Questions and Answers

Welcome to Nestlewood Realty

Choosing Between a Fixed-Rate Loan and an Adjustable-Rate Loan

Posted by Nestlewood Realty on August 01, 2019  /  in Blog, Home Buyers, Home Buyers, Questions and Answers, Questions and Answers, Realtors, Uncategorized  /  Comments off

Should I get a fixed-rate loan or an adjustable-rate loan?

You’re excited to find the perfect home that fits your lifestyle, family, and aesthetic, but the hardest part of the home-finding process is the home-buying process. To make your journey to your new home easier, we want to break down two of the most popular loan types and help you find which is best for you.

Two of the most popular loan types are fixed-rate loans and adjustable-rate loans. Fixed-rate loans have the same interest rate locked in for the life of the loan. Adjustable-rate loans lock in an introductory interest rate for the first few years and they can fluctuate depending on outside factors throughout the life of the loan.

So which one is right for you?

adjustable-rate loan

If you have the income to support unpredictable changes, you could end up saving money with your adjustable-rate loan if your interest rate drops. However, if your interest rate goes up, so will your monthly payment.

If paying more than you can afford doesn’t sound like something you’re willing or able to do, a fixed-rate loan might be the safer bet because an adjustable-rate loan will fluctuate. With a fixed-rate loan, monthly payments will not change due to fluctuating interest rates and you can easily budget for your monthly bill.

There is also safety in knowing you can refinance your fixed-rate loan in the future. The value of your home, your credit score, accumulating too much debt and losing some of your income can affect whether or not you are able to refinance an adjustable-rate loan. If your home value drops too much or your credit score takes a hit, you may be denied the ability to refinance for a lower interest rate. (This was part of the cause of the mortgage crisis of 2008-2009!)

But be careful, you have to pay for safety. Fixed-rate loans typically start out with higher interest rates than variable-rate (or adjustable-rate) loans. For example, the rate on a fixed-rate mortgage might be one or two percent higher than the rate on an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). That difference can make a dramatic change in your monthly payment.

If you know you are going to move before your ARM adjusts, then getting an ARM makes sense. The number one reason Millenials and Generation Z moves is a change of employment with an increase in pay. Millennial job habits commonly include changing jobs within two years. With mobility being a growing trend, then having a long-term, fixed-rate loan may not be desirable. The key is to not catch yourself in a buyer’s market with home prices on the decline. You may end up being forced to sell for a lower price than you would want, due to your need to move.

At the same time, fixed-rate loans are available in a variety of yearly terms and the shorter the term of your loan, the lower the interest rate will be. This means you’ll end up paying less in interest altogether and you will build equity and own your home sooner. But remember: The shorter the loan period is, the higher the monthly payments will be.

A standard 30-year fixed rate mortgage is traditionally the most common way to buy a home. But the Washington Post reported that more homebuyers are turning to adjustable-rate mortgages because of the low initial rate of an ARM.

In the end, there are pros and cons for each type of loan. Before you make a decision, seek advice from an expert– like one of our agents, who will be able to help you choose between a fixed and adjustable-rate loan.

What is the Home Selling Process Really Like?

Posted by Nestlewood Realty on July 18, 2019  /  in Blog, Questions and Answers, Selling Your Home, Selling Your Home, Uncategorized  /  Comments off

So you’ve decided to sell your house… But what is the home selling process really like? 

You’ll likely begin your seller’s journey by hiring a real estate agent. While the Internet has made it easier to sell your home all on your own, about 93% of home sales are still closed with a real estate agent. A good realtor understands the complex procedure and paperwork involved in selling a home and their experience will save you time and energy, and get you a better deal on your home in the long run.

After selecting your agent,  it’s time to price your home. He or she will help you determine how much your home is worth using comparative market analysis reports, broker price opinions or by hiring an appraiser. Appraisers and brokers will likely be able to also provide you with suggestions for where your home could use repairs before going to market.

Prepare your home for showings by making small (or big!) home improvements as necessary. Replace cracked floor or countertops and patch any holes in the walls. Fix leaky faucets and doors that don’t close properly, and kitchen drawers that jam. Painting your walls neutral colors. Replace burned-out light bulbs and add additional light fixtures wherever possible.

Now onto the next step in the home selling process… After necessary improvements have been made, it’s time to make your home sparkle. Clean your home beyond what your usual weekly or day-to-day cleaning jobs would be. Remove all clutter and personal items and open up the space as much as possible. Remember, this is your one shot to make a good first impression on buyers.

Once your home is ready to show off to the public, you or your agent will photograph (or have your home photographed) and list it online. A listing agreement will likely be signed before your home is advertised for sale by a realtor. (Make sure to keep a copy of those documents in a safe place in case you ever need them.) Your home should then be marketed all over the internet, showing off its best sides. You’ll also begin to show your home to interested parties and hold open houses. If your home doesn’t receive an offer right away, use these opportunities to ask for buyer feedback and adjust price or marketing accordingly. 

When an offer (or multiple offers) have been made, it’s time to choose, negotiate, and/or accept. Negotiating the sale that leaves you in the best possible position is one of the most complex parts of selling a home. (That’s why it’s good to have an experienced realtor by your side!) You may end up with multiple counteroffers until a deal is reached, or you may accept an offer on the first round. Either way, once all parties agree to all of the terms in writing, you’ve got a contract. Now it’s time to focus on the legal jargon.

After the contract has been signed, you enter the “due diligence period.” Due Diligence is simply the period immediately after the acceptance of a Purchase and Sale contract to buy a home, typically ranging from 7-14 days. During this time, the buyer of the home will investigate the property for termites, mold, structural damage, plumbing problems, and the condition of the property. The buyer may request repairs be made for issues discovered during the inspections, which can result in another round of negotiations for repairs or price reductions. If an agreement is made to both parties’ satisfaction, the due diligence period will end and you will move one step closer to closing.

Charlotte Home for Sale

If a buyer is seeking a loan to purchase your home, they’ll likely need time to secure the financing and have an appraisal performed. (Your process will go much quicker if your buyer has been preapproved for a loan.) An appraisal at this point is the bank’s verification that the property is worth what they’re lending towards, and helps them prevent mortgage fraud. As the seller, you want the property to appraise for at least the contract price or more. A low appraisal can cost a seller tens of thousands of dollars, and disputing them can be very difficult. This is another reason it’s important to price your home correctly the first time. 

After the lender has conditionally approved the buyer for the loan and can provide a commitment letter, things look good to close. But keep in mind, things have been known to go wrong right up to the closing, so it’s never a 100% guarantee the sale is done until you sign the papers at closing.

Depending on where you’re located, you might sign escrow documents shortly after opening escrow or you’ll sign them nearer to closing. Escrow refers to a third-party service that’s usually mandatory in a home purchase. Until the final exchange is completed, both the buyer’s deposit and the seller’s property are said to be in escrow. Consult with your lawyer and/or agent for more information.

Once everything’s been completed, it’s time to finalize the sale. On the day of closing, your job as the seller is much easier since you’ve already done your part. (Phew!) The buyer will be signing the bulk of the documents, so you can sit back and relax knowing the stress of selling your home is finally over. 

After you’ve handed over all the keys and necessary documents and moved out of the house– it’s time to celebrate! Say “goodbye” to your home and “hello” to your new adventure, whatever that may be.

Do you still have questions about the steps in the home selling process? Connect with a Nestlewood agent today.

5 Staging Tips that DO NOT Matter For Home Sellers

Posted by Nestlewood Realty on June 20, 2019  /  in Blog, Luxury Home, Questions and Answers, Realtors, Selling Your Home, Selling Your Home  /  Comments off

Staging your home for sale is both an art and a science. There is plenty of information out there that will tell you exactly how to stage your home for an open house, but most of it is just fluff! Here are the 5 staging misconceptions the internet won’t tell you that expert realtors know too well.

#1. “Bake cookies right before your open house.”

It’s true that our sense of smell is powerful. Walking into a bad smelling home can turn buyers off instantly, but that doesn’t mean you should flood your home with just any smell. Think of it this way: Our sense of smell is very closely related to our sense of memory. For some people, the smell of freshly baked cookies may bring back fantastic memories of days past. But for others, the smell of freshly baked cookies makes them nauseous! Your house should actually smell like NOTHING when it is being shown.

Scented homes lead to one of two reactions:

  • Buyers who are chemically sensitive get headaches, irritated eyes, or nausea and want to leave immediately, OR
  • Buyers wonder what you are trying to cover up.

#2. “My house won’t sell unless it has plants in it.”

Live plants or flowers in a vacant house tend to become dead plants very fast. Unless you are dedicated to checking on these plants regularly, you need to skip them, because nothing stops a house from going pending like dead plants. And fake plants are just that, fake.

#3. “I can just lightly stage this room and it will work.”

Light staging or rearranging items in a room like a chair and a rug in a bedroom, does NOT help sell houses. It actually slows the process down! Random objects in a room only draw attention away from the house. Either stage the room completely or don’t stage it at all.

#4. “We should make everybody take off their shoes before they enter.”

Taking off your shoes in public is uncomfortable. So why in the world would you ask people to be uncomfortable in their new home? With any luck, the floor will be theirs soon. Worry about cleaning up after!

And finally, #5. “Staging can fix anything.”

Wouldn’t it be great if this were true? Unfortunately, it is not. Staging can liven, brighten, and beautify your space. But sometimes, things are just bad! They need to be fixed, remodeled, or overhauled prior to or instead of staging. Think of it this way: If your entire house is painted in rainbow tie-dye, no amount of staging will help you.

In the end, bad staging does nothing to help your sale and could actually hurt you in the long run! You need a competent staging professional and realtor if you want top dollar for your house.

Selling a home? Don’t go at it alone. Get in touch with one of Charlotte’s expert real estate agents here at Nestlewood Realty!

High End “Green” Homes

Posted by Nestlewood Realty on June 04, 2019  /  in Blog, Home Buyers, House Remodeling, Modern Home, Questions and Answers, Uncategorized  /  Comments off

As more buyers look to reduce their carbon footprint, eco-friendly or “green” amenities are a must, especially in high-end homes. But this is more than just having energy-saving light bulbs. For many, “going green” means going high tech, and sellers should take note of these trends as they become more and more common in high-end real estate.

Here’s a look at what’s new and improving in the way of green.

SMART HOMES

Smart homes are becoming the norm across the high-end real estate market. Voice activated and app directed commands allow you to adjust indoor and outdoor lighting as well as heating, cooling, watering, and washing. Take advantage of non-peak hours and control electrical usage while out of town.

DECONSTRUCTED DESIGN

Deconstruction is a concept that utilizes recycled raw materials. This trend is toward more authentic, natural materials such as exposed wood, metal, and brick. It is an exposed style of un-building reminiscent of the ’90s, but with a more refined and green edge to it through its emphasis on reuse, salvaged and donated materials. By mixing in more green materials such as quick-growing bamboo, you can add even add “newer” natural materials to the mix.

BETTER ENERGY GENERATION AND STORAGE

Smart tech is making life easier, cleaner, and cheaper. More efficient batteries are making electrical storage more effective while microgrids allow you to use and buy electricity from off-grid sources, making it easier to take advantage of more clean energy than ever before. Solar technology and the selling benefits they provide make electricity increasingly cheaper for you as a homeowner. Upper-tier home buyers are looking for more than just your typical solar panel. Innovations like Tesla’s solar panel roof tiles are the type of high-tech upgrades that catch the eye of those luxury buyers.

INSTALL AN ENERGY MONITOR

One of the easiest things you can do to decrease energy consumption around the house is to install an energy monitor. Household energy monitors are easy to use and inexpensive, and allow you to see a minute by minute presentation of your energy use. These devices work by clipping onto the power cable coming into your home and transmitting a wireless signal to a display that shows precisely the amount of power being consumed. In studies conducted in the British Isles, households with energy monitors saved between 10 to 15% annually by instituting the simple and inexpensive device.

INSTALL A WIND GENERATOR

Did you know that you can actually purchase smaller versions of these massive power generators? The costs of a home wind generator vary greatly. Some have built their own wind generators with off-the-shelf parts from their local hardware stores. Others have purchased kits or paid for professional installation to supplement the power purchased from their local electrical grid. Many kit based generators will produce only enough power to offset 10-15% of your home energy costs.

With careful planning and wise material choices, you can design an eco-friendly home that’s not only gentler on the planet, but that will help you save on energy bills in the long run.

Interested in remodeling your home to sell or positioning your already green home to buyers? Consult with one of our agents today.

Unexpected & Hidden Costs When Buying Your First Home

Posted by Nestlewood Realty on May 23, 2019  /  in Blog, Home Buyers, House Remodeling, Questions and Answers  /  Comments off

Buying a home for the first time is exciting but can also be a scary experience. You are excited to redecorate, paint, get new furniture, and settle in!

But unfortunately, there are often a lot of hidden costs when buying a home that you may not have budgeted for when you determined your mortgage terms and homeownership costs. Zillow estimates that homeowners, on average, end up spending around $9,000 the first year on hidden costs!

There are some unavoidable hidden costs that you may not have factored in when you purchased your home and signed on for a mortgage.

These costs come in the form of closing costs, hiring a moving company, home inspection, hiring a painter, lender fees, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, setting up internet, cable, and utilities which will be more expensive than your renter’s utilities. These costs are unavoidable and may be a one-time cost or reoccur monthly/yearly. Zillow estimates that you should be prepared to spend an average of $6,000 a year on these unavoidable costs.

When you first buy your home, you dream up all of the project and upgrades you want to do once you move in. Unfortunately, these costs add up and will almost always cost more then what you budgeted. These projects could be as simple as repainting the master or as technical as blowing out a wall in your living room to open it up to the kitchen.

Home DIY TV shows make us think that these projects are simple, inexpensive, fast, and easy to do yourself, but that is not always the case.

We are not all Chip Gaines or have the skills and knowledge to redo the plumbing in your bathroom to expand the shower. For these projects, you would want to hire help and labor rates are the quickest rising cost in your remodeling budget.

Another cost that most new homeowners do not think about it the cost of maintenance. This comes in the form of having to buy a lawnmower or a snow blower, getting the carpets cleaned, having someone clean out your gutters, HVAC maintenance, pest removal, house cleaning, pressure washing, and window cleaning.

For most of these, you can learn how to do them yourselves, which will only cost you money in materials and a few hours, or reading or watching videos to learn the best techniques. If the projects get to intensive it is better to higher a professional in the field.

Buying a home, for the first time is overwhelming, especially when you take a look at the long list of expenses and costs that add up before you can even move into your new home! But don’t be overwhelmed. By planning a budget for your home, and making a list of all costs that are needed you can make sure that you have smooth sailing every step of the way in your first year and every year afterward.

Here are the main costs to remember again: home inspection, closing costs, property taxes, lending fees, maintenance cost, and upgrades.

Before you close on a deal, grab some advice from your Nestlewood Realty Agent! We are here not only to help you find your dream home, but also to make sure you’re fully prepared for the costs you will incur.