Real Estate Tips

Are Your Home Buyers Looking For You On Video?

 

Vlog to gain access to a younger generation of home buyers that grew up researching and learning through videos on the internet. If you don’t have a presence on the internet, are buyers finding you?

Win three FREE nights in Austin, Texas! Share your prior experience at past conventions and your excitement for this years Unitedpalooza through a short video! Use your phone and start recording, what do you have to lose? The winner of the drawing will recieve three nights paid at The Westin Austin Downtown.

See you online,

Peter

How the Happiness Advantage Can Break the 80/20 Rule and Lead You to Success

  • View post

Across the United States, entrepreneurs are planning for the New Year.  2017 will be upon us in less than 60 days, and we know there will be changes in elected officials with different agendas on the national and local level. The economy may get better, it may not. We can take the predictions from the experts with a grain of salt and arrive at the safe conclusion that they are all right, and they are all wrong. Large nations and large corporations are complicated. The people who run these institutions were created as complex beings, but ones who were designed to succeed.

What everyone should have learned over the past twenty years is that industries will change, careers will change, technology will change, and to have success in life and business, you will have to make changes along the way to grow. Very few predicted the extent of the Internet boom in the late 1990’s and subsequent crash in 2001, which was then followed by the attacks on 9/11.  The steady housing growth post the dot.com crash, followed by the housing boom that defied historical growth patterns ended up turning into a severe recession by year end 2007. Regardless of the changes, there will be companies and individuals who will thrive.

As individuals, we have control over how our lives and careers will turn out. Accepting these truths is good progress. Having a process to follow for success will turn progress into a great life. Having success in your personal and professional life in 2017, just like past economic times, will be a matter of choice. You decide that it is important to have a dream and take the right action to achieve the dream. This requires performing the tasks of proper goal setting, planning, and developing certain personal traits including faith and determination. You also must decide to have personal accountability be a part of your daily life.

We are at a critical time right now where many young people are discouraged about their prospects for long-term success. With all that we have learned about success, most of us need a new map to help us stay on the correct path to succeeding. Take for instance, the tested 80-20 rule that originated in economics after an observation by an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto who correctly correlated in 1906 the fact that 20% percent of the population controlled 80% of the wealth. This theory became known as the “Pareto Principle” and was later observed to hold true in other aspects of life, starting in the business world where companies noticed that 20% of their customers accounted for 80% of their profits. It was later taken into further detail with the notion that 20% of sales people accounted for 80% of the sales for any given company. This 80-20 rule in sales has proven to be occurring despite the decades of research and significant investment companies made in time and money for general sales and personal development training to make their sales people productive. When you currently speak to businesses and economic leaders about this basic principle they all overwhelmingly point to the 80-20 rule moving to a 90-10 rule when it comes to the percentage of people who make the majority of the income, have the majority of the wealth, and in breaking it down further the smaller percentage of people who now in their everyday life are succeeding. It has always been difficult to break out of the 80-20 rule, and in the new connected economy, it has gotten even harder. We are at a point in time where half the people working are dissatisfied with their careers, and also at a time where half the businesses which open, end up failing. These statistics don’t include living an abundant and full life.

The question is, how do you find the most relevant information that will help you break out of the patterns that are keeping you from reaching a new level of success? The world is a crowded place with a lot of messaging. However, science and the understanding of the specific human needs we all have to meet to obtain fulfillment have come a long way. You just have to fight through the noise and the distractions to find the correct path.

One breakthrough study demonstrating how work performance can be increased came from a Harvard Psychologist who specializes in Positive Psychology and developing positive mindsets.  In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor changed traditional thinking. We believe we should work hard in order to be happy, but he postulated that we are thinking about it backwards.  In a fast-moving and very funny Ted talk, he argues that, actually, happiness inspires us to be more productive. Take a few minutes to unwind from the election and enjoy the motivating, empowering truth behind the science that proves we are in control of our future. Click Here! 

To borrow from United Real Estate’s convention keynote speaker Mel Robbins, “What consumes your mind, controls your life.” As you put your plan together for 2017, know that you have within you the ability to create the business, career and life you want.  Starting with the right mindset is a good place to begin. To learn more about how attending the United convention can help you achieve your goals in 2017 please visit our Convention page.

All the best!

Peter

Prepare Your Home for Winter

Now that the weather is only turning colder, it’s undeniable that winter is upon us. And just like you take steps once spring arrives to prepare your home for warmer months ahead, you should do the same now for the cold winter that’s about to set in.

But, what steps should you take as you prepare for cold weather? There are important measures for both your home and lawn to ensure everything is in top condition once warm weather returns, all of which we’re going to reveal below. Let’s get started!

Get Your Home Ready: 5 Important Tips

Curious what steps are most important to take as it begins to get cold outside? These 5 are a great place to get started:

  1. Inspect Your Heating System – Heating systems tend to break down on the coldest days of the year! You should pay a technician to inspect your furnace or heat pump well ahead of the cold weather. This can identify any preexisting issues and ensure your system is in tip-top shape.
  2. Inspect the Roof – Missing or damaged shingles can leak and cause issues as snow accumulates or melts. Be sure to check your roof before it begins to snow to ensure you’re prepared!
  3. Inspect the Chimney – If you live in a home with a fireplace, an inspection is in order! Get the chimney and vents cleaned to prevent fires or carbon monoxide poisoning in the home.
  4. Caulk Around Windows and Doors – If there are any gaps in caulking wider than the width of a nickel, you should reapply caulk. Use silicone caulk for exterior use because it won’t shrink and cause future gaps (or be affected by the elements).
  5. Clean Gutters – Leaves or other debris in your gutters can block water and cause damage to your roof or siding, not to mention cause ice dams. Clean them yourself or pay a professional to clean and inspect them to ensure they’re functioning properly.

Get Your Lawn Ready: 5 Important Tips

Now that you’ve handled preparation inside your home, it’s important to turn your attention to the lawn! Here are 5 additional tips to follow to ensure it’s healthy when the snow melts:

  1. Mulch Leaves Instead of Raking – Drop the rake! Mulching dry leaves in your yard is better than ranking because the small pieces will fall amidst grass blades and nourish your yard over the winter.
  2. Mulch – Mulch protects plants against cold temperatures. Use it around trees and shrubs after the first freeze by piling it between two and four inches deep around important plants in your yard.
  3. Clear Decaying/Dead Branches – Do any of your bushes or trees have decaying or dead branches? It’s important to remove them to keep all of your plants healthy.
  4. Remove Annuals and Mulch Perennials – Annuals will die as temperatures drop but perennials won’t! As such you should remove annuals but mulch perennials after the first freeze as they will often survive and regrow in the spring.
  5. Turn Off Exterior Faucets and Drain Sprinklers – Exterior faucets should be turned off and drained to prevent water in the pipes from freezing and bursting. You should also call a professional to drain your sprinkler system if you have one.

Are You Getting Ready to Sell Your Home?

If you’re currently preparing to sell your home, taking the steps above to winterize your home is a great selling feature for buyers!

If you want to take advantage of a professional team and decades of experience in home selling across the country, the team at United Real Estate can help! Contact a member of our team today to discuss your unique buying or selling needs!

8 Tips for Top Holiday Safety

The holidays are upon us and while the holidays are full of decorating, fun, and cheer, there’s one thing that you must be mindful of: Holiday safety.

After all, it’s important to keep your home free from fire and injury as you deck the halls! So from the family at United Real Estate to your own, here are 8 tips you should be mindful of to keep your home safe (and happy) for the holidays.

  1. Inspect the Lights – The lights you use around your home have likely been in your family for years. But you need to inspect them annually for frayed cords, cracks in lamps, or loose connections. This will help you keep the lights safe and functional for years to come.
  1. Turn Off Lights – It can be tempting to leave decorations plugged in when you leave your home or go to sleep, but you shouldn’t. Always switch them off to prevent fire.
  1. Choose a Fresh Tree (and take care of it properly) – If you buy a fresh tree each year for your home, choose a tree that’s fresh. This will help prevent ignition should a fire occur. Likewise, you should keep the tree watered and away from candles for additional protection.
  1. Check Lighting Certification – When you purchase any lighting fixtures or extension cords, check the certification. It should have the accreditation of an organization like CSA International, UL, or ELT to ensure the products are both safe and efficient.

 

  1. Use Only One Extension Cord – Plugging extension cords into each other can be a hazard. Use only one cord at a time and ensure it has plenty of room to reach the outlet without stretching (this will prevent tripping hazards).

 

  1. Hang Outdoor Lights With Care – Outdoor lights are exposed to the elements so you must use additional precautions. Use insulated tape or plastic clips to hold lights in place and keep electrical connectors away from metal gutters and the ground.

 

  1. Always Use the Correct Ladder – It can be tempting to use a chair or any old ladder if you’re decorating in a hurry, but you shouldn’t! Use a safe, certified ladder for all jobs to prevent injury.

 

  1. Clear Your Clutter – With so many decorations going up, it’s common to accumulate clutter around your home. But you should keep everything out of the way to prevent injury and to keep your home beautiful for the holidays!

 

Wishing You a Joyful Holiday Season

On behalf of the entire team at United Real Estate, we wish you a joyful (and safe) beginning to your holiday season!

 

If you’re planning to purchase or sell a home, the team at United can help! Contact us today to take advantage of decades of expertise and a nationwide network of professionals!

How to Balance Buying and Selling a Home

  • View post

Whether you’re downsizing or upgrading, purchasing a new home is exciting. However, selling your current home at the same time can be quite a challenge.

As you can imagine, both selling and buying at the same time (or even within a short time of each other) can get tricky, and fast! But if you’re caught up in this balancing act, there are a few different paths you can choose, all of which we’ll discuss below to help you make the best choice for both you and your family.

What if You Sell First, Then Buy?

This is what’s known as the safe option, primarily because you won’t purchase a new home with the hopes of selling your current home quickly and for the price you want. However, this scenario often puts you and your family in an inconvenient scenario.

For example, if you sell your home quickly, you may have to put your belongings in storage as you search for the home you want. But with the comfort and peace of mind that comes with already selling one home before moving on to the next, many homeowners find this option attractive.

What if You Buy First, Then Sell?

If you don’t want to be in a temporary rental between selling your current home and purchasing a new one, buying first may be the answer. After all, doing so means that you can move in to your new home at a pace that works with your lifestyle. However, doing so may also mean you’re responsible for two mortgages for an undetermined period of time.

If you own your current home, this plan is great. But if you’re already paying it off, paying two mortgages may put a financial strain on your family. As such, it’s important to consider whether or not you’re financially able to support this scenario if you end up purchasing your new home before selling your current one.

What if You Buy and Sell at the Same Time?

In an ideal world, you would be able to carefully balance the buying and selling of both homes so you aren’t burdened by two mortgages or forced to find a rental as you search for your new home. However, doing so can be difficult.

The best way to buy and sell at the same time is to turn to bridge financing. Doing so means you’re able to own both homes for some time but requires a short-term bank loan. This basically establishes a Home Equity Line of Credit, allowing you to put a down payment on your new home by borrowing against the loan on your current home. Then, once you sell your home, you can repay the loan.

In this scenario, it’s also best to try and schedule the closing on your home sale after the closing date of your new home. By doing so, you can move in to your new home before closing on your current home, streamlining the entire process.

United Real Estate is Your Resource for Home Sales and Purchases

If you’re currently trying to balance buying a new home and selling your current home, the team at United Real Estate can help.

Our expertise allows us to effectively balance these buying and selling scenarios, creating an ideal experience for you and your family. Contact us to find your dream home, today!

How to Win a Bidding War

Now that the housing market is heating back up, you’re likely going face stronger competition from your fellow buyers. So what do you do when you’ve found the perfect home, and it turns out that someone else thinks it’s perfect too?

Here are some expert tips to help you come out on top in a bidding war:

In a competitive market, you might be facing multiple offers on homes.

In a competitive market, you might be facing multiple offers. Be smart and follow our simple tips for success.

Get Your Finances in Order

Getting pre-approved for a loan will go a long way towards winning a bidding war. It shows you’re committed and helps to eliminate any doubts a seller may have about your financial ability. In a competitive market, your offer might not even be considered if you do not have a pre-approval letter.

Master Your Cover Letter

Your offer should contain a cover letter along with a pre-approval letter or a proof-of funds document. Your cover letter should showcase why you want the home, what you do for a living, your interests, and also how you see your future unfolding in this property. If you truly love the home, don’t be afraid to reveal why you and or your family belong there. Creating an emotional connection can help you stand out among the other bidders and give you an added advantage.

Much like a cover letter for a job, your offer cover letter is a pivotal element to getting noticed by the seller and can make or break your chances of getting the home.

Be Swift

As they say, the early bird gets the worm. Be the first with an offer that matches the asking price or comes in slightly below, to increase your chances of winning a bidding war. It shows you’re a serious buyer and that you value the home you’re bidding on. To give your offer some added urgency, put an expiration date on it as well.

Make a clean offer

The simpler the offer, the more likely the seller is to accept it. While you may be tempted to outline all of your “must-haves” upfront, these are better left until after you’ve made it a few steps further in the buying process. You’ll still have an opportunity to negotiate repairs, closing costs, furniture, and any other wants after the inspection.

Keep Your Emotions in Check

Don’t let your emotions over-rule all of that hard work you put into researching asking prices, looking at schools and scoping out the neighborhood.  These are necessary to make a sound decision and sometimes all logic goes out the window when you fall in love with a home. Don’t let yourself step outside your price range in the heat of the moment. There will always be another home but there isn’t always more money.

If you’ve found yourself in the midst of a bidding war and need some expert advice, contact our knowledgeable and friendly team at 855-441-6288.

http://www.realtor.com/advice/how-to-win-a-bidding-war-on-your-dream-house/

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102640371

Four Things to Avoid When House Hunting

  • What neighborhood works best for you?

    What neighborhood works best for you?

    View post

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 Home’s Value in Five Easy Steps

  • View post

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

5 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Home

  • Are you ready to buy a house?

    Are you ready to buy a house?

    View post

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

  • View post

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!