Homes and Advice Blog

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Homes and Advice Blog

Soon, it will be time to trade in our short sleeves and flip-flops for warm sweaters and boots. Whether or not you're ready to believe it, winter is not that far away, which means now is the perfect time to make sure you're ready.

Although we commonly protect ourselves from the cruel elements of winter, we don't always remember to give our homes the same attention.

The winter can wreak havoc on our homes--but your local real estate agent can help advise you on the areas of your home to focus on and protect you from the cold. Your agent can also give you the names and contact information of trustworthy contractors who can assist you in your winter home-protection endeavors.

Here are some easy steps to you can take to help ensure your home is

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The buying or selling of a home is one of the biggest and most important transactions you will take part in during your life. Make sure the real estate agent you partner with is the right fit for you. Here are seven questions you may want to ask to help you decide if a particular agent is the right fit for you.

1. Do you work part-time or full-time? Part-time workers can be skilled agents and marketers, but sometimes other commitments can limit their responsiveness. You'll want someone who lives and breathes real estate.

2. How long have you been practicing real estate? In a soft market, for example, you'll probably want someone who has been practicing real estate full-time for at least five to seven years in your area.

3. What is your business

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Every homeowner is interested in keeping--or increasing--the value of their home. One of the easiest ways to do this is to keep up with the maintenance of your property. This will help protect your investment, and make it easier when it comes time to sell it.

Fortunately, most maintenance chores are quick and don't require any special skills. Here are some simple maintenance tips that will help keep your home in good shape:

In The Kitchen

Your range hood helps keep your home clean by pulling smoke and grease from cooking out of the air. Be sure to clean the vent filters on your range hood regularly so they don't get clogged with dirt and grease. If you have metal filters, wash them by hand. Disposable filters can simply be replaced regularly. 

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"Should I buy first, or sell first? I don't know what to do."

It's a commonly asked question, without a definitive answer.

Many people find themselves in this real estate predicament, reminiscent of the "chicken or the egg" quandary. Unfortunately, there's no across-the-board answer that works for everyone. Circumstances, finances, and many other variables can make a difference in determining which scenario will be best for you.

Buying First -- If you buy a new home first, you may find yourself in position of owning two homes which may be enviable or an issue.  If you can afford two homes, it gives you the luxury of moving when you want.  We have helped many clients buy first, move some stuff out of the existing house in order to stage it

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When you buy a home, you expect to pay the agreed-upon purchase price. Unfortunately, buying a home often comes with many other expenses that you may not expect. Many homebuyers are surprised by expenses that come up during or after the purchase of a house.

Here are some of the additional expenses to be aware of and that may come up during your homebuying process, to help you plan ahead. Take these possible expenses into account before you buy, so you won't be surprised by them after you complete your purchase (when it's too late):

Closing Costs. You may be able to roll some of these into your mortgage or negotiate with the seller to pay some of them, but you will have to come up with some money when you close on your mortgage. You can expect to pay

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The process of buying a home is complicated -- and it's gotten more so in the past few years. To make sure everything goes smoothly, you'll want to get organized before you even begin to look for a house.

Once you've taken care of these things, you'll be ready to shop for the home of your dreams.

1. Check Your Credit Score. Examine and fix any blemishes on your credit report, before you apply for a mortgage loan. You should also avoid taking on any new credit at this time, such as new credit cards, buying a new car, and anything else that requires credit or even a check of your credit score.

2. Take A Good Look At Your Finances. Take an honest look at your budget and figure out how much "home" you can afford. What's the maximum monthly mortgage

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Every day, it seems like something is happening that changes the real estate market. While mortgage rates are at a low point currently, they will likely be on the rise again soon. At the same time, especially in the D.C. Metro area, housing inventory is low while demand is high, meaning home prices are on the rise too.

Some hopeful homebuyers may not know the best way to go about buying a home in today's market. Fortunately, no matter what the market conditions, fundamental best practices don't change. Whether it's a buyer's market, a seller's market, or something in between, these tips will help you buy a home in any market.

DON'T get too emotional about the process of buying a home. It's easy to lose your cool if the home you love is sold before

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Home remodeling projects are a great way to spruce up a house you just bought, breathe new life into your current home, or fix up your home before putting it on the market.

Professional home remodeling projects can cost tens of thousands of dollars. However, you don't always need to call in the professionals. There are many small projects you can take on yourself that can add value to your home and make it more livable, all without breaking the bank.

Here are a few ways you can update your home without spending a lot of money:

1. Painting the exterior -- This can make a big, noticeable impact. If you do it yourself, the only costs are the paint and a handful of brushes and tools. This is an easy way to spruce up your home, and boost your curb

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Buying a new home can be very exciting -- but it can also be stressful if you have to sell your old one before you can buy the new one.

Even in the current seller's market we're experiencing around the D.C. area, selling your home can take considerable effort.

Fortunately, there are ways you can give yourself an edge in the marketplace when selling your home. There are several things you can do before listing your home, to increase your chances of success with a quick sale. One of those things is attractively staging your home, to make it look inviting and appealing to buyers and encourage them to make a quick offer.

Here are some tips for staging your home for success:

Get rid of your stuff. You've heard it over and over again, and it still

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The thought of qualifying for a mortgage can be stressful for many prospective buyers. If you are self-employed, you may have even more concerns.

However, even if you do not have a regular W2 or tax form from an employer, you can still qualify for a mortgage.

Prior to the housing crisis and recession, self-employed home buyers could simply attest to the amount of money they earned, and that was that. Today, that is no longer the case. You will need to provide evidence. In order to document your income, you may be asked to provide business and personal income tax returns for the previous two years, along with financial statements to back them up.

Documentation is critical when you are applying for a mortgage as a self-employed individual. Ensuring

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