May 2015

United Takes New Orleans

  • Get ready for the 2016 Convention

    Get ready for the 2016 Convention

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Its official, we’re heading to New Orleans for our 2016 convention. Even though it might seem like the 2015 convention just wrapped up, we’re already planning for next year.

With our dedicated agents, brokers and industry experts all in attendance, our conventions are always a great success.  The convention is a fantastic opportunity to uncover new ideas, learn tactics for advancing your business and gain amazing insights from industry experts. The agents and brokers in attendance are able to set new goals, build connections with a powerful network of industry experts and build momentum for the coming year.

Haven’t been before? Here’s what you need to know:

Who

United Real Estate agents, staff, vendors and strategic partners are all invited to join us for our 2016 Convention. We use this as a time to recognize past accomplishments as well as gear up for the future.

What

Our annual convention is an opportunity to learn from educational speakers, mingle with United executives and be recognized for past years’ accomplishments.

When

The convention will be held February 19-21, 2015.

Where

To make the event even more enoyable, we’re hosting it at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside located along the Mississippi River and at the edge of the French Quarter.

Interested in learning more? Contact our support team at 855-441-6288 or eventteam@unitedrealestate.com. They’d be happy to help.

Increase Your Home’s Value in Five Easy Steps

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When it comes to one of the most important investments you’ll ever make, where you put your money matters. If you’re looking for smarter ways to spend your dollars and increase the value of your home, we’ve got five easy steps to get you started on.

Tip 1: Paint

It’s a tried a true method for a reason – it works! You’ve probably heard this many times over, but that’s because it’s one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to add value to your home. You can update the look of your house in a weekend and gain real value for very low cost – a gallon of paint only costs around $25. on average! Paint can do wonders to the look and feel of your home, making it feel fresh and new — a definite value add– so what are you waiting for?

Tip 2: Kitchen Updates

Most people see dollar signs when they hear the word kitchen, but you don’t have to spend a lot to add real value to your home. Stainless steel items such as a new microwave, kitchen sink, or toaster will instantly update the look of your kitchen for very little. You can even replace kitchen cupboard knobs and drawer handles with stainless steel alternatives in not time at all. If your countertops are looking tired, there are some great faux granite options that you can easily DIY over the weekend.

Tip 3: Carpet 

Dirty carpet can ruin the entire look of your home. Keep it looking fresh by hiring a carpet cleaner. It’s relatively inexpensive and a hard to beat quick fix. If your carpet has done it’s time but you’re not ready to replace it yet, try smart area rugs to give your floors an update.

Tip 4: Landscaping.

Your yard is the first part of your home that people see so it’s important to create a positive first impression.  Simple weeding, lawn mowing, and planting low-maintenance shrubs are all that’s necessary to boost your home’s curb appeal.  Even it you’re not into gardening, a few shrubs will go a long way towards increasing the value of your home.

Tip 5: Bathroom Renovations.

Adding some minor updates to your bathrooms can drive up the value of your home with little effort on your part. To create easy wins in your bathrooms, start by replacing old faucet handles, showerheads and toilet seats. To keep your tub and shower looking fresh, consider re-grouting the tile for an updated look. A pedestal sink is easy to install and can drastically improve the overall appearance of the bathroom.

Increasing the value of your home doesn’t always equal expensive renovations and lost weekends. Try one of these tips and you’ll be well on your way towards increasing your home’s value with time to spare.

If you’re looking for more information on how to increase the value of your home so you can make the most of your upcoming home sale, contact the team today for a confidential discussion.

Sources:

http://www.eceee.org/all-news/columnists/Harry_Verhaar/Bulbs

http://www.hgtv.com/remodel/interior-remodel/30-tips-for-increasing-your-homes-value

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/money-guides/10-cheap-fixes-to-boost-the-value-of-your-home-1.aspx#ixzz3YVaA3LtQ

Landscaping 101

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Landscaping is a great way to add value to your home while also taking advantage of unused space. Perhaps you’ve been wanting to start a vegetable garden or you need space for the kids to run around?  Whether you’re just starting out our looking for ideas to spruce up the outside of your home, we’ve got some great tips to make your next landscaping project as smooth as possible.

Prioritize wants vs. needs.  While you may want a rose garden and a fountain, you may need a sizeable place for your kids and your pets to run around in. Make a list of what you need for your backyard first.  Think about what functionally makes sense and then and then make a list of your wants – those extras that would be nice to have. Weighing the pros and cons before you ever pick up a shovel means you’re more apt to feel satisfied with the end result.

Plan it out. Once you decided on what’s necessary and what is not, make a rough outline on paper. Don’t worry about making a magnificent sketch, remember this is only meant to be a guide. After you’ve mapped out how you want your new space to look, create a to-do list and decide which project you want to start on first. This will allow you to create many small wins, ultimately adding up to a complete  yard!

Do your research. Investigate sun and wind patterns. Does the back of your house lack natural sunlight?  Once you know the sun and wind patterns you can plan around them to avoid making a rookie mistake.

Research plants  to find out how much water and sunlight they’ll need. Do you have water restrictions in your area? This will help you determine what types of plants make sense for your yard and where exactly you should plant them.

Decide what’s worth your time. Think about how much time you’re willing to invest in the upkeep of your yard. If you don’t want to devote your time to planting every year, then stick with perennials. Larger patches of grass mean more time mowing your lawn. Having a diverse backyard can definitely be rewarding, just make sure you know what you’re getting into before you go the whole nine yards.

With a little planning, you can create an outdoor space that is both functional and pleasing to the eye.

Most landscaping projects will add value to your home and are a great way to get your home ready for to sell. If you’re looking more expert ideas and assistance in getting your home ready for sale, United Real Estate can help. Contact us today to get started!

http://www.bhg.com/gardening/landscaping-projects/landscape-basics/landscape-design-for-beginners/

5 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Home

  • Are you ready to buy a house?

    Are you ready to buy a house?

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For some, home ownership seems to be a natural part of life. After all, many individuals don’t want to rent forever and when the market is right, there are a lot of individuals that jump at the opportunity to make a purchase.

But, how are you supposed to know when it’s the right time to make a purchase versus when it feels right to make a purchase?

Luckily, there are 5 questions you can consider and, depending on the answers, use to guide your decision as to whether home ownership is the right decision for you.

  1. Do my finances support my decision to purchase a home?

No matter how badly you want to be a homeowner, you simply can’t decide to make such a significant purchase if your finances aren’t in order. Of course, feeling financially secure will be different for different people, but you should have enough money for a 10% down payment as well as for mortgage insurance depending upon the amount of your down payment.

If you haven’t saved for a down payment, it’s unlikely that you’re ready to purchase a home. But if you have, you can answer “yes” to this question and continue considering the following questions.

  1. Will I be in this area for awhile?

In the past, staying put for just three to five years was enough to purchase a home. But nowadays, you should want to stay put for at least seven years to consider home ownership.

Primarily, this is because there are a lot of associated costs with purchasing a home including closing on the sale and moving, among others. And, when it comes time to sell your home, you’ll lose even more money.

So, if you aren’t willing to settle down or can’t count on settling down depending on your job and unique situation, it’s probably best not to buy.

  1. What are the standard costs of ownership?

What will you be spending, and how does this break down on a month-by-month basis? The simplest way to determine the standard costs is to calculate your home price minus your down payment into a mortgage calculator.

You can even plug in costs like property taxes and homeowners insurance to get a more accurate picture.

  1. What hidden expenses are there in homeownership?

While most homeowners understand the standard costs they can expect, few understand that there are many hidden expenses as well.

Hidden expenses include everything from homeowner association fees, routine maintenance costs, and significant expenses like a new roof or a new paint job. You can’t plan for all of these costs, so having a comfortable savings account is necessary to ensure that should something arise, you can handle it.

  1. What’s going on in the market in my area?

Even if you’ve answered “yes” or “I’m prepared” to all of the questions above, there’s one more you have to consider: what’s actually happening in the market where you live?

Home prices in some cities are skyrocketing at the moment whereas others are remaining more stable. Meanwhile, those who are renting may experience an increase in their income but in all likelihood, their rent is increasing as well.

Consider the market in your area and by doing so, you can better determine whether or not a home is the right investment at this time.

If You’re Ready to Purchase a Home, United Real Estate Can Help

If you’ve read through this article and are convinced that now is the right time for you to buy a home, the team at United Real Estate can help.

As a national leader in the real estate industry, we have the experience and expertise to assist with all of your needs. Contact us to purchase your dream home, today!

10 Quick Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Sale

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How does it sound if you could sell your home for top dollar and do it more quickly than you thought possible? For most homeowners, it sounds like a dream come true and with proper preparation, it can happen for you as well.

Below, we’re going to share 10 quick tips to ensure your home is ready for sale and that once it is, you’ll get the most money possible for it.

  1. Disassociate Your Attachment to Your Home

Whether you’ve raised your kids in your home or have other associations making it difficult to let go, the first step in preparing your home is to take yourself and your family out of the equation. This will make it easier to prepare if you’re able to view it as just a house rather than your house.

  1. Pack Up Everything Personal

Have photos of your family everywhere? Some priceless family antiques that you love showing off? If you do, know that while you love them, potential buyers won’t. You want all buyers to envision themselves in your home so getting rid of everything that’s personal will help them do just that.

  1. Cut the Clutter

If you haven’t moved before, you’ll quickly realize how much you have in your home that you don’t need or use. If you haven’t used something in over a year, pack it up, donate it, or throw it away. This includes collectables, random items on countertops, books, and more.

  1. Rearrange and Reorder Your Cabinets and Closets

Let’s face it: buyers are going to look in all of your cabinets and closets to see not only what kind of space you have, but to snoop as well. And if your cabinets are a mess, it might leave the wrong impression. However, a quick reorganization and reordering can fix that.

  1. If Necessary, Put Some Belongings in Storage

If you have a lot of furniture cluttering up your space, it’s often best to remove some of it and put it in a storage unit. Not only will your space appear larger, but it will show better as well.

  1. Remove Anything You Want to Take With You

If you’ve hung your grandmother’s chandelier in the entryway and want to take it with you, you don’t want to leave it in place and have a buyer fall in love with it and get hung up on it in the final negotiations. This means that if you know you want to take something, it’s best to remove it early so you don’t run into any issues.

  1. Make Any Necessary Minor Repairs

Minor repairs can add up to one more significant negative impression. By making quick fixes like patching holes, replacing cracked tiles, painting walls neutral colors, and fixing faucets and drawers, you can prevent buyers from developing any doubt as to why they should want your home over others.

  1. Clean, Clean, Clean!

No buyer wants to walk into a dirty home, they’ll assume this is how you’ve taken care of it for years! Make sure the whole house sparkles from the windows to the sidewalks, carpets, grout, rugs, and even the towels on display in the bathroom.

  1. Scrutinize and Double Check Your Work

Once you’ve done steps 1 through 8, it’s time to take a step back. Put yourself in your buyer’s position. Ask yourself questions like: would you want to enter your home? Would you be impressed with each room as you enter? Do rooms pull you in? If the answer is no to any of these questions, do your best to identify problems and correct them.

  • Do Your Part on the Outside, Too!

Curb appeal matters. This means it’s time to clear the sidewalks, mow the lawn, paint faded trim, trim your bushes, and ensure your house number is clearly visible.

Looking for Assistance Selling Your Home?

Preparing your home is only half the battle when it comes to selling your home.

And, when you’re looking for consummate professionals that can work with your home preparation to sell for top dollar, United Real Estate can help. Contact us today to get started!