Barbara Saccomanno's Blog
Purchasing a residence can be quick and simple, particularly for those who know the ins and outs of the housing market.
At first, navigating the real estate market may seem impossible. Fortunately, homebuyers who consider the right questions before they browse residences can streamline the process of acquiring a house.
There are many key questions for homebuyers to consider prior to entering the housing market, including:
1. Where Do I Want to Live?
When it comes to the real estate market, it is all about location. Thus, you'll want to consider where you want to live and plan accordingly.
For example, if you enjoy the city life, you may want to purchase a house in a major metropolitan area. Or, if you prefer quiet country living, you might pursue houses in small towns.
Consider your current and future living situations as well. If you want to work in a particular city or town, you may want to purchase a nearby home. Or, if you plan to have children in the future, you may want to consider properties near schools.
2. How Much Can I Afford?
Unfortunately, bad credit may hinder your chances of securing your ideal residence. But if you know your credit score, you can work to improve it prior to searching for a house.
You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). Request a free copy of your credit report, and you can learn your credit score and find out how it may affect your ability to buy a home.
Also, getting pre-approved for a mortgage may make it easy for you to secure a house that matches your budget. With a mortgage in hand, you'll be able to browse homes within a set price range and find one that you can enjoy for years to come.
3. How Do I Get Started?
Let's face it – the real estate market can be complex, but there are many ways to simplify the process of obtaining the perfect residence.
First, create a list of must-haves for your residence. This list will help you narrow your search and determine exactly what you'd like to find in a dream home.
Don't forget to work with an experienced real estate agent, either. This real estate professional can offer support in many areas and ensure that you can explore a wide range of houses at your convenience.
Your real estate agent will help you set up home showings, submit offers on houses and handle negotiations with home sellers. Plus, if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, your real estate agent will be ready to respond to your queries immediately.
Employing a real estate agent enables you to get your home search started on the right foot. With a real estate agent at your disposal, you can learn about all aspects of the homebuying process. And as a result, you can streamline the homebuying process and find your dream home quickly and effortlessly.
Selling a home should be a fast, easy process. However, challenges may arise that prevent you from quickly selling your house and maximizing your property sale earnings. And if you fail to plan ahead for the home selling journey, these challenges may get the best of you.
Ultimately, there are several things you need to know before you list your residence, such as:
1. The housing market fluctuates constantly.
The housing market in your city or town may change frequently. Fortunately, if you allocate time and resources to analyze the local housing sector, you can determine if a buyer's or seller's market is currently in place and prepare accordingly.
In a buyer's market, there may be an abundance of quality houses that sell within weeks or months of their initial listing dates. Comparatively, in a seller's market, there may be a shortage of first-rate residences, and the best houses generally will sell shortly after they are listed.
To determine if a buyer's or seller's market is in effect, you should find out how quickly houses are selling in your city or town. You also should assess how your house stacks up against comparable residences that are currently available. With this housing market data in hand, you may be better equipped than ever before to succeed during the home selling journey, regardless of the current real estate sector's conditions.
2. Your home's curb appeal may have far-flung effects on your property selling experience.
How your home looks to buyers may dictate your house selling success. For instance, if your residence boasts amazing curb appeal, it may generate lots of interest from prospective buyers. On the other hand, if your house fails to impress buyers when they see it for the first time, your residence may linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time.
For a home seller, it often is beneficial to upgrade a residence's curb appeal. Because if you mow the lawn, trim the hedges and perform other home exterior upgrades, you could differentiate your residence from other available houses. As such, you could stir up significant interest in your home.
3. Working with a real estate agent may help you speed up the house selling journey.
A real estate agent is crucial for a home seller, as this housing market professional can offer expert insights into the property selling journey. If you need help establishing a competitive initial asking price for your residence, for example, a real estate agent is ready to assist you. Or, if you want to sell your home as quickly as possible, a real estate agent can help you do just that.
As you get set to list your residence, you should plan ahead. If you start preparing for the house selling journey today, you could enter the real estate market as a property selling expert. As a result, you could reap the benefits of a quick, profitable house selling experience.
Getting a professional inspection is one of the most important parts of closing on a home. An inspection can save you endless time and money if it catches repairs that need to be made, and it can draw your attention to any problems that could be dangerous to you and your family.
Many buyers, especially those who are buying a home for the first time, aren’t sure what to expect during a home inspection. They might have questions that they’re afraid to ask the inspector, or they might feel like they should be asking questions but don’t know the right ones to ask.
In this article, we’ll give you the rundown on the home inspection process. We’ll explain how to get started, what to expect on inspection day, and what to do with your findings.
Before closing on a home, it’s important to make sure your offer involves a contingency clause, otherwise known as a “due diligence contingency.” This section of your contract gives you the right to perform a home inspection within a given number of days.
Sellers may inform you that they have recently had the home inspected and even offer to show you the results of the inspection. However, it is best practice to have your own inspection performed with a trusted professional.
After your offer is accepted, you should begin calling and getting quotes from inspectors immediately.
Before the inspection
Once you’ve considered your options of inspectors and chosen an inspector, it’s time to schedule your inspection. Both you and your real estate agent should attend the inspection.
You’ll both have the opportunity to ask questions. However, it’s a good idea to write down your minor questions and ask them before or after the inspection so that the professional you’ve hired is able to focus on their work to do the best possible job inspecting your future home.
During the inspection
The inspection itself is pretty straightforward. Your inspector will examine the exterior and interior of your home, including several vital components and then will provide you with a report of their findings.
They will inform you of repairs that need to be made now, parts of the home that should be monitored for future repairs, and anything that poses a safety concern to you and your family.
The parts of your home the inspector will review include:
Heating, ventilation, air conditioning
There are some things your inspection won’t include. For example, mold, termite damage, and other issues that aren’t easily observable without causing damage might be missed by your inspector and will require a specialist.
After the inspection
Once the inspection is complete, you will have the chance to ask any remaining questions. You can review the findings of your inspection report and make decisions about how you want to handle any repairs that need to be made.
You may choose to ask the seller to make the repairs noted in your inspection report. If they refuse, you can withdraw from your contract at any time.
Ultimately, the choice will be yours what to do with the findings from the inspection. But having one can save you immeasurable money on impending repairs that you may not have been aware of.
While buying a home is a huge decision that should entail a lot of planning and preparation, applying for a mortgage can be surprisingly easy. Just like with other lenders and creditors, a mortgage lender will want to know that letting you borrow money will be a safe investment. Applying for a mortgage is all about ensuring just that.
In today’s post, we’re going to breakdown the home loan application process to help you have the best chances at a smooth and successful mortgage approval. We’ll also define some of the common terms used in mortgages that might leave you scratching your head so you have a better idea of what your options are.
Prequalification and Preapproval
Getting prequalified and preapproved for a mortgaged can both be helpful steps toward securing your home loan. The two terms mean two entirely different things, however.
In order to be prequalified for a mortgage, you typically need to only fill out a simple form (sometimes directly through a lender’s website). On this form, you won’t need to provide specifics or official documents.
Why is this process so simple? Well, that’s because getting prequalified for a loan doesn’t ensure that you’ll actually receive one. Rather, it is simply the first step toward finding out what type of mortgage and interest rates you could receive.
The next step after prequalification is preapproval. To get preapproved, you’ll have to fill out an official mortgage application. Your lender of choice will request a few pieces of information from you, including tax returns, proof of employment for the last two years, and a list of your debts. The lender will also perform a credit check to determine your loan eligibility.
At this phase, lenders will also run your credit report. This is a type of “hard credit inquiry” that details your payment history, the number of accounts you have open, and other factors that help make up your credit score.
To secure the lowest interest rate possible, it helps to have a high credit score. So, in the years and months leading up to your mortgage application, focusing on building credit will pay off.
To increase your credit score, you’ll need to focus on paying your bills on time each month. You should also avoid opening new accounts within a few months of applying for a mortgage because this will count as a new credit inquiry. New credit inquiries--including applying for a mortgage--lower your score temporarily, so it’s best to avoid them when possible.
Additional paperwork required for mortgage applications
Not every mortgage application will be the same. Depending on the type of income you receive, you may need to provide different forms of income verification.
Each person will also have to claim different debts and assets. When buying a home with a spouse or partner, it’s important to consider your debts, assets, and credit scores to determine if it’s better to apply jointly or separately.
Whether new or old, many homes can have issues that aren’t obvious from photos. Many of the most common problems in a home have to do with the plumbing system. Since water can be so damaging, it’s especially important to get these issues out in the open prior to sale.
Some sellers might be aware of their plumbing issues, others may have no clue at all. Oftentimes, if a home was previously occupied by only one or two people who didn’t entertain many guests, they may not be aware of the strain that a larger family could have on things like the septic system.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common plumbing issues that a home has and help you identify these issues before you buy a new home.
The small fixes
Let’s start with some problems that are common and simple to address. When touring a home or performing an inspection, test all of the home’s faucets. Dripping faucets might not seem like a big issue, but the cost of wasted water can add up on your utility bill.
Leaking pipes are another issue that is seemingly harmless, but can lead to bigger problems that could cost thousands of dollars to repair. Check ceilings, floors, and underneath cabinets for signs of water damage.
Flush the toilets in the house to see if they continue running. Toilets that continue running water is often a simple fix, like replacing the chain or flapper in the tank. However, a leaking toilet could be symptomatic of a bigger problem that could include having to replace the toilet.
Sewer line and septic systems
Ask the owner about the history of the sewer or septic system. Find out if they’ve had problems recently and when the last time they were taken care of. If there is a septic tank or field on the property, look for signs of issues such as the grass having been dug out, water pooling in the yard, or foul smells in the area.
When it comes to septic and sewer issues, always reach out to a professional. They will be able to give you an accurate assessment and estimate of costs.
Inspect the pipes
Spot-checking the pipes in the home will tell you a lot about the state of the plumbing. Pipes that are old, worn, and lacking insulation are signs that plumbing issues could be coming. Rust is a major red flag. The water lines that lead out of the house for lawn faucets should also be wrapped to avoid freezing in the winter months.
Hot water heater
Just like the septic system, you’ll want to ask about the history of the home’s hot water heater. If it’s over ten years old, you might have to replace it soon after purchase.
You should also consider the size of the hot water heater. You’ll want to be sure it can accommodate your expected water usage. If children are in your future, having a bigger hot water heater might be something you want to plan for to avoid cold showers in the morning.