Maureen Harmonay - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 11/6/2018

A home inspection is a vital part of every real estate transaction. Its importance is usually solidified in a purchase contract in the form of a contingency clause.

Whenever you buy or sell a home, the transaction is typically contingent upon a few things being fulfilled. Inspections help protect the buyer from purchasing a home that they believed didnít have any major issues.

For buyers, an inspection can save you thousands in the long run. For sellers, getting a preemptive inspection done (on your own dime) can be useful since it will help you avoid any surprises that could arise when a potential buyer has your home inspected.

Hiring a home inspector

Regardless of whether youíre the buyer or the seller in this instance, hiring a home inspector isnít something you should take lightly. Youíll want to confer with your agent before you pick an inspector.

Itís also a good idea to check out some online reviews and visit the inspectorís website for pricing. Typically, inspectors charge between $200 and $400 for an inspection, so feel free to shop around.

Inspectors are certified, so make sure whoever you choose has the proper licensure. You can search for inspectors in your area with this search function.

Ultimately, youíll want to choose an inspector that can give you the most unbiased assessment of the home, so that you can be assured that you know what youíre getting into when you buy or sell a home.

Preparing for an inspection

Many buyers arenít sure what to expect on inspection day. However, the process is relatively simple.

Youíll want to make sure the inspector can easily access workspaces (like around the furnace, circuit breakers, etc.). This will make the inspectorís job easier and allow them to focus on the service theyíre providing you.

If possible, itís also a good idea to provide them with records of important home maintenance and repairs. Inspectors know what red flags to look for with the home, both physically and on paper.

Finally, make sure pets, kids, and any other distractions are away from home or with someone who can attend to them.

Post inspection

After the inspection is complete, the inspector will hand you a report and be able to answer any questions you have about their findings. They will give recommendations about the timeline for repairs that need to be made soon or even years into the future.

With this report in hand, you can determine if there are repairs you want to negotiate with the seller if youíre buying a home. As a seller, this report will tip you off to issues that potential buyers will likely have and give you a chance to address them in advance.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 10/30/2018

If this is your first home sale, you might be wondering about what your requirements are in terms of home inspections. A vital step in the closing process, professional home inspections are typically included in real estate contracts as a contingency (the sale is dependent upon their completion).

But, are there any situations in which a seller would get a home inspection?

In todayís post, weíre going to talk about why sellers might want to get their home inspection and how it could be useful to the home sale process overall.

To diagnose problems with your home

When youíre deciding on the asking price of your home, youíll want to take into account all of the things that could potentially drive that price down. Inspectors will look for a number of issues in your home, which can save you from any surprises when a potential buyer orders their inspection of your home.

The further along in the home sale process when you discover an expensive repair that needs to be made, the more complicated it makes your home sale.

So, if youíre in any doubt about whether your home will need repairs now or in the near future, ordering an inspection could be a safe option.

What do inspectors look for?

When inspecting your home, a licensed professional will look at several things:

  • Exterior components of your home, such as cracks or broken seals on exterior surfaces, garage door function and safety, and so on.

  • The structural integrity of your home; checking your foundation for dangerous cracks where moisture can enter and cause damage in the form of mold or breaks in the foundation.

  • The roof of your home will be checked for things like broken or loose shingles or nearby tree branches that could damage your home or nearby power lines in a storm.

  • The HVAC system will be tested to make sure itís running properly and efficiently and also that vents are clean and clear of debris.

  • Interior components of your home will be checked for safety and damage from things like pests and water damage.

Will the seller still order an inspection if my home just had one?

An inspection contingency is built into almost all real estate contracts to protect the interests of the buyer and seller alike.

In most circumstances, a buyer will want to get their own inspection performed. After all, they donít know who you went to for an inspection and whether they were licensed in your state.

The bottom line

Ultimately, if youíre planning on selling your home in the near future and arenít sure if your home may have any underlying issues, itís usually a good idea to get an inspection to make sure you can plan for any repairs or inform potential buyers of any issues with your home.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 10/23/2018

The rent vs buy dilemma is something that Americans have been facing for decades. Both options have their benefits, and itís really a matter of timing and preferences when it comes to choosing which is best for you.

However, there are a lot of things to consider before making this decision. So, in todayís post weíre going to break down some of the benefits of renting an apartment and of buying a home. That way you can make your decision with a clearer picture of what each situation looks like.

One thing to note first, however, is that it isnít always as simple as buy vs rent. Some living situations draw on the pros of each type of living. For example, living in a condo might be a good option for people who want the privacy and independence of owning their own home, but who also donít have the time or desire to keep up with maintenance.

So, as we compare buying and renting, keep in mind that the features of each are not mutually exclusive.

Renting an apartment

Most people who are living on their own for the first time start off renting. For younger people just out of school, renting offers the first taste of independence without the prerequisites of homeownership.

When you rent your first apartment, youíll learn the skills associated with budgeting for your monthly expenses, making your rent payments on time, and will start learning some of the skills that it takes to run a household.

In terms of monthly costs, apartments can vary greatly. Depending on where you live (and how luxurious the apartment is) you could end up having rent and utility payments that are much lower or much higher than mortgage payments for a house.

However, apartment leases often come with the benefit of utilities, trash removal, and other expenses built in. They also typically require the landlord to maintain the apartment and the land it sits on.

Live in the northern part of the country and hate shoveling snow? Make sure your lease specifies that your landlord will provide snow removal.

One technique that many renters take is to find an apartment that is small and affordable while they save up for a home. In this case, itís worth living with fewer amenities if your end goal is saving for a down payment.

But, what if you want to own a home someday but havenít quite decided where you want to settle down? Maybe your work keeps you moving from place to place or youíve always wanted to move away to somewhere new.

Renting is typically a better option for those who arenít quite sure what their plans are for the next coming years. They can have a stable place to live while they figure things out and plan their next move.

Buying a home

Once youíve rented a home for a while, you might become increasingly aware that you want more space and more control over your home.

Youíre also likely noticing how much money you spend on rent each month that is essentially a net loss.

When you buy a home, your mortgage payments might be going to the bank, but someday the money youíve paid toward that home will be yours in the form of equity. You can then use this as a down payment for another home.

This financial benefit cannot be understated. Since house values dependably increase over time, owning a home is a great investment toward your future.

So, those are the main pros and cons of renting vs buying a home. Think about your circumstances and determine which one makes the most sense for you right now. Then, start planning for the future.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 10/16/2018

Wait, when was the last time you cleaned that ? And how often are you supposed to wash that? Never have to ask yourself these questions again by creating a monthly chore calendar. Creating a chore calendar may seem like youíre taking your house cleaning duties a little too seriously, but by creating a regular cleaning schedule you will set yourself up for success. And youíll have a guaranteed cleaner home, and who doesnít want that? Monthly

  • Scrub grout in the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Wash pillow and mattress protectors as well as duvet covers.
  • Discard any food in the†freezer that has become freezer burnt or is past its time.
  • Wax any wood floors your home may have.
  • Dust fans you have throughout your home. Donít forget to do this in the winter when they are not in use to avoid build-up.
  • Wipe down and disinfect light switch plates and door knobs.
  • Wipe down and disinfect your home phones and your familyís cell phones.
  • Flush drains. Try a natural solution by pouring baking soda down drains and allowing to sit overnight to deodorize. In the morning pour hot water down the drain to rinse the baking soda out and flush the drain.
  • Wipe down walls, doors and baseboards.
  • Check the fire alarms throughout your home and replace any batteries when necessary.
Weekly
  • Dust each room in your home.
  • Empty all trash bins throughout your home. Donít forget smaller, less used baskets like in your childís room or in the office.
  • Clean sinks, toilets, and bath of any soap scum or buildup.
  • Vacuum and mop the floors throughout your home.
  • Wipe down surfaces like tables and counters.
  • Clean mirrors and windows.
  • Wash sheets and pillowcases.
  • Sort through your mail and email inbox. Pay any upcoming bill and file paperwork as necessary.
  • Clean fridge out of any food that has gone past its expiration.
  • Wipe down appliances in the kitchen such as the microwave, stove, and toaster.
  • Wipe down and deodorize trashcans and recycling bins.
  • Put out fresh towels in your bathrooms and kitchen
Daily
  • Tidy up. Keep on top of clutter by putting items away when they are no longer in use.
  • Make the beds and if your children are old enough encourage them to make theirs.
  • Sort out mail. File and discard as necessary.
  • Clean up as you prepare meals to leave time to relax after dinner time instead of spending another hour in the kitchen.
  • Wipe up any spills as they happen to avoid having to use elbow grease to clean up later.
  • Sweep the kitchen floor and any other high traffic areas.
  • Throw in a load of laundry. If you have a large family make laundry more manageable by doing a load a day.
Keeping your home clean is hard work, there is no doubt about that, especially if you have a family. However, by creating a monthly chore calendar you can create a more manageable workload for yourself. With a little planning up front you can have a neat and tidy home you can sit back and truly enjoy!





Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 10/9/2018

In some instances, it may be beneficial to reject an offer to purchase your home. Because if a homebuying proposal fails to meet your expectations, you may want to wait for another offer to come your way.

Reviewing a homebuying proposal and determining whether to reject this offer can be tricky. But we're here to help you evaluate an offer to purchase so you can decide the best course of action and feel confident about your choice.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you assess an offer to purchase and determine whether to decline.

1. Review the Local Housing Market

The housing market in your city or town is a major factor in the property selling journey. If you're selling your residence in a buyer's market, you likely face steep competition to sell your house and maximize its value. Comparatively, if you're operating in a seller's market, there may be an abundance of buyers and a shortage of sellers in place.

Take a look at the prices of recently sold residences and how long these properties were listed before they sold. You may want to consider the prices of currently available houses in your area that are similar to your residence too. With this housing market data in hand, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one and take a data-driven approach to decide how to proceed with an offer to purchase.

2. Weigh Your Home's Strengths and Weaknesses

You believe your home is great, but you also realize that your residence is far from perfect. As such, it often helps to weigh your residence's strengths and weaknesses relative to an offer to purchase and proceed accordingly.

For example, if a homebuyer submits a competitive offer to purchase your home in spite of its exterior damage, you may want to accept this proposal. On the other hand, if a buyer submits a "lowball" offer on your recently upgraded house, you may want to decline this proposal.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

If you're unsure about whether to reject an offer to purchase, there is no need to worry. You can always hire a real estate agent, and this housing market professional can provide comprehensive support throughout the property selling journey.

A real estate agent is ready to help you in any way possible. If you need help listing your residence and promoting it to prospective buyers, a real estate agent can assist you. Or, if you want to find innovative ways to enhance your residence's curb appeal, a real estate agent can provide home exterior upgrade recommendations.

Of course, a real estate agent will work with you to review any offer to purchase your house. You and your real estate agent together can discuss the pros and cons of a homebuying proposal and make a decision that corresponds to your house selling goals.

Take the guesswork out of reviewing an offer to purchase Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you can decide whether rejecting a homebuying proposal is the best option.