Move Smart Solutions Blog

Move-Up America is a full service real estate brokerage that is re-inventing the process of selling an existing home while purchasing a newly constructed home from a builder. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Move-Up America has established itself as a national leader in contingent homebuyer services. With an extensive background in both new home procedures as well as residential brokerage services we are the industries leading resource in assisting families and homebuilders navigate the difficult process of selling one property while preparing to move into a newly built home.

Fun Family Activities Across Texas on Thanksgiving

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Texas - Fall Events for Families

 
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New-Century Modern: A Trending Design for New Homes

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5 Reasons To Fall In Love With Your New Home

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How to Save For a New Home in 2016

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Christmas Day is upon us!

Are you prepared for Santa? If not, no worries, we have some great ideas to bring some Christmas magic into your homes and hearts!

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Three Tips To Help Your Parents Downsize Into a Smaller Home

You (and your parents) know that it is time for a smaller home. However, it does not make it any easier. You probably grew up in their home and have a lot of fond memories. They spent even more time in their home! It can be quite difficult to leave the home where they raised their family, even if they have an empty nest and want to downsize into a smaller house that is much more manageable.

Here are some tips to help your parents downsize to a smaller home.

  • Give them time. It took them a lot of time to accumulate their things so it is not going to be sorted through in a weekend, especially with all of the memories. It takes time. Do not rush them (too much). You can help by going through their possessions with them by making 3 piles. One for items that they must keep. One for items that can be sold/gifted/donated. And another pile for junk/trash. Get rid of the junk pile first as this will make things easier during packing. Then, little by little, get rid of the 2nd pile. Anything that remains from the 1st pile can now be safely boxed and stored away for moving time.

 

  • Help out as much as you can (or they will allow).Don’t make them pack up the house all by themselves. Help as much as they can, though some parents won’t want much help. They will want to do as much of the work as they can. Leave the heavier things for yourself and a friend or hire a professional moving company. All that will be left are the smaller items that they, or you, can handle. Make sure the boxes are appropriately labeled for each room the items will be in.

 

  • Support them in their move.Some parents will want to stay close to their children while others will want to move to a retirement community in warmer weather. Though you may not like it, support your parents in their decision to move wherever they want to.

 

If your parents are still against the idea of downsizing then ask them to consider these points:

·         Smaller homes are easier to maintain and clean

·         Smaller homes are less expensive and should be compared to the mortgage of the previous home

·         Smaller homes are better for the environment and reduce utility bills

·         Smaller homes are easier to decorate and deter accumulating “more baggage”

·         Smaller homes are always “in demand” compared to larger homes that can quickly become very expensive

It can be really difficult for parents to downsize from the home where they raised their children into something smaller. It will take a long time to go through everything. Help as much as they will let you and support them, no matter where they end up!  Contact us to Move Up into a smaller home!

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The Best Time to Sell Your Home

Maybe you have been thinking about selling your house for several months or maybe even a year. Maybe you just started thinking about it. You could be spontaneous and are just going to put your house on the market today because you feel like it. However, most people are not like that. They prefer to sell their house if they know that it is going to sell in a decent amount of time. They don’t want to waste their time and energy.

So, how do you know if it is good time to sell your house?

 

•   If you are interested in selling your home, then it may be a good time to sell. If you are serious about selling your home and moving into a better home, you should try to do it. No matter what the market is doing, if you are ready to move, you should try to sell your home.

•   If you meet with a Realtor, they will be able to tell you how the market is going. A Realtor will be very helpful when the time comes to tell you whether or not you should try to sell now or wait a little bit.

•   Mortgage rates are low. Many people like to wait until mortgage rates are low. More people will be able to afford your home. Also, you will be able to afford a bigger home if that is what you want. You may also be able to move into a smaller home with a much more affordable mortgage.

•   Many people like to sell their home in the spring and summer.They believe that the curb appeal makes it easier to sell during those seasons. It can be hard to buy a home during snowy wintery months.

 

If you are interested in selling your home, it might be a good time to sell it. However, you might want to meet up with a Realtor to discuss your options. They will know the market better and may tell you to wait a little bit. You may want to wait until the mortgage rates are a little lower so more people are able to afford your home. Also, many people like to sell their homes in the spring and summer for better curb appeal.

Contact us to help you sell your home and Move Up into a better brand new home!

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New Construction Trends: A Shift Towards Larger Homes

When it comes to the size of home on your wish list, don’t apologize for wanting a spacious home with a lot of bedrooms and bathrooms. According to a recent report by wsj.com, a lot of new construction homebuyers want larger homes even though some feel fascinated by the “tiny home movement.” While first-time homebuyers tend to buy the older, smaller homes in an affordable price range, move-up buyers long for at least 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms to accommodate a growing family. Commerce Department data cited by the Wall Street Journal also indicates a growing number of consumers rather own a home with a 3-car garage.

Making room for mom and dad

While some homebuyers want larger homes to make room for babies, there is also a multi-generational household trend. Many homebuyers in their 40s and 50s desire new construction homes with dual master bathrooms and extra living space for their aging parents. Because there are several generations living under one roof, it’s essential to have several bathrooms and a 3-car garage rather than the standard 2-car garage. If you live on a golf course, the extra garage room is likely used for golf carts.

Enjoying the indoor-outdoor flow

Another trend in new construction is to increase the living space with more outdoor areas. Especially in the warm-weather states, builders tend to build homes with patios. Whether you want an outdoor kitchen or just an area for gathering outside, capitalize on the building trend as a consumer. You can choose a floor plan that includes French doors that open from an eat-in kitchen and kitchen area to a covered patio. If you don’t have it in your budget to include a swimming pool now, check to make sure the community allows individual pools or other outdoor features that could interest you in the future.

Living in a master planned community

A lot of buyers look for homes built in master planned communities or subdivisions with home owner associations (HOA). Even though it costs more to belong to an HOA, the benefits include lawn maintenance and upkeep. Many master planned communities have amenities such as community pools, tennis courts, cafes, clubhouse, golfing and walking trails. Lush landscaping that you don’t have to personally maintain is another perk of living in a new subdivision with an HOA. According to the Wall Street Journal, 59 percent of houses built in 2014 had HOAs, which is up from 46 percent in 2009.

At Move Up America, we help move-up homebuyers who want to sell their current homes and live in a new construction house in a new community. For more information about our Move-Up Program, please Contact Us.

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Empty Nesters Who Want Smaller and Better Choose Active Adult Communities

Empty nest retirees who desire new homes which are smaller, and more in tune with their new lifestyles, tend to pick Active Adult Communities, shares a March 6, 2015, New York Times online article titled, Retirement in a Community, but Which One? Here, Margaret A. Wylde, CEO of the ProMatura Group--a market research firm--explained, "Of those ages 55 to 65, 4.5 % move each year...(and) 20% of people in this group looking for a home want to live in a 55-plus community." A Maryland couple interviewed for this article expressed what many retirees feel--They wanted "something smaller on less land."

Susanne Matthiesen, director of aging services at CART International, an agency that accredits services for empty nesters, also advised, "Ask yourself what you want to do from today forward." Then, prioritizing wants and needs becomes more clear.

This New York Times article goes on to suggest empty nesters ask themselves the following questions as they choose their ideal retirement communities:

  1. Do you want to live close--but not too close--to family? How close is "too close?"
  2. Do you want to reside alongside folks who are just a little younger than you? Or, would you prefer neighbors who are more your "age peers?"
  3. Will selling your current home and using some of your savings afford you enough of a new-home down payment? Or, must you consider working part-time to (possibly) cover association fees? (A realtor can smooth your move!)
  4. Would your ideal community be located in an urban, or a rural, area?
  5. Do you desire extra services like lawn and landscaping, or housekeeping?
  6. Will you need a "recreation manager" who schedules activities for you?
  7. Are you an "extremely active" empty nester who likes to swim, walk or hike, play tennis and golf? If so, your community should provide indoor/outdoor pools, trails, courts and courses.
  8. Are you an "intellectual" interested in current affairs who would take full advantage of seniors' classes offered at nearby universities?
  9. Will you be primarily socializing with family and friends who live near your community, or do you see community-living as an "adventure" where you'll make tons of new friends?

No matter how empty nesters might answer these questions, Ms. Wylde and Ms. Matthiesen offer the following suggestions for those who've tentatively picked out an active adult community:

  1. "Visit several times to evaluate the construction of the houses, (and) the safety and security."
  2. "Talk to people who live there."
  3. "If you have friends who live in the community, plan a visit."
  4. "Find out what the association fees include." Are "internet, utilities, lawn and landscaping" covered?
  5. "Ask whether you can stay overnight...for two or three nights." Then, "use the community amenities."
  6. Socialize with current residents to ascertain if the "atmosphere" or "culture" of the community is one that appeals to you.

Contact us for information about our Move Smart Solutions "right size" program, in which we help you move down in home value--but not in comfort and efficiency--by listing and selling your current home at significantly reduced commission rates. 

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Leasing a Home

When your family gets bigger or you find the home of your dreams just where you want to live you have the choice of selling your old home or becoming a landlord and leasing your home. If you owned the home for a limited time and have not accumulated a lot of equity in it, or if your home is underwater under today's real estate conditions and you owe more than the house is worth, leasing the house has definite financial advantages.

However, being a landlord has its own pitfalls and difficulties.

•   If you want good tenants, you have to fix up the home before renting it out. This could involve major expense unless you are extremely handy.

•   Between tenants you can expect one to two months of downtime where you will have to cover the old mortgage and the new one.

•   Repairs to cover damage caused by the tenant are the owner's responsibility. This is especially true if the house is damaged in a way that involves health or safety.

•   Owners have to reserve the money to cover repairs on the spot.

•   Rental laws and taxation law regarding rentals can be complicated. People often need professional accounting or legal help in managing property.

If you decide to rent your home, at best you can change the property into a significant source of income. In order to make the arrangement profitable, however, many landowners decide to hire a professional property manager.

•   Good property managers will conduct a thorough survey to determine how much rent to charge.

•   Property management companies have efficient methods of collecting rent and maintaining on-time payment.

•   Property managers have long experience in advertising homes, minimizing the expensive downtime.

•   Experienced property managers are expert at finding tenants, doing security and background checks, running credit reports, verifying employment and collecting references from previous landlords.

•   Property managers will handle all aspects of the tenant-landlord relationship, both routine and emergency maintenance, and any conflict resolution.

•   Property managers usually have regular relationships with tradesmen and maintenance companies to get work done most economically and professionally.

•   Professional property managers ensure compliance with the housing regulations and property laws.

•   Having your property professionally managed means that you can invest in properties geographically distant from your home.

Move Up America is a company dedicated to seeing people upgrading their homes and lives. Please contact us for more information.

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What to Expect When You’re Constructing

If your new construction project has you as giddy as a school girl, or as excited as you were to meet your first-born, you're not alone. It's finally time to own the home you've been pinning about, ripping pages out of magazines for, and dreaming of for years. However, there are a few simple factors to know about, and expect, that will make the construction process a lot easier.

  • Hire a Listing Specialist: You'll need to hire a realtor, or listing specialist to sell your current home. Forbes suggests, "Buying or selling a home is a major financial (and emotional) undertaking. A realtor will help you negotiate complicated contracts, have easy access to property, and are licensed professionals obligated by law to serve your best interests." A firm like Move Up America can pair you with an expert Realtor to sell your home, from a real estate professional that has a solid reputation, the ample experience necessary to guide you seamlessly through this intricate process, and the ability to offer you reduced commissions and rebates.
  • Know the basics of the builders' process: First the builder will prepare the site, and pour the foundation. The first inspections will occur at this phase. Rough framing, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC will happen next. Insulation will then be installed. Drywall and interior finishes can be added after insulation, and then exterior finishes like siding can be completed. More inspections will happen to make sure everything is up to code.
  • The Fun and Finishing Touches: This is the good part, where the wish-list comes in. Drainage, grading, driveways, patios, and final landscaping can happen now. Then, it's time for hard-wood floors, crown molding, quartz counter-tops, exposed beams, beautiful architecture, and farm sinks. Once these final additions are made, the plumbers, and HVAC contractors will come back and finalize their work. Then it's time for the final inspection and walk-through.

Please contact us if your family is ready to move up, in need of more space, looking for a professional estimate on your home's current value, or interested in the amazing options available to you in the housing market. And learn how moving up and into new construction can be a truly rewarding experience.

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Trends in New Homes: New-Century Modern

A lot of people grew up in mid-century modern homes from the 1950s or ‘60s. Some new home builders today build homes inspired by simplicity, clean lines and angled roofs. New-Century modern homes provide homebuyers with a lot more square footage since many original vintage homes have only 1,000 to 1,500 square feet of living space. It’s a great time to sell your mid-century modern or other older home and become a move-up home buyer. Interest rates are still extremely low. According to a recent article by freshhome, there are easy ways to bring the mid-century modern flair to your home. When staging your home to sell, consider buying modern furniture you can use now and take for your newly built home.

  • Using real wood

To get the look of new-century modern, you can use engineered hardwood floors or porcelain tiles engineered to look like real wood grain. However, when selling a vintage home, you should let real wood take the center stage. Some of the popular wood used in mid-century homes, according to freshome, include walnut, oak, teak and rosewood.

  • Installing pendant lighting

Modern pendant lights are trendy in a new-century modern home that you can have built by a reputable new home builder. When staging your starter home to sell consider using vintage pendant lights and fixtures with an artistic edge such as stunning globe lights in bold colors.

  • Showcasing the bar

To create an authentic mid-century modern feel in your home for sale, include a built-in bar for mixed drinks. If you don’t want to spend the money, consider a bar cart. When decorating a new home, a modern twist on the 1950s bar is a coffee bar for making homemade gourmet coffee.

  • Reflecting with mirrors

Mirrors were a popular way to accessorize and make a mid-century modern home appear larger. Use mirrors as part of your staging, especially if you can show a landscape in the distance. Other important décor items inspired by the 1950s and ‘60s include shag area rugs.

When you buy a new home, you get the chance to sit down with a new home consultant and designer to talk about your design choices for flooring, bathrooms and kitchens. Some ideas for a new-century modern décor include cork floors, flat panel kitchen cabinet doors, stainless steel and marble countertops. Keep it simple, clean and uncluttered.

At Move-Up America, we use an innovative system that reduces transaction costs when home selling. Becoming a move-up home buyer is exciting for families who are no longer underwater on their mortgages and ready to move forward. For more information on affording new homes in any architectural style, please contact us.

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How to sell a home in 4 easy steps

Buying a newly constructed home is great, but first you have to sell your old home, and stories about homes on the market for months or years with ever-increasing price reductions can make this idea pretty scary. Figuring out how to sell a home in today’s market is daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The following 4 steps can speed up the sale of your old home and get you into that new construction sooner.

Step 1 is the most important step of all; price your home strategically. To do this find a real estate agent who can compare your home’s size, features and condition against recently sold homes in the same market, and determine how to price it at the best value in its price range. What is strategic pricing? Check out this article from the Houston Chronicle. Overpricing a home will cost you potential buyers, and result in lowered list prices and more time on the market, until ultimately selling for less than it probably should.

Step 2 is to make a great impression, and this is one step most people already know about, although making a great impression on the greatest number of people may require some tough decisions. Much that makes your home a home can also get in the way of selling it to someone new. Toss or store non-generic items like decorative flags and lawn ornaments, art, toy, or other collections you proudly display, magazines and newspapers, toiletries, clutter, and any evidence of pets. Your goal is to create a living space other people can picture themselves living in. When in doubt, ask your real estate agent for advice.

Step 3 is to invest time and money on small projects, like re-grouting tile, repainting, refinishing the basement, or getting a new front door. This step is easier after you complete step 2, because removing personal items (like the five shampoo bottles on the edge of the tub) can reveal potential projects (like removing the mold on the grout between the tub and the wall). Don’t get carried away during this step though, because you may not get the returns you expect from big renovations. Check out this link on Today.com for 8 tips to sell your home this spring.

Step 4 is remembering that people buy homes, not houses, and this means they want to establish an emotional attachment. While step 2 set the stage for your potential buyers to begin to see themselves in your home, step 4 is helping buyers see themselves in your neighborhood and community via social media. What is the school system like? What restaurants, grocery stores and shopping malls are nearby? The Chicago Tribune article entitled Quirky Twitter account helps sell Mount Prospect house tells a story about one man’s innovative marketing idea using Twitter. Your real estate agent may already be leveraging social media, as the article recommends. Contact us to find out more about selling your home.

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The Benefits of HOA’s

Paying home owner association (HOA) fees in addition to a mortgage and property taxes may, at first, seem less than desirable. You may be even wary of HOA because you have heard they can be restrictive, determining the colors you are allowed to paint your home, the condition of your lawn, etc. The benefits of having an HOA, however, can be considered an investment.

Property Value

HOA’s may seem to restrict your creativity or personal style, not allowing you to paint your home bright pink and orange. But what appeals to one person may not appeal to another. By having guidelines and rules all residents in your neighborhood must abide by, what the HOA is really doing is ensuring your property value doesn’t decrease because of unappealing overgrown yards or piles of trash in your next door neighbor’s yard. HOA’s put certain rules in place to safeguard your property value.

Amenities

With newer communities, it is becoming more common to have shared amenities such as pools, parks, and sport fields. HOA fees go toward the upkeep and maintenance of these facilities. Not only does this help increase the property value, but also saves the residents time and money by giving them the opportunity to enjoy such amenities within walking distance.

Safety and Neighbor Communication

Often neighborhoods with HOA, also have a neighborhood watch and regularly scheduled meetings. This provides an opportunity to address any concerns and get to know your neighbors. Additionally, with the neighborhood watch you can feel safe and secure even when you leave your home for an extended period of time.

 

These are just a few of the many reasons HOA’s help improve the quality of life. If you are interested in moving up and finding a new neighborhood contact us. We can help you find the perfect new home with the amenities and neighborhood design you desire.

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Move-Up America is Celebrating 20 Years…And Giving the Gifts to You!

Move-Up America is celebrating 20 years! Established in 1995 by John and Jay Horton and Clay Woodard Move-Up America has served over 8,500 satisfied customers and saved over $45,000,000 in commissions in 12 different markets and 9 different states. Move-Up America has prided itself on providing excellent customer service and maintaining a level of professionalism in order to ensure that their clients get their dream home for the absolute best price.

When established in 1995, Move-Up America brought a radical, new idea to the real estate business. Move-Up America began working directly with home builders and the very best agents from the nation’s top brokerage firms to help clients sell their home and purchase a new home with ease while saving customers on average $9,000 in the process.

During Move-Up America’s celebration they have decided to give the gifts to their customers and sales counselors alike. For its customers Move-Up America has published a free eBook, Selling Your First Home, which details all the vital information that is needed when selling and buying a home simultaneously along with handy printable checklists. This free ebook may be downloaded here.

To show appreciation to the many wonderful sales counselors that have been an integral part of Move-Up America’s success over the last 20 years, Move-Up America is footing the cost for online advertisements. Move-Up America has spent an extensive amount of time researching how to make the most effective ads for themselves and understanding how to specifically target relevant audiences through online demographic research.

Move-Up America would now like to share that knowledge with its sales counselors by placing digital ads that can specifically target potential homebuyers living within a 10 mile radius of the sales counselors’ neighborhood. These ads will allow counselors to advertise the attributes and highlights of the neighborhoods where they are selling to a highly targeted audience. For more information on online marketing with Move-Up America please contact, John Horton here.

And as always, if you are looking to buy a new home or considering downsizing, Move-Up America has several programs to help you find or sell your home. For more information on all of our programs, please contact us.

Thank you for 20 wonderful years!

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Registration

To register as a Home Buyer or a Home Builder, please click the appropriate link below to our online registration forms.

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100 W. Anderson Avenue
Round Rock, TX 78664
Phone: 512-733-7469
Toll-Free: 800-992-3848
Fax: 800-591-2542
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