Categories Tips

How to Deal with a Damaged Home

 

It’s every homeowner’s worst nightmare: A fire, flood, or storm has left your home damaged and it’s made your house difficult or impossible to live in. Your head is probably swirling with millions of questions after a disaster strikes. So, what do you do now? Here are some suggestions on how to deal with a damaged home and get back to your normal life.

First things first, don’t panic. Take care of any critical emergencies before anything else. These can include accounting for all the homes occupants, turning off the water or gas, calling the fire department, or leaving the home if it is not safe to be there.

After the emergency has passed it is time to take a breath and assess the situation. Just remember that safety is always priority number one. DO NOT re-enter your home if it is not safe to do so. Get a general idea of what happened and what is damaged so you can better communicate what happened to insurance and disaster relief companies. Since you are likely to be the first person on the scene, take lots of pictures to help document the extent of the damage and improve your chances of getting your full claim. DO NOT begin cleaning up. This is a common mistake that homeowners make; the insurance company needs detailed and documented proof of the disaster itself, so cleaning up without properly documenting the evidence can hurt your claim and, in some cases, get it denied.

Homeowners typically call their insurance company first when a disaster strikes. Although it is important to contact your insurance company in a timely manner, you may want to contact a local damage or disaster company first. There are a few reasons for this. First, due to the high deductibles with insurance companies, there is a chance you will decide not to use your insurance. You won’t be able to make this assessment unless a professional can evaluate the extent of the damage and give you a recommendation.

Another reason to contact a disaster relief company before insurance is to choose the most reputable company at your disposal. To keep down the cost of repairs, your insurance company may pressure you into using their recommended disaster relief company. However, you have the right to research and choose the disaster relief company that you think is best.

Lastly, good disaster relief companies handle everything for you. Once they have completed the initial assessment and helped you decide if using insurance is the best option, they will take care of the rest.

Now it’s time to contact your insurance company. If you wait too long your claim could be denied. When dealing with insurance, the first question on any homeowner’s mind is, “Am I covered?” Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this because insurance policies can vary widely. Your coverage is completely dependent on the details of your policy.

It is common for your insurance to reimburse you if the home is unlivable. A functioning bathroom can be a determining factor for weather or not your home is considered livable. If your home has only suffered partial damage, to the kitchen for example, then you will only be reimbursed for eating out as opposed to all of your food and lodging.

The last thing homeowners worry about is how much of the damage will be covered. Remember, if you are 100% covered, you will not be 100% reimbursed. Even with the best-case scenarios, any damaged or destroyed items inside the house will have more sentimental than monetary value due to depreciation. So, anticipate using some of your claim money to restore items you lost in the disaster.

Now that the insurance claim is settled, it’s time to decide to repair, rebuild, or upgrade.

You may have done so well during the evaluation of the damage that you got the maximum amount of insurance money possible. The silver lining is that recovering from a disaster can be the perfect time to invest in the extra upgrades you’ve had your eye on. Adding upgrades and features while the home is already torn apart can add tremendous value when the repairs are finished while simultaneously saving you money on the improvements.

Depending on the extent of the damage, it can take years to get your home back to a livable state. Consider what you are willing to tolerate; for minor damage you could coordinate repairs while you are on vacation or have time off to minimize the intrusion of workmen and construction noise. If it’s bad it might be a good idea to consider moving.

If moving sounds good, but you don’t want to lose money on the sale due to the damage, consider selling to an all cash buyer. We are Gulf State Homebuyers and we buy homes in all conditions, including your damaged home. We will make you a competitive offer for the house in as-is condition, saving you the time and money on repairs, especially if you plan on moving anyway. Contact us today for your free, no obligation appraisal. If you like our offer we can close in as little as 5 days and help you skip the headache of repairs and restoration. We can even help you move into your new home so you can get your life back to normal in no time.

Categories Tips

Find the Neighborhood That’s Right for You

 

Buying a home is a huge commitment and you certainly don’t want to settle down in a new house only to discover that it’s under the flight path of the nearest air force base. Picking the right area or neighborhood to accommodate all that you want in a new home can be difficult and stressful. The search can be very time consuming, taking up countless weekends and slowly wearing you down. So, how do you know that your next home is going to be in a neighborhood that’s right for you?

Homework

You put in all the work to narrow down the best house, now it’s time to evaluate the neighborhood. Unfortunately, there are no easy shortcuts to getting to know the area that could be your future home. Visit the neighborhood several times and at different times of day to ensure that you aren’t missing anything that could be a deal breaker, such as nearby water treatment facilities that were down wind on your first visit. Also drive the back streets to see that the quality of the area remains consistent. You don’t want to discover an industrial park just blocks from the house that could be a breeding ground for crime. Last and most important, talk to your future neighbors. They will be more than willing to give you the honest scoop on the neighborhood and give you invaluable insight to the feeling of the area.

Consider your Commute

Spending time and money just getting to and from work can add up quick. Take into consideration how much time you are spending on the road, your access to public transportation, and your added fuel costs when deciding on a neighborhood that accommodates your career. You may discover that nicer areas closer to your work end up being affordable when you have minimal travel costs. Other important factors that people can overlook are the amount of time and distance involved before reaching the freeway, subway, or train – we recommend you map it out and make sure you are not swapping one expense for another. The last thing to consider before grabbing a home that looks like a good deal but is out in the boonies is the distance to your favorite outdoor activities, recreation, and hobbies. If you find yourself traveling to a certain location for fun every weekend like the beach or the lake, you might want to take this into account because it can add unexpected travel costs to your entertainment budget.

Remember the Internet

The internet is a powerful tool, so take advantage of your computer and let your fingers do the walking. Nearby shopping, gyms, and schools are very common searches, but with the power of the internet you will be able to find your nearest UFO Hunters Club with just the click of a mouse. Search out all the amenities that are specific to your personal interests and make a list. This will help see which one of your top homes has the most extras in the area that you are considering. There may even be one home that stands out from the rest, making your final decision easier than you thought. Also remember to check ratings and reviews – this will tell you right away if you are going to end up driving to the gym across town because the one around the corner smells funny.

Time to Sell

Now that you found a home in the perfect neighborhood, it’s time to sell and get out of your old house and into the new. In actuality your home should be on the market while you are looking and timing can be tricky. You could end up selling your home early and land in the precarious situation of being between homes. Even worse your home lingers on the market leaving you without the down payment for your next property while all the good deals slip through your fingers. But what if we told you there is a better way…When you find the home in the neighborhood of your dreams sell your home to an all cash buyer.

We are Gulf State Homebuyers and we take the hassle out of selling your home. You can skip all the cost, uncertainty, and work associated with putting your home on the market and get a check for your home in as little as five days. Our offers are very competitive, especially when you consider all the repairs, upgrades, and fees you avoid by selling to us. We buy homes in all conditions as-is, and after our free appraisal, we can make you an offer that very same day. So, sell to us and move to the neighborhood that’s right for you.

Categories Tips

Baby Boomers Home Buyers Generation Series

 

Last week we introduced our home buyer’s generation series – an outline of buyer’s characteristics depending on their age. We identified the five generations who are currently participating in the housing market: Gen Z (born 1999 – present), Millennials (born 1980 – 1998), Gen X (born 1965 – 1979), Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964), and the Silent Generation (born 1925 – 1945).

As a homeowner, if you are considering selling your current house it is important to understand the various factors driving the decision-making process for each of these generations when they are buying a home. They are in many different stages of life and have a wide variety of opinions on what makes a perfect home. You need to know what they are looking for in order to maximize you homes potential. We have already covered Millennials and Gen X, so now it is time to talk about Baby Boomers.

Who Are Baby Boomers?

Baby Boomers are beginning to reach the age of retirement at a staggering pace. According to social security, approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers become eligible to cash in on their retirement benefits every day. They make up such a large portion of the population that they have two distinct sub groups: 18% of home buyers are considered Younger Baby Boomers between the age of 54 and 63 and an additional 14% of home buyers are the Older Baby Boomers between the age of 64 and 72. This is a major factor influencing their living situations. Younger Boomers tend to have a higher median income and are more likely to be married. They also have a broader range of reasons for buying a home that include job-relocation, proximity to friends and family, and the desire to own as opposed to rent. Older Boomers have a strong desire to purchase a “forever home” where they can age comfortably in place. Older Boomers anticipate staying in the same home for over 20 years on average, far longer than any other generation. The Older Baby Boomers are also willing to move much farther to find the perfect home and are much less willing to make compromises when selecting the home that suits their needs best.

What Characteristics in the Home are They Focused on?

The most common characteristics Baby Boomers are looking for include proximity to friends and family and smaller homes for retirement. They have their eyes set on the future and are calculating how they can get the most out of their retirement. Baby Boomers are statistically well off financially, and many of them are at an advantage in the market since they are looking to downsize.

Baby Boomers are interested in purchasing smaller, more manageable homes, usually one story. They want to avoid the hassle of renovations and unexpected problems with plumbing and electrical so they are willing to pay a premium for well maintained and already upgraded homes. They are likely to have a strict budget on the purchase price of the home since retirement means living on a fixed income.

Outside of the home they desire quiet neighborhoods in close proximity to medical facilities and recreational activities. Country clubs, golf courses, swim clubs, and equestrian centers are just a few of the community activities that this generation looks for when deciding where to retire.

When it comes to technology in the home, this generation favors smart home innovations as opposed to eco-friendly construction. This is because Baby Boomers are following a new trend in retirement called “aging in place.” With the advent of smaller, faster, and more sophisticated electronics, many Baby Boomers feel safe and secure growing old right in the comfort of their own home.

How Does This Impact You, the Homeowner?

To appeal to the Baby Boomer generation and prepare your home to maximize its potential, you will likely need to make some significant improvements to your existing home. Like Generation X, Baby Boomers are not interested in making improvements, expanding, or upgrading a home. They want to purchase a house that is already equipped with all the amenities that suit their needs. This means that to sell to Baby Boomers the home will need all of the smart home upgrades you can provide to address their desire for hassle-free and money saving automation, along with the safety and security they desire for aging in place. If your home has the potential to sell to Baby Boomers ensure that the interior and exterior have low maintenance designs, easy access, and automation wherever possible. The great news about technology upgrades is that they span all the generations when it comes to increasing the value of your home.

Skip the Sale…

If you don’t want to make the investments to upgrade your home or hassle with any of the preparations necessary for selling a home, consider selling to an all cash investor instead. We are Gulf State Homebuyers and we buy homes all-cash from homeowners just like you. We buy in the Baytown/Houston area and we offer competitive prices. Now is a great time to sell, but many people can’t afford to make the necessary upgrades or lose interest because of the time-consuming process of selling. So, skip it today and contact us for your free home evaluation!

Categories Tips

Gen X: Home Buyers Generation Series

 

Earlier this week we introduced our home buyer’s generation series – an outline of buyer’s characteristics depending on their age. We have identified five current generations participating in the housing market: Gen Z (born 1999 – present), Millennials (born 1980 – 1998), Gen X (born 1965 – 1979), Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964), and the Silent Generation (born 1925 – 1945).

If you are considering selling your current home, it is essential to understand the various factors driving these different generations when they are buying a home. They are in many different stages in life and have a wide variety of opinions on what makes a perfect home. You need to know what they are looking for in order to maximize you homes potential. We started the series with Millennials, so now it is time to move forward to Gen X.

Who are Gen X?

Currently, individuals who identify as a Gen Xer are between the age of 40 and 56. They are participating in both ends of the real estate spectrum: buying and selling. Unlike Millennials, many have already owned their first home and are in the phase of life of finding a new home that best suits their lifestyle. They make up approximately 25% of the buyers in the market, with many of them looking for larger, multi-generation adequate homes (a majority of this generation has children under the age of 18 living at home).

What characteristics in the home are they focused on?

The average Gen Xer makes over $100,000 per year so their buying preferences shift towards similar trends of older Millennials, and even into similar trends of Baby Boomers (which we will get to next week!). Since they tend to be more established financially, they tend to want more quality luxury upgrades and extra space. By the numbers, this generation is buying larger and more expensive homes than any other generation.

Gen X is highly interested in purchasing homes suitable for multiple generations. This generation is unique in its bridge like link between the largest generations. They are looking for homes that can accommodate family in many different stages of their lives. As mentioned, a majority have children still living at home who require extra space for recreation and schoolwork. Older Gen Xers may have children who are moving out of the house or going to college, but that doesn’t mean they are looking to downsize. The stage of life they are in still has the possibility of visitors, plus grand kids could be a possibility if not a reality already.

Other major factors driving their home buying decisions involve caring for relatives. Extra space or even living spaces with separate entrances are required for the care of parents and grandparents who are suffering from medical conditions or simply need extra care in old age. A significant portion of this generation simply wanted to live in a multi-generational home to spend more time with aging parents.

Outside of home ownership and family, the next biggest reason for Gen X to buy a new home is relocating for work. Knowing the job market and the largest employers in your area could be the single largest determining factor for catering the sale of your home to Generation X.

Though their reasons for purchasing a home may be varied, their picture of an ideal neighborhood is almost the same as Millennials. Family-friendly suburban communities that are in close proximity to restaurants and entertainment with a short commute top the list for Gen Xers. The homes that they are looking for are large and spacious with more luxurious amenities. Houses with at least the possibility of a beardom on the ground floor are a plus, since as we mentioned before, caring for aging parents and grandparents is a high priority.

How does this impact you, the homeowner?

To connect with this particular demographic and tap into their home buying power you will likely need to make some investments in the existing home. Generation X is not interested in the ability to improve, expand, or upgrade a home –instead, they want to purchase a home that already suits their needs. This means that to sell to this generation the home will need to be in nearly pristine condition and even staged to drive the sale. If your home has the potential to sell to Generation X, ensure that the interior and exterior have fresh paint and replace any flooring that has visible ware. Like many Millennials, Gen X considers eco-friendly a plus; however, it may not be a determining factor when considering the purchase.

Skip the sale….

Wading through all the data and trying to decide if you should target Generation X can be daunting. All of the activities associated with selling a home can create a lot of stress and anxiety, plus they are expensive –Therefore, consider selling to an all cash investor instead. We are Gulf State Homebuyers and we buy homes all-cash from homeowners just like you. We buy in the Baytown/Houston area and we offer competitive prices. Now is a great time to sell, so don’t miss out simply because prepping your home to sell is a hassle. Contact us today for your free and highly competitive, no obligation appraisal.

Categories Tips

Millennials: Home Buyers Generation Series

 

As a homeowner, it is important to understand who are the potential buyers of your property – this is critical to understand if and when you decide to sell. That is why this month we are hosting our generation trends series in which we will outline each generation, including their buying preferences, transactions in the market, and how they are impacting your home’s value.

Before we get started, let’s outline the five current generations participating in the housing market: Gen Z (born 1999 – present), Millennials (born 1980 – 1998), Gen X (born 1965 – 1979), Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964), and the Silent Generation (born 1925 – 1945). As of 2019, the National Association of Realtors identified that Gen Z made up less than 1% of home buyers, so we will skip ahead and start our series with Millennials.

Who are Millennials?

Currently, Millennials make up approximately 25% of the population. They are aged 23 to 39 and about a quarter of them are reported to have already had children. They are a generation that has shifted their focus from material items to experiences and environmentally friendly purchases. In fact, over 35% of this generation believes in spending more for something they believe in rather than buying at the most discounted price. This mindset has translated into their purchasing characteristics when it comes to home acquisitions.

What characteristics in the home are they focused on?

The first factor to consider when selling to this generation is that a majority of them are first time home buyers. They are moving into their first home for a variety of reasons, including that they are starting a family or that they have finally established a solid career path with stable income and can now afford to purchase. Either way, they are making a big step into adulthood – unfortunately, many do not have the 20% down payment necessary for a home purchase. Therefore, they are turning to FHA (first-time home buyers) loans to acquire financing. This means that they have less cash upfront for the home and may be more particular in what they are seeking.

Since they are more focused on environmental causes, they are also focused on finding homes that are eco-friendly. This includes houses that have energy efficient appliances, HVAC systems, and those that have been upgraded to reduce their carbon footprint. This characteristic partnered with the fact that they may have a smaller budget can make it challenging as a current homeowner to appeal to their needs.

The type of homes that they are buying are similar to other generations though; they are trending towards purchasing in suburban areas, many moving out of the urban communities to start a family. They are also focusing on buying single family homes (with the exception of the small percentage moving into cities).

It is important to note that Millennials can be split into two categories: the younger ones and the older ones.

The younger participants in this generation tend to focus on the quality of the neighborhood (easy access to restaurants, activities, etc.) and a shorter commuting cost to their place of work. Those that are older tend to be focused on finding homes that are convenient to friends and family, located in a friendly community with a good school district, and those that have a

family-friendly feel to the neighborhood. Some of those that fall into the second category are also purchasing their second home; therefore, they are more particular in the upgrades and amenities the home has to offer. They are using their equity from their first purchase to upgrade to a home more suitable to their demands.

However, these characteristics do intermingle depending on the individual.

How does this impact you, the homeowner?

As a homeowner, it can be difficult to appeal to this audience. Nevertheless, it is important to know that they are making up more than 30% of current home purchases, so they are a majority of the buying pool. If you want to appease to this generation focus on aesthetics and eco-friendly factors. Complete upgrades in the home that improve energy efficiency, create an open space concept in the home by knocking out walls, paint the walls a neutral color, and make the yard visually appealing.

Skip the sale….

If you don’t want to worry or hassle with any of the activities associated with selling a home, consider selling to an all cash investor instead. We are Gulf State Homebuyers and we buy homes all-cash from homeowners just like you. We buy in the Baytown/Houston area and we offer competitive prices. Now is a great time to sell, but many people lose interest because of the process of selling. So skip it today and contact us today for your free home evaluation!