Kathy Portway - SUCCESS! Real Estate



Posted by Kathy Portway on 1/15/2018

If youíre a newer homeowner, odds are you donít really ďownĒ your home outright. Rather, you likely have equity in your home.

In this article, weíre going to talk about what home equity is, how to use it to your advantage, and things you should avoid using your home equity toward.

 What is home equity?

Unless youíre one of the lucky few who paid for their homes in cash, you probably took out a mortgage. As you pay off that mortgage you build equity.

Home equity is essentially the value of a property that a homeowner has at their disposal due to paying back part or all of their mortgage.

However, thereís another factor at play in home equity, and thatís market value.

Since the housing market fluctuates, the value of your home does as well, and as a result, your home equity changes with the market value of a house. That might sound worrying, but the good news is that due to something called appreciation.

In the same way that the cost of living tends to rise each year with inflation, so do housing prices. However, appreciation isnít the only factor at play in the valuation of your house. As your home ages, it will likely need some renovations, which could decrease the home value.

Generally speaking, however, your equity achieves a net gain as you pay your mortgage and the value appreciates.

Increasing equity

Now that we know why equity can be so beneficial as an asset, letís talk about ways to build it.

The best way to build home equity is to repay your home loan. However, more than simply repaying, youíll want to repay in the fewest number of years to avoid paying more in interest. The longer you take to pay your mortgage, the more interest accrues that could have been used toward other investments.

The second way to increase equity is one we mentioned before--market fluctuation--namely appreciation. To improve the chances of getting a high appraisal of your home, itís important to keep up with maintenance and make smart renovation choices that will have a high return on investment.

Using home equity

The best use of home equity is to leave it be and increase its value over time. However, that isnít always possible for all of us. Since many of us need to move before repaying our full mortgage, equity allows homebuyers to use their equity toward their next mortgage.

Another option is to take out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit. Ideally, youíll only use these loans if youíre planning on using the loan money to increase the value of the home via home improvement projects.

Borrowing against your home equity does come with risks. Since you are putting your share of your home on the line, there is a chance of your home being foreclosed on if you donít repay the home equity loan. However, lenders typically seek other methods of repayment or settlement before foreclosure.





Posted by Kathy Portway on 1/8/2018

Buying a retirement home is a big decision. And doing so before you retire is a smart decision. However, youíre also in a completely different place than you will be when youíre retired or as you age. You donít know what the future holds. Itís easy to take our mobility for granted until we lost it. There are a few things you should look for in a home to plan for the future and whatever it may hold.

Many empty-nesters look to downsize when buying their next home. And this very well might be the perfect option for you. But first, consider how often and how many guests you may want to have over at a time. Will you host holiday dinners or want to have room for grandchildren to stay for the night? If you have a large family or one that is growing many couples find they want the room to host dinners or have a pull-out couch.

Youíll also want to plan ahead for the future when choosing the size and layout of your new home. Even if you downsize itís wise to put wide hallways and a single floor plan on your wishlist as you house hunt. If either of you has mobility limitations in the future youíll be glad to have such an accessible home.

The lower your monthly payments on your new mortgage, the better. But more ideally youíll want to consider homes in a price range that allow you to pay in full. Again, keeping retirement in mind keeping bills to a minimum so that either one of you can cover all costs on one sole income could save you from hardship down the line. Retirement is very different from what it used to be, often many people find themselves needing to take on part-time work to get by. Keeping expenses well below your monthly income can help to ensure you can spend your retirement years enjoying life in the way you want to.

In general, when planning retirement itís best to live below your means. Not only do you want to account for inflation costs but also for any unexpected large expenses that could crop up such as home repairs, emergency care, or car maintenance. Having an idea of what your future budget will be as well as your current one will help you make the best decisions for the years ahead now.

Buying a retirement home can save you money in the long run on bills like heating and electric. However, house hunting for the perfect home entails a lot more decisions that many couples realize. Remember to plan for your life both now and later when putting together your must have features for your new home.





Posted by Kathy Portway on 1/1/2018

Although it may seem like the Internet and email have always been an integral part of our daily lives, those modes of modern communication have only been around for the past two decades or so.

With technology like video teleconferencing, online document sharing, and other collaborative tools becoming commonplace in the business arena, more and more companies are allowing (and even encouraging) their employees to work from home -- at least a couple days a week. For better or worse, many employees, managers, and executives are putting in lots of overtime from their home offices.

Whether you're telecommuting for a job or running your own home-based business, having a dedicated work space can make all the difference in your ability to stay focused and productive. Not only can you control distractions by closing the door, but having a separate work space at home makes it easier to stay organized and maintain a professional image. Depending on the layout of your house, the cooperation of your family, and neighborhood zoning regulations, it may even be possible to meet with clients at your home office.

While some people don't have a problem setting up their laptop and working at the kitchen table, in their bedroom, or the living room, problems can arise when your spouse or other members of the family want to use your temporary work space for something else!

Other potential complications are possible, too: When people in your household have easy access to your computer, work files, and research materials, there's also the possibility of accidentally losing unsaved documents, unfinished emails being prematurely sent or closed, and having to deal with spills, sticky surfaces, misplaced work materials, and other miscellaneous mishaps! On the other hand, setting aside a dedicated work space at home for tackling office projects, preparing reports, or creating client proposals can help you avoid losing valuable work, missing deadlines, and looking unprofessional.

Home Offices Are a Selling Point

In addition to making your own life more organized and less chaotic, there's also the advantage of increasing your home's marketability. If you happen to be considering putting your house on the market now or in the near future, having a dedicated office space will help make your home look more appealing to potential buyers.

Today, more than ever, the idea of having a home office is on many people's minds and priority lists -- or at least, their "wish list". When prospective buyers can envision ways in which your home can meet their lifestyle goals, business objectives, and career requirements, they'll be a lot more likely to seriously consider making an offer on your house.

As more and more people pursue work-at-home options, freelancing opportunities, advanced degrees, and home-based businesses, a dedicated office space will continue to be a highly desirable feature for both current and future home owners.





Posted by Kathy Portway on 12/25/2017

People often describe themselves as either a "city person" or "country folk" depending on their taste when it comes to where they like to spend their time. Usually,†what they really mean is that they prefer either the busy or the quiet life. However, there's a lot more to choosing the best place to live besides just the number of neighbors you'll have. If you're trying to decide whether you want to buy a home in the city, live out in the country, or move to the suburbs where you get a little bit of each, this article will tell you everything you need to know to make the right choice.

Life in the city

If you grew up in a small town, odds are you always dreamed of someday living in the city. The busy streets, the tall buildings, and public transportation that you can take anywhere all make city life feel like one giant amusement park if you grew up in the country. However, there's a lot more to city life than just the bustling atmosphere.
  • Amenities.†One of the main benefits of living in the city is easy access to most of the necessities of life. Depending on your location in the city†you might be surrounded by hospitals, schools and grocery stores.
  • Entertainment.†You'll never run out of things to do or new places to explore living in a big city.
  • Community and culture.†In most large cities you'll find great diversity of cultures and values. If you're looking for a place you can identify with, odds are you'll find a community you can fit into within the city.
  • Cost of living.†This varies between cities and states, but generally the cost of living goes up in the big cities with higher rent prices, more expensive groceries and dining options.
  • Traffic.†You have to love being around other people if you live in a big city. Whether you're on the train or at the crosswalk, you'll always be within arms length of a group of strangers.

Country living

  • Privacy and†sovereignty.†If you like your alone time and the freedom to do what you want with the space you have, country life might be for you.
  • Peace and quiet.†If you hate traffic jams and don't mind driving long distances to reach amenities, small town living could be a good fit.
  • Nature and space.†Out in the country there's plenty of room to roam and to experience the local flora and fauna.

Suburban life

Life in the suburbs is meant to have the best features of the city and the country. Hopefully your town has a couple grocery stores and easy access to the highway to reach the nearest city. It will also have access to recreation parks. One downfall of suburban life is that you need to make the extra effort if you want to build the sense of community provided in the city or the connection to nature that comes with living out in the country. However, if you are the type to actively seek these out, suburban life could be the happy medium your life needs.




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Posted by Kathy Portway on 12/18/2017

If youíre ready to sell your home, you may wonder if you can do it all on your own or if you need an agent to help you. If you understand what a listing agent can help you to do, youíll better understand their value. 


Listing Agents Help You To Price Your Home


Pricing your home for sale is one of the most challenging parts of selling. Your listing agent can help you to take some of the pressure off. They will do the market research and help you come to that sweet spot for the price. How much your home goes on the market for matters because if the home is priced too high or too low, it can cause buyer interest to dwindle. If the home isnít priced right, it can leave buyers wondering if thereís something wrong with the property or if a better deal will be available on the home at a later date. The price of a home is all part of the marketing strategy. 


Advertising Your Home Listing 


Realtors will be responsible for advertising your home listing. Your home for sale will be available across multiple listing services, giving your home the best chance of being seen by the right buyers.    


Coordinating Open Houses And Showings


Hiring a listing agent can save you a lot of time. Your agent will coordinate your open house and advertise it. Their phone will also be the phone thatís ringing when people want to schedule showings for the house. The agent will coordinate convenient times with you but they will handle the overall scheduling and contact with buyers. 


Questions To Ask A Prospective Listing Agent


  • How many homes have you sold in this area?
  • What price range property do you have the most experience with?
  • How long has it typically taken for a home to be sold?
  • What could be improved in my home to help it sell?
  • What is the marketing plan?
  • Who is the team that works with you?
  • Will you be taking photos or can we hire a professional?
  • Will we be using video marketing?


All of these questions can help you to understand whether youíre hiring the right listing agent for the job of selling your home. Listing agents work hard to earn that commission from the sale of your home. They want nothing more than satisfied clients. Your listing agent will also appreciate your recommendation for a job well done. Know that while you can sell your home on your own, there are many benefits to hiring a listing agent.      





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