Be careful before you invest in costly home improvements

be careful when investing in costly home improvements

When selling a home, one naturally thinks that the best way to get top dollar is to invest in major repairs. However, many improvements don’t provide the return on investment that you think they will.

For instance, many motivated sellers think a swimming pool will make a home more attractive to potential buyers.


According to this Forbes article, there a quite a few improvements that drain your wallet and actually make your home less desirable.

Realty Times suggests paying close attention to these five areas:

  1. Incomplete renovations. If you choose to update a room, do not skimp on the details. This includes fixtures like ceiling fans, as well as trivial features like light switch covers and electrical outlets.
  2. Strange Spaces. Sometimes it’s a good idea to open up cramped spaces, but don’t do it at the expense of other rooms. Make sure you consider the house as a whole before making changes to one room that will affect another.
  3. Repurposing a room. Though your family may have never eaten in a dining room, others still do.  Don’t change the purpose of a room.
  4. Adding on space that doesn’t complement the existing home. Additions need to match the rest of the house in style and substance.
  5. Finishing touches that are expensive to maintain. Even though you always wanted a fountain in your driveway, potential homebuyers may not like the idea and pass on your house before they ever set foot inside. Stay away from home improvements with high monthly or yearly maintenance costs.

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Want to work with award-winning Charlottesville real estate agents?

Look no further than Montague, Miller & Company Realtors.  Check out our latest award winners!

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What does it take to get a mortgage?

get a mortgage montague miller blog title pictureYou’ve saved for your down payment, got your credit in order, and are ready to take the plunge and buy your first home.  But with all the rules involved, getting a mortgage can be an overwhelming experience.

What does it take to get a mortgage?

In order to get a mortgage, you need to have a couple of things in place:

  • A good credit score: Shoot for a minimum score of 620-650.
  • Down payment: You will need to have a percentage of the sales price in the bank at the time of closing. If you don’t have enough cash, you may be able to qualify for downpayment assistance. Check with the county and state housing or economic development offices.
  • Pre-qualification: You can’t even look at a house without getting pre-qualified. And there’s good reason: it would be unfortunate for you to put a contract on a house you’re not even qualified to buy, wasting everyone’s time in the process.

What do I need to get approved for a mortgage?

What you need to get a mortgage will vary based on your lender and financial situation. At a minimum, make sure you have two years worth of tax returns, income statements and proper identification.

These tips will help you get approved for a mortgage.

How long will it take to get approved for a mortgage?

The path to getting a mortgage can be longer than most people realize. There are several steps from application to closing, each with their own timeframes.

Paula Pant of Trulia does a great job of explaining the process here.

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July Market Report: Montague Miller & Company Realtors

Business Vector courtesy of freepik

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Use your wedding registry to finance a down payment

If you’re getting married, skip the traditional wedding registry and ask your guests to contribute towards a down payment for a home instead.  The folks at the National Association of Realtors teach you all you need to know about the process here.

Looking for an online wedding registry to fund your down payment?

Here are the most popular:

Hatch My House

Down Payment Dreams

However, be careful when choosing any of these options as some charge hefty service fees to use their service.

A better resource for this type of creative home financing comes from the FHA Bridal Registry Program. This program, created in the late nineties by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), allows you to receive wedding gifts to pay for your home purchase, provided you use an FHA loan instead of conventional mortgage.

Before choosing an online registry or government program, be sure to consult a qualified mortgage professional to learn about the pros and cons of each one.

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The VA Loan Process Demystified

VA Loan Process Montague Miller RealtorsVA loans are popular with military families because of their great benefits like no down payment or mortgage insurance, as well as closing cost limits and flexible requirements. But there are a lot of questions and myths surrounding them.  Learn about the VA financing process from start to finish here.

This video by Veterans United gives an in-depth overview and explanation of the VA loan program from a number of experts in the areas of finance and real estate in order to provide you with the best information possible.

Are you eligible to apply for a VA Loan? The Veteran’s Administration publishes their eligibility requirements on their website to eliminate guesswork.

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June market shows strong sales continuing

June real estate market stats 2015 from CAAR

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Charlottesville home sales indicate a strengthening market

The Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® released their second quarter home sale numbers on Monday for the Greater Charlottesville Area based on the CAAR MLS. This area includes the city of Charlottesville, as well as Albemarle, Greene, Louisa and Fluvanna counties.

Some areas, such as closed sales, show volumes higher than they’ve been since 2007, suggesting a continual improvement in the local market.

Check out the graphic below for an overview of the highlights:

2nd quarter CAAR highlightsYou can read the full report from CAAR here.

Image Credits: Business vector designed by Freepik.

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Why it’s a good thing cash buyers are leaving the housing market

Cash buyers make it difficult for first-time homebuyers and others with traditional financing to compete in today’s housing market.  With cash buyers at an all-time low, now’s a great time to buy.

Read the full story from

Cash Buyers Leaving Housing Market — That’s Good for You.

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