Your relationship with your REALTOR® doesn’t have to end at the closing. By hiring a REALTOR®, you’ve connected with a trusted resource for all things real estate. There are several ways to keep in touch with your REALTOR® after the sale. Followers Welcome You can follow your REALTOR®’s professional social media channels. REALTORS® will often post new listings, market information, and fun content to their platforms. Be sure to leave a review telling others about the great service you received. Just a Message Away Your REALTOR® may also reach out to you to see how you are doing in your new home. Some REALTORS® enjoy checking in periodically to share information and recognize milestones. Other REALTORS® send out email newsletters or postal mail about recent home sales and market conditions. Looking For Answers You may have questions about real estate from time to time that your REALTOR® can answer. Reach out and see if your REALTOR® can point you in the right direction. Recommend a Friend You can also refer your friends and family to your REALTOR®. Introduce them to your expert in the field. They’ll appreciate connecting with a professional you know and trust, and your REALTOR® will love the referral. Teaming Up Again Who knows what the future holds? If you decide to move from your current address, reach out to your REALTOR®. Many REALTORS® rely on repeat business from happy clients like you. Hiring a REALTOR® doesn’t have to be a one-time transaction. The sale could be the first of many future interactions with your dedicated real estate professional.
Your monthly house payment depends on many factors, including the interest rate on your mortgage. Here are some things to keep in mind about interest rates when you’re planning to buy a home. Rates Change Over Time The rate you can get on a loan today will likely vary slightly from yesterday’s or tomorrow’s rate. Over longer periods, rates can fluctuate dramatically. Interest on a 30-year mortgage topped 18% in 1981 and dipped below 3% in 2020. People will predict which direction rates are heading, but no one knows for sure. If you’re concerned rates will rise while you’re looking for a home, some lenders give you the option to lock in a rate for a period of time. Different Loans Charge Different Rates The interest on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is typically higher than the rate on a 15-year fixed-rate loan. Interest rates on adjustable-rate mortgages are usually even lower; however, as the name suggests, those rates can change over time. How Much Will a Loan Payment Change? The difference in a monthly payment depends not only on the loan’s interest rate but also the amount of money borrowed. A buyer who borrows $250,000 at 5% will pay $148 more per month than if the rate was 4%. On a $400,000 loan, though, the difference would be $237 each month. Interest rates are just one aspect of a mortgage, and a mortgage is one of dozens of considerations when you purchase a home. Working with a REALTOR® ensures that you have a professional at your side to guide you through the entire process.
Finding the right REALTOR® for your needs is an important part of a successful real estate transaction. Some REALTORS® earn designations or certifications that show they’ve had additional training with certain types of clients or transactions. Those certifications or designations are indicated by letters after an agent’s name, and you can see a list of the ones available in Texas. But those letters are only one of many ways to determine if a REALTOR® is right for you. Consider how much experience someone has, where the REALTOR® works, what types of transactions the REALTOR® usually handles, and any testimonials from past clients. Find a REALTOR® whose background and expertise match your needs with the REALTOR® search at texasrealestate.com.
Moving doesn’t always mean that you have to hire your own truck or movers. There are other options to relocate your possessions. Share a Truck You may not need a moving truck all to yourself. If you aren’t moving a great deal of possessions, you might be able to share a moving truck with another moving company customer. Ask about this option for interstate moves. Ship By Freight FedEx says that any shipment over 150 pounds is considered freight. You can ship items in bulk by land, air, or sea or some combination. It could be cost effective depending on the circumstances of your move. Portable Storage Containers With portable storage containers, a company drops off a container at your current home. You fill it with your possessions. The company picks it up and ships it to your new home. Remember to ask if portable storage containers are allowed on the property or street of your current and future homes. Replace It Not everything you own is a treasure. Ask yourself if it is worth the cost and effort to move an item. If it isn’t, donate, sell, or dispose of the item and buy another one when you reach your destination. Anything you don’t have to take with you makes the move a little easier and more affordable.
Rising real estate costs can make buying a home with extended family a convenient and practical choice. Here are some questions to consider while searching for a multigenerational home. What Floor Plan Works Best? Besides deciding how many bedrooms and bathrooms are needed, determine what layout suits your family’s lifestyle. For example, is mobility a concern for aging parents? That might affect the location of the bedrooms or whether you choose a one-story house. Will There be Enough Privacy? While gathering is part of the draw of a multigenerational home, open floor plans and bigger shared areas—like the kitchen or family room—may result in fewer or smaller bedrooms. Are you open to some remodeling to create additional private spaces? Where Will Everything Go? More family members mean more stuff. Determine if you will need a storage unit or to use your garage. Depending on the number of cars, you may need to look for a home with a long driveway. Keep in mind that some homeowners associations do not allow street parking. One Buyer or Two? Every family needs to discuss ahead of time how to finance the home, the arrangement of the mortgage, and how other expenses will be handled. Don’t let the challenge of trying to accommodate everyone’s needs overwhelm you. Reach out to a REALTOR® to help you find the home that best fits your family.
You love the wood floors, chef’s kitchen, and spa-like bathroom. But remember that there’s more to a property than features and looks. Here are additional items to consider before you make an offer. Will It Be Loud? That idyllic street you saw on a Sunday open house might turn into a commuters’ cut-through during the week. Or a nearby grade crossing might prompt frequent train horns in the middle of the night. Visit the home at different times on different days to get a sense for what the noise level is like, and consider asking current neighbors about sources of significant noise and traffic. How Old Is That Really Expensive Thing To Replace? The seller’s disclosure notice may alert you to known issues with major appliances and systems, but those sources won’t tell you that the HVAC or roof is nearing the end of its lifespan. Knowing the age of certain items can help estimate when they need to be replaced. A home inspector can likely give you information about whether certain systems are deficient, but don’t count on an inspection to reveal how much life is left in a component. In some cases, the installation date may be available or visible. Can I Do It My Way? Homeowners associations can benefit property owners but they come with rules and regulations that must be followed. Be sure to review all documents from an HOA before you commit to a purchase. Likewise, city codes and ordinances restrict what you can do with your property. You don’t want to find out after you close that you can’t park your boat trailer in the driveway or paint your house your favorite shade of red. Will the View Change? That view of the hills or lake or city skyline can be a huge selling point. But will that feature remain? If you’re buying in a master planned community, check with the builder to see if there are plans to develop something that may obstruct the view. Otherwise, you can look into the area’s zoning to understand whether that scenic view might be jeopardized. Keep in mind that development plans and zoning are subject to change in the future.
Moving into a new home can be equally exciting and disruptive—not just for you and your family but for your animals as well. Since pets are creatures of habit, changing the environment can cause anxiety. Here are four ways to make the transition to the new setting easier. Restrict Access In the beginning, limit access to certain rooms so that it isn’t so overwhelming. Take your pets on a tour of the available rooms and let them roll around to incorporate their own scent. Make it Familiar There may be a temptation to buy new things for the new space. However, it’s best to incorporate recognizable scents. Keep their bed, toys, cat tree, blanket, or other favorite items around. It can also help if you stay home as much as possible the first few days to make them feel more comfortable. Don’t Mess with Routines This isn’t the time to stop letting them sleep on the bed or change the type of food they eat. The key is to create consistency and stability. If your dog is used to walks at six in the morning and again at five, stick to it. The same goes for feeding time. Have Patience During the orientation period there may be bathroom accidents, excessive barking, or frequent hiding. Give your pets space and time to get acclimated. If needed, contact a veterinarian for additional coping strategies. Need a recommendation for a vet in the area? Check with your REALTOR®.
Your real estate transaction isn’t the same as anyone else’s, and your REALTOR®’s services should match what you need. Lucky for you, REALTORS® offer many types of business models to guide you through your transaction. Here are three common examples. Traditional Brokerage With a traditional brokerage model, brokers and agents provide a full range of services in exchange for a commission. The commission is negotiable and covers the REALTOR®’s time and efforts on your behalf, whether it’s marketing your home for sale, finding a great space for your business, or locating the perfect home for you and your family. Flat-Fee Brokerage A flat-fee brokerage provides all the services of a traditional brokerage, such as advice on pricing, help with negotiation, and market analysis. But instead of charging a fee equal to a percentage of the sales price, the brokerage charges a negotiable flat fee for its help. A La Carte Brokerage With the a la carte model, clients choose what services they want the brokerage to provide—and only pay for those. For example, a seller may want a REALTOR® to include the home in the multiple listing service and to coordinate showings. However, the seller will handle contracts and negotiations on her own. While these examples are popular business models, they are far from the only ones. No matter what type of model your REALTOR® uses, you will get a professional who follows a strict Code of Ethics to achieve your real estate goals
Downsizing can be a daunting and time-consuming process. Check out these three tips on how to get prepared for moving into a smaller home. Give Yourself Time Not only will you want to start planning early so that you don’t feel overwhelmed, but you’ll also want to give yourself time to reminisce over the sentimental items you uncover when packing. Take the time to enjoy the memories instead of stressing about the process. Make a List Write down what rooms (including storage spaces) will be in your new home and what furniture or essential items you will need for the space. Measure the rooms ahead of time to ensure they will fit. Create Piles Sort your possessions into keep and don’t keep piles. By sorting into piles, you can weed out duplicates and what is no longer necessary. Then, donate, sell, or throw away the stuff you aren’t going to keep. Don’t feel like you need to do it all by yourself. Ask your REALTOR® for recommendations for donation sites, reliable movers, a professional organizer, or other relocation services.
Whether you are buying, selling, or renting property, know that there are laws and ordinances in place to protect you from discrimination. The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers, lenders, and real estate professionals from discriminating against you based on your race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), national origin, familial status, or disability. Discrimination Takes Many Forms It might not be an offensive comment said to your face. You may not even know it is happening. For example, sellers and landlords cannot set different terms, conditions, or privileges for sales or rentals based on the protected classes. They also cannot impose different sale prices or rental charges. Agents cannot steer you toward or away from a neighborhood based on the protected classes as well. You can find a list of many more prohibited actions online by searching the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website for examples of housing discrimination. Your REALTOR® Is Committed to Promoting and Upholding Fair Housing REALTORS® adhere to the highest professional standards—beyond what the law requires. When agreeing to abide by the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, your REALTOR® has also pledged to not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets, or slurs based on the protected classes. The Code of Ethics also prohibits discriminatory employment practices. REALTORS® also may not refuse to cooperate with another real estate broker based on the protected classes. Rest assured that your REALTOR® is with you every step of the way to explain, support, and guide you through your sale, purchase, or rental. Your REALTOR® can help you find a place to call home—an essential part of the American Dream. By hiring a REALTOR® , you will get the help you need and the professional, unbiased treatment to which you are entitled. Learn more about fair housing, including how to file complaints.