Susanne Rae Lopez, Esq's Blog
When you are ready to buy a house, it pays to plan ahead to conduct a successful house search. That way, you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the real estate market and make your homeownership dream come true in no time at all.
Ultimately, you don't need to be a real estate expert to navigate the housing market like a pro. To better understand what it takes to complete a successful house search, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can seamlessly go from homebuyer to homeowner.
1. Create Homebuying Criteria
If you plan to purchase a house in the foreseeable future, it helps to establish homebuying criteria. By doing so, you can enter the real estate market with a plan.
Think about where you want to reside. For example, if your goal is to live in the same small town as your family members and friends, you may want to hone your house search to properties in this town. Or, if you want to own a house that is close to your office in the city, you may want to pursue residences in or around the city itself.
Consider what differentiates your dream house from an ordinary home too. Thus, if you want to own a home that boasts an in-ground pool, dazzling garden or other distinct features, you should include these criteria in your homebuying strategy.
2. Get Pre-Approved for Home Financing
Lenders can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage prior to launching a home search. Then, you can establish a budget for the homebuying journey.
There is no shortage of mortgage options available, regardless of your credit score, income and outstanding debt. If you meet with banks and credit unions, you can learn about different mortgage options and select a mortgage that is sure to serve you well.
Of course, when you meet with lenders, don't hesitate to ask questions. Lenders employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists, and these professionals are happy to help you make an informed mortgage selection.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent can help you simplify your home search. In fact, with a real estate agent at your side, you can boost the likelihood of finding a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.
Generally, a real estate agent understands what it takes to pursue a home in any city or town, at any time. If you employ a real estate agent, you can get the help you need to accelerate your quest for your dream residence.
A real estate agent usually learns about a homebuyer's goals and maps out a homebuying plan. He or she sets up home showings and keeps a homebuyer up to date about new residences that fit a buyer's criteria. And if a homebuyer wants to submit an offer to purchase a residence, a real estate agent will help this buyer craft a competitive proposal.
Ready to buy a house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline your search for your ideal residence.
Although your real estate agent will do the lion's share of the work involved in selling your home, there are several things you, the homeowner, can do to help move things along.
By making sure your home is always ready to be shown at a moments notice to prospective buyers, you will be helping to "tip the scales" in the direction of a faster sale. Since making a great first impression is crucial to the sales process, it's important that your home always looks its best -- both inside and out. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you decide to put your home on the market.
Order versus chaos: Every time your real estate agent sets up a showing of your house, it's an opportunity to attract and engage potential buyers. When your house and property look organized, clean, and well cared for, it sends a series of positive messages to prospects.
Admittedly, it can be a little bit of a hassle to keep your house looking (and smelling) immaculate all the time, but doing so can definitely work in your favor when it comes to making a great impression and getting your house sold faster.
To the extent that it's possible, try to eliminate or significantly reduce anything that could be described as "clutter." Clutter can include anything from excessive furniture and wall hangings to knick-knacks on your shelves and too many containers on kitchen countertops.
The ultimate effect you want to achieve is one of spaciousness, tastefulness, and organization. Anything which detracts from those desirable qualities could potentially work against you. As the classic 1980s TV commercial for a well-known dandruff shampoo reminds us: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression!"
Remember curb appeal: Actually the real first impression happens before prospective buyers even enter your home or step on your property. In many cases, it occurs before they even get out of their cars!
Making sure your house and property look as impeccable as possible from the street can help attract potential buyers and put them in a more receptive state of mind. Maintaining a manicured, clutter-free lawn, highlighted by a few splashes of floral color, can be an effective way to create eye-appeal and make a positive first impression.
One thing home sellers are either unaware of or forget about is the fact that prospective buyers sometimes do a preliminary "drive by" before picking up the phone and calling your (or their) real estate agent to schedule a showing. If they do not like what they see from their car, they probably are not going to take the next step and arrange a full tour of your home.
When you come to the realization that every person who drives by or visits your home is a potential buyer, you'll be more motivated to take care of the many details that either attract of send away prospective buyers.
Buying a home should be a fun, exciting experience, one that ends with you moving into your dream residence. However, problems sometimes can arise that prevent you from accomplishing your ultimate goal.
No homebuyer should be left in the dark, especially when it comes to navigating a competitive real estate market. Lucky for you, we're here to help you kick off your homebuying journey on the right foot.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you launch a successful homebuying journey.
1. Know Your Homebuying Budget
You know that you'd like to buy a house, but how much can you afford to pay for a residence? With a homebuying budget in place, you can determine exactly what you can afford.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage enables you to enter the real estate market with a budget in hand. Many credit unions and banks are available nationwide, and each lender is happy to provide details about a wide range of mortgage options. That way, you can select a mortgage that matches your finances perfectly.
Also, don't forget to consider the costs of utilities when you budget for a home. And if you need to commute to work or school, you may want to consider your transportation expenses as well.
2. Examine the Housing Market
The housing market usually features a large collection of high-quality houses. Take a look at some of the houses that are currently available, and you can better plan for your homebuying journey.
For example, if there is an abundance of homes available in a city or town where you'd like to live, now may prove to be the ideal time to enter the real estate market. The sheer volume of residences indicates a buyer's market may be in place, so you might be able to boost your chances of acquiring an exceptional house at a budget-friendly price.
On the other hand, if homes are selling quickly in a particular area, it likely means a seller's market is in place. As such, you will need to be aggressive if you want to secure your dream residence at an affordable price.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
The homebuying journey can be daunting, particularly for those who are interested in purchasing a house for the first time. Fortunately, a real estate agent can help you seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent possesses comprehensive housing market experience. He or she can share real estate insights with you to ensure you can purchase a great house that meets or exceeds your expectations.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new properties, set up home showings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. And if you ever have concerns or questions, a real estate agent can respond to them immediately.
Ready to make your homeownership dreams come true? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can enter the real estate market as an informed homebuyer.
In the internet age, we’ve all seen dream homes on Google, Pinterest, or Instagram that seem to encompass everything we’ve ever wanted in a home.
Sometimes, obsessing over dream homes can be detrimental to us--making us feel bad about our own living situation or discouraged about ever being able to afford the home we truly want.
However, dream homes can serve a purpose when it comes to identifying what we really want out of a home.
In today’s post, we’re going to use the idea of a dream home “wish list” to help you narrow down what really matters to you and your family in your next home.
Step 1: Start by making a list of your dream homes
This is the easy part. If you’re like me, you probably have a Pinterest board or bookmark folder just for home inspiration.
Put all of the dream homes on your list. The order doesn’t matter, and you’ll find out why below.
Step 2: For each home, write down one or two of your favorite things
Is it the square footage? The location that’s perfect for your commute or for trips to your favorite places? Or, is it just the color scheme of the kitchen?
No aspect is too small for this list--it all depends on what you like, not what the price tag is.
Step 3: Go over your list and try to put the items in order of how much they matter to you.
An example would be:
A cheerful, bright colored kitchen
A cozy office to wok quietly in
A two-car garage
A playroom for the kids
A location that’s close to the water
Looking over these five things, there are only two items that can’t be found in most houses, a two-car garage and a location that’s near the water. And, this house-hunter didn’t even list those items as the most important.
So, what can we learn from this exercise? Oftentimes, the things we’re looking for the most in a home can be things that we can do later, like interior decorating or designating spare rooms to serve as an office or playroom.
Step 4: Use your top 3 when house hunting
Now that you have the top three things that you’d find in your dream home, take this list with you on your house hunt. Try to seek out a home that has a combination of these items and one that will be the most practical for your family.
You might find that these conveniences, such as being closer to your work for a shorter commute, will pay off in the long run, as they’ll let you spend more time with our family and make each day a little bit easier.
The kitchen is the center of the home. It’s where families ultimately end up gathering throughout the day. Whether for breakfast, dinner, to chat over tea or wine it’s a place for connection with those we care about.
And as a room that we spend so much of our time in why shouldn’t it be the best room in the house? Here are five kitchen features to look for while house hunting for your dream home.
Custom cabinetry promises quality, natural wood that has been hand designed by a craftsman. No out of the box carbon copies here. Since time and resources were allocated towards adding custom cabinetry you can also be sure careful planning was as well. The cabinetry should enhance and fit artfully within the kitchen and around architecture capitalizing on space.
A large kitchen island is quickly becoming a necessity for homeowners upgrading their spaces. Providing more than just extra prep space it allows for the family to gather while cooking, working on homework or socializing over cocktails. Look for options that can comfortably seat six to eight people especially if you love hosting others often.
Depending on your preferences you may find your countertops more important than counter space. Quartz and marble countertops are quickly replacing granite. And rightly so, they make for a stunning centerpiece of the room. They are slightly more high maintenance but well worth the effort. If you are so lucky to have these countertops in your new home be sure to pick up some trivets with padded feet and Bar Keepers Friend to preserve their natural beauty.
Natural stone tiling is forever a classic. If you’re seeking a home that is timelessly elegant natural stone is a must-have. Marble is the most coveted. And if radiant heat flooring is on your wishlist for those early Sunday mornings cooking pancakes natural stone makes for a perfect duo.
A walk-in pantry for the home chef is akin to a shoe closet for the fashion forward. Allowing plenty of storage space, a walk-in pantry begs to be filled with cookbooks, specialty ingredients and you’re most prized appliances to be put neatly on display. Consider the proximity of each pantry to your cooking space. You’ll want one that feels like a natural extension to the kitchen and not like you’re going out of your way each time you need to gather necessary ingredients and supplies.
If you have your heart set on any of these features but find an almost perfect home without them leave room in your budget to upgrade after the sale. This way you will not only have upscale features but ones that are completely customized to your exact preferences. You’ll have plenty of time to make these decisions without the rush of balancing out the pros and cons before placing a bid.