Thank you to Anthony Mosley at VanDyke Mortgage for giving us permission to reprint this helpful article. Here are some good final tips when you are buying a home before the final closing.
You put a lot of effort into finding the right house, and now that your closing is just days away, you're finally ready to start calling your new place home. Before this can happen, however, you should do a final walk-through of the property.
What is a final walk-through?
A final walk-through isn't a home inspection (that typically takes place in conjunction with your offer). It's not the time to request new repairs, either. Instead, this is an opportunity to make sure the condition of the home is as expected. Specifically, you'll want to confirm there haven't been any unexpected or unwanted changes made to the property.
What should you look for?
Make sure there isn't any move-out damage and that all your requested repairs have been made. You'll also want to check that no extra furnishings have been left behind and that everything included in the home price -- items like appliances, light fixtures or window blinds -- are in place and in good condition. Use a checklist to guide you through this process.
When does it take place?
The final walk-through can happen anywhere from a few days prior to your closing to just a few hours before.
Finally, be sure to bring a copy of your contract along for reference and consider asking your real estate agent or a home inspector to help you double-check everything and verify repairs. Remember, this is your last chance to give the property a good once-over before you legally claim it as your own.
Are you wondering if you are ready to move? It can be a big decision that involves financial, emotional, and personal things to consider. So is it time to get serious about finding a new place to live? Maybe your children have been telling you it is time to get a smaller house. Or maybe you are feeling more lonely now that your friends no longer live close. Perhaps you want to protect your investment and sell while prices are high. Whatever the case, this quiz can help you think through all the options.
Take the Quiz:
Q: What does your financial planner say?
Q: Is the value of your home at the right point in the market to sell?
Q: Are you able to stay in your house safely?
Q: Are you able to participate in an active social life?
Q: Are you close to needed services?
Q: Are you able to keep up with the maintenance of the home?
Q: Do you have a plan in place if something changed suddenly or unexpectedly?
Did you choose primarily the first answer to each question? If so, you have work to do! It is time to reach out to your financial professionals, care providers, and family, and start thinking about if your current living situation is right for you. It can be hard to have these kinds of conversations, but it is so much less stress in the long run if you are proactive.
Do you need help finding the providers or professionals that are right for you? Since we are licensed senior specialists, we have a wide network of connections. Feel free to contact us and we will introduce you to someone we trust.
If you mostly choose the second answer to each question, congratulations! You have done the work to make sure that you are planning ahead, and have a home that meets your needs.
Were most of your answers the third option? Great news, that means it is may be a great time to sell your home! Right now market prices in West Michigan make it a sellers market where you can get a good price for your house without waiting a long time. If you are interested in seeing if this might be a good fit for you, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your options with you for no charge!
Winter can bring some extra safety challenges, especially for older people. Taking the time to make sure you plan ahead will help make the winter as enjoyable as possible, whether you are someone who loves the snow or wishes you could go south for the winter!
Avoid Falls on the Ice
Safety first when it comes to ice and snow! Make sure that you minimize your risk in the winter by:
If you do fall, you can make sure that you minimize the damage by:
For some seniors, the ice and snow are a huge barrier to getting out. If this is the case it might be time to start thinking about buying a new property. You can either move into a condo, where all your maintenance needs are taken care of for you, or a group living situation. There are several that will allow you to connect with other seniors, meet new friends, and be able to find fun things to do even without going out. If the snow this year is making you feel like now is the time, be sure to contact us!
Stock Up On Essentials
When the snow and ice get too bad, the best advice is always to stay in side and weather the storm. Make sure that you are prepared for a few days at home if needed, and stock up on the essentials like:
Get Your Furnace Checked
Your furnace should be checked every winter. Not only does regular maintenance help keep it running efficiently, but you can also make sure you are not at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
It will also keep it running so you don't have to suffer through losing your heat for any amount of time.
If you have a fireplace, now is a good time to get that checked too!
Beat the Winter Blues
The problem that no one likes to talk about when it comes to winter safety is the winter blues. This can effect anyone, but especially seniors who may have a harder time getting out. Here are some tips to help:
What about you? What are your tips for making winter great?
As we get older, sometimes the Thanksgiving and Christmas season can get more difficult. We may not be able to host the parties that we once did, or be dealing with the loss of a loved one. It is a time that many seniors feel lonely. Don't let the winter blues get you down this year, instead you can build new traditions.
Reach Out to Family
When we have lost touch with loved ones, it can be hard to be the one to reach out. But it is possible that your friend or family member may miss you just as much.
Don't leave all the social media fun to your kids. Try signing up for Facebook, and see pictures and posts from loved ones, even when they are far away. And you never know which of your old friends may be doing the same thing that you can find and reconnect with! If you are concerned about safety online or not sure where to get started, click here to read this article.
You have a whole lifetime of experience and skills! And you can still those to help others. One of the biggest ways you can feel better is my focusing on giving back. Here are several ideas:
Make New Friends
Last, but definitely not least, you can make some new friends!
Wherever you live, there are groups for seniors who are looking to connect. You can find a list of several different ones in West Michigan by city by visiting our Senior Resource page.
What about you? What is your favorite way to reconnect during the holidays?
One question that I get asked all the time is when is the best time to move. For older seniors this is especially challenging, as they want to make sure to get the best return on the investment of their home, but also not get stuck in a position where they "have to" move because of illness or injury when it is not good timing.
If you have been on the fence about whether to wait another year, I recommend that you go ahead and get started on the selling process. Interest rates and home prices are both ideal to make a move. We are in that sweet spot where it is good to be a buyer and a seller.
Interest rates are projected to go up by almost a full percentage point by the end of next year. This makes it more difficult for buyers to buy your home, and also will impact how much your mortgage is if you are buying a condo or smaller place to live.
Home prices have gone up significantly in the last few years. This means that you are in a fantastic spot market-wise to sell your home and get the most out of it. While they may go up a bit more, so will the homes you want to buy, and so will rental prices if you are moving to a rental space instead of buying again.
Combine that with the interest rate, and waiting a year could make the move less profitable for you.
Always keep in mind that if you are selling an older home, you may need to do some updates on it to maximize your return on investment. The sooner you get started on this, the more likely that you will be able to sell when you want to.
Additionally, while some people think that selling in the winter could be worse for sellers, nothing is further from the truth. While you may have fewer people walk through your home, those that do come through will be much more serious and ready to buy! They also may be trying to complete the sale before the end of the year for tax reasons.
If you are ready to start thinking about buying or selling, please get in touch. Since we specialize in working with seniors, we will be able to help you have a smooth transition!
The last thing that you want is a call that your elderly parent has fallen or gotten hurt in some other way. The best way to avoid a call like that is prevention. Here are some tips to get you started!
Safety Around the House
Does your parent's current home provide a safe space? Often older adults wait too long to move, making the risk of injury higher because of things like stairs, ledges, or inaccessible bathrooms. There are some things that you can do no matter what space they are in:
In Case of Emergency
What happens if they do have a problem? Is there a plan in place for immediate help? Some things to consider:
Safety When Out
While you can control a lot of things about the space you spend most time in, when you go out is where a lot of accidents happen due to unexpected things. If you do these things you will minimize such events, or at least be prepared to respond.
If you can keep these things in mind, it can make a big difference!
If you do feel like it is time to move, we would love to help you. We are certified senior specialists who can help make the transition as easy as possible. Get in touch!
If you think about technology as something only for young people, then it is time to show you some of these amazing new fangled things made to help people with independence and mobility - and some for fun!
Under the Counter Jar Opener
Opening jars can be a challenge even if you don't have arthritis. This easy to install jar opener goes right under your countertop and makes it simple.
You might love it so much you want to buy one for your parents and yourself!
Raised Garden on Wheels
Robot house cleaner
It can be very costly to hire someone to do the chores that an elderly person is not able to do any more on their own.
So how about join the robot revolution, and get a Roomba to clean the floors.
Even if a senior doesn't feel very tech savvy, the nice thing is that it can be set up to do everything automatically so that you never have to worry about it again.
Many older adults find themselves ready to downsize. You might be doing it for your own home, or you may be helping elderly parents. Either way, it can seem like a daunting task! There are many emotions happening, on top of the actual work of cleaning, sorting, selling, and donating items. Not sure where to start?
Involve Parents In the Discussion
If you are downsizing for yourself, you can skip this part.
However, if you are an adult child, and feel that it is time for your parents to move out of a big house and into something more manageable, remember to involve them in the decisions. Of course every situation is different, but the more communication the better in general. Some tips for making the conversation as smooth as possible:
Talk to Family First
Along the same lines of communication, now is a good time to reach out to siblings (yours and possibly your parents'), cousins, nieces and nephews, etc. You might be surprised of the things that you don't find valuable that are very meaningful to someone else in the family. The last thing you want is to create hurt feelings by throwing something out that someone wanted.
Find Out What Has More Than Sentimental Value
While sentimental value is real, it is easy for that to spill into assumptions about what has monetary value. I have seen people sell extremely valuable items for $2 at a garage sale because they didn't have personal attachment to it, and on the other end hang on to things forever that they can't "get what it's worth."
Because of the huge variety of value in various items, it is important to get expert advice. Click here to read an article from Forbes that will give you a place to start. You will get the most accurate pricing from talking to someone who doesn't have a stake in the appraisal. Someone who owns an antique store for example has a vested interest in making a profit on the sale.
You can also write down all the information you can about the item (brand name, year, etc.) and do an online search. You might be able to find similar items on eBay.com or other sites that will give you some idea about what it is currently selling for.
Because searching every individual item can be exhausting, going through the other steps of sorting and finding family homes for what you can first will really help here.
Preserve What Is Important
If there are things that you or a family member wants to hold on to, this is a great time to make sure that it is preserved properly so that future generations will be able to enjoy it. Often photos and documents are the most likely to suffer the deterioration of age. However other things can be lost too. A friend of mine had an old film camera from a grandparent. They sealed it in a plastic tub, but the roof leaked and water still got into the tub, completely destroying it. Make sure that you know the proper process for each type of thing that you want to save. Also, there will be different tips depending on if you simply want to repurpose an item, compared to maintaining it's market value. Furniture is one of the examples of this. If you are only repurposing it, then painting it might make the most sense, but for some pieces much of their value will be lost along with the original finish. Here are a few resources to get started:
Give What You Can
Once you decide what to keep, what will go to family, and what to sell, there will inevitably be things left over. You still want to keep as much of it out of the landfill as possible. (As tempting as it might be sometimes to just rent a dumpster). As the old adage says, one man's trash...
If you are not sure where to donate the types of goods you have left, you can check out this extensive list from Miss Minimalist of 101 different places to try, and exactly what types of goods they will accept. Sometimes knowing that something is going to a good home can help with the emotional stress as well.
It is officially the first day of summer! And most kids have been out of school for a few days now, and may be going a little stir crazy.
If you are one of those grandparents who loves to use any excuse possible to get your grandkids for some quality time, summer is the perfect time. And in West Michigan there is plenty to do!
Are you looking for where you can buy grandparent memberships, or other ideas for things to do this summer?
Then you are in luck! Here are several ideas for grandparents and their grandkids in Grand Rapids and the surrounding areas.
If you find a place you love, then you want to return again and again. Memberships are great for that, and there are several Grand Rapids area attractions that have memberships designed especially for grandparents and their grandchildren.
Parks and Outdoor Fun
Kent County Parks has a wide range of outdoor opportunities including:
Summer Reading Programs
Don't forget about the rainy days! Books are a fun way to enjoy the summer when you have had enough of the sun and splashing. There are several great summer reading programs in West Michigan. Here are just a couple you can check out:
In every industry, the professionals can be guilty of throwing around terms, including in real estate. One of those terms is "inventory." Often, when we hear that word, we think of boxes sitting on a shelf, but it also applies to housing.
Housing inventory refers to the number of houses available for sale, in comparison to the demand for those houses.
Right now, there are a lot of people buying, but not as many selling. That means inventory in West Michigan is very low.
At the end of 2008 when the housing market crashed, a lot of people lost significant wealth because their home values went down. For senior citizens who had no choice but to move, it hurt them the hardest. They didn't have time to wait for the market to go back up.
Real estate markets always go up and down. Right now we are in a significant up cycle, meaning that if you have been wondering if now is a good time - it is!
But won't it keep going up?
Have you ever heard the term "gambler's fallacy?" It means that people often see things going up, and assume it will keep going that way. They push their luck too far, and then lose everything.
I have seen this happen in real estate again and again as well.
The real estate high that we are seeing right now won't last forever, for several reasons:
1) Interest rates are starting to go back up. They couldn't stay at zero forever, and are likely to continue going up over the next few years. Higher interest rates affects buyer's ability to actually buy. Right now while interest rates are still low make it a great time to get your house on the market.
2) More building and development. Particularly in West Michigan we have a housing crisis. Not only are there more buyers than houses, there are more renters than houses. That has been pushing prices up, and up, and up. Developers and investors are taking notice and starting to build new units and developments.
3) Inflation. Inflation is always happening, meaning that the value of your home today will change later on, even if the dollar amount stays the same.
The only thing in life you can count on...
There is an old saying that the only thing you can count on is change. This is definitely true. While no one can predict exactly what will happen in the future, I can tell you that right now you are ideally positioned to make more of a profit that you are likely to otherwise.
If you have been putting off moving for one reason or another, maybe the current market conditions are the perfect excuse to get packing for your next adventure!