The RE/MAX Associates Louisville Real Estate Blog

5 Steps to Avoid Buying a Money Pit

If you are buying a home, but have a bad feeling that it could be costlier than it appears, you may be right. Don’t buy a home that will turn into a money sucking black hole. A black-hole-home is a home that turns out needing what seems to be an endless amount of repairs, costing you a pretty penny frequently. Homeowners have lost their minds over these homes.

There are strategies that buyers can act to prevent their future home from becoming a bust. Here are the five steps to avoid this disaster.

Attend inspections

Be present at all the inspections; from the overall home inspection, to the pest inspection, roof, and other inspections. The inspector will physically show you what the problem is, and what needs to be done to fix it. They’ll tell you how urgent these issues are, and what they might cost. While being there you have the ability to ask them questions, which is the best thing you can do for yourself.

Read reports and disclosures

Reading what they’ve reported is crucial to knowing if you’re buying a money pit or not. You will not only want to read all the reports by inspectors, but any provided by the seller. In their reports you will want to read up on any repairs they have made, repeated repairs, water and leaky issues, or anything else that is essential to a home functioning properly.

Take note of which repairs have greater urgency and which ones will be costlier. Talk to your agent if there are any questions they can answer, and lead you in the best direction.

Get multiple repair bids

Even though the inspector gave you a “price”, it’s rarely accurate. Home buyers find themselves in the middle of the black hole once they see all the repairs stacking up. In order to get the best deal possible,...

Is Your Real Estate Agent Sabotaging Your Home Sale?

One would expect their real estate agent to be busting their butt day and night to sell your home, but is it possible they are lounging around your swimming pool doing the bare minimum to get your home sold. They might be sabotaging your home sale right beneath your nose. It’s usually not intentional, but these are the signs to see if they are holding up the sale of your house.

Your agent is taking a low commission (or doesn’t offer a competitive commission to buyers agent)

A low commission sounds good to any seller, but on the other hand it isn’t enticing at all for the buyer’s agent. The standard 6% in most markets is usually split 50/50 between agents. If they are receiving a 5% commission, the 2.5% isn’t that enticing to buyer’s agents, meaning they will be reluctant to show your house.

Your agent is MIA

This may not happen until you’ve signed the 90-day exclusivity contract with your agent, but if they go missing in action, and don’t respond to any mode of communication you send, that is a huge red flag. Their paycheck comes with the transaction of your house, so they should be free to talk to you at any time of the day. If they aren’t returning your calls or emails promptly, they probably don’t want to be working with you in the first place. You want an agent who will return your calls ASAP, and who will be calling you all the time.

Your agent is a people pleaser

They’re a people pleaser by telling you’re your home is worth way more than it actually is. Some agents tend to lie about the real condition of the market, and a home’s value just to get the listing. Everyone wants a realistic price, but if the agent over prices your home, it may end up costing you in the long-run. If this...

Negotiating with Landlords in Winter

Winter time usually becomes a renters market. As the temperature drops, so does your competition for available units. Few people are going to leave their lease to go look for a new one during the winter months, making this a renters market.

If you are looking to rent this month, you should try to negotiate the best deal you can for yourself. Here are six strategies to improve your living situation.

Use the cold to get a good deal

Because it is a renter’s market, this means you have more leverage while bargaining with your landlord. Landlords usually lower their prices after their property has been empty for three months. Keep an eye out for the units that sit empty, and reach out to the landlord once it’s evident they’ve been empty.

Grab a temporary discount

This is a national fact: renters want to pay as little as possible, and landlords always want the highest margins they can get. Whatever you do, don’t ask them to negotiate rent, because they won’t go for it. They will see you as trying to devalue their investment. Other terms like early payments could be negotiated.

Get a longer lease period

If you know you will be in this spot for longer than the normal 12 month lease, it’s well within the possibility to lock in a payment without having to worry about if it will ever increase.

If your lease ends at the end of the year, and you know what you want to renew, ask them for a 16, or 18 month lease. The odds of this being granted to you depends if your payment is on time. This way their place becomes free again in the middle of the summer, and new tenants are likely to move in as opposed to winter.

Let your perfect record do the talking

If your renting...

How to Detox Your Bedroom in 10 Steps

We spend an entire third of our lives asleep, most of it being it in our own bedrooms. Some people think their bedroom is their safe space where nothing can touch them, but in fact there’s plenty of stuff in there to harm you. Things like chemicals, pollutants, and even radiation from electrical devices.

Lucky for you there’s no one you can call, because clearing it out by yourself is simple. Learn how to detox your room if you are a renter, or the owner. Doing this will surely improve your well-being, health, and quality of sleep.

Diss the devices

TV’s, phones, laptops, and tablets are all distracting you from sleep. Believe it or not, these devices emit enough light to trick your brain into thinking it’s supposed to wake up. They also emit a low level of radiation. The best way to fight this is to vanquish your room of all electronics. I understand if the TV needs to stay, but you should at least unplug it and throw a towel over it.

New mattress

Inspect your mattress to see what it’s made of. Some are made of polyurethane foam, which emits VOC’s; also known as volatile organic compounds. These are the biggest source of indoor air pollution. Oddly enough these VOC’s have been linked to respiratory problems, skin irritation, and cancer.

There’s also formaldehyde, which is a sticky substance used in mattresses. This lovely stuff has been linked to allergies, lungs, asthma, nose, and throat cancers. You will want to switch to an organic cotton, or low-chemical VOC mattress. You will want to upgrade immediately if your mattress is before 2004. Another fun fact, PBDE is a chemical prominent in flame retardants. These have just as many health concerns as the VOC’s.

Go low or no VOC

VOC’s also can be in...

7 New Years Resolutions Homeowners Can Get Behind

The New Year is fast approaching, and we all will have some resolutions to try to uphold. Some are attainable, others we are just flat out lying to ourselves. These new changes don’t particularly need to be life-changing, so here are some simple ones when it comes to real estate resolutions. These are attainable, and will pay you fortune down the road.

Make extra mortgage payments

Chances are we all have mortgages, and that number slowly gets smaller. You are mostly paying interest for the first long-while, but if you can muster up enough cash to make the extra payments per month, your debt will shrink much quicker. This will likely save you tens of thousands of dollars if you can make double payments multiple times per year. Just be sure to tell the loan officer, this extra payment is going towards the principal.

Get a new homeowner’s insurance quote

Insurance renews every year, and you probably didn’t know that or think much about it.  Each year, you could be eligible for new discounts that weren’t originally on the table. Insurance companies won’t be calling you to notify you that you now qualify for whatever discount. Call your agent yearly, and see if you can get an extra discount here-and-there. If not, start shopping for a better policy elsewhere.

Have your home reassessed for tax purposes

Homes get reassessed every few years by whatever county they are in. This means your property value could increase or decrease year to year, but it’s not documented. You could be paying too much in taxes in some cases. Most states allow free online assessment requests. Watch out for scams though, they are typically outside companies offering small assessment fees.

Get an energy assessment...

Why the Mortgage Rates Dropped After the Fed Rate Hike

At the end of the year in December, the Federal Reserve actually increased rates for the first time in almost a decade. Surprisingly, mortgage rates actually dropped when this happened. How’d this happen and will the trend likely hold up for home buyers in 2016?

Immediate mortgage rete reaction to Fed meeting

Majority of U.S. mortgage loans up to $417,000 are pooled into bonds called Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), and they are traded around the global market. During the course of a trading day, mortgage rates will fall as the price of these MBS’s rise, and vice versa.

On December 16, the mortgage rates rose when investors sold MBS ahead of the meeting that day. While expecting the Feds would raise rates at the end of the year, and not knowing how the Fed might position 2016 rate policy entirely, MBS investors played the conservative card, and sold before the meeting.

Once it was announced that rates were raised, the Fed claimed they would only raise it .25%, and will take a “gradual” approach to tightening the policy from there.

Bond markets didn’t go into a tizzy, but reacted favorably, and MBS buying resumed, pushing mortgage rates down.

Mortgage rate outlook based on revised Fed policy

Markets are predicting this “gradual” approach means raising interest rates four times throughout the year to total the hike at 1%.

The fed Funds Rate is supposed to influence broad rate markets overall, not to directly impact mortgage rates. For example: the last time the Fed lifted fed Funds was from June 2004 to July 2006, hiking a total of 4.25%. While all this was happening a 30-year fixed rate mortgage only rise 0.5%.

If 2016 estimates call for Fed Funds to rise, mortgage rates probably won’t rise by that full amount. However, there happens to be another element of Fed...

Best Saving Strategies for Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials

If your plan is to save money for the upcoming year, you will need a plan. Your plan will be determined by how old you are, and what strategy best fits your current stage of life. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size fits all, but there are certain strategies dependent on your financial obligations in life.

Baby Boomers (51-69)

As a Baby Boomer, you are part of the huge generation which makes up over a fourth of the American population. You obviously are in better financial shape than generations after you, but there’s a good shot you don’t have a ton saved for retirement. Only 60% of Baby Boomers have admitted to having a sound retirement account. Chances are you don’t have a pension, and have endless questions about Social Security and Medicare.

If you have these endless questions, and little retirement, you probably feel a bit uneasy. You seriously have to crunch now to start saving, or you may have to give up your lifestyle. Here are a few steps to get started.

  • Go back to work
  • Live within your means
  • Accelerate your retirement savings
  • Make sure your investments are spread out, and not all in one place.
  • Consider long-term care insurance

If you happen to be an empty nester, and still providing for kids, start taking care of yourself fist; it’s their turn to go through life on their own.

Generation Xers (36-50)

Most of these Gen Xers were born between 1965 and 1979, and are in full swing of trying to build their careers and families right now. Some are also caring for their elderly parents. Watching and managing your cash flow is extremely challenging, given this is the most expensive time of your life.

What you want to do is pay yourself first. Each payday set aside a portion of your money so you don’t spend it. If you can, have someone...

4 Numbers That Determine Your Buying Power

Buying a house is a lengthy process, and there is a list of things to consider before signing your name for the last time. While you are sizing up the house, mortgage lenders are looking at a few specific numbers that could paint another financial picture for you. You will want to have a sense of how you stand in these four areas before you even begin your house hunt.

Credit Score

This score is the most basic way lenders analyze you, looking at your creditworthiness, which is your ability to pay back your loan each month. Five factors determine your credit score, with each having its own importance. Here’s how it breaks down: payment history (35%), amounts owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), credit mix (10%), and new credit (10%).

Having a low credit score doesn’t always mean you don’t qualify, but it does make this more challenging. Your interest rate is also determined by your score, having higher payments for lower scores. On the other hand, having better scores makes payments less expensive.

Down Payment

Cash will remain king even though times are changing. The more money you can put down upfront the more buying power you have in the end. There are many benefits to having the prerequisite of 20% down. Putting the 20% down, or more, can eliminate the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI), and let you be able to negotiate for lower interest rates.

It all comes down to how committed you appear, and how financially ready you are to make a giant purchase.

Debt-to-income Ratio

Having a good steady income is excellent, but it isn’t everything when determined your mortgage qualifications. Lenders are looking for assurance you can pay your mortgage back on top of all the other expenses you have. They will begin looking at your front-end...

7 Incentives for Buy A Home In December

Buying a home in December is uncommon, but not a bad idea. The buying competition is lower; sellers are a bit more motivated, and the tax at the end of the year benefits. If you are in the market and it’s nearing the end of the year, take a look at the benefits of winter buying, call your agent and let him know you want to pull the trigger.

Bargain Prices

December is a month in which people are frantically shopping, and attending holiday parties which aren’t always for home buying. Let this work in your favor – the marketplace with have fewer buyers, and the homes on the market will be priced to sell, and that means less offers to take away from yours.

Motivated Sellers

When homes are on the market in December, there’s a reason. It could be a few reasons; job relocation, financial troubles, changes of circumstance, or just want to move. In any case, this gives you leverage to negotiate a good deal for yourself. Try lowballing them, and see if you can find a closing date that works best for you.

Tax Benefits

Buying a home this year will look good on your bottom line when tax season rolls around. Closing by Dec. 31st means you can deduct property taxes, mortgage interest, origination points of your loan, and interest costs, the entire time building your equity. The money savers are in the deductions during the early years of your loan when you are mostly paying interest.

Vendor Availability

Moving companies are quite slow in December, which lets you book them in short notice. You can also get the prime time moving slots, and request a little extra effort on their part like bringing blankets and packing materials. You can also use this strategy for other services like repair men, inspectors,...

5 Home Buyer Incentives

In any market there are sellers who are driven to get it over with, and just want to move. Often times these deals are driven by incentives, which inspire sellers to make their homes more attractive. Some sellers even have to put a little more effort during the slower months when homes don’t move as quickly.

If you are wanting to sell your home, but are concerned it could be a difficult one to sell, try offering buyers something that will be difficult to walk away from. Below are several ideas you might not have thought of, which can be offered from the start, or thrown in along the way to keep the buyer close.

Buying the interest rate down

Very rarely does a home buyer not need a mortgage to buy their house, but for the rest of us that do this one’s for you. Banks look into several factors before loaning money, such as the condition of the market, and when you apply. When you want to get a low rate, you usually will be forced to pay an upfront fee, called a point. Paying this upfront is called “buying down the rate,” and sellers have the power to do this for the buyer too.

Let’s say the bank offers the buyer three percent on a30-year fixed mortgage, the buyer or seller can then pay one percent of the loan amount to receive an interest rate in the ballpark of 2.75 percent. This is lower payments for the buyer, which could save him tremendously in the long run. The savings could be even greater if you have a higher rate on y our 30-year note.

Include window coverings and furniture

Buying furniture if you have none can be quite an expensive ordeal. Some homeowners will renovate their homes, and then pick furniture that best fits their new look. It’s also not uncommon for buyers to offer to buy the furniture inside.

If your home has specific furniture that might not fit well in your new home, try offering the...

Your last Minute Real Estate Tax Breaks For Buyers

2016 is right around the corner and so are the taxes that come along with it. Prepare yourself for 2016 by knowing what burdens you’ll have and what real estate tax deductions you can use to save you some money.

In 2015, the senate approved several tax extender bills into 2016. Many tax deductions and credits had expired, and they extended them to roll into 2016 to give us taxpayers a break until the end of the year. The bill they’ve passed makes a few amendments to the IRS tax code, changing what you will owe. Most of these breaks are targeted for special interest groups, but fall upon us as well.

If you own a home, or are looking to close on one, your tax pictures could be different than what you expected for 2016. Here are a few of the tax breaks that could benefit you.

Mortgage debt forgiveness

When a lender writes off any or all part of a forgiven debt, that amount is then passed back to the borrower as taxable for federal income tax purposes. This rule applies to ass debts include home mortgages. In 2007, congress passed the mortgage debt forgiveness act, which called for an exemption.  

The rule called for homeowners who qualified (given they’ve lost their homes) don’t have to pick up their forgiven debt as income on their tax returns. This was only supposed to be a brief law, but has been extended a few times, and they’re debating extending it again into 2016.

Deduction for mortgage insurance premiums

As most markets today are tougher than previously, buyers find that lenders require Private mortgage insurance, to protect them in the case of default. Here’s the thing – as PMI is required, you usually can’t write it off, and unlike the interest you pay on your mortgage. Mortgage insurance payments are typically not deductible for tax purposes.

It was possible to claim and deduct...

How to Bring Green Life Back to Your Plants

Are the plants around your house starting to fade and look a bit old? When’s the last time you dusted it? There are a few things you can do to bring your plants back from the dead, so don’t give up just yet. Your plant is probably fighting for its life, so give it a second chance.

Inspect and clean

Take a quick glance over the plant to make sure there’s nothing eating away at it. Look for little bugs crawling on leaves and the stem. If all is well, wipe the leaves off with a damp cloth. The more sensitive plants should just get a quick shower.

If you have pests try mixing soap into water and give each leaf a good scrub. Googling it too should provide multiple solutions. If the plant is clearly stunted in growth, it’s too late, and it must be tossed.

Trim and re-pot

Even if your plant is in good shape, it doesn’t hurt to trim them and re-pot. Take away all the dead leaves and unhealthy looking branches. Don’t cut too many of the leaves off since that’s their energy source; you should always leave at least 2/3rds of the leaves intact.

Once you take it out of the pot, look for mushy and unhealthy roots; carefully trim those off. If they are tightly wound at the bottom edges, cut the in two a few times. Repot them with fresh potting soil, and leave room for the roots to grow. Be sure to use a pot with draining holes too.

Place in good light

You will want bright and indirect light as your source. Cacti and succulent plants require intense and direct light. Indirect light is a place in your house where it’s naturally light, and you don’t need to flip on a light to read. You can also do the shadow test: hold your hand a foot away, and if you see a blurry shadow, that is indirect light; direct light would be a crisp shadow.


Winterizing Your Home is 7 Steps

Winter is coming whether you like it or not, and staying warm can be an expensive lifestyle if you aren’t careful. Most people turn up their heat and leave it there, which can make your jaw drop the next time you see your heating bill.

If you do not want to shiver all winter, while keeping more money in your pocket, take note of these seven house warming tips.

Buy a programmable thermostat

You can buy these for a little less than $100, and you have options! You can heat your house when you choose. You will want one that has at least four settings, so you can program it to come on during different times of the day. What’s cool about this is you can program it to shut off after you leave work, and turn it on 30 minutes before you get home, this way it won’t be running all day.

Deal with drafty windows and doors

Drafty doors and windows literally suck money out the cracks. Buying a weather stripping kit to seal these open spots can save you bundles. Another option would be to calk the frame around the doors and windows. Also, making your home a bit more energy efficient can add some value to your home too.

Localize the heat source

If you spend most of your time in one room of the house, this is a good idea to keep your heat low and get a little portable heater. Your room will stay toasty while your heating system isn’t working overtime to keep the entire house warm.

Stay away from companies who claim they can lower your bill

If you’ve ever gotten letters in the mail from third party energy savers claiming they can save you money on your heating bill, you should have thrown them away. For one, the money you are saving goes directly to the company you just hired. Energy prices do fluctuate, and these...

2016 Predictions for Housing Market

2015 was a recovery year in the housing market, and 2016 is predicted to be a year of affordability. Since inner cities are becoming more expensive every year, first-time buyers and young people will be forced to look in the suburbs. They will want to live in a community that’s amenity rich, and often resembling that of a city where they can walk most places. These are mini cities that look like a regular city.

Here are the predictions for 2016 according to

  1. The median age of buyers buying their first home will be a new record. On average, buyers are already three years older than they were in the 80’s.
  2. Because home values are rising, most of the low-income Americans won’t be able to buy a home. The poorest American’s won’t be able to buy a home.
  3. They are predicting rents to soar, and be the highest median price ever.
  4. A lot of people will be moving to the suburbs, changing them into hot popular spots. They will change into looking more like inner cities with everything in walking distance.
  5. We are expecting home prices to rise a solid 3.5%. 

Apartment Amenities You Don't Need

Searching for an apartment with the luxury amenities is not only a waste of time, but a bigger waste of money. You probably got super excited when you saw this complex has a gym, pool, washer and dryer combo, and a game center, but with the amount of time you will actually be using these things doesn’t compare to what it could cost you. Here are the seven top amenities that can end up biting you in the end.

Outdoor pool

Pools only work in Florida because the rest of the country has only a couple months in which they can use it. You’ll have four months tops to enjoy something you’ll be paying for all year. There may be a year here-and -there when summer ends and you realize you never even got in. There’s also a good chance this pool will be pretty puny, which isn’t conducive to a ton of fun.

Community deck

One giant deck serves a place for everyone to share a place to grill out, read the morning paper, and watch the sun go down. As great as all this sounds, the entire complex will be sharing it also, meaning there will be a battle for space. We all know the one guy who treats communal spaces as their own, and is anal about it, so keep him in mind thinking this is so great. There could also big crowds a few times a week who aren’t exactly quiet. If you are a social butterfly this could work for you, if not, you won’t be fond of this area.


Gyms are tricky because there are two sides to this story. Yes there’s a gym right below you and you’re all out of excuses to not workout. The other side is it’s tiny, and packed with other sweaty people. Chances are it doesn’t have a lot of little things we take for granted at a regular gym, like a kettlebell. The good news is you don’t have to pay for your membership to your neighborhood gym....

Every Tool A DIY Should Have in Their Toolbox

Before you move into any new rental unit, or home there is one item everybody needs. That item is a toolbox with the essential basics. This isn’t just the basic hammer and nails I’m talking about. Unless you are living in a house made of gold that doesn’t fall apart, you will need to put some work into it from time to time. You will be thankful you’ll have the right tools so you don’t have to call someone. Below are the list of essential tools every DIYer needs.

  1. Screwdriver set – This will be your most used tool is your bo0, as you will use it on almost everything. Pick up a quality drill, and different size Phillips, flat-head, screwdrivers.
  2. Hammer – Get yourself a hammer that feels heavy enough to get the job done, but also one that feels comfortable in your hand.
  3. Measuring tape – the 25-foot tape measurers are the perfect size. Get one that can lock with a toggle of a button. This will be used in nearly every home improvement project from hanging pictures and shelves, to measuring a room you plan on painting.
  4. Pliers – Locking pliers can handle almost every little task you come across, but if it’s a plumbing job you will want groove-joint pliers. Take a look at channel locks too, those are for the heavier plumbing projects.
  5. Utility knife and blades – Having a quality knife is one of the best tools you can have. It gets the job done every time, and you don’t have to use your kitchen knives or keys to cut items open. Keeping extra blades is handy too, this way you can change them easily and have a fresh blade ready.
  6. Adjustable wrench – tightening and loosening bolts will need to be done from time to time, so this is where this tool comes in handy.
  7. Level – Levels are some of the greatest tools in any box because it has the power to make everything symmetrical. Without it, pictures will be crooked. It can also serve as a straight edge, so get a 3-foot one and it...

Reasons to NOT Use the Inspector Your Agent Recommends

If you are new to the real estate world, you may think it’s common sense to use the inspector your real estate agent has recommended, but you should think twice. Yes you should trust them, and hopefully they have been around the block several times before, but there can be a few reasons to not go with their word of advice in this situation. Here are a couple reasons you might want to hire your own inspector.

Conflict of interest

It’s possible that the home inspector and the real estate agent have a conflict of interest. Your interest is in the detailed description of your home, while the inspector could be helping the real estate agent close the sale. It’s unlikely that either party would act unprofessionally, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Who’s the client?

Every inspector is supposed to work directly for the buyer, but the inspector and the real estate agent could have a long partnership together. If this happens to be the case, you could be getting the second best deal in the game, not the first. Ask a few questions if they’ve ever worked with your real estate agent before and if so that could be a red flag. They could get skimpy on the details, and push your inspection under the rug like it’s no big deal.

List of three

In most markets across the country, real estate agents provide a small list of three inspectors to their buying clients. Notably, these inspectors are professionals who come with quite a few references. Having skin in the game, they also risk not being included on that list if they give length and poor reviews time and time again.

The nagging feeling

Even if your inspection goes well, you can’t help but wonder if there’s something they missed. If an issue arises...

Tackling Your Kitchen Clutter

Anyone who has a home knows that keeping your kitchen clean is a chore. It serves as the heart of the home where most family members spend most of their time. Chances are it’s used for more than eating purposes, so to keep it under control fro backpacks, books, mail, etc. these three simple steps should help you manage the monster.


The biggest surface in the house is the countertops, and they serve as the best drop zone for everyone. When you go to cook you often have to maneuver around things, and reorganize your countertops. So a good way to eliminate this hassle is to establish a “clutter free” zone. This is a place reserved for food prep only.

You can always have another spot as the clutter zone, but you should clear it once-a-week. The key to being clutter free isn’t what you put up on the counter; it’s how often you clear it off.

Take notice of which kitchen tools and utensils you use regularly, and irregularly. Find another spot for the items you use irregularly, these items could be vases, decorative dishes, or coffee makers. Keep the items you use frequently close and accessible; if possible try to get them off the counter. A good spot, and decorative if done right, is to hang them on the wall. Knives, pots, pans can all be out of the way, hanging on the wall while looking nice.


Pantries can be a dream come true, or a nightmare depending on your management of it. Take care of this room as it’s often the holder of your delicious food. Use the storage space to your advantage, and start to manage this room properly.

You first want to pull everything out of it. Wipe down the shelves and give the empty pantry a good cleaning. Next look at expiration dates and pitch accordingly. If items are nearing their expiration date, repackage them and put those back in last so you know to use it first. Group...

5 Common Misconceptions of Real Estate

The words Real Estate can be an intimidating word for some, but if you are inherently interested in buying or selling real estate, don’t let the word alone scare you. You may be surprised how easy it can be. Here are the most common misconceptions about real estate.

You don’t need a real estate agent with all the information on line

Having a professional real estate agent in your corner is the best thing you can do for yourself. You can read all you want about the process of home buying/selling, but the professional offers their knowledge of the market, which comes through experience. They can also be there to help you make sense of the data that slips between the lines, which you may not understand. Lastly they help you through the emotional part of purchasing/letting go of a home.

You need 20% down to buy a home

This is the biggest misconception for people. Millennials often believe this because they’ve got crippling student debt with no end in sight. Once the market crash in 2008, lending became difficult, and the finances of a deal could kill it instantly. Today you can get a loan with 3% down, but you will be required to buy Private Mortgage Insurance PMI. It also helps to have great credit, some hefty assets, and a healthy income.

My homes value is what the appraiser says it is

The true value of a home is determined by what a buyer is willing to buy it for, and what a seller is willing to sell it for. The appraiser gives the ballpark range in which you should consider. Keep in mind finishes, views, fixtures, and neighbors can affect your homes appraisal.

Spring is the best time to sell a house

Typically, buyers enter the market in the spring to get ready for the new school year. This has made people think this is the...

7 Secrets to Living in a Perfectly Clean House

We all know that one person whose house is always impeccably clean. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, their house is always spotless. It looks in tip-top shape, and smells awesome all the time. There is no secret to having a house like this. They have a routine they practice every day to make sure their house stays this way.

Here are the seven “secrets” to having a perfectly clean house all the time. Do them every day and your life will become clutter free, and you will even feel better about your house.

Baby wipes

Baby wipes serve way more purposes than to clean a baby’s butt. They are excellent household cleaners. They can wipe up spills, wipe down dusty furniture, and even remove stains (if you catch them in time).

One time paper machine

One of the best things you can do is to not let your mail pile up. Once they get home for the night and grab their mail, they open it and deal with it immediately. If they have to put it to the side for some reason, they deal with it ASAP. Don’t just push it to the side and think you’ll take care of it later.

House cleaning service

If you can afford house cleaning service then sign up for one. Most of the time, they do an excellent job and make yours much easier. IF they are going to do the bigger jobs of scrubbing baseboards and bathrooms, you will find much more time to do the day-to-day jobs.

Host parties

Having guests and parties regularly will keep you motivated to keep the house clean and looking good.

Excellent speed cleaners

In your laundry room, it’s a good idea to keep a stash of cleaning supplies ready. You’ll want to know where they are in case there’s a big...