How Do You Know How Much Equity Is in Your Home?

What is home equity and how is it calculated? Why is it important to know how much equity is in your home?

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How do you calculate a home’s equity?

Equity is the difference between the market value of your home and how much you owe on your mortgage.

Your down payment actually marks the first stake of equity in your home. As you pay down your mortgage, the equity in your home continues to increase.

 

As you pay down your mortgage, the equity in your home increases.

 

Other factors can increase your home equity, including improvements on your house and your local market appreciating over time.

By familiarizing yourself with the equity you have in your home and the economic conditions of our local market, you’ll gain insight into when might be the right time to make your next move.

Thanks to Sayuri for her question. Your gift card is on its way!

Remember, we are here to help you. Send us your questions. If we answer with a video, we’ll send you a gift card. If you are out of our area, we can connect you to a top agent anywhere in the world.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Cutting Down Trees With Gary Mosher

Knowing how to spot and remove a dead tree from your property can improve your home’s overall saleability.

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Landscaping is very important to the value of your home. According to this HGTV article, “Several recent nationwide surveys show that mature trees in a well-landscaped yard can increase the value of a house by 7 percent to 19 percent.” Part of landscaping sometimes involves removing dead trees.

To illustrate this point, we’re onsite at a property that is having some trees removed from its landscape. Joining us is Gary Mosher from A-1 Tree. Gary is an expert tree cutter, and he’s taking down a few pine trees that are dying. As a 45-year veteran of this business, he enjoys it because it allows him to be in a different spot every day, and it’s fun for him to be outside.

Many pine trees in Michigan are diseased, but a lot of them just need to be fed and fertilized. If you find the dead needles early enough, you can save the tree by driving a piece of pipe down around the root system of the tree and filling it with triple twelve fertilizer. Cutting down a dead tree can improve your landscaping, which in turn helps your property’s saleability.

 

Cutting down a dead tree can improve your property’s saleability.

 

One particularly persistent problem in our area is Blue Spruce disease, which affects Colorado Blue Spruce trees and is easily recognizable by the branch dieback that occurs. According to the MSU website, “The rapid decline of many spruce trees in Michigan and surrounding states appears to be related to an increase of canker diseases coupled with other disease and insect problems that plague the species.”

According to Gary, the technology of tree cutting has improved over the years. Upgrades in equipment such as chainsaws, chains, and stump grinders allow them to do the job faster and easier. He does not, however, recommend that you try cutting down a dead tree yourself.

If you want to take care of some dead trees or make some improvements to your property, I highly recommend that you give A-1 Tree a call at (734) 426-8809.

If you have any questions about tree removal or you have any other real estate questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’d be happy to help you.

What Are the Advantages of CPO?

How can you help your home stand out in the marketplace? One of the best strategies we use is getting the home “certified pre-owned.”

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A home purchase falls apart for one of two reasons. Do you know what they are? Either the home does not appraise or it does not inspect well.

When you have a house under contract, you want to ensure it closes. What if you could bulletproof your transaction from any hiccups? You can, by making your home a certified pre-owned home.

Let me ask you this, which is worth more: a car or a house? It’s not a trick question. Yes, obviously the house is worth more, probably twenty times more. So why would you treat it with less respect? You’d get your car looked at by a mechanic before you sold it, so it only makes sense to utilize the CPO program to get your home sold faster and for more money.

Whether it’s a resale or new home, you have a competitive advantage over other homes with a CPO home. It reduces stress, gives peace of mind, and gives you the contract to close security that your transaction will actually go through to the end.

The CPO program is a triple-pronged strategy. First is the inspection, then we have the appraisal, and finally the home warranty.

The idea of having your property or asset pre-inspected is widely accepted. Statistically, it’s proven that buyers and agents love CPO homes. Agents would much rather show a CPO home than one that isn’t. A CPO home is a win-win for buyers and sellers. Buyers pay more appropriately, and sellers make more money.

There’s much less stress with a CPO home. All the negotiation is done up front because there’s nothing you are hiding about the home and nothing for the buyer to uncover. Now let’s talk about step two, the appraisal.

 

Bulletproof transactions are the way to go.

 

The No. 1 fear of most sellers is that they are giving their property away. Having a CPO home prevents that from happening because an appraiser is going to give their honest and fair opinion of the home’s value, which you will then share with the buyer. Typical sellers don’t have hard evidence for their home’s market value like an appraisal, so it protects you from lowball offers as well.

Most agents and sellers use what’s called a CMA, a comparative market analysis. It’s a document that compares the home to other recent sales and helps explain why a home is priced where it is. However, the fact that the home’s value is still an opinion leaves the negotiation door wide open.

Appraisals are used by courts, banks, and lawyers as legal proof. Realtor CMAs, on the other hand, are informational and not defendable in a court of law. An appraisal always trumps a CMA because it is done by a state certified appraiser. This puts you in the driver’s seat and gives you the evidential advantage.

Finally, stage three in the CPO process is the home warranty. Now that your buyer has the appraised price and the inspection report, the home warranty ties up any loose ends in a nice little bow. In the first year the buyer owns the home, they will have peace of mind with a home warranty that covers the major systems in their house from any expensive repairs.

If you’re thinking about selling your home, is this the kind of sale you want? Bulletproof marketing and bulletproof transactions are the way to go, in our humble opinion. If you have any questions for us or want our help getting your home CPO before you sell, give us a call or send us an email. We would love to hear from you.

How Can a Pre-Listing Inspection Enhance Your Home Sale?

If you’re selling your home, there are a myriad of benefits to ordering a pre-listing inspection. Today we’re joined by an expert to help explain them all.

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Why should sellers get a home inspection before selling their home? Today we’re joined by HouseMaster marketing representative Melissa Berends to give you the lowdown. Melissa will go over the benefits of a pre-listing inspection, but for more information about home inspections and questions you should as as a buyer, download our free e-book by clicking the image below.

 

In case you don’t know, a home inspection is an unbiased, objective evaluation of the home’s major components which notes any potential defects or areas of concern. HouseMaster refers to these as pre-listing inspections.

The first major benefit you get from a pre-listing inspection is that you know what repairs are needed and can decide to either make them or negotiate an adjustment to the selling price. Seller-made repairs can normally be made for less than the negotiated repair cost, so it’s probably in your best interest to make the repairs that are revealed during the pre-listing inspection.

 

A pre-listing inspection greatly enhances your home’s marketability.

 

Another benefit is that the original selling price is more often obtained when a pre-listing inspection has been performed because either the noted repairs have been made or the original selling price has been adjusted to reflect the home’s condition. Therefore, a realistic price is established based on factual data prior to the home being listed. You could also lose more money off your initial asking price if a buyer performs their own inspection and find undisclosed flaws. In fact, for every flaw a buyer finds in a home that would cost $1,000 to fix, you stand to lose $3,000- $5,000 off your asking price. In truth, the average buyer doesn’t really know what it would cost to fix a given issue, and flaws are seen as far more egregious than those disclosed beforehand.

A pre-listing inspection also greatly enhances your home’s marketability. If you have an excellent home inspection report, you can show it to potential buyers. For example, HouseMaster provides a link to their electronic pre-listing inspection report for any digital media advertising. There are many other creative ways to use the inspection report to help sell your property, as well.

Lastly, your potential liability will be reduced with an independent report of the home’s condition from a professional home inspection company. You may not know the true condition or any possible defects when completing the seller’s disclosure statement, which can cause legal and goodwill issues. If both you and the buyer are aware of the home’s conditions, you can proceed forward with a good-faith negotiation.

For a more in-depth look at the scope and purpose of a home inspection, click here to see one of HouseMaster’s own reports.

If you would like more information from Melissa about home inspections, you can call her at (888) 848-0202.

A special thanks to Brandy from Toronto for inquiring about this topic. She will receive a $25 gift card for her question being chosen. If you have any questions or are interested in buying or selling a house, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We’d be glad to assist you.

 

The Best Staging Tips That Won’t Break the Bank

You want your home to look as good as possible when you sell. Today we’ll discuss how staging can help you accomplish this.

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When you sell your home, you want it to look as good as possible when you list it. To get your home looking its best, you’ve got to stage it. We are answering a question today from Diane in Ann Arbor who wants to know what she can do to stage on a budget.

 

To answer the question, we are joined by our good friend Sharon McRill from Betty Brigade. Staging helps homes sell faster and for more money, and we prepare our homes better than other Realtors. Part of this is because we work with Sharon and she helps us maximize that impression.

 

Staging helps homes sell faster.

 

She has three tips to share for those of you who want to stage on a budget:

 

1. Get rid of your clutter. Everyone has it. Get rid of the stacks of newspapers, magazines, and other knick knacks that make your home seem smaller.

 

2. Painting. This is the single easiest and cheapest way to raise your home’s value.

 

3. Get rid of worn furniture. It’s really easy to remove some furniture or just replace it with some rental pieces to make the home look better.

 

View the official Betty On The Move! Guide To Moving here.

 

As you can see in the video above, a few simple fixes can have a huge impact on a home’s perception. Sharon has helped thousands of people move, pack, and get their home ready to show. If you have any questions for them, visit them at bettybrigade.com.

 

If you have any other real estate-related questions or if you’re looking to buy or sell a home, give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

 

How to Avoid 3 Costly Mistakes When Moving

 

Today we’re discussing the top three mistakes people make when packing and moving and how you can avoid them.

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Today, we have three tips on how to avoid three major mistakes when moving that we wanted to share with you. We are joined today by Sharon McRill, the owner of Betty Brigade, to help break down these three issues and how to avoid them when moving.

1. Not prioritizing. For example, Sharon sees people who pack up their kitchen when it’s the basement, garage, or attic that needs work first.

2. Not figuring out what to take to the new space. If you don’t measure the space and the furniture, it’s very difficult to find out how it will all work together. After figuring out the space, decide what you’ll keep and sell or donate the rest.

3. Relying on friends and family. Pizza doesn’t always cut it when it comes to moving! You have to motivate people with something else many times. That’s why Sharon recommends hiring professionals. If friends and family want to help, she says let them help, but don’t count on them for everything.

 

Pizza doesn’t always cut it when compensating movers!

 

Thanks to Sharon for joining us. If you find yourself in need of the Betty Brigade’s services, you can call them at (734) 994-1000.

If you have any questions about our market or you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, give us a call or send us an email. We’d be glad to help.

 

 

More Tips on Packing and Moving From Stevens Worldwide

 

Dani Hallsell is back with us today with move tips on how to stay sane when moving to your next home.

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Today I wanted to share some more great moving tactics that will help keep you from going insane during your next move. For a little help, I’ve brought back Dani Hallsell from Stevens Worldwide Van Lines, which is a national storage and moving company. So what does Dani suggest to help make a move go slowly? Now that you know where you’re going and your boxes are packed thanks to our first set of tips, these tips will make the next steps much easier.

1. Consider packing “Open Me First” boxes. Include familiar items that will make everyone feel at home right away, as well as items that you use on a daily basis.

2. Label each side of your boxes. No matter which direction they turn, you know what’s inside.

3. Label fragile items with an arrow to indicate which side is up. This is often overlooked but will help you when your house starts filling up with boxes.

4. Fill and label a box with tools, cleaning supplies, extension cords, and surge protectors. This will make unpacking a breeze if it’s the last box you put in the moving truck. Don’t forget—toilet paper is an essential item!

 

Make your life easier by packing essentials last in an ‘Open Me First’ Box.

 

So what should you plan on taking yourself? Dani says Stevens recommends taking all valuables like money, jewelry, coins, collections, important papers, and medications with you personally. For the safety of your items, Stevens does not ship anything combustible or explosive, living, or perishable.

Another interesting fact about Stevens is that they partner with Move for Hunger. People throw away a lot of stuff when they move, and unfortunately, much of it is food. That’s why Stevens lets its customers set aside non-perishable food items, which will be picked up by their crew and delivered to the local food pantry. They’ll even supply the boxes for these nonperishable items, Dani says.

If you have any questions for the experts at Steven Worldwide, you can call them at (517) 614-8037.

If you have any real estate questions or you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in  the Ann Arbor area, give us a call or send us an email. We’d be happy to help.

How to Save Money by Packing Yourself When Moving

Five packing tips to save money
Five packing tips to save money for buyers and sellers

 

If you’re packing your home yourself, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Today, Dani Hallsell from Stevens Worldwide Van Lines is here to share her top five packing tips to save money

Five Packing Tips to Save Money from Professional Movers
Learn how to save time and money when packing to move

 

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Moving to a new space is an exciting time, but it can also be overwhelming. Today, Dani Hallsellfrom Stevens Worldwide Van Lines is here with some professional moving tips to help make packing less stressful. She talks about 5 Tips to Save Money When Packing Yourself in the video.

 

With more than 110 years of moving experience, Stevens Worldwide Van Lines has a complete list of packing tips and best practices. Here are their top five to save you money and time:

1. Gather your supplies. You’ll need boxes, newsprint, bubble wrap, scissors, tape, and pens.
2. Use packing tape to seal the seams on the bottom of the box. You should also add some tape perpendicularly across the box for extra support. Remember to fill the boxes completely to keep them from collapsing. Pack heavy items in smaller boxes in order to avoid straining your back.
3. Prepare for the move early. Start assembling moving boxes. Place them around the house to help you remember to pack a little bit every day.
4. Set one box aside for donations. Use this time to determine what you’ll take with you and what you will give away.
5. Make sure your valuables are securely wrapped. If you can feel the items through the cushion wrapping, you will need more protection.

 

Start packing early!

 

Furthermore, follow these Five Packing Tips to Save Money and your home will be securely packed up in no time.

In addition, if you have any other questions about packing for Dani, you can give her a call at (517) 614-8037 or email her at Dani.Hallsell@StevensWorldwide.com. As always, if you have any real estate questions, please reach out to us. Each person on Toth Team Worldwide Network is here to serve and we are happy to help you!

5 Signs It’s Time to Sell Your Home

5 Signs It’s Time to Sell Your Home
time to sell 5 signs
time to Sell
If you’re unsure of whether you should sell your home or not, there are five signs you should look out for.
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Is it time to sell your home? Are you on the fence about selling your home? There are five easy signs to know when the time is right:

 

1. You’ve outgrown the space. If multiple kids are constantly fighting over the bathroom or have to share a room, you know you’ve got a problem.

2. Your neighborhood is booming. This means your home and its price range are in high demand. It might be time to sell to take advantage of a higher-priced home and tap into the savings on the price tag.

3. You’re letting things go. If your home needs improvement and the yard work just isn’t as much fun anymore, it might be time to transition into a low-maintenance situation so you can enjoy your weekends and travel more.

4. Your equity is back. If you tried to sell a while ago but the sale didn’t happen, it might be time to call us so we can re-evaluate your home value.

5. You’ve undergone a substantial life change. Maybe your family is growing or shrinking. Maybe you’ve lost your job, got a new job, or decided to retire. In any case, a new lifestyle needs a new crib to go along with it.

 

These signs will let you know it’s time for a change.

 

Consequently, if you’re thinking about selling your home, please don’t hesitate to contact us. In real estate, it’s all about the preparation, and we do that better than anyone. We look forward to hearing from you!