Posted by Steven Sawyer on 3/15/2020

Buying a home is a decision that could have a major impact on your life for the next five to ten years (if not longer). That's why it's extremely important to know your requirements and what you need to be happy.

If you're in the process of looking for a house to buy, it pays to do an analysis of your financial resources, your goals, and your desired lifestyle.

For example, if expanding your family is part of your five-year-plan, you'll want to make sure the home you buy has enough bedrooms, play areas, and safety features to meet your future needs. The broad category of "safety features" could cover everything from the neighborhood crime rate to the amount of road traffic the street is subject to. Proximity to emergency services is also among the many things to consider when shopping for a new home.

Choosing an experienced real estate agent to help you navigate the many challenges of house hunting will increase the probability that the property you choose will be a good fit for your needs. A bank loan officer or mortgage broker can assist you in determining the type of mortgage you can afford and be approved for.

Other than affordability, sufficient space, and safety considerations, here are a few other items to keep in mind as you shop for your next home.

  • Commuting distance: Finding the ideal house that is located less than a half an hour from your business or place of employment can be difficult. That challenge becomes even greater if both you and your partner commute to work every day.
  • Number of bathrooms: Some homes only have one bathroom, which can quickly become a source of conflict and frustration in growing families. Making sure your home has enough bathrooms to meet your current and future needs is a key priority for all house hunters.
  • Miscellaneous requirements: Depending on your lifestyle and other factors, your home-buying priority list could include everything from a two-car garage and basement to a backyard patio and deck. If privacy is high on your must-have list, features like fencing, privacy hedges, and sufficient space between neighbors will also be important. Other items to consider may include a fireplace, space for a home office, and an eat-in kitchen.
There are literally dozens of characteristics, features, and advantages to look for when house shopping, so it pays to create a detailed list of everything you want, hope for, and can't live without! While it may be necessary to be flexible with certain items on your list, things like a good school district, a safe neighborhood, and house that's structurally sound and in good condition are requirements you may not want to waver from!





Posted by Steven Sawyer on 11/25/2018

When you decide to make an offer on a home, your mind may be flooded with dozens of questions and concerns -- several of which may involve money matters, while others are about the condition of the house.

However, if you've had the house professionally inspected and made sure your income is sufficient to absorb monthly expenses, than you've already taken steps to prevent or at least minimize future challenges.

Since buying a home is such a big investment and there are so many emotional factors that could influence your decision, it's essential to stay focused, adhere to a budget, and be aware of what you need in order to be satisfied with your purchase.

The Financial Side of Things: Even though a mortgage broker or loan officer may approve you for a large mortgage, only you can determine whether you'd be comfortable making those monthly payments. In  addition to the cost of your mortgage, property taxes, and school taxes, there are also other expenses to consider and include in the equation. If you're moving into a larger house, for example, the cost of heating and/or cooling your home may be higher than you're used to. Poorly insulated houses can also have a negative impact on home energy costs.

Another key factor to think about when you're figuring out the affordability of a potential new home is property maintenance, the cost of HVAC service, and miscellaneous expenses, such as appliance repairs, plumbing leaks, and electrical services. Some neighborhoods, residential developments, and condos also require a monthly Homeowner Association (HOA) fee, which can potentially put a burden on your cash flow situation. A good rule of thumb, of course, is to avoid spending beyond your means. While nobody would dispute the logic of that advice, it's often a lot easier said than done -- especially on an ongoing, consistent basis.

Non-Financial Priorities: The only way to know what you truly want and need in a new home is to clarify your goals, requirements, and wishes. Making lists, discussing it with your partner, and visiting lots of homes for sale will help give you the ideas, the inspiration, and helpful points of comparison you need. Online real estate listings and home improvement websites can also provide a wealth of practical ideas.

In addition to having enough bedrooms and bathrooms to meet your family's needs, it's also important to feel comfortable with the quality of the school district, the amount of noise in the neighborhood, and the traffic level on nearby streets. Proximity to recreation, shopping, and other amenities can also make the difference between your ideal home and one which doesn't quite make the grade. Privacy (or the lack, thereof) is also a major issue which can impact your satisfaction with a real estate purchase. While it's good to approach home buying with a sense of optimism, the best time to weigh all the pros and cons is before you sign the final papers at the closing table!





Posted by Steven Sawyer on 9/2/2018

The homebuying journey can be long and arduous, particularly for an individual who makes mistakes along the way. Fortunately, an informed homebuyer can identify potential problems early in the homebuying journey and take the necessary steps to resolve such issues without delay.

Now, let's take a look at three common mistakes that homebuyers make, along with the best ways to eliminate these problems before they escalate.

1. A homebuyer spends too much time debating whether to submit a home offer.

The housing market moves quickly, and a homebuyer who hesitates to submit a competitive offer on a residence risks losing this house to a rival homebuyer.

Ultimately, it pays to learn about the real estate market. That way, if you fall in love with a house, you'll be better equipped than other homebuyers to submit a competitive offer before it's too late.

Check out the prices of houses in cities and towns where you'd like to live. This may help you narrow your search for the perfect home and provide housing market data that highlights how much it may cost to acquire your dream residence.

Also, take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in different areas. This will enable you to determine whether you're working in a seller's market or a buyer's one.

2. A homebuyer foregoes a home inspection.

Even though a homebuyer may want to rush through the purchase process, there is no reason to forego a home inspection.

When it comes to buying a residence, it is always better to err on the side of caution, and a home inspection offers a valuable opportunity to learn about a house's condition and uncover any "hidden" problems with a residence.

For example, a home inspection may reveal roof damage that could lead to thousands of dollars in roof repairs in the near future. On the other hand, a home inspection may show there are no major issues with a residence, thereby verifying that a house is a sound investment.

Don't forget to consider a variety of home inspectors before you schedule a property inspection. This will ensure that you can find a home inspector who possesses the necessary skills and expertise to perform a deep evaluation of a home before you finalize your purchase.

3. A homebuyer tries to purchase a house without support from a real estate agent.

For those who want to streamline the homebuying process, expert help may be necessary. Luckily, you can hire a real estate agent who can help you seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.

Real estate agents are easy to find in cities and towns nationwide. Meanwhile, these housing market professionals are available to help you narrow your home search, submit offers on residences and much more.

If you need additional help during the homebuying journey, it usually is a good idea to hire a real estate agent. By doing so, you can receive the expert guidance and support that you need to go from homebuyer to homeowner.







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