10 Tips for Selling Your Home in Winter

Part 1 of a 2-Part Series

winter 2In Lake Arrowhead, as in many mountain communities, some people bury their heads in the snow, waiting for spring to arrive. But if you want to sell your Lake Arrowhead home, don’t follow suit. While there are admittedly fewer buyers in cold winter months, there is also a lot less competition. Also, since your Lake Arrowhead house was designed with weather in mind, you should take the opportunity to showcase just how beautiful it is in a winter wonderland. So, now is actually a great time to sell your house— if you follow these 10 tips: (We have provided five tips in this post and will conclude our series next week.)

  1. Showcase winter sport possibilities. Since Lake Arrowhead homes are close to Snow Valley Mountain Resort, call attention to the fact that your house is near a popular ski location. If you own a snowboard or skis, display them inside the house. If not, consider displaying artwork that features ski and snowboard scenes. Your home will sell quickly if buyers can picture themselves taking advantage of nearby winter sports and enjoying snow-capped mountain views.
  2. Let buyers be your guest. Showcase your home in a way that makes potential buyers feel like they are invited guests. Set the dinner table with good china. You might even want to set up an entertaining area that features small snacks and drinks such as cookies and coffee or Doing so will alert buyers to entertaining options. winter
  3. Let the sun shine. Light is more important in the winter months than at any other time of year. So open the shades and let in as much sunlight as you can. Also, keep windows clean to improve buyers’ first impressions. Also important—try to avoid showing your house at night, when ice could create treacherous walkways.
  4. Keep it clean. This tip applies to the outside and inside of your house. The first thing potential buyers will notice is the outside of your house. Unkempt, dirty, cobweb-filled windows and eves could turn off buyers before they ever enter your house. And strong southern light in the winter could reveal grime that otherwise wouldn’t be as noticeable. So dig out your squeegee or hire someone to clean your windows. You might be able to negotiate a cut rate, since winter is a far less popular time to clean windows than spring or summer.
  5. Shovel and salt often. Keeping the sidewalk, driveways, and front steps free of snow and ice is critical to keep prospective buyers safe as they tour your property. Keeping walkways clear will also help make your home appear well-maintained, much like mowing the lawn does in the summer. If you’re not living in the home, or are not home often enough to keep on top of the snow, hire a service to salt and shovel your driveway and walkways.

winter 3Check back next week for the remaining five tips for selling your home in winter. Whether you are buying a first or second home or investing, real estate can be tricky—whether you are buying your first home, purchasing a vacation home, or upgrading from a starter. If you are interested in buying or selling property in Lake Arrowhead, California or the surrounding area, don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. So don’t miss a prime opportunity to take advantage of today’s market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.

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New Year’s Real Estate Resolutions (For Buyers)

luxury buyer 3Part 2 of a 2-Part Series

Are you planning to buy or sell a home in 2015? Whether you are looking to purchase or sell a vacation home or a luxurious place you and your family can live year-round in the Lake Arrowhead area, our gift to you this year is help you keep your 2015 New Year’s Real Estate Resolutions.

In our last post, we examined resolutions for sellers. This week, we will conclude our two-part series by focusing on resolutions for buyers, who may find it tough to find just the right place unless their agent helps map out a strategy. Whether you plan on securing a mortgage or if you plan to pay cash for your luxury locale in Lake Arrowhead, our 2015 Real Estate Resolutions will help you make your move.

Paying Cash

cashIf you can afford to avoid interest rates, work with your accountant to determine a working budget. According to Realtor.com, in the U.S., some 43 percent of homes in the U.S. were paid for by cash. In 2011, that figure was 30 percent. In 2008, that percentage was just 15. So there is definitely an upward trend for paying with cash. If you’re considering making a cash purchase on your next home, consider the perks:

  • The most obvious benefit to paying cash for a home is that it eliminates the need to pay interest on the loan and also cuts many closing costs.
  • As noted in Forbes, one of the best benefits of paying upfront is that you may qualify for a “liquidity” discount.
  • Writing an offer for cash will give you an edge in a competitive market. If a house gets multiple offers, yours will stand out. As Investopedia notes, “a cash buyer’s home is not leveraged, which allows a homeowner to sell the house more easily – even at a loss – regardless of market conditions.”

Despite all of the above, a home without a mortgage is a house without a major tax write-off. So this may be your number one reason to finance. But if you still can’t decide whether to pay cash, evaluate your personal circumstances. And make sure you have enough cash reserves to cover these possibilities, including having funds set aside for retirement, at least six months of emergency funds in a savings account and sufficient health, life and disability insurance

luxury buyer 4Financing

It just may make more sense to use your cash to pay off non-deductible credit obligations than to put cash into a home.

If you’ve decided against paying cash, your first order of business will be to figure out financing. It will be well worth your time to get pre-approved. Speak to a licensed mortgage professional before you start looking at homes. An experienced real estate agent will be able to connect you to a reputable loan officer, who will check your credit and pre-qualify you for a mortgage. It’s vital to take this step before your house-hunt because it’s possible your credit report has errors. These should be addressed before you apply for credit, to ensue you get a favorable interest rate. Also, consider these benefits to financing a home:

  • Tax deductions. When it comes to buying a vacation home, one of the most obvious benefits to securing a mortgage is the tax write-off. This does not just refer to interest and taxes but also points and closing costs.
  • Although losing the mortgage interest deduction can make a cash purchase unappealing, according to BankingMyWay, until you realize this deduction may not be as valuable as it seems. So check with your accountant.
  • The key investment issue may be whether you could earn more by investing the cash in another way. The “return” on cash put into the home equals the mortgage rate you’d pay if you borrowed instead, since it relieves you of that interest cost. Paying cash today, for example, would save you the 4.167% you’d pay on the average mortgage.
  • More options. You may be able to improve the location and/or condition of your second home by securing financing for it instead of solely relying on cash reserves.

luxury buyer 2The best advice when considering which option makes the most sense is to opt for whichever choice gives you more bang for the buck. Also, ask yourself which will provide the greater return on your investment. Whether you are buying a first or second home or investing, real estate can be tricky—whether you are buying your first home, purchasing a vacation home, or upgrading from a starter. If you are interested in buying or selling property in Lake Arrowhead, California or the surrounding area, don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. So don’t miss a prime opportunity to take advantage of today’s market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.

Old Man Winter: How to Take Care of Your Home in the Snow

Holiday Winter DrivewayWith the first winter storm behind us and more freezing temps headed to the Lake Arrowhead area, now is a great time to prioritize winter upgrades while they are fresh on your mind. After all, once spring hits, winter repairs could easily take a backseat to outdoor adventures like gardening and barbecuing. So don’t let the dry-time slip by without taking measures to make sure your house will be ready when the snow falls again.

Driveways and Pathways

  • Snow is rough on driveways and roads. As much as we love the ability to drive on newly plowed pathways, the aftermath can wreak havoc on the undercarriage of your car. One great way to protect your driveway is to install coils underneath the surface, which will warm the surface enough to melt or at least soften the snow.
  • Before the next storm hits, you could call a snow plow company or hire a handyman to shovel after the next storm hits. If you wait until after the first flake falls, you may have trouble booking a plow driver or someone to shovel.
  • Forbes Magazine recommends clearing all of the walking surfaces on your property. You can do the work yourself or hire someone to shovel, plow and use ice melt.
  • Once the snow has cleared, walk the perimeter of your home and pay attention to any areas that might later require resurfacing.

Holiday Winter PlantsPlants

  • Protect prized plants by driving tall stakes around plant beds near paths and driveways so that you (or anyone else who plows) will know where to stop shoveling.
  • If you’re trying to protect delicate foliage, consider leaving it in a pot so you can bring it indoors before the temperature drops.
  • According to com, a mix of liquid magnesium chloride applied with a garden sprayer a few hours before a storm, can melt slow accumulations of less than two inches and keep ice from bonding to hard surfaces. Count on using 1 gallon for every 1,000 square feet.
  • Ask your gardener to take extra precautions to protect your plants from frost. One idea is an inexpensive cone, which can be placed over individual plants for protection, if they can’t be safely transplanted and moved indoors.

Holiday Winter HouseStructure

  • Homesessive.com recommends checking shutters and siding in advance of storms to make sure that everything is secure, since melted snow can lead to water damage.
  • Heavy winds could potentially rip off or otherwise damage exterior elements of your home. So check the condition of trim before and after every storm.
  • Important particularly if your Lake Arrowhead home is used for vacations, take steps to ensure the pipes are protected. In unheated areas such as crawl spaces and attics, insulation could prevent freezing and bursting.
  • Another important area to protect is your AC unit. Whether you live in the home full-time or just use it for vacations, cover condensing units to prevent wetness and debris from damaging AC units in the winter months.
  • Protect your roof from falling branches by trimming unsafe trees and shrubbery which surround your house.
  • Also, when evaluating your home for potential snowfall-related risk, consider the fact that heavy snowfall can overwhelm rooftops if shingles are anything other than perfectly sound. If you are unsure, hire someone to check out your roof before the next storm hits. While the roofer is on location, ask him to make sure the area around your chimney is free from debris.

Real estate investing can be tricky—whether you are buying your first home, purchasing a vacation home, or upgrading from a starter. If you are interested in buying or selling property in Lake Arrowhead, California or the surrounding area, don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. So don’t miss a prime opportunity to take advantage of today’s market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.

How to Buy Luxury Gifts this Holiday Season

woman counting money at holiday gifts backgroundAccording to Forbes Magazine, “Luxury these days is not about price or brand name or status. It’s about heritage, exclusivity, access and experience. It’s also about items that are deliberate, thoughtful and beautifully functional. Simplicity is genius, after all.” We agree. Because the Prime Team caters to clients in the #luxury market, we wanted to provide our readers, subscribers and friends with some helpful hints for finding and purchasing the perfect holiday gift for anyone on your holiday gift list who seems to have everything.

moneyHere are some Holiday Gift Suggestions for Hard-to-Buy-for Friends and Family

money bagFor more ideas, you could order Luxury World: The Past, Present and Future of Luxury Brands, which would set you back a mere $20 on Amazon.com. And if you are in the market to buy or sell your luxury home in or around the Lake Arrowhead area, consider working with the Prime Team. #RealEstate investing can be tricky—especially if you are in the market for #LuxuryProperty.

Don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. Recently named the exclusive Lake Arrowhead member of Leverage Global Partners, we are perfectly positioned to help you take advantage of today’s luxury market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.

How to Quickly Sell Your Home

sold houseFew things are as frustrating as listing your house for sale only to watch it sit on the real estate market for days, weeks, months, even years…without a bite. If you have decided to list your home, whether out of necessity or just because you would like to upgrade, your best case scenario is to sell the property fast. After all; time is money. And the harsh reality is that homes that sit for sale for long periods of time typically sell for much less than their short-run counterparts. So how can you make sure your house sells quickly and for top dollar?

Here are five time-tested tips for rapidly selling your home:

1. Set realistic expectations. Before you start counting chickens before they are hatched, do a little bit of research. You can check on websites like Zillow or Trulia to figure a rough estimate of value. But don’t put too much stock into what you find…particularly if your listing is in an area with lots of variety. Another thing you won’t be able to detect from public information is how long properties sit on the market before generating offers. And as the seller, you will likely be asked to absorb at least some of the closing costs. So don’t make the mistake of estimating too much potential profit. This could leave you disappointed and disillusioned even if your house nets a tidy sum.

2. Ask the right price. The enemy to a quick sale is to ask too much for your home. Of course, many buyers are afraid of leaving money on the table. But if your house is priced to sell and in tip-top shape, you could generate enough interest to start a bidding war. And even homes that are located in low demand areas pique interest when they are offered at bargain prices. One of the most important reasons to hire an experienced listing agent is because professionals have the ability to subjectively evaluate a home’s value. Most owners are unable to separate their own hopes, dreams and needs from the actual value of their property.

3. De-clutter, clean and fix it up. Nothing detracts from value so much as a dirty, unkempt, overcrowded house. So do whatever it takes to de-personalize your property. Remove family heirlooms and photographs so home to help buyers picture themselves in your home. It may be necessary to hire handymen, painters and housecleaners to get your property up to snuff. Consider doing so, as you will likely see a higher return on your investment.

4. Stage it. If you can swing it, hire a professional home staging crew. Studies reveal that staged homes sell faster and for more money than empty buildings or over-crowded properties. Although your home means a lot to you, it may not fit in with the expectations of the average buyer. So making it as attractive, de-cluttered and clean as possible will up your ability to quickly sell.

5. List with the right team. Homes are usually the highest-ticket item anyone sells or buys. So the importance of working with the right team cannot be overstated. The right realtor brings a lot to the table: education, experience, neighborhood knowledge, price guidance, information about market conditions, professional networking, negotiating prowess, paperwork processing, closing questions, confidentiality, and the ability to serve as a buffer between sellers and potential buyers. What’s more, some real estate agencies (such as the Prime Team) actually offer guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. So don’t go it alone.

Real estate investing can be tricky—whether you are buying your first home, purchasing a vacation home, or upgrading from a starter. If you are interested in buying or selling property in Lake Arrowhead, California or the surrounding area, don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. So don’t miss a prime opportunity to take advantage of today’s market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.

Should You Buy Vacation Property? Five Things to Consider.

house(home) icon or sign drawing in beach sand - concept photoAs we discussed in last week’s post, there are plenty of reasons to consider investing in vacation property.

Wouldn’t you prefer a specious, relaxing home-away-from-home where you can build new traditions along with equity instead of overpaying for cramped quarters? Of course, the idea of investing in property is nice. But is it really practical?

Here are five things you should consider before buying vacation investment property:

  1. Is your holding period at least five years?
    The real estate market estate ebbs and flows. So you shouldn’t venture in if you want to quickly cash out, especially with vacation property. Since vacation homes are located in resort communities like Lake Arrowhead, California, the market is even more susceptible to market downturns than primary residences located in residential communities. The reasons for this are many. But the bottom line is that people are quick to sell second homes when things get rough.

    2. Could you rent the property when you aren’t using it?
    Even if you plan to use your vacation home and have absolutely no intention of renting it out, you would be wise to purchase one that has income potential. Homes that can be rented are more generally more valuable than their less desirable counterparts. Also, if the market takes a downturn, renting it out could help you ride out the market until things improve. What’s more; it’s a good idea to have the option of renting to others in case your circumstances change.
    taxes
    3. Would your tax situation benefit from income property?
    Since there are significant tax advantages to renting vacation property, make sure you select a home that will give the option of declaring expenses if you decide to rent it out.

    4. Will you be able to properly budget carrying costs?
    Even if you can handle the mortgage on a second home, make sure you consider additional associated expenses such as taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance. Also include landscaping, care-taking, exterminating, property management, repairs, periodic exterior painting, etc. To be safe, you should set aside two percent of the home’s value annually for maintenance-related costs. Then, add at least 10 percent for contingencies.

Vacation Property 2
5. Can you afford to buy in the perfect location?
Although you might easily afford something in a less-than-desirable neighborhood, do you really want to vacation where it isn’t safe? Would anyone want to rent from you if the place is located in an area with high-crime? Did you know that more than 80 percent of second-home buyers choose a house within driving distance from their primary residence?
repairs
Real estate investing can be tricky—whether you are buying your first home, purchasing a vacation home, or upgrading from a starter. If you are interested in buying or selling property in Lake Arrowhead, California or the surrounding area, don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. So don’t miss a prime opportunity to take advantage of today’s market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.