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Jump the Broom Right into a Home!

Whether you’re experiencing the first rush of newlywed bliss or you’re a seasoned married couple, buying a home is an exciting journey to partake together. Just make sure the stress of home search doesn’t derail your relationship! With a lot of discussion & a little effort, you’ll be able to find a place you both love. Even better- settle on some agreed ‘must-haves’ before you start looking to save both time & disgruntled discussions. Don’t know where to start? Check out these four tips below!


1. Watch Those Habits.

How often do you need to work at home and how much private space do you need to do that? How much do the two of you like to entertain? Does one of you like to go to sleep a little earlier, while the other prefers to stay up and watch TV or do laundry? How do you feel about long, uninterrupted baths? Do you prefer to dress out of the clean laundry basket or put things away in closets and dressers? Ask yourselves how you’ll be able to do the things that are important to you in your new space, without wanting to kill each other. (Thats the main goal.)

2. Who Will You Borrow Sugar From?

Have a good long talk about neighborhood. If you’re already living in the same neighborhood, and you both like it, this one should be easy. But if you aren’t, and you have different feelings about how close to work and other places you want to be, this could take some discussion. If one person has a long commute and the other one is home by six pm every day, who cooks?

3. Each Square Foot Matters.

How much space do you need, and how much can you afford? If your partner needs space for things you don’t, you aren’t allowed to complain about it. Your needs are hers or his, and vice versa. His dog is your dog, so you may need a larger, fenced in yard. Her need for a home office is your need, even if the space is dedicated to her work and you can’t use it. You’ll need to figure out how to live in harmony. Sharing a bedroom doesn’t always mean you need just one. If his out of town relatives will be coming to stay, a spare bedroom is essential. If she snores during allergy season, your happiness, and sleep schedule, will be preserved by another bedroom for an occasional retreat from the noise.

4. Have you Been Binge-watching HGTV & the DIY Network?

Looking at a fixer upper? How you feel about DIY? Talk about how much you can fix yourselves, and how much you want to. There are expenses associated with owning a house that you don’t have as a renter. Even if you both owned homes, you may have different views about when to DIY and when to call a repair person. If you’re planning on remodeling together, know each other’s expectations.


So, are you ready? Your home search together will be fun, and probably a great bonding experience, but it helps to go into it with open eyes!

 Jump the broom with Chantel Ray and start your home search HERE!

Top Apps for the Homebuying Process

In an age where people hate typing out complete websites on their phone and wanting results yesterday, we have gathered the top apps to make your homebuying process informative- but more important, convenient.


1. Chantel Ray Real Estate Mobile App (Cost of App: FREE) 

Now you know we weren’t going to write this blog without including our own little slice of app heaven in here did you? Our app competes with the best by allowing for easy home searches at your finger tips. Know the area you want to stay in but aren’t quite sure exactly where to look? This app uses its GPS to help you out a bit further. Customized and optimized  for our local market here in Hampton Roads, you know you’re in good hands with this.

2. HomeSnap (Cost of App: FREE) 

This is one of the top recommended apps by our agents in our company, and it was “Most addictive real estate app” by HGTV Magazine. After downloading it ourselves, with a client perspective in mind, it is pretty cool. For starters, you can take a picture of a home and it gives you all the details you need! That was enough to keep this on our landing dock.

What details you ask? Well here’s a list:

  • Home value estimates
  • Interior Photos
  • Beds/baths
  • Taxes
  • School Ratings
  • Lot Boundaries

You can also easily search for homes via school zones, and even open house dates. Want to send a message? You can ask Siri to do it for you- easy peasy. These homes are also updated in real time. No wonder this is a crowd favorite.

3. My Nest (App Cost: FREE) 

Have you ever gone home shopping and you try to take a billion pictures of each home only to forget which picture belongs where? Well stress no more! This is a PERFECT app just for this! You can even take voice notes! I know, right?!

This app is a home buying photo journal that captures and organizes every detail of every home to review and share later with friends or loved ones.

Here are some of the perks:

  • Snapshots are assigned to specific property, room, and/or home feature.
  • Organization. You can choose from photos, videos, or voice memos & review your library organized by address
  • Easy to Share: Easy to share and get the opinions that matter most to you
  • Total Cost Analysis: Transparency in mortgage options

4. CrimeMapping (App Cost: FREE) 

Whether or not you have a family, most people searching for a home like to know if they are in or around an area with low crime- and reasonably so. No need to check into the local authorities because…

Theres an app for that.

Crimemapping allows you to explore your desired neighborhood with reports that come directly from the local law enforcement agency.

You can:

  • Find crime, where available, in your current location or by typing an address.
  • Filter by crime type and by date up to 6 months back.
  • List all the participating agencies and view their crime.

5. Mortgage Calculator for iPhone (App Cost: FREE) 

Before we dive into this, we want to make sure that you understand that NO mortgage calculator will ever replace talking to an actual mortgage lender. The calculators are meant to give you information so you make educated decisions on your home purchase. With that being said, here are the benefits of this app:

  • Calculator is extremely inclusive, factoring in property tax and mortgage insurance
  • All-in-one calculator for managing other financial matters including car loans, credit cards, and student loans
  • Save loans to your favorites for a quick snapshot
  • Interactive sliders for quick data entry
  • Animated graphs, because who doesn’t love watching their balances tumble!

6. DocuSign (App Cost: FREE) 

Once you’ve started your home buying process, you know there is going to be paper work. Well long gone are the days of faxes- what is that? Enter DocuSign, an app thats lets you send, read, and sign documents securely on the go.

Check out below why this is the most widely used eSign app worldwide.

  • Sign Docs for free
  • Send complete documents via email, dropbox, Evernote, google drive and more
  • Create and customize personal signature
  • Supports PDF, Word, Excel, Images (PNG, JPEG, TIFF), text and more
  • Offline access- no wifi needed to sign! — You can even sign on a plane!
  •  Most important- everything is legally binding per the eSign Act.

7. Pinterest (App Cost: Free) 

Okay, Okay…we just wanted to sneak this one in here because HELLO!- there are TONS of ideas floating around on that app! From redecorating, to real estate photos, cleaning hacks, home buying process info graphics- you name it! Its on there.

I mean, once you start pinning and making boards its a done deal. This app is seriously addictive.


For more information on how we can make your home buying process smooth and simple, with results as fast as yesterday, call us today! 757-717-1003 or fill out the form below:

The Neighborhood Scoop: Lago Mar

Neighborhoods are important when deciding where to buy your home. How are the neighbors? Is there crime? Is it kid-friendly? How old are the houses? Well Lago Mar was voted one of the top five neighborhoods in Virginia Beach to relocate so we are sure this article is bound to check off some of your needs on that sheet.

Read on to see what the hype is all about!


Lago Mar a neighborhood on the north end of the Currituck Sound in the Princess Anne area of southeastern Virginia Beach, Virginia. Lago Mar lies between Nimmo Road and Sandbridge Road in southern Virginia Beach. Sandbridge Road, which forms Lago Mar’s southern border, is currently the only public road to access the north end of the Currituck Banks Peninsula. Heading east on Sandbridge Road, Lago Mar is the last neighborhood before entering Sandbridge itself, making Lago Mar “The Gateway to Virginia’s Outer Banks”. This road is also part of Virginia Beach’s “Green Line”, which is its boundary for urban growth. Thus Lago Mar lies just where urban conveniences transition into the rural forests and farms of the south.

Real Estate

The median real estate price is $371,686, which is more expensive than 73.4% of the neighborhoods in Virginia and 78.7% of the neighborhoods in the U.S.

The average rental price in Princess Anne is currently $2,849, based on NeighborhoodScout’s analysis. The average rental cost in this neighborhood is higher than 94.6% of the neighborhoods in Virginia.

The real estate is primarily made up of medium sized (three or four bedroom) to large (four, five or more bedroom) single-family homes and apartment complexes/high-rise apartments. Most of the residential real estate is owner occupied. Many of the residences in the neighborhood are newer, built in 2000 or more recently. A number of residences were also built between 1970 and 1999.

Real estate vacancies in Lago Mar are 7.3%, which is lower than one will find in 60.7% of American neighborhoods. Demand for real estate is above average for the U.S., and may signal some demand for either price increases or new construction of residential product for this neighborhood.

Hot Spots & Points to Remember

Reputation:

  • Great for families
  • Low crime rate
  • Amazing school district
  • Retail therapy plus!
  • Joggers, bikers, and hiker paradise

Hotspots:

  • Access to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
  • Nimmo Trail
  • Red Mill Commons Shopping Center
  • Hell’s Point Golf Club (Located on that “Green Line,” we mentioned above)

 

TO SEE HOMES LISTED IN THIS AREA, CLICK HERE!

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying Your First Home

If you are thinking about buying a home you probably have lots of questions about how the process works and where to start. Here are 5 common questions and answers for first-time home buyers.


DOWN PAYMENT- HOW MUCH SHOULD I PUT DOWN? DO I EVEN NEED TO PUT ANY DOWN?

A down payment is the amount of money you give to the mortgage lender also referred to as “put down” to buy a house. A down payment can range from 0 to 20 percent of the purchase price of the house. Eligibility for the lowest down payment options is required. There are many first time homebuyer programs, such as the FHA Plus loan which allows you to nix the down payment up front. Make sure you ask when you meet with your mortgage lender of all your options!

MY PARENTS WANT TO GIFT ME MY DOWN PAYMENT? IS THIS ALLOWED?

When you apply for a mortgage, you will have to disclose the amount of money in your bank account but also the source of the funds. The underwriter (the person at the mortgage company who determines how risky it is for them to lend you money for a house) will look at your regular balance in your bank account over the last 60 days and if there are irregularities in the amount of money coming in, they may ask you for more documentation. For example, if you usually have a $400 balance in your savings account but you received $5,000 in contributions to your house fund as wedding presents then the underwriter may ask for gift letters for that money. This varies depending on normal balances, when you received the gift and how much it was and the underwriters discretion.

So in a nutshell, yes- this is okay as long as you have documentation if this is out of the norm for your bank account.

HOW MUCH HOUSE CAN I AFFORD?

This question can also be asked as “What is your price range?”. A good place to start is your current rent payment. Is this too high? Can you afford to increase your monthly payment and still be comfortable? This will give you good range. You can give this information to your mortgage lender and they will work with you to figure out what a good price point for a home would be for you.

You can also factor in your annual income, an average number for your monthly debts and the amount you will have for a down payment. If you know those three numbers you can use an online affordability calculator to calculate an estimated price point for the amount of house you can afford, but remember that those calculators are not exact. Only your mortgage lender will be able to provide you with a more detailed estimate and get you pre-approved.

Is a REALTOR the same as a real estate agent?

Great question. A real estate agent is a licensed professional who you contract with to help you buy or sell a home. But not all real estate agents are REALTORs. REALTOR®, notice its in all caps, is a trademark of the National Association of REALTORS – a trade organization for real estate agents. If you are a member of this association then you can use the designation REALTOR® and you must uphold the standards of the association and its code of ethics” according to realtor.com.

A real estate agent is just as good as a REALTOR, so you’re not “missing out on service” with either.

HOW MUCH DO I HAVE TO PAY A REAL ESTATE AGENT TO BUY A HOME?

In most, if not all, cases, the seller pays the real estate agent. When the seller hires their real estate agent they define what percentage commission the buyer’s real estate agent will be paid so in that case as a buyer you don’t have to pay out of pocket for your real estate agent. There are some real estate agents who don’t work on a commission but rather a flat fee, like Redfin.


WE HOST FIRST TIME HOMEBUYER SEMINARS MONTHLY!!

It’s a relaxed, no-pressure, environment designed to provide you with the best information out there!

Call today! 757-717-1003

Paint Colors that Will Destroy Your Home Value!

 

Marketing is all about emotion. You want to make your potential clients feel a certain way in order to get your product or service to sell. This is no different in selling your home. Your goal is to make those walking through your home feel like they already live there and are HAPPY. So you need to make sure there aren’t paint colors destroying those images in your potential buyers and that if you do land a buyer it wont drive your homes value down.

While we are not going to go into the entire color spectrum, we will discuss four main colors that are bound to drive the value of your house down. According to  Zillow Digs, there are four paint colors that make real estate pros uneasy. More than 50,000 photos of recently sold homes where studied and it was found that houses with rooms painted certain colors fetched less than their estimated prices.


Lets go ahead and get the worst out of the way now:

 

The words UGLIEST paint color: Pantone 448C…its not pretty. Bedrooms that were painted this color decreased the homes value by $236 less than the expected value. Bathrooms that were painted this color dropped $469. Why anyone would go to the store to search for this color to put on an entire wall warrants another blog post all together.

 


“Eggshell” – This color was the most surprising because any shade of white seems pretty safe. However, buyers seemed to disagree. Kitchens that were painted this shade sold for $82 less and bathrooms seemed to look flat according to most designers.


Terra Cotta: More common in homes, but living rooms painted in this shade sold for $793 below the expected price. That is probably more surprising than the worlds ugliest color.


 

 Shades of Grey: While some grey colors boost home prices like ‘dove grey’ or ‘light grey’ by $1,104, shades like slate grey will plummet the home price down about $1,112.

 

 

 

 

The more you know.

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