6 Tasks That Every Smart Homeowner Does in October

Why now’s the perfect time to replace appliances.

The temps are starting to drop; the smell of wood smoke is in the air.

Temps are more chilly than warm. That’s when veteran homeowners know it’s time to do these six things if they want to avoid grief or overspending.

#1 Buy Appliances

Whisper to them. Do a rain dance. Whatever it takes to get your old appliances to wait until fall to go on the fritz. Manufacturers bring out their latest models during the fall, and store owners offer big sales on appliances they want to move out — like last year’s most popular dishwasher. So September, October, and November are great months to buy.

But October is right in the middle, when there’s still plenty of selection and retailers might be more willing to haggle.

Refrigerators are the exception because new models don’t come out until spring.

#2 Switch the Direction of Ceiling Fans

Most have a switch to allow the ceiling fan blades to rotate either clockwise or counterclockwise. One way pushes air down to create a nice breeze, and the other sucks air up, helping to distribute the heat. Think counterclockwise when it’s warm and clockwise when it’s cool.

#3 Clean Windows

Daylight is about to dwindle so why not get as much of it as you can? Clean off all the bugs, dust, and grime from your windows while the weather is still warm enough to do so. For streak-free windows, combine ¼-cup of white vinegar with ¼ to ½ teaspoon of eco-friendly dish detergent and 2 cups of water.

If window cleaning isn’t a DIY job at your home, schedule a professional window cleaner (who, unlike most of us, is able to do it even when temperatures plummet) before the end of the month. The closer it gets to the holidays, the busier they get. Bright sunshine on winter’s darkest days makes it totally worthwhile.

#4 Schedule a Heating Unit Checkup

To ensure your family will be able to feel their toes all winter, schedule early in the month for your heating unit to be serviced. As temperatures drop, service companies get busier.

Whether you hire your heating company’s technician or a contractor to do it, they’ll clean soot and corrosion from the combustion chamber, replace filters, and check the whole system for leaks, clogs, and damage. Nothing pairs with a pending blizzard better than the assurance that you’ll be weathering the storm with warm air piping through the vents and cocoa in hand.

#5 Get a Chimney Sweep to Inspect the Fireplace

It’s time to dust off and sweep the chimney! Best to hire someone who knows wood-burning fireplaces. A professional chimney sweep will ensure your wood-burning fireplace burns more efficiently and will help prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter. So, yeah, it’s pretty important.

Tip: If you don’t already have a chimney cap, this is also the time to add one to stop wild outdoor critters from crawling down it — and (yikes!) into your house.

#6 Insulate Exposed Pipes

If you’ve ever dealt with a burst pipe, you know it’s a sad, wet disaster worth preventing. To avoid the stressful (not to mention, expensive) ordeal, prep your home’s exposed pipes with foam or heat tape — choosing which one will work best with your climate. Remember: The most at-risk pipes are often those in unheated areas such as an attics, crawl spaces, and garages, so secure those first.

It’s that time of year to prepare for upcoming Winter. If you’re considering selling and/or purchasing, let us help take the stress off of the process. Our agents are professional, friendly, and knowledgeable. Call our office in Moberly MO, and let’s get started. 660-263-3393

Grey Is Out, Earth Tones Are In

Shades of tan were all the rage for years. It was impossible to find a home that had any ‘modern’ paint styles when wood finishes and brown decor were everywhere. Over the last half decade, there was a major shift to sleek white or gray walls paired with metal finishes. While it seemed like that trend would stick around for a while, it seems that home decor is slowly shifting back to earthy tones. If you love those hues or soft pastels, here are some colors that might inspire your next paint job!

Earth Tones

2020 has been the time to let nature inspire design. As many of us look for more ways to unplug in the time of COVID, shades of chestnut, burgundy, and deep olive green can offer a natural element to your indoor space. Try adding a dark earth tone to an accent wall as an easy way to introduce color into a neutral room.

Delicate Pastels

Soft pastels such as pale pinks, greens, and blues can bring peace to a space and give your eyes a chance to relax. Pastel colors with gray undertones can help diffuse the color saturation, making it softer on the eye. Try pastels on cabinetry, interior doors, or a bathroom vanity where the area already has neutral tones.

Call Advantage Real Estate and let our agents help you with getting your home ready to sell, or if you’re in the market to purchase, We are here for you serving Randolph and surrounding counties in Missouri.

What Is The Goal Of Staging Your Home?

What Is The Goal Of Staging Your Home?

When the real estate market turns sluggish, you may have to take steps to set your home apart from others. It won’t be enough to just put out a for-sale sign and wait for potential buyers. One way that homeowners can sell their homes more speedily is by home staging, which can have the added benefit of pushing up the selling price of your home. Basically, staging consists of arranging your home’s décor and furniture in such a way as to make the home have more of an appeal to prospective buyers.

In some cases, home staging can be a relatively simple and inexpensive undertaking. You may be comfortable with just cleaning up your home and removing all day-to-day items. On the other hand, you may want to consider investing a more substantial amount of time and money into your home staging project. The main benefit of investing in landscaping, painting and new furniture is that a potential buyer will come away from a visit to your home with a better idea of how his or her new home will look.

Home staging has been around since the 1970s. Although it began on the West Coast of the United States, the concept eventually spread to the rest of the country. There’s more to home staging than just decorating. The general idea behind home staging is to depersonalize your home so that a prospective buyer will be able to imagine him or herself living in it. By removing piles of newspapers and family photos, you’ll be able to increase your home’s appeal. Another tip is to choose neutral colors for your home’s carpet and paint. If it’s within your budget, you’ll also want to think about buying new appliances. Although many people do a good job of staging their own homes, you can also hire a professional to do the job for you.

Preparing the home for a potential buyer involves redecorating, rearranging furniture, cleaning and other aesthetic strategies to present the home in the best possible light. Advantage Real Estate agents can guide you with staging your home and getting the best price for your property. We serve in Randolph and surrounding counties in Missouri. Give us a call and let us earn your business! 660-263-3393

What To Prioritize When Selling Your House

Today’s housing market is full of unprecedented opportunities. High buyer demand paired with record-low housing inventory is creating the ultimate sellers’ market, which means it’s a fantastic time to sell your house. However, that doesn’t mean sellers are guaranteed success no matter what. There are still some key things to know so you can avoid costly mistakes and win big when you make a move.

1. PRICE YOUR HOUSE RIGHT

When inventory is low, like it is in the current market, it’s common to think buyers will pay whatever we ask when setting a listing price. Believe it or not, that’s not always true. Even in a sellers’ market, listing your house for the right price will maximize the number of buyers that see your house. This creates the best environment for bidding wars, which in turn are more likely to increase the final sale price. A real estate professional is the best person to help you set the best price for your house so you can achieve your financial goals.

2. KEEP YOUR EMOTIONS IN CHECK

Today, homeowners are living in their houses for a longer period of time. Since 1985, the average time a homeowner owned their home, or their tenure, has increased from 5 to 10 years (See graph below):This is several years longer than what used to be the historical norm. The side effect, however, is when you stay in one place for so long, you may get even more emotionally attached to your space. If it’s the first home you purchased or the house where your children grew up, it very likely means something extra special to you. Every room has memories, and it’s hard to detach from that sentimental value.

For some homeowners, that connection makes it even harder to separate the emotional value of the house from the fair market price. That’s why you need a real estate professional to help you with the negotiations along the way.

3. STAGE YOUR HOUSE PROPERLY

We’re generally quite proud of our décor and how we’ve customized our houses to make them our own unique homes. However, not all buyers will feel the same way about your design and personal touches. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you stage your house with the buyer in mind.

Buyers want to envision themselves in the space so it truly feels like it could be their own. They need to see themselves inside with their furniture and keepsakes – not your pictures and decorations. Stage, clean, and declutter so they can visualize their own dreams as they walk through each room. A real estate professional can help you with tips to get your home ready to stage and sell.

Advantage Real Estate agents know what it takes to sell your home in today’s market. Whether you’re in the market to sell or purchase, we are your professionals to assist you throughout the real estate process from beginning to end. Call our office in Moberly, MO. We serve in Randolph and surrounding counties. 660-263-3393

Planning to Paint This Fall? These Tips Will Make the Painting Process Easier

Fall is right around the corner, and a new season is a perfect opportunity to update and refresh your home—including changing up your paint colors.

Painting is an affordable way to breathe new life into your home. But, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can also be a messy, tedious process.

Luckily, there are tricks you can use to make the painting process a breeze—and get a fresh coat of paint on your walls with minimal stress or mess.

So what, exactly, are those tricks? A recent video from realtor.com outlined key tips for making the painting process easier, including:

  • Use a rubber band to wipe off excess paint. Wiping excess paint off on the side of the paint can is a messy process. Instead, try wrapping a rubber band around the can so that it stretches across the can’s top. After you dip your brush into the can, you can wipe it against the rubber band—and the excess paint will fall right back into the can.
  • Use fabric softener to loosen stiff brushes. Paint brushes can get stiff after a few uses. If your brushes are too stiff to use, try soaking them in diluted fabric softener and water for 30 minutes—then rinse with water. The solution will help to loosen up the bristles—and help you get a better, more even coat of paint.
  • Shake your paint. Instead of stirring your paint after it’s open, try shaking it while the can is still sealed. You’ll get the same result—just without the potential for a spill!

A fresh coat of paint always brightens a room up. If you’re looking to list your home on the market, giving your home a makeover with new colors is an affordable way to sharpen the look! Advantage Real Estate can give suggestions on modern and trendy tips. Our professional agents can answer all of your real estate questions and get you on the right track, whether it’s purchasing or selling. Call us today! 660-263-3393

Should You Buy a New Car if You’re Also Thinking About Buying a New Home? You May Want to Wait

You need a new car. You need a new home. But will buying the former impact your ability to buy the latter?

recent article from realtor.com outlined the ways taking out a car loan could impact your ability to get a mortgage (and to get the best rate on that mortgage), including:

  • Changing your credit score. When you apply for a car loan, it’ll show up as a hard inquiry on your credit report. While hard inquiries don’t have much of a long-term impact on your credit, in the short-term, they can lower your credit score by a few points—which, depending on your score, could jeopardize your ability to secure the most competitive rate (or to qualify for a mortgage at all).
  • Changing your debt-to-income ratio. Debt-to-income ratio is one of the most important factors lenders use to determine how much house you can afford—and, as such, what mortgage amount you’re approved for. Taking out a car loan before buying a house impacts your debt-to-income ratio and can result in you getting approved for a smaller loan.
  • Acting as a “red flag” to your lender. Making a big purchase (like a car) and taking on more debt prior to buying a home can be a red flag to lenders that you’re not responsible with your finances—which could impact your ability to get approved.

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? If you’re thinking about buying a new home and a new car, you may want to consider waiting to buy the car until after your home purchase is all wrapped up.

If you or someone you know is considering purchasing a home, contact Advantage Real Estate in Moberly MO. Our agents can answer your questions, and guide you to the right lender for you! 660-263-3393

4 Things Proactive Homeowners Do in September

Fall’s cooler temps are perfect for deck and yard improvements.

Ah, September. The weather is changing, and we’re getting back to our normal, post-summer routines.

It’s also a great time to give the house a little extra love and maintenance.

Stain the Deck

Help your deck field what winter throws at it by re-staining it this month. September’s cooler temps and lower humidity make it the ideal time for this project.

Check Fire Extinguishers

According to the Red Cross, fires increase in the fall and winter. Keep your home fire safe by getting your fire extinguishers checked by a certified professional. Fire extinguishers do break down and malfunction. In fact, after six years they need to be emptied and reloaded. If you haven’t already, buy one for each floor — and the garage.

Spruce Up the Yard

Aerate your lawn, reseed or fertilize it if needed, and plant perennials and shrubs (often on sale now). Your lawn will green up faster after winter, and the shrubs and perennials will have a chance to establish roots before the first freeze.

Inspect Your Home’s Exterior

Spending money on roof repairs is no party, but neither is handing out buckets to the family to catch leaks in a winter storm. Inspect your roof — and other big-ticket items, like siding, grading, and gutters — before you’ve got problems. You’ll cut costs by fixing them now and stay dry and warm all winter long.

We’re at the tail end of summer, and it’s time to think about the cooler temps. Advantage Real Estate agents can guide you with helpful tips with preventative steps to take with your property, whether you’re listing or purchasing a home. We’re here to serve you in Randolph & surrounding counties in Missouri. Let us assist you in all of your real estate needs. 660-263-3393

Real Estate Myths About Selling Your Home

Between low inventory and high buyer demand, there’s no denying that we’re in a seller’s market. But just because it’s a seller’s market doesn’t mean that every house is guaranteed to sell—although you wouldn’t know that based on what people are saying.

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions going around about selling in today’s market—and if you’re planning to sell, it’s important to ignore them. So what, exactly, are the biggest misconceptions about selling in 2021?

recent article from Realtor.com outlined things people are saying about selling in today’s market that just aren’t true, including:

  • It doesn’t matter if your home is in bad shape. There’s a misconception that buyers are willing to take anything in today’s market—including homes that are all but falling apart. And while fixer-uppers are certainly selling, if you’re hoping to get top dollar for your home, presenting your home in the best possible condition is a must—so make sure to take care of any necessary cosmetic changes or repairs (like painting your home’s exterior or replacing broken light bulbs) before you list.
  • You can price your home as high as you want. Home prices are going up, but that doesn’t mean you can list your home at an unreasonable price and expect it to sell. Pricing too high can cause your home to sit on the market, ultimately making it harder to sell—so when you list, make sure you price your property realistically.
  • You don’t need to market your home. Just because there are a lot of buyers—and not a lot of properties—doesn’t mean you don’t have to market your home! Working with your agent on a solid marketing strategy will ensure your home gets in front of the right buyers—and can help it sell faster and for a better price.

The Takeaway:

Bottom line? If you’re planning on selling your home, don’t believe everything you hear—especially these real estate myths that could put a damper on your home sale.

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, Advantage Real Estate agents are here to answer your questions, guide you through the entire process, and get the best price on your property. Call our office in Moberly, MO and let’s start on your marketing strategy today. 660-263-3393

Perks Of Selling Your Home This Summer

The housing market forecast for the second part of this year remains positive, but there may not be a better time to sell than now. If you’re wondering what to consider when deciding if now is the time, here are some things to think about:

1. Your House Is Probably Going To Sell Quickly

Homes from the beginning of the year through this summer are selling fast according to the National Association of Realtors. With an average of just 17 days on the market, this indicates buyer competition. Homes going fast is a great sign for sellers. This is a major indicator that buyers are motivated to do (and pay) what it takes to purchase the home of their dreams.

2. Buyers Are Competing For Homes

In addition to selling fast, homes are receiving multiple offers. NAR reports sellers are seeing an average of 5 offers, and these offers are competitive ones. Shawn Telford, Chief Appraiser at CoreLogic, said in a recent interview: “The frequency of buyers being willing to pay more than the market data supports is increasing.” This confirms buyers are ready and willing to enter bidding wars for your home. Receiving several offers on your house means you can select the one that makes the most sense for your situation and financial well-being.

3. Low Supply, High Demand

One of the most significant challenges for motivated buyers is the current inventory of homes for sale, which while improving, remains at near-record lows. Total housing inventory at the end of May was down 20.6% from one year ago. There are signs, however, that more homes are coming to market. If you’re looking to take advantage of buyer demand and get the most attention for your house, selling now before more listings come to the market might be your best option.

4. If You’re Thinking of Moving Up, Now May Be the Time

Over the past 12 months, homeowners have gained a significant amount of wealth through growing equity. In that same period, homeowners have also spent a considerable amount of time in their homes, and many have decided their house doesn’t meet their needs. If you’re not happy with your current home, you can leverage that equity to power your move now. Your equity, plus current low mortgage rates, can help you maximize your purchasing power.

But these near-historic low rates won’t last forever. Experts forecast interest rates will increase in the coming months. As interest rates rise, even modestly, it could influence buyer demand and your purchasing power. If you’ve been waiting for the best time to sell to fuel your move up, you likely won’t find more favorable conditions than those we’re seeing today.

If you’re considering listing your home, this is the time! We are here to assist you in all of your real estate needs, and can guide you through the process. Call Advantage Real Estate in Moberly, MO at 660-263-3393.

Mortgage Myths You’ve Probably Heard

Think you’re not ready to unlock home ownership yet? That the hurdles are too high? You may be short-changing yourself. Many of the things renters believe about home-buying are myths. Here’s the real deal.

Myth: I Have to Put Down 20%.

Saving 20% of the price of a home in many places isn’t just a challenge; it’s a roadblock. And it’s not a must-do. In fact, the median down payment for first-time buyers is 7%. How can you become part of the less-than-20 club?

FHA Loans: The Federal Housing Association (FHA) is an old friend to first-time buyers and others who are ready to become homeowners with less than a 20% down payment. If you qualify, you may be able to get a loan with as little as 3.5% down.

Downpaymentresource.com and NeighborWorks: Some local and state agencies sponsor down-payment assistance programs that help prospective home buyers in different ways. Follow the links to find out if any are available near you.

VA, USDA, and Navy Federal Credit Union loans: Three government-related lenders offer mortgages with as little as zero down. The VA is for veterans and family members; the USDA is for buyers in qualifying locations (typically rural); and Navy Federal Credit Union is for the military, family members, and some government employees.

Gift Funds: Sixteen percent of buyers ask friends or relatives to help jump-start their home ownership with a gift. Talk to your lender first, though. There may be limits to the amount of gifted funds they’ll accept, and they may require your benefactor to sign some paperwork.

Myth: My Low Credit Score Means I Can’t Buy a Home

So, your credit isn’t great. That doesn’t mean you have to forgo your home-buying dreams. Here are some options for those with a less-than-stellar credit score.

FHA loan: With a credit score of 500, you can apply for an FHA loan, but you’ll need a 10% down payment to offset the risk. If your score is a tick better (580), you can participate in their down-payment assistance program, requiring only 3.5%.

A higher down payment: On the off-chance you have enough cash on hand to put down more than 20%, the higher down payment can help those with lower credit scores be less risky for lenders.

A co-signer. Find someone with better credit to co-sign the loan – but understand that if you don’t make the payments, the cosigner will be financially responsible (and their credit will also suffer).

Check your credit report. Maybe your credit isn’t that low after all.Order a copy of your report from all three reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). If you find inaccurate or old information, ask the agencies to correct it.

Myth: I Can’t Afford the Agent’s Commission

Here’s one you can immediately mark off your worry list. Typically, the commission is paid from the proceeds of the sale via the seller. This is one of many reasons to contract with a buyer’s agent. The seller’s agent doesn’t work for you, and you need a pro in your corner.

Myth: My Bank Will Give Me the Best Mortgage

There are a lot of positive things to say about working with your local bank, but assuming they’ll give you the best mortgage is a mistake. Banks are only one type of home-loan lender. Others include credit unions and mortgage companies. Mortgage rates aren’t the same across the board, so contact several institutions to ensure you’re getting the best price.

Or, if you prefer to let the lenders come to you, consider getting a loan through a mortgage broker. Brokers have access to several lenders, and they’ll shop their market, getting you a wider selection of loans. But unless you contract with one, brokers aren’t obligated to find the best deal for you. So you’ll want to shop around for a broker, just as you would for a lender.

Myth: I Was Pre-Approved. I Got The Loan!

Well . . . no. Don’t order that couch from West Elm or pack away your tax documents just yet. You don’t get the loan until:
(a) The seller accepts your offer
(b) Your lender approves the loan (which you’ll need those tax docs for)
(c) You sign the loan papers 

Between (a) and (c), the lender will have the home appraised to ensure its value is in line with the purchase price, check your credit again, and ask you for more documents than you ever knew existed.

So what does “pre-approved” mean for a loan? It tells sellers you’re eligible for a loan and shows them you’re a serious, qualified buyer. This gives them confidence in your offer, increasing your chances of (a), (b), and (c) actually happening.

Myth: The Interest Rate Is What Matters Most

A low interest rate is important, but it’s not the only thing to consider. When shopping around for a loan, check the annual percentage rate (APR). It includes all loan costs, such as origination and processing fees that can vary widely from lender to lender, in addition to the interest rate.

One loan may have a lower interest rate, but the up-front fees cost more than you’d save in interest. The APR lets you compare apples to apples.

Before you sign the loan, your lender will give you a loan estimate, a line-by-line estimate of fees. You’ll find the APR there. Use that rate to compare the loans you’re considering.

How about that? You may be closer to home ownership than you thought. Happy house hunting!

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, contact Advantage Real Estate. Our friendly, professional, and knowledgeable agents are here to answer your questions and guide you through the process of purchasing and/or selling your property. We’re here in Moberly, MO and serve Randolph and surrounding counties in Missouri. 660-263-3393

Don’t Forget to Budget for Closing Costs

When buying a home, it’s important to have a budget and make sure you plan ahead for certain homebuying expenses. Saving for a down payment is the main cost that comes to mind for many, but budgeting for the closing costs required to get a mortgage is just as important.

What are closing costs? According to Trulia, “When you close on a home, a number of fees are due. They typically range from 2% to 5% of the total cost of the home, and can include title insurance, origination fees, underwriting fees, document preparation fees, and more.”

For example, for someone buying a $300,000 home, they could potentially have between $6,000 and $15,000 in closing fees. If you’re in the market for a home above this price range, your closing costs could be greater. As mentioned above, closing costs are typically between 2% and 5% of your purchase price. 

Trulia gives more great advice, explaining: “There will be lots of paperwork in front of you on closing day, and not enough time to read them all. Work closely with your real estate agent, lender, and attorney, if you have one, to get all the documents you need ahead of time.

The most important thing to read is the closing disclosure, which shows your loan terms, final closing costs, and any outstanding fees. You’ll get this form about three days before closing since, once you (the borrower) sign it, there’s a three-day waiting period before you can sign the mortgage loan docs. If you have any questions about the numbers or what any of the mortgage terms mean, this is the time to ask—your real estate agent is a great resource for getting you all the answers you need.”

As home prices are rising and more buyers are finding themselves competing in bidding wars, it’s more important than ever to make sure your plan includes budgeting for closing costs. Work with your lender and a local real estate professional to be sure you have everything you need to land your dream home.

Advantage Real Estate agents are here to help you with all of your real estate needs. They can advise you about your closing costs and the process of buying and/or selling a property! We serve Randolph and surrounding counties in Missouri. Call our office in Moberly and speak to one of our knowledgeable agents today! 660-263-3393

You’ll Be Glad You Did These 4 August Tasks When January Comes

Go ahead and get that energy audit. And schedule snow plowing.

Take a few minutes out of your pool time this month to do these four tasks.

Then you’ll have more time to eat popcorn in front of the fire next January.

#1 Call the Snow Plow Now

If you live in snow-prone areas, now’s the time to get your name on the snow-plow contractor’s schedule. By the time your car’s buried in the driveway, their rosters will be full.

#2 Schedule Furnace Service

Get ready for sweater weather — and beat the rush — by scheduling the annual fall service for your furnace now. If you don’t already have one, ask about your HVAC company’s twice-a-year maintenance plan. Often, you can get discounted rates, not just for the service plan, but for larger repairs, too.

#3 Get a Home Energy Audit

Save money this winter by scheduling a professional energy audit now. Not only will you learn where your home is prone to energy loss, your auditor may recommend inexpensive ways to save money (like caulking around the baseboards). Energy.gov has info on how pro and DIY energy audits work. Find energy auditors through the Residential Energy Services Network.

#4 Plant Trees

Trees increase home value, so give yours the best start by planting them at the right time. In zones 4-8 (which is most of the United States), that’s late summer and early fall. This gives them time to establish roots before next summer’s heat and drought. 

With Summer still here, it’s hard to think about snow and cold weather. It’s better to be prepared and get ahead of the game before it’s among us. If you’re considering selling or buying, let us help you with getting ready for Winter. We’re eager to assist you in all of your real estate needs. 660-263-3393

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