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6 Landscaping Tips to Increase Homebuyer Interest


If you’re looking to sell your home quickly and for full market value, don’t neglect your yard. Good landscaping will show homebuyers that you pay attention to details and that your home is properly maintained overall.

Here are six landscaping tips to help add curb appeal and increase buyer interest:

No One Likes Weeds or Brown Grass Neglecting to water your lawn leaves your grass brown and dry. Neglecting to pull weeds makes it easier for them to spread and grow. Ideally, you should water, mow and weed your lawn once a week. Commercial products can help kill weeds while improving the health of plants and grass.

Make Sure the Trees Are Still Alive Trees that are drooping or missing leaves are a red flag for most potential homebuyers. It means that the wood could be infested by insects or that it could fall over. Furthermore, make sure the tree is not too big for the yard.

Flowers Add Color Putting some flowers near the front entrance or elsewhere in the yard can add color without costing a lot of money. To add flexibility for potential homebuyers, you can also use potted plants that can be removed easily if necessary.

Shrubs Add Shade and Privacy Shrubs or other green plants can create shade on a hot day or add privacy to homes that are close to each other. They are generally easy to maintain and don’t require a lot of water, so they could raise the value of your home.

Seal Your Driveway, Deck and Patio Before Buyers Show Up Make sure you seal or finish any surfaces that an individual may walk or drive on. This is a good way to prevent weeds from growing in the cracks and may also prevent wood from rotting and becoming a haven for pests.

Retaining Walls Provide Definition to Your Yard A quality retaining wall not only looks nice, but also cleanly separates vegetation from other space in your yard. It is perfect for those who like to garden but want to keep kids or animals away from the plants or vegetables they’re growing.

The smallest details can have a large impact on your home’s value. Therefore, it’s important that everything looks neat and presentable before a potential buyer sees it. Remember, you only get one chance to make a good first impression, and that first impression will influence whether a buyer will make an offer that’s either at or above list price. Contact a real estate agent if you have questions about a specific type of landscaping and its effect on your home’s curb appeal.

Source: Dixie Somers/RISMedia’s Housecall

Primack Team

Debbie Primack


Nevada Real State License



Decluttering Before You Move


Getting rid of things you no longer need is a vital step in the moving process because it serves two purposes. First, it’s a key component of home staging because too much stuff can make a room look unorganized and cramped. Second, it makes moving easier—who wants to move a bunch of things they actually don’t need?

But throwing out items that could be put to good use by someone is a waste, and the best solution is often to donate unwanted things to charities and organizations. Goodwill, the Salvation Army and your local church are certain to welcome much of your stuff, but here are some other ideas for places to donate your belongings.

Furniture: You may have sofas, chairs or tables that don’t fit the decor of your new home, or maybe you’re downsizing. Your local senior center may be looking for furniture, either for the center or to give to older people in your community. Women’s shelters are another terrific option, as are organizations that help the homeless find places to live independently.

Clothes: Dress for Success is a terrific non-profit that provides clothing for low-income women to wear during job interviews, allowing them to make a good first impression during the job search. It has branches throughout the country and if there isn’t one by you, there may be something similar. Also, look for schools and organizations that host clothing drives.

Kitchen Appliances: There’s an excellent chance that your kitchen is home to a few gadgets you haven’t used in years, or maybe you have multiple toasters, mixers or blenders. In addition to the usual outlets, your local school or community college may be looking for appliances to use in their classrooms. Many organizations also operate thrift stores where they sell donated items in support of their cause.

Books, CDs and DVDs: These are things that aren’t going to make you much money if you sell them, especially CDs and DVDs, which are declining in popularity in the age of streaming. (However, vinyl is growing in popularity, so your old record collection may fetch a few dollars.) Your local library is sure to appreciate the donation. Senior centers also can make good of these and kids’ books and DVDs can go to a local shelter.

Now you’ve decluttered and provided things to people who need them. What could be better than that?


Primack Team

Debbie Primack


Nevada Real State License


Will You Have to Pay Taxes When You Buy a House?


If you buy a home, in addition to the down payment and closing costs, you may have to pay taxes. Discuss this issue with your real estate agent prior to the closing date so you don’t wind up with an unexpected bill.

Prorated Property Taxes Property taxes are billed on a fiscal year schedule, which may or may not coincide with the calendar year. In some jurisdictions, taxes are paid in installments.

Houses can be bought and sold at any time of the year. That means when a sale is finalized, the seller may have already paid taxes for a future portion of the year when he or she will no longer own the house, or the seller may not have paid all the taxes due through the time when he or she will move out. That issue needs to be ironed out at closing.

If you purchase a house and the seller has already paid taxes for a period that extends beyond the closing date, he or she has paid for time when you’ll own the house. The contract will most likely require you to reimburse the seller for the portion of the taxes due for the time when you’ll own the house.

If the seller hasn’t yet received or paid the tax bill that covers a portion of the year when the seller lived in the house, the seller will have to pay his or her prorated share of the tax bill. The contract may require the seller to put that money in escrow to guarantee that it’ll be paid at closing.

Unpaid Back Taxes When you buy a house, you assume any tax obligation associated with it. If you purchase a house and the seller has fallen behind on tax payments, you’ll become responsible for them, unless the contract specifically says otherwise.

If back taxes are owed on the house and the contract doesn’t say they aren’t your responsibility, you’ll have to pay them. If you don’t, the government that issued the tax bill can put a lien against the property, and you may wind up losing the house.

You can protect yourself by obtaining a title insurance policy. Before you close on the house, the title company will provide you with a title commitment or title report that’ll tell you if any taxes are owed on the property. If you’re told that there are no taxes due, but you find out after closing that in fact there are, you’ll be able to file a claim against the company.

Understand the Tax Situation Before Closing Homebuyers are often confronted with unanticipated expenses. Before you close on a house, make sure you know if there are any outstanding taxes and how those bills will be handled. Discuss the matter with your real estate agent and work with a title insurance company to get complete and up-to-date information.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional or legal advice.

Primack Team

Debbie Primack


Nevada Real State License


Can You Buy a House With a High Income and Low Credit Score?



A mortgage lender looks at several factors when deciding whether to approve a loan application. A lending institution wants to know that a borrower has both the ability and the will to repay debts. If you have a high income and a low credit score, a lender may have reservations about approving your mortgage application.

How a Lender Looks at Income and Credit Score A lender adds up the costs of housing, car payments, student and other loans, and credit card payments and divides the total by an applicant’s gross monthly income to arrive at a percentage known as the debt-to-income ratio. Some lenders require a low debt-to-income ratio, while others are much less stringent.

A credit score reflects a person’s payment history and use of credit. Someone may have a high income, but that doesn’t mean much if the individual spends money frivolously instead of paying bills. A low credit score is a red flag that can cause a lender to think that a loan applicant doesn’t know how to handle money responsibly. A person with a low credit score is more likely to make payments late or miss them altogether than someone with a higher credit score.

How to Qualify for a Mortgage With a High Income and Bad Credit Credit reports sometimes contain errors because information was reported incorrectly, wasn’t reported at all, or got mixed up with someone else’s information. You’re entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year. Check your reports for errors that could be lowering your scores. If something doesn’t look right, dispute it so the mistake can be corrected.

You can also hold off on buying a house and take some time to pay down debt and boost your credit score before you apply for a mortgage. That’ll help you get a better interest rate and avoid paying tens of thousands of dollars in additional interest over the life of your mortgage.

If you want to buy a house soon but are concerned about your low credit score, you can apply for a mortgage through a lender that is forgiving. The Federal Housing Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and U.S. Department of Agriculture offer loans to borrowers with low credit scores. If you have bad credit, you should expect to pay a higher interest rate than someone with a better credit score. Making a large down payment could reduce the loan-to-value ratio and make the loan less risky for the lender, which might help lower your interest rate.

Explore Your Options Lenders will look at your entire financial picture when deciding whether to approve your mortgage application. A combination of a high income and a low credit score may be a red flag. Work on improving your credit, explore options for borrowers with poor credit, or save as much as possible for a down payment to improve your chance of being approved for a home loan.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional or legal advice.


Primack Team

Debbie Primack

Nevada Real State License


5 Simple Ways to Transform Your Home's Ambiance


When you first moved into your home, the walls might’ve been white and the floors covered in beige carpeting. Although this décor choice is classic for some rentals and brand-new homes, you don’t have to live with the neutral colors. In fact, there are simple ways to transform your home’s ambiance and add some flair with just a few creative changes.

Try Vintage Furniture
Your home’s ambiance is dependent on not only paint color and flooring choices, but also your décor selections. The furniture is a focal point of any living room. Think outside the box, and shop around some vintage stores in your area. You can find upholstered chairs, loveseats and other items for incredibly low prices. The fabrics you’ll encounter will be distinct, too. Vintage items tend to have decades-old patterns that can improve a home’s ambiance with one quick glance.

Decorate Your Glass
Choose a window in a high-traffic area and make it a decorative focal point by adding a stained-glass film to it. You can use the film as a partial accent for the window or fully cover the glass. Installation is simple, and many kits come with everything you need, including a tool to help smooth out any bubbles. When you carefully apply it, the film should last for years. The sun shines through the colors and creates a dramatic effect across a room.

Go Green With Indoor Plants
Although you could try artificial plants indoors, they still won’t have the same effect as real plants. Add real plants to your home in nearly every room. There are so many varieties that work well in any shaded area that the choices are endless. Along with adding a distinct look, plants can provide better air quality in a home. If you water them regularly, they should flourish.

Light Your Rooms With Flair
It’s possible to make any room look fresh and inviting with the right lighting concept. Free up valuable floor space by installing wall sconces along a hallway, or add sconces on a living room wall as accent points.

In your kitchen, consider adding drop-down lamps that hang from your ceiling and culminate with a subtle lampshade and bulb. Add two or three of these lamps just above your kitchen island, for example. You’ll always have enough light to cook by while adding a creative look to your home. In fact, you might want to connect the kitchen and dining room on a decorative scale with matching hanging lamps. All these fixtures will draw attention and spark conversations among friends.

Shelve It
Increase storage space and make a decorative statement by installing floating shelves under staircases or along living room walls. Use them to store books, and add quirky collectibles. The shelves should appear both functional and intriguing.

Source: Mikkie Mills/RISMedia’s Housecall

4 Things to Know about Purchasing a Second Home


Often, those looking to purchase an additional home get confused between a second home and an investment property. However, the two are not interchangeable – especially when it comes to their financing.

Second Home, Defined
A second home is real property that the homeowner intends to occupy in addition to their primary residence for part of the year. Usually, second homes are used as vacation homes. Second homes may also be properties that the homeowner visits on a regular basis.

Examples of second homes may include:

  • A condo in a city where you frequently conduct business
  • A beach house that you and your family occupy during the summer months
  • A house in a different state where you have seasonal work

Getting a Mortgage
If you can’t purchase a second home out-right, you’re going to go the traditional route and look into obtaining a mortgage. In order to qualify for a second-home loan, the property is usually required to be located in a resort or vacation area (like the beach or mountains), or be a certain distance from the borrower’s primary residence.

Understanding Interest Rates
Most lenders consider second homes to be more of a risk than primary residences, but not as big a risk as investment properties. Typically, interest rates will show this; second-home mortgages may have lower interest rates than investment property loans, but not necessarily. It can all depend on the borrower’s entire financial picture.

Understanding Rules
Second-home loans often include a second-home rider along with the mortgage. This rider states certain rules the borrower must abide by in order to qualify for the loan.

These rules often include the following:

  • The borrower will occupy and use the property as his/her second home
  • The property will be kept available for the borrower’s exclusive use and enjoyment at all times
  • The property cannot be used as a timeshare or be subject to any rental pool arrangement
  • The property cannot be subject to any agreements that require the borrower to rent the property or give a management firm (or anyone else) control over the use and/or occupancy of the property.

Tips For Buyers


No one wants to contract a case of buyer's remorse, especially on one of the largest purchases you will make in your life. You want to avoid that feeling that you've either paid too much or received too little. In most cases, there is no recourse for the buyer to receive recompense once the contract has been signed.

If no one wants to catch a case of buyer's remorse, why are there so many people out there who suffer from it? The answer is simple, most of these people engaged in a transaction without enough knowledge and information.

The best way to make sure that you choose the right home is to properly prepare yourself. The purchase of a home is a tremendous investment, both monetarily and emotionally. The purpose of this page is to provide you with some tips that will help your transaction progress go smoothly and result in you being a happy homeowner.

Remember, if you have any questions I am always just a phone call or email away.

  • Get help. Your home is likely to represent one of the largest investments in your life. In order to make sure that the transaction goes smoothly it is of vital importance that you choose the right agent to represent your interests. The right agent will be someone whose experience and personality makes you feel comfortable. You should try to find an agent that is familiar and knowledgeable about the area you plan to move into.
  • Get pre-approved. Do you already know how much home you can afford? There is nothing more frustrating than looking for a home, finding the perfect home, and then discovering that it is out of your price range. Speak with a lender to learn about the different financing options available to you. When you find the right lender get the paperwork processed so that you will be ready to buy when you find the right home. This will also help to give you a leg up on other offers that might be presented alongside yours.
  • Avoid major purchases. In order to determine the amount of home you can afford a lender uses your debt-to-income ratio. This ratio is the percentage of your pre-tax income that you spend on debt. Your debt ratio will include: monthly housing costs, car payments, credit cards, student loans, and any other installment debt. If you take on more debt right before buying a home it is going to have an impact on the amount of the loan that the lender will finance.
  • Sign up as a VIP on my website. In order to make an educated decision you need to know what is available and how much it is going for. You can browse all the active listings from my website. Once you have found some homes you like save those searches and sign up for property watch so that new listings will be emailed to you automatically. The best homes move fast so you need to make sure that you are on top of the available inventory at all times so you do not miss out.
  • Ask Questions. No one knows the home better than the seller of the property; however it is not always in the seller's best interest to disclose all the information. If you find out the seller's motivation for selling, you might be able to negotiate a better deal on the home. Try to find out the last time service was performed on the roof, furnace, and water heating. Asking the right questions now can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.
  • Get inspected. The last thing you want to discover after you have bought a home is that you have purchased a "money pit". By "money pit" I am referring to a home that is full of defects that are going to end up costing you a lot of money. Save yourself a lot of time in future litigation and renovation by bringing in a licensed home inspector before you buy. If any problems are found it will steer you away from a bad decision or help you negotiate a better price.

Thinking of Selling your Home?


Home improvements to increase value

There are two reasons for pursuing home improvement projects:

  1. Just Want To Do It: You want some new features in a home to improve your family's quality of life, but you don't want to leave your current home.
  2. Really Need To Do It: You want to make your home more marketable to maximize return (or minimize loss) and speed up the sale process.

In the right market conditions, a project might fit into both categories. Other times, though, the two approaches will conflict:

Just Want To Do It: In situation A, the project is perceived as a necessary or worthwhile improvement to your family's lifestyle. Say you have two or three teenagers in the family and the morning bathroom situation is completely out of control. It doesn't matter if an additional bath generates a 150 percent return on investment or actually decreases the value of the home (unlikely, unless you're a completely incompetent do-it-yourselfer with a bizarre design sense). The economic impact just doesn't matter. If you have the money for a new bath and you don't want to move, you add the bath. It's that simple.

Or say you're a barbecue fanatic and the only feature missing from the dream home you've just purchased is a sprawling backyard patio with a natural-gas grill custom-built with flagstone and river rock. Again, return on investment just isn't going to be a critical question. The improvement becomes more comparable to purchasing a depreciating asset that you feel is a necessity for your lifestyle, such as an automobile. When the barbecue aficionado adds a deluxe patio to a home that's already the most expensive property in the neighborhood - perhaps destroying the entire backyard in the process - there's a good chance that very little of the cost will be recouped in a subsequent sale.

An even better example might be a pool. If you're a person who simply has to have one- fine. Put in a pool. But it's probably worth checking with a real estate professional first, just to make sure you fully understand that adding the pool might actually lessen the property's value and make it more difficult to sell should you later decide to move. That's the reality in many markets. That doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't do it, especially if you're planning to live in the home for the rest of your life. It just means it's worth knowing the cost and salability impacts at the front end - even if they're not going to deter you from pursuing the project.

Really Need To Do It - The "type-B" home improvement project is pursued primarily to increase the property's salability. In turn, this often increases your return on investment. A good real estate agent can advise you of possible improvements that will attract more potential buyers and also pay for themselves either through increasing the home's value or through shortening the time it takes to sell the home.

Here we're typically talking about projects such as: painting - either because the existing paint is in bad shape or is an unusual color; replacing carpets - again because of age, color or style; repairing or resurfacing a cracked driveway or sidewalk; refacing kitchen cabinets; and trimming or removing overgrown or unattractive landscaping.

While spending several thousand dollars on your home right before you sell it might not sound very appealing, it's not uncommon for the right work to more than pay for itself in a higher selling price and shorter marketing time.

Consult with an experienced real estate agent to learn what improvements will make your home more marketable in comparison to similar properties that are now - or recently have been - on the market in your area.

5 Easy Ways to Upgrade Your Fixer-Upper


There’s something awesome about buying a fixer-upper and doing the renovations yourself. Some people fix them up a bit at a time, using cash as they have it available. If you want to make a big impact by doing small things, here are five projects you can tackle:

1. Paint. You’ll be amazed at what some paint can do to your home. A new hue can cover imperfections and give a room the blast of color it needs. For example, painting old cabinets will save you the cost of buying new ones and give the kitchen a facelift. Forget drab, white walls that are lackluster. Give your home an inexpensive color makeover.

2. Replace Old Fixtures. Nothing says outdated like an old-fashioned gold chandelier. Lighting is something that can be updated easily and won’t cost a bunch of money. Fixtures like home faucets might also be outdated and need replacement, so start with the one in the kitchen and then move on to the bathroom. You can upgrade a fixer-upper by just adding these small touches.

3. Rip Out Old Carpeting. Carpeting is great when it’s clean and in good shape; however, when it’s old, torn and dingy, it can have a negative impact on a space. Hardwood and laminate floors are good options to spruce up a room; however, if you’re stretched for cash, you could find creative solutions online that allow you to transform your floors for less, such as installing paper bag flooring.

4. Replace the Windows. New windows are expensive, but they can be important. If you have old windows in your home, consider spending the money to upgrade them. Windows are great for keeping the elements at bay and conserving energy. You will save yourself money in the long run by sealing off old, drafty openings.

5. Add Curb Appeal. The curb appeal of a home is essential. It likely doesn’t matter how great the inside looks if the outside is in shambles. Clean up any dead plants, and add some new ones. If your fixer-upper has worn-out siding or a façade with chipped paint, replace the siding or repaint the exterior to significantly improve the home’s overall look. Add some shutters and a fresh coat of paint to the porch, as well. Use decorative numbers to display the address. Finally, replace the mailbox if necessary.

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