Preparing for your Custom Cabinetry

New, new, new! Whether it’s a new build or a remodel, custom cabinetry is typically part of the process. When it comes to cabinetry none of it is simple but it also doesn’t have to be complicated. Seeing as I just went through this tumultuous process, I wanted to share some of my pains, tips and things you don’t want to forget!

When it comes to cabinetry you’re main priorities are fitting in your appliances and leaving a little bit of rooms for storage. Some people may want simplicity and not need much storage while others may be the entertainer of the century and need rooms for platters, decanters and more. At the end of the day, though, what really is the most important is the space you’re allotted and the creativity of you and your cabinetry company.

Creativity – This is where Pinterest became my best friend! First of all, did you know you can save folders within boards? GAME CHANGER!! I pulled different aspects that I like in kitchen cabinets and created my own little vision board to showcase specifically what I was looking for and what was a priority for me.

Cabinetry Company – You’re likely going to meet with multiple companies (I recommend a minimum of three) to get quotes and see what they can envision as well. I met with about four companies and ended up going with the one that wanted to help me create my vision. You need to find someone that finds solutions for your wants and needs in cabinetry and makes it work! For example, I really wanted a wine fridge in my cabinetry and understood it was such a tiny space… but I finally found a company that helped me make it work for my area.

Let’s think about your wants and needs when it comes to cabinetry. Some add ins and necessities to keep in mind.

What are your cabinetry needs?

  • Room for appliances 
    • Stove – Are you doing a slide in or separate package units?
    • Dishwasher – Want it close to sink!
    • Microwave – Are you doing a vent hood microwave? Lower Cabinet? Drawer?
    • Refrigerator – Is it attached to cabinetry or not?
  • Pots and pans drawers – Trust me… you need some deep drawers near your stove!
  • Flatware and Utensil Drawers – Necessary!
  • Dish towel and oven mitt drawer – Need!
  • Spice Cabinet – So many alternatives for this with a vertical pullout near the stove or a drawer style. Don’t take this for granted – it is important.

What are your cabinetry wants?

  • Soft close hinges – It’s not necessary but people do LOVE these! They can also save from scuffing up cabinets from slamming the doors shut.
  • Cookie Sheet/Cutting Board Storage – Gives easier access and is a great use of space.
  • Hidden Trash Can – Don’t care if your trash can is seen? Then forget this. But if you do, these are a fantastic way to hide your trash!
  • Under Lighting – You may want room for hidden lighting above your countertops. It can REALLY brighten up the space.
  • Upper Cabinet Space – Do you want your cabinetry to go all the way to the ceiling or do you want a display area? I personally like more storage to keep all of my entertaining pieces close or candles near.
  • Wine Rack or wine fridge – You may have room above refrigerator for a wine rack or an end corner for a wine fridge. My big thoughts on this – go ahead and add something like this in so you don’t get one year down the road, wish you would have added it and then it looks like an afterthought next to your beautiful custom cabinetry.
  • Drawers within Shelves – These are a big plus when I show homes! Being able to pull out drawers once you open up cabinetry doors help you see EVERYTHING in that cabinet.

Wanting an example for a small space with an open floor plan? Here’s a look at mine! One bit I have from my cabinetry selections was to add the shaker doors to the front facing portion (back end of cabinets). I have one hidden storage spot but didn’t want there to be one odd door, so the company matched with false shaker doors. Big fan!

Kitchen Cabinetry 1


These cabinetry necessities are just a scratch on the surface for what you may want in your kitchen. Would love to hear what you love in your cabinetry or what you wish you would have added.

 

Common Misconceptions of First Time Home Buyers

Daunting, overwhelming and terrifying. Exciting, thrilling and blood-tingling! That’s exactly what home buying can feel like for a first time home buyer. It can be a roller coaster of emotions throughout the process of purchasing or even thinking to purchase. I’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt to live and tell the tale. I’ve also help a LOT of first time home buyers in this process as well and I have heard all the questions and misconceptions of home buying. One thing I always try to emphasize to my buyers is that no questions is stupid. Not one!

As always, I want to be a resource for my sweet first time home buyers, but I also think it’s important for anyone thinking about buying to know what is even possible!  I’ve pulled together common misconceptions that first time home buyers to help you or even a close friend or family member to see what’s possible with first time buyers.

Real Estate Home Selling Social Media Graphic

Common Misconceptions for First Time Home Buyers

I can’t afford to buy a house!

You don’t know that yet! This is why it’s great to meet with a mortgage loan officer or your local bank to explore ALL options. You may actually be ready or they can help create a timeline and program to get you on track whether it’s increasing cash flow/assets or building credit.

I’ll save more money if I rent. 

Want to hear something W I L D? ! A lot of first time homebuyers end up having mortgages that are LESS than what their rent was costing them. Crazy! While you’re thinking you save on repairs and upkeep on the home, you’re still toward someone else home and not you own. Why not pay toward your own dream? I need to have a 20% in cash for a downpayment! 

No one is asking you to liquidate all your cash monayyy! There are so many great loan programs like FHA and USDA loans that require very little (like 3.5% down) or zero down if you’re in a rural area. FHA loans are fantastic for first time home buyers and great lenders can also find grants to help assist in closing costs.

If you’re in the military or a veteran, you can also look into VA loans where they will take 0 down. There are programs for E V E R Y O N E!

I need to have perfect credit! 

Your credit needs to be good, yes. But it doesn’t have to be PERFECT! While credit scores can effect your interest rate, there are many ways that lenders can find the right loan program or ways to build up your credit quickly to prepare you to purchase YOUR own home.

I need to have a job for 2 years before I can buy a home! 

Not going to lie, I always thought this as well. While this does pertain for self-employed people to show a complete history, salaried people have a different set of rules. Sometimes all you need is a letter from your workplace with your salary and some pay stubs.

I can’t afford repairs. 

Ever heard of a home warranty? I try to always get my buyers a home warranty that covers repairs on AC units and other appliances in their home. While home warranties don’t cover everything, they do help pay toward some larger expenses. All you have to do with a home warranty with pay an upfront fee that could range from $60-75 per visit from contractor sent to repair items. These home warranties can basically pay for themselves over time.

I don’t bring in enough money. 

You don’t have to be raking in the dough to buy a home, you just need to be consistently making money! You Realtor and lender will help guide you on budgeting and staying within your limits on what you can afford, but never assume what you cannot do.

I need to find the home before I get approved for a loan. 

WRONG!!! I typically won’t even show a client a home until they’re approved for their loan. Here’s why: I hate to take a client into a home, they fall in love and then come to find out… they can’t get approved for a loan to purchase the property. That’s a bummer and then the buyer is stuck on that one home and it really sours the rest of the house hunting experience. Getting with a Realtor first is a great game plan and we can then guide you to the right lender for what you’re needing. After you get all your ducks in a row with the lender, it is then time to find the home!

I need to purchase a price at the high end of what I am approved for.

Not quite. You need to purchase a property that keeps you living within your means! This is why it’s important to start the home buying process with a budget in mind – you need to know what you can afford in a mortgage and utility payments. Just because you’re told you’re approved for a $400,000 loan, it doesn’t mean you have to go near there. No one wants to be house poor.


Buying a home has enough what ifs, so don’t let all of these misconceptions scare you away from pushing toward your dream of home ownership. As always, a handy perfect Realtor like me is a great FIRST STEP in the home buying process. I help guide you on all of the next steps and how we make YOU a HOME OWNER!

Nolan Earns Luxury Home Designation

In everything I’ve done, I’ve always put education at the forefront. To me, knowledge is POWER! From obtaining a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University (WHOOP!) in Agricultural Communications and Journalism to a Master of Science from Texas Tech University in Agricultural Communications, I’ve always pushed myself to be an expert in my field and that in doing so means continually learning. I made a goal at the beginning of this year to obtain up to two designations in 2019 in order to expand my knowledge in the real estate world. Last January, I received the Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR) to help make me your ultimate home buying expert, but I didn’t stop there!

Earlier this fall, I decided to better my understanding and expertise for my luxury clientele and received the Accredited Luxury Home Specialist (ALHS) Designation. I am now among the elite agents in not just the state of Texas, but the county that specialize in the luxury real estate market.

So, what does it even take to receive this designation? I completed coursework that focused on luxury clientele and marketing of unique high end properties. I also had to meet a minimum sales requirement showing that I had sold multiple properties that were double the median price range for the East Texas area,  In a nutshell that means that if the median price in East Texas for homes was close to $200,000, my sales of luxury homes would qualify as $400,000 and above. Being a part of the Luxury Home Council is also a major benefit of gaining this designation, as it gives me access to luxury and exclusive listings for buyers and the ability feature my seller’s properties on their websites, as well as an extensive of list serves on top of all of the marketing a typical agent does.

Here’s what I gained from this designation:

  • Local and global marketing of upscale properties.
  • Understanding special demands of affluent clients.
  • Training and expertise in the luxury home marketplace.

I am proud and honored to join this elite group of real estate agents and strive to continually serve my clientele with my understanding of the demands of luxury buyers and sellers. Your home  is special, shouldn’t your agent be? 

The next time you’re looking to buy or sell a home, know that I am your trusted agent! You can always contact me at bethanybreannenolan@gmail.com or (903) 738-8858.

ALHS

2019 Cyber Monday: Homeowner Edition

Christmas is HERE! The trees are up, I’ve got Mariah Carey blaring in the background and it’s time to get a little shopppppping done. If you read my 2019 Black Friday: Homeowners Edition blog, there were lots of great deals in-store, but now it’s all about what you can get online and dropped off right at your doorstep!

As I’ve previously noted, I’m trying to fill up a new house with just about everything! On Black Friday I purchased my iRobot vacuum, TVs, mounts and more – so all the BIG STUFF! For Cyber Monday, it’s time for me to find all the little goodies from wine glasses to smart home accessories. I’m on another level this year with lists and Pinterest boards to keep me on track. For all of you out shopping for Cyber Monday goodies, I’m going to make this easy and pull all the top finds and codes so you can purchase at the click of a finger with a glass of wine or cup of coffee in hand! Happy shopping!

19 WordPress Featured Image- Cyber Monday 1029


||AMAZON||

81ilNbqaGWL._SL1500_-2  51CgKGfMelL._SL1000_  71TzCLRzYAL._SL1500_  51wdEx4mFkL._SL1000_  81DcDxh0yfL._SL1500_  61LsIsx9kFL._SL1000_  Instant Pot  Ring lighting GUEST_a755f810-5a36-461a-9102-2e981f79543b


|| BATH & BODY WORKS||

40% OFF SITEWIDE PLUS FREE SHIPPING ON $40 PURCHASES

Stocking up on all of my Bath & Body Works favorites for my new place! Big fan of the Champagne Toast 3 Wicks candles and Stress Free Aromatherapy lotion. Also love buying all of the wallflowers to have for days!!

USE THE CODE: CYBERDAY


|| POTTERY BARN||

25% OFF PLUS FREE SHIPPING

UP TO 70% OFF SITEWIDE

cozy-pom-pom-throw-1-o mango-wood-handled-cheese-board-paddle-o white-marble-glass-domed-cheese-board-o  velvet-tufted-quilt-shams-stormy-blue-o

USE CODE: CYBER


|| CRATE & BARREL||

20% OFF SITEWIDE  & 30% OFF HOLIDAY + FREE SHIPPING

images.crateandbarrel.com camille nesting marbles

USE CODE: SAVE20


|| BED BATH & BEYOND||

SPEND $300 ONLINE AND RECEIVE $100 IN MY FUND REWARDS

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|| OVERSTOCK||

70% OFF THOUSANDS OF ITEMS

EXTRA 20% OFF SELECT FURNITURE, RUGS, DECOR AND MORE!

 Desk  Carson-Carrington-Bodo-Mid-century-Modern-2-drawer-Nightstand-f7a3cc16-f0f9-4aa2-bc2e-8e02aa1fffc1_1000Simple-Living-Margo-Mid-Century-3-Shelf-Bookshelf-59.5-h-x-36-w-x-11.8-d-082c277d-e7a5-4546-9dc7-291c5c05f0dc_600  


|| WILLIAMS SONOMA||

10% OFF $50 OR MORE

15% OFF $100 OR MORE

20% OFF $200 OR MORE

25% OFF $500 OR MORE

  • Coravin – 30% off of products. These are rarely at a discounted price and are great for the wine connoisseurs!
  • Goldtouch NonStick Bakeware Set – Always loved these sets of bakeware and great price for a 15 piece set at $224.96 for ones that LAST!
  • Le Crueset Dutch Oven – Love the set in white. Great deal for a discount on fantastic cookware.

caroavin gold touch le c 

USE CODE: SAVEMORE


||TARGET||

  • 6 QT Instant Pot – $49.99 at lowest price I’ve seen! Other stores are price matching, too!
  • KitchenAid Mixer – Larger mixer with $100+ off at $239.
  • 2 QT Air Fryer– Just bought this air fryer during Black Friday! Only $40 for this this healthy alternative.

6833115d-5c6d-4682-9f26-f2fa67a4438b_2.a2bad59a8c23e099cf04c31f7ee6b162 KitchenAidair fryer  


||JOSS AND MAIN||

UP TO 80% OFF RUGS, CHAIRS AND MORE

I’ve been eyeing this recessed medicine cabinet and this gold exterior light fixture. Lots of great choices!

Cotswald+16+x+25+Recessed+Frameless+Medicine+Cabinet+with+3+Adjustable+Shelves  Kaylie+Elroy+Outdoor+Wall+Lantern


 

Happy shopping!!

2019 Best of Black Friday Sales: Homeowner Edition

Today is a day to give thanks and gratitude! It’s also a day when people go CRAZAYYY for some deals and steals on what we all call Black Friday. Here’s the honest truth, I’ve never been a Black Friday shopper. Rushing to grab an item and the thrill of the shopping just never appealed to me, but now it does. Being a new homeowner means I need to fill up my home with lots of goodies like TVs, vacuums and lots of cooking utensils and appliances. So you can say that this year, I’m going to be a part of the Black Friday craziness!

There are a lot of great posts with overviews on Black Friday shopping, but I’m narrowing this down with the homeowner in mind. Whether you’ve recently bought a home, have been a homeowner for a minute or are just thinking about purchasing a home, these are ALL good finds!

|| WALMART ||

  • iRobot Vaccum – It’s under $200!! This is my number one buy!
  • Instant Pot – B E S T   F I N D!! It’s $49 and you better grab it before it’s gone because it doesn’t get much lower than that!
  • Samsung Smart TVs (up to $50 in savings) – I’ll be purchasing the 50″ Smart TV to put in my home – it’s only $277!
  • TV Mount – Not your typical Black Friday find, but gotta save where you can!
  • Arlo Security Cameras– Saving $70 on a three camera system. My parents LOVE their Arlos and can pull up the system from an app on their phone with email alerts.
  • Keurig – Another low price at $40 and perfect for you coffee lovers!

 

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Walmart’s Black Friday shopping begins on Thanksgiving Day at 6PM in stores.


|| SAM’S CLUB ||

  • Bamboo Pillows – Save $4 on already low priced pillow sets! They’re only $10.
  • Gas Fire Table – Great for backyard to keep you warm in the winter and $50 in savings.
  • Serta Mattress – Savings of up to $100 on Full/Queen Mattress or savings of up to $200 for King/California King.
  • Ninja Blender and Cups – Great blender for under $100.

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Sam’s Club Black Friday shopping begins on Thanksgiving Day at 7AM in stores and last through December 1.


||TARGET||

  • Google Home Mini – Only $19, so that a $30 SAVING! 
  • Amazon Echo – You’re getting about 40% in savings on this bad boy.
  • Serta Air Mattress – These are just good to have for extra guests… always! Only $50.
  • 12 LB Weighted Blanket – This just sounds amazing and I’ve had my eye on it for a minute! Love the ivory choice.
  • Nest Thermostat– ON MY LIST!! These never go on sale and I love that I can control the AC from my cell phone!
  • Rubbermaid Storage Containers – We all could use more storage containers and these are the best. They’re $7.99 Y’ALL!

GUEST_f94992ca-1ca0-4123-9d70-ebbe20c0625f  GUEST_f8bd14ab-7ed7-4832-a165-8abf9de5a9a2  GUEST_e90d5858-1633-4bf2-95ab-ebcfcf1db014  GUEST_52464cfa-b14e-419f-984e-66daaaf14223  GUEST_a755f810-5a36-461a-9102-2e981f79543b

GUEST_4791c692-8d88-441f-b1ab-f75fdb647034

Target’s Black Friday shopping begins on Thanksgiving Day at 5PM in stores and doors close at 1AM on Friday and reopen at 7AM Friday. 


|| BEST BUY||

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Best Buy’s Black Friday shopping begins on Thanksgiving Day at 5PM in stores and doors close at 1AM on Friday and reopen at 8AM Friday. 


|| BED, BATH & BEYOND||

Big deal of the day is 25% OFF in-store all day!

I’ll probably be buying some sheets and bathroom necessities like mats and more with that discount!

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Bed, Bath & Beyond’s Black Friday shopping begins on Thanksgiving Day at 5PM in stores and doors close at Midnight. 


|| AMAZON||

  • Amazon Smart Plug – $4.99 bundled with purchases. I try to buy these overtime I see them $20 off. Great for Christmas trees, lamps or outdoor lights!
  • Echo Dot – Drops down to $22 for Black Friday. Love listening to my podcasts and making notes on my phone while I get ready with mine!
  • Schlage Smart Deadbolt– Big fan of this at my parent’s AirBNB! You can control it with your phone AND it’s compatible with Alexa.
  • Fire TV Stick – Great to take along with you when traveling and easy to hook up to TVs.
  • Ring Peephole Cam with Echo Show 5– New product that pairs perfectly with Ring Doorbell. Super cool!

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Happy shopping to you! Let me know what you’re buying this Black Friday! 

Progress Is…. Progress!

I’m going to say the understatement of the year and it’s that my family has been just a littttttle busy this fall! From having the most beautiful Yamboree Queen (my little sister) at our hometown festival and then running all over for events with our Hereford Association to Fighting Texas Aggie football games, my weekends that are typically my open time to work on my home have been BOOKED! 

Since the last time you had an opportunity to look at my little Dollhouse, it was just vacant and ready for DEMO!! Now we’ve completely gutted the place, changed my ideas here and there and have gotten moving with lots of different things! It was so fun to tear down all the fabric wallpaper and old walls to find all of the wood planks hidden behind. I know a TON of people would leave those wood planks raw and show them to the world but they’re just too wide for my taste and I promise the end result with be worth it! Ya girl over here needs her home to have some insulation and that has to go behind those planks.

So what have we done since the gut job? Here’s a little lowdown:

Foundation: When I bought this cutie of a home I knew that it wasn’t the most level space so getting my pier and beam foundation leveled was priority numero uno before I had any big work done. Luckily, this was an easy fix and Benchmark Foundation came in while I was booked during Yamboree to get it DONE! 

Carpentry: A little carpentry work has made its way in. After the wall between the kitchen and dining was destroyed we waited for the carpenters to come in to install a beam between those rooms and frame up my master closet and the refrigerator area. It was my lucky day when they came because I didn’t need a beam so now it feels like one OPEN space!! The carpenters still came in, though, to frame up room in my closet, close in one of my FIVE exterior doors that was in my master bedroom and more.

Plumbing: Plumbers came in and replaced cast iron and have moved my lines for my refrigerator  (was in where the original kitchen wall was and is now on a separate wall) and washer/dryer combo (was in the kitchen and is now in my master closet). They’ve also been busy, busy taking out all o the cast iron plumbing and replacing it throughout my kitchen and bathroom area.

Electricity: My electrician’s crew is in the works on putting some updates throughout my home – I am very lucky and a majority of the electrical work was updated before I moved in which is not typical for most 1930s homes… that’s what I thought. They actually had to come in and replace just about everything due to it not being correct with different sized wires. People – this is why you do it right from the beginning and hire the professionals! Since it is an older home, I’m also moving around some light switches (they’re in the oddest places) and plugs throughout the home. Most of the plugs are in my baseboards and we are replacing all of those, so the plugs are being pushed up a little and some will even have the USB capability.

Cabinetry: With what seems like it’s been an eternity, we have FINALIZED my cabinetry. I mean I knew I was picky, but WOW! Since I’m working with such a small space, I wanted to ensure I was utilizing every space I could with the cabinetry I am putting in my kitchen. After quite a bit of back and forth we are done and it will be built in the next 2-3 weeks. I’ve realized that what I thought was necessary in cabinetry sometimes isn’t, but I’m still getting room for my wine fridge and trash compartment because those are the little things that make me happy!

Insulation: Once the electrical was complete, insulation was inserted between the wooden boards and brick on all the the exterior walls and throughout my attic area. This will ensure I am warm in the winter and cool in the summers and is SO WORTH IT to get done while I’m down with the bare bones of the house.

Drywall: After insulation was put in, my drywall came in and now I have walls!! It was such an odd experience to walk in the house from being used to the wooden walls to having actual walls and seeing my vision of the home come to life. Big fan!!

A lot has already been completed, but here’s whats next on my list for December: 

  • Tape, bed and texture: I’ll have some guys come in to tape, bed and texture the walls in the home. Once this is complete, it will be paint time!
  • Base boards: The carpenter will add in my new baseboard (trying to keep the original sizes).
  • Paint: Planning to paint the interior of the home with a light gray on the walls and white on all of my trim and the exterior of the home white.
  • Cabinetry: Installation of cabinetry for my kitchen, pantry and bathroom will be put into place. They will then be painted a super fun and funky green color. I promise it’s going to look GREAT!
  • Refinishing hardwoods: My original hardwoods are BEAUTIFUL and I could not be more excited to have them in my home. Unfortunately, they’re all a semi-different color in each room so we plan to refinish those as well to make it uniform. I mean – might as well while we’re working on it!

Hope you’re enjoying following along! A lot of work has been done but there’s still more to come!

Are You Ready To Buy A Home?

It’s simple buying a home, right? No prepping, no money, no worries. WRONG! There’s a lot that goes into the process, but let’s start with what you should think about before you even consider looking…. are you even ready to buy a home?

Going through this process myself and with many other clients, it’s good to have a little checklist of priority items you need completed before even considering to look at homes.

MONEY ON HAND

Got that money in the bank? I’m not saying you need to have tens of thousands of dollars in the bank but you need to have some cash on hand for a downpayment, inspection, earnest money and any other upfront expenses of items you may want to repair in the home. There are now so many great loan programs that either require zero down or just 3.5% but don’t get stuck on that. The more money that you can put down is sometimes better. It can lower your monthly payments and even lessen some closing expenses.

FHA Loans – 3.5% down payment and have great first-time home buyer programs

Conventional Loans – Minimum of 3% down payment

USDA/VA Loans – No downpayment loans are offered

Jumbo Loans – 15% down payment

Here’s how I prepped: I have a completely separate savings account that is JUST for my home savings and that is where I allocate anything and everything that I pull out for a property and put into it with repairs, etc. It helps me keep track of my cash on hand and stay organized.

GET YOUR CREDIT IN CHECK

Do you have credit cards or loans? Are you paying everything on time or in full? This will ALLLLLL come up at the end of the day when your lender pulls your credit to loan you money. Those two missed cable bills will come to haunt you so stay on top of all of those bills so the lender feels confident lending money to you.

There are also fantastic credit repair companies that can help you bump it up to where you want. I utilized my credit cards to build credit and a history for myself. I recommend stalking The Points Guy on where you can start. There’s truly a wealth of information on their site from which cards you can take advantage of at certain times of your life to how to better manage credit card points. BIG FAN!

BUDGET AND BUDGET WISELY

It’s important to know what you’re willing to spend per month when it comes to mortgage payments. This not only helps narrow down the types of properties you’ll be looking at with your real estate agent but also give you an idea of budgeting and knowing what your pocketbook can handle. 

LOOKING AT YOUR FUTURE

How long do you plan to stay around the area you’re looking at buying? Are we talking six months, three years or 10 years? It takes a minimum of three to five years to recoup the closing costs of your home. Basically, if you don’t think you’re sticking around the area for long then renting is in your best interest. Buying a home is an investment and you want equity in your home when you sell not to be in the hole.

Keep job stability in mind with your future as well. If you think there’s a possibility of relocation or promotions that require moving, it may be better to rent unless you know the company has a fantastic relocation program. Some companies do, some companies don’t.


If you have every last one of these items checked then congratulations! It’s time for you to get with a lender and real estate agent to make your home buying dream a reality. If not, utilize this list and make it your homework!

Home Buyers in a Hot Market

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired of a HOT, HOT, HOT real estate market? Real estate agents and sellers are certainly not mad at how quickly homes are moving, but being a home buyer in this situation is just a little frustrating to say the least. I say this from experience because I’m currently a home buyer that’s growing increasingly impatient in a market like this.

Homes are hitting the market and hours later they have a contract or you enter into a bidding war and while it can be exciting, not everyone wins. This is just a little frustrating and a little discouraging for some buyers. When you’re a home buyer in a hot market, it’s important to remember a couple of tips:

  • Don’t settle. Well, duh! This is an important reminder, though. When there’s only so much inventory to choose from, buyers tend to get a little too excited and settle on a property that they don’t truly love. I recommend my buyers really take a step back, look at their need/want list and ensure in their gut that this is THE HOME for them before signing their name on that dotted line.
  • Be decisive. When you’ve gotten to the point of house hunting, you should have already been pre-approved by a lender or bank and have a general idea of what you want. I think it helps to look a couple of homes to guide what you like and dislike, but when homes are moving as quickly as they are in a hot market you have to remember that time is of the essence. So basically, know what you want!
  • Do your homework. Drive by homes, know the neighborhoods you desire and know what is NON-NEGOTIABLE when buying a home. Doing drive-bys and research beyond what your agent provides you with can really eliminate a lot of running around!
  • Stay patient. Inventory may be low or you may have a very specific need when it comes to finding a home. Good things come with time and you need to keep your eyes wide open and know that something will come along, it just may not be in the next 24 hours, 2 days or even month.
  • Help your agent. I am constantly watching the market and sending my clients homes that are hand picked specifically for them with regards to school districts, bedrooms, acreage and more. When your agent is contacting you or sending you emails, let them know if they’re hitting the mark or not getting anywhere near what you’re wanting in a home. They can’t help you if you don’t help them. And that’s a fact, Jack!

As an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®), I can hone in my skills to represent the needs of my home buyers from the comprehensive knowledge I’ve received from real estate education. Each and every home buyer is different and it’s important that you as a buyer are treated that way. I want all of my buyers to know that this process is for THEM and only them because it’s their money and their home. When the housing market is hot, people tend to throw all reason out the window and it’s important to stay grounded and ensure that the home you’re buying is what you know in your gut is the right home for you and your future. After all, this is an INVESTMENT! 

Enjoy the house hunting and don’t let the stressor of a hot market get the best of you! Happy hunting!

Upfront Costs in Purchasing a Home

Money, money, money! When you first start the home buying process, a big concern can be the money and cashflow that you’ll need to pay upfront once you have an accepted contract. Payments can start adding up, so I always try to make sure that my buyers are aware of what checks they’ll be cutting from the beginning once their contract is accepted.

While closing costs are a big concern to buyers, those don’t really come to fruition until closing day (end of the deal). When it comes to upfront costs, you’re top costs will include your Option Period Fee, Earnest Money and paying for your Inspection. I’ve pulled the ranges and explanations for each below.

UPFRONT COSTS IN PURCHASING A HOME

Termination Option Fee: Typically ~$100

Your Termination Option OR Option Period is typically a time frame of 7-10 days where you complete your inspections, come in and get quotes/estimates on any repairs you’re needing and ensure that you’re ready to move forward on purchasing the home. This period starts the next day after the contract is executed.

The Termination Option Fee protects your Earnest Money so that if you back out of the contract within your 7 to 10 day period due to the seller not agreeing to repair certain items or the home not being quite up to par, you would get your Earnest Money back. After the 7 to 10 day Termination Option Period, your property will go UNDER CONTRACT.

This fee is written out the seller of the home as they’re giving you this time frame to complete any inspections, etc. You do not have to complete an inspection or have a Termination Option Period, but it is always recommended.  Your Termination Option Fee CAN BE credited to your closing and negotiated on price point and day period.

Earnest Money: 1% of home purchase price

Typically, your Earnest Money is 1% of the overall price of the home. For example, if you purchase a home for $200,000 then your Earnest Money check will be $2,000. That is 1% of the purchase price. Is the 1% fee negotiable? Yes! But the Earnest Money is seen as good faith that you’re ready to rock and roll as a buyer so most buyers and sellers stick to using the traditional 1% number. If you’re in a bidding war, you may put down more in Earnest Money. It all depends on the buyer and the seller.

This fee is written out to the title company that is handling this transaction. Your Earnest Money IS credited at closing to your costs and can be negotiated.

Inspection Fee:  Truly varies on square footage of home/company – ~$360-$600

Is this a required fee? Not necessarily, but some lenders do require an inspection and I ALWAYS recommend my buyers order one so that they know the ins and outs of the home from a licensed professional. The fee ranges by the company you use and the square footage of the home. The bigger the home, the higher the cost. In my opinion, this cost is WORTH IT! 

This fee is paid directly to the inspector or inspection company. This IS NOT credited to your closing and if you back out of the contract you will not receive a refund for the fee. Inspections are there to give you piece of mind and know what’s going on from plumbing to foundation to electricity. It’s beneficial on ALL fronts!

 

While there are some other upfront costs in purchasing a home, these are the main costs after you receive and accepted offer on a property. These are all fee to expect and later on pull money for your downpayment, lender (appraisal, etc.) and closing costs. This is used to help guide you at the very beginning stages after a contract is accepted.

Preparing Your Home During The Stormy Season

April showers were supposed to bring May flowers, right? But all we feel like we’re getting are scary tornado watch calls from Mark Scirto from our local news station.

WINDOWLESS INTERIOR

In the grand scheme of things, you truly need to worry about finding a small, windowless interior room in the home. Duh! But we also need to think about how you can protect your home during this stormy weather from hail damage and more. Here are a couple of things you can do to protect and prep your home.

Untitled Design

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO

Trim those trees. Look at the limbs close to your roof, where you park your vehicle or near any lines. While I always recommend hiring a professional, if it looks like a smaller job these tree trimmers can help lighten the load and stress. This can help prevent much larger issues after storms.

Cover or move your outdoor items. Do an inventory of your outdoor items like patio furniture, planters, firewood, grills, etc. Either cover those items or bring  them inside to a garage or shop area. You can use patio furniture covers, grill covers and more to protect your outdoor favorites. Securing them to the ground is also very helpful.

Check those gutters and downspouts. Ensure that they’re not logged with leaves or full of miscellaneous items by using gutter cleaners. Clear them out to prepare for proper flow of water during the storms.

Follow local news. Be informed. Pay attention to the weather either on your local weather radars, sign up for texts, calls or email alerts from your local weather station to be in the know on upcoming weather.

Inspect your roof. Hail storms and high winds are not your roof’s best friend. Keep an eye on the condition of your roof and if you see any significant damage, be sure to get in touch with your insurance adjustor to see what they can help cover repair costs.

Do you have an emergency kit? Grab the basics: first aid kit (bandaids, ointments, etc.), food (water and non-perishable snacks – put in those granola bars), flashlight with extra batteries, radio and fully charged phones or portable chargers. Have those ready just in case. 

Lastly…

FIND THAT SAFE ROOM! Be prepared and have a cleared and clean windowless, interior room or area identified for storms.  Stay safe!

Stay safe out there, my friends.