Our Real Estate Blog
Searching for a house should be a fun, exciting experience. It represents an opportunity to discover a residence that you can transform into your very own home. As such, conducting an effective home search may require both hard work and patience to ensure that you can achieve the best-possible results.
Ultimately, there are many factors to consider as you search for your ideal house, and these factors include:
A home's location can have far-flung effects on a homeowner's day-to-day activities, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.
For example, a city home may provide quick, easy access to a wide range of attractions. On the other hand, this home may be located near major highways, which could create traffic problems for those who need to commute to school or work regularly.
As you search for your dream house, consider where you want to live both now and in the future. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life, you may want to pursue houses in big cities. Or, if you prefer the serenity of small town living, you can search for a top-notch home in the suburbs.
2. Home Condition
It is paramount to assess a house's condition. Otherwise, you risk making an offer on a home that may have many "hidden" problems that probably will need to be corrected in the foreseeable future.
A home requires maintenance over time, and an older house may be more susceptible than others to costly, time-intensive structural problems. Thus, depending on a home's age, you may need to account for many potential upgrades sooner rather than later.
It also may be worthwhile to find out which home upgrades that a home seller has already completed. If a seller recently replaced a house's roof or heating and cooling system or performed other major home upgrades, you may be able to reap the benefits of these house updates for years to come.
3. A Home's Price
The initial asking price of a home rarely, if ever, is set in stone. Therefore, if you find a house that is priced above your budget, you may be able to negotiate the house's price with the seller.
If you find a house that you want to buy, it helps to submit a competitive offer right away. This offer should account for the age and condition of a house, as well as the current housing market's conditions. And if the offer meets a seller's expectations, he or she should have no trouble accepting the proposal.
Lastly, if you need help searching for a house, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can keep you up to date about new houses that become available, provide plenty of homebuying tips and suggestions and help you submit an offer on your dream house. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your homebuying questions, guaranteeing that you can make informed decisions at each stage of the homebuying journey.
Buying a home will likely be the most important and expensive purchase you ever make. And, although that might seem like a scary commitment, it’s one well worth it. It’s an investment in your future. There are many benefits or perks that come with owning a home.
Equity: Owning your own home typically comes with gaining equity. Every month that you pay your mortgage, you are increasing your equity. And as long as the market continue upwards, your home and the equity you’ve gained will hold significant value.
Privacy: Privacy is a large perk of owning your own home. This is more so possible when owning a single-family home in a rural location, but many duplexes and condos also provide opportunities for privacy. And in many cases, since you own the home,you can put up your own privacy such as planting arborvitae trees along your properties edge.
Tax Advantages: One of the biggest perks when owning a home is the ability to deduct mortgage interest on your federal income taxes. This will be a significant amount for the first few years of your mortgage, making this a huge benefit. Although, the amount of interest paid decreases over the years, there will still be deductible interest paid in the last few years of your mortgage.
Space: Houses will almost always provide you with more space than an apartment—and it will certainly have more space than your childhood bedroom. The space will be all yours, which means not having to share with other renters or your parents. Of course, home location and the market come into play here, but for the most part you will get more square footage for your money—as landlords charge high rents to cover things like water, electricity, snow removal, or still charge high rent prices and do not cover any of those other expenses.
No restrictions: There are many restrictions that come with renting or living in a condominium. These restrictions could include no pets, parking restrictions, outdoor updating restrictions and many other different types of constraints. When you own your own home, you make the rules. If you want to put up a fence, you can. And if you want to put an addition on your house, you can do that too. Just be sure to check with your town before beginning any construction projects.
Establishment: Buying a home provides you the ability to set down roots, to be established. Although, not a benefit to some, it is to many. Buying a home provides you with ownership and a sense of freedom. You now have the opportunity to invest in something that is yours. You can make updates to the bathrooms, add a pool in the backyard, and paint the front door any color you want—because it’s yours.
A home is often the foundation of one’s life and who can deny its appeal with these perks discussed above? So, what are you waiting for? Start your search today!
If you’re a first time homebuyer and want to start weighing your mortgage options, you’ll have much to learn. With so much at stake, you’ll want to make sure you choose the best mortgage for you now, and one that will still suit your needs years into the future.
Sometimes, first time buyers are hesitant to ask questions they may consider too basic because they don’t want to seem inexperienced to lenders, agents, or anyone else they’ll be in contact with throughout the home buying process.
So, in this article, we’ve compiled a list of commonly asked mortgage questions that first time buyers might want to ask before heading into the process of acquiring a home loan.
What is the first step to getting a mortgage?
This question may seem straightforward, however the first step can vary depending on your financial situation. For those who already have saved up for a down payment and built a solid credit score, the first step is probably contacting lenders and getting preapproved or prequalified.
However, if you aren’t sure about your credit score and haven’t saved up for a down payment (ideally, 20% of what you hope to spend on the house), then you should address those matters first.
To find a lender, you can do a simple Google search for the mortgage lenders in your area, or you can ask around to friends and family to find out their experience with their own mortgage lenders.
What does it mean to be pre-qualified and pre-approved?
If you think of the mortgage process in three steps, the first step would be getting pre-qualified. This means you’ve given the lender enough basic information for them to decide which type of mortgage you’re eligible to receive.
Pre-approval includes collecting and verifying further details. At this step, you’ll complete a mortgage application and the lender will run a credit check. Once you’re pre-approved, your file can be moved to the underwriting phase.
What are closing costs?
“Closing costs” is an umbrella term that covers all of the various fees and expenses related to buying or selling a home. As a buyer, you are responsible for paying numerous closing costs. These can include, but are not limited to, underwriting fees, title searches, title insurance, origination fees, taxes, appraisal fees, surveys, and more.
That sounds like a lot to keep track of, however your lender will be able to give you an accurate estimate of the total closing costs when you apply for your loan. In fact, lenders are required to give you a list of these costs within three days of your loan application in the form of a “good faith estimate” of the closing costs.
What will my interest rate be?
The answer to this question is dependent upon numerous factors. The value of the home, your credit score, the amount you put down (down payment), the type of mortgage you have, and whether or not you’re paying private mortgage insurance all factor into the interest rate you’ll receive. Interest rates also will vary slightly between lenders.
You can receive a fixed-rate mortgage that does not fluctuate throughout the repayment term. However, you also typically have the option to refinance to acquire a lower interest rate, however refinancing comes with its own costs.
If you want to find and purchase a great house at a budget-friendly price, it helps to enter the homebuying journey with a plan in hand. Lucky for you, we're here to help you prepare for all stages of the homebuying journey.
Now, let's take a look at three tips so you can set yourself up for success as you search for your dream residence.
1. Make a List of Home Must-Haves
The definition of a dream home varies from buyer to buyer. To define your dream home, you should craft a list of house must-haves and use this list to streamline your quest to acquire your ideal residence.
Think about which home features you need. For instance, if you require a house that boasts multiple bedrooms, you can tailor your house search accordingly. Or, if you need a home that is close to your office, you can search for a residence that provides convenient access to your office.
You may want to make a list of preferred cities and towns, too. This list will enable you to focus on available houses in cities and towns that match your expectations.
2. Create a Homebuying Budget
Learn about different types of mortgages – you'll be glad you did. Because if you make an informed mortgage selection, you can begin your home search with a budget at your disposal.
Generally, it is a good idea to meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a house search. Banks and credit unions are happy to teach you about myriad types of home financing. Then, you can select a mortgage that can help you make your homeownership dream come true.
If you are unsure about how various mortgage options work, there is no need to stress. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists, and these professionals can teach you everything you need to know about home financing.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who is happy to share his or her housing market insights with you. By doing so, a real estate agent will help you achieve your desired homebuying results as quickly as possible.
Typically, a real estate agent takes an in-depth approach to the homebuying journey. He or she first will learn about you and find out what you want to find in your dream residence. Next, a real estate agent will help you narrow your house search to residences that satisfy your needs and keep you up to date about available homes that may suit you perfectly. If you find a home you want to buy, a real estate agent then will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence. Finally, if your offer to purchase a house is accepted, a real estate agent will help you complete the homebuying journey.
Want to acquire your ideal residence? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can put yourself in position to succeed as you pursue your dream home.
As a homebuyer, it may be beneficial to establish goals. Because once you know what you want to accomplish during the homebuying journey, you can take the necessary steps to achieve your homebuying aspirations.
Now, let's take a look at three factors to consider as you develop homebuying goals.
1. Your Dream Home
Define your dream house – you will be glad you did. If you know what you want to find in your ideal residence, you can map out your homebuying journey accordingly.
Generally, it helps to make a list of house must-haves before you launch a home search. This list should include any features you require from a residence, along with your preferred cities and towns.
If you need a home that provides convenient access to your office in the city, for example, owning a house in or near the city itself is a must. Or, if you require a home that offers ample space for you and your kids, you can search for residences that provide multiple bedrooms and play areas.
2. Your Homebuying Budget
When it comes to buying a house, it is beneficial to get your finances in order. That way, you can hone your home search to residences that fall within your price range.
Meeting with banks and credit unions allows you to learn about a broad assortment of mortgage options. These financial institutions can teach you about different types of home financing. Then, you can select a mortgage and enter the real estate market with a budget in hand.
3. Your Homebuying Timeline
Consider how long it will take you to find and purchase a home that matches your expectations. If you establish a homebuying timeline, you may be better equipped than ever before to optimize your time and resources as you search for your dream residence.
Of course, it helps to maintain a flexible homebuying timeline. And if you encounter challenges during the homebuying journey, you can adjust your timeline as needed.
For those who plan to pursue a home, it may be helpful to hire a real estate agent, too. If you employ a real estate agent, you can get the support you need to navigate the homebuying journey like a pro.
A real estate agent is happy to help you explore a variety of homes in your preferred cities and towns. If you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence. Plus, if your offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will guide you along the final stages of the homebuying journey.
As you prepare to conduct a home search, you may want to develop goals. If you begin a home search with a plan, you could streamline the process of finding and purchasing your ideal residence. Best of all, you may be able to acquire a first-rate house that will serve you well for an extended period of time.