5 Awesomely Easy Landscaping Projects

It’s your yard — yours to do with as you wish. And while that’s great, that doesn’t mean you have to be one of those people who spend every spare moment in their yard, sprucing it up

But, still, your landscaping could use a little something. But something easy. 

Here are five totally doable projects that your budget will barely notice, but your neighbors definitely will:

#1 Add Some (Tough) Edging

Tell your grass who’s boss with edging that can stand up to even the crabbiest of all crabgrasses. 

But don’t make the mistake that many homeowners make of buying the flexible plastic stuff, thinking it will be easier to install. It’ll look cheap and amateurish from day one.

Worse, it won’t last. And before you know it, you won’t be able to tell where your garden bed ends and your “lawn” begins.

Instead buy the more rigid, tough stuff in either fiberglass, aluminum, or steel.

Tips on installing edging:

  • Lay out a hose in the pattern you want.
  • Sprinkle flour or powdered chalk to mark the hose pattern.
  • Use a lawn edger (or spade) to make an incision for the edging.
  • Tap the edging into the incision with a rubber mallet.

The cost? Mostly your time, and up to $2.50 a square foot for the edging.

#2 Create a Focal Point with a Berm

A berm is a mound of gently sloping earth, often created to help with drainage. You can also build them to create “island beds,” a focal point of textures and colors that are so much more interesting than plain ol’ green grass. 

Plus, they’ll give you privacy — and diffuse street noises. What’s not to like about that? Especially if you live in a more urban area.

For most yards, berms should max out at 2-feet high because of the space needed to properly build one.

They need a ratio of 4-6 feet of width for every foot of height. That’s at least 8 feet for a typical 2-foot-high berm. So be sure you have the room, or decrease the height of your berm.

Popular berm plantings include:

  • Flowering bushes, such as azaleas
  • Evergreens, such as blue spruce 
  • Perennials such as periwinkle
  • Tall, swaying prairie grasses
  • Lots of mulch to keep weeds away

 Usually less than $300, depending on how big you make it, how much soil you need to buy to get to your desired height, and which plants you choose.

#3 Make a Flagstone Wall

How to build an easy flagstone wall:

  • Dig a trench a couple of inches deep and wide enough to accommodate the flagstones.
  • Fill with pea gravel and/or sand and tamp to make level.
  • Lay out the flagstones to see their shapes and sizes.
  • Stack the smaller stones first.
  • Save the largest, prettiest flagstones for the top layer.
  • Backfill with gravel.

Choose a stone of consistent thickness. Flagstone might be limestone, sandstone, shale — any rock that splits into slabs. 

The cost? About $300 for stones and sand (a ton of 2-inch-thick stone is enough for a wall 10 feet long and 12 inches high).

#4 Install a Path with Flagstone or Gravel

There’s something romantic, charming, and simply welcoming about a meandering pathway to your front door or back garden — which means it has super-huge impact when it comes to your home’s curb appeal. 

You can use flagstone, pea gravel, decomposed or crushed granite, even poured concrete (although that’s not easy to DIY). 

A few tips for building a pathway:

  • Allow 3 feet of width for clearance.
  • Create curves rather than straight lines for a pleasing effect.
  • Remove sod at least 3 to 4 inches deep to keep grass from coming back.
  • If you live in an area with heavy rains, opt for large, heavy stones.

The cost? Anywhere from a couple of hundred bucks to upwards of $500 depending on the material you use, with decomposed granite being the least expensive, and flagstone (also the easiest of the bunch to install) the costliest. 

#5 Build a Tree Surround

Installing a masonry surround for a tree is a twofer project: It looks great, and it means you’ve got less to mow. Come to think of it, it’s a threefer. It can work as extra seating when you have your lawn party, too! 

All it takes is digging a circular trench, adding some sand, and installing brick, cement blocks, or stone. Just go for whatever look you like best. 

The trickiest part is getting an even circle around the tree. Here’s how: 

  1. Tie a rope around the tree, making a loop big enough so that when you pull it taut against the tree, the outer edge of the loop is right where you want the surround to be. 
  2. Set your spade inside the loop with the handle plumb — straight up and down. Now, as you move around the tree, the loop of rope keeps the spade exactly the same distance from the base of the tree, creating a nice circle.

Then build the tree surround:

  • Dig out a circular trench about 8 inches deep and 6 inches wide. 
  • Add a layer of sand. 
  • Set bricks at an angle for a saw-tooth effect or lay them end-to-end.
  • Fill the surround with 2 to 3 inches of mulch.

The cost? Super cheap. You can do it for less than $25 with commonly available pavers and stones.

Curb appeal is important when wanting to sell your property. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. If you’re considering selling or buying property, give our office in Moberly MO a call. We’re here for all your real estate needs! 660-263-3393

4 To-Dos for July to Save Money & Get Ready for Fall

You know: Like taking advantage of your nice, cool basement.

#1 Organize the Basement

The two most common types of clutter? Old clothes and seasonal items. Just the kind of stuff that winds up in the basement. So this month, face your messy basement head on. Not only will you regain space, but you’ll also save time and could even knock back clutter-related depression. (Yeah, that’s a thing.)

Now that you’ve got it organized, maybe it’s a good time to consider this next project:

#2 Finish the Basement

The solution to a cramped house could be right under your feet. Transforming an unfinished basement into a media room, home office — or even a rentable space — builds equity, upping your home’s resale value. Start this project now, and you can kick back and enjoy your new space all winter long.

#3 Buy Paint on Sale

View of color tins.

July. Not really the time of year you think of painting, right? It’s usually too hot and humid. Probably why so many places put paint on sale this month. Stock up now, and you’ll be ready for that painting project on your fall to-do list. (P.S. Latex and acrylic paint can last up to 10 years; oil-based, up to 15.)

#4 Hit Up Recycling Centers

Summer is home improvement season. That also makes it the savvy buyer’s time to seek out deals at recycling centers and home improvement resale stores. Since this is project time — not to mention moving season — lots of folks are ditching their old stuff. Take advantage, and grab it up at super-low prices.

Summer is in full swing, and fall will be here before you know it! Advantage Real Estate agents can help you with home improvement ideas for your property or someone you might know who needs some assistance. We’re here for all of your real estate needs, serving Randolph and surrounding counties. Call and speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable agents. 660-263-3393

The Best 6 Steps to Take to Increase Resale Value

Everyone who is getting ready to sell wants to make the most money possible in the process. While you may see a great deal of value in your home, that love you’ve created doesn’t always translate to financial gain. The best way to actually increase the value of your home and therefore your potential profit is by improving and updating the things in your home that buyers are looking for.

While there may be projects that you would prefer to do or may seem easier, It’s important to focus on the renovations that will net you the highest ROI. We have complied a this list for you to reference for their ability to produce high ROI. If you are looking to boost your resale value, check out the steps

KITCHEN REMODEL

Real estate experts will always tell you that the highest ROI renovating your home can undergo is in the kitchen. People really want nice kitchens and it seems to be a major focus for a lot of homebuyers. The biggest priority when renovating your kitchen should be the layout. Have a functional space that can easily be updated is key. Once your space has ‘good bones’ you will want to find materials that have a high quality look without a big price tag. You can make a space update a space and make it look great without having to use marble or granite.

BATHROOM UPDATES

Not far behind kitchens, bathrooms are the second place buyers place a great deal of value. Thankfully, bathroom updates don’t have to drain your savings. Primary bathrooms are the most important and should be your focus if you only want to update one bathroom.

FIX PLUMBING

The biggest concern of potential buyers is structural concerns. You can have a beautiful home that can turn into a disaster if structural issues aren’t addressed. Replacing old piping with a newer plastic solution is a huge selling point and can calm some of the potential fears that come with buying a home.

GET RID OF STUCCO/PANELING

Wood paneling and Stucco are common in many older homes. Not only do these things tend to be unattractive to buyers, but they also show potential buyers that you likely haven’t made other efforts to update your home. If they have to worry about what is going on with what they see, they are likely to worry about what they cannot.

REPLACE SIDING

Curb appeal plays a major role in getting people in the door of your home. It makes sense to focus on how the outside will appear to potential buyers, so having yellowing siding that used to be white is unlikely to attract buyers. For those on a budget, you can also try power washing – it can bring better results than you might expect and it barely costs anything!

If you’re looking to list your property, call Advantage Real Estate in Moberly MO. Our knowledgeable and friendly agents can guide you with ideas to help increase the resale value of your home. We’re here to help you whether you’re buying or selling in Randolph and surrounding counties. 660-263-3393

The What + Why For Home Warranties

If you’ve only ever rented before, the necessity of a home warranty may be unknown to you. As a renter, you are used to a landlord who will fix any issues you run into – but that all changes when you become a homeowner. Now, when a water heater breaks or the fridge starts to leak on the new floors in the kitchen, there is no landlord to call. So what do you do now? You may have a friend or family member who can handle the smaller fixes, but when it comes to the big issues that will end up emptying your pockets, a home warranty can save the day.

A home warranty is similar to insurance, as it covers some or all of the costs of replacements or repairs when a system in your home malfunctions or stops working altogether. They range in annual costs of $300-$900 and remove the middle man in the fixing process. Instead of finding someone to fix an issue, you will directly contact your warranty provider and they will set up the repair or replacement with the appropriate vendors. Your premium usually covers all costs, with the exception of a co-pay which is typically around $50. 

If you’re wondering who should buy a warranty, they are usually recommended for first time home buyers who have rented up until that point. When you are used to having a landlord, a home warranty can fill that role in a different way. Home warranties are great for homes with both members in the work force outside of the house or just busy family members who can’t always be home to wait for the repair person window or find the time to even get quotes for the best repair shops in the area. Home warranties aren’t just for first time buyers, though. If your appliances are nearing the end of their life expectancy, now would be a great time to get a warranty. If all of your appliances were purchased in the same time frame, you don’t want to face the costs of them all failing at the same time. Warranties can save you time and money, especially in the first year of ownership.

Whether you’re buying your first home or your fourth, purchasing a home warranty may be what you need. Our agents can guide you in the direction that would work best for you. Call Advantage Real Estate in Moberly MO and let us help you! 660-263-3393

What Is A Short Sale?

An increase in foreclosure rates will inevitably bring with it an increase in short sales. But what is a short sale?

A short sale happens when you sell your house for less than your remaining mortgage balance, the proceeds of which go to the lender and in return the lender forgives the remaining balance. Selling your home as a short sale is one way to avoid foreclosure.

As a general rule, lenders lose money when they foreclose on a property. Consequently, they would rather not have to foreclose if it can be avoided. A short sale represents an opportunity to cut their losses because a short sale usually allows them to recoup more of the cost of the loan than a foreclosure process would.

However, don’t think that a short sale is an easy thing to accomplish. In order to get permission for a short sale, you must provide documentation showing a genuine financial hardship. And don’t think that the decision for accepting a short sale is solely in the hands of the lender. Sure the lender must first agree, but this is not the final word. If there is mortgage insurance involved, this company also gets input on the decision. If there is an investor backing the mortgage, they also get input as to whether to accept a short sale.

The transaction process for a short sale can be rather cumbersome as well, whether you’re on the buying or selling side. Many short sales fail due to additional demands by the lender, such as requiring the broker to reduce his or her commission and/or that the seller signs a document requiring him or her to pay back the shortfall.

If you’re on the selling side of a short sale, consider having your agent or other experienced professional negotiate with your lender for a better deal. And remember, if the lender does accept a short sale and forgives part of your debt, that is considered taxable income and you must declare it as such to the IRS.

Advantage Real Estate, in Moberly MO, serves in Randolph & surrounding counties. Our friendly and knowledgeable agents are here to help with all of your real estate questions and needs. 660-263-3393

HOW TO DECIDE IF YOU SHOULD REMODEL OR MOVE

After living in a home for several years, it can be easy to discover things you may not be crazy about. While some things can be a quick fix, there may be major changes that make you wonder if it is worth the investment. At this point, you’re probably asking yourself if you should remodel or just find a new home. As you have probably realized, this isn’t always an easy choice. There are many factors that go into this decision. Here are some things to consider when deciding what will work best for you.

1. Determine which is more cost-friendly

While both options will have costs, one will have more than the other depending on your situation. Some of the costs of selling include agent commissions, moving costs, minor repairs, the costs of a new home, and potential upsizing costs. The costs of remodeling can include permits, architectural plans, materials and labor, and any other additional costs incurred in the process. 

2. Look into the current housing market

Depending on whether your local real estate market is hot, it might make more sense to just sell if houses are selling quickly around you. By talking to a real estate agent, you can find out what to expect in terms of days on market, average sales price, and other important factors when it comes to selling a home.

3. Decide if your roots are deep 

Is your home more than just a home to you? If you and your family are actively involved in the community, remodeling may work best for you. On the flip side, if there are better schooling or job opportunities in a different neighborhood, or you already spend hours a day traveling to those locations, selling may be a better option.

4. Decide if a renovation can solve your problems

Take the time to decide if the problems with your home are fixable. Is it really the house, or do you dislike your neighborhood? Do you have to spend an hour driving one way to work? Do you need a lot more space? If your answer to questions like this make you realize renovations won’t solve your problems, consider that it may just be time to put your home on the market. 

5. Consider the ROI on your remodel

Calculating your return on investment will help you determine two things – first, if a remodel will cost you less than selling your home. It will also help you determine if you will be able to make your money back on a remodel if you choose to sell in the future. Look into the Cost v. Value Report for the last year, which can guide you on the most and least cost-effective improvements.

If these considerations make you realize it is time to sell your home, call our Advantage Real Estate office in Moberly MO today! 660-263-3393

3 TRICKS TO MAKE BUYERS HAPPY

When selling your home, your first thought may not be keeping potential buyers happy. With all the moving parts of home sales, it can be easy to forget that the little things truly do count – especially when it comes to the happiness of potential buyers. Yes – your home can probably sell itself as-is, but going the extra yard to boost interest in your home is worth it. You can start by putting together a home binder and include the following items for potential buyers to check out:

Home Guide

When a buyer is touring your home, they are going to be curious about the condition of the various parts of your home, from mechanics to appliances. By giving this information up front, you can avoid a lot of back and forth in the future. Included appliance manuals/warranties, smart home tech how to’s, a list of updates, home maintenance (ie: last time your HVAC was serviced), and age of mechanicals, roof, and appliances.

Vendor List

Create a master sheet of who you use for all of your homeowner needs. From landscapers to handymen, plumbers, and pest control. Try to include your recommendation for maintenance for any features your home has.

Local Favorites
What made you love where your home is? Include pamphlets from your favorite restaurants, info about local parks, or any neighborhood features that made your location so great. If you have kids, be sure to include things they loved about the area.

Whether you’re buying or selling, Advantage Real Estate wants buyers AND sellers happy. Our knowledgeable agents can assist you with all of your real estate needs in Randolph and surrounding counties. Call our office in Moberly MO with any questions you may have! 660-263-3393

MAKE YOUR HOME STAND OUT THIS SUMMER

As May comes to a close, school ends and the summer officially begins, that means one important thing – home selling season is upon us. With the kids home from school and vacation time accumulated, both buyers and sellers are ready to enter the market as the weather heats up. As the market begins to grow, you may wonder how to make sure your home stands out among all the others trying to sell during the summer months. Here are a few tips to make sure you can catch the eye of potential buyers during busy season!

1. Tour Other For-Sale Homes

Check out other homes for sale similar to yours that are also on the market. As you are preparing to list, use these tours to see what decor and design-types are attractive to you and potential buyers. If there are things you notice that you do not like, be sure to remove those features from your own home if you have them. Sometimes stepping out of the box (or in this case, your own home) will allow you to look at your home through the lens of a potential buyer.

2. Complete Your Home Inspection Up Front

The home inspection can be a dreaded part of the closing process. Instead of waiting for a buyer, complete your home inspection ahead of time. The goal is to set your home apart from the others on the market, and an easy way to do so is letting those potential buyers know that your home is not just for sale, but it is already inspected. If you repair any issues found by the inspector, you’ll be one step ahead and gives potential buyers peace of mind.

3. Completely Remove Clutter

Decluttering and cleaning is always the first step on the list when you are preparing to list your home, but often we don’t take the clutter ‘removal’ part as seriously. Instead of just moving clutter from a room to a closet, completely remove the clutter from your home. Whether that means donating, storing, or just tossing those items, removing clutter will allow potential buyers to picture themselves in every part of your home, including your closets and garages – rather than just picturing your clutter stashed away there.

4. Curb Appeal Is Key

With spring quickly transitioning to summer, your yard may need a little love. Spring rains and warmth might’ve left your lawn a little overgrown. Take the time to remove weeds, mow your lawn, and add new plant life around the outside of your home. The outside will be the first thing potential buyers see, and you want them to be drawn in by your yard, not turned away by it.

5. Use Refreshments To Your Advantage

Whether you’re a baker or just love buying baked goods, open houses are the perfect opportunity to draw potential buyers in with sweets. With rising temperatures, a thoughtful treat with a glass of lemonade or ice water adds a personal touch to your open house that will, at a minimum, guarantee that potential buyers cross the threshold of your home. Sometimes, getting them in the door is all you need.

The market is hot! If you’re considering selling or purchasing your home, Advantage Real Estate agents are here and ready to assist you in all of your real estate needs! We serve in Randolph and surrounding counties in Missouri. Call our office in Moberly, and let us earn your business. 660-263-3393

Why Waiting To Buy Is Costing You

Many people are sitting on the fence trying to decide if now’s the time to buy a home. Some are renters who have a strong desire to become homeowners but are unsure if buying right now makes sense. Others may be homeowners who are realizing that their current home no longer fits their changing needs.

To determine if you should buy now or wait another year, you need to ask two simple questions: Do I think home values will be higher a year from now? Do I think mortgage rates will be higher a year from now?

What will homes cost in a year?

If you average the most recent projections from the major industry forecasters, the expectation is home prices will increase by 7.7%. Let’s take a house that’s valued today at $325,000 as an example.

If you make a 10% down payment ($32,500), they’ll end up borrowing $292,500 for their mortgage. Applying the projected rate of home price appreciation, that same house will cost $350,025 next year. With a 10% down payment ($35,003), you would then have to borrow $315,022.

Therefore, as a result of rising home prices alone, a prospective buyer will have to put down an additional $2,503 and borrow an additional $22,523 just for waiting a year to make their move.

What will mortgage rates be in the year?

Today, mortgage rates are around 3%. However, most experts believe they’ll rise as the economy continues to recover. Any increase in the mortgage rate will also increase a purchaser’s cost. The projections average out to 3.6% among these Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the National Association of Realtors , and the Mortgage Bankers Association forecasts, a jump up from where they are today.

What does it mean to you if home values and mortgage rates increase?

A buyer will pay a lot more in mortgage payments each month if both of these variables increase. Assuming a buyer purchases a $325,000 home this year with a 30-year fixed-rate loan at 3% after making a 10% down payment, their monthly principal and interest payment would be $1,233.

That same home one year from now could be $350,025, and the mortgage rate could be 3.6% (based on the industry forecasts mentioned above). That monthly principal and interest payment, after putting down 10%, totals $1,432.

The difference in the monthly mortgage payment would be $199. That’s $2,388 more per year and $71,640 over the life of the loan.

Add to that the approximately $25,000 a house with a similar value would build in home equity this year as a result of home price appreciation, and the total net worth increase a purchaser could gain by buying this year is nearly $100,000. That’s a small fortune. When asking if you should buy a home, many potential buyers think of the nonfinancial benefits of owning a home. When asking when to buy, the financial benefits make it clear that doing so now is much more advantageous than waiting until next year.

Now is the time to make that leap into buying your home. It will save you money in a short period of time. Call Advantage Real Estate in Moberly and let us guide you in your home buying process. We are here to assist you in all of your real estate needs! 660-263-3393

End Your Homebuying Journey On A Good Note

The homebuying experience can vary in length for everyone, but the ending should be smooth no matter how long (or short) it takes you to get to the finish line. Like with any process, there are some steps you can take to make the end much more seamless.

One of the first things you can do is to conduct a home inspection. These are typically performed after the seller accepts your offer to purchase their residence. At the time of inspection, a home inspector will perform a thorough walkthrough of the house and identify any potential problems. The home inspector then provides you with a report that details their findings.

To keep things moving smoothly, it is also important to be flexible. It would be great to be able to close on a home by a specific date of your own choosing, but sadly the homebuying process can be unpredictable with timelines. Delays can happen without notice and you need to be able to adjust your personal timeline accordingly.

The best way to make things move smoothly is to collaborate with a real estate agent. Navigating the homebuying journey is a process, and can require a great deal of work to get a house you love for a good price. By choosing to work with an agent, you can take a great deal of that weight off of your own shoulders. A real estate agent will do everything they can to make your homeownership dream come true and can help with the process they are trained to be experts of!

Looking for a professional and knowledgeable real estate agent? Look no more! Advantage Real Estate has your highly skilled realtors to serve you in Randolph and surrounding counties. Let us assist you in all of your real estate needs. Call our office in Moberly MO. 660-263-3393

What Type Of Lender Works Best For You?

If you ask a loan officer, “What kind of lender is best?” the answer will be whatever kind of company he works for and he will give you a list of reasons why. If you meet the same loan officer years later, and he works for a different kind of lender, he will give you a list of reasons why that type of lender is better.

Realtors will also have differing opinions, and those opinions have and will continue to change over time. In the past, it seemed like most would recommend portfolio lenders. Now, they usually recommend mortgage bankers and mortgage brokers. Most often they direct you to a specific loan officer who has demonstrated a track record of service and reliability. It is often more important to choose the correct loan officer, not the institution. The loan officer has many responsibilities, one of which is to act as your representative and advocate to the lender he works for or the institutions he brokers loans to. You want someone who has proven dependable and ethical in the past.

Regarding the institutions, the truth of the matter is that each type of lender has strengths and weaknesses. This does not even take into account the variety of other factors that influence whether a lender is good or bad. Quality can vary, depending on the loan officer, the support staff, which branch or office you are obtaining your loan from, and a variety of other factors.

PORTFOLIO LENDERS

Savings & Loans are quite often portfolio lenders, as are some banks. Portfolio lenders generally promote their own portfolio loans, which are usually adjustable rate loans. They will often pay more compensation to their loan officers for originating a portfolio product than for originating a fixed rate loan. You may also find that they are not as competitive as mortgage bankers and brokers in the fixed rate loan market.

However, it is often easier to qualify for a portfolio loan, so borrowers who may not qualify for a fixed rate loan may be able to obtain a loan from a portfolio lender. A borrower may be able to qualify for a larger loan from a portfolio lender than he could obtain from a fixed rate lender.

Portfolio lenders also can serve as niche lenders because certain things are more important to them than meeting the more standardized underwriting guidelines of a mortgage banker. An example would be a savings & loan, which is more concerned with an individual’s savings history than being able to fully document income and other things.

If you apply for a loan with a portfolio lender and you are declined, you usually have to start the process over with a new company.

MORTGAGE BANKERS

If we are talking about the larger mortgage bankers, you can count on them having several strengths. For the biggest ones, you will recognize the brand name.

Usually, they are much better at promoting special first time buyer programs offered by states and local governments, that have lower interest rates and costs than the current market rate. These programs are often available to buyers who have not owned a home in the last three years and fall within certain income guidelines.

Mortgage bankers may incur problems because they are just too big to manage, or they may operate like well-oiled machines.

If you are buying a home and you need a VA or FHA loan and the development you are buying in has not yet been approved, they will be better at getting it approved than other lenders.

If your home loan is declined for some reason, many mortgage bankers allow their loan officers to broker the loan to another institution. However, because your loan officer is so used to promoting the company’s product, he may not be familiar with which institution may be the best one to submit your loan to. Another reason is because wholesale lenders do not expect to get many loans from direct mortgage bankers, so they do not expend much marketing effort on them.

BANKS and SAVINGS & LOANS

Their major strength is that you will recognize their name. In addition, they will usually be operating as a mortgage banker, a portfolio lender, or both, and have the same weaknesses and strengths.

MORTGAGE BROKERS

The major strength of mortgage brokers is that they can shop the wholesale lenders for the best rate much easier than a borrower can. They also learn the “hot points” of certain wholesale lenders and can handpick the lender for a borrower that may be unique in some way. He will be able to advise you whether your loan should be submitted to a portfolio lender or a mortgage banker. Another advantage is that, if a loan gets declined for some reason, they can simply repackage the loan and submit it to another wholesale lender.

One additional advantage is that mortgage brokers tend to attract a high number of the most qualified loan officers. This is not universal because mortgage brokers also serve as the training ground for those just entering the business. If you have a new loan officer and there is something unique about you or the property you are buying, there could be a problem on the horizon that an experienced loan officer would have anticipated.

A disadvantage is that mortgage brokers sometimes attract the greediest loan officers, too. They may charge you more on your loan, which would then nullify the ability of the mortgage broker being able to shop for the lowest rate.

WHOLESALE LENDERS

Borrowers cannot get access to the wholesale divisions of mortgage bankers and portfolio lenders without going through a broker.

Agent-Recommended Lender

If your agent or builder makes a suggestion for a lender, be sure to talk to that lender. One reason agents and builders make suggestions is the fact that they have regular dealings with this lender and have come to expect a certain amount of reliability. Reliability is extremely important to all parties involved in a real estate transaction.

On the other hand, a recent trend in mortgage lending has been for real estate companies and builders to own their own mortgage companies or create “controlled business arrangements” (CBA’s) in order to increase their profitability. These mortgage brokers sometimes become used to having what is essentially a captured market and may not necessarily offer you the lowest rates or costs.

Some real estate companies also offer different types of incentives to their realtors in exchange for recommending their company-owned mortgage and escrow companies or lenders with whom they have CBA’s. Dealing with one of these lenders is not necessarily a bad thing, though. The builder or real estate company often feels they have more ability to expedite matters when they own the company or have a controlled business relationship. They cannot usually influence the underwriting decision, but they can sometimes cut through red tape to handle problems or speed up the process. Builders are especially forceful on having you use their lender. One reason is that there are certain intricacies in dealing with new homes. If you use a loan officer who usually deals with refinances or resale home loans, he may not even be aware of how different it is to close a mortgage on a new home and this can lead to problems or delays.

It is in your interest to know if there is any kind of ownership relationship or controlled business arrangement between the real estate or builder and the lender, so be sure to ask. Do not automatically disqualify such a lender, but be sure to be more vigilant on getting the best interest rate and the lowest costs.

Conclusion

Make sure to do a little shopping. By knowing the interest rates in your market and making sure your loan officer knows you are looking at rates from other institutions, you can use that as leverage to make sure you are obtaining the best combination of service and the lowest rates.

In the market for buying a home? Advantage Real Estate can help guide you to a lender that suits your situation best. Contact our office in Moberly MO and speak to one of our friendly agents. We’re here for you! 660-263-3393

How To Make Your Offer Stand Out

How To Make Your Offer Stand Out

In today’s market,  it’s not uncommon to be in competition with several other buyers for your dream home.  When you find that perfect house, with the chic chandelier and the doggy door for Fido,  the last thing you want to do is lose it because your offer didn’t stand out to the seller, Taking the time to put forth a well-written offer can work wonders for a buyer. Each seller and agent may have different opinions on what makes the best offer, but here are some that we’ve found are the most consistent:

1. Include a pre-approval.

If you want to show the seller that you’re serious about buying a home,  get pre-approved before you ever sign an offer.   Not only does it show that you didn’t just waltz up, see the for sale sign and throw something out there, but it also alleviates some of the seller’s worries that you’ll back out when the bank finds out your credit isn’t actually as good as you thought it was.  Be sure to include that pre-approval letter from the bank with the signed offer.

2.  Make a decent earnest money deposit.

When you’re sure you can’t picture yourself without this house,  be ready to boost your earnest money deposit. Earnest money shows the seller that you’re putting your money where your mouth is, and you’re prepared to give up that chunk of cash if you back of the contract for any reason other than those allowed under the contract terms.  There is usually a typical amount offered for your area, so if you really want to look good, go above and beyond that amount.

3.  Remove all the contingencies you can.

Having two mortgages while trying to sell the home you’re in now isn’t really a dream that anyone has, but if you have the cash to do it, it’s definitely going to make your offer more desirable.  Anytime you can waive contingencies in the contract, like the sale of your current home,  it gives the seller more confidence that the deal will go through without a hitch.  Another option would be to shorten the typical time periods.  If it’s customary for your inspection period to be 15 days, shorten it to 10 to let the seller know you’re looking to make this happen quickly.

4.  Make it Your Best

When you’re up against multiple offers,  don’t waste a lot of time expecting to negotiate.  Base your offer on solid research of surrounding comparables and really offer what you’d be willing to pay.  If you don’t,  your offer may be tossed aside for others that did. This includes more than the price, too.  Maybe pay out of pocket for some of those extras, like a home warranty or closing costs, instead of asking the seller to contribute.

5. Get Personal

It’s time to let the seller know why you’re dying to buy their house, and be honest.  Is it because you want to raise your family in the neighborhood?  Do you see Fido rolling around in the big, fenced backyard?  Connecting with the seller and creating a sense of relatability can go a long way, but avoid sounding desperate.  The idea is to keep it short, simple, and honest, and don’t forget to have your buyer’s agent proofread it. Don’t hesitate to go out of the box to make your offer standout to the seller. It may end up getting you your dream home.

The market is HOT! We have agents here ready to help you with purchasing your dream home, and can advise you with making sound offers. Advantage Real Estate in Moberly MO is here to assist you with all of your Real Estate needs! Contact us and let us earn your business. 660-263-3393

Is Your Home Ready To Show? Here’s Some Quick Tips To Get It There!

While it might be your goal to keep your home show-ready at all times, that isn’t always possible. It is completely normal to have a home that feels lived in – especially if you are living in it! This isn’t a major issue, but something to be aware of if you are getting ready to list your home.

If your house is already for sale, you may have already experienced the stress of last minute showings. Of course you want your home to appeal to a potential buyer, but you also want to be able to maintain some normalcy while you are still living at home. Here are some tips to help you show your home in a way that potential buyers will love and you can actually manage!

Create Routine

Create an easy maintenance cleaning schedule for each member of your household. Rather than having to worry about cleaning the entire house all at once, this allows you to maintain order and cleanliness – making show-ready living easy to achieve!

Decide On The Necessities

Once you decide to put your home up for sale, you should do a walk-through of your entire house. Decide what items you’ll need and use while your home is on the market, and start to make a packing plan for the rest. If you have the room, store items in-house, or consider renting a storage unit. Either way, you will have much less to worry about packing when it is time to move!

Quick Fix Containers

Thankfully, decorative baskets and bins of all sorts are all the rage right now. If you don’t already use containers to organize and store toys, clothes, shoes, or other items – now is the best time to start! You will then be able to toss those items quickly into their storage space before a showing.

Advantage Real Estate can help you with selling your home with tips on having your home “show ready”. We’re here to assist you with all of your real estate needs in Randolph and surrounding counties. Contact us and speak to one of our knowledgeable & friendly agents today. 660-263-3393

Still Saving Your Tax Refund Or Stimulus Checks? Here’s How To Use Them!

If you’ve started researching the home buying process, or you’ve already purchased a home in the past, you probably know one of the first things you need to consider is the size of the downpayment you are going to need to cover on the home you discover. While that down payment can vary depending on what type of financing you qualify for, it is never a bad idea to start saving as much possible, as soon as possible.

If you qualified for any of the stimulus payments and have been keeping that money, or tax refund money, tucked away into savings – this would be the perfect opportunity to use that cash. With the average refund for this year around $3000, there is a good chance your tax refund, potentially paired with a stimulus, can put a major dent in your down payment.

With a competitive market that doesn’t seem to be cooling off anytime soon, now is the time to buy. Ensuring you have the proper funds to cover that downpayment once you find ‘the one’ can save you heartache in the future. Give me a call today and we can get you set up with a lender so you can get pre-approved and find out just how much you need to have saved!

Call our Advantage Real Estate office in Moberly MO to speak to one of our knowledgeable & friendly agents for information on lenders and home loan options. We’re here to serve you! 660-263-3393

Shopping For Homeowners Insurance? Here Are 6 Questions To Ask An Agent

If you are on the market for homeowners insurance, you are probably wondering what questions you need to be asking – especially if this is your first time buying a home. You may not know what constitutes the right type or amount of coverage you need for your home – and that’s okay. Experts in the field are there to help you, and these are some of the basic questions you should ask them.

1.     How much would it cost to rebuild my home in its current location in the event of a total loss?

Your homeowners insurance policy should cover the cost of building a new home completely from scratch. Your agent will have knowledge to accurately calculate this cost. Generally, homeowners policies cover partial or total damages caused by fire, hurricane, hail, lightning or any other disaster listed in your policy. Keep in mind that flood and earthquake-related losses must be insured separately, since both are excluded in standard homeowners insurance policies. 

2.     How much is the personal property in my home worth in the event of a total loss?

Your homeowners insurance policy should also cover the cost of replacing all personal property should it be stolen or destroyed by fire, hurricane or another disaster covered by your insurance. Typically, personal property coverage is equal to about 50-70% of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your dwelling. So if you have $100,000 worth of dwelling protection, most insurers would recommend $50,000 to $70,000 worth of personal property coverage. The best way to determine if this recommendation is appropriate for your specific situation is to conduct a home inventory. To make creating your inventory as easy as possibleThe software includes secure online storage so you can access your inventory anywhere, anytime. If you have an iPhone, you can also download the new Know 

3.     How much liability protection do I need?

Liability covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you, or your family members, cause to other people. It also pays for damage caused by your pets. The liability portion of your policy pays for both the cost of defending you in court and any court awards—up to the limit of your policy. You are also covered not just in your home, but anywhere in the world. Liability limits generally start at about $100,000. Most insurance agents and company representatives recommend that you purchase at least $300,000 worth of liability protection. If you have significant assets and need more liability protection than is offered under the standard homeowners policy limits, ask your agent about umbrella liability.

4.     What level of additional living expense coverage do I need?

The Additional Living Expenses (ALE) provision is found in standard homeowners insurance policies. It pays for the costs of living away from home if you cannot reside there due to damage from an insured disaster. ALE covers hotel bills, meals and other expenses over and above your customary living expenses. ALE coverage differs from company to company. Many policies provide coverage equal to about 20 percent of your dwelling protection. For example, if the structure of your home is insured for $100,000, you would have $20,000 of ALE coverage. Some companies impose a time limitation, such as 12 to 24 months.

5.     Should I buy a separate flood and/or earthquake insurance policy?

There were numerous flooding events and earthquakes in the U.S. in 2011 but relatively few Americans had coverage for either type of natural disaster because these perils are excluded from standard homeowners insurance policies. Check with your insurance agent or insurance company representative to see whether you might need specialized coverage beyond your standard homeowners insurance policy. Flood coverage for homeowners is available from the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and from a few private insurers. Earthquake coverage is usually available in the form of a supplemental policy from your insurance company, or, in California, from the California Earthquake Authority. Fire and water damage due to burst gas and water pipes following an earthquake is covered under standard homeowners policies in most states.

 6.     Do I qualify for any discounts?

If you have smoke detectors, burglar alarms and/or dead-bolt locks in your home, you can often get a premium rate discount. Sophisticated sprinkler systems and alarms that ring at monitoring stations often reduce your homeowners insurance premium, too. Ask your agent or company representative about discounts available to you. If you are at least 55 years old and retired, for instance, you may qualify for a discount of up to 10 percent at some companies. If you have completely modernized your plumbing or electrical system recently, a few companies may provide a price break.

Shopping for homeowner’s insurance can be overwhelming. We can help guide you to insurance agents that can answer your questions, and provide you with the right coverage for your real estate needs. Call Advantage Real Estate in Moberly MO with questions you may have. 660-263-3393

How Often Should I Check My Roof?

While you may not think about your roof every day, you want to make sure that your roof stays in good shape and remains leak free. To do so, regular inspections need to be performed. But how often should that happen? According to the National Roofing Contractors Association, you should check your roof at least twice of year, during fall and spring. The mild weather of those seasons can help make inspecting the roof easier and it also allows you to ensure that your roof will be prepared potential seasonal weather hazards. While it may not be easy to complete an inspection as often as recommended, doing so will help prevent minor roof damage from leading to serious problems.

Preventing minor problems from turning into major ones will also save you money in the future. Your bi-yearly check can be done yourself unless you find reason for concern. Here are some things to look out for when doing a DIY inspection:

  • Broken or missing shingles
  • Cracked or curling caulk
  • Patches of moss/lichen
  • Worn or peeling plastic rubber boots around pipes or other roof projections
  • Cracked or rusted spots on metal flashings
  • Shingles that are blistering, cracking or buckling
  • Loose, cracked or rusted gutters
  • Crumbling or missing chimney mortar
  • Tree branches or other large debris

If during your own inspection you notice any cracked or rusted flashings or gutters, crumbling or missing chimney mortar, sunken spots in the roof, or several shingles that are buckling, cracking or missing, you should call a roofing company. A professional roofer can inspect both the inside and outside of your roof and give you peace of mind about the safety of your roof and your home.

We have a list of professionals who can assist you with your homeowner needs, whether it’s your roof or property issues. Let us earn your business and call our office in Moberly MO. Our friendly agents are eager and ready to assist you! 660-263-3393

Why You Should Do A Final Walkthrough

Final walkthroughs are not the same as home inspections – this is not the time for negotiations with the seller to do repairs or add contingencies. The purpose of a final walkthrough is to make sure the property you are purchasing is in the condition in which you agreed to buy it. It is a time to make sure any agreed-on repairs were made and that no issues have arisen with the home since you last looked at it. Because buyers are often on a time crunch as the closing date approaches, many are tempted to pass on the final walkthrough – but it is highly recommended that you do not skip it as once your sale is complete, there isn’t much you can do.

Vacant home concerns are one of the biggest reasons to do a final walkthrough. Since sellers often move out of their homes quite some time before closing, it’s even more imperative that you conduct a final walkthrough if the seller has already vacated the home. Issues tend to pop up when homes sit vacant for any period of time. For example, a dripping faucet that has been plugged during a termite inspection can turn into a flooded bathroom if the plug wasn’t uncovered. Even disconnecting refrigerators connected to the house water line or moving out washing machines can cause floods, and old plumbing that hasn’t been used for a while can spring leaks.

Why a Final Walkthrough Matters

Say you’re purchasing a home and the seller left shortly after putting the home on the market. Your home inspection went smoothly and the inspector didn’t note any items that required immediate attention. Your agent will likely advise you to turn on all the lights, run the water, and make sure the stove works when you conduct the final walkthrough, but there are some things you may not think of during the excitement of the last walkthrough before you officially own this home! Thankfully though, your agent attended the walkthrough with you. He decided to check off a few more items, like flushing the toilets. When he does so, a geyser of water almost simultaneously gushes from the ground in the backyard. That flushing action revealed that the sewer line had roots growing through it and you receive an estimate of $5,000 the next day to fix the issue. If this hadn’t occurred prior to the finalizing of your sale, you could be responsible for those repairs. If you don’t do a walkthrough, you’ll have to absorb the cost of any repairs if you don’t get the seller to reduce the home’s price as compensation.

What to Check During Your Final Walkthrough

Your final walkthrough is to check for any unresolved issues with the home. To ensure that is the case, follow these steps:
Turn on and off every light fixture.
Run water and check for leaks under sinks.
Test all appliances.
Check garage door openers.
Open and close all doors.
Flush toilets.
Inspect ceilings, walls, and floors.
Run the garbage disposal and exhaust fans.
Test the heating and air conditioning.
Open and close windows.
Make sure all debris is removed from the home.

Are you looking to sell and/or buy a home? We can help! Our friendly agents are ready to assist you in all of your real estate needs. Call Advantage Real estate in Moberly MO. We will walk you through the entire process.

The Best 6 Steps to Take to Increase Resale Value

Everyone who is getting ready to sell wants to make the most money possible in the process. While you may see a great deal of value in your home, that love you’ve created doesn’t always translate to financial gain. The best way to actually increase the value of your home and therefore your potential profit is by improving and updating the things in your home that buyers are looking for.

While there may be projects that you would prefer to do or may seem easier, It’s important to focus on the renovations that will net you the highest ROI. We have complied a this list for you to reference for their ability to produce high ROI. If you are looking to boost your resale value, check out the steps

KITCHEN REMODEL

Real estate experts will always tell you that the highest ROI renovating your home can undergo is in the kitchen. People really want nice kitchens and it seems to be a major focus for a lot of homebuyers. The biggest priority when renovating your kitchen should be the layout. Have a functional space that can easily be updated is key. Once your space has ‘good bones’ you will want to find materials that have a high quality look without a big price tag. You can make a space update a space and make it look great without having to use marble or granite.

BATHROOM UPDATES

Not far behind kitchens, bathrooms are the second place buyers place a great deal of value. Thankfully, bathroom updates don’t have to drain your savings. Primary bathrooms are the most important and should be your focus if you only want to update one bathroom.

FIX PLUMBING

The biggest concern of potential buyers is structural concerns. You can have a beautiful home that can turn into a disaster if structural issues aren’t addressed. Replacing old piping with a newer plastic solution is a huge selling point and can calm some of the potential fears that come with buying a home.

GET RID OF STUCCO/PANELING

Wood paneling and Stucco are common in many older homes. Not only do these things tend to be unattractive to buyers, but they also show potential buyers that you likely haven’t made other efforts to update your home. If they have to worry about what is going on with what they see, they are likely to worry about what they cannot.

REPLACE SIDING

Curb appeal plays a major role in getting people in the door of your home. It makes sense to focus on how the outside will appear to potential buyers, so having yellowing siding that used to be white is unlikely to attract buyers. For those on a budget, you can also try power washing – it can bring better results than you might expect and it barely costs anything! LADIES OF REAL ESTATE

If you’re considering listing your home on the market, call Advantage Real Estate in Moberly MO. Our agents can assist you with ideas on improving the resale value of your property and all of your real estate needs. 660-263-3393

Why Low Inventory Is Good For Sellers

There is high buyer activity and a historically low number of houses for sale right now. The perfect time for homeowners to sell their house is when the demand for homes is higher than what’s available for sale. Here are a few ways that low inventory can help you get a great deal if you’ve been on the fence about selling your current home.

Better Seller Terms

When there is a seller’s market like there is today, it is much more like being in he driver’s seat when you choose to sell your home. The ball is in your court and you have the power to sell on your own terms because low inventory means less choices for buyers. Buyers are more likely to work with you if it means they can purchase a home in a market where they are hard to find.

Greater Investment Return

ROI is a major focus in real estate. As prices rise, homes gain value. This drives equity increases – in just the second quarter of last year, homeowners were gaining an average of $9800 in equity. Growth in equity can give you the ability to put that money toward a down payment on your next home.

Higher Prices

With buyer numbers high and seller numbers low, homebuyers are having to enter bidding wars for the houses they want. This competition drives up the price of your home – simple supply and demand! This is absolutely a seller advantage, and could potentially net you more for your house when you finally close the deal.

If you’re considering selling your house, now is the time to list. Our knowledgeable agents would love the opportunity to earn your business and assist you in all of your real estate needs. Give us a call at our office in Moberly MO. 660-263-3393

Preparing For Listing Photos

Listing photos are the first chance many potential buyers get to be exposed to your home. This is why being prepared for listing photos and ensuring your home looks ready to sell is a key part in the home listing process. Here are some tips to prepare your home for listing photos!

Clear Off Kitchen Counters & Sink

When the kitchen counters are completely cleared off, buyers can imagine how they might use the space for themselves. Kitchen items and decor only distract buyers can often make the kitchen feel cluttered. You will want to remove everything except a handful of decorative items from the countertops and thoroughly clean all surfaces.

Clear & Clean Bathroom Sinks, Tubs, and Showers

Take all of your bath/shower items and place them into a bin that can go underneath the sink. This can help your bathroom look bigger. Clear off the counters so that bathrooms look unused, but it is okay to leave clean hand towels and hand soap.

Replace Burned Out Light Bulbs

Make sure you check all of the ceiling lights, lamps, and exterior lights to make sure that they all work and can correctly illuminate your space. If there are dark areas in your home, feel free to add a few extra lamps to brighten them up. Additional light can make an area look more spacious so the more light, the better!

Turn On All Lights Throughout The Entire House

You want your home to be captured in the best light, and so it is essential to have as much light as possible. Before your photographer comes, turn on all of the lights in the house!

Open All Windows

Natural light from windows brings life to photos. Opening all of the window treatments in your home to let in as much light as possible. If it’s too bright, your photographer can adjust as needed. Make sure you clean the windows if they will be photographed!

Remove Unnecessary Furniture & Decorations

This is probably the hardest part, but it’s one of the most important. Removing and storing furniture that doesn’t bring value to your photos can be hard, but it opens up the floor space and helps to not distract potential buyers. Buyers want to be able to visualize their items in your home and that can be hard to do if the room is cluttered with furniture.

Turn All Ceiling Fans, TVs, and Computer Screens Off

Any moving items like ceiling fans or active TV/Computer screens can look very strange in photos. You should turn off anything that moves or can cause a motion blur.

Clear Off Appliance Surfaces

Be sure to remove photos, magnets, notes, reminders, and other personal information from the refrigerator or any other appliance you have decorated. It will not only make your home appear cleaner, but it also keeps your personal info safe.

Make All of the Beds

Be sure to make and decorate all the beds in your home with matching sheets, blankets, and pillows. Use bedding fits correctly and covers the mattress.

If you’re thinking about listing your home, give Advantage Real Estate office in Moberly MO a call. Our knowledgeable friendly agents are here to assist you in all of your real estate needs!

What to Expect During a Home Inspection

From finding an inspector to dealing with surprises — this is your guide to getting a house checked out.

The first thing you need to know about home inspection: You’ll feel all the feels.

There’s the excitement — the inspection could be the longest time you’re in the house, after the showing.

Right behind that comes … anxiety. What if the inspector finds something wrong? So wrong you can’t buy the house?

Then there’s impatience. Seriously, is this whole home-buying process over yet?

Not yet. But you’re close. So take a deep breath. Because the most important thing to know about home inspection: It’s just too good for you, as a buyer, to skip. Here’s why.

A Home Inspector Is Your Protector

An inspector helps you make sure a house isn’t hiding anything before you commit for the long haul. (Think about it this way: You wouldn’t even get coffee with a stranger without checking out their history.)

A home inspector identifies any reasonably discoverable problems with the house (a leaky roof, faulty plumbing, etc.). Hiring an inspector is you doing your due diligence. To find a good one (more on how to do that soon), it helps to have an understanding of what the typical home inspection entails. 

An inspection is all about lists.  

Before an inspection, the home inspector will review the seller’s property disclosure statement. (Each state has its own requirements for what sellers must disclose on these forms; some have stronger requirements than others.) The statement lists any flaws the seller is aware of that could negatively affect the home’s value. 

The disclosure comes in the form of an outline, covering such things as:

  • Mold 
  • Pest infestation
  • Roof leaks
  • Foundation damage
  • Other problems, depending on what your state mandates.

During the inspection, an inspector has three tasks — to:

  1. Identify problems with the house that he or she can see
  2. Suggest fixes
  3. Prepare a written report, usually with photos, noting observed defects

This report is critical to you and your agent — it’s what you’ll use to request repairs from the seller. (We’ll get into how you’ll do that in a minute, too.)

The Inspector Won’t Check Everything

Generally, inspectors only examine houses for problems that can be seen with the naked eye. They won’t be tearing down walls or using magical X-ray vision, to find hidden faults.

Inspectors also won’t put themselves in danger. If a roof is too high or steep, for example, they won’t climb up to check for missing or damaged shingles. They’ll use binoculars to examine it instead.

They can’t predict the future, either. While an inspector can give you a rough idea of how many more years that roof will hold up, he or she can’t tell you exactly when it will need to be replaced.

Finally, home inspectors are often generalists. A basic inspection doesn’t routinely include a thorough evaluation of:

  • Swimming pools
  • Wells
  • Septic systems
  • Structural engineering work
  • The ground beneath a home
  • Fireplaces and chimneys

When it comes to wood-burning fireplaces, for instance, most inspectors will open and close dampers to make sure they’re working, check chimneys for obstructions like birds’ nests, and note if they believe there’s reason to pursue a more thorough safety inspection.

If you’re concerned about the safety of a fireplace, you can hire a certified chimney inspector for about $125 to $325 per chimney; find one through the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

It’s Your Job to Check the Inspector

Now you’re ready to connect with someone who’s a pro at doing all of the above. Here’s where — once again — your real estate agent has your back. He or she can recommend reputable home inspectors to you.

In addition to getting recommendations (friends and relatives are handy for those, too), you can look for professional inspectors at their trade association websites. The American Society of Home Inspectors’ (ASHI) Find a Home Inspector tool lets you search by address, metro area, or neighborhood. You can also search for inspectors by state at InterNACHI.

You’ll want to interview at least three inspectors before deciding whom to hire. During each chat, ask questions such as:

  • Are you licensed or certified? Inspector certifications vary, based on where you live. Not every state requires home inspectors to be licensed, and licenses can indicate different degrees of expertise. ASHI lists each state’s requirements here
  • How long have you been in the business? Look for someone with at least five years of experience — it indicates more homes inspected.
  • How much do you charge? Home inspection costs range from $260 to $399. The costs vary according to your location and the size of your house.
  • What do you check, exactly? Know what you’re getting for your money.
  • What don’t you check, specifically? Some home inspectors are more thorough than others.
  • How soon after the inspection will I receive my report? Home inspection contingencies require you to complete the inspection within a certain period of time after the offer is accepted — normally five to seven days — so you’re on a set timetable. A good home inspector will provide you with the report within 24 hours after the inspection.
  • May I see a sample report? This will help you gauge how detailed the inspector is and how he or she explains problems.

How to Really Read Online Reviews

Take extreme reviews (“she was the best inspector ever”) with a grain of salt; compare a provider’s reviews on several sites; don’t let a few bad reviews cloud the positives; see if a contractor has addressed negative reviews.

Sometimes you can find online reviews of inspectors on sites like Angie’s List and Yelp, too, if past clients’ feedback is helpful in making your decision.

Show Up for Inspection (and Bring Your Agent)

It’s inspection day, and the honor of your — and your agent’s — presence is not required, but highly recommended. Even though you’ll receive a report summarizing the findings later on, being there gives you a chance to ask questions, and to learn the inner workings of the home.

Water: A Home’s #1 Enemy

Besides drainage, ask the inspector about any signs of water damage. Water can destroy the integrity of the home’s structure. So a leaky gutter isn’t just annoying; it’s compromising your foundation.

Block out two to three hours for the inspection. The inspector will survey the property from top to bottom. This includes checking water pressure; leaks in the attic, plumbing, etc.; if door and window frames are straight (if not, it could be a sign of a structural issue); if electrical wiring is up to code; if smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working; if appliances work properly. Outside, he or she will look at things like siding, fencing, and drainage.

The inspector might also be able to check for termites, asbestos, lead paint, or radon. Because these tests involve more legwork and can require special certification, they come at an additional charge.

Get Ready to Negotiate

Once you receive the inspector’s report, review it with your agent.

Legally, sellers are required to make certain repairs. These can vary depending on location. Most sales contracts require the seller to fix: 

  • Structural defects
  • Building code violations
  • Safety issues

Most home repairs, however, are negotiable. Be prepared to pick your battles: Minor issues, like a cracked switchplate or loose kitchen faucet, are easy and cheap to fix on your own. You don’t want to start nickel-and-diming the seller. 

If there are major issues with the house, your agent can submit a formal request for repairs that includes a copy of the inspection report. Repair requests should be as specific as possible. For instance: Instead of saying “repair broken windows,” a request should say “replace broken window glass in master bathroom.”

  • If the seller agrees to make all of your repair requests: He or she must provide you with invoices from a licensed contractor stating that the repairs were made. Then it’s full steam ahead toward the sale.
  • If the seller responds to your repair requests with a counteroffer: He or she will state which repairs (or credits at closing) he or she is willing to make. The ball is in your court to either agree, counter the seller’s counteroffer, or void the transaction.

At the end of the day, remember to check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling about all of this. You need to be realistic about how much repair work you’d be taking on. At this point in the sale, there’s a lot of pressure from all parties to move into the close. But if you don’t feel comfortable, speak up.

The most important things to remember during the home inspection? Trust your inspector, trust your gut, and lean on your agent — they likely have a lot of experience to support your decision-making.

That’s something to feel good about.

Call Advantage Real Estate in Moberly MO for all of your real estate questions and/or needs! Our knowledgeable agents are here to assist you! 660-263-3393

What Is Earnest Money and Why Do I Need It?

If you’ve never been through the home-buying process, some of the terminology can seem a bit foreign. One of the many phrases you might come across is earnest money.

When making an offer on a home, it is often encouraged to include earnest money with that offer. Earnest money is a payment of 1-3% of the offer price that is intended to show the seller you are really interested in their property. The amount isn’t set in stone and it usually depends on the market. So how is that money used?

When you make it to closing, that earnest money will be directed towards any closing costs, down payments, or other items you would typically pay out of pocket. It is treated as a credit toward any expenses that come up in the process, and is in no way a bribe for the seller.

There are a few situations where your earnest money will be refunded if you don’t make it to close. This usually requires a stipulation or clause to be added to your offer, and those can vary. Financing not going through, the seller not being able to close, and an unacceptable home inspection are all reasons that if you are protected in your contract, you should receive your earnest money back. If you do decide to back out of the contract with no real reason other than changing your mind, the seller may be able to keep it.

Our agents at Advantage Real Estate are here to answer any questions and assist you in all of your real estate needs. Contact our office in Moberly MO to speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable agents today! 660-263-3393

Country Setting Just Outside Of Town! 1178 CR 2345, Moberly MO MLS 21-9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Room to spread out this New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open living space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The main level features three bedrooms and two full baths!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A huge 12 x 43 glassed in sunroom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is additional living quarters on the lower level with a kitchen and family/game room area and several room options that could be used as additional bedrooms or offices!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two car attached garage is deep enough to fit two cars deep or make the extra space a work space! There’s is also a detached two car garage for any hobby you can dream up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This house has all the room to make it your own in a beautiful wooded country setting!

 

We would love to show you this spacious 4BR 3BA home just outside of town. If you or someone you know is looking for some tranquility call our office in Moberly MO at 660-263-3393 today. Our agents are here and ready to serve you with all your real estate needs in Randolph and surrounding counties!

Almost Like Living In The Country! 546 E Elm St., Huntsville MO MLS 20-404

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 bedroom split foyer in Westran School District!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step in and feel right at home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plenty of room in the kitchen for the family to help bake holiday goodies! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of room for everyone with 4 bedrooms!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful views from the deck.

This property offers lots of memories to be made! It’s neat, clean, and move-in ready! We would love the opportunity to show it to you or someone you know. Contact our Advantage Real Estate office in Moberly MO. We show listings all over Randolph and surrounding counties.  660-263-3393

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Of Both Worlds With Beautiful Views & City Living! 735 W. Carpenter St., Moberly MO MLS – 20-431

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Located at the end of a dead-end street sits this 3 bedroom home with finished walk-out basement on 7.15 acres inside city limits!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step inside to newer doors, windows, and some flooring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out this beautiful kitchen remodel!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plenty of room for family/friend gatherings!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two closets in the primary bedroom. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spectacular views while grilling dinner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of living space downstairs. Could possibly be an in-law suite with a second kitchen! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SO much to love here! 

We would love to show you this stunning property! If you or someone you know is interested, give our Advantage Real Estate office in Moberly MO a call and speak to one of our knowledgeable agents! We can show you any listings in Randolph County and the surrounding area! 660-263-3393