Consider These 8 Things Before You Start Your Home Search

by Chuck Roper 11. April 2018 13:24

 

Whether you’re recently married and looking to settle down in your first home, or are an established family looking for a community for your children to grow up in, buying a home is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make. But what if you’re not sure where it should be? From low crime rates and a great education system to local nightlife and culture, there are many variables to consider when choosing the perfect home. We’ve taken the stress out of making this decision by compiling a list of the eight most important factors to consider when you are ready to buy a new home.

1. Affordability

No matter your pay grade, living comfortably within your means should be your first priority. Consider not only housing expenses, such as your mortgage rate, but also the prices for consumer goods, such as groceries, gas, and utilities for your area. This will give you a better sense of just how much money it costs to live in a specific location on a monthly basis.

2. Real Estate Value

It’s no secret that the real estate market is in constant flux, which means it’s vital that you do your research before buying a home. For example, our website, JanetMcAfee.com, can help you get a grasp of the real estate market for a specific area. Consider current home prices and pay attention to the length of time houses are on the market, as well as the resale value of homes and long-term value estimates as well. Researching the market beforehand allows you to determine if you are making a wise, long-term investment, and may ultimately shape where you decide to live.


3. Employment Opportunities

Following your career is another important factor to consider when choosing a place to live. Employment opportunities vary widely from state to state and city to city, so be sure to research the job markets in different areas of the country, scoping out opportunities in your industry. Depending on your profession, you may find that certain cities have a higher concentration of viable options, which may help steer your decision.

Income levels for jobs in your industry are likely to vary as well. Websites like Salary.com allow you to compare pay rates across the country. For example, a marketing manager position may have a large salary attached to it in San Francisco, but the cost of living is also very high for that area. Aim to find a location with a comfortable salary and moderate cost of living and, if possible, secure a position before moving.

4. Crime Rates and Statistics

If you plan to move with children, ensuring you’re relocating to a safe community is of the utmost importance. Research crime rates and statistics for the locales you are considering to learn about the safety of a specific town or neighborhood. If you‘ve already decided on a place to live, stop by your local police station to discuss neighborhood safety. And remember, just because a neighborhood is safe today, doesn’t mean that it won’t change in the future, so long-term neighborhood stability should be a consideration factor as well.


5. Education System

Another important factor when moving with children is the quality of the education system in the area, as a good education is essential to helping children lead healthy and productive lives. Websites like GreatSchools are an excellent resource for parents looking for the ideal schools for their children. Remember, the quality of schools for a specific area can factor into your finances, too, since private institutions are considerably more expensive.  


6. Healthcare Facilities

No matter who you are or where you live, accidents happen and ensuring the presence of quality clinics and hospitals is of the utmost importance when choosing a place to live, especially if you have kids or are nearing retirement. Easy access to quality health care can increase your quality of life, so do your research beforehand on the healthcare system in your area before choosing to live there.

7. Commute Time and Public Transportation Options

Nobody likes sitting in traffic, which means commute times can be a determining factor when choosing a place to live. Moving somewhere with a public transportation system can cut the cost and time it takes to commute to work. Plus, if you’re moving with your family, the presence of quality public transport can help your kids get around when you’re not there to drive them.


8. Culture

If you’re someone who loves to go out on the weekends to concerts, restaurants, or sporting events, then you will want to choose to live in a city or town with a lot of cultural offerings. Many people feel the need to be close to their favorite team or local music scene, so be sure you can continue to pursue your hobbies and interests in your new location. If you’re someone looking to escape the hustle bustle of city life, be sure that your new location reflects that, with an abundance of scenic beauty, hiking or boating options, and plenty of room to spread out and relax.

 

Choosing a new place to live can be overwhelming, and In order to find success in your search, determine what factors from the above list are most important to you and your family. Remember to do your homework and be vigilant in your search until you find the perfect place to live. Although it may be frustrating, your efforts are sure to pay off once you are settled and happy in your new location.

Are you considering buying a home? Still on the fence? Our experienced agents are happy to help answer any questions or concerns you have and will help you along the way to finding your dream home. Contact us to get started!

Tags:

Tips for Buying a Home

“The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually.” Eeyore

by Chuck Roper 2. April 2018 06:13

 

Too much of a good thing can get tiresome.  This is one of the rainiest years I can remember.  So far this year, we’ve had 13.2 inches of rain and it continues to pour as I write.  In comparison, we had 6.7 inches of rain during the first three months of 2017.  Truly, I am sympathetic to both buyers and sellers, who are persevering through Open Houses, appointments and building inspections in this drippy weather. 

 

 This is my question: Do you go ahead and have your Open House with the rain or wait out the weather?

 

Let’s start with the reasons why you would wait.  1. Lighting is one of the most important factors in showcasing your home.  If there is no natural light coming into the house, it may look dark and dreary.  2.  Visitors may track water and mud throughout the house.  Even if they take off their shoes, rain coats and hats can drip.  3. With windows closed, your basement may feel clammy and damp even if there is no standing water.    4.  If outdoor living spaces are a key selling feature of your home, many buyers will opt out of seeing one of your best amenities.

 

 

On the other hand, there are many good reasons to go ahead with the Open House.  1. Spring is our primary selling season and more people are in the market to buy homes now.  2. People are bored.  There are no competing outdoor activities.  Cabin fever will drive buyers out to Open Houses.  3. Buyers can see how well your home holds up in terrible weather.  Buyers feel confident when they witness first hand no leaks, no gutter spills, a dry basement and clear, well-sealed windows.   4.  Looking at the numbers, the market is strong.  Our weekly sales sheet is long and keeps growing!

 

If you are going ahead and braving the rain, here’s my advice for a successful Open House:

  1. Turn on all the lights, inside and OUTSIDE.  Give your home a warm and inviting glow for all to see from the street.  Inside, the more light the better.
  2. Sweep walkways where there are pools of water.
  3. Light a small fire to take the chill off and give your home a cozy feel.
  4. Place an urn or basket for umbrellas and a large mat by the front door.
  5. Provide booties for those who cannot remove shoes.
  6. Keep ceiling fans turned on to a low setting.  Because your windows are closed, you don’t want your home to feel stuffy or to draw attention to any pet odors. 
  7. Run a basement dehumidifier.
  8. Place fresh flowers around the house.  Even though it’s dreary outside, your house will be cheery, warm and alluring on the inside!

Janet Horlacher

Tags:

Success Begins at Janet McAfee Real Estate

by Chuck Roper 27. March 2018 05:58

Ever since Janet McAfee Inc. was incorporated in 1975, one thing has remained constant: our philosophy.


Give the client better service than the competition and do it with personal integrity.


That is why Janet McAfee Inc. employs a team of talented managers to "work behind the scenes" and support agents through every aspect of home buying and selling.


Whether you are considering a career in real estate, a newly licensed agent, or a proven performer ready to take your practice to the next level, luxury-leader Janet McAfee Real Estate is the perfect fit. Your journey to personal and financial success begins here. Check out how Janet McAfee has worked for so many others, just like you!



Dani Lester

‘Janet McAfee is a great place to start your Real Estate career. I've received top-notch training from our knowledgeable brokers, and the experienced agents are always willing to offer guidance and support! Joining Janet McAfee Real Estate is the best decision I've made.’



Belle Rolfe

‘The training I have received at Janet McAfee is one of the driving reasons I chose to work here. With a team of veterans that are ready and willing to help me at any given time, my success is truly unlimited.’



Jody Johnson

‘Working at Janet McAfee is an absolute joy! Everyone here is so kind and helpful. I feel so supported by both the staff as well as other agents.’



Mac Scott

‘Janet McAfee Real Estate is a terrific place to work with an amazing support staff and agents who make their clients' lives easier.’





Lucy Goltermann

‘I have worked at Janet McAfee for over 30 years, and we have some of the most professional agents in the industry.’



Wayne Norwood & Ben Patton

‘Could not ask for a higher level of professionalism, service level or management vision. Consistent in every way, and more.’


‘Awesome company with great leadership and skilled agents!’



Julie Lane

‘Our customer service is second to none. Highly recommend Janet McAfee.’



Marc Sinclair

‘By far, this brokerage has the most knowledgeable agents and brokers in St. Louis... If you are involved in or considering a real estate transaction...You should consult with Janet McAfee!’


Our continued success is due to a consistent dedication for hiring the best and the brightest to create our unique, cooperative spirit — an ideology which could not be better explained than by Principal of Janet McAfee, Janet Horlacher:


"A real estate company is as good as the people who are involved in it. We're fortunate to have some of the best agents in our field. Our agents are successful because they are truly professional in demeanor and experienced in all aspects of a transaction, yet they are all team players. Everyone cares about another person's success, and that builds tremendous morale. It builds a family.

 

If you’re a professional who is enthusiastic, hardworking and also values honesty, integrity and is dedicated to expert customer experiences, we invite you to take the important next step to your personal and financial success by contacting Janet Horlacher for a confidential interview.

Tags:

Our Stories

Cyber fraud and Real Estate

by Chuck Roper 16. March 2018 10:24

Cyber fraud and Real Estate

 

I just read a scary fact in Realtor magazine: $969 million was diverted or attempted to be diverted from real estate purchase transactions and wired to “criminally controlled” accounts in fiscal 2017.  The fact is attributed to FBI data as reported by the Washington Post.

Scammers are targeting real estate professionals, title companies and mortgage lenders with phishing emails and fake text messages.  One way home buyers are scammed is they receive an email providing wire instructions for funding their new home purchase.   Please be aware - this is a fake email.  You should NEVER respond with your account information without speaking first hand to your agent or title representative.   I read a recent story of a Memphis home buyer who responded to a genuine-looking request to wire the full purchase amount of $203,000 to an account, which turned out to be fraudulent.  The money was gone, wired to a bank account controlled by an invisible thief.

 

Another risk is hacking.  Realtor magazine also reported about 80 percent of hacking-related breaches were through stolen passwords or passwords that were easy to guess.  If your password is “password,” stop reading, immediately close your browser and change your password. 

Be safe,

 

Janet Horlacher

Principal, Janet McAfee

Tags:

General | Real Estate Market | Selling Your Home

Six Extra Steps You Can Take to Win the Bid on a House

by Chuck Roper 14. March 2018 04:44

Spring is the hottest time to buy a new home, and while that means a higher chance of finding your dream house, it also means there’s a good chance you’ll face competition on your bid. Tight supply markets across the U.S. lead to what is commonly referred to as a “bidding war” that results in properties selling at or above their asking price. In order to emerge the winner in a bidding battle, you can turn a critical eye toward important factors that affect closing a deal. Below are 6 extra steps you can take to win the bid on the house of your dreams.

1. Select the Right Agent

First things first, make sure your working with the right real estate agent as they will be your guide during the stressful bidding process. Aim to work with someone with experience in multiple-offer situations, whose advice and knowledge you trust, and who is willing to explain things every step of the way. Having the right agent on your side can make or break the deal during a tense bidding war.


2. Get Pre-Approved

Getting pre-approved for a loan significantly increases your chances of winning the bid on your dream home because it indicates to sellers that you're serious. Being that today’s mortgage market is still relatively tight, sellers worry about appraisals coming in low and loans not closing, making them weary of buyers whose loans aren’t set in stone. Getting pre-approved requires you to provide a verified credit score and income, which will ease seller’s worries as they’ll know you won’t have trouble financing the house.

3. Start with your Best Offer

The term “bidding war” may suggest you start low and counter often, however, the opposite is true. Be the first to make an offer and don’t lowball. Your best bet is to bid at or just below asking price to indicate that you’re serious. Making a generous offer right off the bat will benefit you by knocking low bidders out of the running. Remember, if you choose to bid over the appraisal value, you’ll have to come up with the extra cash yourself, as lenders and banks won’t help, if the seller does not accept an appraisal contingency.


4. Consider an Escalation Clause

An escalation clause indicates the amount of money you’re willing to add to your offer if other bids are present. For example, if the purchase price of a home is listed at $500,000, but you suspect it will increase to $550,000,you may include an escalation clause in your bid proposal that you’re willing to pay as high as $560,000, if you have the necessary funds. Your agent should have language approved by an attorney structuring a price escalation to include in your offer.

5. Consider Cutting Back on Contingencies

A contingency clause is used to make your offer dependent on certain circumstances, such as your ability to secure financing.  If you are confident in eliminating some protections the contract provides a buyer, you may waive them.  A better approach may be shortening contingency timelines where possible. Be sure to discuss all contingency protections with your agent before waving any contingencies or shortening the contingency periods in your contract offer.

6. Connect with Sellers

Connecting with sellers is a great way to make your proposal stand out above the rest. Sometimes, all a seller wants to know is that their home will be properly cared for. If you haven’t had a chance to do so, write a personalized note on why you’re bidding and include it as a cover letter to your proposal. This helps sellers see you as more than just an offer, which can make or break the deal, especially if there are multiple offers.  

The reality is that you may not win your first, second, or third bid on a home, and although it can be easy to get discouraged, keep trying, learn from your mistakes, and follow the above tips. If you’re ready to start your home search or put your house on the market, contact Janet McAfee Real Estate.



Tags:

Tips for Buying a Home

Benefits of Buying Vs. Renting a Home

by Chuck Roper 15. February 2018 07:35

For generations, buying a home played a key role in the traditional American dream. While it still marks a major milestone, there are many more factors to consider before becoming homeowners than ever before.


No doubt, buying a home is a big financial investment—possibly the biggest most of us will ever make. Although there’s no single right or wrong answer for the long-standing debate between buying and renting, the best way to decide is to evaluate if buying a house is right for YOU.


Before making your final purchasing decision, here are some questions to consider:


Stability or flexibility?

Are you prepared to take responsibility for a home? The type of lifestyle you lead should play a major role in this decision. If you plan to move within a year or less, owning a home probably isn’t right for you at the moment. By renting, you won’t have to worry about any upkeep or maintenance costs, and have more flexibility should you decide to move.


On the other hand, if you plan on staying in one place, buying tends to be the better option. Upfront fees that come with buying can be spread out over many years and, the longer you stay, the more time you have to spread out these costs. Homeownership can also provide certain intangible benefits, such as a sense of stability, pride and belonging within your community.


“It’s important to talk to your agent about your present lifestyle and your thoughts on the investment horizon. Discuss marital status, children, pets and recreational pursuits. All will have a bearing on the type of home you buy,” says Sales Associate, Patti Greenemay.


Are you ready for a home financially?  

Home prices, rent prices and stock prices can be tough to predict. Purchasing a home is a financial investment, but first you need to know if you’re in the right place to buy a home.


The first step is to get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan. Your income, credit score, amount of debt, and savings are all factors that will affect your ability to get approved. By getting pre-approved, you’ll have an even better chance of being able to negotiate when looking to purchase a home.


Do you want the freedom to alter your home?

With renting comes a list of rules and regulations as to how you can decorate your living space. If you’re hands-on when it comes to decorating, design, and landscaping, you need a space of your own to do that. Purchasing a home means you can make decisions about how your home looks on the inside and out.

 

Are you considering buying a home? Still on the fence? Our experienced agents are happy to help answer any questions or concerns you have, and will help you along the way to finding your dream home.  Contact us to get started!

Tags:

Accolades for Sales Achievement

by Chuck Roper 13. February 2018 05:34

Congratulations to our 2017 Top Agents.

Tags:

What is your home’s best-selling feature?

by Chuck Roper 12. February 2018 11:47

The marketing strategy for promoting a listing should address your home’s best features.  Each and every selling feature of your home adds value and justifies the asking price to the buyer.  As a listing broker, our job is to communicate your value proposition in order to achieve the highest possible purchase price.  Here’s a couple of thoughts on how your marketing strategy can support your home’s best features.

1.       If acreage or land is one of your homes best features ….

Areal or drone photography is a great way to showcase your home’s manicured lawns, expansive lot size and exterior amenities, like swimming pools, lakes, pool houses and out buildings.

 

2.       If outdoor amenities create an unbeatable lifestyle…. 

A swimming pool, loggia with outdoor fireplace and lush gardens should be displayed to buyers at their peak.  Time your market launch to coincide with opening your pool and spring leaf greening.

 

3.       If your home’s architectural lines are captivating ….

Twilight photography might just be the ticket to transform your house into a magical English manor.

 

Please contact your Janet McAfee Realtor for more ways to customize your marketing plan to promote your home’s best features.

7 Ways to Prepare Your Home for a Spring Market

by Chuck Roper 8. February 2018 03:25

Spring is right around the corner, and if you’re planning on putting your house on the market this season, it’s certainly not too early to be giving some thought to preparing your home for buyers. Spring is the optimum time to sell your home. Regardless of whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market, there is almost always a rise in demand during the months of April, May and June. Of course, increased demand also means increased competition, so chances are you’ll need to do some sprucing up to stay in the running. Read on for seven helpful tips on how to prepare your home for a spring showing.    

1. Stage Your Home

“Home staging” refers to arranging furniture so as to maximize feelings of space and light with an aesthetic eye as to how each room should flow into another. Yes, this means stowing away your pile of magazines or unpaid bills in the hopes of presenting a fantasy version of your home for buyers. If your personal decor isn’t cutting it, you can transfer your belongings into storage and rent furniture and artwork from a home staging company on a monthly basis.

2. Wash Windows & Mirrors

When cleaning your home, remember the phrase “sparkle sells.” A potential buyer may not realize why your home seems so inviting, but if your windows are spotless inside and out and your mirrors clearly reflect the sun, they’ll want to stay all afternoon! So let in the spring sunshine with the help of a bottle of Windex to impress home buyers.

3. Eliminate Odors

As much as we may not like to admit it, we all have unpleasant odors that plague our home from time to time, and nothing will make a potential buyer want to walk out the door than a bad smell in the kitchen, bathroom or living room. However, don’t take the easy way out and simply mask odors with air fresheners, which can be overwhelming and cause allergies. Rather include fresh flowers throughout your home, spice up the kitchen with the scent of boiled cinnamon, or freshen up the bathroom with some eucalyptus.

4. Paint Your Walls

While you may be in love with your seafoam green walls in the kitchen and bathroom, chances are it may be too specific for today’s buyer. The truth is that most buyers prefer to see a blank canvas where they can inject their own personality. Why not select a neutral base color and extend it to all rooms on the same floor? You are making your home appeal to the largest possible audience.

5. Clean or Replace Flooring

Damage to floors and carpeting over the years is unavoidable, and those stains, scratches and cracks will be apparent to potential buyers. Prevent this by cleaning or replacing flooring throughout your home. Carpets should be shampooed and treated for stains, while hardwoods should be swept and mopped until sparkling clean. Any flooring permanently stained or damaged should be replaced, or at the very least refinished.

6. Yardwork

Prepping your home for buyers means cleaning both inside and out. Rake up dead leaves and other debris in your yard, and don’t let overground vegetation block windows or a pathway to the entrance. Trimming bushes and trees will allow more sunlight to shine into your home, and artfully cut lawns will tell buyers to pay attention to small details inside. Remember, the exterior of your home is the first impression buyers will have.

7. Snacks and Drinks

Touring homes all day makes buyers hungry. What better way to make a positive impression than by providing snacks and drinks for guests? Set out crackers and cheese or a plate of your homemade cookies, then place a couple dozen water bottles in the sink filled with ice. Giving refreshments for guests will allow them to spend more time in your kitchen, and marvel at how beautiful it is!

Selling your home can be a stressful process for buyers and sellers alike. Deep cleaning your home will inevitably force you to adapt your aesthetic preferences to sell to a wider audience and sacrifice personal touches you’ve included over the years, but it’s important to keep the bigger picture in mind. Follow the above tips to get your home looking amazing for spring showings and watch your listing sell quickly and at a great price!

Need help with listing your home for sale? Contact Janet McAfee Real Estate today for over three decades of buying and selling experience!

 

 

JanetMcAfee.com Earns Website Quality Certification from LeadingRE

by Chuck Roper 6. February 2018 11:04

JanetMcAfee.com has been honored with one of the most prestigious awards from Leading Real Estate Companies of the WorldⓇ: the World’s Website Quality Certification (WQC).

This certification was based on the tools JanetMcAfee.com provides users such as: superior performance that provides the most up-to-date market information and property details, 29 stunning neighborhood videos, professional photography and in-depth content, giving you an insider's look at the communities we serve, and last, a mobile friendly site and real-time email alert functionality to keep you informed at anytime from anywhere.

Tags:

General

TextBox

Tag cloud