Ryan Seward - RE/MAX Select Realty



Posted by Ryan Seward on 10/12/2017

For home sellers, home repairs may be needed to improve the quality of your residence. And with the right home improvement contractor at your disposal, you'll be better equipped to optimize the value of your residence. Unfortunately, not all home improvement contractors are created equal, and you'll likely need to conduct an initial phone interview to ensure that you can hire a qualified contractor to fulfill your home improvement requests. So what should you ask during an initial phone interview with a home improvement contractor? Here are four questions that every home seller needs to know: 1. Can You Handle My Home Improvement Project? Not all home improvement contractors will possess the time and resources to deliver the results you need. As such, you'll want to ensure that a home improvement contractor understands the size of the project and is able to complete it successfully. Asking whether a home improvement contractor if he or she is able to handle your home repair project is essential. And if a home improvement contractor is unable to do so, you'll be able to move forward with other potential candidates. 2. Can You Provide References? In many cases, a home improvement contractor should have no trouble providing you with a list of past clients who were satisfied with a project that he or she completed. However, if a home improvement contractor is unable to provide references, you may be better served to consider a home repair professional who boasts a proven reputation and consistently helps clients improve the quality of their residences. 3. How Many Other Projects Are You Currently Completing? No home seller wants to work with a home improvement contractor who will begin a home repair project and fail to complete it in a timely manner. Thus, you should ask a home improvement contractor how many other projects that he or she currently is completing to ensure that this professional will be able to finish the project without delay. Ideally, you'll want to find a home improvement contractor who prioritizes your home repair project. And if a home improvement professional says that he or she is extremely busy with a wide range of client projects, you may want to consider alternatives. 4. What Is the Project Timeline and Cost of the Project? You'll want to find a home improvement contractor who fits both your schedule and budget. Therefore, you should explain when you'd like your project to be completed and how much money is available for your task to find out if he or she is able to meet your expectations. Furthermore, don't forget to ask for a formal bid for the project. This bid will feature a projected timeline and cost and ensure that you can make a more informed decision. Selecting a home improvement contractor sometimes can be a time-consuming and expensive process. And if you choose the wrong one, you may need to commit additional time and resources to correct a past contractor's mistakes. Conversely, asking the aforementioned questions may provide you with additional insights to help you make the best decision possible and reap the benefits of superior home improvements.





Posted by Ryan Seward on 10/5/2017

Living in the heart of a big city puts you moments away from major sports competitions, live theater, five-star restaurants and top paying businesses. Rent or buy a house in a major city and you won't have to worry about transportation. Cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Newark are connected via trains, subways, bus lines and international airports.

It's not all fun and games at the heart of a big city

Many people who live in these cities don't own a car. That's where you could definitely save money by renting an apartment or buying a house in the heart of a big city. Unfortunately, there may be more ways that you could lose money if you rent or own in these popular areas. To see if you're ready to head for the heart of town, consider these residential money guzzlers.

  • City taxes - Ask around. You'll find that taxes in big cities are nothing to wink at. This includes property and income taxes. You could easily save four to five percent or more by moving outside a major city.
  • Housing costs - Rents and mortgages are generally higher at the heart of a major city than they are in towns 20 or more miles away from downtown, uptown and midtown areas. A time when this isn't the case is if you move to a beach front home. Apartments and houses at the heart of cities like New York, Chicago and Miami are not cheap. You could save one hundred dollars or more a month on an apartment and thousands on a house if you choose a home away from hot spots.
  • Lower food prices - Dining at a restaurant can cost less if you dine further away from town.
  • Taxis - This includes traditional and newer taxi services like Uber and Lyft. Depending on how far you are going, hailing a taxi in a major city could run you $20 or more to travel less than 15 miles.
  • Live entertainment - It's hard to turn away from live stage plays, outstanding jazz performances, indoor concerts and the chance to watch a professional sports game from box seats or the front row. Getting away from these entertainment temptations could encourage you to find fun ways to entertain yourself at home. It could also save you the $100 or more that you'd spend on a ticket and refreshments at a single live entertainment event in the heart of the city.
  • Clothes - You certainly won't have to hunt for boutiques, malls and upscale shops if you move to the heart of a big city. Regularly shop at these stores and you could be out several hundred a year.

Moving further away from the center of a major town could save you money. You could yield bigger savings if you move to an area near public transportation. Taking public transportation can save you gas costs. It could also save you auto maintenance costs. Pull this off and you could save hundreds or more a year. You could also save thousands on a new house.




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Posted by Ryan Seward on 9/28/2017

Ready to purchase your dream home? Before you finalize a home purchase, it may be worthwhile to schedule a home appraisal.

With a home appraisal, a property expert will examine a residence both inside and out. The home appraiser then will offer a property valuation.

In some instances, a home offer may be appraisal-contingent. And if the home appraisal valuation falls below the amount of a buyer's offer, the buyer may request a renegotiated price.

A home appraisal may prove to be an important part of the homebuying process. As such, it is paramount for homebuyers to understand what an appraisal is all about and determine whether to conduct an appraisal.

To better understand home appraisals, let's take a look at three home appraisal facts that every homebuyer needs to consider.

1. An appraiser's valuation is his or her opinion of what a residence is worth.

Typically, a home appraiser will use a broad assortment of housing market data as part of a home assessment. The appraiser also will look closely at a residence as part of the home evaluation process.

Although a home appraisal is based on housing market data and a home assessment, it is essential to note that a home valuation is an appraiser's opinion. Therefore, two home appraisers may examine the same housing market data and the same house and come up with two different home valuations.

2. The homes in a neighborhood may affect the valuation of a residence.

Believe it or not, a home's value may be impacted by those around it. Thus, if you intend to buy a home, it often pays to evaluate the neighborhood to better understand whether a house's value will decline, stay the same or increase over time.

Furthermore, what you spend to improve a house is unlikely to raise a house's value proportionately. And if you spend $20,000 on home improvements, there are no guarantees that these home improvements will add $20,000 to a home's valuation.

3. A home appraisal and a home inspection are two very different things.

A home inspection often is considered a must-have during the homebuying process, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

During a home inspection, a property expert will ensure there are no structural issues with a home and identify any problem areas. Then, a homebuyer can move forward with a home purchase, rescind a home offer or submit a counter proposal based on a home inspection report.

On the other hand, a home appraisal enables a property expert to evaluate the house in its current state. A home appraiser will compare and contrast a home in relation to others in the area and offer a valuation.

If you need help determining whether to conduct a home appraisal, a real estate agent is happy to assist you. With a real estate agent at your side, you can determine whether to set up a home appraisal prior to finalizing a home purchase.




Tags: buying a home   appraisal  
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Posted by Ryan Seward on 9/21/2017

If youíre in the process of moving, you donít necessarily need to hire a moving company. Hiring movers is only one option of many when it comes to getting your stuff from place to place. If you want to save some money on your move, you should check out alternatives to hiring movers.  


Containers


If you donít want to drive your own moving truck, but still could use some assistance on your move, you should take a look at container moving. You fill up the container with all of your stuff, and the company will get the container from place to place for you. This is especially helpful if you are doing a long-distance move.


Self-Service


You can always rent your own truck, pack your own stuff, and head out the door on your own. Youíll pay for gas and mileage, but have control of your own timeframe. Moving companies often have many different resources available to help you in the process including boxes and packing supplies. National companies provide convenient truck returns over most parts of the country where youíll be, so itís easy to get the truck back. 


Ship Your Stuff


If you happen to be moving a long distance, sometimes, itís more cost effective to let the big stuff go. Ship items like clothes, books, DVDs, and other personal belongings that canít easily be replaced. Sell big items like beds and sofas. 


You can use many different kinds of shipping services, or even use air cargo to get your things from one place to another. While youíll need to purchase some furniture when you get to your final destination, this could be a good option, especially if youíre looking to start over, or if you donít own a whole lot of furniture and large items.


Use Your Car


Your car is always an option to help you move no matter where you are moving to. Whether youíre moving across the country or just across town, youíll probably need to pack your car. Itís also a lot of fun to have your car for a road trip on long distances. This way, youíll have a lot of stuff with you, but you can still travel and see many things that you wouldnít have seen otherwise.


Tips For Packing The Car


You want to be able to get the maximum packing space out of your car for the move, no matter how far youíre going. First, you should plan how youíll pack ahead of time. You donít want to save the task of packing the car for moving day. Also, you need to make sure that there will be room for every living thing that needs to go into the car like children and pets. Those are important and you definitely donít want them all squished in between some boxes during a long move!




Tags: moving tips   packing  
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Posted by Ryan Seward on 9/14/2017

One of the challenges that individuals and couples face when buying a house is finding the money to put toward their mortgage down payment. Since you'll work with a lender to cover the balance of your mortgage, taking on another loan to cover your mortgage down payment may not be what you want to do.

Build your mortgage down payment early

The sooner you decide to buy a house, the sooner you can start cutting back on spending and increasing your savings. This single move keeps you from taking on unnecessary debt. It also teaches you better money management skills.

Expenses that you could trim or cut out altogether to improve your savings include clothes, tickets to live entertainment events like concerts and stage plays and jewelry. Money spent on eating out at sit down restaurants, out-of-town trips and electronics are other expenses that you could cut and invest in your savings.

In addition to cutting back on spending, following are more ways to find more for your mortgage down payment. Use three or more of the steps to make it easier for you to build $10,000 or more in savings.

Open separate bank account - Start a bank account that you use solely to invest in your mortgage down payment. This bank account should not be attached to a debit or credit card. Use the account strictly to deposit money for your down payment into.

Pay off accounts that require you to pay interest - Examples of these accounts are credit cards, computers and furniture accounts that attach interest to your payments. Definitely, pay off high interest accounts as soon as possible. You could make payments 10 or more days before they are due to reduce the amount of interest you pay on the accounts. Similar to how American Express works, try to pay off your total credit card balances within 30 or 31 days. Some credit card companies charge higher rates if you keep balances on a card for two years or longer.

Invest in certificates of deposit (CDs)- If you have an IRA or 401(k), consider working with your financial advisor to purchase CDs. You'll get a bigger return on CDs if interest rates increase.

Contact state housing agencies - You may be able to get financial assistance from state housing agencies. This help may come in the form of grants or loans. To avoid taking on debt, opt for the grant path.

Sell products and items - Raise money for your mortgage down payment by selling clothes, shoes and household items that you don't use. Online resellers are just one avenue that you could use to raise money by selling items.

Freelance or take on contract work -The freelance community is growing. All you need is a computer and a skill to start earning money as a contractor. Jobs you could take on as a freelancer include web designer, writer, virtual assistant, life coach or consultant. You could also find money for your mortgage down payment through gigs with taxi and transportation companies.

Despite your current financial situation, you can grow your savings. You can find money to put toward your mortgage down payment. To successfully save your mortgage down payment, you need to focus. You need to track your monthly expenses. If you're striving to become financially disciplined, you may need to track how much you spend on a weekly basis.




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