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Category Archives: Buy a Home

5 Things to Think About When Buying Your First Place

As a renter, you have the luxury of choosing a place that meets your needs at the moment.​ Buying a home is a much bigger commitment, both in terms of finances and the length of time you’ll likely live there. When seeking out your first place – whether a house or condominium or anything in between – it’s important to do your homework.

Here are 5 things to consider as you begin the process of purchasing your first place.

1. The growth possibilities. Shop for a place that meets your current spaces needs, but also consider one that can adjust to a changing household. A five-year plan may not pan out as you expect, so think about possible life changes that could impact your need for bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage.

2. What’s under the hood. Your first place may not come with many frills or luxury features – but all the basics should be in good condition. Thoroughly inspect prospective properties. And before any purchase is made, hiring a professional inspector is a must. Your real estate agent can guide you through this key step.

3. Know that no home will be perfect. Your first home may likely not be the perfect place. But make it the right one. Finding the right home is often a matter of prioritizing. Make a list of “must haves,” along with “nice to haves” and “not necessary to haves.” A three-car garage is nice, but would you rather have a larger kitchen or live in a good neighborhood? Only you can measure the importance of the amenities you are looking for.

4. Consider ALL the costs of ownership. When you buy a home​, you take on recurring costs you don’t have to worry about as a renter. Look for a home that meets your budget in terms of full living costs – mortgage, utilities, trash pick-up, sewage fees, homeowner’s association dues and other fees. Your lender doesn’t take into account these costs when approving your home loan. A good real estate agent can help you calculate estimated monthly costs to determine the most appropriate price range for you.

5. The lifespan of things. In addition to identifying cosmetic and structural flaws before you buy, know what to expect from the home’s components. How long until you need to replace the roof, appliances, furnace or carpet? Everything may be in working order now, but all homes need these types of repairs at some point. Researching the expected remaining life on large-ticket items can help you plan for the future.

When you’re ready to start the process of buying a home, RemaxAllPro.com will be ready to help.

5 Tips for Getting Over “The One That Got Away”

Imagine you finally find the house of your dreams. It has everything you hoped for in a home, from the right countertops to the right landscaping. You spend hours envisioning the parties you’ll throw in the backyard and the baths you’ll take in the clawfoot tub. But fate intervenes. For some unfortunate reason – perhaps a fierce bidding war or a fickle owner who decides to stay put – deal falls through. How do you recover? Here are some tips.

1. Get right back in the saddle

If you must have a pity party, do it quickly. Perhaps a quick toast to what could have been, then dive straight back into search mode. In today’s market, things move fast. You don’t want to miss an even better home while you’re mooning over photos of the lost listing.

2. Don’t dwell on one dwelling

Delete the listing of the home that got away. Erase the pictures you took with your phone when you toured. Do your best not to compare new homes to the one you lost. There are lots of homes with lots of new possibilities. Keep an open mind.

3. Don’t settle

Don’t let your frustration push you into a hurried purchase of the next available property simply to get the process over with. Stay true to your shopping list of features you need and want.

4. Re-evaluate your budget.

Take another look at what you can spend and what the homes you’re looking at have been selling for. Do you need to add cushion to be more competitive when making an offer? Or do you need to start looking at a less expensive neighborhood to find a home that has everything you want?

5. Talk to your agent.

Your RE/MAX agent will be full of advice for surviving the lows – and highs – of your real estate journey. Find an agent here: RemaxAllPro.com.

Own It! Separating Wants From Needs

By Carriann Johnson, interior designer and TV personality

As an interior designer for 16 years, I understand falling in love with the details. And it’s so downright exciting to shop for one of your largest investments – a home! But before you get carried away with your list of “dream features,” have you truly defined what you want versus what you need in your next home? In my years of working with hundreds of clients, I have found that the things we think are “must-haves” aren’t what we really need once our lifestyles take over.

Recently my husband and I found ourselves home shopping. When I sat down and really thought about what I needed – and not just what I wanted – to my amazement, we decided to look for a smaller home. The fancy outdoor living space and grand front entrance I used to want had been taken off our list. Entertaining space and a dining room weren’t ‘needs’ any longer due to our hectic schedules. We found a home with more intimate spaces that bring us closer as a family compared to the sprawling oasis of rooms we once wanted. Carefully considering our lifestyles helped us create a list of what we really needed.

What do you need from your home? Remember, key word here is “need.” A need should always trump a want when it comes to big decisions in life. Agree? Take a look at my list to help you find the right attitude when looking for your next home.

1) Make a list
Make a list with two columns – wants versus needs. Your needs should include things like location, school districts, neighborhood, your budget, number of bedrooms, features and amenities, plumbing and electrical that are updated, lot size, number of garage spaces, HOAs and Covenants. Wants may include nonessentials such as the specific style of the home, a newer furnace and hot water heater, remodeled kitchen or baths, deck, pool, hot tub, flooring material, fireplace or wood stove, newer windows and/or landscaping.

2) Consult with other family members
If you’re purchasing a home for more people than just yourself, consult with other family members to further define your wants versus needs. A larger kitchen may be important to your spouse, whereas your son or daughter may need extra closet space due to hobbies or interests. Consider how you want your family to live in your home. Believe it or not, studies have shown that square footage and the floor plan of your home can affect your relationships. Bouncing thoughts and ideas off one another can be very helpful in determining your wants and needs.

3) Consider tomorrow
Consider how long you may plan to stay in your next home. That in itself can determine your wants and needs. If you are planning to stay short term in your home, its location, value and neighborhood will be important, as will current market activity.

If you are planning to stay in your next home longer than five years, think about upcoming life changes. Are you planning to expand your family? Will you be needing an extra room to accommodate an aging parent? Will you need a generous lot for a future home addition? Is remodeling certain features in your budget?

4) Compromise and trade-offs

The home shopping and purchasing experience can be exhausting. However, being realistic will ease your mind and reduce your stress. We have been suffocated by the pressure to live a life that tells us we need certain things to be happy. Avoid the noise. Ask yourself: What makes you happy? If having a large kitchen brings you joy so you can cook for family and friends, make that a need. But be okay to let go of a large backyard if you live in a state where mosquitoes and rain dominate your summers. Spend time defining your lifestyle and what you could forgo in order to be happy in your home.

Keep these perspectives in mind when defining the wants versus needs of your home and you’ll be sure to find a home you love!

Find an experienced professional to work with – visit RemaxAllPro.com.

6 Decisions to Make Before Your Home Search

 

In the market for a new home but have no idea where to start? There are several decisions you should begin to make before you even start your home search. By asking yourself the right questions, you can quickly pinpoint what you want – and can afford – in your next home.

1. What’s your budget? See how your finances stand up to the 28/36 rule, which lenders use to see what you can afford to pay each month. A financial adviser or your real estate agent also can help you crunch the numbers. Going through the mortgage pre-approval process lets you know how much lenders will allow you to borrow – plus it helps you show sellers that you have the funds to backup your offer.

2. What do you need in your new home? How many bedrooms or bathrooms do you need? What about a large kitchen, a home office or a playroom for the kids? How many cars need covered parking? It’s critically important to ensure the home you select meets your family and lifestyle needs.

3. Do you want a condo or single-family home? Condos come with much less maintenance. You typically won’t be shoveling snow in the winter or replacing the roof, but you’ll likely pay monthly association fees to cover services and repairs in the community. Houses, on the other hand, come with more privacy and freedom to customize. They also come with full responsibility for maintenance.

4. How do you feel about living under covenants? Depending on where you buy, you may have to pay homeowner association (HOA) fees in addition to your mortgage. There are benefits to HOAs, such as maintenance, community centers, and maybe even a pool or gym. But you also could be faced with more restrictive rules about the look of the outside of your home, down to the color of your front door, types of window coverings, and whether you can plant flowers in your yard.

5. What school district do you want to be near? Even if you don’t have children in the house, local schools will affect your property value. Prospective homebuyers tend to search with education in mind. Do your research on the schools in the areas you’d like to live in.

6. Should the home be move-in ready? Ask yourself how much elbow grease you’re willing to put into a home – or how much you’ll pay someone else to do the work. Fixer-upper homes can be great after the work is done, but you’ll want to figure out your renovation budget before you start your home search. A203k home-renovation loan might be the right resource for you. If you’re not ready for the extra financial commitment of rehabbing a home, or you can’t or don’t want to wait for remodeling projects to finish up, then a home that’s move-in ready might be right for you.

After considering all these factors, you’ll be ready to start the home search with a clearer picture of where you’re headed. When that time comes, let a RE/MAX agent guide you all the way there.

Five Things to Know: Millennials and Home Buying

Millennials are now major players in the home buying arena, according to the recent Home Buyer and Generational Trends report released by the National Association of Realtors:

1. Millennials accounted for 35% of buyers in 2015. This is up from 32% in 2014, and is the third year in a row Millennials have composed the largest group of recent buyers.

2. In 2015, the number of Millennials purchasing in an urban or central city area decreased to 17% from 21% in 2014. Suburbia-phobe? Perhaps not.

3. They have help getting their foot in the door. Twenty-three percent of Millennials used a financial gift for (or toward) their down payment.

4. An online search was the first step for 56% of Millennials, whether they were looking for properties or searching for information about the home buying process.

5. Almost 90% worked with a Realtor to buy their home.

Are you a Millennial looking for your next home? Work with an agent prepared for the changing marketplace. Find one here.

4 Steps to Launch the Home Buying Process

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You’ve decided you’re ready to buy your own home­ – now what? Start with these initial steps:

1. Get your financial ducks in a row.
Calculate how much money you have in savings and assets, your total annual income and your expenses. Know how much of it you can allocate toward a downpayment and other expenses. Check your credit report and fix any errors. This will help you determine what type of loan you qualify for, and the price range of homes you want to look at.

2. Determine how much house you can afford.
A common rule is that your monthly mortgage payment should not exceed 28 percent of your pre-tax income. You can plug your information into an online mortgage calculator to get a starting idea of exactly how much you’ll pay each month with different interest rates and terms.

3. Find a real estate agent.
Interview several agents to find one that specializes in the communities you’re interested in and has experience representing buyers with the type of home you’re looking for. Search for a local agent now.

4. Shop!
It’s important that you keep an open mind and look at a wide range of properties. Go to open houses. Cruise the Internet. Peruse different neighborhoods. Your agent will also help by finding properties that match as many of your “wants” and “needs” as possible. When you fall in love with a house and are ready to make it official, your agent can help you navigate the process from putting in an offer to the closing table.

Whether you’re buying, selling or looking to make your house a home, you can find more advice on the RE/MAX blog.

May Housing Report

With the 2016 home-buying season just starting, April sales saw a 7.5% increase over March and a 3.2% rise over April last year, which nearly matches the average year-over-year sales increase of 4.3% so far in 2016. The Median Sales Price in April was $215,000, which was 5.4% higher than one year ago and 7.5% above the median price in March. The inventory of homes for sale remains very tight in many markets across the country, with the April inventory 15.2% lower than April 2015. At the rate of home sales in April, the national Months Supply of Inventory was 3.2, down from 3.7 in March.

The May 2016 Housing Report infograph can be found here.

RE/MAX All-Pro Open House Showcase

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Don’t forget to come out to our Open House Showcase this Sunday! 17 homes will be shown, with more than a dozen of our agents hosting!

View Listings >

 

April Housing Report

The 2016 home buying season began in March with a 33.4% jump in sales from February among the 53 metro areas surveyed for the RE/MAX National Housing Report, which is a little better than the 31.0% seven-year average of February to March increases. March sales were also 3.6% greater than sales one year ago. So far in 2016, the average year-over-year increase in home sales has been 4.9%. The median price among the Median Sales Prices of the markets in the survey in March was $204,000, which was the same median price reported in March 2015. The inventory of homes for sale remains very tight in many markets across the country, with March seeing a level that is 13.3% lower than a year ago, the exact same difference seen in February. At the rate of home sales in March, the national Months Supply of inventory was 3.2, down from 3.7 in March 2015.

The April 2016 Housing Report infograph can be found here.

Sellers: How to Decide Between Multiple Home Offers

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What a splendid dilemma! You’ve received several offers on your property. Which one should you choose? It’s not always the highest one.

Here are just some of the areas your agent could ask you to pay particularly close attention to as you’re weighing the options.

1. Do the math
This goes beyond simply calculating the dollar difference between the various offer prices. Before you do that, be sure to do all the math. Subtract things like closing costs, fees and potential repairs to determine the net proceeds of each offer.

2. Consider the financing
Can the buyer provide proof from the bank that there are funds to back the offer? Your agent can help verify this – and help you understand the terms of the buyer’s financing.

3. Motivation
Do the buyers have a baby-sitting parent in the neighborhood? A new job just around the corner? Buyers with extra motivation to purchase your home are less likely to press for concessions and more likely to work harder to close the deal. Some buyers even include a personal letter with their offer to explain why they want the home. These letters can be particularly helpful in multiple-offer situations.

4. Timeline
Note the closing date each offer proposes. You’ll want a closing date that best meets your needs. You can always counter a closing date, too, if the best offer doesn’t quite meet your timeline.

Weighing the pros and cons of each offer can be tricky. An experienced agent can help you clarify, calculate and secure the very best deal for you. Find a local RE/MAX agent who can help.