Blog

UPSIZING YOUR HOME

Unfortunately upsizing is a must sometimes, because our homes don’t always grow with us. What may have initially worked fine for a single person, a young couple’s starter home, can quickly become too small as families expand and multiple generations live under one roof.

Remodeling and adding to your home is one option for creating more space. It can be costly tho, and the size of your property may be prohibitive. That’s when moving to a bigger home becomes the best solution.

WHERE DO YOU NEED MORE SPACE?

The first thought when upsizing your home is to simply consider square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms. But it’s important to take a more critical approach to how your space will actually be used. If you have younger children (or possibly more on the way), then focusing on bedrooms and bathrooms makes sense. But if your children are closer to heading off to college or starting their own families, it may be better to prioritize group spaces like the kitchen, dining room, living room, and outdoor space—it’ll pay off during the holidays or summer vacations, when everyone is coming to visit for big gatherings.

MOVING OUTWARD

If you need more space, but don’t necessarily want a more expensive home, you can probably get a lot more house for your money if you move a little further from a city center. While the walkability and short commutes of a dense neighborhood or condo are hard to leave beyond, your lifestyle—and preferences for hosting Thanksgiving, barbecues, and birthdays—might mean that a spacious home in the suburbs makes the most sense. It’s your best option for up sizing while avoiding a heftier price tag.

Here are a few more options to consider when thinking about upsizing: https://www.remax.com/blog/6-decisions-to-make-before-your-home-search/


#thevillarrealteam #rubenandnancy #upsizinghome #springtxhomesales

What Does the Future Hold for Home Prices?

Home prices
Home prices are at the top of everyone’s minds. Can they maintain their current pace of appreciation? Will rising mortgage rates negatively impact home values? Will the next economic slowdown cause prices to crash?

Questions based on what has happened in the past as well as what we know about the current real estate market.

The Impact of Rising Interest Rates & Prices:

We explained earlier this year that rising mortgage rates have not negatively impacted home prices in the past and probably wouldn’t. Freddie Mac’s comments were very direct:

“In the current housing market, the driving force behind the increase in prices is a low supply of both new and existing homes combined with historically low rates. As mortgage rates increase, the demand for home purchases will likely remain strong relative to the constrained supply and continue to put upward pressure on home prices.”

They were correct. So far this year, home values have continued to appreciate above normal historic percentages and gradual increase in rates has had little impact on prices.

The Impact of an Economic Slowdown

Many people fear that when the economy turns, we may see the same depreciation in home values as we did a decade ago.

However, the same group of economists, real estate experts, and investment & market strategists who predicted the next recession will occur in the next 18-24 months. They have also projected that house prices will continue to appreciate for the next five years, albeit at smaller percentages.

It Comes Down to Supply and Demand

Home prices will be determined by the demand to purchase compared to the available inventory of homes for sale. For the last six years, demand has far exceeded the available supply which has resulted in the average annual appreciation. That is far greater than the historic norm of 3.6% annual appreciation that we saw prior to the housing boom.

There are currently small signs that housing inventory is slowly beginning to increase. Supply of houses for sale matched last year’s numbers, after 37 consecutive months of decreasing inventory. New construction data has also shown positive signs that inventory will be increasing.

As inventory begins to meet demand, we will see appreciation return to more normal levels. We are already seeing projections coming in lower than the 6.2% annual average we have seen more recently.

CoreLogic is predicting that home values will appreciate by 5.1% over the next twelve months. Home Price Expectation Survey calls for values to increase by 4.2% in 2019.

#rubenandnancy #thevillarrealteam #homeprices #springtxhomesforsale

CREATE AN EVACUATION PLAN FOR YOUR PETS!

An evacuation plan is a necessity for every home, especially if you live in an area where fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, and other disasters are a possibility. Many homeowners create evacuation plans for their homes and practice them with their kids, but far fewer have considered one for their pets.

Steps to add your pets to your plan.

Assign pet to each adult to evacuate. Everyone should know how to act during an evacuation, and that includes assigning one pet to a parent or adult. This allows the other parent and the children to focus on their part of the emergency plan, so there’s no confusion during a high-stress moment when time is of the essence.

Keep emergency maps and pet carriers readily accessible. If you need to evacuate, you should know exactly where every important item is. If you pets require carriers, keep them in a place that you can access easily.

Practice your plan. Include your pets in your home evacuation drills. It’ll help you see how they will respond and make changes to your plan if necessary. Getting your dog out of a window may not be as simple as you think!

Be prepared in case you get separated from your pets. No matter how much you drill your evacuation plan, it’s possible that a dog or cat will run off while you’re focusing on keeping your family safe. A microchip or a GPS-compatible tag can help you find your pets once it’s safe to return to the area.

Here’s a great website for helpful tips when evacuation is necessary! https://www.ready.gov/animals

Remember if you or someone you know is looking to buy, sell, or lease please give them our information 713-557-7095 or sold@rubenandnancy.com

No matter your need The Villarreal Team is always here to assist you!

Pet evacuation

#rubenandnancy #thevillarrealteam #springtxrealestate #petevacuation

DEALING WITH SCRATCHED HARDWOOD FLOORS

Hardwood floors are highly desirable for most homeowners. But they come with their share of challenges when it comes to cleaning, maintenance, and repairs. After a few months or years of heavy use from kids playing with toys and chairs being shuffled around, it may be time for some DIY fixes.

 https://www.familyhandyman.com/floor/10-tips-for-wood-floor-scratch-repair/view-all/

Here are a few DIY hardwood floor fix it options:

Hiding scratches: Matching stain color is a great option.  Another alternative is you can also use crayons, markers or purchase wax sticks from the hardware store to fill-in scratches. Don’t worry if it’s a little off. If the color is close, once the scratch is filled, it’ll look like a variation in the wood grain.

Polishing floors: You can make a polish solution for your floors from household ingredients. Mix olive oil and vinegar in equal parts, pour it directly into scratches, and then wipe it off after 24 hours. It may take several applications, but this homemade polish will fill and cover most scratches.

Clever decor: Sometimes the most painless way to fix scratches in your hardwood floors is to cover them with a rug or furniture arrangement. At least for a short-term fix.

Spot sanding: For deeper scratches, you’ll need to spot sand with fine steel wool or sandpaper, use wood filler, and stain then seal the repaired area.

Hardwood floors can a little TLC every now and again to keep them looking amazing throughout the years. Especially if you have animals, children, or move furniture around often. But they are definitely worth every penny and effort you put into them.

#rubenandnancy #thevillarrealteam #springtxhomesales #hardwoodfloorfixes

5 CRITERIA FOR PRICING A HOME

When you put your home up for sale, one of the best ways to determine the asking price is to look at comparable sales. There’s rarely a perfect apples-to-apples comparison.  So your pricing decision often relies on home comparisons to several recent sales in the area.

Here are five criteria to look for in a sales comparison.

  1. Location: Homes in the same neighborhood typically follow the same market trends. Comparing your home to another in the same neighborhood is a good start, but comparing it to homes on the same street or block is even better.
  2. Date of sale: It varies by location, but housing markets can see a ton of fluctuation in a short time period. It‘s best to use the most recent sales data available.
  3. Home build: Look for homes with similar architectural styles, numbers of bathrooms and bedrooms, square footage, and other basics.
  4. Features and upgrades: Remodeled bathrooms and kitchens can raise a home’s price, and so can less flashy upgrades like a new roof or HVAC system. Be sure to look for similar bells and whistles.
  5. Sale types: Homes that are sold as short sales or foreclosures are often in distress or sold at a lower price than they’d receive from a more typical sale. These homes are not as useful for comparisons.

Give The Villarreal Team a call, we’d love to come out and give you our professional opinion as to what your home is worth! Office 281-370-5100 or Ruben Villarreal 713-557-7095


Pricing a home

 

#thevillarrealteam #rubenandnancy #homepricing #springtxhomesforsale

5 NEGOTIATING TACTICS THAT KILL A SALE IN REAL ESTATE

Real estate negotiation tactics

Real estate negotiations are a subtle art, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly.

Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate professionals) should avoid:

  1. Lowball offers:  When you go far below real estate market value when making an offer on a house it damages your credibility as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they will accept, and if you’re not even getting near the low end of that range, they might not even consider your offer.
  2. Incremental negotiations:  Continuing to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities.
  3. “Take it or leave it”:  Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. That will make the seller get defensive and consider other offers if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it.
  4. Nitpicking after inspection:  Obviously if inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But if you are being insistent on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate.
  5. Asking for more, more, more:  Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons, like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to build up resentment and think that you’re being greedy.

These are just a few reasons why you need a good real estate agent to help you through this process. They will know what to do and give you the proper advice when purchasing a new home.

https://www.remax.com/blog/4-things-your-agent-knows-about-negotiating/

#rubenandnancy #thevillarrealteam #springtxhomesforsale #negotiationtactics

Paint Color Can Get You a Higher Sale Price, Zillow Reports

It can be difficult to decide what to update and remodel if you’re thinking of selling.

Kitchens and bathrooms have typically been prioritized for their return on investment. The style in which you revamp your home can have effect on its sellability. One factor you may not have considered can have more of an impact than you think, and that’s paint color. Which paint colors will get you the most band for your buck?

Zillow’s 2018 Paint Color Analysis examined over 135,000 photos from homes sold across the U.S. Now to see how sales prices compared for homes with colored walls versus homes with white walls. The results varied depending on room type.

Homes that feature charcoal gray or black doors typically sell for $6,271 more than expected. Low on the list for exterior paint colors? Yellow. Homes painted in this color reportedly sell for $3,408 less than expected.

Houses with kitchens that have a different color for the upper and lower cabinets, known as tuxedo cabinets, sell at a $1,547 premium. The most popular color combination? Dark, navy blue or black kitchen islands with white cabinets.  In dining rooms, however, homes with oat brown to medium sandy brown walls, with yellow undertones, typically sell for $1,684 less than expected.

As for bathrooms…light blue or periwinkle paint, specifically with a gray-blue tint, increase the average selling price of a home by $2,786. However, don’t discount neutral colors, especially of you’re accentuating them with dark pops of color.

Zillow found that homes with light taupe living rooms, particularly with tan, peach pr pink undertones, sell for $2,793 more than expected. Homes with more boisterous colors, like raspberry red in a kitchen, typically sell for $2,310 less than expected.

“For a seller, painting a front door is one of the least expensive home prep projects, but it’s also one that can have a powerful impact on a home’s sale price,” says Kerrie Kelly, Zillow home design expert. “While cool, neutral wall colors like tan and light blue are still popular, we’re seeing a notable shift in home design where pops of color.  Particularly in darker dues of blue and gray to even black which are becoming increasingly popular. Contrasting colors, especially in kitchens and home exteriors, add interest and dimension to a room that plays very well in listing photos and videos.

#rubenandnancy #thevillarrealteam #springtxhomesforsale #paintcolorchoice

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional Before Entering the Market!

Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite the adventure. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches for an agent, many sellers think that they can ‘For Sale by Owner’ or ‘FSBO,’ but it’s not as easy as it may seem. That’s why you need an experienced real estate agent to guide you on the path to achieving your ultimate goal!

The 5 reasons you need a real estate professional in your corner haven’t changed but have rather been strengthened by the projections of higher mortgage interest rates and home prices as the market continues to pick up steam.

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true real estate professional is an expert in his or her market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. So you found your dream house, now what?

There are over 230 possible steps that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, someone who knows what these actions are, to ensure you achieve your dream?

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. After looking at the list of parties that you will need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll soon realize the value in selecting a real estate professional. From the buyers (who want the best deals possible), to the home inspection companies, all the way to the appraisers, there are at least 11 different people who you will need to be knowledgeable of, and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start in order to attract the right buyers and shorten the amount of time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you its true value. According to a recent article by the National Association of Realtors, FSBOs achieve prices significantly lower than the prices of similar properties sold by real estate agents:
FSBOs earn an average of $60,000 to $90,000 less on the sale of their homethan sellers who work with a real estate agent.”
Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional!

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and on the internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively and correctly price your home at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a lowball offer?
Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:
“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”
Hiring an agent who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line

You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic, so why would you make one of the most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a real estate professional?
#rubenandnancy #thevillarrealteam #hirerealestateagent #springtxhomesforsale

Want a home that’s for sale by owner?

Homes that are for sale by owner — when a seller decides not to hire a listing agent — are more common than you might think. They account for about 8 percent of all home listings currently on the market. If you’re on the house hunt, you’re likely to come across one in your search.

Home for sale by owner

What’s different about buying one of these homes? What can you do to leverage the situation to get the most for your money?

Here are four things for you to keep in mind when thinking of buying a “For Sale by Owner” home:

1. Hire an agent. Since the seller doesn’t have an agent, it’s vital that you do — if only to ensure the transaction is handled correctly and legally. An agent will be knowledgeable about market conditions and can help you craft your offer, prepare the contracts and find the right lender to work with.

2. Be ready to negotiate. These homes are rarely priced appropriately. Sellers typically overvalue their homes due to their emotional attachment to it. Having an agent on your side gives you access to comparable sales data to help you negotiate the right price.

3. Get a home inspection. The owner may not know that they are legally required to disclose known issues with the property, and that oversight could mean costly repairs down the road. A home inspection can shed light on potential problems before you go through with the sale.

4. Add contingencies to your contract. Contingencies give you an exit route should something go wrong during the transaction. If you can’t get a loan, you’re unhappy with the inspection results or the appraisal doesn’t come in at the sale price, you have a way to back out and save your money.

Want to be prepared for your new home purchase? Get in touch today for help on making the best decision for your budget and goals.

#thevillarrealteam #remaxintegrity #homeforsalebyowner #needanagent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Things to Put on Your Moving Checklist

Moving can be hectic. With dozens of to-dos, a tight timeline and a growing pile of boxes, it’s easy to forget things. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Moving checklist

Get organized now by making a checklist to work from.

Set deadlines for tasks like hiring movers, renting a storage or turning on your new utilities. Aside from packing up room by room, make sure your list has these often forgotten items, too:

Forward Your Mail: The post office makes it very easy to ensure your mail gets routed to the right place. Just head to a local branch or go online to update your address with the date you’ll be moving, and your mail will automatically forward.

Measure and Decide: Take a measuring tape to your new home and jot down the measurements of each wall and nook. What furniture and decor will fit in your new space? What won’t? It’s better to make decisions about what to donate or sell before moving day.

 

Refill Prescriptions: It may take some time to get your prescriptions forwarded to a new pharmacy, plus finding the time to pick them up. So if possible, get your prescriptions refilled ahead of time from your current pharmacy.

Back Up Your Electronics: Back up your computer and phone to the cloud, and make sure you’ve uploaded all your photos,  documents somewhere safe. In the event something happens to your devices during the move, a backup will get you up and running.

Are you ready to make a move? Whether you’re considering selling your current home or thinking of finding a new one, get in touch today for help and resources to guide you through the process. The Villarreal Team can help!

#rubenandnancy #thevillarrealteam #movingdaylist