Our Real Estate Blog
When you’re shopping for a home, one of the most important things is that you feel comfortable in the home. Sure, you can look at the listing and visit the property, but you’ll never know what it’s like to sleep in a home until you move in. While there aren’t many homeowners that offer overnights in order for you to feel out their property listing, there are ways that you can test a home out subtly.
Check Out The Neighborhood
You can learn a lot about a neighborhood just by observing the area. See how many people are out walking around. What is the age group of the people you see? This can give you a great idea of the neighborhood that your potential home is in. You could do this investigating several times at different hours of the day to get a full picture of the area.
Getting out and taking a stroll around the neighborhood is also a great idea to see what potentially living in your new home will be like. Check out public transportation options and local establishments like restaurants and coffee shops. Another great place to check out is local parks and recreation centers. This will allow you to see both the quality and the quantity of the options available to you.
Test The Plumbing
If you have a chance as you’re walking through a home, touring it, be sure to check out the plumbing. Turn on the faucets. See how the water pressure from the shower is. It seems like kind of a strange thing to think of testing, but it’s important. You don’t want to move into a house only to find out the water pressure is unlivable and the hot water isn’t so hot!
Check Out How The Windows Work
A home with a breeze is always nice. See if any windows get stuck or are leaking out cold air when shut. This is a subtle way to do your own home inspection of an important aspect of your potential future home. Paying attention to the windows can also help you to hear the noise factor that you might face in the home. Can you hear a lot of traffic? Is the neighborhood quiet? Discovering these things will be very important in your decision to purchase a home.
How Is The Storage Space?
Look around the homes that you’re considering and see how much storage space you’ll have. Is there a basement or an attic or both? How easy are these spaces to access? If a home lacks adequate closet space for storing things like towels, cleaners, clothing, etc, you may find yourself scrambling for ways to keep all of your things in the home once you move in. Make sure the storage space you see is enough for you and your family’s lifestyle.
Buying a home should be a quick, simple process. However, the homebuying cycle sometimes proves to be a hassle, particularly for those who are shopping for a house for the first time.
Lucky for you, there are many quick, easy ways to become a smart homebuyer – here are three tips to ensure you can make informed decisions throughout the homebuying journey.
1. Check Out a Broad Array of Houses
Purchasing a home can be a fun, exciting journey, especially if you explore a wide range of residences.
Remember, the more residences you check out, the more likely it becomes that you'll find one that matches or exceeds your expectations.
When you review houses, be sure to analyze each property's interior and exterior closely. That way, you can identify any problem areas and determine whether these issues are potential deal-breakers.
Also, don't hesitate to check out the same house multiple times. It never hurts to take a second look at a house. And if you find that you enjoy a home after a second walk-through, you may be ready to submit an offer on this residence.
2. Set a Homebuying Budget
Before you make an offer on a house, it is important to consider exactly what you can afford. By doing so, you can avoid the temptation to overspend in the hopes of acquiring your dream house.
Many homebuyers get pre-approved for a mortgage – something that may prove to be exceedingly valuable.
With pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer will know exactly how much money he or she can spend on a home. This will enable a homebuyer to enter the housing market with a budget in hand and map out his or her home search accordingly.
Furthermore, consider your monthly expenses prior to submitting a home offer. Electricity and assorted utility expenses can add up quickly, so you'll want to account for these costs. And if you want cable and internet services at your new home, you'll want to evaluate these potential expenses as well.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a housing market professional, and as such, will help you simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you to understand your homebuying needs. He or she then will help you develop a homebuying strategy, one that ensures you can purchase your ideal house at a budget-friendly price.
With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble acquiring a wonderful residence. This housing market professional will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new property listings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. As a result, a real estate agent will guarantee you can get the best results possible throughout the home selling journey.
Don't leave anything to chance as you kick off your home search. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can become a smart home shopper in no time at all.
Once you’ve made up your mind that you want to buy a house, either to decrease your rent or increase your income, the next hurdle will be choosing the right property. You will find no shortage of glossy brochures or recommendations from all sides telling you why this flat or that house is best for you. So, which of the many voices should you pay attention to? Here are some guiding principles to help you make the right choice:
What are your home ownership goals?
Why do you want to buy a house? Do you want to live in it for the rest of your life, or is it just a place to start as you save up for your dream home? Is it your retirement paradise or is it an investment that you will flip for a profit after a year or two? Alternatively, you could just be in the market for a getaway cabin for your family.
Problems or challenges you’re dealing with in your current residence may contribute to some of these goals. Put them down in a list as some of the criteria any potential new home has to meet.
What kind of neighborhood do you want to live in?
If you’re buying a dream home or retirement retreat, this will be particularly important as this is where you’ll be spending the rest of your life. You want to live in a place where your neighbors hold dear the same aesthetic values as you. If you enjoy your peace and quiet, you might not want to live in an area where residents are allowed to hold loud parties until the wee hours.
How seriously is security taken in that neighborhood? How clean is the area? Is there a management committee or neighborhood association that looks into such issues?
Have you exhausted your options?
Before you seal any deal, ask yourself, “Can I do better?” You may have found a house that nearly checks all your must-have boxes, but there could be one down the street that does the same at a considerably lower asking price. Don’t assume there’s no better deal out there. Be willing to keep looking even if you feel you’ve been scouring the market for too long.
Write down your home ownership goals and hold them up against all the homes you’re considering for purchase. Make sure your real estate agent understands your goals so they can help you find the best home.
Buying a home may prove to be challenging, regardless of where you decide to search for a house. However, if you are aggressive in your pursuit of your dream residence, you could speed up your home search.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you stay aggressive during your quest to find your dream house.
1. Keep Track of the Local Housing Market
You know you want to purchase a house in a particular city or town, but residences are selling quickly. Fortunately, if you monitor the local housing sector, you may be better equipped than other buyers to pounce at an opportunity to acquire a terrific residence at a budget-friendly price.
Be persistent in your home search. Review the local housing market daily, and if a home becomes available that you want to check out, schedule a showing right away.
Of course, once you find your dream house, don't hesitate to submit an offer to purchase it. Because the longer you wait to submit a homebuying proposal, the more likely it becomes that a rival homebuyer could acquire this residence.
2. Attend Open Houses
An open house provides an excellent opportunity to walk through a residence at your convenience. Then, if you believe a home is right for you following an open house, you can schedule a showing or submit an offer to purchase.
If you attend an open house, take notes when you identify things you like or dislike about a residence. These notes may help you make an informed decision about how to proceed with a home after an open house.
Ask questions during an open house, too. Remember, a seller's agent is on hand during this event, and he or she can provide you with home insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
Although you may believe you possess the skills and expertise to quickly discover your dream residence, it never hurts to get extra help. And if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive assistance as you work diligently to acquire a house that suits you perfectly.
A real estate agent is committed to a buyer's success, and as such, will do whatever it takes to help a buyer accomplish the best-possible results. Therefore, if a buyer wants to purchase a house near a beach, a real estate agent can keep this individual up to date as new beachfront residences become available. On the other hand, if a buyer is operating on a tight budget, a real estate agent will help this individual find a wonderful house that falls within his or her price range.
As you get set to conduct an in-depth home search, it generally helps to prepare for the homebuying journey. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can take an aggressive approach to accelerate your home search and boost the likelihood of acquiring a house that you can enjoy for years to come.
Historic homes are coveted by many for their charm. Some want a home with history while others one with “good bones” of bygone construction methods. Whatever your motivations one thing is clear: owning a historic home is a rewarding experience.
This is usually due to the effort, time and investment put into maintaining the home’s old world charm. Those who take on a historic home should be ready for a project in some capacity either right after buying or down the line.
Maintaining, and sticking to, the classic style and shapes while working under stylistic limitations takes time and effort. Be sure that when purchasing a historic home it’s one of an era whose style you really like. This is because many historic homes have what is called an easement in place. What an easement does is dictate what owners of that particular estate can and can not do to the home to maintain its historical integrity. This can limit everything from additions to siding color.
Historic homeowners should also be ready to get creative during the renovation process. Old houses have their quirks, it’s best to embrace this when making changes and to work with them - not against them. Knocking out walls and shaving down flooring to be perfectly symmetrical compromises the entire structure’s historic roots. If you absolutely must have perfect walls and flooring a historic home is probably not for you.
With that said when viewing homes ensure that any crookedness is from settling over time and not from damage to the sill plate. The sill plate is the topmost part of the foundation and especially vulnerable due to this placement along ground level. If there is damage to the sill plate know that the entire structure of the home is also compromised and in need of serious, and expensive, attention. If this is the case, it’s best to walk for most homeowners.
A warped or compromised sill plate can also mean water damage. Another sign to look for water troubles is a sump pump in the basement. You want to keep an eye out for water damage, as this is a very serious threat to the structure and can also attract all kinds of bugs.
If you have your heart set on a historic home but find all of this overwhelming a historic home expert, either a contractor who specializes in historic homes and/or a local historian that restores homes, can help you significantly through the process. In fact, overwhelmed or not it’s best to bring an expert on board during your buying process. This person should be in addition to your home inspector - not in place of. You also want to be sure to find someone who understands that you want to preserve and restore a historical home and not just gut the building.
Plan your budget well. While restoring a home is usually a passion project for many you still don’t want to overinvest and end up taking a huge loss if you eventually resell. Know what restoration projects in your area typically go for and use these as a guideline for your own budget.
Don’t be afraid to start small if you are on a tight budget or this is your first restoration project. These projects can take years so when planning start here first: roof, windows, and masonry. Create a watertight home first to prevent any further potential damage.
The good news about historic homes is that there are plenty of grants and tax programs for homeowners planning on restoration. Not every loan option will be available to you if the home requires major work but there are loans available specifically for major repairs such as the 203k. Know your options before you start looking as this will a major determination factor of your budget and the degree of work you’ll be able to put into a home.