Archive for Home Buyer Tips

House Hunting in a New City? Three Ways to Determine Which Neighborhoods Are Up and Coming

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 28th, 2021

House Hunting in a New City? Three Ways to Determine Which Neighborhoods Are 'Up and Coming'If you’re moving to a new city and you’re looking for an affordable home in a nice neighborhood, one great way to get a fantastic home without paying sky-high prices is by choosing a home in an up-and-coming neighborhood. Communities that are starting to gentrify make it easy to find an affordable home, especially if you buy before the prices start to rise.

So how can you spot a neighborhood that’s on the rise? Here’s what you need to know.

Look For Neighborhoods Popular With Artists & Young People

Young people, artists, musicians, performers, and other bohemians tend to lead the way when it comes to neighborhood revitalizations. These are the kinds of people who typically don’t have copious amounts of disposable income, so they’re looking for something affordable. But they also want to live in a hip, trendy part of town.

And as the area gains more and more creative types, it starts to take on its own creative personality. That makes it attractive to all manner of buyers, which starts driving more and more sales. So if you want to find an up-and-coming neighborhood, just follow the artists, musicians, and Gen Y buyers.

Track The Area’s Average Days On Market

One great way to find which neighborhoods are the most popular with buyers is to track the average number of days on market for properties in those neighborhoods. Your real estate agent can help you find this information. If you notice a slow decrease in days on market over time, it’s a good sign that the neighborhood is on the up and up.

Oftentimes, in an up and coming area, the days on market will decrease before prices start to rise – which will help you get a great deal.

Look Up Building Permits To See Where The Renovations Are

You can also tell if an area is up and coming if there’s a lot of renovation activity happening. Visit your municipal government office and see if you can find information on which neighborhoods are seeing more and more building and renovation permits. Lots of construction and renovation activity in an area indicates that it’s a great place to move to.

Finding a great neighborhood is critical to being satisfied with your home purchase. There are lots of things about your home that you can change, but the neighborhood isn’t one of them – so make sure you’re happy with the area before you buy. Local real estate agents are a great source of information about neighborhoods – contact a trusted real estate agent near you to learn which neighborhoods are most popular with buyers.

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Buying an Investment Property? 3 Key Home Features That Will Help Ensure You Turn a Profit

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 27th, 2021

Buying an Investment Property? 3 Key Home Features That Will Help Ensure You Turn a ProfitIf you’re entering the real estate investment market for the first time, you’re embarking on a great adventure – and with a solid plan, you can turn a tidy profit on your investment.

The key to a successful real estate investment is choosing the right property. A great property will reap dividends for years to come. Look for these three features in your next investment property and you’ll have no trouble finding one that turns a profit.

Location: More Important Than You Think

The location of your investment property will be critical in determining how much you earn on it and how long you’re able to keep tenants. And as the saying goes, you can change the color of the walls, you can change the type of flooring, and you can change the layout of the home, but you can’t change the location. So before you do anything else, make sure your new investment property is in a good location.

High cash flow investment properties tend to share certain location characteristics. They tend to be in neighborhoods with great schools and great amenities like pools, parks, movie theaters, and public transit. They also tend to be in an area with quiet, low-traffic, well-kept streets. Great neighborhoods have a low crime rate and don’t mix housing types.

Average Rent Price & Vacancy Rate: Look For Marketability

Aside from local amenities, you’ll also want to consider the average vacancy rate and rent price in your neighborhood. If you can’t cover your costs by charging the neighborhood’s average rent, then the home is a poor investment.

Keep an eye on vacancies in the neighborhood. If there are a high number of vacancies in the area, it could mean that the area’s rental market is seasonal or that renters are no longer interested in it. A low-vacancy area will allow you to charge more rent, and you’ll be more likely to find renters.

Floor Plan: Know The Trends And Buy Accordingly

There are a lot of things you can change if you don’t like your home, but the floor plan is a challenge to rearrange. That means in order to make your property competitive on the market, you’ll want to choose a property with a modern floor plan. Watch the trends and buy a home with a floor plan that’s in demand – you’ll have an easier time finding tenants.

Buying an investment property is a great choice for smart investors, but it’s important that you choose a property that will turn a profit. An experienced real estate agent can help you find a great new investment property that tenants will love. Contact your local real estate professional to learn more about qualifying investment properties.

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3 ‘Must Know’ Pieces of Advice for First-time Home Buyers

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 20th, 2021

3 'Must Know' Pieces of Advice for First-time Home BuyersWhen delving into the realities of home ownership, there can be many factors involved that make it difficult to determine what you need to know and what can wait until later. If you happen to be a first-time buyer who’s looking for the best tips for purchasing a home, look no further than the following three pointers to set you on the right path.

Get Familiar With Your Credit Score

If you haven’t looked at your credit report for a long time, it can be a daunting task to request this information. Fortunately, your credit report is free from AnnualCreditReport.com and it will prepare you for what lenders are going to see. By taking this important step, you will be able to determine any delinquent accounts or balances owing that have gone to collections, and hopefully have these cleaned up before they can become a problem for your mortgage.

Determine The Price You Can Pay

While you may have a price in mind for what you’re willing to pay for a home, it’s important to determine your debt-to-income ratio before putting in an offer. Your DTI ratio can be determined by taking your total monthly costs, adding it to what you would be paying for a home and dividing it by your monthly gross income. If it’s a housing price that will work for you, this amount should equate to less than 43%.

Organize Your Housing History

If you have a good history as a tenant, the next step will probably be the easiest of all, but it’s very important in order to prove you’re a responsible candidate for home ownership. Once you’ve acquired a Verification of Rent from any applicable landlord in the previous year, you’ll want to ensure that you have money in the bank. While RRSP’s can make a good impression, make sure you have liquid assets available so you can convince the lender your home investment is manageable.

There are a lot of things to know when it comes to buying a home, but if you’re a first time buyer the most important thing is to ensure that your finances are organized and that you’re not diving into more house than you can afford. By taking the time to determine your debt-to-income ratio and looking into your credit, you can ensure a positive first-time buying experience. If you’re wondering about homes for sale in your area, you may want to contact your trusted real estate professionals for more information.

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Buying a Rental Property? How to Choose Between Single-Family and Multi-Family Homes

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 15th, 2021

Buying a Rental Property? How to Choose Between Single-family and Multi-family Homes Entering into the real estate market requires time and monetary commitment. Depending on the purpose for purchasing rental property determines whether one should invest in a single family or multi-family dwelling. In either case, one should prepare short or long term goals, be cognizant of his or her financial health and monetary comfort zone, and conduct a comparative market analysis before considering a real estate investment.

Short Term Versus Long Term Investments

For investment purposes, a multi-family dwelling provides the owner with more potential rental income than a single family dwelling. However, if the purpose is to claim the new location as a future domicile, then investing in a single family dwelling provides the buyer with time for relocating.

One should be aware, however, that rentals are not eligible for homestead exemptions. With the exception of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, all states offer some type of homestead exemption for primary residences. As a result, if changing one’s domicile is part of the long-term goal, then considering the purchase of a single family for a temporary rental, until one is ready to change domiciles, may prove advantageous.

Investment Considerations

One must be prepared for the initial rental preparation. Plumbing and sewage lines must be in working conditions to avoid impending disasters. Adequate electrical service and outlets, in combination with internet access, attract financially secure tenants. If one depends on registered, licensed, and insured contractors to provide the necessary workmanship, one must also be prepared for delays in the delivery of goods, inspections, and completed work orders. If one’s finances are not be stretched beyond his or her monetary comfort zone, then time may present the only obstacle.

Location Versus Location

Any real estate investor must consider location. One should look at the demographics of an area, the percentage of violent versus non-violent crimes committed in an area, and the future plans for development of any surrounding areas. Usually the rating of the local high school will also provide insight into the stability of the surrounding communities.

Consult A Reputable Agent

Before making an investment, one should consult a licensed and experienced real estate agent familiar with area rentals. The agent should provide information regarding long term versus short term available rentals. In addition, if there are deed restrictions, the agent should provide the prospective buyer with the necessary information.

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How to Plan for a Smooth Move-in

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 9th, 2021

How to Plan for a Smooth Move-inWith all of the rigmarole that goes into packing up your old home and moving into the new one, there are a lot of details that can get lost in the mix. From cleaning up the old house to handing over the keys, there’s no shortage of small tasks that need to be completed. If you’ll soon be prepping for the exciting move into your next home, here are some ways to prepare yourself for this busy time.

Do A Spring Clean, Even When It’s Not Spring!

Spring cleaning may be something that people only do once a year, but it’s actually a great way to prep for the move you’re about to make. Instead of thinking on a smaller-scale though, you’ll want to hit every room in your house so there’s less to pack up come moving time. While no actual cleaning will be necessary until you’re moving out, this pre-clean is the perfect opportunity to discard unwanted items, shred old papers and drop off any old and unworn clothes in the donation bins.

Write And Review Your To-Do List

Whether there are supplies you need to buy before the big moving day or a few minor touch-ups that you’d like to complete on your house, start compiling a list of all the things you need to do before and on the day you’re scheduled to move. While these small details can add up to a lot of work, a list will mean that nothing is left behind or forgotten that can create extra headaches when there’s no time to deal with them.

Keep A Separate Box For Essentials

Many homebuyers get so excited about the premise of packing that they stick a lot of important items in a box and send them along on the moving truck, but a few boxes with the much needed essentials should be brought along with you. Whether its cosmetics or available food items, having the things you’ll need is the only way to ensure a bit of added comfort on your first night in your new home.

Packing up your stuff and moving into your new home is a considerable task, but by being prepared and doing a little cleaning in advance, you can make the process a little bit easier for you and your family. If you’re currently on the market for a home, you may want to contact one of our local real estate professionals for more information.

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Moving to the City? How to Downsize from a Large House to a Smaller Condo or Apartment

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 23rd, 2021

Moving to the City? How to Downsize from a Large House to a Smaller Condo or Apartment Many people make the decision to move from the country or the suburbs into the heart of the downtown area for a number of reasons, such as to enjoy proximity to work or to enjoy the urban lifestyle. With the higher cost of real estate in central urban areas and with real estate space at a premium, many who make the decision to relocate will need to downsize from a larger house to a smaller condo or apartment. While this can be challenging, it can be accomplished by following a few steps.

Choose The Right Pieces To Keep

When downsizing from a larger house to a smaller apartment or condo, it is often necessary to get rid of some furnishings. It is important to select furnishings that are best suited for the size of the new space as well as the individual’s needs. Items that will not have a place in the new home can be donated, stored in a storage unit or given to a family member or friend.

Think About Storage

When living space is downgraded, storage of everything from dishes to linens and clothing becomes a concern. Storage features in downtown apartments and condos is often minimal, and this means that those moving into these units may need to invest in special storage features. For example, storage bins that can slide under the bed, pull-out features for kitchen cabinets and various other types of storage features can all be put to use to improve organization and to maximize the limited amount of space available in the property.

Get Back To The Basics

While storage features can be useful, the fact is that most people who are making this transition will need to get rid of some of their items or store them in a storage unit. A smart idea is to consider only the basic items that are truly necessary for living as a first step. If space permits, additional luxury items can be added to the space provided there is room in the apartment or condo.

Downgrading from a larger home to a smaller living space can be frustrating and stressful, but eliminating the unnecessary items and improving storage and organization can go a long way toward streamlining this process. Those who are searching for a new place to live in the city can request personal assistance from their trusted real estate professional.

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House Hunting? Watch for These 5 Red Flags when Viewing Potential New Homes

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 4th, 2021

House Hunting? Watch for These 5 Red Flags when Viewing Potential New Homes From the sales price to the general layout of the building, there are numerous factors that buyers will consider when touring homes. While there are specific factors that buyers may be searching for in a new house, there are also a few warning signs that home buyers should keep their eyes open for. The following are among the top red flags that may serve as warning signs.

Signs Of Poor Home Maintenance

It is reasonable to expect all homes to have some signs of wear and tear unless they are new construction. However, it is also reasonable to expect that sellers have taken some steps to improve the condition and look of the property before listing it. When a home appears to be poorly maintained on a superficial level, home buyers should pause to consider what other aspects of the home have also been poorly maintained that are not visible.

The Grading In The Yard

When a yard grades toward the house, issues with erosion and even flooding may be concerns. Everything from a brief, torrential downpour to snow melt can result in water running toward a property when grading is a concern. Home buyers should take time to review the yard carefully to determine how water may flow when it rains or when snow melts.

A Foul Odor

It is common for sellers to try to make their home smell appealing, and different types of deodorizers may be used to mask everything from food smells to pet odors. However, it is important for home buyers to pay attention to the underlying smells in a home. Everything from a musky or mildew-y smell to sewage smells and gas odors should be warning signs.

Repairs To One Wall

Homeowners may repaint walls to make the space look cleaner, brighter and more appealing, so a fresh coat of paint by itself is not a warning sign. However, if the paint is on just one wall or if the area under the fresh coat of paint appears to have been recently textured or repaired, these are signs that water damage or other damage may have been addressed recently.

Signs Of Pests And Rodents

Another warning sign relates to signs of pests and rodents. Even if bugs and rodents are not visible during the initial tour, things like a can of bug spray, mouse traps and other related items may indicate that the seller has had an issue with bugs and rodents.

Some warning signs will be obvious during an initial home tour, but others may require more skill and experience to see. Because of this, it is best for all home buyers to consider ordering a property inspection to learn more about the condition of the home before finalizing their buying plans.

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Family Matters: How to Choose the Perfect Home for a Large or Growing Family

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 18th, 2021

Family Matters: How to Choose the Perfect Home for a Large or Growing Family Selecting the right home to purchase for a family is a monumental task, and this process can seem even more challenging for those with a large or growing family. A common goal may be to give everyone ample space to stretch out and feel relaxed, but some home buyers may also be focused on other factors like location, cost and even the general style of the home. While choosing the perfect home for a large or growing family is not easy, the process can be simplified by focusing on a few points.

Focus On Storage Space

There are few things that can make home life more miserable in the coming years than a lack of storage space. When a large family does not have adequate storage space in closets, the attic, the garage and cabinets, their items will likely find a home on the counters, on the floor and in other undesirable locations. Home buyers can consider looking for a home that has more storage space than is needed right now to ensure that the new home can accommodate growing needs over the years.

Think About Function Over Size

Many people who are looking for a new home will focus on finding a home that has a specific minimum square footage or a minimum number of bedrooms, but function is generally more important. For example, if a home has bar-style seating at the kitchen counter, the family may not need as large of a breakfast room to accommodate its needs. The family may also get more use out of a home that has a second living area, such as a game room, rather than a formal dining room that may rarely be used.

Choose The Right Floor Plan

In addition, consider reviewing the floor plan of the home carefully. Many prefer to have the kids’ rooms away from the master room, a study placed away from the kids’ game room or an open area where the kitchen and family room are connected so that a parent can oversee the kids while making meals. Home buyers should consider how they live and their likes and dislikes about their current space to determine which floor plan is best for them.

Deciding which home to purchase is rarely easy to do, but your trusted real estate professional can assist home buyers with this process. Those who are searching for a new home for a large or growing family can call their local real estate agent for further assistance.

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Buying a Classic Older Home? Three Upgrades You’ll Need to Make Immediately

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 12th, 2021

Buying a Classic Older Home? Three Upgrades You'll Need to Make ImmediatelyWhile some home buyers only want to live in a brand new home and will custom build a home to their specifications, others are drawn to the historic character and charm of a classic home. Older homes may have incredible architectural detail and special features that you simply do not want to change. However, there are some essential features that should be upgraded as soon as possible after you take ownership of your classic home.

The Electrical Panel

Many older homes were built at a time when electricity use was at a minimum, but the reliance on electricity has increased over the years. Older homes may commonly have an electrical panel with 50 amps or less, but your current needs may require you to have a panel with at least 200 amps. It may be good to have an electrician inspect the electrical panel as well as the wiring in the home to determine if an upgrade is needed in your new home.

Re-Plumbing the Pipes

A quick plumbing inspection will tell you if the home has copper, steel or other materials used with piping. The best material is copper because it is resistant to leaking, corrosion and rusting. Steel pipes generally should be replaced with copper as soon as possible. Other materials, such as cast iron, may be acceptable to keep in place. However, sections may need to be replaced if the pipes are more than 50 years old.

Firestops in the Structure

The good news about the structure of older homes is that older homes generally are better built than newer homes. However, most lack the critical feature of a firestop. A firestop essentially can minimize how fire travels through a home. Adding firestops to an older home can improve safety for the home’s occupants in the event of a fire and can minimize fire damage.

It is understandable that you may want to retain the historic character and charm of your older home. These may have been the features that you fell in love with when you bought it. However, you also want to ensure that the home has modern features that will make it comfortable and safe for you and your family to live in. These are all important improvements that you will want to make now that ultimately could improve your experience throughout the entire time you live in your home.

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Don’t Miss Out On How To Handle Common Home Buying Pitfalls

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 4th, 2021

Don't Miss Out On How To Handle Common Home Buying PitfallsThe process of buying a home can be riddled with obstacles. However, you can avoid many of the most common home buying pitfalls with some advanced preparation. Below are some of the most frequent problems home buyers face, as well as tips for avoiding them. 

You Can’t Qualify For A Mortgage 

Nothing is more frustrating than learning that, even though you make enough money to afford your dream home, you cannot qualify for the mortgage you need. This may happen because your credit score is low or because you cannot verify your income in a way that satisfies your lender. To avoid this pitfall, investigate lenders’ requirements before you begin the application process and make sure you meet them all. 

You Discovered Problems With The Home After You moved In

In some cases, a home may seem perfect at first glance, but problems may be hiding in plain sight. You may move into the home and find that it has a pest problem, leaks, or a broken furnace. The best way to guard against this pitfall is to ask for a home inspection before you buy the property. 

The Appraisal Amount Isn’t High Enough 

Some homebuyers make an offer on a property and hope to get a mortgage to cover the purchase price, only to learn that the property doesn’t appraise for the amount of the requested mortgage. This is more likely in cases where the homebuyer is rolling closing costs into the mortgage. When this occurs, you can either pay the difference, ask the seller to lower the purchase price, or cancel the sale altogether. You can avoid this pitfall by investigating home values before you make an offer, or by saving up a large downpayment that would allow you to pay the difference. 

You End Up With Bad Neighbors 

Chances are that sellers will not be upfront about any problems they may have with neighbors, since these problems could potentially cause you to pass on the home. For this reason, it is always wise to do your own research before you move into any neighborhood. Consider driving by at night to look for any activity that might make you unwilling to live next door. 

The Closing Takes Too Long

It can be incredibly frustrating when it takes weeks or even months to close on the property you love. In some cases, this pitfall may be unavoidable. However, you can reduce the risk of a long closing by having all of your loan documentation ready in advance and avoiding the purchase of homes that may have an extra-long closing process, such as real estate owned properties and short sales. 

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