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Thursday, February 22 2018
Rent versus Buy

Debunking the Top 4 Renting-Is-Better-Than-Owning Myths

If you’ve never bought a home before, some people may try to tell you that renting is a smarter choice than buying. However, for the vast majority of people, that’s simply not true. Here are some of the top myths about the advantage of renting over owning.


Myth No. 1: You can’t afford a down payment. Many would-be homebuyers opt for renting believing that they won’t be able to afford to save the 20 percent down payment. In reality, you usually don’t have to put 20 percent down. In fact, you can usually put down 10 percent, or sometimes 5 percent or less.

Myth No. 2: Renting is cheaper. Even if your monthly mortgage payment ends up being a little higher than what you might have paid in rent, that money is going toward your own long-term financial investment. When you pay rent, you’re making your landlord richer, not yourself.

Myth No. 3: You won’t recoup your money. Unlike stocks, real estate is, in fact, the safest long-term investment you can make. Yes, the market will go through its cycles, but if you’re in it for the long-run, you will earn back your investment (and then some).

Myth No. 4: Renting is less of a hassle. Sure, you have less vested in your rental property, but the blood, sweat and tears you put into turning a house into your home is a richly rewarding experience. Not only are you creating the home you’ve always wanted, without the restrictions of a landlord, you’re also building upon your investment.

If you’d like more homeowner information, please contact me.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2018. All rights reserved.

Posted by: AT 11:34 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, February 15 2018
Financial Resolutions That Can Help You Buy a Home in 2018

Financial Resolutions That Can Help You Buy a Home in 2018

If you want to buy a home this year, you may be in the midst of planning—or perhaps you’re already well on your way. Purchasing a home is a process made up of many moving parts, including your finances, your overall goals, your planning ability and your current financial situation. That said, it’s the season for New Year’s resolutions, right? Start making some financial ones along with your other goals.

To get you started, here are five financial resolutions that can help you reach your goal of buying a home in 2018:

Make a Budget
Just over 40 percent of Americans have a budget. Budgets are invaluable to prospective homeowners, though. Why? Well, you can see how much you spend per month—and you need to know that before deciding on what mortgage payment you can afford.

Many people hazard a guess at their discretionary spending. You may think you spend $200 a month on dining out with friends, for example. But if you totaled it up, you may find that it comes out closer to $300.

That’s important, because those who spend more than they earn, or squeak by financially every month, often do it because they underestimate what they’re paying. So, use a personal finance software like Mint or You Need a Budget and enter everything you purchase for at least a month.

As you build your budget, divide it into categories determined by your monthly expenditures. You can tweak this going forward. Tally together what you need for necessities, like rent and utilities. Add together discretionary spending, like movies and eating out.

How are you doing? If you’re within your earnings, great! If not, review your spending for how you can save. Can you eat out less? Maybe cut down on that second or third video streaming service? Brew your coffee at home?

Save, Save and Save Again
Purchasing a house costs money. If you’ve been diligently saving for the down payment, congratulations. If not, one of the most crucial things you can do to prepare for homeownership is saving for the down payment.

Once you’ve got the down payment, continue to save, as you will need moving expenses and a cash cushion. As a rule of thumb, moving and establishing a household always costs more than you think. You may need new furniture or plumbing repairs, so be sure you have an emergency stash of cash.

Establish a Clear Goal
Like budgeting for your expenses, you also need to know your overall savings goal. It’s like creating a fund in the event of losing your job—you want a six-month cushion, at least. You will find it easier to save if you can visualize yourself reaching your final goal. Scope out starter homes in your area. Look at neighborhoods you’d like to live in with your family. Use an online mortgage calculator to figure out how much you’d be paying for the average starter home per month.

Once you have a general sense of how much your mortgage would cost, as well as utilities, figure out how much you will need for a down payment. While six months’ worth of your salary is ideal, you can also aim for three months to start.

Get Your Credit Score
Most mortgage lenders will only approve mortgages for people with good to excellent credit scores. Good credit scores range from 690-720 and excellent credit scores range from 720-850. The average credit score in the United States is 679.

Factors that determine your score include:

  • History of debt payment
  • Total amount of debt
  • Length of credit history
  • Number of credit sources

Credit scores are relatively easy to obtain, whether from banks, financial software or one of the credit reporting companies, such as TransUnion. In fact, you’re entitled to a free credit score each year, or every 12 months from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

Find out your score before applying for a mortgage.

If you have a bad credit score, it’s unlikely a bank will approve your mortgage application. But, the great thing about getting your credit report is that you will find out what categories are pulling down the score. Knowledge is power—once you know, you can fix it. If your record of paying bills on time is poor, for example, try to take care of them the minute you get the bill. Your score will go up.

If your score is average, see if you can increase it before you apply. Many lenders give preferential interest rates and other financial advantages to people with high credit scores, so you want the highest credit score you can get before applying.

Pay Down Debt
There are two main reasons you want to pay down debt as much as you can before purchasing a house.

First, the less debt you have, the higher your credit score is likely to be. The higher your credit score, the more likely your lender is to give you preferential treatment, like a lower interest rate or fewer points and fees.

Second, the less debt you have, the lower your money debt obligations are likely to be. Less debt can free up monthly cash that you can put toward your savings, home purchases or other expenses, instead of directing that money toward paying off interest fees.

Ready to become a homeowner this year? With these five resolutions, you can make 2018 your year by boosting your savings and credit score, as well as becoming a go-to candidate for a mortgage with low-interest and fees.


Posted by: David Shepherd AT 11:22 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, February 14 2018

Five Reasons to Sell Your Home Now

Have you outgrown your home? Or has your home outgrown you and your household? Fewer and fewer families expect to stay in their first or second home for the long haul. Here are some factors to determine if you're financially and emotionally ready to sell your house:

  1. Growing or shrinking household -- Are you about to welcome a new baby or take in aging parents? Maybe you're sending your youngest off to college. If your living space has become too cramped or grown beyond your needs, it may be time to make a move.
  2. Plenty of home equity -- Subtract the value of your home from the amount you have left on your loan. What's left over is the equity -- or the amount you'll have post-sale.
  3. Interest from potential buyers -- You'll want to list when you know buyers are looking and if the home inventory is low. Check with local realtor and find out. Some experts say late spring is the ideal time to sell but competition from other sellers may increase the amount of time your home is on the market.  
  4. Changing circumstances -- Location matters. Whether your neighborhood dynamics are changing, you're unhappy with the schools in your area or a new job significantly increases your commute, your community needs to fit your lifestyle.
  5. Home improvements -- Renovations may be a wise investment, but it's best to avoid listing your home with major renovations under way. But completing some minor home updates such as new paint and fixtures can be a huge selling point.

Contact Century 21 Hudspeth Properties because we need the inventory. The sweet spot or price point that buyers are looking for is between $90,000 and $150,000. Call us now at 336-526-1155.

Posted by: David AT 12:55 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, February 08 2018
Home Buying Steps for Beginners

As an agent for Century 21 Hudspeth Properties often times I assist first time buyers. Often these first time buyers do not have a clue how to go about purchasing a home. First and foremost, get pre-qualified! Too often buyers come in and want to start looking at homes before they get pre-qualified by a lending institution. Most people think the banks are the only resource, but credit unions and mortgage originators can be other resources as well. Going first to look at homes is often counter productive because the home may be gone by the time you get pre-qualified or you find out after being prequalified you could not afford the home. Additionally, you may find out you could afford a more expensive home. 

Home Buying: 5 Steps for Beginners

Venturing out to search for your first home is one of the most exciting times of your life! Unfortunately, it is also one of the most daunting. Between a lexicon of new terms and an onslaught of online information, the process of shopping for a home is understandably overwhelming for first-timers. First, take a deep breath. Then follow these steps and you’ll be on the path to finding your first home in no time:

1. Start searching for a real estate professional. You’ll need a well-informed, trusted guide throughout this process so start looking for a real estate agent to work with. Ask friends and family members for recommendations then do your research online to evaluate any individuals and conduct in-person interviews as well. Be sure to speak with at least three agents before choosing someone to work with.

2. Figure out what you can afford. Before you start looking at neighborhoods and homes, determine what you can comfortably afford… the key word being “comfortable.” There are many unexpected expenses that arise when you’re a homeowner, so don’t stretch yourself too thin. Determine how much you can afford for a downpayment, then use an online mortgage calculator to see what your monthly payments might be for various-priced homes. Once you’ve arrived at your budget, stick with it.

3. Pick your neighborhoods. Choose your location before you start looking at homes, as where you live will ultimately be more important – both in terms of your day-to-day happiness and your investment – than the home itself. You may have to compromise a bit on location depending on the home you can afford. Your real estate agent can help advise you here.

4. Choose your musts. When thinking about the home you’d like to buy, take an honest look at needs vs. wants. Sure, there are a lot of things we’d love to have in our dream home, but figure out what are the nice-to-haves vs. the must-haves.

5. Search online. Once you’ve got your price range, your neighborhoods, and your must-haves down, start your search online to narrow down your options. Your real estate agent may also know of some homes that fit the bill right off the bat. This will mean fewer homes to visit in person and hopefully, lead to a quicker selection.

Above all, be open minded, flexible and patient in the home-search process. Your opinions and priorities may change as you learn more, and despite the best planning, curve balls happen. The journey will be well worth it, however, once you’re happily settled as a new homeowner.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2018. All rights reserved.

Posted by: David Shepherd AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, February 06 2018

How To Avoid Frozen Pipes

Hi, my name is David Shepherd and I am a broker and owner of Century 21 Hudspeth Properties. In addition to being an owner and agent, my wife and I have a property management business which takes over half of my workday. It's difficult enough for a homeowner to maintain their personal home, but try taking care of ten homes. 

In January of 2018 North Carolina there were many days that the temperature did not get over 32 degrees in the daytime and down to 8 degrees at night. I was on pins and needles anticipating a tenant calling me and letting me know that they had frozen pipes or no heat. 

Here are some of the ways I prepare for the possibility of frozen pipes. 

#1 Turn on your faucets

If the temperatures have dropped into freezing and intend to stay there, turning on your faucets — both indoors and out — can keep water moving through your system and slow down the freezing process. There’s no need to waste gallons of water: Aim for about five drips per minute.

#2 Open Cabinet Door

During cold weather, open any cabinet doors covering plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom. This allows the home’s warm air to better circulate, which can help prevent the exposed piping from freezing. Open the doors covering plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom. This allows the home’s warm air to better circulate, which can help prevent the exposed piping from freezing. While this won’t help much with During cold weather, open any cabinet doors covering plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom.

#3 Wrap the Pipes

If your pipes are already on their merry way towards freezing, wrapping them with warm towels might do the trick. You can cover them with the towels first and then pour boiling water on top, or use already-wet towels — if your hands can stand the heat (use gloves for this). This should help loosen the ice inside and get your system running again.

#4 Pull Out Your Hairdryer

A hairdryer (or heat gun) can be a godsend when your pipes are freezing. If hot rags aren’t doing the trick, try blowing hot air directly on the pipes. Important note: You don’t want to use a blow torch or anything that produces direct flames, which can damage your pipes and turn a frozen pipe into an even worse disaster. You’re trying to melt the ice — not your pipes.

#5 Shut Off The Water if Pipes Are Frozen

Have your pipes already frozen? Turn off the water immediately. (Hopefully you know where the master shut-off is, but if not, now’s the time to find it!)

Make sure to close off any external water sources, like garden hose hookups. This will prevent more water from filling the system, adding more ice to the pile, and eventually bursting your pipes — the worst-case scenario. This also will help when the water thaws; the last thing you want after finally fixing your frozen pipes is for water to flood the system — and thus, your home.

#6 Wrap Pipes with an Electrical Wrap

If you have pipes that are outside like pipes from the water heater, these pipes can be wrapped with a tape that has a  low temperature. 

#7 Place Space Heater in Room with no heat or insulation.

So there you go, just a few ways to avoid frozen pipes. I did get a call from a tenant that had a pipe in their washing machine. This I did not anticipate, but I will be better prepared next cold spell as I wrapped the pipes with insulation. Be sure and check out our website for all your buying/selling needs.


Posted by: David Shepherd AT 02:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, November 29 2017

Remodel Bathroom, Part 2 of 2

Great, all the tile was chiseled off the walls and taken outside in buckets. The cabinets, countertop, sink and wall tile was placed in the truck to be taken to the landfill. Now, it was time to bring in the tile guy to have him give me his opinion. He looked at the walls and said, “you haven’t finished the demo”. I was stunned, I had put in eight hours for the demo, but there was more. Well, some homes built in the 50’s used layer upon layer of concrete on top of a metal screen, called a lath. So, between the studs and tiles there was a layer of concrete, three inches thick on three walls. Now was the time to call in a professional demo crew, again $$$’s that I was not expecting. Oh, and the demo crew took out the cast iron blue tub out, piece by piece shattering it with sledge hammers. By taking out the concrete, the walls had to be finished out. Another call to the carpenter, $$!

I forgot to mention when removing the tile from the walls it created a void under where the window was located. So, a carpenter had to be called in to make a window seal where the tile window seal had been removed. Same story, an additional expense $$ that I had not expected.

Now all tile had been installed on the walls and floor and it looked marvelous. So, the project is coming together. The next stage are the cabinets, sink and countertop.  Cabinets that had been ordered were installed with no problem, but I was beginning to expect the unexpected and true enough, another problem. Evidently, when ordering the cabinets and countertop, the countertop was left off the order. Further delay, but no extra $$ to be spent.

The wedding day was only two weeks out and I discovered a considerable amount of dust in the two bedrooms and adjoining hall. So, a cleaning crew was hired to clean up. More expenses that I did not expect, $$’s.

What a beautiful remodeled bathroom my wife and I now will enjoy for many years to come. So, in closing whenever you remodel an older home be prepared for the unexpected and unseen problems. Thank you for reading this, I am David Shepherd, realtor for Century 21 Hudspeth Properties located in the foothills of North Carolina in Elkin, NC.

Posted by: David Shepherd AT 11:05 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, November 29 2017

Renovating an old bathroom Part 1 of 2

Hi, my name is David Shepherd and I am a broker for Century 21 Hudspeth Properties in Elkin, NC. My wife and I decided to renovate/remodel our guest bathroom in anticipation of our daughter, Alice’s wedding in October.  A perfectly good bathroom but outdated with 4x4 blue tiles on the wall, beautiful half inch square multi colored blue tiles, and a blue bathtub. Too many different shades of blue.

The first step was taking a wall paper border off the wall. This should be easy right? No way, I scored it, soaked it, steamed it, used a razor blade to scrape it off nothing would work. Finally, later in the renovation my good friend sanded it off. This would prove to be minor compared to what work that was to begin.

The next step involving demolition. I took out all the drawers and doors and saved for a future project of renovating the barn.  I have seen the guys on HGTV swinging the sledge hammer, but not this guy. I called my plumber and he detached the water to the sink and the bathtub.  $, that I did not plan for. I started by taking the counter top off with a crow bar, easy. I then started using a reciprocating saw to cut through the cabinets and this was quite easy. I don’t consider myself a handyman, but demo I can do. I then ran into a problem with the floor heater that was attached to the cabinet wall. Now I had to call an electrician to disconnect. He came the next day and problem solved. $ that I was not expecting.

So now it was on to removing the tile on the walls. With chisel and a hammer in hand I start removing the tile.  Removing the tile was not as easy as I had seen on HGTV. So now I go to YouTube and do a search on tools to use to remove tile.  There it was, something that looked like a drill called a hammer drill. Looks much easier than the manual labor and much more efficient, so I was off to the Rental Store. $ that I was not expecting again.

Posted by: David Shepherd AT 10:58 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, November 08 2017

Home Inspections

Should home buyers get a home inspection before they buy a house?

Absolutely, unless the buyers are expert in all fields such as electrical, plumbing, construction, roofing, well expert, septic systems, etc. A home inspection is imperative on probably the biggest investment that buyers have in their lifetime. 

The Elkin/Jonesville/State Road and the Surry County area has quite a few home inspectors available. The cost ranges from $350-$600 depending upon the square footage or extent of the home inspection. The home inspector typically is not a licensed professional in all fields of expertise in the home, but he does have to have a license to be a home inspector.

A home inspection is an evaluation of what can be seen of the components of the home (plumbing, electrical, roof and others). A home inspection is not an appraisal. A home inspector identifies the problems but does not assess a cost of the repairs. Additionally, the home inspector identifies problems but occasionally a licensed professional should be contacted.

Buyers typically pay for the home inspection, but sometimes sellers will have a home inspection to evaluate any repairs that are necessary. Sellers are sometimes shocked to know they have a problem that they did not know about that needs addressing.

Try to be at the home inspection while it is being performed. And don’t be shocked at the number of pages in the report. It will be at least 25 pages.

Do the smart thing, get your dream home inspected.

Posted by: David Shepherd AT 02:20 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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    Elkin, North Carolina 28621
    Phone: 336-526-1155
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