Monday, July 30, 2018

Moving with Pets: 9 Tips to Keep Tails Wagging

Holly's dogs, Oliver and Coco, haven't had to endure a move.
But Holly she does restrict them to the laundry room
when she has work done to her home. 

1. Update your pet’s tag with your new address.

Make sure your pet’s collar is sturdy and correctly sized. The tag should also include your mobile number and e-mail address so that you can be reached during the move.

2. Request veterinary records.

Ask your current vet to send your pet’s medical history directly to the new vet. Have their contact information handy in case of emergency or if the new vet has questions.

3. Keep a week’s worth of food and medication with you.

You may want to ask for an extra prescription refill before you move. Take the same precaution with special therapeutic foods.

4. Seclude them from chaos.

Keep your pet in a safe, quiet room on moving day with a clear sign posted on the door. There are many light, collapsible travel crates available, but ensure it is well ventilated and sturdy enough for stress-chewers. Also, introduce your pet to the crate before the trip.

5. Prepare a pet first aid kit.

Include your vet's phone number, gauze to wrap wounds or to muzzle your pet, adhesive tape for use on bandages, nonstick bandages, towels, cotton swabs, antibiotic ointment (without pain relief medication), and 3% hydrogen peroxide.

6. Play it safe in the car.

Use a crate or carrier in the car, securing it with a seat belt. Never leave your pet in the bed of a truck, the storage area of a moving van, or alone in a parked vehicle. If you’re staying overnight, find pet-friendly lodging beforehand and have kitty litter or plastic bags on hand.

7. Get ready for takeoff.

When traveling by air, check with the airline about pet requirements or restrictions and whether you must purchase a special airline crate that fits under the seat in front of you.

8. Prep your new home.

Set up one room with everything your pet will need: food, water, medications, bed, litter box, scratch post, and toys. Keep windows and doors closed when your pet is unsupervised, and beware of small spaces where nervous pets may hide. If your old home is nearby, give the new home owners or neighbors your phone number and a photo of your pet, in case your pet tries to return.

9. Learn about local health concerns and laws in your new area.

If you’re moving to a new country, contact the Agriculture Department or embassy of the country to obtain specific information on special documents, quarantine, or costs related to bringing your pet into the country.

Source: REALTOR® Magazine

Monday, June 11, 2018

Free (or almost free) Father's Day fun in Springfield

Saving money delights Dads of all ages! Treat Dad to some FREE (or affordable)
Father's Day fun.

June 17: Dads play free at Itty Bitty City.

June 17: Dads and Grandpas play free at the Discovery Center.

June 17: Free admission for Dads at Dickerson Park Zoo.

Not free but still fun:

June 16: Hands-on chocolate tour + a quick and easy DIY BBQ rub gift at Askinosie Chocolate.

For Dads and Grandpas with older offspring:

June 17: Father's Day screening of "True Grit" at Alamo Drafthouse.

Monday, April 23, 2018

How much house can you afford?

Sometimes, what you want and what you can afford are two different things. To figure out how closely they align, you need to assess how much you can actually put towards a new home.

Here are the factors your lender will consider to determine this:
  1. The down payment
  2. The closing costs associated with your transaction
  3. Your monthly mortgage payment
Down payment requirements
Most loans require a minimum down payment of between 3 and 5 percent of the total loan, depending on the type and terms of the loan. If you are able to come up with a 20 to 25 percent for the down payment, you may be eligible to take advantage of special fast-track programs and possibly eliminate mortgage insurance. There are a variety of loan programs available for buyers and even some that don't require a down payment. We can help you find a qualified lender who can help you figure out which loan is best for your financial situation.

Closing costs
In addition to the down payment, you have to pay fees for loan processing and other closing costs. They can include fees for home inspection fees and title company. These fees must be paid in full at the time of the final settlement, unless you are able to include these in your financing. When you apply for a loan, your lender will provide you with a good faith estimate of all settlement fees and an estimated total house payment based on an anticipated sale price. Of course, these numbers are only estimates.Your lender will let you know an exact figure closer to the closing date.

Your monthly mortgage payment
Most lenders require that your monthly payment be between 28 and 34 percent of your gross monthly income. They also figure in how much your mortgage payment along with all of your other expenses and financial obligations will be each month. In general, they want your total monthly expenses to fall between 36 and 45 percent of your gross monthly income. 

The goal is to figure out how much you can afford realistically. Just knowing this will save you countless hours in your search for the perfect home. We can put you in touch with a competent lender and walk with you through this process. Just give us a call.

Source: Murney Associates, Realtors

Monday, October 16, 2017

8 questions to ask when choosing a realtor

8 questions to ask when choosing a realtor

Most people find real estate agents through friends and family. A personal recommendation or endorsement is one of the most important reasons people say they chose one agent over another. And that holds true for The Stenger Group. Repeat customers and referrals are definitely the way we get most of our customers, and it's how we know we are providing quality service.

But if you don't have a referral, consider asking these questions. A good real estate agent won't shy away from answering them.

How long have you been in residential real estate?
Like most professions, experience is no guarantee of skill. But much of real estate is learned on the job.
What’s your business philosophy?
While there’s no right answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the agent and determine how closely the agent’s goals and business emphasis mesh with your own.
How many buyers did you and your real estate brokerage represent last year?
This will tell you how much experience they have and how up-to-date they are on the local market.
What’s the average variation between your initial offers and final sales price?
This is one indication of an agent’s pricing and negotiating skills.
Will you represent me exclusively, or might you choose to represent the seller as well?
While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, your agent should be able to explain his or her philosophy on client obligations and agency relationships. 
Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and so on?
Practitioners should be able to recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with any of the providers.
How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction?
The best answer here is a question. A real estate agent who pays close attention to the way you prefer to communicate and responds accordingly will make for the smoothest transaction.
Could you please give me the contact information of your three most recent clients?

Ask their former customers if they would use the agent again in the future.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Quick Tip to Brighten a Room

If your room is lacking in natural light, don't worry. There's a hack for that: Simply place a light source in front of a mirror. The reflected light brightens any room instantly.

Designers frequently use this trick not only to add to the overall brightness of a space but also to make it feel larger. Any light source will do, including table lamps, floor, lamps, wall sconces and even candles.

Another bright idea: Painting the ceiling white will also brighten a room.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

7 Reasons to Own A Home

As you write your rent check this month, you may be wondering whether renting still makes the most financial sense for you. Consider these benefits that come with home ownership. 
Tax benefits. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, and some of the costs involved in buying a home.

Appreciation. Historically, real estate has had a long-term, stable growth in value. In fact, median single-family existing-home sale prices have increased on average 5.2 percent each year from 1972 through 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.  The recent housing crisis has caused some to question the long-term value of real estate, but even in the most recent 10 years, which included quite a few very bad years for housing, values are still up 7.0 percent on a cumulative basis. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 10 to 15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.

Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.

Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.

Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-rate mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will likely increase.

Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.

Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years allows you and your family time to build long-lasting relationships within the community. It also offers children the benefit of educational and social continuity. 
With 971 homes on the market in just the Springfield area alone, the perfect home for you is probably out there. Call us at 417.880.1174 so we can help you find it.
Source: REALTOR® Mag

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Disclose or not? 4 things to consider

When you list your home, should you divulge all of its deepest, darkest secrets? Like the time the water got in through the basement door and ruined your new carpet? Or when your foundation settled, causing some cracks in your walls?

The short and unqualified answer: Yes. You should disclose any problems you have had with your home while you've owned it.

The long answer: Missouri has a few statutes that require homeowners to disclose certain things to potential buyers, such as whether your home was used in the production of methamphetamine or whether children were harmed or endangered in your home. But, in general, Missouri doesn't require sellers to disclose defects. 

Our first reaction may be to hide some of the less positive aspects about our homes. But sellers will find benefits from full disclosure, the first being you would certainly appreciate full disclosure if you were on the home-buying side of the table. Here are other ways disclosures can help:

1. Disclosures show that you are being upfront with the buyer about the condition of the home and that you aren't hiding anything. Problems are inevitable, especially as homes age. It would be unusual for a 30-year-old home to have no issues. 

2. Perhaps more important than the problem may be how you handled it. Keep records of how you addressed the problem, and provide the name of the contractor or service person who completed the work.

3. Providing details about the home's history can help the home inspection go more smoothly. The home inspector can independently verify that the problem was resolved successfully. 

4. The buyer can't claim later — after closing — that he or she didn't know about a problem. You've got it documented.

The information in this blog is not intended as legal advice. Do not consider the blog to be a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your state.