7 Steps to Writing an Offer for a House


It’s time to make ‘em an offer they can’t refuse! When you’re looking to buy a home, nothing is of more paramount importance than writing an effective offer.

Obviously you will have your handy dandy Realtor on hand for every step of the process, making sure everything is being communicated properly. However, there are a lot of decisions you need to think through before sitting down with your Realtor to discuss details.

Here’s a step by step run-down of how to write an offer on an effective home so that you know what to expect when your perfect real estate is on the line.

7 Steps to Write an Offer on a Home 7 Steps to Writing an Offer for a House

Step #1 – Make Sure It’s the House You Want

This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people feel the pressure of a ticking clock and wind up making an offer that they immediately second guess. You don’t want to go through the hassle of writing an offer only to decide the floor plan isn’t open enough and you need an excuse to back out.

Step #2 – Come Up With That Magic Number

A good real estate agent will not tell you what to offer on a home; they will simply talk through the pros and cons of some of the numbers you’re considering. Most states don’t allow clauses like, “I will pay $1,000 more than your best offer,” so you’ll need to go with your gut on this one.

Depending on the market, the best you can do may be to simply pay the asking price and have enough other factors and contingencies to make your offer stand out.

Step #3 – What’s the Down Payment?

You will need to make a good faith deposit, or earnest money deposit, and disclose it with your intended down payment.

The old rule of thumb is 20% of the purchase price should be made in an all cash down payment. It’s perfectly normal to not pay that much up front, but the rest of your offer (not to mention your mortgage!) could be an uphill battle.

Step #4 – Terms of Financing

Now that you’ve told the seller how much you’re willing to pay, they need to know how you’re going to do it. This is another portion that your Realtor will be a valuable asset for, but the items you need to consider beforehand include: maximum interest rate you’re willing to pay, the type of loan you plan to obtain, and pre-approval documents.

Step #5 – List Your Contingencies

Contingency offers exist to protect you, the buyer. This is where can be balance out the factors you don’t like. For example, a home inspection contingency gives you permission to back out of the offer if the final home inspection finds something wrong that isn’t promptly fixed.

Here are the most common contingencies:

  • Home Inspection
  • Appraisal
  • Mortgage/Loan funding

Step #6 – Who Pays Fees?

Here’s a little secret for you: the seller usually pays all the miscellaneous fees. They’re the ones trying to sell a house, they can handle the little charges.  In some cases, though, it may behoove you to take some of the fees upon yourself to make your offer more appealing.

The party paying for services also choose the provider. So if you have an escrow company you really want to work with, you may have to bite the bullet on those charges.

Here are the most common fees:

  • Title
  • Escrow
  • Transfer Tax
  • Home Inspection

Step #7 – Set Some Deadlines

The end of your offer will include a bunch of dates. These are obviously still negotiable after presenting your offer, but it’s best to supply the seller with your ideal timeline. Here are the dates in order of how they should appear in your offer:

  • Expiration on said offer
  • Possession date (usually the day after closing, to give the seller time to move last minute things, but can be immediately upon closing)
  • Terms if the possession date and closing date are farther apart than one day

If you know what to expect going into writing an offer for a house, then you can ensure maximum effectiveness when you work out the details with your Realtor. We hope this helps you in securing the house of your dreams!

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Top 20 Home Décor Trends of 2014


The great thing about home décor and interior design is that there’s always a fresh, new idea to try that will liven up your abode. Below we outline 20 home décor trends that are quite the rage in 2014, and how you can implement them in your own home.

20 Home Decor Trends of 2014 Picmonkey Top 20 Home Décor Trends of 2014

1. Interchangeable Accents

 Think a hodge podge of chameleon décor. Instead of focusing on one “look,” try out a neutral base and then use impactful accents. By using this technique, you can easily change up your décor by keeping the essentials and refreshing the flourishes.


Home Decor 25 239x300 Top 20 Home Décor Trends of 2014


2. Bedazzled Kitchens

Give the heart of your home a stylish facelift. Show your kitchen some love by installing custom cabinetry painted in rich gemstone colors. Add some spark by incorporating an unusual lighting fixture, and accent with gleaming chrome or brass. If you want to bedazzle your countertops and backsplashes, use exotic, semi-precious stones.

3. Merging the Indoors and Outdoors

Try incorporating some outdoor pieces and designs in the interior of your home. Go low budget by using stones and pebbles in your décor, or invest in finished stone or wood coffee tables and other statement pieces.

4. Wallpaper

Wallpaper is coming back with a vengeance; so if you’re sick of tired paint, why not pick out a bold, funky paper to take its place? Today’s wallpaper is not your grandmother’s wallpaper. In fact, there are styles featuring reflective flowers, LED lights, and even Warhol-inspired wallpaper.

5. Black Paint

People are trending away from gray and towards classic black paint. According to a Houzz poll, 74 percent of homeowners said they were fans of black rooms and using black paint, including in the kitchen and bathroom and on exterior siding and interior doors. If you do decide to go black, make sure to use bold, bright, and metallic fixtures to brighten up the space.

6. Window Sheers 

Home Decor 4 197x300 Top 20 Home Décor Trends of 2014

window sheers

The focus is moving away from heavy drapes and towards sheer window dressings. Most homeowners want more transparency and light, meaning less fabric. Sheers in linen and wool look rich while giving you the natural light you need and want. Try sewing the fabric into inverted box pleats for a more tailored, masculine look.

7.  Vintage Pieces

Hit up your local antique shops, thrift stores, and swap meets to seek out some unique vintage pieces. Trends come and go, but beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces are always fashionable and serve as great conversation pieces.

8. Light-Colored Wood

Light, honey-colored woods such as oak, walnut, and cherry are fresh and lively. Maybe it’s the beach dweller in all of us, or the way a light-colored wood table brightens up a room that is putting this trend on the map.

9. Ethnic Prints

If your drab pad needs a pick-me-up with an exotic touch, ethnic prints may be for you. Popular as upholstery, fabrics, and prints, ethnic prints can break up boring interiors.

10. Rope Lighting

If you’re interested in nautical décor or simply want an unexpected touch, rope lighting may be a perfect fit for your home. Drape long lengths of rope over exposed beams or other ceiling fixtures and let the bulbs hanging from the ends light up the room.

11. Metal Backsplashes

People are getting more and more creative with their kitchen backsplashesthese days. Although the most popular backsplash material still remains tile, people are increasingly selecting metal tiles and other sheet materials like glass, stainless steel, and stone slab for their kitchens. Metal backsplashes are great because not only do they look sleek, they’re easy to clean!

12. Macramé Wall Hangings

Add texture to your walls with macramé and fiber art wall hangings. This will give the room an extra flourish and can easily take the place of expensive fine art. If you’re not into using these materials as wall art, incorporate texture by making a macramé curtain to separate rooms.

13. Floral Prints

Bold floral prints are very popular this year. Much like ethnic prints, they can make a big statement in a neutral room. For a modern look, mix your floral and chintz prints with other graphic patterns.


Home Decor 2 300x200 Top 20 Home Décor Trends of 2014


14. Turquoise

Turquoise paint and accents are definitely trending this year. If you’re not ready to commit to an entire room painted this fun color, incorporate some turquoise into your home in the form of throw pillows, blankets, area rugs, or upholstery.

15. Bye Bye Beige

Given the current trend to opt for more bright and bold colors, beige is the enemy. It’s safe and works well as a base color, but it doesn’t have the edge or make a statement like other popular colors do. Say goodbye to beige and don’t be afraid of color!

16. Wood Grain

People are beginning to skip the paint and opt for natural beauty instead. More live-edge (natural edged) wood is increasingly in popularity for countertops and furniture.

17. Corduroy Upholstery 

Home Decor 7 200x300 Top 20 Home Décor Trends of 2014


A casual alternative to velvet and the preppy version of chenille, corduroy is a hit in 2014. Try it out on formal chairs, or choose a wider wale for more of a statement. An added bonus of using corduroy is that it’s very durable and can withstand long-term wear and tear.

18. Hair, Fur & Hide

Don’t be afraid to pet the furniture. Hair, fur, and hide throws, upholstery, and coverings are very popular this year. Sofas and chairs now boast a touchable surface, and some companies even offer upholstery in a shorter, summer fur or a longer, curlier, winter hide.

19. Brass

If done right, brass can add class to any room. Brass is timeless, and the trend of implementing it into a home’s décor has been gaining steam. Brass works particularly well in the kitchen, bathroom, and for ornamental pieces. Actually, metallic pieces of all kinds, especially a mix of silver and gold, are also very popular this year.

20. Navy

Navy has also proven to be a popular color this year. Perfect for nautical themed rooms, home libraries, home offices, and studies, navy is a deep, sophisticated color that can work well in many environments. In fact, a range of shades of blue, from indigo to peacock and cobalt blue, are trending in 2014.


Have you noticed any other home décor trends in 2014? Please let us know in the comments below!


Sources: Elle Décor, House Beautiful, Freshome, Wall Street Journal, Houzz and Details.

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Boxer Floyd Mayweather Sells Miami Home


floyd Boxer Floyd Mayweather Sells Miami Home

Floyd Mayweather Sells Home


Known as a 10-time world champion, professional boxer Floyd Mayweather is throwing in the towel. Nope, we are not talking about his career! The undefeated boxer is selling his knockout Miami Beach condo for $2.6 million.

The 3,020 square-foot penthouse is located in the heart of Miami Beach with wall-to-wall glass, so you will always have a spectacular ocean and city view. Not too shabby right?

The kitchen includes ceramic tile, custom cabinetry and “caterer- quality appliances.” When it comes to entertaining it is nothing but perfection. As of the master bath… everyday will always feel like spa. Your showers will no longer take ten minutes once you step into this luxurious beauty. From marbled tile, to a seating area that overlooks the colorful city, you will never want to leave.

         floyd4 Boxer Floyd Mayweather Sells Miami Home    floyd3 Boxer Floyd Mayweather Sells Miami Home

With 4 bedrooms and 4.5 baths, that is not enough for Mayweather.  According to his listing agent Tanasha Pettigrew, Mayweather doesn’t want the “condo life” anymore, because it’s not practical for his four children. They are growing-up and they need more space to play and run around.

Mayweather is hoping to bring in about 60% to 70% more than what he initially paid for, making a $1.5 million profit!

We are pretty sure it will not be easy for Mayweather to walk away from this lovely high-rise, but it’s all about rolling with the punches.

         floyd0 Boxer Floyd Mayweather Sells Miami Home     floyd1 Boxer Floyd Mayweather Sells Miami Home

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Credit Score to Buy a House [Infographic]


Your credit score and real estate goals may often seem at odds with each other, but these tips will help create a happy union. Here’s everything you need to know about credit score to buy a house!

Credit Score and Real Estate Credit Score to Buy a House [Infographic]

Are You Ready to Settle Down?

A credit score of less than 640 makes it highly unlikely to obtain a home loan. Above that through about 680, a mortgage is attainable, but will come with considerable fees since the lender is taking a bigger risk with you. The score of 700 is a huge turning point in the way credit scores are approached. There is a huge difference between a score of 698 and 702. That difference could save or cost you thousands of dollars. By 720, you will get a good deal on your loan and have reasonable monthly payments. At 750 or higher, you have access to the best rates on the market!

Set Up for Success

  • The higher the credit score, the lower the monthly payments.
  • Check for accuracy on your credit report about six months before applying for a lona.
  • Pay bills on time. That’s 30% of your credit score!
  • Don’t check your own credit more than once a year.
  • Avoid credit inquireies from things like other loan applications, switching mobile providers, etc.
  • Do your best to eliminate all debt for the sake of your debt to income ratio.

Follow these tips so your credit and real estate can live happily ever after!

Thanks to sources Fox Business and BankRate.



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10 Signs of the Housing Market Recovery


The housing market is well on its way to recovery, and the signs are present in 2014—you just have to know how to spot them. Below we outline 10 signs of the housing market recovery and overall real estate trends, according to the Urban Land Institute’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate report. Find out what they are and what they mean to the real estate consumer.

10 Signs of Housing Market Recovery 10 Signs of the Housing Market Recovery

1. Recovery is Contingent on Job Growth

According to CBS News Money Watch, “the slow pace of job growth as well as income and wage growth is still holding back the real estate recovery and that’s not likely to change quickly.” Cities such as those in Texas and San Francisco have seen strong housing recoveries due to the strength of their economies. Areas that currently have low unemployment rates can expect better housing recoveries as the year progresses.

2. Millennials are Moving the Market

Millennials are moving the real estate market, but not in the way you might expect. They’re not buying up property all over the country, but they are physically moving to certain areas, increasing economic activity and calling for more real estate development. The Urban Land Institute (ULI) reports Millennials driving an increase in activity in the real estate sectors particularly in Seattle, Portland, Austin, and Minneapolis.

3. Urban is Trumping Suburban

The interest in developing suburban areas is waning. The interest that does still exist, however, is focused on developing areas surrounding more “urban-minded” projects, according to Money Watch. Such urban-minded areas include those with easy access to public transportation and amenities.

4. Inventory is Returning

The Emerging Trends in Real Estate report predicted that 2014 would be the last year that low inventory would help property prices. According to CBS, “distressed inventory is drying up and sellers are looking at better profits than they have in years.”

5. Sellers Have the Upper Hand

Sellers know they can take advantage of buyers that are eager to buy a home before home prices and interest rates go up. Therefore, homes are priced to please sellers and test the pockets of buyers.

6. “Second-Tier” Cities Lead the Recovery

Builders, developers, and investors still show interest in top tier cities (think San Francisco, New York City, Boston, and Washington D.C.) but are beginning to focus more on second-tier cities like Austin, Houston, Seattle, and Dallas. The ULI reports that there are more housing deals to be had in these cities due to consistent job growth and advantages offered to Millennials.

7. Multi-Family Apartment Buildings are on the Decline

Due to the increased demand for apartments from homeowners-turned-renters during the recession, multi-family apartment buildings flourished. However, now that supply and demand have swapped places, the development of and interest in multi-family dwellings will decrease.

Emerging Market 10 Signs of the Housing Market Recovery

via http://www.uli.org/

8. Smile Investing Returns

According to Money Watch, “smile investing” is gaining popularity among real estate developers once again. Smile investing refers to when:

Developers and investors start looking at cities in the Northeast and [move] south to cities along the Sun Belt—Florida, Texas, Arizona—and then coming back up to the Northwest—Northern California, Oregon and Washington state.

This means that there will be an increase in housing market activity in the aforementioned areas and less in the Midwest.

9. Shadow Banking Arrives

Although lending standards have not quite loosened up as much as most people had hoped by now, a new lending concept called shadow banking has emerged to soften the blow. According to Investopedia, the term “shadow banking” means:

The financial intermediaries involved in facilitating the creation of credit across the global financial system, but whose members are not subject to regulatory oversight.

Shadow banking is similar to traditional bank lending, but done outside banks, therefore getting around bank regulations. According to CBS, “borrowers going this route will find a hodge-podge of private funds, wealthy individuals, family offices, and refugees from other lending markets.”

10. The Condo Market is Still Taking a Back Seat

Unfortunately, the condo market recovery is not up to par to that of the single-family market. Developers are unwilling to risk building more condos, and are instead focusing on building rental apartment buildings that can be switched to condos within 12 to 16 months if the market calls for it.


The ULI concludes that housing will remain troubled until “unemployment rates fall, worker earnings power recovers, the market clears its foreclosed/defaulted properties, and banks loosen up credit standards just a bit.” The report continues by stating that the recovery is in fact underway and more buyers should gain confidence in the market. Furthermore, it concludes that more buyers will be encouraged to do more house hunting due to high rental rates in the foreseeable future.

The ULI does caution that the upswing in the housing market is extremely susceptible to any interest rate hikes or economic reversals. However, “given housing’s significance to the overall economy, the country will be back on track when homebuilders can get back in gear.”

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