Things to never say to an real estate agent

5 Things You Should Never Say To A Real Estate Agent

If you’ve been in the industry long enough (or even for a short time) you’ve probably been on the wrong end of a flippant comment or something has been said to you that’s rubbed you the wrong way. Unfortunately, in the world of real estate many don’t understand just how big of an asset having an agent provides until they’re trying to purchase or sell a house on their own.

We’ve put together our list of 5 things clients should never say to a real estate agent. Do you have examples of your own? Connect with us on social and help us add to our list in the comments!

  1. “I’m still shopping around and not ready to commit to one agent.”

Having commitment issues is no fun in any relationship, not even the relationship between a client and agent. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize the amount of work and time agents put into scheduling and showing home listings.

  1. “That’s not what it says on Zillow.”

Zillow is a great preliminary tool, but a professional agent can provide a comparative marketing analysis that is significantly more accurate.

  1. “I’m not ready to get pre-approved for a mortgage.”

Pre- approvals are important for a number of reasons. They show prospective sellers that you’re a serious candidate and gives the seller confidence in your ability to obtain a loan. They also give your agent confidence in your commitment before they invest countless hours helping you find your next home.

  1. “I want to do a FSBO, I just want some advice.”

Just “picking your brain,” is the nice way of telling professionals you want their help and knowledge for free. Not to mention, advising how to sell a home isn’t a one size fits all type of scenario. Agents do this for a living; if you want their help, pay them.

  1. “I’d love to get payed to look at pretty houses all day.”

Trivializing anyone’s profession should always be a big no-no! Agents do a lot of back end and front end work. Seeing pretty houses is just a perk on top of all of the other tasks they perform.

It Costs to be a Renter in Today’s Market

It Costs To Be A Renter In Today’s Market

In most major cities in the U.S. when it comes to home affordability, buying a home instead of renting is usually the less expensive route. For years individuals have put off homeownership in order to save more money, but with rent prices steadily rising month after month, it may be time to rethink your money saving strategy.

According to ATTOM Data Solutions’ 2017 Rental Affordability report, in 66% of the housing market buying is more affordable than renting when looking at monthly payments alone. However, homeownership comes with other costs such as a sizable down payment and other fees, but when thinking of long term investments, owning your home can produce the higher savings.

When deciding to own a home, there are a number of factors you must consider such as the amount of time you plan on staying in your home and if you’re financially stable enough to take on a mortgage. However, if you find yourself throwing money into a property you’ve been renting long term, it’s important to keep in mind you are still technically paying a mortgage, just not your own.

If you are at a point in your life where you can realistically jump on the real estate train but you have made a decision to forego homeownership, now may be the time to opt in. Rates are rising, but they’re still relatively low by historical standards. Also, as you may already know, in many housing markets inventory is low and may continue shrinking. This means, there will be even fewer homes to choose from this time next year than there are now. So, if you’re on the fence about whether you should renew your lease or begin searching for a new home of your own, weigh your options and decide which choice makes the most financial sense for you. Check out our calculator Am I better off renting? to help make your decision!

Spring Cleaning Tips For The Home Garden

If the presence of birds chirping and sunnier days are any indication, many can expect an early spring this year. This can only mean one thing, it’s time to start getting things cleaned up and in order for the new season. That’s right, its spring cleaning time!

Although maintaining your home garden is really a year-round chore, spring time is when you really have to kick things into high gear. Spring brings new life and new blooms. Following the below tips will make sure your garden is in tip-top shape and ready to welcome in the new season!

1. Set up a compost station
Composting your garden is one of the best things you can do for your garden’s overall health. If you’ve never composted before, the beginning of spring is the best time to start. The best compost is your own organic creation from food and yard waste. All you need is space, natural air, fresh materials and a large bin to hold everything. Your garden will thank you, trust us!

2. Purchase new seeds
This is the fun part. Before the regular season really gets going, you should spend time browsing and deciding which seeds you want to plant this year. Purchasing them early will give you time to start growing your seedlings indoors in preparation for your outside garden.

3. Nurture your soil
Winters can be harsh, that’s why it’s important to make sure your soil gets the appropriate TLC to ensure a viable living situation for your spring time growth. Breaking up the soil after a frozen winter is your best bet for making your life easier once consistently warm weather hits.

4. Set up shop
Getting all of your gardening tools ready will help you stay accountable when gardening time comes around. Whether it’s a corner of your garage, section of your patio or in a shed, give yourself ample space to store essentials.

5. Pruning time
Don’t allow disease to ruin your garden. Prune all trees, plant and shrubs before the warm weather brings new growth.
Have your own springtime gardening tips that work for you? Connect with us on social (is media supposed to be here?) and tell us in the comments!

Take Our 15 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge

Day 1: Put the dishwasher to good use

I know what you’re thinking, “I already use my dishwasher almost every day.” Yes, most of us use our dishwasher to wash dirty dishes regularly, but this appliance can be used for much more. Fill it up with things that don’t typically get as much care, like glass light fixtures, plastic toys, toothbrush holders, etc.

Day 2: Fluff up the mattresses

Most of us probably make a point to clean our bedding (sheets, pillowcases, blankets) pretty regularly, but how often do we spend time cleaning what’s beneath the sheets. Vacuum, spot clean, and spray a disinfectant on all of the mattresses in the house.

Day 3: Get rid of cabinet grime

This is especially important in the kitchen where dust, mixed with grease can create buildup. Give all the cabinets in your home a good wipe down.

Day 4: Clean the machines

The appliances we use to clean our things also need a cleaning of their own. Run a disinfectant cleaning cycle with an appropriate cleaning agent in your dishwasher and washing machines. Then make sure to wipe them down and remove any buildup. Also, give your vacuum a little TLC by replacing the bag and cleaning the nozzles and dust cup.

Day 5: Strip your closets

Sometimes the best way to clean up unwanted clutter in drawers and closet spaces is to start throwing things away. If you find clothes you haven’t worn in over a year, donate them!

Day 6: Sweep the broom

Or nix it altogether. Your broom can get filthy and without proper cleaning, you may be spreading more mess and germs. Clean your brooms or replace them with new ones.

Day 7: Down and grout

Grout stains are unsightly and a pain to clean. Spend a day getting those hard to reach spaces spick and span. Grab your soap, bleach, water or whatever works best for you, mix it up and start scrubbing.

Day 8: Comfort your comforters

Comforters and pillows don’t have to be cleaned often, but they still need to be cleaned.

Day 9: Declutter the clutter

Throw out old magazines, makeup brushes, plastic cups etc.

Day 10: Attack the oven

Crumbs and tough stuck on food can be a pain to remove from the oven, but a good oven cleaner, or even a little baking soda and vinegar, can make the process so much easier.

Day 11: Ventilate the ventilation

Dirty vents can blow dust and germs throughout your home. Clean them out and keep them clear.

Day 12: Clear the fridge

Many refrigerators have shelves that can be popped in and out of place. If they’re small enough, they are perfect for the dishwasher. Make sure all spillage is wiped up and old unwanted food that’s been sitting on the back shelf is thrown out.

Day 13: Make your sink shine

Lemons can be used to clean the exterior of your sink, and running lemon rinds through the garbage disposal can help with unwanted smells

Day 14: Don’t forget the walls

Cleaning your walls and trims is usually not at the top of a cleaning to-do list, but these surface areas could use a good spring cleaning. Also, wipe down all of the doors in your home and disinfect the knobs.

Day 15: Pet cleaning day

Throw all pet blankets and toys in the wash and rub down all of their living surfaces (kennels, cages, beds, aquariums).

New Found Optimism In The Housing Market Among Americans

After months and months of declined confidence in the housing market, Americans are shifting their opinions. Data collected by Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index shows an improved assurance after a 5 month decline.

“Three months after the presidential election, measures of consumer optimism regarding personal financial prospects and the economy are at or near the highest levels we’ve seen in the nearly seven-year history of the National Housing Survey,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.

It seems the new presidential administration has sparked consumer optimism in the economy, and their personal financial visions. This increase in housing optimism could spark an acceleration in housing action. However, it’s important to mention that even though consumers believe it’s an optimal time to sell their homes, they aren’t too thrilled about their prospects in purchasing a new home.

The American people’s belief that home prices would increase over the next year rose by seven percentage points while the percentage of those who believe it’s a good time to purchase a home decreased by three percentage points. The number of individuals who believe mortgages will stay the same remained unchanged.

Housing In 2017 Under New Administration

Over a month into the Trump presidency, we are already seeing the impact the new administration is having on the housing industry. In fact, in a matter of hours after being inaugurated, President Trump issued an executive order that immediately suspended a fee reduction that was set to go into effect on FHA loans. This reduction would have cut the fees by .25 percentage points of the total amount borrowed.

Reactions to this new order have been mixed across the board with some advisors believing the suspension will take money away from low income homeowners while others believe the action will protect taxpayers if we were to experience another housing crash.

Regardless of who takes office, rate volatility has always been present at the start of a new administration, and the expectation is no different for Trump’s presidency. Uncertainty about the president’s plans for tax reform and financial regulations is the main cause of rate volatility at the beginning of a presidential term. As President Trump begins to make his financial regulatory plans clear, we will begin to see which way the ball rolls as far as mortgage rates go.

Barring a recession, home prices are expected to steadily rise, but as building and construction increases to keep up with demand from new homebuyers, prices will eventually plateau. We are already beginning to see price increases due to housing demand in response to the Trump administration’s push to reform the Dodd-Frank Act which would make it easier for homebuyers to borrow.

It’s important to keep in mind that although the president and his administration do have a major impact on the housing market, there are many other factors that have influence as well.

AmeriSave Named 3rd In Customer Satisfaction By LendingTree For Q4 2016

Atlanta, Georgia – February 13, 2017 – AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation was listed 3rd on LendingTree’s Top Ten Customer-Rated Lenders for Q4 2016, which was announced on February 13, 2017.  AmeriSave was rated on mortgage rates, fees and closing costs, responsiveness, customer service and overall experience.

“We are excited to once again be recognized by LendingTree as one of their top lenders,” said Ed Abufaris, President of AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation.  “This accomplishment is directly attributed to the level of customer service and professionalism our team exhibits through the entire mortgage process, beginning with loan origination through loan closing.”

The quarterly “Top Ten” list is based on a weighted average of review rating and volume of customer reviews on the LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE) website.  This is AmeriSave’s seventh appearance on the list in the past two years.

About AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation

Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation is one of the nation’s largest privately owned online home mortgage lenders. The company’s website provides homebuyers a simplified approach to the mortgage shopping, application and approval process. In 2010, AmeriSave established a Third Party Origination (TPO) division to provide funding for mortgage loans to community banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers and mortgage bankers. In 2014, AmeriSave expanded its footprint into retail lending in the southeast, California and Michigan. For more information about AmeriSave, please visit amerisave.com, on Twitter at @amerisave, and on Facebook at facebook.com/amerisave.

How To Stay Motivated When Your Home Is Also Your Office!

Working from home is becoming increasingly more popular for today’s workers. Whether it’s working remotely full time or part time, having a home office comes with its challenges. However, for many, the flexibility and freedom is well worth the challenge.

Staying focused and motivated can be tough, but with the right preparations, you can turn your home working space into a functioning and inspiring atmosphere as if you were sitting in a corporate office every day.

1. Set sleeping hours
If you’re working from home, discipline is key in order to make sure you are staying on top of your work load. Yes, you get a little more leniency with when you start your work day, but sleeping in until noon will probably not help you produce your best work. Go to bed at a decent hour and wake up early in the morning.

2. Get ready for work
Treating your home office like all other office jobs is a great habit to start and maintain. Hopefully you wouldn’t head out of your home to an external office without first brushing your teeth and changing out of your pajamas, so you should do the same when you work from home. Get showered, get dressed, and get ready.

3. Your Bed is not your desk
Productive workdays are affected directly by your environment. Doing your work in a space that is conducive to great work ethic will increase your productivity exponentially. Your bed is where you go to unwind, relax, and sleep; the opposite of what you’re trying to do when you’re focused on meeting deadlines and getting work done. Set up a workspace that is as far from your bed as possible, and commit to only using that designated space for work.

4. Set working hours
When working self-sufficiently one of the biggest things you have to stay on top of, and make sure you don’t miss, is deadlines. Setting up a schedule of set work hours will help you stay on top of responsibilities, and will help you track how much working you’re getting done.

5. Get rid of distractions
One of the biggest time wasters is social media. Having your Facebook or Twitter feed open while you’re trying to get work done is not only distracting, but seriously debilitating to your productivity. Social media isn’t bad, but save it for breaks or time when you’re not supposed be doing work.

6. Check out open work spaces
Remote work is becoming more and more popular as employees look for work life balance and the freedoms working from home offers. With that, many open work-spaces have popped up to accommodate the growing remote workforce. If you live nearby, check one out, or head over to a local coffee shop. Even the most introverted person needs some human interaction every now and again.

Getting Your Home Garden Cold Weather Ready

The winter season is in full swing, and with it brings chillier weather and freezing condensation. These things can wreak havoc on your home garden and leave you with a mess to deal with come spring. However, taking pre-winter steps can help you achieve success during blossom season and your vegetation will thank you.

Clean things up

Cleaning up your garden beds will help keep weeds and tangled vegetation from choking the remaining plants that don’t die off from the cold weather. Removing dead/rotten plants will keep the rest of your vegetation from getting diseased and ruined.

Insulate

Layer your flower bed with mulch to suppress weeds and protect your soil. Mulch just enough to cover soil so it’s insulated and not exposed. This doesn’t keep the soil from freezing, but actually helps the roots keep cold and at an even temperature. Make sure to research which mulching materials are right for your flowers.

Snip away

Once the temperature drops below freezing, your perennials will begin to die away. This is the time to snip their stems. Make sure to make cuts within 1-2 inches to the ground and dispose of the stems as they can carry diseases that affect the plants in the spring.

Bring inside

Tender plants can make great indoor plants. Perennial or annual flowers that can’t handle even a light frost will do just fine potted and brought inside to be monitored and nourished in your home. Once the spring season gets into full swing and things warm up, these plants can go right back in the ground.

Make a cover

If you have a vegetable garden, make a garden cover or vegetation box to protect seedlings against the harsh elements. Covering with blankets and plastic when temperatures hit below 28 degrees Fahrenheit will help prevent tissue damage and freezing.

The harsh temperatures may have already arrived, with most of the country seeing snowfall already, but it’s still not too late to protect your gardens and salvage your crops! Get to work now and your spring season will be a breeze!

Credit Card Tips For 2017

When one year comes to an end and a new year begins, many people start making goals and reorganizing their lives. At the top of most goal-setter’s new year’s list (right after weight loss that is) is financial rehabilitation. That being said, making the smartest credit card decisions can set you up for a financially responsible and stable year ahead.

Check out our top four credit card tips for 2017!

1. Don’t let reward points go to waste
Did you know credit card rewards can expire? By not using your rewards points before their expiration period, you could be losing out on a ton of perks and a ton of money. A report from 2011 revealed about $16 billion in reward points went unredeemed for the year!

2. Increase your credit limit
If you’ve been holding on to a credit card with a low credit limit for a while, now is the time to negotiate a higher limit. In order to maintain or raise your credit score, you must have a low credit utilization percentage (no more than 30% of your limit). A higher limit will help bring that percentage down. This doesn’t mean you should spend more on this particular card. In fact, if your spending habits change, it should reflect less spending.

3. Pay more than the minimum
Minimum credit card payments, combined with interest, will have you paying off your debt a lot longer than you should be, and you’ll end up paying a lot more than you owe. Make a goal of how soon you want to pay down your limit, and then calculate how much you will need to pay each month to reach your goal. Then commit. Paying down debt takes discipline and strategic planning.

4. Stop missing payments
Carrying a high balance and missing payments is a surefire way to really do damage to your credit score. If you have a history of not paying your card on time, you could also miss opportunities to increase your credit card limit or receive better terms. Showing that you’re a responsible card holder will work out in your favor in the long run.
Let 2017 be your most financially stable year yet. Take control of your credit card spending habits and enjoy all of the perks that come with being a responsible card owner. Happy New Year!