With over 20 years of experience, I have had the pleasure of helping hundreds of people find their ideal homes! From looking for their dream home to relocating and even to downsizing, I have been able to walk through and help many people with their home-buying needs. And now I get to help the next generation embark on the same journey! This blog is a compilation of helpful information that I have learned over the years that pertains to buying a home in every stage of life, and I hope that you can get some amazing value from it!
When you are putting your house on the market, staging your home is a crucial part of the entire process. "Staging" is setting your home up to be an attractive option to potential buyers by making it look like a comfortable home that anyone can see themselves living in.
Here are a few ways to stage the interior of your home to make it as attractive to potential buyers as possible.
How To Stage the Interior of Your Home
Style it for Lifestyle
Make sure your furniture and decor are clean, appealing, and inviting. If your furnishings and accessories are old or worn out, it can give buyers the impression that your home is dated and requires renovations, which means more time and money in their mind.
If you don’t have furniture to stage and style with, you can use a company that provides on-demand furniture to help create a fresh lifestyle feel when staging your home to sell.
Make Simple Updates
You may want to consider updating light fixtures, window treatments, and possibly even the flooring if it’s dated or worn out. If your kitchen or bathroom is dated, you can freshen it up with paint and new cabinet hardware.
When buyers see things that are old and in rough condition, it equates to work and extra money in their heads. And sometimes all these little things can add up to be “too much work” in their mind, even though they are all just simple, minor fixes on their own.
Clear the Clutter Out and Depersonalize Your House
You want potential buyers to be able to visualize themselves living and loving life in your home, so make sure to remove any personal items that may interfere with their ability to picture that.
Personal photos, clutter on the fridge, and overstuffed shelves can give the impression that your home is too small or lacks storage space. Packing up some of your belongings ahead of the move can create free space in your closets and open them up.
Do a big PURGE now before you move and keep simple, essential items while packing away and storing things that you won’t need until after you move.
If you want help with advice on staging and selling your home, give Kelley Simon a call and she will help you get the best price for you and your beautifully staged home!
It's that time of year again when you see a lot of different homes coming onto the market, and maybe you are one of those people who are ready to sell your house!
There are some easy spring cleaning tips that you can do to make your home stand out from the rest, and these tips are so simple you wouldn't even believe it! Check out 6 spring cleaning tips that will get your house sale-ready!
Spring Cleaning Tips to Get Your House Sale-Ready
Indoor Spring Cleaning Tips
1) Clean Dirty Window Blinds
This is a very simple but often overlooked task. But if it's done, it can make a huge difference in the overall feel of your home to potential buyers! Just mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water, throw an old sock on your hand and easily wipe away dust and grime!
Dirty, dusty blinds have a subtle feeling of a house being unkempt, even if everything else is spotless. While someone may not notice the spotlessly clean window blinds, it will add an air of cleanliness to your home; and if they do notice, then it could add extra points in their mind simply because the home feels clean and well-cared for.
2) Clean In-Between the Glass On Your Stove Door
The double pane window on your oven can build up grease and grime over time and make your oven look old and dingy. But did you know that there is a way to clean that glass and make your oven look brand spanking new again?
If you have a wire hanger, Widex wipes and some rubber bands handy, you can give your oven the facelift it needs to make your kitchen look and feel clean and even updated. Check out this tutorial video for more guidance!
3) Remove Grease and Built-Up Grime From Your Cabinets
Cabinets are another easy place for dirt and grease to accumulate, and most of the time unnoticed in everyday life. But someone looking to purchase your home from you is going to be much more likely to notice it.
And easy way to thoroughly clean your cabinets with a little homemade recipe that won't damage the surface of your cabinets. Just take 1 part coconut oil and 2 parts baking soda and gently scrub it into the cabinet doors with a toothbrush. Soon you will have sparkling clean cabinets!
Outdoor Spring Cleaning Tips
4) Keep Your A/C Unit Clean
The curb appeal of your home will be a huge first impression to a potential buyer. One easy thing that you can do to boost your home's outdoor aesthetic is to give your air conditioning unit a good exterior cleaning. This will also help improve the air circulation of your unit.
Take a look at how to easily clean your A/C unit here!
Your air conditioner may not be brand new, but you can make it look like its new and very well taken care of just by cleaning the exterior of it.
5) Pressure Wash Your Deck, Siding, and Concrete Surfaces
Pressure washing your home can add value to your home, and it's a very easy task to carry out.
Pressure washing your deck, siding, driveway, and sidewalks will give your home a fresh, clean look that most houses don't have and will be a very impressive point to people coming to look at your home.
6) Spread Fresh Mulch in Your Gardens
Fresh mulch is another easy and inexpensive way to give your home a fresh look!
Spreading fresh mulch across your garden beds gives a pop of color to your house and makes your garden stand out and look wonderful to prospective buyers!
If you are looking to get your house on the market this spring, then give Kelley Simon a call and she will help you through the entire home-selling process!
If you are thinking of moving away from your current home to a new one--whether it's for an upgrade or other relocation reason--you might be wondering whether you want to sell or rent your current home.
There are a lot of things to take into consideration when weighing the decision between selling and renting a house. So we decided to lay out 10 of those things to consider here to try to help make your decision easier.
Sell vs. Rent -- 10 Things To Consider When Making This Decision
To Rent or Not To Rent?
1) Will Renting Be Profitable For You?
You need to do the math ahead of time and see if renting out your home is going to make you any money or if it's going to be a drain on your finances.
Do this by adding up all of the different expenses involved in taking care of the house and subtract the total from the amount of rent you would be receiving from the house each month.
You want to make sure that if you rent, you will be seeing positive cash flow for the long haul.
2) Have You Wanted To Be a Landlord of Rental Property?
Perhaps you've always been intrigued by the idea of owning rental property. If so, then dipping your toe in the water with a house you already own is a great way to see if the business of property rental is for you.
But maybe you are the person who cringed at the thought of being a landlord when the idea has presented itself before. Being a landlord can come with its own boatload of stress. You could get lucky and have tenants who take care of the property and pay you on time each month, or you could have tenants that never pay you and trash your home.
Being a landlord is a grab bag that you have little control over, unfortunately. Even if you get a great tenant, you have to make sure you are there for any repairs that need to be tended to, and you will most likely have to do some level of minor work in-between tenants, like painting or carpet replacement.
Who knows? You may find that you love being a landlord, but you may also find that you despise it. Trying it out with a property you already own is a good way to find out if you are unsure.
3) Are You Planning On Returning To Your Home?
If you are moving but don't anticipate that your move will be a forever decision, then renting out your house may be a great option for you.
The cost of having to buy two homes--the home in the new location and the one when you move back--can be expensive. But if you only have to worry about buying one home in your new location and having the option of coming back to your old home, it can save you a lot of time, money and headache.
4) Is the Market Going Up In the Future?
There are some housing markets that are almost guaranteed to increase in value in the coming years. If you happen to live in one of those areas, then renting out your house could give you the opportunity to wait the market out a bit and make more money off of your house when you sell it later on in the future.
5) Remember to Factor in Taxes
Maybe you find that you are making a pretty profit from your rental property. That's great! Just make sure not to forget the tax consequences--like any other income-producing asset, you will be taxed on any income you get from your rental property at your ordinary tax rate.
Keep in mind that you can write off all of the costs associated with renting your home. For example, if your gross rental income for the year is $45,000, but you incurred $30,000 in rental expenses, you’re only assessed tax on $15,000.
There are also additional deductions that you can take alongside your regular rental expenses, like a deduction for depreciation on the property.
Make sure to keep all of these things in mind while you make the decision whether to sell or rent.
To Sell or Not to Sell?
1) After the Sale, You Get to Walk Away
The freedom that comes from unloading a significant investment in your home is something worth mentioning.
Every one of the burdens that come from renting your home is completely avoided by selling it instead. While selling can still be stressful, and there will be work involved, when it's all over you get a check for your house and you get to move on.
If you are relocating out-of-state, selling your home can be hugely beneficial. There is a great deal of stress involved when you have to take care of repairs or uncooperative tenants from a great distance away. Many people opt to sell their property if they are moving a long distance away and not planning on moving back.
2) You Can Escape a Dropping Market
If you have reason to believe that the market cost of homes is going to drop in the years to come, then selling before prices drop can make you a lot of money that you might miss out on in later, less lucrative housing markets.
You can’t adequately predict what will happen in the future, so it could be possible that you are wrong about the future. But if you feel like you are right, then selling makes sense. You could take the higher equity in your home and invest it elsewhere.
By renting, you could possibly be tying up money that could be used towards a more lucrative investment.
3) You Can Take Advantage of Current Tax Laws
Currently, selling your home exempts you from capital gains tax. This can save you loads of money. Current tax laws allow an individual to not have to pay a tax on up to a $250,000 home sale and up to $500,000 for married couples. Not having to pay a sizeable tax on these is an amazing financial benefit to you, especially if you have a lot of equity in your house.
4) You Will Have Plenty of Money for a Down Payment
Selling a home is a primary way that many people use to create a down payment for their next home purchase, which is another reason that selling can be an advantage over renting a house.
Having a substantial down payment puts you in a much better financial position to be able to purchase a home you want in an area where you'd prefer to live.
5) You Don't Have To Deal With Tenants
Like we said before, dealing with tenants is a grab bag. Having strangers inhabit your most significant investment--strangers that could potentially damage or destroy your investment--can be really stressful. If you can't stop worrying about might happen, you won't be able to enjoy your life. You also have to worry about making sure you take care of repairs and maintenance.
If this doesn't sound like it's worth the investment to you, then selling your home would be the better option. You don't have to worry about any of these factors when you sell a house--you just get to walk away with cash in hand.
Hopefully, these 10 different points help you make the right decision about whether you should sell or rent your current property.
If you have decided that selling is the route you want to go with your house, then contact Kelley Simon and she can help you sell your house for top dollar and in a timely fashion! Just give her a call today!
So you've been renting a home for a while and you've started to wonder if it's about time you purchased a home of your own.
You want to make sure you are making a wise financial and overall life decision, but you are unsure of all of the things you should have in place before proceeding towards home ownership.
Take a look at this "Are You Ready To Buy a Home?" Checklist that we've put together to help you figure out whether or not you are ready to take the plunge.
"Are You Ready To Buy a Home?" Checklist
1) Do You Have a 6-month Emergency Fund Saved?
Having an emergency fund is a very important financial safety net to have, and especially when you are getting ready to buy a house.
In spite of all the precautions you can take, like hiring a certified home inspector to inspect the house or negotiating terms based on things your prospective new house may need, there could be things that come up within the first year of owning your home that may cost you money to fix.
These could be unexpected things, like a downed tree in your yard, or a leak that has sprung in your wall.
You don't want to be caught off guard by normal repairs like these and not having the funds to be able to fix them. Ensuring that you have an emergency fund with at least 6 months of expenses saved can get you through these potential issues smoothly and with no stress.
2) Do You Have Cash for a Down Payment and Closing Costs?
Oftentimes when people think about the cost of purchasing a home, one of the things that their mind automatically goes to is having a down payment.
Saving up for a good down payment can actually save you a lot of money in the long run.
Although there are loans out there where you can purchase a home with no down payment down at all, you end up paying a much higher interest rate and expensive additional monthly fees like PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance). You can avoid paying PMI altogether by having at least a 20% down payment.
Also, the larger your down payment the more you will save in interest over the course of the life of your loan. It doesn't take a genius to understand that the less money you borrow, the less interest you will end up having to pay.
While many people know to save for the down payment, many people forget about saving for closing costs. These are the fees that you have to pay your home inspector and the bank at the time of your house closing. These fees can run anywhere from $5000-$10,000. So make sure you are prepared for that as well.
3) Calculate What Your Payment Should Be
It's extremely important to realize that just because a monthly payment on paper is less than what you make each month doesn't mean that you can afford it.
Experts recommend that you make sure your mortgage payment--including all extra fees like home owner's insurance-- is 25% or less of your monthly take-home pay. Notice we said your take-home pay, not your gross monthly income. Here's why this is important.
Say your monthly take-home pay is right around $5000, and you find a house that you love, but the monthly payment on the house would be $2000. While this might look like a reasonable financial decision, this monthly payment would be 40% for your take-home pay. You have to remember that you have other monthly expenses that aren't just house related. The last thing that you want is for your house to become a burden to you because it takes up so much of your monthly income. You can easily lose the freedom and flexibility that your income provides by being trapped in a mortgage payment that is too high.
So make sure that you figure out what a good mortgage payment would be for you before you start to look for houses. Make sure that your new home is a blessing and not a burden.
4) Choose a Lender and Get Pre-Qualified
It is never too early to get pre-qualified for a home loan.
Pre-qualification helps with a couple of different things:
First, it helps you establish just how much your monthly payment should be and what price range you should be looking in.
Secondly, it gives you a great bargaining chip when you do find the home you want to purchase. The odds are that you may not be the only person in negotiations with the owner of the house you want. To be able to come to the table with a pre-approval letter from your lender could end up giving you the leg up over another potential buyer.
A pre-approval letter shows the seller that not only are you serious, but you have the proof to show it. Your loan is ready to be lined up as soon as you find the right house and they don't have to worry that your offer would fall through because of a lack of financing.
If you aren't sure how to pick a lender to use, get recommendations from friends, family or your real estate agent. You should be able to get some good information from these people and be able to find the right lender for you.
5) Are You Planning On Settling Down?
Something to consider is how long do you plan to be in a new house?
Unless you're in the flipping business, your home is a long term investment. Home prices appreciate around three percent per year on average. So if you decide to buy and sell a home within a year or two, there’s a chance that the increased value (if there is any) won’t even cover the closing costs you paid to buy the house.
Or if your job requires you to relocate a lot, buying a house may not be the best financial decision for you, either. You may be better off renting if you know that you are only going to be in the house for a year or two.
If you know that you are stable in your job and don't have any plans to relocate in the next 3+ years, then investing in a home should be a wise life and financial decision for you.
So how many of the things on the checklist could you mark off? Maybe you have all of your ducks in a row and are ready to purchase a house today, and maybe you still have a few steps to go before you are ready. Either way, when it comes down to buying a house, you know exactly what you need to be ready to own your own home and have it be a blessing to you and your family!
If you are ready to buy a house, then contact Kelley Simon and she can help you through every step of the process to find the perfect home for you!
Silvercreek Realty Group
Through the beautiful, rolling foothills of southwestern Idaho runs what Food and Dining Magazine calls “America’s Next MUST-VISIT Wine Region”.
With its beautiful and moderate climate, the Snake River Valley Wine Region--found just 30 minutes outside of Boise--is fast becoming the next Napa Valley of the West. It’s also the perfect place for locals and visitors alike to enjoy the culture and refinement of wine-tasting.
The Sunnyslope Wine Trail, also known as “The Heart of Idaho Wine Country”, is home to over 15 wineries, each offering their own exceptional wines and unique wine tasting experiences. If you want to experience the full luxury that is wine-tasting in this up-and-coming wine country, then book a tour with Snake River Wine Tours, the Treasure Valley’s only luxury wine tour company!
What Sets Snake River Wine Tours Apart?
Snake River Wine Tours is the only company that offers a luxury wine tasting tour in Southwestern Idaho. From their luxurious, black Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van that can seat up to 10 guests to home-pickup and drop-off service offered, this amazing, all-inclusive experience is the way to go if you want to visit the amazing wineries that the Snake River Valley has to offer!
Each Snake River Wine Tour lasts 6 hours and spends 1 hour at each of 4 different wineries. And they offer in-home pickup from across the Treasure Valley and even as far as Ontario, Oregon.
Another thing that sets Snake River Wine Tours apart from the rest is the fantastic business relationships that it’s developed with these local wineries. There are a lot of behind-the-scenes perks that people can experience and enjoy simply because of the close business relationships that Snake River Wine Tours has taken the time to develop and nurture.
Their tour packages are also all-inclusive, which is another aspect that makes Snake River Wine Tours unique. You pay one base price for your touring package and everything is included.
With their extensive wine knowledge, accommodating services, and entertaining style, this husband-and-wife team delivers the best wine-tasting tour available in the area in every way!
About Snake River Wine Tours
Corbin and Samantha Maxey are the amazing husband-and-wife team that operates Snake River Wine Tours. They both share an extreme passion for Idaho wine country and have accumulated extensive knowledge of the Snake River Valley AVA.
With years in the service industry and much of it spent in the top wineries of Idaho, Samantha acquired the expertise that they now use to give people the best wine tours in the area. Corbin has spent much of his life sharing his passions in the public eye, from educating the public about wildlife on national television, and now to sharing his passion for Idaho wine country alongside his wife.
Wine tasting is something that the couple has always loved doing together, which is what inspired them to start a luxury wine tour company.
Newlyweds as of October 2018, they invested in themselves and purchased a black Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van to ensure that the riding experience of their tour was as luxurious as possible. They are the only wine tour company in southwestern Idaho that provides this kind of luxury ride.
They also wanted to add an additional element of luxury to their tour by offering gourmet bistro boxes full of gourmet cheeses, antipasto meats, fruits, nuts, and chocolate all precisely and perfectly paired with the wines that will be tasted.
Even if you aren’t much of a wine drinker, you can expect to be able to experience and taste other options like hard cider, beer, and fantastic farm-to-table food options at the different stops the tour makes.
Corbin and Samantha have pulled out every stop to ensure that their wine tours are the height of luxury and above and beyond what a customer would expect on a luxury wine tour.
The Future of Idaho Wine Country
The wine industry in Idaho is one of the number one fastest growing industries in the state, and Corbin and Samantha see extremely bright things in the future for this new and growing wine country.
Idaho is growing so quickly as a state that in the next 10 years southwestern Idaho wine country will be very similar to destinations like Walla Walla.
They also forsee Snake River Wine Tours to continue to grow and expand as Idaho wine country does, adding more luxury vans and tours to accommodate everyone who will want to visit and experience beautiful Idaho wine country for themselves.
If you want to take a tour with Snake River Wine Tours, go to their website, www.snakeriverwinetours.com, and pick your package and book your tour with them today!
Kel & Company
Silvercreek Realty Group