5 Tips for Hosting a Successful Open House

If your real estate agent is holding an open house to help sell your home, there are some things you can do on your end to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible. We all know that it is necessary to clean your house and clear the clutter, but here are some additional tips for presenting your home in its best light to potential buyers!

  1. Remove your pet (and all signs and smells of your pet). If you can, it is a really good idea to bring your pet with you the day of the open house. Put pet beds, bowls and toys away and do your best to vacuum up pet hair and spray pet odor eliminating air freshener. Pet smells that really turn off potential buyers, so do your best to eliminate them before the big day.
  2. Brighten up your home. Open the curtains or blinds, wash your windows and let the sunshine in! Grab some cheery fresh flowers from the store and place them throughout your home. It’s also a great idea to turn the lights on in each room.
  3. Leave a treat. Display cookies or cupcakes on a pretty stand in your kitchen as a “thank you” to your visitors. Not only is it a nice gesture, but it is a great way to encourage them to stand in the kitchen and chat with the realtor showing your home! Bonus points if you leave bottles of water or some fresh lemonade to drink!
  4. Think about the exterior. Start off with a great first impression by power washing your exterior, cleaning up your landscaping, and purchasing a new, clean welcome mat.
  5. Think about every closet and drawer. People are nosy! They are most likely going to open drawers and closet doors. Make sure they are as organized and clutter-free as possible. If you need to, rent a storage unit to place your extra items until you sell your home.

Want more open house tips? Contact an ARE Real Estate agent today!

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Associated Real Estate Agent Spotlight: Meet Beecher Aller!

Each month, we’re highlighting one of the amazing real estate agents here at Associated Real Estate!

Meet Beecher Aller!

ARE Real Estate Beecher Aller

  1. Where did you grow up? Tell us about your family!

I grew up in a military family with five siblings in the Antelope Valley. My favorite part of living in the Antelope Valley now is its central location and the easy ability to get anywhere.

  1. What’s your favorite thing about Tehachapi?

Henry’s Café is one of my favorite places in Tehachapi!

  1. What is your number one piece of advice for someone trying to sell their house?

Find a highly qualified and successful agent and price your home reasonably.

  1. What do you think is the most important thing for clients to know about buying a house?

Do your best to determine ahead of time if you can really afford the market you are looking at.

  1. Where is your favorite place in the world?

Anywhere my family is!

  1. What do you love about being a real estate agent?

Because I’m now “retired”, I can work the hours that I want!

Want to work with Beecher? Contact him here!

7 Reasons to Own A Home

7 Reasons to Own A Home

  1. Tax benefits. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, and some of the costs involved in buying a home.
  2. Appreciation. Historically, real estate has had a long-term, stable growth in value. In fact, median single-family existing-home sale prices have increased on average 5.2 percent each year from 1972 through 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.  The recent housing crisis has caused some to question the long-term value of real estate, but even in the most recent 10 years, which included quite a few very bad years for housing, values are still up 7.0 percent on a cumulative basis. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 10 to15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.
  3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
  4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
  5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-rate mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will likely increase.
  6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.
  7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years allows you and your family time to build long-lasting relationships within the community. It also offers children the benefit of educational and social continuity.

How to Prepare to Finance a Home

How to Prepare to Finance a Home

Don’t get discouraged.

Home finance can be complicated. The first and most important step is to not allow yourself to be discouraged. There are programs and solutions for nearly every situation. Do not be afraid to seek the advice of qualified real estate professionals, mortgage brokers and credit councilors to help you achieve your goals. With good advice and hard work home ownership is attainable!

Develop a budget.

Instead of telling yourself what you’d like to spend, use receipts to create a budget that reflects your actual habits over the last several months. This approach will better factor in unexpected expenses alongside more predictable costs such as utility bills and groceries. You’ll probably spot some ways to save, whether it’s cutting out that morning trip to Starbucks or eating dinner at home more often.

Reduce debt.

Lenders generally look for a debt load of no more than 36 percent of income. This figure includes your mortgage, which typically ranges between 25 and 28 percent of your net household income. So you need to get monthly payments on the rest of your installment debt—car loans, student loans, and revolving balances on credit cards — down to between 8 and 10 percent of your net monthly income.

Increase your income.

Now’s the time to ask for a raise! If that’s not an option, you may want to consider taking on a second job to get your income at a level high enough to qualify for the home you want.

Save for a down payment.

Designate a certain amount of money each month to put away in your savings account. Although it’s possible to get a mortgage with 5 percent down or less, you can usually get a better rate if you put down a larger percentage of the total purchase. Aim for a 20 percent down payment.

Keep your job.

While you don’t need to be in the same job forever to qualify for a home loan, having a job for less than two years may mean you have to pay a higher interest rate.

Establish a good credit history.

Get a credit card and make payments by the due date. Do the same for all your other bills, too. Pay off entire balances as promptly as possible.

Start saving.

Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs, which can average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.

Obtain a copy of your credit report.

Make sure it is accurate and correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.

Decide what kind of mortgage you can afford.

Generally, you want to look for homes valued between two and three times your gross income, but a financing professional can help determine the size of loan for which you’ll qualify. Find out what kind of mortgage (30-year or 15-year? Fixed or adjustable rate?) is best for you. Also, gather the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan, such as W-2s, pay stub copies, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements. Don’t forget property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and association fees, if applicable.

Seek down payment help.

Check with your state and local government to find out whether you qualify for special mortgage or down payment assistance programs. If you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your first home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.

 

Preparing to Buy Real Estate in Tehachapi

Preparing to
Buy your Tehachapi Home

Choose an agent you know you can trust.

Finding a trusted partner is absolutely a vital step to purchasing a home. Choosing a real estate professional to help you with each step of the process can help relieve  stress and worry. An Associated Real Estate agent will take the time to understand your goals and will be ready and able to guide you through the home buying process.

Talk to mortgage brokers.

Many first-time home buyers don’t take the time to get prequalified. They also often don’t take the time to shop around to find the best mortgage for their particular situation. It’s important to ask plenty of questions and make sure you understand the home loan process completely. You may discover that improving your credit could help you to afford your dream home in Tehachapi. Talking to a professional to prepare you for the finance process will also help you know what you can afford to offer when you do find that perfect home.

Be ready to move.

This is especially true in markets with a low inventory of homes for sale. It’s very common for home buyers to miss out on the first home they wish to purchase because they don’t act quickly enough. By the time they’ve made their decision, they may find that someone else has already purchased the house.

Make a good offer.

Remember that your offer is very unlikely to be the only one on the table. Do what you can to ensure it’s appealing to a seller.

Factor maintenance and repair costs into your buying budget.

Even brand-new homes will require some work. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

Think ahead.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in your present needs, but you should also think about reselling the home before you buy. The average first-time buyer expects to stay in a home for around 10 years, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

Develop your home/neighborhood wish list.

Prioritize these items from most important to least.

Select where you want to live.

Compile a list of three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in, taking into account nearby schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety. Get to know each area of Tehachapi and what it has to offer you. You may like the connivance of being in town or want more outdoor space and prefer Golden Hills. If amenities or Equestrian facilities is what you are looking for you might choose Bear Valley. You should also ask about Home Owners association fees and CC&R’s for each area to be sure it will fit your lifestyle and budget.

 

Before Putting Your Tehachapi Home Up for Sale

 

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Before Putting Your Tehachapi Home Up for Sale

Here are a few items to take care of before listing your home in Tehachapi. These can make the sale process quicker and easier in the long run.

Consider a pre-sale home inspection. An inspector will be able to give you a good indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers. Consider making repairs so potential buyers see the property in its best possible condition.

Other Pre -Sale Inspections.  In some areas of Tehachapi, specifically Golden Hills, Stallion Springs, Bear Valley Springs and all of the unincorporated county areas, Septic Systems and Well Systems are very common.  If your home has one of these systems, ask your Associated Real Estate Agent if it would be a good idea to have those systems inspected prior to listing.  This can save time during escrow and help to alleviate buyers concerns while listed, thereby helping to increase exposure and the likeliness of getting a full price offer.  Wood Destroying Pest Inspections are also common in our area.  If you have any sign of wood or water damage, your agent may be able to advise looking into it and could refer you to a Certified Inspector.

Organize and cleanPare down clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large blenders and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothes, toys, and seasonal items. Store items off-site or in boxes neatly arranged in the garage or storage area. Clean the windows, carpets, walls, lighting fixtures, and baseboards to make the house shine. Clearing away clutter can help a buyer see the homes potential.

Get replacement estimates. Do you have big-ticket items that will need to be replaced soon? Find out how much it will cost to repair an older roof or replace worn carpeting, even if you don’t plan to do so.  The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home, and they’ll be handy when negotiations begin.

Locate warranties. Gather up the warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for the water heater, washer/dryer, dishwasher, and any other items that will remain with the house. It may seem like this task can be left until closing, but you don’t want lost paperwork or last-minute scrambling to cause the deal to fall through.

Spruce up the curb appeal. Walk out to the front of your home, close your eyes, and pretend you’re a prospective buyer seeing the property for the first time. Is the yard clear of seasonal weeds and does the landscape look nicely manicured ? Is there pealing paint on the eaves or a crack in the side walk? As you approach the front door, what is your impression of the property? Dose the property look well kept? Is the address clearly visible? A buyer makes their first impression from the street and even small improvements in curb appeal can make a big difference.