We all know that searching for and viewing potential homes is the fun part of the home-buying process. The not-so-fun part? The mortgage.

 

But if you don’t pay attention to the details, your mortgage can end up dragging down the enjoyment of your new home and cause some major regrets. Here are a few mistakes to avoid to ensure that you love your mortgage terms as much as your hew home.

 

Don’t find your home first: Shopping around for the best mortgage rate should be the first step in the home buying process. You may even want to talk to a mortgage broker a full year before you plan to buy. It’ll give you time to get your affairs in order to qualify for the best rate, could save you thousands of dollars in the long run, and you won’t feel rushed to accept an unattractive loan because you’re worried you’ll miss out on your dream home.

 

Don’t forget your real budget: There’s often a big difference between what a lender says you can afford and what you can actually afford. Your debt-to-income ratio doesn’t include the money you spend on hobbies, or the cost of commuting to work, or maintenance and utility costs.

 

Really sit down and examine your spending before committing to the loan amount the lender is offering. You won’t enjoy your home nearly as much if it’s eating into your favorite hobbies.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

 

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Moving into a new home is an exciting time, and you’re probably daydreaming about decor and paint schemes and new furniture. But before you get into the fun stuff, there are some basics you should cover first.

 

Change the locks
Even if you’re promised that new locks have been installed in your home, you can never be too careful. It’s worth the money to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else has the keys to your home. Changing the locks can be a DIY project, or you can call in a locksmith for a little extra money.

 

Steam clean the carpets
It’s good to get a fresh start with your floors before you start decorating. The previous owners may have had pets, young children, or just some plain old clumsiness. Take the time to steam clean the carpets so that your floors are free of stains and allergens. It’s pretty easy and affordable to rent a steam cleaner—your local grocery store may have them available.

 

Call an exterminator
Prior to move-in, you probably haven’t spent enough time in the house to get a view of any pests that may be lurking. Call an exterminator to take care of any mice, insects, and other critters that may be hiding in your home.

 

Clean out the kitchen
If the previous occupants wanted to skip on some of their cleaning duties when they moved out, the kitchen is where they probably cut corners. Wipe down the inside of cabinets, clean out the refrigerator, clean the oven, and clean in the nooks and crannies underneath the appliances.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

 

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

When you own your home, things are going to break and, unless you want to spend your money on visits from a neighborhood handyman, you’re going to need to fix them yourself. Luckily, you don’t need an arsenal of tools to handle most home maintenance fixes. These five tools will cover most of your basic projects.

  1. Cordless drill. A cordless drill is a must-have for installing cabinets, drawer pulls, hinges, picture frames, shelves and hooks, and more. Whether it’s for do-it-yourself projects or repairs, you’ll use your cordless drill just about every month.
  2. Drain cleaners. Shower and bathroom sink drains are susceptible to clogs because of the daily buildup of hair and whisker clippings. You can use chemical clog removers like Drano, but they’re expensive and the lingering chemical scent is unpleasant. Instead, buy some plastic drain cleaners that can reach into the drain to pull out the clog of hair and gunk. You can purchase them on Amazon or at a local hardware store for a low price.
  3. Shop-vac. No matter how careful you are, spills and accidents will happen and there are some tasks that just can’t be handled with paper towels or a standard vacuum, like pet messes or broken glass.
  4. Loppers. Even the minimum amount of care for your landscaping will require some loppers to remove damaged branches, vines, thick weeds, and any other unruly plants in your yard.
  5. Flashlight. You’re going to want something a little more powerful than your iPhone flashlight when you’re in the crawlspace!

Being a homeowner is one of the biggest milestones in your life. You feel excited and proud to take care of your new house and truly turn it into a home for you and your family. To keep your house in the best shape possible, here are five bad homeowner habits to avoid.

 

  1. Damaging doors. Slamming your doors can have a huge impact in the long run as it can slowly pull your doors out of alignment and potentially create gaps and cracks near your exterior doors, letting air seep in and boosting your utility bill.
  2. Harmful humidity. Showers lasting over 10 to 12 minutes at high water temperatures can increase chances of mildew and mold growing in your bathroom. Over time, this can also cause the paint on your ceiling to bubble and peel from condensation.
  3. Abusing appliances. Clean the lint tray in your dryer after every use, run the oven cleaning cycle at least once a month, and try to wipe down your stovetop and microwave down regularly to avoid grease and residue build up.
  4. Soiling surfaces. After eating a meal, applying makeup, or working and playing outdoors, try to wash your hands before touching walls, cabinets, and doors. Plus, make it a house rule to remove shoes at the door to avoid tracking dirt onto carpets and rugs.
  5. Punishing pipes. Although not the best of topics, a clog in your pipes or main drain can be a huge pain and costly to fix. Regularly clean hair out of your sink and shower drains and avoid flushing cleansing wipes, paper towels, or feminine products down the toilet.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

 

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

One of the most daunting parts of selling your home is deciding what to price it at. You don’t want to price too high and get little to no traction but you don’t want to price too low and undervalue your home. There are so many things to take into consideration, so we’ve outlined the top things you should do before you list.

 

Enlist the help of a local expert. Local agents have years of experience in the market you are selling in, plus have a lot of industry expertise to bring to the table. They will factor in the unique offerings of your home and neighborhood and your wants and needs for the sale of the home to help you properly price.

 

Research homes for sale in your neighborhood. It’s always a good idea to do a little recon on homes for sale in your area. View current and past listings online to find homes that have similar features and were built around the same year as yours to get an idea of prices. Open house in your neighborhood? Take time to pop by in person and get a feel for what their home has to offer at what price.

 

Remove the emotion. Whether it’s your first or fourth home, it is the setting of so many amazing memories and holds a special place in your heart. Unfortunately, emotional attachment to your home can cloud your judgment when pricing it. Try to place your personal feelings about your home on the back burner and focus on tangible features of your home that add great value.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

 

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

A recent survey from the National Association of Realtors® revealed that 77 percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home makes it easier for potential buyers to visual it as their own. That’s why here at Breakthrough Broker, we believe staging is not to be overlooked! Here are our top tips.

  1. Dress up your yard. First impressions count, and the first one your home gives comes from the exterior. Mow the lawn, clean up shrubbery, rake any leaves, clean the walkway and driveway, plant in-season flowers, and pull up any unsightly weeds.
  2. Reduce personal items. Make it easier for buyers to imagine themselves making your house their home by removing personal photos and knick-knacks from shelves, walls, and counters. Instead replace them with clean, simple décor, such as abstract paintings, nature images, vases, plants, and more.
  3. Organize your storage areas. Storage is a huge selling point. Tidy up and clear out the accessible closets and cupboards in the home and make sure to point them out during an open house or showing.
  4. Appeal to the senses. Consider ways you can appeal to potential home buyers’ other senses. During a viewing or open house, bake some fresh cookies or burn delicious smelling candles and play light, relaxing music in the background.
  5. Consider turning to an expert. With their knowledge of current trends and great eye for design, professionally certified stagers can transform a home in a variety of ways and have a keen sense of what home buyers want and expect in a home. Investing in hiring a pro may pay off in dividends.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

 

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Home inspection is a crucial step in the home buying process. After finding the perfect house, you will want to ensure that there are no hidden faults that may require lengthy and expensive repairs or renovations down the line.

To prepare you for this process, here are the top four things you need to know.

  1. The buyer is responsible for the inspection. Make sure you give yourself ample time to find a reputable, certified home inspector by asking for referrals from your real estate agent, friends, and family and do your research online. Plus, don’t forget to factor in the cost of the inspection into your budget.
  2. Home inspectors are usually generalists. They will evaluate most areas of your home, such as the foundation, basement, plumbing, electrical systems, heating and cooling systems, walls, floors, ceilings, and attics. But, if your home is equipped with special features, like a pool or chimney, you may need to hire a specialist.
  3. Buyers can attend the inspection. In fact, a lot of inspectors suggest it! This is an opportunity for you to get any outstanding questions regarding the condition of the house you are purchasing answered.
  4. You have options if the inspection uncovers a problem. If the problems discovered are serious, like structural damage or safety issues, the seller is legally required to fix them. You also have the option to back out of the purchase without facing any consequences. If the problems are smaller, you can submit a formal request for repairs and negotiate for them to cover some or all of the cost.

About Windermere Real Estate

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Selling your home can be an exciting, but stressful time. Luckily you are not alone in this process. Finding the right listing agent is key to having a successful, smooth experience. Your listing agent will help you price and market your home, negotiate with home buyers, and walk you through home inspection and closing. You want to find someone who has your best interest in mind and is knowledgeable and experienced. Select an agent about six to eight weeks before putting your home on the market. Ask friends and family for recommendations, do thorough review searches online, and conduct in-depth interviews with several agents before making a final decision. During each interview, make sure you clearly state your goals for the sale and what you are looking for in an agent. To help you pick the best agent for you, here’s what you should consider.

  • Are they a full-time agent?
  • How many years have they been a listing agent?
  • Have they sold any homes in your neighborhood in the past year?
  • What types of homes/properties do they normally list?
  • What is their process for marketing homes?
  • What does an open house event look like for them?
  • Will you be working with the same individual throughout the process or will it be a team?
  • What is their level of responsiveness?
  • What is their average sold-to-list timeline?
  • How many listings are they managing right now?
  • What will be expected from you throughout the process?
  • What is their fee?
  • Can you talk to one of their previous clients?

Using this criteria, you can narrow down your options and find the right fit for you!

About Windermere Real Estate

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Ever get the itch to do a DIY project? Whenever we do, our favorites involve getting outdoors and mixing up our landscaping features. Whether its as simple as installing some lighting or a little more time-consuming like repotting plants, a fresh look for the lawn always gives your home a fresh look as well. Here are our top five easy landscaping projects!

  1. Create a pathway. To guide you and visitors throughout your yard and link different areas together, install a pathway. You can use materials from a variety of materials, including reclaimed pallet wood, flagstones, gravel, and more to add texture and color.
  2. Add a wall or border. Installing a flagstone, rock, or brick wall around flower beds or trees adds a sleek, clean look to your landscaping and helps separate different sections of your yard.
  3. Install a water feature. Nothing says zen quite like the sound of trickling water as you relax in your backyard. You can start simple with by purchasing and installing a small feature powered by a solar panel or create a larger focal point in your yard by installing a waterfall wall or small pond.
  4. Light your way. An easy way to transform your yard is to strategically use lighting. Place cool-colored lights high in trees to recreate a moonlight feel, use pathway lights to naturally guide the eye, or highlight objects or plants.
  5. Plant upwards. Expand your yard space by drawing the eye to the sky with a trellis fence or screen made of wood or metal. Once you install your trellis, select your climbing plants and vines and get to planting!

About Windermere Real Estate

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

You’ve found the perfect home and it has everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Spacious, modern kitchen. Gloriously open floor plan. Giant bedrooms. Great location and neighborhood. The only downside is the backyard is slightly smaller than you’d hoped. But no reason to stress. There are many ways you can optimize your outdoor space to make it feel much larger! Check out our favorites below.

Separate Your Space

Breaking up your outdoor area into separate spaces or nooks can help make your backyard feel larger. Place items like planters, small walls, or outdoor light fixtures in between the spaces or separate them by installing different ground surfaces, such as decking, gravel, grass, and concrete.

Use Plants Creatively

Place plants throughout your backyard to help open up the space. Use plants with larger leaves to create depth, place warm-colored plants, such as red, yellow, or orange, near the front or in the center of the yard to catch attention, or install a trellis or plant taller plants to draw the eye upwards.

Incorporate Strategic Decor

Use big structures like pergolas and arbors to frame your outdoor space and give it a grander feel. Add a large sculpture or water fixture in the center or towards the back of the yard as a focal point, then arrange your furniture around it. Finally, hang large mirrors with steel, stone, or wooden frames to reflect light and trick the eye.

By using these techniques and more, you can alter perception and make your small yard feel like the large one of your dreams.

About Windermere Real Estate

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Hardwood floors are highly desirable for most homeowners, but they come with their share of challenges when it comes to cleaning, maintenance, and repairs. After a few months or years of heavy use from kids playing with toys and chairs being shuffled around, it may be time for some DIY fixes.

Hiding scratches: If you’ve got a good eye for matching colors, you can actually use crayons or markers or purchase wax sticks from the hardware store to fill-in scratches. Try to match the stain color on your floors, but don’t worry if it’s a little off. If the color is close, once the scratch is filled, it’ll look like a variation in the wood grain.

Polishing floors: You can make a polish solution for your floors from household ingredients. Mix olive oil and vinegar in equal parts, pour it directly into scratches, and then wipe it off after 24 hours. It may take several applications, but this homemade polish will fill and cover most scratches.

Clever decor: It’s not a long-term solution, but sometimes the most painless way to fix scratches in your floors is to cover them with a rug or furniture arrangement.

Spot sanding: For deeper scratches, you’ll need to spot sand with fine steel wool or sandpaper, use wood filler, and stain and seal the repaired area.

About Windermere Real Estate

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Negotiation is a subtle art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly. Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate professionals) should avoid:

  1. Lowball offers: Going far below market value when you make an offer damages your credibility as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept, and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider the offer.
  2. Incremental negotiations: Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities.
  3. “Take it or leave it”: Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive and consider other offers if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it.
  4. Nitpicking after inspection: Obviously if inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate.
  5. Asking for more, more, more: Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to build up resentment and think that you’re being greedy.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

As a top producing team, the Nelson McNew Associates combine their knowledge and experience in selling residential, commercial and luxury properties; giving the best service to their clients. Located in the Palm Springs and Palm Desert offices of Windermere Homes & Estates, their agents work with clients across the Coachella Valley, high desert, Salton Sea and nearby mountain areas. Nelson McNew Associates work with buyers and sellers of a wide variety of real estate including mid-century modern, condos, vacation rentals, luxury homes and distressed properties while their commercial agents cover sales of land, retail, cannabis, industrial, office, medical and commercial leases.

 

Led by Brandy Nelson and Carl Kent McNew, they offer over 30 years of experience. Brandy is a Coachella Valley native and a 14 year real estate veteran with over 1,000 transactions closed to date. Carl is an owner of Windermere Metro Denver Real Estate and brings 18 years of experience and agency leadership. The diverse background of the Nelson McNew Associates team and their relationships with colleagues in other parts of the country help them not only reach potential buyers locally, but also in many cities across the west coast and beyond.

 

Nelson McNew Associates is proud to be part of the Windermere family with a focus on serving the community beyond escrow. Windermere has a proud heritage of serving their neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. This service to their clients and community has helped Windermere to grow to one of the largest independent real estate companies in the nation, with more than 300 offices and 6,000 agents throughout the Western U.S. and Mexico.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Is there a home maintenance project that’s been lingering on your to-do list for too long because you’re dreading the trip to the hardware or craft store? There are some projects you can tackle with items that are almost certainly already in your home.

  1. Vinegar: There’s probably a jug of vinegar in your pantry right now. You can soak items in vinegar to remove mineral deposits (like in a clogged showerhead), and you can boil vinegar in your microwave to remove odors and make it easier to clean.
  2. Cola: A can of Coke or Pepsi can be used to clean many surfaces, including your glass windows, porcelain toilet, or chrome fixtures. Just do some research before using it on metal surfaces, as it can be corrosive.
  3. Baking soda: This item may actually be more useful for applications other than baking. A baking soda-vinegar paste is great for cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. Baking soda can also be used to absorb odors.
  4. Butter knife: Screwdrivers are easy to misplace. If can’t find a screwdriver when you need one, a butter knife—preferably an older one that you no longer need for table setting—is pretty effective for both Phillips- and flat-head screws.
  5. Toothpaste: Is there an unsightly scratch on your car or bike? The grit in tarter-control toothpastes makes for an effective scratch remover. Clean the scratch, apply some toothpaste, let it sit for a few minutes, and then buff it out with paper towel.

About Windermere Real Estate

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Dane Kealoha, realtor with Windermere Homes & EstatesDane is a seasoned Realtor who began his real estate career in Portland, Oregon, where he has built a top 10% producing team with his husband Christopher Johnson at Windermere Realty Trust. Dane’s love of modern architecture and his ongoing remodel of a William Krisel designed home in the Racquet Club Estates neighborhood brought him to Palm Springs.

With past experience in advertising and interior design, Dane specializes in working with buyers and sellers of architecturally significant homes. Having a network of colleagues throughout the west coast and beyond, Dane is able to market to design-savvy buyers both locally and in major cities throughout North America.

Working within the Nelson McNew and Associates team in the Palm Springs and Palm Desert offices of Windermere, Dane not only brings his own expertise, but also that of his teammates working with clients across the Coachella Valley. Covering both residential and commercial real estate, Nelson McNew and Associates is a top producing team and #1 in the Coachella Valley at Windermere Homes & Estates.

You can reach Dane, DRE#: 02089779, at 503.680.3006 or by email at [email protected]

About Windermere Real Estate

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Selling your home is a huge undertaking to begin with, but if the process drags on for months and interest trickles in much slower than expected, it can be frustrating and stressful. To avoid this, there are a few steps you can take to prep your home and sell quickly.

Declutter. Survey your home and store any items that are not essential to the décor of the room. This can include personal photos and mementos, excessive throw blankets or pillows, children’s artwork, vases, lamps, knick-knacks, and more. The cleaner you keep counters, shelves, and mantles, the easier it is for potential buyers to picture themselves in your house.

Paint. A fresh coat of paint on the exterior or interior of your home can go a long way and is one update you can likely do yourself for fairly cheap. Repaint your home with a neutral color, like taupe, cream, or gray, that will allow potential buyers to easily envision adding their own touches to each room.

Availability. Buyers are drawn to sellers who are flexible with showings and can accommodate their schedule on short notice. The more open you are to showing times, the more buyers will see your home and the less likely they are to choose another home before seeing yours.

Photos. First impressions are key, and the first one your home makes is generally through photos online or on flyers and brochures. Investing in a professional real estate photographer can boost interest in your home. They have an eye for design and know how to highlight your home’s strengths and move the spotlight off any flaws.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Shopping around for the best possible mortgage terms is an important part of the home buying process. A few percentage points can make a difference of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage. Mortgage rates can be a bit of a mystery—especially for first-time homebuyers—so here’s an overview of the most important factors.

YOUR FICO SCORE

This is the part of the mortgage equation that should come as no surprise. From a lender’s perspective, your financial history is the best indicator of whether you’ll be a stable, responsible borrower. It’s the primary factor in determining your mortgage rate, so if you’re planning on purchasing a home in the near future, concentrate first and foremost on improving your FICO score.

LOCATION AND SIZE MATTERS

“Location, location, location” is an old cliché in real estate, but it also applies to mortgage rates. The city, county, and state that you live will factor into your mortgage rate. Mortgage rates can also vary among local lenders and the size of the loan will come into play. The more money you borrow, the higher your interest rate is likely to be, unless you’re also increasing your down payment.

LOAN LENGTH AND TYPE

Lenders incentivize shorter mortgage terms with lower mortgage rates, so you’ll get a more favorable rate for a 15- or 20-year mortgage versus a 30-year mortgage. If you can afford the higher monthly payment, you’ll pay much less in interest over the course of the loan term.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Many sellers may be tempted to select the highest offer they receive, but there are several other factors to consider. Here are five areas important to evaluate.

  1. Down payment. The size of the down payment should be heavily considered when comparing offers. It is often tied to the size of the loan the buyer is taking out and a larger one indicates higher financial stability.
  2. Earnest money deposit. The EMD is the sum of cash the buyer is willing to put up when the sales agreement is signed to show their high level of interest in purchasing the home. If they back out of the transaction without a good reason, the seller typical keeps it, and if the sale goes through, it typically goes towards their down payment.
  3. Contingencies are standard for most offers and outline the evaluations and appraisals that need to be completed before the sale is final, such as financing, appraisal, sale of current home, title, and home inspection. The fewer contingencies, the higher the chance of reaching the closing table.
  4. All-cash offer. Not only does putting down an all-cash offer boost the likelihood of loan approval, but the buyer will not need an appraisal or financing contingency, reducing the chance of the sale falling through.
  5. Closing date. Consideration of the closing date differs for each seller. For example, if you have already purchased a new home, you may want to close quickly. But, if you are waiting on the money from the sale to start house hunting, you may be okay with a slower settlement.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

It is exciting to go to open houses and dream of the possibilities a new home brings. Going to open houses is crucial to finding the right home. The next time you take a tour of a home, keep these tips in mind to ensure it is a positive and useful experience.

Respect When the House is Available for Viewing Most sellers have discussed available times interested buyers can view the property outside of the scheduled open house. If the open house does not line up with your schedule, nor do the additional available times to view the property, ask your buyer agent to reach out to the listing agent to set up a special showing that’s convenient for you.

Be on Time (Early is Better) Show up shortly before an open house is scheduled to start and beat the rush. You will get one-on-one time with the selling agent to ask questions. When you are done viewing the house, you can check out the neighborhood.

Ask Questions with Caution
The selling agent is there to answer questions. However, it’s best to not overshare information or say anything that will give the agent negotiating power over you. Don’t forget, the agent works for the seller. Good questions to ask the selling agent include: – Have you gotten a lot of offers on the property? – When does the seller plan on moving? – How long has the property been on the market? – Have there been any price changes? – Does the house have any negative issues that need to be addressed?

While the information is still fresh, take some notes and final impressions of the home to help you make your final decision.

About Windermere Real Estate

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

When buying a new house, it’s easy to get distracted by size and think that bigger is better. However, depending on your situation, the opposite may be true.

So how can you determine if your new home is too small, too big, or “just right?” You’ll want to consider these elements.

What’s Your Long-Term Goal? How many years do you see yourself in this house? Is this the place where you want to raise your kids and retire? If not, then size shouldn’t be as crucial as you think. Consider the fact that you will likely move again, which means that you can upgrade in the future if necessary.

What’s Your Financial Limit? For the most part, you don’t want more home than you can truly afford. While you may be getting that promotion in a couple of months, you can’t buy now expecting to have more money in the bank later. Overextending your financial reach is always a bad move, so it’s best to avoid putting yourself (or your family) in that position.

How Many People are Living Here? In a perfect world, everyone would be able to have their own bedrooms, but when you have kids, that’s not always possible. When thinking about this situation, consider how imperative it is to have sufficient space for everyone, and what it will do to your budget.

Overall, buying a home should be about your current needs and how you plan to grow into space in the future. Don’t buy big for the sake of showing off – in the end, you’ll probably regret it.

About Windermere Real Estate

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.