Real Estate Information Archive


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10 Best-Kept Secrets for Buying a Home

by Cardany Realty Group

Getting ready to purchase a home?  

Follow these guidelines for a smooth transition...

Buying Secret #10: Keep Your Money Where It Is
It’s not wise to make any huge purchases or move your money around three to six months before buying a new home. You don’t want to take any big chances with your credit profile. Lenders need to see that you’re reliable and they want a complete paper trail so that they can get you the best loan possible. If you open new credit cards, amass too much debt or buy a lot of big-ticket items, you’re going to have a hard time getting a loan.

Buying Secret #9: Get Pre-Approved for Your Home Loan
There’s a big difference between a buyer being pre-qualified and a buyer who has a pre-approved mortgage. Anybody can get pre-qualified for a loan. Getting pre-approved means a lender has looked at all of your financial information and they’ve let you know how much you can afford and how much they will lend you. Being pre-approved will save you a lot of time and energy so you are not running around looking at houses you can't afford. It also gives you the opportunity to shop around for the best deal and the best interest rates. Do your research: Learn about junk fees, processing fees or points and make sure there aren’t any hidden costs in the loan.

Buying Secret #8: Avoid a Border Dispute
It’s absolutely essential to get a survey done on your property so you know exactly what you’re buying. Knowing precisely where your property lines are may save you from a potential dispute with your neighbors. Also, your property tax is likely based on how much property you have, so it is best to have an accurate map drawn up.

Buying Secret # 7: Don’t Try to Time the Market
Don’t obsess with trying to time the market and figure out when is the best time to buy. Trying to anticipate the housing market is impossible. The best time to buy is when you find your perfect house and you can afford it. Real estate is cyclical, it goes up and it goes down and it goes back up again. So, if you try to wait for the perfect time, you’re probably going to miss out.

Buying Secret # 6: Bigger Isn’t Always Better 
Everyone’s drawn to the biggest, most beautiful house on the block. But bigger is usually not better when it comes to houses. There’s an old adage in real estate that says don’t buy the biggest, best house on the block. The largest house only appeals to a very small audience and you never want to limit potential buyers when you go to re-sell. Your home is only going to go up in value as much as the other houses around you. If you pay $500,000 for a home and your neighbors pay $250,000 to $300,000, your appreciation is going to be limited. Sometimes it is best to is buy the worst house on the block, because the worst house per square foot always trades for more than the biggest house.

Buying Secret #5: Avoid Sleeper Costs
The difference between renting and home ownership is the sleeper costs. Most people just focus on their mortgage payment, but they also need to be aware of the other expenses such as property taxes, utilities and homeowner-association dues. New homeowners also need to be prepared to pay for repairs, maintenance and potential property-tax increases. Make sure you budget for sleeper costs so you’ll be covered and won’t risk losing your house.

Buying Secret #4: You’re Buying a House – Not Dating It
Buying a house based on emotions is just going to break your heart. If you fall in love with something, you might end up making some pretty bad financial decisions. There’s a big difference between your emotions and your instincts. Going with your instincts means that you recognize that you’re getting a great house for a good value. Going with your emotions is being obsessed with the paint color or the backyard. It’s an investment, so stay calm and be wise.

Buying Secret #3: Give Your House a Physical
Would you buy a car without checking under the hood? Of course you wouldn’t. Hire a home inspector. It’ll cost about $200 but could end up saving you thousands. A home inspector’s sole responsibility is to provide you with information so that you can make a decision as to whether or not to buy. It’s really the only way to get an unbiased third-party opinion. If the inspector does find any issues with the home, you can use it as a bargaining tool for lowering the price of the home. It’s better to spend the money up front on an inspector than to find out later you have to spend a fortune.

Buying Secret #2: The Secret Science of Bidding
Your opening bid should be based on two things: what you can afford (because you don’t want to outbid yourself), and what you really believe the property is worth. Make your opening bid something that’s fair and reasonable and isn’t going to totally offend the seller. A lot of people think they should go lower the first time they make a bid. It all depends on what the market is doing at the time. You need to look at what other homes have gone for in that neighborhood and you want to get an average price per square foot. Sizing up a house on a price-per-square-foot basis is a great equalizer. Also, see if the neighbors have plans to put up a new addition or a basketball court or tennis court, something that might detract from the property’s value down the road.

Today, so many sellers are behind in their property taxes and if you have that valuable information it gives you a great card to negotiate a good deal. To find out, go to the county clerk’s office. 
Sellers respect a bid that is an oddball number and are more likely to take it more seriously. A nice round number sounds like every other bid out there. When you get more specific the sellers will think you've given the offer careful thought.

Buying Secret #1: Stalk the Neighborhood
Before you buy, get the lay of the land – drop by morning noon and night. Many homebuyers have become completely distraught because they thought they found the perfect home, only to find out the neighborhood wasn’t for them. Drive by the house at all hours of the day to see what’s happening in the neighborhood. Do your regular commute from the house to make sure it is something you can deal with on a daily basis. Find out how far it is to the nearest grocery store and other services. Even if you don’t have kids, research the schools because it affects the value of your home in a very big way. If you buy a house in a good school district versus bad school district even in the same town, the value can be affected as much as 20 percent.

Why Is Moving Soooo Stressful?!!!

by Cardany Realty Group

Top 10 Most Stressful Moving Tasks



Everyone knows moving is stressful. But how stressful is it? And how can you make your next move less stressful?

My Move wanted to find out. Our research team recently asked 1,500 consumers who had moved in the past three months questions about 75 tasks related to moving. We began with the hypothesis that stress results not only when things are difficult, time-consuming or expensive, but also when they end up being more difficult, time-consuming or expensive than expected. For example, finding a home loan may have taken more time, cost more money and been more difficult than a respondent had expected. As a result, this task would have a high composite moving stress rating.

Here are the top 10 most stressful moving tasks, as well as tips to make each task easier.

1. Packing & Unpacking

It’s no surprise that packing and unpacking were the most stressful tasks. From the mild case of pack rat to full-on hoarding syndrome, Americans accumulate a lot of stuff. Minimize the stress of packing by donating as much as possible before the move. Your donation can be tax deductible, and the less stuff you pack, the less stuff you’ll have to load, unpack and find a place for in your new home.

2. Loading & unloading a moving truck without professional help

If you’re moving yourself, you need to know what you’re in for: a lot of bending, lifting and pain killers. The list of heavy objects that need loading and unloading is long: your couch, dresser, TV, bed frame, mattress, boxes of books, dining table … If you don’t hire a professional mover, make sure you get at least one friend to help carry objects that can’t be lifted alone. Buy helpful moving tools such as a dolly, hand truck and moving straps to make lifting easier on your back. Also be smart with how you load the truck. Pack items snugly so that there’s less shifting en route and to reduce the number of trips.

3. Home improvement projects for new and old homes

Whether you’re fixing your home up to put it on the real estate market or remodeling a kitchen or bathroom in your new place, remember to budget extra time and money for these tasks. The average cost of a kitchen remodel is $45,000, so we’re not talking chump change. Read reviews of contractors before hiring.

4. Searching for a new home

This task can seem especially hard when you’re new to the area. Before buying or renting, visit neighborhoods in person to get a feel for the place and people. Download a real estate app for your mobile or tablet device and use it on-the-go. If you have kids, research school rankings and private school availability. The bottom line is that the search for a new home often takes more time than anticipated. Start your search early, well before you plan to move, so you’re not in a rush to settle for a place you don’t love.

5. Compiling a home inventory

This  means going through every room in your house and documenting all your important possessions: art, furniture, electronics, jewelry, china, outdoor equipment and more. Do a home inventory if you hire professional movers. It’ll act as a checklist for keeping track of what went on and came off the moving truck, as well as the pre- and post-transport condition. After the move, file away your home inventory for insurance purposes in case of fire, natural disaster or theft. Try using a pre-populated downloadable home inventory spreadsheet to save time (it contains the items; you mark how many and the condition). Too busy even for a spreadsheet? Walk through your home with your smartphone’s video camera; focus on important possessions and talk about how much they cost and when and where you purchased them.

6. Transporting belongings without professional help

AKA driving a moving truck. Watch this video for tips. Remember that driving a moving truck isn’t like driving a sedan or SUV. It’s significantly larger and has a wide turning radius. You’ll need to brake earlier, make wider turns, drive slowly and watch for overpass, bridge and tunnel height limits.

7. Cleaning out closets, cupboards & pantry

No one likes to see the word “cleaning” followed by “closet,” “cupboard” or “pantry,” so it’s no surprise this task made the list. These are the areas where you put stuff so that you don’t have to look at it. Therefore we forget about it, and it piles up. Tip: The weeks before your move, make a concerted effort to cook with the grains, canned goods and condiments in your pantry and cupboards. Donate the clothing and shoes in your closet. A good rule of thumb: If you haven’t worn it in a year, donate it.

8. Shopping for household goods & furniture

Think small — from trash bins to window treatments — and large, from furniture to major appliances. We’re talking about the stuff you need the first 30 days in your new home. If you just moved, you’re rushed. You might not have time to look for discounts. According to the Zillow Mover Study, 21 percent of movers spend $10,000 or more on move-related purchases, so it behooves you to look for deals whenever possible. When it comes to expensive, long-term commitment purchases such as appliances, don’t wait until you’re in your new home to rush out and buy them. Take measurements and order appliances ahead of time, and look for deals on shipping and seasonal offers to save.

9. Cleaning new home

There’s that word “cleaning” again. If there’s room in your budget, save your time and aching back by hiring professionals to clean the mess left behind by previous occupants. (Renting? Negotiate and try to have the landlord foot the bill.) If there isn’t any budget, try to get the keys to your place before move-in day so that you can do a thorough cleaning before moving all your stuff in. Pay attention to nooks and crannies you usually bypass under normal house-cleaning conditions. Wipe down cupboards, walls, railings, light switches, door knobs, refrigerator doors and shelves, baseboards, floors and every surface in the kitchen and bathrooms.

10. Collecting & sorting important papers

Best advice to avoid this mess? Go paperless. If paperless isn’t an option, tackle the task of collecting and sorting important papers about three weeks before the move (well ahead of crunch time). Get an accordion folder and sort papers by subject — don’t just shove everything in together. Make sure it’s you and not your mover who’s in charge of these papers on moving day. Change your address with the USPS so that important mail finds its way to your new home after you’ve moved.

If moving is so stressful, why do we do it? Our research shows that, overwhelmingly, we move for positive reasons: to start a family or a new job; to live on our own, be closer to work or retire; to have a yard for a dog. When the tasks associated with the move start to seem unbearable, take a deep breath and remember why you’re moving. This alone will reduce stress.


8 Costly Home Seller Mistakes

by Cardany Realty Group

Homeowners who want to sell their home know they need to get the place spruced up for marketing, but a tougher challenge for some sellers is to get mentally prepared for putting their residence on the market.

After all, if you’ve been happily living in your home for years, it can be emotionally hard to detach yourself from your memories and look at the place as a commodity you’re selling.

For a smoother sales transaction that garners the most possible profit from your sale, avoid these common, yet costly, seller mistakes:

1. Skipping a home inspection. Depending on the age of your home, scheduling a pre-listing home inspection could save you a lot of time and aggravation. You can address issues on your own time and budget before negotiating with a buyer to fix problems.

2. Skimping on your sales prep. While you may be tempted to ‘test the waters’ and put your home on the market without painting it or making minor repairs, your home is likely to languish on the market and get a reputation for having a major problem. A thorough, professional-level cleaning should be your bare minimum seller prep. Your eventual sales price is likely to be lower if you don’t sell within the first few weeks after you list your home.

3. Choosing the wrong REALTOR®. Instead of picking a REALTOR® who’s a friend of a friend, a relative or perhaps someone who’s great at working with buyers, take the time to pick a REALTOR® with an excellent reputation for listing homes. Your payoff will be much larger if you list your home with a REALTOR® with local market knowledge and sales expertise.

4. Neglecting to ramp up your curb appeal. If you polish and primp inside your home but neglect to pull weeds or paint your front door, you run the risk of potential buyers leaving without ever entering your home.

5. Withholding information from buyers. If you hope that the buyers or their inspector won’t find out about the leak under your bathroom sink or the fact that your basement gets flooded every winter, you run the risk of a nasty negotiating period, or  worse, a lawsuit after the settlement.

6. Overpricing your home. If you’ve hired the right REALTOR®, someone who can give you a strong market analysis and help you determine a reasonable price for your home, then you can avoid overpricing your home. If you don’t listen to your REALTOR® and base your listing price on an inflated view of your home’s value, you’re likely to end up selling after multiple price drops for less than you would have if you priced it right the first time.

7. Being unprepared for your next step. Whether you should buy your next home or sell your current home first is only one part of the preparation you need to make to move. You need a back-up plan in case your transaction on either end takes longer or shorter than you think, and you need to understand your mortgage payoff and the closing costs you must pay.

8. Letting your pets and kids spoil a sale. Part of your emotional detachment from your home is recognizing that while you love Fluffy and your darling twins, buyers want to visualize themselves and their own family in your home. Bribe your kids if you have to, but make sure the house is neat and as neutral-looking and smelling as possible. Take the kids and your pets out (or lock up your pets) when prospective buyers are visiting – you never know if someone who is terrified of dogs or cats will be turned off from making an offer because of your adorable pet.

Selling a home can be challenging, but with the help of a reliable REALTOR® you can avoid making mistakes and reap the rewards of your sale.

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Contact Information

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Cardany Group
RE/MAX Town Center
19873 Century Blvd, Suite 220
Germantown MD 20874
Fax: 888-747-5442