Our Real Estate Blog
If you want to streamline your home search, there is no need to worry. In fact, there are several things you can do to quickly and effortlessly discover a great house at a budget-friendly price.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline your search for your ideal house.
1. Create Homebuying Criteria
Homebuying criteria may help you save time as you embark on a quest to find your dream home. Because if you enter the housing market with homebuying criteria in hand, you'll know what you want to discover in your ideal residence.
To create homebuying criteria, think about your home must-haves and wants. Then, you can search for houses based on your homebuying criteria and move one step closer to finding a residence that you can enjoy for years to come.
Of course, it is important to remain flexible as you pursue your dream house too. And if necessary, you should be ready to adjust your homebuying criteria as your home search progresses.
2. Hone Your Home Search to Preferred Cities and Towns
You know you want to buy a house, but you still have no idea where you want to settle down. If you make a list of preferred cities and towns, however, you may be able to accelerate your home search.
Consider your short- and long-term aspirations as you prepare a list of preferred cities and towns. For instance, if your long-term goal is to work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you want to own lots of land in a small town, you may want to consider small town residences.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
Searching for a home on your own may prove to be time-consuming. Fortunately, real estate agents are homebuying experts who are happy to help you simplify your house search.
By hiring a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive assistance throughout the property buying journey. A real estate agent will teach you about the housing market and respond to your homebuying concerns and queries. Plus, he or she will offer recommendations and suggestions to help you make an informed home purchase.
In addition, a real estate agent is ready to assist you in a number of ways. He or she will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses that become available in your preferred cities and towns and help you submit a competitive offer to purchase your dream home. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you acquire a terrific residence at an affordable price.
As you get set to embark on a home search, it generally is a good idea to enter the housing market as a prepared property buyer. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can conduct an in-depth home search without delay. And as a result, you can use these tips to discover your dream house in no time at all.
More and more communities are creating spaces for both individual homes and multifamily townhomes. Both styles offer lots of space, comfortable living and access to a neighborhood's amenities -- but there are some key differences that might make one style more suitable for you than another. Learning more about the differences between these styles of home can help you make the best possible decision for your family and needs.
Luxury Townhomes vs. Single Family Homes -- What's the Difference?
When luxury homes and townhomes are in the same neighborhood, they often have similar design styles, interiors and access to amenities, but there are some key differences to be aware of. Consider the following when you choose your next home.
Your family size: How much space do you need, both now and in the future? A growing family may find that a bedroom is needed for each child and that more living space is better -- or will be in the future. Singles or retirees may need a guestroom and space to entertain, but not a lot of extra bedrooms or living space, so a smaller, more compact townhome may be the best bet.
How much maintenance will you do? Do you love to garden, enjoy caring for the yard and the exterior of your home? If so, then a single family home will give you the space you need without being burdensome when it comes to maintenance. If you prefer to enjoy landscaping, hardscaping and even external maintenance and features that are cared for by someone else, then a townhome is likely a better option.
How do you feel about stairs? It may not matter now, but there may be a day in the future that a single level home serves you better than a home with stairs. Many, but not all townhomes are multilevel, so be sure you are comfortable with steps (or have space to make accommodations later). SIngle family homes are often (but not always) on a single level, making the entire home accessible.
Will you resell the home? If you expect to move again in a few years, then consider the resale value of the property. Your realtor is the best source of information here and can help you determine if one type of home moves more swiftly in your current location. Some markets can't keep up with demand for low-maintenance townhomes, while others have a huge demand for family homes. Knowing the preferences in your own area can help you determine how easy it will be to sell if you need to.
Which Home is Right for You?
Consider both your current needs and any potential future changes when you choose between these models. If you know you will have kids and want a big yard in the future, then a single family home is likely your best bet, even if you are not expecting right now. If you are enjoying your golden years, there may come a time that a big property and the care it needs may be too much for you -- investing in a stunning and comfortable townhome now will ensure you are comfortable later.
Searching for the ideal home is an exciting adventure, but it can also be fraught with setbacks, delays, and disappointments. With a little preparation, however, you can avoid many of the potential pitfalls that could happen along the way.
One of the secrets of successful house hunters is to adopt a positive attitude, but temper it with a dose of realism.
Flexibility is also important, but it pays to be steadfast about your absolute requirements, also known as your "must have" list.
To help ensure a successful house hunting experience, here are a few of the key attitudes and qualities that are worth taking inventory of and cultivating.
Persistence: Although it does happen, it's unlikely that the house of your dreams is going to show up at the beginning of your search. As seasoned house hunters know, it's not unusual to have to look at dozens of houses for sale before finding just the right one. But even when you've reached that turning point, there still may be obstacles, hurdles, and challenges to deal with. The perfect example is a bidding war. What if you're all ready to make an offer on the ideal house, but it turns out that one or more other buyers have their sights set on that same house? That can not only be stressful, but it can stretch your housing budget to its outer limits (and beyond)! On one hand, you have to be willing to walk away from a property that would leave you "house poor", but on the other hand, you may want to consider pursuing a real estate deal that's on the high end of your budget, but financially doable. Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent who's a skilled negotiator can help give you an edge when you're confronted with a so-called "bidding war."
Optimism: If you view house hunting as a process which will eventually produce your desired outcome, then you'll be a lot more motivated to go the distance, rather than lower your standards or give up entirely. A positive attitude will help you overcome setbacks, identify workable solutions, and recognize opportunities when they present themselves.
Organization: Whether you prefer the idiom "The devil is in the details" or "God is in the details," the lesson is still the same: Small details can have a big impact. Staying goal-oriented and organized can help propel you forward and avoid frustrations. Knowing your credit score, establishing a realistic housing budget, and scheduling meetings with mortgage lenders will help you stay on course, be prepared, and steer clear of unnecessary delays. It also helps to take notes, create lists, and follow a daily or weekly action plan.
Buying a house is an important priority which can affect the quality of your life in many ways. By staying organized, focused, and positive about your search, your chances of success will be enhanced many times over.
Buying a home in a neighborhood with a Home Owner’s Association (HOA) works well for some families, while others find the HOA to be burdensome or intrusive. Learning more about what an HOA is, how it works and what to expect can help you determine if your next home should be in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association.
What Is a Homeowners Association?
When builders or developers create planned communities with ameneties, they often also create a homeowners association to help manage the shared areas of the property when the building is complete. The homeowner’s association has some powers over the people who live in the neighborhood and is also responsible for maintaining the look and integrity of the community. Anyone owning a home in the community must also pay HOA fees for the services rendered. Dues can be paid monthly quarterly or annually and are determined by the association itself and its bylaws.
If you buy a home in a neighborhood with an HOA it is important to discover what rules are in place and what expectations the HOA has of residents. Some are far more involved and assertive than others, with rules for trashcan placement, yard maintenance and even parking. You should know what amenities you’ll have access to when you join the community and how your fees will be spent.
Since HOA fees are an added expense, they’ll also be considered when you apply for a mortgage, so be sure to factor them in when you work out what you can afford.
Benefits of Living in a Homeowner’s Association Community
Communities that have an HOA in place are generally well maintained; the HOA is responsible for caring for public areas, landscaping, sidewalks and some roadways. You won’t have to worry about living in a messy or unsightly neighborhood when an HOA is in place.
A pool you don’t have to care for, tennis courts to use on demand and even a clubhouse for parties and get togethers are big draws for some homeowners, if these things matter to you, you’ll enjoy this type of community.
A community with an active and healthy HOA will likely have groups and social gatherings. In some HOA groups, clubs, celebrations and welcomes for new members are scheduled throughout the year. If you want a close knit, involved community, then the right type of HOA may serve your needs well.
Drawbacks of Living in a Homeowner’s Association Community
The biggest drawback of living in an HOA community is having to cope with rules that you don’t agree with or that put a burden on your family.
For many homeowners, the HOA determines what colors a home can be, how often the lawn should be mowed and even what holiday decorations are acceptable. If you prefer making these decisions for yourself, you may not enjoy an HOA neighborhood.
You may not be able to make some improvements to your home; your HOA will determine if you can create an addition, add a fence (and will specify what kind of fence you can have) or even rent out your property. Homeowners who might want to expand their home, renovate or even have kids or get a dog may find that the rules for fencing and building are too stringent.
In some cases, an HOA has the power to levy annual fees or costs for construction projects and bill homeowners for the work. In some communities, this can run into the thousands of dollars per home. You should be aware of this possibility and determine if the HOA has to power to charge members for capital improvements before you buy.
Is an HOA Community Right for You?
If amenities and low care public areas matter to you and you don’t have plans for ambitious renovations or home changes, then an HOA neighborhood could suit your needs. If you generally dislike having rules imposed on things you own or feel uncomfortable having to request permission to make changes, the HOA may be more of a burden.
Review the rules and bylaws of any HOA you are considering buying into to be sure you fully understand what to expect before you make a purchase. You’ll be able to enjoy the neighborhood without any unwelcome surprises or costs when you know what to expect.
House hunting can be time-consuming. With so many houses currently on the market and so little time to spend visiting homes, it’s important to narrow down your search as much as possible before attending a showing.
Fortunately, in today’s digital world, it’s possible to learn a great deal of important information right from your phone or computer.
In today’s post, I’m going to give you some advice on researching the homes you’re thinking about making an offer on. We’ll talk about researching the neighborhood, and--of course--the house itself.
Putting together all the stats on the home
Let’s start with, arguably, the most important thing to research: the house itself. When you want to learn about a home, the best place to look is usually the real estate listing. Since most of us discover homes through listings, odds are you’re already on this page. However, there’s a lot of information in a listing, so take the time to go through it and gleam whatever you can from the home’s description.
Next, Google the house address and click on listings from other real estate sites. Oftentimes, a house that has been sold before will have multiple listings across the internet with different data.
Once you’ve scoured the listings, head over to the county assessor’s website to look at records of the home’s ownership. This will tell you who bought and sold the home and when. There’s much you can learn from this data, especially if a home is being sold frequently. You can also use this information to contact previous owners to ask them questions about the home that the current owner might not know the answer to.
Snooping around the neighborhood
If the house is nearby, simply driving through the neighborhood can tell you a lot. You can visit the neighborhood during rush hour to see what the traffic is like, for example.
However, it isn’t always practical to take the time to visit a house that you aren’t sure you’re interested in. So, what’s the next best thing? Google Maps.
Visit the neighborhood on Google Maps to see what’s in the area. Are there a lot of closed businesses? That could be a sign of a neighborhood in decline. Check for nearby things like parks, grocery stores, and other amenities that could influence your buying decision.
Next, use Google’s “street view” feature and explore the neighborhood. You can see what kind of shape the other homes are in, and find out the condition of infrastructure like roads and sidewalks.
Note addresses of comparable homes in the neighborhood and look up their purchase prices. This will give you an idea of whether the home is being priced appropriately.
If you’re having trouble finding information on a home, such as sale records, try contacting the local assessor. They should be able to point you to a database that will help you in your search.