Lynn D'Avolio
Century 21 North East | 801-597-2857 | lynn1@soldbylynn.com


Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 8/21/2018

Although you may be tempted to spontaneously make an offer on a house that triggers happy memories of your childhood, it's usually best to approach house buying in a methodical, dispassionate way.

Your emotions will come into play as you visit different listings, but they should be tempered by a realistic budget, a list of personal requirements, and a sprinkling of "wish list" items -- ones that will help make your new home extra special!

A lot will depend on whether you're a first-time home buyer or a seasoned home owner. In all likelihood, the more houses you've owned, the higher your expectations will be. That's certainly not a hard-and-fast rule, but it does lend itself to reason. As is the case with most things in life, experience tends to clarify our needs, our tolerances, our quality standards, and our lifestyle preferences.

Buying a home is a huge decision for two reasons: It not only impacts our financial situation (both immediate and long term), but it effects our quality of life for the foreseeable future. So, similar to the institution of marriage, buying a house is a commitment that should not be taken lightly!

Fortunately, there are several effective ways to help ensure that the home you buy will live up to your expectations. One of the most steadfast "anchors" you can have in your search for the ideal home is a seasoned real estate agent. They have the training, knowledge, and communication skills to help you find the house, the right property, and the optimal location that will best suit your needs.

Your agent will work closely with you to create a list of house hunting requirements and preferences. Although the location, school district, and number of bedrooms will probably have a major bearing on your decision, there are literally dozens of other features and characteristics that will influence your final choice. Among those will be square footage, number of bathrooms, and the property's tax rate.

Standard checklists that include a wide range of home buyer requirements are available online and through your real estate agent. These checklists will help you rank each house you visit and objectively compare the homes you like the best. While flexibility is a necessary part of a successful house-hunting campaign, there will invariably be items you won't want to compromise on.

By deciding in advance what your new home should include, you'll create a clear vision of the type of living environment you and your family will find the most satisfying. Whether you're looking for a home with an open floor plan, a screened-in porch, one or more fireplaces, a finished basement, a two-car garage, or ample space between neighbors, getting your requirements down on paper is the first step to turning your house-buying goals into reality!





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 8/14/2018

Many house hunters are so focused on finding the ideal house, yard, and neighborhood, that they sometimes sacrifice one of their main objectives: a short commute to work.

At first, a long drive to the office may seem like a small price to pay for finding your ideal house, but your outlook might change when the tedium of commuter gridlock becomes a daily burden.

Fortunately, there are ways to ease the stress of being stuck in rush-hour traffic twice a day.

Car pooling: By sharing driving responsibilities with one or two other people, you can reduce the overall stress of your trip to the office. You can also save money on gas, highway tolls, and parking fees. Assuming you find carpooling companions whose company you enjoy, time will pass a lot faster. Then, of course, there's the advantage of less wear and tear on your car. Although carpooling may not be as idyllic as living 15 or 20 minutes from work, it can be an effective way to ease the burden of back-and-forth driving.

Telecommuting: As technology advances and more and more people are adapting to it, the option of working from home is becoming increasingly popular. When you consider the many options there are for document sharing and communicating remotely, you may have a strong case for proposing a work-from-home arrangement with your employer. Even though it may be necessary to meet face-to-face with coworkers, colleagues, and clients a few days a week, the ability to split your work time between home and office can save you time, money, and aggravation. As long as you can maintain your productivity working from home, it may turn out to be a life-changing arrangement! Granted, it doesn't work for everyone, but it may be well worth looking into -- at least on a part-time basis.

Public Transportation: If you happen to live close to a train station, then public transportation might be the perfect solution to an otherwise long, tedious drive into the city. Instead of concentrating on road signs and traffic conditions, you can read a book, listen to your favorite music, or prepare for a meeting or presentation. You can also check your email, get a head start on your work day, or even sneak in a few minutes of sleep or meditation.

While the best option for many people is to buy a home that's within 30 minutes of their job or business, that may be difficult to accomplish for couples working in different locations. Long commutes can infringe on important aspects of your life, though, including family time, relaxation time, and being able to get things done around the house. Not having enough time to "recharge your battery," every day, can eventually take its toll on your health, your relationships, and your outlook on life. If finding a house close to work is not panning out, then alternatives like telecommuting, carpooling, and public transportation may be, at least, a partial solution.





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 8/7/2018

There is a science to selling your home at the best price and within the shortest period of time, but it's not always an exact science!

Although you can't control market conditions, seasonal fluctuations, or the condition of your neighbors' property, you are still in the driver's seat when it comes to pricing, curb appeal, and the interior condition of your home.

Assuming there's no legal snags or major "red flags" about the condition or appearance or your home, the selling price you set may make the difference between a fast sale and house that lingers on the market for months on end. Many house hunters and (all) real estate agents are quite savvy about property values and real estate prices. If the selling price of your home is based on emotional factors or the amount of money you need to get back in order to purchase your next house, then there's a good chance you'll be pricing yourself out of the market. That's where your real estate agent comes in. They will help you set a realistic asking price that will favorably position it to similar properties in your neighborhood and community.

While everyone wants to get the maximum return on their real estate investment, there's usually a limited amount of "wiggle room" between the appraised value of your home and the amount of money a potential buyer would be willing to pay for it. Since it may be difficult for you, as a homeowner, to be objective when determining a realistic price for your home, it's often beneficial to have a comparative market analysis done by a real estate agent or professional appraiser.

Another reason for consulting with professionals involves the need to be objective about home improvements. Some home sellers have a difficult time accepting the fact that their asking price can't always reflect the full cost of recent home improvements. Home additions, updates, and recent remodeling work can have a positive impact on your home's asking price, but it's usually not a dollar-for-dollar return on investment.

If you're preparing to put your house on the market in the near future, it pays to do a little online research, have your property professionally appraised, and/or work with a real estate agent who will do a comparative analysis of your home's value. Other things you can do to increase the likelihood of getting your home sold quickly include a thorough top-to-bottom cleaning, applying a fresh coat of paint where needed, and "staging" your home to appeal to the widest variety of potential buyers. While that might include making some major changes to your home's décor, its landscaping, or even furniture arrangement, the rewards of a speedy sale often justify the effort and short-term inconvenience of getting your home ready for the close scrutiny of house hunters, home inspectors, and buyers' agents!





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 7/31/2018

If you’re buying a fixer upper, whether you plan to live on the property or flip it, there are plenty of things that you’ll need to consider. So you can budget appropriately, below, many of the costs and fees are laid to so that you can see what you’ll need to budget for when rehabilitating a home.



The Overall Costs


The costs that you’ll incur in buying and finishing a home that needs to be rehabilitated are as follows:


  • The team needed for rehabilitation
  • The purchase price of the property
  • The cost of owning the property
  • The cost of selling the property (if you plan on flipping the home)


The Team


The people that you put together to rehab your home will be very important to the entire rehabilitation process. You should take the time to research each person that you’re hiring to be sure that they are a good fit for the job.


Professionals who will be involved in the process include:


  • Lender
  • Attorney
  • Realtor
  • Contractor 
  • Insurance agent
  • Home inspector


You can ask your realtor or other trusted contacts for recommendations. Putting a team in place helps to make the entire, sometimes cumbersome process of house rehabilitation a bit smoother. 


Buying The Property


These costs are pretty standard as if you were buying any other home. You’ll need to pay closing costs, attorneys fees, realtor fees, and more. Costs typically included in a home purchase are:


  • Inspection
  • Purchase price
  • Closing costs
  • Appraisal


You should budget for all of these typical home buying costs when buying a rehab home. 


The Costs Of Home Rehabilitation


This is where things get expensive. You’ll need to first pay a contractor just to consult with them to see how they will create your vision for the property. You could also take another route an consult with a home inspector who has experience in construction. They can give you an idea of what the construction expense will be and what needs to be addressed. 


When you do get to meet with contractors, you’ll want to understand their construction experience and feel comfortable that they can produce the work that you need at a high level of quality.  


Owning A Home


Once you have the home in need of rehabilitation in your possession, you’ll need to pay the typical costs of any homeowner. These include:


  • Mortgage payments
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Maintenance


Even if you’re not currently occupying the home, once the property is purchased, all of these costs will need to be covered and considered. 


If you decide to flip the property and sell it, you’ll need to consider additional costs including realtor’s fees and other closing costs.  





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 7/24/2018

For home sellers, accepting a homebuyer's offer represents one of many steps you'll need to complete to finalize your home sale. In fact, accepting a homebuyer's proposal provides no guarantees, and a homebuyer likely will conduct a home inspection that may determine whether he or she moves forward with a home purchase.

Ultimately, a home inspection may make or break your home sale. But if you spend some time preparing for a home inspection, you can improve your chances of accelerating the home selling process.

Here are three tips to help home sellers get ready for a home inspection.

1. Clean Up Your Home's Interior and Exterior

A home inspector will investigate every nook and cranny of your house. As such, you'll want to ensure your residence dazzles when a home inspector visits, as any flaw could damage your chances of finalizing your home sale.

Conduct an extensive clean-up of your house's interior and exterior – you'll be happy you did. With a neat, tidy home, you'll be able to improve your chances of making a positive impression on a home inspector.

Plus, evaluating your residence before a home inspection ensures you can identify and address any minor flaws before the evaluation. That way, you'll be able to eliminate any problems and improve your chances of a fast, seamless home inspection that won't jeopardize your home sale.

2. Ensure All Areas of Your Home Are Easily Accessible

A home inspector will want to examine your hot water heater, your home's siding and more, so you'll want to make every area of your home easily accessible to a home inspector to guarantee he or she can perform the assessment properly.

Although a home inspector may uncover a variety of problems with your residence, the assessment represents a valuable learning opportunity for both you and the homebuyer. Thus, if all areas of your home are easily accessible, you may be able to make the most of this opportunity, learn about hidden problems with your residence and work to resolve these issues accordingly.

3. Consult with Your Real Estate Agent

Let's face it – a home inspection can be stressful, particularly for home sellers who want to finalize a home sale as soon as possible. Luckily, your real estate agent can help you minimize stress and ensure you know exactly what to expect before, during and after a home inspection.

Your real estate agent can answer any of your home inspection questions and ensure you are fully prepared for the assessment. In addition, your real estate agent will collaborate with you and the homebuyer. And if problems are discovered during a home inspection, your real estate agent will help you determine the best course of action.

When it comes to a home inspection, there is no need to worry. If you use the aforementioned tips to prepare for a home inspection, you'll be able to improve your chances of speeding up the home selling process.