A Real Estate Primer – Washington Blade

A Real Estate Primer - Washington Blade

When working with first-time buyers, I often hear them say, “I have a stupid question.” I automatically respond that there’s no such thing.  What they think may be a stupid question almost invariably has been asked before by many other people in the same situation. The answer to a stupid question almost always makes you smarter, so what they really have may be a “smart question.”

Several questions that were recently asked of me have prompted me to take another look at what I discuss in my initial buyer consultations, so let’s start there with a short real estate primer.

Real Estate Primer

Buyer Consultation is an initial meeting with a buyer, whether face-to-face, by telephone, or by Zoom or similar interactive means, where we exchange information about the buyer’s needs and the services I provide and determine whether we shall work together exclusively and for how long.

If we decide to go forward, we sign an Exclusive Buyer Representation Agreement, which allows an agent to be the buyer’s advocate by solely representing the buyer’s interests in a real estate transaction, protecting the buyer’s confidentiality, and providing essential services reserved for a client-based relationship. In the DMV, absent such an agreement, agents must legally represent and owe allegiance to a seller they have never met of a property they have never seen.

Authored By Valerie Blake
See the Full Story at the Washington Blade

Fix or Sell As-Is – BHGRE

Fix or Sell As-Is - BHGRE

When you’ve decided to move on — whether you’re upsizing or downsizing, accepting a fantastic job offer in another city, or fleeing to (or from) the suburbs — think long and hard about what you really need to do to get your house market-ready. You may be tempted to go into renovation mode, but you might be better off selling your house as-is. So… fix or sell as-is?

Anything that impacts the home’s operation needs to be fixed before you list, including a leaky roof, a broken furnace, plumbing and the electrical system. These are all things sellers are legally obliged to disclose. If not, a home inspector will identify them to a potential buyer, possibly leading to an offer being withdrawn.

Here are some things to consider when selling your house.

Fix or Sell As-Is: Renovation ROI may not be there

Most home renovations don’t pay off instantly. Complete bathroom and kitchen renovations add the most value but also cause the most disruption and can be very expensive. If these rooms haven’t already been renovated, don’t start now. Focus on making sure the existing selling features of the home are in great shape.

At Gay Realty Watch, we look for news to share with you about the gay real estate market – both lgbt real estate news and news specific to gay and lesbian real estate meccas.

See the Full Story at BHGRE

Knowing When to Buy a Vacation Home – BHGRE

When to Buy a Vacation Home - BHGRE

When to Buy a Vacation Home

If you’re lucky enough to have reached the time in your life when you can seriously contemplate buying a vacation home, there’s much to be excited about. According to the National Association of Realtors, one in eight homeowners are thinking of buying a second home. While summer may be the time of year you start to think longingly about sun, sea and sand, it may not be the best time to buy a cottage.

Here are some things to consider when deciding when to buy a vacation home.

Peak of Season is Seldom a Good Idea

Avoiding peak seasons makes sense in supply and demand terms. Peak season, whether you have your eye on a Vail ski chalet or a Cape Cod sea shanty, is when the area in which you’re looking is at its finest. Since vacation homes can be sentimental investments, many who’ve inherited them rent them out as additional sources of income so they can hang onto a property.

They may be sharing it with siblings or have had to buy them out. They also may be part-time vacation home investment owners who got in early on a new resort but need to ensure 100 percent occupancy during peak season to make their investment pay off.

Full Story from the BHGRE Blog

Getting Your House Ready to Rent

Getting Your House Ready to Rent

Even if you bought your home to live in rather than as an income property, you may end up renting out your house at some point. A contract opportunity on the other side of the country (or the world), a drop in property values that means you want to build up more equity in your home before trying to sell it, or a formal or informal sabbatical might mean you want to rent rather than sell.

Here’s how you can get your house ready to rent. While it may seem like a lot of work and a moderate amount of money, it’s well worth it. Good tenants are attracted to well maintained, trouble-free properties, and good tenants are hopefully the only kind you’ll ever have to deal with.

Start With The Exterior

Make sure all your exterior maintenance is up to date. That includes landscaping, raking, gutter cleaning, roof repairs, and checking, cleaning and replacing exterior lights and/or sensors. Test and repair any exterior railings and make sure pathways are safe. Replace any broken interlock.

Get the screens cleaned and the exterior windows washed.

At Gay Realty Watch, we look for news to share with you about the gay real estate market – both lgbt real estate news and news specific to gay and lesbian real estate meccas.

See the Full Story at BH

Reduce Your Environmental Impact at Home – The BHGRE Life

Reduce Your Environmental Impact - Deposit Photos

More people are recognizing the importance of saving the planet, and companies are stepping up with creative ways to reduce our collective environmental impact. From products that promote a sustainable home to electric cars, it’s not hard to find ways to promote greener living while preserving the world’s resources for future generations. Finding ways to reduce your environmental impact can also save you money, particularly if you choose to seek sustainable home ideas.

Recycling is Still Important

Experts claim that the United States produces well over 250 million tons of trash each year. Much of this finds its way to incinerators and landfills, and recycling can redirect waste to better places. Paper, tin and steel cans can still be recycled. Check with your municipality or state to see what kinds of plastic can be recycled in your area. You can also recycle broken electronics, dry cell batteries and car batteries as long as it is done properly.

Recycling also applies to clothing, and there are many organizations that accept gently used goods. Real Simple advises donating to The Vietnam Veterans of America, the Salvation Army and Goodwill. Shelters, hospitals, synagogues and churches can also accept clothing and other goods. When buying new clothes, check out brick-and-mortar and online thrift and consignment shops. These are also great sources for finding children’s toys and other household items that can reduce your environmental impact.

Sustainable Eating

One of the best ways to have a sustainable home is to start the habit of composting. Gardeners like Martha Stewart refer to it as “black gold,” and for good reason. It turns everyday food scraps and other organic materials into soil treatments loaded with nutrients and moisture that boost plant health. You can buy a compost bin or use another large container, and toss in food waste, branches and dry leaves to reduce your environmental impact.

Full Story From The BHGRE Life

Buying Your First Home – The Washington Blade

Buying Your First Home - Deposit Photos

For 24 seasons, HGTV aired a show called “My First Place.” During that time, I also helped a lot of buyers find theirs.

The D.C. metropolitan region is a very transient one, so buying your first home and living in your first place is often an experience of five years or less before moving up or moving on. Nonetheless, those who graduate from renters to property owners will always remember their first place, with all its perks and quirks.

I bought my first home in Warren, Mich., in 1977, an architecturally insignificant two-story house in a typical, blue-collar neighborhood, where my federal law enforcement uniform and sidearm halted conversations when I got home from work and waved to the neighbors before going inside. 

Newly divorced, I wanted none of the “boys club” that had become my married life, where I would come home from work exhausted, fall asleep on the couch, and wake up to a poker party at the dining room table hosted by my unemployed husband.

At Gay Realty Watch, we look for news to share with you about the gay real estate market – both lgbt real estate news and news specific to gay and lesbian real estate meccas.

Authored By Valerie Blake
See the Full Story at The Washington Blade

How To Buy a Home Within Your Real Estate Budget

real estate budget - keys - pixabay

Navigating the home buying process can be exciting, but also financially intimidating. While some of the societal and legal pressures historically faced by the LGBTQ+ community have improved over time, challenges still remain. Knowing how to prepare to enter the market can make the process more manageable for you. Follow these tips to learn how you can smoothly buy your next home while staying within your real estate budget

  1. Determine Your Financial Readiness. 

The first step in shopping for a house is knowing how much house you can afford in your real estate budget. To determine what is within financial reach for you, it is important to know your monthly debt-to-income ratio. A general rule of thumb suggests using the 28%/36% rule, meaning you should spend no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on home-related costs and 36% on total debts, including your mortgage and credit cards. If you are living in a dual-income household, factor both party’s total earnings into your calculation. 

Knowing your creditworthiness is an equally important factor in the home buying process as a good credit score boosts your chances of qualifying for a mortgage. To obtain a free copy of your credit report, check out some personal finance sites such as The Federal Trade Commission. If you find you have a low credit score, buying a home can be challenging, but not impossible. Resources such as FHA loans, which allow you to obtain a mortgage without some of the more stringent financial requirements associated with conventional loans, may be a good option for you to explore. 

Finally, to determine a realistic price range within your real estate budget and avoid overspending, create a wish list, identifying your home buying wants versus needs. Would you prefer a fixer-upper or something turn-key? How many bedrooms would suit your lifestyle? If you determine that location is a priority for you, consider house hunting in affordable cities such as Pittsburgh, Providence, and Virginia Beach. Creating a wish list will help to define the gap between the home of your dreams and the home you can afford. 

  1. Know Your Relationship Rights.

No matter your current relationship status, it is always a good idea to have all the details ironed out before committing to a major financial decision.  

  • Unmarried or Single

Homeownership may be the next big decision in your life! According to the United States Census Bureau, the number of unmarried couples living together has tripled in the last two decades, reaching 17 million in 2019. If you plan to purchase a home with a partner, you will want to clearly outline who will hold the title. The way the title is worded can impact how ownership is transferred as well as your rights to transfer ownership in the future. Some common options to explore include sole ownership, joint tenancy, and tenants in common. If you are a solo homebuyer, you have the advantage of calling all the shots! But, be aware that with one income and one credit profile, it may be a bit trickier to obtain a mortgage loan. 

  • Married 

Whether you are relocating or purchasing your first home, even as a married couple, there are several reasons you may want to purchase a home under the name of only one spouse. These could include protecting the buyer’s interests, planning the estate, saving money, or even to strengthen the chance of qualifying for a mortgage. For example, mortgage lenders often pay attention to the lowest credit score between the two of you, so if your spouse has a credit score that would prevent you from getting the best possible rates, you may consider leaving them off the mortgage. 

  1. Shop Around For a Mortgage.

When buying a home on a tight real estate budget, it is important to explore all your loan options. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends applying with at least three mortgage lenders to compare their rates. Do not be afraid to negotiate! If Lender A offers a lower rate, but you would feel more comfortable with Lender B, present the competing offer and see if Lender B will match or beat it. The mortgage loan process may be the most confusing part about buying a home, so it is important you feel secure in your decision-making.

Additional insight: Consider hiring a LGBTQ+ friendly realtor. Having a partner to guide you through the lending landscape will help ensure all decisions are truly in your best interest. 

  1. Save, Save, and Save Some More.

If you do not immediately find the perfect home within your price range, or learn that you are not as financially secure as you would like to be, consider waiting and saving. Patience is key and the right home will turn up before long. To come up with extra spending money, consider adjusting your discretionary costs such as canceling unused streaming subscriptions or trading Starbucks runs for fresh coffee brewed at home. 

Buying a home within your real estate budget is a major undertaking that requires the proper planning and preparation, but it is not unattainable. By taking the time to get your finances in order and researching the market thoroughly, buying a new home can be the next exciting step toward your future.  

Evan Dyer – Seattle Gay Realtor

Evan Dyer - Seattle Gay Realtor

Seattle Gay Realtor, 8 Years of Experience

As a Seattle gay Realtor with eight years of professional real estate and property management experience, I use my keen eye for detail to help my clients get the best value for their money.

If you want someone who is knowledgeable, trustworthy, organized and willing to walk you through every step of the home buying and selling process, then I would be proud to be your real estate consultant.

Having been a property manager for a leading management firm here in the Pacific Northwest, I have developed the skills necessary, as a Seattle gay Realtor, to assess workmanship and recommend ways to get your property ready for sale, or ways to improve the value of a property you wish to purchase.

See Evan’s Expanded Listing

Seattle Realtors and Real Estate Professionals

Forecasting the Fall Real Estate Market – Forbes

Forecasting the Fall Real Estate Market - Pixabay

Today’s hot housing market is one of the peculiar outcrops of the pandemic. Housing supply was already low before Covid-19, but it was further hampered as lockdowns took place and people began looking for new homes, driven by a host of reasons—from the desire to leave populated cities to better home offices or just fear of missing out (FOMO). So what does the Fall real estate market have to offer?

The Federal Reserve’s steps last year to keep the financial markets liquid and to ensure mortgage rates stayed low have continued. But the low mortgage rates pale in comparison to soaring housing prices in the past year.

Home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, grew by 17.2% in June 2021 compared with June 2020—a record high, according to the latest CoreLogic report. And while there have certainly been hot seller’s markets in the past, none quite compare to the current market where more than 50% of homes for sale have fetched over the asking price.

“We’ve been tracking housing prices for over 20 years, and we’ve never seen anything like this,” says Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic.

Historically, the Fall real estate market ushers in less competition and better deals as children return to school and the holidays overtake schedules. But the pandemic altered that trend last year, and many cities are going through double-digit percentage increases in housing prices.

To get some insight into what prospective buyers and sellers can expect as we enter the midpoint of summer, Forbes Advisor spoke to housing experts across the country to get their forecast on home prices, rates and buyer appetite in the Fall real estate market.

Full Story From Forbes

Real Estate Trends for the Rest of 2021

real estate trends - deposit photos

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has turned the real estate market into a wild domain. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, you’re likely eager to know how long this will last and what the latest real estate trends are.

In June 2021, home prices across the U.S. surged 24.8% year-over-year — to a median sale price of $386,888 — according to Redfin. During the same time period, the number of homes sold increased 20.6% and the number of homes for sale tumbled 39.6%.

Mortgage rates have reached record lows during the pandemic and have once again been on the decline since late June. Specifically, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.02% on June 24, dropping to 2.78% on July 22.

While an economic upturn was predicted, the Delta variant could send that to a screeching halt. On July 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reinstated their recommendation that fully vaccinated people in areas of substantial or high transmission wear a mask indoors.

Only time will tell if additional COVID-19 restrictions will return, and how this could impact the housing market and real estate trends. However, several real estate agents and experts have weighed in with their opinion of what the market will look like for the rest of the year.