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Expert Tips for Navigating the Real Estate Market

My mission at Treu Group Real Estate is to be your best resource for real estate advice. Whether you are a buyer, seller, or investor, I can answer any questions you might have about real estate. Subscribe to this blog to get the latest news on local market trends and receive expert tips for buying or selling a home.

Top 10 Things a Buyer Can Do to Get the Home That They Want with the Market Today

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1. Be sure to hire an agent that understands the market conditions for the price range and product you are purchasing in.

2. If you are obtaining a mortgage, be sure to have a pre-approval.  We see a lot of items missed on pre-approvals so Treu Group buyers always have one of our lenders take a 2nd look.  It gives the other agent confidence that the buyer is solid and can get to the closing table.

3. Hire an agent that is well known in the realtor community. In multiple offer situations, reputation and relationships matter.

4. Understand that bank owned homes will have multiple offers. You have to be competitive to win.  If you don’t like that environment, then bank owned homes are not for you.

5. Be sure your agent gets you into deals first.

6. When you find your new home, make an offer IMMEDIATELY.  It is like Costco, if you wait and go back later, it might be gone.

7. Use a search site like that will allow you to get a real picture of what is for sale., Zillow, and Truila can be frustrating because over ½ pf the properties are under contract.

8. If you’re considering a short sale, be sure your agent really understands which deals can get done.

9. Make sure to structure the deal in the most attractive way to the seller. It is not always the price that is the most important factor to the seller. Closing date, down payment amounts, and inspection periods can also be crucial factors.

10. Be reasonable about expectations.  We ask our clients what their 3 must haves are.  These are the deal breakers.

Keep in mind that the right home always works out if you take the right steps.

Keep Your Home Safe While on Vacation

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With summer fast approaching, you might already have vacation on your I wanted to share with you on this little video clip my favorite safety tips. In fact, I have multiple critical steps to prepare your home for safe keeping while you're away, to keep your nest safe and secure.

This is exactly what I did to prepare my home while I'm on vacation:

The best way to keep your home safe in your absence is to make it appear you are home, leaving absolutely no clue you're actually away. Light, time and noise are your greatest weapons to accomplish this. Follow these tips to ready your home and keep it safe:

- Ask someone you know and trust to keep an eye on your house.

For short trips, ask one of your neighbors to pick up your mail and your newspaper. If you are going to be gone longer, however, be sure to stop by the post office and have your home mail delivery stopped until you return.

Be sure to provide neighbors, friends and family members with emergency phone numbers so you can be reached quickly. It's a good idea to leave a spare house key with a relative or neighbor as well.

- At least a couple of weeks before you leave for vacation, decide what to do about your pets. You may want to have a friend or neighbor stop by each day to provide food, water and exercise. Or you may want to hire a professional pet sitting service or take the pets to a reputable kennel. This decision should be made well in advance so that proper arrangements can be made.

- Use timers on lights, televisions and radios to provide sound and illuminate the inside of your home.

- If you still have a home phone, change the setting on your answering machine so it picks up on the first or second ring—or just turn down the ringer. A constantly ringing phone is also a good sign no one is home.

- For long absences, you may want to turn off the main water valve. This will help avoid problems with frozen pipes in winter and leaking pipes in the warmer months as well as other plumbing issues.

- Keep shades up and blinds and curtains open to make it appear you're home.

- Keep bushes and shrubs near your home's entrance and walkway well trimmed. This will eliminate hiding spots for burglars.

- Keep the outside of your home well lit. Burglars won't go where they can be seen.

- Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway, occasionally moving his or her car indicate your coming and going.

- Leave the air conditioner on. A silent compressor on a hot day is a good indication you aren't home.

- Have the lawn mowed my a friend or lawn service if you are away longer than a week in the warmer months.

- This one is tough for those addicted to Facebook but posting to Facebook where you are at all times you are not only sharing this with your 'friends'. Those posts and photos allow others to find out when you are away and where you are. This isn't as concerning when you are local as you could post a comment or photo as you are ON your way home or just arrived but when your, say, at Disney World, those with ill plans regarding your trip away from home.

- Be sure to turn down the temperature on the hot water heater and unplug televisions and other appliances. These appliances will be drawing electricity whether they are on or not. Unplugging them will help lower your electric bill.

- Turn your thermostats down (or up) before you leave. There is no reason to spend money heating or cooling the home when you are not there.

- Don't forget about the plants. If you are having a friend or pet sitter care for your pets, ask them to take care of your plants as well. Simply soaking the plants with water before you leave is not enough. A better idea is to create a self watering system if you cannot have someone care for the plants. For small plants, make a self watering system by filling a plastic container with pebbles. Then fill the bottom of the container with water. This allows the plants to slowly absorb the moisture they need, without the danger of their roots becoming waterlogged. Larger plants can be mulched with a damp towel or newspaper to prevent the loss of moisture.

- When the day to leave for vacation finally arrives, try not to make that departure too obvious to those passing by. If you have a garage, be sure to pack the car with the garage door closed. If you do not have a garage, you may want to pack a couple of items a day in order to avoid broadcasting to the world that your home will be unoccupied.

- This last tip isn't a security measure for your house but for your credit (you know I always care about that as well) as you need to keep tight check over your credit in order to purchase or refinance your home!

With all the excitement of the upcoming trip we sometimes get carried away, plan only for the trip and security of our home for while we are away and leave for our stress-free trip. But wait!! You suddenly realize the day before you return the date! You've missed your mortgage payment, car payment, credit card, and utility due dates by a week or more! This happens more than I'd like to hear and the credit company doesn't accept this as a viable hardship excuse. :-) So ensure you plan ahead. Go on and sit down to make all the payments needed to be made in advance before your trip and all those due up till a few days after your return for good measure to ensure you don't get tied up with the return home and forget this very important task to protect your credit rating!

As you can see, there is a lot to think about before you jump in the car or on a plane for vacation. Use this checklist as a way of bringing peace of mind to you and your family. Enjoy your vacations without worrying about the safety of your home while you're away.

Post-Wedding Bells Bliss – How to Move In Together Without Losing Either of Your Styles

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Here we are in the middle of wedding season!  So many couples are tying the knot and we are there to witness the beginning of what will hopefully be years of happiness and bliss!  Before they get to that state of wedded bliss though, they will need to move in together. So the big question is “how do you tackle that?”  And we have the perfect answer. Here are four tips on how to seamlessly move in together so that you can focus on enjoying newlywed life instead of stepping on each other’s toes.

“Should We Love It or Lose It?”

The process of combining two homes is definitely harrowing and at times really stressful. One of the things you should do is to decide whether it is necessary to keep it all. Go through all your stuff and ask the question “should we love it or lose it?” then systematically purge the things you do not see useful. Set up three large cartons and label them “Keep”, “Throw” and “Donate”. This will not only make you feel lighter but it will also make your move easier since there will be less stuff to have to cart around.

Compromise on Color Schemes and Décor

Yes, it is the beginning of years of compromise and it starts right here with deciding on the surroundings of your home together. Discuss what styles, themes and color schemes you each find attractive and come to some consensus about how you want to design your new married life home’s interior.

Invest In Quality Pieces of Furniture

For years, you have heard Grandma talk about investing in quality and the same holds true for the furniture of your new home. If you have two old pieces and neither agrees on which to hold on to, pick up a new one but make sure it is a quality piece. Not only will these items last you for years and years, they will also mark the beginning of your new life together.

Personalize the Space to Both Your Personalities

Of course you will be bringing in things from each respective former home but the key to establishing a homestead that suits both of you is to incorporate characteristics unique to you as a couple. Make the space your own by adding some new items whether it be artwork, some new furniture or other things suited to your new space.

Bonus Tip:
If you have not gotten married yet, FHA allows buyers to receive gift funds towards a downpayment so your family and friends can help you get your new home. Unlike conventional mortgage loans, FHA makes it affordable and possible for newly married couples to be able to afford a new home. With today’s record-setting low interest rates it is an excellent time to invest in a home and a perfect way for friends and family to be a part of it!
Keep in mind that the tips we have shared above are designed to make your move easy and as smooth as possible. They are also perfect for anyone you may know that is moving on to college or someone looking to move into a roommate situation. We wish you and your partner years of success and happiness!