Stewart Woodward, REALTOR Selling Metro West Real Estate


Posted by Stewart Woodward on 1/18/2018

Newlywed life is such an exciting time! Itís also a time many couples decide to buy their first home together. And therefore aside from having a wedding, itís the first major financial decision couples make together. Hit the ground running together with these tips:

Co-managing money: If they havenít already combined finances before the big day many couples choose to do so after marriage. Learning how to manage money on your own is a task unto itself but managing it together is a vital skill for newlyweds. You can avoid unnecessary fights over money down the road by getting on the same page financially now. Get really honest with each other. Put everything on the table, especially various debts you each may hold, from credit cards to school loans itís all important to get a true snapshot of your combined finances.

Create a budget for your life together. Calculate your combined expenses. Consider where you can cut back on services and habits to save money and what you need to add to your budget. Be sure to consider: savings for a nest egg, vacations, car repairs, and unexpected medical emergencies. You may also want to begin saving up to start a family or plan for retirement. When you have a complete picture of your finances you can then look at whatís left over. What kind of down payment and/or monthly payments will you be able to realistically make with this amount?

Youíll also want to talk to each other about your lifestyle goals. If youíve always dreamed of living in the city or a small tightly-knit town. Perhaps youíve always imagined a large, spacious home while your partner is thinking of something smaller to focus more on traveling. Do you want a garage, a big yard, a pool or to be close to family? Getting clear on what you each expect from your ideal home will help you find the perfect middle ground where you will both be happy.

Itís best to be able to make at least 20% of the house cost for a down payment. The higher the down payment you can make the better as youíll have lower monthly payments and wonít get hit with extra fees from your insurance. If you canít save up this amount, look into first-time buyer loans which allow new buyers to make a smaller down payment.

Be prepared. Remember to plan and budget for closing costs on your home. You donít want this price tag to catch you off guard. Other things to be financially prepared for throughout the year are property taxes, homeownerís insurance as well as maintenance and upkeep.

Being newlyweds is an exciting time where you have the rest of your life together to look forward to. And buying a new home, in a lot of ways, can feel like the first major step in laying down the foundation for a long, happy life together.




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Posted by Stewart Woodward on 1/11/2018

Is a two-car garage a luxury or an essential feature of a home? While it may not always be a top priority for first-time buyers, many seasoned homeowners consider it a "must have" item. In a lot of cases, it all boils down to expectations and what people have grown accustomed to.

Climate also plays a key role in how important a two-car garage is to you and your family. However, even if your winters are mild and your snowfall amounts are slim to nil, there are other weather conditions that a garage can shield you (and your cars) from.

Being able to park your vehicles in a protected, enclosed area is especially welcome when you have an armful of groceries, inclement weather outside, small children in tow, or an elderly parent to care for. Once you start adding up the advantages of having a two-car garage, it makes you wonder how you ever got along without one!

  • Crime deterrent: No matter where you live, if your cars are parked in your driveway or on the street overnight, they're going to be much more vulnerable to vandalism, car theft, and break-ins. From a personal safety standpoint, it can also be safer to drive into your garage, close the automatic door behind you, and go directly into your house. Even if you live in a low-crime neighborhood, safety habits are a good thing to cultivate, especially if you sometimes arrive home late at night.
  • Valuable storage space: As you acquire more possessions and your family grows, storage space becomes more of a precious commodity. In addition to protecting your vehicles from the elements, spacious garages are also great for housing lawn mowers, bicycles, barbecue grills, golf clubs, yard maintenance equipment, spare tires, gardening supplies, firewood, tools, and lawn chairs. If you don't have a backyard shed, then garage storage space is indispensable.
  • Protection From The Elements: Besides wind and rain and dark of night, other elements your cars don't need to be subjected to include the hot, baking sun, bird droppings, and air pollution. And speaking of the hot, baking sun: Keeping your cars in a cool, shady place during the hot summer months can help spare you the discomfort of having to sit down in a sweltering vehicle! For those who live in chillier climates, garages can make your morning commute just a little less bone chilling!
  • Privacy: There are a lot of benefits to being sociable with your neighbors, but it's also nice to be able to pick and choose when those social interactions takes place! Parking in your garage can provide you with an extra measure of privacy when you don't have the time (or inclination) to stop and chat.
Whether or not a 2-car garage is a "must-have" for your next home depends on your climate, your neighborhood, and what you've grown accustomed to. For some people, a one-car garage may suit their needs just fine -- especially if they only own one vehicle and have all their yard maintenance taken care of by an HOA.





Posted by Stewart Woodward on 1/4/2018

Buying a retirement home is a big decision. And doing so before you retire is a smart decision. However, youíre also in a completely different place than you will be when youíre retired or as you age. You donít know what the future holds. Itís easy to take our mobility for granted until we lost it. There are a few things you should look for in a home to plan for the future and whatever it may hold.

Many empty-nesters look to downsize when buying their next home. And this very well might be the perfect option for you. But first, consider how often and how many guests you may want to have over at a time. Will you host holiday dinners or want to have room for grandchildren to stay for the night? If you have a large family or one that is growing many couples find they want the room to host dinners or have a pull-out couch.

Youíll also want to plan ahead for the future when choosing the size and layout of your new home. Even if you downsize itís wise to put wide hallways and a single floor plan on your wishlist as you house hunt. If either of you has mobility limitations in the future youíll be glad to have such an accessible home.

The lower your monthly payments on your new mortgage, the better. But more ideally youíll want to consider homes in a price range that allow you to pay in full. Again, keeping retirement in mind keeping bills to a minimum so that either one of you can cover all costs on one sole income could save you from hardship down the line. Retirement is very different from what it used to be, often many people find themselves needing to take on part-time work to get by. Keeping expenses well below your monthly income can help to ensure you can spend your retirement years enjoying life in the way you want to.

In general, when planning retirement itís best to live below your means. Not only do you want to account for inflation costs but also for any unexpected large expenses that could crop up such as home repairs, emergency care, or car maintenance. Having an idea of what your future budget will be as well as your current one will help you make the best decisions for the years ahead now.

Buying a retirement home can save you money in the long run on bills like heating and electric. However, house hunting for the perfect home entails a lot more decisions that many couples realize. Remember to plan for your life both now and later when putting together your must have features for your new home.





Posted by Stewart Woodward on 12/28/2017

When you sell your home, it may be tempting to just try and put your home on the market yourself without any assistance. By hiring a real estate agent, youíll have a insurance policy of sorts that allows you to know that everything is taken care of throughout the process of selling. The general goal in selling a home is to sell it as fast as possible for the most amount of money that you can. A realtor should do a bit more for you than simply post the home and hope that it sells. Hereís what a great realtor who is looking to be an advocate for their sellers will do for you:


Put The Home On The Market For The Right Price


Selling a home at the right price is the single most important thing that can be done in the entire process. A good sellerís agent will pinpoint the right price for your home. If the home is priced too high, there will be no interest in the property. People will believe that the price can only come down. If the price is set too low, a bidding war can ensue, or buyers may wonder whatís wrong with the property. Thereís many different formulas and methods that agents will use to price the property right. The important thing is that the agent does his research.


The Market Needs To Be Marketed


Marketing is one thing that agents should be good at. A good sellerís agent will take good photos of a property or hire a professional photographer if needed. The photos and videos that are put up online are a big part of how homes get sold. Buyers want to know the property before they even see it in person. A realtor can help make this impression visible online.


Communicate With You


An agent should keep their sellers informed about whatís going on in the sale of their home. Even if offers havenít come in, realtors should be getting in touch with their clients regularly to update them on home showings, concerns, and open house dates. A good sellerís agent will regularly communicate with you throughout the sale of your home. At the start of the sale, youíll know a realtor is a good fit since theyíll return your calls and e-mails promptly.


Be There For The Home Appraisal


When youíre selling your home, the appraisal can be one of the most nerve-wracking things that occurs during the entire process. Your agent should attend the appraisal to help clarify confusion and answer the appraiserís questions. The realtor will be educated on the recent updates that have been made to the home. These are what add immense value to the home.





Posted by Stewart Woodward on 12/21/2017

As a first-time home seller, it can be difficult to determine exactly what you need to do to prep your house for the real estate market. Lucky for you, we're here to teach you what it takes to sell a house in any real estate market, at any time.

Now, let's take a look at three important questions that every first-time home seller needs to consider:

1. Am I ready to sell my house?

For many first-time home sellers, the answer to this question is a resounding "No," and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

Adding a home to the real estate market requires home sellers to conduct plenty of real estate research. By doing so, a first-time home seller can determine how his or her house stacks up against comparable residences that are currently available.

Also, it may prove to be worthwhile to complete a home appraisal. This assessment will enable you to identify your house's strengths and weaknesses and complete any property repairs immediately.

2. After I sell my house, where will I go?

It is important for a first-time home seller to think about the big picture. Thus, you'll need to consider where you'll go after you sell your residence.

If you think about where you'd like to relocate, you can start planning accordingly. In fact, you can establish a home selling timeline and find ways to make the most of the time and resources available to you.

In addition, if you need to relocate as soon as possible, this may have far-flung effects on how you market your residence.

A home seller who needs to move right away may be more likely that others to list his or her house at a below-average price. On the other hand, a home seller who can afford to be patient can wait out the real estate market if necessary.

3. What should I expect when my home hits the real estate market?

Unfortunately, the housing market offers no guarantees. This means a dedicated first-time home seller who goes above and beyond the call of duty to prepare a home may watch his or her house linger on the real estate market for months. On the other hand, a home seller who does minimal prep work may watch his or her house sell immediately.

When it comes to getting ready to add your house to the real estate market, there is no reason to leave anything to chance. With an expert real estate agent at your side, you can boost your chances of getting the best results during the home selling journey.

An expert real estate agent can answer any questions that you may have about selling your house. Plus, he or she will help you list your residence, promote it to potential property buyers and set up home showings and open houses.

Ready to add your house to the real estate market? Use the aforementioned tips, and any first-time home seller can seamlessly navigate the home selling process.




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