Deanna Valeo
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Feeling At Home In A New House August 6, 2013

While moving can seem daunting for the entire family, it may be especially difficult for children when they are faced with leaving their only home, school, and friends. As children are not often part of the decision to move, they might not understand it so it is common for them to experience homesickness and even a sense of loss. Moving can help children learn to be adaptable, flexible, resilient, self-confident, brave, and capable of making new friends. Moving can help broaden children's experiences and introduce them to greater diversity. Make the most of your family's move and use these tips to help your family transition to a new home.

First off, talk about it. Discuss, as a family, how it is okay to miss your old home and that you will miss it yourself. Discuss the positive, and even the negative, aspects of moving to a new city or house. Remind your child that while moving might seem scary it will also be a time for adventure and interesting new experiences. Look for age appropriate books that deal with your same situation and allow your children the opportunity to ask you any questions that they may have.

Keep them busy! Involve the kids in the planning, packing, and organizing process as much as possible. Most kids will truly enjoy unpacking all of their belongings out of the boxes and getting the chance to set up their new bedrooms. Take it a step further and make a day of it by letting them pick out a new wall color and having them help out! However, make sure you take breaks from unpacking and enjoy a family activity together such as watching a movie, going for ice cream, find the zoo or interesting museums, walk to the park, play a board game, or anything else to help break up all the work!
Make new memories. Find a new favorites restaurant for family night, make a new game night, or find a new park to walk to. Give them plenty of reasons to love their new home. Go explore your new neighborhood or city by going to local parks, playgrounds, fields, farmers markets, and walking/biking trails. Being with your children to discover great things about their new neighborhood will help comfort them.

While taking the time to make new memories, keep important routines the same. Its easy to get caught up and busy during a move but make sure that meal and bedtime routines are something they can count on to be the same.
Set realistic expectations about the transition. A move can present many challenges, but good things can come from such a change, families may grow closer and you may learn more about each other when going through it together. Maintain a positive attitude throughout the move, as that can greatly affect kids who may be looking for reassurance. Give them the assurance that your new house will soon feel like home. Remind them that the most important thing about a house is that people living inside it and that it is one thing that didn't change. Though there is fear in the unknown and leaving things behind, the opportunity to live in and learn about a new neighborhood, city, or state can be just as exciting if you help them realize it.


Should I invest in a 'Green Home?' August 10, 2013

Whether you are a first time buyer or a seasoned home-buying veteran, it is worth remembering that buying a house is one of the biggest decisions you can make, and sometimes the promise of what it could be is more important than what is there at the moment. As the market demand continues to rise for green homes, investing in a green home now can mean increased value in the future.

To further urge the importance of 'greening' your home, legislation now pending in the United States Senate, will provide that owning or purchasing a green home may help you acquire a larger home loan.

The SAVE, Sensible Accounting to Value Energy, Act legislation has dozens of co-sponsors, and support from a broad variety of groups, including real estate agents, consumer organizations, and environmental advocates. The SAVE Act would require Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration to add energy efficiency into their underwriting policies so as to ensure appropriate valuation of energy casts and energy efficiency improvements in the mortgage process.
Currently, mortgage lenders and appraisers do not consider the value of a home's energy efficient technology. While utility bills are ignored in mortgage underwriting, they usually amount to more money than real estate taxes or homeowner's insurance. According to the organization that co-authored the bill, The Institute for Market Transformation, the typical U.S. homeowner pays $2,500 on home energy bills annually. The institute further estimates that an energy efficient upgrade, even a small one, could reduce a home's energy bills by 30% or more. If passed, lenders would factor in energy cost savings when arriving at a borrower's debt-to-income ration, which would result in a larger loan and lenders would add future energy savings to the home's value, if that is not already reflected in the appraisal. Changes to these standards would likely be applied to the majority of new home mortgages, including refinances.

Not only are green homes better for the environment, yourself, and your family, they can help you save money over the life of the home. These days, with eco-awareness on the rise and energy prices continued escalation, many home lookers inquire about energy performance and other environmental issues.

There are several services like EcoBroker, Modern Green Living, and other green residential tips can help you seek out a green real estate professional. There are a few simple steps to put your home in the green direction where saving money can happen for you: conduct an energy audit, green up your appliances, watch your temperature and water use, look into solar panels, and reuse, renovate, and recycle. Look into your homes Energy Rating System and see where the value of your home is heading.

Original article here


The market is still hot for sellers in Charlotte! August 13, 2013

Charlotte area homes have been selling at a remarkable rate as sales jumped 33% in July from a year ago and buyers are continuing to pay more. With an increase in buyer activity and lower home inventory, we are still in a sellers market. With declining inventory, homes have been selling faster and that has begun to put pressure on buyers to move quickly and outbid one another. 

Homes are therefore selling at higher prices and making more money for sellers from these competing buyers which in turn is causing buyers to move more quickly beacuse of the rising interest rate. While the current average U.S. rates on fixed mortgage have barely budged the past week Freddie Mac recently released that the average on the 30-year loan edged up to 4.40% from 4.39% last week - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated the Reserve Bank plans to slow its bond purchases. Bond purchases had been keeping long-term interest rates low, encouraging more borrowing and spending, but with plans to slow the bond purchases, prospective homebuyers have been acting quickly to lock in today's relatively low rates.

The National Association of Realtors said that there were 3,527 sales of existing homes in July, up from 2,651 a year ago. This was the largest year-over-year increase in sales since this April's 35% gain. Charlotte homes are staying on the market an average 5.2 months (anything below a 6 month time period is considered a sellers market). The strengthening real estate market is reassuring sellers' confidence, encouraging many to finally sell. While rising interested rates are prompting some people to hurry up and buy, these bargain rates have boosted home sales and prices, contributing to our housing recovery that has largely helped drive our economic growth this year.

Take advantage of these low rates while they are still around. Even if you are not sure if you are ready to sell, refinance, or purchase, there are only great benefits to contact an agent or mortgage officer to find out your options and see where you stand. If there was ever a time to consider your home purchasing or selling options, this is certainly it. Contact me to take you there!

Original article here


Homes becoming more expensive August 20, 2013

Those shopping around for homes can put concerns about rising mortgage rates aside, because a new concern of housing affordability is on the rise. After the May jump, mortgage rates have remained steady around the 4.4% mark. While that's up a full percent from November 2012's record low, rates will continue to stabilize as the real estate market recovers. However, there is a down side to the housing market's recovery: less people are finding themselves able to afford homes.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, only 69.3% of new and existing homes recently sold, were affordable to households with the U.S. median income of $64,400. The recent 69.3% is down from 73.7% in the first months of 2013. This is also the first time this particular housing affordability measure has fallen below 70% since late 2008.

According to National Association of Home Builders Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, NC, "home values are strengthening at the same time that the cost of buildings homes is rising due to tightened supplies of building material, developable lots and labor costs." Together with May's rising mortgage rates, all of this has been contributing to housing affordability slipping to the lowest level since 2008. Average prices of Charlotte, NC homes range from $180,000 to $240,000 and have remained steady for the most part. Good news about this, is that prices are really stable in certain areas of Charlotte!

As Charlotte prices currently remain affordable, the city's real estate market has continued to grow and has attracted people from all of the United States. However, as the attraction grows and mortgage rates remain stable, it is time to consider all of your options as soon as possible. It's a great time to sell and still a good time to buy!

Original Article here


Social Media Tips for Sucessful Realtors! August 22, 2013

Here's a little secret you likely already know - social media is hard. It's a time-consuming, overwhelming maze that leaves many people bewildered and others frustrated. But it doesn't have to be complicated. There are simple tools that can make you feel more in control of your personal and business persona in the digital age and I am going to be sharing many of those with you in the coming weeks. I can't promise that you will leave your real estate career behind and become a social media guru, but you are going to see how easy it can be when you have strategies in place for Facebook, LinkedIn, Google + and Twitter.

Remember that there are some simple goals that social media has.  You shouldn't measure its success in dollars, but by the web of communication that it creates. Partnerships can be formed and developed with people you have never met. You may receive a message from a buyer who just happened by your page or who read an online review about you from a colleague or friend. The development of social media is what is key, and that takes time to create.

Of course, time is at a premium, and no one understands that more than Fairway. We are going to show you how to make the best use of the time that you have online and the best ways to market your real estate business effectively and easily.
Let's start with some tips and next week we will delve much deeper into each social media platform and provide insights into using them. Ready for your makeover?

  1. Be yourself online. It seems simple, but this is key to forming digital relationships. The more personal and detail oriented you are with your target market the sooner you will see results.
  2. Set your own goals for what is reasonable and best suited for your business through social media. How much time can you really spend? Budget for that time every day.
  3. Bull's eye! After you have set your practical goals it's time to create a marketing plan.
  4. There is no shame in sharing. The goal is to develop a strategy for how much of your life you want to have online and sticking to it.
  5. It is important to incorporate your social media goals into your overall business-marketing plan as well.
  6. Execute your strategy but do not stop there. It is imperative that you constantly re-evaluate and update your social media tactics to meet the goals and set new ones. We will show you how.
Hopefully after reading these 6 steps to social stardom, you can see that all it takes is willingness to focus your efforts and consistently work at it.  Social media can open many doors for your real estate business, but should not be solely relied on.  In order to get the maximum benefits from this style of marketing it is vital to integrate it with your partners.  Let social media lead you to many opportunities that would otherwise have been non-existent. Slow down, focus, and create a plan, reach your goals, and cycle back through!

Original article here


OK, so you want to buy a home! How to get started..... August 24, 2013

Are You Ready To Purchase a Home?

If you are currently renting in Charlotte, or moving to Charlotte in the near future, you may be wondering, "Am I ready to buy a home?" There is a lot of information out there on "Why it is a great time to buy a home in Charlotte", but that is a different question from, "Are YOU ready to buy a home?"

Overall, home prices are lower than they have been in several years, and interest rates remain at the lowest they've ever been so, it is a great time to start saving and to buy a home. But, not everyone is ready maybe you are. Here are some key things to consider when thinking about buying a home like "when is it time to stop renting and buy a new home?"
 

Select a Realtor to Get Started and Learn About Brokerage Services

The right agent can make all the difference! Real estate agents know Charlotte and the surrounding areas. They know the best schools, the best areas and where the pockets of growth are. They understand where property taxes are higher or lower and can listen to a buyer's needs and give the best advice they can. Here are some other reasons you should turn to a realtor. Establish Your NeedsYour down payment decision may well be the most important decision you make when financing your house. 

For Charlotte homebuyers, (especially first time home buyers) there are many alternatives. Some home loan programs in Charlotte don't require any down payment at all which means that buying a home is much more manageable that you may think! Saving for the down payment is one of the 7 biggest obstacles that stop first time homebuyers. There are only a few options for 0% down anymore, but it's pretty easy for most people to put down anywhere between 3.5% and 5% and be able to buy a home in Charlotte. So take the time to figure out where you stand or speak to a mortgage planner who can teach you how to improve your credit, handle your current debts, give you tips on saving for your homes down payment, and help you establish your needs and goals.
 

Pre-Approve Your Loan

There is no shortage of fantastic homes in Charlotte, but knowing how much house you can afford is a very important factor when buying a home. Mortgage lenders are chiefly concerned with your ability to repay your mortgage. To determine if you qualify for a loan, they will consider your credit history, your monthly gross income and how much cash you will be able to accumulate for a down payment. Most home buyers know they should get a mortgage pre-approval letter from a lender before they begin seriously shopping for a home but the reasons for this advice aren't always clear. Buyers are sometimes dismayed by the amount of paperwork involved in the process, but here are some of the reasons behind this advice.
 

Select Your Home

What type of home best suits your needs? All options have pros and cons, depending on your homeownership goals, so you need to decide which type of property will help you reach those goals such as choosing a green home. What specific features will your ideal home have? You deserve to have a purchase that fits both your needs and your wants as closely as possible. Your list should include basic desires, like neighborhood and size, all the way down to smaller details like bathroom layout. Take the time to find the right house so you can make sure you don't regret your home purchase!

Original Article here