We Know It’s Going to Happen! Why Wait?

 

In my 27-year career of being a licensed Realtor, I have learned many things. One of the most important things I can recommend to a prospective seller is a Pre-Sale Home & Termite Inspection!

You home will typically be inspected by the buyers, as a contingency of the sale, so why not have a pre-sale inspection & repairs done to help insure that all goes well, and there are no surprises to blow the deal. The last thing we want is a case of buyer’s remorse!

If you are doing an arm’s length transaction, and the buyers are obtaining a loan, the termite & moisture inspection will also be a requirement for the Loan!  Although a home inspection may not, some of the items that they might catch, could be issues with the appraiser, if the buyers are also obtaining an FHA or VA Loan.

If the cost of this inspection or its outcome has you concerned, you can always have an experienced real estate agent like myself, give your home a close look to highlight any issues that may come up, or be pointed out by these inspections. Although I’m not a licensed inspector, I do bring 26 years’ experience, and being at over a thousand of these inspections!

I know it makes me feel a little more confident when I have a seller who has an annual termite & moisture inspection, and performs a pre-sale home inspection, where we already had those common items checked before we go on the market.

It is also a marketing point for me as well, and helps to ensuring we don’t end up “Back on the Market” with a cloud over the property and fellow agents & prospective buyers wondering “what’s wrong with that listing?” It’s like overpricing your property and being on the market too long & going stale! But that’s another blog altogether…

So, in conclusion – Why wait? Spend the money now to save on the anxiety and risk of buyer’s remorse!

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Nosey Neighbor or looking for a new place to call home?

Want to know the details about a house, maybe one you are interested in buying or renting? Or maybe you just want an idea of what your home is worth without contacting a real estate agent. Well now there is an App for that !

If you have a smart phone, Simply go to my website = www.homesnap.com/Mark-Rusnak and click “Get the App” and then put in your phone number & you will be sent the Free install link!

HomeSnap Smartphone App Instructions

After you have registered, just launch the app & authorize it to use your GPS – that’s how it knows where you’re taking the photo.

Use the camera button on the top right to take a photo of any property – no matter if it’s on the market or not & it will get the local tax information, assesses or estimated value, public school information, lot boundaries, and if it’s listed the full listing details as well. It will also now work with rentals and give you rental values & history as well!

It’s a great App, even if you’re not currently in the market buy or rent now & just a nosey neighbor.

If you like a listing, just use the message button at the bottom & send it to me – and we can proceed by making an appointment for us to see it.

You can even search in another area that you are not currently at, or did not allow the app access to your phones GPS, follow this tip to search anywhere, by address, or even just Zip Code!

It’s using your phone GPS, so go to the magnifying glass at the top left of the home screen & click on it. This should open on other search bar underneath it where you can then put in any address or zip code to search!

Enjoy the App, and please remember, I am never too busy for a referral from you or one of your friends!

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Heat (Warm) Pumps & How they work!

Heat pumps are designed for milder climates, and are a combination unit that provides a source for Heat, and Air Conditioning from the same unit. Therefore by design, you will not feel HOT or COLD air coming from them, however you will feel, warmer or cooler air than it takes in. They are designed Maintain or “Set it & Forget it”, and not constantly increasing or decreasing the inside air temperature.

Therefore if you have a Heat Pump it may not work as well at lower temperatures.

Q: What is lowest temperature that a heat pump will work?

A: Equipment varies and so does the operating range. However, 40 degrees is a general standard where some heat pumps begin to lose efficiency. Most will continue to work down to 17 degrees, with some equipment going below that. When the thermostat (via outdoor temperature sensor) senses the outdoor temperature is too cold for the heat pump to be used as the primary heat source, it SHOULD automatically switch to a secondary heating source (gas, propane, oil or electric).

In the SE Virginia area the most likely secondary heat source is Electric.

If you aren’t feeling warm enough (sometimes the system doesn’t switch over when you might prefer), try manually switching to the “Emergency” / “Auxiliary Heat” mode.  Remember to switch back when the outside temperature gets warmer because heating with the “Electric “Strips” is less efficient (Costs more money!).

Please remember to keep those filters and coils on the outside unit clean! This will not only improve your efficiency but your comfort as well!

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Tips to help Winterize your Hose Bibs

Winter weather brings with it the opportunity of freezing pipes & plumbing. Water expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the “strength” of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages or kitchen cabinets. Also, pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.

Please help us to avoid the potential of freezing pipes, and the damage that may be caused when they start to thaw, and leaking!

Some homes have a winterization or shut off valve for exterior water lines. To determine if you do have one, be sure to look in all these places: #1) The garage, if you have one, look around the walls near the hot water tank or by the door leading into the house. #2) A closet near the front or back door, typically close to the floor. #3) Under the downstairs, or 1st floor bathroom sinks cabinet, by the water supply lines. #4) Under the kitchen cabinet, by the water lines under the sink. #5) In the attached storage shed, on the wall by the hot water heater. (Not the lines attached to the water tank!)

If you find some valves, hopefully they are marked. One may be the main valve, (for the whole house water supply), and the other for the hose bibs, or outside faucets.
Once you have found the shut off valve & turned it off, locate your exterior hose bibs or faucets and disconnect any hoses from the hose bib or faucet, and cut the faucet on to drain the water out of the line. This should not take long for the water to drain from the shut off valve to the faucet, then shut the valve back off. (So you don’t forget it’s on when you reverse this procedure in the Spring, and cut the water back on!). Be sure to drain the hose and any attachments to prevent them from freezing as well.

If you are is a condo, you may not have any exposed hose bibs, or water faucet that we would be responsible for – they would be a common area where you could wash a car, etc.

If you do not have any shut off valves, we ask that you at lease put an insulated cover, or towel around the hose bib / faucet to prevent the severe wind chill from freezing the pipe. When the weather is very cold outside, and you don’t have any shut off valves to winterize them, you can let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.

If you have a Well & Pump for Lawn use, you can disconnect or unplug it, then winterize it by first shutting the pump off, or unplugging it. Then cut the water flow line off, and open up the faucets to drain the water from those lines as noted above. Then drain the pump head by removing the drain plug on the base of the pump, by the neck where the pump holds water. If you can’t do this, you can always insulate the pump with an insulation blanket or even a thick towel!

For more information, please check out these links
http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm/preventing-thawing-frozen-pipes

Mark A Rusnak @ RE/MAX Allegiance & Property Management Professionals, LLC
(757) 718-8865 http://www.marksold.com e-mail MarkRusnak@ReMax.net

Posted in Home Buyers, Home Sellers, Investors, Property Management, Public Awareness, Real Estate, Real Estate Investing, Seniors | Leave a comment

Sign up for my new Monthly eNewsletter

 
As a real estate professional, I inevitably get asked about current market conditions, whether now is a good time to buy or sell, or what are home prices like in my area.  These questions are best answered with statistics because the real estate market is constantly in a state of flux. With that said, I’ve prepared a monthly newsletter that provides data to answer these, and other similar questions.

View your current Housing Trends newsletter to see what’s happening in your local market.

This housing trends newsletter is updated monthly, so you can either check back at your convenience, or let me know and I will be glad to send you a monthly reminder when the latest version is up.

Housing Trends eNewsletter is filled with U.S. Census Bureau key market indicators, consumer videos, blogs, a real estate glossary, mortgage rates and calculators, consumer articles, real estate radio, REALTOR.com local community reports and local and national real estate sales and price activity provided by local MLSs and the National Association of REALTORS®
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Why I Love Hampton Roads Virginia

http://animoto.com/play/NmG2X7021eYuEIji4NPV1A

Local photos from Mark Rusnak, Realtor @ RE/MAX Allegiance in Virginia Beach VA

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New RE/MAX International Website

REMAX Int   MobilApp_Banner_Full_300x250 

RE/MAX has done it again – stepped out in front of the crowd with this new website Platform, check it out @  http://rem.ax/WGyymi

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Search our local Listings by Map – here

Search the Hampton Roads Real Estate MLS Here

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7 Factors That Determine The Value Of Your Home

These are 7 factors that determine the value of your home. Some of them are within your ability to change, and some are not!

1) Location, Location, Location!   (City, Neighborhood, Street-Yard-Road)

2) Property Condition – updated & well maintained

3) Curb Appeal / Attractive – “Honey, Stop the Car!”

4) Conforming – like other comps in the neighborhood (i.e. Style, Sq. Ft, Pool)

5) Personal Decor – (Excessive bold or multiple colors of paint, carpet/flooring)

6) Clean & Odor Free – (Avoid excessive: Smoke, Pet, Food, Mold, or Air Freshener Smells) Deep Spring Clean – regardless the time of year!

7) External Obsolescence – (next to a factory/Commercial or RRX)

In order to get the top price for your property in today’s competitive market the property should be updated, with newer appliances, natural in colors of carpet & paint – no wallpaper! There should be no offensive smells, like cigarette smoke, old musty furniture or pet smells. Don’t over compensate with air fresheners, use a dehumidifier or clean carpets & furniture. Get a deep spring cleaning, including the windows/screens & light fixtures, inside & out!

The exterior should have an attractive curb appeal, with a well-manicured landscaping, fresh mulch and well maintained accessories. (I e. doorbell, light fixtures & out buildings). Fresh paint on the entry door & house numbers, are always noticed!

Remember, you never have a second chance to make a good first impression!

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The Real Estate Market is Hot— Invest Intelligently and You Won’t Get Burned

The real estate market has been heating up nationwide, and it’s only getting hotter. On CNBC.com’s Realty Check, real estate reporter Diana Olick writes, “It’s no secret that investors have been inhaling foreclosed properties at a breakneck pace, trying to cash in on an increasingly hot rental market.”[1]

Recently Bloomberg reported that Blackstone Group, the biggest buyer of U.S. commercial real estate, “is turning to residential real estate after a 34 percent plunge in prices since the 2006 peak. The New York-based company is the biggest investor seeking to enter the single-family leasing market as rents climb and the U.S. homeownership rate sits at a 15-year low.”[2]

In some markets—Oakland, California, for example—rents are often higher than mortgage payments. SFGate.com reported, “In neighborhoods hit hard by the housing crisis, it would be cheaper for many families to buy a foreclosed home than rent an apartment. The average price of a house in those neighborhoods is less than $150,000. Monthly payments on most 30-year mortgages at that price are usually less than $1,000, while rents on many West Oakland properties are around $2,000.”[3]

Real estate investors have the added advantage of record-low interest rates. According to Freddie Mac’s Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for the first half of 2012 averaged 3.86%, while the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.12%![4] Even investors who have the cash are locking in these incredible rates.

So who are the buyers making up this heat wave of investing? Surprisingly, the typical real estate investor isn’t wealthy and middle-aged like you might imagine. The reality is that the median income of the real estate investor is $86,100. It’s not much higher than the median income of the primary residence buyer: $72,400. And nearly 40% of investors made less than $75,000 in 2011.[5] Today’s real estate investor is really just the average American homebuyer.

When you consider today’s market conditions, it’s not surprising that investors are popping up everywhere. But not all discounted properties are good investments, no matter how low the price and interest rate may be. Several factors affect a property’s return on investment, and they all need to be carefully considered. For example, experienced investors know to invest for cash flow—a property’s return on investment in the form of monthly rent. It’s immediate, steady, and can build wealth over time. Many new investors tend to think in terms of appreciation, but intelligent investors know that investing for cash flow helps ensure a profitable investment regardless of appreciation.

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