June 2015

Launching: Educator Mortgage Program

  • Now Offering: Discounts for Educators

    Now Offering: Discounts for Educators

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In conjunction with Supreme Lending, we have introduced a special Educator Mortgage Program that will be made available to teachers and all employees working in any public or private education system. This program is designed to benefit those who spend their days bettering the lives of others. You shape our children, our communities, our future – let us serve you, your family, your future.

What’s offered?

  • Discounted closing costs
  • Real estate agent fee credits
  • Priority loan processing
  • School Donations

Who can participate?

  • Teachers/faculty
  • Coaches
  • Custodial/facilities staff
  • Librarians
  • Secretaries
  • Professors/adjunct faculty
  • Counselors
  • And any public or private school employee

If you work in the public service sector and you are looking to find out if this program could work for you, contact us or visit our dedicated website.

Four Things to Avoid When House Hunting

  • What neighborhood works best for you?

    What neighborhood works best for you?

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House hunting can be exciting but there’s also plenty to consider when you’re conducting your search. When looking for a house, most people have a good understanding of what features they want.  But what about the things you need to avoid?

To dodge some major house hunting pitfalls, take a look at our quick tips below.

Looking outside of your price-range. Find out how much you can borrow from your home lender and stick to it.  While it can be tempting to stretch your budget for a home that appears to be just right, people often forget about hidden costs like taxes, insurance, utilities and fees that will be tacked onto the purchase price or the monthly payment. To avoid temptation, scratch any homes off your list that are clearly out of your price-range.

Buying the first home you see.  There’s a lot to consider when buying a home and without a strong basis of comparison, you could be making the wrong decision. Make sure you’ve done your research and have a good idea of what average prices are in the area you’re looking in and see how each home stacks up. You’ll also need to investigate the neighborhood to make sure it’s on par with your family’s needs. Once you’ve had a chance to look at some options, you’ll feel great knowing that you’ve made an informed decision.

Homes that need major renovations. Unless you have the cash flow and ability to renovate, these homes are best left untouched, especially for first time home buyers. Think about how much time you’re willing to wait while your house is being renovated – are you prepared to wait even longer? Renovation projects tend to go over-time and over-budget, so unless you’re looking to stay put for several years, this home might not be worth the headache.

Not getting inspections. Make sure you arrange an independent inspection to assess the overall state of the home, even if your lender doesn’t require it. Since sellers may not disclose all issues, an inspection is a great chance to discover any potential roadblocks and decide if they will make or break your buying decision.  Knowing the true state of the home can also provide some great bargaining power.

Whether you’re searching for your first home or your thirtieth, our expert team is here to help make your home-buying process as smooth as possible. Contact them for more information today.

Sources:

http://www.trulia.com/pro/buyers/house-hunting-pitfalls-to-help-buyers-avoid/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/03/06/the-7-top-home-buying-mistakes-you-should-avoid/

Increase Your Energy Efficiency in 5 simple steps

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Increase your Energy Efficiency in Four Simple Steps

Increasing your energy efficiency is a great way to cut down housing-related costs and make your home more desirable to potential homebuyers.  There are quite a number of tasks to tackle in the name of saving energy; here are four tips to get you started on increasing your energy efficiency:

Get an energy assessment. The easiest place to start is with a home energy assessment. An energy auditor will come into your home and determine the spots where your home is wasting the most energy. To find an auditor, go to resnet.us (link to: http://www.resnet.us/directory/search#), it’s highly recommended by the US Department of energy and provides a reliable and certified network of auditors in your area.

Once you’ve got your assessment, you will have a good idea of where to start. You will be able to prioritize based on what improvements are most important to you.

Find your leaks. It may seem obvious, but inspect your doors and windows for leaks. Left unchecked, they could be letting cold air seep into your house. Check these, along with attics and basements, and then get going by getting yourself some draught strips. Make sure to cut draught strips to size before placing adhesive on doors and windows. With this simple fix, you’ll be well on your way to minimizing those heating bills.

Insulate. Did you know that about half of the homes in America are under-insulated?  The type of insulation you use depends on the room, so make sure to do your research. Make sure to seal any leaks and perform necessary repairs before installing. With a little bit of research and DIY determination, insulation can keep your home cozy and energy efficient in every season.

Install a programmable thermostat. This is probably the easiest change you can make to increase your energy-efficiency. Installing a programmable thermostat can save you around 10-percent on heating and cooling bills, according to the president of the Alliance to Save Energy.

This is a no brainer for most folks, but make sure you buy a thermostat that works for your home and your schedule.  It’s worth a quick visit to your local home repair store to ensure you’re choosing the right thermostat for your home.

Now that you’re starting to see all the different ways you can increase your energy efficiency, you’re bound to find a few changes that make sense for your home. Adjustments will help to decrease your overall energy costs and make a positive impact on the environment. If you’re looking increase your energy efficiency to make your home more attractive to homebuyers, we’d love to help you discover all the ways to make your home a true standout. Contact our experts today to start the conversation.

Sources:

http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/where-insulate-home

http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/professional-home-energy-audits

http://mspplumbingheatingair.com/blog/3-must-know-tips-for-buying-a-programmable-thermostat

http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/10-energy-efficient-home-improvements/1

http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/guide_to_energy_efficient_windows.pdf

 

 

 

 

Office Spotlight: United Real Estate – Asheville

  • Learn more about our offices.

    Learn more about our offices.

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Located in the stunning Blue Ridge Mountain range, Asheville boasts a unique blend of natural wonders coupled with rich architecture and historical roots.

Residents can explore locally owned boutiques, eateries and galleries oozing with vibrant and inviting energy. Asheville has over 30 art galleries to stroll through as well as a fresh mix of farm-to-table dining, southern comfort food and everything in between.

While the city boasts an eclectic mix of food, art and entertainment, the mountains offer a steady stream of natural beauty for locals to enjoy. It’s an outdoor lovers dream with easy access to hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, horseback riding and even stargazing.

The city has kept much of its historical architecture intact, allowing residents and visitors alike to see a rare blend of Art Deco, Beaux Arts and Neoclassical style architecture.

In addition to its thriving city center, Asheville has some great neighborhoods to explore for those looking for a new home or vacation house:

Black Mountain

Located only 15 miles from Asheville, this neighborhood is an ideal spot for families to settle in. Black mountain has an exceptional school system, a wide range of cabins and homes to choose from and small town hospitality that will make anyone feel at home.

Biltmore Forest

A well-established luxury community, Biltmore Forest offers residents the privacy of forest living. Not far from Asheville, this neighborhood is a great place to live, work and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

Candler

A mountain community through and through, Candler is only 20 minutes from Asheville. Located in Hominy Valley, Candler boasts an idyllic country setting without the isolated country feeling. Residents can also enjoy weekends sans yard work and outdoor maintenance, as Candler is a maintenance-free community!

Waynesville

Natural beauty is everywhere in this charming small town. Nestled in a valley just 30 miles outside of Asheville, Waynesville residents can savor stunning views of the Great Balsam range. Condos, townhomes and single family homes are available to buy in this neighborhood.

Weaverville

Weaverville has a bustling economy, with one of the most vibrant art communities in North Carolina. With a low tax rate and a pro-business attitude, this community is popular with businesses and entrepreneurs eager to make their mark.

Arden

Located in southern Buncombe County, Arden is only minutes away from Asheville. With a great school system and a super convenient location, this neighborhood offers a great place to settle down with all the amenities of Asheville close by.

With the cost of living hovering just over the national average, Asheville is  an affordable town to settle down in. Housing is also slightly above the national average of $178,400 with an average of $209,400. Stunning mountain views and a thriving city scene demand higher than average prices, but they also ensure that houses will maintain their values in the years to come.

If Asheville has climbed to the top of your housing list, contact our expert team at 888-961-6161

Sources:

http://www.exploreasheville.com/

http://www.zillow.com/asheville-nc/home-values/

http://www.ashevillechamber.org/economic-development/research-and-reports/cost-living-reports

http://www.forbes.com/places/nc/asheville/

Franchise Feature: Indianapolis

  • Indianapolis Downtown

    Indianapolis Downtown

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Originally nicknamed the “Crossroads of America” for sitting at the junction of multiple highways, Indianapolis has certainly become the intersection of culture, nightlife, nature and sports.

With a bustling downtown, major sports teams, numerous parks and an affordable housing market, it’s easy to see why folks are flocking to Indy.

Known most notably for the Indy 500, which recently took place at the end of May, Indianapolis is famous for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Along with world-class racing, Indianapolis has major sports teams such as the NFL Indianapolis Colts and the NBA Indiana Pacers, making it an ideal place for sports fans.

It’s the 12th largest city in the nation, second only to Washington DC in its number of monuments.  It boasts major universities such as Purdue, Butler and the University of Indiana.

Besides its many monuments, residents can enjoy neighborhoods with a diverse range of dining, shopping, theatre, art, live music and nightlife such as:

Zionsville

A lovely place for families to settle with top rated schools, a charming New England style downtown and a quaint community full of unique local shops and restaurants.

Carmel

Money Magazine named Carmel the 3rd best place to live – now that’s impressive! It has a strong local economy with projected job growth and top rated schools, along with pedestrian friendly streets and an authentic sense of community.

Northern Indianapolis

Located only 15 minutes from downtown, this area has an exciting mix of entertainment, local art and dining.  Residents have access to great local schools and safe investment opportunities as Northern Indianapolis has an established real estate market.

Downtown

This neighborhood has something for everyone with single-family homes, condos, high-end lofts and converted work/live spaces available. It’s highly accessible as well with interconnected biking and running trails and has plenty to do for every type of interest from the Colts and the Pacers to Mass Ave Theatre.

Broadripple/Meridian Kessler

Known for its older homes and historically rich background, this neighborhood is only 5 minutes from downtown. It offers a wide range of dining an entertainment options and has a strong LGBT community.

While the city has much to offer, Indianapolis also has ample outdoor space for nature lovers to enjoy such as Eagle Creek Park and Nature reserve, one of the largest parks in the U.S., along with hundreds of local parks and bike paths.

Residents enjoy a low cost of living compared to the larger cities in the nation, meaning locals can stretch their dollars a bit further and enjoy all that the city has to offer. Studies show that the cost of living in Indianapolis is approximately 4% cheaper than the rest of the nation when looking at housing, healthcare, childcare and transportation.

Along with a lower cost of living, residents can enjoy the benefits of an affordable housing market. The median home values in Indiana are below the national average. According to Zillow, the median home value in Indiana is $130,400, whereas the national average is $178,400.

With a thriving city culture, low cost of living and reasonable housing prices, Indianapolis is an ideal place to set up shop and get the best of city living without the expensive city price tags.

If you’re looking to buy a home in Indiana, check out our office in Carmel, IN – a northern suburb of Indianapolis.

Sources:

http://careers.angieslist.com/life-in-indy/

http://www.zillow.com/indianapolis-metro-in_r394705/home-values/

http://cost-of-living.startclass.com/l/195/Indianapolis-IN-Metro-Area

http://www.clrsearch.com/Indianapolis-Demographics/IN/Quality-of-Life

http://motorsportstalk.nbcsports.com/2015/05/26/juan-pablo-montoya-earns-nearly-2-5-million-for-indy-500-win-full-box-score-with-winnings-attached/