Todd Finn - RE/MAX Partners



Posted by Todd Finn on 12/3/2017

Ever wondered what the market value of your home is? Or what the market value would look like for your dream home? If you’ve done a quick Google search you’ve probably come across at least a handful of websites offering tools to help you determine the value you on your own. But the numbers these tools put out should always be taken with a grain of salt. Calculating a home’s value is a complex calculation taking more than just hard data into account. And that’s where your real estate agent comes in with the information you need to know that an online tool couldn’t possibly obtain.

The first thing you should know is that the market value is not a number set in stone. It’s also not a number that is reached from purely quantitative data. This is because market value is what buyers are willing to pay for a home and there are so many qualitative factors that go into this decision. Factors a computer can’t find or determine on its own and that usually require someone local who has extensive knowledge of the area.

Someone like a real estate agent! An agent is well versed in selling homes in the area and connections to the community. Agents also have access to a database that stores information from all the local home sales to use as a jumping off point when calculating the home value.

So this isn’t a hard and fast rule that necessarily goes by the book. While homes that have sold with similar features as yours are part of the equation they aren’t the whole picture.  So yes, the number of bed and baths in your home, amenities, recent updates, the overall condition of the home, location, and age of the house will all be carefully considered this is just a piece of the bigger picture.

Factors such as current market conditions,  how many other houses are on the market, and the various reasons why nearby homes have sold are a few factors that can make an impact on your home value. Afterall, you don’t want to underprice your home based off of other homes that have sold at a lower price point to attract buyers fast or overprice for your neighborhood based on what you feel your home is worth.

Lenders want to ensure the home is selling at or above the market value so getting the price right will ensure a smoother buying process for potential buyers. However, if a property is on the market for longer than 30 days, which happens often to those that are overpriced, buyers start to wonder why. They may avoid your home as a possibility. In this scenario, sellers often have to significantly drop pricing, often below market price, to attract potential buyers.

Real estate agents are truly the best source for all of this information. They can perform what is called a competitive market analysis (or CMA). We have access to resources third-party websites and DIY-appraising just can’t access.




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Posted by Todd Finn on 11/12/2017

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of your home. Each room in a house requires its own tone and brightness.

In the bathroom, you’ll want bright vanity lights to see what you’re doing in the mirror. In the kitchen, you’ll want plenty of natural light to work by in the morning, and lights bright enough to see at night. The home office is a matter of personal preference--some people like bright lighting to keep them awake and alert, whereas others like to work in a calming environment that is more dimly lit.

In addition to adding character to your home, lightning is also a matter of conserving energy. Homes that are using energy efficient lighting can save $75 a year on their utility bill by replacing old incandescent bulbs. Furthermore, energy efficient bulbs have a longer life span, so you’ll have to change fewer of them over the years.

In today’s article, we’re going to talk about energy efficient lighting for your home and which options will best suit your needs.

Traditional incandescent bulbs

Many people have gotten used to the tone and warmth of traditional incandescent bulbs. However, with these bulbs 90% of their energy is given off as heat. In terms of lighting your home, that is 90% wasted energy.

Furthermore, due to upgrades in technology, incandescent bulbs are no longer manufactured and difficult to find.

Energy-efficient options

There are three main choices available for energy efficient bulbs. Halogen incandescent bulbs can be purchased in a range of shapes, colors, and sizes for your home. Although they meet energy ratings, the other two options are much more cost-efficient.

CFL or “compact fluorescent lamps,” are about 70% more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs and they also come in a range of sizes and colors. However, if you’ve ever noticed some lights that take time to brighten or “warm up” you were probably looking at a CFL bulb. For this reason, they aren’t the best choice for extremely dark areas, such as a basement, where you need a lot of light immediately to find your way around.

The third option is LED lights or “light emitting diodes.” The most energy efficient of the three, LEDs are brighter and longer lasting than the other options.

While they were once the most expensive bulbs on the market, reserved for small electronics displays, LEDs have become much cheaper in recent years. They are available in various sizes, colors, and are able to be dimmed. They’ll also use the least amount of electricity over a twenty-year timespan in your home, up to ten dollars less than CFLs.

Choosing the right bulb

Now that you know about the three types of energy efficient bulbs, you’ll be able to consider their benefits and drawbacks for each room in your home. LEDs will last longer, they reach their maximum brightness immediately, and they’re able to be dimmed, making them an excellent option for most rooms in your home. However, they are more expensive on average than CFL or halogen bulbs.




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Posted by Todd Finn on 9/24/2017

Trimmed hedges, lush front and back lawns, a well paved driveway that holds four to six vehicles and a spacious house with a brand new roof and flooring add value to a house. Large, open rooms and gorgeous bay windows that lead to amazing outdoor views can make it hard to turn away from a home.

Combined, these features can give a homeowner leverage to sell a house for thousands more than a smaller house. Yet, even these pluses can be diminished by heavy traffic and long work commutes. A daily four hour round trip work commute can get old fast.

Outside factors that can make a home buy bad

This type of long, laborious commute can make you regret buying a house that, by itself,surpasses your wildest dreams. People have moved to entirely different states after living in an area that's heavily congested with roadway traffic. Reasons for their decisions include:

  • Constant construction on major roadways that force commuters to take back roads, including slower two lane roads that are lined with one traffic light after another.
  • More road sharing with large, heavy trucks
  • Traffic that passes in front of your house,increasing the likelihood that your young children or grandchildren could be hit, especially if they raced after a ball without looking both ways as they crossed the street
  • Close proximity to debris that falls off of cargo trucks
  • Greater wear and tear on roadways which, in turn, can cause greater wear and tear on your vehicle
  • Increased number of traffic jams and times when traffic completely stops
  • Better chances of being late to work just because of the traffic

Drawbacks to buying houses in heavy traffic areas

It's time to cast a wider inspection net when it comes to house shopping. Why? Buying a house changes many elements in your life. A few elements that will change when  you move into a new house are your neighbors, outdoor living space, property taxes, entertainment options and nearby learning opportunities.

Move into a new house and you may also have no choice but to take a different route to and from work. This is a definite if you buy a house in a different city. You could quickly regret a house buy if the move extends your commute from a fifteen minute drive to a drive that's more than two hours one way.

Let other drivers be impatient, rude and aggressive and the house buy could put you at higher risk of getting in a traffic accident. The added road stress could easily transfer to your family life, weakening relationships that you have with your spouse and children.

Higher fuel costs, excessive wear and tear on your automobile and the potential of being late to work are other drawbacks associated with buying a house in a heavy traffic area. The impact of living in a heavy traffic area is so broad, that it's worth it to consider the traffic flow in areas that you're interested in a buying a house in before you sign a mortgage contract. Even more, make sure that you and every driver in your house can easily deal with the traffic in areas that you want to move to.




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Posted by Todd Finn on 5/28/2017

You're off to a good start if your house is designed with popular, modern amenities like crown molding, newly laid hardwood floors, a kitchen pantry, master bedroom en suite and a kitchen island. Your home already has features that people appreciate and gravitate toward.

Amenities and products home buyers love

Put your house on the market and you could receive thousands more for your home than you would if your house didn't have these amenities. Yet, you could increase your home value even more, perhaps by thousands more. And despite what you might be thinking, you won't need a hammer, wood or nails to add more value to your home.

To raise your home value, add products that people have long respected. Some of these items are pricey. But, the pricier items could easily add more value to your home than they cost. And here the products are:

  • Piano - Leading the way is the shiny, black grand piano. At the top of the line, a grand piano easily cost as much as a house. Even if home buyers don't play the piano, you could get more for your house simply because there's a quality piano in it.
  • Jacuzzi - It's not as popular as it was years ago. But, a Jacuzzi is still a great relaxer. It's also a great social and conversation piece.
  • Laundry room - Pushing a washer and dryer into the corner of a room doesn't count. The laundry room should at least be as large as a walk in closet. A family size washer and dryer should fit comfortably inside the room. So too should three to six shelves.
  • Screened in porch - Bring a sofa, two chairs and a table onto the porch. The space should feel comfortable, as welcoming as your living room or den.
  • Entertainment center - Leave a high definition, wide screen television in your house post sale and you might start receiving more bids. Build a full size entertainment center with television, popcorn machine, billiards or pool table and theater chairs and your home value generally goes up more.
  • Home office - Telecommuting has increased. People who work from home appreciate knowing that they won't have to spend money to design a home office after they move.
  • Gym - Turn half of your basement into a gym, adding a treadmill, rowing machine and dumb bells. Use the other side of your basement as your entertainment or media center.

Share amenities and household products that you love with others

Amenities are as big a part of a house as the actual structure of a home. Get the right amenities and you'll get more than compliments from visitors about your house. You may receive competitive bids when you put your house on the market.

When it comes to raising your home value, even easier than amenities are the right products. These products celebrate the arts, convenience and possibilities. It very well may be these takeaways that home buyers appreciate most about these products. You can love them too, even as you prepare to part with the products during an impending home sale.




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Posted by Todd Finn on 9/4/2016

Estimating the market value of your home isn't a precise science. There are several factors that go into assessing the value of a home and the process is complicated by changes in the market that can sway home prices in either direction. Since homes are so expensive and are such a huge investment, the pragmatist and worrier in us all wants it to be a clear cut decision backed up by facts. Unfortunately, no two people will ever arrive at precisely the same number for the value of a home. The good news is that you can use this ambiguity to your advantage when bargaining with prospective buyers. To learn more about the six main factors that determine a home's value, read on.

Condition

Homebuyers don't want to walk into what could be their new house and discover months of expensive repairs and upgrades waiting for them. Especially for busy, young professionals there is great appeal in a home that is move-in ready. If your home needs some work, it will knock off some digits from your asking price.

Location

We would all love to say that having a home near the ocean or the mountains is our top priority. But, let's face it--having a place that is close to your work and that is in a good school district will probably take precedence over our daydreams. Location factors that add value to your home could include close proximity to schools, shopping, highways, and other amenities. However, if your home is far away from them or is in a neighborhood that appears run-down or dangerous you will find the value of your home decreasing. An easy way to get a ballpark figure for your home value is to look up the value of other comparable homes in your neighborhood.

Age

Age is just a really expensive number. For some, buying an old home is a dream they've always had. Old homes have character and offer challenges when it comes to DIY repairs and renovations. For others, an old home means more headaches and more expensive utilities if it's drafty or outdated.

Features

Curb appeal is important, but once your prospective buyers are inside you'll have to keep them around with great, convenient household features. Lots of storage space, updated kitchens with new appliances, finished basements, or a beautiful backyard with a view can all add thousands to a home value.

Size

Square-footage is important to many homebuyers. In spite of the current trends around minimalism and being eco-friendly, the numbers show that Americans are buying increasingly larger homes and vehicles.

Market

You've probably heard the terms "buyer's market" and "seller's market" thrown around in conversations about real estate. They are essentially descriptions of the supply and demand of homes. Many buyers with few homes means you're in a seller's market, whereas a surplus of vacant homes and few prospective buyers means it's a buyer's market. This is closely tied to location, different cities and suburbs experience different rates of growth and decline depending on the local economy.




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