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Denise Kelly

Broker/Owner

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3 Ways to Separate Wants from Needs in a New Home

6/23/2015

3 Ways to Separate Wants from Needs in a New Home

Wed, June 17, 2015

Rolling Stones fans and savvy homebuyers both know you can’t always get what you want. At least not everything you want. You should, however, have some sense of what you want and what you need when you start your search for a new home. Distinguishing between the wants and needs can be tricky because so much emotion can swirl around visions of your “dream home.”

But making two separate lists of wants and needs will save you hours and energy in the long run. Here are three things to do to help you decide how to assign home features to your lists:

1. Ask yourself if you can truly live without it.

“Wants” are features that would be nice to have. “Needs” are things that you really must have to function. Be honest, can you truly live without shiny new stainless steel appliances? If yes, put them in the “Wants” column. On the other hand, an additional bedroom may belong in the “Needs” column if you’re expecting twins. Creaky knees? A ranch layout is a “need.” Occasional desire for a nap by the hearth? That fireplace is a “want.”

2. Determine if a feature could be changed or added later.

No matter how ambitious you are, some things may remain beyond your control to change, like proximity to public transportation, or quality of the local school district. If these features are critical to you, they go on the “Needs” list. On the other hand, things like patios and hardwood floors can be added later. List them as “Wants.” Your agent can probably help you talk through potential future costs of renovations and additions to accommodate your wants. Changing the bus routes, on the other hand, is probably beyond the capabilities of even the most experienced Realtor.

3. Talk it through with your agent.

A trusted Realtor can bring a much-needed dose of objectivity to your decision-making. He or she can help you visualize the day-to-day reality of living with (or without) a certain feature, as well as guide you through the math that may help you separate wants from needs.

A Realtor you can trust always goes on the “Needs” list. Find a local RE/MAX agent who can guide you through the homebuying  process.

Call a RE/MAX Premier agent today at (406) 299-3500

Where does RE/MAX Rank?

6/1/2015

Have you ever wondered where RE/MAX ranks with other agencies?

Our Agents here at RE/MAX Premier in Butte, MT can assist you with all of your real estate needs.
Call us today at (406) 299-3500.

5 Wrong Turns to Avoid When Selling Your Home

6/1/2015

5 Wrong Turns to Avoid When Selling Your Home

Mon, June 1, 2015

Sometimes, it’s helpful to learn from your mistakes. Usually, it’s much better to learn from someone else’s, especially when it comes to something as important as selling your home. Here are some common mistakes you really don't want to make:

1. Trying to sell your home yourself
In this DIY era, the urge to try to sell your home yourself to save money can beckon like the smell of oven-fresh cookies at an open house. Resist.  Working with a licensed agent helps ensure you’re not leaving money on the table as a result of an off-target listing price or a mistake in the many steps that lead to a final sale. Sell your sofa yourself online. List your home with a professional.

2. Picking the wrong Realtor
Not all agents are equal. Just because your college buddy dabbles in the industry doesn’t mean he’s the best guy to sell your home. You want experience. You want to work with an agent who has a depth of knowledge. Invite your buddy to the housewarming party.  Find an agent who can truly guide you.

3. Pricing your home too high
Sometimes it’s good to aim high. But when you’re setting a price for your home, it’s better to be smart than overly eager. Listing your home at a price beyond the true market value and then letting it drop several times can lead to a lower sale price than you’re hoping for. A savvy agent can help you set the best, most competitive price for your home based on other recent sales and local market trends.

4. Sweating the small stuff
Keep things in perspective. You’re in the process of one of the largest business transactions you’ll ever make. It's easy to get distracted by dollars adding up from pre-sale repairs or post-inspection demands, but don’t let the cost of replacing a closet door, servicing the furnace or fixing a stairway banister derail you. After you reach the finish line on your home sale, you'll focus more on the rewarding outcome and quickly forget about the smaller frustrations.

5. Getting emotional
Yes, your children may have learned to walk on that carpet, but a heartfelt story isn’t going to win the hearts of buyers. With so much personal history tied to your home, emotions can cloud judgment. An agent can help you make smart, strategic decisions.

When you’re ready to sell your home the right way, find a local RE/MAX agent to guide you.

Our Agents here at RE/MAX Premier in Butte, MT can assist you with all of your real estate needs.
Call us today at (406) 299-3500.

Get Moving With These 5 Safety Tips

5/28/2015

Get Moving With These 5 Safety Tips
Tue, May 26, 2015

There's no move better than a safe move! And since this is National Moving Month, there's no better time to tell you about a great website from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Protect Your Move is full of resources to help you keep yourself and your household goods safe from moving fraud when choosing a moving service company.

Here are highlights of red flags the site recommends looking for when working with a moving company:

1. Blank documents – Never sign or accept incomplete forms provided by the moving company. Make sure all fields are complete to prevent anyone from adding to the form after you sign. And be sure to get copies of everything you sign! A good tip on the site: Snap a photo with your cell phone.

2. Limited company information – Beware any company that doesn't have a local address and shows no licensing or insurance information online. 

3. Generic rental trucks – Watch out for a rental truck arriving on moving day rather than a truck from your moving company's fleet. (Sidenote: You might even want to confirm the truck number prior to moving day.)

4. No inspection with estimate – A moving company should inspect your household goods prior to providing an estimate. The site warns against sight-unseen estimates.

5. Payment requests – If the moving company wants payment upfront, a large deposit, or cash transactions, you might be at risk of fraud.

Be sure to check out the page outlining "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move."

If you're ready to start planning a move and you need to buy or sell a place, contact a local RE/MAX agent who can guide you every step of the way.

Our Agents here at REMAX Premier in Butte, MT can assist you with all of your real estate needs.  Call us today at (406) 299-3500.

9 Reasons a Great Agent is Vital to a Seller

5/28/2015

9 Reasons a Great Agent is Vital to a Seller

Thu, May 21, 2015

Selling your home without hiring a real estate agent might be tempting, especially if you're in an area where buyers are clamoring for properties. It's not uncommon for sellers to think (even for a split-second) "How hard can it be to sell on my own?" But there are probably some challenges they're not considering.

Here are some key ways a real estate agent – more specifically a licensed Realtor – proves to be indispensible during the selling process.

1. They offer wide exposure. Find an agent with the education, experience and know-how – along with the backing from a brokerage and powerful brand – to increase exposure of your house to potential buyers. Your agent can devise a marketing plan that stresses showing your property to other agents as well as to the public.

2. They bring objectivity. You probably love your home even with all its faults, but a prospective buyer might not be so dazzled. A solid real estate agent can give you helpful tips on things that need to be fixed and ways to improve your home’s appearance and curb appeal. Your agent can also evaluate and focus on features that might set your house apart from the competition.

3. They know the market. Agents can access current market data about pending and recent sales, and they can use that information to help you establish an appropriate asking price for your home. Homeowners often expect unrealistically high prices for their homes, which can turn off buyers who are seeing homes with more competitive prices. A house that is priced accurately from the get-go will sell more quickly and for a higher price than those that are priced too high right out of the gate.

4. They take care of all showings. You may not be available to show your home to prospective buyers, or you may have already moved out, but your agent can show your house even when you aren’t there. Agents can answer visitors’ questions and take note of their feedback. Further, prospective buyers usually feel more comfortable touring a house when the owner isn’t present. They might want to comment on a house’s drawbacks.

5. They take security seriously. Real estate agents can vet all potential buyers, including verifying they're preapproved for a home loan and weeding out the “looky-loos” who aren't serious buyers. They also can provide security by pre-screening visitors and accompanying them while they're in the house.

6. They're prepared to negotiate. Agents will negotiate contracts on your behalf. FSBO sellers generally negotiate with a professional representing the buyer's interests. Your agent, on the other hand, can help you negotiate with the buyer’s agent to secure a contract that gets you the best price for your house.

7. They help you avoid legal trouble. Your agent knows the requirements for disclosures in your state. The seller is required to disclose any problems that could affect the value of the property. In most states, it’s against the law to hide physical problems such as flood hazards and prior damage. Some states require a seller to search for such problems even if they aren’t obvious. An agent helps prepare necessary disclosure documents.

8. They're with you to the end – and beyond. Getting to the closing table is a complicated process, filled with paperwork, and mistakes can sidetrack the deal. Good real estate agents have safeguards in place to avoid them. Your real estate agent will work with you every step of the way to closing, and can even be a resource for you as you consider your next move.

9. They follow a strict Code of Ethics. Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and they are required to complete a two-and-a-half hour Code of Ethics course every four years. The repeat training ensures that agents are familiar with the code’s newest provisions and that its key guidelines are reinforced: protecting clients, protecting communities and protecting the industry.

Are you having second thoughts about selling your home on your own?  Find a local RE/MAX agent who can guide you through it all.

Our Agents here at REMAX Premier in Butte, MT can assist you with all of your real estate needs.  Call us today at (406) 299-3500.

5 Things to Think About When Buying Your First Place

5/20/2015
 
 
5 Things to Think About When Buying Your First Place

Tue, February 3, 2015

As a renter, you have the luxury of choosing a place that meets your needs at the moment.  Buying a home is a much bigger commitment, both in terms of finances and the length of time you’ll likely live there. When seeking out your first place – whether a house or condominium or anything in between – it’s important to do your homework.

Here are 5 things to consider as you begin the process of purchasing your first place.

1. The growth possibilities. Shop for a place that meets your current spaces needs, but also consider one that can adjust to a changing household. A five-year plan may not pan out as you expect, so think about possible life changes that could impact your need for bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage.

2. What's under the hood. Your first place may not come with many frills or luxury features – but all the basics should be in good condition. Thoroughly inspect prospective properties. And before any purchase is made, hiring a professional inspector is a must.  Your real estate agent can guide you through this key step.

3. Know that no home will be perfect. Your first home may likely not be the perfect place. But make it the right one. Finding the right home is often a matter of prioritizing. Make a list of “must haves,” along with “nice to haves” and “not necessary to haves.” A three-car garage is nice, but would you rather have a larger kitchen or live in a good neighborhood? Only you can measure the importance of the amenities you are looking for.

4. Consider ALL the costs of ownership. When you buy a home, you take on recurring costs you don’t have to worry about as a renter. Look for a home that meets your budget in terms of full living costs – mortgage, utilities, trash pick-up, sewage fees, homeowner's association dues and other fees. Your lender doesn't take into account these costs when approving your home loan. A good real estate agent can help you calculate estimated monthly costs to determine the most appropriate price range for you.

5. The lifespan of things. In addition to identifying cosmetic and structural flaws before you buy, know what to expect from the home's components. How long until you need to replace the roof, appliances, furnace or carpet? Everything may be in working order now, but all homes need these types of repairs at some point. Researching the expected remaining life on large-ticket items can help you plan for the future.

When you're ready to start the process of buying a home, a local RE/MAX agent will be ready to help.  

Call us today at (406) 299-3500

7 Easy Steps to Declutter Your Home Before You Sell

5/20/2015
7 Easy Steps to Declutter Your Home Before You Sell

Thu, March 26, 2015

Spring into action with these great tips from agent Joan Congilose​ of New Jersey. ​

Spring is here!

When it comes to preparing to sell your home, the best place to start is clearing the clutter. Clutter includes all of those things we have a tendency to save that we no longer use that just lie around or take over extra space in our homes. We all are guilty of saving things in our homes, garages and basements that we forget we even still have. However, the more you declutter, the cleaner and more spacious your home will appear to prospective buyers and the quicker it will sell. If just thinking about it makes you feel overwhelmed, here are a few easy steps to get you started.

Step 1: Set a schedule

You are much more likely to stick to a routine, whatever it may be, if you work on a schedule. In addition, this allows you to clean when you can minimize interruptions and maximize your time.

Step 2: Do one room at a time

If you can visualize what you want, you will be better able to achieve it. By setting goals for each room, you can note the things that need changing and work toward that goal one day at a time.

Step 3: Create a deadline to finish

When do you hope to have your home ready for showing? One week, two weeks or even a month? Depending on your schedule and the amount of clutter that you have, it may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks before you can kick back and relax again. You may want to enlist the help of friends and family if you are on a short time schedule.

Step 4: Start small

The clutter in your home didn't appear overnight, and it won't disappear overnight either. If you start small, you will be less likely to get frustrated and give up midway through your cleanup.

Step 5: Categorize your clutter

When cleaning, it's important to categorize your items into groups. By separating the items that you want to keep, toss and donate, you will be able to move through your clutter quickly and efficiently.

Step 6: Letting go

A good rule of thumb for uncluttering your home is to get rid of anything that you haven't used within the past year. If it's still useful, consider donating it to a good cause or having a garage sale. Otherwise, toss it.

Step 7: Pack it up

Since you are planning on moving anyway, pack up those items that you can't part with but don't need to use any time soon. You can either put them in storage until your move or confine them to a designated space in your garage, basement or attic. Buyers will perceive that you are a family that is organized, ready to move and it is less to pack once you sell your home.

7 Ways to Help Pets Adjust After a Move

5/20/2015

7 Ways to Help Pets Adjust After a Move

Wed, April 8, 2015

Moving can be stressful for every family member – including the four-legged ones. The tough part is you can't explain to your dogs and cats what's happening. Every animal reacts differently to new living quarters, and temperament has a lot to do with it. Some pets take a move in stride, while others exhibit anxiety or insecurity for days or weeks.

Here are some things to consider as the big move approaches and after you're in your new home:

1. A little help from the vet
Ask your veterinarian for recommendations on easing the transition. If your pet is generally anxious or high-strung, perhaps it's worth asking whether a mild calming medication might be right for your pet for the first few days after the move. It's not uncommon for vets to prescribe gentle stress relief for travel. Your veterinarian may also suggest additional vaccinations depending on the area and climate you're moving to.

2. A pre-move home tour
If possible, take your pet to the new home for a visit before the official moving day. That way, it will be familiar with the house, yard and even new smells when you actually move in.

3. Time to explore
After you move in, give your pet time to explore the house gradually, rather than letting it loose immediately to roam at will. Limit it to one area – perhaps the kitchen – for a few hours until it calms down. Show the pet where you've placed its familiar items like the food dish, water bowl and bed. You might want to keep a dog on a leash when first allowing it to tour the greater part of the house. If you have a fenced yard, avoid letting pets out unsupervised for several days until you're sure they can't climb or dig out from under the fence.

4. The benefit of pet walks
Take your dog for walks and good sniffing around the entire neighborhood. While you acclimate to your new location primarily by visual cues, dogs depend on their olfactory sense. Leave and enter the new home by different doors during the early walks, so your dog develops a good sense of direction and knows exactly where home is.

5. How cats handle moves
Territorial by nature, cats often experience more issues with moving than their canine counterparts. Keep your cat safe in its carrier upon arrival, placing it in a quiet area. When the hubbub dies down, let it out in an enclosed room away from main traffic areas. Provide your cat with familiar objects, such as a bed, litter box and toys. Spend lots of time with it and encourage it to explore the room, perhaps by strategically placing cat treats. Outgoing, friendly cats might be ready for further exploration within a day or two after arrival, while shy cats might take much longer.

6. Additional supervision
While you have a million things to do after moving into a new house, try to have at least one family member home at all times during the first week or so. Have meals at home and establish a routine for your furry friends as soon as possible. Feed pets and take the dog for walks at the same time as you did at your old home.

7. Update pet IDs
Because accidents happen, update your pet's identification information before you move. Your new municipality might require licensing within a certain time frame, but you need updated tags from day one of your move. If your pets are microchipped, contact the registration company and give them the new information. This way, if Fluffy or Fido slip out the door, anyone who finds them can easily return them to their new home.

If you're ready to start your home search contact us today!  (406) 299-3500

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