Enjoy helpful home buying and selling tips as well as market updates, community events and local love.

May 19, 2022

3 Sneaky Ways to Make a Small Home Office Look Huge

3 Sneaky Ways to Make a Small Home Office Look Huge

The struggle of the way-too-small home office: a space that needs to be functional often doubling as a guest room and the holding pen for all the random stuff you couldn’t find a home for elsewhere. And did we mention these rooms are often tiny? You spend many of your waking hours in this small, cramped place. So, how can you figuratively supersize one of the hardest-working and smallest rooms in your home?

 

1. Pick the right-sized furniture

One of the worst home office fails? Furniture that simply doesn’t fit! Just because you want a large work surface (who doesn’t?), it doesn’t mean you want to overwhelm your space with a massive CEO-style desk. Start with the right-sized desk, and orbit other furnishings around it. There isn’t a formula for size; the more compact you can go, the better. The small-home mecca otherwise known as Ikea offers countless affordable desk options. Take measurements of your room before you shop, and don’t forget to account for other furniture that needs to go in the tight space. And maybe factor in a bit of walking space, too. Find a desk that has ample storage and just enough surface space for your computer. If you primarily use a laptop, you can get away with a small laptop desk for tight spaces. For bigger devices, consider a storage-rich desk that’s both stylish and sturdy.

 

When it comes to your chair, you want comfort, but you don’t need the gargantuan seat on wheels that you’d see in an office building. Pro tip: Go for a stationary chair with style. Standard dining chairs work well because they’re smaller than most office chairs, but they have high backs, so you don’t have to worry about being down too low. Dining chairs are a lot more attractive than office chairs, and they just blend in better.

 

2. Find a place for everything

On websites, floating, open shelves look amazing. Know why? Because they’re styled for photos, not living. They probably hold about half the stuff you really need. Your pile of crumpled and mismatched paper? It’s not nearly as eye-pleasing as the perfectly stacked piles you see in design books. Here’s a good way to leverage wall space: Use it to hang file holders. You’ll find plenty of options at The Container Store or any office supply retailer. Every item should have a dedicated place that’s not your work surface or the floor.

 

If you can squeeze another piece of furniture in your room, Petty suggests a closed cabinet. A stylish armoire could be a nice touch. Use bins to store your office wares inside. Purchase cord organizers and tuck away that laptop when you’re offline to make everything look seamless. If you must leave things out, then do it in style.

 

3. Have fun with decor

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to make your work ambiance more Zen is through color. You can paint, but a hued wallpaper looks great, too. The key, productivity-wise: You want a design that’s inspiring but not distracting.

 

While overhead lighting is the best lighting for task-orientated work, a desk lamp can add a great decorative detail. Don’t opt for one that looks too utilitarian. With practically no effort, you can find options that are stylish, attractive, and affordable (the trifecta!).

 

One thing to skip: rugs. Chairs are harder to move on rugs and placing them under a desk ends up cutting the rug off awkwardly.

 

Laurel Jonas- REALTOR®

Northwest Realty Group

2022 N. Government Way Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

208-758-9000

208homesforsale@gmail.com

208homesforsale.com

 

Posted in Home Tips
May 18, 2022

Keep Your Home Address Private

Keep Your Home Address Private

There is a myriad of reasons buyers don’t want their names associated with their home address. Certainly, celebrities or professional athletes aren’t eager to give up their home info, nor are public officials, police officers, or survivors of domestic abuse. In fact, the same applies to any homeowner who finds it unnerving that anyone with Google access can find their home address.

 

Whether it’s a matter of privacy or personal safety and security, keeping exactly where you live away from prying eyes is possible. And hiding a real estate purchase is available to everyone regardless of socioeconomic status. Do you not want your name to pop up when someone searches real estate records? Here’s how to hide your home purchase.

 

Ask around in your network

It’s likely someone in your personal or professional circle has faced privacy issues when buying a home. So ask your various contacts for recommendations for real estate professionals. Then ask those agents about their experience in keeping purchases private. Buyers who are looking for confidentiality should work with agents that show that they are taking steps to safeguard their clients and clients’ information from the very beginning. Agents have fiduciary obligations that require them to ensure, among other things, confidentiality, obedience, care, and loyalty to the client. That’s just the legal and ethical side of it. And if they are speaking about other clients freely to you in detail, they are likely doing the same about you. You should not trust that agent. So chat with real estate professionals in your area, and discuss your privacy concerns. Be sure you feel comfortable and confident in their ability to guide you through the buying process. Having the wrong person can skew your entire purchase.

 

Erase your home’s internet history

Most multiple listing services require homes to be pulled off online sites within 24 hours of a closing. So confirm with the listing agent of the home you want to buy that this duty will indeed be performed in a timely manner. Removing the listing will purge the home’s information from online systems. Then there would be only one way someone could find out whether you own a property. They would have to visit your local town hall and look up real estate transactions.

 

Hide a real estate purchase using a trust

People form trusts as part of estate planning. Trusts specify how assets—such as a house, money, or heirlooms—are distributed to loved ones after death without the hassle and costs of probate court. Yet trusts can also be used to hide real estate purchases. Your trust will own the home and be listed in the public records as the owner. If you have children, you should have a trust anyway. You can call the trust anything you want. Most people use their last name. But you don’t have to, so people can’t associate the trust’s property with your real name.

 

Hide a real estate purchase with an LLC

Another way to maintain your privacy and keep your address out of sight is by forming a limited liability company, or LLC. The IRS states an LLC is for a business structure. But you don’t have to own a business to form an LLC to hide your real estate purchase. Regulations vary by state, yet most states don’t restrict LLC ownership. This means an LLC can be designated to a single individual, several members, corporations, other LLCs, or even foreign entities. You can learn more about setting up an LLC through your state’s business formation website. Like a trust, your LLC will be listed as the owner of your property, which means you can keep your name off the official records—and keep your privacy intact.

 

Contact an attorney

In most states, you can set up a single-member LLC. But consider that you might miss a few important details forming a company on your own. You should speak with an attorney about how to set up a trust or an LLC correctly. Arm yourself with the necessary information, and money, and you can possibly bid yourself into a premium asset.

 

Laurel Jonas- REALTOR®

Northwest Realty Group

2022 N. Government Way Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

208-758-9000

208homesforsale@gmail.com

208homesforsale.com

Posted in Buying A Home Tips
May 17, 2022

What Everyone Wants To Know: Will Home Prices Decline in 2022?

will homes prices decline in 2022

If you’re thinking of buying a home in today’s housing market, you may be wondering how strong your investment will be. You might be asking yourself: if I buy a home now, will it lose value? Or will it continue to appreciate going forward? The good news is, according to the experts, home prices are not projected to decline. 

Here’s why

With buyers still outweighing sellers, home prices are forecast to continue climbing in 2022, just at a slower or more moderate pace. Why the continued increase? It’s the simple law of supply and demand. When there are fewer items on the market than there are buyers, the competition for that item makes prices naturally rise.

And while the number of homes for sale today is expected to improve with more sellers getting ready to list their houses this winter, we’re certainly not out of the inventory woods yet. Thus, the projections show continued appreciation, but at a more moderate rate than what we’ve seen over the past year.

 

Here’s a look at the latest 2022 expert forecasts on home price appreciation:

What’s the biggest takeaway from this graph? None of the major experts are projecting depreciation in 2022. They’re all showing an increase in home prices next year.

 

And here’s what some of the industry’s experts say about how that will play out in the housing market next year:

 

Brad Hunter of Hunter Housing Economics explains:

 

“. . . the recent unsustainable rate of home price appreciation will slow sharply. . .. home prices will not decline. . . but they will simply rise at a more sustainable pace.”

 

Danielle Hale from realtor.com agrees:

 

“Price growth is expected to move back toward a normal range, but this is on top of recent high prices, . . . So, prices will [still] hit new highs. . .. The pace of price growth is going to slow notably . . .”

 

What Does This Mean for the Housing Market?

 

While home price appreciation is expected to continue, it isn’t projected to be the record-breaking 18 to almost 20% increase the market saw over the past 12 months. Overall, it’s important to note that price increases won’t be as monumental as they were in 2021 – but they certainly won’t decline anytime soon.

 

What Does That Mean for You?

 

With motivated buyers in the market and so few homes available to purchase, the imbalance of supply and demand will continue to put upward pressure on home prices in 2022. And when home price appreciation is in the forecast, that’s a clear indication your investment in homeownership is a sound one.

 

Bottom Line

 

It’s important to know that home prices are not projected to decline in the new year. Instead, they’re forecast to rise, just at a more moderate pace. Let’s connect to make sure you’re up to date on what’s happening with home price appreciation in our market, so you can make an informed decision about your next move.

 

Laurel Jonas- REALTOR®

Northwest Realty Group

2022 N. Government Way Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

208-758-9000

208homesforsale@gmail.com

208homesforsale.com

Posted in Market Updates
May 2, 2022

6 Tips for Buying in a Competitive Market

6 Tips for Buying in a Competitive Market

The housing market is hot. On fire, actually—and it doesn’t seem to be dying anytime soon. This can be scary because of how tough it is to buy a home in a competitive market. 

1. Do Your Pre-Approval Homework

Before you even start looking at actual homes, head on over to a lender (or multiple lenders, to get different quotes) and get a pre-approval letter. We know it’s not very exciting, but it just might save you later. Don’t bother getting pre-qualified because it’s not the same thing as getting pre-approved. Pre-qualification is a quick process based only on information you provide; it isn’t verified by the lender. Pre-approval requires lenders to verify income, credit, and other important numbers that indicate how much of a home you can afford.

 

As you can imagine, a pre-approval letter holds a lot more weight with home sellers because it means a lender believes you can afford the homes you’re looking at. This piece of paper might be the thing that gets you a home instead of somebody else. If there are several offers on a property, those who don’t already have financing could be tossed out immediately.

 

2. Get The Right Agent to Help You Buy a Home in a Competitive Market

We might be a little bit biased, but it’s still true. You need a great agent to represent you when you’re planning to buy a home in a competitive market. Be sure to get recommendations from friends and family. Even online reviews can give you a good idea of who might be a wise choice, though you should always take reviews with a grain of salt. Most importantly, find an agent who specializes in the area you want to buy in. Their inside knowledge can put you on the fast track to success when you buy a home in a competitive market. (Need a Portland real estate agent? Give one of our agents a call!)

 

3. Know Exactly What You’re Looking For

You’re going to have to be ready to make big decisions fast. See a house you want? Trust us, there isn’t going to be time to think about and come back and then make an offer. Want to arrange for your grandma to see it? Want to go back and measure to see if your king-size bed will fit in the master? There isn’t going to be time for that. That said, we’d never want you to buy a house that isn’t the right fit for you. This means that you really need to narrow down what you’re looking for and why before you’re ready to make offers.

 

This will help you make quick decisions when you come across a home that might be right for you. And be sure to look at the home carefully to make sure that it’s worth what you’re planning to offer. If possible, check out homes in your desired location several months before you’re ready to buy. This will give you a good idea of the kinds of homes that are available in your area, helping you narrow down what's right for you. A realtor with local expertise can help you understand how much the kind of home you want, and in the neighborhood you want, is going to cost.

 

4. Be Faster Than Everyone Else

What about Zillow and Trulia and Realtor.com? As fun and useful as they are, these sites aren’t going to cut it when you want to buy a home in a competitive market. You need a local agent to notify you as soon as a new home is on the market, via email or some other method. Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and other sites all get their data from the local MLS. They pull data multiple times a day, but your local agent will have data instantaneously, meaning you could see a new house before anyone else. Once you’ve found your home, put in an offer right away. Have your negotiating strategies at the ready (an agent will be happy to help you figure these out in advance). Know how high you’re willing to go in a multiple offer situation. An escalation clause can automatically put your bid at $1,000 higher than any other bids—but make sure you know when to stop.

 

5. Be a Nice Buyer

Show the seller that you’re going to make life easier for them. They don’t want this home-selling thing to drag on any longer than it has to. Make sure you:

 

Schedule a home inspection right away

Offer to rent the house back to the seller once you own it (called a rent back agreement, these can be tricky, so make sure you know what you’re doing). The seller doesn’t want to be homeless and is likely going to have to buy a competitive market also

 

Don’t be afraid to write a letter to the seller if you feel like it will make a difference, which it can to some sellers

Last, a good agent will call the listing agent and find out what’s really important to the seller so you can put together a great offer

 

6. Think About Contingencies

Contingences are par for the course, but they may not get you very far in a competitive market. If you’re planning to sell your home before you buy this one, you’re probably not going to get very far. You also might think about forgoing a home inspection contingency, but we NEVER recommend this. You could be on the hook for thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs if something unseen is wrong with the house. An agent can help you figure out if and when it’s smart to go without contingencies in a competitive market.

 

Hang On—It’s Going to Get Bumpy

It’s better if we tell you up front that it’s going to be a bumpy ride. If you need any reassurance that it’ll all work out OK in the end, that’s what we’re here for! We’ve been through these complicated transactions many times, and we’ll do everything we can to help you through it. You’re also likely to miss out on homes a few times, and that’s OK, too. You’ll learn more about the market with each situation that doesn’t work out, and you’ll learn how to make a better offer the next time a great home comes around.

 

Laurel Jonas- REALTOR®

Northwest Realty Group

2022 N. Government Way Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

208-758-9000

208homesforsale@gmail.com

208homesforsale.com

 

Posted in Buying A Home Tips
April 26, 2022

4 Cool Ways to Hide Your TV

4 ways to hide your TVToday, flat-screen TVs are ubiquitous—hanging serenely on walls, freeing up space once hogged by bulky traditional boob tubes and the hulking entertainment stands that supported them. Still, a flat-screen TV still looks like … a TV. Not exactly a work of art gracing your wall. Lucky for you, plenty of other homeowners are on the case and have come up with some ingenious ways to keep these screens under wraps. Check out a few of their strategies below.

1. Frame it

Dressing up your flat-screen TV with a beautiful picture frame is easy. All you need is decorative molding to make the frame and a few other materials. To make your TV blend in even more, make the frame the same color or style as the surrounding shelves or furniture, or make it one of many frames on one wall.

 

2. Use the magic of a one-way mirror

One-way mirrors—which allow viewers on only one side to see through—can be used to hide a flat-screen TV when it’s not being used. All you do is create a niche in the wall for your TV to sit in. Then purchase a two-way mirror and place it in a frame covering the niche.  Now here’s the magic part: When your TV’s turned on, the light will shine through the mirror, giving you a crystal-clear image. It will look like a mirror hanging on your wall, but the TV will be visible when turned on. For the non-DIY version, you can also buy a flat-screen TV that’s designed to look like a mirror.

 

3. Stash it behind artwork

If you prefer that your TV look like a pretty picture when it’s not airing your favorite show, then it’s entirely possible to make that happen, too. There is a good selection online for art and frames or else you can make your own by buying a remotely controlled shade. Just glue a painting canvas to an electric window shade that rolls up and down, then mount it inside a frame with the TV.

 

4. Hide it behind sliding doors

Another genius way to hide your flat-screen TV is to place it behind sliding doors (barn doors, artwork, or otherwise). Lowe’s features these DIY video instructions on hiding your TV below, and you don’t have to be a master carpenter to pull it off. This project is estimated to take one weekend and be appropriate for beginners.

 

Laurel Jonas- REALTOR®

Northwest Realty Group

2022 N. Government Way Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

208-758-9000

208homesforsale@gmail.com

208homesforsale.com

Posted in Home Tips
April 15, 2022

5 Financing Essentials for Buying Property at a Real Estate Auction

5 Financing Essentials for Buying Property at a Real Estate Auction

Pandemic-related mortgage bailouts are ending, and foreclosures are now rising. Foreclosure stats jumped 32% in the third quarter of this year from the second quarter and were 67% higher than the third quarter of 2020. With foreclosures flooding the market, it’s “standing room only” at real estate auction sales these days. Those properties are selling below the average sales price of properties not in foreclosure. These numbers are bringing buyers and investors to real estate auctions in search of the next great deal. For those who are new to the auction block, there are a few key pieces of financing knowledge that are “must-haves” to remember before lifting that paddle to bid:

 

Most real estate auction contracts have no financing contingencies. In a nutshell, “no contingencies” means that you have to secure funds or financing prior to the auction. A prospective buyer must be sure of their ability to purchase the property being bid upon. Refunds are almost never given on bid deposits due to lack of financing.

 

You must be pre-approved (not pre-qualified) for a loan. A pre-approval requires more documented information on the part of the prospective buyer and presents a thorough financial background of the buyer to the seller. You can obtain a pre-approval simply by filling out an application with a bank or other financial institution. Be sure to have all your required paperwork in order and ready to go.

 

When applying for financing, request the highest amount you would be willing to spend on the property, and then some. Do your homework on the property. Develop a realistic dollar amount that the property is worth and what you are willing and able to afford. Take into account the potential competing bids that you may encounter, plus additional fees and closing costs. Also be aware of the buyer’s premium, which is fully disclosed by the auction company – a percentage added to the high bid that goes to the auction company, usually between 5 and 10 percent. Once you come up with that number, that’s the one you put on the financing application.

 

Bring 5-10% earnest money of the possible purchase price. Your deposit must be given in the form of cash, certified check, or cashier’s check. Generally, credit cards are not accepted at real estate auctions so have your deposit money ready. This is standard with all real estate auctions.  The earnest money — aka deposit — is usually pre-determined at live on-site auctions. If you are indeed the high bidder, you typically have to fund your deposit to a full 10 percent of the purchase price within three days of the auction date. Online auctions are a bit different, where in some cases your credit card is charged for authentication.

 

Closings are almost always within 30-45 days. One of the draws for some buyers at real estate auctions is the quick, no-nonsense closing time. And don’t count on the closing being canceled or postponed — it almost never happens. So again, secured financing is essential. Have everything locked in place to meet that fast-approaching closing date. One glitch to hold up the money and you can lose your deposit. There’s no room for error at the auction block.

 

All that being said, real estate auctions are a lucrative opportunity to purchase a property of value at a great price. Arm yourself with the necessary information, and money, and you can possibly bid yourself into a premium asset.

 

Laurel Jonas- REALTOR®

Northwest Realty Group

2022 N. Government Way Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

208-758-9000

208homesforsale@gmail.com

208homesforsale.com

Posted in Buying A Home Tips
April 5, 2022

March 2022 Coeur d'Alene Area Real Estate Market Update

March 2022 Coeur d'Alene Area Market Update

New Listings- 483 down 14.4%

Average Sales Price- $650,239 up 8.5%

Sold Properties- 301 down 18.4%

Average Days on Market- 57 down 1.7%

Percentage to list price- 100.6% down 1.7%

Months Supply- .8 up 14.3%

Stats are compared to March 2021 previously owned properties only in Kootenai County.️

 

It's no secret home prices have increased at a rapid rate. New construction properties and previously owned properties have nearly doubled in a couple of years.

 

Interest rates are rising and due to continue throughout the year. This is expected to slow down the housing market. We are starting to see the effects of it now. We have a long way to go to be considered a balanced market but it's a small step in that direction. If you're looking to sell, I recommend doing it now to take advantage of this market. If you're a buyer, you may actually get a chance to negotiate.

 

Laurel Jonas- REALTOR®

Northwest Realty Group

2022 N. Government Way Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

208-758-9000

208homesforsale@gmail.com

208homesforsale.com

 

Posted in Market Updates
March 24, 2022

A 3 Step Downsizing Plan

3 step downsizing plan

When it's time to move to a smaller home, these tips will help you save the memories while minimizing clutter in your new place. Moving into a new house is often bittersweet. You are excited for the change, but sad to leave a home so full of memories. Downsizing can be even harder. A smaller place means you don’t have room for all of your current possessions. But downsizing is also an opportunity to refresh and start anew. If you get rid of the clutter, you can fill your new place with the things you really love that make it feel like home. Here are three steps for downsizing without sacrificing your meaningful belongings:

 

1. Make a plan

 

Take a trip to your new place and measure the size of your rooms and storage areas. This will be your guide for how much you can take with you. It is better to underestimate than overestimate. As you’re deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, do one room at a time. Moving is a big job, and you don’t need to tackle it all at once. Plan to do a little bit each day and leave extra time so you aren’t rushed. Decide on your furniture first. Going from big to small will give you a better idea how much space you have left to fill. You don’t want to have to reshuffle everything if you can’t take that bookshelf with you.

 

 

2. Sort your belongings

 

Will you use it? It’s easy to convince yourself you might still wear that 10-year-old shirt with the tags still on someday. But if you haven’t used it in the past year, it’s likely you never will. Also, get rid of multiples. Do you have multiple coffee pots, or several sets of china? If you can only use one at a time, you don’t need to keep both. As you sort, follow a strict yes/no policy —no “maybes” allowed. Make a “yes” pile and a “no” pile, and force yourself to choose. If you aren’t convinced the item deserves a yes, then it’s a no. “Maybe” piles just mean more work for you later.

 

Decide how to divide up your “no” pile. You may not want or need these items anymore, but they’re probably useful to someone else. Special items may be handed down to friends or family members. Furniture, housewares, clothing, and other items in good condition could be sold at a garage sale or on sites like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Or you can choose to donate reusable items to organizations like Goodwill, who sometimes offer neighborhood or even residential pickups, making your task that much simpler. Anything damaged or worn beyond repair should make its way to the recycling bin or a trip to the dump.

 

 

3. Preserve memories

 

Digitize photos to save space and easily share them with family. Photo albums take up a lot of room, and how often do you actually go through them? Pick up a digital frame and enjoy all of your photos in a rotating slideshow or create a slideshow screensaver for your TV or computer. Take photos of items that bring up good memories, but you no longer have room for. You can look back on the memories without actually keeping the items. To make sure those treasured items are in good hands, pass them on to your children, grandchildren, or close friends. They will love the gift, and you get to enjoy seeing the items being used. Another strategy is to give keepsakes a new life. If you love to craft, items like old movie stubs, letters and photos are perfect for scrapbooking, letting you create a record of your experiences. Or make three-dimensional pieces of art using shadow boxes. Gathering up your memories in one place will make them easier than ever to enjoy.

 

Downsizing is an emotional process. You will discover items you haven’t seen in years, and you will have to decide what to do with them. Give yourself some time to reminisce, and then make a decision. Keep in mind your space limitations. Take with you what is truly valuable — only you can decide what you can’t do without. Just imagine: Once you’ve finished your move, you’ll be able to enjoy your new place surrounded by the feeling of home.

 

Laurel Jonas- REALTOR®

Northwest Realty Group

2022 N. Government Way Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

208-758-9000

208homesforsale@gmail.com

208homesforsale.com

Posted in Selling Tips
March 20, 2022

Give Your Home a Morale Makeover

 

Give Your Home a Morale Makeover

7 easy ways to revitalize your space and boost your mood

 

With many Americans spending a lot more time at home, you may find your house taking on the roles of office, classroom, gym and community center — and it’s easy to feel uninspired by your surroundings after occupying the same space day in, day out. But all hope is not lost: There are simple and inexpensive ways to transform your home into a fresh and stimulating environment. Give your home some TLC with these seven tips from interior decorators, feng shui experts and design enthusiasts.

 

Break it up

 

If you’re working at home, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by conflicting responsibilities. To help stay on track, designate different areas for specific activities. It’s important to ‘compartmentalize’ your living space. Assign specific areas for fitness, work and leisure: Dig out a yoga mat from under the bed and dedicate an area to working out. Clean and organize the desk in the living room or office to serve as a ‘command station’ for going online and making phone calls. The bedroom doubles as another workspace and is perfect for napping or watching movies in bed. If you live in a studio, you can simulate separate “rooms” by splitting up the space with curtains, bookshelves or other furniture.

 

Experiment with color

 

Painting the walls is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to immediately invigorate any home. For a classic look that will hold up against almost any decor, opt for cool neutrals; if you prefer something more dramatic, consider adding a pop of color to a feature wall. Feng shui experts and interior designers recommend greens and blues: they are most associated with health, calm and well being. If you’re not ready to commit to painting, it is suggested to use accessories like throw pillows, an area rug, curtains or artwork to bring color into your space.

Streamline and declutter

 

With millions of us now living and working alongside family members, significant others and roommates, our homes may suddenly seem more cramped than ever before. There’s no better way to create spatial harmony than decluttering: it works a powerful magic in that it gets your entire space up to speed with you.  Experts recommend starting small with a contained space like a bathroom, which “will give you a quick feeling of accomplishment and encourage you to do the next space.” The benefits of a tidy space extend beyond aesthetics — research has found that clearing clutter can lower stress levels.

 

Do a digital detox

 

The digital detox movement is not new, but it’s worth revisiting in this climate of constant COVID-19 news and social media chatter. Though it’s important to stay informed about the health crisis, it’s easy to slip from a healthy level of engagement to compulsive checking. To reduce screen dependence, set up manageable boundaries based on time or place. For example, designate dinnertime as phone-free, or remove mobile tech devices from your bedroom for a daily reset.

 

Invigorate with scents

 

Scent is a powerful vehicle for uplifting your mood. Every room should have a different scent track to score your moment. Use woody scents like cedar, palo santo, oud, copal and frankincense to feel grounded; rosemary for invigoration; and incense to focus and meditate. There are many ways to suffuse a room with scent — candles, oil diffusers, air mists and fresh flowers, to name a few. For a more subtle effect, crack open a window to balance out your chosen fragrance with fresh air.

 

Greenify and purify

 

While you’re staying put, there’s no better time to bring the outside world in. If there’s one thing that makes a space feel livable, it’s some elements of green. Not only do plants bring light and color, they also add oxygen to your home — something that many of us could use more of as we hunker down indoors. Consider the level of care you want to give: Some folks may find something less fussy to be easier to deal with, whereas others may want a more ‘high-maintenance’ plant that requires attention every day. Whichever plant you choose, she says that the ritual of maintaining it can be deeply healing.

 

Lighten up

 

Natural light is the top office perk, according to a study of workplace benefits published in the Harvard Business Review. If your home is now your office, you have more control than ever over the light conditions of your workday. To maximize your exposure to natural light, position your desk near a window and keep drapes and shades open during the daytime. If you don’t have much natural light coming in, it is recommended to affix aluminum mini-blinds to your windows. You can direct or cut out light (and inquisitive neighbors across the street) as needed, and when the sun hits them just right, you can use them to throw light into the room without getting blinded. Adding reflective surfaces — like a mirror, lacquered table, or chrome lamp — enhances the light in dark rooms.

Posted in Home Tips
March 20, 2022

Found a Buyer on Your Own? Here’s Why You Still Need an Agent

Found a Buyer on Your Own? Here’s Why You Still Need an Agent

 

Let’s say you’re selling your house. And before you even get a chance to snap listing photos and put it on the market, a buyer comes along. Perhaps the buyer makes you an offer you just can’t refuse. Congratulations, you just cut out many steps of the home-selling process—showings, open houses, and haggling over price.

 

With an offer in hand, you might be asking what commission an agent would receive if the agent were to get involved at this stage of the home-selling process. But keep in mind what may seem like a straightforward transaction between a seller and buyer once an offer is accepted is usually not all that simple. You still have a marathon to finish before getting to the closing table. We’ve broken down the home-selling process into steps to see what an agent could help you with.

 

Commissions explained

 

Neither federal nor state laws govern commission rates, which means commissions are fully negotiable. And negotiating the commission is between you and your agent.

 

To crunch some general numbers, if a home sells for $250,000 at a 6% commission, the seller’s agent would get $15,000. However, keep in mind commission rates usually vary depending on the state you live in and among brokerages. Always talk with several agents about your particular home-selling needs. Find out if and how they would want to handle the sale to a buyer found by the seller.

 

The offer

 

In this scenario, a buyer made you an offer and you accepted. However, it’s time to take a step back: Keep in mind verbal offers are not legally binding in real estate transactions. Agents usually supply a variety of forms such as Residential Purchase Agreements to get offers in writing. These forms vary to conform to state and local laws, and eventually become a binding sales contract. The forms are also known as a purchase agreement, an earnest money agreement, or a deposit receipt. It’s also essential that an offer contains every element needed to serve as a blueprint for the final sale.

 

An agent can also handle a buyer’s earnest money—usually 1% to 2% of the home’s purchase price—by depositing it in an escrow account held by a third party such as a real estate closing company, an attorney, or a title company agent. Remember, escrow protects sellers. You get to keep that money if a buyer bails on a transaction that’s underway.

 

The terms of the sale and contingencies

 

While it may seem the hard part is over if a seller found a buyer on their own, many obstacles can occur during the contract period that will require an agent’s skill to keep the deal together. For instance, an agent will ask if you and your buyer agree on not just the sales price but also the terms of the sale. Terms within a purchase agreement include basic information such as the names of the parties involved, the legal description of the property to be transferred, and the agreed-upon price. But terms also list crucial details such as what personal property will be included in the sale (e.g., appliances or fixtures). Leaving any terms of sale out of the purchase agreement can come back to haunt the buyer, the seller, or both.

 

An agent will also ensure contingencies are added to your contract. Standard contingencies include a buyer securing financing, a home inspection, repairs, and an appraisal—which is crucial to the mortgage process.

The closing

Remember, you need multiple legal documents for the closing, including a clean title. This step is usually done by an attorney, who collects a fee at the closing. But a real estate agent usually handles getting to the actual closing table by setting a date, coordinating everyone’s schedule, and ensuring all the needed paperwork (which is usually a mound of documents) is ready and correctly signed.

 

The bottom line

 

If a real estate professional can assist you, their compensation is a matter of negotiation between you and the agent. Hiring an agent to write the offer and guide it toward the closing table is a smart move.

 

Laurel Jonas- REALTOR®

Northwest Realty Group

2022 N. Government Way Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

208-758-9000

208homesforsale@gmail.com

208homesforsale.com

Posted in Selling Tips