Tag Archives: Home buying advice

Trouble Pulling the Trigger? Here’s How to Commit to Homeownership

first-time homebuyerYou’ve saved for a down payment. You’ve pored over the local listings for months. Touring open houses has become part of your weekend ritual. But months, perhaps years, have passed and you are still in your rental. Commit to home ownership.

For many first-time homebuyers, pulling the trigger on a purchase can be a frightening experience. Will you be happy there? Will you like your neighbors? Will you be tied down—house rich and cash poor? What if you lose your job? Will you hate your commute? In short, your fears stem from the unknown.

Meanwhile, your current home is familiar. You’ve come to accept its shortcomings—the loud neighbors, the leaky ceiling, the scant street parking. It has few surprises.

Take Paolo Forte, the eternal condo-shopper, who looked for years in Boston.

“I have actually seen condos come on the market, sell, and then be resold a second time,” Forte said. “While I’ve been waiting, condo prices continue to rise, and I keep spending more money on rent.”

In Betsy Townsend’s years as a REALTOR® in Boston’s pricey Beacon Hill, she’s seen everything.

“I find that people often hesitate to make the ‘biggest purchase of their life’ because they fear they will make a ‘bad investment’ and pay too much,” Townsend said. “Sometimes people lose sight of the fact that they are looking for a place to live instead of just an investment.”

Still, there’s hope. Your family, friends and co-workers took the leap and are reaping the benefits. Give these steps a try and you could be one of them:

Firm Up Your Finances

Anticipate the new costs that you will incur, such as taxes, homeowners insurance, utility bills and commuting. This will help determine the maximum price you can spend on a house. If your daily budget will change with a new home, consider a trial run living on that budget for a few weeks, to make sure you can. Enlisting the help of a financial expert will give you an objective view of your finances. Remember, the first year is the most difficult. After that you will begin receiving tax benefits.

Partner With an Agent

Even though the Internet gives you access to endless amounts of market information, don’t be tempted to go it alone. Instead, interview several real estate agents and find one you like who listens to you. He or she can line up properties to view, answer many of your questions and make connections for you in your new community. Agents often have the inside track on new properties just coming on the market.

Accept Some Risk

Realize that there is uncertainty in everything, but no matter what happens, you will deal with it. Ask family and friends about their experiences and learn from them. Be sure to keep some cash reserves in the bank as a safety net. And remember, you havehomeowner’s insurance for a reason.

Fine Tune Your ‘Must-Haves’

Is there a community that you absolutely must live in? Are you adamant about a garage, a fireplace or a finished basement? Make your list of what’s vital. You may find that you are willing to sacrifice one feature if the rest are fabulous. If you are not crazy about the house, don’t bid. It’s important that you love it at the outset.

Be Ready to Bid

Regardless of the market, great houses do not stay available for long. One open house can lead to three offers. If you love it, be ready to make your best offer. If you are wavering, ask yourself, “How will I feel if I don’t get this house?” You might just get it, and if not, at least you will know you tried.

Reap the Reward

Owning a home can be one of the most exciting and satisfying things you will do in your life. It’s an investment that can pay you personal dividends as well as financial benefits.

The Importance of a Home Inspection

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The Importance Of A Home Inspection

Your real estate professional can help you make the decision between buying a home that needs a lot of attention and work and buying a home in better shape. They’ll show you both types of properties, so you can have a clear idea of your choices—and the costs involved in both time and money, as well as help you navigate the process.

If you have experience working on a home or relationships with licensed contractors, a fixer-upper purchase can be a good investment—but be sure you know what you’re buying. Many buyers have found a property that needs work requires even more time and money than initially anticipated.

No matter whether you choose a fixer-upper, a home in great condition, or even a new home, it’s essential to have a home inspection. A home inspector will go over the plumbing, electricity, heating, and air conditioning in your home and examine the foundation, walls, windows, and roof to identify any potential problems with the property.

A home inspection will generally cost you $400 to $800, but that’s a small price to pay when you consider the that our home is one of the biggest investments we make.

After an inspection, the inspector will give you a home inspection checklist.

The checklist will vary depending on the inspector, but generally it’s divided into sections. It will cover the exterior elements: roof, gutters, walls, chimney, windows, decks, and porches. It also will report on the interior elements: floors, ceilings, plumbing, basements, and attics.

Your home inspector should produce a report with detailed notes that analyze the condition and flag any potential problems.

When you find a home you want to purchase, your contract with the sellers should always include a home inspection. This type of inspection where the buyer is able to ask for repairs is called a “specific inspection” and you will have the option to ask for repair of the defective items or void the offer to purchase.

However, if you’re competing with other buyers and are in love with the home, you can offer to waive the home inspection contingency—but still pay for an inspection to determine the condition of the property and if it is worth moving forward.. This is called a “general inspection” and you will receive the same report but only have the option of voiding the contract or moving forward with the purchase.

This way, you’d offer to buy the home “as is” and not request repairs from the sellers, but you’d still have the benefit of the inspector’s professional expertise to point out any defects or required maintenance.

You should always plan to attend the home inspection—especially if you’re looking at a home that will require work. Ask the home inspector to share his opinion about the cost of potential repairs and renovations.

The home inspection checklist is something you can use to organize your personal inspection of the property and to evaluate the property before finalizing your purchase.

by Tracy Tkac

Evers & Co

301-437-8722

 

 

The Smart Home Buyer

Some Tips for The Smart Home Buyer

By Tracy Tkac

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Location is key… Location is important now and when it comes time to sell. You can have a house in need of improvement with an outdated kitchen and bath, but put it on a great block or in a good school district, and your home will be coveted. Location matters on so many different levels. It works from the outside in, the town where the house is located, then the school district, then the neighborhood. Keep all of this in mind when home searching that there are many things you can change about a house- but not the location. Also remember that while real estate markets rise and fall, no one can take a great location away from you.

Which School District… The school district is right up there on the list of what’s most important to many buyers. It’s not uncommon for buyers to start their search based solely on the school district they want to be in. Parents want their kids to go to the best school, which can drive up prices of homes in those districts. Even though you might not have children, buying a home in a good school district is always smart. If the schools are desirable, homes tend to hold their value. As a homeowner, you should always be aware of how the schools are doing, not unlike being aware of your roof’s condition, the neighborhood development or city government.

What Makes a Neighborhood… More than ever, ‘walkability’ is becoming a key factor in the search process.  Many buyers seek a home in a walkable neighborhood. People put high value on the ability to walk to a store, school, work or public transportation.  The more we move away from cars and the more we see invested in public transportation over the coming decades, the more of a huge value-add walkability will become.

Buy Today, to sell someday… A good real estate agent who’s been working the neighborhood for some time can vouch for the long-term value or investment potential of the property. But be sure to find ways to add value, or at least be certain the home will hold its value. The market may be strong when you purchase, but ask yourself, “Am I in a seller’s market?” “What would happen to this property if the market changed tomorrow”? Keep in mind when buying, you are purchasing a home that if you need to sell, must been widely appealing to others as well as yourself.

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