able to find (or build) a home that will suit you and your needs for years to come.</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results 8 Easy Ways to Baby Proof Your House <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Nov 22, 2016</p><p>It seems like just yesterday you were bringing your newborn baby home, but now you realize your baby isn&rsquo;t so new anymore. One day you look up and away they go &ndash; he&rsquo;s mobile! It&rsquo;s an exciting milestone when your baby starts crawling, but it&rsquo;s also a time to make your home safe from anything that could cause your child harm.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>Where to Begin?</h2> <p>While it may sound silly, the best way to baby proof is to imagine what your baby will see. As a tall adult, you don&rsquo;t always consider what could be closer to the ground that could be dangerous. Take a tour around your home and notice all the areas that are low to the ground that pose a hazard. Things like outlets, blind cords, drawers, even furniture can be dangerous. But don&rsquo;t worry! Here are some potential hazards to consider:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Crib</h3> <p>This is the one safe place you&rsquo;re comfortable leaving your baby for a bit, so make sure that it is new if you can. Older cribs tend usually wear over time, and don&rsquo;t typically follow today&rsquo;s <a href="">safety guidelines</a>. In addition, you should move your crib mattress to the lowest setting, and remove anything that could help your child climb out on his or her own.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Furniture</h3> <p>Consider adding anti-tip guards to tall furniture so that items like bookshelves or dressers won&rsquo;t fall if your baby tries to climb on them or is learning to walk. Today, most new furniture pieces include some kind of security/stability accessories, so keep an eye out for those.</p> <h3><img src="" alt="" /></h3> <h3>Windows</h3> <p>There may be a time where your baby learns to climb onto the window ledge, and a regular screen is not enough to keep them from falling out. Consider installing window guards or another type of secure system that keeps windows from opening more than a few inches.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Toilets</h3> <h3>While potty training might be further off than you hope, children can be very curious about toilets even if they don&rsquo;t know how to use them. Install a toilet lock that will prevent your children from opening the lid &ndash; at least until it&rsquo;s time to start potty training.</h3> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Electrical Cords and Outlets</h3> <p>Infants might chew on electrical cords or pull on them, potentially bringing down lamps or other heavy electrical objects on top of them. Move cords well out of reach or secure them in a way your baby can&rsquo;t easily undo. Electrical outlets are also dangerous if babies poke their fingers or other objects into them. Be sure to close them off with safety plugs or covers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Sharp-edge Tables</h3> <p>Consider getting cushioned strips or padded guards to keep your baby from banging into a sharp corner of a table. Luckily, there are options available today so you can avoid wrapping your table in pillows and halved water noodles (though both are effective). If you are actively shopping for furniture, keep baby&rsquo;s safety in mind and look for tables with rounded edges.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Stoves</h3> <p>Only use back burners, and look into knob covers or even removing stove knobs when you&rsquo;re not using your stove. If the budget allows, you can also invest in an induction stovetop &ndash; they are never hot to the touch.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <h3>Cabinets</h3> <p>Babies love to explore cabinets, potentially exposing them to poisonous or dangerous items &ndash; especially in the kitchen or bathroom. There&rsquo;s also a possibility of them pinching their little fingers in the doors. Purchase childproof safety latches for your cabinets, and consider moving poisonous or dangerous items to higher cabinets.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Knick-Knacks</h3> <p>You may have some fun, decorative knick-knacks around the house, but baby might see &ldquo;decorative&rdquo; as &ldquo;delicious,&rdquo; and try to put it in his or her mouth. Be sure to keep them out of reach or locked away until you can convince your child that actual food tastes much better.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Garbage Cans</h3> <p>Garbage cans tend to be filled with objects that are extremely hazardous from broken glass to plastic bags. Find a garbage can that has a method to secure the lid. Another option is to hide away the receptacle in a cabinet or pantry.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Tablecloths/Drapes/Dish Towels</h3> <p>Toddlers have a tendency to yank things that hang, such as drapes, tablecloths or dish towels, which can cause heavier objects surrounding them to tumble. Be sure to keep these out of reach.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Stairs</h3> <p>Last but certainly not least, fasten gates with vertical slats or plastic meshwork at the top and bottom of a staircase to keep your little one from tumbling down.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Baby proofing is a rough business, and it requires constant vigilance to keep your little one out of harm&rsquo;s way. But don&rsquo;t forget, let your new crawler explore. Not everything they can get into will hurt them, and this is a good time for them to learn about their newfound freedom</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results What Is an Escrow Account and Why Should I Have One? <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Nov 14, 2016</p><p><img src="" alt="What is an escrow account?" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re buying a home for the first time, there is sure to be some real estate terminology that&rsquo;s unfamiliar to you. Don&rsquo;t worry &ndash; mortgage payments are complicated, and many people have questions about how they work. One of the most important things to know about mortgage payments is that the money goes towards multiple things. You can think of these payments as having two main parts: the principle and interest portion, and the taxes and insurance portion. The first half, known as P&amp;I, covers the loan itself and your interest rate (fixed or otherwise). The second half is known as your escrow account, and the money you pay into it goes towards property taxes and homeowner&rsquo;s insurance. As the first half of this equation is a little more straightforward, we&rsquo;ll instead focus on what an escrow account is all about.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>How Does It Work?</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Think of an escrow account as a glorified savings account. When you set up your mortgage, you complete an escrow analysis to determine how much you pay into the account each month. Your initial property tax and homeowner&rsquo;s insurance costs will determine this amount. Once a month, you will make a payment that goes into this account, and your lender will use that money to pay the bills in your name. Once a year, your escrow account will undergo an analysis to determine your monthly rate, as this is likely to change over time. It&rsquo;s important to be aware that opening an escrow account requires three months of payments upfront, so you will need to save a bit to get started.</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>What Are the Advantages?</strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>An escrow account simplifies the tax and insurance payment process, because you only need to worry about supplying the necessary funds for your mortgage each month. Your lender handles all the paperwork and details on your behalf, so long as you keep up with your payments, you don&rsquo;t have to worry about sending multiple checks on multiple dates. Besides the added convenience, an escrow account ensures that you will not have late fees or delinquencies. While it might seem easy enough to never miss a payment, it only takes one mistake to lapse your property insurance or have a lien imposed on your title for unpaid taxes. It&rsquo;s better to keep things simple and straightforward with an escrow account.</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>Do I Need an Escrow Account?</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Whether or not you are required to pay into an escrow account depends entirely on your lender&rsquo;s requirements. Most conventional lenders have a clause that sates the borrower must have an escrow account, unless they make a down payment of 20% or more for the cost of the property. There may be a clause in your contract that states you can discontinue your escrow account after five years. On the other hand, all Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans require the borrower to have an escrow account for the duration of the loan. Every lender is different, so be sure to look closely at the terms of your agreement and understand your requirements.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Buying a home for the first time is exciting, but it&rsquo;s important to know what goes into the process. An escrow account is an important part of the mortgaging process, and it&rsquo;s usually worth creating one. It adds convenience to a homeowner&rsquo;s life with automatic payments, and gives them the peace of mind to know they won&rsquo;t have to deal with late fees. If you ever have a question about the real estate buying process, don&rsquo;t hesitate to speak to our realtors. We are happy to help you find the home of your dreams and make the process as smooth as possible.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Selling a House and Buying Another: When to Upgrade <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Nov 9, 2016</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If you own a home, you don&rsquo;t have to think of it as a permanent place to live. In fact, a growing number of homeowners are deciding to sell their home in order to move up to a better one. Currently, the real estate market conditions are perfect for an upgrade. We are seeing a time of transition where home prices are still relatively affordable, but increasing by the year. That means if you play your cards right, you could catch the wave of rising home prices when you sell, and still find a great deal on a home worth more than your current piece of real estate. Of course, not everyone is in a situation where they can move to a better home, so explore these guidelines to see if your next move should be to a larger, nicer home.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A Desire to Move</strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>It&rsquo;s important to assess your individual situation and decide whether moving up is the right choice for your family. If you plan on having children, you probably will want more space to accommodate these new family members. The same goes if you already have kids, but you expect to need more room in the future as they grow. From a financial point of view, real estate is often a sound investment for the future. If home prices appreciate as they&rsquo;re expected to, you can expect a better return on investment for a more expensive home. But there are no guarantees that a home will become more valuable. You should think very carefully about whether you&rsquo;re willing to take on extra debt for the chance at extra value in the long run. There are also the day-to-day benefits of owning a new home &ndash; sometimes the extra space and beauty is worth making a change.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The Right Financial Situation</strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>If you want to move to a more expensive home, you should have at least 20% equity in your current home. You will need to negotiate another mortgage agreement if you want to move, and you will receive more favorable conditions if you have a significant stake in your current home. Some other things that banks look for are your overall credit score, job security, and mortgage history. You should also examine how much you will be paying for a new mortgage. A good rule of thumb is that your monthly payment should total no more than a third of your monthly income. Also, look at how much value your current home is likely to gain over the coming years and compare it to the home you&rsquo;d like to move to. Even if your current home is smaller, it may be earning money faster because of its location or architectural style. It&rsquo;s essential to search extensively for an ideal property, to ensure you make a sound financial move.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A Plan for Switching Homes</strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>There may be a short period between selling your first home and purchasing your second one that leaves your with zero homes to your name. On the other hand, you might purchase a new home before you have a chance to sell your first one. These are sticky situations, but there are some things you can do to avoid a financial catastrophe. If you sell your home first, the outlook isn&rsquo;t so bad &ndash; you just need to find a temporary place to live, but you&rsquo;ll have extra money in the bank from your sale. Look for month-to-month rentals, or contact a family member for temporary housing. When you buy a home without yet selling your current one, you can apply for something called bridge financing. This is a temporary loan to cover the cost of your second down payment. Interest rates for these types of loans are typically high, so plan carefully if you intend to request one.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Upgrading to a more expensive home is a big decision, so consider all the factors before making a purchase. In the end, it can greatly increase your quality of life, which is what matters most to many people. The potential upside in value doesn&rsquo;t hurt either. You don&rsquo;t have to go into a new purchase alone, and the Results team is here to help you find the right place to call home.&nbsp; When you&rsquo;ve decided which home to buy, you&rsquo;re just getting started &ndash; there&rsquo;s still the closing process. It&rsquo;s best to know what you&rsquo;re getting into, so take a look at our blog post, &ldquo;<a href="">How to Make Closing on a House as Quick and Painless as Possible</a>&rdquo; to see exactly how the process works.&nbsp;</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results How to Simplify Your Life When Moving <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Nov 1, 2016</p><p>While moving to a new home often inspires thoughts of a fresh start, a clean slate, or beginning a new chapter of one&rsquo;s life, that excitement often gets overshadowed by the impending move. Don&rsquo;t let the daunting task of packing get you down &ndash; there are numerous ways that you can make the moving process simpler than you ever thought possible.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>How to Simplify Your Move</h2> <p><strong>Don&rsquo;t worry too much about &ldquo;downsizing,&rdquo; but be practical when it comes to decision time.</strong> &ldquo;Simplifying&rdquo; doesn&rsquo;t always equate to &ldquo;downsizing,&rdquo; but it&rsquo;s best to get rid of the stuff you don&rsquo;t use or need. At the very least, you&rsquo;ll cut down on items to pack, move, and unpack, saving you time and money &ndash; especially if you have hired packers/movers to help with the process.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This one requires a bit of foresight, but <strong>if you buy a new television (and have the room to accommodate it), keep the box</strong>. Moving your TV in a box is a lot easier than trying to move a top-quality television with an LED screen and no frame to speak of.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Set items off to the side to have handy while you move</strong>. These items include:</p> <ul> <li>Paper towels</li> <li>Toilet paper</li> <li>Garbage bags</li> <li>Soap</li> <li>Bottled water</li> <li>Pens</li> </ul> <p>Buckets and brooms are nice to have, too. If you&rsquo;ve hired movers, let them know you want to keep that stuff readily available.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Make sure the items you&rsquo;ll need right away when you get to your new home are packed last so they can be unpacked first.</strong> In addition to the previously mentioned &ldquo;handy&rdquo; items, you might want plates and silverware, lamps, and towels to be easy to access/find once you&rsquo;ve arrived at your new home.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Pack a small overnight bag with a change of clothes and your toiletries.</strong> While it seems rudimentary, these kinds of familiar conveniences can cause some anxiety if you&rsquo;re rushing to get ready for work the next morning and your toothbrush is nowhere to be seen.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Don&rsquo;t underestimate the power of well-labeled boxes.</strong> Avoid the questions you get tired of answering, like &ldquo;where does this one go?&rdquo; or &ldquo;what&rsquo;s in here?&rdquo; or &ldquo;is this fragile?&rdquo; by appropriately labeling your boxes and containers. A sticker-label system is one of the easiest ways to quickly identify boxes:</p> <ul> <li>Use color-coded labels to indicate rooms and/or levels of the house.</li> <li>Designate another sticker or obvious marking for boxes with fragile items.</li> <li>Depending on the size of the sticker, you can write a general description of the boxes&rsquo; contents in an easy to see place. You can also add a generic white sticker for this information.</li> <li>If a box is exceptionally heavy, stick a red dot on it so that whoever picks it up knows what to expect.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Take care of switching your address, utilities, and Internet/cable services before moving. </strong>Most of these tasks can be initiated &ndash; or even completed &ndash; online. Generally speaking, you can finish these service transfers and information updates in 15-20 minutes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Pack extra items/not-currently-in-use items early</strong>. If you have glassware or dishes you won&rsquo;t be using before your move, those can easily be packed and stored until moving day. Seasonal items like jackets, boots, and sport equipment can also be packed ahead of time. For all of the bibliophiles out there, it&rsquo;s a good idea to pack at least half of your books well before moving day. Obviously you don&rsquo;t have to pack every piece of literature you have, but it&rsquo;s unlikely you will read or reference <em>all</em> of those books before your move.</p> <p>**Bonus: These are also great items to pack away when you are getting ready to put your home on the market. De-cluttering and de-personalizing your space usually helps decrease the amount of time your house is on the market.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>The Golden Rule of Simplifying Your Life When Moving:</h2> <p>Give yourself enough time, and don&rsquo;t rush. We cannot stress this one enough. Packing always takes longer than you think it will, so regardless of your timeframe, create a schedule that allows you to prepare for this exciting change without added anxiety.</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results How to Decorate Your Home for Halloween <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Oct 27, 2016</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Halloween is a spectacular time to show your neighbors how to get into the spirit. Whether you&rsquo;re aiming for a cutesy, kid-friendly look, or want to live in the scariest house on the block, there are plenty of Halloween outdoor decorations that will do the trick. How far you can take it depends on how much real estate you have. The larger the house and the front yard, the more ghoulish you can get. Regardless of the size of your home or yard, you can still make the most of the haunted holiday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>All About Fall</h2> <p>For those who are just looking for a fun and festive fall look, consider stacking pumpkins &ndash; carved or not &ndash; in your entryway, or adding fall colored leaf wreaths to add more dimension. By doing so, you can decorate for both Halloween and Thanksgiving at the same time!</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>Kid-Friendly</h2> <p>Maybe you have small children, or maybe you&rsquo;re just not that into Halloween &ndash; whatever the reason, you want to keep it low-key this year without completely neglecting the holiday. If this perfectly describes you, it&rsquo;s time to head to the pumpkin patch and the Halloween store. Carving pumpkins is an easy, not-so-scary way to show you&rsquo;re open for trick-or-treaters without going over board. Plus, if you add small accents like store-bought spider webs you can make your front entrance look the part.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If you don&rsquo;t have a front porch to set out pumpkins, you can create a ghost or skeleton face, or even a flurry of bats on your front door with a little construction paper and electrical tape!</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>Taking it Up a Notch</h2> <p>Are you hoping that children hesitate &ndash; even for a moment &ndash; before approaching your home? If you have a front yard, you have the perfect scene for a ghastly graveyard using Styrofoam tombstones, a little dirt, fake bones, spider webs, and maybe a little fake blood. The trick to taking this to the next level is to add ghostly&nbsp;</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Why Debt to Income Ratio Matters When Applying For a Mortgage <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Oct 24, 2016</p><p>When applying for a mortgage, there are several financial factors that lenders take into account before ultimately approving or denying your application. Though you may have a good credit score, pay all of your bills on time, and make enough money to afford your monthly payments, those factors still might not be sufficient to secure the loan you want. This is where your debt-to-income ratio comes in.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What is a Debt-to-Income Ratio?</strong></p> <p>Your debt-to-income ratio is a comparison of your monthly debts and monthly income that can be calculated in a number of ways, depending on what monthly debts you owe. Lenders typically look at the following two specific debt-to-income ratios when you apply for a mortgage:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Front-end ratio:</strong> the percentage of your gross monthly income that would be used toward your housing expenses (mortgage payment, association dues, homeowner&rsquo;s insurance, real estate tax).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Back-end ratio:</strong> the percentage of your gross monthly income that would be used towards all of your monthly debts including your housing expenses and any other monthly obligations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Why Debt-to-Income Ratio Matters for Mortgages</strong></p> <p>A healthy debt-to-income ratio is absolutely essential for securing a mortgage. While a credit score illustrates how trustworthy you are when it comes to repaying debts, a debt-to-income ratio demonstrates how large, or small, of a financial set back could get you into trouble.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For example, if your monthly debts are just a few hundred dollars shy of your monthly income and you suddenly find yourself needing to pay for a $2,000 medical expense that you hadn&rsquo;t planned for, you could be struggling to come up with the funds to cover all of your bills.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The higher your debt-to-income ratio, the riskier it is for lenders to approve your application, because if said financial situation arises, your mortgage might be the debt that gets overlooked in exchange for your medical bill.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Ideal Debt-to-Income Ratios for Mortgage Approval</strong></p> <p>According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, your back-end ratio &ndash; which includes your home expenses and all other debts &ndash; should <a href="">be no more than 43%</a>.&nbsp; If you are considering buying a home, this gives you an idea of what you&rsquo;ll be able to afford &ndash; and a guideline for where your debt-to-ratio should be currently.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Taking the Next Step</strong></p> <p>If your debt-to-income ratio is relatively high without the addition of a mortgage payment, you&rsquo;ll want to work on reducing it before applying for a loan. Ways to do this include paying off credit cards and student loans, or changing/reducing other monthly expenses like cable, cell phone plans, and car payments. By doing this ahead of time, and keeping your debt-to-income ratio in check, you can not only get approved for the mortgage you want, but it also gives you the ability to live more flexibly.</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results How to Make Closing on a House as Quick and Painless as Possible <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Oct 17, 2016</p><p>You&rsquo;ve done all the dirty work; you have your finances in order, qualified for a mortgage, searched high and low, and finally found the house you&rsquo;d like to call your home &ndash; and, as luck would have it, the sellers have accepted your offer. Hooray! Congratulations on making it this far! Unfortunately, this is not the end of the process, but rather the beginning of the final step: closing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What Is Mortgage Closing?</strong></p> <p>Closing happens when you and all other parties in the mortgage loan transaction &ndash; your attorney, the seller&rsquo;s attorney, your title insurance company, an escrow company, and your lender &ndash; get together to sign all of the necessary documents, finalizing the transaction. Once this step is complete you are legally required to pay your mortgage.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Closing time &ndash; cue Semisonic &ndash; can occur all at once or over a period of weeks depending on the state in which you are buying your home. Some companies allow for the necessary closing signatures to be collected by mail or online, rather than in person. Regardless of how long the process takes, closing entails signing a multitude of extremely important documents that will greatly impact your financial future. These documents include, but are not limited to, the following:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>The loan estimate</li> <li>The closing disclosure</li> <li>The notice of the right to rescind</li> <li>The initial escrow statement</li> <li>A promissory note</li> <li>A mortgage or security instrument</li> <li>State and local government-mandated documents</li> <li>Lender documents (e.g. affidavit of occupancy)</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Tips for Closing on a House Quickly</strong></p> <p>In some cases, you will not have control over the speed in which your closing can be completed, but in cases where you can, it is essential that you are aware of, and utilize, the following tips:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><strong>Get A Copy Of All Closing Documents Prior To Closing</strong></li> </ul> <p>Ask your lender for a copy of all of the documents that you will be required to sign, and read each of them carefully before attending closing. By doing this, you will know exactly what to expect, and what you are getting yourself into. If you find any errors, or there is anything in the loan that you do not understand, it is essential that you correct these errors and talk to your lender. Never sign a loan agreement that is different from what you originally expected, or one that includes information that you do not fully understand.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><strong>Ask Questions</strong></li> </ul> <p>Open communication is key. If you are confused about anything having to do with the necessary documents, the closing process, or any other aspect of the impending transaction, it is important that you talk it through with the parties involved. This is your new house on the line, so it never hurts to be diligent in making sure that everyone is prepared and has what they need.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><strong>Give Yourself Some Wiggle Room</strong></li> </ul> <p>Give yourself plenty of time for the closing to take place. As a general rule, try to take the day off, or block off several hours for closing. Though it would be fantastic if you could use your lunch break to close on your home, it often takes more time than you&rsquo;d think &ndash; so padding your time window can save you unnecessary headaches.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><strong>Be Meticulous</strong></li> </ul> <p>At closing, you want to be sure that the documents are complete and correct, so while reading through them, you must be able to confirm that there are no discrepancies from the documents that you have already read over. If there are changes in the terms of the loan, you should not gloss over them.&nbsp; Also, be prepared for setbacks &ndash; something as simple as a typo can halt the closing process and require another draft of documents from the lender.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><strong>Bring a Check (If You Need One)</strong></li> </ul> <p>If you are not wiring the funds, you will likely need a certified check &ndash; and you will certainly need a check in general &ndash; when closing on a house. It seems like a silly reminder, but with all of the excitement these things can sometimes be overlooked!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Securing Your Home</strong></p> <p>Whether you&rsquo;re closing on your first home, or you&rsquo;re a seasoned homebuyer, closing can still be an arduous process. The better prepared you are, and the more flexible you can be with your time, the less stressful it will be to acquire your new home.&nbsp;</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Conventional Mortgage Loan Benefits: What You Need to Know <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Oct 10, 2016</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Taking out a conditional mortgage loan may very well be your best route when buying a new home. Unlike FHA and VA loans, conditional mortgages are not insured through the federal government. Rather, they&rsquo;re covered completely by financial institutions, in addition to either being fixed or adjustable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Your decision on whether to go with a conventional mortgage will depend on a variety of factors. Here are some things you&rsquo;ll want to consider:</p> <p><br /> <strong><em>Down Payment:</em></strong> With a conventional loan, you&rsquo;re usually required to pay more up front, as compared to any government-backed mortgage. While an FHA loan, for example, may require a smaller down payment, a conventional loan may require that you pay as much as 20% upon receiving approval.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Credit Score:</em></strong> Compared to an FHA, qualifying for a conventional loan is usually more difficult. It&rsquo;s generally recommended that your credit score range from good to excellent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Insurance: </em></strong>Usually with a conventional mortgage, a down payment of 20% or higher means you don&rsquo;t have to carry mortgage insurance &ndash; something that can save you money on a monthly basis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Faster Approval:</em></strong> If you&rsquo;re looking for faster approval, conventional is the way to go. Unlike FHA loans &ndash;which require more paperwork and government approval &ndash; only the bank needs to sign off on the agreement. Additionally, you won&rsquo;t have to undergo an FHA inspection, something that may take longer than a conventional mortgage appraisal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>So What&rsquo;s the Primary Advantage?</strong></h2> <p>Conventional mortgage loan benefits include that they can prove more affordable over the long-term, especially in cases where you&rsquo;re able to make a down payment of 20% or above to avoid monthly mortgage insurance costs. They also allow you to avoid an upfront insurance payment often associated with FHA loans. For more information on mortgages, contact the professionals at RE/MAX Results today (;</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results