Austin Absolute Realty

May 5, 2021

Should You Buy the “Except for…” Home?

 
 
 
 
Imagine finding a home that is perfect in every way, except for one nagging thing. That “thing” might be a smaller kitchen than you want, fewer closets than you need, or flooring that you dislike. Should you buy it anyway? How do you know if you should take a pass? It’s not an easy decision to make and depends on a number of factors.
Trying to answer these questions might help:
  • How likely is it that you’ll find another home that better meets your needs?
  • How soon do you want to move? (If you’re in a time-crunch you may need to adjust your expectations.)
  • Is the “except for...” something that can be fixed, perhaps with a renovation? For example, there are many ways to expand a small kitchen.
  • If the home’s shortcoming is fixable, approximately how much will that cost? It might turn out that the improvement is a good investment.
  • Can you live with the nagging “thing”, especially when the home is otherwise perfect?

It can be tough to work through a decision like this, especially if you’re in a situation where you need to make an offer quickly. Call today for help.

Posted in Buying
April 13, 2021

Clean or Replace Air Filters and Fan Screens

 
 
 
 
It’s a good idea to clean or replace your home’s air filters and screens at least once a year to help keep your indoor environment safe from mold, dust mites and other allergens.

But don’t stop at your heating, ventilation and cooling/air-conditioning systems. Think of all the other filters and screens that need cleaning, such as those in humidifiers, range hoods, bathroom fans, and windows. Unfortunately, homeowners often neglect to clean or replace their range hood filters. This can lead to a thick buildup of greasy residue that could easily compromise the important function of removing cooking gases, odors and humidity from the stovetop area. The result can be unhealthy air trapped in your kitchen, not to mention an accumulation of a thin film on your walls, ceilings and countertops.

Likewise, bathroom fans and window screens can trap layers of dust over time that will hinder the free flow of air to and from the rooms you want to be well ventilated.

Posted in Home Improvement
April 5, 2021

New Decking Options

 
 
 
 
When you decide it’s time to install or replace a deck surface, you may find there are more choices than you had expected. There are many new materials and installation options that have come to the market over just the past few years.
For example, in addition to traditional wood decking, there are contemporary synthetic and composite materials that possess properties that are remarkably similar to natural wood species – in terms of texture, appearance, density and workability. However, these materials offer superior durability in tough weather conditions and a wider range of colors than natural surfaces.

In addition, manufactured decking surfaces provide barefoot comfort without worry of splinters, as well as water-shedding properties that help improve traction after a rainstorm.

Synthetic materials are also very popular when it comes to railings and steps thanks to innovative installation systems that are easy enough for most industrious homeowners to tackle. Many offer pre-cut and/or interlocking pieces. As well, certain aluminum installations are enjoying renewed popularity thanks to new options that are clad in vinyl for extended protection and reduced maintenance.
Posted in Home Improvement
March 26, 2021

4 Good Reasons to Consider Selling your Home

 
 
 
 
Why do people decide to move? 

Unless it’s a requirement, such as a job relocation, the research tells us that you, like many homeowners, may decide to sell at some point for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Your home is no longer a good fit. You may have outgrown your current home and need something bigger, maybe with an additional bedroom. Or, the opposite may be true. You may want to downsize into something smaller – and cash in some of the home equity you’ve built up.
  • You’ve got your eye on a different neighborhood. Have you ever driven through an area and thought, “I’d love to live here”? You may think that it’s out-of-reach for you at this time. Is it? You never know until you work the numbers. You might, in fact, qualify for a home in that neighborhood today!
  • You want to be closer to something. Many homeowners would love to live closer to work, family, favorite hobbies, the country, etc. Moving to a home that’s near to one of those “somethings” can have a positive impact on your lifestyle.
  • It’s time for a change. Sometimes a homeowner just wants a change: new surroundings, a fresh start. Who says you need a “practical” reason to sell? If you’re looking to get into a new home just because you feel like it, that’s your choice. In fact, that may be the best reason of all to sell. You may simply want to move.

Do any of these reasons resonate for you? If so, now is the time to start preparing. Even if you don’t anticipate moving for several months, this is the best time to get the process started.

Posted in Selling
March 22, 2021

Make a “Great Things” List

 
 
 
 
What’s great about your home? Is it the spacious foyer and generous main floor closet space? Is it the beautiful washroom? Is it the playground that is only a short walking distance away?
Although some properties may look similar at first glance, every home is unique – with features and characteristics that make it special. If you’re considering putting your home on the market, make a list of all the great things about your property that potential buyers will want to know.

Start by thinking about the most desirable features of your home. Write down what you really love about the house and the surrounding area.

Next, think about what comments friends and other visitors to your home have made. Have you ever heard anyone say something like, “I really love your kitchen!” or, “This is such a quiet street”? Those are indications that potential buyers will like those features and characteristics too.

Once you have your list, let’s talk. Together, we’ll review all the great things about your home and area, and decide how to market them effectively.

Posted in Selling
March 9, 2021

Estimating Your Selling Costs

 
 
 
 
When the time comes to sell your house, you’ll want to determine roughly how much you can expect to net after the sale. To figure that out, you’ll not only need to know how much your house will likely sell for, but also the selling costs you are likely to incur in the process.

The costs of selling vary depending on a number of factors. Here’s a general rundown of what to consider:

  • Repairs. You will want your house to look its best to buyers. That may require you to get any needed repairs done before listing. You don’t want a buyer to see a dent in the wall or a dripping faucet.
  • Renovations. It might make sense to get a few improvements done to make the house more attractive. For example, you may want to replace old and worn kitchen countertops.
  • Legal fees. Selling a house requires a lot of legal work. You’ll need a good real estate lawyer to take care of that for you.
  • Commissions. This is usually calculated as a percentage of the sale price.
  • Moving costs. Once you sell, you’ll obviously need to move! So, factoring in this expense is a smart idea.

Although this may seem like a long list, selling costs are fairly easy to estimate. Once you have that number, it’s easy to calculate how much money you’ll have available to put towards your next home.

Posted in Selling
March 3, 2021

Want to Sell Your House Faster? Make it Anonymous

 
 
 
 
What do you notice when you visit a model home in a new development? Often, you will find wonderfully furnished and decorated rooms that anyone could live in.

The operative word here is “anyone”.

Sure, there might be a computer screen on a desk in the den, or a child’s doll sitting in a corner, but for the most part, all the rooms are anonymous. There is a sense of family, but no specific family… the feeling of personality, but no specific person.

The professionals who set up a model home make it anonymous for a reason. They want buyers to view it as their potential home, not someone else’s. These professionals know - based on decades of experience - that this strategy helps sell houses faster and for a better price.

Why not use this same strategy when showing your home?

It’s easy. Just put away that soccer trophy, take down the wedding photo, and box those souvenirs from the family vacation at Disneyland. No, you don’t have to completely empty your closets and drawers. Just pack those personal items that can be seen when a potential buyer views a room. Put away toothbrushes, collectibles, even unopened mail. Don’t forget to clear the fridge door, which is often a mosaic of personal items in family homes.

If you have lots of personal items, consider renting a storage unit for the few weeks that your house will be on the market. It’s worth the investment.

You wouldn’t think of buying a birthday cake with a stranger’s name on it. Keep that in mind when you show your home. Make it anonymous!

Need more ideas for selling your house faster and for the best price possible? Call today.

Posted in Selling
March 2, 2021

Avoiding Moisture Problems in the Home

 
 
 
 
There are many hidden sources of moisture in your home that can lead to serious problems, such as mold.
 
To keep moisture levels in check, consider these tips:
  • Bathrooms are an obvious source of moisture build-up. Contractor and TV personality Mike Holmes recommends keeping the fan going for at least half an hour after a shower.
  • Check regularly for water infiltration around window and door sills, as well as other intakes into the home, such as dryer vents and cable wiring.
  • Determine the humidity level in your home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it should be 30-60%. (Keep in mind that humidity may vary greatly from room to room.)
  • Regularly inspect caulking around sinks, tubs and showers. Even a tiny break can cause water to leak gradually into the wall or floor, causing damage you may not notice for months.
  • Clean up wet spills as soon as possible. Be particularly careful with hardwood floors, as water can seep through and become trapped.
  • Repair leaking faucets and pipes immediately. Even a small drip can add significant moisture inside a vanity or kitchen cupboard.

Being mindful of moisture today can help you avoid potentially high repair bills later on.

Posted in Home Improvement
Feb. 27, 2021

What to Do When Closing Dates Don’t Match

 
 
 
 
If you want to sell your current property and purchase your next dream home, you might be wondering whether the closing dates need to be on the same day. 
You might even be worried that you’ll lose a property if the closing dates overlap, or you’ll be put out on the street if the dates are far apart!

For the most part, these concerns are unfounded. Thousands of properties change hands every day and usually everything works out just fine. In fact, it’s amazing how often closing dates actually do match!

But, what happens if the closing date of the home you want to buy is days or weeks earlier than the closing date of your own property?

Most lenders anticipate this situation and offer something called “Bridge Financing.” It is a special loan that allows you to purchase the property with the earlier closing date. When your current property closes, the bridge financing ends and your new mortgage – if you need one – begins on the new home.

Alternatively, if the home you want has a later closing date, we will work together to explore options, such as a short-term rental.

Posted in Selling
Feb. 21, 2021

Create More Space in your Kitchen

 
 
 
 
Need more storage space in your kitchen for your growing collection of cookware, tableware, and supplies? You don’t have to do a renovation or even add a new table or cupboard. Here are a few simple ideas:

Pantry dividers. These enable you to store baking sheets, cutting boards and platters in an upright position, effectively doubling the storage capacity of that area.

Removable wine rack. This is simply an X made with wood and then slid into a cabinet space. You can make one yourself or find one that’s the right size at a kitchenware or home improvement store near you.

Hanging baskets. These are ideal for storing cooking utensils, fruit, vegetables, pasta and other items.

Hanging rod. This is similar to a towel rack, except you use S-shaped hooks – which you can find at any home improvement store – to hang pots, pans and other items. Restaurant kitchens often use these.

High shelving. A shelf installed high up the wall – near the ceiling – that wraps around the kitchen and dining area, can easily double your storage space.

There are many other products on the market that can help you make the most of your kitchen space. Look for options at your local home improvement or kitchenware stores.

Posted in Home Improvement