What to Do When You Inherit a Property

Inheriting a property is a very overwhelming experience especially after the passing of a loved one. If you are an heir, would you have the slightest idea what to do? Naturally, there will be many questions on your mind. So, we’re here to help you know the things you need to do when you inherit a property.

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Investigate the mortgage

It is possible that the house you just inherited is already fully-paid. But sometimes, it might just not be the case. When you inherit a property, you need to know its mortgage status. If you plan to live in the house or want to have it rented out, then you need to pay it off yourself. You need to speak with the lenders and arrange a new payment scheme if the present one does not fit your budget. Also, know that there is a Garn-St. Germain law that prohibits lenders from enforcing a due-on-sale on inherited properties. Lastly, it is best to consult a real estate attorney to guide you on the best action to take.

What are the taxes?

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Inheritance Tax

There are many taxes on properties and these can differ depending on which state the inherited property is located. Only 6 states collect inheritance taxes namely Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In these states, a spouse who inherits property is also exempt from paying inheritance taxes. Furthermore, Nebraska and Pennsylvania are the only states that collect on properties passed on to children or grandchildren.

Estate Tax

Do not confuse estate tax with inheritance tax because an estate is the overall asset of the deceased. Unless your inherited property and other assets are worth more than $5.34 million, then you won’t have to pay for this.

Income Tax

You pay income tax if you inherited a property that is being used to generate income. An example is if the property is being rented out or if that’s what you are planning to do with it.

Capital Gains Tax

You will only be paying capital gains tax if you decide to sell your inherited property. This is based on the amount you are selling the property compared to its current market value.

Property Tax

A property tax is a kind of tax that is paid as long as you are the owner of the property. So when you are an heir, it is best to pay immediately to avoid lapses and keep the property updated.

Timeframe

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There are certainly many things that have to be thought about thoroughly regarding an inherited property. But you should keep in mind that time is precious and you should act immediately. Know how much time you will need to decide what to do with the property. Ask how soon you have to pay the taxes and mortgages to avoid getting penalties and repossession. Acting fast will save a lot of time and money and can even help you save your property.

What to do with the property?

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According to Forbes, there are three basic things you can do with your inherited property and these are to sell it, rent it out or move in it.

Sell

Selling your inherited property is ideal if you don’t have the money to finance the taxes, the mortgages, and the maintenance. Also, if this is just an extra home to you, then this is the best thing to do.

Rent out

Another great idea for your inherited property is to rent it out and generate income out of it especially if it’s an investment property. This can help you gain money for any expenses that the home requires.

Move in

Of course, you have the option to move into your inherited property and this is the best thing to do you’ve got no other place to live in. Most inherited homes are from parents so most heirs wouldn’t feel indifferent when they move in it.

Sometimes, inheriting a property can feel more of a burden if you have don’t have the slightest idea what to do with it. Just remember to take things a step at a time and ask the questions that you have in mind. Act wisely and consult a credible real estate agent if you decide to sell your property.

How to Secure Your Home From Theft

Having a home for your family is a great privilege and one important thing to consider when having a home is security. Crimes are everywhere but can be prevented with the use of safety precautions. So, here are ways on how to secure your home from theft.

Don’t post on social media

We live in a time when everything is posted on social media and even your whereabouts are included, thanks to GPS. Everyone has access to the internet and that includes thieves and burglars. These people are always on the lookout for empty houses to break in. According to a report from DailyMail, photos posted on social media can make it easier for burglars to find unoccupied homes. Criminals use advanced techniques to target homeowner locations.

Always remember to be responsible on social media and always be conscious of your posts. Never be an easy target for thieves and avoid posting your location. Never post that you are away with an empty house back home. Make sure that your posts are not public and can only be visible to friends, family, and relatives.

Clear your garden

A WebMD article about home security says that clearing the outside of your house prevents theft. Trees and shrubs can make it easy for thieves to hide and look into your house. Always make it a habit to clear your garden and trim your plants especially those near doors and windows. It is also advisable to use thorny and spiked plants in your garden to help avoid trespassers.

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Secure your doors

Next is the most important of all which are entries to your house – doors. According to Crime Prevention Security Systems, most people think that burglars would never attempt to enter through the front door. However, around 40% of successful break-ins happen with the use of the front door. These are easy targets for burglars because people often forget to lock doors. Sometimes, people also hide the keys somewhere near the door, making it easy for burglars to fish for it.

One lock for a door is not enough, so make sure you have at least two. Secure both front and back doors with deadbolts and never store the keys near them. It is best to store all keys with you in your bedroom including car keys. Place a “neighborhood watch” sign on your door or window which can be a primary warning to thieves.

Buy professional alarms

There are a lot of home alarm systems available in the market and prices may vary greatly. It is normal to doubt and be stingy about an alarm system but it is important to buy a professional one. Do not settle for dummy ones in an attempt to just scare off burglars. Alarms help home intruders be easily seen. There are different types of alarm systems but according to WebMD, one with motion detectors is the best, with windows and doors coverage.

You should post signs on your house or lawn that you have a home security system. This will discourage thieves from entering your home as well.

Secure other entries

Other points of entry in your home are windows and some burglars decide to enter through it. Secure your windows by adding locks. Also, invest in an alarm system that has glass-break sensors. This easily sets off the alarm once there’s a sound of glass breaking from a window.

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Keep the inside private

Keep the inside of your house private and make sure that it is not easily seen from the outside. According to Safety.com, burglars like to watch and study a home before entering to see if the items they can steal are worth breaking in to. Cover your windows with curtains or blinds to prevent thieves from watching and seeing the activities inside your house. This is similar to not posting on social media and keeping your life private. If burglars have minimal access to your home, then your house has a better chance of preventing intruders.

Store your tools

Keep your tools away and store them somewhere inaccessible to intruders. Some burglars improvise and look for tools in the home that they break in to. Store your tools in one place and never keep them near doors.

Being proactive and securing your home with these tips and tools is a very handy way of protecting your family. In the rare case that a burglar does get in, be sure you know how to defend yourself and your family. Remember that prevention is always the safest option.

Things to Consider When Buying a Home

Buying a home can be one of the biggest and most exciting decisions in your life. How do you know that the home you buy is for you? To make sure that you make the most out of that decision, there are certain things you need to consider.

Location

Your home’s location can have a very huge impact on your lifestyle. According to Realty Times, factors you need to think about to evaluate a property’s location are proximity, environment, accessibility, and positioning of the property.

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  • Proximity
    • Assess if it is close to areas that you would necessarily go to like work, park, schools, relatives’ home, or downtown areas. Think whether you want to stay near places for leisure and activities.
  • Environment
    • How is the ambiance of the location for you? Most people prefer a quiet and peaceful atmosphere rather than noisy ones. Houses are better located away from freeways, factories, or excessively noisy places.
  • Accessibility
    • Is the property located near public transportation? Commuting accessibility is an important factor to consider especially if you have trouble with your vehicle. See if the property is located near a bus or train station.
  • Positioning
    • The position of the home you buy is also an important component to evaluate. If you are a first-time home buyer, this is something you should not miss. Some cultures highly consider the direction where their house faces. You should also think about the position in terms of the sun. Some people do not like too much sunlight yet some do. Positioning can affect home temperature, lighting, and air flow.

So think about the location wisely and one thing to help is ask around the neighborhood for their opinions.

Security

Safety and security are a top concern when buying a home and usually comes together with the location. Read about local news and learn about the homeowner’s association of the area you plan to live in. This is very important to maintain a safe haven for you and your family.

Size

Think about what size of home you want. How many will be living in the house with you? How many bedrooms and bathrooms will you need? Do not buy an excessively huge house if only two people will live in it. Remember that along with size comes a higher price! Amy Fontinelle of Investopedia says that the bigger the property is, the higher the maintenance costs and utility bills as well. Also, you will need to fill in space with more furniture and house items if your house is bigger than you need. Live in a house size that you know you can afford and manage.

Structure

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Everyone wants a sturdy built house that will last for years. If you’re purchasing a house that is already built, know what kind of materials were used. According to SafeWise, hiring a reputable inspector to check the house is your best bet. The inspector can examine and verify the materials used to build the house. They will check window quality, roof materials, foundation, and flooring. You can hire specialized inspectors to double check for pests.

Knowing the structure of your home can ensure that your house is sturdy and doesn’t have any hazards for your family. 

Financial Situation

Knowing your financial situation is very important in knowing what kind of home you can purchase. According to Forbes, it is important not to get fixated solely on the purchase price because there are other costs to consider. Beyond the house price are real estate taxes, insurance costs, and homeowner association fees to name a few.

Carefully assess how much you can afford to buy a home. Having a clear picture of your financial situation can help you get your dream home for your family. This can let you know how much budget you have and the amount of loan you can get.

Real Estate Agent

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A real estate agent is very important in your house hunt. Forbes advises that hiring a trusted realtor is still ideal because they will be the one to guide you in the home-buying process. Going through the process alone can be very confusing and having someone professional to guide you will make it easier and more convenient.

Choosing a home may seem very simple but having guidelines to consider will make it even easier. Make sure you know what you want when buying a home and remember these things to find one that is perfect for you.

Tips on How to Sell your House in NO TIME

Selling a house might be a big challenge for homeowners since there’s a lot of competition so, getting well-equipped with home-selling facts is a good thing.

The National Realtor Association states that almost 83% percent of the population consider their home as an asset.  Kacey and I are here to help you by sharing the best selling tips that will help win the hearts of potential buyers!

 1. FIRST IMPRESSIONS LAST

Do you want to enter a home that feels dark and gloomy? Of course not! It may sound odd, but there are people who develop a feeling of attachment when they visit an open house event and that’s what we want! People want to see a house that’s well-ventilated and has an inviting ambiance. People want a house that is safe, well-lit, and clean. You will never know when clients could be visiting, so we need to make sure that THE HOUSE IS ALWAYS READY AND AVAILABLE FOR SHOWINGS.

impression 1

The mind has this tendency to judge everything the eye sees within 7 seconds, so make sure it counts. Be creative, and try adding things that can make them feel at home. Choose the best decor for your home whether it’s an old or a new house. Try:

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  1.    Planting attractive shrubs and flowers. Hire a landscape expert.
  2.    Buying cheap but pretty curtain designs and hang them on the windows.
  3.    Hanging or attaching wall lamps/light bulbs (if necessary)
  4.    Removing unnecessary furniture.
  5.    To welcome them with a sparkling clean floor and a nice doormat!
  6.    Placing the HOUSE NUMBER WHERE IT CAN BE EASILY SEEN.

Remember: Don’t overdo it! Simplicity is sophistication. 

2.    REMOVE ALL CLUTTER, HIDE THE CRITTERS, DISPOSE OF THE SMELL AND SHOW US THE LIGHT! 

A sparkling clean house should always be on your top priority list. Remove all unnecessary clutter in your house (keep the ones that are good for the frontage!) two to three weeks before showing the house to prospective buyers.

Dispose of any items that give off a smell that will make your potential clients leave the house immediately. Open the windows and make use of an air freshener if needed.

It’s a must that the house gets enough light. A house that’s well-lit is a safe house. According to Elledecor,  “the right lighting can make or break a room.” Work on placing easy to access light switch, getting a dimmer to add a special feeling, a light that’s inviting, transcends and illuminates the house. Avoid plain white lights or you will make them feel like they’re in an emergency room.

 

3.   STYLE UP YOUR LIVING ROOM, BEDROOM, KITCHEN and BATHROOM

Always choose the best carpet for these areas, the perfect wall decor, and furniture. Try asking a friend who’s good in designing, or an idea from a cheap interior designer will do!

Furniture placement is a fundamental need for a successful facade. The living room welcomes clients and makes sure that they scan the entire house. Be sure to style up your living room, choose warm, sophisticated colors that will make them feel welcome and place the furniture accordingly. Remove the unnecessary ones; be a smart minimalist.

 

Investing in your kitchen is a top priority. Buying one single metal equipment will make them think that everything in your kitchen is expensive. You can choose cheaper options but make sure that it has quality. Regardless, if you have a modern or an old-fashioned styled kitchen, updating to the newest cabinet hardware is a sure win.

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Leaving a few new kitchen accessories is a good idea too! Choose a neutral color and set up a design that will give them the opportunity to create an idea on how they want it to look like.

The bedroom is one of the most favorite areas in the house. Replace big cabinets with smaller ones to make it look spacious and safe. Re-arrange the furniture, and choose an enticing bedding. Open your closet (leave a few stuff like shoes, clothes, and bags) to show the capacity. Choose a neutral-color for the wall decor and a well-designed lamp shade to promote relaxation and sleep.

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Whether you have an old-fashioned or a modern bathroom, it has to be clean and have everything necessary inside it. Remove any foul odor and keep it well-ventilated by opening a small window. Everything that you will use for the presentation should be white clean and spotless. 

4.   STYLE UP YOUR OUTDOORS AND THINK ACCORDING TO SEASON 

Create an outdoor area that will entice people to stay. Try adding furniture like chairs and a small table that’s eye-catching or other knick knacks like flower vases. Choose the best rugs and carpets that suit everyone.

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And think according to the season: hype up your designs by creating a style that fits summer, autumn, winter, and spring.

 5. PRICE IT RIGHT AND GET THE RIGHT AGENT

Pricing it right is one of the best decisions you need to make when selling your house. Cutting off two to five percent versus the original price is one thing you can consider if time is an issue. You will get a lot of potential clients and get to sell your house in no time! Hiring the best agent is something you need as well.  Make sure to check their background, credibility, reputation, and knowledge.  Also, make sure that you hire an Agent that’s very skilled and updated with the latest technology and has a social media account. You can check us out here.

These are just some of the things you can consider in selling your house in no time. Just remember to be smart and have fun. Good luck and be sure to contact us if you need more help!

8 Quick Tips For Millennial Homebuyers

Hello, Millennials! This is Kacey and Gerald Peace and we want to help you buy your dream home. We know that members of the Millennial generation, those in the 18-34 age range, have been slow to enter the home buying market confirms the National Association of Realtors. There are student loan debts, high unemployment rates, tight credit and a different view on home ownership to think about. Most millennials prefer renting to buying a house but slowly, there are those who are becoming more inclined to buy their dream home. What are some important things to consider for millennial homebuyers? Read on to find out!

 

1. Credit score is key

Real estate is expensive and investing is not something that is done haphazardly. One of the biggest steps in buying a home is getting a good credit score from a lender. Redfin says that fortunately when it comes to hard money loans, your credit score isn’t as important as it may be if you were applying for a traditional loan. Hard money lenders are those that look at the property value before giving a loan. For traditional loans, having debts paid off will earn a solid credit score that you can use to secure investment money.

2. Research, research, research!

Research the property you are targeting to buy. Research your price range and check out online what properties fall into your budget before going out to see them in person. Research the neighborhood and the real estate market in the city you’re interested in to see if the price of the house you want is a good price or if you’re being stiffed. Research public transportation, shops, schools, crime rate, fault lines, and other important factors.

3. Find out all the costs involved

Forbes states that you don’t just consider a home’s price—owning real estate means factoring in insurance, closing costs, homeowner’s fees, home maintenance, utility payments and other numbers that can quickly add up. Getting your dream home means getting to know the hidden fees that may wreak havoc on your budget. You should have a realistic idea of what you can afford and look not just at the price of the house but the whole package. Ask lots of questions and learn as much as you can about the house you want before making any decisions.

4. Choose a big downpayment.

The minimum amount you’ll want to consider putting down is 20% in order to avoid paying private mortgage insurance cautions Forbes. Remember that the bigger the down payment made, the less of a risk you are to lenders. This may lead to a bigger loan and you’ll be able to afford a wider range of houses. Plus, a bigger down payment means there will be less to pay off down the road.

5. Save, save, save!

Having proof of savings will not only impress a lender but will help in adding to your house-buying budget. Successful investors start saving a certain amount from each paycheck that stays tucked away until their first purchase shares Redfin. Be sure to invest for the future, since buying a house is a big chunk of your savings gone, make sure to keep some emergency and daily expenses funds. Another wise move would be to buy smart, buy only what you need and not what is the hype.

6. Get a great realtor

Start networking and consult an expert or experts. It is so, so important to work as a team with a skilled local lender and a well-connected, experienced Realtor reminds HomeCity. Get online and see who are the top realtors in the area you’re interested in and contact a few of them. Meet with them and discuss what you’re looking for and pick the one who has the same point of view as you do. It is better to have the help of someone who knows the ins and outs of the real estate market when you’re buying your first home.

7. Follow your heart AND mind

This will be YOUR home. The place you will spend most of your days in. Don’t doubt yourself when choosing from a list of houses that your realtor will give. They will all surely fit your budget and lifestyle since you discussed those details, what you need to decide for yourself is what house will be your HOME.

8. Choose wisely

I know we said to follow your heart and mind but it’s too easy to base your decisions on your heart instead of your head, especially when it comes to real estate. A perfect looking house from the outside may need tons of repair on the inside. Get an inspector to help decide how much you will need to spend on the maintenance and repairs. ask your realtor’s advice on the best one for you, most likely these answers will be helpful in making that leap from renter to owner.

 

Inman says that according to Forbes Magazine, Millennials currently account for about a third of all recent new home purchases; their impact on the market is only expected to skyrocket in the next decade, reaching a tipping point in 2018. I hope future millennial homebuyer will see these tips as helpful. If you have any questions that we didn’t cover in this post, feel free to leave a comment below or to contact Gerald or Kacey. Here’s to buying your dream home!

 

How To Make Home Buying Effortless: 3 Tips For The Smart Home Buyer

We at Team Peace both work in the real estate industry and we wanted to share some tips with all the people out there who are thinking of taking the plunge and buying a house. Buying a house can sometimes be a daunting task and some buyers just go with the fist house they see because it fits the budget even though they don’t fall in love with it, OR they see a house they love and is out of their price range so they just continue to rent instead. We want you guys to be able to check out houses that are in your price range AND that you really want to live in. Here are 3 important tips from us:

 

Be organized.

Research, research, research! Buying a home can be an overwhelming process and emotionally draining according to The Balance, they say that buyers should schedule a maximum of 7 homes at a time because any more than that will make a buyer’s head spin. Then get all of your important documents in order and ready to go for when the underwriter asks for them.  Make sure you can easily access your pay statements, tax records, and anything else the lender might want to know about.  Also, clear up any debt problems you know you have.  This will save you a huge amount of time and start looking at Realtor.com or Zillow.com to find out what people are asking for the house you’d like to live in.

 

Credit-score.

Before you start shopping, it’s important to get an idea of how much a lender will actually be willing to give you to purchase your first home reminds Investopedia. Talk to a Lender and get Pre-Qualified well before you are actually ready to buy. A credit score says CNN Money, is a number calculated from a formula created by Fair Isaac based on the information in your credit report; you have three different credit scores, one for each of your credit reports.  The lender will happily help you work on your credit and cite the things you need to do to get yourself in a position to buy with a decent credit score.  They will also know the actions you need to take that will have the greatest effect on your credit score in the smallest amount of time.  I’ve seen credit scores jump by 40+ points in a matter of two months!  It really depends on your situation, and the lender is going to be able to help you with that.  If you didn’t qualify for the houses you were eyeing from Step 1; then see if there are any houses within your price range that the lender gave you.  If you can’t find a good lender then skip to Step 3.

FREE TOOL: To get a sense of where your credit stands, go to myBankrate to collect your credit report and score today, free and with no obligation.

 

Find a Realtor.

If you can’t find a lender on your own, then a realtor is likely to have a list of lenders that they prefer to work with that can ensure the deal will close.  Select an agent carefully and prepare questions in advance of a meeting warns Macquarie. They further advise to find out what kind of experience the agent has, how many buyers they are representing and if they can share any references.  It’s not all about the connections though.  Make sure you find a realtor that makes time for you and doesn’t enforce a policy of ‘I show you three houses, pick one.’  You are the customer and they should be happy to help you, not the other way around.  Your Realtor will also be able to help you in finding what types of houses you can afford at a certain price point within your area.  This is why the second step is so critical.  If you don’t like anything in your price point, then go back to step two and improve your credit score even more so you can afford a better loan with a better rate; after that, come back to step three.

 

Don’t forget Team Peace!

Remember, buying a house is a very emotional process. Fox Business shares that a good way to cope with the stress of home-buying is to make a checklist of your must-haves, nice-to-haves and other essentials and every time you visit a house, take the checklist along with you; take photographs so you can cross each item off your list. If you fall in love with the house and your checklist shows that the house has none of your must-haves, that will give you cause to check out another house. We at Team Peace are ready and willing to help you find the house of your dreams, you can reach us here or at out Century 21 pages. Click here for Kacey and here for Gerald.

4 Ways Loan Pre-Approval Can Improve Your House Hunt

Going out and finding a home is a very exciting thing to do. When you’re ready to find that dream home, you won’t want something as mundane as a not being qualified to purchase the home to get in the way, right? When we refer to pre-approval, we’re talking about getting the bank/credit union to agree to lend you money (up to a specified amount) before purchasing a car or a house says Financial Buzz.

A pre-approval, according to Regions, means a loan application must be completed which is required in order to be pre-qualified. The mortgage lender will review the following information: income, debt, assets, confirmed monies available for down payment and closing costs. A credit report will be run and the borrower may request a pre-approval letter which is subject to additional documentation and property approval. The best part is that this is for free.A bank doesn’t make money on money that isn’t loaned out.  So it is in the banks best interest to maker sure you are a worthy investment.

The bottom line is that a lender will let the buyer know what they can ultimately afford which will save both the Realtor and the buyer their most important commodity, time. So what are the big reasons to get pre-approved before house hunting?

  1. Get the best deal

    – If you meet up with the realtor and you already have a pre-approved loan, their line of questioning usually shifts to “what did the bank offer you?” If they can, the realtor will try to match or even beat the interest rate you’ve already been approved for so they can keep the financing in-house or go with one of their institutions and get a slice of the action.

  2. Streamlined Hunting

    – If you don’t know what you can afford, you may be looking out of your price range and wasting your time. You may also be looking below what you would have qualified for and not getting the right home for you cautions Realtor.com. By getting pre-approves, you can streamline your search by price-sorting and find your dream home faster.

  3. Attract Home-Sellers

    – Having been pre-approved makes you more attractive to home sellers because this lets them know you have the capacity to purchase what they are offering. In fact, many realtors and sellers will refuse to sell to buyers who make an offer on a home without pre-approval warns Cornerstone Mortgage.

  4. Stress-free House Hunting

    – Most likely, if you’re not pre-approved, you’ll spend a longer time looking for houses and talking to realtors and homeowners. Getting your dream house may take more time and effort and your bid may even be turned down! Once you’re pre-approved to be a qualified buyer then you’ll be able to make offers on houses more confidently and without worrying about rejection.

Some important things to remember: If a buyer is not ready to buy due to credit worthiness, a lender will definitely work with a buyer on improving their credit score without having to deal with credit improvement agencies. They can give quick pointers on how to raise one’s credit score by more than 40+ points within a very small amount of time.  You just have to take the time to go out and meet with them. There! Since it’s very easy to file for pre-approval to purchase that house you’ve been eyeing for the past few months, why don’t you start today?

After getting your loan pre-approved, call us, Kacey and Gerald, to help you find the house you’ve always wanted!

 

Top Sales Agent: Kacey Peace!

Hi everyone, this is Gerald. I want to congratulate my amazing wife, Kacey Peace, for being one of the top 10 sales agents (out of over 150 agents) for Century 21 Northside in San Antonio this month. She bagged the 3rd spot and we are super proud of her.

Century 21 Northside is widely known in the real estate market. They believe that real estate agents need 4 things to make them successful: Training, Marketing, Support and Leads. Every agent is given the necessary help he or she needs to build a thriving business. It is so amazing to know that Kacey is one of the best realtors from Century 21 Northside.

Here are some reviews from Kacey’s satisfied clients:

Megan Haigood Spring Bra  
May 2017

Kacey Peace is a pleasure to work with as she is friendly, easy to talk to, and knowledgeable. She made the selling process easy and sold our property for much more than we had hoped for.

I would recommend Kacey Peace.

 

Elizabeth Clarady  
April 2017

We enjoyed working with Kacey very much. She was very helpful in helping us find just what we were looking for. She took the time to really get a feel for what we were looking for. She was always very quick to respond to our calls and emails. If she didn’t know the answer to our questions she was always able to find the answer and get back to us quickly. She was very professional and Stayed with us through the whole process. We would definitely use Kacey’s services on the future and would recommend her to others.

 

Alisha Salisbury Cibolo 
October 2016

Meet Kacey at an event in our community. She went above and beyond helping us with the purchase of our home. Even with all the stress with our lender she was patient and helpful in communicating with the sellers agent, lender and us. Was such a pleasure being able to work with someone who put in so much effort to help our dream of home ownership a reality. Highly recommending her to everyone I know look to buy.