Michelle Gillespie - Keller Williams Realty



Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 10/18/2020

If you plan to buy a house, it helps to take an honest approach to the homebuying journey. In fact, there are many reasons to remain open and honest throughout the homebuying journey, including:

1. You can set realistic expectations for the homebuying cycle.

If you're honest with yourself, you can determine exactly how much that you can spend on a residence. Then, you can tailor your home search accordingly.

Furthermore, an honest approach is ideal to ensure you can maintain realistic expectations as you pursue houses. No house is perfect, but an honest homebuyer will realize this before he or she embarks on a home search. As a result, this homebuyer may be better equipped than others to discover a terrific house that matches his or her expectations.

2. You can resist the temptation to spend beyond your means.

Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you enter the housing market. If you pursue houses with a mortgage in hand, you can establish a price range for your home search, thereby reducing the risk of spending too much on a house.

When it comes to getting a mortgage, you'll need to be honest with prospective lenders. These financial institutions will perform their due diligence to ensure you are qualified to receive a mortgage. And if you are dishonest with lenders, you are unlikely to get the mortgage you need to acquire your ideal house.

3. You can speed up the homebuying journey.

The homebuying journey may prove to be a long, drawn-out process if you're not careful. Fortunately, with an honest approach to buying a house, you can limit the risk of encountering time-consuming homebuying hurdles.

For example, if you are honest with yourself about where you want to live, you can refine your home search to particular cities or towns. This will enable you to keep track of available houses in certain areas, resulting in a fast, efficient home search.

The aforementioned list highlights some of the key reasons to be honest with yourself and others as you pursue a house. Of course, if you need extra assistance as you search for your dream home, you may want to hire a real estate agent too.

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who will be direct and forthright with you throughout the homebuying journey. As such, a real estate agent can help you take the guesswork out of purchasing a house.

Usually, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying criteria. This housing market professional then can tailor a home search to help you identify your dream residence. And if you have any homebuying questions, a real estate agent can respond to these queries immediately.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will provide honest, unbiased recommendations as you proceed along the homebuying journey. This housing market professional will simplify the homebuying process, ensuring you can acquire a top-notch house that you can enjoy for years to come.




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 10/11/2020

Many property owners at some point consider renting out their house. Whether it’s a property they inherited, a summer home they rarely use, or they're just trying their hand at property management.

 It's a common misconception that renting out a house is passive income. You'll have to do a lot of work if you plan on keeping your tenants around and paying their rent.

 In this article, we’ll discuss some of the things you should consider if you're planning on renting out a house or property you own.

The rental process

Some landlords take shortcuts during the rental process to save time or money. However, doing so could cost you big time in the long run. If you don't utilize a real estate agent, draw up the proper contracts and agreements, or fail to do due diligence with walkthroughs, you could easily end up losing money on your investment.

The safest approach to finding reliable tenants and renting your property securely is to use a property manager who knows the practical and legal aspects of renting so you don't have to worry about making any beginner mistakes.

DIY property management

If you decide you want to save money and manage the property yourself, there are a few things you should keep in mind when looking for tenants.

First, use background checks and credit checks to ensure your future tenants are in good financial standing.

Next, ask for references on your application, preferably from former landlords. Most landlords will happily let you know if their tenants were good about making on-time payments or were difficult in other ways.

When it comes to your lease, don't try to write it from scratch. There are several templates available online. Try to find one that covers most applicable laws in your area, then hire a lawyer to read over your lease and make any pertinent changes. 

Finally, be sure to collect a security deposit or first and last month’s rent. This will give you some protection if your tenant stops paying or causes costly damages in the building.  

Know your legal limits

If you've ever rented before, odds are there were a few things you wish your landlord did differently. Before beginning this endeavor of becoming a landlord, make sure you're doing it by the book.

Find the laws for your state and city regarding landlord/tenant requirements. Know when you can enter the apartment and how long of an advanced notice is required to do any work in the apartment.

Before sending any complaints or notices to your tenant, make sure you are in the right, legally speaking and can back up your claims with evidence. To do so, you'll need to practice rigorous bookkeeping. Document and keep copies of each payment you receive and all of the money you spend on repairs and maintenance. These records can help you should you ever need to prove yourself in a court of law.

Finally, be respectful and courteous with your tenants. Going out of your way to be helpful will often save you headaches in the long run. However, know when your leniency is being taken advantage of by tenants who are avoiding paying rent or abusing your property.





Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 10/4/2020


 Photo by Maria Godfrida via Pixabay

For a homeowner who wants to make green improvements and renovations to their personal property, the Conditions, Covenants & Restrictions, or CC&Rs, of the local homeowner association can pose problems that cost time, money and freedom of choice. This is especially true for homeowners who wish to make structural or aesthetic changes to existing homes. Here are only a few of the battles you might face when the local HOA discovers your plans for going green in a traditional or historic neighborhood.

Your Planned Solar Panels Aren't Warming Anyone's Hearts

While some HOAs may interfere with your choice of color of solar panels, others may not permit them at all. It's an aesthetic dilemma. Allowing solar panels on one home differentiates it from the others. In a community that's built upon history or tradition, individuality is rarely a good thing. If you're thinking of adding solar panels to a home that's governed by an HOA, you may be forced to buy certain-colored panels, or you may be banned from adding them at all. Consider this before buying a home, if you plan to make green upgrades in an area that features a homeowner association.

Your Energy Efficient Windows Are Getting a Cold Reception

Windows that feature double-paned glass or visible solar tints may get you in hot water with your HOA. Changing out historic windows and doors for more energy-efficient versions should be advantageous, right? Not if doing so sets your home apart from your neighbors or your condo unit apart from the rest of the building. If you want those new, modern windows that lower the cost of your energy bill over time, and you live in a home regulated by an HOA, prepare to fight for your right for window replacement. 

Your New Cool Metal Roof Is Being Hotly Debated

Cool metal roofing is all the rage for homeowners who live in dramatic climates. Cooler in summer and warmer in winter, they'd be a big improvement over those old cedar shakes your home is currently rocking. But you'll probably never experience the convenience of cool metal if you live in an historic area where cedar shakes abound. While your HOA can't prevent you from repairing or replacing a failing roof, they can legally limit the materials you use to do it. 

While homeowner associations do a lot for the communities they serve, they can cause consternation to those homeowners who place value on energy efficiency above historic appeal. If you're planning to buy or renovate a home that's regulated by the CC&Rs of the local HOA, make sure you completely understand the limitations they impose before you buy. Once in, you're bound by the rules you agreed to follow, even if it means sacrificing energy efficiency in lieu of tradition. 

 

 

 





Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 9/27/2020

Whether you're trying to balance your household budget or save money to buy your first house, discount coupons can help.

Coupons alone are not a panacea that will cure budgetary woes or enable you to quickly save up for a real estate down payment, but they can play a role in achieving your financial goals.

Building up your financial nest egg or saving thousands for a down payment requires planning, organization, and motivation. While this may sound like a steep mountain to climb, the biggest challenge involves examining your values and overcoming self-limiting habits and beliefs. If you're convinced, for example, that it's impossible to save money and get ahead, then those beliefs will slow you down, if not sabotage your progress, completely.

There are a lot of reasons why discount coupons are not an effective money-saving strategy for many people, but it often boils down to three things:

  1. Disorganization: Although coupons are a marketing tool used by businesses to get consumers to buy more products and services, it's often a "win-win" situation. If a coupon happens to be for product that you need or would ordinarily buy, then it's like having extra money in your wallet. For some people, putting the coupons IN their wallet is a good way to make sure they have them when they're at the checkout counter or drive through.
  2. Pride: There's nothing undignified about using coupons, unless you have such a large stack of them that you're causing people behind you to roll their eyes, sigh loudly, or grumble under their breaths! And speaking of misplaced pride: If you're over 60, don't hesitate to claim your senior citizen discounts at restaurants, the theater, movies, public transportation, museums, car rental places, and hotels. Those savings can really add up!
  3. Lack of planning: When your trips to the grocery store are planned, rather than sponteous, you're a lot more likely to remember your coupons and your shopping list. By having your coupons with you and knowing what you need to buy, you'll be more focused and tend to spend less money on impulse items.
Effectively managing your household budget or saving money for a house down payment is usually the result of multiple strategies, rather than just using coupons or doing comparison shopping. One of the first steps to gaining control over your finances involves examining your cash flow situation. Itemizing your expenses and deducting them from your income will give you a clearer idea of where your money is going and how much you have left at the end of the month. By listing your expenses and disposable income, you can often identify "leaks" in your cash flow and find ways to stretch your dollar farther. When you assign yourself the job of "gatekeeper," you'll be surprised at the many ways there are to tighten your belt, without making major sacrifices in your lifestyle.





Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 9/20/2020

Sure, it's possible to find a home with a fully equipped exercise gym, an Olympic size swimming pool, or a couple tennis courts on the premises, but who wants to spend that kind of money! Fortunately, there are house features you can look for that will help you stay in shape without having to win the lottery first! Here are a few ideas to consider when searching for the ideal home:

  • Proximity to a park: Whether you're looking for a home in the city or nearby suburbia, most communities have bike paths or public parks where you can walk, jog, inline skate, bicycle, take your dog for a stroll, or play tennis. Parks with playgrounds are also a great resource for keeping your kids entertained, physically active, and engaged. Having a park or walking trail located within a mile of your house is ideal because if it's convenient, you'll be more inclined to go there frequently. While it may not be at the top of your house-hunting "wish list," proximity to a park, nature preserve, or walking trail can be instrumental in helping you and your family stay healthier and more energetic. Doctor-approved, regular exercise is also a proven way to counteract the effects of stress, elevate your mood, and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods: One of the advantages of buying a home in a quiet neighborhood is that it offers a safe and relaxing environment for taking daily walks. Going for walks near your house can also be a good way to get to know your neighbors and check out the latest yard sales. Although sidewalks can be a nice feature for homeowners who enjoy neighborhood walks, quiet streets with mostly local traffic is all you really need for favorable walking conditions.
  • A finished basement or extra room: The problem with putting an exercise machine in your bedroom or even the family room is that, sooner or later, you're going to get sick of looking at it! Until somebody creates a treadmill, exercise bicycle, or elliptical machine that has aesthetic appeal as well as functionality, it's never going to complement your decor! More often than not, exercise machines are an eyesore and a source of clutter. The solution is to create a dedicated exercise space in either a finished basement, a rec room, or a spare bedroom. Half of a two-car garage can sometimes provide a good area for weights and exercise machines, too, but that's only if you're willing to park your second car in the driveway.
Three factors that facilitate staying fit and healthy are convenience, proximity, and access to resources. When parks, exercise areas, and equipment are just "a stone's throw away," the likelihood of you starting and staying with a fitness program is much greater.







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