How to Prep Your Home for Summer

Summer is the sweetest season. But for homeowners, it can also be a busy time, full of improvements and repairs. Below is a list of preparations from Gold Medal Service that homeowners can do to prepare their homes for the summer.

Change air filters – Check your air filters every 30 days. During summer, air filters should be replaced every 30 to 90 days, depending on the type of filter you use. Dirty air filters reduce airflow through the system causing it to work harder than it should, while using more energy, resulting in higher energy bills.

Inspect window and door seals – Prevent hot air from leaking into your home through damaged window and door seals, or small cracks in the walls. Cheap materials like caulk and masking tape will go a long way to prevent hot air from entering your home and cool air from escaping your home. Good insulation will also help to keep your energy bills low.

Consider shades or overhangs for your windows – This will help to naturally cool your indoor space by reducing the amount of solar heat you let into your home.

Use your ceiling and/or attic fans – Moving air helps to remove heat from your home. Ceiling fans will help to reduce the thermostat temperature inside your home by about four degrees. Properly installed attic fans will also push the hot, trapped air out of your attic, reducing the workload on your HVAC unit.

Clear away debris from the air conditioning system’s condenser – You have a condenser installed somewhere outside your home. Leaves, branches or any garden debris can easily build up against the system, which could cause problems in the long run. Remove any foreign material heaped up against the unit.

Clean the registers and ductwork inside the home – Make sure the registers inside your home aren’t covered with carpets, furniture or anything else that will obstruct the air flow. Open each register and check for foreign objects like toys and pet hair that could be lodged in the HVAC ductwork. Use a flashlight to carefully check the surface of the ductwork for any signs of mold. Call a professional if you find signs of mold as it can cause respiratory distress and other health problems.

Schedule an annual tune-up – This is critical so technicians can catch minor problems before it becomes a serious, costly affair. A faulty system can emit harmful gasses, most notably carbon monoxide. Regular maintenance will not only prevent system failures, but also keep your family safe.

Mind your HVAC system’s refrigerant – Homeowners with a cooling system that was manufactured before 2010, should be aware of the phasing out of R-22 refrigerant, an ozone-depleting gas used in older HVAC units. The Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of R-22 refrigerant, effective from 2020, due to the negative effect it has on the atmosphere. It will become increasingly difficult to find R-22 refrigerant needed for general maintenance of older HVAC systems, and prices will increase due to scarcity. Discuss your options with a professional if you have an older HVAC system.

Source: www.goldmedalservice.com.

For more real estate information, including a FREE Home Market Analysis, please contact Tracie Rich at TracieRich@remax.net or by phone at 616-884-2056.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.

3 Things to Know About Negotiating a Closing/Move-In TimeLine

3 Things to Know About Negotiating a Closing/Move-in Timeline

Thu, February 18, 2016

In real estate, timing is a critical ingredient that can shape the sale. Relocation logistics, the timeliness of a lender to process a loan and even the availability of local contractors to fix things required by an inspection can drive, or delay, the closing date. Here are a few things to consider as you and your agent work to set closing and move-in dates.

1. Speed can tip the scales
Do you have your loan in hand and the flexibility to move out of your current home? Depending on the seller’s situation, this could be a tasty carrot in the negotiation process. Your agent may be able to feel out the seller’s urgency (or lack thereof) to sell and determine if they might accept a lower offer for a faster settlement.

2. Going long
Asking for a delayed settlement date, longer than 30 or 45 days, is another option, but generally less appealing to sellers. Each day is another opportunity for something to go wrong that could kill the deal. The buyer’s financial situation could change, or they might find a home they like better.

As a seller, if you are considering accepting a long closing date, an agent may suggest increasing the amount of earnest money stipulated in the contract. Also, you’ll want to consider adding the additional months’ mortgage you’ll be paying to the asking price.

3. Considering “rent backs”
Closing quickly and then renting the home back to the seller can make the schedule work for buyers or sellers who might not be able to pack up and move immediately. With this option, the buyer faces the greater risk. What if there’s a fire, a flood or a pack of crazy teenagers that run amuck during the rental period? If you consider the rent-back route as a buyer, work with your agent to develop a solid rental contract that spells out liability.

With years of negotiating experience and an in-depth knowledge of the current local market, a savvy Realtor can build a sales timeline that works to your benefit, both financially and logistically.

remax.com Attracts More Consumers Than Any Other

remax.com attracts more consumers than any other real estate franchise website.

Numbers for the first half of 2015 show that remax.com had 28,767,144 visits which
is more than any other real estate franchises beating out Century 21, Keller Williams,
Weichert and Coldwell Banker.

REMAX More Is Well More 2015

Negotiating a Home Sale

 Question:   We are preparing to sell our home, and we’re not really experienced in negotiating, any tips to offer?

Answer:   Negotiation is one of the primary reasons homeowners hire a professional REALTOR to handle the sale of their home.  Negotiation is as much an art as a skill and many people lack the training and experience to negotiate a home sale to a successful closing.  The best tip to keep in mind is to always, always consider the other party’s position and work toward an outcome that is agreeable to all stakeholders.  Negotiations tend to fail when one party is unwilling to compromise on even the slightest (and often meaningless) detail.  When negotiations become a “competition” to one or more of the party’s the end result is usually a disagreement.  In the sale of a home, it is extremely helpful to keep the end goal of the buyer and seller in the forefront:  the buyer needs/wants to buy and the seller needs/wants to sell.  Negotiations fail when the details or obstacles become more important than the bigger goal of completing a sale.  Take the time to ask your REALTOR about their experience and training in negotiation.

To help answer all your real estate questions or to search Homes for Sale, contact a RE/MAX United agent today at (616) 866-5800 or visit our website at www.REMAX-Rockford.com.

RE/MAX Of Michigan Automates Marketing for Every Listing

RE/MAX of Michigan automates marketing for every listing starting April 1.  This new system will enhance the marketing efforts of homes for sale automatically for RE/MAX United Agents and their sellers.  In return, buyers will have the ability to visit single property websites of homes they searching providing them photos, property information, school information and mortgage details.

Visit the article at Market Watch to learn more:    Automated Marketing

Spring is Here …. Along with Leaky Roofs and Flooded Basements!

Spring is set to arrive in Michigan in all its glory, which includes snow melt, heavy rain, and a slow thawing of frozen ground.  This is the time of year that many homeowners encounter the joy that is a flooded basement and leaky roofs.  A little preparation can reduce or eliminate major damage to your home.  If your home is equipped with a sump pump, make sure it is in working order by pouring a bucket of water into it and verifying it is discharging properly.  A battery back-up can also ensure the sump keeps running when you are not at home and can be purchased at local hardware or home improvement retailers.  Check your downspouts to make sure they are free of ice and snow build-up that can back water up against your foundation.  Push snow and ice away from basement windows and window wells to prevent seepage.  Gutters should be free of leaves and debris that build up in late fall and can cause water to back-up onto the roof surface or overflow the gutter into poor draining areas around your home.  If you should encounter a major problem, your REALTOR can recommend basement or restoration contractors to return your home to good condition.

To help answer all your real estate questions or to search Homes for Sale, contact a RE/MAX United agent today at (616) 866-5800 or visit our website at www.REMAX-Rockford.com.

Finding the Right Property to Build Your Dream Home

Question – – “We are planning to build our dream home and have our plans set except for the land.  What do we need to be concerned about in finding the right property?”

 REALTORS have heard this question many times over the past few months as a low supply of existing homes for sale has prompted more prospective home buyers to consider building a new home to fit their needs.  When selecting a building site there are two distinct avenues to go down:  a platted development lot or privately owned land.  In considering a developed lot your process becomes much simpler as the developer has done much of the necessary work for you.  The developer will have selected suitable building sites and surveyed the boundary lines, determined location of utility and water/sewer lines or proper location of well and septic systems.  A developer can also offer guidance on particular lots that will accommodate the type of floor plan you have in mind, as an example, if you had selected a walk-out plan would a particular lot work best for that type of construction.  When considering a privately owned property all of the above responsibilities shift to the buyer.  To accomplish proper site selection and suitability for construction a land buyer should enlist the assistance of a Realtor and a builder or excavator with knowledge of soils, gas/electric/cable/water/sewer availability, as well topography. A REALTOR will assist in determining any local zoning restrictions that may affect your building project and if the land is subject to any easements, gas or oil leases, and establish a proper value for the land and negotiate a fair price.  Often times land buyers have a vision for a piece of property that can’t be realized without proper due diligence.

To help answer all your real estate questions or to search Homes for Sale, contact a RE/MAX United agent today at (616) 866-5800 or visit our website at www.REMAX-Rockford.com.

RE/MAX United REALTORS Talk Real Estate

A steadily improving housing market has RE/MAX United REALTORS optimistic for another good year in local real estate.  Low interest rates for mortgages combined with more reasonable credit standards contributed to a strong market in 2014 and local REALTORS see more of the same for 2015.

North Kent County’s most productive real estate brokerage posted a 23% gain in closed sales at just shy of $75,000,000 and is projecting sales to rise to $100,000,000 in 2015.  Homes priced under $200,000 continue a multi-year run of high demand while higher price ranges are generating more and more interest.  Strong demand for new construction homes is also driving sales to higher levels in 2015.

RE/MAX United owner Tom Rich sees several factors influencing the real estate market in early 2015.  “A mild winter as compared to last year, lower gas prices, and continued low mortgage rates have helped sales stay steady through a traditionally slow November to January period.  In 2014 the devastating cold and snow put a deep freeze on the market and pushed many property listings months later in the year” said Rich.  “The impact of lower gas prices could have a big impact on rural housing demand in 2015.  Driving an extra 5, 10, or 20 miles to communities like Cedar Springs, Kent City, Greenville, and township areas further out from employment centers is more desirable at $2.00 a gallon than at $4.00 a gallon.  Having a few extra dollars at the end of the week helps consumers feel more confident and optimistic.”

Housing developments that had additional phases to build out but remained stagnant through the recession began adding new homes in 2014 and will continue to add more homes in 2015/16.  Local production builders like KBH Homes, Sable Homes, and Allen Edwin Homes are doing everything they can to keep up with demand.  Custom homes builders like Nugent Builders are seeing strong demand across all price ranges including the high end home market.  The new inventory is critical to filling demand according to Rich.  “From 2007 to 2012 builders faced incredible challenges and did not build enough homes to meet future housing demands – population growth happens no matter how the economy is performing and there is simply not enough housing choices right now.  The next generation of potential home buyers is here and they are having difficulty finding acceptable housing.  By adding new homes choices to the market, those home owners that haven’t found a satisfying option from their current home.  If we can offer existing home owners new choices than we can free up homes for first time home buyers, and those in their first home that are ready to move up.”

RE/MAX United projects existing home prices to rise about 5% in 2015.  Rich says that price increase comes with a friendly reminder:  “If you are waiting for your existing home to rise another 5% before you sell, just remember, your next home is likely rising by the same amount.”