Steve Casey
RE/MAX Real Estate Center | 508-341-4464 |

Posted by Steve Casey on 8/14/2017

As a home seller, you likely will search for fast, simple home improvement projects to enhance your house's appearance. However, in many instances, performing home repairs could prove to be costly and time-consuming. And in some cases, completing home renovation tasks may be more trouble than it's worth, especially for those who lack the necessary home repair skills and expertise.

Fortunately, your home's basement represents a valuable home renovation opportunity, one that should not be taken lightly. With hard work and dedication, you can revamp your basement's appearance and make it a valuable asset that could help your residence stand out in the eyes of homebuyers.

What does it take to renovate a basement? Here are three tips to help you simplify the process of transforming your basement into a sleek, stylish and comfortable living space.

1. Choose Practical Flooring.

Basement floors may wear down over the years, and how these floors look could impact your ability to sell your residence. Lucky for you, there are many practical flooring options available that ensure you can revamp your basement floors without breaking your budget.

Carpet, laminate and vinyl floors often look and perform great in basements. These floor types will maintain their quality for an extended period of time and are sure to make a great first impression on homebuyers when they visit your residence.

Also, wood floors frequently serve as sub-par choices in basements. These floors may shrink or expand over time, creating gaps or warping. Thus, you may want to avoid wood floors in your basement.

2. Illuminate Your Living Space.

Many terrific lighting options are available to brighten up a basement. Plus, these lighting choices usually are easy to install and can help you transform an ordinary basement into an unparalleled living space in no time at all.

Recessed lighting represents a top choice in basements and makes it easy to illuminate big and small spaces. Or, you may want to consider track or pendant lighting to eliminate shadows on basement surfaces.

Of course, don't forget about table and desk lamps as well. These lamps will brighten up your basement and allow you to show off your distinct sense of style at the same time.

3. Get Organized.

There is no reason for your basement to be filled with clutter. Therefore, you may want to pick up a bookcase, shelving unit or other storage options that enable you to organize your basement belongings quickly and effortlessly.

Getting organized will enable you to show homebuyers just how much space is available in your basement. Furthermore, de-cluttering now may help you save time after your home sells, and you won't have to worry about scrambling to get rid of junk at the last minute when you move out.

Working with a real estate agent may help you determine the best ways to enhance your basement too. This professional will work with you to prioritize home improvement projects and ensure you can maximize the time and resources at your disposal. As a result, a real estate agent may be able to help you revamp your basement and boost your chances of selling your home quickly.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Steve Casey on 8/13/2017

If you’re planning on buying a home in the near future and are confused about many of the terms associated with mortgages, you’re not alone. Real estate is its own industry with its own set of processes, terms, and acronyms. If you’re new to the home buying process, there can be somewhat of a learning curve to understand what each of these terms means.

Since buying a home is such a huge investment and life decision, there’s a lot of pressure on home buyers to make sure they get everything right. This makes for a stressful situation for buyers who don’t feel like they understand the terminology of things like mortgages, appraisals, credit reports, and other factors that contribute to the home buying process.

To alleviate some of those concerns and to make the home buying process run more smoothly, we’ve compiled a list of the most common, and most commonly confused, real estate words, terms, and acronyms. That way, when you’re talking things over with your real estate agent or your mortgage lender, you’ll be confident that you understand exactly what’s being considered.

Read on for our real estate terminology glossary.

  • Adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) - This is one type of home loan. Mortgage rates with this type of loan fluctuate throughout the repayment term of the loan. The fluctuation is based on a market indicator.

  • Fixed rate mortgage (FRM) - Another type of home loan, a fixed rate mortgage has a rate which does not fluctuate, remaining constant for the life of the term, most commonly 15 or 30 years.

  • Appraisal - An appraisal is the determination of the value of a property. Appraisals are used when purchasing and selling a home, as well as when refinancing a home loan. Appraisers are required to be licensed or certified in each state and are usually paid for by the lender.

  • Appreciation - An increase in a property’s value, most commonly due to market inflation, or the general increase in home prices over time.

  • Depreciation - A decrease in a property’s value, due to either market deflation (uncommon) or the wear and tear on a home that comes with age.

  • Closing costs - The costs and fees that a buyer is responsible for when purchasing a home or taking out a mortgage. These include underwriting fees, inspections, appraisals, transfer taxes, and more. Closing costs typically range from 2% to 5% of the total loan amount.

  • Contingency - Home purchases have contracts to protect the interest of the buyer, seller, and lender. Contingencies are provisions designed to protect the buyer or lender should something occur in the time leading up to closing on (or purchasing) the home. One common contingency is the buyer’s right to have a final inspection of the home before closing to ensure no new issues with the home have occurred.

  • Private mortgage insurance (PMI) - Buyers who cannot afford a down payment of %20 typically are required to take out a private mortgage insurance policy. This policy protects the lender should the borrower default (fail to repay or meet the conditions of their loan).

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Steve Casey on 8/13/2017

Smart investors buy real estate like residential homes to upgrade the properties then sell them at a profit. Investors, including private individual investors, also buy residential homes so that they can rent the properties. The second option affords real estate investors the chance to own property without the burden of making monthly mortgage payments.

Advantages tied to home ownership

Some could argue that this isn't such a great option, as homeowners are still responsible for keeping their houses up to local code. People who buy and rent houses are also responsible for making certain repairs to the property.

The types of repairs that they are liable or depend on the rental contract. For instance, some people who rent their houses offer to cover the costs of major repairs. That agreement alone could cost owners of rental properties thousands of dollars a year.

However, there's a workaround for that. That workaround involves conducting thorough background checks on each potential renter. By only dealing with responsible renters, people who pay their bills on time as well as people who don't have a history of committing civil or criminal infractions, homeowners could reduce the likelihood that the houses that they rent will be damaged. 

More uses for a house you own

But, renting houses that you own isn't the only benefit associated with owning a home. Here are a few other benefits that you could come into after you buy a house:

  • Event planning - You don't have to be a professional event planner to start using your private property to host events. For starters, you could host family high school and college graduations at your house. Other events that you could host are holiday celebrations and weddings. Of course, should you decide to become a professional event planner, you'd already have a property to start hosting events at.
  • Small business - Instead of turning a walk-in closet or a single room into a home office, you could turn your entire basement or your garage into a small business area. Types of businesses that you could operate in these spaces are in freelance writing, technology, hair salon or catering.
  • Pets - As a homeowner, you may have more room to care for large pets.
  • Rent-less lifestyle - After you pay off your house, not only will you be mortgage free, you also won't have to concern yourself with paying monthly rents.

Taking a realistic look at home ownership benefits

Being responsible for major repairs and house upgrades are two drawbacks to buying houses to use as rental properties. Yet, those same responsibilities apply if you buy a house and don't rent it out. You also don't have to use a house as a rental property.

Additional benefits associated with owning a house include the chance to deduct property taxes and the ability to own a house without having to think about rising rents. After you own a house, you also won't have to clear how long visitors stay at your place with a landlord.

Another advantage that you could gain should you decide to buy a house is the chance to leave your home to your adult children or to another loved one. Not only does this keep the property in your family estate, it potentially lowers the overall debt of the person who you will the property to.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Steve Casey on 8/7/2017

Don't let your neighbors get in the way of a fast, easy and profitable home sale. Instead, home sellers can take advantage of the following tips to prevent neighbors from sabotaging a property sale:

1. Talk to Your Neighbors Before You List Your House

Communication can play a key role in the home selling process. As such, maintaining open communication with your neighbors can make a world of difference, particularly for those who want to reap the benefits of a quick, simple home sale.

Reach out to your neighbors before you add your residence to the real estate market. This will allow you to outline your home selling plans to your neighbors.

Also, don't be afraid to ask your neighbors for support.

In most cases, neighbors will be happy to help you achieve your home selling goals. And if your neighbors keep their houses looking great, they may be able to create an attractive neighborhood that helps your property stand out in a competitive real estate market.

2. Respond to Neighbors' Concerns and Questions

Neighbors may have many concerns and questions about your decision to sell your home. With an open approach, you can respond to neighbors' concerns and questions with ease.

If you've lived in your neighborhood for many years, you've likely become close to your neighbors and may consider them to be friends. Therefore, it may be difficult to share the news that you intend to sell your house.

However, try to stay calm, cool and collected as you discuss your home selling plans with neighbors. And remember, even though you plan to live elsewhere in the near future, you can still keep in touch with your friends at any time.

You can always lean on neighbors for home selling advice too. If neighbors have sold houses in the past, they may be able to offer expert insights into the home selling cycle that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to selling your house, meeting with your neighbors can help you get the best results possible. Of course, if you work with a real estate agent, you should have no trouble navigating the property selling process as well.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to list a residence and stir up interest from homebuyers. This housing market professional can teach you about the ins and outs of the real estate sector. Plus, he or she will set up open houses and home showings, keep you up to date about offers on your house and negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any of your home selling queries. Thus, if you're unsure about how to discuss your home selling plans with neighbors, your real estate agent can provide you with plenty of help.

Ready to add your house to the real estate market? Use these tips, and you can include your neighbors in the home selling journey.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Steve Casey on 7/31/2017

If you have ever looked around your neighborhood and thought that this could be the year you have the lawn that all of the neighbors envy, you’re in luck. The spring season is the perfect time of year to start cultivating the perfect lawn. All you need is a plan in place and the grass will really be greener on the other side of the fence- your side! 

First, you need to understand what’s the actual problem with your lawn. Do you suffer from bare spots on the lawn? Are there many weeds around, making the lawn appear unsightly? Is fungus present on the lawn? Then, see how big of a problem each of these issues are if you see them. How much time do you have to devote to getting the lawn ready and maintaining it? When you determine all of these things, you can start the first steps of your plan. 

First, you’ll need to aerate the lawn, which helps to open up the compact soil. You can do this with a rake or power rake. Next, even out the terrain as needed throughout the aerating process. Depending on the extent of the unevenness of the terrain itself, you may need to hire a professional. Then, you’ll need to reseed the lawn. Be sure that you choose a grass seed that is appropriate for the climate you’re in as well as the sun and shade conditions of your property. Finally, your new lawn seed will need to be watered every day with a significant amount of water at first. This will help the grass grow quickly and evenly. Try to aim for about one and a half inches of water per week. Water your lawn early in the morning if you can for the maximum benefit to watering.  

Once your new lawn is in place, make prevention a top priority. You’ll want to be vigilant about preventing and getting rid of weeds. If you learn how to identify the weeds, that’s half of the battle. You can find weed guides online or even get a gardening book that will help you to learn more about what and how to get rid of weeds. 

Use commercial weed killers or create your own natural weed killer, depending on your preference. To create a natural weed killer all you need is vinegar, salt, soap, and water. Vinegar is pretty powerful in its ability to ward off weeds, so if you're looking for a natural route, you may want to give it a try. 

By starting a lawn off right in this way, you’ll be able to see improvement. Don’t stress if your lawn doesn't look perfect in the very first season. It could take some time for your lawn to reach its full potential. Remember if you’re in a drought-prone area, you’ll want to avoid any harsh pesticides, as they will only make the lawn conditions worse.