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John Murdock -- CityScape Metro Group | CityScape News Blog

Wednesday, May 10, 2017   /   by John Murdock -- CityScape Metro Group

6 Apartment Upgrades to Avoid!

When you move into a place, it's normal to want to make it your own, by hanging pictures or even painting an accent wall cherry red. But when you're renting, you'd best remember: Any changes you make may be reversed by your landlord once you move out and with your money. That's why renters have to walk a fine line between making themselves feel at home and making changes that will cost them their security deposit.
"If you decide to paint the walls while you are there, you must return them to their original color or the landlord is within their rights to use the deposit to pay for it themselves," says Trent Zachmann of Renters Warehouse. He explains that many landlords treat modifications or improvements and accidental damages the same when it comes to taking money from your security deposit. "An owner can withhold all or part of the deposit to correct either type of issue," he says.
But all is not lost: Sometimes modifications can be made with the owner' ...

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017   /   by John Murdock -- CityScape Metro Group

6 Things To Know About Your Home Appraisal

Putting your home up for sale can be an emotional endeavor. After you come to terms with saying goodbye to a place where you created countless memories, some stranger with a clipboard comes along and puts a value on what's priceless to you.
And that assessment has the power to tank the entire sale.
Yes, the appraisal is one of the scariest parts of the home-selling process—and one of the most confusing. After all, why is somebody valuing your home after you've already determined a listing price and received an offer? Plus, you're never sure if the appraiser is truly factoring in those countless weekends you spent on backbreaking home upgrades—the Jacuzzi tub, the bidet, and the trendy shiplap walls have to count for something, right?
Not necessarily.
Think of the appraisal as a tool for removing emotion from the equation between the two sides who desperately want to make a sale, And understand that it's completely natural to ...

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017   /   by John Murdock -- CityScape Metro Group

7 Questions To Ask During An Open House

Open houses are undeniably a fun way to ooh and ahh over property that could be yours. Still, once you're done staring up at those high ceilings and peeking into walk-in closets, you should also try to get beyond the surface appearance of the place and take the golden opportunity to gather some valuable information.
In case you're stumped on what to say, here's a list of smart questions to ask at an open house. Whether you're querying the listing agent or the home seller who happens to be on site, these topics will help you deduce whether the place is truly right for you.



1. 'Can you tell me more about the house?'



This is a great way to break the ice and get the conversation going with owners or agents on site.
"This question may seem vague, but that's the point," says Victoria Shtainer, a luxury real estate broker with Compass. Pay attention to what is mentioned first, and—perhaps mor ...

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017   /   by John Murdock -- CityScape Metro Group

Tips for Unmarried Couples Buying Their First Home!

First comes love, then comes ... a mortgage?! That’s right: Many couples are buying a home together before tying the knot. In fact, 1 in 4 homeowners said they purchased a home with their significant other before marriage, according to a 2016 survey by TD Bank. And that's presuming they end up tying the knot after all; many continue cohabiting without ever heading down the aisle.
But getting a home loan as an unmarried couple presents some unique financial challenges. For starters, you need to consider the possibility—slim though it might seem—that you might break up one day. Yes, these things happen.
"You need to look at the worst-case scenario,” says Ray Rodriguez, a New York sales manager at TD Bank. “It’s not a pleasant conversation, but you need to have it.”
After all, purchasing a home together is ultimately a business decision. You, as an individual, need to take steps to protect your ...

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017   /   by John Murdock -- CityScape Metro Group

Mortgage Rates: Why It May Be Better To Buy Now Rather Than Later.

Anxious would-be home buyers have been watching mortgage interest rates finally begin ticking up again in 2017, after years of historical lows. And when the Federal Reserve raised the short-term interest rate in March, the conventional wisdom was that mortgage rates would follow suit—as they typically do.
But that's not happening this time around. Despite a Fed hike just last month and two more looming on the horizon, the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell back below 4% for the first time since November, according to Freddie Mac.
They were at just 3.97% as of Thursday, down from 4.08% the previous week and a high of 4.3% for the year, on March 16.



So what's going on?



"If you had an answer to that question, you’d probably make millions trading on Wall Street," says Danielle Hale, managing director of housing research at the National Association of Realtors®. "Interest rates are really tricky to predict.Yet even a s ...

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