Townhome vs. Condo: Which one is Right for You?

Posted on by Michelle Munoz-Guzman

Trying to decide between a townhouse and a condo for your next home? There are definite advantages and disadvantages to both. Determining which one is right for you comes down to your own personal preferences about how you wish to live. You’ll have no problem finding either condos or luxury townhomes in Greensboro, NC, so consider these different factors to help you choose. 

Maintenance

When it comes to maintenance, to what extent maintenance is included tends to differ between condos and townhomes, but it will also differ between communities. Typically condos are individual apartments within an apartment building, so the upkeep of the building itself, land, and common areas is usually handled by the condo association. Repairs to the inside of the individual condo are typically included. In a townhome some maintenance to the lawn and home itself may be included, but not always. This depends on the homeowners association for the townhome community. 

Cost

The cost of a condo vs. a townhome tends to differ based on the price of real estate in the area. However, townhomes typically cost more to purchase because they have some land included. 

Associations

Condos will typically have a condo association and the townhome community will have homeowner’s association. These associations are typically made up of residents and govern the community, building, and grounds. The association establishes guidelines and votes to make changes in regulations. As a resident of the community, you will be required to pay dues to the association on a yearly, quarterly, or monthly basis. 

Taxes

Owners of both townhomes and condos are required to pay property tax because the home is actually owned rather than rented. 

Privacy

A townhome will offer slightly more privacy than a condo, in that the home shares a wall with either one or two other homes. A condo may have neighbors that share walls on all sides as well as above and below. 

Land

A townhome owner will actually own the home itself and the land it sits on, whereas a condo owner does not own any individual land. A condo owner does have access to the common areas of land owned and maintained by the condo association. 

Safety

A condo tends to offer a higher level of security. In order to access a condo, it is usually necessary to enter a condominium building from one or a few available entrances. These entrances may require a key, electronic card, or have a doorman or security guard. In a townhome security is up to you as the entrance to your home can be publicly accessed the same as any single-family home. 

Still Trying to Decide Between Condos or Luxury Townhomes in Greensboro, NC? Take a Tour

Touring these two different types of homes in person may be the best way to decide which one you’d be happier living in. Smith Marketing and Allen Tate Realtors® can show you condos and luxury townhomes in Greensboro, NC so that you can get a feel for the difference in size and style. Call (336) 215-7880 to speak with an agent today and take tours of condos and townhomes in the area’s most popular communities.

10 Things to Consider While Searching for a New Home in Greensboro

Posted on by Michelle Munoz-Guzman

Duck Club Court Home for Sale in Greensboro NCAre you in the market for a new home? With so many homes for sale in Greensboro, it can be difficult to narrow down your search to find the right home for you. You need something that’s the right size, in the right area, and with the right amount of land. Are you taking all of the most important things into consideration? Here’s a list of 10 things that can help you choose a home you’ll be happy with.

  • Think about your daily travels. When it comes to choosing an ideal location, it’s important to think about all of the places you drive on a daily and weekly basis. One home may be close to work but far from other activities like school, church, and ball fields. Determine where you go most often and let that be the pivotal point of location. 
  • Determine what kind of neighborhood you want. Do you want to live in a development with other houses and a homeowner’s association? Or would you prefer to live out in the country at the end of a dead-end road with little traffic and few neighbors? Make sure you and the rest of your family are in agreement. 
  • Decide how much land you need. Lot size plays a large part in the type of homes you’ll find in your search. If you prefer a lot of land, you most likely will not find it in a development with hundreds of other homes. If you don’t need much land you may be able to find a larger, newer homes that suit your needs. 
  • The number of bedrooms plays a large part in the price range. When you search for homes, you’ll notice that going from 3 to 4 bedrooms jumps the base price of homes up to the next level. It can be nearly as influential as the total square footage of the home.
  • Don’t settle when it comes to the kitchen. If you’re not happy with the size of the kitchen, don’t compromise. In some cases, a kitchen can be expanded to be larger, but often it can’t. A remodel can help, but it can’t create space where there isn’t any. 
  • Storage space is a must. “There’s too much storage space in this house,” said no one ever. You can never have too many closets and storage areas in your home. Newer homes tend to have more and bigger closets, but older homes tend to have full-size walk-in attics. 
  • Look for natural light. If you walk in a home that looks dark and lacks natural light, don’t waste your time. It’s difficult to create natural light where there is none. You can artificially light up rooms, but without natural light, it can feel like living in a cave. 
  • A Floor plan is hard to adapt. If you’re looking for an open floor plan, don’t buy a home that is closed off thinking you can open it up. Often those walls are load-bearing and cannot be removed. Inner walls also contain hidden, yet crucial, things like electrical wiring and plumbing that is difficult or sometimes impossible to reroute. 
  • Trust your nose. Have you ever walked into a home and knew for sure you could never live there because of the smell? If a home smells musty there’s a good chance mold or mildew is growing somewhere beneath the surface, which is an expensive fix. If the home smells like cigarette smoke and you’re a non-smoker, that’s a deal-breaker. Some smells are almost impossible to remove. 
  • Think about the future. If you’re planning to be in this home for the long term, take that into consideration. Plan for enough space for your growing family and think about aging in place and what that will look like. 

 

Searching for Homes for Sale in Greensboro? 

Smith Marketing and Allen Tate Realtors® can help you find homes for sale in Greensboro that will fulfill your most important criteria. Talk to your agent about these 10 things and make sure everyone is on the same page for your house hunting goals. Call (336) 215-7880 today to speak with an agent. 

5 Benefits of Maintenance-Free Living

Posted on by Michelle Munoz-Guzman

External View of House

Have you ever considered maintenance-free living? It’s becoming more and more in-demand for current homebuyers. The idea of luxury homes in Greensboro is being redefined by maintenance-free living. This is no longer just a benefit for renters. Many more buyers are purchasing townhomes, patio homes, or condos where the maintenance is included. Even some single-family homes are in maintenance-free communities now. If you’re thinking the maintenance-free life might be for you, consider these 5 benefits.

 

  • Save time. Think about the amount of time you spend mowing the lawn, weeding, trimming hedges, or power-washing your house. You could be using that time for so many other things, such as sipping tea and rocking on the porch or patio, enjoying your favorite hobbies, or visiting with friends. 
  • Save money. Never buy another lawnmower, yard tools, or gas to fuel them. You also won’t have to find a place to store them. No need to spend money on repairs for yard equipment either.  And if you work the kind of job where time is money, you could use the time you would have spent on home maintenance to get more work done and make more money. Household maintenance and appliances are often included as well, such as a new roof or HVAC system. 
  • Less stress. Don’t worry about the condition of your home or when you’ll get routine maintenance done. Leave it to your homeowner’s association and cross one thing off your long to-do list. You won’t have to worry about paying to repair things that go wrong with your home either, such as plumbing issues. 
  • Freedom to vacation. Wish you could travel more? Do you worry about leaving your home unattended while you’re away? Maintenance-free living gives you the freedom to travel without worrying about who’s going to mow the lawn while you’re gone. 
  • Gets better as you age. Maintenance-free living allows you to age in place. When household upkeep becomes too much, many people have to move or pay someone to do the yard work and housework. Finding a maintenance-free home now prepares you for the future. 

 

Now is the Time to go Maintenance-Free

Such real estate is in high demand and going fast. If you’ve been wondering whether or not maintenance-free living is right for you, the best way to find out is to go see some homes where maintenance is included. See what’s available now, what the homes and communities are like. You’ll find luxury homes in Greensboro that range from condos to single-family homes where upkeep and yard maintenance are included. 

Find Luxury Homes in Greensboro with Smith Marketing and Allen Tate Realtors®

There are plenty of maintenance-free communities with homes available now in the Greensboro area. Smith Marketing and Allen Tate Realtors® can help you find a home that suits your needs with maintenance included. Enjoy life more when you don’t have to spend unnecessary time on home and lawn upkeep. Call (336) 215-7880 to speak with an agent about luxury homes in Greensboro that offer maintenance-free living. 

How are Mortgage Rates Affecting Current Buying Trends?

Posted on by Michelle Munoz-Guzman

mortgage rates and buying trends When is the best time to buy a house? Depending on who you ask, you could get a variety of different answers. One person might say, “In the spring.” Another might say, “When the housing market is good.” Others might say, “When mortgage rates are low.” 

Mortgage rates certainly do affect on buying trends. Potential buyers who have been thinking about house hunting may decide to take the plunge and apply for pre-approval when rates are low. While pre-approval does not necessarily lock in the current rate, it’s still a good idea to apply and find out what amount you will qualify for to establish a price range before previewing homes. 

Current Buying Trends Lean Toward Higher End Homes

While mortgage rates play an important part in current buying trends, other factors are also at play. One such factor is the housing market and what’s in demand. Low mortgage rates often encourage buyers who are looking for higher-priced homes, such as luxury homes in Grandover Greensboro, to choose this time to upgrade. This also means that lower-priced homes will soon be available as current homeowners prepare to sell their homes and purchase larger homes. 

First Time Home Buyers Benefit from Lower Mortgage Rates

Lower rates also put first time home buyers at an advantage. One thing first-time buyers often lack is down payment funds. Current homeowners who are upgrading have typically built-up equity in their current home that eliminates the need for a down payment on their new home. First-time buyers can often get a lower rate and avoid mortgage insurance if they put down 20%. But when rates are already low, buyers with little or no money to put down can still get a low rate and a more affordable monthly payment. 

Federal Rate Cuts are Responsible for Historically Low Mortgage Rates 

Why does The Fed (Federal Open Market Committee) lower interest rates on loans? The decision to lower rates is usually done to boost the economy. It encourages people to go out and purchase real estate among other things. The Fed has made several rate cuts this year in an attempt to achieve the ideal amount of economic growth. Conversely, if growth goes “too far” in The Fed’s opinion, rates will go up to balance out the economy. 

This gives buyers a sense of urgency, to “strike while the iron’s hot” and finance a new home before rates go up again. Current homeowners may decide to refinance their homes to take advantage of the low rates to reduce their monthly payment or cash out some of the equity that has built up in their home. 

Now is the Time to Find the New Home you’ve Been Dreaming of 

With low mortgage rates available now, it’s time to stop “thinking about it” and start house hunting. Smith Marketing and Allen Tate Realtors® can help you find the home you’ve been looking for. New and existing homes are available now in some of the most highly desired areas of The Triad, such as Grandover Greensboro and other up and coming neighborhoods. Homes of all sizes and price ranges are hitting the market now, so don’t wait. Call Smith Marketing and Allen Tate Realtors® today at (336) 485-1881. 

What Keeps a Home from Selling?

Posted on by Megan Boyd

Home for sale in elon ncIf you’re conducting a property search in Greensboro for a new home, but your current home has been on the market a while and isn’t selling fast enough, you may be asking yourself why isn’t my home selling? Besides from uncontrollable market conditions, there are some things that you can control which impact your home sale.

Make a Good First Impression for Your Property with Photos

Poor photos leave a bad first impression. Incorrect lighting can make your rooms and home appear less attractive. Bad photo angles can impact the size and appearance of your home. Too few photos can leave a potential buyer displeased and disinterested.

Make sure your photos are taken in good lighting, with attractive angles, and that there are plenty of them. Don’t leave them hanging with too few, or poor, pictures.

Examine Your Home’s Competition with a Local Property Search in Greensboro

You know there are other homes that are selling in your area, so what are they doing that you aren’t? Find out. Take a look at houses for sale in Greensboro and the surrounding area. Perform property searches in Greensboro to find recently sold homes.

Review other online listings and check out their photographs, their exteriors, and their interiors. Compare them to yours. You’ll likely find missing factors that you can implement into your home sale strategy.

Be Sure You are Using the Right Advertising Platforms for Selling a Home

If your home isn’t noticeably for sale, or isn’t marketed effectively, potential buyers may be unaware of your house. Open houses should be held frequently, marketing materials should be sent out and posted on social media, and feedback should be obtained from interested, or disinterested parties.

Is Your Property Priced to Sell?

Everyone wants to make as much as they can when selling their home. There are fees to be paid, and closing costs or a down payment on your next home to consider. But none of that will happen if you don’t price your home to sell.

Your price has to be reasonable and comparable to homes in your area. Your real estate agent will be able to provide a list of comparable sales in your area, and you can perform a property search in Greensboro to locate them as well.

Additionally, you can search to see what the average listing price is on similar homes. Compare the number of rooms, updates, and location to get an accurate idea. Price is the most important thing when selling. Buyers aren’t likely to come to a showing if the price is higher than corresponding homes in the area.

Sell Your Home Quickly with Help from the Experts

Selling your home takes as much effort as buying a home. Stay informed of your current market, the house pricing, and your home’s worth.

Selling your home means you are one step closer to buying a new one. If your home has been on the market for a lengthy period, or you need additional information and help selling it, call an award winning team of experts ready to help you with your home buying and selling experience. If you would like more information or help selling your home, call Jason Smith at 336-451-4921 or Jeff Smith at 336-663-1320 today.

Improve Your Greensboro Area Home for Sale’s Curb Appeal with These Tips

Posted on by Megan Boyd

You’re considering starting your search of Greensboro homes for sale, but you have your own home to sell. The stress of timing your sale with your new home purchase can result in a tense process. One way to lessen the load is to increase your home’s curb appeal for faster selling.

Greensboro home for sale

Tips to Improve the Curb Appeal of Your Greensboro Home

    • Wash the exterior – Wash the exterior, including the windows and siding, and pressure-wash the brick/siding/decks. Give it a good overall clean by wiping it down and removing built up mildew and gunk. A simple washing can add several thousand dollars to the sale prices of some homes.
    • Roof repair – Repair the roof. Ignoring it can cost you potential buyers and result in lower offers. Many people want a move in ready home, not one that immediately needs several thousand dollars of work. Cleaning, removing mold, replacing shingles, or replacing the roof can save you money in the long run.
    • Freshen the paint – Just as you will freshen the interior paint it’s important to freshen paint on the exterior structures, trim, and gutters. A fresh coat of paint can make your home look newer and cleaner.
    • Driveway – Clean, repair, and seal the driveway, or add fresh gravel to your gravel driveway. This is the first place a potential buyer will likely see when visiting for a showing. Make it count by showing you maintained your pavement.
    • Landscape – Mow the lawn regularly and present your yard in a neat tidy manner. Well-pruned bushes, splashes of flowers, a manicured lawn, and fresh mulch can do wonders for potential buyers. Your care for your yard reflects on your care for your home.
    • Declutter – You’re used to stepping over the occasion skateboard or toy. Don’t introduce your home to potential buyers with stray items laying around. Pick up garbage, bikes, tools and other items that you may conveniently have sitting around to enhance the tidiness of your home.
    • Replace entryway fixtures – Updating door knobs and locks can increase appeal and give your home a more contemporary look.

Sell Your Home and Begin Looking for Houses for Sale in Greensboro

The above tips are fairly obvious and mostly inexpensive but you would be surprised at the number of home sellers that don’t take these basic steps. With some time and effort you can quickly boost your curb appeal so you can sell your home faster. Start improving your curb appeal today so you can focus on finding a new Greensboro home for sale. Better yet, call and meet the award winning team of experts at Smith Marketing that are ready to help you with your home buying and selling experience. Call Jason Smith at 336-451-4921 or Jeff Smith at 336-663-1320

Top Ways to Save for the Down Payment of Your First Home

Posted on by Sean Creedon

External View of HouseAre you ready to buy your first home? Want to make sure you have enough for a down payment? There are advantages to making a down payment on your first home. You can secure a lower interest rate on your mortgage as well as a lower monthly payment. But it may seem daunting to try to save up that much money. Before you start looking at any Greensboro houses for sale, consider the top ways to save for a down payment on your first home.

Start an Automated Savings Plan

Most potential home buyers find it easiest to save by having an automated savings plan in place. Typically, this involves having your financial institution automatically withdraw a portion of your direct deposit paycheck and put it in a designated savings account. It is wise to have a separate savings account that is designated only for saving for your down payment. If you are not paid by direct deposit you can set up an automatic transfer on certain days of the month to transfer funds to your designated down payment savings account. When the money gets moved automatically, it keeps you from forgetting and the money is put away before you can spend it.

Open a High-interest Savings Account or Investment Account

By putting your savings into an account that yields higher dividends, you will reach your savings goal faster. Interest-earning money market accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs) earn more interest than a basic savings account. Another option is to invest your savings in a conservative type of stock or set of mutual funds. Speak to your financial advisor about this before proceeding to make sure you are investing wisely.

Use Your IRA (Individual Retirement Account) for Your Down Payment

It is possible to use the funds in your IRA as a down payment for a home. But it is important to understand the tax implications of this decision. A traditional IRA is subject to federal and state income tax when you make a withdrawal before the age of 59½ because the funds went into the account pre-tax. A Roth IRA is not subject to taxes because the funds were placed in the account after being taxed. It is also important to understand that taking funds from your retirement account may affect your future retirement security. Speak with your financial or tax advisor before proceeding.

Real Estate Agents in Greensboro Can Help Before and After You Save

Before you make any immediate plans to buy your first home, you need to find out how much you will need to save. Meet with your real estate to get an idea of how much the home you want to build will cost, taking a few years of inflation into consideration. Once you have saved your down payment, meet with your real estate agent to begin viewing Greensboro houses for sale. Smith Marketing of Allen Tate Realtors® will work with you every step of the way to help you realize your dreams of owning your own home. Call (336) 451-4921 or (336) 663-1320 to set up a free consultation today.

Top Reasons to Downsize Your Home

Posted on by Sean Creedon

Home ExteriorMany of us spend our lives moving from a smaller home to bigger and bigger homes as our families grow and our lives change. But when it comes to homes, bigger is not always better. There are some true advantages to downsizing your home, and some may surprise you. If you’re thinking of downsizing or maybe moving to one of the maintenance free communities in Greensboro, NC, look for the best real estate agents who will make sure you get the most for your money.

Downsizing to a Smaller Home has Major Benefits:

  1. Lower monthly mortgage payment. Smaller house, smaller payment. A huge home may seem like a great idea at first, but once you start making those payments you may find that the financial burden is too much to bear.
  2. Lower monthly utility bills. Less square feet of home means less area to heat, cool, and light. Lower energy bills can make a big difference in your monthly budget, leaving you more money for other things.
  3. Less maintenance required. The bigger your home, the more maintenance and upkeep it will need. Cleaning, yard work, and other chores add up and take up a lot of your spare time. It may be too much for your family to handle alone, which leads to hiring costly help.
  4. Pay off your mortgage faster. Interest accrues daily on most home loans, meaning the faster you pay it off, the less total interest you will end up paying. Lenders don’t like this, which means it’s great for the borrower.
  5. Pay off debt faster. If you have other debt besides your home, such as student loans, credit cards, or car payments, you will have more money left over to pay on these loans. Paying these off faster, especially high rate credit cards, will save you the most money in the long run.
  6. Have more spending money. You’ve heard the term “house poor” before. It means you put too much of your household income into your home, leaving you without much left for enjoyment. If you buy a home that’s above your means, you better like it a lot because you’ll be spending most of your time there.
  7. Unburden yourself from too much “stuff.” Like most people, you are likely holding onto possessions that are not crucial to your well-being. In fact, it may even negatively impact your mental and emotional health. Let go of the things you don’t need. Once you feel the weight that is lifted by selling or donating things you rarely use, you’ll understand. Your home is meant for living, not storage.

Find the Right Sized Home for Your Lifestyle in Greensboro

If you’re tired of paying too much for your home or wish to simplify your home’s upkeep, consider downsizing or moving to one of the maintenance free communities in Greensboro, NC. You can find an existing property or have a custom home designed and built that still includes all the luxuries and quality craftsmanship you desire. Enjoy your dream home and your life outside your home as well. Contact Smith Marketing of Allen Tate Realtors® at (336) 451-4921 or (336) 663-1320.

What to Do When you are Willed a Late Family Member’s Home

Posted on by Sean Creedon

Have you been given property from a family member’s estate settlement? Whether it was your parents’ home or another family member who has passed, you have a choice in how to proceed. You can move into the home yourself, rent it out, or sell it. This decision is sometimes difficult due to the emotions associated with a loved one’s home. If you choose to sell it, there are some steps you will need to take in order to do so. Working with experienced real estate agents in Greensboro, NC, will help make the process easier.

Step 1: Find out the tax implications of selling the home. There are specific laws regarding the taxing of inherited property. You can refer to IRS.gov or meet with a trusted tax advisor or accountant who can explain the tax implications that will apply when you sell the home so that you will be prepared.

Step 2: Prepare the home for sale. Clean out personal items and hold an estate sale or yard sale for items you don’t wish to keep. Only the executor of the estate and other family members can determine what items should be kept and what should be sold, donated, or tossed.

Step 3: Wait for the estate to go through probate. This means the court system has to authenticate the will to be sure it is legitimate. The executor of the estate, or the trustee if the property is part of a trust, will then be free to proceed with the sale of the property.

Step 4: Choose the right real estate agents in Greensboro, NC, to sell the home. When it is finally time to put the home on the market, you need experienced, knowledgeable real estate agents to get the home sold.

Step 5: Set a price with the help of your real estate agent. Allow the experts to help you set an official asking price that is not too high or too low.

Step 6: Let your real estate agent do the work. This is the part where real estate agents truly shine. They list the home, get it out on the market and in front of the right people. And it sells.

Selling is Stress-Free with Smith Marketing and Allen Tate Realtors®

It’s not always easy when you receive property in someone’s will, especially when it’s a close loved one. You may have trouble selling because of your emotional attachment to the home or property. But if you decide that the best option is to sell, Smith Marketing’s team of Allen Tate Realtors® will help reduce the stress and anxiety you may feel. Your agent will help you get the home ready for sale, then list it in the most attractive way to draw potential buyers. Once it sells, your agent offers continued support through the final closing.

If you find yourself the benefactor of some property you don’t wish to keep, let experienced real estate agents in Greensboro, NC, get it sold in a timely manner for the best possible price. Call (336) 215-7880 to speak with an agent today.

Using a Vacation Home on the Lake, Mountain or Beach as a Rental Property

Posted on by Sean Creedon

A vacation home is a wonderful investment. Years of enjoyment and family memories will be made there. But if it’s used as a vacation home only and no one lives there full time, it can be a financial drain. Maintenance costs and utilities, not to mention the mortgage itself, can really add up. People who want to be able to afford their luxury homes in the Triad, NC, and a vacation home as well, could consider renting out the second home when it’s not in use. But before doing so, here are some things the homeowner should know about renting out a vacation home.

1. Tax implications. The way you use a vacation home, how long you stay, how long you rent it out, all affect the way you file your taxes.

  • If you rent out the property for 14 days or less it is considered a second home and not a rental, meaning the income will not have to be reported to the IRS.
  • If you rent out the property for 15 days or more and use it for less than 14 days or 10% of the days rented it is considered a rental property and all income from rent must be reported to the IRS. The rental expenses can be deducted from the owner’s taxes.
  • If you use the property for more than 14 days or 10% of the total days rented it is considered a personal residence and will be taxed as such.

The regulations from the IRS are very particular, but there is one possible “loophole.” The owner may stay in the home longer than 14 days while performing maintenance, as long as that is the primary use during that time, and the property can still be considered a rental.

2. Rental success depends on a few important elements:

  • One possible issue with renting out your vacation home is that peak dates for renters may be the same dates you wish to use the home. You may want to consider using the home more in the off season to make enough rental income.
  • It’s important to set rental rates carefully so that they are comparable to similar homes in the area and still high enough to generate income.
  • Property management. An expert property manager with experience renting luxury homes in vacation areas can help to market the property and handle the rental process from scheduling to collecting fees. This takes the hassle out of renting your home, allowing you to enjoy the home when you can, and collect income when you can’t.

Keep your Luxury Home in the Triad, NC, and Afford a Vacation Home Too

If you have dreamed of owning a luxury home in the Triad area, NC, and a lake, mountain or beach house or other vacation home, it is possible. Renting out your vacation home can bring in enough income for maintenance and the mortgage payment, making it possible for you to afford a second home.

 

Smith Marketing with Allen Tate Realtors® can help you find the home you want in the Triad area and help you find a REALTOR® in the vacation area you want.