Blog Blog posts for Blog Thu, 25 May 2017 11:30:10 +0100 FeedCreator 1.7.2 Millenials and Home Buying: 3 Trends for 2017 <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on May 23, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A new generation of homebuyers is entering the market &mdash; the Millennials. Relative to other generations, Millennials have been hesitant to purchase homes as they have reached their 20s and early 30s. High student debts, low paying entry-level jobs and rising home prices have all contributed to the reliance on rentals. Fortunately for Millennials, and anyone looking to sell their homes, that is all set to change in 2017.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to analysts at the <a href="">National Association of Real Estate Agents</a>, Millenials made up the largest group of homebuyers at 35%, a figure that is sure to grow in the coming year. As Millennials grow older, they are beginning to find themselves in a position to purchase real estate for the first time. Millenials and home buying don&rsquo;t seem like opposites after all. Here&rsquo;s why the new kids on the block are finally in a position to purchase:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Boomer Downsizing</h2> <p>As the majority of Millennials have moved away from home, Baby Boomer parents are adapting to the empty nesting lifestyle. Without the kids to take up rooms in the home, it might feel like the living space has doubled in size. A bigger home is always better, right? Not for everyone. In fact, many Baby Boomers are looking to move into a smaller home that is easier to clean and decorate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, every parent is different, and some are sure to enjoy their newly realized expansive square footage. On the other hand, some Boomers are using their home investment to move somewhere smaller and pocketing the difference in home equity. This leads to more real estate options on the market for younger people, who dream of the property owning lifestyle as much as any other generation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Career Advancement</h2> <p>Many Millennials entered the job market during the height of the recession &mdash; an event that left a lasting impression on fiscal confidence. As the years have passed, the job market has grown, along with Millennials&rsquo; career ambitions. The oldest members of this generation are in their early 30s and not trying to get their foot in the door any longer. Career doors are opening for many Millenials, which means home doors are as well.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Minnesota is an especially promising real estate market for Millenials. As highlighted in the Business Insider map above (one that counts college-age students, bringing down income figures), Minnesota Millenials are among the top earners in the country. The healthy job market means that Millenials are increasingly able to progress in their careers and earn enough to realize home owning ambitions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Changing Attitudes</h2> <p>Purchasing a home is a significant milestone in a person&rsquo;s life, but it often comes after other important life events. Before homes are even on the radar, events like marriage, having children and career stability tend to take priority. After all, it doesn&rsquo;t make much sense to buy a home if you don&rsquo;t know who to share it with.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One reason 2017 a promising year for Millennial home purchases is the fact that this generation is transitioning from the young adult stage of their lives to the adult stage. As mentioned before, the oldest Millennials are in their 30s&nbsp; &mdash; a time in life that&rsquo;s ideal for settling down and starting a family. The generation that made it acceptable to live in their parents&rsquo; basement in their early 20s is beginning to get basements of their own.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Millenials may have had a slow start in the real estate market, but they are set to take it by storm in 2017. This generation isn&rsquo;t just made up of kids anymore, and they share the same home owning dreams of Generation X and the Baby Boomers. If you&rsquo;re in the market to sell your home, this is great news. The pool of potential buyers is changing every year, and this year brings a new crowd. If you&rsquo;re part of this generation, be sure to <a href="">do your homework</a> before starting your home search. There are great deals to be had, you just need to know what to look for!</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results What Is Homeowner’s Insurance and What Does It Cover? <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on May 16, 2017</p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-fccb6986-11ea-f768-e081-507f0ff224db"><span><img src="" alt="" width="408" height="272" /></span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-fccb6986-11e7-9a2b-eae6-e5e486d2d178"><span>Whether you&rsquo;re shopping for your first home or looking for your next one, having the proper homeowner&rsquo;s insurance coverage is crucial. But the question many new homebuyers have is: </span><span>what exactly is homeowner&rsquo;s insurance</span><span>?</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Private Residence Coverage</h2> <p dir="ltr"><span>Homeowner&rsquo;s insurance (HOI), also known as home insurance or property insurance, is insurance coverage for a private residence that combines a variety of protections. It is designed to protect against damages to the home itself (the interior and exterior), possessions within the home, and to provide liability coverage against accidents on the property. </span></p> <p><span><span><br /></span></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Currently in the United States there are seven standard forms of home insurance ranging from HO-1 to HO-8, and each level has varying degrees of protection based on the homeowner&rsquo;s needs.</span></p> <p><span><span><br /></span></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Homeowner&rsquo;s insurance coverage needs are based on a variety of factors, and one in particular is location. For example, if someone lives in an area of the country that is prone to earthquakes or hurricanes, adding policies that cover those natural disasters would be a good move.</span></p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-fccb6986-11e8-31b1-3e21-9e63dd67aaf4"><br /><span>Other forms of insurance such as as renter&rsquo;s insurance, designed for renters, only cover the possessions of the renter and certain events that are not covered in the home insurance held by the property owner.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><span id="docs-internal-guid-fccb6986-11e8-7375-c470-b6992ff5cbfc"><span>What Does Homeowner&rsquo;s Insurance Cover</span><span>?</span></span></h2> <p dir="ltr"><span>The standard homeowner&rsquo;s insurance policies include four essential coverage types:</span></p> <p><span><span><br /></span></span></p> <ol> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr"><span>Coverage for the structure of your house</span></p> </li> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr"><span>Coverage for your personal belongings</span></p> </li> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr"><span>Liability protection</span></p> </li> <li dir="ltr"><span>Additional living expenses in the case of an insured disaster</span></li> </ol> <h3><span id="docs-internal-guid-fccb6986-11e9-0a81-c7b5-c59dd7cfa2fc"><span>Structure of Your House</span></span></h3> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-fccb6986-11e9-58f3-716e-bdbe34c9c275"><span>If your home is destroyed or damaged due to a fire, hurricane, hail, lightning or other disasters listed in your policy, your home insurance will pay to rebuild or repair your home.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><span id="docs-internal-guid-fccb6986-11e9-9a77-0975-af2d2390b2b6"><span>Personal Belongings</span></span></h3> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-fccb6986-11e9-dd49-38ee-4a2ae3868a25"><span>The typical coverage on your personal belongings (clothes, furniture, electronics, etc) is usually based on a home inventory that you conduct yourself. Your items are covered in case of fire, theft, or other insured instances.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><span id="docs-internal-guid-fccb6986-11ea-0125-40af-37ca471b62e2"><span>Liability</span></span></h3> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-fccb6986-11ea-345b-9913-71cfa3693959"><span>Liability coverage is put in place to cover potential claims stemming from accidents on your property, such as slipping on an icy sidewalk. This includes lawsuits and damages as well.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><span id="docs-internal-guid-fccb6986-11ea-5638-ccef-9c4059f583a6"><span>Additional Living Expenses (ALE)</span></span></h3> <p dir="ltr"><span>ALE covers the additional living costs that accrue from an insured accident or disaster. This includes all bills over your typical living expenses, such as hotel fees, that accumulate while you cannot live in your home.</span></p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-fccb6986-11ea-b3d2-1736-caa793c76504"><br /><span>Keep in mind that every home insurance policy is different, will have varying levels of coverage, and should be carefully considered based on your needs. Working with a qualified insurance agent will ensure you find the policy you need to cover your home and belongings in the most cost effective way. Contact your RE/MAX Results agents today for some local recommendations.</span></span></p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Preparing Your Garden for Spring <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on May 9, 2017</p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ac95d4c8-ede0-fded-def1-b494af353bdf"><span><img src="" alt="" width="440" height="293" /></span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ac95d4c8-eddd-16f3-fdcc-072a51d88b14"><span>Spring brings the perfect opportunity to begin sprucing up your garden by taking advantage of the beautiful weather and heavy rains. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or are looking to develop your green thumb, there are a few things you can do in </span><span>preparing your garden for spring</span><span> planting this season.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><span id="docs-internal-guid-ac95d4c8-eddd-3ec5-bef7-a8ab6f20f101"><span>Clean Up Your Garden</span></span></h2> <p dir="ltr"><span>Begin by clearing your garden beds or greenhouse of items that accumulate over the winter months. This includes branches, leaves, and other debris. </span></p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ac95d4c8-eddd-79e7-31ff-f6d0fa946106"><br /><span>If you have a greenhouse, make sure you disinfect even the tiniest nooks and crannies where pests and diseases can be living. Be sure to also wash your pots and seed trays to help prevent diseases on your spring plants.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><span id="docs-internal-guid-ac95d4c8-eddd-b518-2907-f5f4a44791b9"><span>Purchase Summer Flowering Bulbs and Seeds</span></span></h2> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ac95d4c8-eddd-f545-3b7b-8d77df5c76c6"><span>There is a large variety of summer blooming flowers and other plants that can be planted in early spring to beautifully blossom this coming summer. Check with your local garden store or greenhouse for recommendations for your area.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><span id="docs-internal-guid-ac95d4c8-edde-1ac4-4ed1-0df66dfe9f6b"><span>Prep the Soil</span></span></h2> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ac95d4c8-edde-54f5-6065-8bb4ae54ce12"><span>Loosening up the soil and using proper fertilization will set up your garden for a productive and lush season. The compost or fertilizer you use will provide your garden with the nutrients and organic matter it needs to nourish your plants and handle water.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><span id="docs-internal-guid-ac95d4c8-edde-7fb3-5e02-2d00c3df2872"><span>Clean Garden Tools</span></span></h2> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ac95d4c8-eddf-7d62-d13b-8c572bf65ed0"><span>Your garden tools have remained dormant all winter, which means they can use a good cleaning and sharpening! Scrub them down with warm soap and water, and sharpen them either professionally or with home sharpening tools to make gardening easier. Maintaining your tools prevents potential disease in your plants and the need to replace tools in the future.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><span id="docs-internal-guid-ac95d4c8-eddf-a513-5aa2-3036551bc4c9"><span>Composting</span></span></h2> <p dir="ltr"><span>If you haven&rsquo;t composted in the past, now is a great time to start. Compost bins can be made with any spare pieces of wood, or you can purchase a ready-made compost bin from any hardware store or nursery. You can deposit your garden and kitchen leftovers such as grass clippings and vegetable peelings to benefit your plants once they break down into ultra nutrient rich soil. </span></p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ac95d4c8-eddf-d7f0-945b-6f5196e5ad56"><br /><span>Once you have your beautiful garden blooming, don&rsquo;t forget to keep up with weeding, watering, and ridding your plants of drooping or fading flowers from the green stem. Follow these easy </span><span>spring gardening tips</span><span> and keep your plants healthy and lush all season long!</span></span><span><span><br /></span></span></p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results How Do Property Taxes Actually Work? <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on May 2, 2017</p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ed5e5dff-c9c5-1a49-3ad1-922667db8aa5"><span><img src="" alt="" width="624" height="416" /></span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ed5e5dff-c9c2-4139-2778-bfb331723ced"><span>One of the most common expenses related to homeownership &mdash; other than your mortgage payment &mdash; is property taxes. While some people are intimately familiar with the ins and outs of property taxes, the details can leave many others asking: So </span><span>how do property taxes actually work</span><span>? If you fall into the latter classification, read on for a property tax primer.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><span id="docs-internal-guid-ed5e5dff-c9c2-6da3-a582-151a08916890"><span>What Are Property Taxes?</span></span></h2> <p dir="ltr"><span>Property taxes are fees levied by your local government, usually on a county level, on your property. Your property includes your home itself as well as the plot of land it is located on.</span></p> <p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ed5e5dff-c9c2-a41d-b2ec-c96a9cb841fe"><span>How much you pay in property taxes is based on the assessed value of your property. The more your property is worth, the higher your tax fee.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><span id="docs-internal-guid-ed5e5dff-c9c2-d1fb-ffd4-eab5682cf43b"><span>Why Do We Pay Property Taxes?</span></span></h3> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ed5e5dff-c9c3-10d4-9ce3-464b223f4c29"><span>Property taxes are used by the government to pay for essential services like road maintenance, fire and police protection, and sewage treatment.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><span id="docs-internal-guid-ed5e5dff-c9c3-3066-5e7c-5740cf9a89e4"><span>How Are Property Taxes Assessed</span><span>?</span></span></h2> <p dir="ltr"><span>A local or county assessor makes an assessment on the market value of your property each year. This amount is what your property is estimated to be worth and would likely sell for if put on the market. This amount can fluctuate from year to year based on real estate market conditions.</span></p> <p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ed5e5dff-c9c3-67fa-ceca-77c462981210"><span>Property taxes are usually determined by multiplying the property </span><span>tax rate</span><span> for your area by the current market value of your property. For example, if your property is assessed at $250,000 and the local property tax rate is 8%, your property taxes for the year would be $20,000 (250,000 x .08).</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><span id="docs-internal-guid-ed5e5dff-c9c3-9558-bf1b-fbc73f95f1eb"><span>How to Pay Your Property Taxes</span></span></h2> <p dir="ltr"><span>Property taxes are usually due twice a year. You should receive a statement in the mail once a year showing your assessed property taxes, when they are due, and where to send your payment. If you aren&rsquo;t sure when yours are due, you can check that information on your local government&rsquo;s website.</span></p> <p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ed5e5dff-c9c3-ccbd-5b71-2a1c4ddaad28"><span>Property taxes are most commonly paid by your loan provider on your behalf. This is done using something called an escrow account.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><span id="docs-internal-guid-ed5e5dff-c9c3-ef60-7dc6-09901b2348dd"><span>How Does an Escrow Account Work?</span></span></h3> <p dir="ltr"><span>An escrow account will be set up by your lender as part of your home loan, and a portion of your loan payment each month will go towards funding that account. The funds in the escrow account are used by the lender to pay the property taxes when they are due.</span></p> <p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Most loan providers require that borrowers set up an escrow account with them as a condition of approval. This serves as an assurance to them that the property taxes will be paid in full and on time when they are due, thus reducing their risk.</span></p> <p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ed5e5dff-c9c4-29cd-777a-e089002a8596"><span>Understanding property taxes and any other facet of homeownership shouldn&rsquo;t be a mystery. You can count on your RE/MAX Results agent to help you with any questions regarding the home buying process. Contact us to find your next home today!</span></span><span><span><br /></span></span></p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results How to Stage a Home for Sale: The Do’s and Don’ts Simplified <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Apr 27, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>You&rsquo;re ready to sell your home, which means it&rsquo;s time to prepare it for potential buyers to tour. But where do you begin? Preparing a home for the market involves a lot more than simply tidying up, but it certainly does not require you to remodel your kitchen. Here is a list of some important factors to consider when staging your home, and several things to avoid:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>The Do&rsquo;s of Staging a Home</h2> <h3>Curb Appeal</h3> <p>The outside of your home is the first thing that potential buyers see, which means that it&rsquo;s being judged before anyone passes through the front door. Plant flowers, mow the lawn, pull weeds, paint the shutters, clean windows, and make other small repairs to make the front of your home look just as beautiful as the inside.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Clean &amp; Declutter</h3> <p>Cleaning is an obvious suggestion; however, this doesn&rsquo;t mean vacuuming around the furniture. Dust, vacuum every room, make beds, clean counters, take out the garbage/recycling, and most importantly make sure each room is free of superfluous items that are distracting. Mail, laundry, shoes, or anything that is typically left sitting out should be hidden.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Keep Your Home Neutral</h3> <p>While removing personal items may seem petty, potential buyers need to picture themselves living in your home. Put away family photos and any other aspects of your home that may stand out as an eclectic personal style choice. This includes loud paint colors, as well as larger pieces of furniture. When it comes to staging a home for sale, less is more.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>The Don&rsquo;ts of Staging a Home</h2> <h3>Major Renovations</h3> <p>Making huge changes to your home could end up costing you more money in the end; if you decide to remodel your kitchen in a way that doesn&rsquo;t appeal to your buyers, the house could take longer to sell or be sold for less than what it&rsquo;s worth. If small repairs are necessary such as replacing the floors, painting, or changing outdating fixtures, those are far more important than dropping major dollars on a huge renovation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>The House Will Not Sell Itself</h3> <p>Don&rsquo;t assume that your house doesn&rsquo;t need to be spruced up as much as possible to sell. The real estate market is a game, and you should focus on making your home the most desirable one buyers will tour. In addition to cleaning and making small repairs, make your home welcoming to the potential new occupants.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Don&rsquo;t Do It Alone</h3> <p>Ask for help! If you&rsquo;re clueless on how to stage a home, you&rsquo;re definitely not alone. Avoid spending top dollar on new furniture or making repairs you don&rsquo;t need to make by hiring a professional to come in and find a way to use the space you have the most effectively. &nbsp;Hiring a professional will save you more money in the end and put your home at the top of the list for buyers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If you would like more information on staging a home for sale or are interested in hiring a professional stager, contact your RE/MAX Results agent today!</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results 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