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.

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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.

 

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.

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.

Five Tips For Downsizing To A Smaller Home


When people think empty nest, they either dread the thought or they can't wait. They think about having a quiet house and maybe some time to travel. Others dread the quiet without their children in and out all of the time. Many people start to think about downsizing to a smaller home when their children move out. However, that can feel very overwhelming with a house full of treasures.

Here are some tips to make downsizing a little easier.

•   Start early. Start as soon as possible to make the process go smoother. If you wait until right before you move, you will quickly get overwhelmed and end up just throwing a lot of things away.

•   Work at it slowly.Take a few minutes every day instead of trying to do it all at once. Maybe you would feel better to do a room at a time. Take a drawer at a time. Find a way that works for you and stick to it. Just start making progress and keep working at it slowly until you get through it.

•   Figure out what you really can’t get rid of.It is hard to realize that you can’t take everything with you. Make a list of things that you have to take, like photo albums and other sentimental albums.

Becoming a Move Up Buyer When You’re Underwater on a Mortgage


Many homeowners felt stuck during the housing decline when their homes weren’t worth as much on the open market as they had paid. Now more homeowners make the jump from a starter home to a better, more spacious home as home values dramatically increase across the country. Even if you still owe more on our mortgage, it’s possible to become a move up buyer. Being “underwater” on a mortgage isn’t as much of an issue as many homeowners simply rent out their current home so they are free to pursue a step up home in a more prestigious and safe neighborhood. According to a recent piece by the SunSentinel, a new report shows fewer people are underwater on mortgages. Negative equity peaked in late 2011 in South Florida and other markets affected by the housing boom.

•   Avoid a strategic default

Real estate experts advise against a strategic default or no longer making mortgage payments. If you do have equity in your home, it’s prudent to avoid taking out a second mortgage or home equity line of credit before hunting for a new construction home. Move up buyers should also avoid refinancing to take out equity or cash before pursuing a home purchase.

•   List your home at a higher price

If you don’t want to rent out your current home, consider listing it at a price that is the same or just slightly lower than you originally paid. With the housing market booming, you will likely be surprised to find your home is worth significantly more than it was just one or two years ago. Some homeowners pay the difference between the amount they owe on the mortgage and the final sales price if the difference is small.

Real Estate Trend: Millennials Turn to Parents for Homebuying Help


If you find yourself going to your parents for help to buy a first home or step-up home, you aren’t alone. According to a new report by loanDepot cited in a U.S. News & World Report article, 17 percent of parents help their children ages 18 to 38 buy a home. Before asking your parents for financial assistance to buy real estate, brush up on the benefits of new construction homes such as energy-efficiency, less maintenance and safety. The report showed parents have already helped financially or plan to help with the future financing of a child’s home. Seventy-five percent of the millennials surveyed who had bought a home said they couldn’t have done it without the financial gift from parents.

Communicating about options

When a parent provides financial assistance, they often want to make sure their children invest wisely in a home. Your parents will likely feel nervous about the prospect of you investing in a foreclosure or distressed property. When you take them to visit a new home community, they often see the value of owning in a better area. Your parents have a vested interest in making sure you are in a good home in a good neighborhood. Master-planned communities often provide amenities including recreation for children and adults.

Finding different ways to help

If you are selling your starter or entry-level home that you bought during the housing boom, you might walk away with very little cash for a down payment on a nicer, step-up home. Depending on your parents for a financial gift matters in terms of affording a more spacious and higher-end home. According to the study, in the last 5 years 65 percent of parents contributed to a down payment on a home for their millennial, while 25 percent covered other expenses, 24 percent helped with closing costs and 21 percent co-signed a mortgage. After reviewing your financial paperwork and information, your lender will advise you on what kind of help will be most advantageous for you.

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. 

You Don’t Need A Perfect Credit Score!


With the economy in a strong upswing it is now easier to obtain a mortgage even if you think your credit score might not be that great. 

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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.