Trying to Find Your Next Home Online?


Finding Your Next Home Online…

Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following three things in mind.

  1. Stay up to date.

    • When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (MLS) where real estate agents actively post their most current homes for sale. Many online resources update less often or fail to remove listings that are off the market, making it more difficult to sort through the clutter.
  2. Pictures can be deceiving.

    • Real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. Many use tools and strategies to boost appeal, such as a fisheye lens to make areas look larger and creative editing to make colors and textures really pop. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
  3. See it to believe it.

    • Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your real estate agent and schedule a showing. You want to take the opportunity to vet the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of.

Doing your homework and using online house hunting resources is a great way to figure out what you want in a new home! I always appreciate good feedback and instruction from a client to help them in a home search. One thing to remember when using an online search sites to find your next home is that most of the sellers of those beautiful homes are represented by a REALTOR…level the playing field by making sure you are represented by one as well. When an agent is representing the sellers the commission being paid is already set by the sellers and their agent so make sure you are supported in the best way possible by bringing someone with your best interest in mind who is ready to fight for you and your needs.

 

Now for the sales pitch…I am dedicated to finding you the home that fits your needs and wants. I am a REALTOR® working in Western Montana who understands what it means to love where you live and believes in finding that for my clients is of the highest importance. My website www.mostadrealestate.com is a great source for the most up to date listings on the market.

 


Posted on May 3, 2019 at 10:00 pm
Loren Mostad | Posted in buying a home |

Down Payments and Home Buying!

Image result for down payment

WHICH DOWN PAYMENT STRATEGY IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20-percent down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders.

But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—as low as three percent—rather than parting with so much cash up front, even if you have the money available.

THE DOWNSIDE

The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years, and the lower your down payment, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20-percent down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search.

THE UPSIDE

The national average for home appreciation is about five percent. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20 percent or three percent, the increase in equity is the same. If you’re looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.

THE HAPPY MEDIUM

Of course, your home payment options aren’t binary. Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional 20 percent and an investment-focused, small down payment. Your trusted real estate professional can provide some answers as you explore your financing options.


Posted on September 19, 2017 at 11:15 pm
Loren Mostad | Posted in buying a home, down payment, First Time Home Buying, Home Value |

New Home, Better living

There are so many factors that go into a home buying decision that it can make your head spin, especially if you’re in a competitive market where time is of the essence. The desire to purchase a property may cause you to look past factors that could detract from your enjoyment of the home and cause some regrets down the road. That’s why when you’re weighing your options, quality of life should always be the top priority.

 

Location is Part of Lifestyle

Buyers often focus on “must-haves” that can be added through renovation, but will downplay factors that are impossible to change. For example, if you work and spend much of your free time in the heart of a busy city, a house in the suburbs may mean more space for the same price, but it could also mean long commutes and a major hit to your nightlife. A centrally-located condo might be a better option.

On the other hand, if you’re a weekend warrior who looks forward to skiing, hiking, and mountain biking trips, living outside the city may be perfect—you’re that much closer to the trails when you wake up on Saturday morning. It’s a cliché, but it’s still stands true—location, location, location.

 

Big Homes Aren’t for Everyone

If you love entertaining friends and family, a big house makes perfect sense. You’ll have all the space you need to prepare meals and throw big parties and your guests won’t have any trouble finding parking. But a big home also means more cleaning and maintenance—more lawn to mow, more bathrooms to scrub, and more things that will break and need fixing. Before you dive into an alluring big home, consider your tolerance and enthusiasm for the upkeep. For some, a smaller home or a professionally-maintained condo are better options.


Posted on April 28, 2017 at 6:00 pm
Loren Mostad | Posted in Uncategorized |

How Do HOAs Work?

When you purchase a home, there’s a good chance you’ll have to pay a homeowners association fee, especially in gated communities, townhouses, condominiums, and other similar planned neighborhoods. The idea is to keep common areas clean and maintained, and there’s usually an HOA board that is responsible for setting the rules and regulations.

Each HOA is different, but most have the same core elements. You’ll typically pay your HOA fees either monthly or annually, and it’s an important factor to consider when you’re weighing your options for a new home. So what is typically included in your HOA fees?

First, the fun stuff: Amenities are typically the big perk of living in a community with an HOA. While you lose out on some of the freedom of living without an HOA, you instead get community amenities like a maintained pool, gym, clubhouse, tennis courts, and other amenities. The HOA fees pay for cleaning and maintenance, so-in theory-you’ll always have a clean pool whenever you want to use it.

Protecting the community: HOA fees often contribute to insurance for the community amenities, as well as a fund for unexpected repairs to damaged community property-think damage from weather or accidents.

General maintenance: Your HOA fees will go toward maintaining the general safety and upkeep of the community. This means things like elevator maintenance for condominiums, snow removal, and trash/recycling services.

Be active in the association: There may be a board of directors, but homeowners associations exist for the betterment of the entire community, and every voice matters. HOA meetings-and the amenities they support-provide great opportunities to meet your neighbors and make your community a better place.

And now for the sales pitch:

I am passionate about helping others and am focused on providing the highest level of customer service. I am proud to be working with Mostad Construction Inc. and Windermere Real Estate to help others realize the dream of home ownership in Missoula.

Loren Mostad
Realtor®

Windermere Missoula Real Estate

2800 South Reserve Street
Missoula, MT 59801

Email: loren.mostad@windermere.com


Posted on April 10, 2017 at 3:36 pm
Loren Mostad | Posted in Home Value | Tagged

Taxes and Your Home!

Don’t forget about homeowner tax breaks

Image result for HOuse tax breaks

A New Year means tax season is right around the corner. One of the many perks of homeownership is big tax breaks. So whether you’re doing your taxes yourself or getting help from a professional, it’s important to take advantage of those breaks!

Mortgage Interest Deduction:

Before buying a home, a standard deduction may have made the most sense when you prepared your taxes. But homeowners can deduct the interest portion of their mortgage payments, and the earlier you are in your mortgage, the greater the percentage of each payment that goes toward interest, so take advantage right away!

Home Office:

There are specific criteria that have to be met in order to deduct home office expenses, but it can lead to a very large deduction. In general, your home office has to be used specifically for business purposes. Check with a tax professional to see if your home office qualifies for a deduction-it’s a little extra work, but can make a big difference in your tax responsibility.

And now for the sales pitch:

I am passionate about helping others and am focused on providing the highest level of customer service. I am proud to be working with Mostad Construction Inc. and Windermere Real Estate to help others realize the dream of home ownership in Missoula.

Loren Mostad
Realtor®

Windermere Missoula Real Estate

2800 South Reserve Street
Missoula, MT 59801

Email: loren.mostad@windermere.com


Posted on March 17, 2017 at 10:28 pm
Loren Mostad | Posted in Home Value |

Your Quick First Time Home Buying Guide!

Five tips for first-time buyers.

Dreaming of Home

No matter how much time you spend on researching and educating yourself about your home purchase, it’s hard to cover every detail. Here are a few tips for avoiding rookie mistakes with your first home purchase.

  1. Save as early as you can: Even if you think you’re years away from buying your first home, try to start saving for your down payment. It makes a huge difference in your monthly payments, and helps avoid paying Private Mortgage Insurance.
  2. Be thorough with mortgage shopping: There are countless resources out there that can help you get the best terms for your mortgage. It may seem like a lot of work to shave less than a point off your mortgage rate, but it’ll save you thousands in the long run.
  3. Consult a skeptic: You’re likely to fall in love with a home, and that can make it difficult to take problems seriously. Bring along a skeptical friend or family member who can give you an honest opinion.
  4. Be patient with getting settled: You’ll be anxious to make your new home your own, but take some time to see how your budget truly shakes out. In other words, hold off on big furniture purchases and remodeling projects.
  5. Make sure you’re happy with the neighborhood: The house may be perfect, but don’t discount the surroundings. You don’t want to end up in the suburbs if you’re going to miss walking to your favorite coffee shop, and you don’t want to settle for the city if you’re looking forward to some peace and quiet.

And now for the sales pitch:

I am passionate about helping others and am focused on providing the highest level of customer service. I am proud to be working with Mostad Construction Inc. and Windermere Real Estate to help others realize the dream of home ownership in Missoula.

Loren Mostad
Realtor®

Windermere Missoula Real Estate

2800 South Reserve Street
Missoula, MT 59801

Email: loren.mostad@windermere.com

Posted on March 7, 2017 at 8:52 pm
Loren Mostad | Posted in First Time Home Buying | Tagged , ,

What affects property values?

Affordability, home cost, budget, mortgage

Some the features that increase property values are obvious-like a remodeled bathroom, a modern kitchen, or a sought-after neighborhood. But here are a few features and circumstances you have not have realized can affect property values.

  1.  The neighbors: Not every neighborhood or community has an HOA that can keep the neighbors from going overboard with decorations or neglecting to care for their home. Homes adjacent to crazy neighbors can potentially be undervalued.
  2.   Trendy groceries and coffee: Recent statistics suggest that if your home is a short walk from popular grocery stores like Whole Foods or coffee chains like Starbucks, it can actually appreciate faster than the national average.
  3.  Mature trees: A big beautiful tree in the front yard is enviable, and it’s not something that can be easily added to any home. Homes with mature trees tend to get a little boost in value.
  4.  Parking: This isn’t too much of an issue if you live in the suburbs or in a rural area, but residents in dense cities can have real problems with parking, and homeowners might need to rent a spot just to guarantee a place to park each night. That’s why having guaranteed parking in urban areas will raise property values.
  5.  The front entrance: First impressions matter to buyers-many will cross a home off their list within 10 seconds of stepping through the front door. An appealing front door, a friendly entryway, and a functioning doorbell are all necessities for getting top dollar.

Posted on February 17, 2017 at 11:12 pm
Loren Mostad | Posted in Home Value, Selling your home |