Our Real Estate Blog
Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life, financially and otherwise. When you buy a home you're deciding on the region you want to live in, where you might want to raise children, and the people you'll live around for likely many years. You're also signing up for all of the responsibilities that come with a home: utility bills, issues and repairs, cleaning the house, maintaining the yard... the list goes on. So, before plunging into a mortgage, check off all the items on this checklist to determine if you're ready for home ownership.
The First Time Home Buyer's Checklist:
- I know where I want to live. Determining the location of your home is one of the most important factors that goes into home buying. Most decisions are influenced by your job/career, but things like family, friends and weather are all important things to consider. Aside from knowing where you want to live, you'll also need to know how long you want to stay. As a general rule, if you don't plan on staying in your home for at least 5-8 years it could be cheaper and easier to rent until you find somewhere you'd like to settle in.
- I have my finances under control. You don't need to be wealthy to buy a home, but you do need to have a strong understanding of your personal finances. In a spreadsheet, write down your total savings, monthly income and monthly expenses (including groceries, transportation, bills, and loans). Find out what type of mortgage and downpayment you can afford at your income level.
- My income is dependable. When you apply for a home loan the bank will look into this for you. But you should also want to make sure you can continue to afford your mortgage payments. How dependable is your job? Are there a lot of job opportunities in your field and in your area? These are all questions that help you determine the stability of your income.
- I have a good credit score. Your credit will be a big factor in getting approved for a home loan. Building credit seems complicated but it's based on four main things: paying bills on time, keeping balances relatively low, having a long record of repayment, and not opening several new cards or taking on multiple loans in a short period of time.
- I'm pre-approved for a loan. Getting pre-approved isn't mandatory, but it offers many benefits. First, it shows lenders that you are a safe person to loan money to. Second, it will give you insight into what banks think of your finances and will give you an idea of what price range you can safely buy in.
- I'm prepared for the responsibilities of owning a home and willing to learn. If you're handy around the house and can fix anything, that's great. What's more important, however, is that you have the time and willingness to learn new skills that will help you become a good homeowner.
Bidding on a house can be a stressful process, especially when you’ve found your dream home. While the wait to hear back on if your bid has been accepted can be a time of anxious anticipation there are things you can do to make it less so. By being prepared ahead of time and knowing what to expect you can create a smoother, and therefore, less stressful bidding process. Keep reading for some tips on how to do just that below! Know what you’re willing to spend. Decide on what your ideal price and what the maximum amount you will be willing to spend are before beginning the bidding process. This is an ideal step to take before beginning house hunting as well. Doing so will allow for a more streamlined bidding process, especially if there is a bidding war. Knowing when an offer is out of your budget will prevent financial stress now and in the future as well. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Before putting in your bid get everything you need in order to ensure you are pre-approved for a mortgage. Once you are approved you can show the seller your pre-approval paperwork when placing your bid. This will help you look more serious about your offer and even a more attractive buyer to the seller. Schedule a home inspection. Scheduling a home inspection before placing your bid will allow you to make a more informed offer on the house you are interested in. To get the most out of your inspection have a list for the inspector of any concerns you had about the house during your walk through. Ask your real estate agent for a referral to an inspector they know and trust as they will have worked with many before. The real estate agent knows best. Listen to any advice your real estate agent may have for you throughout the bidding process. They are an expert in the home buying field and familiar with the different intricacies of home buying procedures. Not every home buying process is the same and an experienced real estate agent should be familiar with variations to each sale. If your real estate agent suggests a course of action follow suit to ensure that the buying process goes more smoothly. While I can’t guarantee an entirely stress-free experience when bidding on a house, there are things you can do to help ease any anxiety that comes with attempting to buy your dream home. With preparedness and a smart real estate agent on your side you can feel more confident and less anxious in your bidding process. Once you have the keys to your new home in hand you will be glad you took the steps necessary to create a smooth and successful process!
Are you beginning your house hunt as a first-time homebuyer or looking to buy a larger home that fits the needs of your family? No matter your situation, purchasing a home is a large investment and one that should be approached with caution and the use of your head, not your heart. There are multiple types of homes that one can purchase: condo, duplex, multi-family, single-family, etc. And one of those types will be the right fit for you. Let’s take a look at the pros of purchasing and owning a single-family home. Space: Single-family homes provide more space—more outdoor space, more indoor space, and more parking space. Of course, there are exceptions, but generally this is the case for single-family homes. Take advantage of this luxury of more space by entertaining and fully utilizing it all. Since apartments and condos are usually in complexes, personal space can be minimal, where shared space is generally larger. Decks and backyards (if any at all) are small so that each renter or homeowner has their own space. This also goes for the inside; square footage will be less in the types of properties listed above, especially if they are located in a city. Privacy: Privacy is extremely important to many, and for good reason. With a single-family home you will have much more privacy than when owning other types of homes. Condos and duplexes share walls with other owners’ properties, which means your neighbors are always close by. You may hear them through the walls or be enjoying your separate deck spaces just feet apart. It may not sound like it’s all that terrible, but you never know who your neighbor will be; they could throw parties every night, vacuum at 4 am, or even have triplets that never stop crying. No restrictions: Unless you are purchasing a historical home, there are likely no property restrictions. A single-family home gives you the opportunity to completely turn it into your own and do just about whatever you want on your land (check with your town before renovating/building additions). Condos can have multiple restrictions that include parking, outdoor work, and BBQs. If the pros above sound like what you are interested in, then a single-family home may be the option for you. But be sure to research the market you are looking in to make sure that you can afford this type of home. If you are looking in a very desirable location with a smaller budget then this option may not work for you at this time. But fear not, continue saving and in the future you will be able to purchase that single-family home you’ve been dreaming of.