Friday, May 12, 2017

HOW MUCH MONEY DO I NEED FOR A DOWN PAYMENT ON A NEW HOME?

couple-loan-officer-mortgage
When you’re ready to buy a new home, you’ll need to put money into a down payment in order to get a home loan.
But how much money do you really need? That depends on a few factors, including the size (and type) of loan. Different mortgages require a higher (or lower) down payment.
Here’s a quick primer with all the basics you need to know about making your first down payment.

A DOWN PAYMENT SECURES YOUR LOAN WITH THE LENDER.

The down payment is the amount of cash you’ll need to pay upfront during the home buying process. This helps secure your loan with the bank or lender.

MOST HOME LOANS REQUIRE YOU TO PAY 5%-20% OF THE HOME’S VALUE AS A DOWN PAYMENT.

For most conventional, fixed 30-year mortgages, you will be required to pay 5%-20% of the home’s selling price upfront in order to get the loan. (Remember, this does not include closing costs, which you may also need to pay upfront.) So for a $200,000 home, expect to pay between $10,000-$40,000 in a down payment.

IT’S BETTER TO MAKE A BIGGER DOWN PAYMENT—IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT.

Paying a higher down payment upfront is to your advantage—because you will save money over the long term by paying less interest and lower monthly payments. In fact, if you can afford to put 20% down, then you may be able to avoid paying mortgage insurance altogether—a monthly fee that many lenders require you to pay until you build up enough equity in the house. Bottom line? If you can afford to pay 20%, then do it.

FHA LOANS REQUIRE A LOWER DOWN PAYMENT.

You can also get a loan from the Federal Housing Administration (called an “FHA loan”). This loan requires only a 3.5% down payment, but has stricter guidelines for income, assets, credit score, and home value. (You can also look for state and local mortgage assistance plans.)

THE VA AND USDA ALSO OFFER LOWER DOWN PAYMENT LOANS.

There are special home loans available for people who are active military duty, or veterans, or living in a federally designated rural area. In some cases, these loans require a 0% down payment. If you think you qualify, ask your lender about the requirements.

JUMBO HOME LOANS USUALLY REQUIRE A 10% DOWN PAYMENT.

If you live in a high-cost housing market, you may need a “jumbo loan.” There are 3,143 counties in the U.S. that meet the jumbo loan criteria, including several in the Kansas City metro area. Jumbo loans typically require a minimum credit score of 700, so talk to your lender about whether you qualify for this type of loan.

HOW TO TACKLE MOVING DAY WITH YOUR FURRY FRIENDS


two dogs in window seat
Moving day is rough — add in your pets, and the day can crumble into complete chaos. Avoid the moving mayhem by following these simple steps to prepare yourself and your pets for the flustered day.

BEFORE MOVING DAY

  • Ensure the information on your pet’s identification tag includes your current contact — especially your cell phone number. The tag should be securely fastened to a sturdy collar.
  • Depending on how far you are moving, you may need to find a new vet. Your current vet may have some suggestions; if not, you can try calling the state veterinary medical association for some options. Ask your vet for a current copy of your pet’s vaccinations and medical history to make the transition as seamless as possible.
  • Prepare a moving day kit for your pet, complete with at least one week’s worth of food and medication and a stocked first aid kit.
  • If you’re flying to your new home, ask the airline about their pet requirements and restrictions. It’s also a good idea to check with your vet and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to figure out your pet’s travel arrangements. If you’re driving, a crate or a well-ventilated carrier is usually the best option.

DURING MOVING DAY

  • The uncertain conditions of moving day can cause concern for your pet. Scope out a quiet, ventilated area for your pet to hang out in during the heavy lifting.
  • Once you find a secluded spot for your pet to relax in, help your pet settle in by setting out their familiar and necessary objects — like their bed, favorite blanket, litter box and toys.

AFTER MOVING DAY

  • Take your pet on a walk through the neighborhood to acquaint them with their new home. Maybe they’ll even meet some of their new furry neighbors!
  • Take them to the local pet store to grab some much-needed special treats and toys.
  • Scope out the nearest dog parks so your dog can stretch out their legs after the taxing moving day.
Need help finding your fur-ever home? Reach out to a ReeceNichols agent — they’ll help you get started
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Monday, April 10, 2017

APRIL HOME MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST


April Home Maintenance Checklist
Is your home ready for April showers? Did you know that April and May are two of the busiest months for home repairs? Get your home ready for the warmer months! Our friends at Zaarly have five things you’ll want to do this month and the service experts that can get the job done.

CHECK YOUR FOUNDATION.

Take a look at your foundation. You want to look for any cracks. Caulking will not cut it when it comes to cracks, you’ll want to have one of our foundation experts come take a look at it and seal up those cracks.

SEAL YOUR CONCRETE

Protect your driveway, garage, sidewalks and patios from water damage this spring! Concrete sealing is especially critical to preventing driveway repairs.
Recommended:
Scott Brewington

HAVE A SUMP PUMP INSTALLED

Water problems in your basement? As we go into storm season, water problems are something you do not want to ignore. Water can collect in the basement for a number of reasons, and almost all of those reasons can be solved with a sump pump.
Recommended:
Jenny and Steve

LAWN MAINTENANCE

It’s time to turn back on your sprinklers, trim back trees and bushes and schedule your regular lawn mowing. Now is a good time to write out what you’d like to accomplish with your lawn through the warmer months.
Recommended:
Caleb Kangas

CLEAN YOUR CARPETS AND FLOORS

It’s time to get rid of all of that dirt and grime collected over the winter. Cleaning your carpet and floors not only extends their life, but also helps with things like indoor allergens.
Recommended:
Brian Bock
Need a hand? ReeceNichols has partnered with Zaarly to make sure you get the best service experts for all of your home projects! Ask your ReeceNichols agent for a $50 promo code to use on your first project
!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

BUY A NEW HOME—OR EXISTING HOME?


There are lots of advantages to buying a brand-new home. But there are also advantages to buying an older, existing home.
For first-time home buyers, here are a few things to consider—before making your final decision.

EXISTING HOMES CAN COST LESS—FOR THE SAME SPACE.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the median price for a new home nationwide in April 2016 was $320,300—but only $232,000 for an equivalent existing home. In other words, new homes right now can cost $88,000 more than existing homes—a difference of over 27%.

THERE ARE MORE EXISTING HOMES ON THE MARKET.

In that same month, 5.45 million existing homes were sold, compared to only 619,000 new homes (according to NAHB). That means only 10.2% of all homes sold in the U.S. right now are new homes.

NEWER HOMES USUALLY HAVE COOLER TECHNOLOGY.

If you enjoy newer home tech gadgets—like “smart” appliances, whole-house wi-fi, USB outlets, electric vehicle charging stations, or programmable thermostats and window treatments—just know that you’re more likely to find them in a new home.

NEWER HOMES REQUIRE LESS MAINTENANCE AND FEWER REPAIRS.

As houses age, they require more repairs and maintenance—which is an added expense. (However, you can always get a home warranty to help with this. For example, every time you buy a home through ReeceNichols, you can buy a warranty through our HomeWarranty Plus plan from our partner, AB May) Newer homes typically don’t need major repairs for awhile.

BETTER LOCATIONS USUALLY HAVE EXISTING HOMES.

The best locations in town are already occupied—by older, existing homes. Newer homes sometimes require a longer commute (or less-desirable location) away from downtown.

EXISTING HOMES HAVE MORE MATURE LANDSCAPING.

A newer home may require you to invest heavily in landscaping, which takes awhile to fully mature. Consider the time, money, and effort involved in planting trees, shrubs, and flowers in a new home—plus the time you’ll wait to enjoy them.

NEWER HOMES HAVE BIGGER CLOSETS AND BATHROOMS.

In general, closet and bathroom size has increased over the past 50 years, as new homes have been built. Newer homes feature larger bathrooms and storage space, which many families prefer.
Your ReeceNichols agent can help you find the perfect new home—or existing home. Contact us today.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

MARKETING YOUR HOME




January 30, 2017


Modern, white, clean kitchen
Marketing has a huge impact on nearly every one of our buying decisions. Long before we purchase a new car or mobile device, our opinions have likely been shaped by innumerable marketing efforts.
If you’re trying to sell a home, then creating a solid marketing strategy should definitely be on your to-do list. Here are some home-marketing tips designed to make selling your home as easy as possible.

CLEAN AS A WHISTLE

This one is obvious, but when you’re living in a home you’re simultaneously trying to sell, keeping it clean can be difficult. You want your house to look like a model home, so it should be spotlessly clean, uncluttered, and free of any strange odors.
If you’re living with children, make sure they keep up on their chores, and if you prefer to make your meals at` home, be wary of preparing meals with aromas that tend to hang around. Do your dishes and put them away after every meal, and adopt taking out the trash as a daily routine. Dust those hard-to-reach corners, and keep the bathrooms spotless. It may seem like a tall order, but you can’t expect potential buyers to look past your clutter and see the hidden gem beneath.

PUT AWAY PERSONAL MEMENTOS

Normally, you’d probably decorate your home with all manner of things that have sentimental value: family portraits in the hallways, your children’s artwork on the refrigerator, awards you’ve won at work in the study. But when you’re trying to sell your home, you’ll want to stow all of those personal memories.
Likewise, it’s a smart idea to get rid of any highly subjective design elements. You might love your purple bedroom walls, but they’re an acquired taste. You’re better off repainting in a neutral color.
Think about it: if you were considering purchasing a home and found yourself surrounded by photos of people you’d never met, you might have trouble picturing your vacation snapshots framed on the walls. You might almost feel like a burglar, or an unwelcome guest in a stranger’s home.
That’s definitely not the impression you want potential buyers to have. You want them to see the home you’re selling as the perfect canvas for the art of living well, and that means providing a blank slate.

MAKE YOURSELF SCARCE

When buyers come to look at your home, don’t hang over their shoulders, and take your pets with you. Again, you don’t want potential purchasers to feel like they’re intruding, and the best way to make them feel comfortable is to let them tour the home with your real estate agent.

WHY HIRE A REAL ESTATE AGENT?

Speaking of real estate agents, we’d strongly recommend enlisting their services. A professional real estate agent will be able to give you in-depth advice on staging your home. Not only that, but you’ll benefit from their marketing reach and industry connections.
Sure, you might have excellent luck going the FSBO route, but working with a professional is far less of a gamble, and when you’re selling a home, it’s best to leave nothing to chance.
Speak with a ReeceNichols agent in the Kansas City area for expert advice on selling your home. They will guide you through the complex marketing process and ensure you get the most value for your home.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

5 FUN WINTER ACTIVITIES IN KANSAS CITY



Looking for something to do this winter? Kansas City is a fun town year-round! When the weather turns cold, try one of these 5 activities—perfect for wintry days.

SKIING AT SNOW CREEK

Snow Creek in Weston, Missouri is only 34 miles north of downtown Kansas City—and features ski and snowboard facilities, plus a tube park. The mountain has a 300 ft. vertical drop, 60 snowmaking machines, 3 chairlifts, and a 10,000 sq. ft. ski lodge with a bar and lounge. Need lessons? 100 instructors are ready to teach all abilities.

BREAKOUT KC

You and your friends have only 60 minutes to find your way out of one of these real-life escape rooms—by solving riddles, cracking codes, and using your gut instincts. Choose from 4 unique experiences: the Szechuan Secret, the Truman Room, the River Quay Casino, or Room 13. With only a 22%-33% success rate, you’re sure to be challenged.

ICE SKATING AT CROWN CENTER

The Ice Terrace is a 44-year winter tradition for many Kansas Citians. Adults and kids of all ages can skate under the lights until 11:00 pm on weekends, November through March.

INDOOR SKYDIVING

The new iFLY Kansas City gives you the experience of flying through the air, without ever leaving the southern suburb of Overland Park. You’ll spend 1.5 hours in the flight chamber, which is the equivalent of 1.5 skydives. This incredible facility simulates true “free-fall” conditions using vertical wind tunnel technology.

PLAZA HOLIDAY LIGHTS

Even if you miss the official Plaza “lighting ceremony” on Thanksgiving Day (complete with fireworks and a celebrity who flips the switch), the lights are worth a visit. This annual ceremony started in 1930, and has been running for over 86 years. Take an evening horse-and-carriage ride through the Plaza in December and January to enjoy the sparkling holiday lights on every building.
Moving to Kansas City? ReeceNichols.com is the #1 real estate brokerage website in the Kansas City region, updated 15 minutes with the latest new homes for sale. Or call a ReeceNichols agent today
.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

WINTER HOME MAINTENANCE



Get your home ready for winter—with this handy checklist of cold-weather maintenance that you can perform annually.

REMOVE ALL OUTDOOR HOSES.

Winter freezes can split and damage hoses.

SHUT OFF OUTDOOR FAUCETS.

This prevents water from freezing in the pipes—and causing leaks in your basement.  (For extra protection, turn off the shut-off valve inside your home.)

SERVICE YOUR FURNACE.

It’s worth a few dollars to have a professional service technician clean, repair, and examine your heating system before that first cold day of winter.

CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS.

Remove leaves, sticks, and other debris from your gutters to prevent clogs when snow melts.

PRUNE TREES AND SHRUBS.

Most trees and shrubs benefit from being cut back in the winter, but every variety is a little different.  Check with your local garden shop (or search online) to see what works best for plants in your yard.

BUY WINTER GEAR.

It’s easier to buy ice melt before the first snow.  Make sure you have a shovel or snow-blower on hand, too.

CLEAN OUT THE CHIMNEY.

If you burn real wood in your fireplace, have a professional clean and inspect your chimney.  You don’t want a chimney fire!
Need help with furnace maintenance? Our HomeWarranty Plus partner, AB May, can help.