Maria DiCarlo's Blog
If you intend to buy a house in the foreseeable future, it pays to prepare. That way, you can enter the real estate market as an "extraordinary" homebuyer, i.e. someone who knows exactly what it takes to find a great house at an outstanding price.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help any homebuyer go from ordinary to extraordinary.
1. Learn the Ins and Outs of the Housing Sector
The real estate market is complex, particularly for someone who is pursuing a house for the first time. Fortunately, plenty of housing market data is available that can help you gain the insights that you need to make an informed home purchase.
Take a look at homes that are currently available in your city or town. By doing so, you can better understand the prices of houses that match your expectations. Then, you can tailor your home search accordingly.
Furthermore, don't forget to assess the prices of recently sold residences in your area. This housing market data will help you determine whether you're about to enter a real estate market that favors buyers or sellers.
2. Get Your Finances in Order
Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about your mortgage options – you'll be glad you did. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can begin your home search with a budget in hand, thereby reducing the temptation to spend too much on a house.
Lenders are happy to provide you with information about a broad range of mortgage options. Also, if you ever have mortgage questions, lenders employ friendly, professionally trained mortgage specialists who are ready to respond to your queries.
In addition, it usually is a good idea to evaluate your credit score prior to applying for a mortgage.
You can obtain a free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). If you review your credit report closely, you can identify and resolve any potential credit problems and increase the likelihood that you can obtain a favorable mortgage.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to becoming an extraordinary homebuyer, it is important to note that it can be difficult for even the most diligent homebuyer to succeed on his or her own. However, if you employ an expert real estate agent, you can streamline the process of acquiring your dream residence.
A real estate agent is committed to your homebuying success, and as such, will do everything possible to help you find the perfect residence.
Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. This housing market professional will even help you alleviate homebuying stress and ensure that you can quickly go from homebuyer to homeowner.
Ready to embark on the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can become an extraordinary homebuyer in no time at all.
As soon as someone walks through the door of your home they get a sense of how you have created the space. Making sure that your home feels inviting is important for when guests come over or people enter your home.
It’s also handy to understand how to make your home feel welcoming when it’s ready to be sold. The task of making your home feel welcoming, comfortable and stylish can seem daunting, especially if you’re in the process of moving or starting over somewhere new. Even entertaining guests during busy times of the year can overshadow seeing the overall welcoming picture of your home. We have some tips for you to help you make sure that every person who walks through the doors of your home feels welcome and cozy inside its walls.
Start with the Entryway
The absolute first impression of your home that people get other than the outside appearance is that of the entryway. The minute people walk through the front door, they’re getting a sense of your home and property. There’s certain accessories that you can add for a simple touch that can make a big difference in the way your home is portrayed. Depending on how your entryway is set up, there are small pieces that you can use to give the entryway of your home an instant feeling of being inviting.
An example of an effective accessory would be a grandfather clock, which is stately and has a charming touch. A rug or succession of rugs also gives a sense of warmth and can add a lot to an entryway. This is particularly useful for homes in colder climates. It’s also important to make practical use of mirrors and lighting in your home’s entryway. If the entryway is a porch, a classic bench is a great piece to make visitors feel like they’re right at home.
Entice the Senses
Once visitors get inside your home, there are several small ways that make an impact on how guests feel inside of your home. Candles are a small touch that work quite well. Since our senses help us make associations, candles with the scent of flowers, cookies, or even cinnamon are a great way to help visitors feel welcome. These scents are very much associated with the feeling of “home.” Many times, it’s effective to burn these types of candles while an open house is going on. The small touch helps to further entice interested buyers.
Keep Delicate Items To A Minimum
When you’re in a museum or a china store, you often feel like you can’t walk around because you’re afraid of breaking something. While it’s certainly acceptable to have nice things in your home, you don’t want anyone walking around it to feel as if they’re in a museum. Part of developing a welcoming feeling in your home is making sure people actually feel comfortable there. These are some thoughts on how to give your home an inviting touch. Now, over to you- what makes you feel welcome in a home?
When you’re buying a home, there’s a lot to think about. Your finances probably have the biggest impact in the entire home search process. The amount of a down payment you have and the amount of loan you’re approved for help decide what you can buy.
When you hear about closing costs, what do they entail? How much will you need to cover these costs? Many people get to the closing table for their home purchase and feel unprepared. You’ll need a certain amount of cash on hand when you finally close on a home. Learn more about closing costs, so that you understand everything that you need to know about your home purchase.
Closing costs are spelled out pretty plainly in just about every kind of real estate contract. These costs are the fees associated with the title companies, attorney, banks, lenders and everyone else who is involved in the purchase of a home. The closing table is also the time when you provide your sizable down payment. The closing costs that are being referred to are considered a separate expense independent of the closing costs.
Closing Costs Vary
Closing costs can range from anywhere between 2 and 8 percent of the purchase price of the home. You can’t really “choose” what’s included in the closing, so you’ll need to have an idea of how much money you’ll need to write a check for. Lenders can give you an estimate of about how much closing costs will be.
Certain things like the realtor’s commission fees can be negotiated and can be paid for by the buyer or the seller. The good news is that you can roll your closing fees in with your mortgage in some cases. You may also be able to negotiate with your lender to pay the closing costs for you in exchange for a higher interest rate.
What’s Included In Closing Costs?
Depending upon where and what type of home you’re buying, what the closing costs actually cover varies. Here’s just some of the things that closing costs cover:
- Escrow fees
- Credit reports
- Title search
- Title exam fee
- Survey fee
- Courier fee (Most transactions are done electronically, but in some cases this may be necessary)
- Title insurance
- Owner’s title insurance
- Natural hazards disclosure
- Homeowner’s insurance (Your first year of insurance is often paid at closing)
- Buyer’s attorney fee
- Lender’s attorney fee
- Transfer taxes
- Recording fees
- Processing fees
- Underwriting fee
- Pre-paid interest
- Pest inspections
- Homeowner's association transfer fees
- Special assessments
These fees vary widely by state and the type of property that you’re purchasing. Not every fee is required, but the above is just a list of many of the possible fees that could be included in on the closing of the home you choose.
What Is The Disclosure Statement?
Disclosure statements are used in many of life’s situations. This is the place where the buyer is able to learn about the ins and outs of the property that they are about the buy. Examples of items that would be on a seller’s disclosure are:
- Water in the basement
- Updates made to the home
- Known pests
- Paranormal activity
- Death on the property
- Past fires
- Nearby major construction projects
- Title 5 sewerage issues
Disclosures Serves As Protections
The disclosure statement serves as a protection for both the buyer and the seller. From a buyer’s perspective, through this information, they are able to understand a bit more about the property that they are potentially buying.
On the seller’s side of things, the disclosure statement serves a s legal protection of sorts. The seller is obliged to reveal anything about the property that could potentially affect the value or affect the living conditions.
How Does The Seller Make The Disclosure
Each state and even each city within a state varies in the way a disclosure is conducted. The statement can be composed of dozens of documents that need to be signed by the seller. Other states have disclosure document forms that consist of a series of yes or no questions about the home. Sellers may also be required o present communications between neighbors, owners, and agents. In some states, the disclosure statement is valid for up to 10 years, allowing buyers to collect damages if something wasn’t properly presented on the statement.
How Do Sellers Know What To Disclose?
The basic rule of thumb is that if you know something about your property, you should disclose it. If you try to hide something, it could come back to meet you in the form of a lawsuit, even years later. Many states have legal requirements as to what should be revealed on these documents.
What’s Disclosed To Buyers?
The disclosure doesn’t have to be all bad. This document is also an opportunity for sellers to present any of the improvements that they have made to the home. Make sure that you include all of the upgrades, renovations, and improvements that you have made to the home that you’re selling. This can help to impress buyers as to how well you have taken care of the property.
It’s easy as the buyer to check some of these improvements as you can find out if the work was done with or without permits by checking with the city’s zoning reports. Work that was done without a permit may have not been completed according to code. This could pose some serious health and safety risks to you and your family.
Problems that you’ll want to disclose as a seller include pest problems, property line disputes, disturbances in the neighborhood, liens on the property, and appliance malfunctions.
Remember that the disclosure doesn’t substitute the buyer’s right to a professional inspection of the property. It’s important for buyers to know as much about a property as they can in order to be sure they’re making a good investment.