Posts in category: Home Buying

buying a home

Buying a home is an exciting time. Even more exciting if it’s your first home (holy moly, that is such a thrill!).

If you find yourself lucky enough to be a first-time-buyer, you may have heard a lot of stories about how the process works, what you need financially, and a lot of other advice from friends and family. But times change, and some of the things that were true in the past about buying a home aren’t necessarily true anymore.

So just in case you might have come misconceptions about what happens when buying a home – whether it’s your first home or your seventh home – we’d like to provide a few updates about how the process works these days.

A few ways some things have changed:

Do you need 20% down to get a mortgage loan?

It’s not uncommon for buyers to think this is the norm – because it was for so long. However, there are many new programs and opportunities available to homebuyers who have gone through financial hardships during the past few years, who may not have 20% of the purchase price available, and whose credit may have been dinged by the Great Recession.

These days, the FHA will back a loan from a home buyer with a credit score as little as 500 and a 10% down payment. If your credit score is higher than 580, some lenders can help you with only 3.5% for a down payment! It’s certainly easier to be able to afford buying a home today than many people think. Your best bet? Meet with a mortgage lender for advice – even if you’re just curious about whether or not you can get into your own home, or if not now – what can you do to make it a possibility in the near future? Our recommendation – a local mortgage broker is your best bet – one like Premier Mortgage Lending. Not only will you be supporting a small, local business – but because they ARE local, they know the area and the industry, which can serve you quite well in achieving a smooth and untroublesome transaction.

Can you can save money by not using a real estate agent?

For Buyers – it simply makes no sense not to use an experienced REALTOR® or real estate agent. Yes, they receive a 3% commission. But remember this: The Buyer is not the one that pays that fee – that falls to the Seller. In fact, with the help of your own REALTOR®, you’ll have someone who is able to help you negotiate a better purchase price because of the wealth of knowledge they may possess about that property. They will also take care of all the paperwork, appraisals, inspections, and other matters that are part of the process. Today, there’s no doubt that you need their expertise to guide you through this life-changing transaction.

Is it cheaper to buy a home that needs a lot of renovating?

We’ve all seen the TV shows where people buy a fixer-upper and turn it into their dream home. And thanks to the cameras and bright lights, they make it all seem so easy. But in the end, all of these repairs take time and money. And usually the case is that people end up getting tired of all the renovations and don’t end up loving their new home. Remember then, if you need to tear down the walls to make a home look good – and you lead a busy life like most of us – perhaps unsettling your life for a longer period of time to make major renovations isn’t for you.

If you’re ready to buy your first home, let the professionals at New Home Resource help you make it a reality. We know the Las Vegas valley like the back of our hand – and we’ll be happy to answer any questions about the process and make sure you have the right information going into it.

New Home Resource helps current and future homeowners with all of their Las Vegas real estate needs. Whether your preference is for property management, a newly built home from a local builder, or a resale property in just the right location, a New Home Resource Realtor® is here to provide the service you’re looking for. Please contact a New Home Resource Realtor® today at 702-365-1000 or visit www.newhomeresource.com. Broker Joanna Piette, and agents Denise Thrasher, Jessica O’Brien, Evelyn ‘Beng’ Kern, Kathy Paterniti and Heidi Colón are all here to help!

mover

You’ve found the house. You’ve got the loan. You’ve signed the papers. You picked up the keys. Now – it’s time to find a mover!

Well actually, you’ve already been spending time figuring out how to get your personal belongings from Point A (old home) to Point B (new home) – because it’s not a decision that’s made overnight. And goodness knows that packing and preparing doesn’t happen overnight, either.

Plus, if you’re moving long distance, you need to worry about timing, maybe pets, your travel, delivery dates – wow. This is a HUGE project, isn’t it? That’s one of the reasons that it’s so important to spend some quality time finding your solution to who/how/when to get it all done.

Your first step once the house is chosen and the mortgage is in process? Finding a mover. We thought we’d lend some helpful advice on how to make that choice. Here are some things to think about during the process.

1. Where to Start?
Ask friends and family for referrals. You’re more likely to get unbiased, honest assessments this way. And if somebody you know recently used a mover, ask about his or her experience. A happy customer is a good indicator of a company with sound business practices.

2. Check with Your REALTOR®.
Think about it – real estate agents are in the business of helping people acquire “Point B” – so the odds are, they know plenty of people and even moving companies who have made it either a pleasure or a nightmare for the customer. Ask the agent who helped you buy your new home – and check with any other real estate agents you may know for recommendations (or at least tips on who to avoid!).

3. Do Your Own Online Research.
While it’s true that not all online reviews can be 100% trusted for reliability, by reading in-depth reviews of companies that are on your short-list – you can get a good feel for whether these are real experiences being shared, or customers who have an axe to grind (or if they’re just generic cut-and-paste reviews that may have been bought by the company). Also consider the number of reviews that you see – which can indicate a company that’s been around for a while – or one that’s just started up recently. (If reputation is what you’re seeking, the longer the better.)

Check for ratings – from outside agencies (Nevada Transportation Authority, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) – even the Better Business Bureau) to see if there are consumer complaints logged or any past or pending actions against the company you’re interested in.

4. Verify Credentials.
Another check with the FMCSA can indicate if licensing and carrier numbers are current, as well as safety and fitness records. Check with the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) to ensure licensing and insurance, too.

5. Ask Questions About Their Policies.
Financial: Request a written estimate – and pay attention to how thorough they are in looking at all your belongings (each room, every closet, garage, etc.) – to make sure they’re giving you an accurate estimate. (By now, you’ve probably heard about movers who “underestimate” and hold people’s belongings hostage until they pay thousands of dollars more for the additional moving and space (a very good reason to read their contract closely before signing, too). Do they have a price guarantee? Do they require a large deposit? (That’s a red flag.) What are their credit and debit card policies? Refund policy? These are all things you’ll want to know during and after the process.

Services: Be very clear about understanding what is (and is not) included with their service. Packing AND unpacking? Taking furniture apart AND putting it back together? Appliance hook-ups? What if there are stairs? Do they insure? What is their warehousing policy? What is the timetable for the move? Do they provide an inventory? How to file a damage report?

Naturally, these questions are just the start. And if you’re doing an in-town move, you may be lucky enough to get a great referral from a friend with a fabulous experience – and it’s all easy peasy! But longer distance moves require a bit more due diligence on your part to make sure when it’s all said and done, you’re happy with both the experience and the condition of your belongings.

Changing your home location involves a lot more than just finding the home you love. It involves making sure you get the best mortgage, all the legalities are met — and that part about asking your REALTOR® for advice about movers? We can help you with that, too. One more reason an experienced real estate professional should be the first stop on your list when looking for a new home.

New Home Resource helps current and future homeowners with all of their Las Vegas real estate needs. Whether your preference is for property management, a newly built home from a local builder, or a resale property in just the right location, a New Home Resource Realtor® is here to provide the service you’re looking for. Please contact a New Home Resource Realtor® today at 702-365-1000 or visit www.newhomeresource.com. Broker Joanna Piette, and agents Denise Thrasher, Jessica O’Brien, Evelyn ‘Beng’ Kern, Kathy Paterniti and Heidi Colón are all here to help!

REALTOR® showing house

One of the things we recommend home buyers and sellers pay close attention to when interviewing a real estate professional to handle their transaction is whether or not the professional they are speaking with is an actual REALTOR®.

The fact is, many people, both inside and outside the industry, use the terms “real estate agent” and “REALTOR®” interchangeably. What those IN the industry are relying on, though, is that the consumer doesn’t really know the difference – and that one is just as good as the other. After all, they both just help you buy and sell real estate. Right?

WRONG.

While they’re both licensed to sell real estate, the names each refer to a specific type of real estate professional, and there are notable distinctions between the two.

What Is a Real Estate Agent?
A real estate agent is anyone who is licensed by your state/county/city to help people buy and sell property (both residential and commercial). They may be a sales professional, an associate broker, or a broker themselves. In Nevada, becoming a Real Estate Agent simply requires completing 90 hours of pre-licensing education, then passing the Nevada Real Estate Division exam. This exam covers national, state, and local real estate law, standards and practices, and also requires continuing education to renew licensing fees.

What is a REALTOR®?
First, “REALTOR®” is a trademarked term that refers to an agent who is an active member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). (Fun fact: This is the largest trade association in the United States.)

Second, to join the NAR, it requires joining one of 1,400 local NAR real estate associations, an application fee, and approval by the Board of Directors.

BUT… the requirements to join the NAR are very specific:

• Agents must hold a valid real estate license
• They must be actively engaged in the real estate business
• Can have no records of official sanctions involving unprofessional conduct
• Not have a recent or pending bankruptcy
• Must adhere to the NAR’s Code of Ethics

At first glance, these may not seem like the strictest of standards, but they do whittle down the field to those who are wholly dedicated to the industry. The truth is a large percentage of ‘real estate licensees’ in any given state are not full-time agents. Many dabble with real estate on the side, list homes only for friends and relatives, discovered that they’re not really the right fit for the industry – but they’ve put in the time and paid the license fee, so they’re keeping it active ‘just in case.’ To put it mildly, these are not the type of people you want to handle the purchase or sale of your home – your most important and personal investment. So those first two bullet points are very important.

The next whittling down eliminates those who have ever been involved in unethical, illegal, or even just shady real estate transactions. (These requirements are starting to sound a little more important now, aren’t they?)

And while hard times (such as bankruptcy) can hit people unexpectedly (which we certainly saw by the boatload when the economy crashed in 2008) – knowing that your real estate professional is not driven by financial hardship can also give you, as a client, some peace of mind that they are acting in your best interests at all times.

Finally, the NAR’s Code of Ethics is what separates REALTORS® from non-member real estate agents. It outlines the agent’s duties to clients, customers, the public, and other REALTORS®.

These five requirements are the reason many serious real estate professionals choose to become REALTORS® – as it verifies the expectation consumers have (or should have) that they are working with an agent who has sworn to treat all parties fairly and honestly.

And now – you know what it means when you see the title of REALTOR® in advertisements or marketing materials for those in the real estate industry. As REALTORS® at New Home Resource, it insures that all of our agents are dedicated to performing honestly, ethically, and legally on behalf of every client we serve. Give us a call – we’d love to explain to you how we do it!

New Home Resource helps current and future homeowners with all of their Las Vegas real estate needs. Whether your preference is for property management, a newly built home from a local builder, or a resale property in just the right location, a New Home Resource Realtor® is here to provide the service you’re looking for. Please contact a New Home Resource Realtor® today at 702-365-1000 or visit www.newhomeresource.com. Broker Joanna Piette, and agents Denise Thrasher, Jessica O’Brien, Evelyn ‘Beng’ Kern, Kathy Paterniti and Heidi Colón are all here to help!

realtor

Family is the best, isn’t it? People you’ve known all your life that you can trust and rely on, especially when the going gets tough. (Well, in some families, anyway.) If you have a good one, then you know there’s a lot of love and caring between all the generations, and the ties between you are strong, indeed.

But when we hear a statement like that in the headline of this article, we can’t help but cringe.

And it’s not necessarily because such REALTOR®/Client relationships turn out badly (which they can). It’s more a matter of even if they turn out well (which they can, too!), it most likely could have been an even better result by working with an experienced and reputable REALTOR® – that the client wasn’t related to.

Why do we say that? Feelings. (And we’re not talking about the song.)

It’s one thing if a straight business deal runs into a snag. You can simply walk away afterward, and life goes on. But if you’re doing business with a family member who isn’t providing the service you’re expecting, what do you do? Sometimes, deals like these go badly because no one wants to hurt a family member’s feelings, so they end up lowering their standards to avoid a tough conversation. And (heaven forbid) – if you do end up having to fire them, that can turn into a family drama that could sever more than one familial relationship.

However, even if all is going well, problems can still exist just below the surface. One party may be anxious about asking certain questions (will they think you’re doubting their expertise?) – or making an important request (well, they’re family and they’re in the business, so they must know what’s best for my situation, right?). Even if your home sale or purchase gets completed – one can always wonder: If I had asked those questions, could I have gotten an even better deal? (That’s the kind of ‘wondering’ that can stew below the surface for months – and could still affect the family relationship later on.)

It’s a dilemma, that’s for sure. We’re not saying that just because you’re related to a REALTOR®, that you shouldn’t hire them to represent you. What we are saying is before you do, make sure that person has certain professional qualities that you need and deserve – because after all, we’re talking about a substantial financial investment. And if being a family member is in addition to those qualities – then you could have a winner!

What are the qualities that should come first on your list?

1. They’re a Top Performer in their field – with the experience and drive needed to find you the right home.
2. Their expertise is in line with the kind of help you’re seeking.
3. Providing timely and exceptional service is one of their top priorities.
4. You’re comfortable asking questions, expressing your opinions, and stating your expectations to them.
5. No pressure – they understand the final decisions are up to you.
6. Their goal is to give you all the information you need to make those decisions.
7. If you weren’t happy with them, you know you could fire them without life-altering consequences.

If #8 also happens to be “They’re actually part of the family” – then, hey – problem solved!

But if they don’t measure up to the first 7 traits on the list, we recommend taking a graceful “pass” on their offer. Let them know that you prefer to keep family as family, and business as business . Then take steps to find the right REALTOR® to help you get the best results possible on your real estate transaction. (One more tip: If you decide not to work with family, don’t add insult to injury by asking them for ‘free advice’ during the process. That might make them a bit cranky at the next family gathering!)

Searching for assistance in buying or selling your home? The team at New Home Resource can help you with that. We invite you to call and “interview” us to see if we might be the best fit for your needs.

New Home Resource helps current and future homeowners with all of their Las Vegas real estate needs. Whether your preference is for property management, a newly built home from a local builder, or a resale property in just the right location, a New Home Resource Realtor® is here to provide the service you’re looking for. Please contact a New Home Resource Realtor® today at 702-365-1000 or visit www.newhomeresource.com. Broker Joanna Piette, and agents Denise Thrasher, Jessica O’Brien, Evelyn ‘Beng’ Kern, Kathy Paterniti and Heidi Colón are all here to help!

Vegas Golden Knights

If you’re any kind of sports fan – or even if you’re not – there’s no denying that having not one, but two professional sports leagues coming to Las Vegas is a Very Big Deal. (How about those Vegas Golden Knights? We know people who’ve made hockey their #1 favorite sport since they arrived!)

That excitement isn’t only for the fans, either. With professional organizations like this, there are new people moving to town – working for the league, servicing the influx of visitors, providing the new commerce that surrounds a major addition like this to a city. And with Raiders Stadium under way, that level of energy is only going to keep growing.

The addition of these national sports teams is only one of the reasons that Las Vegas is seeing growth continue – along with new resorts underway, convention and new business expansions, the available job market, and much more. But it raises an important question that (admittedly probably) isn’t the very first thing people ask themselves when they prepare to move:

“How important is the right REALTOR® when looking for a home in a new city?”

The truth is, that’s one question that should be very near the top of the list – because a reputable and experienced REALTOR® is someone who can help you with several of multiple decisions you’ll confront with a big change of location. “Which part of town should I choose? How to determine the best schools, traffic, shopping, and recreation spots? Where is the best resale? Low crime statistics?” – and so much more. Your REALTOR® should be able to help you clarify your needs and wants, provide information to help you make informed decisions to meet them, and work for you to find exactly the right property at the right price for you and your family.

We’ve written articles about why the right REALTOR® matters so much (see “How to Know You’re Hiring the Right REALTOR®” and “What Do You Mean It Sold Already?”) – which discuss what to look for, and how the right one can be so instrumental in helping you get the home you want. (Great reading, and gives you things to think about!)

But the basic facts you should know about your REALTOR® are simple and irrefutable:

• How long have they been working in real estate?
• What is their experience in this city? (which parts of town do they know best?)
• What is their average number of clients at a time? (will they have time for you?)
• Are they part of a team? (can they provide timely support during your search?)
• What is their reputation in the industry? (can they give you references to contact?)

The most important thing about choosing the right REALTOR® is this: Start by doing your own research. And one of the easiest things you can do is simply pick up the phone. There’s a lot to be said for a company’s culture in how they treat every customer (especially the “potential” ones). At New Home Resource, our team is among the most experienced, helpful, and friendliest in the city. We’ll be happy to prove it – just give us a call! 702.365.1000.

New Home Resource helps current and future homeowners with all of their Las Vegas real estate needs. Whether your preference is for property management, a newly built home from a local builder, or a resale property in just the right location, a New Home Resource Realtor® is here to provide the service you’re looking for. Please contact a New Home Resource Realtor® today at 702-365-1000 or visit www.newhomeresource.com. Broker Joanna Piette, and agents Denise Thrasher, Jessica O’Brien, Evelyn ‘Beng’ Kern, Kathy Paterniti and Heidi Colón are all here to help!

tax benefits

Should I buy a home – or keep renting?

That’s a common question these days, especially since everyone knows the cost of rent has skyrocketed in the years since The Great Recession. So many lost their homes at that time and had no choice but to move into rental properties; but now time has passed and many have gotten back on a little better financial footing. So the question comes up again: “Should I Own or Rent?” Good question.

However, it’s not simply the amount of your Rent Payment vs. a Mortgage Payment – although here in Las Vegas with mortgage interest rates still hovering around the 4% range, that alone can make owning a much more appealing alternative to renting.

That even takes into account the cost of maintaining your own home vs. those maintenance items being a landlord’s responsibility – because in many cases, the principal and interest payment to buy a home can be hundreds of dollars less than renting the same property.

But there are other economic factors that most people forget to consider when deciding between the two: How tax benefits can affect their financial bottom line for the better. Although the tax codes change yearly (so if you have any questions about this topic, be sure to get current information from your accountant), the following have been among the most common IRS deductions for homebuyers in recent years.

Home Mortgage Interest Deduction
Typically, this is one of the largest tax breaks available to homeowners. It allows you to write off the interest paid on your mortgage loan, which can be most lucrative during the first years of your mortgage (when the majority of your payment applies to interest, rather than principal). In some cases, this is even applicable to home equity loans. Certain limits to your loan amount do apply, but most typical first-time buyers fall into this category. When you pay rent – there’s no deduction for that. It’s just money out the door.

Mortgage Points Deduction
If you paid points on your mortgage in order to lower your interest rate, you may also be allowed to write off this expense on your taxes.

Property Tax Deduction
Nevada’s property tax rates fall about mid-range between all U.S. states – and the average American pays in the neighborhood of $2,500/year (just as an estimate). But whatever the property taxes for your home, they are a deductible expense when it comes to your 1040 filing.

Property Mortgage Insurance Deduction
If your mortgage loan includes Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – often the case if your down payment is less than 20% – depending on your income, you may be eligible to deduct this expense annually, as well. PMI generally runs between .5%-1% of the amount of your home loan, so this write-off could benefit even more on your taxes.

Tax-Free IRA Withdrawals for First Time Buyers
Saving money for your down payment got a little bit easier when the IRS allowed first-time buyers (or those who haven’t owned a home in two years) to break into their IRA’s for their down payment funds without having to pay the 10% penalty that applies to withdrawals before age 59-1/2. (Although we should note that your 401k plan does not qualify for that same penalty exception.)

Home Improvement
The rules for home improvement tax breaks vary often. For example, by taking out a home equity loan to finance major improvements, currently that loan could qualify for the same interest deductions as your main mortgage loan. But there is one important thing to remember: If you document and keep track of the improvements and upgrades you make on your home during the entire time you live there, you can deduct those costs down the road when you sell that home – thus lowering the amount of your Capital Gains Tax.

The ability to take advantage of tax benefits like those listed above really do affect your financial bottom line. Case in point: Consider that if you have a $250,000 mortgage loan at 4% interest, that’s costing you approximately $10,000/year in interest. With just that one deduction, you’ll save money on your annual tax bill. And when you combine the other homeowner tax breaks that could apply to your situation, that’s money that will stay in your pocket (or bank account) – rather than going into your landlord’s.

If you’d like more information about the many other benefits to owning your own home, give our crackerjack team of experienced Realtors® at New Home Resource a call and let’s talk about your specific situation, needs, and goals.

New Home Resource helps current and future homeowners with all of their Las Vegas real estate needs. Whether your preference is for property management, a newly built home from a local builder, or a resale property in just the right location, a New Home Resource Realtor® is here to provide the service you’re looking for. Please contact a New Home Resource Realtor® today at 702-365-1000 or visit www.newhomeresource.com. Broker Joanna Piette, and agents Denise Thrasher, Jessica O’Brien, Evelyn ‘Beng’ Kern, and Kathy Paterniti are all here to help!

When it’s time to sit down and figure out how you’re going to finance the home you really want to buy, it’s also a good time to remember a very important real estate rule of thumb: Just because a mortgage lender has a household name doesn’t mean they’re going to be the best choice for your mortgage loan. There’s a way they got to be a household name, after all – by advertising. And who do you think ultimately pays the cost for that? Yep. Their customers – through the higher rates and fees they charge to cover that expense.

(Of course, some mortgage lenders became household names by doing some not-very-savory transactions with their customers, too. But unfortunately, it’s also true that people often remember the name better than the deed . . . so, yeah, there is that.)

And, if you’re of the opinion that those “discount” mortgage financing options you see online are saving you money because they don’t have the ‘brick and mortar’ costs associated with traditional mortgage lenders, you’ll want to think again. The largest online mortgage lender has over 8,000 employees manning phones and populating cubicles in office buildings, all getting loans closed. (They have to – because that’s a lot of brick-and-mortar to pay for!)

So if you’re in the market to get the best deal on a mortgage loan for your needs – it’s a good idea to maybe gather some information (like a Loan Estimate) from the ‘great and powerful wizards’ – but then we recommend you go do some exploring on your own for the ‘little man behind the curtain.’ Because more often than not, it’s going to be the small, local mortgage lender who is going to be working harder on your behalf to give you the best service and save you money on your loan.

Knowing the difference between mortgage lenders and how they work – as well as how they earn their fees – is a critical part of making the right choice, too. There are different regulations that govern banks and mortgage banks, vs. mortgage brokers.

Here in Las Vegas, one locally owned mortgage broker is helping to unravel the ‘mystery’ behind mortgage loans with a series of informational videos that make it simple to understand. Premier Mortgage doesn’t expect borrowers to be experts about mortgage loans, that’s their job. But they do make an effort to help people understand how important it is to shop for a loan with more than one mortgage lender – and what exactly to look for when comparing the numbers, so they can make the best choice themselves. (How to Discover What You Don’t Know About Getting a Mortgage.)

One other important thing to remember about getting a loan: Timing is critical for a borrower’s mortgage transaction. If a loan is delayed due to errors or a Loan Officer’s failure to request and submit proper documentation on time, the buyer may end up paying more money, not have a place to live in the interim, or may even lose the deal completely. And that’s no way to start off the “Happily Ever After” in your new home!

Your Realtor® can be instrumental in helping you make the right mortgage loan choice – and the right Realtor® will recommend that you shop around with several mortgage lenders before making a decision. (Remember, simply filling out an application – or getting a “loan pre-approval” from a lender does not commit you to using them.) Making the wrong choice for a lender can literally cost you thousands of dollars more out of pocket than you need to spend. And wouldn’t that money look better in the new furniture for your new home? We thought so, too!

New Home Resource helps current and future homeowners with all of their Las Vegas real estate needs. Whether your preference is for property management, a newly built home from a local builder, or a resale property in just the right location, a New Home Resource Realtor® is here to provide the service you’re looking for. Please contact a New Home Resource Realtor® today at 702-365-1000 or visit www.newhomeresource.com. Broker Joanna Piette, and agents Denise Thrasher, Jessica O’Brien, Evelyn ‘Beng’ Kern, and Kathy Paterniti are all here to help!

find the right home

Who isn’t online these days? We’ll grant you that there are still a few holdouts who think the internet is just a fad – but you’re obviously not one of them, because you’re here reading this article! We thought we’d talk a little bit about how helpful search engines can be when you decide it’s time to find the right home.

These days, most people begin their search for a new (or used) home on their computers. And why not? It’s a great place to get a feel for the areas you want to live in, what type of homes are in your price range, and a lot more. It can help you narrow down your choices so you don’t have to physically go look at every house that’s for sale in Las Vegas. (When it’s 106-degrees outside, that’s a good thing.)

Of course, once you get your preferences well defined, you definitely want to find an experienced and reputable Realtor® to work with – for a whole host of reasons that we’ve written about before. Such as: Is Your Realtor® Negotiating the Best Deal For You? What To Look For in a Home Tour With Your Realtor®. And even How to Know You’re Hiring the Right Realtor® in the first place. (Not to mention a few dozen other reasons you want a Realtor® on your side. You can find those on our blog, too.)

But there is a lot of helpful information you can glean from doing your own searches online for properties. It can range from the basics to specific things that are important to you (that may not be a big deal for other people). Consider the sort of things you can discover:

1. See the neighborhood – thanks to Google Street View. Have you seen that meme that says, “Google Maps gives us the ability to see the world – and we spend our time zeroing in on our own home.” It’s true, right? (Sort of makes you want to go search for Italian Villas on there right now, huh?) But in this case, it’s a good thing. You can get a feel for the type of community, zoom out to get a sense of the larger area – what shopping and such are nearby, see if there are a lot of apartments in the neighborhood, are you going to have to deal with a daily school zone (good – and bad!). It’s a great way to get a good sense of the homes you’re considering and help you weed out the ones that won’t work no matter how nice the house itself is.

2. Check out the crime statistics. For many people, this is a major consideration for several reasons. Perhaps especially those with children, senior citizens, single parents, and so on. These stats are usually available on many websites with information gathered from local police departments. It’s a good thing to know – one way or another.

3. What’s the history of the home? Local Assessor’s records can tell you who the previous owners were and how many times the home has changed hands – with the date and the price. (Helpful information to figure out if foreclosure or a short sale occurred – and how long the home may have possibly been unoccupied. An important consideration following the Great Recession.) It can also give you a good sense of potential resale value – if you’re not planning on living the rest of your life at that address. Although your Realtor® can also assist with this information, too – again – it’s a way for you to narrow your focus to find the right home to begin with.

4. Find out information about the HOA. Let us just say that contrary to what you may have heard, not all HOA’s are bad. In fact, we’ve written about that in more detail, too (Do Homeowners Associations Get a Bad Rap?). But some have developed, shall we say, a rather dubious reputation. By digging a little deeper online, you could find out that your new HOA is one of a surprisingly large number of HOAs that have been reviewed online. If so, it’s time to put your feet up and start reading. You’ll probably find a variety of rants, and some raves. But remember, most people only take the time to write about bad experiences, so you need to take many of these comments with a grain of salt.

5. What municipality the home is in, and what are the city or county requirements. Thinking of running a business from home? See if it’s legal. Are you allowed to convert a garage into living space? Not every community lets you do that. If you have specific plans for your home and property, it’s worth making these types of inquiries before (rather than after) you buy.

Goodness knows that there’s more information available at our fingertips today than at any other time in history. Sometimes, doing a search like this may not only help you with a decision as big as where to buy your next home – but also remind you that ….. uhhhh ….. maybe it’s time to review the privacy settings on your own online identity, right?

And as the questions arise while you’re doing your online research to find the right home, be sure to write them down. Because your friendly neighborhood Realtors® at New Home Resource are available to help you get them all answered!

New Home Resource helps current and future homeowners with all of their Las Vegas real estate needs. Whether your preference is for property management, a newly built home from a local builder, or a resale property in just the right location, a New Home Resource Realtor® is here to provide the service you’re looking for. Please contact a New Home Resource Realtor® today at 702-365-1000 or visit www.newhomeresource.com.   Broker Joanna Piette, and agents Denise Thrasher, Jessica O’Brien, Evelyn ‘Beng’ Kern, and Kathy Paterniti are all here to help!

final walk-through checklist

The Big Day has arrived. All the contracts are finished, the inspections are done, the appraiser has done his/her job, your mortgage loan is approved and loan documents are waiting for you at escrow. All that hard work you’ve been putting in these past few weeks all boils down to this day: Your final walk-through and getting the keys. (Well, it may be your final walk-through, sign documents, wait for recording, and THEN get the keys – but you get the drift.)

This is an exciting time – so exciting, in fact, that it might be easy to forget about checking out some important things when you do the final walk-through with your Realtor®. Normally, that would be okay – because if you chose the right Realtor® they’ll be looking out for you and following up on all those things you might overlook. However, it never hurts to have a back-up plan – and two (or three) heads are better than one, right? So we wanted to give you a quick and easy list of reminders that you’ll want to double-check before you head out the door.

What to Take With You

Again – your Realtor® will probably have many of these things with them, too – but just in case, be sure to bring along:

• A notepad to document your thoughts and the final walk-through.
• The Purchase Agreement, along with any Addenda – to refresh your memory about all the terms with regard to the condition of the property.
• A copy of the Inspection Report – so you can confirm all necessary repairs have been made.
• A camera – or your smart phone and a charger. (The charger can also be used to confirm electrical outlets are working.) But you’ll want to have photo documentation of any issues that need to be addressed.

What to Look For During the Final Walk-Through

At this point, certainly you’ve already seen the home and an inspector has reviewed it, and various people told you repairs were done. But that doesn’t account for two things: Time – because things can happen between then and your closing date; and Sellers – because, well, things can happen. By that we mean movers may have caused damage the Sellers aren’t aware of, or they accidentally loaded things on the truck that should have stayed with the property. It’s not that we’re saying Sellers have bad intentions – just that “things happen” – so you want to be sure, right?

• Is the house broom-swept clean? Is there any damage caused by movers?
• Confirm all items that should be with the home are present – such as appliances, window coverings – all things that the contract state go with the sale.
• Also confirm that anything that shouldn’t be there isn’t. This can range from trash and construction debris, to personal belongings or furnishings that should have been removed.
• Check the HVAC system – make sure the thermostat is working and that the heat and air conditioning are working properly.
• As you walk the home, make sure all the doors and windows can be secured. And while you’re at it, check for missing screens, broken glass, or hardware that’s not operational.
• As mentioned above, making sure that any repairs required from the Inspection Report is critical.
• Check that all appliances are working.
• Make sure all warranties and instruction manuals are present (most are available on-line if not).
• Confirm garage door openers are there, ask for garage door codes if there’s a keypad.
• Confirm mailbox location and keys.

You may think that “Of course I’m going to do all these things at the walk-through!” – but you’d be surprised how often new buyers are so excited that they’re concentrating on where to place furniture or what new pieces to buy for that charming bay window they’ve never had before. That’s why it might just be a good idea to print this out and take it with you that day. Because we’re nothing if not meticulous about having a back-up plan – for every situation!

New Home Resource helps current and future homeowners with all of their Las Vegas real estate needs. Whether your preference is for property management, a newly built home from a local builder, or a resale property in just the right location, a New Home Resource Realtor® is here to provide the service you’re looking for. Please contact a New Home Resource Realtor® today at 702-365-1000 or visit www.newhomeresource.com. Broker Joanna Piette, and agents Denise Thrasher, Jessica O’Brien, Evelyn ‘Beng’ Kern, and Kathy Paterniti are all here to help!

Las Vegas

We SO don’t blame you. Even though it’s one of those cities that when you tell people that’s where you’re from, they’ll respond with comments like “Oh sure, but where are you from originally?” (Because…. Las Vegas isn’t a real place?) Or with the ever favorite “You mean people actually live in Las Vegas?!!” (Said with some astonishment, as indicated by that exclamation mark.)

But you know what? That’s really okay. Because it means that we get to live with this little-secret-of-a-desert-oasis a bit longer – without the hordes having shown up yet to enjoy all the things we already know about Vegas. (Or, change that to – at least everyone hasn’t moved here yet!)

The City That Never Sleeps
We often associate Las Vegas with a 24/7 slot machine, but it’s so much more than that: You can also order Chinese food 24/7 (we could stop right there, right?), go grocery shopping 24/7, just about anything. In fact, it almost seems as if everything here is 24 hours (which it’s not, but it doesn’t take long to get used to what is). We have 24-hour taquerias, ramen shops, bars, grocery stores, athletic clubs, pharmacies, gaming restaurants, Starbucks, smoothie shops. You’re asking yourself right now “Do I really need a smoothie at 4 a.m.?” Probably not, but the point is you can get one. Ah….the taste of freedom!

Beautiful Scenery Just Minutes Away in Every Direction
Outside of the fact that many of the suburban areas surrounding the center of the city are well-planned to accommodate recreation, biking, hiking, and sports – there are some world-class recreation areas just a few minutes from the glamour and fast-pace of the city. Valley of Fire, Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Red Rock Canyon, to name a few, offer trails for every level of difficulty with incredible views of Vegas and the surrounding area. And Lake Mead National Recreation Area offers boaters and fishermen a place to get their water fix in the middle of the desert. A little farther afield and you can enjoy the skiing at Mt. Charleston or Brianhead, Utah, visit Death Valley, and the list goes on. (And dare we mention that a trip to the Pacific Ocean is a mere 4-hour drive?)

300+ Days of Sunshine
People often associate Las Vegas with brutal heat, but the truth is that on the whole, the weather is relatively mild. The average annual temperature in the valley is 67 degrees, with temperatures rarely dipping below 45. While it is true that it is hot here in the summer, this is a town that’s built to cope with that lifestyle, in more ways than you can imagine. And – as locals are always eager to point out, “it’s a dry heat.” That might sound crazy….but it really is true and makes a difference – as anyone who has dealt with “humid heat” can attest! It may surprise you to know that we get our share of rain, too. In fact, summer desert rainstorms aren’t that unusual around here.

It’s an Amazing Place to Live, Raise a Family, or Retire
There are lots of negative stereotypes for Sin City, and that’s a sad fact, because when you get outside of the glitzy downtown area, you’ll discover the churches, schools, and grocery stores of the town outside the inner city where everyone seems to know everyone. Las Vegas – even at its size – is famously known for being a “small town,” actually. There are the tourists, and then there are the locals. Las Vegas is like any other city – you shop, eat out, watch a movie, go to the dentist, wait your turn at the DMV (although, ours is pretty ahead of the game – with an app that lets you check in online and show up precisely timed for your appointment!), and hike in the national parks. It’s more than just a city of slots and roulette. For many of us, it’s home. Las Vegas has plenty of family-friendly neighborhoods and suburbs, too – like Summerlin, Providence, and Centennial Hills, just as examples. And Forbes states that Henderson has been voted the second safest city in the U.S. If you’re moving to Las Vegas, you won’t have any trouble finding a nice, quiet residential area that feels like home.

…And the Tourists Pay Your Taxes
Businesses headquarter in Nevada thanks to the friendly tax climate – and the same goes for those planning to retire, too. No Nevada state income tax is a big deal – whether you’re counting big bucks or trying to make that fixed income go farther. With almost 40 million tourists visiting Sin City annually, it’s no surprise that whenever you see those casinos flooding with people chunking their change in every slot machine, you’re watching funding to pay for all of your roads, schools, parks, and local services. In fact, Nevada hotel-casino operators accounted for roughly 45% of State General Fund revenues in 2014. Why does that matter? It means residents enjoy the third lowest state and local taxes in the U.S. Also, Nevada has low property taxes, and approximately 33% of the state sales tax is paid through the gaming industry. Thank you, tourists!

Add to all this the upcoming inaugural seasons of professional sports (go NHL & NFL!), the festivals, the entertainment, the food (some of the finest restaurants in the country are found in Las Vegas) – and you not only have a great place to live . . . and we’re just getting started!

If you’d like to know more about how to put down your roots in Las Vegas, our extraordinary team of real estate professionals is here to help!

New Home Resource helps current and future homeowners with all of their Las Vegas real estate needs. Whether your preference is for property management, a newly built home from a local builder, or a resale property in just the right location, a New Home Resource Realtor® is here to provide the service you’re looking for. Please contact a New Home Resource Realtor® today at 702-365-1000 or visit www.newhomeresource.com. Broker Joanna Piette, and agents Denise Thrasher, Jessica O’Brien, Evelyn ‘Beng’ Kern, and Kathy Paterniti are all here to help!