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5 Amazing Tips to Get Your Home Ready for a Fall Sale

When the seasons change, there’s always something exciting to look forward to! When it comes to fall, there’s the cooler weather, beautiful foliage and pumpkin spice everything. One thing not to overlook though, are cozy interiors.

If you take a look at Pinterest, you’ll notice everyone is getting their homes prepped for fall. Do you have everything in order to keep up with the latest trends? Check out these amazing tips to get your home ready for fall.

Choose a Rustic Palette:

Color has a huge effect on everything from our mood to our productivity. Take full advantage of the season with a rustic color palette. Include fall colors like vivid orange, yellow and red. Accent with warm brown to really make those seasonal hues pop! Pick up the paintbrush and give your home a refresh with a new coat of paint or consider less expected additions like decor accents spread throughout your home. You can always pack up accessories after fall is over to use again next year.

Refashion your Living Room

The living room is the hub of the home which makes it the perfect place to try out a more festive design. While you may not be willing to take down walls or make major renovations, there are still options that will completely alter your decor.  Try out some new wall art to add some pizazz and flaunt your distinct preferences. Or flaunt your flair with the purchase of a new sofa in unique styles like tufted backs, reclining capabilities or nailhead trims. 

Change Out your Curtains

Curtains are a simple and relatively inexpensive element you can change that still packs a punch in terms of decor. Choose styles in fall colors or go bold with patterned window treatments. Floral curtains can be an exciting touch while geometric patterns will give your home some symmetry. 

Try a New Tablescape

Much like other seasons, there’s a huge emphasis on fall foods. Especially since Thanksgiving is now right around the corner, make sure your table is set and ready to go!  Replacing your tablecloth with a more pastoral aesthetic is sure to make your home feel that much cozier. Go a step further by thinking about all of the fun touches you can add — a centerpiece with pumpkins and gourds are essential! Try something new with some surprisingly modern takes on a cornucopia.

Prioritize your Porch

Make your home the talk of the town with elaborate porch decor! Improve your home’s curb appeal with a fall-ready makeover. Incorporate any and all fall staples — vibrant pumpkins, inviting mums and even friendly scarecrows! Additionally, it may help draw positive attention to your property if you are planning to sell anytime soon. If that’s your plan, don’t forget about all of the important steps to creating an inviting space that will ensure your home is more likely to sell!

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Selling Your Home? Create an Inviting Space

sold sign with realtor

Smart Design Choices to Make the Most of Your Space
No matter what size your living space is, there are a lot of smart design choices to help you make the most of it. You could be living in a small space by choice or necessity, but either way, there’s no need to put up with miniature things and clutter everywhere. Here are some essential tips to transform your home from a claustrophobic area to a fun, comfortable, and functional living space.


Prioritize Organization
The first thing you need to do is get organized. If you’re not one of the lucky people who seem to be born with exceptional organizational skills, then it’s time to learn this skill. Take time to go through your house and plan how you can make the most of your space. Make notes of where you can creatively organize your space. For instance, you might be able to install open shelves in your kitchen for more space, or you could loft your bed in order to add more floor space.

Streamline Everything
When you live in a small house or apartment, it’s essential to constantly evaluate your possessions so that you’re not keeping unnecessary things around. Whether it’s clothes you haven’t worn in years or receipts for stuff you’ve already broken or lost, it’s vital to minimize the clutter as much as you can. In much the same way as learning to get organized, you can also pick up some storage tips that will help you to increase the amount of free space you have. If you can, try to rent a small storage unit where you can house items that you don’t use regularly, but you’d still like to keep, such as holiday decorations, camping/fishing gear, beach umbrellas, and other seasonal belongings.


Leverage Color
Using color to your advantage is something that can totally transform your living space. Painting your home is also one of the most affordable ways of changing its look and feel. You can choose lighter hues for the walls to create an airy effect and make your indoor space feel a lot bigger. When it comes to creating the illusion of space and depth, neutral colors are the best choice. You’ll be able to expand the room with just a coat of paint. You can then add a bit of color and texture to create interest. However, try to stay away from large prints and particularly loud patterns as these tend to dwarf your space, making it feel smaller.


The Bottom Line
When you want to sell your home, there are many other tips and tricks to help you transform any room in your home and make space feel and look a lot bigger than it actually is. Other smart design options include using furnishings that work to visually expand the room, such as low-profile seating to create an illusion of high ceilings. You can also pick furniture that does double duty, such as having a
trunk/coffee table, or a coffee table/fish tank. The sky’s the limit, but you can get started right now by using the three tips outlined above to add more space and depth to so you can make the most of the space in each room.

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First Time Home Buyer Tips

Home buying or selling is stressful. It’s worth knowing what to look out for –and what mistakes to avoid – when buying a home.

Be sure to have your loan pre-approved, not just pre-qualified before going house hunting. You want to be in the best negotiating position. Shop around and then meet with a financial institution to help you understand the mortgage process and your own financial situation. They will be able to better prepare you on knowing what type of down payment you can afford and help you to not make the mistake that is often made – spending all on the down payment and closing costs. You want to be able to cover any unexpected repairs or necessary renovations.

Get the home inspected by a reputable inspector. The seller will have had the home appraised, but you will want to have an inspector look for problems all throughout the home. He will look at the roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical system and make sure the home is functional when you move in.

Keep your emotions in check! Hire the best, most experienced Realtor and he or she will help you to remain level-headed. Take in all of their advice and use their knowledge of the real estate process. There will be many emotional ups and downs when you are buying a home, and your judgment can get clouded. Knowing your price range is important. Do not look at homes over your budget – that is the easiest way to get emotionally sucked in.

Owning a home can be a great investment. As a homebuyer, search for a home that you can add value to, as this ensures a rise in the equity to help you climb the property ladder. Having an experienced Realtor is key to learning about the best location and which neighborhood will always be one that grows. Often it’s best to buy the smallest home on the nicest block of big homes. Doing this will give you plenty of room for building equity as you update the home.

The Bottom Line: It can take weeks or months, even a year to find the home you want to buy. After some time, stress and exhaustion can have a hand in making rash decisions. To stay away from the common pitfalls, having a Realtor by your side is one of the best decisions you can make. He or she will negotiate real estate deals, guide you through the process and give you professional opinions and recommendations, as well as help you keep your emotions in check.

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Title Problems As a Property Buyer

Are you questioning whether you really need title insurance when you buy your home? Every home and piece of land has a history and with a good and thorough title search, you can unpack any issues that could be tied to your purchase. Having title insurance assures you that even after you close on your property, you are protected from any title problems that may arise in the future. What issues?

PUBLIC RECORDS: Mistakes and errors happen but you do not want it affecting your home. The errors can be disastrous and cause you an undue financial burden to resolve. Simple clerical or filing errors could affect the deed or survey of your property.

UNKNOWN LIENS: Prior owners of your property may have left unpaid bills. And, even though the former debt is not your own, banks or other financing companies can place liens on your property for unpaid debts even after you have closed on the sale. This is an especially worrisome issue with distressed properties.

ILLEGAL DEEDS: While the chain of title on your property may appear perfectly sound, it’s possible that a prior deed was made by an undocumented immigrant, a minor, a person of unsound mind, or one who is reported single but in actuality married. These instances may affect the enforceability of prior deeds, affecting prior (and possibly present) ownership.

MISSING HEIRS: When a person dies, the ownership of their home may fall to their heirs or those named within their will. However, those heirs are sometimes missing or unknown at the time of death. Other times, family members may contest the will for their own property rights. These scenarios – which can happen long after you have purchased the property – may affect your rights to the property.

FORGERIES: Unfortunately, we don’t live in a completely honest world. Sometimes forged or fabricated documents that affect property ownership are filed within public records, obscuring the rightful ownership of the property. Once these forgeries come to light, your rights to your home may be in jeopardy.

UNDISCOVERED ENCUMBRANCES:  At the time that you purchase your home, you may not know that a third party holds a claim to all or part of your property – due to a former mortgage or lien, or non-financial claims, like restrictions or covenants limiting the use of your property.

UNKNOWN EASEMENTS: You may own your new home and its surrounding land, but an unknown easement may prohibit you from using it as you’d like or could allow government agencies, businesses, or other parties access to all or portions of your property. While usually non-financial issues, easements can still affect your right to enjoy your property.

BOUNDARY/SURVEY DISPUTES: You may have seen several surveys of your property prior to purchasing, however, other surveys may exist that show differing boundaries. Therefore, a neighbor or other party may be able to claim ownership to a portion of your property.

UNDISCOVERED WILL: When a property owner dies with no apparent will or heir, the state may sell his or her assets, including the home. When you purchase such a home, you assume your rights as the owner. However, even years later, the deceased owner’s will may come to light and your rights to the property may be seriously jeopardized.

THE BOTTOM LINE: A title insurance policy will be your best protection against those and many other title problems that may become known after you close on your transaction.  Title First Agency is proud to be one of the few SSAE 18 certified title agencies in the nation. After you close on your new home, we record the deed and the mortgage at the courthouse (returning the original recorded deed to the new owner and the mortgage to the lender) and prepare the owner’s and lender’s title policies. Following the recording of the deed and mortgage, the buyer will receive (via the mail) the original recorded deed and the original title insurance policy, if applicable. It is wise to keep all of these documents in a safe place.

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Should I buy a Home or Keep Renting?

The American Dream. Owning your own home. Is it your time to have a piece of that dream? Are you ready? Because if you aren’t there can be some big financial consequences. Here are some pros and cons to owning a home:

PRO: Build Equity. Home equity is the difference in the market value of your home and how much you owe. So let’s say you’ve taken the mortgage and the market value of your house went up. You still pay out a fixed mortgage sum, so there is a difference between those two numbers and that difference can be put to good use, that’s your valuable asset.

PRO: Tax Benefits. Owning a home is a huge investment. Even if you’re not pulling your equity loan, there is always a chance to sell your house later for a better price. Today, as a homeowner you’ll also be entitled to tax benefits.

PRO: A Monthly Mortgage Payment Can Be Lower Than Rent. You should understand that it works only for some cities and states, but sometimes the monthly mortgage payment is lower than the rental payment or, at least, equal. This is a pretty good reason to prepare the down payment and take the mortgage.

PRO: Improve Your Home The Way You Want. Owning a home gives you home improvement freedom. There is no landlord who says what you can and cannot do while decorating and improving your house. Renovate your property or completely redesign your bath, you can do whatever you want with your own place. This is something worth paying for.

CON: You’re In That Same Home It Until You Sell It. While you have the freedom to make the home exactly the way you want it, you don’t have the freedom to leave your mortgage. the freedom mentioned above, when you take a mortgage for a house, you’re stuck with this particular place for a long time. When you are renting, it’s as simple as finding a new rental and off you go.

CON: Property Taxes. As a homeowner, there are plenty of tax benefits, but you are also obligated to pay property taxes which is usually collected by the municipal government. The value of the property tax is determined by multiplying the property tax rate by the market value of the particular property. Market changes a lot and it means that municipalities may recalculate the property tax.

CON: Home Repairs and Maintenance. The house is fully yours and it means that all the repairs and the whole maintenance process are on you. It’s always fun to call a landlord and ask him to fix a sink, but now you’re on your own and, of course, you pay for all the materials, work process and spend money on keeping your house well-suited for living in it.

The Bottom Line: For many people, owning a home makes more sense financially and from a lifestyle perspective than renting a home. Owning and renting each has its advantages, but what’s best for you depends on your circumstances. Crunch all the numbers.

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Title Search Company for Buyers and Sellers

Resources

The experts at Title First oversee and perform thousands of closings each year. When using Title First, you can sign confidently on the dotted line knowing that all details of your title transfer and closing are in proper order. We are here to answer any questions you may have about buying or selling a home, and our team will guide you through the entire process.

BUYER

Buying a home may be the single, largest financial purchase in your life and can signify a much-anticipated milestone. That’s why Title First offers a host of resources to help you understand this important personal transaction.

SELLER

Selling a home can be complicated and finding the right owner’s title insurance is just one piece of the puzzle. Title First can simplify this process by giving you the tools you need to get you through the selling process.

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Sell Your Home in August

The most important fact to consider if you want to sell your home in August is the beginning of the new school year. If a family hasn’t found the home they want yet, there is just enough time to find a home, close the deal, and move in, sometimes with time to spare. Make sure your home has the edge by making it move-in ready and priced right. However, be aware that because fewer people are looking for a new house, buyers might try and control the negotiations. It is important to have the best Realtor to make sure that the scales do not tip too far out of your favor.

Consider this if you fear August is not the ideal time to put your home on the market – there are buyers who actually wait because they don’t want to be a part of the Spring homebuying competition. They feel that there are too many buyers out in Spring, ready and willing to raise their offers to beat out any competition. However, again, the importance of a good Realtor can’t be stressed enough to help with negotiations.

Create the very best Summer curb appeal for the drive-bys. Mow your lawn often. Trim bushes, plant flowers, update mulch and sweep the driveway and walkway. Paint your front door and replace the hardware if need be. If you have front porch clean the furniture, add pillows and flowers.

Inside your home, there is nothing worse than a stuffy room on a hot day. If you have ceiling fans, have them spinning and jack your air conditioning down cooler than you like. Let all the light in. Tie back heavy curtains and open blinds.

The Bottom Line: August is sandwiched between two incredibly busy months. Both July and September start out with holiday weekends. August may be the month where some families go back to school, but many school districts around the country actually wait until after Labor Day to start the school year. If you think you missed the boat because you didn’t get your house listed in the normal peak season, August is still a good time to list, and possibly even better! 

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The Visual Marketing of Instagram and Real Estate

Realtors: Instagram should be a part of your social media business marketing plan. While you may not land your biggest home buyer or seller, using this platform to market your business, the culture of your business and the value can absolutely improve your reputation and help you to reach people others can’t. Set up a business account separate from your personal profile and use the analytics you will have access to.

Learn exactly who likes your posts. You will have the ability to reach out to potential leads just by seeing who “liked” your post. Expect 10x more engagement on Instagram than Facebook. Don’t be afraid to be personal.

One billion people use Instagram every month. And, 500 million users login and use the Instagram platform every day.

Instagram is a free form of advertising and almost everyone knows about it. Right now anyone with a smartphone, from kids to a retired relative is on the platform. However, for almost nothing, another option for advertising your real estate listings on Instagram is to promote individual posts. When you have a business account, Instagram gives you the option to reach more people by promoting posts.

It shows off real estate listings. Post stunning photos, video walkthroughs and anything else that might sell the home. Beyond the photos, show your personality. The homes may be fantastic, but sell them YOU so they not only come to see your listing on your page, but your personality and let them learn if you might be someone they want to work with.

Hashtags are the new SEO. As a Realtor, you can rank higher in an Instagram search with the perfect hashtag than you may be ranking with your traditional SEO approach to search results pages. Do the research and find other Realtors that cater to the same audience you want to find. Learn the hashtags they use, the calls to action they include, the captions they write and the content they share.

Make your post beautiful and post often and enjoy the rewards of more engagement and traffic. Posts with a lot of likes will be at the top of the users’ feeds, thanks to the Instagram algorithms. Be sure to use video in your social media marketing strategy. Right now it is the most powerful way to connect with anyone who follows you and their friends. Right now, Instagram allows you to post 15-second videos to your Stories and 60-second videos to your feed.  Use it.

The Bottom Line: Like it or not, the internet has become the go-to resource for would-be homeowners as they prepare to purchase a home and all real estate agents need to be using Instagram to market to potential clients. Using Instagram for real estate takes time and effort, but the process of creating posts and engaging with others online can be rewarding. Have an Instagram presence that you work on daily, even if briefly, and get users engaged in what you have to offer. While running ads on Instagram can be a useful step when starting off, the momentum comes from continued social engagement.

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Buying a Foreclosed Home

Buyers and Sellers

Buying a foreclosed home – bank-owned – comes with risk but can be a great deal. Foreclosed homes are inundating the real estate market and can be a great opportunity.

Get an Inspection. Foreclosed homes are sold “as-is” and are owned by banks that don’t and won’t make repairs to the property. It must be understood that in most cases these homes have been poorly maintained as the owner often vacates the home because they could not make their mortgage payments. The maintenance and condition can be an issue because of the circumstances under which the owner had to move out and the amount of time the house has been unoccupied. Not every bank-owned property needs repairs – but many do. While you can’t get the bank to fix the problems the inspector finds, in many cases, you can use it to negotiate a lower sales price. An inspection helps you to know exactly what you are getting into.

Get comparative market analysis. Never assume that a foreclosed home is listed below market value. There is a common misconception that buyers will get a good deal on foreclosed properties. The bank’s goal is to recoup as much of their money as they can and will put the home on the market for more than it is worth. A good Realtor can help you know what prices of other homes in the neighborhood are selling. Knowing this information coupled with the inspection results, you will be better able to determine what price you will pay for the home.

The process to close on a foreclosure can take more time. The offer you prepare to make will go to a bank, not to an individual seller. There are many layers of approval that the offer must go through. Foreclosed homes more times than not run into title issues, such as uncovered liens on the property that can further delay and complicate the situation. Using a Realtor that is skilled in foreclosures is highly recommended.

The Bottom Line: Learn as much as you can about the foreclosed property as possible. Know your own financial situation because often buyers underestimate how much money they will spend to fix the property to make it habitable. A home in need of repairs is a big project to take on. Assess how you will pay for the property. If you don’t intend to pay cash, you should have a preapproval letter from a bank or other lender. Use a Realtor and consult with a real estate attorney who understands foreclosure law in your state.

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Thinking of Buying a Home But Have Bad Credit? Here’s What You Can Do

The financial path to homeownership can be difficult—especially if you’re building your credit score from scratch or rebuilding it after a financial disaster. Lending companies can be fussy, and if your credit scores are low, the chances of you finding a lender willing to provide a home loan with favorable terms isn’t always likely. But it’s not impossible! If this sounds like the position you’re in, consider these four tips to help you buy a house even if you have bad credit.

Tip 1: Find Out What Your Credit Score Is
The first order of business when determining your home financing options is to get your most recent credit score. Contrary to popular belief, checking your own credit won’t actually lower it. That’s because doing so is considered to be a “soft inquiry,” or a case where your inquiry does not appear on your credit report or impacts your credit scores. It’s also important to keep in mind that you have numerous credit scores lenders might use to qualify you, but you’ll minimally want to find out what your scores are from each of the major credit-reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can request a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months from any of the agencies above.

Tip 2: Look for Errors on Your Credit Report
While assessing your credit report, you may want to be on the lookout for errors that can harm your credit scores. Delinquencies and derogatory marks alone can make up 35 percent of your FICO score. Check to make sure all personal information (name, address, employer, etc.), public records (bankruptcies, repossessions, foreclosures, etc.), credit accounts (payment history and open accounts), and inquiries (applications for credit) are accurate. If you spot an error, file a dispute with the credit-reporting agency with which you identified the error online, by phone, or by mail for a chance to correct the issue and improve your credit.

Tip 3: Assess Your Options
Once you know your credit scores, you can begin to understand what types of loans and rates you qualify for. Although the scores a lender chooses to use when reviewing your credit can vary, most use FICO® scores, which range from 300 to 850 and 250 to 900 for specific industries. To obtain a loan with the most favorable interest rates, you’ll generally need to have scores in the mid-700s or higher. If your scores fall between the mid-600s or lower, you may find it difficult to find a lender willing to provide you with a loan. There are, in fact, some lenders who make use of FHA-backed loans, which require no minimum credit score or a down payment; however, this option can be a slippery slope, as each lender is allowed to set their own requirements, which might call for a substantial amount of money up front. Whatever the case, weigh your options carefully and choose whichever won’t put you under undue financial duress.

Tip 4: Rebuild Your Credit
If, after weighing your options, you don’t find a loan with favorable enough conditions, it might be a good idea to put a hold on buying a house and increase your credit scores. Ideally, you should start this process over a year or two in advance to allow enough time for your efforts to take effect. For instance, you’ll have more time to pay off existing debt and for delinquencies to age off of your report. Throughout this process, it may be beneficial to switch from a traditional bank that may deny you access to your checking account in lieu of poor credit and switch to a second chance banking option that won’t penalize you for credit mistakes and will work with you to enhance your financial livelihood. By simply making nominal increases to your credit scores, you might open up new doors that can help you purchase the home you’ve always wanted.

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