If you're planning to sell your home, consider staging it. From decluttering and cleaning to rearranging and styling, successful home staging can make you money. In fact, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, most sellers' agents agree a well-staged home increases the dollar amount home buyers offer.
If you are an HGTV fan, you know home staging is when the "pros" go through a home clearing out the clutter, highlighting its strengths, and presenting each room in the best light that will attract the largest group of potential home buyers.
But, do you need to hire a professional stager? Maybe not. Use these six tips to manage the styling and upgrading of your home to fetch a higher sales price.
In a competitive market or in a situation where you need to sell your home quickly, staging is the key. Keep these tips in mind, and don't be afraid to talk to a professional stager. Often, the cost of professional staging is made back with a higher sales price and less time on the market!
Here are a few fun and inspiring ways to help you plan the perfect picnic this summer.
First, you're going to want to make sure you have something to carry your food and beverages in. There's something really nostalgic and charming about those classic woven style picnic baskets. But don't worry if you don't happen to have one, a cooler, backpack or large tote will also do the trick. Whatever you choose, you'll just want to make sure that you can keep food and drinks cool.
When you think about picnics, you most likely think about an outdoor blanket that you can sit, eat and relax on. If that's your preference just make sure it's durable and can be rolled and unrolled easily. If you want to make sitting on the ground a little more enjoyable, then pack some decorative pillows to add both comfort and style to your picnic. Another great option is to bring along a few folding chairs that are easy to transport and set up.
You may also want to consider bringing a grab-and-go style picnic table. These lightweight, easy-to-carry tables feature folding legs – some even include handy slots for wine glasses. And lastly, you don't want to forget utensils and dinnerware. Make sure you they're durable and can withstand being packed and dropped.
When it comes to the menu, you can keep it light and simple. Easy sandwiches, chips or pretzels, some cheese and fruit and refreshing drinks like homemade lemonade help complete the perfect picnic. Or you could go all out and get creative with a beautiful charcuterie board with your favorite meats, cheeses and chocolates. You can even add some decorative greenery and flowers to make it a little more Instagram-worthy.
Sunny warm days are the perfect excuse to ditch the dining room and dine alfresco, just don't forget to bring a book or a frisbee!
When you're selling your home, first impressions are everything. Typically, each home buyer is looking for something different in the house they buy. However, there are common problems that will make them walk — and, maybe, even run — out of your home if they see them. The good news is there are several things you can do to make buyers fall in love with your home.
With these tactics and fixes, there's no doubt buyers will fall in love with your home. Ask your real estate agent for more tips on how to get the most out of your sale.
Investment properties and vacation homes might seem like similar concepts — after all, they're both great ways to grow wealth and expand your real estate portfolio. But did you know these two terms have significantly different meanings? The distinction is actually pretty important when it comes to financing, and it really comes down to how you intend to use the property. If you've been thinking about purchasing an investment property, here is what you need to know:
What Is An Investment Property?
An investment property is a property that you purchase with the intent of generating income. In most cases, this means serving as a landlord and renting the property out to tenants. In other words, an investment property may be a business, while a "vacation home" or "second home" is another property away from your primary residence that you use for visiting or living in part-time.
While it's certainly possible to purchase a vacation home that you occasionally rent out, it's important to define the home's primary purpose when seeking financing. Trying to pass an investment property off as a vacation home for the purposes of achieving better mortgage rates can lead to severe legal consequences.
What To Look For In An Investment Property
While a second home or vacation home is often selected based on location and amenities, an investment property should be evaluated on the potential to generate a return. As a result, you'll want to consider features that can help you achieve higher rental income, such as size, parking, amenities, crime, and public transportation. Look into average rent for similar-sized properties within the same area to get a sense of how much you'll be able to charge. You'll need to have a solid business plan when applying for a mortgage on the investment property.
How To Finance An Investment Property
Financing an investment property is a bit more complicated than securing a mortgage on a primary residence or second home. For one, lenders typically require a higher down payment (at least 20%) for an investment property, and there isn't much flexibility here.
Also, because you're going to be making a profit on the property and because the transaction is much riskier, lenders won't hesitate to charge significantly higher fees and interest rates. Your lender also may require that the investment property be located within a certain distance of your primary home.
Tax Implications Of An Investment Property
Owners of primary residences and vacation homes can deduct mortgage interest from their taxes, and investment property owners can do the same. However, investment property owners have the added advantage of being able to deduct many other expenses associated with the property as they technically qualify as business expenses. However, your rental income will also need to be reported too.
Investing in real estate is a great tool for securing long-term financial stability. While financing is a bit more expensive than a vacation home, you also stand to make a larger profit if you're purely operating the property as a rental.
A Veteran's Administration loan is one of the most generous benefits offered to America's military veterans. In fact, many veterans find the VA loan a better proposition than conventional real-estate loans and even other government-funded mortgages.
Perhaps the major advantage of a VA loan is that there's no need for a down payment. Generally, conventional loans call for a down payment and may cover only 80 to 85 percent of a home's value.
A VA loan can allow veterans to buy homes when they don't otherwise qualify for a conventional loan. Backed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, these loans let homebuyers get lower rates and qualify for a more expensive home than they would otherwise. Further, veterans can qualify with lower credit scores, and will not have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).
An additional bonus for veterans who receive monthly disability benefits is that they don't need to pay the VA funding fee, which can be from 0.5 to 3.3 percent of the overall loan.
Here's a look at who can qualify for a VA loan, and how to go about it.
Eligibility for a VA Loan
Who is eligible for a VA loan? A Certificate of Eligibility, or COE, will be given to veterans or family members who meet one of these requirements:
Requirements for Getting a VA Loan
As mentioned above, veterans with lower credit scores can qualify for a VA loan. Nevertheless, there are some requirements for getting a VA loan, such as these:
Find a Real Estate Agent Who Knows VA Loans
Homebuyers seeking a VA loan should see real estate agents who are familiar with the VA loan process. This is particularly important when it comes to the fees involved with VA loans. The VA funding fee is a one-time payment. It is owed by the veteran on a VA direct home loan or a VA-backed loan. This fee helps lower the cost of the loan for U.S. taxpayers since the veteran doesn't have to pay down payments or monthly mortgage insurance. In most cases, veterans with disabilities are exempt from this fee.
What's more, an agent with VA loan experience won't waste your time with purchases that you can't buy with your loan. They can also have an advantage when it comes to negotiating with the seller's agent. They may be in a position to explain a veteran's story and appeal to the heart of a seller weighing several offers.
You of course can also look at other loans, either through the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which includes the mortgage-loan lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. There may also be some government-funded loans to pursue through agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Federal Housing Administration.
Good luck on your road to homeownership. If you're a veteran and are ready to pursue a VA loan, consult your VA Benefits Advisor today.
We all want to spend as much time as we can outside during the summer months. There's nothing quite like a relaxing summer day in the backyard with friends, hosting a barbeque or enjoying an evening under the stars around the firepit. Summer is made for chilling and breathing in the fresh air and just unwinding after a long day. So this month, ramp up your outdoor space and bring your indoor style right to your backyard.
Bonus Living Spaces
More and more, people are treating their backyard spaces as an extension of their living space. From outdoor pergolas to string lights, trendy rugs and comfy, weatherproof sectionals and lounge chairs, homeowners are creating stunning open-air outdoor living spaces. You don't even have to have a huge space, you can add smaller pieces to your deck or patio to create a relaxing, cozy sanctuary. Whatever your indoor style is, you're sure to find similar outdoor pieces.
The right plants, flowers and planters can make all the difference when it comes to creating a warm, inviting and colorful outdoor space. With so many stylish planters available, you can easily find ones that match your style and fill them with a variety of herbs, flowering annuals, cactuses, plants and shrubs. If you live close to a farmers' market, be sure and check them out as they typically have a huge variety of cost-effective flowers, plants and herbs to fill your yard, patio or balcony.
Small Space Solutions
There are tons of creative ways to transform a small space and make a big impact. Start with some lively décor, potted plants, outdoor pillows, candles and small scale furniture. Consider a vertical garden where you can plant your favorite herbs and vegetables. Adding string and solar lights can also help make a space feel extra cozy. And when it comes to furniture, think about a bistro set for casual dining, foldable and stackable chairs or a small loveseat and ottoman. There are tons of creative ways to make a big impact in a smaller space.
If you're limited on outdoor space, don't let that stop you from creating the perfect outdoor oasis. Infusing your personality and style to your backyard, balcony or back porch is the perfect way to gain more living space and enjoy a place where you can enjoy more fun in the sun all summer long.
Summer fun is around the corner, and the Red River Balloon Rally is the perfect way to kick off the season. Held in a convenient location near Bossier City homes for sale, the Red River Balloon Rally brings together some of the best pilots and most creative-looking hot air balloons from around the country for two full evenings of family fun. Each evening of the event is packed with events that both kids and adults will love. Our real estate agents have the latest details to help you plan for the Red River Balloon Rally.
Event: Red River Balloon Rally
Dates: June 24-25, 2022 – 5 - 10 pm
Location: Brookshire Grocery Arena – 2000 Brookshire Arena Dr., Bossier City, LA 71112
Buying your first home is a rite of passage that many people dream of. However, before you take the plunge, it's important to make sure you're really ready. Your finances have a lot to do with it, but it's not the only thing you'll need to consider.
Here are five important questions to ask yourself before you buy your first home.
This may be the most important question of all. It's completely normal to try living in a few different areas before you're ready to put down roots. However, you won't want to consider buying a home until you're fairly sure you plan to stay where you are for a significant amount of time.
Ideally, you'll want to commit to staying in your new home for at least seven to ten years, as this is roughly one full cycle of the housing market.
It will be easier to get a home loan if you've been in your current job for at least two years. More importantly, you'll want to know you can count on your current income before you commit to buying a home.
An unexpected job loss can completely upend your life. The loss of income could potentially cause you to have difficulty paying your mortgage. You'll also need to find a new job that's reasonably close to your new home. Otherwise, you may need to sell your home before you're ready or deal with renting it out.
While it's impossible to predict the future, make sure you feel fairly comfortable about the stability of your job before you consider becoming a first-time homeowner.
When deciding whether you're ready to buy a home, you'll need to take a close look at your finances. Make sure you have enough saved up for your down payment, your credit score falls within acceptable ranges, and you have an emergency fund.
It's a great idea to meet with a lender before you start your home search. This will allow you to have a solid understanding of how much you can really afford and what you'll need to bring to the table when you close. Having a pre-qualification letter will also increase the chances that the seller will accept your offer.
Remember that you'll need additional money beyond what's necessary to purchase your home. There's also the cost of keeping up with repairs and maintenance. This may include everything from maintaining your lawn and landscaping to the occasional need for a plumber, electrician, or handyman.
Caring for a home is also a labor of love. Make sure you're willing to put the time into keeping it looking nice and taking care of any small issues before they can turn into big problems.
Buying a home allows you to settle down in a way renting simply can't. When you rent, there's always a chance your landlord could raise the price or even decided to sell.
As long as you make your mortgage and tax payments, no one can make you leave a home you own. This will give you a strong sense of security.
When you're not worried about housing, you can also put more effort into focusing on other parts of your life — like getting that promotion, spending time with your loved ones, and getting more involved in your community.
If you answered "yes" to each of these questions, congratulations! You're both mentally and financially ready to buy a home. Soon, you'll get to enjoy one of the most satisfying adventures of your life.