Brian O'Neil - RE/MAX Advantage I



Posted by Brian O’Neil on 1/19/2020

If you want to enjoy a fast, seamless and profitable home selling experience, it helps to be flexible. That way, you won't feel pressure to accept the first homebuying proposal that comes your way. Instead, you can listen to various homebuying offers, consider their pros and cons and choose one that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Unfortunately, the stress associated with selling a house can escalate quickly. And if a home seller is not careful, he or she risks making rash decisions that may lead to subpar results.

When it comes to selling a house, it generally is a good idea to be flexible. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help sellers maintain their flexibility throughout the home selling cycle.

1. Evaluate the Housing Market

The current housing market may favor buyers or sellers. If you want to maximize the profits from your home sale – and maintain your flexibility throughout the home selling journey – you should examine the real estate sector closely.

Assess the prices of available houses in your city or town that are similar to your own. This will allow you to see how your residence stacks up against the competition and price it appropriately.

Furthermore, evaluate the prices of recently sold houses in your area. With this housing market data, you can determine whether you're preparing to enter a buyer's or seller's market and plan accordingly.

2. Don't Hesitate to Counter a Buyer's Offer

After you list your house, it may be only a matter of time before you receive an offer on your house. However, just because you receive an offer on your house does not mean that you have to accept this proposal.

Remember, your duty as a home seller is to accept the ideal homebuying proposal based on your home selling goals. If an offer fails to meet your expectations, you should not hesitate to counter or reject this proposal.

In most instances, it helps to counter a buyer's proposal. If you submit a counter-offer that matches a buyer's needs, both you and a buyer can move forward with a transaction. Or, in the worst-case scenario, a buyer will reject the counter-offer, and you can move forward with your attempt to sell your house.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

If you're unsure about how to stay flexible throughout the home selling journey, you can always hire a real estate agent. In fact, with a real estate agent at your side, you can get the insights that you need to succeed in any housing market, at any time.

A real estate agent will learn about your home selling goals and help you map out a successful home selling journey. Plus, he or she will list your residence, promote it to the right groups of potential buyers and ensure you can make an informed decision about whether to accept, reject or counter a buyer's proposal.

Want to sell your house? Consider the aforementioned tips, and you can operate as a flexible home seller.




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Posted by Brian O’Neil on 1/12/2020

New windows can work wonders for a house. Depending on how old your windows are, replacements can make your home less drafty, and much quieter, but they can also spruce up a room that’s starting to look dated.

When you replace your windows you also might see a drop in your heating bill. However, the cost of replacing windows is steeper than you’re ever likely to save on heat. So, if you’re thinking of replacing your windows just to save cash, in the long run there might be better ways of doing so.

In this article, we’re going to talk about choosing replacement windows for your home. We’ll walk you through the different types of windows so you can find the type that fits your needs. Read on for our replacement windows buyer’s guide.

Choosing the right window style

There are endless types of windows that you could find in a given home. However, four main styles are what we normally think of when talking about replacement windows.

Single vs double-hung windows

First, there are single and double-hung windows. In double-hung windows, both the top and bottom sash are operable, or able to be opened. Being able to utilize both sashes is beneficial for airflow. Opening the top sash will allow the warm air escape, opening the bottom sash will allow cool air to enter.

In single-hung windows, only the lower sash is able to be opened and closed. But otherwise, they are very similar to double-hung windows.

Both of these types of windows come in variants that allow you to pivot the sashes inward to clean the exterior glass. However, if you buy single-hung windows you’ll only be able to wash the lower sash. Keep that in mind if you’re buying windows for a second floor or attic window.

Sliding windows

Sliding windows are those which move horizontally on their tracks. They produce good ventilation and are easy to use. However, just like single-hung and double hung windows, they do slightly obstruct your view at the midpoint when closed. The rectangular shape of sliding windows, however, means you won’t likely be able to install an air conditioner.

Casement style windows

The last main type of window we’ll talk about are casement style windows. This type of window operates on a hinge like a door would. When they’re fully opened, they produce good ventilation. When they’re fully closed, they don’t obstruct the view at all.

However, just like with sliding windows, you won’t be able to install an AC unit. Furthermore, this type of window is more prone to malfunction due to the crank and hinge system, and cranking it open and closed all the time could be a minor annoyance for some homeowners.

Frame materials

Window frames come in four main materials--vinyl, wood, clad-wood, and aluminum.

  • Vinyl is the most common. They look clean and modern, and they also resist heat and condensation making them easy to maintain.

  • Wood frames are regaining popularity. Since they often come unfinished, you can easily customize them to your home.

  • Clad-wood frames are wood on the interior and aluminum on the exterior, making them rugged and resistant to weathering and rot.

  • Aluminum windows are economical, lightweight, and easy to maintain.


Now that you know a bit more about windows, you’ll be better equipped to decide what type of replacements to purchase for your home.




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Posted by Brian O’Neil on 1/5/2020

It’s a good financial practice to check your credit report and score periodically. You want to be sure that no one has stolen your identity and that all the information on the report is correct. It may sound simple to check your credit, but there are so many sources that you can get it from and so many options that it can be a dizzying process. Read on to learn more about the basics of checking your credit and credit score. 


Your Credit Score Comes From Different Sources


You can check your credit score from one source and find that the score varies from place to place. Why? There are a few different scoring models that are used to calculate scores. There could be as much as a 50 point difference between sites. There are also three credit reporting agencies. Each one uses a different method to calculate credit scores. Each method provides lenders with different information to allow them a picture of what type of borrower you will be. 


Checking Your Score


Many different apps allow you to check your credit score. These enable users not only to see their scores but to see what can be done to improve the user’s credit report and score. You can’t see your credit report on these apps, but you can always head to annualcreditreport.com to check the full scope of your report. This is the only official site to pull your credit report fro the credit bureaus.  Finding the right app to check your credit score is simple, it only takes a few minutes to sign up. 


How Are Credit Scores Calculated?


Your credit score is calculated using a few different factors. Each credit bureau uses the formula a bit differently. Scores range from 300- 850. It’s pretty rare to see perfect credit at 850. Anything over 700 is considered “good” or excellent” credit. You need at least a score of 600 to obtain loans in most cases. The higher your score, the better the interest rate will be.     



When Is The Best Time To Check The Score?


Before you apply for any large loan, it’s a good idea to check your credit rating. Taking a peek will allow you to see where you stand. You don’t want  to apply for a loan and end up being surprised by problems with your credit. Many apps allow you to check your score on a monthly basis. It’s easy to stay on top of your credit score and especially important to know where you stand when you buy a home.   




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Posted by Brian O’Neil on 12/29/2019

Selling a home takes patience. Especially when you’re balancing your time between settling into your new home, and keeping up with your work and family life. So, when you’ve finally gotten to the point of accepting an offer on your home, you’ll probably breathe a sigh of relief--and you should!  However, there are still a few more things that will need to happen and a couple of things to consider before closing the deal on your home sale.

Contingencies on the purchase contract

A purchase contract typically includes contingency clauses that are designed to protect the interests of both the buyer and the seller. These clauses mean that the contract is contingent upon the actions being completed before it can be legally valid.

There are three main contingencies that will likely be included in the purchase contract before closing--inspection, financing, and appraisal.

Inspection contingency

The inspection contingency allows the buyer to have the home inspected by a professional before closing (the time should be specified within the contract, but the inspection should usually occur no more than two weeks after you accept the offer). A home inspection lets the buyer know what to expect in terms of repairs that the home needs now or will need in the near future.

Financing contingency

Since the vast majority of buyers will be purchasing their home through a loan, a financing contingency is included to allow the buyer time to secure their mortgage. Getting pre-qualified and pre-approved makes this process easier, but the buyer will still have to finalize and close on their mortgage before their financing is official.

This clause exists to protect the buyer in the event that their mortgage application is denied, ensuring that they aren’t penalized.

Appraisal contingency

The third contingency most often found in purchase contracts is a home appraisal. The buyer will order an appraisal and then the appraiser will reach out to you to find a day to come and value your home.

If the home is then appraised at the amount agreed upon in your contract, this contingency is met. However, if the appraisal comes up lower than the purchase amount, the buyer can renegotiate the price.

Walkthrough and closing

Once the appraisal and inspection have been met and financing secured, the buyer will have a chance to do a final walkthrough of your home. The walkthrough usually occurs no more than two days prior to closing on the sale. A walkthrough allows the buyer view the home one last time to ensure that the condition of the home hasn’t drastically changed since the home was inspected or appraised. So, make sure the buyer is aware of any changes you planned to make to the home before closing.

Now you’re ready to close on your home sale. You’ll receive a disclosure form to review (read it carefully!) and sign. Once closing is complete, ownership of the home is officially transferred to the buyer.

While the closing process does include several steps, it’s important to be available and cooperative along the way to ensure a smooth sale and transition into your new home.





Posted by Brian O’Neil on 12/22/2019

As a homebuyer, you likely want to do everything you can to ensure you can seamlessly navigate the property buying journey. Yet problems may arise that hamper your homebuying aspirations. Lucky for you, we're here to help you analyze the property buying journey and ensure you can avoid complications along the way.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can minimize the risk of problems as you search for your dream residence.

1. Learn About the Homebuying Journey

There is nothing quite like buying a home. As such, you'll want to do whatever you can to prepare for the property buying journey to ensure you can limit the risk of encountering potential pitfalls.

Oftentimes, it helps to review housing market data related to residences in your preferred cities and towns. This information can help you assess the prices of available houses in your area and find out how long residences typically stay available before they sell. Plus, this housing market data may help you differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market.

You also should establish realistic homebuying expectations before you enter the real estate market. In some instances, homebuyers require many weeks or months to find the perfect residence. But if you set realistic expectations for the homebuying journey, you may be better equipped than ever before to overcome myriad property buying challenges.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A mortgage is essential for most homebuyers. If you secure a mortgage before you start your home search, you'll know precisely how much you can spend on a residence. Then, you can narrow your home search accordingly.

It generally won't take long to get pre-approved for a mortgage, either. If you meet with local banks and credit unions, you can review your mortgage options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

There is no telling what may happen as you pursue your dream residence. However, if you have a real estate agent at your side, you'll be able to prepare for any homebuying challenges that might come your way.

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who is happy to teach you about all aspects of the housing market. He or she will help you craft a homebuying strategy, as well as respond to your homebuying concerns and questions. Furthermore, a real estate agent will maintain constant communication with you to ensure you can get the homebuying support you need, exactly when you need it.

For homebuyers who want to minimize complications, hiring a real estate agent is crucial. This housing market professional will set up home showings, help you analyze properties and enable you to submit a competitive offer to purchase your dream home. And as your home closing day approaches, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you quickly finalize your house purchase.

Ready to buy a home? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the property buying cycle.




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