BASICS Series: What Is a Short Sale?

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Welcome to HouseHunt’s BASICS Series, where we take a look at the questions of every homeowner and potential homeowner.

Today we’re taking a look at ‘short sales.’ You may know people who bought their home on a short sale, but you have no idea what that meant. Well here’s a little secret for you – they probably didn’t know what it meant either!

short sale BASICS Series: What Is a Short Sale?

The Definition

Simply put, a short sale is when a home is priced less than the amount the current owner owes on the mortgage.

But isn’t that the same as a foreclosure? So glad you asked!

A good way to view a short sale is like it’s like the Hail Mary before one faces foreclosure. With a foreclosure – also called a real estate owned (REO) property – the owner of the home defaulted on the mortgage payments and lost the house entirely (and probably some other collateral).  So when you buy a foreclosure, you’re getting it cheaper than you would normally pay because you’re buying it from the bank. With a short sale, you’re buying it from the previous owner.

People file for a short sale because it’s less damaging to their credit than a foreclosure, although neither is good news for a credit score.

Pros of a Short Sale

First and foremost, short sales are great because you’re getting the property for a lot cheaper than it would otherwise be valued. Often, you’re getting it even cheaper than you would if it were a foreclosure because you’re just paying off the remainder of a mortgage. You automatically have a lot of equity in your home.

Another benefit of a short sale over a foreclosure is that the house doesn’t sit vacant. When a home is foreclosed on, the owner is kicked to the curb. This means while the house is on the market, no one is really maintaining it, which opens the window (sometimes literally) for pests, an overgrown lawn, and more.

Cons of a Short Sale

A lot of factors go into the legality of a short sale. There’s nothing for you to worry about here – that’s what you have a Realtor for – but it still presents some situations you should be aware of.

First, there’s no set timeline for a short sale. With a standard home purchase, you can clarify your expected move-in date; the short sale process could take weeks or months to go through. This means you should be in a flexible living situation so that if you need to stay in your current spot longer or shorter than expected, it won’t be a concern. Living with family or a month-by-month lease are great solutions to this problem. Now would be the ideal spot to make a joke about how “short sales” are inappropriately named.

To avoid an unreasonable wait on a short sale, research the bank that owns the home first. Find out the length of their standard short sale process.

Second, you buy short sale listings “as is.” There is no room for negotiations. A lot of the stuff that you would normally have remedied after an inspection – broken appliances, stained carpet, shoddy roofing – cannot be changed unless you want to pay to fix it yourself. So when you’re looking at how much money you save with a short sale, also take time to calculate how much you’re going to have invest in the home’s condition.

Short sales are a great solution for a lot of homebuyers. However, they can also be a headache for the wrong clientele. The first step in making sure a short sale is the right fit for you is understanding exactly what is a short sale – and we hope this synopsis has accomplished that so that you can focus and buying the home of your dreams!

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How to Maximize Your Online Home Search [Infographic]

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Looking to buy a home? Where do you start? What research should you do before you meet with a real estate agent?

90% of home-buyers start their search for their next house online. Furthermore, 89% use the Internet for their Realtor search. If done correctly, you can maximize the efficiency of your online home search so that you move through the market quickly without compromising your standards. A motivated buyer will usually make an offer within two weeks of completing online research.

This infographic will guide you in how to start your online home search right without leaving the comfort of your office chair!

Home Search Online How to Maximize Your Online Home Search [Infographic]

Step 1 – Standards

Before you even start your digital home search, know fundamental factors such as budget, bedroom needs, etc.

Step 2 – Neighborhoods

Look for specific communities based on factors including school district, crime rates, nearness to work, etc. Use a variety of sites to gather neighborhood data. Each real estate based site serves it’s own unique function and purpose in finding a match for you!

Step 3 – Market

Research the housing market conditions by comparing list price to actual selling price. If most houses sell for considerably less than they were listed for, you will have more room to negotiate. This is called a ‘Buyer’s Market.’

Step 4 – Desirable

With all the research you’ve done to this point, make a list of actual houses you think are good fits and you would like to visit. You will present this list to your agent.

Step 5 – Realtor

This is the most important step! Look for an agent who has a strong Internet presence and evidence of success. Make the call and (s)he will walk you through the offline part of the real estate process.

Begin your online house search today with HouseHunt.com.

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20 Easy Ways to Ensure a Healthy Home This Winter

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Healthy Home 20 Easy Ways to Ensure a Healthy Home This Winter

You can have a well maintained home while looking after your health. As a matter of fact, the two often go hand in hand. Here are some easy ways to ensure a healthy home this winter when your family starts spending a lot more time indoors.

Healthy Living Room 20 Easy Ways to Ensure a Healthy Home This Winter

  1. Open a Window. Indoor air can contain up to five times the pollutants of outdoor air. Obviously, scratch this idea if you’re consciously trying to protect against pollen.
  2. Dust and Vacuum. Dust is a leading source of chemicals in the home, including lead, pesticides, and more. Dust regularly and vacuum twice a week. Make sure to change the vacuum bag so that you’re not just spewing the same dust back into the air each time you clean.
  3. Wash Miscellaneous Fabrics. Drapes, shower curtains, and furniture covers often go overlooked. Wash these things seasonally to prevent allergen and mold buildup. While you’re at it, you’ll want to Febreeze fabrics that can’t be washed such as pillows, rugs, etc.
  4. Pot a Plant. First of all, this will make your indoor space look lovely. Second, most household plants help to neutralize chemicals found in paint, furniture, etc.
  5. Lysol Wipe Those Electronics. You’ve probably heard that your cell phone carries more germs than a toilet seat. Well the same can actually be said for a lot of handheld electronics. So around the house, make a point to disinfect phone chargers, tablets, remote controls, light switches, etc.
  6. Buy an Air Purifier. This might cost a small chunk of change ($40 and up, depending on the quality), but will make a drastic difference for dust and allergens.

Healthy Kitchen Bathroom 20 Easy Ways to Ensure a Healthy Home This Winter

  1. Filter Water. If your family gets their water out of the fridge or sink, make sure the filters are still good. Otherwise, just make a point to stay diligent in swapping out that Britta filter. This will eliminate a lot of the contaminants that seem small, but can still compromise your immune system.
  2. Use That Stovetop Fan. Simple cooking, even for a healthy meal, can still release pollutants into the air. Get them out of the house immediately by using your kitchen vent fans.
  3. Re-caulk Window Frames and Along Counters. A lot of pests sneak into the house in wintertime to avoid the cold. And a lot of those pests come bearing disease. Putting caulk along any holes or crevices in kitchens and bathrooms will work wonders to prevent this.
  4. Run Fan Longer than You Would Expect. Run the bathroom fan for at least twenty minutes after every shower.
  5. Sanitize Faucets. Sink and shower faucets build mildew fast. This is a problem because it’s where you get water to consume and to clean yourself. See how it becomes a vicious cycle if you don’t clean properly?
  6. Use Disinfecting Lotions. Most people keep moisturizing lotions by their kitchen or bathroom sinks. It’s easy to find lotions that also serve as sanitizer.

Healthy Bedroom 20 Easy Ways to Ensure a Healthy Home This Winter

  1. Vacuum Your Bed. You read that right; about once a week vacuum your mattress. Also let the mattress air out each morning before you make your bed.
  2. Sanitize Doorknobs. Just like with the handheld electronics earlier, doorknobs collect germs fast without much thought.
  3. Move Office Equipment. Items like printers have chemicals that can upset your lungs. They’re harmless in limited timeframes, but probably not a good idea to sleep beside. Furthermore, glowing screens like your smart phone and computer and damage your sleep cycle, consequently damaging your immune system.

Healthy Miscellaneous 20 Easy Ways to Ensure a Healthy Home This Winter

  1. Put Mats on Both Sides of Doorways. Up to 80 percent of the dirt that gets tracked inside—along with countless allergens, bacteria, and lawn chemicals—can be caught with a double length of washable matting before it makes itself at home.
  2. Use a Dehumidifier. This investment will make the most sense in spaces like the laundry room or basement, but can be extremely helpful even in spaces like the bathroom or kitchen.
  3. Clean Pets Every Time They Come Inside. Keep wet wipes by the door to clean paws, even if it’s not wet outside. Use a fine tooth comb to brush pets for fleas (or any other new friends) each time they come inside. Few pets will complain about the extra attention.
  4. Keep Pet Foods in Container. Using a large Tupperware as opposed to the paper bag pet food comes in will help keep vermin at bay.
  5. Install Vent Fans in Unused Spaces. Crawlspaces, attics, and even closets should have a vent fan to keep temperature and moisture down. These largely overlooked spaces are where mold and mildew most commonly grow, triggering allergies and asthma.

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New Home vs Pre-Owned [Infographic]

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When it comes to buying a home, you probably question if you should buy a new home vs a pre-owned. This infographic weighs the pros and cons of both.

 

prosandcons 3 1 New Home vs Pre Owned [Infographic]

Pros and Cons

New Home

Pros:

1. Everything is brand new!

2. Lower Utility Costs.

3. You’re able to customize your home.

4. Great Incentive! Builders can include major appliances, upgrades or cash bonuses!

Cons:

1. Higher purchase price.

2. Landscaping will cost you extra.

3. The risk of being in a non-established neighborhood.

4. You’ll be investing more time in planning/designing.

5. Further away from metropolitan areas.

 

Pre-Owned

Pros:

1. It’s move-in ready.

2. Most likely it’s centrally located.

3. Purchase price is lower.

4.You can do your research on the neighborhood.

5. The seller may leave some furniture and amenities.

Cons:

1. It’s not going to be in perfect condition.

2. May look outdated.

3. Utilities will cost more.

4. Out of pocket expenses.

5. Hidden/unknown repairs that re not immediately noticed.

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10 Tips for an Easy Move

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Moving- no one ever looks forward to it. It’s stressful, time -consuming and just messy. Moving is an exciting time though; it’s a start to something new, but we just forget that part of it. Although we might not be able to change how you feel about moving, here are 10 tips for an easy move.

 

1. First Things First:

Forward all of your mail to your new address. Be sure to also fill out a “change of address” form online for all of your credit cards.

Mail 300x300 10 Tips for an Easy Move

Mail

 

2 .The Prep Work:

Get all of the supplies needed. Grab a lot of boxes and we mean A LOT!  Purchasing boxes can become pricey, a good tip is to call a local retailer and ask them if you can take the boxes from their shipment. Make sure your duct tape and marker are also on deck!

boxes 300x300 10 Tips for an Easy Move

Boxes

 

3. In the Clear:

Place all necessities in a clear plastic bin, that way you don’t have to dig for them. For example, your toothbrush, toothpaste, medication etc.

 

bin 246x300 10 Tips for an Easy Move

Clear Bin

 

4. Wrap it Up:

Buy some bubble wrap or stretch wrap to prevent fragile items from shattering and/or breaking. You can also wrap anything that is breakable such as dishes or glass in clothing.

 

Breakable 300x225 10 Tips for an Easy Move

Fragile Items

 

5. Start From the Bottom:

Place all heavier items at the bottom of the box. Don’t leave too much space- you don’t want your items moving around.

heavy 300x175 10 Tips for an Easy Move

Heavy Items

 

6. You Name It:

Labels, labels, labels! This will make everything so much easier when you unpack. Write on the side of the boxes so that you’re able to see what’s inside each box. Writing what room they belong in will also keep you organized.

labeling 300x276 10 Tips for an Easy Move

Label

 

7. Just Roll With It:

Group your boxes together with a roll of stretch wrap. It will keep your items from getting scuffed and/or scratched.

stretch wrap 300x300 10 Tips for an Easy Move

Stretch Wrap

 

8. Keep Back:

Heavy boxes and furniture should always be packed towards the back of the moving truck so they are secured.

Back of T 300x225 10 Tips for an Easy Move

Moving Truck

 

9. Calling All Friends:

You’re going to need help and a lot of it! Contact your friends and have them come in shifts—have a group come in the morning and some come in the afternoon, etc.

friends 300x223 10 Tips for an Easy Move

Help From Friends

 

10. Keep In Mind:

Consider hiring a moving company, it’s worth it! Yes, you will have to pay for the service, but most moving companies come with insurance so if something does break, you will be compensated!

movers 300x185 10 Tips for an Easy Move

Movers

 

There you have it! A simple guide to make your move a little less hectic.

Do you have any other moving tips? If so, please comment below.

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