Alan Shafran Real Estate Blog



You Need an Umbrella When You Don't Know It's Going to Rain

Whether buying a beach house in Miami or cabin in Appalachia, you probably need homeowners insurance — but what kind? While you can skip over hurricane insurance in Appalachia, that’s not a nationwide trend, according to a new study. 

With insurance rates and prices rising on a sharp incline, more homeowners are opting out of policies, according to a new Trulia report.

The vast majority of mortgage lenders require homeowners insurance policies. However, if the homeowner pays off the mortgage in full, they are no longer required to hold a policy — so some simply stop paying for it.

The percentage of homes with insurance policies dropped to 89.2 percent in 2014,

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5 Reasons to Sell This Fall | Keeping Current Matters

School is back in session, the holidays are right around the corner, you might not think that now is the best time to sell your house. But with inventory below historic numbers and demand still strong, you could be missing out on a great opportunity for your family.

1. Demand is Strong

The latest Realtors’ Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

According to NAR’s latest Existing Home Sales Report, the supply of homes for sale is still under the

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Image result for buying a home in the fall

Spring and summer usually get all the real estate glory with lofty accolades as the best time to buy a home—and, of course, the busiest. Meanwhile, their seasonal sibling, fall, often gets tossed to the leaf pile by potential buyers who might think autumn is just about haunted houses and turkey dinners rather than house hunting.

But surprise! Fall is not only a great time to buy a home, it might also be the best season to find the perfect property (and not just because you can browse the listings while cupping a pumpkin latte).

1. There’s less competition.

Competition for houses drops off in the fall, a time many people consider to be off-season in real estate. But there are still homes for sale — and in some cases, there’s

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  house offer price


Manipulating your home’s selling price will take some work, and usually some money. But time and again, these proven strategies make a big difference in final sales prices. Try a few, then prepare to do a victory dance on the big day you get your offer(s).

Tactic 1: Bite the bullet and make smart upgrades

Yes, overall renovations to your home will nudge up the price, although not always as much as you might hope: According to Remodeling magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. value Report, you’ll get back an average of 64% on whatever upgrades you paid for. But that ROI varies widely based on what type of improvement you do. The most profitable upgrade is—drum roll—insulating your attic. It may not be all that sexy, but you’ll recoup 116.9% of your

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Myth No. 1: The first step is looking for a house

Perhaps you just want to get a feel for the area. You know, have something in mind before you sit down with an agent. I mean, you’re not really looking yet, right?

Stop right there. Even if you think you’re just browsing, you run the risk of setting your heart on something, only to have it broken.

A buyer might be viewing homes that are in a higher or lower price range than what they are qualified for.

Browsing is always fun, but when it comes to serious home-buying work, you need to make sure your credit is in top-notch shape before you get started for real. Also, don’t forget to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you embark on your home-buying journey. This will determine

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Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

Most people don’t plan on living in their first (or second or maybe even third) home forever, but knowing when the time is right to put that baby on the market can be tricky.

In fact, it can feel kind of like breaking up with a longtime boyfriend or girlfriend. Deep down, you knew you wouldn’t be with that person forever—but ending things can be way easier said than done.

Sometimes life changes force the issue: There’s little reason for self-doubt or trauma-level angst if you’re relocating to another state or you know your newborn twins won’t fit in your one-bedroom bungalow. But without a pressing reason staring you in the face, it can be hard to know when you’ve outgrown your home.

So how do you know when it’s

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Image result for home buying

With real estate inventory still tight in many markets around the country, home buyers need an edge, and that’s where off-market listings come in. Otherwise known as "pocket listings". These are homes that are for sale but aren’t listed on the multiple listing services. That means the real estate agents selling these properties have to do the legwork to find buyers.

Off-market listings may seem counter-intuitive to the seller. This all poses the question why would a seller want to do a secret listing? Some opt for an off-market listing to test the waters while others go this route for a more private sales process. 

Buyers Get An Edge Over The Competition

For buyers, the benefits of an off-market

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You’ve made the monumental decision to sell your house. Congrats! Now brace yourself for the onslaught of “been there, done that, you must do this” advice. It pours forth from just about everyone who’s ever bought a house, sold a house, or binge-watched three straight seasons of “Love It or List It.”

Let us give you our own little piece of advice: Don’t take everyone’s advice! While friends, family, and the occasional stranger love to wax poetic on how to best sell a home, their 2 cents could end up costing you a bundle.

To make sure you sell your home without a hitch, we’ve compiled these examples of the worst home-selling advice you might hear, and why they could ruin your chances. Beware!

‘Sell your home only in the spring or summer’

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  house shape on clock face  

You’ve turned on (and hopefully off) at least 20 water faucets and peered into about 50 closets (oh, the things you’ve seen!). And now, at long last, you’ve found the perfect home. So you make an offer, which is accepted. Congrats. Now, exactly how long does it take to close on a house?

Read on to get the gist of your closing timeline, plus what can slow things down—or speed things up.

Home buyers should also use this time to complete their due diligence by reviewing the property title and completing a home inspection. This chunk of time also gives both the seller and buyer time to plan their move.

What can slow down a closing?

Even though a property is under contract, the occasional hitch can make closing time go from warp

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When you’re thinking about buying your first home, it might seem like it’s all about the down payment. You save for years to have it, and you base a good portion of your home-buying budget on it.

Next comes the mortgage. How much will you owe each month in principal, interest, taxes, and insurance? How does that compare with how much you currently pay as a renter

If you’ve figured out how to tackle those two huge expenses, you might think you have it made in the shade. With lemonade! But the hard truth is that those are far from the only expenses you’ll incur when you buy a house.

In fact, there are lots of hidden costs to anticipate. These fees might affect your overall budget, timeline for buying, and what kind of home you want to

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