Home Warranties Can Ease Your Worries

Home Warranties Can Ease Your Worries

Buying or Selling a home in or around Oakland County Michigan can be a daunting task if buyers are looking for the perfect home that have few issues, but when sellers offer home warranties with the sale, things usually get moving. Buyers in the local Oakland County area love the styles and craftsmanship of the older homes that are prominent in this area ranging from 1940s to 1990’s sprinkled with new construction here and there. When buyers look at first they want a newer home that they feel would be more worry free, but newer is not always better in many cases as the construction is better built than of current days, this is where a home seller of an older home and home warranties can really benefit. In this post I will try to break-down why home warranties can really ease the worry of home buyers and also help home sellers sell their older homes.

You know that old phone prank…

Someone calls and says, “Is your refrigerator running?”

The person on the other end then says, “Yes. Why?”

And then the caller says something like, “You better catch it before it gets too far away!!”

The joke worked because, for the most part, everyone has a fridge, and it is probably working.

And that is when you should have a home warranty in place… when your fridge is working, not once it is broken.

Do you have a list of worries?

There’s a lot of things you probably notice, but ignore around your house. Until it is too late, and becomes a much bigger problem.

It’s not broken…but maybe you notice that your fridge is making a different sound lately.

Your garage door isn’t working quite right. It goes half way down and gets stuck.

The bathroom faucet is dripping.

You notice a little leak in your bedroom ceiling.

Little worries like these are super common for homeowners.

Maybe you have an even longer list of little worries than those…

What’s the real worry?

But worries like those aren’t the real worry.

The real worry is the cost of getting them fixed.

For a lot of people, it is hard enough just paying the mortgage and other household bills.  It’s not like there’s tons of money sitting around to fix the little worries.

So you probably ignore it for as long as possible. Then the little problem becomes bigger and bigger. And the little problems become more numerous.

You figure you will deal with it when and if it becomes too big of an issue…which is usually once something is broken, or not working at all. You deal with it once you have to spend the money.

Get a home warranty before it is too late…

If all of that sounds too familiar to you, a home warranty can solve a lot of your worries.

But you need to get one before your appliance, your furnace, your air conditioning, or whatever else, is actually broken. They won’t cover your problem if it was a pre-existing condition…

Part of the problem might be that you don’t want to spend the money to buy a home warranty. They can cost hundreds of dollars. Maybe even upwards of a thousand or so, depending on the plan and coverages.

But in comparison to how much it could cost you if your furnace or water heater stopped working, the cost is really not so bad.

And, it isn’t like you can go and just buy a $500 home warranty once the furnace goes kapoot, call them up, and presto, have them send someone over to install a new one.

You can try… but they are gonna deny.

Expect some aggravation

As with anything… not all home warranty companies or plans are reputable or great.

Just do a little research online, and you will see tons of complaints about home warranty companies. Enough to scare you away from even buying one.

With that said, sometimes it is a matter of having the right understanding, expectations, or following the right protocol.

For instance, a home warranty company won’t necessarily get you a new furnace…if the existing one can be fixed. A lot of people complain that they wanted something replaced, but the warranty company merely fixed the problem. They have that right. If it can be fixed, they fix it. If not, they replace it. Sometimes, people misunderstand what to expect, or simply want more than they should expect.

Or, some people will feel that they should be able to call their own contractor to have a problem fixed or replaced, and expect that the warranty company will pay the bill. Most don’t allow that. The warranty company needs to be called first, and they will usually give you a choice of a few contractors that they have relationships with. Not necessarily contractors you know, or want to hire.

A lot of times, people complain just because they presumed that something would be covered, when it really isn’t. You need to know what your policy will cover. (A pool, for instance.) There are usually a few options within each home warranty company. Obviously, the more and better the coverage… the more the cost.

And it isn’t uncommon to have to fight a little bit (or a lot a bit) to get something covered. They certainly have their loopholes and language in the policies that allow for them to deny coverage if they want to. Or even just do things as cheaply as possible.

So, do expect that just buying a home warranty is not a direct ticket to getting everything you want, at least without question or a little fight.

It’s aggravating, but the old adage about the squeaky wheel gets the oil is probably a good way to approach dealing with your home warranty company. Expect to squeak.

A good, simple trick…

Hey, you may find a great home warranty company who addresses you and your problems thoroughly, quickly, and with little hassle. Without needing to squeak, even. If so, that’s great.

But probably not… judging by so much of what you read online. It is hard to find one that has an absolutely favorable reputation.

So a good trick you might want to consider is this…

…call your real estate agent.

Ask your real estate agent for their advice.

Advice on:

  1. Does a home warranty make sense for you, your needs, and your specific concerns?
  2. If so, what home warranty companies do they recommend?

Here is the real “trick” to this trick…

Real estate agents often have affiliations with home warranty companies. They are are in the business day after day. Home warranty companies do not want to be on their bad side.

So, if you are having an issue with a home warranty company, your real estate agent may just be helpful in getting the warranty company to get things done. Especially if it is one that they have an affiliation with, or recommend.

All it might take is a phone call, or an e-mail from your real estate agent, and whatever issue you were having might just get resolved more quickly than by you spending hours on the phone, sending e-mails, or writing a scathing complaint online.

Too often, some of the in-between-the-lines benefits of a real estate agent get overlooked.

This is one of those benefits. Don’t overlook it.

If you have any little worry around your house…or a long list of them…call me your real estate agent. Ask my advice. As an agent I will give it freely, and for free. And gladly.

The Myth of FICO Scores – Buying a House Is “POSSIBLE”

The Myth of FICO Scores – Buying a House Is “POSSIBLE”

What is the first thing people worry about when they are considering buying a home for sale in West Bloomfield, Michigan? The FICO scores.

In your eyes, what is the perfect score? 800? 850?

When you are saving for the down payment, what is your goal? 15? 20?

All these questions have myths attached to them that stop you from buying your dream house.

You see, most people don’t have thousands of dollars lying around in their bank account. There are other needs such as energy bills, food, etc, that stop you from making a frivolous purchase. However, a house is a totally different matter.

Let’s have a look at John’s life:

John has been working as a supervisor in a departmental store for about three years now. He makes $15,000 in a year. He has been saving for the past 6 years, since he was in the last year of his college. He meets this amazing young woman at the day of his graduation and he falls in love. After 2 years of dating, they decide to get married. They make plans for the wedding and decide that it would be better to spend the money he has saved onto buying a house instead of going to a foreign country for their honeymoon. They look for a home for sale in West Bloomfield, Michigan and after 2 days, find the one they like. Instead of taking out a loan, John decides to spend all his money on the house. Now, his savings account is quite low and he is struggling with the house bills and maintenance. He eventually decided to take out a pay day loan but due to the high interest rates, he ends up in debt.

As you might have guessed, the mistake John made was almost emptying his savings account.

Why did he do this? It’s probably because he thought he wouldn’t be able to get a loan due to his low FICO scores. Let’s get to the main point:

Busting the Myth

Here’s a shocker for you: you do not need a high FICO scores to get a mortgage loan! You will get the loan but to keep himself safe, the lender will probably charge a slightly high interest rate. This is a better option than going broke like John, don’t you think?

FICO Scores for Loans

Year All Loans Conventional FHA
2014 727 755 684
2015 730 757 688
2016 726 753 686
2017 722 751 680
2018 726 753 677

Interest Rates

The good thing about interest rate is that they change very slowly. They either go up by 1% or down by 0.5%. So, you don’t have to worry when going with a variable interest rate loan. Here’s a breakdown of how drastically the interest rates have changed in the past 5 decades:

  • 1970: 8.86%
  • 1980: 12.7%
  • 1990: 8.12%
  • 2000: 6.29%
  • 2010: 5.21%
  • Today: 4.52%

The reason why most people who have saved enough money by living in co-accommodations don’t go for apartments is because landlords keep increasing the rent yearly, which can make you lose all your hard earned money.

So, now that you know you don’t need a high FICO scores for buying a home for sale in West Bloomfield, Michigan, you can start searching for your perfect American Dream. Looking for a house that falls under your budget? Visit Homes2MoveYou and get in touch with me directly at 248-790-5594 to start seeing houses in areas of your liking.

Your First Home-What To Look For

Your First Home-What To Look For

When you’re buying your first home, there’s so many things to consider: you need to secure a home loan, find a realtor, decide on an area… the process can be a bit overwhelming.
And as someone new to the home purchasing process, it can be challenging to know exactly what to look for in a home. What kind of criteria should you be judging potential homes against?
Here are 4 things you should look for when you’re buying your first home:

1. A House You Can Grow Into

Purchasing is not like renting. When you rent, if your home no longer meets your needs, when your lease is up you can just pick up and move. But with homeownership, ideally you want to stay in your home long enough for the property to appreciate in value, which is at least 3 to 5 years. So it’s important that you not only consider how well a home fits your current needs, but also how well it will fit your future needs. You want a house you can grow into.
Think about where you plan to be a year from now, two years from now, five years from now. Are you planning on expanding your family? If so, you’ll want to look for a house with enough space to accommodate your growing brood. Thinking about getting a big dog that needs lots of exercise? You’ll want to have a backyard so they have plenty of room to run and play. Are your parents close to retirement, and would you like to have them come and live with you? Then a home with an in-law suite would be a great fit.
When purchasing a home, don’t just look at how well it might work today. Think of how well it will work for all your tomorrows.

2. A Solid School System

When you’re buying a home, one of the first things you should look at is the school system. Is it highly rated? Is it a place that people want to send their kids? Is your new neighborhood invested in education?
Even if you’re not a parent yourself, the school system in your neighborhood should play a huge role in deciding whether a property is right for you. A good school system can increase the value of your home and will appeal to a wider audience (i.e. – parents with children) if and when you decide to sell. On the other hand, a poor school system can slow the appreciation or even devalue your home.
Bottom line: whether you have children or not, investigate your new neighborhood’s school system before you make a purchase.

3. The Right Neighborhood Fit

Buying a home is a commitment, and when you buy, you’re not only committing to your home. You’re also committing to your neighborhood. And as such, you want to make sure that the neighborhood you buy in is the right match for you and your lifestyle.
For example, if you don’t own a car (and have no desire to own a car), you’re going to want to purchase a home in a neighborhood where you can easily access restaurants, shops, and other needs on foot or bike. If you’re obsessed with the outdoors, you probably want to look in a more nature-centric neighborhood instead of the city center. If you have a family, you’ll want to look for a neighborhood with other families so your children have ample opportunities for recreation and to make new friends.

4. Your First Home At The Right Price

When you’re buying your first home, the last thing you want to do is saddle yourself with a mortgage payment you can’t afford. That’s why it’s important to be realistic about your budget and then find a home that has a price tag you can comfortably afford.
Many first time homeowners get so excited about a property that they’ll stretch their budget in order to get into their “dream home.” But when you buy a house that’s outside of your budget (and outside of the price range you can afford), you’re setting yourself up for major financial stress, which isn’t a great way to start off your new life as a homeowner.
Before you start looking at homes, sit down and create a budget and be realistic about what you can afford to pay every month. Then, even if you get approved for a higher amount, stick to that budget. There’s all sorts of unexpected expenses that come along with homeownership, like broken appliances and surprise repairs, and if you’re funneling all your extra cash into a too-high mortgage payment, you won’t have the resources to deal with those situations as they arise.
Buying your first home is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. Enjoy the process, take these 4 areas into consideration, and you’ll find the house that’s right for you – and your life – in no time.

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Novi Real Estate Negotiations: Game Theory

Novi Real Estate Negotiations: Game Theory

Game theory only sounds like it has something to do with how to win in some weekend sports outing or family board game. It’s a seriously studied logical field that mathematicians delve into. Interestingly, when you study how to develop successful negotiation tactics—Novi real estate negotiations included—you can look at them via game theory. real estate negotiations

There is a problem, though. The further you get into the subject, the more it tends to become more and more abstract. Unless you are someone who looks forward to curling up by a roaring fire with a favorite math textbook, you won’t get very far into game theory before your eyes will begin to glaze over.

In real life, Novi real estate negotiations are anything but academic exercises, so I can’t recommend spending hours studying “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” or any of the other highly studied game theory games. But even if you’ve been able to stay tuned for only a few of the most rudimentary basics, it seems that in order to develop a winning game plan in any negotiation, there has to be one pre-condition (in game theory, it’s called an assumption).

The assumption that’s necessary for developing a successful negotiation strategy is that all the parties must be rational. They have to be trying to make decisions (game moves) that are intended to benefit themselves. In Novi real estate negotiations, that usually consists of paying or receiving the least or most money in the most favorable time frame.

Novi Real Estate Negotiations Needn’t be a Puzzler

So the takeaway from game theory’s application to Novi  real estate negotiations is both simple and useful in the real world:

First, remain rational yourself. In the course of negotiations, if your thoughtful proposal isn’t accepted, don’t get mad—even if it’s maddening. Stay cool; acknowledge that you’ve considered the response, and develop the best counter that is in your interest. I’ll help!

Second, as much as possible, foster rationality in the other party. Even if they fly off the handle for what seems to be no reason, assume there IS a reason—but it may not be one that’s rational or even directly connected to the bargain under discussion. It can even be due to misconstrued communication. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget that emotions can block self-interest—but even fiery emotions can be quelled when met with calm and reason.

One of the great advantages to having me as your Realtor is the experience I bring to the Novi real estate negotiations that complete every sale. There are many steps that precede that “endgame” moment—call me whenever you’re ready to discuss getting started!

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Have Roommates Pay Rent

Have Roommates Pay Rent

Rent isn’t cheap. It’s tough to afford a place on your own. So, you have roommates. Maybe it’s a friend or two. Maybe more. But it certainly beats living “alone”…in your parent’s Have Roommates Pay Rentbasement.

But you’re still not banking money…Roommates can help!

You’re saving some money by renting with others. But not tons.

It certainly makes your housing costs more affordable, but it isn’t like you have so much extra every month to just go out and spend on whatever you want.

So, it’s probably hard to even imagine saving enough to eventually buy a house.

You figure that day will come eventually. But not anytime soon. You’ll figure it out someday.

Probably not until you find someone you want to settle down with. Not until you and a significant other can combine forces (and bank accounts) to make that dream happen.

But, at this point, you wrap that thought up with a nice bow and put it on a shelf.

You rationalize it, and think…

  • I’m still young.
  • I’m too young.
  • I don’t want to be tied down yet.
  • I certainly don’t want to settle down with just anyone to be able to afford to buy a house.
  • I’ve heard that buying a house is a stupid investment, anyway.

All totally fine rationale. If you want to rationalize. But, what if you would like to buy a house?

How in the world are you supposed to pull that off?! You can barely afford to rent a place without a bunch of other people chipping in.

Someone’s making dough off you and your roommates. Why not you?

Sometimes it feels better to rationalize away something you don’t think you can swing.

And that’s probably where most people in your position stop. They don’t even consider buying a house.

But you can think beyond that…if you want.

Maybe there’s a way for you to buy a house. Now.

That’s not to say it’s a definite possibility, or a no-brainer, or even easy. But it could be all three of those things. You won’t know, unless you at least consider it.

So…consider it.

You and your roommates are all paying someone to live where you live. Some landlord.

What if it could be you? What if they were all paying you to live in your house?

There’s a lot of ways to flip this around in your head. Too many to even list. But here’s a few bullet points for you to consider and get your thoughts going…

  • What if you could buy a house that cost the same, or less than the amount you’re all paying in rent per month?
  • What if you found a house that needed some work and could get your roommates to help you fix it up so it is worth more than you bought it for?
  • What if you bought a multi-family building and could rent to more people, or split up your roommates into separate apartments?
  • What if you could actually cover the monthly mortgage with the amount your roommates are already used to paying per month, and not have to pay your share of the rent?
  • What if you could purchase a place with a very low down payment?
  • What if you went in with your roommates and bought a place together? (Obviously this is a pretty big commitment, so use your judgment before jumping into a relationship like this.)
  • What if the first place you bought ended up being a stepping stone to owning several rental properties?

The list could go on. But the point is to get you thinking beyond just throwing your portion of the rent into the mix every month with nothing to show for it once you all move on in life.

Not a pipe dream

Buying a house doesn’t just happen.

You can’t just read an article online, get the idea in your head, and talk about how cool it would be while you’re drinking beers in your apartment watching TV.

In fact, maybe keep it to yourself until you figure it all out.

But before you actually buy a place, you should probably see if your roommates would be down with you being their landlord and roomie. If not, maybe find other friends who will.

Buying a house is a process. It’s not as hard or impossible as you might think, but there’s definitely steps you need to take in order to figure out if you can buy a house, and what you can buy if you can.

Have a plan

As tempting as it is to start looking at houses for sale online, or going to see houses in person…don’t. Not yet at least.

That isn’t the best first step. Lots of people start that way, but they waste tons of time, and it can lead to making awful purchases.

Your first purchase needs to be as good of a choice as you can make, because it will set you up for an awesome future. A bad first purchase can be a disaster for years to come.

There’s so much information out there about buying houses. You can do it all on your own. Just troll the Internet, or go bonkers and actually buy some books.

But, you can also get the best insight, plan, and help for free…from a real estate agent.

It’s important to find a real estate agent you trust

It’s easy (and common) to not entirely trust real estate agents, and want to learn as much as you can on your own before dealing with them. To some degree, you can’t trust every and any old real estate agent.

But the first and best step to buying your first house is to find the best real estate agent you can…and then let that agent guide you step by step through the process.

It usually doesn’t cost you anything out of pocket to hire and work with a real estate agent when you’re buying a house. They get paid when and if you end up buying.

And since they all work that way (for the most part), you may as well find and hire the best one you can find.

I’d like to help you find that agent. I think and hope you’ll find that it is me. But I want to earn that trust and respect.

So, no pressure or obligation.

Send me an email with the subject line, “Please send me your first-time buyer tips” and I’ll send send you a short series of 9 emails (no more, no less) that will help you decide if you should buy your first home, or not..

In the least, you will get further along the way to buying your first house, and perhaps we will build a trusting relationship. Or not.

If we do, great. And, if you qualify to buy a house, I want to help you make the best purchase possible.

And if we don’t, I won’t be bugging you or pushing you to buy a house.

So, what’s the harm? Send me an email and I’ll send the first step to buying a house over to you. (NOTE: It includes names and phone numbers I don’t publish publicly, which is the reason for doing it via email.)

You can find my email in the right column of this page (if on desktop) or down below (if on mobile).

Hope to hear from you!

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