Posts Categorized: Tips

Cold Weather Incoming!

  We’ve had a brief spell of cold weather lately in Seattle, signaling that a climate   change is imminent. We know people like to get everything done before it gets too cold outside, so if you’re putting something off make sure to get to it! Wash your car, clean the gutters, clear out your garage, put… Read more »

How to Win Bidding Wars

In the very hottest real estate markets, and we have a few here in California, the balance of supply and demand is tilting very much to the demand side. What that means is that there isn’t a lot of inventory for buyers to choose from and when something grand does come on the market, the… Read more »

Reality TV Sets Buyers Up for Disappointment

Picture this: A nice couple wants to buy their first house. They love “today’s look” with coffered ceilings, dark wood floors, open kitchens that sport granite or marble counters and fenced yards large enough for a family reunion and a pack of Pekingese. They walk into a house, fall in love and before they can… Read more »

How to Win a Bidding War

In a market where many sellers receive multiple offers, buyers who have their heart set on a particular property need a winning strategy. The Regional Sales Contract is used for the vast majority of re-sales in D.C. and Maryland and arms agents with many “if” clauses, called “contingencies,” to protect either their buyers or their… Read more »

Where Are Mortgage Rates Headed?

The interest rate you pay on your home mortgage has a direct impact on your monthly payment. The higher the rate the greater the payment will be. That is why it is important to look at where rates are headed when deciding to buy now or wait until next year. Below is a chart created… Read more »

Seven Tips for Prospective LGBT homeowners

Herman Chan is a San Francisco-based real estate expert whose hit video blog, Habitat for Hermanity, earned him national attention. His unique brand of humor and insight can be seen at habitatforhermanity.com. In this article, originally published February 28, 2011, Chan shares with dot429 pieces of advice for prospective LGBTQ homeowners. Even all the recent… Read more »

Confessions of a Remodeler

In late 2011 I leased a small beach cottage with an option to buy. Every once in a while you can still negotiate such a deal, but it’s rare. In the spring of 2013 I exercised my option and became the owner of Chez Soleil, a charming getaway and secondary office where I would conduct… Read more »

Top 20 Terms to Know for Real Estate Transactions

The process of buying or selling a home can be complicated. With the multiple state, city, and local regulations, as well as legal contracts to consider, many buyers and sellers find the process fraught with confusing and difficult to understand industry jargon. In order to cover all the bases and to ensure a smooth, stress-free… Read more »

Questions Arise for Newly-Married Same-Sex Homeowners

Same-sex married couples who own their homes can now change the way their property is deeded, holding it in a way that wasn’t available to them before the same-sex marriage became legal this month. Whether they should make the change isn’t clear. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of situation. It depends on how they run… Read more »

Living Small With Style

We recently profiled Chicago lifestyle architect Jay Michael, who specializes in creating innovative designs for small spaces. Decorating micro apartments can be a challenge, but also an opportunity to refine one’s aesthetic. As Michael said, “I think that I’ve realized that in a lot of ways, less is more, and that’s a great way to… Read more »

Valuing a High-End Reno

In renovating a home, you must ask yourself several questions: What do I want to do? Is this money well spent for resale, or am I spending it for myself? How long is this going to take? No, how long is this REALLY going to take, and what is the likelihood that I will go… Read more »

When is The Best Time to Buy or Sell A Home?

“Is it a good time to buy real estate?” “Should I sell now while the market is hot?” These are questions that Realtors often hear, much like the doctor’s friends who ask her about a pain in their leg. When I was in real estate school, our instructors told us that the answer to both… Read more »

Buying for the First Time

“I can’t afford the down payment.” “I have no idea where to start.” “My income is above the threshold to qualify for first-time buyers programs.” “There is absolutely no way I can buy while single and have college debt still.” Every day, I hear the same excuses from clients who want to purchase their first… Read more »

Get Your Home Sold – It’s Not Yours Anymore

The decision to sell your home comes with so many emotions. The memories, the history, the money spent. You have the best home in the city and nobody has anything better. Relationships were born here and you can just visualize that time when Aunt Irene came for Thanksgiving dinner or when the dog ate all… Read more »

Staging Your Home to Sell

When a buyer walks into your home you need to grab their attention. Sadly it is rare to find a buyer that will give a home a second chance when deciding if they should make an offer or not, first impressions last a life time. We all have different styles that fit our personalities and… Read more »

Fannie Mae Relaxes Waiting Period for Distressed Borrowers

Fannie Mae recently released a report revising the waiting periods for distressed borrowers with a derogatory credit event such as a foreclosure, bankruptcy, short sale, or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure on their credit history to obtain a new loan. For borrowers with a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure on their record, Fannie Mae’s new mandated minimum waiting period… Read more »

What Upgrades Are Worth It to Sell Your House?

If you’ve dreamed of a sparkling new kitchen and finally open the wallet and make it happen, enjoy it! But if you’re hoping it will add major dollars to the sale of your home, well, time to think again. Buyers want all the goodies, for sure, but remember the adage “the best we can get… Read more »

Should Gay Millennials Be Considering Buying a Home?

Last weekend, I hosted an open house in Kalorama. My property, a newly listed studio condominium, much larger than your average micro-efficiency, was full of charm and priced just above $220,000, very reasonable for the Kalorama market. This was truly a first-time buyer’s dream place. With each passing walk-in, I made two observations. First, half… Read more »

Either Way, You’re Still Paying a Mortgage

 There are some people that have not purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage – either your mortgage or your landlord’s. As a paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains: “Households… Read more »

Buying a House? 4 Reasons to DO IT NOW

Here are four great reasons to consider buying a house today, instead of waiting. 1. PRICES WILL CONTINUE TO RISE The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 30.8% (most… Read more »

The Window of Opportunity is Closing

The Window of Opportunity is Closing Summer is flying by and so is the second best time of the year to sell a home. Window of Opportunity: The second best time of the year to sell will come to an end as soon as the kids go back to school and housing transitions into the Autumn… Read more »

5 Reasons to Sell Now

Many sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? Can buyers qualify for a mortgage?  These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are 5 reasons to sell now. 1. DEMAND IS STRONG… Read more »

Is Residential Real Estate Really a ‘Crapshoot’?

That is what a headline announced in a CNNMoney post Monday. They were quoting Karl Case “an economist whose name is synonymous with home prices. He is co-creator of the much watched S&P/Case-Shiller home price indexes with Bob Shiller, who won the Nobel Prize in economics last year.” Case did explain that the commonly held belief that housing prices… Read more »

What’s the Big Deal About Overpricing?

What’s the Big Deal About Overpricing?   We’ve been seeing a lot of sellers coming on the market overpriced, ignoring comparable sales and the professional consultation of the experts they are hiring.   The Dangers of Overpricing: In order to compete, over 10% of the active inventory reduces their asking price each week. Please ignore… Read more »

NAR Reports Reveal Two Reasons to Sell Now

NAR Reports Reveal Two Reasons to Sell Now We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and the supply of that item is limited. The last two major reports issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed information that suggests that now may be the best time… Read more »

Should I rent my house if I can’t sell it?

Should I rent my house if I can’t sell it? There has been a lot written about how buying a home is less expensive than renting one in most parts of the country. Rents are skyrocketing and homes are still at great prices. These two situations are also causing some sellers to consider renting their home… Read more »

5 Reasons to Sell Now

Many sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? Can buyers qualify for a mortgage? These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are 5 reasons to sell now! 1. Demand is… Read more »

Pent-Up Buyer and Seller Demands About to Be Released

American consumers’ perception of the residential real estate market was revealed in a recent survey by Edelman Berland. They interviewed 2,500 Americans who are “in the market” to buy or sell a home. Respondents were between 25-64 years old with a household income of at least $50,000.Here are the key findings of the buyer and seller demands. BELIEF… Read more »

What to Know about Your FHA Mortgage Insurance

What is FHA mortgage insurance? An FHA mortgage is a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The FHA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, insures loans so that lenders will offer appealing rates to less qualified borrowers at a lower down payment. Typically, an FHA loan requires a down… Read more »

Reverse Mortgage Tips

Reverse Mortgages: Is a reverse mortgage right for you?  There seems to be a lot of curiosity (and skepticism) these days around the reverse mortgage products on the market. Of course, we have all seen the infomercials featuring Fred Thompson, Henry Winkler, and others touting the many virtues of the Reverse Mortgage for older homeowners,… Read more »

Want to Remodel Your New Home?

Despite the Washington, D.C. area’s extended snowy winter bringing a chilling effect to the start of the residential housing market, experts are reporting that pent up demand is expected to lead to increased competition for those seeking to make a home purchase in the coming months. According to a recent report by the National Association… Read more »

Vacation Home Property Sales Surges

  The American desire to own a second home as a vacation home is alive and well! The National Association of Realtors analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows there are approximately 8 million vacation homes in the U.S. Their 2014 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey shows vacation home sales improved substantially in 2013. NAR Chief… Read more »

Homeownership’s Impact on net Worth

Over the last six years, homeownership has lost some of its allure as a financial investment. As homeowners suffered through the housing bust, more and more began to question whether owning a home was truly a good way to build wealth. A study by the Federal Reserve formally answered this question. Some of the findings revealed in… Read more »

A Home’s Cost vs Price Explained

  We have often talked about the difference between COSTand PRICE. As a seller, you will be most concerned about ‘short term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As either a first time or repeat buyer, you must not be concerned about price but instead about the ‘long term… Read more »

Buy Now Not Later

Money Magazine: Buy Now not Later We have often suggested that potential home buyers consider rising interest rates when thinking about the true cost of a home. Remember, cost is not determined by price alone but by price and mortgage rate. The longer a buyer waits, the higher the mortgage payment will be if rates… Read more »

Prevent Basement Floods

Prevent Basement Floods Making your basement into a comfortable living area can significantly raise the value of your home but it is extremely important for you to take the necessary action before you start your remodel. The basement could turn into a massive loss if not protected. The largest concern a basement has is its… Read more »

Home Inspection Can Make or Break a Deal

Don’t ignore those cracks in the walls or that hint of separation between the windows and the house. Structural engineer Dave Vannier says those are the clues that the building is in need of an inspection. Whether selling or buying, an inspection is the one thing that can make or break a deal. Vannier offers… Read more »

What’s a Private Placement Listing?

Lately, some brokerage firms in Washington have been boasting to sellers about how they are holding “private exclusive” and “private placement” listings. These are listings where the seller signs an agreement and elects not to go into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for exposure to the broader market. Sometimes, these agreements actually give the broker… Read more »

Does Size Matter?

As a follow-up to last issue’s article Big or Little I thought I’d talk about size and ask whether our homes need to reduce a bit. First, the facts. In 1950, the average home was about 983 square feet, growing to 1,400 square feet in 1970, and then zooming up to 2,700 square feet in… Read more »

Top Ten Tax Deductions for Homeowners

Your home may be brimming with tax advantages. How will you get all of the homeowner tax breaks you’re entitled to? Consult a professional tax advisor for details.  Here’s a list of the top 10 deductions to consider: 1.  Mortgage Interest Deduction The mortgage interest deduction has always been the most-beloved tax benefit of home… Read more »

Mortgage Monday: How to Speed Up the Mortgage Process

Mortgage Monday: Do you want to speed up the mortgage process? Do you want to speed up your mortgage process? The length of your mortgage process depends on the loan type, the property and several other considerations. Furthermore, consumers looking to make their mortgage move faster must have patience and preparation because you are at… Read more »

Keeping it Local: Orange County based cuSELLeration Marketing and Creative Services

Keeping it Local: The Moeller Team In this week’s series of Keeping it Local, we feature Zac Cusac, the founder and CEO of cuSELLeration Marketing and Creative Services. cuSELLEration is an Orange County based digital marketing, brand management and creative services firm. This week, Zac sat down with the Moeller Team to answer five questions… Read more »

The Rights of Gay and Lesbian Homebuyers

Many gay and lesbian homebuyers aren’t aware that their rights in 2006 to a non-discriminatory home purchase process could be guaranteed by local or state laws. Mark Nash real estate author of 1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home shares with single or partnered gay and lesbian home buyers some do’s and don’ts that… Read more »

Make Your Home Ready for All Generations

Planning for multigenerational living has been on the rise in recent years. With life expectancies increasing and early baby boomers entering their golden years, this trend is expected to continue. As a result, many of today’s remodeling projects focus on creating spaces that are adaptable to evolving life circumstances. Depending on your family’s needs and… Read more »

The Upside of Downsizing

In 2011, Jane Johnson doubled down on downsizing. She sold her 5,900-square-foot home in Seattle’s Broadview neighborhood and moved into a 600-square-foot one-bedroom condo in Belltown with a fireplace and patio. While she’s sacrificed 90 percent of her former living space, she says she doesn’t feel that she has given up much. She can still… Read more »

Should You Buy a Home in 2014?

2013 was an up and down year for mortgage interest rates, though they remained relatively low. What can we anticipate for 2014 and will it be a good time to think about buying a home? The Web site loanlove.com which offers prospective buyers advice on the ever-fluctuating mortgage rate market in a down-to-earth style, says… Read more »

What to Expect From Real Estate in 2014

It’s time to look ahead to 2014 and what is coming in the real estate market. The Urban Land Institute recently released it’s closely followed annual “Trends in Real Estate 2014 Report”. While most investors are interested in their local market, this report looks at the big picture. Something all investors need to stay aware… Read more »

Today’s Home Trends

It’s hard to believe that avocado colored appliances and orange shag rugs were once in fashion, and considered the “in” and “it” thing in home fashion. But we know that fashion in home design, just like apparel, is ever-changing. Color and style trends track what has become important in our lives. I thought you’d like… Read more »

Gay and Lesbian Homebuyers’ Rights

Many gay and lesbian homebuyers aren’t aware that their rights in 2006 to a non-discriminatory home purchase process could be guaranteed by local or state laws. Mark Nash real estate author of 1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home shares with single or partnered gay and lesbian home buyers some do’s and don’ts that… Read more »

Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

There are a lot of things to think about when you consider buying a home for the first time, or for that matter, at any time. When you begin the process, it is important to take a few key details into consideration before you begin your search. At the beginning, the two most important things… Read more »

Gays Were Meant to Flip Houses

On an episode of Will & Grace, the lead characters planned to make money flipping apartments with the motto, “The Flippers Who Care.” The same happened last season on Modern Family. And Bravo TV’s Flipping Out was all about gay real estate mogul Jeff Lewis and his business of buying, renovating and reselling homes. Clearly,… Read more »

Smart Home Flipping

We asked Tony Sicilian to give us a quick checklist for good flipping ideas.These are his recommendations. Timing. “The hottest time to list a house is coming out of the winter — that’s when everyone is thinking of moving. It starts to slow down August through January. The perfect time to list is February.” Comps…. Read more »

The Best Places in the USA for Gay Couples

Now that Section 3 of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) has been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, the best states for LGBT couples to move to are those that recognize gay marriage and that are in alignment with the new federal ruling. Financial experts, like the out MSNBC money expert Suze Orman, have… Read more »

Why Go to A Real Estate Broker?

In this era, when everything seems available on the Internet and we appear just a click away from buying anything from a new bathing suit to a new yacht, why should we bother with a real estate agent? Good question and it bears a real discussion. Why can’t sellers and buyers just deal directly and… Read more »

The 10 Most Common Defects Found During Home in Sections

During the home inspection process, home inspectors report that most home defects are extremely similar. In light of this, knowing these common home problems can help both the buyer and seller be more proactive in the homebuying process. For sellers, you can take a quick inventory of your home to see if any problems exist,… Read more »

Top 5 Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make

Though the real estate industry is changing every day, mistakes made by first time homebuyers seem not to change that much. The mistakes range from mismanaging their financial picture, to finding the perfect home before being qualified, to choosing the wrong lender. Below are the top five mistakes first time buyers make: Wrong moves in… Read more »

Moving Day!!

When moving into your new home, it is better to plan ahead early to ensure that it is a smooth process. This is no doubt an exciting time, but can involve a great deal of stress and anxiety during the whole process, from planning to moving. With a few careful considerations your moving process can… Read more »

Terry’s Blog: Preparing Your Home for Sale

There are so many things that you should know before you are able to be truly successful in selling real estate. Key and prime locations, marketing, and conversion of prospect clients are all elements that you want to master – and these tips can really give you a great edge in learning more about the… Read more »

Tips to Ease the Stress of Relocation

For many of us that have been “stuck in our homes” for the past half dozen years, this is great news. There comes a time in our lives that we need to pick ourselves up and move ahead. You’re going to start a new beginning, which is why you need to get started on the… Read more »

Riding The Interest Rate Train

Real Estate shoppers and aficionados, travel with me this week on the interest rate train, as we examine historical mortgage interest rates and come to rest at our destination, today’s marketplace. It may seem more like a roller coaster ride than a pleasant sightseeing journey, but it should give you some perspective on a decision… Read more »

Use 3-D Technology to Virtually See Your Renovation

In the case of many homeowners, when you embark on the home-buying process, you understand that the home you set your sights on may need everything from minor tweaks to major renovations. Thanks to new technology, little needs to be left to the imagination when it comes to home renovations or building. Remodeling companies are… Read more »

Good News for DC Homebuyers

There are several pieces of good news on the horizon for homebuyers. First, the D.C. real estate market is about to enter its fall season of active listings, which will increase the inventory of available homes for purchase. The D.C. market has two seasons of market activity: spring and fall. Imagine a line graph in… Read more »

Steps to Home Ownership for LGBT Buyers

Buying a home may be the biggest investment you’ll make in your lifetime. The process can be exciting and for many, it can also be intimidating. There are additional factors for same-sex couples to consider that may make the process more complex, although some of these are changing due to recent Supreme Court rulings on… Read more »

Should You Rent Or Buy?

I am currently in the process of evicting my tenants. They make too much noise at night, leave the house and yard in disarray and have not paid rent for months. Last weekend my neighbor caught them naked on the roof deck, napping lazily and taking in the view. What’s wrong with that, you ask?… Read more »

Do You Need a Condo or a Single Family Home?

Vive la difference! We live in a society where we have choices, and can make decisions based on our lifestyles, needs and capabilities. Single family homes and condominiums are two of the choices we can make when electing to purchase a home and one of them is assuredly the better choice for you. The two… Read more »

The Difference Between a Survey and a Home Inspection

Different areas of the country have different requirements for survey and home inspection requirements. No matter your geographic location, these are two distinctly separate processes in the home-buying and selling process. Simply put, the home inspection process examines the condition of a home compared to a survey that identifies the property lines of a home…. Read more »

What to Do First When Buying a Home

The recent uptick in the real estate market reminds us that the American dream of home ownership is alive and well. Many people experience a sense of pride and security knowing that their sanctuary actually belongs to them. If you find yourself scanning real estate listings and watching one virtual tour after another, it may… Read more »

When Housing Discrimination is Acceptable

During the past few weeks, there was a surplus amount of media attention focused on the subject of same-sex marriage. However, far less attention was given to a parallel issue: the question of housing discrimination against same-sex couples. Last month, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) quietly released a report that was… Read more »

Better to Buy or Rent?

It is a common question for potential homebuyers to gauge whether buying a home or renting a place is financially the best decision. Figuring out whether it’s better to buy or rent rests on three main factors: Where you live, how long you plan to stay and how home prices compare to rents in the… Read more »

Real Estate & Tax Benefits Post DOMA

On June 26th, 2013, the Supreme Court finally scrapped the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); the law signed by President Clinton in 1996 that consequently denied same-sex couples 1,138 federal privileges and programs that were available to opposite-sex couples. During a historic 5-4 decision the Supreme Court struck down this law that cost many LGBT… Read more »

When It’s Time for Replacements

What comes to mind when you hear the word “replacements?” The 70’s alternative rock band? The Keanu Reeves movie about striking football players? The website where you can find pieces of discontinued china and flatware? Owning a home? When you buy a house, your inspection report may describe its different features as adequate, marginal or… Read more »

Time to Buy Now, Sell Now, or Move Up

Back in October, I wrote an entry for this column about the “harmonic convergence” in the real estate market that made it a great time to either buy or sell. The good time to buy was caused by some of the lowest mortgage interest rates in years, which significantly extended buying power for purchasers. (At… Read more »

Getting Your First Home Loan

If this is your first time buying a home, the process to get your first home loan can seem complicated. Applying for your first home loan can be tricky, and the most important thing you can do is look to the experienced gay realtor you’re working with for advice. It’s recommended to get assistance from… Read more »

Summer Homebuyers

Memorial Day Weekend marked the unofficial beginning of summer. After a very busy spring market, we at The Goodhart Group are refocusing our attention on the infamous “Summer Buyer.” The Summer Buyer is a phenomenon that changes each year and that many real estate agents have never fully grasped. Often both real estate professionals and… Read more »

Understanding the Numbers in the Real Estate Market

If you’re paying attention to the real estate news, you’ve probably heard multiple reports about the numbers in April 2013 that indicate an improving real estate market: new listings are up 17.4 percent over April 2012, although active listings are still at a five-year low. Sales are up 13.7 percent, the median sold price is… Read more »

Ideas for Remodeling Your Garage

Considering a garage remodel? Josh Baker at The Washington Blade has some ideas for you: If you have a passion for cooking, you might consider creating a gourmet kitchen with all the equipment desired by world-class chefs. But what if you’re a car enthusiast? Then today’s high-tech and well-designed showstopper garages might be just your… Read more »

Want a Home With a Smaller Carbon Footprint?

What about a mobile home? The Dish has the details: An elaborate 2012 report published by ROC USA and underwritten by HUD found that mobile homes use, on average, far less energy and water than conventional homes or condos (the mobile homes in the study were 940 square feet, larger than those at Pismo Dunes)…. Read more »

Beware the HGTV Effect

The popularity of shows like HGTV’s ‘Property Brothers’ and ‘Buying and Selling’ with Drew and Jonathan Scott may have you taking on more renovation projects than you’re ready for. (Photo courtesy of HGTV) As we head into the spring season, many begin to think about a new home, fresh renovation or selling their existing home…. Read more »

Selling Your Home This Spring

Planning to put your house on the market this spring? Sammy Dweck at the The Washington Blade has some tips for you: …your house may be worth more than you think. The days of bidding wars and escalation clauses are back. The key to selling your home for the most it’s worth right now is… Read more »

Make a Fixer-Upper Your Dream Home

Want to find your dream home? It could be a fixer-upper – Joshua Beach tells you how to finance it to get the most out of your remodel. The Washington Blade reports: The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which is part of the Department of Urban Development (HUD), offers a “Section 203k” loan intended to provide… Read more »

Ten Rules for New Buyers

Are you a first-time home buyer? Ted Smith over at the The Washington Blade has ten rules for you to follow. The Washington Blade reports: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Similarly, if something looks too good to be true for the price, it probably is. A picture is worth… Read more »

First Time Homebuyers Plan Ahead!

It can happen when you least expect it: the opportunity you’ve been thinking about for awhile suddenly opens up – and you realize your time to become a homeowner has arrived! Maybe the landlord of the Lake Wallenpaupack home you’ve been renting suddenly decides it’s time to sell. Or, during a search for a rental, you happen… Read more »