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.
Looking for a rental home? Beware of real estate scams. Here are four tips to avoid being a victim. Google the Landlord or Property Manager If you contacted the owner of the property, check to see if that person’s name is on the county tax records. If you spoke with a property manager or real estate agent, Google the name to see if that person shows up on a company’s website. Search the Address Scammers often skim legitimate listings and post them on a site they control. If you’re looking at a place for rent and see it listed for sale, that could be a sign of a scam. If you search for the address and find it listed on other real estate sites, see if the person you talked to is listed anywhere. See it Yourself Ask to meet the person you’re talking to at the property and see it in person. Even a scammer who is bold enough to appear in person won’t have access to the property. Take Your Time Don’t let anyone pressure you to pay a deposit or do anything else until you’re sure that the listing is real. You risk losing a legitimately popular rental, but you avoid losing money or being a victim of identity theft. The rental market can be competitive, but that doesn’t mean you take unnecessary risks. A member of Texas REALTORS® can help you find a place to rent.
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.
Whether you’ve purchased a fixer-upper or are tackling projects to get top dollar when you sell, “doing it yourself” can save money. But home improvement projects carry risks—some more than others. Consider these factors before you DIY. Don’t Make a Shocking Discovery Before you tackle any electrical job, you need to shut off power to the circuit you’re working on. Otherwise, you risk getting a nasty shock or worse. Make sure you can access the breaker box and verify which switch controls which area of the house. If you can’t safely work on the circuit or have any doubts at all, call a professional. Test the Waters Plumbing jobs can lead to leaks and flooding. A good first step is to test the water shutoff valve. Sinks and toilets usually have their own valves, but you may have to shut off water to the entire property to work on tubs, showers, and other fixtures. If your project doesn’t turn out as planned, you may need to shut off the water and leave it off until you get assistance. Know Your Limits You can find instructions for thousands of home improvement projects on the internet. But a YouTube video that shows how to build a deck doesn’t make you a carpenter. Before you start any DIY project, be honest about your ability and have a backup plan if things don’t go well. Certain DIY projects can improve your home and save you money. When you have real estate needs, however, trust a professional: Work with a REALTOR®.
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.
Whether you want to save energy to lower your carbon footprint or reduce your bills—or both—here are four things you can do as a tenant. Make it Darker One reason that tinted windows in cars are popular is that they help keep a car’s interior cool. You can benefit from tinted windows in your rental property, too. They offer a lower cost alternative to installing energy-efficient windows and can cut your air conditioner use. Unplug Devices Standby power, also known as phantom load and vampire power, refers to energy used by appliances and electronics that are plugged in but turned off or in standby mode. TVs, computers, and gaming consoles are prime examples of devices that continue to use power when not in use and can be unplugged without significant consequence, unlike a refrigerator. Consider plugging these into a power strip that you can switch on and off as needed. Change Bulbs LED light bulbs use significantly less electricity and last much longer than incandescent blubs. However, those improvements come at a higher cost per bulb. Depending on who pays for the bulbs and how long you intend to stay in the rental, it might make sense to swap out the existing bulbs. You can always purchase and install your own LED bulbs, save the existing bulbs, and reinstall the incandescent ones when your lease is done. Help the Dryer If don’t have a high-efficiency clothes washer, running a quick extra spin cycle cuts down on drying time. Keeping the lint trap clean can also make your dryer work fastest and use less energy.
Retirement isn’t just the end of your working days. It’s a time to recalibrate and consider what you’d like to do in your next chapter. You might be wondering: Should I sell my home now that I’m retired? Ask yourself these questions: Does your current home meet your present and future needs? Do you need as much space as you have? Do you need more now that you’ll spend more time at home? Do you think your home will meet your needs 10 years from now? Twenty? Can you afford your current home? For many people, retirement means earning significantly less income than during their careers. If you have a mortgage, will you be able to afford the payments? If you have paid off your home, are you able to afford your property taxes on a lower or fixed income? This is something to consider when deciding whether to move. Where would you go if you sold your home? Your home may be worth a lot more money than you paid for it, but so are the homes you may consider buying if you sold. Where would you like to live? Look at prices in that area. Do they work with your budget? Is your home even ready to sell? Are there any repairs you want to make before you would consider selling? Sometimes even small upgrades or cosmetic changes can make a big difference. Are you ready to move? Moving is a major undertaking. It may take you weeks or months to pack up your belongings, especially if you have lived in your home for several years. Hiring a REALTOR® is always smart when considering any real estate transaction. A REALTOR® can discuss considerations like these to help you make the best decisions. Some REALTORS® even have earned the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation to help buyers over 50 sort through their options. All REALTORS® pledge to abide by a code of ethics, so you know that you have a professional in your corner who puts your interests first.
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.