Category Archives: Residential Real Estate

Step-By-Step Homebuying

1. Get a REALTOR®

In the maze of forms, financing, inspections, marketing, pricing, and negotiating, it makes sense to work with professionals who know the community and much more. It is always best to use an Experienced local REALTOR® who serves your area.  The REALTOR® is the “Hub” of the transaction and will refer clients to the best lenders, home inspectors, closing/escrow companies, and moving companies.  A good REALTOR® will know who is experienced, professional, licensed (when necessary), insured and provides great service to his/her clients.

2. Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval

Most first-time buyers need to finance their home purchase, and a consultation with a preferred mortgage lender is a crucial step in the process. Find out how much you can afford before you begin your home search.  You will need a mortgage pre-approval before you can submit an Offer; we will show you homes as soon as you receive a pre-approval.  **In Fact, due to COVID many Sellers instruct listing agents to only show their home to individuals that are pre-approved for a mortgage.

Get the Right Mortgage for Your Situation

  • There are many different types of mortgage programs out there, but as a first-time home buyer, you should be aware of the three basics: adjustable rate, fixed rate and interest-only.
  • Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) are short-term mortgages that offer an interest rate that is fixed for a short period, usually between one to seven years. After that, the interest rate can adjust every year up or down, depending on the market. These are good for people who don’t plan on living in their home very long and/or are looking for a lower interest rate and payment.  I would STRONGLY advise against an adjustable mortgage now.
  • Fixed-rate mortgages are more traditional and offer a fixed interest rate (and thus a fixed monthly payment) for a longer period, usually 15 or 30 years, though they’re available in 20 or 25 year terms. These are good for people who like a predictable payment and plan on living in their home for a long time.
  • Both fixed and adjustable rate mortgages can have an interest-only payment. What this means is that for a certain amount of time during the loan term, you’re allowed to pay only enough to cover the interest portion of your payment. You can still pay principal when you wish, but don’t have to if your budget is tight. There is a myth that with interest-only mortgages, you don’t build equity. This is not necessarily true, since you can build equity through home appreciation. The benefit to interest-only mortgages is that you increase your cash flow by not paying principal.

3. Look at Homes

A quick search on our site https://www.homes4saleinri.com/ will bring up thousands of homes for sale.  Educating yourself on your local market and working with an experienced REALTOR®, can help you narrow your priorities and make an informed decision about which home to choose.  Good REALTORS® will ask you questions about what you want and need in a home and compare that with what you can afford.  When you receive listings to consider, before scheduling an appointment drive by them to see if you like the neighborhood.  The housing inventory is tight in southern New England, so don’t get frustrated if other buyers get an offer in before you, or they offer more money.  That happens A LOT in this market.

4. Choose a Home

While no one can know for sure what will happen to housing values, if you choose to buy a home that meets your needs and priorities, you’ll be happy living in it for years to come. Once you and the seller have reached agreement on a price, the house will go into escrow, which is the time-period it takes to complete all of the remaining steps in the home buying process. 

Don’t forget people make money in real estate when they buy it, NOT when they sell it.  A good, experienced REALTOR® will help you determine the best “Value” for your situation.

5. Home Inspection

Typically, purchase offers are contingent on a home inspection of the property to check for signs of structural damage or things that may need fixing. Your real estate agent usually will help you arrange to have this inspection conducted within a few days of your offer being accepted by the seller. This contingency protects you by giving you a chance to renegotiate your offer or withdraw it without penalty if the inspection reveals significant material damage.

Remember, a Home Inspection is a “snapshot” of the condition of home on a specific day at aa specific time. Home inspectors typically don’t have access to 2/3’s of the home so they cannot be expected to inspect/observe conditions for areas they cannot see. They cannot see behind paneling, inside walls, or around boxes stacked up in a basement or garage.

You will receive a report on the home inspector’s findings. You can then decide if you want to ask the seller to fix anything on the property before closing the sale. Before the sale closes, you will have a walk-through of the house, which gives you the chance to confirm that any agreed-upon repairs have been made.

6. Funding

The cost of financing your home purchase is usually greater than the price of the home itself (after interest, closing costs, and taxes are added). Get as much information as possible regarding your mortgage options and other costs. Your Lender will take care of all of the financing details, paperwork, arrange the appraisal and keep you informed.

7. Make an Offer

While much attention is paid to the asking price of a home, a proposal to buy includes both the price and terms. In some cases, terms can represent thousands of dollars in additional value—or additional costs—for buyers.

8. Find Insurance

No homeowner should be without insurance. Real estate insurance protects owners in the event of catastrophe. If something goes wrong, insurance can be the bargain of a lifetime.  Joe can recommend a good insurance agent who is experienced in working with home buyers – especially first time home buyers.

9. Movers

It is highly recommended that you use the services of a licensed, insured, experienced mover.  Whether moving across town or across the country, utilize the services of a professional mover.  The potential cost of moving yourself or with “amateur” movers can be significant.  Damage to furniture, floors, walls, the cost of renting a truck, quilts, dollies, straps, etc, quickly add up.  Then there is always the possibility of bodily injury; hurting your back or someone sustaining serious injury that could involve lawsuits.

The fees charged by a professional mover usually are less than the above potentialities.

The Moving Company by preferred Luca & Marano

10.  The Closing

Before the Closing, the Buyer’s REALTOR® should arrange for a Final Walk-Through, of the house to confirm that all of the Seller’s belongings that should have been removed, and those that should remain are still in the house, and that no damage transpired overnight.

Preferred by Luca & Marano

The closing process, also known as “settlement” or “escrow,” is increasingly computerized and does vary in different areas. In practice, closings bring together a variety of parties (Buyer and Seller, Closing/Escrow Representative, and sometimes a Seller’s Closing Attorney) who are part of the real estate transaction.

10. Post Closing

Don’t forget to have the utilities, internet access, landline telephone service etc switched into your name.  It is much easier to switch service while it is still “on” compared to after it has been terminated.

How to Make the Dream of Homeownership a Reality This Year

Happy Martin Luther King Day

How to Make the Dream of Homeownership a Reality This Year | MyKCM

In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired a powerful movement with his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Through his passion and determination, he sparked interest, ambition, and courage in his audience. Today, reflecting on his message encourages many of us to think about our own dreams, goals, beliefs, and aspirations. For many Americans, one of those common goals is owning a home: a piece of land, a roof over our heads, and a place where we can grow and flourish.

If you’re dreaming of buying a home this year, start by connecting with a local real estate professional to understand what goes into the process. With a trusted advisor at your side, you can then begin to answer the questions below to set yourself up for homebuying success.

1. How Can I Better Understand the Process, and How Much Can I Afford?

The process of buying a home is not one to enter into lightly. You need to decide on key things like how long you plan on living in an area, school districts you prefer, what kind of commute works for you, and how much you can afford to spend.

Keep in mind, before you start the process to purchase a home, you’ll also need to apply for a mortgage. Lenders will evaluate several factors connected to your financial track record, one of which is your credit history. They’ll want to see how well you’ve been able to minimize past debts, so make sure you’ve been paying your student loans, credit cards, and car loans on time. If your financial situation has changed recently, be sure to discuss that with your lender as well. Most agents have loan officers they trust and will provide referrals for you.

According to ConsumerReports.org:

“Financial planners recommend limiting the amount you spend on housing to 25 percent of your monthly budget.”

2. How Much Do I Need for a Down Payment?

In addition to knowing how much you can afford on a monthly mortgage payment, understanding how much you’ll need for a down payment is another critical step. Thankfully, there are many different options and resources in the market to potentially reduce the amount you may think you need to put down.

If you’re concerned about saving for a down payment, start small and be consistent. A little bit each month goes a long way. Jumpstart your savings by automatically adding a portion of your monthly paycheck into a separate savings account or house fund. AmericaSaves.org says:

“Over time, these automatic deposits add up. For example, $50 a month accumulates to $600 a year and $3,000 after five years, plus interest that has compounded.”

Before you know it, you’ll have enough for a down payment if you’re disciplined and thoughtful about your process.

3. Saving Takes Time: Practice Living on a Budget

As tempting as it is to pass the extra time you may be spending at home these days with a little retail therapy, putting that extra money toward your down payment will help accelerate your path to homeownership. It’s the little things that count, so start trying to live on a slightly tighter budget if you aren’t doing so already. A budget will allow you to save more for your down payment and help you pay down other debts to improve your credit score.

survey of millennial spending shows, “68% reported that shelter in place orders helped them save for their down payment.” Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, also notes:

“If there is any silver lining to the current economic landscape, it’s that mortgage rates are hanging around record lows…Additionally, shelter-in-place orders helped many who were fortunate enough to keep their jobs save for a down payment — one of the largest hurdles of buying a home. The combination of low rates and the opportunity to save is enabling many millennials to move up their home buying timeline.”

While you don’t need to cut all of the extras out of your current lifestyle, making smarter choices and limiting your spending in areas where you can slim down will make a big difference.

Bottom Line

If homeownership is on your dream list this year, take a good look at what you can prioritize to help you get there. To determine the steps you should take to start the process, let’s connect today.

Why Not to Wait Until Spring to Make a Move

Why Not to Wait Until Spring to Make a Move | MyKCM

The housing market recovery coming into the new year has been nothing short of remarkable. Many experts agree the turnaround from the nation’s economic pause is playing out extremely well for real estate, and the current market conditions are truly making this winter an ideal time to make a move. Here’s a dive into some of the biggest wins for homebuyers this season.

1. Mortgage Rates Are Historically Low

In 2020, mortgage rates hit all-time lows 16 times. Continued low rates have set buyers up for significant long-term gains. In fact, realtor.com notes:

“Given this means homes could cost potentially tens of thousands less over the lifetime of the loan.”

Essentially, it’s less expensive to borrow money for a home loan today than it has been in years past. Although mortgage rates are expected to remain relatively low in 2021, even the slightest increase can make a big difference in your payments over the lifetime of a home loan. So, this is a huge opportunity to capitalize on right now before mortgage rates start to rise.

2. Equity Is Growing

According to John Burns Consulting58.7% of homes in the U.S. have at least 60% equity, and 42.1% of all homes in this country are mortgage-free, meaning they’re owned free and clear.

In addition, CoreLogic notes the average equity homeowners gained since last year is $17,000. That’s a tremendous amount of forced savings for homeowners, and an opportunity to use this increasing equity to make a move into a home that fits your changing needs this season.

3. Home Prices Are Appreciating

According to leading experts, home prices are forecasted to continue appreciating. Today, many experts are projecting more moderate home price growth than last year, but still moving in an upward direction through 2021.

Knowing home values are increasing while mortgage rates are so low should help you feel confident that buying a home before prices rise even higher is a strong long-term investment.

4. There Are Not Enough Homes for Sale

With today’s low inventory of homes on the market, which is contributing to this home price appreciation, sellers are in the driver’s seat. The competition is high among buyers, so homes are selling quickly.

Making a move while so many buyers are looking for homes to purchase may mean your house rises to the top of the buyer pool. Selling your house before more listings come to the market in the traditionally busy spring market might be your best chance to shine.

Bottom Line

If you’re considering making a move, this may be your moment, especially with today’s low mortgage rates and limited inventory. Let’s connect to get you set up for homebuying success in the new year.

RELATIONSHIPS AND REAL ESTATE

A REALTOR’s® Relationships with Colleagues, Partners and Vendors Can Save a Transaction.

A REALTOR’s® job (in a nutshell) is to procure the sale of real estate between a willing buyer and seller.

We have all been part of, or witnessed, a transaction that does not go well.  Whether it is buying/leasing a car, or retaining the services of a contractor, unless the parties are successful in communicating extremely clearly, there is always a possibility for a “miscommunication”.  This can lead to wounded egos, unhappy parties, or an issue to be resolved by litigation.  Can a Relationship save a transaction?

My relationship with my network is essential to client-satisfaction.  Whether referring a client to another REALTOR® a thousand miles away, or a local lender, I have extreme confidence in my referral partners.  When you are looking for a REALTOR® to partner with, it is essential that he/she have strong relationships with their referral network.

As a Full-Time REALTOR® for over a decade, I am fortunate that I have not had anything worse than the “wounded ego” (mine) experience in my business.  Live-and-
Learn.  One of the ways I have virtually eliminated the chance of these types of “miscommunications” is by putting all important communications in writing.  Additionally, I am very selective when choosing business partners and vendors to whom I refer business.  My partners and vendors are full-time (so they aren’t distracted by another job,) professional (they conduct themselves and behave appropriately,) ethical (they don’t put anything in front of the client’s best interests,) and licensed, and insured.  Having established relationships with people of this caliber, reduces the chance a client will be unhappy with me, because of an experience they had with a referral partner.

My colleagues who are also at the top of their game usually have strong networks of referral partners that they rely on for their clients’ needs. 

There are lots of good REALTORS®, but what sets some apart is the strength of the relationships they have with their referral network.  There have been times when I have to request that a partner, or vendor, to go the “extra (ethical) mile” to help bring a transaction to the Closing Table.  Maybe it is as simple as asking my preferred moving company to squeeze in an extra moving job for a client who scheduled a move with another mover whose truck broke down, or calling North Smithfield Tree Service to remove tree limbs that the Seller couldn’t get removed and it’s the day before Closing. 

The difference between success and failure maybe the extra effort exerted as a result of a relationship between the REALTOR® and a someone in their network.   

That is why Relationships are essential in the business of Real Estate.  YES, a relationship CAN save a transaction.

Joe Luca is a full-time REALTOR® who helps buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals.

Multi-Family Properties are HOT!

If you want to become a Landlord, The Following May Be Of Interest.

FACTOID #1:  A full 90% of new multifamily construction today is rentals according to one study.

For the last several years, demand in multifamily has outpaced new construction, causing some places to see huge spikes in rent prices. Still demand has not slowed.

FACTOID #2: Multi-Family prices have been growing by up to 8% year-over-year.

Listed below are some of the most important things that today’s tenants are looking for in a rental.

Location

As with any other type of business, the location of your building can, and likely will, have a large impact on the revenue you bring in. Tenants often look for a property that is close to their place of employment, and that offers easy access to grocery stores, restaurants, parks, and more. Tenants are often willing to pay more, or even overlook less than desirable aspects of the unit, in exchange for the quality of lifestyle offered from being in a great neighborhood.  Millennials are attracted to the convenience of advanced technology. They expect that same kind of convenience in their living environments (grocery store within walking distance, public transportation just a few blocks from the apartment, office or workspace accessible by light rail or bus). The more walkable the location, the more attractive it is to young renters.

School District

With more and more consumers choosing to rent, it stands to reason that more families are choosing to rent rather than own. Along with location, tenants are likely looking at the area’s school district, as well. After all, every parent wants the very best for their child — and a safe, quality education is at the top of many parents’ lists.

Parking

Think about it — no one enjoys driving around for an hour looking for a parking spot that’s close to home. While there may be ample parking spaces for your suburban property, parking can be a bit of a challenge in urban areas. If you can’t offer easy off-street parking for your tenants, consider directing your tenants to a parking garage that’s located nearby.

…but not all tenants have cars.

Multi-Modal Transportation Options for Residents

Parking lots are disappearing to make room for more pedestrian friendly options. Most millennials in urban areas do not own cars. They bike, walk, or ride to work. Some high-end multifamily developers are including bike repair and storage “shops” in their buildings or providing ridesharing pickup and drop-off locations on-site.

Convenient On-Site Package Delivery Systems

More than a quarter of the workforce today does not work from an office. Mailing letters or shipping packages usually requires a trip to a FedEx or post office. One amenity attracting young professionals are on-site package delivery systems where packages are received and signed for in real-time through an alert sent to a tenant’s smartphone. Packages can also be sent out from the apartment with pickups scheduled from the apartment’s online platform.

Activities Space and Luxurious Common Areas

Gyms are not the only community spaces tenants want. New developers will need to think about adding an on-site café, workspaces, and lounge areas. Some unique ideas include community gardens and wine tasting rooms, community theaters or apartment pubs or pool halls.

Renovations and Upgrades

Sometimes, the smallest details are the ones that really make a house feel like a home — and that can secure a lease on your space. Upgrades that are smart and strategic, such as hardwood floors or stainless-steel appliances, can help attract higher quality tenants. Other renovations that rank highly among tenants include renovations in the kitchen and bathrooms, updated cabinet hardware, central air conditioning, and a new kitchen backsplash.

Think of these features you offer your tenants as a way of demonstrating to them how you expect to be treated in return — and the care you expect to be given to your building. Even small steps can indicate to your tenants that you really care about the property and that you will be responsive to any necessary property maintenance — always a big concern for renters. By offering these features that tenants are looking for, you are differentiating your property from the competition — allowing you to attract and retain better tenants and enjoy a better return on your investment.

If you have any questions about any of the above information call or text Joe Luca, REALTOR® at 401-580-9797.

The above information was obtained from various web articles published by NAR, CBRE, and NAI Global.

10 Reasons NOT To Sell Your Own House – FSBO

  1. Time
    When you decide to FSBO be prepared to sacrifice a lot of time. From staging the property and taking perfect pictures to getting the description and marketing right. You’ll also spend time showing the property, entertaining lookie-loo’s and door-kickers, and talking with agents who won’t take you seriously.
  2. Costs
    When you sell by owner you may think you’re saving money but in reality you’re often spending a lot of money up front with no guarantee of any return. Listing agents spend a calculated amount of money up front to make sure a listing sells and ultimately pays both you and them both fairly.
  3. Saving On Commission
    Choosing to FSBO doesn’t really save you money. On average, homes sold by agents get $230k compared to $180k for FSBO. When you find the right agent they will price your property to get the most money in the shortest time, a combination that can mean 10-30% more net profit. When you are considering saving 1.5-3% on a listing commission you should take that into consideration.
  4. No Money Up Front
    Listing agents do not charge anything upfront to sell your home. If they spend thousands and can’t sell it for the price you want, they are out those thousands, not you! This is perhaps one of the greatest things about using an agent. There is an extremely low risk and cost to doing so!
  5. Perception
    The perception of FSBO sellers is that they are not serious about selling their properties and are often just testing the market or seeing if they can get some far fetched price or perfect buyer that isn’t realistic. They are often not taken seriously in the real estate community because they don’t see the value in representation by an agent or broker.
  6. Marketing
    You might be ready to post your home on Facebook and Craigslist a few times, but you don’t have the ultimate home selling tool – the MLS. The multiple listing service can be accessed by licensed real estate agents, and is the way to get your home listed on sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia. A large majority of home buyers begin their search on sites like these, and you want your home to be seen by as many buyers as possible to get the best price. It’s no surprise that homes sold via FSBO have seen a steady decline as online real estate has become the norm.
  7. Liability
    When you sell your home without an agent, any mistakes you make can cost you greatly. Agents have something called E&O (Errors & Omissions) Insurance. This protects them when mistakes are made in contracts. When you sell on your own, others can make sure to exploit every little mistake you make.
  8. Agent Boycott/Sabotage
    When you decide to sell your home yourself you are telling other agents that you don’t understand their value in a multi-billion dollar industry. Agents often see FSBO sellers as easy marks to negotiate against because they have the upper hand. They control the buyer/offer and can negotiate their own commission. They can also pick your property and price apart because they have the expertise to do so. They don’t need to worry about treating you unfairly because the chance of them dealing with you again is slim to none. More often than not they will simply ignore your listing altogether to avoid the hassle.
  9. Pricing Incorrectly
    Pricing your home incorrectly when you list it can be the worst mistake, and can greatly affect days on market and final sales price. Pricing too high will mean fewer people see it, resulting in fewer offers. Price it too low and you’re conveying that something is wrong with the property or that you are desperate to sell. More days on market will also signal to buyers that something is wrong and can ultimately mean less money upon final sale. Learn more about setting the price right here.
  10. Low Ballers
    When you FSBO you attract investors and low-ballers who see your inexperience and ignorance as a prime opportunity. What may seem like a lot to you may be a steal to them. An experienced agent will understand this and negotiate the most money possible for you.

The above was sourced from UpNest.

What is Cash-Flowing Real Estate?

Cash-flowing, or performing, residential real estate is a property that generates consistent, positive net cash-flow month after month. Typically there is a Lease between a Landlord (property owner) and a Tenant (renter) for a specific period of time, (Term) usually one year. The term is the period of time the Tenant is obligated to pay rent and the Landlord is obligated to retain Tenant if Lease covenants are kept by the Tenant.

(However, if it is a commercial property/tenant (not legally intended to be used as a residence by the tenant) the Lease is frequently for a longer Term.)

Positive cash-flow is what remains from the total rent and other income (laundry, storage etc) received by the Landlord after ALL expenses have been paid. This is the “Shangrila” of Landlording; all expenses have been paid, and there is money left at the end of the month. This positive cash-flow can then be utilized to pay down the mortgage debt, saved up to buy another property, or used to fund a retirement. (Typically a CPA can help with this decision.)

In short, “cash flowing” residential real estate is leased to tenants and the rent more than covers all expenses so there is a “profit”.  Landlords should regularly consult with a reliable and honest Lender to see if they can save money on the largest expense; the mortgage.  John Dolbec at First Home Mortgage  401-266-4413 is highly recommended.

Honest, Ethical, and Dedicated to providing great service to his Clients.

The opposite of positive cash-flow is negative cash-flow; when there is not enough money to cover ALL expenses.  If this is the result of a tenant who is not paying rent you should immediately consult with an eviction attorney and get a better tenant.  Tenant-selection is one of the fundamentals that should not be over-looked.  If you have to hire a mover to entice a tenant to move out sooner do it.  Call Gentry Moving and Storage 401-785-1600 for a stress-free experience. 

Your BEST Choice for moving.

Please note: this is not legal or tax advice and an attorney or tax professional should be consulted for legal and tax questions.  We recommend Resnick and Caffrey Law Firm. 

Reliable, Knowledgeable, and Experienced.

Pets and Home Value

So you want to buy a new home…but before you can do that you need to sell your current home.  If you have pets there is one important step you should consider taking before you begin showing your home. Ask your REALTOR® if they notice any pet-related odor. Time and time again studies show that when we are continually exposed to certain orders we become desensitized to them and no longer noticed them.  Have you ever visited someone’s home who has cats and you walk in the front door and immediately you said yourself: “oh, I smell cats”.  Chances are that the pet owner doesn’t notice that odor, and yet they have been living with it for years.

If there is a pervasive odor that is noticeable as soon as guests enter the house, what can you do? Deodorizers and scented-candles simply “mask” the source of the odor, they don’t remove and eliminate it.  For me, deodorizers and scented-candles can be a telltale sign that there is something else going on in the house.

One of the first things I do as a Buyer Agent when I walk into a home is to take a deep breath.  What I smell tells me a lot about the house…and its occupants.  If I smell cigarette smoke, mold, or pet odors, it is an immediate “red flag” that I will ring to the attention of my Buyers.  Why? Because it is going to be an added expense to get that smell removed, and it could indicate other deferred maintenance issues lurking within.

Usually, I ask my Buyer: “If there were to be a lingering smell post-closing, would that be an issue?” If the answer is yes they need to consider retaining the services of Green Home Solutions to remove the odor or remove the house from consideration. greenhomesolutions

Green Home Solutions uses a fine spray that is free of harmful chemicals and uses fast-acting enzymes that bind to and neutralize odor molecules. No perfumes or masking agents are ever used.

Conversely, you just moved into a new home and you want to avoid that “Pet Odor”  from enveloping guests as soon as they enter.  You love your pet(s) so getting rid of them is out of the question…what can you do?  The old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is very appropriate in this instance.

There are certain things you can do to mitigate the smelly situation.  Whether switching to a premium pet food, or to premium cat litter, you can proactively address the problem.  Premium pet foods and cat litter have the potential to literally save you thousands when you sell your home.  If you are preparing to put your house on the market the above applies to you too.

How can a Premium Pet Food help me when I sell my house?

If you feed your pet a premium pet food, they will not have to eat as much food because they will receive more than enough nutrition from a smaller amount of food.  Additionally, since your pet is eating less food, they will have fewer bowel movements.  That means less pooper-scooping in the yard, less residual waste, or smaller poops in the Litter Box.  If there are fewer “land-mines” in the yard, and less “poop” in the litter box, that means there is less a chance that someone will “step-in-it” and less of a chance that the house will smell from your cat doing its business.

Cat litter can affect the sale of my house???

Most definitely.  As the owner of two indoor cats, I know from first-hand experience.  Over the years I have been in thousands of houses and all too often, you can tell the houses that have cats immediately upon entering.  There is that “ammonia smell” that identifies the house as a “cat house”.  There are some new, specialized premium cat litters that prevent that ammonia stench. The best one I’ve found and use is Lucy Pet’s Cats Incredible Litter, it may cost a bit more but you will notice that there is NO ammonia smell; even if you wait a whole week to change your litter box…I know I tested it and use it in my home. It still “clumps” so it is easy to clean, and it works well with multiple cats.

While neither of these products is the cheapest, they aren’t the most expensive either.  Every time I change the cat litter, I find that the extra upfront cost is well worth it because it is much less unpleasant.  I was impressed that there are companies that make specialized products for pets and in the case of Lucy Pet, I was also impressed to find they make some really great high-end specialized pet food as well. My friends with dogs feeding Lucy Pet dog food find that their pets shed less,  there are fewer, and less-stinky, “land-mines” in the backyard, and their pets just look healthier overall.  The lesson here is that just because you have pets you don’t have to let that interfere with, or potentially decrease the selling price of your home.  … Aside from the fact that as pet lovers we all want to give our pets the very best, there really are benefits not only to their health but to the condition of your home.  Your pets, and your home are worth the small investment.

LucyPetProducts

Why Should I Work With a REALTOR®?

Not all real estate practitioners (Licensees) are REALTORS®. The term REALTOR® is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.  REALTORS® are required to do more than comply with the law; REALTORS® must conduct themselves in an ethical, professional manner in all dealings with colleagues and consumers.

Here are several reasons why it pays to work with a REALTOR®.

  1. You’ll have an expert to guide you through the process. Buying or selling a home usually requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds, and multi-page settlement statements. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes.
  2. Get objective information and opinions. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They’ll also be able to provide objective information about each property. A professional will be able to help you answer these two important questions: Will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?
  3. Find the best property out there. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your REALTOR® to find all available properties.housing
  4. Benefit from their negotiating experience. There are many negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession, and inclusion or exclusion of repairs, furnishings, or equipment. In addition, the purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.
  5. Property marketing power. Real estate doesn’t sell due to advertising alone. In fact, a large share of real estate sales comes as the result of a practitioner’s contacts through previous clients, referrals,

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    friends, and family. When a property is marketed with the help of a REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

  6. Real estate has its own language. If you don’t know a CMA from a PUD, you can understand why it’s important to work with a professional who is immersed in the industry and knows the real estate language.
  7. REALTORS® have done it before. Most people buy and sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. And even if you’ve done it before, laws and regulations change. REALTORS®, on the other hand, handle hundreds of real estate transactions over the course of their career. Having an expert on your side is critical.
  8. Buying and selling is an emotional process. A home often symbolizes family, rest, and security — it’s not just four walls and a roof. Because of this, home buying and selling can be an emotional undertaking. And for most people, a home is the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on both the emotional and financial issues most important to you.
  9. Ethical treatment. Every member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® makes a commitment to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public. As a customer of a REALTOR®, you can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters. It is mandatory for REALTORS® to take the Code of Ethics orientation and they are also required to complete a refresher course every four years
  10. Relationships. Real Estate is a relationship-driven business.  Experienced, Full-Time REALTORS® have relationships with licensed, insured, experienced, practitioners in many different parts of the business: Home Inspectors, Moving Companies, Plumbers, Electricians, Painters, Fencing Companies, Attorneys, and more.  You won’t have to worry about finding someone, your REALTOR® can refer them to you!

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Additionally, Full-Time, Experienced REALTORS® understand the market; they work with Buyers so they know what Buyers like and dislike, and they know what “competition” is on the market.  Full-Time, Experienced REALTORS® know Millennials (The Largest Generation of Home-Buyers in history) have different expectations than Gen X’ers and Boomers.  Each group has different needs, wants, values, and ways of communicating during the buying process.

Last, but not least important, is Safety.  Your home, or you, can be seen as an “opportunity” by individuals with bad intentions.  REALTORS®, especially Full-Time, Experienced ones, are trained in how to minimize your exposure to situations which could compromise you and your family’s safety.

So, why should you work with a REALTOR®? If you want to buy or sell a home on YOUR schedule, with minimal stress and surprises, and receive more value from the transaction (buy lower, sell higher) you should hire a Full-Time REALTOR®

Here are a few of our Preferred Partners:

1st Home Mortgage

John Dolbec Team (401) 266-4413

NationsLending2

Don Miller (401) 241-9676

northpointe-bank

Matt Resnick 401-439-5240

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Suzanne Caldeira Team 401-228-9565

Bank of england mortgage

Anthony Senerchia Jr (401) 385-3630, Ext. 109

greenhomesolutions

Dan Anderson  401-871-3335

GentryMoving

Brian Crum 401-500-2925

Questions To Ask a REALTOR®

Questions to Ask When Choosing/Hiring a REALTOR®

Make sure you choose a REALTOR® who will provide top-notch service and meet your unique needs. It is one of the LARGEST transactions of your life, an error could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

1. How long have you been in residential real estate sales? Is it your full-time job?

While experience is no guarantee of skill, real estate — like many other professions — is mostly learned on the job.

2. What designations do you hold?

Designations such as SRES®, GRI®, and CRS® — which require that agents take additional, specialized real estate training — are held by only about one-quarter of real estate practitioners.

3. How many homes did you and your real estate brokerage sell last year?

By asking this question, you’ll get a good idea of how much experience the practitioner has.

4. How many days did it take you to sell the average home? How did that compare to the overall market?

The REALTOR® you interview should have these facts on hand, and be able to present market statistics from the local MLS to provide a comparison.

5. How close to the initial asking prices of the homes you sold were the final sale prices?

This is one indication of how skilled the REALTOR® is at pricing homes and marketing to suitable buyers. Of course, other factors also may be at play, including an exceptionally hot or cool real estate market.

6. What types of specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my home?

You don’t want someone who’s going to put a For Sale sign in the yard and hope for the best. Look for someone who has aggressive and innovative approaches, and knows how to market your property competitively on the Internet. Buyers today want information fast, so it’s important that your REALTOR® is responsive.

7. Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction?

While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, it’s important to understand where the practitioner’s obligations lie. Your REALTOR® should explain his or her agency relationship to you and describe the rights of each party.

8. Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and help with other things I need to be done?

Because REALTORS® are immersed in the industry, they’re wonderful resources as you seek lenders, home improvement companies, and other home service providers. Practitioners should generally recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with or receive compensation from any of the providers.

9. What type of support and supervision does your brokerage office provide to you?

Having resources such as in-house support staff, access to a real estate attorney, and assistance with technology can help an agent sell your home.

10. What’s your business philosophy?

While there’s no right answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the agent and determine how closely the agent’s goals and business emphasis mesh with your own.

11. How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? How frequently?

Again, this is not a question with a correct answer, but it reflects your desires. Do you want updates twice a week or do you not want to be bothered unless there’s a hot prospect? Do you prefer phone, e-mail, or a personal visit?

12. Could you please give me the names and phone numbers of your three most recent clients?  

Ask recent clients if they would work with this REALTOR® again. Find out whether they were pleased with the communication style, follow-up, and work ethic of the REALTOR®.