Monthly Archives :

July 2020

4 Tips that Coud Reduce Future Home Maintenance

1000 500 Sam Radbil

Staying current with the upkeep of a house is no picnic. Ideas that seem good at the time may end up being a headache to perform maintenance or general upkeep thereafter.

To have more time on the weekend to yourself and make sure you are not stuck dealing with endless home maintenance, it pays to plan. Here are 4 house upgrade tips that should reduce maintenance requirements. 

Garden, Yard, Courtyard, Back Garden, Flowers, Grass

Fix Any Plumbing Issues

Plumbing issues that continue to be problematic aren’t going to go away. For instance, a leaky faucet won’t suddenly get fixed by itself and no longer stop leaking. It is likely to become worse over time. Also, it may be an indication of other problems with an older bathroom that’s poorly constructed such as bad pipes and water leaking to the floor below.

By tackling plumbing problems or getting in a certified professional plumber to do so, it can ward off potentially far worse problems down the line. Water damage can be catastrophic for home values and could make the space unlivable if a flood were to happen while you were away. 

Install Vinyl Siding

Bare exterior walls may look pretty, but they leave the brickwork exposed to the elements. This includes dirt, snow, wind, and more. The potential to have moisture get into the brickwork and create future problems is present in this scenario. 

Using vinyl siding fitted to the exterior walls of your home reduces the risks of exterior conditions cause a problem. They’re more durable and protective than the wooden siding, they handle high winds better, and don’t require painting either. It’s available in a variety of colors to match the exterior of the house too.

The maintenance is also low because the color doesn’t lose its crispness and it is easily cleaned too. Furthermore, replacement siding goes over the top of newer vinyl sidings, making its future replacement an easier installation too. 

Add Landscape Gardening

Adding some landscape gardening acts to break up a garden into small areas that are easier to manage. Not only does the lawn become a small area to deal with, but it provides distinctive areas for different plant life which cuts down on the physical pace left for a lawn

Also, when choosing plants that are durable and don’t need as much care and attention to flourish, it limits the amount of necessary gardening time on otherwise busy weekends too. 

Use Longer Life Lightbulbs

Having light bulbs die on you too frequently is a pain. Where do you keep the spare bulbs again? Is it a good time to balance on the chair to reach the light bulb to change it or should you wait until you’ve had breakfast first?

Longer-lasting eco bulbs have 3-20 times the duration of older incandescent light bulbs. This means changing a bulb won’t be necessary anywhere near as often as before. At least that’s one less thing on the honey-do list to get done. 

By strategically choosing the changes to make, it’s possible to cut back on the time spent tending to your home each weekend. Then you can finally relax more. 

tech for home sales

4 Types of Real Estate Tech Tools That Help Sell Homes Faster

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Embracing real estate technology has really boosted the industry, a perfect example of the benefits of quality tech in an industry. In fact, real estate is one of the fields that saw an increase in tech tools, which can improve and streamline entire processes. The pandemic pushed us toward mass digitalization even faster.

Now, using real estate technology tools during the process of selling a home can help you create better rapport with your client by inspiring trust and encouraging engagement.

Innovation happens all the time. But, in order to properly utilize the tech tools available to you, you must be knowledgeable about what you use. For instance, avoid utilizing every new app or feature that makes enticing promises. Rather, research the most efficient real estate technology tools and incorporate them seamlessly into your process. To get you started, here are four tools that work well together to help you sell a home faster. 

Online Platforms for Real Estate Technology

The most important step in completing a transaction is the buyer’s ability to find and access your product in the first place. Nowadays, if your home isn’t listed online, it will probably take longer to find a buyer. Listing your property online saves time and extends your reach, while also increasing your credibility as a seller.

Therefore, it’s essential to find a trustworthy online platform that offers benefits to both you and your potential buyer. 

Virtual Tours

person holding gray video camera near green leaf plant during daytime

Real estate technology in the form of virtual tours has been beneficial to both industry professionals and their clients during the quarantine.

Plus, as social distancing remains critically important, offering a virtual tour can enable the client to see the home much better than pictures alone. Virtual tours also allow for mobility and freedom of movement, thereby allowing the potential buyer to view it anytime and anywhere. 

Especially if your client is moving from another state, virtual tours can also reduce the need to meet in person and, therefore, cut down on costs and time associated with transportation. This type of tour, in particular, has been especially useful for the rental side of real estate.

For instance, someone looking to relocate from Wisconsin to Minnesota can browse Minneapolis apartments and find a perfect fit without any commute. This works for selling homes, too, as clients can check out Minneapolis homes for sale from wherever they are. As a result, buyers are able to significantly reduce the time they spend attending open houses to narrow down their options.  

In addition to virtual tours, you might consider adding floor plans that will help your clients understand the flow of the property in a single glance. This revolutionary floor plan software is easy to use and it generates a professional 2D floor plan with less than 5 minutes of work. Just to be precise, by work we mean that you’ll have to scan the property with your mobile’s camera – simple as that.  Hence, you’ll not only capture higher quality leads but will create a memorable experience for your clients, all thanks to the virtual tours and floor plans.
Digital flyer real estate text message marketing is another great option for letting prospective buyers virtually view a listing. It texts property information to them when they request it and also notifies the listing agent by text and email they have a lead.

3D Staging

beige couch and armchair

Virtually staging as a real estate technology tool your home is a great option because it’s much less expensive than actually renting furniture and creating the display. Furthermore, the flexibility that comes with 3D staging is also worth noting because when you’re selling a house, you’re also selling a potential lifestyle. Therefore, you need tools to help you personalize the home and create different stories. 

Similar to real-life staging, you can even work with a company that specializes in 3D staging to help you paint the perfect picture for your potential customers. Plus, tools like this can assist you in highlighting the best features of the home and exploring different scenarios. Best of all, you don’t have to pay anyone to help you move the rented furniture or hire a cleaning company to clean up after you remove the furniture. Clearly, 3D staging is a more efficient and profitable tool all around.

Digital Paperwork 

person using MacBook Pro

One aspect that can truly make a difference is offering your clients the option to complete paperwork digitally, and a secure real estate platform or portal can make this possible. Especially in recent months when contact and exposure were reduced, companies and sellers working with digital paperwork have had an advantage. 

However, this option is ideal outside of the context of the pandemic, as well, because it reduces costs for both sides, it makes the entire process more efficient and faster, and it reduces waste. As long as you’re using a secure platform, there’s no reason not to implement digital paperwork — at least in the earlier stages of the process. 

These innovations and tools are truly only the beginning. The implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) will also change the industry and these processes. However, the relationship between sellers and buyers or agents and renters remains at the core of the process.

It is a business for and about people. As such, the goal should be to instill trust and show your open-mindedness and acceptance of innovation — and technology can do just that. 

home selling secrets

Hidden Secrets of the Home Selling Process in 2020

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This is often a question we ask ourselves if we need the money right away. Oftentimes we price our house too high due to the value it has for us. That is why sellers would often result in listing their house as it offers more money on the table.

Though the home selling process through listing takes a lot of time. With more work needed to be done, the longer the process, the more emotional you become. Direct selling your house would make you a considerable amount of money with fewer expenses. A local trusted buyer like United Home Offer would give you the possible offer you can have without breaking the bank.

If you have decided to go through the home selling process (even if it’s virtual) through listing, below is the guide for home selling:

Decide if You’re Looking For an Agent

The process of home selling can be tedious, stressful, and time-consuming. Deciding to have an agent is one of the first decisions you should make. Asking yourself if you would want to pay at least 3 to 6 percent of the findal price? Will the agent be able to provide all the necessary guidance and advice? Will you be able to get an agent that suits your personality? Discussing the pros and cons of seeking an agent with your friends and family will give you more inputs.

Deciding on the Final Selling Price

Deciding on competitive pricing is the first step in your marketing plan. The value of your house depends on location, condition, amenities, and warranty. Sentimental value is not one of them but it might cloud your judgment. An agent could conduct a market analysis to recommend the best price for your house. Because of the current decline in house sales, the median home in Texas is now at $247,400.

Prepare Your Marketing Plan

A listing agent should be able to ensure that your home is visible for potential buyers. Digital marketing has made selling your house to clients a lot easier in recent years. The internet, social media, and real estate websites have become suitable platforms in showcasing your house for sale. 

Before deciding an agent, you should discuss what marketing strategy he can offer. A unique and structured marketing plan will allow you to draw more potential buyers.

Preparing Your Home for a Makeover

Direct buyers should be able to buy your house without any renovations. But listing it would need you to prepare your house for your clients. First impressions count, spend time to clean, paint, and refresh your homes. A list of guidelines can also be given to you by your agent.

Open House and Showings

An agent would suggest you leave home if it is already listed. The sentimental value you have would prevent you from removing some personal items. Even though you might be the most competent person to showcase your home, it might not be a good idea. Instead of creating a welcoming environment, it may signal clients that you do not want to leave the house. An agent would be able to professionally discuss it with potential buyers

Never Hesitate to Negotiate

After days, weeks, months of waiting for potential clients, having one might make you hesitate to negotiate. But the best thing about listing your home in a listing market is that there is room for negotiation. Always remember that a reasonably priced house in a desirable location would have a lot more offers.  Avoid settling for bad offers. Let your agents list down the best offers and decide on what counter offer you would make.

Moving Out

Upon agreeing on the final selling price with the buyer, the escrow period would start. The period of finishing your documentation, scheduling for appraisal, and property inspection. To shorten this period, all documents should be prepared and most of your things are out of the house.

Prepare for a Property Appraiser

To make sure that the final selling price matches the actual value of the house, a property appraiser is called upon. Be sure to sustain the cleanliness of the house until the closing of the purchase. Cooperate with the property appraiser to avoid any complications with the sale. If a buyer backs out due to the inspection, raise this to your agent for your rights.

The Home Inspection

Pre-selling inspection is a good investment, it would address existing defects of your home. It would also shorten the listing to the closing period. A purchase agreement contingency would allow a buyer to back out. Major undeclared flows can be a reason for a buyer to back out. That is why inspection before selling gives you the benefit of addressing the defect. If all contingencies were met, remind the buyer to lift it in writing.

It’s Closing Time

As the day of the final step has come, both buyers and sellers can start relaxing. Your agent Should guide you with all the documentation, and paperwork needed to be signed during the closing meeting. During the meeting, prepare yourself for the final time you would be seeing your home. After a lot of signatures and verification done by both parties, the house is now officially sold.

Wrapping It Up

The process of home selling is tedious. It often cannot answer the question of how to sell your house fast. A lot of the processes can be shortened with proper guidance and preparations. You might be able to get your desired final selling price if you have stuck with the process. But due to the expenses, one might think that all of that work is not worth it. With United Home Offer, you can sell your house fast with fewer expenses. You might be able to get more than the final cut of your selling price.

new home furnishings

Furnishing Your New Home: 5 Things You Absolutely Need

1000 500 Sam Radbil

You’ve moved into your new home, and then you take a look around.

The older furnishings aren’t suiting the new room sizes and existing décor. They either don’t fill the space well, there’s too little of them (and replacements won’t match the existing pieces), or it’s just time to be out with the old and in with the new. 

To help you along, here are 5 things that you’ll want to get for your new home. 

A New Bed

If you’ve been dissatisfied with your existing mattress, then it might be time for a new one. 

The signs that you need a replacement include when it’s sagging in the middle, one side is lower, or it just doesn’t provide the level of support necessary for you. 

Also, if you’ve changed your sleeping posture previously – e.g. from a back sleeper to a side sleeper – then the current mattress might now be uncomfortable. 

In either case, getting a new mattress will do wonders for your sleep pattern. Be sure to search for the best online mattresses for your style of sleeping to be satisfied with the purchase. 

Desk Lamps and Standing Lamps

You may have decided to keep the existing lighting arrangements as they are. Perhaps they’re a little on the old side, but changing the lighting is not in the budget for now; other priorities are more important. In which case, what can you do to brighten up the darker rooms?

Changing to brighter bulbs is one option, but the bulb sockets will only accept up to a certain wattage. So, even with LEDs, there’s a limit to what you can do here. 

Another option is to furnish the darker rooms with standing lamps with an upplight design that projects light to the ceiling where it can spread across the ceiling. Desk lamps are also useful to illuminate common seating areas and other places where people like to relax. 


Add a bookcase to store your books and other items in an organized manner. 

If you’re moved into a larger home, perhaps these were previously put into storage or situated in the garage because the room sizes were restrictive. That’s no longer the case if the rooms are larger or there’s more of them. So, take advantage of the extra space to make your favorite books more accessible. 

Drawings or Paintings

If you dislike bare painted walls, then you’ll need some artistic drawings, paintings, or photography that’s framed to add some much-needed color and/or creativity to living spaces. If paintings are beyond your budget, then look at framed photographs – you can use some of your own – which is an inexpensive way to personalize. 

It stands to reason that before you do this, you might also wish to change the color scheme in the home first to avoid trying to cover up an ugly color with the artwork. 

Floor Rugs

If the new home has more hardwood flooring than you’re used to, then you may be facing cold floors in the morning in your bare feet. That will get old fast!

While going back to carpeting is probably not what you’re looking for, a solution must be found.

We’d suggest looking into getting a few carefully chosen floor rugs for a certain room. Make sure these aren’t areas where people will be rushing around unless you plan to stick the rugs to the floor to prevent them from slipping around. 

When you’re furnishing your home, be sure not to do too much. Overstuffing each room will make them feel smaller than they are, and that’s not your intended goal. 

home foreclosure

The Impact of COVID-19 on Mortgage Foreclosures in 2020

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The pandemic has put our economy in a tailspin, and many of us are out of work. Thankfully the federal government and housing agencies, as well as mortgage lenders and servicers, have taken action to protect homeowners from foreclosure during this crisis.

mortgage Scrabble tiles

This article will outline federal protections for homeowners who are having trouble paying their mortgage due to income loss caused by COVID-19 safe practices and distancing protocols, as well as mortgage relief options for all homeowners and how to obtain them.

I’ve Missed Mortgage Payments and am Afraid of Mortgage Foreclosure

First, know that mortgage foreclosure is a process that differs by state. Some states require a judicial proceeding to foreclose, others do not and allow servicers or lenders to mortgage foreclosure by right of contract.

According to Veronica Baxter, an established legal assistant to Philadelphia Bankruptcy Attorney David Offen says,”

“Under federal law, a lender or servicer cannot begin the state foreclosure process until your loan is more than 120 days past due. They are required to send you several notices in the meantime, explaining options for curing the default on the loan, requesting forbearance, requesting a loan modification, or enrolling in some other loss mitigation program. If foreclosure is imminent, it won’t come as a surprise to you.”

The pandemic has created a financial emergency for many families who were financially secure previously. Federal and state governments have stepped in to help.

Mortgage Foreclosures under the CARES Act

The CARES Act mandated a moratorium on foreclosures for 60 days after March 18, 2020. This means that your mortgage lender or loan servicer can not begin or continue a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure against you, or enter a foreclosure judgment, or sell a foreclosed at auction, for 60 days after March 18, 2020.

Those 60 days have expired. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) subsequently announced that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were extending the moratorium on foreclosures to May 17, 2020, and then June 30, 2020, and then August 31, 2020. The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) has also imposed a moratorium on foreclosures on FHA-insured mortgages through August 31, 2020.

Mortgage Forbearance under the CARES Act

Just because mortgage lenders and servicers are prevented from foreclosing now does not mean that they can’t foreclose once the pandemic crisis is over, if you don’t make your payments or make arrangements for forbearance.

The CARES Act gave homeowners who are in financial distress due to COVID-19 the right to request payment forbearance for up to 180 days and to request a forbearance extension for another 180 days. However, this forbearance does not go into effect automatically – you must contact your lender or loan servicer to request it.=

Although forbearance does not come with any additional costs, fees, or penalties, interest does continue to accrue on your loan, and eventually, the missed payments must be paid.

How do I request mortgage forbearance?

Before you call your mortgage lender or servicer, have your account number handy and be ready to explain that you are in financial distress due to the pandemic. Chances are you will be on hold a while as many homeowners are in the same predicament as you are. When you get an agent on the phone, you will want to ask the following questions:

  • What are my options to temporarily reduce or suspend my monthly mortgage payments?
  • Am I eligible for forbearance, loan modification, or any other mortgage relief?

If you have already missed payments due to the pandemic, also ask if it is possible for the lender or servicer to waive any late charges that have accrued already.

Keep track of who you speak to and when, and once you are in forbearance or get a loan modification, be sure to get those arrangements in writing from your lender or servicer.

How do I repay the forbearance payments?

Generally, borrowers must repay forbearance payments either:

  • by paying one lump sum when the forbearance expires;
  • by adding an amount to the existing monthly payments over a set number of months;
  • by extending the loan term with additional monthly payments; 
  • by paying a lump sum at the end of the loan term.

Discuss your repayment options with your lender or servicer when you ask for forbearance, so there are no surprises. The following types of loans have these options:

Mortgages through Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac

  • Borrowers may repay the past due amount within 12 months after forbearance terminates;
  • Borrowers may extend their mortgage term by the number of months in forbearance;
  • Borrowers may add the past due amount to the loan balance, and extend the term of the loan by the number of months necessary to make their monthly mortgage payment the same;
  • Borrowers may add the past due amount to the loan balance and extend the loan term for 40 years (480 months), lowering their monthly payment but paying more in interest.

FHA Mortgages

  • Borrowers may enter into a repayment plan apart from the mortgage payments, to repay the past due amount within 6 months after forbearance ends;
  • Borrowers may extend the loan term to 30 years (360 months) and add the past due amount to their monthly payments;
  • Borrowers can pay the past due amount in a  lump sum at the end of the loan term.

Veterans Administration (VA) Loans

  • Borrowers may enter into a repayment plan to repay past due amount within 6 months after forbearance ends;
  • Borrowers may add the past due amount to the loan balance and extend the loan term to 30 years (360 months);
  • Borrowers can cap payments 31% of gross income by extending the loan term to 30 years (360 months) with the option to forbear the principal.

What if my mortgage is not backed by the federal government? 

You may still be eligible for mortgage relief, whether it is forbearance or a loan modification. Contact your lender or servicer. Many financial institutions are working with their borrowers to weather the current crisis. There might be more detailed information about mortgage relief options on your lender or servicer’s website.

What if I can’t resume making mortgage payments when forbearance ends?

Again, contact your lender or servicer to find out what your options are. 

There is no telling when this health crisis will end and when the economy will recover. Mortgage relief options may be offered and extended into the foreseeable future. Whatever your circumstances, safeguard your good credit and your home by communicating with your servicer or lender. They will work with you because they would rather be paid than foreclose.