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Category Archives: buy a house palmdale - Page 2

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.

3 Ways to Separate Wants from Needs in a New Home

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Rolling Stones fans and savvy homebuyers both know you can’t always get what you want. At least not everything you want. You should, however, have some sense of what you want and what you need when you start your search for a new home. Distinguishing between the wants and needs can be tricky because so much emotion can swirl around visions of your “dream home.”

But making two separate lists of wants and needs will save you hours and energy in the long run. Here are three things to do to help you decide how to assign home features to your lists:

1. Ask yourself if you can truly live without it.

“Wants” are features that would be nice to have. “Needs” are things that you really must have to function. Be honest, can you truly live without shiny new stainless steel appliances? If yes, put them in the “Wants” column. On the other hand, an additional bedroom may belong in the “Needs” column if you’re expecting twins. Creaky knees? A ranch layout is a “need.” Occasional desire for a nap by the hearth? That fireplace is a “want.”

2. Determine if a feature could be changed or added later.

No matter how ambitious you are, some things may remain beyond your control to change, like proximity to public transportation, or quality of the local school district. If these features are critical to you, they go on the “Needs” list. On the other hand, things like patios and hardwood floors can be added later. List them as “Wants.” Your agent can probably help you talk through potential future costs of renovations and additions to accommodate your wants. Changing the bus routes, on the other hand, is probably beyond the capabilities of even the most experienced Realtor.

3. Talk it through with your agent.

A trusted Realtor can bring a much-needed dose of objectivity to your decision-making. He or she can help you visualize the day-to-day reality of living with (or without) a certain feature, as well as guide you through the math that may help you separate wants from needs.

A Realtor you can trust always goes on the “Needs” list. Find a RE/MAX All-Pro agent who can guide you through the homebuying process.

AV’S BEST REAL ESTATE SERVICES 2015

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It probably comes as no surprise to many in the Antelope Valley that RE/MAX All-Pro has once again been selected by Antelope Valley Press readers as AV’s Best Real Estate Services for 2015. The company is coming up on its 25th Anniversary next year and a multiple winner in this prestigious category.

“We are a very focused and forward-thinking real estate company that provides our clients the ultimate real estate experience. We understand the process of buying and selling a home through a client’s eyes and we provide them the best real estate council, advice, and negotiation skills,”says Broker/Owner Keny Terracciano.

“Our agents are the most productive and experienced agents in the Valley, and we pride ourself on the fact that nobody sells more real estate in the world than RE/MAX,” explains Broker/Owner Keny Terracciano. “When looking to buy or sell real estate, the consumers seek out the best brand in real estate, and no other brand in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX with over 1 million homes sold worldwide in 2014.  It is a win for the client and it is a win for the agents that work at RE/MAX All-Pro.”

“As a real estate broker, I am blessed beyond measure to lead a group of highly educated, successful, and experienced Realtors with unwavering focus on navigating and educating their clients through every step of the real estate transaction,” expresses Keny Terracciano.

“As an organization, we strive to give back to the community in which we serve through our non-profit Cure a Child, our City of Lancaster partnership, and the RE/MAX All-Pro Community Outreach programs. That is our company mission, and has provided much success for our associates and brokerage,” adds Terracciano.

The company’s continuing growth is reflected in Terracciano’s opening a Palmdale location at 3001 Rancho Vista Boulevard in Rancho Vistaand they look forward to serving the entire Antelope Valley.


 

Thank you for making us AV’s BEST Real Estate Services BACK to BACK!!!
If you need help finding your dream home, contact us to put our local knowledge and experience to work for you. Get the very BEST real estate professionals on your team with RE/MAX All-Pro.

How Much Does My Agent Need to Know About My Finances?

Money is a delicate issue. How much we earn and how much we owe is information many of us prefer to keep close to the vest.

If you’re concerned about detailing your finances to your real estate agent, rest assured that there’s plenty of privacy in the client/agent relationship.

In their wheelhouse
Real estate agents don’t need, or expect, you to disclose everything about your money. That said, they must understand your overall situation to help guide you to a home that’s within your budget.

An agent’s job is to negotiate a home purchase or sale on your behalf, keep the transaction on track and help you navigate real estate paperwork. His or her strength lies in understanding home values, and property and neighborhood features. Home financing is an altogether separate story from a home search or sale; therefore, agents usually don’t delve into your finances to crunch the numbers.

Leave it to the lender
Agents are happy to let your mortgage lender handle the financial questioning. A loan officer at a bank or mortgage company calculates your maximum purchasing power and your monthly payments based on your loan application, financial documentation and debt-to-income ratio.

Be prepared to supply your lender with your last two years of tax returns, recent pay stubs, bank statements and investment accounts. Agents then present a lender-generated preapproval letter to listing agents, indicating the amount you’re able to borrow.

Contact your local RE/MAX All Pro agent if you have questions about buying a house or selling one. Our real estate professionals can guide you – with discretion – toward your next home.

For all the things that move you®

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At RE/MAX All-Pro, we understand the stress that can be involved in moving, and we want to make your real estate experience as smooth as possible. When you are ready for the big move, our 15 foot box van is available for the exclusive use of our friends, family, and clients. Call your RE/MAX REALTOR for details and reservations. Some rules and restrictions apply. Call for details.

New Buyers: 4 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success

2015-01-4waystosetforsuccessAs one of the largest financial decisions in a person’s life, buying a home requires discretion, sensibility and budgeting. The following tips will keep you on the right path as you look to purchase your first place.

1. Keep score
The better your credit score is, the better your mortgage terms will be. A good credit score can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Start reviewing your credit a few months before you apply for a home loan. If you have a score in the 600s or lower, start paying down credit balances to 30 percent or less of your balance. Also make bill and debt payments on time – no later than 30 days after the due date. If you have a score in the 700s or 800s, be sure to maintain and protect your good credit. The slightest credit misstep can cause a strong credit score to plunge more sharply than a weak score.

2. Consider all costs
The cost of a home is just the start, and smart buyers tighten their belts before buying to meet the monthly and yearly financial demands of homeownership. When you buy a home, you’re responsible for paying principal and interest, taxes and insurance. Additionally, you’ll need to cover expenses such as utilities and possibly homeowner association dues. You’ll also need cash on hand for the upkeep and repair costs that come with any home. The average homeowner spends 1 percent to 4 percent of a home’s value on property maintenance each year, according to U.S. News & World Report. Expect to pay for repairs or maintenance even within the first year of owning your home.

3. Be flexible in your search
Homebuyers who distinguish between wants and needs make the most sensible decisions. A list of must-haves should include items that affect your quality of life, such as a home’s location, its price, number of bedrooms and square footage. You should be prepared to concede nonessential items, such as views and extra rooms, if you find a house meets your must-haves and is within your budget. Being flexible also involves adjusting your criteria as the home search progresses. For example, your budget may require looking at a town house rather than a detached home, or buying a fixer-upper in order to live in a better neighborhood.

4. Keep your cool
Don’t get overly excited in your search, especially in markets where homes are selling quickly. A bit of self-restraint prevents you from overspending or choosing a home that doesn’t fully fit your needs. Be prepared to walk away if a home inspection reveals more defects in a home than you’re able to deal with. Also, keep calm if you find yourself in a bidding war. Your agent can help you make the most competitive offer, and if it doesn’t get accepted then your agent can help you find the next great option. Finding the right home that fits your lifestyle and budget can take weeks or months. By starting early and being patient, you’ll avoid the sense of urgency that often drives homebuyers to make hasty decisions.

Don’t go it alone. Find a RE/MAX All Pro agent who can guide you every step of the way.

What Goes Into Making an Offer Below Asking Price?

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You’ve found a house you love. It’s the perfect size, layout, condition and even has your must-haves. There’s only one problem. The seller’s asking price is too high. It’s time for the phase of home buying that most people dread and even fewer are skilled at: the art of negotiation.

Make no mistake, negotiation is part skill and part art form. An experienced buyer’s agent will know how to finesse the contract negotiations and save you a lot of hassle. Your gut might tell you that the asking price for the house is too much, but you’ll have a better chance of getting a lower offer accepted if your agent can back it up with facts.

A few key elements:

Comparables and Statistics
The best way to determine the fair market value of a house is to measure its asking price against similar homes that have sold in the same area, providing a set of numbers known as comparables or comps. Your agent will handle this, providing data from the local multiple listing service, or MLS. This gives you a baseline starting point. Your agent will also consider other factors, including the original listing price of similar homes versus their selling price, as well as the number of days the house has been on the market. All of this information can help make a better factual case for making an offer lower than the asking price.

Following a Process
Your agent will prepare a written offer to submit to the seller or seller’s agent. Along with this written proposal, your agent can present facts such as the comps and other data to justify your offer. When the seller sees this in writing, you have a much stronger case. Also, writing a letter to the sellers about your situation and your feelings about their home can make a big impression.

Seller Motivation
One of the strongest negotiating factors is understanding the seller’s motivation. This may be hard to do on your own, but your agent may be able to help. If your agent learns, for example, that the sellers are moving and have closed on a house elsewhere, this tells you they’re probably motivated to sell quickly. Knowledge is power – especially in negotiations.

Making Your Lower Offer Work for Them
Sometimes buyers can make their lower offers more palatable to sellers by offering concessions or compromises. Something as simple as being flexible on a closing date can be attractive. If, for instance, the sellers are facing a one-month gap between the sale of the current home and their purchase of the next, they might appreciate it if your offer included an extension of the closing date or an opportunity to lease their home back from you for a month. If you don’t need assistance from the sellers to pay closing costs, they could see this as a big plus. Also, having a pre-approval letter from your mortgage lender is one of your best advantages. This tells sellers that your financing is secure and not likely to fall through.  It can be a gamble for sellers to accept an offer from someone who hasn’t yet secured financing.

Making the Asking Price Work for You
Depending on how far off the asking price is from your budget and your understanding of the home’s value, you and your agent might consider agreeing to the full asking price but requesting additional concessions from the sellers. For instance, your agent could include in the offer a request for the sellers to pay your closing costs. Perhaps there are household items, such as the washer and dryer, you would be interested in keeping; these also can be written into an offer. A home warranty is another item sellers may agree to purchase for you. These types of seller concessions could offset the gap you and your agent see between asking price and the fair market price.

A Backup Plan
Not all negotiations result in an agreement. Sometimes the parties are too far apart in price, and there’s nothing to be done. In these cases, your agent can be ready with other properties that fit your needs. In any negotiation, you have more leverage if you’re willing to walk away.

The End Game
Above all, remember that negotiating the price you’re willing to pay for a house is just that – a negotiation. You’re trying to reach an agreement that’s acceptable to both you and the sellers. The object isn’t to beat the sellers or win the negotiation. The object is to purchase the house. Good agents know this – and will use their expertise to make it happen.

Find a local RE/MAX All-Pro agent who can guide you through the negotiating process.

8 Tools Every Homeowner Should Own

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Every home at some point requires maintenance. Some of that maintenance doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money if you keep some basic tools around the house. Here are some helpful tools you can keep on hand.

Screwdrivers
Make sure you have both flathead and Phillips-head screwdrivers of various sizes. A complete set is even better, letting you do everything from tightening loose fixtures to putting together furniture. For light projects, you could opt for a single, multi-bit screwdriver that stores detachable heads in the handle and doubles as a nut driver.

Hammer
A good hammer is an absolute staple for everything from hanging photos to repairing fence pickets. The most common size weighs 16 ounces. Consider investing in a good hammer with a claw head and an anti-vibration rubber grip.

Utility knife
A trusty utility knife or box cutter can come in handy, especially if you’re just moving into your home and need to unpack those well-taped-up boxes. And as long as we’re on the subject of knives, consider getting a putty knife. You’ll be surprised how often you’ll reach for it.

Wall level
It only takes a few millimeters for a shelf or artwork to look off-kilter; a wall level takes the guesswork away. Unless you have an experienced eye, a level will help you hang items on the wall evenly the first time.

Measuring tape
You’ll save yourself a lot of frustration if you measure appliances and furniture before trying to fit them into your new place. A long, 35-foot tape measure will do the job in big and small projects. A more modest, 12-foot measuring tape also is a good alternative, particularly for jobs like hanging artwork.

Flashlight
Power outages can happen anytime, so be ready with at least one durable flashlight and batteries. They also come in handy when you’re working on repairs in those darker and tighter spaces. Look for hybrid versions, which use solar power and contain a back-up battery. If your new place has electricity upon move-in, you also can purchase a rechargeable work light.

Wrench and pliers
Start with an adjustable wrench that can handle many different jobs. Six-, eight- or 10-inch long wrenches are the most popular. Pliers also are indispensible; look for ones with serrated jaws that grip objects firmly.

Toolbox
Store your most commonly used tools in a single place, such as an easy-to-carry toolbox, and you’ll always know where to find these tools when you need them.

Do you have a favorite go-to tool? Share it below!

Are you thinking about buying a house? You’ll need a lot of information – and not just about tools! Contact your local RE/MAX All Pro agent to help you find the right home for you.

5 Advantages of Buying a Fixer-Upper

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We all have fantasy images of our dream house. These images may be hard to let go of when buying a home, especially when all you can afford are homes that, well, let’s just say need some TLC.

That’s when it’s important to keep in mind that the fixer-upper you’re looking at could have the potential to someday become your dream house. It’s just one advantage fixer-uppers can offer. Here are a few others:

1. Lower price
A home that needs work likely will be less expensive. Such properties rarely list at full market price.

2. Fewer competitors
Many buyers are unwilling or unable to put a lot of work into a house. This creates the perfect opportunity to snatch a bargain, a major advantage welcomed in particular by first-time homebuyers or house hunters competing for homes in areas with low inventory.

3. A blank canvas
With a fixer-upper, you call the shots as to how the house will eventually look. You don’t have to settle for a home that reflects someone else’s taste. Plus, if you do some of the work yourself, you’re automatically awarded bragging rights.

4. Quicker equity
If you renovate the home shortly after you buy it, you may increase its value quickly. Equity provides many financial benefits, from raising your personal net worth to giving you an opportunity to refinance sooner, if needed.

5. The possibility of renovation loans
Ask your lender about the Federal Housing Administration’s 203k loans that provide homeowners with funds specifically for fixer-upper projects. The loans, the 203k Streamlined Mortgage and the full 203k Mortgage, are available for homes with needs ranging from cosmetic improvements to extensive structural work.

Whether you’re looking for the home of your dreams or a starter house that may need some work, a RE/MAX All Pro Agent can guide you there.