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Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 10/12/2018

Buying your dream home should be simple. Unfortunately, challenges may arise during the homebuying journey, particularly for those who fail to budget accordingly.

Establishing a budget before you begin your home search is paramount. With a budget in place, you can explore houses that fall within your price range and move closer to finding a great residence that you can enjoy for years to come.

Ultimately, creating a homebuying budget can be easy – here are three tips to help homebuyers establish budgets.

1. Consider your utility costs.

Although you may be able to get pre-approved for a mortgage and determine exactly how much you'll need to pay for a house, you'll still need to account for utility expenses month after month.

Electricity, heat and other utility costs can add up quickly. However, a diligent homebuyer should have no trouble estimating his or her monthly utility fees.

Examining your current utility expenses can help you understand how much you may wind up paying in utility charges at your new address. Also, don't forget to consult with your real estate agent, as this professional may be able to provide details about the average utility costs associated with a particular residence.

2. Manage your debt.

If you decide to purchase a "fixer-upper," i.e. a home that requires extensive home repairs, you'll likely need to commit substantial time and resources to complete home renovation projects. Thus, you'll want to consider any home repair tasks that you may need to complete at a new address and budget for them before you make an offer on a house.

In addition, knowing your credit score can help you understand your debt. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion), and each report will provide information about any outstanding debt. That way, you can learn about your debt and find ways to minimize it prior to purchasing a residence.

3. Account for closing costs and miscellaneous expenses.

Home closing costs will include your loan origination, title insurance and appraisal fees and often range between 3 percent and 7 percent of your total loan amount. You'll want to account for these expenses as you establish a homebuying budget to ensure you can secure your dream house without delay.

Spend some time learning about all of the expenses that may impact your monthly home expenses too. For example, if you purchase a condo, you may face monthly homeowners association fees in addition to your mortgage costs. Or, if you plan to have a baby in the near future, you'll want to consider how the costs of raising a child may impact your ability to cover your mortgage expenses.

If you ever have concerns or questions about establishing a homebuying budget, be sure to consult with your real estate agent. Remember, your real estate agent is available to help you in any way possible and will do what it takes to ensure you can establish the right homebuying budget.




Tags: Buying a home   budgeting  
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Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 9/14/2018

Getting a home inspection is usually built into the purchase contract for most real estate transactions. A home inspection contingency protects the buyer from getting any unwelcome surprises after they buy the home (think water damage or an HVAC system whose days are numbered).

In some cases, home inspections are the defining moment between a sale or moving on to other options.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about the reasons you might want to get a home inspection whether you’re buying or selling a home.

Home inspections for buyers

There’s a reason most real estate contracts come with an inspection contingency. Expensive, impending repairs on a home can greatly affect how much you’re willing to offer on a home, or if you’re willing to make an offer at all.

Some buyers opt out of an inspection. This can be done for numerous reasons. The most common reason is that the buyer has a personal relationship with the seller and has faith that they are getting the full story when it comes to the state of the house. The other reason is that a buyer is trying to gain a competitive edge over the competition on a home, sweetening the deal by waiving the inspection and paving the way for a quick sale.

Both of these reasons have their flaws. For one, the seller might not even know the full extent of the repairs a home may need and an appraisal might not catch all of the issues with a home.

Another reason a buyer may waive an inspection contingency is because the seller claims to have recently had the home inspected. While this may be true, buyers should still opt to hire their own professional. This way, they can guarantee that the inspection was done by someone who is licensed and has their best interests in mind.

Home inspections for sellers

As we’ve seen, home inspections are typically designed to protect the interest of home buyers. However, sellers also stand to gain from ordering their own home inspection.

If you’re planning on selling within the next six months to a year, it will pay off to know exactly what issues the home currently has or will have in the near future. This will give you the chance to make repairs or address issues that could cause complications with your sale. You don’t want to be on your way to closing on an offer to suddenly realize you need to pay and arrange for a new roof.

So, whether you’re a buyer or seller, home inspections can be immensely beneficial to learn more about your home or the home you’re planning on buying. It will help you be prepared to make repairs if you’re a buyer. Or, if you’re a seller, you can make a plan to negotiate repairs with the seller based on the findings of the inspection.





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 8/3/2018

Home showing preparation is key for any homebuyer. In fact, if you know how to get ready for a home showing, you may be better equipped than other buyers to assess a house and determine whether to move forward with an offer to purchase.

Ultimately, there are many ways that a homebuyer can prepare to attend a home showing, and these include:

1. Create a List of Questions

A home listing provides plenty of information, but it also may leave many unanswered questions about a house. Fortunately, if you craft a list of questions about a home prior to a showing, you can gain comprehensive home insights during this showing.

There is no such thing as a "bad" question to ask about a house during a showing. Remember, a home purchase is one of the biggest transactions that you may complete in your lifetime. And if you prepare a list of questions before a showing, you can take an informed approach to this showing and gain the insights you need to determine whether a house is right for you.

2. Perform Plenty of Housing Market Research

The housing market constantly fluctuates, and a real estate sector that favors homebuyers one day may favor home sellers the next. Thus, it generally is a good idea to study the housing sector closely to determine whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market.

In a buyer's market, there is no shortage of high-quality residences available. And if you attend a home showing in a buyer's market, you may be able to take your time to decide how to proceed with a residence.

Comparatively, in a seller's market, there is an abundance of homebuyers and a limited number of top-notch residences. This means you likely will need to act quickly if you want to acquire a deluxe residence following a showing in a seller's market.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

The housing market can be complex for both experienced and first-time homebuyers. Luckily, real estate agents are available who can offer expert guidance at a home showing and ensure you can achieve the best results during your home search.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to acquire a home in any housing market. As such, he or she will help you plan ahead for a home showing and guarantee you can obtain in-depth home insights during this event.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent can help you find houses in your preferred cities and towns and submit offers on residences. Plus, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions.

Take the guesswork out of attending a home showing – consult with a real estate agent today, and you can get the support you need to discover your dream house in no time at all.




Tags: Buying a home   showing  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 6/29/2018

Are you planning on buying a home by a certain date? It’s unfortunate that life can’t go as we plan it all the time! With a bit of planning finding the right home at the right time is possible. Many times, families are looking to buy a home before the end of the summer. This allows them to get settled in and get the kids started in a new school before the start of the year in September. Just because there are more popular times throughout the year to move doesn’t mean that the inventory of homes changes much as to what’s on the market. Whatever the reason for the short supply of homes, you’ll need to be informed and creative in order to land a house in a high demand market when it’s crunch time. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you on your search.


Research Your Location Ahead Of Time 


Every housing market has a bit of a down time. You want to pinpoint that period. Does your location have a time of year where people flee the area for vacations? The holiday season can also be a great time to look. There may still be low supply, but there also will be less competition. Do a bit of research in order to find pricing trends. When the prices dip, you’ll know that’s a time where competition for homes is lower.


Always Have Your Finances In Order


When you’re buying a home, no matter what time of year it is, you need to have your lender on call. Make sure that you have been preapproved and that your downpayment money is at your disposal. Sellers like serious buyers who are ready to pass paperwork.  


Know What You’re Willing To Compromise On


When you’re buying a home on a timeline, you may not have the luxury of searching around endlessly to meet your wishlist. You should have a few musts, but there may be many things that you’ll need to work with or compromise on in finding the right property. You may be able to find a home in the right neighborhood, but it might not have the granite countertops that you’re looking for. When time is of the essence, your home search priorities need to be set straight.  


Don’t Look For Bargains


When you’re in a time crunch to land a home, you don’t want to fool around with price. In order to land a home that you love, you might have to offer a bit more than the asking price. There’s no space for a bidding war, a low offer, or an extended search when you need to buy a home fast.          

  




Tags: Buying a home  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 6/15/2018

There’s a lot to buying a home. There’s no perfect home. Home inspectors will tell you that even brand new houses have their issues. If you know the right questions to ask before you even buy a home, you’ll be armed with a knowledge that you wouldn’t otherwise have. There are some very revealing questions that you can ask sellers to help you get some insight into a property. These questions can usually also be answered by your home inspector when you get to the inspection process.  


Have You Had Water Damage Or Pipe Issues?


Water damage is a big deal. It can hide mold and other damage. There’s also a big issue if the pipes in a home have previously burst, or caused water damage on their own. Especially in cold climates, water damage and burst pipes can be common if the piping has not been properly insulated.


The Age Of The Roof


If the roof on a home has been recently replaced, that’s a huge bonus to buying the home. Roofing typically lasts about 25 years until it needs to be replaced. If a roof is getting close to the end of its lifespan, you can ask for a rebate or be wary that repairs will need to be made in the near future. 


Pests


If a home has had any kind of significant pest infestation, then you’ll want to know about it and be sure that it has been resolved. There could be some underlying conditions within the home itself that have made the pest infestation possible. Whether there’s some unaddressed holes, rotting wood, or hidden leaks, they’ll need to be taken care of so that an infestation doesn’t reoccur. 


Paranormal Activity


This may sound strange but some people will run out of their homes as fast as they can if they see a ghost or something else. “Haunted houses” are a particularly difficult sell. This includes homes with:


  • Ghost sightings
  • Murders
  • Suicides
  • Unusual deaths
  • Drug labs


Many states require that these problems and conditions be revealed in a disclosure statement. Other states do not legally require this. Check local laws to find out more about paranormal activity disclosures.

Some other great questions to ask when you’re in the process of buying a home are:


  • Will your car fit in the garage?
  • How much are the utility costs?
  • Who are the utility companies?
  • Does the home have a sewer or a septic tank?
  • Are there any warranties left on items in the home?


Asking these questions not only helps you as you move into a new home, but it helps you to get a better understanding of what types of insurance you need to put on your home. If you need to add a few extra pieces to the policy to protect yourself due to any information that you learn, you’ll feel safer.




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