Michelle Gillespie - Keller Williams Realty



Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 7/15/2018

One recurring problem all parents deal with -- especially on weekends and school breaks -- is keeping their children entertained and engaged. (Sound familiar?)

While you can sometimes take your kids and their friends bowling, to the movies, or roller skating, those type of activities are only short-term fixes. Once you've expended all the possibilities, you're back to square one! The ideal scenario is to be able to fill in some of those gaps with fun, recreational activities at home.

If you have a finished basement or are talking about renovating an unfinished area, then that part of the house can provide the space for a dedicated rec room. The cost of finishing a basement can be expensive -- with estimates ranging from $10,000 to around $35,000. The final cost would depend on factors like the square footage of your basement, contractor pricing, materials used, and whether you're willing or able to do any of the work yourself. For growing families with active children, remodeling a basement or buying a house that already has a finished basement could prove to be a priceless resource for years to come!

Setting Up a Game Room

Outfitting a rec room with items like game tables is an additional expense that could have an impact on your budget. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep a lid on those costs. One idea would be to spread out those purchases over a period of time. For example, one year you could buy a billiards table; the next year, you could add a ping-pong table, air hockey game, or a foosball table to the room. Many of these items also make excellent birthday or holiday gifts for the kids, so you can potentially include those purchases in your gift-buying budget. With a little online price comparison, you'll also discover that you don't have to pay top dollar for any of those game tables. It's rarely necessary to get the "deluxe" version of a pool table, air hockey game, or foosball table, and there's a wide range of sizes and prices available -- both online and off. You may also stumble upon opportunities to buy used versions of those popular rec room games, and save a lot of money in the process.

Two inexpensive ways to expand the range of activities available in your recreation room (and keep your kids happy) is to stock up on board games and age-appropriate craft supplies. A television with a DVD player, popular channels, and video games is also sure to provide hours of entertainment on rainy days, school holidays, and unstructured weekends. Finished basements can also be a great place to host children's birthday parties, sleepovers, and club meetings. A TV in the basement can also help maintain family harmony. When the grownups want to watch one program and the kids want to watch something entirely different, you don't have to draw straws or pull rank!





Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 7/8/2018

If youíre getting ready to buy a home, you know it will be one of the most significant purchases of your entire life. However, are you fully prepared for all of the expenses that buying a home will bring? You donít want to buy a house to find out that you canít afford it after all.


Many expenses go into buying a home that you can plan for ahead of time. Other costs arenít as exact that you will need to add in your budget. Read on to learn more about many of the expenses that throw first-time home buyers for a loop. 


Closing Costs


Closing costs encompass a whole bunch of expenses that youíll incur buying a home. These include:


  • Taxes
  • Application fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Title insurance
  • Reimbursements
  • Recording fees

No matter what the closing costs include, you should plan for these expenses to be about 2-5 percent of the price of your home. Costs can vary widely, but itís good to have a bit of extra cash on hand.


Maintaining Your Home


While most homebuyers are prepared for the initial costs of buying a home, they don't know how much it costs to maintain a home. Each year, things will come up on your property that needs to be addressed continually. These tasks include:


Cleaning

Yard care

Gutters

Pressure washing


These routine tasks are independent of other costs like replacing a stove or fixing a furnace. Homeowners need to be prepared for these expenses as well.


Taxes


Taxes can increase or decrease for any given year. You can lookup taxes in the area where youíre planning to buy a home in order to prepare yourself. You should make sure that your property taxes are comparable with that of other homes in your area.

Utilities


Utilities are what your home runs on. Depending on the climate you live in the number of utilities you pay can vary. Take into account these things:


  • Heat
  • Air conditioning
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Phone
  • Cable
  • Internet

Most neighborhoods have one or two choices for services, so you can ask people in the neighborhood what providers they [refer and how much their bills are each month.         



Insurance


Youíre required to have homeownerís insurance when you get a mortgage. Even if you donít take out a mortgage and pay cash for a home, itís a wise decision to protect your investment. Estimate how much a yearly policy will cost you ahead of time. 


This insurance will protect your property from things like theft and fire. You can shop around for the best rates based on policies that suit your needs. Itís easy to price out policies online. See where you can save including discounts for security systems or multiple policy discounts. 


If you live in an area where floods or earthquakes are prevalent, you should be aware. Youíll find you need additional policies to cover damage in the event of these disasters. The most important thing about your homeownerís insurance policy is that you check the details for all of the fine print.       





Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 7/1/2018

Ready to discover your dream home? With help from your loved ones, you may be able to accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to include family members and friends in your search for the perfect home, including:

1. Loved ones are happy to help you in any way they can.

Loved ones have your best interests in mind and will do whatever they can to assist you. That way, you can get extra help as you embark on the homebuying journey.

Before you begin your home search, it may prove to be helpful to meet with loved ones so that you can explain your homebuying goals to them. This will allow you to describe what you'd like to find in your dream home. Plus, meeting with loved ones gives family members and friends an opportunity to ask you questions about your home search.

If you and your loved ones are all on the same page, you'll be able to get ample support as you prepare to kick off your home search. Then, you and your loved ones can check out a broad array of houses and find one that matches or exceeds your expectations.

2. Loved ones can share their homebuying experiences with you.

For those who are entering the real estate market for the first time or have not purchased a house in several years, it may be beneficial to involve loved ones in the property buying process.

Loved ones who have recently purchased homes can provide real estate insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. They can respond to your homebuying concerns and queries and help you prepare to enter the housing market.

Also, loved ones may be able to help you avoid potential pitfalls as you search for the ideal residence. Although some family members and friends may have made mistakes when they bought homes in the past, your loved ones can help you learn from their errors and ensure you can avoid various homebuying pitfalls.

3. Loved ones can help you make tough homebuying decisions.

Let's face it Ė the decision to buy a home is one of the biggest that an individual may make in his or her lifetime. As such, the decision to purchase a home is not one that should be taken lightly.

Loved ones are happy to listen to your homebuying concerns time and time again. They can offer suggestions and recommendations as you explore homes and help you remain calm, cool and collected at each stage of the homebuying journey.

Of course, if you want additional assistance during the homebuying journey, it never hurts to hire an expert real estate agent. This housing market professional can set up home showings, negotiate with home sellers on your behalf and provide comprehensive homebuying support at any time.

Reach out to loved ones for support as you get ready to search for your dream home. By doing so, you may be able to speed up the homebuying process.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 6/24/2018

Bidding on a house can be a stressful process, especially when youíve found your dream home. While the wait to hear back on if your bid has been accepted can be a time of anxious anticipation there are things you can do to make it less so. By being prepared ahead of time and knowing what to expect you can create a smoother, and therefore, less stressful bidding process. Keep reading for some tips on how to do just that below! Know what youíre willing to spend. Decide on what your ideal price and what the maximum amount you will be willing to spend are before beginning the bidding process. This is an ideal step to take before beginning house hunting as well. Doing so will allow for a more streamlined bidding process, especially if there is a bidding war. Knowing when an offer is out of your budget will prevent financial stress now and in the future as well. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Before putting in your bid get everything you need in order to ensure you are pre-approved for a mortgage. Once you are approved you can show the seller your pre-approval paperwork when placing your bid. This will help you look more serious about your offer and even a more attractive buyer to the seller. Schedule a home inspection. Scheduling a home inspection before placing your bid will allow you to make a more informed offer on the house you are interested in. To get the most out of your inspection have a list for the inspector of any concerns you had about the house during your walk through. Ask your real estate agent for a referral to an inspector they know and trust as they will have worked with many before. The real estate agent knows best. Listen to any advice your real estate agent may have for you throughout the bidding process. They are an expert in the home buying field and familiar with the different intricacies of home buying procedures. Not every home buying process is the same and an experienced real estate agent should be familiar with variations to each sale. If your real estate agent suggests a course of action follow suit to ensure that the buying process goes more smoothly. While I canít guarantee an entirely stress-free experience when bidding on a house, there are things you can do to help ease any anxiety that comes with attempting to buy your dream home. With preparedness and a smart real estate agent on your side you can feel more confident and less anxious in your bidding process. Once you have the keys to your new home in hand you will be glad you took the steps necessary to create a smooth and successful process!




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 6/17/2018

Whether you plan on selling your home in the next few months or the next few years, itís always a good idea to start thinking about the things that can increase or decrease the value of your home.

There are some factors that are mostly out of your control. Things like climate and the state of the housing market arenít something you can do much about. However, there are several ways you can gain an edge once you put your house on the market.

In todayís article, weíre going to talk about some of the main things that contribute to the value of a property, and a few lesser known ideas to help increase your home value.


The most important appraisal factors


Before you start thinking about adding bonus features to your home you should make sure the basics are covered. To maximize appraisal value, your home should be:

  • Structurally sound. The foundation, roof, plumbing, and other vital items need to be in top shape.

  • Efficient. Houses that havenít been updated with energy efficient windows, insulation, and HVAC systems are going to drag down the value of the home. Prospective buyers want to know they wonít be spending extra each month of the utilities.

  • Well-maintained. Inside and out, having a clean appearance shows potential buyers that youíve taken care of the home. This includes driveways, lawns, and fences on the outside, and paint and carpets on the inside.

  • Size, location, and market. You wonít be able to influence these, and many times putting additions on a home can actually lower its estimated value, so itís best to focus on other areas where you can make a difference.


How to increase your home value


Depending on how much time you have left before you want to sell, there are a number of things you can do to improve your home. Some home improvement projects are costly and time-consuming, where others can be simple and cost-effective. Here are some ideas for increasing the value of your home.


  • Revitalize the neighborhood. If youíre going to be living in your home for years to come, it can be worthwhile to integrate yourself into the community. Starting community gardens or converting lots into fields and playgrounds are long-term projects that will add culture and amenities to your neighborhood. Not only is this good for the town, but it could also increase the value of your home.

  • Small upgrades pay off. If you plan on moving within the coming months, you still have time to increase the value of your home. By replacing old faucets, handles, and doorknobs you can make older items appear new again. Similarly, minor electric upgrade, like replacing old light switches or outlets, combined with a fresh coat of paint can make a room look like new.

  • Simple landscaping. You donít need to start carving topiary animals into your shrubs to increase your curb appeal. On the contrary, having a yard that is simple and well-maintained will appear cleaner and easier to take care of for prospective buyers.

  • Consult an expert. If youíve lived in your house for a while, it might be difficult for you to see which things might decrease the homeís value. Contacting an agent will help you gain an outside perspective on your house so that you can plan home improvement projects accordingly.