11/23 Radio Show: Jeremy Jacobs

Your host, Peter Hunt, welcomes Jeremy Jacobs to the show.

Jeremy M. Jacobs is chairman of Delaware North, owner, chairman, and governor of the Boston Bruins of the NHL, chairman of the NHL’s Board of Governors, and chairman of the State University at Buffalo’s presidential advisory council.

Together, Peter leads the discussion on the history of Delaware North.

To find out more, listen to this week’s show.

How to Keep Home Improvements From Demolishing Your Budget

Owning a home can be expensive, and monthly costs can be volatile. You can prepare for your mortgage payment, but if a leaky roof catches you off guard, your entire budget could be thrown out of whack.

About 3 in 10 homeowners (31%) don’t have money set aside for home repairs and improvements, according to the 2018 Home Improvement Report from NerdWallet. Considering Americans spent $449.5 billion on home repair and improvement projects in the most recent two-year period, according to the U.S. Census, having some money set aside is a good first step.

“It feels great to have cash on hand to pay for home improvements,” says NerdWallet home expert Holden Lewis. “But there are other ways to pay for home improvements and ways to ease the stress of an already stressful time.”

» MORE: Calculate the cost of your home improvement project

1. Always have a plan

A homeowner’s to-do list is never complete, but keeping a running tally is imperative. Keep track of your regular maintenance schedule, such as furnace filter replacements and gutter cleaning; the priority projects that you’d like to get done soon, like fixing a drafty window or an exterior door that sticks; and the major updates you’d like to do eventually, such as replacing your kitchen cabinets or adding a new bathroom. Whether you use a pencil and notebook or an Excel spreadsheet, add a date as you complete each item.

Not only are you less likely to forget regular upkeep when you have a way of keeping track, but you can more easily prioritize the things that will save you from major repairs down the road, and your budget will thank you for it.

Also, use your list as a sort of inventory of all the work you do, including the unexpected repairs that are bound to come up. You’ll appreciate this log in years to come when, for example, you realize you’re about to repair your air conditioner for the fifth summer in a row, and maybe it would be savvier to replace it.

Tracking your projects is also useful when it comes time to sell. It’s much easier to pinpoint what year you put on a new roof when you have the records all in one place, and the new owners will appreciate knowing the work you put in over the years.

2. Add to your emergency fund

It’s a good idea for everyone to have money set aside for home repairs, but especially those not living in a brand-new home. Unexpected repairs will come up: 44% of Americans who have ever purchased a home said their first unexpected home repair occurred within the first year of owning — 12% within the first month.

In general, an emergency fund is designed to catch all of life’s unexpected expenses or to cover regular expenses if you lose income. Adding an extra cushion can help pay for surprise home repairs without touching your primary safety net. Do what you can — try to set aside $100, to start. Once you have that, aim for $500, and so on. Including an extra few hundred dollars for your home will be enough to get your locks changed if you lose a key, to fix a leaky pipe, or patch a small roof leak — the little things that you don’t want to put off until your next payday or windfall.

3. Act quickly when it comes to repairs

When a repair pops up, tend to it. Just 55% of Americans would handle a repair right away, according to the report, and 9% of millennials would wait until the problem started causing damage. What begins as a minor issue can turn into a very expensive disaster if you put it off. A leaky pipe under the sink could eventually lead to a rotten subfloor, for example, boosting the cost of your problem exponentially.

4. Know your financing options

Have a plan in place should your home need major work or a big renovation project — things that your emergency fund or savings may not cover. More than half of homeowners (56%) say they would consider borrowing money from a lender or family member, for example, to pay for home repairs and improvements that would increase the value of their home. Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) are also solid financing options. Knowing your home’s value is a good starting point for either of these, because the amount you’re allowed to borrow is based on market value minus how much you still owe on your mortgage, or your equity.

» MORE: Estimate your home’s value

5. Consider doing it yourself

Homeowners under age 35 DIY their home repairs and improvements more than they hire professionals, and more than all other age groups, according to the NerdWallet report. As such, they’re spending less, several hundred less, on a typical project. It’s true, DIY projects generally cost less than hiring a professional — you aren’t paying for labor. However, screwing up a DIY project — as 43% of homeowners admit to doing at least once — can wind up costing you more to fix.

Make sure to choose DIY projects within your skill set or those that can be easily learned and easily fixed, should they go wrong.

» MORE: 4 questions to ask before you DIY

6. If you go pro, do your research

If the project is outside of your abilities or you’d just rather pay for professional-grade work, be vigilant. Get at least a few estimates and ask questions — how they intend to do the job, what the estimated timeline is, whether they’re insured and how much experience they have with projects like yours, for example. Don’t simply go with the cheapest guy to save a few bucks — he could be the best person for the job, or you may wind up spending more to fix his screw-ups. Professionals should always come out to inspect the job in person, so don’t agree to hire someone over the phone or online.

“Home repairs are inevitable, and you’ll surely want to do renovations, even if they’re as simple as painting a bathroom,” Lewis says. “Before the work begins, you’ll feel less stress if you know where the money will come from.”

More From NerdWallet

Elizabeth Renter is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: elizabeth@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @elizabethrenter.

The article How to Keep Home Improvements From Demolishing Your Budget originally appeared on NerdWallet.

Pets and Selling Your Home

woman on couch with white fluffy dog  and coffee table with candles We love our pets, and want them to feel welcome in our home. However, when you’re in the process of selling your home, there’s no denying that they can add stress and challenges. Many pet owners can have anxiety over how to handle their furry friends while trying to maintain a clean, presentable environment. We’ve compiled a few tips to help ease stress for both you and your pet during the selling process.

Tips for Staging

Keeping a clean house is important. Some home buyers may not have pets (just about 40% of American households do not have a pet), and some could even have animal allergies.

  • Try to remove as many toys and food dishes as possible, and sweep floors to get rid of hair.
  • Pet fur and dander can collect in vents and filter, so make sure you have a clean filter and consider getting your vents cleaned.
  • Repair any damage that your pet has done. Check your baseboards, carpets, and floors, as these are common areas that show pet damage.
  • If you pet is allowed to roam your backyard freely, you’ll want to make sure there are no walking hazads. Clean up after them every time they are out, and check for any holes that may have been dug.
  • For cat owners, leaving a litter box out isn’t awful but make sure that it’s pristine before anyone views the home.

You may also want to consider hiring a professional cleaning service that can give the home a deep clean to remove any smells and allergens, like pet dander. Our HUNT Homeowners Club offers a list of approved vendors that can assist you in cleaning your home.

Tips for Showing

brown dog on leash near lakeNow that your home is clean and readt to be viewed by buyers, you’ll have to figure out what your plan is for your pets while buyers are viewing your home.

  • Make sure you’re prepared to keep more energetic pets from running around the house and bumping into guests.
  • A member of the family should be responsible for taking a dog out for a long walk, or you may want to find a local pet daycare center to make sure they are comfortable during the viewing.
  • In a pinch, keeping your dog in a kennel crate can help, if that is comfortable for your pet.

Owning a pet won’t prevent you from selling your home, but it will add a few considerations when preparing your home from sale. If you need expert advice on how to get your home ready for any potential buyer, trust the real estate experts at HUNT Real Estate ERA. Our experienced agents will provide the tips and recommendations you need to present your home and close the sale.

Why You Should Sell Your Home in the “Off-Season”

winter home on lake with snow on roof at twilight

Technology has changed real estate and how buyers find their homes. According to NAR, the most popular information source for homebuyers was an online website at 89%. After searching for a home online, a majority of people will then walk through the homes they like. Buyers can now look at homes online year-round, so factors like snow don’t deter buyers as much as they used to before the internet.

While it is true that there will be less inventory in the market during these months, this is not a negative either. Your home will have less competition, and buyers who are active are traditionally motivated buyers. What’s more, buyers who have been searching for a home over the summer won’t just stop looking at houses because summer is over. If they were unable to find one during the spring or summer, they’ll still likely keep tabs on homes in their priced range. So in reality, your buyer pool won’t drastically shrink, even though your competition will. 

If you’re ready to sell during the fall or winter markets, here are a few tips to help you prepare your home for sale.

  • Have all-season photos on hand. Once the snow falls, it can be difficult for buyers to visualize your outdoor space. If you’ve got a great backyard, make sure you have pictures from spring/summer to show its potential to buyers.
  • Make sure everything is ready to go. If you can, get your home in the best shape possible and make any major repairs. Homebuyers are less likely to want to put in work during the colder months. 
  • Maximize your curb appeal. Keep up with raking leaves and shoveling snow. Do your best to keep your pathways clear and salted during the winter months to prevent a slip or fall. 
  • Let there be light. With the colder months come less sunlight, so make sure that your home is well-lit both inside and out. Replace old or dead bulbs with bright and energy-efficient ones. 
  • Style your home for the season. Let your home reflect the season. If you’re looking for tips on how to style your home for a holiday sale, check out our blog here.
  • Use a real estate professional. If you’re ready to list in the off-season, a top-notch sales professional will help your home get in front of the right audience. Our real estate sales professionals are experts who have revolutionary marketing tools at their fingertips. Make sure you reach out to one of our sales professionals today!

Don’t fall for the common misconception that listing your home for sale outside of the busiest months is a bad thing. There are plenty of benefits to listing outside the traditional peak season.

A Home Buyer’s Guide to Motivated Sellers

man and woman meeting with professional on couch in office looking at a portfolio in woman's lap

Home shoppers outnumber home sellers in many places. If you’re a home buyer, you need every competitive advantage you can get. That’s why it pays to know how to find motivated sellers and persuade them to choose you.

The definition of “motivated seller” has changed since the depths of the economic crisis about a decade ago, when many motivated sellers were trying to avoid foreclosure. There are fewer of these desperate sellers now, but you can still find motivated sellers if you know where to look.

What is a motivated seller?

“A motivated seller is someone that needs to move out quickly,” explains Sonia Figueroa. Figueroa, a real estate agent with Century 21 Affiliated in Chicago, lists common motivators:

  • The home has been on the market for three months or more, and the sellers feel impatient
  •  The sellers are relocating for a job
  •  The sellers are divorcing. “They’re super motivated because they want to get rid of each other, get rid of their assets and be done,” Figueroa says.
  •  The owner died and the sellers are the heirs. “They just want to price it to sell it, to divvy up the money,” Figueroa says.

Identifying a motivated seller

Here are telltale signs that the seller is motivated: The home is priced to sell quickly, it has been fixed up and staged, and the listing photos were taken by a professional photographer, says Stacy Hennessey, a real estate agent with McEnearney Associates in Falls Church, Virginia.

Another sign is when the seller is willing to negotiate. That’s not the norm in a typical seller’s market, where “if you don’t come with a full-price offer or a near full-price offer with terms that the seller likes, they can say, ‘Thank you, but no. Next!’” says Terri Robinson, a real estate agent with Re/Max Select Properties in Ashburn, Virginia. A motivated seller will make a counteroffer, even to a lowball bid.

And sometimes a home’s listing contains the phrase “motivated seller,” or the seller’s agent says the seller is motivated.

Tips for buying from a motivated seller

Ask what the seller’s priorities are. “The question becomes what are their hot buttons? What are their needs?” Robinson says. Maybe the sellers need a place to live while renovation work on their new house is wrapped up. Or maybe the sellers want certainty that the buyer can qualify for a mortgage.

Offer to solve the seller’s problem. “From the very beginning, having your agent tell the listing agent that you will be flexible and you want to help them out” can give you the competitive edge, Hennessey says.

Get preapproved for a mortgage. With a mortgage preapproval, you can close faster and the seller is assured that the deal won’t fall apart because of problems getting financing.

Offer flexibility on the closing date. Your offer is more competitive if you can adjust your timing to the seller’s timing, Hennessey says. One seller might want to close as quickly as possible, and another might want to wait until the end of the school year.

Offer a larger-than-usual earnest money deposit. Offering more than your area’s customary deposit is a signal that you’re serious. “My sellers always ask me what the deposit is,” says Creig Northrop, president and CEO of Northrop Realty in Clarksville, Maryland. A 1% deposit is standard in Northrop’s market. More than that is “showing sincere interest. So if you can get in the 2% to 5% range of deposits, you’re in really good shape,” he says.

Pay your closing costs instead of asking the seller to pay. Depending on where you are, it might be customary for the seller to pay certain closing costs. Offer to pay them yourself.

Offer to rent the house to the seller for a limited time. Sometimes sellers want to close the sale of their home a few days or weeks before moving into their next home. You can offer to let the seller rent the home for a few days or weeks. Customarily, buyers charge a daily rate of the mortgage payment divided by the number of days in the month. Your offer will stand out if you don’t charge rent.

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by Forbes.

More From NerdWallet

Holden Lewis is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: hlewis@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @HoldenL.

The article A Home Buyer’s Guide to Motivated Sellers originally appeared on NerdWallet.