As you compare different features when looking for the perfect property, you have a lot to consider: Is energy efficiency on your list?
From price and location to square footage and architectural style, your new home's features will affect your everyday life, so it's important to make the right decision for you. Some factors will affect your comfort, others will affect your home's function, and others will affect your budget. However, one plays a big role in all three: your home's energy efficiency.
Here are some of the most valuable reasons to prioritize homes with energy-efficient features.
As you weigh different priorities and consider homes with different types of appliances, windows, and more, it's important to make sure energy efficiency is always on your mind.
Buying your first home is a big milestone in your life, but if you aren't careful, the process can cause some serious headaches. Here's what newbies wish they knew before purchasing a house.
Know what to do before you buy.
Life is filled with amazing journeys, and buying your first home should be one of its best. No matter what your budget, age, or your motivation for buying, there are a few simple steps that every first-time buyer should follow. These steps will go a long way and help you approach your home-buying journey with confidence.
Know exactly how much money you'll need to spend.
That might sound obvious, but it's actually a complex question because you need to know your budget backward and forwards before buying a house and taking on mortgage payments.
Don't leave it to your lender to decide how much house you can afford. They may approve you for a much larger dollar amount than you actually want to spend. Don't forget to take into consideration additional money above and beyond the purchase price of your home for things like a down payment, closing costs, furnishings, and repairs.
Track your expenses for a few months.
Before you start making offers on homes, make sure you've spent a few months tracking your expenses and gathering information about your debts, spending patterns, assets, and income.
How much do you make after taxes, and how much is left over? Make sure you can answer specific questions such as how much are your monthly expenditures for things like groceries, car payments, student loans, and other debts. It's better to overestimate than underestimate, but if you link your accounts to a budget tracking app, you'll have more exact figures. As a general rule, buyers shouldn't spend more than 30 percent of their monthly income on housing costs, but those costs include insurance, taxes, interest, utilities, and other expenses after your mortgage.
Consider listings that leave room for competitive offers.
After you've figured out the highest price you can afford, lower it a little and then start looking. You may be tempted to look at properties at the tip-top of your price range, but other potential buyers may have more flexible budgets.
Even if you're not searching in a red-hot housing market, there will probably be other buyers interested in every property you consider, so try to leave room for competitive offers. But just remember: even if most houses in the area are selling over the listing price, you don't necessarily have to pay more to stay competitive. You can add escalation clauses to the contracts you submit, which means the price only gets raised if other people have higher offers too.
Congratulations on the start of this life-changing adventure. Surround yourself with experienced, trustworthy experts, and you'll be buying a house and making your move in no time.
Finding a home — especially your first home — can be a wonderful experience. You feel excited, energized, and a little confused too. Maybe it's the neighborhood, the potential in the home, or the fact that the home is move-in ready that appeals to you. With so many different variables, you want to make sure you're choosing the right house that fits your needs.
Whatever the reason for your interest in a particular home, you may still have some doubts. Use these tips to help you determine if you've found your dream home.
Searching for "The One"
Before you can determine if a house is "the one," you have to know what "the one" looks like. Think of it like any relationship: there are ideals and deal-breakers. Start with a list — things you have to have, things you want to have, and things you don't want at all.
For some people, the list focuses on location rather than features. This means they want to be near work, good schools, or within walking distance of town. Others want the chef's kitchen or a big backyard for the kids and pets to run around in. The list will help you decide what the most important items are and what you're willing to compromise on a bit. You'll also want to decide if you're willing to fix things up or if your "one" should be complete, with only basic maintenance on the horizon.
Signs You've Found the Perfect House for You
There is a lot of anticipation in buying a house, but there can be a slight hesitation as well. The pause often comes from wanting to be sure the house you're looking at buying is the right one for you. Luckily, there are a few signs that let you know when something is right:
Buying a House
Once the signs say you've found "the one," it's time to leap into action. You don't want to wait too long to buy a house that works for you. Gather your agent, and your resources, and make an offer.
Buying a fixer-upper offers you an amazing investment opportunity and provides an endless assortment of projects for those who like to work with their hands.
No matter if you plan to flip the property quickly or live there for some time, you shouldn't cross a fixer-upper off your list when buying a house. Still, we all know that buying a house can be a complex challenge and fixer-uppers add a bit more for you to think about.
So... What do you really need to know when buying a fixer-upper?
Get off to a running start with these five tips:
Buying a house can be the greatest step you ever take for your peace of mind, financial security, and yes — your enjoyment. The choice to make that house a fixer-upper can be considered a bold one. Still, for some people, there's simply nothing better.
Use our tips, and you'll find it's easier than you ever imagined to make the right decisions for buying a house. In just a matter of months, your very own fixer-upper could become the home of your dreams. If you go in with a clear view and realistic expectations, you can't lose!
Buying a house exposes you to a large number of variables, including industry-specific jargon and abbreviations. HOA is one of these terms. It refers to a Homeowners Association.
What is a Homeowners Association?
An HOA is a regulatory group set up to manage shared property. This group collects regular dues and is then responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of community property. Common examples of this property may be a shared rooftop garden at a condo or a playground and picnic area at a townhome complex.
The more amenities an area offers, the more things there are that will need to be managed, and subsequently, the higher the HOA dues might be. HOAs are also responsible for establishing the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) of an area. Essentially, HOAs make the rules for the homeowners living in this group. These rules can reach beyond city laws and establish guidelines for pet ownership, property appearance, and even noise disturbance. Copies of these rules should be available to anyone buying a house in the HOA area.
So should you shop for HOA-qualified homes? It's a balance of choices between amenities and individual choices. For some this is an excellent answer.
Watch for these red flags that could be signaling "Buyer Beware" during your house hunt.
Remember, your job when you're buying a house is to do your due diligence to ensure you know exactly what you're getting. Watch for these red flags, and you can protect yourself from making a poor purchase decision.
Buying a house is a big financial decision, and the right home warranty can help you protect some of the most important contents of your new home. A home warranty helps cover repairs to key systems and provides peace of mind once you move into your new home. But how do you choose the right home warranty, and what benefits can you expect? Ahead, we'll cover the critical details of choosing the right home warranty when buying a house.
One of the most common questions about home warranties is, "doesn't my homeowner's insurance cover this stuff?" The truth is that your home warranty and your home insurance serve two different purposes, with homeowners insurance covering major perils like fire, wind damage, and flooding. However, if your furnace, central air-conditioning, or appliances break down on their own, those items won't be covered by homeowner's insurance.
That's where a home warranty comes in because home warranties cover key home systems and appliances. Since repairs to appliances and HVAC systems can be quite expensive, many homeowners prefer the security of a home warranty. Choosing the right home warranty starts with understanding your goals, and how to accomplish them.
While a home warranty isn't a necessity, it can be a very nice perk when you need peace of mind or when you're working to get your budget back in order after the big financial move of buying a house. If you have questions about whether a home warranty is the right fit for you, your real estate agent is a great person to speak with to learn more. Remember that just as with home insurance, it pays to shop around before making your home warranty choice.
Moving into a new home is never an easy thing — especially for the youngest members of your family. While parents are making big decisions about buying a house, it is critical for kids to feel included in the part process too. Here are a few simple steps to ease into the transition and help make every member of your family feel more comfortable — and even excited — about your upcoming adventure.
A Family Affair: Keeping Your Kids Involved in Your Move
For children, fear of the unknown is one of the biggest factors in stress related to moving. They will be in a new place, surrounded by new people and away from the security of their current social group. The keys to dealing with that fear are keeping the kids involved in the move and helping them get familiar with their new hometown before you actually make the move.
Perhaps more than anything else, the most important thing is simply to listen to the needs of your children when planning a move. Ask for their feedback, make them feel involved, and look for ways to get them excited about buying a house. It's not an exact science, but it's more than worth the effort — kind of like the rest of parenthood.
Buying a home — especially your first home — is a BIG commitment. It is a commitment that demands time, finances, and lots of hard work. Homeownership can be a smart move with the proper research and planning. Use these home-buying tips to take control of the home-buying process and get you on your way to owning a piece of the American dream.
Take Stock of Your Lifestyle and Future Goals
When you decide to buy a house for the first time, you should plan on living there for a minimum of ten years. That's the average length of time people stay in their starter home before upgrading to something different. Before making a commitment take a hard look at your finances and be realistic about how much you can afford to spend on both the down payment and closing costs. This is also the time to consider whether you intend to expand your family in the next decade, engage in special interests and how far you want to commute.
The better you understand your current and near-future needs, the greater the odds become that you'll purchase a house that fits your budgetary requirements and is in the perfect neighborhood for you.
It's Best to Spend a Little More and Get the Ideal House
One of the biggest mistakes first-time homeowners make when they buy a house is getting something basic with the idea that they'll improve it over time. After a few years pass, most people find that they never seem to find enough time or money to handle the little DIY improvements or to upgrade appliances. If you're stuck between two houses, go with the one that may cost a little more but that's already set up and furnished with appliances you love.
Unless you have the time and money needed to handle repairs right away, you should also stay away from foreclosures. Banks sell foreclosed homes as is, and most buyers find that the amount of work the building needs is often substantial.
Research the Neighborhood
The house you buy is important, but so is the neighborhood. When buying a house, take some time to ensure that the neighborhood fits your lifestyle. Things to consider include:
The most important thing to remember when you're buying a house is to not rush the process. Take your time, and don't settle for something that you don't love.
Moving doesn't have to be a stressful experience.
You're moving! Let's face it; whether you're moving across the street or across the country, it can be one of life's more stressful events. Before you surround yourself with cardboard boxes and packing tape, use these tips to find and hire a reliable moving company in your area.
You Are Ready to Move
You have checked potential companies thoroughly and should feel good about your choice. You have done your homework. Now choose the best one. A smooth transition awaits.
Buying a house is a big step in your life, whether it's your first home or the perfect place to retire. You've probably given a lot of thought to the amenities your new home should have, but you may not have put as much thought into finding the neighborhood that best fits your needs and budget. Here are some tips on finding the right neighborhood for you.
With these tips and help from your real estate agent, you'll be able to find a neighborhood that fits all your needs.
Every buyer-to-be knows searching for a home can be a challenge. However, your house hunt doesn't have to mean chaos if you start with an organized plan. Streamlining your search starts with a healthy dose of preparation by including a great real estate agent, setting a budget, creating a wish list, and reviewing real estate listings that meet your requirements.
These six tips can keep you organized and focused as you search for your new home.
Creating a plan before you start your search for a home gives you the chance to enjoy the process and to make an efficient, informed decision when it's time to place an offer on your new house.
Open houses serve many purposes, but one of the main functions is to answer a buyer's questions. Listing agents or sales associates are usually on hand to give insights about the home. Before attending your next open house, it's helpful to know what questions you want to ask before you go.
A Room-by-Room Guide of Questions:
Work with a Real Estate Agent that Knows What to Ask
It's easy to forget to ask a question while visiting an open house. A good real estate knows to ask about everything from the cost of utilities to why a seller has listed their home for sale. One of the best steps you can take when buying a house is to work with an experienced real estate agent who knows what to ask.
The more information you have up front, the fewer surprises you'll have down the road. If you have questions regarding a home for sale, have your list ready before your next open house.
If buying a house is on your bucket list, there's no time like the present to "get into training" for your house hunt. Here are seven steps to follow so you can hit the ground running this year:
With these tips, you'll be in perfect shape to buy your new dream home.
Whether you're moving across town or across the country, it's tough to feel like the new kid on the block — regardless of your age. Here are five great ways to make friends with your new neighbors and make the move into your new community.
When you buy a house, there's plenty to be excited about during the packing and moving processes. Once you're settled in, roll out the welcome wagon and meet your new neighbors. Your new house and neighborhood will soon be feeling just like "home sweet home."
Ranch, two-story, or condo? City or suburbs? Carpet, hardwood, or tile? However, the biggest question you might face as a first-time homebuyer is: "Starter or Forever Home?" While each person's vision of what a starter home or forever home looks like, here is a basic definition of each:
There are three factors to think about before making your decision: budget, local housing inventory, and long-term goals.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you make your final decision:
If you do the math and determine you can afford your forever home, you might just consider taking that plunge. The real estate market is cyclical, and you may not be able to find your dream home if you don't do it now. When you're buying a home, determine how much you can afford and your plans for the near future.
A Veteran's Administration loan is one of the most generous benefits offered to America's military veterans. In fact, many veterans find the VA loan a better proposition than conventional real-estate loans and even other government-funded mortgages.
Perhaps the major advantage of a VA loan is that there's no need for a down payment. Generally, conventional loans call for a down payment and may cover only 80 to 85 percent of a home's value.
A VA loan can allow veterans to buy homes when they don't otherwise qualify for a conventional loan. Backed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, these loans let homebuyers get lower rates and qualify for a more expensive home than they would otherwise. Further, veterans can qualify with lower credit scores, and will not have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).
An additional bonus for veterans who receive monthly disability benefits is that they don't need to pay the VA funding fee, which can be from 0.5 to 3.3 percent of the overall loan.
Here's a look at who can qualify for a VA loan, and how to go about it.
Eligibility for a VA Loan
Who is eligible for a VA loan? A Certificate of Eligibility, or COE, will be given to veterans or family members who meet one of these requirements:
Requirements for Getting a VA Loan
As mentioned above, veterans with lower credit scores can qualify for a VA loan. Nevertheless, there are some requirements for getting a VA loan, such as these:
Find a Real Estate Agent Who Knows VA Loans
Homebuyers seeking a VA loan should see real estate agents who are familiar with the VA loan process. This is particularly important when it comes to the fees involved with VA loans. The VA funding fee is a one-time payment. It is owed by the veteran on a VA direct home loan or a VA-backed loan. This fee helps lower the cost of the loan for U.S. taxpayers since the veteran doesn't have to pay down payments or monthly mortgage insurance. In most cases, veterans with disabilities are exempt from this fee.
What's more, an agent with VA loan experience won't waste your time with purchases that you can't buy with your loan. They can also have an advantage when it comes to negotiating with the seller's agent. They may be in a position to explain a veteran's story and appeal to the heart of a seller weighing several offers.
You of course can also look at other loans, either through the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which includes the mortgage-loan lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. There may also be some government-funded loans to pursue through agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Federal Housing Administration.
Good luck on your road to homeownership. If you're a veteran and are ready to pursue a VA loan, consult your VA Benefits Advisor today.
Many people can close their eyes and tell you what their dream home looks like. For some, it's a palatial estate, and for others, it's a three-bedroom Cape Cod with a white picket fence. Depending upon a person's finances and stage in life, their definition of their dream home can change. To help you define the home of your dreams, here are seven easy steps to set you on your journey.
Talking to your real estate agent is one of the best first steps in securing your dream home. They'll help you find options that fit into your budget and have all the features you want.
After buying a house, it's time to relax (for a second), take a deep breath, and plan your next move. Getting your new house ready for your arrival will take some work, but this is the sort of work you've been looking forward to from the moment you decide to purchase a home. We'll cover the details ahead, with ten important tasks for preparing to move in after buying a house.
There's plenty of work to be done after buying a house, but we have a feeling that you're going to enjoy every minute of it. Follow our ten tips for moving into your new home, and you'll already be off to a great start.
Buying a home — whether it's your first home or fiftieth — can make you want to scream. Two-story or ranch... open houses... budgets. So much to do and so many choices. What's a home buyer to do?
You're more than likely making the biggest financial decision of your life. It's natural to feel stressed and overwhelmed until everything falls into place. The good news is that there is plenty you can do to alleviate the stress and keep your focus on the main goal — buying your dream home.
Here are six steps to ease home buying stress:
Buying your first home can be a wonderful journey with the right plan. Following these steps can help you feel calm and confident when closing day comes.
When you are buying a home, your credit score is an important part of the overall process. Most home buyers will need a mortgage loan to complete their purchase. If your credit score has taken a few hits, it may be hard to get a loan with the terms you want. Here are five tips on how to boost your credit score as you begin your house hunt.
Learning how to improve your credit score is a valuable tool as you start your search for a new home.
It's a hot seller's market, as anyone trying to buy a home these days must know. Many would-be homeowners are getting frustrated, making offers on homes and then losing out when someone else snatches them up. In the real estate world, this has become the new normal, but it's no less upsetting for disappointed home buyers, who expend time and energy trying to find just the right home.
You may think a clever way to snag your dream home would be to make multiple offers on different houses. However, this option may not be allowed where you're shopping, and even if it was, you want to avoid this practice, as it's generally considered unethical. We'll explain why as well as give some tried-and-true methods for how you can increase your chances of securing that home you've been eyeing.
Why Making Multiple Offers on Homes Is Not Cool
At first, it seems to make sense. After all, if you don't make offers on two or three homes, you tell yourself, you may not ever be able to get an offer accepted.
But think about it. With each offer, you're likely going to have to put down an escrow deposit. Typically, an escrow deposit will be between 1 and 3 percent of the cost of the house. And, as you probably know, these days you should put down as much as possible, or you risk your offer being rejected. Let's say you're looking at a house priced at $275,000. At 3 percent, the deposit would be $8250.
But picture having to put down an offer on three houses simultaneously. Say the houses are all priced close to $275K. You could end up having to come up with escrow deposits of $24,750. Ouch! Then, in a worst-case scenario, all three sellers accept your offer. What do you do?
You will lose the escrow deposit on two of the houses. Further, you can take credit for causing two sellers hardship they didn't need. Since you presented yourself as someone with a serious offer, they likely thought you wanted their houses. What if they were under a lot of stress to sell a house — say, because of an impending move?
What's more, you and your significant other no doubt will be thinking about what you could do with that lost money: save for college, buy furniture, make some renovations, or take a vacation.
Avoiding Multi-Offer Pain
One way to avoid this multi-offer jam-up is to put down a serious offer on your no. 1 preferred home. Ask your agent to communicate that you need an answer that day and that if you don't hear back, you will have to put an offer on another home tomorrow. That way, the seller can't waste your time because they're delaying a response while waiting for a better offer than yours. So you won't lose a chance at your second choice of a home because you delayed too long making an offer.
If you need more advice about making offers for the home you have your sights on, don't hesitate to reach out to your real estate agent. They have the expertise you need to make the process go as smoothly as possible.
Closing on a home is an exciting time. It's the end of one long journey and the start of a new adventure.
It's not fun to think about, but a transaction can run into trouble until the very moment closing is done. There are important steps you can take before closing to keep unusual, but serious, complications from developing at the last minute. Your real estate agent is sure to help you stay on track, but you'll be even more prepared with a little research — exactly what you're doing right now.
Here are the key steps to take care of before closing:
A successful closing is a relief to everyone — the buyer, the seller, and everybody who helped them along the way. Follow these tips, and you'll be doing your part to make sure that it all goes through smoothly.
The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is one of the most powerful resources at the disposal of your real estate agent. No matter whether you want to buy or sell a home, it's essential to your success. But exactly what is it, and why is it so important?
The MLS is a huge database of home listings. Although the implementation is modern, the concept has been around since all the way back in 1907. Back then, real estate agents would gather in large offices and discuss properties on the market to connect with the right buyer or seller through their network.
These days, the MLS is conducted entirely online. It takes the form of 580 different regional databases all working together. Every regional MLS has its own listings, and agents pay dues to access them. So, getting the most reach on a home for sale means having an agent with plenty of MLS access.
Partner with a Real Estate Agent to Enjoy the Benefits of MLS
The MLS is the key to getting the best results on the market!
Sellers can't post a home on the MLS directly, because only dues-paying real estate agents can open a listing on the system. Sellers who don't realize this – and go the "for sale by owner" route — are at a major disadvantage when it comes to attracting a qualified buyer for their home.
As a buyer, the power of the MLS is at your fingertips. Your real estate agent will let you know all about the local MLS so you can review the newest listings. Of course, you don't have to do it all on your own.
One way a real estate agent helps is by curating those listings.
For example, many real estate agents will send you a weekly email round-up of all the different homes that may meet your needs. When you click through to the listing, you may be visiting your agent's site directly, but you can rest assured all the facts about the home come right from the MLS.
Since the MLS is used everywhere, it's an extra layer of verification that listings are factual.
Getting the Most from the MLS by Working with Your Agent
Let's consider some of the ways the MLS can help make your buying journey easier:
The MLS is one of the most valuable tools in the world of real estate. While you always have the power to browse listings in your area, it's a wise idea to reach out to a real estate agent as soon as you can. The right agent in your corner means smoother sailing to closing day and a home you'll love.
The follow-up to the Millennial generation, the eldest members of Gen Z are aged 25 today. Research shows most of this up-and-coming cohort see buying a home as a major goal — one they plan to achieve earlier than their parents and grandparents.
Although they're an exciting new generation, Gen Z is in some ways a blast from the past. They think of homeownership as an important way to build wealth, just as their grandparents did. On the other hand, many Millennials remain wary of buying, especially among the older set.
Both older Gen Z and younger Millennials made a strong showing in the seller's market of 2021. There are many would-be buyers aged 25-35 who haven't settled on a property just yet, but their dreams are within reach. They just need to take the right steps to get there!
So, how can you buy a home in your 20s or early 30s?
Start with these tips:
Buying a home might seem intimidating, but your real estate agent is in your corner from start to finish. Use these tips in conjunction with your agent's advice, and you will be on your road to homeownership.
While a down payment and closing costs are the two main expenses buyers face when purchasing a home, many often forget the costs associated with a home inspection.
As a buyer, a home inspection is almost always recommended in order to protect yourself from the potential unknown pitfalls associated with a particular property. Since a new home is one of the largest purchases you'll ever make, it's worth investing in a good home inspection to protect yourself down the road.
Home inspectors can vary by quality, experience, and price, so it can really pay off to do a little research on the front-end.
What Happens During A Home Inspection?
A home inspection is a non-invasive examination of all the various elements of a property. It covers pipes, water, plumbing, heating, and cooling. Home inspectors also look for structural or safety issues caused by water, insects, or hire. Home inspectors may also visually assess the condition of the roof from ground level. The whole process typically takes three to four hours, depending on the size of the home.
Why Do I Need A Home Inspection?
Buyers who add a home inspection contingency to their offer have the opportunity to back out or renegotiate the terms of the deal depending on the results of the home inspection. A home inspection is critical for protecting you from purchasing a home with material problems that weren't immediately apparent during your home tour.
If an issue is uncovered during the home inspection, you can request the buyer fix it prior to closing, or you can revisit the details of your offer.
How Much Does A Home Inspection Cost?
The cost of a home inspection varies depending on the contractor. The average price generally ranges from $250 to $500. On an average 2,000 square foot home, you can probably expect to pay around $400. If you're closing on a larger home, the price tag on a home inspection can reach $600 to $700. Generally, older homes or homes with unique features tend to raise the price tag as well.
Keep in mind a standard home inspection doesn't cover everything. Additional types of home inspections might be more invasive and include water, termites, radon, and even sewer pipes. These additional inspections carry additional costs as well.
While nobody wants to think about additional expenses when buying a house, it's important to factor in home inspection costs. If the inspection does uncover a serious issue, you'll be glad that you did. If there are no problems, you're essentially buying peace of mind.
Many people assume they'll buy a house after they get married, but it's really never too early to start building wealth through homeownership. While studies suggest millennials are renting more than any other generation, single home buying is actually on the rise. While married couples may have a slightly easier path to homeownership (joint income goes a long way), single home buying is certainly achievable. If you're single and looking to purchase your first home, here is how to approach it:
Assess Your Financials
Single buyers face a few additional challenges when it comes to funding and financing a home purchase. Since you're only relying on one income, it may be difficult to qualify. The only way to know for sure is to assess your financial situation carefully. How much do you have saved for a down payment and closing costs? How much of a monthly mortgage payment can you afford? You'll need to be very clear on your financial situation, so you gain a better understanding of your budget.
Don't Drain Your Savings
If you already have a significant amount saved for your down payment and closing costs, you might want to keep saving. Remember many lenders will want to see a few extra months worth of mortgage payments in your account in case of an emergency situation. You'll want to keep saving to fund home repairs or to be ready for unexpected costs.
Focus On Your Credit
Your credit score is going to have a huge impact on your ability to secure a mortgage as well as your interest rate. As a result, it's in your best interest to do everything you can to improve it. Make sure not to miss any bills or monthly payments and really focus on paying off your debt as soon as possible — especially credit cards. Credit card utilization and balances have a significant influence on your credit score.
A Co-Signer Is Always An Option
While you might not have the benefit of dual-incomes, that doesn't mean you have to go through the mortgage financing process alone. A co-signer is always an option, so if you have a close family member that is willing to help you out. Remember, a co-signer is putting their own credit on the line and is also responsible for paying off the debt, so you'll want to make sure you're aligned on payment plan.
Plan For The Future
While you may not need a ton of space now, you might in the future. Therefore, it's wise to try to weigh your current needs and future plans when deciding on a home. Do you see yourself getting married and having children? How long do you plan to live in this home? While no one can predict the future, having a plan can go a long way towards helping you find the right home.
One of the best parts about single homebuying is you can choose the exact home you want. While the process can come with some additional hurdles, careful planning will have you on the route to homeownership in no time.
There's nothing quite like the rewarding, exciting, sometimes stressful experience of buying a house, and all of those feelings are often amplified when you have children who also need to be considered throughout the process. Shopping for a home when you have children adds additional complexity and more considerations when choosing a home. Make your life easier by having a plan and including your children in the process of buying your next home.
Consider Both Present and Future When Choosing a Home
Whether you're thinking about the size, location, or layout, it's helpful to consider both present and future needs. Do you expect to add more members to the family? Do you have young children who currently share a room but will eventually need their own space? Will the neighborhood be just as appealing to your family in 5 or 10 years as it is now? Answering these questions can help you pick a home fits your family just as well in the future as it does in the present.
Research Neighborhoods and Local Attractions
Always remember that you're not just shopping for a home. Choosing the right neighborhood is a huge factor for any buyer, and it's especially important when you have kids. You want to be sure that a neighborhood is safe, has attractions that family members of all ages will enjoy, and has all of the services you need close to home.
Learn All You Can About Local Schools
The quality of local schools is also an important factor for so many parents in choosing the right neighborhood. Invest some time in researching local schools online to find a location with schools that offer everything you want for your children. The quality of local schools can influence the price of homes in the area, another reason why it's important to do your research.
Look for Safety Hazards When You Shop
Naturally, safety needs for a home are different when you have children. Things like open staircases, water features, close proximity to the street, yards without fences, and other factors can present safety hazards for the youngest residents of the home. Many of these things can be addressed with the child-proofing of hazards, but it's important to be aware of safety risks and have a plan for fixing them.
Keep Your Kids Involved in the House Hunting Process
Bringing your kids along during the house-hunting process, especially when you're scouting out neighborhoods, is an excellent way to help them overcome any fears of change and get them excited about their new neighborhood. Plan some fun family events between shopping stops, and make it an adventure for your kids.
Prepare Your Kids for the Transition to a New Home
Moving to a new location can be a scary experience for kids, especially if they will be far from their family members and current group of friends. That's why it's so important to talk to your kids about the move, answer their questions, and do the little things to make the transition easier. Make sure that they have their favorite toys, let them help you pack, and show them how they can use technology to communicate with the people they love.
There are two key things to remember about buying a home when you have children. Always keep the needs of your kids in mind when choosing a home, and involve them in the process to help ease the transition to living in a new place. Taking care of those two priorities will make life easier for every member of the family.
Your real estate agent should be your greatest advocate throughout the process of making one of the biggest purchases that most people make in a lifetime, so it's important to understand exactly how the relationship between buyer and real estate agent works. Knowing what to expect when working with an agent will help make the process as smooth as possible and make it easier to accomplish your real estate goals. Get started with our buyer's guide to working with an agent.
Throughout the process of working with an agent, always remember that they're there to help you. If you have questions about the purchasing process or the services that they provide, your agent should be a great source of answers. Clear communication will make life easier for you and your agent.
Every buyer goes into a real estate transaction hoping to win the negotiation, but not every negotiating tactic will have the desired effect. Understanding what won't work in a negotiation is just as important as understanding what will work, so let's take a closer look at a few negotiating tactics that you can leave behind when buying your next home.
In the end, it's wise to remember that every negotiation is a two-way street. Many of the tactics on our list are either confrontational or put the seller in a difficult position that leaves little room for negotiation. So often, it's easier to negotiate more favorable terms when you're respectful to the seller and aware of the realities of your real estate market.
Buying your first home is no easy task, and if you're shopping for the first time, you're likely to hear a lot of advice. While your friends and family may have good intentions, don't believe everything you hear. There are so many common home buying myths out there. In order to make the right decision, it's important to separate fact from fiction — especially when shopping in a hot seller's market.
To help you along the way, we've debunked some of the most common homebuying myths:
While it's always good to hear different perspectives on the real estate market, many of the myths floating around today have little to no merit. The best thing you can do is trust your real estate agent to guide you through the process.
A new home is one of the largest purchases you'll make in your life. While searching for a new home can be complex and time-consuming, it's important to remember that real estate agents, sellers, and contractors all have a role to play in the process. In order to keep things moving as smooth as possible, there are certain unwritten rules buyers need to know before setting out to purchase a home.
Here are some tips on home buyer etiquette to consider while shopping for a home in the new year:
Buyer etiquette is an important part of the home shopping process. By following these tips, you'll find the home of your dreams and make the experience as smooth as possible for all parties involved.
We get it, buying a home is complicated. No other purchase requires buyers to juggle so many moving parts at once. In fact, with the amount of energy and time required, buying a home can feel like a full-time job. It's no wonder it's so easy to forget about important items during the process.
However, forgetting details can actually make the entire experience harder for you. It's important to try to stay as organized as possible from the moment you start your shopping process through closing. To help, we compiled a quick list of items home buyers frequently forget to consider when purchasing a home:
Buying a home is a great way to grow your wealth and generate a return. However, it does require a significant amount of work upfront. Try to stay organized through the process and lean on your real estate agent for some extra help.
If you're embarking on a journey to purchase your very first home, you might want to pay attention to your credit score. Your credit profile has a major impact on your ability to secure financing and can also influence your interest rate. Therefore, it can be well worth the time and effort to try to boost your credit score in the weeks or months leading up to a home purchase.
Most lenders require a 620 minimum credit score to qualify for mortgage financing (some are even much higher). While your credit score is influenced by healthy credit habits over time, there are still things you can do in the short term to increase it. Here is some advice:
Healthy credit habits play an important role in the home buying process. Your lender will evaluate whether or not you have a history of using credit responsibly. Practicing good habits is the best way to be prepared when it's time to apply for a mortgage.
The real estate market can slow down a bit during the winter, which can actually work to a buyer's advantage. Because there are usually fewer shoppers, you're likely to face less competition during the colder weather months. This means you may have more negotiating leverage or could have an easier time landing your dream home. Despite this benefit, the winter real estate market can also introduce some unique challenges. Here are some common winter buying mistakes you'll want to avoid when shopping this winter:
The winter can be a great time to buy a shop, but buyers may face some unique challenges. Prepare yourself ahead of time and remember to be patient. You'll find the right home in no time.
Buying your first home is one of life's most exciting moments, but it can also come with a significant amount of stress and uncertainty. First-time buyers usually have quite a lot to learn in a short amount of time. Fortunately, doing some research ahead of time and working with an experienced real estate agent can put you in a good position to navigate these new waters. Here is a quick list of some common facts most first-time homebuyers wish they knew when they started their home search.
Many first-time buyers learn as they go, which is why it's so critical to find an experienced real estate agent to help you navigate unfamiliar territory. Your agent will help educate you on the market and has your best interest in mind.
Buying your first home can be a challenging process, but buying in a hot seller's market introduces another layer of complexity. If you're buying for the first time, you might not be able to afford to waive some important contingencies, which can put you at a competitive disadvantage when bidding for a home. As a result, it's common for first-time buyers to experience a rejected offer or two along the way.
A rejected offer doesn't mean all hope is lost — there are still things you can do and learn after a seller declines your bid:
Try To Learn The Reason
The best thing you can do is ask your real estate agent to connect with the listing agent to get more information on why your offer was rejected. Understanding the reason behind a rejected bid can be valuable when you go to make your next offer. Below are some common reasons why offers are rejected:
Determine If There Is An Opportunity To Negotiate
If the seller didn't respond to your offer by the expiration date, there could be an opportunity to negotiate. Ask your agent to reach out to the listing agent to determine the status of the listing. If the seller is simply slow to respond, you may still have a shot. If the seller is still considering other offers, you may have an opportunity to enhance your bid.
Don't Be Disheartened
It's easy to fall in love with a home, and creating an offer takes time and energy. It can be easy to feel let down when your offer is rejected. Don't be discouraged — it's far worse to overpay or settle for terms in the long run. Besides, there will be plenty of other homes that will come along.
It never feels great to have your offer rejected, but the best thing you can do is learn from the situation. Consider the reasons behind the rejected offer when crafting your next bid. While you might have to hit the market again, it won't be long before you find another opportunity.
Investment properties and vacation homes might seem like similar concepts — after all, they're both great ways to grow wealth and expand your real estate portfolio. But did you know these two terms have significantly different meanings? The distinction is actually pretty important when it comes to financing, and it really comes down to how you intend to use the property. If you've been thinking about purchasing an investment property, here is what you need to know:
What Is An Investment Property?
An investment property is a property that you purchase with the intent of generating income. In most cases, this means serving as a landlord and renting the property out to tenants. In other words, an investment property may be a business, while a "vacation home" or "second home" is another property away from your primary residence that you use for visiting or living in part-time.
While it's certainly possible to purchase a vacation home that you occasionally rent out, it's important to define the home's primary purpose when seeking financing. Trying to pass an investment property off as a vacation home for the purposes of achieving better mortgage rates can lead to severe legal consequences.
What To Look For In An Investment Property
While a second home or vacation home is often selected based on location and amenities, an investment property should be evaluated on the potential to generate a return. As a result, you'll want to consider features that can help you achieve higher rental income, such as size, parking, amenities, crime, and public transportation. Look into average rent for similar-sized properties within the same area to get a sense of how much you'll be able to charge. You'll need to have a solid business plan when applying for a mortgage on the investment property.
How To Finance An Investment Property
Financing an investment property is a bit more complicated than securing a mortgage on a primary residence or second home. For one, lenders typically require a higher down payment (at least 20%) for an investment property, and there isn't much flexibility here.
Also, because you're going to be making a profit on the property and because the transaction is much riskier, lenders won't hesitate to charge significantly higher fees and interest rates. Your lender also may require that the investment property be located within a certain distance of your primary home.
Tax Implications Of An Investment Property
Owners of primary residences and vacation homes can deduct mortgage interest from their taxes, and investment property owners can do the same. However, investment property owners have the added advantage of being able to deduct many other expenses associated with the property as they technically qualify as business expenses. However, your rental income will also need to be reported too.
Investing in real estate is a great tool for securing long-term financial stability. While financing is a bit more expensive than a vacation home, you also stand to make a larger profit if you're purely operating the property as a rental.
While asking price is usually the primary number buyers consider during the home shopping process, it's not the only cost-related figure you should consider. You'll notice most home listings also mention the cost per square foot. While this metric can be helpful, it's important to keep it in perspective.
When comparing two homes, the price per square foot and the total square feet will simply tell you which home offers more space at a cheaper price. However, this metric on its own isn't very useful. But when you're able to compare it against a larger sample size of nearby homes, you might be able to learn a bit more.
Calculating Averages and Medians
To determine the true value of a price per square foot figure, you need a good sample size to compare it to. The average price per square foot and the median price per square foot can be helpful when putting things into perspective.
The average and median cost per square foot can give you a good idea of how hot a local real estate market is within a particular neighborhood. You can easily find these metrics on most popular real estate websites.
One thing that makes calculating an average cost per square foot difficult is the lack of universal or standard laws that dictate how the figure is calculated. As a result, some homeowners may factor in unfinished basements or attics while others do not.
Why Price Per Square Foot Is Useful
Comparing the price per square foot on a listing to the average or median price per square foot within a specific area can give you additional insight into whether the home is appropriately priced relative to its size.
If the cost per square foot is above the local median, you could potentially use this as negotiating leverage. If the price per square foot is significantly lower than the median, the home might be a great deal.
Price Per Square Foot Isn't Everything
Price per square foot is just one of many factors to consider when evaluating a home. While it can tell you the price in relation to the size of the property, remember that not all homes are the same. Homes vary by features, amenities, features, and dozens of other factors that can drastically impact the sale price.
Price per square foot is an important consideration, but be sure to keep things in perspective. Your real estate agent can help you evaluate all factors of a particular property to determine if it's priced fairly and if there is any room for negotiation.
When touring a property, it's common to be naturally curious about who lives there. After all, no one has a better perspective on the property than its current residents. It might seem as if an informal discussion with the seller could uncover a wealth of information and benefit both sides.
The truth is buyers and sellers rarely meet, and this is actually intentional in most cases. Many listing agents fear that discussions between buyers and sellers could ultimately derail the deal. While a conversation with the seller might seem advantageous, you really don't need to have one, and it may ultimately cause more harm than good. Here are a few examples of what could go wrong:
Meeting with the sellers might sound tempting, but in many cases, the risks outweigh the upside. At the end of the day, you don't want to jeopardize the deal. Instead, rely on your real estate agent to get you the information you need.
House hunting in a hot market can lead to some occasional heartbreak for buyers who find their dream home just a few weeks too late. It's common to discover the perfect home online and then scroll down to see a "sale pending" status. However, all hope isn't necessarily lost. From time to time, home sales do occasionally fall apart during the closing process. If the listing is truly the home of your dreams, there are a few things you might want to do to prepare yourself if the opportunity arises.
What Does "Sale Pending" Mean?
The definition of "sale pending" can vary depending on the market; however, in a general sense, it means that an offer has been made, the seller has accepted, and the home is under contract.
Most homes that are "sale pending" do go on to close; however, there are reasons why the sale can fall apart during this stage of the process. If contingencies have not been met, there is a greater chance that the sale might not go through — as there may be issues uncovered during the home inspection, or the seller may not be able to find a new house. After all, contingencies have been satisfied; financing can still fall through.
What To Do If Your Dream Home Is Pending
If you're interested in a home that is listed as "sale pending," you need to be prepared to act in the event the sale does not go on to close. In order to be ready, here are a few things you can do:
Most real estate transactions don't fall apart during the closing process, but it does happen. Cold feet, financing issues, or home inspections are the most common reasons. In the event this happens, you need to be prepared. Buying a home that is "pending" is difficult but not impossible. If it's truly the home of your dreams, it might be worth your time to put in some extra effort in the event the sale falls through.
Buying a home and getting married are two of life's biggest milestones. But which should come first? Today, approximately 25% of couples between the ages of 18 and 34 choose to buy a home together before they tie the knot.
While there's certainly nothing wrong with this, there are a few things to consider before you can decide whether it's the right move for you.
Purchasing a home together can be an excellent way to start your future off right, and you don't necessarily need to get married first. Just make sure to be open and honest with each other as you discuss each of the items above. This is the best way to set yourselves up for a solid financial future and a lifetime of marital bliss.
Saving for a down payment, qualifying for a mortgage, and learning about real estate negotiations are all factors that can make buying your first home a challenge. First-time buyers must often strike a tricky balance between affordability and living requirements. While it can be challenging at times, it's certainly not impossible, especially if you do your research ahead of time.
If you're buying a home on a budget, below are some tips that can help you along the way:
Buying on a tight budget might create a couple of additional hurdles in the home shopping process, but they're nothing that you can't overcome with a little bit of planning and research.
After submitting an offer, a seller will work with their real estate agent to review the terms of your bid. If the seller decides to make a counteroffer, they've likely decided they aren't satisfied with your initial offer but are at least willing to negotiate.
If a seller makes you a counteroffer, it can be challenging to know what to do. However, real estate negotiations are very common, and your agent has the experience to conduct them on your behalf.
Common Reasons For A Counteroffer
There are many reasons why a seller may decide to counter your offer. They may think your offer price is too low or they may request a larger earnest deposit. However, a counteroffer isn't always about the sale price. The seller might want to negotiate contingencies, or they simply may want to move the closing date. The important thing to keep in mind is that a counteroffer doesn't mean the bid was rejected, it simply means you're going to have to reevaluate the terms.
What To Do Next
Your real estate agent will help break down the seller's new requests. Then, take the time to consider what the seller is asking for. If it's a price more than you're willing to pay, be prepared to walk away. If it's negotiating contingencies, consider what's going to work for you.
Keep in mind, you don't have to make a yes or no decision. It is possible and common to counter the seller's counteroffer. It's not uncommon for several rounds of negotiations to take place before the buyer and seller come to terms. Just be prepared to lose out on the deal if the seller isn't willing to negotiate further.
How To Respond To The Counteroffer
If you decide to accept the terms of the counteroffer, you can simply sign the form and return it to the seller. If you're planning to issue another counteroffer, your agent can pull together a new form.
Either way, you'll want to respond promptly as all counteroffers have an expiration date. In some areas, the seller may issue a counteroffer to multiple offers, in which case, the speed in which you respond can make a difference. It's always a good idea to respond to the counteroffer as quickly as possible.
It's also possible for the seller to receive a better offer while you're in the middle of negotiating. If this is the case, the seller may decide to move forward with the new offer and reject your bid. As a result, it's best to keep the negotiation moving as quickly as possible.
Real estate negotiations are very common, so receiving a counteroffer isn't a reason to lose hope. Work closely with your agent and try to determine if there is a way to make the deal work for both sides.
Looking for a way to make your offer stand out in a crowded, competitive, seller-friendly real estate market? Most homes are purchased with financing, but cash purchases do make up about 13 percent of home sales, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. An all-cash offer is sure to get the attention of any seller and offers many advantages if you can make the numbers work. So let's take a closer look at those advantages and the reasons why you might consider buying a home with cash.
Can You Buy a Home with Cash?
In this case, a cash offer doesn't mean literally paying in stacks of $100 bills — it just means purchasing a home with your own money rather than through a loan. There are many benefits that can make a cash offer worth the effort from the buyer's perspective:
With so many advantages to making a cash offer, why doesn't it happen more often? The challenge comes in saving enough money to make a viable cash offer. But if you're diligent about saving and willing to invest those savings into your next home, buying a home with cash can be well worth the effort.
In today's hot real estate market, it's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of rushing to beat out other potential buyers. If you think you've found your dream home, you'll want to put in an offer as quickly as possible or risk the chance of missing out. But before you make that offer, it's important to take a step back and really look at all aspects of the property you're thinking about buying.
While you may love the home and the lot it's on, don't forget that every neighborhood is unique. Once you've purchased a home, you can't pick it up and move it. This makes the surrounding area just as important as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
Not quite sure how to research a home's neighborhood or what you should be looking for? Here are a few places to start.
While checking out your potential new neighborhood does take a bit of time and effort, it's still a good idea. Doing a bit of research now can save you from serious problems in the long run.
Buying and selling a home at the same time can seem like a logistical nightmare. Things don't always go as planned, and luck and timing often have a large role to play. The good news is your real estate agent is available to guide you through your situation.
There are many scenarios where a buyer needs to close on a new home before selling their old one. For example, you may have just discovered your dream home and don't want to miss it. Or you may be relocating for a new job. For most people, paying two mortgages at once is not an option. If you find yourself in one of these situations, here are some strategies that might help you buy a new home before your current home has sold.
Buying a new home before selling your old one can be tricky, but it's important to know you have options if you find yourself in this situation. You can also consult your real estate agent to come up with the best approach that works for your financial situation.
If you've been trying to save up for a down payment on a home, you understand just how daunting this task can seem. In moments of frustration, you may have wished there was a way to buy a home without having to come up with a big chunk of cash.
The good news is, there actually are legitimate ways to purchase a home with no down payment. But, just because you can do something doesn't necessarily mean you should. Here's a closer look at your options and the pros and cons of choosing this approach.
How to Buy a Home with No Money Down
If you're looking for a home in a small town, you may qualify for a USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) loan. These are only offered for homes in towns with a population of 10,000 or fewer. Some USDA loans offer down payments as low as 0%. They're also only offered to buyers in the low to moderate income range. However, in some areas, this is higher than you may think.
Many credit unions also offer mortgages with low or no down payment. To qualify, you'll typically need a good credit score and an income that's less than 80% of the area's average income. However, each institution has different guidelines, so it's worth it to check out your options.
A VA loan, offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, offers buyers the ability to buy a home with no money down and no mortgage insurance. The interest rates are typically attractive, but it's sometimes difficult to qualify. Most VA lenders require a minimum credit score of 620 and a special type of appraisal on the home. This means that even if you qualify, there's a chance the home you're looking at may not. Still, if you're an active-duty military person, veteran, or qualifying family member, it's worthwhile to check it out.
Benefits of Zero Down Payment Home Purchases
Now that you're aware of the options for purchasing a home without a down payment, you'll want to consider whether this is a smart move for you. Clearly, there are some major advantages. The largest is the ability to buy a home sooner. This is particularly attractive if you're currently paying a large sum for rent or you're in a less-than-ideal living situation.
If you don't have to make a large down payment, you'll also have the option to use the money you've already saved for home upgrades, furnishings, and to use as an emergency fund instead. While this certainly sounds attractive, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.
Downsides of Buying a Home with Zero Down Payment
Borrowing the entire home purchasing amount does come with some downsides. First, it's important to note that because you're taking a larger loan, you'll have to make larger monthly payments for the life of the loan. Having a large mortgage payment will give you fewer options in the future. If you're injured, have to change jobs, or run into other unexpected issues, you may find that it's much harder to adapt.
When you borrow 100% of your home's value, you'll also pay more interest than you would if you made a sizeable down payment. While the rate difference might not seem like a big deal now, it can end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your loan.
In most cases, you'll also have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). Unless you get a VA loan, this is required if you borrow more than 80% of your home's value. This can end up costing you thousands of dollars on top of all the other expenses previously mentioned.
Finally, there's the chance that your home's value will decrease. If circumstances force you to sell your home, you could end up selling at a loss and owing the difference to your lender.
Many home buyers find that the potential drawbacks are more than they're comfortable with and decide to wait until they're able to save up at least a small down payment. However, you'll need to carefully weigh these pros and cons so you can decide which choice is best for you.
Finding the perfect home can be exciting; however, if it's located near a school, you may be having second thoughts. Homebuyers generally have a wide range of opinions when it comes to purchasing a home near a school. For those with kids, the convenience can't be beaten. For others, living near a school can be a major detractor. Ultimately the right decision comes down to your preferences. Below, we'll break down some of the pros and cons of purchasing a home near a school.
Benefits Of Living Near A School
Disadvantages Of Living Near A School
Living near a school isn't for everyone, but for those with kids, it can certainly be convenient. At the end of the day, you should evaluate the quality of the school and the neighborhood before making your decision.
Congratulations! You've finally made it through the closing, and the keys to your new home are now in your possession. While the stressful parts of the home buying process are finally over, there is still a final step: the big move.
To minimize issues, preparing for a move should actually start about 4 to 6 weeks before your target move-in date. Even then, coordinating the logistics of a move can be challenging even for the most organized planner. With so many different pieces, it's easy to see how things can slip through the cracks. If you have an upcoming move, we've compiled some tips and reminders to help you leading up to the big day.
Moving can often be a stressful event, but planning can help make the process easy and enjoyable for you and your family.
So you've found your dream home, your offer was accepted, and your agent is working towards a closing day. Everything is going according to plan and you'll be moving in just a matter of weeks, right? Not so fast...
While it's usually rare for a seller to bow out of a sale, it can and does happen from time to time. Whether it's due to cold feet or an inability to find a new home, there are many reasons why a seller might want to back out of a deal. Therefore, it's wise for buyers to keep expectations and emotions in check until after the closing.
Below are 4 common ways a seller can back out of a home sale without any financial or legal consequences:
If a seller decides to back out of the sale after the deal is already under contract, a buyer can pursue legal recourse. A real estate transaction is a lot of work and very expensive for both sides, so a buyer is well within their right to seek damages. There are also real estate laws that may force the seller to honor the terms of the purchase agreement; however, laws do vary by state.
Luckily, sellers don't back out of deals very often; however, if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, it's important to know when a seller is able to walk away without repercussion. Your real estate agent should be able to advise you on the best course of action.
Title issues are an unfortunate component of real estate transactions, and something buyers should always be aware of when closing on a property. Title issues occur when there are liens on the property, unpaid taxes, or other claims of ownership, all of which can cause havoc when it comes to a closing or can lead to future financial problems for buyers.
In order to avoid title issues, lenders will require that you work with a title company to research the property and buy title insurance to protect both yourself and the lender in the event issues come up during or after closing. Title research and title insurance policies can be complicated, and many homebuyers are understandably unfamiliar with the nuances of title law. To help you navigate this complicated area of real estate, we've compiled a list of questions you should always ask when selecting a title insurance company:
Title issues can derail a closing or lead to major headaches down the road. While insurance policy can help mitigate some of the risk, you ultimately want to work with a provider that can conduct thorough research and help you get ahead of any potential issues.
There's a lot to think about when you're evaluating a potential new home. From school districts and neighborhood amenities to closet space and flooring, you'll want to make sure everything is as perfect as possible. When touring a home, it's easy to gloss over the bathrooms; after all, they're pretty much all the same, right?
Unfortunately, this isn't the case! Noticing important red flags in the bathroom can help you avoid major issues down the line. Here are a few things to watch out for.
1. Funny Smells
A funky odor in the bathroom is always a red flag. When viewing a home, also watch out for a strong smell of air freshener in the bathroom. This could be an attempt to hide a problem with the septic system, a plumbing issue, or mold.
Damp smells could also be a sign that there's water buildup somewhere below the surface. This isn't something you want to discover after you've purchased a home.
2. Strange Location
Most parts of a bathroom are fairly easy to update. However, if the bathroom itself is in a strange location, your options will be limited. If the bathroom is right off the kitchen or living room, it could make for some awkward interactions.
When considering a home purchase, you'll also want to see whether there's a bathroom on each level of the home and verify how many bedrooms share a single bathroom.
3. Signs of Water Damage
If you see stains or dirt around the base of the toilet or the floor nearby, this is a sign of past water damage. You'll also want to look under the sink to see if there are any water stains or soft or rotted wood.
Even if past water damage has been fixed, there could be lingering issues or a deeper problem that may reoccur.
4. Lack of Ventilation
If your bathroom doesn't have an exhaust fan or a window, you'll end up dealing with humidity problems. This can lead to mildew and mold. Some bathrooms don't have a fan or window but do have skylights. However, this can sometimes do more harm than good since they're notorious for leaking.
5. Flooring Issues
There are many potential red flags you can find by examining the bathroom floor. Damaged grouting, separation, or cracks in the tile could be an indication of past plumbing issues or a problem with pests.
Also, watch out for areas with fresh grouting that doesn't match the rest of the floor. If you see this, you'll want to find out what's different about that area and whether there were past issues that were repaired.
6. Resurfaced Bathtubs
The bathtub might look new, but upon closer inspection, you may find that it's actually an old tub that has been reglazed. The problem with this is that it will often scratch or peel, creating an unsightly look that you'll have to fix fairly quickly after you move in.
To check for reglazing, look closely at the finish, watching out for sags or bubbling.
7. Low Water Pressure
Not only is low water pressure in your bathroom uncomfortable and inconvenient, but it could also be a sign that you have corroded pipes or other serious plumbing problems. To check for this, run the water in the bathroom sink and check the flow. While the water is running, flush the toilet to see if the flow drops off.
It's also a good idea to go to the bathroom furthest away from the hot water heater and see how long it takes before the water gets hot. If it's unreasonably long, this could be another potential problem.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions
These bathroom red flags might not necessarily be a dealbreaker, but they definitely warrant a second look. If you notice anything that could indicate a potential problem, don't be afraid to point it out and ask questions. This could save you from major issues down the line.
Buying a home can be stressful. We'd like to imagine the process will go seamlessly, but any home-buying adventure will always have its ups and downs. After all, it's a big purchase and a big change in your day-to-day life for several months. But what can be an even bigger change of pace is moving out of state. Don't worry though -- we have some tips that will make moving out of state less scary! These practical tips will make sure you avoid any serious setbacks.
Moving, either out of state or not, can be significantly easier when you have help. A good real estate agent will help you throughout the process so you don't have to navigate on your own. Family and friends can also be a huge help, even with little projects and tasks, especially if you're moving out of state.
Virtually every homeowner has homeowner's insurance, but many people don't really understand what it does and doesn't cover. Here's a closer look at some common problems you may run into and what you can expect from your insurance company.
While the information above is true for most homeowner's insurance policies, every policy is unique. The best way to understand your personal coverage is to review your policy details or talk to your insurance agent.
As a buyer, it's easy to become emotionally invested in a home, especially when you find one that meets all of your criteria. However, it's so important to ensure your offer includes a home inspection contingency and to keep your emotions in check until the home inspection report comes back. A home may seem like a dream come true on the surface, but the home inspection report may transform it into a nightmare.
A home inspection usually takes place within the first 10 days under contract. The report will usually outline minor defects to major structural issues and everything in between. If there are serious issues such as foundation damage, roof damage, or mold in the basement, you'll likely need to negotiate with the seller on how to remediate the issues. If your dream home fails the home inspection, that doesn't necessarily mean all hope is lost. Don't panic. Instead, your real estate agent can help guide you through these steps:
While it's true that a failed home inspection can sometimes derail a home sale, deals are more likely to fall through due to an unwillingness to negotiate on how to remediate the situation. The best thing you can do is keep emotions in check, calculate the cost of repairs, and attempt to negotiate with the seller. Depending on the cost and the severity of the repairs, there is a good chance you can come to a resolution before walking away from the deal.
Foreclosed homes can create excellent buying opportunities for home shoppers, but how do you know if it's worth the risk? Between 2008 and 2015, foreclosed homes were common on the market. While they're not nearly as common today, they do still pop up and can often be purchased at a low price. This is usually because banks are usually eager to recover their costs.
If you're planning to make an offer on a foreclosed home, there are several things you should know before beginning the process.
What Is A Foreclosure?
A foreclosed home has been seized by a bank because its owner defaulted on the mortgage. As a result, foreclosed homes are owned by banks. When you enter into a mortgage contract, lenders implement property liens, which entitle them to take over your home if you stop paying your mortgage.
3 Ways To Buy A Foreclosed Home
Risk Of Buying A Foreclosed Home
While you might be able to grab a foreclosed home at a bargain price, these homes are usually not without some degree of risk. Below are several things you'll want to keep in mind when deciding whether to purchase a foreclosure:
Should You Buy A Foreclosed Home?
The answer ultimately depends on your situation and risk tolerance. In many cases, it can be difficult to know exactly what you're walking into. Don't be fooled by the price tag. The best advice is to not invest all of your cash into the purchase of a foreclosure, as you'll need to keep a significant amount on hand to deal with repairs.
When buying a foreclosed home, you may end up getting a great property at a reasonable price. The key to mitigating the risks is to work with an experienced real estate agent who can help guide you through the process and point out potential risks.
Looking for a new home can be a very overwhelming experience, especially for first-time homebuyers. There are so many factors to consider, you might worry that you're forgetting something. In reality, it's common for homebuyers to become fixated on certain features or amenities that they may not recognize some significant red flags that could cause issues down the road or create significant repair costs. To further complicate things, today's fast-paced, competitive market means a lot of buyers don't have the luxury to take their time when evaluating a potential home.
Luckily, real estate agents are experienced, and they're more than capable of recognizing red flags or potential pitfalls that might not be apparent to homebuyers. By making yourself aware of these common red flags, you can be better prepared when touring a potential home. Keep an eye out for these common construction red flags when shopping for your new home:
Your first home is one of the most important investments you'll make, so it's important to do your homework upfront. Being aware of these red flags can help you avoid costly pitfalls in the future. It always helps to work with an experienced real estate agent who can help you identify issues.
Buying a home comes with many legal and financial responsibilities. When you purchase a home, you take legal possession of the property and finance a loan through a mortgage lender, unless it's a cash sale. By agreeing to finance the loan, the lender assumes big financial risks on their investment. To protect against financial loss during the loan period, the lender requires the buyer to purchase title insurance on the property.
What is Title Insurance?
When you buy a home, you establish legal ownership by "taking title" to the property. A title insurance policy protects you, as well as your lender, against any financial loss that may arise from disputes on the property, such as:
When you apply for a mortgage loan, the lender will require a title search on the property before closing the deal through escrow. The title company will search for public records like deeds, mortgages, tax records, court judgments, divorce decrees, and child support orders that may affect the buyer's or lender's property rights. A title insurance policy covers third-party claims that do not show up in the title search.
Title Insurance Policies
There are two types of title insurance policies: lender's insurance and owner's insurance.
Lender's Title Insurance
Lender's title insurance is required to get a mortgage loan because it protects the lender against financial losses. It ensures that the lender has first claims on the property above all other types of claims if problems arise. A lender's title insurance policy is required when purchasing or refinancing a home.
Owner's Title Insurance
Owner's title insurance protects the buyer, and it's optional, not required. Owner's title insurance can protect a homeowner's equity in the property and protect his/her rights to live in the home if a claim arises after purchase. Common problems that often arise with owner's title insurance include:
While owner's title insurance may seem like a waste of money to some homebuyers, it can protect against title problems that arise following the sale.
How Much Does Title Insurance Cost?
Title insurance is a one-time, up-front fee – not an ongoing expense. A lender's policy is based on the loan amount, while an owner's policy is based on the home's purchase price. According to the American Land Title Association (ALTA), both policies combined usually cost from 0.5% to 1.0% of the home's purchase price, typically about $1,500 to $3,000.
Most mortgage lenders work with preferred title companies that handle their properties, and most buyers use the lender's recommendation to expedite the sale. However, that doesn't mean that buyers can't shop around if they want to put in the time and effort. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, buyers may save up to $500 by shopping around for price comparisons in title insurance.
To find a title insurance company in your area, you can conduct an online search of the ALTA Registry for listings in your state. Before you make a choice, make sure the company has strong financial ratings and a good financial reputation. Major companies that handle title insurance policies include Fidelity, First American, Old Republic, and Stewart.
If you're buying or refinancing a home, your mortgage lender will require a title insurance policy prior to closing, but you can also purchase owner's title insurance for further protection.
Buying your first home is a rite of passage that many people dream of. However, before you take the plunge, it's important to make sure you're really ready. Your finances have a lot to do with it, but it's not the only thing you'll need to consider.
Here are five important questions to ask yourself before you buy your first home.
This may be the most important question of all. It's completely normal to try living in a few different areas before you're ready to put down roots. However, you won't want to consider buying a home until you're fairly sure you plan to stay where you are for a significant amount of time.
Ideally, you'll want to commit to staying in your new home for at least seven to ten years, as this is roughly one full cycle of the housing market.
It will be easier to get a home loan if you've been in your current job for at least two years. More importantly, you'll want to know you can count on your current income before you commit to buying a home.
An unexpected job loss can completely upend your life. The loss of income could potentially cause you to have difficulty paying your mortgage. You'll also need to find a new job that's reasonably close to your new home. Otherwise, you may need to sell your home before you're ready or deal with renting it out.
While it's impossible to predict the future, make sure you feel fairly comfortable about the stability of your job before you consider becoming a first-time homeowner.
When deciding whether you're ready to buy a home, you'll need to take a close look at your finances. Make sure you have enough saved up for your down payment, your credit score falls within acceptable ranges, and you have an emergency fund.
It's a great idea to meet with a lender before you start your home search. This will allow you to have a solid understanding of how much you can really afford and what you'll need to bring to the table when you close. Having a pre-qualification letter will also increase the chances that the seller will accept your offer.
Remember that you'll need additional money beyond what's necessary to purchase your home. There's also the cost of keeping up with repairs and maintenance. This may include everything from maintaining your lawn and landscaping to the occasional need for a plumber, electrician, or handyman.
Caring for a home is also a labor of love. Make sure you're willing to put the time into keeping it looking nice and taking care of any small issues before they can turn into big problems.
Buying a home allows you to settle down in a way renting simply can't. When you rent, there's always a chance your landlord could raise the price or even decided to sell.
As long as you make your mortgage and tax payments, no one can make you leave a home you own. This will give you a strong sense of security.
When you're not worried about housing, you can also put more effort into focusing on other parts of your life — like getting that promotion, spending time with your loved ones, and getting more involved in your community.
If you answered "yes" to each of these questions, congratulations! You're both mentally and financially ready to buy a home. Soon, you'll get to enjoy one of the most satisfying adventures of your life.
It'd be nice if buying a home was as easy as buying something at the grocery store, but because it's one of the largest purchases you make in your life, there's bound to be a lot of steps and fine detail during the buying process. One of those details may be a contingency offer, depending on your situation. Have you ever wondered how both buyers and sellers remain protected during a house transaction? That's exactly what a contingency offer does: it requires that the buyer (or seller) meet certain criteria in order for the sale to be finalized. This may seem like an extra hurdle, but it can actually be a saving grace. Here's how.
This is a fairly common type of contingency, and it ensures that if something wrong is found with the home, whether it be a structural or other issues, the buyer has leverage in asking for repairs and fixes. Another option the buyer might have is walking away from the sale altogether if serious issues are found. Unless you're committed to a fixer-upper, as a new homeowner you typically don't want to spend your time and money on projects the seller should have addressed, and a home inspection contingency can protect you from that.
This is another important contingency because it helps buyers avoid overpaying for a house. If the appraisal, which determines the fair market value of the property, comes back lower than what the seller has asked, the buyer can back out of the deal and keep their deposit. Paying a high mortgage is not desirable for anyone, and for most, it may not even be feasible, so an appraisal contingency can be a lifesaver.
A title contingency brings up the history of the home's ownership and checks to make sure there are no liens still tied to the property. If there is a title dispute, the last thing a buyer wants is to be slapped with legal fees, so this type of contingency can protect the buyer and leave it to the legal experts to resolve any issues.
This contingency protects both buyer and seller. You can't buy a home if you don't have the money to back it up -- or at least you shouldn't. A mortgage contingency makes sure a loan has been approved before the sale is finalized. If something goes wrong during this time, for example, the buyer isn't able to procure a loan within the specified time, the buyer can walk away with their deposit and the seller can focus on other qualified buyers.
If you're trying to buy and sell a home at the same time, this contingency may be right for you. However, it's not the most common type of contingency, and sellers aren't likely to go along with them. This contingency finalizes a home sale only if the buyer is able to sell their current home by a specified date. In this case, the seller has to trust that home will sell, or else they've wasted a lot of time and effort.
Some buyers decide to forgo contingency offers if they're desperate to purchase a house, for example, if it's their dream house and they're in the middle of a bidding war. But being cautious and safe is oftentimes the smarter option. A good real estate agent can help you make the most educated decisions when buying a home.
If you've been thinking about purchasing a new home, now may be a good time to make a move. According to financial experts, 2021 is a good year for home buyers looking for good investments. Although home prices are likely to rise, qualified buyers can still lock in low interest rates to find the right home at an affordable price.
Experts agree that we are currently in a seller's market. Home prices rose in 2020 and are still rising in 2021, especially in certain areas of the country. According to the National Home Price Appreciation Report, the Northeast had the highest home price growth of 5.5%, followed by the West (3.3%), the Midwest (3.2%), and the South (2%). Homes in the medium to high price range of about $485,000 saw the biggest rise in appreciation from 6.6% in May 2020 to 14.6% in November 2020.
Buying in a Seller's Market
As home prices continue to rise, what does this mean for buyers? Since prices are high and inventory is low, buyers are facing unique challenges. In some areas of the country, homes are becoming less affordable and less available, especially for first-time homebuyers. Even with record-low mortgage rates and FHA loan programs designed to help buyers on a tight budget, the current real estate market is very competitive.
Buyers must be smart about their finances and prepared to act when the right property comes along. First-time home buyers may even have a slight advantage because they don't have to sell a home before investing in a new one. Although finding a home in today's market may be more difficult, it's not impossible. Here are tips that can make buying a home in a seller's market a little easier and less stressful.
Learn About Market Condition
Even in a seller's market, there are a lot of good real estate deals out there. Don't assume that all available properties in a seller's market are overpriced. Take the time to learn about homes for sale in desired areas and compare prices based on location, square footage, upgrades, and property amenities.
Explore Possible Appreciation
The area you choose to live in can have a significant impact on home prices. You should investigate proposed and future projects planned in the area. New developments such as shopping malls, new schools, improved roads, and more bus and metro stops can translate to bigger profits down the road.
Look at Unsold Properties
If the home you're considering is priced in the same range as homes that did not sell, there's a good possibility that the home you're looking at is overpriced. If there are several similar homes on the market in the same area, listing prices should be lower, not higher, unless there is something that validates a higher price, such as:
Consider Income Opportunities
If you're on a tight budget, consider possible income opportunities the home may provide. Some mortgage lenders will consider future income generated by the property when reviewing your loan application. Buyers using Fannie Mae loans are allowed to include future rental income in their lending guidelines if the property falls under one of these categories: (1) a principal residence with 2-4 units where the borrower occupies one of the units, (2) a 1-4 unit investment property.
While buying a home in a seller's market presents challenges, it's not impossible if you research and prepare to make an offer at just the right time.
There's nothing like the excitement of receiving the keys to your own home for the first time, but there are plenty of details to cover before now and closing day. This checklist can help you kick-start the process and help you learn what it will take to purchase your first home.
How to Prep for Purchasing a Home
Finding the Right Lender and Getting Pre-Approved
Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent and Shopping for a Home
Closing the Deal on Your First Home
With all of the details taken care of, all that's left is to close on your first home. Once all of the documents are signed, you can proudly call yourself a homeowner for the first time!
Purchasing a new home comes with many decisions that impact your finances as well as your current and future needs. While a small two-bedroom home may be fine now, it may not serve you well down the road. As your family grows and changes, a quaint two-bedroom home may become crowded and uncomfortable, leaving you with two costly options — move to a larger home or build additions on your current one.
Before buying a new home, it's important to consider how many bedrooms you really need. While it's easy to change your home's decor, it's not easy to change the square footage when you outgrow your home's essential living spaces, especially bedrooms. To prevent cramped quarters, consider your current and future needs before you sign on the dotted line.
If you're still not sure about what type of home will best fit your needs, a good real estate agent can help you make the right decision.
If you're new to real estate, it can be a lot to take in. Maybe you've rented a home before and you're ready to dive in and buy your first property, or maybe you have no experience with renting or buying and need some information to get started. Either way, here are some pointers for better understanding why now may be the right or the wrong time to buy your first property.
There's a myth out there that renting is a waste of money compared to buying a home since you aren't investing money into the place where you live. But the truth is living anywhere costs money; it's just that your finances and other factors of your life will determine the best living situation for you. Here are some signs you may want to hold off buying a home for a little while:
Buying a home is certainly a big decision, likely a bigger one than deciding to rent. But if it seems big and scary, don't be afraid! Experienced real estate agents make the buying and selling processes a breeze. If you're considering buying a home, these factors might make up your mind:
If you're still unsure about what's the best next step in your housing journey, a good real estate agent can help you hit the ground running. It's also a good idea to reexamine your finances and goals for the future.
There are lots of reasons someone might want to move, but the biggest reasons often involve the need for upsizing or downsizing. No matter which way you're going, your current home just isn't meeting your needs. That's a good indication it's time for a change. Here are a few things to keep in mind to get it right.
Buying a house is a big investment and a long-term commitment. Consider if and how your finances or lifestyle may change in the near future. Retirement, growing families, and career changes are a few examples that can make a difference.
Do you really need a bigger home? These are some signs you do, and now might be the time to make the move.
Sometimes it just makes more sense to downsize. Here are the signs it might be right for you.
The decision to buy a new home, whether it's bigger or smaller, can mean you have a lot to think about. Ultimately, the best choice will fit both your financial situation and lifestyle. And you can look forward to life in your new home.
There are few things more exciting than purchasing your first home! Not only is this a major milestone, but it's also likely one of the biggest purchases you'll ever make. This is why it's so important to avoid the most common first-time homebuyer mistakes. The good news is, it's easy to stay out of trouble when you know what to watch out for. Avoid these rookie mistakes and you'll be just fine!
1. Forgetting to Double-Check Your Finances
You'll avoid a lot of disappointment if you make sure your finances are in order before you begin searching for your dream home. Begin by double-checking your credit score and your credit report.
Next, review your budget to determine how much you can spend. Finally, make sure you've saved up enough of a down-payment and have an emergency fund.
2. Having Unrealistic Expectations
Consider meeting with a lender who will review your current financials and tell you exactly how much they're willing to offer you. Their estimate should also show you approximately how much cash you'll need to bring to closing.
Once you have a budget, make sure to limit your search to homes that are at or below your maximum price. Otherwise, you may end up falling in love with something you simply can't afford.
3. Trying to Do it Alone
Before you begin looking at homes, it's important to find a real estate agent you can trust. This person will guide you through the entire process, offering invaluable advice along the way.
If you're unsure where to start, try asking family and friends if they know a great agent they would recommend. When you interview your potential agent, make sure they take the time to really listen to you and thoroughly answer all your questions. Take your time, as this will be one of the most important decisions you'll make.
4. Underestimating Homeownership Costs
When determining how much you can spend on a home, it's important to include all of the expenses that go with it. Remember, you need to consider the cost of property taxes, insurance, utility bills, maintenance, repairs, and possibly homeowners association fees.
5. Draining Your Bank Account
Don't make the mistake of putting every penny you have towards buying your new home! Remember, you'll still need to pay moving costs, and you may need to purchase furniture and decor. There's also a good chance you'll find that there are some minor repairs you need to do after you move in.
Even if you have to cut into your savings a little bit, make sure you keep some cash on hand for unexpected emergencies.
6. Applying for Credit Before Your Closing
If you've been pre-qualified for a mortgage (which is a great idea!), taking out any loans before your closing can throw everything off. Your lender will be looking closely at your debt-to-income ratio, and borrowing money can push the numbers out of your favor.
If you're thinking about buying a new car, taking out a credit card, or making any other purchases on credit, hold off until you close on your new home!
7. Taking Out a Mortgage You Don't Understand
There are many different types of mortgages available, making it even more important to ensure you understand exactly what you're getting into. For example, an adjustable-rate mortgage can lead to higher payments in the future. Before you commit, make sure you understand exactly what your obligation looks like now and going forward.
8. Making Decisions Based on Emotion
Last but certainly not least, avoid making decisions based on emotion. It's easy to fall in love with what you think is the "perfect" home. However, if you can't afford it or it's not a great value, then it's not as perfect as you may think.
As you begin your journey, keep these tips in mind. Being conscious of the most common rookie mistakes is the best way to ensure a smooth home buying experience.
A homeowner's association, commonly referred to as an HOA, is an organization of community residents that establishes and enforces community property rules. Typically, HOA members reside in a condominium complex, a planned community, or a subdivision of single-family homes. Buyers who purchase a home within an HOA community automatically become HOA members subject to rules and regulations under the HOA guidelines.
What is the Purpose of an HOA?
The main purpose of an HOA is to establish community goals that benefit residents and implement rules and regulations that provide community safety. An HOA is responsible for managing the community's business affairs and budget, overseeing community projects, and maintaining communal areas for residents.
Most HOA organizations are made up of a group of board members and community residents. HOA residents usually elect a Board of Directors that includes a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and auditor. The Board of Directors is responsible for enforcing community rules and regulations under HOA covenants, conditions, and restrictions.
In smaller HOA communities, the Board of Directors may appoint a property management company or onsite property manager to handle duties and collect fees from residents. State HOA laws and community regulations mandate regular meetings to discuss association policies, budget, and finances.
What are Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions?
All HOA rules and regulations are outlined in Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs), governing bylaws for HOA members. CC&Rs are legally binding documents describing guidelines on home and property modifications. Common regulations cover:
If homeowners don't follow CC&R guidelines, they are usually issued citations and fines by the Board of Directors. Typically, CC&Rs are given to all homeowners with their closing paperwork on the home's purchase.
What are HOA Fees?
All HOA communities have mandatory fees paid by residents to make sure there are available funds for special projects and regular maintenance. Depending on location, home values, and community amenities, HOA fees may vary significantly from $200 to $1,000 per month.
HOA fees are usually deposited into a special account and used to pay for regular landscaping and maintenance, trash pickup, shared utilities, community repairs, and homeowners' insurance that covers public spaces and amenities. Additional assessment fees may also be collected if the community experiences unexpected expenses for damages caused by natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires, floods, high winds, hurricanes, and tornadoes.
HOAs can periodically raise fees according to CC&R guidelines. Fees may be increased to cover inflation, rising operating costs, and necessary community projects to increase resident safety. If HOA fees increase, residents must be given at least a 30-day notice required by law.
What are the Benefits of an HOA?
Millions of homeowners prefer living in an HOA community rather than a privately-owned residence. For homeowners who want a lifestyle with more amenities and less home maintenance, an HOA community offers many benefits.
Because HOAs have regulations that promote a uniform community environment, most residents enjoy cleaner grounds, well-maintained structures, and manicured landscapes without the hassle of scheduling maintenance and repairs.
HOA communities also have shared amenities including swimming pools and hot tubs, barbecue grills, clubhouses, sports facilities, ponds and gardens, and walking paths. Many provide special events throughout the year such as cookouts, swim parties, dances, and holiday events.
Living in an HOA community may not fit everyone's lifestyle, but it may provide the perfect opportunity for homeowners who are searching for more free time, fewer outdoor tasks, and neighborhood activities.
For most people, location is a big factor when buying a home. While some buyers prefer to live close to family members, others want conveniences and opportunities. It can be difficult to find the right home in a great location, but what if you find it on a busy street? Do you take a closer look or walk away? Perhaps you should first weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.
Living on a busy street may be a new experience, but it does have some advantages. A new home in the city may come with perks that make your life less complicated.
Living on a busy street provides easy access to many city attractions like retail stores, restaurants, cafes and coffee shops, theaters, and public parks. You can walk to your favorite restaurant for dinner or take your dog to the park around the corner.
Access to Public Transportation
Easy access to public transportation means less driving in rush hour traffic. Whether heading to work or the local grocery store, areas with busy streets offer subways, bus routes, bike paths, and sidewalks that create easier and faster travel.
Busy streets have better maintenance because it's paid for by the local city government. Unlike streets in more rural areas, busy streets get regular maintenance to prevent potholes, road debris, and snow and ice. Streets with daily cars, taxis, and buses get first dibs on street maintenance and safety.
If you're a buyer who enjoys the hustle and bustle of living on a busy street, you can save money on a new home. Not everyone wants to live on a busy street, so sellers often reduce their listing price for a faster sale. This can be a winning scenario for the right buyer.
While living on a busy street provides opportunities and conveniences, it also comes with drawbacks that some buyers want to avoid.
The main drawback of living on a busy street is noise. Although well-insulated windows and doors cut down on noise levels, it's difficult to completely eliminate the constant sounds of traffic, car horns, and sirens.
Busy streets are filled with cars, trucks, and buses that increase pollution and reduce air quality. Although healthy air quality may not be a top priority when buying a home, it's important to consider health effects for your family. Poor air quality contributes to allergies, asthma, and respiratory illnesses.
Living on a busy street can create parking problems unless you have a driveway or garage connected to your home. If you're in a busy area with a lot of traffic, you may find cars that are constantly parked in front of your house or blocking your driveway just when you need to leave.
Lack of Privacy
If privacy is important, you may not enjoy living on a busy street with cars and pedestrians constantly passing your home. This may mean building a fence in your front yard and keeping windows and draperies closed during the day, and especially after dark.
Buying a home on a busy street may raise safety concerns for your family. Distracted or impaired drivers may increase traffic accidents near your home. If you have small children, pets, or senior family members, living on a busy street may not be your best option.
Living on a busy street has perks, but you should consider the pros and cons before purchasing a home. While it offers conveniences, the lifestyle is not for everyone, which is why you should talk to your real estate agent about the best options for you.
A lot of ideas come to mind when someone mentions the 'burbs. There are images of meeting your neighbor at the end of the driveway to pick up the morning paper, backyard grilling, and everyone walking their dogs. But preconceptions aside, it's important to know the facts about the suburbs, especially when you're home shopping. Every residential area has its own pros and cons, and the suburbs are no exception. Here's what you should know.
The obvious benefit of the suburbs is that the homes and yards that come with them are larger than what you'd find close to or in the city. More bedrooms, bathrooms, and storage means there's plenty of room for your family, whether you're just starting one or you're moving with the kids. Larger yards give you a place to enjoy some fresh air that's only a few steps away, and many yards will have mature landscaping depending on the age of the property. This extra space comes with the downside though of higher energy costs and lots of yard maintenance.
The suburbs are often home to top-notch schools, both public and private, and bus or car rides can be incredibly short depending on how close you live to the schools. Your children will also have the benefit of living close to their friends, so socializing may only be a walk or bike ride away. You'll meet new families who can help you navigate the area and lend a hand when life gets extra busy. All this is great, just as long as your children fit in with the school district. If, for some reason, they need to transfer, your location could complicate the situation.
Unless you plan on moving to a famous or prestigious suburb, the odds are your property's price will be a great deal for the amount of space you get. You also have easy access to the local school district and the peace of mind of a safer neighborhood, and these come with the property free of charge. You'll always have a lot of flexibility if you ever decide to sell your home, since families are always looking to buy homes near schools and in quiet neighborhoods. You should be careful to remember though that this deal could become less sweet if you have to chase down contractors for repairs or renovations frequently.
In the suburbs, you're bound to find countless little spots and businesses that make everyone in the community love where they live. Restaurants are passed down through families and become local traditions, and parks and trails let you change up the scenery of your life every once in a while. The suburbs will never be able to compete with the city's bustling nightlife, but as long as you're willing to drive a little bit, you're never too far away from a memorable day or night out.
The suburbs are appealing to lots of people, whether you have a large family or not. Knowing if it's the perfect fit depends on your needs. As always, it's best to talk with an experienced real estate agent to find a home that will fill all those checkboxes.
Making an offer on that amazing house you just found requires some strategic thinking. There's almost always some negotiation involved and a little knowledge can help you come up with a good offer. The advice of an experienced real estate agent can prove invaluable during this step. Here's what you need to know to make a great offer and help get you in that new home you've been dreaming of.
Current market conditions are the biggest factor to consider in your offer. In a buyer's market, there are plenty of houses available and buyers have more negotiating power. Sellers are usually more flexible since they aren't getting as many offers and houses often take longer to sell.
In a seller's market, there are lots of buyers and not as many houses available. There is more competition among buyers and homes sell faster. Sellers are likely getting multiple offers and buyers are willing to pay more or negotiate less. It isn't unusual for homes to sell above the asking price.
There are factors other than the current market conditions that determine what kind of offer you can make. These are some instances where you might be offering more than the asking price.
Everyone wants a good deal, and there are times when a low offer can get you exactly that. The offer shouldn't be so low that the seller is unwilling to negotiate. You're still getting a deal if they counter with an offer above yours but below list. As a general rule, an offer of 20% - 25% below asking would be the bottom limit, and few sellers would accept that. But there are situations where low offers can pay off.
Making your offer appealing is important and that starts with the price. Understanding how different factors affect your offer can help you work with your real estate agent and get you into that new home.
When you're buying a home, it's easy to focus on shopping for fun things, like furniture and decor for your new space. However, another item to add to your shopping list is a homeowner's insurance policy. Homeowner's insurance is a type of insurance that protects your home and its contents, so it's important to know how it works and what exactly you're getting. Here's what you need to know about homeowner's insurance, including guidelines to help you select the correct level of coverage.
The Ins and Outs of Homeowner's Insurance
If your home is damaged or entirely destroyed due to a natural disaster, theft, or other incident covered by your policy, your homeowner's insurance will help you pay for the repairs. Homeowner's insurance typically covers your home, any structures on your property (like a storage shed or garage), and your possessions.
Note that some events may be excluded from your insurance policy. Some of the most common excluded events include damage from floods and earthquakes. To ensure your home is protected from these excluded events, you'll need to purchase a separate insurance policy specifically intended for these incidents.
When you make a claim on your homeowner's insurance, you must pay your deductible. The amount of your deductible will decrease the amount of money you receive. For example, assume a storm causes $10,000 in damage to your home. If you have a $2,000 deductible, you'll receive $8,000 for the incident.
While a higher deductible will lower the cost of your homeowner's insurance policy, make sure that it's an amount that you're comfortable paying in an emergency.
How to Calculate the Coverage Levels for Your Insurance Policy
It's imperative to purchase the correct amount of homeowner's insurance to make sure you're properly protected. Your insurance company will not pay more than your selected coverage level, even if your costs wind up exceeding this amount. When selecting your coverage levels, you'll want to consider how much it would actually cost to rebuild your home in the event of a major disaster.
This figure may be significantly more than the actual value of your home, especially if your home has high-end features or details that required special skills to build or create them. Consult with your insurance agent for guidance regarding the replacement costs for homes in your area. The costs for building materials and construction labor tend to increase over time, so make sure you periodically revisit your coverage levels.
Survey the contents of your home, and check that the coverage for your belongings will replace them if they're lost or stolen. If you own expensive items (like jewelry, rare collectibles, or musical instruments), you may need to purchase additional coverage to cover the replacement costs of these pricier possessions.
Other Details to Keep in Mind
When buying your policy, there are other policy coverage limits that you'll need to select. In addition to coverage for your home and belongings, your homeowner's insurance policy provides liability coverage if someone is injured on your property. You should check that your liability coverage is enough to protect your assets in case of a lawsuit. If you have extensive financial assets, you may want to consider an umbrella insurance policy in addition to homeowner's insurance to make sure you're properly protected.
Worried that your insurance coverage is too low? Contact your insurance agent today to review the details of your policy!
When you're looking for a new home, finding the one that meets your personal and financial goals can be a challenge. Even if you find your dream home, negotiating a price with the seller may present obstacles that prevent you from moving forward. Motivated sellers may be less difficult to deal with during price negotiations, but they still have a bottom line. One tiny concession may translate to a big profit loss and a longer closing process that delays the move. Although most sellers expect buyers to negotiate, knowing the right negotiation skills can put you ahead of other interested buyers and move you into the home of your dreams.
1. Understand the Market
When a seller puts a home on the market, they have already researched current market conditions that impact home values, interest rates, and inventory. If you're a buyer, you should do the same. While a seller's market is characterized by low inventory, low mortgage rates, and high home prices, a buyer's market is characterized by more houses for sale than buyers. Knowing which market you're in will help with successful negotiations.
2. Get Your Finances in Order
Sellers want qualified buyers so they don't experience unnecessary loan problems that delay or cancel out a sale. Getting your finances in order and getting pre-approved by a lender can help significantly with price negotiations. This is especially important in a seller's market when a seller may receive multiple offers on a home with some offers exceeding the listing price. As a buyer, you must be prepared to compete and negotiate to close the sale.
3. Negotiate Closing Costs
During every real estate transaction, the seller and the buyer must deal with closing costs that impact the sale. By negotiating closing costs, both parties can benefit. Typically, each party is responsible for certain fees:
When doing a final review, check with your realtor or real estate attorney to make sure all fees are in the correct columns of the seller's settlement statement.
4. Put Down a Sizable Deposit
After an offer is accepted and a purchase agreement is signed, the buyer must put down an earnest money deposit to show a commitment to move forward. The average deposit ranges from 1-3% of the purchase price, but a seller can demand more, especially in a seller's market. Putting down a sizable deposit is a good negotiation tactic that lets the seller know you're a serious buyer. It can motivate the seller to ignore other back-up offers on the table.
5. Work With a Qualified Realtor
Viewing hundreds of homes for sale doesn't make you an expert on local market trends and price negotiations. Licensed real estate professionals know how to guide you through the entire process of buying a home. Your realtor will act on your behalf by communicating and negotiating with the seller about important issues like home inspections, appraisals, closing costs, and items that remain on the property. Working with a qualified realtor can increase your chances of closing the sale.
If you're looking for a new home, negotiating with the seller can reduce your overall costs and close the deal. You may not be the only interested buyer, but you can be first in line!
Buying and selling a home at the same time can be a complicated process, to say the least. It's best described as a delicate juggling act, where the best possible outcome is highly contingent on timing. In an ideal world, you could sell your home, release your built-up equity, and find a new home all within a period of a few weeks. Unfortunately, these steps rarely fall in the right order.
That doesn't mean that all hope is lost or that buying and selling a home simultaneously is impossible to pull off. However, it's still a good idea to be aware of some of the less ideal scenarios that can arise from the process.
Issues With Funding
If you don't have a significant amount of cash saved up, the purchase of a new home might depend on your ability to use the equity tied up in your existing property as a down payment. In most cases, it's wise to have your total down payment amount saved up before attempting to buy and sell a home at the same time. However, there are some workarounds such as a cash-out refinance, a bridge loan, or a home equity line of credit. Just remember, if you have an FHA or a VA loan, you might not be permitted to have multiple mortgages at once.
Losing Bid to a Non-Contingent Offer
When simultaneously buying and selling a home, it's common to make an offer on your new home contingent on selling your old home. While this approach can help simplify the process, it can also open the door for another buyer to swoop in and make a more compelling offer that's not contingent on the sale of an existing property. As a result, contingent offers can sometimes put the buyer at a disadvantage.
Buying a home requires days of negotiations and hundreds of decisions along the way. When you're attempting to sell at the same time, your workload essentially doubles. Lining up closing dates, negotiating with multiple parties, and coordinating moves can require a lot of time, work, and energy. This can often result in decision fatigue and a lot of extra stress. Our advice is to always work with a good real estate agent who can help streamline the process.
It's Best To Assess Your Financial Situation
Buying and selling properties at the same time can create a number of risks. As a result, it's best to do a thorough assessment of your financial situation before deciding the best course of action. Do you have enough for a down payment? Can you afford multiple mortgages? These are important questions to ask yourself before committing to one option or another.
It's also important to work with your lender and your real estate agent. Depending on your financial situation, your lender may be willing to pre-approve you for a new mortgage depending on the value of your existing home and your credit profile.
Simultaneously buying and selling a home can present unique challenges, which is why it's essential to work with a good real estate agent so you don't have to go through the process alone. A real estate agent can bring valuable years of experience to the table and can even anticipate issues before they arise.
There are lots of factors to consider when buying a home and for most buyers, location is right at the top of that list. And with that location comes school districts. Even buyers without school-age children will take them into consideration. So what exactly goes into evaluating whether the school systems you're looking at make the grade?
The data-based factors mentioned above are a good place to start. But there are some other more subjective factors to consider that are just as important.
The school district is an important consideration when buying a home. Knowing what to look for can help you make an informed decision that will benefit your family and most importantly your children.
While shopping for your next home, you may run into the situation where you're deciding between a previously lived in house and a house that's brand new. A spotless new construction may be enticing enough to convince you to pony up the larger cost, but the decision between old versus new is more complicated than just the price tag. In fact, there are a lot more factors to consider, and there's no one answer that applies to all shoppers. Here's what you should know.
Buying a brand new home comes with some advantages over one that's housed previous families. Here are the pros for buying a new home:
Buying a new home can be a great option, but it does come with some drawbacks.
Just like with buying a new house, buying an existing one comes with its own set of pros and cons. Here are some of the advantages.
Buying an existing home of course comes with the side effects of decades of homeownership.
Buying a home, whether it's a new or an existing one, is a big decision. There's no wrong or right answer that applies to all shoppers, so it's best to find a good real estate agent who can help you make the right decision.
Fixtures are an important part of any home, especially for buyers looking to reduce expenses. If you're purchasing a home, you expect to see the same fixtures in the house you saw earlier. Unfortunately, some buyers are surprised when they move in to find the seller removed fixtures.
When you're in the market for a new home, finding one that complements your design style, existing furnishings, and lifestyle can be challenging. Since the purchase of a new home is a major expense, homebuyers often look for homes with upgraded fixtures that appeal to their sense of style and reduce the costs of new fixtures.
As a general rule, fixtures are things that are permanently attached to the home. Common fixtures that usually remain with the home include:
Get a Purchase Agreement
A purchase agreement between the buyer and the seller is important to specify which fixtures remain in the home and which ones do not. Your real estate agent should draw up a purchase agreement signed by the buyer and seller to avoid any disputes. The purchase agreement should list all fixtures that remain in the home for the new buyer. If you're buying a new home, you shouldn't just assume the fixtures you saw are included in the sale.
A purchase agreement can also specify movable items that the buyer wants to keep. Sellers often negotiate prices to leave area rugs, bookcases, wall-hung shelves, patio furniture, outdoor gas grills, and washers and dryers.
If you're buying a new home, it's important to work with a real estate agent who can draw up a proper contract with a purchase agreement. That way, moving into your new home will be a rewarding, stress-free experience.
Buying a fixer-upper home can be a great way to acquire a home in a neighborhood you might not otherwise be able to afford. Maybe you've picked out a charming older home you think just needs some tender loving care to bring out its best. That may be true, but beware of romancing yourself into a costly renovation nightmare, where you can't recover your investment once the house goes on the market.
That doesn't mean you should avoid fixer-uppers altogether. But do be aware of the possible pitfalls. Once you've weighed the pros and cons, you can make a more informed decision about investing in that sweet little mid-century modern you've had your eye on.
Consider these points before buying a fixer-upper.
DIY Skills Can Make a Fixer Upper More Affordable
So you've fallen for a fixer-upper, and you're weighing the possibilities. One of the first things to consider is how much of the work you're able to do yourself. If you love to work on old houses, you're a step ahead. But those with no DIY skills may be locked into overseeing contractors for every renovation. That can cause some headaches and will certainly cost more than if you can do the work yourself.
Renovations: Cosmetic or Structural?
Once you make an offer for a home and it's accepted, you'll need a home inspection. An inspection can help assure your fixer-upper is a good investment, or it may provide a warning that you should take a pass.
Be mindful that major repairs — foundation fixes, roof and wall renovations, plumbing, and electrical system redos — may not raise the house's value sufficiently to offset the renovation cost. Ideally, a fixer-upper should require mainly cosmetic repairs. These repairs don't cost a lot, and they raise the value of the home. They might include painting touch-ups, fixing doors, installing new light fixtures, drywall repairs, refinishing floors, and updating bathrooms and kitchens.
Also, be aware that if your fixer-upper has some differences that set it off from other homes in the neighborhood — for example, two bedrooms instead of three, or one bathroom instead of two — these may impede selling it.
Further, you will want to avoid renovations that promise to take an extraordinarily long time. By the time you finish, you may find that the home's market value has gone down.
Can You Afford It?
Add up the cost of materials and labor — that is, your labor and that of any contractors. Then, subtract that figure from the estimated market value of the home post-renovation. Compare your fixer-upper with other homes in the neighborhood to determine estimated market value. Deduct another 5 to 10 percent for extras, possible problems you may encounter, and inflation. The figure you arrive at should be your offer.
You've got several options when it comes to financing your renovation. Putting the bills on a credit card is easy, but you'll be paying high interest rates. A renovation loan lets you finance a house and improvements together. The interest rate is lower than many other financing types, and you can take longer to pay off the loan. Some types of renovation loans include:
Is a fixer-upper worth it? The answer, as with any investment, is: "It depends." For many homeowners, a fixer-upper will be the right choice. Just be sure the renovation is not more work and more expensive than you're anticipating. A good real estate agent will also help you make a more informed decision.
When it comes to buying a home, it's easy to neglect certain spaces. Updated kitchens, bathrooms, and living spaces often draw the most focus, making it more likely the potential buyer won't take a close enough look at other areas like basements. No matter the size, the basement is one part of a home a buyer should not overlook. From water damage to DIY mishaps, basements can become quite costly after the home is purchased. Looking for the lowdown on the lowest floor of a house? Here's what you need to know before purchasing a home with a basement.
Take a walk into the basement of a listed home and the walls will likely say more than the listing. Stains or traces of mold on the walls may be signs of current or prior leaking or flooding. While some may repaint the basement walls as part of the staging process, a few of these homeowners could use fresh coats of paint to cover up visible damage. A professional inspector should inspect the entire basement to ensure the buyer knows everything about the integrity of the home.
Imagine walking into a fully-finished basement that looks amazing, only to discover that the DIY repairs, renovations, and additions were not up to code. For instance, a drywall ceiling DIY installation may not be up to code for a number of reasons. Any electrical wiring not completed by a licensed professional can also be a costly problem.
Is this space included in the total square footage on the listing? That depends on a variety of factors. Typically, many agents will not include the basement in the square footage. In some states, appraisers will include it, but because these areas are considered "living space," they must have methods of ingress and egress.
One of the main reasons buyers are attracted to homes with a basement, finished or unfinished, is that they could use the additional space as a guest room. However, local codes differ from place to place and may prevent the homeowner from transitioning it into a habitable apartment. In some cases, the homeowner won't be able to consider the basement as a legitimate bedroom without a closet or means of egress. Before buying the home, make sure you see official documentation detailing whether or not this space can be renovated to your intentions.
Basements can be a very desirable addition to a home, but they can also cause headaches for buyers. When inspecting a home prior to purchase, buyers should pay close attention to any repairs, damages, or renovations completed by the current owner.
Are you ready to buy a house? Then it's time to start planning. The more that you plan ahead, the easier that the process will be in the long run. Part of that planning includes knowing exactly how long each step will take, so you know what to expect with each milestone in the purchasing process. Let's take a closer look at what it takes — and how long it takes — to buy a house.
When you're buying a house, it's always wise to include a little extra time to account for the unexpected. With a plan in place and the right real estate agent, you can navigate the process with confidence.
Whether you're buying a home for the first time or have navigated the process before, choosing the right home loan is key to long-term financial happiness with your next home. The number of loan options available can feel daunting to sort through, but the good news is there's a loan available to suit the needs of nearly every buyer. The trick is finding the right one for you. Get started with our guide to some of the most common types of home loans and how they might fit your needs.
Choosing the right type of home loan is a big decision, so it's crucial to gather as much information as possible and seek advice from trusted advisors. By fully understanding the options available, you can make the right choice for your financial future.
If you've been thinking about buying a house, you're probably excited to get out there and start exploring your options. However, before you begin house-hunting, there's one thing you should do first — get pre-approved by your lender. Sure, it's not the most exciting part of buying a house, but it will help things go much smoother and may save you from a lot of frustration.
Still not convinced? Here are five important reasons why you should take the time to get pre-approved before you start the process of buying a house.
You might think you know how much you can afford to spend when buying a house. However, when you get a pre-approval, the lender looks at your current financial information and lets you know exactly how much they're willing to give you. You'll also know how much you need to put down and your estimated monthly payment.
Armed with this information, you can make sure you're only looking at homes within your price range. This will help you narrow down your search, saving you both time and frustration. When you know you're shopping in your price range, you can also focus on the home's features rather than on the asking price.
It might surprise you to learn that buying a house is often a competitive process. If you end up in a bidding war with other potential buyers, having a pre-approval could increase the chances that the seller will choose your offer. Even if there aren't any other bids, showing that you mean business by coming to the table with a pre-approval can give you more negotiating power.
There are few things worse than falling in love with a home and then finding out you have credit issues or other problems that will prevent you from getting the loan you need. Going through the pre-approval process before buying a house will uncover any potential issues and give you time to fix them before you have to go through the heartache of losing your dream home.
It's smart to compare lenders when you're thinking about buying a house. Unfortunately, many buyers mistakenly think that getting a pre-approval means they're stuck with the lender that gave it to them. This isn't the case! You can still shop around and choose the lender with the best offer. Just make sure you get your quotes all within a short time period (typically two weeks or fewer), so your credit doesn't get dinged multiple times.
When you apply for a mortgage loan, you need to provide a lot of information and complete many different forms. Getting a pre-approval before buying a house means the lender will already have almost all of the information they need. You won't have to scramble to provide documents at the last minute, making the closing process go smoother and getting you into your new home faster.
These are just a few of the most important benefits of pre-approval. If you think buying a house is in your future, do yourself a favor and start contacting lenders before you're ready to begin your search. You'll be glad you did!
Thinking of giving new meaning to "home for the holidays" this year? Winter may not be the first-choice season for buying a house in the eyes of many shoppers, and that's precisely why it's an ideal time for savvy buyers to find the right home in an advantageous market. You will definitely have less competition for buying a house in the winter and may even find a better deal than during the busier spring and summer. If you've been wondering about whether now is the right time to buy, take a look at our list of reasons why buying a house in the winter can be a great idea.
Buying a house in the winter may come with some challenges, but it also offers many advantages that simply aren't available during the busiest selling seasons. If you're willing to bundle up and brave the cold, there are great opportunities to be found during the winter months.
You've been thinking about buying a house for some time now, and you've finally found the perfect home. Your dreams are about to come true, and you're thrilled! But... it's not quite done yet. Before the house is yours, you'll need to make an offer, and the seller needs to accept it. This is a critical moment, and you have an important decision to make.
Most homebuyers expect to negotiate the price down when they're buying a house. However, there are some times when offering more than the asking price just makes sense. The thought of doing this may make you wince, but if one of the following situations applies, it could be the best move.
When you're buying a house, making the right initial offer could mean the difference between finally purchasing your dream home and losing out. The stakes are high, so it makes sense to consult with a knowledgeable professional. A great real estate agent will help you analyze the situation, so you can make the smartest offer possible.
Selling your home is as much of a lifestyle decision as it is a financial decision. Like any other investment, you want to make sure that you're making financially responsible decisions every step of the way. One option that you have when selling your home is to use your current equity to finance your next move. Research shows that more and more homeowners are gaining equity in their homes regardless of state. By paying the equity in your current home towards purchasing a new home, you can achieve your real estate goals sooner than later.
What is Home Equity?
The equity in your home is its current value minus the remaining mortgage debt. As you pay your monthly mortgage, you grow the equity in your home. For instance, If you purchased your home for $200,000 using a mortgage loan and only have $50,000 remaining on the loan, your home equity is $150,000.
How Can I Use My Existing Equity?
As you consider selling your home, you likely already have another real estate goal in mind. Whether you're downsizing or purchasing a home for your growing lifestyle needs, you'll need to create a plan for how you're going to buy a new house. Instead of using your savings for another down payment, you can leverage the existing equity in your home to fund the purchase of your next home. There are a few ways that you can use your existing equity when selling your home:
As you search for a lender to secure a mortgage for a new home, they may allow you to use the existing equity in your current home as collateral. One advantage of this option is that many lenders will match the rate of your original mortgage.
The option allows you to pocket the equity as cash to put towards the new home. Prior to selling your home, you may have refinanced your mortgage. This option works similarly, allowing you to use as much as 85 percent of the home's appraised value in equity.
A HELOC, or a Home Equity Line of Credit, gives you a set balance that you can use as much as necessary. For instance, if your HELOC is for $20,000, you can choose to only use $10,000 of it. This is beneficial because you'll only pay interest on what you use, not the full amount.
A mortgage lender may allow you to accept a loan for 80 percent of the purchase price and then take out a home equity line of credit for the remaining 20 percent. After selling your home, you'll then use the profits to pay off that home equity line of credit.
Is using your equity to fund a new house purchase the right decision when selling your home? That depends on how much equity you have and how much you need to finance for a new home. Speak with your real estate agent to determine if leveraging your equity when selling your home is right for you.
Many first-time buyers don't know the financial obligations involved in buying a house. With so much emphasis placed on saving for a down payment, some people don't fully understand all other financial aspects of the transaction, including the earnest money deposit. I encourage all buyers, first-time or otherwise, to understand what an earnest money deposit is — and how you can lose it when buying a house.
What is an Earnest Money Deposit?
When you place an offer on a home that the seller accepts, you're laying the foundation for the entire transaction. As a part of the purchase offer, the buyer commits to a financial obligation. The earnest money deposit, also called an escrow deposit or good faith money, follows the signing of the sales contract or purchase agreement. The amount may be between 1 percent and 10 percent of the sales price. The contract outlines if and when a buyer may seek a refund for this deposit.
How can you get a refund for your earnest money deposit? One example may be if the house doesn't appraise for the sale price, the buyer can stipulate a contingency that they can take back their deposit. How can you lose your earnest money deposit? It's easier than you may believe. There are three surefire ways to lose your earnest money deposit when buying a house:
Buying a house is one of the most significant decisions and investments you'll make in your life. While it is common to have some uncertain thoughts in this process, you should also keep in mind that you are responsible for keeping up your end of the bargain — morally and legally.
Watch any popular real estate show on television and you've probably heard a lot of different takes on short sales. Some people swear by them, while others avoid them.
But what is a short sale all about, really?
Simply, a short sale is the sale of a property for less than the amount owed on the mortgage. Short sales aren't quite the same as foreclosures: They're a negotiated agreement between a lender and borrower. Both parties are motivated to sell, but that doesn't mean it's always the best deal.
For a short sale to happen, two things need to be true:
With that in mind, short sales are most common at times when the housing market is in trouble. They are a "last chance" option for avoiding foreclosure, but for the buyer, the process can seem slow.
Buyers Beware This Big Myth Around Short Sales
The biggest myth around short sales is that the seller will push to get the sale done quickly.
Although the seller might be ready to move on, everything in the short sale process must be approved by the lender. And lenders – mostly big banks – have plenty of time to ensure they recover as much of the home's value as possible.
This means the process can go on for months.
How Does a Short Sale Work?
When buying a house, you might want to explore other options before short sales, especially as a first-time buyer. If you decide to go forward, it's important to understand exactly how the process plays out.
Choosing an expert real estate agent is always crucial when buying a house, but it's especially critical for short sales. Lenders do everything they can to protect their interests – be sure you are doing the same!
Buying a house? Worried about the real estate market slowing down during the holiday season?
Getting a transaction done in December can be challenging … for the sellers, that is. They need to work extra hard to advertise a home and make sure it's in great condition for showing. Sometimes that means adjusting their holiday plans or scaling back their usual decorations so the home's great features will shine through.
But buying a house is very different, and the holidays are no reason to put off your plans.
In fact, staying in the market throughout winter can actually make buying a house easier.
Let's look at some of the biggest reasons why:
Buying a house can be a great adventure and an important life milestone. If you end up exploring the real estate market near the holidays, don't fret. Connect with a trusted local real estate agent who can help you navigate the twists and turns. As a buyer, you have nothing to lose by seeing what's out there. And before you know it, you might just discover that buying at this time of year was one of your best decisions.
There's nothing wrong with renting your home. In fact, in certain circumstances, it's the smarter choice. However, if you've been renting for what seems like forever, you might have started thinking about wanting to get out of the "rental rut."
While it's nice to know you can call the landlord any time there's a problem with the home, there are some major advantages to buying a house of your own. If you've been on the fence about finally taking the leap into home-ownership, consider these important benefits.
If you've been thinking about buying a home, now is a great time to do it. However, the inventory of homes for sale has also reached record lows. Since there are fewer houses on the market, it might take you longer to find your dream home. Starting the process of buying a house sooner, rather than later, will give you the best chance to take advantage of these optimal conditions and finally get out of that rental rut.
Buying a house is a goal of many Millennials. However, some people mistakenly believe that it's an impossible goal. If you're interested in buying a home, it's essential to know this goal is attainable with a little patience and preparation. Millennials take note: these six tips will help you become a happy homeowner.
Buying a house is a realistic goal for many Millennials. If you learn to manage your finances, gain insight into the real estate market, and trust your real estate professional you'll discover that buying a house is an attainable goal.
Buying a house is a goal for many people. While some folks envision a single-family residence as their dream home, purchasing a condominium brings its own set of benefits. Let's take a look at the benefits of buying a single-family home versus a condominium.
Benefits of Buying a House
If buying a home is your goal, then you're likely most interested in these benefits:
Benefits of Buying a Condo
If buying a home is an option, but you're curious about other property types, you may prefer these benefits associated with buying a condo:
Drawbacks of Buying a House
Buying a home is a great feeling, but there are also a few drawbacks of homeownership, including:
Drawbacks of Buying a Condo
Although condos do offer some advantages over buying a home, they also come with their share of drawbacks, including:
Compare the pros and cons of each to discover which is the right type of homeownership for you.
Buying a house is one of the most significant financial decisions of your life. Many first-time buyers believe such a decision involves going "all-in." Buying a house does not mean you have to overextend your finances. There are many ways that you can buy a home without busting your budget. With a little patience, research, and practical consideration, you'll be on your way to buying your dream home.
Buying a house doesn't need to wipe out your bank account. With a little planning and preparation, you can buy a home without busting your budget.
If you thought the only number you needed to calculate before buying a house was your down payment, think again. Though the down payment is a vital element in the sale, and often one that many first-time homebuyers place the most focus on, it's essential not to neglect the other significant expense following this transaction: your monthly mortgage payment. If you're buying a house via a mortgage loan, you should be aware that your monthly payment includes much more than just the remainder of the loan cost. Here are a few of the other items which are included in a monthly mortgage payment:
As you're considering buying a house, it's wise to see out a mortgage lender or real estate agent to help you estimate your monthly mortgage payment. You can discuss varying down payment amounts, offer prices, and interest rates to understand how high or low your payment may be.
Watch any popular real estate show on television, and you've probably heard a lot of different takes on short sales. Some people swear by them, while others avoid them.
But what is a short sale all about?
A short sale is the sale of a property for less than the mortgage amount. Short sales aren't quite the same as foreclosures: They're a negotiated agreement between a lender and borrower. Both parties are motivated to sell, but that doesn't mean it's always the best deal.
For a short sale to happen, two things need to be true:
They are a "last chance" option for avoiding foreclosure, but the process can seem slow for the buyer.
Buyers Beware This Big Myth Around Short Sales
The biggest myth around short sales is that the seller will push to get the sale done quickly.
Although the seller might be ready to move on, the lender must approve everything in the short sale process. And lenders – mostly big banks – have plenty of time to ensure they recover as much of the home's value as possible.
This means the process can go on for months.
How Does a Short Sale Work?
When buying a house, you might want to explore other options before short sales, especially as a first-time buyer. If you decide to go forward, it's important to understand exactly how the process plays out.
Choosing an expert real estate agent is always crucial when buying a house, but it's especially critical for short sales. Lenders do everything they can to protect their interests––be sure you are doing the same!
Buying a home is one of the greatest feelings, but it can also seem like one of the most stressful and confusing processes. As one of the largest financial purchases an individual will ever make, homebuyers must be as informed as possible. Unfortunately, many facts aren't readily known by most buyers entering a real estate transaction for the first time. If you're considering buying a home for the first time, here are ten essential things that you should know:
Buying a home may seem overwhelming, but detailed knowledge of the process can make it much less stressful. Learn as much as you can about buying a home before you place an offer and always consult your agent for advice.
It's no secret that COVID-19 has negatively impacted the U.S. economy. However, in many parts of the country, the housing market has remained surprisingly strong. If you're thinking about buying a house soon, you can expect a few things to be different. Consider these things when you're purchasing a home during the pandemic.
Things Move Faster
Many houses that are well-presented and priced right are selling within a week or so on the market. This means that you can't just kick back and relax if you're serious about buying a house. If you see a home you like, don't wait! Visit it as soon as you can, and make sure you're prepared to make an offer right away.
You'll Face Some Competition
It's increasingly common for home sellers to receive multiple offers. The longer interest rates remain relatively low, the more likely it is that you'll face competition while buying a house. When multiple offers come in, the listing agent will often go back to each prospective buyer and ask for their "highest and best" offer. The winning bid can often be anywhere from 5% to 10% above the asking price.
Since you'll need some extra wiggle room when buying a house in this environment, refrain from looking at homes at the top of your price range. A good rule of thumb is to know your maximum price and then look for homes at least 10% lower than that. This will give you room to bump up your offer if necessary.
Expect Extra Safety Precautions
Thanks to social distancing, buying a house looks a lot different now. Expect to take virtual tours, sign most of your paperwork digitally, and wear a mask when you have in-person interactions. Social distancing may also impact how you interact with the title agents, home inspectors, notaries, and others involved in your home purchase..
You'll Want to Sell Your Own House First
Buying a house when you haven't sold your current one is common. However, you may feel more comfortable bidding against other potential buyers if you don't have the weight of your existing home holding you down.
Selling your current home and moving into an apartment or rental home while you focus on buying a house is an option many people take. You may also consider selling your current home with a contingency to find your new home first.
Buying a house in a pandemic is different, but that doesn't mean it can't be a great experience. Many buyers will find their dream homes despite the current environment. Will you be one of them?
When you're buying a house, a sense of urgency could save you thousands: But it's also important to do research and take the right steps.
Let's review some of the biggest mishaps to avoid when buying a house:
Done right, buying a house can be the best decision you've ever made. Keep these ten pitfalls in mind so you can truly get the best deal on the home you want.
Real estate's traditional touchpoints are helpful when buying a house, but most people want to avoid all of the face-to-face contact in today's world. To continue offering excellent service, more real estate pros are introducing virtual tours.
A virtual tour provides you with the opportunity to walk through a home using streaming video. Because of its crisp, live visuals and high interactivity, it's a step up from a static "tour" that uses property photos to create a panoramic view of a home's interiors.
Touted as "the next best thing to being there," a virtual tour can actually be better than an in-person walkthrough in some surprising ways. And yes, it is a tremendous asset when you're buying a house!
Here's how to make the most of a virtual tour for your decision-making:
What's the key to success? Don't overlook the value of a virtual tour – but be sure you get the information you need from the experience. Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions you'll ever make, and a good virtual tour can help you get there faster.
Sometimes, you just know. Perhaps it's the location, the layout of the home, the backyard, or more likely a combination of many factors. But when you know that a home is the one, it's time to get serious about buying a house you love. Before you can make a competitive offer, it pays to be prepared. That's why you should do these five things when you find a house that you love.
Every negotiation is unique when buying a house, but taking the right steps after falling in love is key to landing your dream home. Learn as much as you can about the property; make sure your finances are in order and make an offer that separates you from other buyers.
Luxury home buying is vastly different than traditional real estate purchases. Everything from the way that you search for these properties to how your sales associate assists you through the process is significantly different. It should come as no surprise that many first-time luxury homebuyers often fall victim to these five mistakes:
Owning a luxury home is a reality, but you must be aware of potential pitfalls along the way. Avoid these mistakes by enlisting the help of a knowledgeable and experienced luxury real estate agent.
Buying a beachfront property is a lifelong dream for people of all ages, and for good reason! There's nothing like the feeling of salt air in your hair, a cool breeze coming off the water on a hot day, or a pleasant summer evening spent on a patio with waterfront views. But beachfront properties typically come with a premium price tag, so picking the right property is crucial.
Buying a house on the beachfront truly can be a dream come true, but there are usually some obstacles to navigate in order to find the right match for your needs. With enough research, a willingness to shop in different areas, and a commitment to finding the property that works for your budget, you can find a beachfront property you'll truly love.
The countdown to moving day is one of the most exciting times when buying a house. Even though you're ready to grab the keys and get cozy in your new home, there is still plenty of work to do before, during, and after moving day.
Use this helpful moving day checklist to reference after buying a house. It will assist you in keeping both your old and new properties all squared away.
Pre-Moving Day Checklist
Moving Day Checklist
Post-Moving Day Checklist
While buying a house is stressful enough, getting ready for moving day can be just as chaotic. Use these checklists soon after buying a house to help the relocation process run as smoothly as possible.
If you're considering buying a house, getting your finances in order is a top priority. However, you may be worried about your credit score more than you need to.
Make no mistake about it, a decent credit score is critical; however, it doesn't have to be perfect! The following facts should help ease your mind.
A Perfect Credit Score is Rare
While it's a noble goal to strive for a perfect 850 credit score, it's also important to note that only 1.6% of the U.S. population with a credit score has achieved this feat. According to experts, a score of 760 is typically enough to qualify for the best loan rates. However, even if your score is lower than this, it won't likely prevent you from buying a house.
The Credit Score You Really Need
While you may have access to more lenders and get better offers with a higher credit score, don't give up on your dream of buying a house if yours falls in the lower end of the spectrum. In fact, the U.S. Federal Housing Administration (FHA), approves loans for homebuyers with a credit score of just 580 as long as you have a downpayment of at least 3.5% of the total home price.
In some cases, you might even be able to buy a house with a score as low as 500! In general, however, you'll need a score of 680 or better to get the best rates.
Your Income Plays an Important Role
While a lender might be willing to look beyond a less-than-stellar credit score, consistent income is critical. Note that the key word here is consistent. As long as the lender determines that you earn enough to comfortably make your mortgage payments, you don't need a super-high income. In fact, having a high income is less important than having stable employment.
With layoffs and furloughs running rampant right now, loss of employment is a factor that's more likely to derail your plans for buying a house. Expect that the lender will verify your employment several times during the period between when you first apply for the loan and your closing day. If you're laid off or fired before you close, this could lead to a denial.
Facts and Myths About Raising Your Credit Score
If you're interested in raising your credit score before buying a house, you can do some simple things. However, many people fall for myths that not only don't help raise their scores but could also lead to other problems. For example, shopping around for rates and offers from multiple lenders won't lower your score. What it likely will do, however, is save you a few thousand dollars in fees and interest payments over the life of your loan.
It's also a great idea to pay off debts before you apply for your loan, but you'll want to choose the right ones. Paying off revolving credit, like credit cards, will have a much greater impact than paying down long-term loans.
It's also important to note that negative marks on your credit history usually won't prevent you from buying a house. As long as your recent credit history is better and you have a decent score, most lenders won't deny you due to a blip in the past.
The Truth About Buying a House
Now that you know the credit score you really need before buying a house, you should be able to breathe easier. Remember to avoid taking out any new credit immediately before you apply and to keep making all of your liability payments on time. While you don't need a perfect credit score, the better shape your finances are in, the easier it will be to achieve your goal of buying a house of your own!
Buying a house that needs renovations can be a great way to find a deal, but the choice between a move-in ready home and a fixer-upper is about more than just the purchase price. The cost of renovations, the time you have available to tackle DIY tasks, your timeline for moving in, and your risk tolerance all play an essential part in making the right choice. If you have what it takes to tackle a fixer-upper, you may be able to customize your home and save some money on the purchase price.
While there are risks involved, buying a house that needs work can allow you to maximize your budget and customize your new home to your preferences. The key is to be honest with yourself about whether a fixer-upper fits your needs, and set clear goals when buying a house.
Does owning a luxury home sound like a dream? For some owners, it's actually a painful reality. While the elaborate designs and dazzling amenities of a luxury property are appealing, buying a luxury home includes the same number of pros and cons that you'd weigh when buying a more modest piece of real estate. Before you set your sights on owning a lavish living space, take a moment to consider a few of the advantages and drawbacks that these homeowners face.
Owning a luxury home is the ideal living situation for some families. For others, it can be a headache and ultimately a bad investment. Be sure to consult with a luxury real estate professional to determine if buying a luxury home is the right decision for your lifestyle.
There was a time when buying a house without actually setting foot in it was a risky bet suited only for Vegas high-roller types. Today, thanks to advancements in technology and the effects of a pandemic, people with less tolerance for risk are more willing to go all-in on virtual home shopping.
In addition, if you're in the military or planning a long-distance move, circumstances may limit your opportunity to make first-hand tours of homes. Use these expert tips to turn up an ace sight unseen.
Ready to put your cards on the table? Follow this strategy for a winning hand in your virtual home search.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on real estate markets across the country, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you need to put your home-buying plans on hold. Residential real estate sales have been ruled essential services, and the industry has adapted so that you can shop for your next home from the safety of your current residence. There are deals to be found in many markets, for buyers who are willing to adapt to the temporary new normal in real estate. Learn how to find your next home in our guide to buying a house during COVID-19.
While the process may look different from what you'd expect traditionally, buying a house during COVID-19 is certainly still possible as long as you're comfortable handling things digitally. Remember to always check your local coronavirus regulations so you know what to expect when you start shopping.
Buying a house is a complicated process no matter how many times you've done it, but the right real estate agent can make life much easier.
Any buyer's agent can tell you that they'll have you covered, but the best agents will earn your business by showing it. They anticipate your needs in advance, guide you through each step of the purchasing process, answer questions, and help you with every milestone on the path to buying a house. With the right agent, you can approach the home buying process with confidence.
If you're still searching for the right buyer's agent, then interview multiple agents that can help you get an idea of what each has to offer.
Do you think that buying a house is a bit easier than others make it seem? Perhaps you're right. After all, many homeowners put their homes For Sale By Owner and likely just as many buyers that choose to forego traditional real estate advice and attempt to purchase the home using only an escrow agency. Many buyers believe that they have the wit and luck to negotiate the sale themselves — even without any prior experience in selling or buying a house. Are these investors coming out on top when buying a home, or are they missing out on the knowledge and experience of a qualified real estate agent who can potentially save them thousands?
For anyone who has watched potential buyers negotiate a home sale on television or in the movies, spoiler alert, it isn't that simple. While some aspects of a real estate transaction are pretty cut and dry, we caution buyers to attempt price negotiations alone. Money is subject to buyers, and sellers often take it personally. A buyer may be offended by what they perceive as an unreasonable asking price while a seller may be insulted when receiving a lowball offer.
What many buyers fail to realize is that the price negotiations when buying a home involve much more than the listing price. The "price" of a home is all of the expenditures involved on the buyer's side, financial and otherwise. A seller may agree to pay the price of the closing costs, but the buyer may need to pay the "price" of renovations or furnishings that require an investment after the home purchase is finalized.
While some buyers may balk at the thought of paying a broker to perform a service that they believe they can do themselves, these individuals typically don't understand how much an experienced and knowledgeable agent can save them in the end. Real estate agents are expert negotiators who know not only how to approach this conversation, but also know which aspects of the sale can and should be negotiated for the buyer.
For example, a buyer may be able to talk a seller down a few thousand dollars on their own, only to realize that they need to replace their roof within a year of the home sale. In contrast, a real estate agent can order a roofing inspection from a certified roofing company and negotiate a replacement roof installation before the sale. The investment of a few thousand dollars ends up saving the buyer upwards of tens-of-thousands of dollars on the roofing and potential damage expenses.
Can a buyer negotiate buying a home on their own? Absolutely. Some even come out on top in the end. However, this is not a wise decision for most buyers, especially those who are entering into their first real estate transaction. By hiring an experienced real estate agent, buyers have the potential to save more than they ever could have entering into negotiations alone.
Many first-time homebuyers don't realize that they will be responsible for certain expenses that are due at closing. In addition to a down payment, closing costs are often divided between the seller and buyer. These expenses are a normal part of the home buying process, some of which are traditionally placed under the responsibility of the seller or buyer. Let's define several standard closing costs and identify which party is typically responsible for this expense.
Common Closing Costs Explained
Those buying a house should anticipate paying an additional two to five percent of a home's selling price in closing costs. Those selling a property should anticipate paying roughly six to ten percent of the home's selling price in closing costs.
Common closing costs buyers take on when buying a house include:
Common closing costs sellers take on when selling property include:
In some situations, buyers may be able to negotiate with sellers to relieve themselves of various closing costs. For example, sellers who desire a fast sale may be willing to cover certain costs or buyers may be willing to accept a lower counteroffer if the seller agrees to absorb some of these expenses. If you're interested in buying a house, we suggest that all buyers anticipate these additional costs and save accordingly.
To update a famous saying, time and tide wait for no man--nor pandemic. If you're buying a house, you may not have the luxury of waiting until things get back to "normal" or some semblance of it.
But social distancing doesn't have to bring your plans for buying a house to a halt. Use these six tips for incorporating safe and healthy practices when you move.
Buying a house is rarely easy, and moving during a pandemic can up the uncertainty. Accept the fact that these are unusual times, plan your move with caution instead of fear and enjoy peace of mind in your new home.
Does the idea of turning your love of spending weekends out on the lake, fishing, or lounging by the shore, into your everyday way of living? Buying a house on a lake could be your answer. However, be aware it comes with challenges making it a tall order. Still, the effort is worth it!
Let's look at eight crucial steps when buying a house out on the lake:
For the right buyer, a lakefront home is an ideal choice. As a primary residence, a seasonal vacation getaway, or even a rental property, it's an excellent investment in your quality of life. Use these eight tips, and you'll be on your way to a successful lakefront buy.
Do you daydream about a waterfront home where you and your family can get away from the stress of daily life on a whim? Forget the worries about availability, fees, or restrictions. As a bonus, you can cover costs by renting the home out periodically.
If owning a vacation home is part of your American dream, here's some useful information to help you make it a reality.
Businessman Arnold Glasow once said, "The average vacation is one-tenth playing and nine-tenths paying." With some clear-eyed planning, you can change that ratio with a smart investment in a vacation home that provides endless enjoyment.
Do you think that buying a house is a bit easier than others make it seem? Perhaps you're right.
Many people believe that they have the wit and luck to negotiate the sale themselves — even without any prior experience in selling or buying a house. Are these investors coming out on top when buying a home, or are they missing out on the knowledge and experience of a qualified sales associate who can potentially save them thousands?
For anyone who has watched potential buyers negotiate a home sale on television or in the movies, spoiler alert, it isn't that simple. While some aspects of a real estate transaction are pretty cut and dry, we caution buyers to attempt price negotiations alone. Money is a subject buyers and sellers often take personally. A buyer may be offended by what they perceive as an unreasonable asking price while a seller may be insulted when receiving a lowball offer.
What many buyers fail to realize is that the price negotiations when buying a home involve much more than the listing price. The "price" of a home is all of the expenditures involved on the buyer's side, financial and otherwise. A seller may agree to pay the price of the closing costs, but the buyer may need to pay the "price" of renovations or furnishings that require an investment after the home purchase is finalized.
While some buyers may balk at the thought of paying an associate to perform a service that they believe they can do themselves, these individuals typically don't understand how much an experienced and knowledgeable professional can save them in the end. Real estate agents are expert negotiators who know not only how to approach this conversation, but also know which aspects of the sale can and should be negotiated for the buyer.
For example, a buyer may be able to talk a seller down a few thousand dollars on their own, only to realize that they need to replace their roof within a year of the home sale. In contrast, a real estate agent can order a roofing inspection from a certified roofing company and negotiate a replacement roof installation before the sale. The investment of a few thousand dollars ends up saving the buyer upwards of tens-of-thousands of dollars on the roofing and potential damage expenses.
Can a buyer negotiate buying a home on their own? Absolutely. Some even come out on top in the end. However, this is not a wise decision for most buyers, especially those who are entering into their first real estate transaction. By hiring an experienced real estate agent, buyers have the potential to save more than they ever could have by entering into negotiations alone.
You can't pick your neighbors, but you can pick their brains before buying a house! It's wise to talk to those living in your desired neighborhoods before putting in an offer on a home. Without being intrusive, a casual conversation can be eye-opening. If you're interested in gaining first-hand insight into what life in the cul-de-sac is like, we encourage you to ask neighbors the following questions.
Most neighbors will be happy to speak with you if only for just a few moments. Unfortunately, there will always be a handful of people who may give you the cold shoulder. We recommend talking to a few neighbors in the surrounding houses to get varying opinions for you to consider. The most important aspect of buying a house is to find the one that feels like a loving home, but having friendly, helpful neighbors next door doesn't hurt either!
You're not just buying a house for yourself — you're buying a home for your whole family! As you tour each property, you need to consider every member of the household, including your pets. Once you've found the perfect place, you may want to bring your dog over immediately to let them explore and share in your excitement. To help them adjust to the space comfortably, use these tips when introducing your dog to your new home.
Buying a house is an exciting moment, especially when you can share it with your pet. As you get ready to introduce your dog to the house, make sure, you keep their needs in mind. Preparing the house for their arrival, and taking your time to guide them comfortably into the space will help them feel right at home in no time.
When it comes to parenting, teaching home skills is considered a major part of the job. But while their kids may know how to cook a steak or fix a leaky pipe, the basics of actually buying a house are frequently overlooked.
For most people, a home is the biggest and most significant purchase they'll make. Are you ready to take that step? Here are ten lessons your parents never taught you about buying a house.
Buying a house is serious business, but it doesn't have to be scary. As with most worthwhile activities, preparation makes all the difference.
Based on the size of the investment, the intricacy of legal documents and the potential for second-guessing, buying a house is the most intimidating decision most of us will ever face. With so many moving parts and the amount of technical knowledge involved, how can anyone be expected to make the right call?
To borrow a popular expression, buying a house is like eating an elephant: take it one bite at a time. Plan your strategy with this practical list that demystifies the steps of the homebuying process.
And just like that, the elephant is gone. When you follow these steps, buying a house becomes a lot less overwhelming and a lot more fulfilling.
Buying a house involves a myriad of elements that the average first-time homebuyer is quite unfamiliar with. One critical decision that buyers need to make is whether they need to purchase homeowner's insurance. Though many men and women have a general understanding of what a homeowner's insurance policy is, some do not fully understand what this protection plan covers and why it's necessary. Here is a quick overview detailing the basics of homeowner's insurance.
Simply put, homeowner's insurance is property insurance that protects the structure, some furnishings, and people in the event of damages or accidents.
Homeowner's insurance generally will cover damages to the exterior and interior of your home, damage or destruction of personal property, and any injuries that occur on your property. Like car insurance, when you file a claim after an incident occurs, you'll pay a deductible. Keep in mind that certain incidents are traditionally not covered by homeowner's insurance, including damages stemming from "acts of God" or "acts of war". For example, flood damage is typically not covered by homeowner's insurance, however, you can take out a separate flood insurance policy to protect your home.
Homeowner's insurance is not legally required in most states. While policies like car insurance are often mandatory to own or lease a vehicle, you can legally purchase a home without purchasing a homeowner's insurance policy. However, if you plan on financing your home purchase, your lender will likely require that you purchase some form of homeowner's insurance. When you're buying a house with help from a mortgage lender, they technically own the house as well and will want to protect their investment.
Is Homeowner's Insurance the Same as a Home Warranty?
No, a home warranty and a homeowner's insurance policy are not the same. A home warranty is a separate, optional policy that protects other aspects of your home. A home warranty covers the systems and appliances in your home if they break down. A home warranty may cover:
Even if you're buying a house in cash without additional financing, a homeowner's insurance policy is a wise investment. If a catastrophic event completely ruins your home, you'd be responsible for rebuilding the home and replacing your assets if you are not covered under a homeowner's insurance policy. These policies also protect you in the event that someone, even a visitor or service repair professional, gets injured while on your property. Homeowner's insurance gives you peace of mind against the unknown accidents that could put you, your family, and your finances in jeopardy.
There is a range of coverage options available for homeowners of all needs. Many policy providers will customize a plan that meets your specific coverage needs. Compare plans and rates to find the best fit for your home.
Though homeowner's insurance may not be mandatory, we believe that all individuals should purchase this protection plan when buying a house. You'll be surprised at just how much peace of mind these affordable policies can provide.
Buying a house is a big decision, and even if you're not a first-time buyer, it's easy to get caught up in emotions and feel overwhelmed about your choices. This can lead to making mistakes that can cost you in terms of time and money and lead you to buy a home that isn't quite right for you.
The following are six of the top house-hunting mistakes to avoid:
Buying a house is a multi-step process, and it's easy to make some mistakes along the way. By avoiding the preceding slip-ups, you'll make your journey easier and have the best possible chance of finding a home you'll love.
Imagine the feeling of falling in love with your dream home and calling it your own. While thousands of buyers are confident that a specific home is perfect for them, others face a challenging decision--choosing between multiple dream homes. When you're unsure of whether or not a house is the "right" home for you, committing to a single property can seem like an overwhelming and downright impossible decision. Although each buyer is unique, most can make a confident decision when they recognize these signs.
Buying a house is an exciting experience, especially when you know in your heart that this property is perfect for your lifestyle. If you're unsure if a home is "right" for you, take the time to search your thoughts, seek advice, and consult your real estate agent for guidance.
Based on the size of the investment, the intricacy of legal documents and the potential for second-guessing, buying a house is one of the most intimidating decisions most of us will ever face. With so many moving parts and the amount of technical knowledge involved, how can anyone be expected to make the right call?
To borrow a popular expression, buying a house is like eating an elephant: take it one bite at a time. Plan your strategy with this practical list that demystifies the steps of the homebuying process.
And just like that, the elephant is gone. When you follow these steps, buying a house becomes a lot less overwhelming and a lot more fulfilling.
Buying a house is one of the biggest investments you'll ever make. It's easy to get excited about moving into a new home; however, too often we do not pay attention to the details that lead up to that long-awaited move-in day.
There's a long list of things that you need to do to ensure a smooth transition, and one of them is transferring your utilities. You don't want to spend your first night in your new home without electricity, water, or gas. Ahead, we take a look at five things to remember about setting up your utilities when moving into your new home.
Finally, don't forget to have your utility providers come to your house and do a final reading of your electric, water, and gas meters before moving. Make a copy of the meter reading reports for your files just in case you receive any unexpected bills. Generally, moving can be stressful, but using this checklist will help you switch utilities to your new home with minimal hassles.
Are you buying a home? Consider a condo!
A condo can be a great way to get a first home, downsize without losing amenities, or build value for the future. However, there are a few details about condo living you might not realize.
When you're house hunting, if buying a single-family residence doesn't meet your needs, a condo can be just the thing. With these six questions in mind, you'll be equipped to make the best choice for you.
Buying a home is an exciting process that involves a very large purchase. Unfortunately, large amounts of money can sometimes attract scammers who want to trick buyers before, during, and after the sales process.
The following are a few scams that homebuyers should beware of:
When you're buying a home, fraudsters may try to take advantage of you financially. By doing your research, avoiding high-pressure tactics, and following up on any suspicious contact, you can lower your risk of becoming a victim of these scams.
Building a wish list including a finished deck, central air conditioning, and other preferred features is part of the fun of buying a house. It's just as important to have a deal-breaker list with problems and shortcomings that should make you proceed with caution.
Think twice about buying a house with any of these ten red flags.
Buying a house is an emotional experience. Don't let yourself be dazzled by lots of bells and whistles. Take a clear-eyed look at the whole picture, good and bad, when choosing your future home.
Buying a house requires a significant financial investment — one which many prospective buyers aren't fully aware of. The two elements that receive the most focus are the mortgage calculations and the down payment. Although it's wise to determine how much home you can afford before you begin your search, it's easy to forget about the other costs associated with the transaction. Budgeting for closing costs is a key aspect of your overall budget for buying a house.
"Closing costs" is a catchall term that refers to the different fees you'll pay as you finalize the home sale. Every real estate transaction is unique and one homebuyer may pay a different percentage than another homebuyer. While these costs are dependent on each individual home sale, most home buyers should expect to pay between two percent and five percent of the principal of the loan. How is this amount calculated? Closing costs usually include:
Many of these fees are the responsibility of the buyer while some are traditionally the responsibility of the seller. Thankfully, some of these costs can be negotiated between the seller and buyer. Certain fees may even be negotiated or reduce by speaking with the lender. The best way to prepare for these varying costs is to assume that your budget should include a two to five percent increase to cover these costs.
Although you may or may not be responsible for all of these fees when buying a house, having the funds available is the most responsible way to proceed. When it comes to negotiating these fees, confide in your real estate agent and let them advise you on how to approach the negotiations as amicable and respectful as possible.
Most people shopping for a new home understand that buying a house is not as simple as it seems. Along with the legal and financial aspects of the sale, one important element of the buying process that many buyers are unaware of is the etiquette required while visiting properties.
Viewing a property one-on-one with a real estate agent makes it relatively easier to mind your manners, but do you know how to act when you're attending an open house? Understanding and following proper open house etiquette is key to making a good impression with sellers and their agents.
The golden rule for all open houses and private showings is obvious — treat a seller's home with the respect and care that you'd treat the homes of your loved ones. Assume that anytime you walk into an open house, you should:
Here are a few answers to common questions about open house etiquette other buyers have had when buying a house:
Practicing proper etiquette while attending an open house is a wise way to ensure that you make a good impression and respect the seller's home.
Many young families find themselves ready to buy a home--often for the first time. Buying a house that not only suits your own needs but also those of your child--and possibly future children--requires some planning, but the payoff is well worth it.
The following are some homebuying tips for young families:
Buying a house will help your family have a place of your own to bond and build memories. By planning, taking your time, and knowing what you're looking for, you'll find the home that's right for you.
Baby Boomers have led the way in many areas, and now they're redefining what retirees want in a new home. Unlike the generation before them, Boomers, who are between ages 55 and 73 in 2019, are not ready to live the easy life. They want homes that support their active lifestyles without sacrificing other amenities.
The following are some of the attributes Baby Boomers are looking for when they're buying a house:
Baby Boomers have different priorities than their parents, and other generations have had at a similar age. They're usually still quite active, and they're looking to spend their time on leisure pursuits and possibly their profession rather than on chores at home. As a result, they're focused on buying a house that makes it easy for them to age in place with what they value.
Buying a house is an exciting time, and it affects everyone in the family – even the family dog! You'd never dream of making life difficult for your pet, but even the best-behaved pets will need a little extra TLC during all the upheaval of moving.
Dogs can really pick up on the fact that things are changing and any possible stress you're feeling about the situation. But since they don't understand what's going on, they may be uncomfortable in their surroundings, have sudden behavior problems, or have a sudden change of temperament. There is a lot you can do to help your dog adjust to their new surroundings and handle any travel needed during the process.
Above all remember to be patient and offer lots of love. Buying a house is a time of change and your dog will eventually adjust to their new home, but it will be in their own time. In the meantime, your help, attention and patience will make things easier for you and your dog.
The ability to get around without a car can really make a neighborhood feel like home. Not to mention walking is good exercise, relaxing, convenient, economical and better for the environment. With all those benefits, it's no wonder living in a walkable neighborhood is something homebuyers really want. Here's what to do when buying a house in a walkable neighborhood.
If finding a walkable neighborhood is one of your top priorities when buying a house doing a little research will go a long way toward finding the right neighborhood for you.
In general, a lowball offer is anything 15% or more of the seller's asking price. However, this depends on the seller's perceptions. If a price is at the low end of what a seller hopes for, just about anything could be thought of as low.
That said, making a lowball offer isn't the end. It's always better to try!
Talking to a seller's agent early on can clue you in that a lowball offer is worth making:
Even if none of these situations apply, that doesn't mean it's time to give up. Several techniques make buying a house with a modest offer easier. Here's how you can get it done right:
Consider a lowball offer a golden opportunity: If you move forward with confidence, you might just save yourself tens of thousands of dollars when buying a house. Remember: The worst they can do is say no.
We spend a lot of time talking about how to buy the right home, and for good reason! Buying a house is a complicated process, and the right advice can have a big impact on your bottom line. But... don't you ever wonder what it would take to buy the wrong house? Sometimes knowing what not to do is half the battle, and that's certainly true when buying a house. So without further ado, we present to you the perfect plan for buying the wrong house – AKA what not to do when shopping for a home.
Buying the wrong home may feel like it takes a lot of work, but nobody said it would be easy. Or you could do the opposite of these tips and find a home you'll love long-term... but where's the adventure in that?
Buying a house is a time filled with hope, anticipation, and possibly even a little anxiety. But making the right offer the first time can make things a lot easier. These tips can help make sure your offer is appealing and gets noticed by the seller, so you can move on into that new home you've been waiting for.
Buying that new home starts with making your best offer the first time. Making it competitive, flexible, and personalized is sure to get you noticed by sellers.
Buying a house is an exciting process. Open houses are slightly different than a private browsing session, and many of our clients are often unsure of the proper etiquette while touring these homes. To make this event as carefree and effective as possible here's a helpful homebuyer checklist of what to look for during an open house.
Properly preparing for an open house will help you stay organized and objective. Follow these tips, and you'll be ready to potentially make an offer on a great bargain or confidently walk away from a money pit.
Becoming a homeowner is about more than finding a great house. In a perfect world, your dream home will also be located in your dream neighborhood. And while it may not always be a perfect world, that doesn't mean you can't have both.
When you're looking at homes, it's important to consider the surroundings as well as the amenities of the house itself. Here's how to make sure your new home is in the perfect neighborhood for you.
Whether you're looking for your next home or your first home, a lot of different considerations come into play. Be sure to look beyond the walls of your house itself, and find a neighborhood that you can call home for years to come.
Technology changes everything, from the way we communicate to the way we experience the world. It would be impossible to count the ways in which technology has changed real estate in recent years.
But the real question isn't how has technology changed the game, it's how can you use it to help you win. If you're gearing up to buy a home, it's essential to use technology to your advantage. Luckily, there are a lot of ways to do just that.
When you're ready to become a homeowner, technology is one of your greatest assets. Learn to use it to your advantage, and you already have a leg up on the search for your dream home.
Are you considering a move to the country, on a lot where you can build the unique home of your dreams? There are many advantages to buying acreage, but the process is a bit different that what you may be used to when buying a house. Location is still a huge priority, and it's important to know exactly what to look for from the right piece of land. Understanding how to identify the right acreage for your needs will make it much easier to find the ideal match, whether you're buying as an investment or looking for a place to build your next home. Start the process with our six tips for buying an acreage that you'll love long-term.
Buying an acreage may be different from buying a house, but the processes also share many similarities. By choosing the right location, preparing for costs of ownership, learning the rules of the land, and relying on your real estate agent to assist you throughout the process, you can find the acreage that best suits your needs.
While renting a home is a rite of passage for most people, there comes a time when most of us get tired of stroking a check to the landlord every month. If you've started thinking about joining the 65 percent of Americans who own their own homes, you'll be glad to know that now is a great time to do it!
Not sure if you're ready to take the leap into homeownership? Check out these five huge advantages of buying a house over renting.
Buying your first home is an exciting experience, but it is also a complicated process. Learning all you can about that process before you get started is essential to reaching your end goal – buying a house you'll be proud to call home at a price you can afford. One of the most important things to learn about is how to avoid costly missteps along the way, so here are ten mistakes to avoid as a first-time home buyer:
When you're buying a house there are lots of decisions to be made. One of those decisions is whether or not you're willing to purchase a fixer-upper. You're sure to find plenty of examples glamorizing the fixer-upper experience, and it can be tempting to want in on the action. You've likely heard tons of stories about incredible deals people got because their home needed a little work. Not to mention all those TV shows where houses no one could even lives in gets turned into something worthy of a magazine spread and sold for top dollar. Fixer-uppers can definitely be an amazing find, but before you dive in head first, weigh the pros and cons to make the right decision for you.
When you're buying a house, you need to look at the pros and cons to make an informed decision. And that strategy is even more important if you're planning on purchasing a fixer-upper. But doing your homework, getting estimates and budgeting appropriately may make that decision the right one for you.
There are a lot of great real estate agents out there. But just because someone is a great agent doesn't mean they're the right agent for you. You need someone skilled, experienced and, above all, dedicated to helping you find your dream home. These are the questions you need to ask to find a great buyer's agent.
Having a great buyer's agent on your side is one of the best ways to make the process of finding your dream home much easier. There are a lot of great agents out there, and finding the right one comes down to asking the right questions.
There are a lot of things to look forward to when you buy your first home and move on to the next chapter in your life. Packing up all your things is not one of them. Still, moving day is unavoidable, and when that day comes, these simple tips will make the process easier than you thought possible.
When you're moving, countless exciting paths lie ahead. Following these ten moving tips will make the moving process much more simple and stress-free.
Are you considering a move to the country, on a lot where you can build the unique home of your dreams? There are many advantages to buying acreage, but the process is a bit different than what you may be used to when buying a house. Location is still a huge priority, and it's important to know exactly what to look for from the right piece of land. Understanding how to identify the right acreage for your needs will make it much easier to find the ideal match, whether you're buying as an investment or looking for a place to build your next home. Start the process with our 6 tips for buying an acreage that you'll love long-term.
Buying an acreage may be different from buying a house, but the processes also share many similarities. By choosing the right location, preparing for costs of ownership, learning the rules of the land, and relying on your real estate agent to assist you throughout the process, you can find the acreage that best suits your needs.
Buying a house is one of the biggest parts of the American dream, but that doesn't mean you have to wait for it your whole life. If you take the right steps, you can start on the path to homeownership right now.
Each step builds on the last, and you'll learn more about your needs and challenges as you go. If you run into something you need to reassess, advice is a call or email away. Real estate agents help first-time buyers like you every day.
Here's how to get off to a good start when buying a house:
Buying a house is a lot to wrap your mind around at first, but it's easier than it looks.
When it comes to buying a house, you need every advantage you can get. That's why honing your negotiating skills is so important. The ability to haggle is crucial to getting the right price, but the right price is just one of many things that are negotiable when you're buying a house. Here's what else you can work into the deal.
The fine art of negotiating is one of the best skills you can have when you're buying a house, and it's also important to work with a real estate agent who can bring his or her bargaining skills to the table. And remember, price is just one of many things that may be open to negotiation.
When it comes to finding a mortgage, not shopping around could mean you're leaving a lot of extra money on the table. A shocking number of first-time buyers go with the first home loan offer that comes along. But that could be a big mistake.
Shop and Save
When you consider the potential savings gained by shopping for the best mortgage rate, it's shocking how many don't put in the effort to weigh their options. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau reports that nearly half of all mortgage borrowers don't shop around when looking for a home loan.
Buying a home is likely to be the biggest purchase you ever make, and you're going to be working at paying off your home loan for 15, 20, or 30 years. Depending on the details of your loan, the interest rate, fees, and many other factors could vary widely. Consider options from various lenders.
Most experts agree that it's best to look at at least three different lenders to make sure you're getting the best deal on your mortgage. That should include your own bank and at least one national lender.
Mortgage rates can vary quite a bit from one lender to another, and often change from one day to the next, so all that shopping around can pay off. Just a fraction of a percentage point can add up to thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your loan. Keep a few things in mind as you look for the best home loan:
Forbes recently reported that buyers who compare one extra quote could save $1,500 on their home loan and that buyers who compare two extra quotes could save $3,000. No matter how you look at it, the numbers are very clear about one thing: it pays to shop around.
Are you wondering when you should get a pre-approval for a home loan during the buying process? Here, we look at when and how far in advance of purchasing a home you should get pre-approved. We also look at why you should get the pre-approval.
When Should I Get Pre-Approved For A Mortgage?
Ideally, you want to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking for houses. Doing so will help you find any obstacles to your pre-approval like having excessive debt or a poor credit score. You'll also be able to determine your home-hunting price range.
Additionally, you will become more competitive in the market in comparison to buyers who have not gotten their pre-approval. All of those aspects will help your cause when the time comes to shop for a house.
Overall, a pre-approval is a preliminary review of your financial status to determine:
The lender performs it at the moment you apply for a loan. But it can also be done before you hand in a formal application.
The pre-approval process serves two purposes:
Why Should You Get Pre-Approved Before Shopping for a House?
In most cases, it makes sense for a home buyer to get a mortgage pre-approval before they begin to shop for homes. The process of getting pre-approved for a mortgage helps you concentrate your search on the sort of homes you can afford, depending on the creditor's willingness to lend.
However, the pre-approval review process is not a substitute for budgeting. You need to review your income and expenses to establish how much you can afford in monthly payments.
The process of pre-approval comes into play later, when you are ready to shop for a property. You should have a budget in mind already before you move onto this phase.
There is also another good reason to get a pre-approval before home hunting. A house seller will give your offer priority over other buying offers that have not been reviewed by a lender. In other words, you'll be taken more seriously as a potential home buyer.
Overall, it makes excellent sense when you look at it from the seller's point of view. No seller wants to accept an offer from somebody who does not qualify for a mortgage loan. Therefore it's wise to get pre-approved before hunting for homes.
It is also worthwhile to note that preapproval is different from final approval. You can still be rejected for a mortgage even after a loan officer has pre-approved you. It is a common occurrence.
"Pre" means that it happens at the beginning of the mortgage process. For you to receive final approval from the mortgage lender, you also need to undergo a rigorous underwriting procedure. The underwriter will typically review your application and your credentials to establish whether you're an acceptable risk. If the underwriter issues a green light, then you will get final approval.
What Documents Are Necessary for a Mortgage Pre-approval?
The lender will want to confirm your identity, credit history, working history, income, and monetary assets to give a pre-approval. He or she will probably ask you to fill out a residential loan application, called 1003 ("ten-oh-three").
The 1003 application will ask for your details, financial information, and loan details, which include:
Your lender will also perform a hard credit -inquiry and might require supplemental documents based on your situation.
There's no doubt that a strong credit score makes it easier to secure a mortgage with favorable terms when buying a house. The higher your credit score, the lower you can expect your interest rates to be, which can translate to significant savings over the life of your loan. A damaged credit score, on the other hand, can lead to higher interest rates, and make it difficult to qualify for certain types of loans without repairing credit first. Understanding how credit scores impact your interest rate is an important step in securing a mortgage for your next home.
While your credit score impacts many facets of the mortgage process, the biggest key is in how it affects your interest rates. A higher credit score ultimately means lower interest rates, and that's a big win financially long-term when buying a house. Even if your credit has seen better days, there's plenty you can do to get your score in shape before pursuing a mortgage.
Shopping for a mortgage is about so much more than simply learning what your monthly payment will be. In order to make informed decisions when buying a house, you need to ask the right questions and find a lender that fits your needs. Asking questions makes it easier to compare loan opportunities with various lenders, and learn exactly what goes into calculating your monthly mortgage payment. Ask your lender these six questions to make sure you have the information you need when shopping for a mortgage.
Securing a mortgage is one of the most important steps in buying a house, so it's worth taking the time to learn exactly what your lender has to offer. Asking the right questions goes a long way toward helping identify the mortgage options that are best for you.
Buying a house is one of the most significant financial commitments most people make in a lifetime. Most home buyers don't make their purchase with one lump sum of money. A mortgage makes it possible to pay for a home over time. If you're buying a house for the first time, it's essential to understand how mortgages work, and what to expect from your loan. Fortunately, there's plenty of help available, starting with our guide to home loan basics.
Working with a lender you know and trust makes life much easier. If you're not sure where to start, your real estate agent can help you find a lender. By consulting trusted sources, doing your research, and asking key questions, you can navigate the process of securing a mortgage with confidence.
Buying a home--especially your first home--is an incredibly exciting time in one's life. When it comes to closing on your mortgage, it is important to exercise caution so as not to fall prey to scams designed to steal your hard-earned money.
According to an FBI report, Americans lost nearly $150 million to real estate scams in 2018. In fact, scams targeting the real estate industry have increased over 1,100 percent since 2015.
Scammers use a variety of tactics to get rich at your expense. While the rewards of owning a home outweigh the risks of fraud, it's wise to educate yourself about common mortgage scams as you navigate the home-buying process.
Be Aware of Phishing Scams at Closing Time
Mortgage fraud takes many forms, and phishing scams have become increasingly popular. Scammers target real estate professionals to monitor emails and identify clients nearing closing time for the purchase of their new home.
Scammers create phony emails posing as real estate agents, closing officers, or other trusted parties attempting to coax unwitting buyers to redirect their monies into fraudulent accounts by sending last-minute changes to wiring instructions.
When in Doubt, Check it Out
While it's easy to think you would never fall for this kind of scam, these emails can look almost exactly like the real thing. There are steps you can take to avoid falling prey to this crime.
How to Avoid Being Scammed
What to Do If It Happens to You
When it comes to closing on your mortgage, remember the adage that if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.
Reduce your risk of fraud by remaining aware of the latest phishing scams, working with people you trust, and seeking advice from official government resources when you think something seems "phisy." While you can't completely eliminate the risk of fraud when buying a house, vigilance goes a long way toward protecting your hard-earned money.
If you suspect you are a victim of this crime:
Closing on a new home can be one of your most memorable life moments. Take the right steps to ensure your home-buying memories are happy ones.
Buying a foreclosed home can be an excellent way to find a bargain, but there are also quite a few obstacles to overcome before landing the right foreclosure. The number of foreclosed homes available varies by area and fluctuates based on market conditions. You may be able to save significantly on the overall cost of buying a house and purchase "more home" for the same investment. Understanding exactly what you're getting into is crucial for succeeding on the foreclosure market, and we've got five tips to help you find the right home, for the right price.
Buying a foreclosure is different from buying a house on the open market, but many of the same rules still apply. Inspecting the home thoroughly, knowing the price of comparable homes, and working with a real estate agent who knows foreclosures will help you make a competitive bid for the right home. While it may take more than one try to find the right match, your preparation and patience can ultimately pay off with a great bargain.
Whether you're having trouble finding the perfect home on the market or have always dreamed of building your own home from the ground up, there are a variety of advantages to buying land to build a home. But shopping for vacant land is also a bit different than buying a house, so it's important to be prepared. That's true whether you're buying acreage in the country or a smaller vacant lot in a more urban area. Researching the process ahead of time makes it much easier to find the right piece of land for your next home, and we've got some key tips to help you achieve your goals.
While there are a variety of unique factors to consider when buying vacant land, there are also many similarities with buying a house. By choosing the right location, understanding exactly what you're buying, planning ahead, and identifying the right real estate agent, you can find land that's perfect for building your next home.
Shopping for a short sale home can present an opportunity to find a deal when buying a house, but it's important to understand exactly what to expect from the process. In a short sale transaction, the property owner's lender agrees to accept the buyer's purchase offer, even though the offer is less than the seller owes on the home. Because of the unique circumstances required for buying a house on a short sale transaction, there may be some additional hurdles to clear before you purchase the home. Short sale transactions are increasingly common, and you'll want to read our guide before taking the plunge on a short sale purchase.
If you're considering a short sale home, the first thing to remember is that the transaction takes time. By preparing for the process, researching property records, reviewing the required documentation, and working with a real estate agent who has short sale experience, you can successfully navigate the process of buying a house on a short sale.
Buying a house may look complicated, but it doesn't have to be intimidating.
Any home search is an expression of your needs and values. With the right approach, you can make sure you get what you want from the process. And, yes, it can even be fun. Here's how:
No matter what your real estate goals are, partnering with a trusted real estate agent is essential. Not only does it make buying a home faster and easier, but it often means you'll save money, too.
When the step-siblings of The Brady Bunch made their TV debut in 1969, the concept of a blended family was something of a novelty. Today, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 75 percent of divorced people remarry and 65 percent of those remarriages include children. In addition, a study by Pew Research Center indicates that 16 percent of kids under the age of 18 are living in blended families.
By definition, a blended family increases the number of household members, making it unlikely that either of the current homes is suitable options. If you're buying a house for a blended family, start off on the right note with these helpful tips.
The definition of family continues expanding to include previously non-traditional forms, but the idea of home as the center of family life remains constant. Buying a house that accommodates the needs of a blended family is the first step toward creating happy memories together.
As you're buying a house, you have two challenges:
Naturally, understanding where the seller is coming from will help. Some sellers are motivated to complete the transaction as quickly as possible. Others may be flush with offers or have time to burn. As the buyer, resist the urge to be intimidated. You hold plenty of cards!
Not all sellers price a home in a way that makes sense for their market – especially if they don't use the services of a reputable real estate agent. Other times, there might be complicating factors that change your perspective on what the home is worth. Standing your ground is best.
Keep these factors in mind as you're negotiating a price when buying a house:
Buying a house is a long and sometimes complex process. If you do not feel comfortable with the thought of having to negotiate, prepare in advance by partnering with a real estate agent you trust. He or she will support you with the skills and experience to handle negotiations.
Negotiating may seem stressful. It does, of course, add a little more uncertainty to the buying process. In the long run, though, it is the winning strategy for getting the best value possible. You may not be able to stop yourself from falling in love with a home, but you can save yourself some money!
A swimming pool can be a major perk when you're shopping for a new home, allowing you to maximize the use of outdoor space and providing plenty of warm-weather family fun just outside your door. Whether you're shopping for a new home or adding a pool to your current home, it's important to consider your options. Both in-ground and above-ground pools come with their own unique advantages and drawbacks. Choosing the right option depends on your budget, space, future plans, how you will use the pool, and a variety of other factors. Consider the most important factors to find the right fit:
In the end, the right option for you depends upon personal factors. An in-ground pool is more expensive to maintain, but also longer lasting. An above-ground pool may be more affordable to operate but doesn't always offer the same longevity or variety. Fortunately, both options offer plenty of potential for outdoor fun.