Blog Blog posts for Blog Sun, 23 Apr 2017 22:49:15 +0100 FeedCreator 1.7.2 5 Relocation Questions to Consider Before You Make the Move <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Apr 20, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Are you thinking about moving to a new home or a different part of the country? Relocating is a huge decision and can be a monumental moment in your life, so it deserves careful thought and consideration beforehand. We&rsquo;ve collected our most popular questions to consider before moving to a new city here so you can start the research process on the right foot.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. Can I afford it?</h2> <p>In the excitement that comes with big life changes such as the prospect of moving to a new city, individuals often neglect financial considerations. Remember to work through financial logistics &mdash; from real estate prices to average local salaries &mdash; before you decide to relocate. Some things to consider:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>What&rsquo;s the cost of living there? Will your new/potential salary be able to accommodate for any changes?</li> <li>What will your total housing costs and debt payments be with the move?</li> <li>How much will it cost to furnish and maintain your new home and transport your old belongings?</li> </ul> <p>Unfortunately, finances can make or break your relocation plans. Still unsure if you can swing it? Check out a <a href="">cost of living calculator</a> to get a better feel for how feasible this move would be on your budget.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>2. What&rsquo;s the community like?</h2> <p>You&rsquo;ll want to do substantial research on the region before you agree to move. If you are moving for a new job, what is there in the new city to keep you happy outside of work? Especially if you have a family, relocation is never a casual decision. It&rsquo;ll mean new schools for your children and a total lifestyle change (and new job) for your partner. If your partner isn&rsquo;t on board, it&rsquo;s back to the drawing board. Some things to consider:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>What is the weather like? Can you handle a frigid Minnesota winter or a humid Florida summer?</li> <li>Is the culture of the city a good match for you and your family?</li> <li>Where will your kids go to school? Does the school system have a good reputation?</li> <li>What kind of real estate could you get there? Are you looking for a quiet neighborhood with a large backyard or a thriving metropolitan area?</li> </ul> <p>Are you in close proximity to amenities like medical centers, restaurants and grocery stores?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>3. Do I know anyone that lives where I&rsquo;m going?</h2> <p>Moving can be a thrilling process, filled with uncertainty and new adventures. While not necessary, having at least one friend or family member in your new location can be a significant plus. Not only does it tether you to something familiar, loved ones provide a safety net and source of helpful information if anything goes amiss. Whether you are looking for a school recommendation for your kids or an &ldquo;in&rdquo; to local social engagements, a friend who knows the area can help you out.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>4. What is my goal for moving out there?</h2> <p>Before you relocate, you&rsquo;ll want to do some serious self-reflection.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>What will you lose with a move?</li> <li>What will you gain by moving to this new city?</li> <li>Do you have a backup plan if things don&rsquo;t work out?</li> <li>How long do you want to stay there?</li> </ul> <p>Individuals with flexible lifestyles can often get away with a more spontaneous move, but if you have a family and/or a secure job, you need answers to all these questions before you proceed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>5. Will this move make me and my family happy?</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;ve been romanticizing the San Francisco Bay or the bustling streets of NYC for your entire life, it can be difficult to tell if this dream locale will actually mesh with your personality and lifestyle. If possible, consider taking an extended vacation to sample what your life would look like in this new area. Some families may even consider renting a furnished home or apartment for a few months before taking the leap.</p> <p><br /> You know yourself best. Do you struggle with change? Or do you quickly adapt to new situations and communities? At the end of the day, you and your family&rsquo;s happiness is top priority. Every move causes stress and requires significant adjustment for all parties, but if you&rsquo;ll be better off in the long term, then it&rsquo;s worth it.</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results What is a Reverse Mortgage? What You Need to Know <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Apr 13, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re a homeowner who is 62 years old or older, there is a financial option available to you known as a reverse mortgage that you might not be aware of. This type of mortgage, called a reverse mortgage, puts money into your pocket rather than taking it away.&nbsp; Of course, as with any type of mortgage, there are only certain circumstances where a reverse mortgage is necessary. You may ask, what is a reverse mortgage and when would I need one? The answer largely depends on how much home equity you have, your financial background and your plans for the future.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>The Basics</h2> <p>Insured by the Federal Housing Administration, reverse mortgages are a common tactic American seniors use to pay for things like home renovations, daily living expenses and medical costs. This type of mortgage uses a person&rsquo;s current home equity as collateral to receive money from their lender on a monthly basis. The amount of money a homeowner can receive depends on factors such as age, interest rates and a home&rsquo;s appraised value.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>The Restrictions</h2> <p>As stated above, a homeowner must be 62 years old or better to take advantage of a reverse mortgage. For the first year of the agreement, payments may be lower than the following years, as a result of Federal Housing Administration requirements. The homeowner must have a substantial amount of home equity available, and the exact amount will depend on the specific lender&rsquo;s rules. Borrowers are still required to pay property taxes and insurance throughout the loan agreement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Who Should Use It</h2> <p>While it may seem like free money at first glance, a reverse mortgage is not a good choice for anyone who plans to resell their home and keep the majority of the sale price. Six months after the homeowner moves out of the home, the lender will sell the property. If the home sells for more than the owner received in reverse mortgage payments, the owner (or their heirs) is entitled to the difference in monetary value. If the home sells for less than the owner received, they are not responsible for paying the difference, but they won&rsquo;t receive any money from the sale. This is an important consideration for anyone who wants to pass along real estate to his or her relatives. On the other hand, if a senior needs to pay for something expensive, a reverse mortgage is often a better choice than a standard loan because there are no interest payments to worry about.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Additional Factors to Consider</h2> <p>When you&rsquo;re thinking about getting a reverse mortgage, be sure to think about whether it is necessary for your situation. It goes without saying that your home is a valuable asset to hold onto, so don&rsquo;t dip into your home equity to pay for things that are more wants than needs in your life. Financial responsibility could make the difference between a comfortable retirement and one that is less certain.&nbsp; Want to learn more about home mortgages? <a href="">See why your debt to income ratio</a> affects the likelihood of being approved for a loan!</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results 3 Vital Tips to Improve Fire Safety at Home <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Apr 6, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A home is meant to be a place for families to bond and feel safe. Unfortunately, too many homes exist that aren&rsquo;t quite as safe as the homeowners might suspect. Fire is a real danger in the home, as the majority of fire-related deaths occur in residential environments. Fire safety awareness is important for any homeowner, to protect their property and more importantly, their lives. The good news is that home fires are entirely preventable when you take a few simple steps to avoid disaster.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Cook Carefully</h2> <p>When your appetite takes over and it&rsquo;s time to prepare a meal, it&rsquo;s important to not become distracted while cooking. This is especially important if you are preparing a meal on the stovetop &mdash; a space where dangerously hot surfaces can easily ignite flammable materials in the kitchen.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As a general rule of thumb, when using a pan to cook, always stay in the kitchen to keep an eye on your meal. When you&rsquo;re not preparing food, keep the stovetop clear in case someone leaves a burner on, or bumps into one accidentally. If you&rsquo;re willing to invest in a new appliance, <a href="">induction stovetops</a> are far safer than gas or electric models, because they can only heat specialized cookware and nothing else.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Heat Safely</h2> <p>Heating is a necessity in the Upper Midwest, and it&rsquo;s important to be mindful of the safety of your heating system. If your home is older, it may have radiators that heat to high temperatures when the weather becomes frigid. If there are curtains, books, or other flammable materials nearby, they can ignite quickly. Take a look around your home to identify any potential safety risks near artificial heat sources.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fireplaces pose another risk that homeowners should be aware of. While there&rsquo;s nothing like a cozy hearth on a cold day, it&rsquo;s essential to be careful when using it. Make sure the flue and any air intake vents are open before you build a fire. Be extra cautious when adjusting the logs in the fireplace, because when they are unstable they can move unpredictably. Always use a fireplace poker when making these adjustments.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Smoke Outside</h2> <p>If you have a smoker in your home, tell them to take their habit outside for the safety of everyone. Smoking is the leading cause of fire-related deaths in the home, so even if a smoker thinks they will be careful with their cigarettes or cigars, they cannot be certain they will prevent an inferno. Falling asleep on a couch with a cigarette can start a blaze, because upholstered furniture is extremely flammable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even when a cigarette butt seems like it&rsquo;s completely extinguished, it may still be lit and pose a danger. Keep an ashtray outside as a storage place for used butts and never toss them onto the ground. If smokers take the right precautions, they can greatly lower the risk of danger.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Every home has the potential to become a danger to those living inside it, but by making safety a priority is a great way to stop fires from happening. Your regular home maintenance should include measures that help you prevent a fire, but there are other responsibilities to be aware of. Check out our <a href="">Homeowner&rsquo;s Maintenance</a> series of blog posts to get more tips for keeping your home in safe and working order.</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Don’t Overlook the Importance of Curb Appeal on Home Sale Values <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Mar 29, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When getting homes ready to put on the market, many forget that the outside should be just as primed and ready to showcase as the inside. Homes with high curb appeal sell faster and at higher prices. That doesn&rsquo;t mean you need to be replacing siding (necessarily), but if you are wondering how to increase curb appeal, there are several things you can do that will contribute to your home&rsquo;s wow-factor.</p> <h2>&nbsp;</h2> <h2>Clean Up</h2> <p>Before you make any big adjustments, wash off any long-standing dirt or mildew from the outside of your home. Merely washing your home can add upwards of $10,000 to your sale price. Be sure to include the windows, inside and outside. If you feel like splurging, you can always hire a professional cleaning crew to get this done in a couple of days; otherwise, you can finish it in a weekend or two.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This is the most important step because it will help determine what needs to be replaced, fixed or cleaned up further once you have a chance to evaluate your home.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>New Paint</h2> <p>A fresh paint job is going to be the most common advice given to enhance curb appeal. It is instantly recognized by buyers and appraisers to boost the resale value of your home.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Landscaping</h2> <p>Good landscaping can add up to 28% to your home&rsquo;s value and makes your home visually appealing. Keep your lawn freshly mowed, and add a little green to your grass with grass food and plenty of water. Replace any overgrown bushes with plants and colorful flowers, add mulch to trees and bushes, and pull any weeds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Update Your Mailbox</h2> <p>It may seem like a small detail, but adding an upgraded mailbox can substantially add to your curb appeal. It catches the eye as soon as potential buyers arrive to tour your home, and it&rsquo;s simple and cost effective to install.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Hide Potential Eyesores</h2> <p>While things like hoses, trash bins, air conditioners and the like are expected as part of a home, it&rsquo;s a good idea to keep them out of sight to improve the overall appeal of your home while it&rsquo;s on the market.</p> <ul> <li>For garbage cans, a small fence, garbage can storage shed, or even a few lattice panels will cover the cans when they&rsquo;re away from the curb. A handful of lattice panels will do well to cover your air conditioning unit as well.</li> <li>There are pots you can purchase that will fit the entirety of your hose and include a small hole in the back to keep it connected to the faucet.</li> <li>Air conditioning units can be large and unappealing. A few lattice panels will work to cover the unit. Otherwise, consider planting a few small bushes to hide it.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Take a second glance at things like light fixtures, the driveway, doorways, and any other things that could take away from the appeal of the front of your home. Any potential signs of aging in fences or gutters should be attended to; after all, this is the face of your home! You want it to draw buyers in right from the very start.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To improve your curb appeal, all it takes is a fresh coat of paint, some pulled weeds, and a little bit of creativity. You&rsquo;ll be surprised at what a difference it can make to potential buyers to know their soon-to-be home was well maintained. Follow these steps and your home will be looking as good as new!</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Why Is Debt-to-Income Ratio Important? <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Mar 24, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Applying for a mortgage involves a lot more than having a good credit score. Lenders will also consider whether or not you can afford to take on additional debt, and that&rsquo;s where your debt-to-income ratio comes in. There are a few factors to consider when calculating your debt-to-income ratio and understanding why it matters.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>What Is a Debt-to-Income Ratio?</h2> <p>Your debt-to-income ratio is the comparison of how much you make each month versus how much you owe. More specifically, it is the percentage of your income before taxes that goes towards such payments as rent, credit cards, or other forms of debt.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>How to Calculate Debt-to-Income Ratio</h2> <p>Before shopping for loans, calculating your debt-to-income ratio will be pivotal to finding out what kind of mortgage you qualify for. Calculating your debt-to-income ratio can be done in 3 easy steps:</p> <ol> <li>Add up all of your monthly debt. This includes rent/house payments, student loan payments, car payments, credit card payments, and any other debt you may have. (Typical household expenses such as groceries or utilities don&rsquo;t count!) Note: Your credit card payment should be factored at the minimum payment amount.</li> <li>Divide your monthly debt total by your gross monthly income.</li> <li>Take your debt divided by your income and multiply by 100 to get your percentage.</li> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>The 43% Rule</h2> <p>While there is no definitive amount that requires lenders to offer you a loan, the general standard for qualifying for a home loan is 43%. If your monthly debt exceeds 43% of your monthly income, you are unlikely to qualify even if you make all your monthly payments on time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>How to Improve Your Debt-to-Income Ratio</h2> <p>When it comes to improving your debt-to-income ratio, the only two options are to increase your income or reduce your debt. And in this case, reducing your debt is usually the easier solution.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Review your monthly spending and see where there is room for you to cut back. Amenities such as dining out, entertainment, or vacations are a good place to start.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Another option is to look at your cost for such things as cable, Internet, and cell phone service. Can you find a less expensive plan or option?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Remember, improving your debt-to-income ratio is based on your debt payments, not balances. If you have high interest rates, consider consolidating your debt and making smaller payments over a longer period of time. This will help with your debt-to-income ratio and help qualify you for the home of your dreams!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For further information regarding debt-to-income ratio or other loan questions, <a href="">contact</a> your Re/Max Results agent today.&nbsp;</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Pro Open House Tips and Tricks for Savvy Buyers <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Mar 20, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>An open house is the start of your journey to homeownership. It&rsquo;s your first chance to see a property for yourself and ask the listing agent any questions you might have. As you tour homes you can gather insights on the market and how to negotiate as well as what factors are most important to you in a home.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We&rsquo;ve compiled our top open house tips for buyers &mdash; insights we&rsquo;ve developed over the years during our own searches. Buying a house can be a long and arduous process, but when you put in the effort, you can end up with the home of your dreams.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Do Your Research</h2> <p>A common mistake is to waltz into an open house without a concrete battle plan. Without setting a strategy beforehand, it&rsquo;s easy to waste your time and energy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Instead of planning for one visit, schedule an entire afternoon (or even a weekend) to visit all the houses you are considering in a certain area. Make sure your visits don&rsquo;t overlap. Better yet, contact the listing agent to set up an appointment that works with your schedule.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Before going into a house, you should conduct background research on local market data and what the house&rsquo;s price and value will mean in the current real estate climate. You&rsquo;ll want to make notes on the property description sheets so you can talk through the properties when you return home. After visiting several houses, they will begin to blur together, so notes are crucial.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Stick to Your Price Range</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re a fan of HGTV, you&rsquo;ve seen it a dozen times. Prospective homeowners begin the episode with a set price range, romanticize the expensive house that the agent skillfully planted, and end up with a home far out of their budget. Learn from these mistakes. Set a specific cost range beforehand and stay strong.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>That being said, there are real estate tips to keep in mind. Don&rsquo;t rule out properties that have been listed for a few months or longer. Their DOM (days on market) is not an accurate indicator of property quality, so avoid making too many negative assumptions from it. While these homes sometimes require a bit more work, the sellers are more likely to negotiate with you on price if their property has been sitting on the market for a while.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Insider Tip: To ensure you don&rsquo;t go over budget, look for homes in a lower price range so you won&rsquo;t be priced out by competing offers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Etiquette Matters</h2> <p>When you tour an open house, it&rsquo;s expected that you will inspect the property closely. This could be your home, so you deserve to be thorough. However, this is not an excuse to rake through the homeowners&rsquo; possessions. Remember that this is still their home and to be respectful of their privacy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While you should feel free to look in closets, measure room dimensions, and check water pressure, you should not disrupt their belongings in any way or take pictures without getting permission from the agent first.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Insider Tip: Bring a tape measure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Utilize the Listing Agent</h2> <p>The listing agent holds a lot of power, so remember to dress nicely and be polite. Once you&rsquo;ve developed a light rapport with the agent feel free to ask some probing questions to get a feel for the property. Why do the sellers want to move? How many offers have been make? What are the neighbors like? What issues does the house come with? What&rsquo;s the seller&rsquo;s timeline?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Play Your Cards Close to Your Chest</h3> <p>While you want to be friendly and complimentary at the open house, avoid being too chummy. Hold your poker face, and don&rsquo;t give away too much information about your dream home, price range, etc. Any information you divulge will likely be used in negotiations. Play a little hard-to-get.</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;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Last but not least, remember to hold criticism until after you leave the open house.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Make Friends</h2> <p>Some of the most honest insights you&rsquo;ll get will be from the other buyers. Many buyers have been looking for homes for months and have a keen understanding of the real estate market and house values. Listen to their reactions and make observations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Do they leave the open house quickly? That&rsquo;s a sign the house is overpriced or lacking in quality. Do they stay and ask loads of questions? This one is probably a keeper.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If you have any further questions about our open house tips for buyers, feel free to visit our website at <a href=""></a>.&nbsp;</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results 5 Chic Interior Design Trends for 2017 <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Mar 15, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When it&rsquo;s time to make changes to your home&rsquo;s interior design, it&rsquo;s a good idea to get up-to-date with the latest trends. Of course, there&rsquo;s always room in your home for your own personal touches, but incorporating modern design trends makes it clear that you have your finger on the pulse of what&rsquo;s popular today. The newest home looks are sure to attract compliments from guests and inspire them with ideas for their own homes. It doesn&rsquo;t require a total makeover to modernize your home&rsquo;s interior, so choose the interior design trends 2017 has to offer that speak to you.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Go Green</h2> <p>We&rsquo;re not talking about reducing your home&rsquo;s carbon footprint (something that has been in style for the last decade), but incorporating the actual color green throughout your home. Pantone has selected the shade &ldquo;Greenery&rdquo; as the <a href="">color of the year for 2017</a>, and it&rsquo;s easy to see why. Green adds a pop of color without being too loud. All shades of green represent rejuvenation and vitality, so when you incorporate green furniture, art and wall paint, the people in your home are sure to feel a little more alive.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Faux Everything</h2> <p>It doesn&rsquo;t take genuine materials to make your home&rsquo;s interior genuinely good looking. In fact, it is becoming extremely popular to include fake reclaimed wood, plants, marble, granite and other elements throughout interior design elements. Technological improvements have made faux materials look more convincing than ever before, which contributes to their growing stylishness. Going for the imitation version of floors, tables, couches, artwork and more can save homeowners a great deal of money at purchase. Even better, fake materials have improved in the durability department, so you&rsquo;re likely to enjoy these items for years to come.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Artisan Furniture</h2> <p>On the opposite end of the spectrum, it may be time to head to your local antique store to find pieces of furniture with plenty of character. For 2017, well-built furniture that stands the test of time is sure to be a hit. If you&rsquo;re looking to make a stylish furniture purchase, keep an eye out for unique pieces, such as handcrafted goods. If it looks beautiful, but you&rsquo;ve never seen anything like it at big box furniture stores, you&rsquo;re on the right track. The right pieces can infuse personality into your home and serve as a long-term investment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Lighting Details</h2> <p>For many people, simply keeping a room illuminated is the main concern when it comes to lighting. You can set your home apart by including unique lighting that wows. Today&rsquo;s interior designers see lighting as an additional element that can add character and atmosphere to a room. If you&rsquo;re wondering where to get started, think about lighting features that are one-of-a-kind and are sure to be noticed as soon as you flip on the power. Accent lighting adds drama and visual interest in a room. Direct accent lights towards sculptures, plants and textured walls to make a visual statement. Keep accent lights three times as bright as the surrounding ambient light to create the perfect focal point.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Geometric Patterns</h2> <p>Including geometric patterns throughout a room makes it feel orderly and neat. This characteristic has been known for millennia, and many ancient cultures incorporated triangles, squares and circles throughout their decorations as an expression of creativity. Today, you can find modern takes on classical styles that look great for wallpaper, furniture material, artwork and other pieces throughout a room. Keep it simple when looking for geometric patterns &mdash; designs that are too busy can feel overwhelming. The goal with these patterns is to subtly compliment the room rather than stand out on their own.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The last few years brought many changes to interior design, and 2017 continues the evolution of these trends. Giving your home a modern feel is easy with just a few small changes that make a big difference. However you want to incorporate these elements, it&rsquo;s important to create a living environment that feels uniquely yours. After all, if every home had the exact same features, none would be very interesting to look at. Subtly include the latest trends to complement your own style, and you&rsquo;re sure to love your home even more. Design extends past the interior of a home, so check out our blog post &ldquo;<a href="">New Home Construction Trends: Considerations for the Latest Home Designs</a>&rdquo; to learn what&rsquo;s stylish in the world of home architecture.</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Know Your Loans: Choosing the Right Home Loan <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Mar 6, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A major consideration for the majority of people who want to purchase a home is setting up the right home mortgage. Choosing the right home loan has an impact on monthly payments for years, so it&rsquo;s important to research available options when it&rsquo;s time to purchase a home. There are several types of home mortgages, and the best plan for homebuyers depends on a variety of individual financial factors. When it&rsquo;s time to choose the right mortgage, knowledgeable buyers put themselves at an advantage for a great rate.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Fixed-Rate Loans</h2> <p>Fixed-rate loans are the most common choice when purchasing a home due to their predictability. The interest rate for this type of loan is locked, so it will not change for the duration of the mortgage unless you refinance at some point. To determine this unchanging monthly payment, the loan provider benchmarks the 10-year Treasury note and sets a rate slightly above it. Homebuyers usually choose a 30-year term, although a 15-year term is popular as well. There are three types of fixed mortgage loans for buyers to choose from:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><strong>Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loan:&nbsp;</strong>This type of loan goes through a Federal Housing Administration-approved lender. It is the ideal type of loan for a low-income or first time homebuyer, because it can be approved with an extremely low down payment &mdash; sometimes as low as 3.5%. This type of loan is riskier for the lender, so the homebuyer must also pay mortgage insurance as part of their monthly payment with this type of loan.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><strong>Veteran&rsquo;s Affairs (VA) Loan:&nbsp;</strong>A VA loan is only available to active-duty, army reserve, veteran and spouses of U.S. military personnel. There is little to no down payment with a VA loan, and a portion of the loan is guaranteed to the lender in case of a default, resulting in lower rates for borrowers. Unlike FHA loans, there is no mortgage insurance requirement with a VA loan, and there are additional refinancing options available. Current and former military members should consider this type of loan for their next home purchase.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><strong>Conventional Home Loan:&nbsp;</strong>A conventional loan is one that is not insured by the federal government, but instead follows loan limits set by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Buyers who have a good credit score and debt-to-income ratio may benefit from this type of loan, because it&rsquo;s possible to find a decent interest rate and be approved faster than a federal loan. Policies vary by lender, so this is one of the broadest categories of loans.</li> </ul> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>Adjustable Rate Loans</h2> <p>Despite the name, adjustable-rate loans typically feature an introductory period with a fixed rate. While this initial interest rate is often lower than a traditional fixed mortgage, the price can rise significantly once the teaser period is over. The rate after the initial fixed-rate period depends on the market index, and it adjusts periodically. Introductory periods vary in length, but usually last one, three, five, seven or ten years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Interest-Only Loans</h2> <p>Another option for first-time homebuyers, an interest-only loan is cheaper for the first few years of home ownership. This loan only requires the borrower to make interest payments, rather than interest on top of principal. Once the interest-only period is over, the borrower must pay for both interest and principal, which creates a significant increase in monthly pricing. This loan is a good option when someone plans on selling the home before the interest-only period is over.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Balloon Mortgage</h2> <p>While a balloon mortgage is similar to a fixed-rate, there are some differences in the terms of the agreement. The borrower agrees to pay for the loan over a set period, and when that time is over, they must pay the rest of the balance in one lump sum. If they cannot pay the remaining principal once the initial time period is over, the homebuyer must refinance the agreement. The initial loan payments are typically lower than a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, but the buyer must keep in mind the large required payment at the end of this period.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Choosing the right mortgage for a home purchase may seem intimidating, but it just takes a little research to get the right plan. Once you&rsquo;ve secured your loan, it&rsquo;s time to start house hunting. <a href=";status[active]&amp;cf[community,subdivision]&amp;map[45.08418759300644|-93.14689636230469]&amp;prefix[northstarsemar]&amp;zoom[7]&amp;sqfeet[any|10000+]&amp;">Search our properties</a> to locate a home that fits your desires and budget. Getting the home you want with a loan that fits your needs is a rewarding experience. Start the process today to begin the next chapter of your life.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Are Scenic Lake Homes in Minnesota Within Reach in Today’s Market? <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Feb 28, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Many Twin Cities residents have the dream of owning lakeside property in the tranquil north woods of Minnesota or Wisconsin. If you&rsquo;ve ever wanted to have your very own escape away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you may have thought that it is too expensive to make a reality. It is a good time to sell a home in the Twin Cities, so it seems reasonable to think that buyers may have a difficult time finding a good deal on property in greater Minnesota.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The reality is, finding beautiful lake homes in Minnesota for a great price is easier than you might think.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Be Flexible</h2> <p>Most people who want to buy vacation homes on a lake are very particular about what they are looking for. As a result, lake homes tend to stay on the market longer than homes in the metro area. The longer a vacation home is on the market, the more willing a seller is to lower the price or accept a lower offer than the asking price. In 2016, lake homes were selling for around <a href="">18% less</a> than at the same time a year before. It&rsquo;s entirely possible to find a lake home you love and purchase it for well under the asking price. As a buyer, you can take advantage of other people&rsquo;s choosiness by jumping on a property that checks most of your wish list boxes quickly.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Lakeside Choices Galore</h2> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Northern Minnesota is a vast region with thousands of lakes to purchase a home on. Going up north to the cabin is a regional tradition that has led to an influx of lake properties over the last century. No two lakes are identical, and the same goes for lakeshore homes. Buyers can find properties that range from charming, small log cabins to grand multi-story retreats. One big decision buyers face is whether they want to have direct water access or have their lake home a bit further from the water to get a lower price. Both are great options, so it may come down to whether you want to keep a boat at your own dock for quick fishing outings.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>A Long-Term Decision</h2> <p>While you may be tempted to pack up and relocate around the cities to be closer to family or a new job, many people who buy a cabin up north keep the property for generations. Home prices in rural areas may not rise as quickly as those in the Twin Cities, but they are still an investment for the future. People will always want to experience the beauty of the northern areas of the state, and demand for lakeside properties will continue to rise. Today, you can take advantage of a healthy buying market and hold on to your property until the balance tips towards sellers. On the other hand, you can also pass your lake home on to your family members and keep it for the long haul.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Searching for a lake home is a lot like choosing your next vacation, but it&rsquo;s the kind of vacation you can go on every weekend for years with friends and family. Now is a great time to research a new vacation home because there are plenty of bargains to be had. Consider how you will use your lake home, which size lake you&rsquo;d enjoy, and your budget before you begin your search. When you&rsquo;re ready to find the lake home you&rsquo;ve always wanted, <a href="">connect with your RE/MAX Results agent</a> to start your search!</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Is Your Home Smart? <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Feb 22, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Smart is no longer a phrase saved for cell phones; now you can find smart technology in your own house! There are an abundance of home automation technology options that can allow you to control everything from lights to temperature to security, making your life both more convenient and safer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Smart Home Advantage</h2> <p>Home automation technology can seem daunting at first, but it is incredibly user friendly. Most smart home technology can be controlled by any number of devices including tablets, phones, and computers. As long as you have Internet, your home management just got a whole lot easier.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Smart home technology offers advantages far beyond sheer convenience. Home automation can significantly raise the value of your home and further entice potential buyers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Why do buyers like these kinds of features? It offers the ability to receive notifications for things such as smoke detection, to control the temperature in your home, and allows you to double check that the front door is locked after leaving &mdash; home management is as easy as checking your phone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Home automation systems give homeowners the power to keep their home and family safe from potential dangers as well as keeping it comfortable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Smart Lights</h2> <p>Smart lighting is an upgrade for a variety of reasons. While the initial cost of installing smart lighting systems may seem high, smart bulbs use less energy and last longer saving you money in the long run.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>You can control these bulbs with a simple app on your phone or tablet, and even add a companion app that lets you group your bulbs, letting you adjust brightness in several areas or the entire house at once.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Another advantage to smart lighting is automation; you can schedule your lights to turn on or off at certain times and sync them with other smart home devices or even the outside temperature.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Smart Thermostat</h2> <p>Similar to the smart lighting options, smart thermostats are controllable from your phone or tablet and allow you to save money over time through the ability to oversee temperature in your home and tailor heating and cooling accordingly. You can schedule temperature changes for particular times during the day, and they consistently monitor the temperature outside to keep the temperature inside comfortable. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>These systems can be pricey, but considering the energy it saves by tailoring to your lifestyle it&rsquo;s ultimately the more economic choice in addition to being convenient.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Smart Blinds</h2> <p>Motorized blinds might sound like something out of a bachelor pad from 1992, but the updated versions of smart blinds offer a lot more than just a fancy way to lower or raise your shades.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Wireless shades operate similarly to smart light bulbs; you can raise or lower them in groups or individually right from your phone or tablet and set them to a schedule for things like sunrise and sunset. Some even work with voice activated technology. You can maintain an ambience of natural light and keep your home private and secure at night.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Customized Homes</h2> <p>In addition to convenience and safety, home automation technology provides the opportunity for buyers and homeowners to customize every detail of home management to their liking.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With the amount of options available, you can decide if you would like to control your entertainment from your devices, your appliances, security, and much more. What is better to offer a potential buyer than the option to lock their front door right from their phone?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With how quickly this technology is developing, experts agree that there is a lot of potential with home automation systems. For further information, contact your Re/Max Results agent today!&nbsp;</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results