What You Should Know Before Buying a Fixer Upper

People love the idea of fixer uppers and flip houses, but in real life they aren't always as glamorous as they look on HGTV. Before you set out to find a run-down house to transform into your dream house, make sure you know how to find a diamond in the rough that won't turn into a money pit. You should also know how to do the math to make sure the home is worth your investment. See the short list of things you should know before purchasing a fixer upper and listen to the show for extra details and advice from Dave and Robert. You'll also hear from James about options for financing a fixer upper.

Old cute house
  1. Find the worst house on the best block. Aim to spend 20-25% less than what a property in good shape would cost in that area.
  2. Find a fixer upper that only needs cosmetic fixes. Avoid homes that have structural, plumbing or major mechanical problems.
  3. Look for a home with strong structural elements, a floor plan that works, a home with no infestations (pests, mold, etc.) and a home that has been recently occupied.
  4. Have a contractor check out the property before you make an offer on it. They'll help you get an idea of how much your renovation budget will need to be.
  5. Do the math to figure out if it's a sound investment and stick to your budget once you start the renovation!
  6. Have a strong team that you trust around you every step of the way.

The Ultimate Moving Checklist - 20 Things to Do Before Moving into a New Home

With all the excitement of a new home, it's easy to forget small tasks that need to be done before you move in. Be sure to check out this ultimate moving checklist to help you out! Putting in some extra preparation before the big day will make the process smooth and prevent undue stress. See the list below and listen to the show for extra details and tips from Dave and Robert.

Move. Cardboard boxes and cleaning things for moving into a new home
  1. Make a moving day schedule for your whole family (don't forget your pets!).
  2. Plan and stick to a moving budget.
  3. Hire the right moving company, or get the right people to help you.
  4. Remember not to establish new lines of credit, like purchasing a car or all new furniture for your new home. This could interfere with your new home's financing and prevent closing!
  5. Turn on the utilities ahead of time. Call and establish electricity, water, etc. in your name.
  6. Be sure to set-up or transfer your internet and cable service ahead of time.
  7. Order an energy audit on your new home to see if there is any room for savings once you move in.
  8. Make sure to complete any needed repairs before you move, no matter how small!
  9. Do a deep clean. It's never easier to do then when your new home is empty.
  10. Replace the home's locks and put an extra key in a lockbox.
  11. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  12. Plan and do any major renovations.
  13. Consider purchasing a home warranty to cover future home repairs.
  14. Buy a fire extinguisher for every level of the home, kitchen and garage. 
  15. Create a fire escape plan with your family.
  16. Get to know your new home, including where your circuit breaker and water main shut off is located.
  17. Label your home's electrical panel. This will make things so much easier for you when you need to use it!
  18. Childproof your new home before moving in!
  19. Don't forget to update your address with the postal service and any online billing services you use.
  20. Make sure to update friends and family with your new address!

7 Tips to Create and Maintain a Beautifully Landscaped Yard

When you think of your dream yard it might be spilling with flowers and lush green grass, but the reality of your current yard doesn't quite match. If you're thinking of boosting up your curb appeal with new landscaping, listen to this week's show for tips on planning your new yard plus how to keep it looking beautiful.

Hidden Garden
  1. Put heaps of love and care into your lawn. Lush, green grass is the foundation of any beautiful yard. Plus taking care of your lawn will get you a whopping 303% ROI when you go to sell!
  2. Plant with a plan! It's hard to envision your lawn 5 to 10 years from now, but planting your yard with a plan will keep your yard from turning into a jungle over the years! Research the plants that you're choosing and create a map of how to plant them. If this seems overwhelming, you can always hire a landscape architect to help you map out your landscaping so that everything will mesh together beautifully!
  3. Make sure to find your hardiness zone before planting. Hardiness zones will tell you which plants will thrive in your geographical location. Checking your zone will help you pick plants that will flourish.
  4. Don't go overboard with your favorite flower. Planting only one type of flower will only give you a short time of beautiful blooms. Pick plants that bloom during all four seasons so you always have a pop of color in your yard.
  5. Don't plant shrubs, trees or flowers too close together. They may look far apart when you first plant them but remember they will grow! Don't plant them so that they become overcrowded once they grow into their full size.
  6. Water correctly, especially in the summer! Water your plants less often, but deeply. A deep soak will allow the water to soak into the roots instead of just running off and evaporating. Remember to water in the early morning or the evening for the best results!
  7. Don't let dead plants linger! Nothing wreaks curb appeal like dead plants and overgrown weeds. Keep up with your yard maintenance to reap the ROI of the hard work you put into your landscaping.

Is It Time To Sell Your Home? If One of These 7 Things Rings a Bell, It's Time!

Deciding to sell your home is a big decision and one that is often times emotion. Today Dave and Robert talk about how to figure out if it's time to sell your home. See the short list of signs it's time to sell below and listen to the show for all the details!

red door and cat
  1. Your home is starting to feel cramped! Maybe your family is growing, your closets are crammed full, or you started a new job working from home. Whatever the reason, if you're feeling tight on space and remodeling isn't an option, it's a good sign you need to upgrade to a bigger home.
  2. Your home has too much space! If the kids have moved out and you have way too many rooms, downsizing might be a great option for you.
  3. You have a lot of equity on your side. An experienced agent can run a free value analysis on your home to figure out exactly how much equity you may have. If you have enough equity to cover a 20% down payment on your next home, you will not have to pay private mortgage insurance--which saves you money in the long run!
  4. A strong overall real estate market. If you notice that the average days on market in your area is decreasing and the values are increasing, that's a good sign of a strong market and a great time to sell!
  5. Ask yourself if you can afford to sell your home. It's not free to sell your home and move to a new one. Before you consider selling, make sure you have money to not only cover moving costs, but preparing your home to sell.
  6. Your neighbors just made bank on their home. This is a good sign that you could make a lot of money on yours as well!
  7. You're tired of your neighborhood. Maybe you just need a new area to call home! Listen to your gut!

You Received an Offer on Your Home! Now…to Accept it or Reject it?

It's a great day for you as a home seller when you receive an offer on your home, but what should you do next? On today's show, Dave and Robert talk about what you should consider before accepting or rejecting an offer. It's not all about what price they offer! See the short list below and listen to the show for all the details, plus input from guest James Pulsipher with Fidelity Mortgage.

Real estate agent offer hand for customer sign agreement contract signature for buy or sell house. Real estate concept contact agreement concept

When considering an offer, the offer price isn't the only factor to consider! You should also consider:

  1. The amount of earnest money they will deposit. This is a good indication of how serious they are about their offer. A higher amount of earnest money, makes an offer stronger.
  2. The total number of contingencies. Contracts that have fewer contingencies are more likely to close in a timely fashion.
  3. The amount of the buyer's down payment. A higher down payment most likely means the buyer has the financial wherewithal to make it to the closing table if anything comes up along the way.
  4. The closing date the buyer is requesting. The buyer might need to close sooner than you are ready to move. On the flip side, the buyer might not be able to close soon enough for your circumstances. Keep this in mind!

Home Renovations You've Been Dreaming About—Cost & ROI

On today's show Dave and Robert talk about those home renovation projects you've been dreaming about—what'll they'll cost you, plus what you'll get in return for them when you go to sell (return on investment—or ROI). See the short list below and listen to the show for all the details!

Modern Kitchen with Teal Base Cabinets
Elegant bathroom with long white vanity cabinet
  1. Adding a deck or patio
    • Cost: $6,000-$10,000
    • ROI: More than 100%!
  2. Updating your garage door
    • Cost: $1,000
    • ROI: 85% when you hire it out and 235% ROI if you do it yourself
  3. New vinyl windows
    • Cost: Average $550/window if you hire the project out
    • ROI: About 80% ROI, plus savings on energy costs
  4. Hardwood flooring
    • Cost: About $5,000-$7,000 depending on the size of your home
    • ROI: 91% and a lifetime of beautiful floors
  5. Full kitchen renovation
    • Cost: Average of about $65,000
    • ROI: You'll get about $45,000 back
  6. Bathroom remodel
    • Cost: $35,000+
    • ROI: 50% and a bit more if you DIY the project
  7. Landscaping upgrade
    • Cost: Varies depending on your landscaping plan
    • ROI: 100% or more
  8. Basement conversion
    • Cost: $40,000-$50,000
    • ROI: 60% or more

How to Find the Best Real Estate Agent for You

Finding the right real estate agent for you is one of the most vital parts of the home buying or selling process. A great real estate agent will make the experience smooth, enjoyable and help you meet your real estate goals. Despite being one of the most important parts of the process, a lot of people don't put a lot of time or thought into choosing an agent. On today's show, Robert and Dave talk about how you can find the right agent for you and make sure you have an enjoyable experience! Read the short list below and listen to the show for more details.

Female Real Estate agent offer home ownership and life insurance to young couple.
  1. Ask your friends and family for any suggestions.
  2. Check online to verify that the agent has great reviews and at least 25 sales in the last year. Experience matters when it comes to problem solving during each unique home buying or selling experience.
  3. Interview the agent in person to get a feel for their personality, work style and communication techniques. You won't be a personality match with every agent. Find one that you like and trust your gut!
  4. Make sure the agent is responsive and quick to answer your questions. This will make a huge difference in how you experience the home buying or selling process.

Common Emotional Mistakes Home Buyers Make

Buying a home is an emotional process, but don't let emotions get in the way of making good decisions during the home buying process. Today on the show, Dave and Robert talk about the most common emotional mistakes home buyers make and how you can avoid them yourself! See the short list below and listen to the show for more details.

couple looking on house
  1. Falling in love with a house you can't afford!
  2. Not looking into all your different mortgage options that will have long-term effects.
  3. Assuming that there's not a better home out there for you. If there are snags with one home, chances are you can find a similar home with a better situation!
  4. Becoming desperate during the home buying process.
  5. Overlooking important flaws in a home you think you love. Some things are very difficult or almost impossible to change!
  6. Overestimating your handyman skills.
  7. Rushing to put in your offer before you are ready.