Jumpstart the New Year: 3 Goals for Your Home

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A 30-day calendar with the number 18 circled in red marker.We’re almost three weeks into the New Year, but it’s not too late to develop goals for 2018.

Now is the perfect time to jump right in and start fresh in your current home! Need ideas? Here are a few real estate goals that you can achieve this year.

Fix Those Pesky Maintenance Issues

Maybe it’s a leaky faucet. Maybe it’s a drafty window. Maybe it’s a clogged shower drain. You can probably think of one or two issues off the top of your head that you haven’t gotten around to addressing yet. The New Year is the perfect time to get those problems fixed.

Reclaim That New-to-You Feeling

The longer you live in your home, the easier it is to let the clutter build up in your closets, attic, or garage. Make 2018 your year to reorganize!

A well lit living room with a flat screen TV on the wall, a beige couch under a window, and a wooden table in the center.

Don’t try to tackle these massive home organization projects in a weekend. Instead, follow these tips to slowly but surely reduce the clutter in your home:

  • Sort through one room (or one storage space) at a time.
  • Separate the items you want to keep, donate, and toss out.
  • Expand your storage space with shelves or over-the-door organizers.

Sell Your Home in 2018

If you have been thinking about selling your home, why not start your research early? The more information you have, the more prepared you will be when you finally list your home. Here are a few ways to start:

  • Hire a home inspector to identify any major maintenance issues — Call us and we’ll provide recommendations.
  • Learn more about the local real estate market — Ask us for a report of recent home sales.
  • Find out what your home is worth — Contact us for a complimentary evaluation.
  • Start cleaning and decluttering your home — Get in touch for additional ideas.

We’re Here to Help You Achieve Your Real Estate Goals

We have all the information you need to know about the local real estate market and the home selling process. Contact us today and we’ll provide you with our best resources.

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6 Ways to Save for Your Down Payment

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A 20% down payment is a significant chunk of change. But with enough time to prepare and a little bit of creative budgeting, you’ll be able to save up for your new home sooner than you think. Follow these helpful budgeting tips to get started!

Break Down Your Budget

Closeup of the black and white number keys on a basic calculator.While it’s never a bad idea to start saving for a down payment, it’s an even better idea to analyze your budget before you consider a home purchase. This will help you set realistic expectations and concrete goals.

First, make a list of all of your necessary monthly expenditures — rent, power, water, phone service, student loans, etc. Add these expenditures up and subtract them from your monthly take-home pay. Then, look at everything that is left over and consider what to cut back.

After you’ve taken a look at your spending, determine what home price range (and, consequently, a 20% down payment) you could comfortably afford based on your current monthly budget. Our handy mortgage payment calculator might help!

Set a Concrete Savings Goal

Once you have an idea of how much money you’ll need to put down toward your new home, set a timeline for your savings. For instance, if you need to save up $20,000 for a down payment and want to move in five years, consider setting a savings goal of $335 per month.

Use a finance app like Mint to track your spending and your savings. Apps like these may also provide you with your credit score, which is essential to receiving the mortgage you need.

Get Prequalified for a Mortgage

A calculator sitting next to a paper document, which is signed at the bottom.Setting goals based on your current spending is a great place to start. To take the next step to buying your new home, meet with a lender about prequalifying for a mortgage.

Prequalifying for a mortgage will let you know how much financing you may qualify for — and how much you’ll need to save for your down payment. When you talk with a lender, ask for the maximum amount of financing that’s available to you based on your credit score and financial history. This may open up a lot of options when you’re searching for homes.

Not sure how to find a reputable mortgage broker? Give us a call and we can connect you with a trusted local lender.

Find Creative Ways to Save Money

If you’re having trouble meeting your savings goals for the month, even after you’ve carefully budgeted for the essentials, find ways to cut out superfluous spending or think of ways to earn a little bit of cash on the side. For example, you can:

  • Sell gently used clothing and household items at a yard sale
  • Substitute a movie streaming service for cable TV
  • Collect your loose change in a jar and cash it in every month
  • Use coupons while shopping at the supermarket
  • Use browser extensions like Honey to save while shopping online

Celebrate Your Accomplishments

A young woman holding colorful shopping bags in her hand over her shoulder.Saving for a down payment is no easy task. Every time you reach a major milestone, be sure to congratulate yourself!

Obviously, don’t spend all of that money in one place, but feel free to treat yourself to something special to reward yourself for your hard work.

Consider Home Buying Assistance Programs

Are you still having trouble saving for a 20% down payment? It might be worth looking into home buying assistance programs, such as FHA loans, VA loans, and USDA loans.

How Can We Help You Achieve Your Goals?

We are always available to discuss your home buying plans. Connect with us and we can provide you with the resources and advice you need.

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A Quick Guide to Tax-Deductible Donations in Your Home

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Coffee cups protected by paper in a cardboard moving box.In the season of giving, many local organizations and businesses often accept donations of clothing, household goods, and other gently used items to help those in need.

Homeowners looking to downsize or preparing for a move (or just clearing up some space at home) can not only pay it forward by donating to a local charity, they can also take advantage of tax deductions. We’ve created this handy guide to tax-deductible items to help you know what to donate and how to write off your contributions.

Belongings and Household Items That You Can Donate

Most organizations have guidelines about the specific items that they accept, but in general, you can donate these kinds of items to local charities:

  • furniture, such as beds, desks, tables, and chairs
  • clothing, such as shirts, shoes, and new underwear
  • appliances, such as heaters, working TVs, and A/C units
  • vehicles, such as cars or boats
  • building materials, such as doors, windows, and wood flooring

How to Deduct Your Contributions

Dozens of suitcases, duffle bags, and boxes packed into a tiny attic.The IRS allows homeowners to take itemized deductions on charitable contributions on their tax returns. If you have an attic full of items that you don’t use or have several boxes of items that you don’t want to move to your new home, don’t just throw them out! Here’s what to do instead.

1. Find a Charity That Qualifies for Deductible Donations

The IRS’s Exempt Organizations Select Check tool is a great place to start. You can search by city or state to find a list of organizations that qualify for tax-deductible contributions. It’s important to note that donations to individuals aren’t tax deductible.

2. Determine the Value of Your Contributions

Knowing the monetary value of your contributions is essential to writing off your donations on your taxes. Some organizations, such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill, have helpful guidelines about the fair market value of appliances, clothing, furniture, and other household goods.

Neon sticky notes and a pen sitting on top of a document with a long list.Before you donate your items, make a list of each item and its value. You can evaluate your items by checking with the organization or, for any high-value items, having them appraised.

3. Know Your Limits

There are limits to what you can deduct for charitable contributions on your income tax returns. If your donations are more than 20% of your adjusted gross income, certain caps may apply based on what kinds of items you donated and to what type of organization.

If you contribute over $500 in items, you will need to fill out and attach Form 8283 to your return. If you make any contributions over $5,000 for items like rare art, collectibles, or real estate, you will also need to have them appraised.

4. Ask for a Receipt or Other Written Record

Once you’ve donated your items, ask for documentation, such as a receipt. Having a record of your contribution will help you know exactly how much you donated (and what to write off on your taxes).

Are You Donating Items to Prepare for a Home Sale?

Granite kitchen countertops that are free of any clutter and appliances.You’re off to a great start. Clearing out your closets, basement, attic, or other storage space is the best way to lighten the load for your move. We can help you take your preparations a step further.

Whether you’re starting to research the value of your home or are simply considering the idea of putting your home on the market, we’re here to help. Contact us and we’ll provide you with all of the information you need.

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12 Month-by-Month Goals for Your New Home

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A beige couch in the middle of an open living room.‘Tis the season — for goal planning, that is! Many people spend December reflecting on the year and creating a list of goals to aim for in the New Year, and recent home buyers are no exception.

If you’re thinking about ways to preserve that “new-to-you” feeling in your home and keep the clutter at bay throughout the year, follow our handy month-by-month home organization planner.

January: Clear Out Any Cluttered Spaces

Decluttered spaces can keep your home looking and feeling like new (even if it isn’t). While you’re putting away holiday decorations, take some time to tackle any clutter that has begun to accumulate in catch-all spaces, such as closets, the garage, and any rooms that are still full of half-unpacked moving boxes.

February: Create a Home Organization Plan

A list of things to do each day of the week.Detailed planning is a great way to stay on top of your New Year’s home organization goals. Outline a list of tasks to complete daily, weekly, and monthly. This list can include indoor and outdoor maintenance as well as fun tasks like decorating.

Be sure to pin your home organization plan in a conspicuous space, such as on the refrigerator. You can also lighten your workload by divvying up the tasks to other members of the household.

March: Deep Clean Your Home

Kick off the spring season with a thorough cleaning of your home. In all likelihood, your new home won’t need too much TLC, so just focus on the well-used areas of your house: the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, and main entertaining spaces.

April: Show Off Your Green Thumb

A vase of flowers.Take a break this month. You’ve earned it. Instead of cleaning or decluttering, decorate your home with greenery to usher in springtime. Flowers, succulents, and low-maintenance plants look great indoors.

May: Focus on the Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most used spaces in a home. Devote the full month to tackling any clutter issues in the drawers and cabinets, investing in space-saving organizers, deep cleaning the stove, and repairing appliances if necessary.

June: Focus on the Bathrooms

Follow the same plan as you did with the kitchen, but this time focus your cleaning and decluttering efforts on the bathrooms. Dispose of any expired prescriptions or toiletries and consider flushing out your pipes.

July: Organize the “Junk Drawer”

After a few months of living in your home, you may start to notice little spaces that collect a lot of clutter. The so-called junk drawer is often a major aggravation to homeowners. Take some time to try and find a new home for the items that have accumulated in this drawer or space.

You can also come up with clever ways to keep the clutter at bay, or at the very least look intentional. Drawer dividers, wooden trays, and small containers can transform any cluttered drawer into a well-organized space.

August: Organize Mail and Other Documents

An office desk clear of any papers.It’s easy to let papers pile up on the counter or on the desk. First, discard any junk mail that is contributing to the clutter, then sort through the rest of the papers in the pile.

If you don’t have a system in place yet, create a way to effectively manage your mail and other documents, such as a binder or a filing cabinet. Be sure to go through your old documents from time to time and shred what you need to.

September: Reevaluate Your Summer Closets

Now that summer is coming to a close, sort through your wardrobe and figure out what you didn’t wear this season. Consider donating gently used clothes and accessories to a local charity or selling them at a yard sale.

October: Reevaluate Your Organization Systems

A blank piece of paper and a sharpened pencil.Think back to the whole-home organization plan you created in February: Have you been able to keep those resolutions? Are you noticing that you need to complete certain tasks more often than others? Reevaluate your plan and make changes as you see fit.

If you’ve had trouble sticking with your organization plan, take this time before the holidays to pick up where you left off.

November: Pick Through Your Holiday Decorations

As the holiday season approaches and the year winds down, go through your collection of holiday ornaments and other decorations. Keep the ones you use most often and discard any that you have either not used or cannot repair.

December: Focus Once Again on the Kitchen

If you plan to entertain guests for the holidays, focus your cleaning and decluttering efforts once again on the kitchen. This time, instead of devoting all of your time to the drawers and cabinets, turn your attention to the fridge.

Dispose of any expired food, transfer leftovers to smaller containers, and rearrange your shelves to make more room for holiday dinners.

We Can Help with Your Home Organization Goals

Whether you’re thinking about buying a home in 2018 or have just moved in (congratulations!), we’re here to help you with everything you need. Call us and we’ll provide you with even more homeowner tips and resources.

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Transform Your Home with These Timeless Seasonal Color Schemes

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rainbow of colors on paint swatch samplesNothing can transform a home quite like a simple seasonal color palette. Whether you want to embrace the fall foliage, some holiday whimsy, or a little winter coziness, you can do all that with a few coats of paint and some well-placed splashes of color.

The best part of all? Not only are these color schemes great for seasonal home decorating, they work wonders when staging your home to sell, too! Here are a few irresistible color schemes you can blend into your home this fall and winter.

Down to Earth: Rust Red and Terra Cotta

Connect with nature in the fall season using rich tones of red and brown. For an added touch of earthiness, incorporate natural elements like wood to really pull the look together.

Rustic: Persimmon and Oatmeal

orange wicker couch next to coffee table

Play up the autumn harvest theme with muted orange, shades of beige, and decorative elements like apples and pumpkins.

Cozy: Cream and Espresso

room with wood bed and beige walls

Neutral hues can make your home feel warm and inviting in the chilly fall and winter months. For a fun and functional look, add floor-length window coverings, which will keep the cold out and the coziness in.

Cheerful: Turquoise and White

gray couch with blue decorative pillows

Even if the weather outside is frightful, your home doesn’t have to be! Pair bright shades of blue with white to achieve a relaxing yet cheerful look. On a gray couch (like in the image above), turquoise accent pillows add a fun pop of color to the room’s neutral surroundings.

Small splashes of color here and there can go a long way into decorating a room for all seasons. All you have to do is switch out a few decorations and you’re set for the next season!

Merry and Bright: Snow White and Holly Green

stark white kitchen with greenery

While we typically think of red as a traditional holiday color, you don’t need bold hues to achieve a dramatic and trendy look. Stark white is becoming more and more common in interior design. To achieve this minimalist winter look, paint your space bright white and add pops of color with greenery.

When Selling a Home, Stay Neutral

The art of home staging is all about catering to the buyer. But since home buyers have drastically different tastes in color schemes, staying with a neutral color palette is the best way to appeal to the greatest number of buyers.

Selling Your Home Soon? Let’s Talk!

We’re always happy to share our knowledge of home staging trends, current real estate market conditions, and home selling resources with you. Give us a call and let’s discuss your goals.

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What You Need to Know About Low-Maintenance Communities

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fallen leaves on a lawn in the winterPicture this: It’s winter. It’s freezing. You still need to clear the last of the leaves from your lawn, but you’re finding every excuse to stay huddled inside your warm home and out of the cold, biting air. More than ever, you’re wishing your yard work would just do itself.

Sound familiar? Maintenance and lawn care can be tedious and exhausting chores, especially on the coldest or hottest days of the year. But there are types of residential developments that take care of these chores for you.

The Many Faces of Low-Maintenance Living

Low-maintenance communities, in general, are neighborhoods that provide services such as lawn care and exterior maintenance through an association fee. In a maintenance-free community, especially, little — if any — maintenance is required on the homeowner’s part.

As is the case with any neighborhood, different communities offer different amenities, especially when it comes to low- or no-maintenance living. So to give you a better idea about what to look for in a low-maintenance home, we’ve come up with a quick guide.

Low-Maintenance Townhome Developments

properties along a wide streetIf you want all the space of a single-family home but don’t mind sharing a wall, a townhouse is a great option for low-maintenance living. Though the amenities many vary from community to community, townhome developments typically provide common area maintenance and landscaping.

Low-Maintenance Condominiums

Think of condos as upgraded rental apartments: you have your own space, you can access community amenities, and you can count on someone else to take care of the most mundane chores.

It’s important to note that condos are a type of ownership: when you own a condo, you own everything within the walls of your home. Unlike with townhomes, you aren’t required to care for the exterior.

In addition, condo associations typically maintain the common areas and provide services like trash removal and pest control. Depending on the association, the community may also provide utilities, phone service, and cable or Internet.

No-Maintenance Residential Communities

house common in a maintenance-free communitySome communities, like 55+ communities, take care of more than just the common areas. True maintenance-free communities may also take care of your home’s exterior maintenance, lawn care, landscaping, and services like trash or snow removal.

Real estate options in these no-maintenance communities can include condos, townhomes, and/or single-family homes.

Where to Do Your Research

If a community has an association, check the rules and regulations to learn about what services the association provides. Not sure where to look? It never hurts to ask a trusted real estate agent.

Want to Buy a Low-Maintenance Home? Let’s Talk

We’re familiar with the types of homes and communities found throughout our area, so we’re more than happy to answer any questions you have. Just give us a call!

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The Hidden Horrors of Going FSBO (For Sale by Owner)

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piggy bank surrounded by coinsMany home sellers have considered skipping the real estate agent to save on closing costs, but very few have actually succeeded in seeing those savings. There’s a good reason: the average homeowner doesn’t have the rigorous training and real estate knowledge that a licensed agent does.

But just what makes For Sale By Owner (FSBO) such a bad idea? From incessant inconveniences to costly paperwork mistakes, here are a few of the horror stories that FSBO sellers inevitably encounter.

The Daunting Task of Marketing Your Home

It takes more than a “For Sale” sign in your front yard to make buyers notice your home. According to the National Association of Realtors, 95% of buyers use the Internet in their home search.

This means that online marketing — starting with listing your home on the local listings database, sharing your listing to dozens of social media platforms, and advertising your listing on numerous websites with a global audience — is essential to selling your home.

Without an Agent, Home Marketing Isn’t Cheap

This is where it gets expensive: yard signs, newspaper ads, brochures, high-quality photographs, and a professional-looking website — things real estate agents have at their disposal — are your responsibility to finance and maintain when you have to do your home’s marketing yourself.

Incorrect Home Pricing: The Ghosts of Lost Profits

chart of fluctuating home valuesEven after all that marketing, FSBO sellers don’t actually make more money. In fact, many lose money.

The research backs it up: the National Association of Realtors reports that the average home sold with an agent sells for $240,000. FSBO homes, however, sell for only $185,000. What you could save in commission you lose by pricing your home incorrectly or skimping on the marketing.

Without an Agent, Finding the Right Price is Impossible

Part of the problem with a low-dollar sale is the asking price. Real estate agents have more tools and resources, plus an intimate knowledge of the local housing market, so they can spot a wrongly priced listing from a mile away. FSBO sellers, however, have only limited access to home value tools and resources about past sales activity.

The Mountains of Paperwork

stacks of papers in bindersUnderstanding the paperwork involved in a real estate transaction is one of the biggest challenges of selling For Sale By Owner.

After all, the contract isn’t just an agreement about the price; it also includes contingencies (like those for home inspections and financing), the closing date, and other important terms.

Without an Agent, Sellers Can Make Costly Mistakes

The paperwork involved in a home sale can be complicated and full of legal jargon. An oversight could mean a costly mistake or even a lawsuit. Real estate agents, however, have the knowledge and understanding to take care of all the necessary disclosures.

Don’t Become the Next FSBO Horror Story

Sign that says For Sale By OwnerYes, commission is a sizable chunk of change. But so are the hidden fees and lost profits, not to mention the added stress, that come with selling a home by yourself. The best way to save money, save time, and save headaches is to work with an experienced real estate professional.

We’re here to help! Give us a call and let’s talk about the home selling process.

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6 Reasons Why Owning a Home is Awesome

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From personalizing your living spaces to turning a profit when you sell, there are dozens of reasons why first-time home buyers can’t wait to find a home and make it their own. Though there are plenty of benefits of owning a home, here are the six benefits that stand out from the rest.

decorated room in a home

1. You Can Customize Your Space

Whether you want to invest in the latest high-tech home features or paint your walls neon green, owning a home gives you the freedom to do just about anything you want.

cute dog in a backyard

2. You Make the Rules

Unlike with a rental property, where a landlord can dictate what you can and can’t do while living there, living in your own home means you have the freedom to host parties, adopt a pet, plant a garden, you name it. As a homeowner, you are in total control!

calculator next to accounting sheet

3. You Can Take Advantage of Tax Breaks

It’s true what they say: owning a home is an investment. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways that you can reap financial rewards up front. The IRS allows homeowners to deduct mortgage interest, property taxes, and capital gains from their annual taxes.

flowers in a street median

4. You Can Better Invest in Your Community

Eager to make friends with your neighbors? Want to participate in homeowners association meetings? Can’t wait to get involved with community beautification projects or local organizations? When you own a home, you can truly become an important part of the community.

cozy home

5. You Can Put Down Roots

Speaking of getting involved in your community, owning a home also allows you to settle down and establish roots in a home and neighborhood that you love.

increasing heights of coin stacks

6. You Can Earn Money Back When You Sell Your Home

The longer you live in your home, the more equity you build. And if the homes in your neighborhood are appreciating in value, you can earn a significant amount of money back when you decide to sell your home — maybe even thousands of dollars!

Want to Own a Home of Your Own? We Can Help!

Homeownership is a rewarding experience, especially if you have the right tools and resources at your fingertips. If you’re considering buying your first home, give us a call and let’s talk about your plans!

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How Buyers and Sellers Have Lost Thousands of Dollars to Email Scams

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laptop and smart phoneEmail scams are as old as, well, email, but as the years go by, these scams have become more and more sophisticated. Recently, several home buyers have fallen victim to specially targeted email scams that attempt to rob them of their closing costs — sometimes up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

These types of scams are devastating both financially and emotionally, especially when your home is involved. But to help protect you from email scams targeting the real estate industry, we have outlined a few tips about what these scams are and how to avoid them.

What Email Scams Are Common?

Though the method through which hackers collect personal or financial information is always changing, there are a few basic types of scams that buyers and sellers should be aware of.

Phishing

fishingThis type of scam attempts to “fish” for sensitive personal or financial information (such as passwords or credit card numbers). Many emails used in recent phishing schemes look legitimate; they may use the name of a trusted company or individual as the sender name, but the email address is slightly different than the company’s or individual’s verified address.

These types of email messages may also ask you to verify information or click on a link, which could install harmful software on your computer.

Wire Transfer Fraud

A specific type of phishing email that has been targeting home buyers recently is one that asks buyers to wire their closing costs to another account. The email typically crafts some urgent scenario, such as a last-minute change in wiring instructions, and urges the recipient to act quickly by wiring the money to the new account. This phishing email has led to home buyers losing thousands of dollars — in some cases, the entire purchase price of the house — to scammers. Unfortunately, the money can’t be returned once it’s gone.

Wire transfer fraud scams are especially dangerous because the emails appear to be sent directly from the real estate agent, the electronic signature company, or the title company. There may not be any misspellings or grammatical errors in the email message (which were surefire signs of a scam in the past), the message itself may be friendly and conversational, and any information related to the real estate transaction may be detailed and accurate.

How You Can Avoid Falling Victim to Email Scams

Now that you know what types of scams have plagued the real estate industry, here are a few tips you can follow to prevent yourself from falling victim to a devastating email scam.

person dialing a phone numberVerify that you received an email from the right person. Ensure that any emails you receive are legitimate by contacting the sender directly. Make sure you look up their phone number instead of clicking on the number provided in the email signature, which may be the scammer’s phone number.

Verify that the email address is legitimate. When you receive emails that appear to be from your real estate agent, title company, or attorney, check to make sure the sender’s email address does not contain misspellings, extra characters, or anything unusual.

Never share sensitive information via email. Your real estate agent will never ask you to send sensitive personal or financial information in an email.

Don’t touch an email that looks suspicious. Never click on any links or download any attachments from an unverified email, even if it looks legitimate. These links or attachments could be malware that will harm your computer.

Always use strong passwords. Use passwords that contain letters, numbers, and special characters, and change them periodically.

Update your antivirus software. Protect your computer from malware by ensuring your antivirus is up to date.

Report suspicious emails. If you receive an email that seems suspicious or is in fact a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission immediately.

Contact Us to Learn More

We’re aware of scams like these, so it’s our goal to keep you informed whether you’re buying or selling a home. Give us a call and we’ll provide you with any additional resources you need!

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6 Questions to Ask When Considering a Neighborhood with an HOA

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community pool with inflatable innertubeLet’s say you have your heart set on buying a home in a community with a swimming pool, a clubhouse, and maybe even a playground or trails. Having access to these amenities often means living in a community with a homeowners association, or HOA.

Generally, an HOA is responsible for keeping the neighborhood looking beautiful — and as a result, keeping property values high. But since no two neighborhoods are the same, no two HOAs will be the same, either.

What You Should Know About the Homeowners Association

Doing your research on homes and communities means finding the answers to dozens of questions. As a savvy home buyer, you’ve probably already considered some of the most important topics early on in your home search, such as the local property taxes and whether the neighborhood is appreciating in value.

But if you’re considering a neighborhood with an HOA, there are a few additional things that you should know about the community and the association before you buy a home. Here are the essential questions you should ask.

1. What Does the Homeowners Association Do?

home with landscaped yardEach community varies, but in general, a homeowners association assists residents with property maintenance (by providing services like lawn care, trash removal, or Internet), regularly beautifies the neighborhood common areas, and upkeeps any shared amenities. In return for these services, residents pay an association fee, which we’ll talk about later.

Since the HOA is also concerned with keeping property values high, the homeowners association may also dictate what residents can and can’t do with their properties. These rules keep residents from worrying about a neighbor painting their house a funky color or letting their lawn go wild.

2. Are You Required to Join the HOA?

Before you decide to buy a home in an HOA neighborhood, first check to see whether the community has a voluntary or mandatory HOA. A voluntary HOA doesn’t require that you join the association or pay dues, but a mandatory HOA does.

3. How Much Are the HOA Fees?

As we mentioned before, HOA fees cover the services that the association provides. HOA fee costs (and the frequency with which they’re paid) can vary from community to community, so ask your real estate agent about how much the fees are before you buy a home in the neighborhood.

4. What Are the HOA’s Expectations for Residents?

bylaws for a community associationTypically, a homeowners association will have a list of rules and regulations that residents are expected to follow when they live in the community. (These are known as Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, or CC&Rs.)

These regulations can dictate everything from what colors you can use to paint your home to how many vehicles you can park in the driveway. Again, each homeowners association varies, so it’s best to read the Bylaws of communities you’re considering to learn what’s expected of residents.

5. When (And How Often) Does the HOA Meet?

If you’re interested in joining your neighborhood’s HOA to get involved in your community, you might also want to consider when the association meets. The HOA may meet annually, bimonthly, or monthly, depending on the association’s size, so check to see if the regular meetings will fit within your schedule.

6. Does the HOA Host Any Activities?

Finally, when considering a neighborhood with an HOA, you should learn whether the HOA provides other ways for you to get involved and meet your neighbors. Ask your real estate agent about whether the neighborhood association hosts annual block parties, pool parties, holiday celebrations, Yard of the Month competitions, or any other neighborhood activities.

We’re Here to Answer Your Home Buying Questions!

Have a question about a specific neighborhood or the home buying process in general? We’re more than happy to give you the information you need. Call us and let’s chat.

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