Three Ways to Make your Home Appeal to Millennials

What we look for in a home.

It can be difficult to appeal to millennial homebuyers’ tastes, but recent polling has provided some insight into what they’re searching for in their first home.

  1. Leave Room for Improvement

Many millennials are looking for a fixer-upper for their first home due to their limited budgets. HGTV has made remodeling more accessible than ever, and millennials want to renovate their houses into their own dream homes. In 2017 first-time homebuyers spent an average of $33,800 on home renovations.

  1. Have a Separate Laundry Room

Millennials are willing to sacrifice comfort for extra square footage dedicated to a laundry room. Every year surveys taken on millennials’ buying choices point toward this trend. It’s a small change that can make your home significantly more attractive to this group of buyers.

  1. Be Environmentally Friendly

Offer a house that includes green features. Millennials look for LED lighting, double paned windows or even solar panels. You don’t have to make a major investment, but even updated, energy-efficient appliances will attract buyers. It’s not only trendy and good for the planet, but will also save money in the long run.

Want more expert advice on how to market your home to the most buyers? Ask a Mel Foster Co. agent.


Looking For a Seasonal Home or Relocating? Relocation Specialists are Here to Help!

Thinking of a second home?

If you’re considering finding a winter home or moving permanently, start your search with a Mel Foster Co. relocation specialist. Find a property in the U.S. or take your search worldwide with our global connections.

Mel Foster Co. has experience helping families relocate outside of the Quad Cities to anywhere in the world. Our relocation specialists provide multiple services at no additional cost to you. Mel Foster Co. is a proud member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, the premier national relocation network. They’ll also be able to connect you with another agent in your desired location to help with your home search.

A relocation specialist can provide cost of living comparisons, including state withholding tax rates. If you’re moving with family, they’ll also be able to provide a list of schools in the area and schedule a school visit. During your home search, a relocation specialist will also assist with finding temporary housing until you find your new home.

Whether you’re looking for a snowbird lifestyle or a permanent relocation, Mel Foster Co. will be able to help you find a home to meet your needs. Get started with relo today.

Top Three Tips For First Time Buyers.

First Time Tips
First Time Tips

Buying your first home is an exciting adventure. However, there’s a lot of your money on the line, so you’d better be prepared. Avoiding mistakes and getting guidance from seasoned professionals will ensure the process goes smoothly. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your time and efforts when starting the home buying process.

Know What You Want and Do Your Research

This is one of the most important steps. What are your must-haves in your new home? What are you willing to compromise on? The more prepared you are before you start to look at properties, the easier it will be to pinpoint the perfect home. Also, with the power of the Internet, you have a wealth of information at your fingertips. Focus your search on the neighborhoods you are interested in and learn as much as you can about the surrounding area. Use the interactive search map to zoom in on neighbors and see what’s for sale.

Get Preapproved

Talking to the bank prior to getting a mortgage will give you a leg up when you start looking at homes. Your lender will be able to assess your finances and let you know how much house you can afford, and give you an idea of what percentage rates you might expect to receive on your loan. Making an offer with a bank’s preapproval may give you the upper hand if it’s a competitive offer situation.

Work with a REALTOR®

Your agent can be your right hand man or woman when it comes time to start your search. Your agent can help you narrow down your options so you aren’t wasting your time with homes that don’t fit your needs. Their job is to help you find the home you want, and help you negotiate a fair asking price. Your agent can also help you navigate the paperwork, which can be overwhelming for first time buyers. Click here to find a Mel Foster Co. agent to start your home search.

Which Loan Is Right For Me?

It’s important to select the right type of mortgage for your financial situation, but understanding your options can be difficult. Your Mel Foster Co. agent  <link to find an agent> is your resource for proving information so you are able to make a knowledgeable decision regarding a mortgage. This quick list explains the top three most popular loan types.

1. Fixed-interest Mortgage

A fixed-interest mortgage is a type of loan that has a set interest rate. Most fixed mortgages are usually 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. The most common length of time is 30 years, as it provides the lowest monthly payment for homeowners. Keep in mind that most of the first few years of the payment are heavily focused on the interest that will be paid off, and very little actually goes towards the principal. You can determine your monthly payment for a fixed-interest mortgage with the Mel Foster Co. monthly payment calculator. 

2. Adjustable-rate Mortgage

An adjustable-rate mortgage or ARM is a loan with a variable interest rate. The interest rate will change after a designated period of time, determined by the lender. As a borrower, you may benefit if the interest rate is lowered, but you will also be exposed to potentially higher interest rates. The interest rate will remain steady for an agreed upon time, and won’t change until the next adjustment period. These types of mortgages are easier to obtain in situations when a fixed-interest mortgage isn’t an option. 

3. Interest-only Loan

An interest-only loan focuses on paying only the interest first. An example would be a 5-year fixed-30 mortgage. This means that for the first five years, you are only paying the interest, and not contributing any money towards the principal. The interest rate is fixed, but may change after five years. Once the five years is up, you begin to pay interest along with the principal cost. This will increase your payments significantly, even if the interest rate doesn’t change. This option is meant for someone who believes that they will earn more money in the future, or currently has their money tied up somewhere else. Just always remember to save your money for after the initial five years.

Which loan is right for you?
Which loan is right for you?

Living The Dream After Foreclosure

Many Americans saw their dream of owning a home shatter, once they had a foreclosure or short sale on their record. But the dream is alive again thanks to changes in Federal Housing Administration guidelines and updates in the Fannie Mae loan approval system.

Homeowners used to have to wait seven years to be cleared of a foreclosure. Now that period has been dramatically reduced to just one year. More homeowners are now eligible for a mortgage sooner, so they can return to living in a home they own.

To be eligible, a borrower must have suffered a specific financial event during the recession that, through no fault of their own, caused them to lose their home. Borrowers must also have a good credit rating with only the foreclosure or short sale affecting the score. People who were upside down on their home and simply walked away won’t qualify for a mortgage.

The best way to find out if you are eligible under these new guidelines is to make an appointment with a lender. Experts also advise buyers to be more cautious with a new mortgage, taking on payments that are comfortable and affordable. Those who have been out of the market for a few years may be surprised at how home prices have risen in some markets. Working closely with an agent from Mel Foster Co. will help you find a home with a mortgage you can afford and get you back to living your American dream.

What Buyers Want In A Kitchen

What Buyers want in a KitchenAn updated kitchen can help you get top dollar from a buyer. This list tells you where to spend your remodel dollars to get the attention of buyers and your best return on investment.

Professional grade stove

Look for options like a flat griddle or a cooktop for a searing pan or wok. Even if buyers don’t cook, nothing says quality in the kitchen like a beautiful, high-end stove.

Premium countertops

Granite still reigns supreme, but quartz is becoming popular as well. With a quartz product, like Caesarstone, you get the appearance of granite without the upkeep.

Hardwood floors

Hardwood and tile are popular in the kitchen. If you are considering a flooring change, stay away from linoleum and concrete. These products are least popular.

Stainless appliances

Stainless is still the finish of choice. Investing in stainless appliances that will stay with the home when you sell is a better choice than buying less expensive white or colored appliances.

The Dangers of Decorating

It’s time to deck the halls but danger could be lurking in those decorations. Keep your family safe this holiday season by keeping these hazards in mind.


Your fresh tree should be green and needs regular water. If your tree is losing needles or the needles break between your fingers, go into revival mode and get plenty of water to your tree. A brittle tree is a fire hazard. Don’t block doorways with your tree and place the tree away from a fireplace or heat source as those make your tree dry out faster.


Damaged sets should never be placed on your tree. When it doubt, toss it out and get a new string of lights. Use no more than three standard size sets of lights per extension cord. Keep wrapped gifts away from outlets and never pile gifts on top of an extension cord on the floor.


Candles can look beautiful but they are a fire hazard and should be used with caution. Keep candles away from wrapping paper, decorations and sources of blowing air. Pick a spot where kids and pets won’t knock over it candles. If you’ll be out of the room for a while, blow out the candles and relight them later. Candles shouldn’t be left unattended.


Children or animals can try and eat decorations that look like candy or are actually food. Skip the strings of popcorn or cranberries if you have small kids or pets. These items are too tempting and could be fatal.

Wanted: Your Home

Now is an ideal time to list your home for sale because there are many buyers, but not enough homes for sale. This means you can get a higher selling price now that the market is in the seller’s favor.

Interest rates are still low which encourages homeowners to move. More competition is always good for sellers who may be in a position to review multiple offers. Sometimes a bidding war can break out, driving the final sales price up higher than the listing price.

According to James D. Shilling from DePaul University’s Institute for Housing Studies, the seller’s market is driving home prices up higher. This helps homeowners with negative or low equity to make more money from a sale and eases the burden of being upside down on their home. This gives the seller a chance to enter the market as a buyer when interest rates are near record lows.

Shilling predicts rates will stay low through 2013 and most likely into 2014. But the interest rates won’t stay low forever. When rates do rise, homeowners won’t want to sell their homes and lock into a new, higher interest rate. This shift means fewer buyers and lower offer prices for your home.

It’s a sweet time to be a seller. Contact a Mel Foster Co. agent about listing your home and take advantage of the market conditions.


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