Trisha Bowen - RE/MAX Real Estate Center



Posted by Trisha Bowen on 12/11/2017

If this is your first time buying a home, you might feel a bit intimidated by the purchase contract. Contracts are often filled with industry and legal jargon, making them difficult to understand for the average buyer and seller.

Contingencies in particular give some buyers cause for concern because their contract depends on the contingencies being fulfilled. However, in most cases contingencies are pretty standard and only serve to protect the interests of both the buyer and seller during a real estate transaction.

In todayís post, Iím going to give you an introduction to contingency clauses and break down some of the most common contingencies youíll find in todayís real estate purchase contract.

Contingency clause definition

Simply stated, a contingency clause is a statement within a contract that requires a certain event takes place before the contract is considered legally valid. As a result, contingency clauses are used to cancel or invalidate a contract if certain conditions arenít met before the sale is made final. So, if one party fails to meet the obligation of the contingency, the other party is no longer bound by the contract (or required to buy or sell the house).

Contingencies can get confusing when they are vaguely worded in the contract, making them difficult to interpret. In these cases, a court may decide the specific meaning of the clause or determine that it is too vague to be legally upheld.

The other instance in which contingency clauses can be confusing is when a party includes a contingency that is atypical for a real estate purchase contract. Buyers and sellers alike should be wary of unusual contingencies.

The main contingencies

  • Appraisal contingency. Designed to protect the buyer, appraisal contingencies require that a home is appraised at a minimum amount, which is stated in the contract.

  • Financing contingency. Another contingency geared toward protecting buyers is the financing contingency. It states the number of days that a buyer has to secure financing for the home. This allows the buyer to cancel the contract (and offer) if theyíre unable to secure suitable financing for the home.

  • Inspection contingency. One of the most important and most common contingencies is the inspection contingency. It allows the buyer to have the house inspected by a licensed professional within a certain number of days. This protects the buyer against unforeseen expenses and repairs that will need to be made in the near future.

  • House sale and kick-out contingencies. A house sale contingency gives the buyer a certain number of days to sell their home before financing a new one. However, since this can be a risky clause for sellers, a kick-out clause is often included. This contingency allows the seller to keep the home on the market and entertain other offers while the buyer secures financing and sells their other home or homes.





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Posted by Trisha Bowen on 12/4/2017

Let's face it Ė the homebuying journey may prove to be an expensive experience. If you're not careful, you risk overspending to acquire your dream house. On the other hand, if you purchase a home without identifying underlying structural problems, you risk costly home repairs down the line.

Ultimately, it helps to establish a budget for the homebuying journey. If you have a budget in place, you can increase the likelihood of having the necessary funds on hand to overcome many potential homebuying hurdles.

You should have no trouble creating a homebuying budget, either. In fact, here are three tips to help you put together a budget for the homebuying journey.

1. Assess Your Financial Situation

If you intend to purchase a house in the foreseeable future, you'll want to take a close look at your finances. By doing so, you may be able to reduce your monthly spending and use your savings to accelerate the homebuying journey.

It often helps to assess your daily, weekly and monthly expenses. Then, you may discover bills that you can cut from your everyday budget.

For example, you may enjoy dining out regularly, but cooking at home may prove to be more cost-effective. And as you reduce your dining expenses, you can save money that you can use toward the down payment on a new house.

2. Obtain Your Credit Score

Believe it or not, your credit score can make a world of difference in your quest to acquire a house. If you check your credit score, you may be able to find ways to improve your credit score prior to kicking off a house search.

You are eligible to receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Take advantage of this perk, and you can learn your credit score in no time at all.

Remember, your credit score may have a major impact on your ability to land a favorable mortgage. And if you find that you have a below-average credit score, you then can pay off outstanding debt to improve it before you start your search for a new home.

3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Pre-approval for a mortgage is ideal. With a mortgage in hand, you can enter the real estate market with a budget for buying a house.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can offer insights into a variety of mortgage options and help you make an informed mortgage selection.

Lastly, as you prepare a homebuying budget, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you hone your home search to residences that fall within your price range. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to avoid spending too much to acquire your dream house.

Get ready to buy a house Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you can establish a successful homebuying budget.




Tags: budgeting   Buying a home  
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Posted by Trisha Bowen on 11/27/2017

Whether you plan on selling your house in the next few years, or if you just want to make some much needed updates to your home, renovations can be a great way to increase the value of your property.

However, not all updates will pay for themselves. Some upgrades that we want for personal reasons, such as building an addition for more space, could come back to haunt you if it isnít to the taste of potential homebuyers in the future.

So, in this article, weíre going to talk about five simple updates to your home that have the best chance of increasing its selling price. That way, when you do finally decide to move on from your home, you can sell for the price you know your home is worth.

Improve your lighting

You donít have to be a carpenter to increase the value of your home. When a potential buyer enters your home for the first time, two of the first things theyíll notice are the lighting and the spaciousness of the room.

Since lighting is an essential part of creating spaciousness, increasing the former will also increase the latter.

So, what are some ways you can increase lighting?

  • Add recessed lights to the ceilings of your home. It will open up space in the ceiling and allow for a greater number of lights overall.

  • Add lighting under the cabinets in your kitchen

  • Use large mirrors for decoration to increase lighting and create the illusion of spaciousness in smaller rooms

Painting for the modern homeowner

Home decor trends come and go. Not long ago, wallpaper was the go-to choice. However, the surest way to increase the value of your home is to use bright and neutral colors since, statistically, these appeal to the largest number of people.

Fresh paint and good lighting work together to make your home seem more polished and modern. And, for just a few hundred dollars, you can paint your whole home.

Remember, however, that it is easy to scuff up the walls in your home. So, itís a good idea to paint closer to the date you think youíll be trying to sell.

Low maintenance landscaping

While there are people who enjoy mowing the lawn on Saturday morning, those people tend to be few and far between. One thing potential buyers will consider when viewing your home is how difficult it will be to take care of the yard.

Adding an irrigation system, removing unnecessary obstacles, and planting hardy bushes and plants will woo potential buyers.

Upgrade the most outdated room in your home

If your home is in need of serious upgrades, itís best to start with the room that needs it the most, especially if that room is a bathroom or kitchen. Replacing an old vanity or putting new tile down can be simple ways to spruce up a bathroom thatís looking dated.

Fix the little things

If you have a couple of years before you plan to sell, that gives you time to fix the small issues that youíve noticed and will continue to notice. Maintaining your home now will give you less to worry about when the time comes to sell, and you donít want to be dealing with leaking faucets when that day arrives.





Posted by Trisha Bowen on 11/20/2017

If plans for selling your home are in the near future, youíre going to want to start strategizing the most cost- and time-effective ways to make your home irresistible to potential buyers. One of the most proven ways of giving your home the edge it needs to stand out from the competition is good photography and attractive staging.

In todayís post, Iím going to share my tips on home staging that can be achieved on a budget and in a short period of time. That way you can focus more time on finding a new home and stop worrying about selling your current one.

Tip 1: Start packing

Before you start worrying about arranging furniture, itís important to make sure you have a clean slate to work with. Start by packing personal effects into boxes and labeling them accordingly.

Staged homes are homes that look appealing to the widest audience as possible. Having personal reminders, like family photos, trophies, etc., makes it harder for viewers to picture themselves living in the home.

Most of us keep our homes arranged in a way that is convenient to our lives. And. letís face it--life can be messy. But, when it comes to staging, less is usually more.

Not only will this cleaning process help you reduce clutter and make the home look better for staging, but it will also make your moving process easier since many of your boxes will already be organized and sealed.

Tip 2: Color scheming

Expertly staged homes tend to have one thing in common--a cohesive color scheme. Think of choosing your color scheme like creating an artistís palette. You want a few colors that compliment one another and that will work together to brighten up your home.

If you have any furniture that appears worn, dated, or that clashes with the scheme of the room, itís a good idea to place them in storage while you prepare for photographs and visitors.

Tip 3: Decorate sparingly

Now that youíve packed away your family photos, you might be wondering what to put on the walls in their place. The best answer is often nothing. However, that doesnít mean the walls need to be completely bare.

For smaller rooms, you can make them appear more spacious with the use of hanging mirrors (just make sure you canít see yourself in any of those mirrors when you take your photos!).

Tip 4: Donít forget the outside of your home

The value of curb appeal canít be overemphasized. The exterior of our homes, along with our yard and driveway, are essentially what we show the world about our lives. Since most home buyers want their house to look nice, fit in with the neighborhood, but have its own unique flair all at the same time. They want to know that your house has that potential.

Furthermore, the driveway and yard are two of the first things people see when they visit. Youíll want to take advantage of this moment by making a good impression.





Posted by Trisha Bowen on 11/13/2017

If you have been looking to give your home a bit of pizzaz, you may be worried about the cost or the time investment. The good news is that you donít need to put in a huge amount of work or money in order to make a big difference in your home. Below, youíll find some of the easiest projects that you can complete in a hurry. Youíll be enjoying a new view of your home in no time! 


Change Up The Mantel


We often grow comfortable with the decor in our homes. Itís a good idea to change those pictures and displays that you have along the top of your fireplace from time to time. For a more dramatic change, you can replace the entire mantel.  


Bring Out The Front Entryway


The entry to your home is all a part of the curb appeal. You can easily paint the front door or part of the entryway to enhance the look of the front of your home. If you want to go even bolder, try and replace the door with something a bit different than what you already have.


Refresh The Paint


Whether you look at the inside or the outside of your home, you can easily bring about change to the look of your home. Add a fresh coat of paint to the front door. Take a tired looking room and change the paint color of the space. Taking things room by room can be less time consuming than trying to take on the entire house at once. If the exterior of your home needs some fresh color, this project can be expensive, yet rewarding as the amount of curb appeal that you have will increase dramatically.       



Try Some New Lighting


Itís easy to get some new lighting fixtures. It could be as simple as switching a lamp or installing a few new light fixtures. For an even more dramatic change, add some dimmer switches or energy efficient lightbulbs. Checking in on the lighting in your home can be beneficial for both your home decor and the practical use of lights. 


Donít forget the outdoors as well. It can be very refreshing for your landscape to have some outdoor lighting that highlights the more dramatic pieces of the outdoor space. 


Plant Something New


If you take the time to plant something new, you can bring a whole new look to the exterior of your home. Whether you take the time to plant one simple bush or are able to place down a whole new flower bed, small changes make a big impact. 


However small your home improvement projects are, they are a part of working towards making your home a better place to live.