Using Your Tax Refund as Part of Your House Down Payment

Take a look to see what homes are selling for in your area! Or shop to see what’s available to buy! Either way, you can depend on Catherine Mitchell Realty to assist you. Catherine practices real estate with a very focused approach, giving you a singular experience designed to meet your needs exactly. You will achieve your goals, moving in to a new home easily, with Catherine staying one step ahead to anticipate and solve any bumps in the road.

Saving up for the down payment for a house is one of the most challenging aspects of buying a home, even if it’s not your first home. But there’s good news during tax season! You can get a little boost by using your tax refund. While doing taxes is not a task most people enjoy, if you are shopping for a house, it’s time to get started.

Down Payment Amounts

So how much do you need to put down? Most lenders require a down payment of at least 3 percent of the purchase price. If you qualify for a Federal Housing Administration loan, you must put down 3.5 percent. You will want to consult a lender to learn about the various loan programs available, and discern which one is right for your situation. Lenders I can recommend are: Sandy Dickinson (sdickinson@summitfunding.net) with Summit Funding and Leslie Church (leslie.church@phmc.com) with Platinum Home Mortgage. Let them know I gave you their name to receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Should You Use a Tax Refund?

According to IRS information, the average tax return is around $3,000, so those funds will be a big help towards reaching your down payment goal. Definitely include your refund in any plans you are making regarding saving for a down payment. You might save your refunds for a few years and end up with a nice sum to apply towards the purchase of your new home.

Down Payment Assistance

Need an extra boost to get to your goal? North Carolina has down payment assistance programs that can help buyers, including up to $15,000 in assistance if you’re buying in Mecklenburg County. You can check with the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency to learn more and find out if you qualify. Get in touch with Sandy or Leslie (contact info above) or contact me if you have questions about the down payment for your future home.

Connect with Catherine:

As The Intentional Realtor, my goal is to help you achieve the reality of homeownership. I’ll do my best to make sure that you receive the best representation possible when it comes to buying a home and that you understand all the duties of your fiduciary, which is why securing a good Realtor is in your best interest to help you find the home of your dreams.

For this and more real estate needs by The Intentional Realtor, connect with me, Catherine Mitchell, at (704) 898-0605 http://www.catherinemitchellrealty.com/

#connectwithcatherine

7 Fixes to Prepare Your House for the Spring Sales Boom

Take a look to see what homes are selling for in your area! Or shop to see what’s available to buy! Either way, you can depend on Catherine Mitchell Realty to assist you. Catherine practices real estate with a very focused approach, giving you a singular experience designed to meet your needs exactly. You will achieve your goals, moving in to a new home easily, with Catherine staying one step ahead to anticipate and solve any bumps in the road.

Spring is one of the best times to sell a house. If you plan to sell your house in a few months, you might be thinking you have plenty of time. After all, you just put away the holiday decorations. However, selling your house is not as simple as calling your Charlotte real estate agent and saying, “Put a sign out front; we’re ready!”

How to Prepare Your Home to Sell
The home you want to sell is one you may have lived in for a while. You may love it and have fond memories of living in it. Selling can be hard, especially when you learn you need to make changes to the house before you can sell it. Making those changes can feel insulting, as though your house isn’t good enough to please people just the way it is. Or it feels like a drag; why spend money improving something just so you can leave? The harsh truth is that buyers have a critical eye, and during the spring sales boom, more houses are on the market. During an open house or viewing, even a few little things might be marked as red flags in the buyer’s eye. Making your home look more appealing is going to help you sell the house and ask for a higher price.

7 Fixes to Help Sell Your Home
Selling your home does not require a complete makeover. However, there are some things that must be changed or fixed if you’re going to find a buyer.

1. Big repairs. If the roof is full of holes or the heating system is kaput, fix the problem. Few buyers are looking for a major home project before moving in. Some savvy buyers will accept a deal, but only after heavily negotiating the price.

2. Kitchen. The kitchen sells the house. Period. Charlotte real estate agents will tell you a kitchen remodel will fetch between 85 and 100 percent return on that investment. If you want to sell your house this year, get going on that kitchen renovation. If you can’t afford an entire remodel, consider changing the cabinets, countertops, or floors, or some combination. Even refacing the cabinets can make a big difference. Appliances do not have to be the latest and greatest, but if yours are very old, replace them with a new model, even if it’s a basic one.

3. Bathrooms. Bathrooms are a big item on any homebuyer’s shopping list. If yours still has linoleum floors, it’s time to consider a makeover. Even a few small changes to the lights, fixtures, and floors make a big difference.

4. Paint. A fresh coat of paint will brighten the space. Bold colors can be toned down to help buyers see the house in a more neutral way. Remember, you want them to see themselves in it, not think about the custom mural of your family painted on the wall.

5. Lighting. Homes with a good amount of light sell better. Change your lightbulbs, wash the curtains, and clean the windows. You can also cut shrubbery that may block the windows and choose less-darkening lampshades.

6. Floors. Whether you have hardwoods or carpets, it’s time for an early spring cleaning. But some floors need a little more help. For example, real hardwood floors that are old may be scratched and require refinishing. Some carpets are worn out and threadbare or are an old style that lacks appeal for today’s buyer. In that case, replace them with something new, preferably in a neutral tone.

7. Curb appeal. Plant a few flowers in the spring and make sure the lawn looks good. Repaint the fence and if the driveway is cracked, recoat the asphalt. If your trim needs a fresh coat of paint, especially white, that’s a good fix, too. Curb appeal is the first thing potential buyers notice, so it’s worth a bit of time and money.

Fast Fixes and Skips
While spending money on some things will help sell your home, you might be able to stage your way around some problems. Here are some fast fixes to get your home ready:
● Deep cleaning. Tile grout looks terrible when it’s dirty or covered in mildew. You may be able to avoid replacing shower or bathroom tile if you hire a crew to do a deep clean and brighten that white.
● Skip big changes to the basement, garage, attic, and laundry room unless something is leaking or in need of serious repair. People make take a hard look at the master bathroom, but that spare bathroom in the basement won’t be weighed as intensely.

Other Home Sale Preparations
This list of fixes doesn’t include tons of other advice a real estate agent will give you about preparing and staging your home. However, it’s a good way to get started as you think about listing in a few months. After all, you need to budget for these changes and some renovations and repairs take time. Contact me for guidance on how to best sell your home.

Connect with Catherine:

As The Intentional Realtor, my goal is to help you achieve the reality of homeownership. I’ll do my best to make sure that you receive the best representation possible when it comes to buying a home and that you understand all the duties of your fiduciary, which is why securing a good Realtor is in your best interest to help you find the home of your dreams.

For this and more real estate needs by The Intentional Realtor, connect with me, Catherine Mitchell, at (704) 898-0605 http://www.catherinemitchellrealty.com/

#connectwithcatherine

 

Realtors act as your Fiduciary Agent

Take a look to see what homes are selling for in your area! Or shop to see what’s available to buy! Either way, you can depend on Catherine Mitchell Realty to assist you. Catherine practices real estate with a very focused approach, giving you a singular experience designed to meet your needs exactly. You will achieve your goals, moving in to a new home easily, with Catherine staying one step ahead to anticipate and solve any bumps in the road.

Realtors have to abide by certain fiduciary laws, which are designed to protect the interest of the client which involves the trust and confidence of the fiduciary to represent the said client’s best interest.

Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent owes the highest duty of good faith, honesty, and fair dealing to their client. A real estate broker who becomes an agent of a seller or buyer is deemed to be fiduciary. As a fiduciary, a real estate agent is held by law to owe specific duties to their client as well as to obligations set forth in a listing agreement, buyer representation agreement, or other contractual agreements made with their client. Sub-agents of the real estate broker also owe the same fiduciary duties to the broker’s client as well as honesty, good faith, and fair dealing.

O.L.D. C.A.R.
When a real estate agent is acting in an agency capacity for a buyer or seller in a transaction they have certain legally mandated duties that are called fiduciary duties.  O.L.D. C.A.R. is an acronym for the fiduciary duties required of a real estate agent.  O for obedience, L for loyalty, D for disclosure, C for confidentiality, A for accounting, and R for reasonable care. These fiduciary obligations are an agent’s specific duties to their client.

Fiduciary Duties
An agent is obligated to obey all lawful instructions of their client. This specific duty falls under Obedience.  Loyalty is one the fundamental duties an agent owes to their client. This duty obligates a real estate agent to act at all times solely in the best interest of their client. In the duty of Disclosure an agent must disclose to their client all relevant information that pertains to the property. This would include any information that affects the value of the property as well as any information that pertains to the transaction of the said property. In the duty of Confidentiality an agent is obligated to safeguard their client’s lawful confidential information such as a seller willing to sell a property below the listed price. An agent who represents a buyer is prohibited by law from disclosing to a seller that the buyer is willing to pay more for the property. In Accounting an agent must be able to account for all money and property that belongs to their client that has been entrusted to that agent. Finally there is Reasonable Care, an agent is obligated to use reasonable care and diligence when working with their client using their superior skill and knowledge of real estate.

Connect with Catherine:

As The Intentional Realtor, my goal is to help you achieve the reality of homeownership. I’ll do my best to make sure that you receive the best representation possible when it comes to buying a home and that you understand all the duties of your fiduciary, which is why securing a good Realtor is in your best interest to help you find the home of your dreams.

For this and more real estate needs by The Intentional Realtor, connect with me, Catherine Mitchell, at (704) 898-0605 http://www.catherinemitchellrealty.com/

#connectwithcatherine

Home Inspections Can Teach You About the Components of a Home

Take a look to see what homes are selling for in your area! Or shop to see what’s available to buy! Either way, you can depend on Catherine Mitchell Realty to assist you. Catherine practices real estate with a very focused approach, giving you a singular experience designed to meet your needs exactly. You will achieve your goals, moving in to a new home easily, with Catherine staying one step ahead to anticipate and solve any bumps in the road.

Before purchasing a home, it’s important that you have it inspected by a certified home inspector.  In your initial walk-through of the home, you may find that you like what you see, but a home inspector who knows what they’re doing will check more thoroughly in areas that you may have overlooked.

Home inspections
Knowing the property’s condition is key when it comes to making a wise decision about purchasing a home.  A home inspection is designed to inform you of the condition of the property, life expectancy of its major components, along with the maintenance and repairs that may be needed (or can be expected) now or later.

Four main components
Home inspectors will thoroughly inspect the four main components of the home: the roof, electric, plumbing, and heating/air conditioning.  A home inspection will also include the grounds, the foundation, the attic, walls, floors, doors, windows, and the exterior structure of the home.  A home inspection can take two to three hours depending upon the size of the home, the condition, and its age.

The benefits 
A home inspector will document any potential defects of the home with well-crafted notes and photographs of the condition of the property that you’re thinking about buying.  It’s also somewhat important for you, as the potential homeowner, to be present during at least part of the home inspection, to ask questions and receive information about the home as the inspection happens.

Connect with Catherine:

As the The Intentional Realtor, my goal is to help you achieve the reality of home ownership.  I’ll do my best to make sure that you receive the best representation possible when it comes to buying a home and that you receive a quality home inspection from certified home inspector for what could be your future home, which is why securing a good Realtor is in your best interest to help you find the home of your dreams.

For this and more real estate needs by the The Intentional Realtor, connect with me, Catherine Mitchell, at (704) 898-0605 http://www.catherinemitchellrealty.com/

#connectwithcatherine

Appraisals give an objective view of the home’s value in the marketplace

Take a look to see what homes are selling for in your area! Or shop to see what’s available to buy! Either way, you can depend on Catherine Mitchell Realty to assist you. Catherine practices real estate with a very focused approach, giving you a singular experience designed to meet your needs exactly. You will achieve your goals, moving in to a new home easily, with Catherine staying one step ahead to anticipate and solve any bumps in the road.


Having an appraisal is an important part of the home buying process, bringing tremendous leverage when it comes to price negotiations.  A real estate appraisal establishes the likely sales price a property would bring if offered in a competitive real estate market.

What Are Appraisals?
Appraisals are detailed reports based on an appraiser’s on-site evaluation of a property, as well as an evaluation of sales data.  They include details about the property, along with side-by-side comparisons of similar properties.  You can also find an evaluation of the local real estate market, statements about issues to be aware of, notes about flawed characteristics, an estimate of the average sales time for the property, and the type of area in which the home is located.

Two types of appraisals
Sales Comparison Approach and a Cost Approach are two common appraisal methods.  A Sales Comparison Approach is an estimate of the property’s market value by comparing it to similar properties that have recently been sold in the area.  The Cost Approach is most useful for new properties where the cost to build the property is known.  With the Cost Approach the appraiser estimates how much it would cost to replace the property if it were destroyed.

The lender
A homebuyer’s initial mortgage approval is accomplished early on, but final approval of the loan depends on a satisfactory appraisal.  An appraisal is the only evaluation report a lender considers when deciding whether to lend money, as it provides assurance that the property will sell for at least the amount of money being loaned.  If the property’s appraisal is lower than the sales price, the loan may not be approved.  In some cases, the buyer pays for the appraisal fee at the time of the loan, while in other cases the fee is added to the settlement and paid at the closing.

Connect with Catherine:

As the The Intentional Realtor, my goal is to help you achieve the reality of homeownership.  I’ll do my best to make sure that you receive the best representation possible when it comes to buying a home and that you receive an appraisal well worth the fair market value, which is why securing a good Realtor is in your best interest to help you find the home of your dreams.
#connectwithcatherine

Nothing feels as good as that first night in your first home

Take a look to see what homes are selling for in your area! Or shop to see what’s available to buy! Either way, you can depend on Catherine Mitchell Realty to assist you. Catherine practices real estate with a very focused approach, giving you a singular experience designed to meet your needs exactly. You will achieve your goals, moving in to a new home easily, with Catherine staying one step ahead to anticipate and solve any bumps in the road.

The lifelong dream for many Americans is owning a place to call their own – the dream of homeownership.  When that dream becomes reality, the exhilaration of spending the first night in the very first home is indescribable.

Your first home
Imagine turning the key and opening the door to your very own home for the very first time, knowing that this property is yours to decorate as you please.  The thought of cooking in your own kitchen or the thought of sleeping in your own master bedroom with the peace of mind of knowing that you are no longer paying rent, but instead building equity.  The feeling of “I made it, life is good.”  That’s the feeling millions of Americans have experienced thoughout the years – that feeling of homeownership, of pride.

Your first night
After a day of moving in, it’s unlikely you’ll get everything unpacked in a single day.  You may want to think about eating out or ordering a pizza on your first night because your kitchen may not be fully set up, or you’ll just be too tired from the move to cook.  Your bed may not be quite set up, so you may have to improvise when it comes to your sleeping arrangements – sleeping on mattress on the floor or maybe even in a sleeping bag! Yes, moving into your own home for the very first time can be filled with excitement and joy, but it can also be chaotic and exhausting.

Homeowner
On that very first night, the thought of “I’m a homeowner” will eventually start to sink in.  You may lay there for a while, reflecting on what it took to get to this moment: your old apartment, the steps to get your credit up to par, the job that affords you the opportunity to live in a place that you can now call home.

Connect with Catherine:

As the The Intentional Realtor, my goal is to help you achieve the reality of homeownership.  I’ll do my best to make sure that you receive the best representation possible when it comes to buying a home and that your experience of homeownership is a joyous one.
#connectwithcatherine