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Category Archives: buy a house lancaster

The Power of ‘Kidfluence’ When It’s Time to Buy a Home

While parents may have a handle on the household budgets, it’s the kids who influence one of the biggest purchase decisions you make as a family-a new home. In the U.S., there are 50 million children 11 years old and under who have a hefty $1.2 trillion in annual purchasing power and they mean business. We’re not just talking about their mini-opinions on everyday purchased like food, clothing and toys; their influence extends to larger life purchases including cars, vacations and yes, even homes.

According to a recent Harris Poll, 55 percent of homeowners with a child under 18 said the opinion of their child played a factor in their home buying decision. For millennial parents, the influence grows to nearly 75 percent-now that’s some ‘kidfluence.’

While parents study and search for the best school zones, other home features like having their own room, a large backyard and a swimming pool were more popular to the Mini-Me in the family. This might explain why many couples move out of the city to suburbs when they start a family-even as some urbanists continue to stay put in city life raising their city kids.

Finding the right home that’s just right for your family starts with finding the right agent. RE/MAX agents are more recommended because they recommend what’s right for you-and your kids. When you’re ready to start the process of buying a home, RemaxAllPro.com will be ready to help.

RE/MAX Agents Outproduce The Competition 2:1

The numbers prove it: RE/MAX agents continue to have leading productivity. Here are five facts to know from the 2018 REAL Trends 500 Report.

RE/MAX agents averaged 17.0 transaction sides, more than double the average of 7.5 for all other agents in the survey.

RE/MAX was one of only four national franchises with an average exceeding the overall survey average of 8.3 transaction sides per agent.

Of the 1,752 qualifying brokerages, one-third (565) were affiliated with RE/MAX. The nearest competitor placed 392.

RE/MAX agents averaged $4.6 million in sales volume, 78% higher than the $2.6 million average of all other agents in the REAL Trends 500 survey.

 With 89, RE/MAX brokerages hold even more of the top 100 spots when all participating brokerages are ranked by average sides per agent.

View the full 2018 REAL Trends 500 report here >

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.

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.

6 Reasons Why Autumn & Early Winter Might Just Be the Best Time to Purchase a Home

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.

5 Ways to Reconnect with Neighbors this Winter

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With winter’s short days and colder temps, you’re less likely to hang out outside and run into your neighbors. Gather the gang and catch up with these fun ideas for grown-up get togethers.

1. Bunco
It’s been around since the 1800s and never gone out of style. The game requires dice and no skill or strategy whatsoever—perfect for an evening of chatting with friends. Here are the rules.

2. Fondue Party
You provide the cheese and invite neighbors to bring things to dip. Dessert should, of course, be served with a chocolate fountain.

3. Eat on the Run
Coordinate a progressive dinner party with neighbors and enjoy each dish, and perhaps a new variety of wine, in a different home.

4. Put on Your Detective’s Cap
Host a murder mystery party. Download storylines and clues from the web or order a kit with costumes. It’s always a fun way to kill an evening.

5. Hit the Beach
A luau-themed party may be the closest you’ll get to a beach vacation this winter. Grass skirts, plastic leis, tropical drinks, hula tunes and a few rounds of limbo will help warm things up. Indoor tiki torches not recommended.

Love to entertain, but squeezed for space? Your Realtor can give you an idea of new home opportunities could broaden your party horizons. Find an agent to consult here.

3 Ways to Compete in a Bidding War

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After weeks (or even months) of searching for a home, you’ve finally found the perfect home. Unfortunately, you have excellent taste and there are five, 10, maybe even more offers on the table. If you’re caught in a bidding war, there’s more you can do than cross your fingers.

Here are 3 strategies that may help turn the odds of winning the war in your favor.

1. Help the seller out
Do whatever you can, within reason, to make the decision easier for the seller. This can include being flexible on the closing date to accommodate the seller’s moving plans. And although it’s not unusual for buyers to ask a seller to pay for a portion of their closing costs, now may not be the time to press your luck. If you’re able to cover your own closing costs and you don’t ask for seller assistance in your offer, you definitely could stand out. Also, the greater your down payment, the more secure a seller may feel that your mortgage financing will close with no problems. That’s not to say you can’t compete against someone who is offering a larger down payment; sellers will weigh various factors as they review offers with their agent. Overall, limiting your requests of the sellers and submitting your highest and best offer are the best approaches to being competitive.

2. Be prepared to act fast
Both you and your agent should be constantly monitoring homes for sale so you can evaluate potential homes as quickly as they’re posted. Research the properties as much as possible before your showings so you can be prepared to make an offer on the spot if the home is a good fit. Talk with your agent about adding an escalation clause into your offer that automatically increases your bid if other buyers come in. Finally, include a pre-approval letter from your lender stating that you qualify for a loan in the amount of your offer.

3. Don’t be shy
There isn’t always a lot of cash separating the top bid from the next closest contenders. For a seller with a strong emotional attachment to their home, an extra thousand dollars might mean less than passing their house along to the right buyer. Draft a letter describing why you fell in love with their house. Is it the perfect size for your growing family? Do you want to bring the backyard garden back to life? It just might give you the edge over the competition.

If you’re looking for advice tailored to your specific situation, a licensed buyer’s agent may be able to help. Contact a local RE/MAX All Pro agent today.

6 Questions to Ask on a Home Tour

2015-7-6-questionsThanks to the Internet and your Realtor’s digital tools, you can learn a lot about a home before visiting, such as when the house was built and the HOA or tax costs. Some things, however, are best to ask the agent in person when you’re touring a property.

1. Why are the owners selling?
The agent isn’t obligated to tell you, but he or she might. The answer could reveal issues not included in the listing description. Is there a new highway planned nearby? Are the HOA restrictions too much for the sellers to handle? If the agent does reveal, for instance, that the owner is desperate to close quickly, you might be able to use that to your advantage when negotiating price.

2. What’s the sellers’ timeline?
Do the property owners need to relocate immediately for work? Or are they waiting for their children to finish the current school year? It’s important that your timeline for moving into the home and the owner’s timeline for moving out line up.

3. What, exactly, is for sale?
Find out precisely what’s included in the sales price. That nifty new fridge with the built-in smart screen you admire might be going with the sellers to their new home. Learn whether the appliances and fixtures, such as ceiling fans, are included in the sale price.

4. Are there any issues with the property?
Yes, the sellers are required to reveal most problems, but a chatty sales agent might reveal more than is included in the disclosure document. It certainly can’t hurt to ask.

5. How are the neighbors?
Ask about the types of people that live nearby. Retirees? Young families with kids? College students? The primary population will influence the overall culture of the neighborhood and can help you determine if this is the home for you.

6. Have the owners completed any major home projects?
Lots of recent home improvements could mean the property is in better shape than ever, ready for you to enjoy. It could also indicate more work will need to be done in the future. Be sure to get the full story about any recent property updates.

You’ll have tons of questions as you search for your next home. A RE/MAX agent can help you find the answers. To meet an agent, start here: www.remaxallpro.com/agents.