Buying A Home? Take Stock Of These Things

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 28th, 2018

Buying A Home? Take Stock Of These ThingsWhat are some of the most important factors that buyers take into consideration when looking for a new home? There are the obvious things like price, square footage, location and lot size. Those are the basics. Other things that are often weighed are garage size, how updated the kitchen and baths are and whether or not the basement is finished.

All of these are very important to consider, but there are other more “hidden” aspects of a home that many prospective buyers may not take into account. And it’s these aspects that could really come to bite them where it hurts if they’re not also assessed throughout the process.

Here’s a closer look:

Roof/Siding

Roofs tend to last about 20 years these days before replacement is necessary. The home inspector you hire to assess the home will be able to tell you the condition of the roof and whether replacement is imminent – and that’s information that you need to know. New roofs are expensive, and can range anywhere from $5,000 to $12,000 on a standard single-family home. Siding is another thing to assess. Though siding can last anywhere from 20 to 40 years, it may cost nearly as much as a roof to replace.

HVAC Unit

What’s the age of the furnace and air conditioner? Has the seller properly maintained each via filter changes and other standard service? A home inspector will be able assess the status of the HVAC unit to a certain extent, but it’s important to know whether or not replacement is imminent or more of a long-term issue. With furnaces averaging about $2,500 and air conditioners anywhere from $3,700 to $7,000, these are costs that must be considered.

Hot Water Tank

Hot water tanks typically only last anywhere from eight to 12 years, and replacement costs for a new hot water tank are about $1,000 while a tankless unit could be significantly more expensive. Make sure you know how old the hot water tank is in the home and what type of maintenance has been performed on it since it was installed. Annual flushing helps remove debris and contaminants that infiltrate the tank.

Windows

What’s the age and overall condition of the windows in the home? Being that a standard vinyl window costs about $600 and a wood window may cost upwards of $1,000, a whole-house window replacement job is a pretty penny.

The bottom line is that no home is going to be 100 percent perfect in every single aspect – and that’s why it’s important to look at the big picture during the home buying process. Failure to take into account the aforementioned may potentially result in thousands of dollars of other expenses beyond your mortgage payment.

Your trusted real estate professional can assist you through the inspection process and help to point out potential problems areas that should be addressed before closing.

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

5 Critical Tips For Buying In A Seller’s Market

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 11th, 2018

5 Critical Tips For Buying In A Seller's MarketThis summer, quality homes are being scooped up almost as fast as they’re being listed – and for top price. Yes, it’s a seller’s market out there, which is great news if you’re planning to list your home. For those looking for a home, the competitiveness can be frustrating and aggravating.

Frustrating as it may be, there’s plenty of reason for buyers to stick it out until their offer is accepted. For starters, interest rates are still fairly low. And secondly, there are great homes out there if you act fast enough.

How can you successfully get that dream home in a seller’s market? Here are some top tips:

Stay Dedicated

Make sure that you and your Realtor are on the same page with your must-haves for your new home. Then, make sure you check for new listings daily. If any look good, make an appointment to see it that day. Don’t wait, or it will likely be gone. It can be tempting to make an offer based on listing photos alone, but be very wary of doing this. Go out and see it – and do it quickly.

Start With Your Best Offer

With some good properties gone in a matter of hours, this is no time to nickle and dime a seller. What’s more is that the seller will be unlikely to even entertain the offer and counter it. The best practice in competitive times is to start with your very best offer on the property and give the seller something to seriously consider. Chances are your offer isn’t the only one they’ll be receiving. You want it to make an impression.

Include A Personal Note

Even though they’re essentially getting rid of their property, sellers often like to work with a buyer who is going to appreciate and care for the home they’re purchasing. That’s where a personal note included with your offer to the seller can come in handy. In your note, talk about the things you love about the home and how you know it will be the perfect fit for you and your family. You can even up the ante and include a family photo. 

Make A Significant Earnest Money Deposit

Generally speaking, the larger your earnest money deposit, the more serious of a buyer you are. In a seller’s market, you will want to look for any competitive advantage over the others that are likely to make an offer on a particular property. A big deposit can serve as that advantage.

Stay Patient

Like we said in the opening, a seller’s market can be frustrating for buyers – so try to stay patient. The right home is out there for you, and good things come to those who wait. 

Your trusted real estate agent is ready to talk to you about the impact of a seller’s market and show you the best houses available in your area. Create your must-have list and call today!

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

How Do You Tell If A Neighborhood Is The Right One To Settle In?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 27th, 2018

How Do You Tell If A Neighborhood Is The Right One To Settle In?Choosing the perfect home to settle in can be a tough decision. You have to weigh in on many factors including price, size, features and amenities, number of bedrooms and baths, design, and so on. However, all these factors are not enough to give you a great home ownership experience if you fall into the wrong neighborhood.

Picking the right neighborhood not only guarantees you happiness and comfort, but also helps with home appreciation for the sake of future re-sale value. In most cases, though, it can be tougher to find the perfect neighborhood than it is to find the right house.

Here are some factors that can help you find the right neighborhood:

Schools

If you have kids and the quality of their education is a priority, consider a neighborhood with a reputable school district. Even if you don’t have kids, such a neighborhood will most likely boost your home’s appreciation. You may also find it easier to find a buyer if you decide to move away from the neighborhood.

Crime Rate

No one wants to live in a neighborhood with high crime rates. This is one of the basic factors that you must consider when searching for a new neighborhood. Check the area’s crime statistics from the local authorities, search online, or ask your potential neighbors.

Transport

This is also a key factor to consider. How far do you have to drive to work from the new neighborhood? How much traffic will you encounter in the area?

If you don’t drive, are there adequate public transportation networks in place? How will your kids travel to school? Make sure that the new neighborhood meets all your transportation needs.

Basic Amenities

Is the neighborhood close to basic amenities that you are used to or that you rely on? Such amenities may include a nearby hospital, pharmacy, grocery store, bank or ATM, and law enforcement center. 

Recreational Amenities and Activities

Does the neighborhood have a park where you can go for a picnic with your partner or where your kids can play and make friends? Are there cultural attractions such as concerts, art exhibits and film shows?

Are there bars, movie theatres and restaurants close by? Are there malls or stores where you can go shopping during the weekends? What about a library, gym or community swimming pool?

If you are fun-loving person, make sure your neighborhood can provide as much fun as possible. You don’t want to start having regrets about a boring neighborhood in less than a year after settling in.

Community Engagement

Are you looking for a neighborhood with a sense of anonymity or a sense of belonging? In some neighborhoods, neighbors hardly know each other while in others, block parties and community events are a common thing. Which one would you prefer?

It is not easy to find everything you want in one place, but you can definitely get most of it in a certain neighborhood if you search well enough. Create your wish list and contact your trusted real estate professional so that they can help you find your dream house in the best neighborhood for you. 

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

Moving to a New City? Tips for Finding a Family-friendly Community to Buy Your New Home In

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 23rd, 2014

Moving to a New City? Tips for Finding a Family-friendly Community to Buy Your New Home InIf you’re moving to a new city with children, one of your likely considerations is finding a family-friendly community where you can settle in and call home.

In this post we’ll share a handful of tips that you may find helpful if you’re searching for a family-friendly neighborhood in a new city.

Check Out The Quality Of Local Schools

Schools are one of the cornerstones of a community and high-quality schools are a sign that a community is suitable for your family. When you’ve made your short list of communities that you are considering, take some time to research the local elementary or high schools to see how they stack up against other schools in the surrounding area.

You may also want to connect with the school’s principal or dean to ask about the environment and whether or not it would be suitable for your children.

Look Around For Local Churches And Other Community Groups

Great communities are those which are filled with engaged citizens who are actively working to better the area for everyone. When you drive through a community that you’re considering, look around to see if there are churches and other groups that get local residents together on a regular basis.

You may find that these groups make for an excellent welcoming committee who can introduce you to the area and help to get your family settled.

Parks And Other Gathering Spaces Are A Good Sign

Another excellent way to determine if a community is suitable for raising a family is the number of nearby parks and public gathering spaces. You’ll want to ensure that your children have a nice area to run around and play with your family pet, or that you have a nice park in which to have the occasional picnic lunch to spend some quality time together.

When In Doubt: Ask The Locals

If you’re visiting a community or touring through homes, spend some time talking to the locals to hear their thoughts and opinions on how family-friendly the local area is. If you haven’t yet, you should also connect with a local real estate agent who can share the ups and downs of the community you’re thinking about moving to.

Follow these tips and trust your instincts, and you’ll be able to find a great new community that makes a perfect home for your family.

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

Closing Costs: Understanding What It Costs to Close on a Home and What You Can Expect to Pay

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 10th, 2014

Closing Costs: Understanding What It Costs to Close on a Home and What You Can Expect to PayIf you’re in the process of buying a new home, you’ve likely heard the term “closing costs” in regards to the many different fees and taxes that you’ll be required to pay during the purchase process.

In this post we’ll look at a number of these closing costs and what you will be expected to pay when you buy that next dream home.

Taking out a Mortgage? There Will Be Fees Attached

If you’re taking out a mortgage to finance the cost of buying your home you’ll end up incurring a variety of fees. Nearly all lenders will charge a mortgage application fee, which covers the cost of processing your application and all of the necessary paperwork.

You’ll likely have to pay for a professional appraisal of the home as well, as the lender will want to ensure that they aren’t lending you more than the house and property are actually worth.

Inspection And Insurance Costs Will Add Up

If you’re buying a pre-owned home you’ll need to pay for a home inspection to gain an understanding of the home’s condition and if you’ll need to make any repairs in the near future. You’ll also need to purchase homeowner’s insurance on the property to protect yourself in the event that something does go wrong with the home.

If you put less than 20 percent down on the cost of the home, your mortgage lender may also require that you purchase private mortgage insurance; this will vary depending on which state or province you are buying in.

Don’t Forget About Escrow Fees and Taxes

As with any major financial transaction you’ll need to satisfy the tax man by paying various taxes on your purchase. These will vary depending on where you are buying your home, but might include sales taxes, property taxes, transfer taxes, recording fees, title transfer fees and more.

If you used a third-party escrow service to manage these fees or to hold your deposit during the closing process you’ll also need to pay escrow fees prior to signing the final paperwork.

If you have other questions about the closing process and fees or costs that you’ll need to pay when you purchase a home, contact your local real estate agent. They’ve assisted many individuals just like you with their home purchase and will be able to provide expert advice.

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

The Pros and Cons of Buying a New Home Versus Buying Pre-owned

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 7th, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Buying a New Home Versus Buying Pre-ownedAre you thinking about buying a new home? Congratulations!

Buying a house, condo or townhouse is an exciting and rewarding time which tends to be a lot of fun. However, along the way you’ll need to make a number of decisions – including whether you want to buy a pre-owned home or one that has been built recently and is brand new.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the pros and cons of buying a new home versus buying pre-owned.

New Homes Tend To Have Fewer Problems

One of the major upsides of buying new is that newly-built homes tend to have very few problems within the first few years of ownership.

While you’ll still be required to make regular maintenance on a new home, when you buy pre-owned you’re buying a house that has seen years or decades of weather and regular wear-and-tear.

New Construction Allows For Customization

If you want to be able to customize certain aspects of your home, it might be better to buy brand new as the builder will be able to incorporate your requests as they’re building the home. Of course, you can always renovate and upgrade a pre-owned home but if you have significant needs you may find it easier to get them built into the home as it’s being developed.

The Major Downsides To Buying New: Cost And Location

While there are a number of upsides to buying new, there are some downsides that you’ll need to know.

First, new homes almost always cost more than an equivalent pre-owned home. Brand new homes are filled with new appliances, fixtures and modern building materials which add to the overall cost of the home. Unless the pre-owned home is on a larger lot or property, you’ll generally be able to save a bit when you buy pre-owned.

Depending on where you’re buying, you may also find that the location where brand new homes are being constructed is much further from the downtown or urban area. In many cities, the only available space for new construction is in suburban areas, which means that you may be in for a lengthy commute to and from work each day if you choose to buy new.

These are just a few of the factors that you’ll need to consider when buying your next dream home. For more information or to get your house hunt started, contact your local real estate agent and they’ll be happy to assist.

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

Turned Down for a Mortgage? What to Do if You are Declined – and How to Get Second Opinion

Posted in Home Mortgage Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 12th, 2014

Turned Down for a Mortgage? What to Do if You are Declined - and How to Get Second OpinionIf you have been declined for a mortgage, you may think that buying that new home is out of reach. However, there are ways to turn a rejection into an approval and to find a more accessible loan. Here are just a few steps you can take to learn about your loan options and get the mortgage that works for you.

Find Out Why The Mortgage Application Was Denied

The first step to getting a second opinion is to find out why your mortgage application was denied. Banks commonly deny mortgages for reasons like a low credit score, a high debt-to-income ratio, or concerns about the applicant’s past and present employment status.

To qualify for a mortgage, most lenders want to see someone with a credit score of 640, a debt-to-income ratio of less than 43 percent after the mortgage is included and at least 30 days in your current position if using wage income to qualify for the loan.

Not All Lenders View An Application The Same Way

A good reason why it is worthwhile to ask for a second opinion about your ability to get a loan is because no two lenders will view an application the same way. For one lender, a credit score of 650 is insufficient for getting a loan – but another lender might be more than happy to offer you a mortgage with a score of 650. To get a second opinion, you may wish to talk to a mortgage broker who will be able to scan a variety of loan programs to find one that works for you.

There Are Ways To Find Down Payment And Closing Cost Assistance

Those who have a low credit score or other questionable metrics may be able to qualify for a loan by offering a larger down payment. While a first-time buyer may not have the cash on hand to make a larger payment, there may be programs that provide grants or low-interest loans that can be used as part of your down payment or to help pay closing costs. With this extra money, it may be possible to overcome lender objections and obtain a mortgage.

If your mortgage application has been rejected, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get a mortgage from another lender. If you’re ready to buy a house but just need to clear the mortgage approval hurdle, there are ways to get a leg up.

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

Real Estate Secrets: Understanding the ‘Option Period’ and What This Term Means for You as a Buyer

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 27th, 2014

Real Estate Secrets: Understanding the 'Option Period' and What This Term Means for You as a Buyer When the sale of real estate takes place, a certain amount of time might be allotted after a contract is created but before the transaction is finalized.  During this time the buyer may decide not to follow through with the deal set forth in the contract. This ‘option period’ allows buyers to have a property inspected and its value ascertained without the risk of losing the property to another buyer.

What Happens When The Option Period Takes Place

Typically, a buyer must pay an option fee in order to be able to enjoy the luxury of an option period. During the option period, property inspections are typically carried out on the property in question so that the buyer can be sure that the proposed offer is appropriate.

The nonrefundable option fee that the buyer pays the seller (so that the seller agrees not to follow through on a transaction with another prospective buyer) compensates the seller for the time during which the property is off of the market.

Differences Between Various States

It is not always possible for a buyer to have an option period during which he or she can finalize plans to make a purchase on a property. Regulations and procedures between different states vary significantly.

It is worth noting that the state of Texas has a real estate market that is particularly well known for granting option periods. In Texas, the option period usually lasts between seven and 14 days and serves as a period of time during which inspections are carried out; however, other states have different ways of dealing with option periods and scheduling inspections.

Associated Expenses

The particular laws applicable where a sale takes place will often dictate how much a buyer needs to pay to the seller in option fee charges. In the state of Texas, for example, the option fee is usually no greater than 1 percent of the sale price of the home. The option fee is normally applied to the transaction at escrow closing in the event that the buyer decides to proceed with the sale.

Buyers who decide not to purchase a property after the option period has already begun will usually be responsible for paying the option fee to compensate the buyer for lost time. However, the buyer will be under no further contractual obligations.

If you have questions on the processes and regulations involved in a real estate transaction, contact an experienced real estate agent to learn more.

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

Five Absolute Truths About the Home Buying Process That You Will Need to Come to Terms With

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 12th, 2014

Five Absolute Truths About the Home Buying Process That You Will Need to Come to Terms WithBuying a home is one of the most exciting times that an individual will undertake in life. However, a property purchase is not without its challenges, and these can cause frustration. In this article we’ll share five potential setbacks that home buyers will need to understand and come to terms with to make a successful purchase.

Homeowner’s Insurance is Necessary

Most lenders will require insurance before financing is approved. To fulfill these requirements, the policy should be for at least one year and proof that the policy has been paid for must be presented. Purchasing the policy is something that must be done before closing can take place, so if you’re sure that this is the home for you, don’t delay.

Some Sellers Are Firm, No Matter What

In an ideal situation, the buyer and the seller come to a mutual agreement very easily. However, in most cases negotiation of some type is likely to be a part of the process. As with most negotiations, to reach success both sides will need to compromise.

Probate Properties Have Special Terms

When the original homeowner has died, there are certain considerations to keep in mind that do not typically apply to other types of property. One is the fact that there is a special process that must be completed before the property can be sold, even though the heirs may advertise the property as being for sale ahead of time. Another factor to keep in mind is that a recently probated property may have been uninhabited for some time and will be sold ‘as is’.

Loan Offers May Not Be Set in Stone

A common pitfall for many buyers is the assumption that home financing will be approved without issue. Unexpected circumstances may arise that cause a mortgage loan to be denied, which can cause an unprepared buyer numerous issues. Many sellers, in anticipation of such problems, have a contingency requirement.

Expect Caution from Sellers

If a seller treats your offer with caution or trepidation, don’t take it personally. Many homeowners have been burned during previous sales, and you have no idea what the seller has been through with potential buyers this time around. If someone is exercising caution, there’s likely a good reason for it.

In closing, remember that the best way to purchase a home is through a real estate agent. When you’re ready to jump into the property market, contact a trusted local agent and they’ll be ready to assist.

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

Getting Past No: What To Do If You’re Turned Down For A Mortgage Or Other Home Financing

Posted in Home Buying Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 25th, 2014

Getting Past No: What to Do If You're Turned Down for a Mortgage or Other Home FinancingGetting pre-approved for a mortgage loan is an integral part of having the ability to purchase a home in today’s society.

With most home prices well above what the majority of us have in the bank, getting approved for a mortgage can be the deal maker or breaker when it comes to purchasing a piece of property. Therefore, getting rejected for a mortgage can feel like a huge loss.

The first thing to realize, however, is that there are action steps you can take to get to “yes.” Here’s what to do if you’re turned down for a mortgage or other home financing.

Shop Around: Don’t Take “No” The First Time

If you get a “no” from your bank the first time around, don’t be fooled into thinking that everyone will give you the same answer.

Instead, be sure to shop around your mortgage with different banks, and opt to speak to a mortgage broker to leverage all of your options.

When looking at several different lenders, you’ll have a much higher chance of getting a yes since every lender adheres to different rules and restrictions. Though you may end up with a mortgage with a slightly higher interest rate, you’re likely to get approved for a mortgage or other home financing.

Ask Friends: Get A Co-Signer

If your “no” was the result of bad credit history or a low credit score, perhaps you should consider asking for the help of friends and family. Sometimes bringing a co-signer in on the deal who has better credit history and a higher credit score will change the response of your bank or lender significantly, and suddenly you’ll find yourself hearing the sought-after “y” word.

Ask Questions: Fix The Problem

If you’ve sought out several different banks and lenders, and still find yourself with rejected mortgage applications, be sure to understand why the “no” came in the first place. If it’s an issue of your credit history, which can’t be appeased with a co-signor, you may need to put in the time in order to correct some of your credit issues.

Other common reasons why people are rejected for a mortgage include unrealistic borrowing expectations, i.e. applying for a mortgage that is too high for you to satisfy, as well as an unreliable employment history or a general lack of credit history. Speak with your mortgage professional to determine the reason, and if shopping around or bringing in a co-signor doesn’t transform the “no” to a “yes,” seek to fix the problem instead.

Though it can be a daunting task to apply for a mortgage after you’ve been rejected, ensuring that you arrive at that ultimate “yes” is something you need to undertake in order to purchase a home and reach that next milestone in your life.

Having trusted professionals on your side is something that will surely ease the tension on all things involved in purchasing a home, including getting approved for a mortgage. For more information on how to get past “no” when searching for a home, call your trusted real estate professional today.

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »