real estate tips

Condo Buying: Investing in a Condo Over a House

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When you’re determined to purchase your own home, it doesn’t have to be a single-family house. Condos make great investments and offer several advantages over other types of residences.

These are just some of the benefits you’ll enjoy when buying a condo:

  • Access to amenities. You don’t have to pay for separate memberships to a local pool or golf course. Living in a condo means that you’ll be able to use the amenities your condo community offers, such as clubhouses, pools and fitness center.
  • Low maintenance. When you live in a condo, you only have to maintain your living space. You’re not responsible for maintaining the building, grounds or common areas.
  • Financial incentives. Owning a condo gives you a chance to build equity, and you’ll also be able to use tax deductions on property taxes and mortgage interest payments.
  • A sense of community. Living in a building that has a lot of other units occupied by owners, rather than renters, means that you’ll have a good sense of community. Some of these also offer planned community events.

Need additional information on buying a condoContact United Real Estate, and follow our Facebook page.

Vacation Home Hunting? Three Tips for Purchasing Your Vacation Home

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Having a vacation home to go to on weekends saves you the hassle of booking a room when you want to get away. With more demand for these homes in recent years, it’s a good time to consider buying a vacation home.

Keep these tips in mind when you start your search:

  • Save up money. Many buyers pay for their vacation home in cash. This isn’t a requirement, but it could boost your chances of finding and buying a home more quickly.
  • Have enough for a down payment. If you can’t pay cash for a vacation home, at least have a large enough sum of money set aside for a down payment. Plan on having around 30 percent in savings for this.
  • Consider buying a foreclosure or doing a short sale. A large percentage of vacation home buyers end up saving money through short sales or foreclosure purchases. These are more complex ways of buying a home, so you’ll need the help of a good realtor if you plan on going this route.

Ready to start searching for a vacation homeContact United Real Estate, and follow us on Facebook.

Prepping Your Home For Potential Buyers: Tips for Sellers

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Spring is typically the busiest time of year for home sellers. If you’ll be putting your home on the market this season, you’ll have to make sure it’s in ideal shape in order to attract buyers and hold their interest.

Improving curb appeal when selling a home is one of the most important steps to take. You can do this by power washing your home’s exterior, doing some landscaping and fixing up your porch or entryway. In addition to working on curb appeal, you should also do the following to prepare for buyers:

  • Give your home a good cleaning. Make your home as spotless as possible to impress buyers. Plan on dusting, scrubbing and steam cleaning carpets, as well as clearing out piles of clutter.
  • Put personal items away. Store your collections, and replace personal photos with some simple artwork. Keeping your home looking too personal makes it tougher for buyers to picture themselves living there.
  • Schedule an inspection. Have a home inspection done before putting your home on the market. Taking this step can ease buyers’ fears about buying a home with undisclosed problems.

Need help selling your homeContact United Real Estate, and stop by our Facebook page.

Thinking of Listing Your House? Selling in the Spring 2014

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Spring tends to be the busiest time of year for sellers. If you’re debating whether or not to put your home on the market, there are some factors to consider.

Here are a few reasons for selling in spring 2014:

  • Beating the competition. Selling earlier in the year means you should have an easier time selling and getting more money for your home.
  • Upsizing or downsizing. Save yourself unnecessary stress by finding the right size home, whether you need a bigger family home or a smaller one.
  • Avoiding maintenance issues. If you’re in an older home, you can expect to shell out considerable money for repairs. If you can’t afford this, consider moving to a newer home.

These are a few reasons for staying put:

  • Boosting your home’s value. If you have enough for repairs, consider fixing up your home to increase its value.
  • Being in a good spot. If you’re happy with where your home is, you might want to think twice about selling now.
  • Getting higher equity. You’re better off not selling if your home’s equity will be rising.

Leaning toward selling your homeCall United Real Estate for help, and follow our Facebook page.

Insuring Your First Home? Three Important Things to Consider

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When calculating the cost of your first home, don’t forget to factor in home insurance. This insurance, which is required in order to purchase a home, provides financial coverage in case your home is damaged.

When insuring your first home, keep these tips in mind:

  • Get full coverage. Don’t attempt to save money now by skimping on coverage. Your insurance should be enough to cover the cost of having to rebuild your home. Ideally, you should get extended replacement coverage and an inflation guarantee.
  • Get liability insurance. This insurance pays for legal and medical costs that you might be faced with if someone is injured on your property. It also covers you in case someone in your family causes damage to your neighbor’s property.
  • Cover your valuables. These won’t be included on your homeowners insurance policy, so you’ll be out of luck if they’re damaged or stolen. Purchase additional coverage to make sure that you’ll have enough money to replace jewelry, antiques and other valuables in your home.

Need professional help finding and buying your first homeVisit United Real Estate to find a local agent, and follow us on Facebook.

Five Ways to Bring Spring into Your Home

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With spring right around the corner, it’s a great time to freshen up your home, especially if you’re putting it up for sale. From giving your home some extra color to doing a thorough cleaning, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the season.

These easy home upgrades will have your house ready for the warmer weather and potential buyers:

  • Get rid of clutter: Go through one area of your home at a time, and cut down on clutter.  Toss out or sell things you don’t want anymore.
  • Use slipcovers: Give your living room a lighter look and feel by placing white or light-colored slipcovers on your furniture.
  • Buy bright accents: Buy a few brightly colored throw pillows to give your living room and bedroom some extra color.
  • Change your wallpaper: Cover an accent wall with wallpaper that has an eye-catching pattern or bright color. This adds visual interest without being overwhelming.
  • Update your table: Choose napkins, placemats and other table linens with a colorful spring pattern to give your dining room or kitchen table a fresh look.

Getting ready to sell your home? Contact United Real Estate, and visit us on Facebook for more selling tips.

How to Plan for Your 2014 Real Estate Goals

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Is buying a house on your list of real estate goals this year? If so, you’re probably aware that it takes a lot of planning to find the right home and be able to purchase it.

Keep the following Houston real estate tips in mind when searching for a home this year:

  • Clean up your credit: Having a solid credit history is essential in order to be approved for a mortgage. Fix up your credit by paying off credit card debt or at least keeping low balances on your cards and always making payments on time.
  • Be realistic: Don’t look for homes that you can’t afford. Your search should only include properties that are within your price range. Otherwise, you could get in over your head financially.
  • Think long-term: Only buy a house if you plan on living in it for a few years or more. Selling a home sooner means that you could actually lose money.
  • Hire a realtor: Find a realtor who can help you find the best homes to look at and walk you through the buying process.

Other questions? Feel free to contact us and one of our agents can give you advice for the future.

Sure Sale: Highest ROI Projects for Your Home

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Giving your home some upgrades is a necessary part of making sure it’s ready for the market. When deciding which projects to do, you should focus on which ones will give you a high return on investment (ROI). This will help you recoup a significant amount of the cost of each project.

These are a couple of the highest ROI projects for your home:

  • Getting a new front door. Replacing your current entry door and jams with one that’s made of 20-gauge steel is a moderately priced project with a very high ROI. You’ll spend a little over $1,000, but you’ll recoup about 96 percent of that cost.
  • Getting new siding. This will cost you more upfront, but you’ll get a lot of the money back. Replacing your siding with fiber-cement siding that’s factory primed and painted will cost more than $13,000, but you’ll get about 87 percent of the cost back.

What should you avoid? The project with the lowest ROI is home office remodeling. This costs about $28,000, and you’ll only get about 48 percent of that back.

Ready to start the selling process? Contact United Real Estate, and follow us on Facebook.

Maintain Your Home: Start Spring Cleaning Now

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Making plans to put your home up for sale this spring or summer? Then it’s time to start working on making it as clean as possible for potential buyers.

Here are some easy cleaning tips and home upgrades you can do to get your home ready:

  • Bathrooms: Vacuum and wipe down the ceiling and walls to get rid of grime. Wipe down the mirrors and the insides of windows. Use a strong cleaner on the toilet, shower walls, tub, sink and floor, then it soak for about 15 minutes before rinsing it off.
  • Bedrooms: Wipe down the walls and ceilings, then dust off the tops of dressers and other surfaces. Remove the covers from beds, and open the windows for a few hours to air the rooms out. Clean the windows, steam clean the carpets and wash all linens.
  • Kitchen: Give the fridge and freezer a thorough cleaning, then remove grease from all cooking appliances. Wipe down the cabinets and counters, then mop the floor.
  • Other rooms: Wipe down all walls and ceilings. Clean your upholstery, dust electronics and clean the windows.

Need more tips on selling your home? Visit United Real Estate, and follow us on Facebook.

Five Ways to Show Your Home a Little Love

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Whether you’re getting your home ready for the market or planning on fixing up your new home, you don’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of simple and cost-effective ways to do home upgrades.

Here are five easy and inexpensive ideas for making some changes to your home:

  • Install stair brackets. Make the outside of your staircase visually appealing by adding wood brackets. All you need are nails and an adhesive.
  • Put up crown molding. Get some Trimroc molding, a handsaw and joint compound to install molding that instantly boosts your home’s appeal.
  • Refinish your cabinets. With some cleaner, sandpaper, paint and a paintbrush, you can give your kitchen cabinets a fresh new look. This works best if your cabinets are in good shape already.
  • Paint the floor. Instead of investing in a new floor, grab some floor paint and give your floor a whole new look. This is a much less expensive and time-consuming option.
  • Give your bathroom fresh caulk. Update the caulk around your tub and sink for better protection against moisture.

Ready to start the buying or selling process? Visit United Real Estate, and stop by our Facebook page.