What to Do With Spot When Buying a Home

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 6th, 2021

What to Do With Spot When Buying a HomeBuying a home in another location far away can be challenging in terms of logistics as well as moving, but it becomes additionally harder for pet owners who may not be able to take their bigger animals with them right away.

Oftentimes folks may have to prepare a newly-bought home for a pet, make multiple moving trips or might not be able to take the new pet to the location at all for a while. All of these situations can be frustrating and difficult for both the pet and owner. Some available solutions can make some sense depending on the situation.

Family or Friends

Ideally, if a person has a family member or friend whom the pet can stay with for a temporary duration, that can be an advantage. If doing so, make sure your pet is already good around other people as it will have anxiety being left in a new place with unknown people for a long time and missing you. Also, make sure whom you leave the pet with has had experience with animals. Folks who have never had a big dog for a pet, for example, may hit you with a surprise when they suddenly can’t care for your pet being overwhelmed a day or week into the favor.

Short-term and Long-term Kennel Services

Alternatively, kennel and animal boarding services can help. Keep in mind you get what you pay for. Low cost kennels will likely keep your animal in a basic unit, often cement, with few amenities aside from water and food and an hour of exercise time. It’s a bit like prison for an animal. Better services focus on care for animals lodged, give them exercise and socialization time, keep their cages or containers clean, and interact with the animals when feeding. These facilities cost more, but they tend to keep the pet mentally healthier during the stay.

Permanent Separation

In some cases, a home buying move may require one to give up their pet completely. The first step should always be to try to give the pet to family or a friend who will take care of the pet right and wants to take on the pet willingly. These are the best situations, and the pet likely may know the person already. It will still be depressed for a while, but the pet will transition better.

If you don’t know anyone willing and a separation is a must, don’t immediately resort to the local pound or animal control as they unfortunately end up having to euthanize animals they can’t adopt out. There are multiple rescue groups based on specific breeds who will take the pet and try to adopt it out to a willing and vetted family and new home that can handle the breed. These groups work nationwide through networks and move former pets to new homes regularly.

Separating from a pet is no fun and often painful, but there are options to provide care temporarily or long-term versus just leaving a pet with local animal control. Planning and some research will typically produce multiple choices locally, and they could very well make your move and new home transition easier.

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Buying in a Sellers Market

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 27th, 2021

Buying in a Sellers MarketHome buying is often made possible or unreachable due to the local and national economy. Fortunately, what goes up, must come down. So, for buyers who can wait, economic changes in supply and demand can create opportunities. These shifts in real estate are known as buyer’s markets and seller’s markets. 

The seller’s market specifically tends to be the harder one for homebuyers. In short, sellers see a lot of demand, so they can command higher prices for a sale. Things are competitive, sell fast, and inventory is low. 

For buyers, it’s a headache, but there are ways of handling the challenge.

Understand Your Local Market Better

Many people might throw out the statement locally, “Oh good luck, it’s a seller’s market,” but that’s not necessarily the case until you can confirm it objectively. It may be that certain neighborhoods have high demand, but overall regional inventory is available. 

Understanding your local market as a whole and by neighborhood gives a buyer a far better idea of what’s really going on and how to compare homes in different locations.

When Making an Offer, Go With Your Best Offer First

The worst that can happen is someone responds “no.” You didn’t really lose anything with a rejected offer. However, if they accept your offer as-is, then you may have scored a better deal than trying to hedge and bargain down after the fact. Negotiation can be more difficult in a seller’s market, and sellers can be quite motivated to drop a negotiation the instant a second buyer becomes available.

Be Prepared to Move Quick and Bid Fast

Sellers’ markets go fast. Bids are taken in a day and a sale happens the next day or by that evening. If going out to buy, you need to be ready to make an offer on-site. That means also having your pre-approval for financing squared away and having enough liquid assets to cover the down payment along with enough cash to cover closing fees as well. If you’re not wired up already, you will lose sales waiting for your financing prep to get taken care of.

Have Cash, Will Talk

Buyers who are able to show they have the cash to purchase make the process go much more smoothly. Sellers are far more interested in parties who can show they are a firm sale versus those with financing approval still pending. 

Known as earnest money, a deposit placed on a home with larger than the minimum amount will get attention and commitment faster than someone with a nice bid but waiting for financing approval, thereby delaying the seller.

Anticipate Non-Cash Sweeteners

Sellers often have interests or desires to meet when letting go of a home. A buyer who can fathom what these are can improve a buying position considerably.

In some cases, it might be as simple as agreeing to additional time for a seller to move out. 

In other cases, the seller might have an attachment to the home that they want to keep protected versus seeing it destroyed by a new seller. 

Finding these things out can help a buyer make commitments in a sale that make it better for the seller and for the buyer versus other bids.

Sellers’ markets are hard, but there are ways around the challenge and getting into a home you want. By being flexible, creative, and ready you stand a better chance than bidders with half a heart in but one foot still hanging out.

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Moving On Up: Should You Buy Or Sell First?

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 3rd, 2021

Moving On Up: Should You Buy Or Sell First?It’s exciting to be able to move into a new home. But there are some tricky details to navigate when you already own a home and you’re ready to buy a new one. Should you buy or sell first? Don’t worry. There are viable solutions.

Should You Sell First?

Think about how selling your home first will impact your family. On the one hand, you’ll be in a better financial position. You’ll have cash in the bank. You may be able to negotiate better terms on your new house by putting more down. However, selling first may mean moving into temporary housing while you find a new house to buy. You might need to store your furnishings. In other words, you may need to move twice.

Should You Buy First?

Buying first gives you more stability. You can stay in your own home until you’re able to move into the new house. When you do move, there won’t be a big rush. You could move over the course of a week or even more. The downside to buying first is that you might be responsible for paying two mortgages for a month or more. There’s no guarantee that your home will sell in a predetermined length of time. And, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the amount of money for your old home that you need to be financially secure.

Viable Solutions No Matter What You Do

Thankfully, there are solutions no matter how you decide. If you sell your home first, you could ask your buyers for a later closing date so that you have time to find a new home. You could even ask them if you can lease your old home on a month-to-month basis so that you have time to buy a new home.

If you buy a new home first, you could get a bridge loan, that helps you pay the second mortgage until you sell your old home. You could also rent out your old home to help offset your mortgage payment.

As you can see, there are ways of making both scenarios work. Whether you decide to buy first or sell first, your real estate agent can help you make it happen.

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Home Expenses Include Far More Than Just the Down payment

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 1st, 2020

Home Expenses Include Far More Than Just the Down paymentIf you are thinking about purchasing your first home in the near future, then you need to be aware of the costs that you are going to take on. When you are looking at the cost of a home, it is very tempting to focus on the sticker price of the home. Even though the down payment is going to be the largest check you are going to write, this is not the only cost that you are going to pay.

There are numerous other costs for which you need to budget as well. By thinking about all of these costs ahead of time, you can make a smart financial decision for you and your family.

Think About The Real Estate Taxes

Depending on the part of the country in which you live, real estate taxes can be significant. For example, it is not unusual for even a modest home to cost thousands of dollars in real estate taxes per year. Therefore, even though you have budgeted for your monthly mortgage payment, make sure that you have budgeted for real estate taxes as well. Usually, your mortgage lender is going to hold your real estate taxes in escrow for you so you don’t end up having to write a large check at the end of the year.

Homeowners’ Insurance And Utility Costs

In addition, you also need to think about homeowners’ insurance and utility costs. Some of the utilities that you have to pay for include internet, phone, cable, gas, electricity, and water. When this is added to your homeowners’ insurance expenses, this can also add up to several hundred dollars per month. Therefore, make sure that you can afford not only the mortgage payment but these recurring monthly expenses as well.

Budget For Your First Home Accordingly

Some of the other expenses that you might have to incur when it comes to your first home include maintenance and repair bills. Therefore, you should make sure that you sit down with an experienced planner and ensure that you can afford the combined expenses. Otherwise, you might end up being priced out of your first home before you realize it.

 

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Important Advice For Locating The Right Neighborhood

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 4th, 2020

Important Advice For Locating The Right NeighborhoodWhen people are thinking about moving, they want to make sure they find the right neighborhood. At the same time, it is not always easy for how many hours to decide where they are going to live. Particularly if they are not familiar with the local community, there are a few important points that everyone should keep in mind. By thinking about these factors ahead of time, potential homeowners are going to place themselves in a position to be successful when they purchase their next home. 

Consider The Importance Of The Schools

Many people who are moving are looking for a bigger house because their family is getting larger. Therefore, one of the most important factors that families need to think about involve the quality of the schools. Schools are going to play a major role in the pricing of the neighborhood. Think about whether the kids are going to go to public school or private school. For families that are going to send their kids to public school, they need to think about the quality of the public schools and what school system the neighborhood is zoned for. 

Think About The Commute To Work

Another important factor that the family should consider is the commute to work. There are many people who are moving in an effort to shorten their commute or because they are getting a new job. Therefore, it is a smart idea to think about the traffic, the time it will take to work, and how challenging the driving route is going to be. This is going to play a major role and where the family is going to end up settling. 

The Access To Amenities

Finally, it is also important to think about access to amenities. This could include parks, shopping, hiking trails, and even access to the airport. Families need to think about what is important to them and prioritize this during the housing search. It is also a great idea to think about any development that might be taking place in the local area that could influence housing prices in the future. All of these factors should be considered when families are considering which neighborhood they would like to move to.

 

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How Much House Is Too Much House: A Mortgage Calculation Guide

Posted in Home Buying Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 13th, 2020

How Much House Is Too Much House:When it comes to finding a home, this is an exciting time. Many people love looking at houses; however, the reality is that people also need to think carefully about how much house they can actually afford. Buying a home is a big decision and for many people this is going to be the most expensive purchase they ever make in their lives. Therefore, it is important to take the time to get this decision right. There are plenty of ways for people to calculate how much house they can actually afford. With a budget in mind, this will make the shopping process easier.

The 28 Percent Rule

One of the top ways that people can figure out how much house they can afford is called the 28 percent rule. This is a simple formula that states that the house should only spend 28 percent of their gross income on expenses related to homeownership. This includes:

  • The mortgage, including the principal and interest
  • Real estate taxes
  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), if this applies
  • HOA dues

Keep in mind that this is the gross monthly income, meaning that this is before taxes.

The 36 Percent Rule

Another key rule that people need to keep in mind is called the 36 percent rule. This is a rule that states that that people should not spend any more than 36 percent of their gross monthly income on debts. This might include housing expenses (such as the ones above), loan payments (including car loans and student loans), child support, alimony, and credit card debt. Therefore, those who have more of these expenses are going to have less money to spend on a home.

Find The Right Budget For A Home

This is a short overview of how people can figure out how much house they can afford. Once people know how much they can spend each month on a home, they should be able to calculate backward to figure out how big of a loan they can actually take out. Of course, it is always important to remember that there are trained professionals who can help people figure out exactly how big of a house they can afford.

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Falling In Love With An Imperfect Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 6th, 2020

Falling In Love With An Imperfect HomeWhen people start the process of trying to find a home, they want to make sure that they take the time to get this decision right. The reality is that a home is the most expensive purchase that most people are ever going to make. As a result, they need to make sure they find a home that will meet their needs.

At the same time, it will be hard to find a home that is truly perfect. Therefore, it is a great idea for everyone to come up with a list of necessities and a list of features on which they can be more flexible. How can people do this? How can people fall in love with an imperfect home?

Remember That There Are Options

Every home is going to have its flaws. Those who spend the time trying to find a home that is absolutely perfect are going to have decision paralysis. On the other hand, it is important to remember that there are options available. Nearly everything that is wrong with a potential home can be remedied, fixed up, or recycled. In this manner, even if a home is not perfect when people first look at it, there is a way to make it perfect with a few improvements or upgrades. This is a nice alternative that people should keep in mind.

The Styles Of Homes Change

Furthermore, keep in mind that it might be helpful to find a home that will grow with the family or the homeowners. Styles rotate and change on a regular basis, so people should not worry about finding something that is going to be absolutely perfect right this minute. For example, the open concept is one of the biggest shifts that has taken place during the past few years.

Closet standards have changed as well. There are even inconvenient structural columns that people have found a way to love. There are plenty of ways that homeowners can take a home that has flaws and find ways to help them match new and trending styles.

These are just a few of the ways that homeowners can find ways to love a home that is not perfect. This could make it easier for homeowners to find the right home for them.

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Buying A Home: You Might Be Able To Skip The Home Appraisal – But Should You?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 24th, 2020

Buying A Home: You Might Be Able To Skip The Home Appraisal - But Should You?When someone is thinking about buying a home, one of the key parts is the home appraisal. The appraisal ensures that the buyer is paying a fair price for the home while also protecting the mortgage lender against taking a loss.

On the other hand, an appraisal is also an added cost of the buyer can be a serious source of stress for both sellers and brokers.

Recently, government agencies have passed a rule saying that home appraisals are no longer going to be required on homes that are less than $400,000; however, many lenders will still require them.

Therefore, when should someone consider skipping a home appraisal to save some money?

Appraisals And Mortgages

One of the first ways to take a look at the value of a home appraisal is by comparing it to the mortgage. The two go hand in hand. Appraisals are important because they protect not only the seller and buyer but also the lender. The lender wants to make sure they know what the property is worth.

Therefore, an appraisal is more about valuing the property and not about the price of the home.

In addition, lenders make loans based on either the sale price or the appraised value, whichever is lower. Lenders do this to make sure that buyers have invested enough in their own property.

Borrowers And Appraisals

In addition to considering the lender, it is also important to consider the borrower. An appraisal is helpful for the borrower because this prevents someone from overpaying for a property.

Therefore, they act as a form of consumer protection. On the other hand, they also cost the borrower a few hundred dollars. If money is tight, this can be a serious problem and could dull the appeal of a home.

Choosing Between The Two Options

In the end, people should consider skipping the appraisal if it saves them money. Lenders might still require someone to obtain an evaluation as a form of protection. If the buyer is not confident in this evaluation method, then a traditional evaluation might be a better approach.

It is important for people to feel confident in the sale price, regardless of how this happens.

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4 First Things You Should Do After You Move In

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 16th, 2020

4 First Things You Should Do After You Move InCongratulations on moving into your new house! But hold on. Now that the house is yours, there are a few things you will want to do in order to make life in your new home more comfortable and secure. Before you plan your housewarming party, here is a list of the first things you should do after you move in.

1. Change The Locks

As the new homeowner, you have no way of knowing how many others have keys to your new home. The previous owner may have made copies for their housekeeper, their parents, the babysitter, a neighbor, or anyone else. You definitely don’t want anyone else having keys to your home. Have a locksmith come in and change all the locks. The investment will help you sleep soundly.

2. Find Out Your Boundaries

Check in with town hall to see if there are documents on file that lay out the boundaries for the land you just purchased. If not, consider having a land surveyor come out to mark the boundaries around your new home. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally do things that encroach on your new neighbor’s land, such as planting trees or flowers, erecting a fence, or setting up a swing set.

3. Introduce Yourself To The Neighbors

Pencil in a day to go around and meet your new neighbors. Don not wait too long to do this; the longer you wait, the more awkward it becomes. In theory, they should be introducing themselves to you, but these days you could be waiting a long time for an apple pie to show up at your door. Just wait for the weekend and give a light knock on the doors on your street. Your neighbors will appreciate the gesture and you might just meet a new friend.

4. Make A House Map

A house map is just a general layout of where all the important fixtures are. The map should include the furnace, all outdoor spigots, the main water shut-off valve, the septic tank lid cover (if applicable) and the circuit box. Finally, invest in some fire extinguishers and mark their locations on the map, too. Have it laminated and put it someplace where all the family members can access it.

Once you take care of these four things, you willll feel better knowing that you’ve done all the necessary chores. Now, just sit back and enjoy your accomplishment!

 

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Eight Signs You’re Ready To Stop Renting And Buy A Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 23rd, 2020

Eight Signs You're Ready To Stop Renting And Buy A HomeFor many people, owning a home is seen as a rite of passage. At the same time, purchasing a home is expensive. As a result, many people end up renting for an extended period of time.

Here are a few signs that someone is ready to stop renting and purchase a home.

1. Rental Prices Keep Going Up

Year after year, rental prices are going to keep going up. While the rental company is going to claim that these increases are consistent with the industry, they tend to be exorbitant. As a result, those who are tired of their rent being increased should think about buying property instead.

2. The Credit Score Has Gone Up

Someone’s credit score is going to play a major role in the mortgage approval process. Anyone whose credit score has gone up recently should think about buying property.

3. Debt Management Is Second Nature

Before taking out a mortgage, someone is going to have to be good at managing debt. A mortgage is simply another form of debt. It needs to be managed properly.

4. There Is A Liquidity Fund In Place

The cost of owning a home extends far beyond the mortgage. Anyone who is thinking about owning property is going to have to have money set aside to cover additional costs. These include repairs, maintenance, and homeowners’ insurance.

5. There Is Money For A Down Payment

There is going to be a large check due upfront. A down payment is essential when it comes to buying a home. In addition, be sure to set aside money for closing costs as well.

6. You’re Going To Settle Down

When someone is thinking about buying a home, they need to stay in the same place for an extended period of time. When someone buys and sells homes quickly, they are likely to lose money to closing costs.

7. A Major Life Change Is Happening

Many people elect to buy a home after a major life change. This might come in the form of marriage. This might also come on the back of having kids. These major life changes can trigger someone to settle down and buy a home.

8. Your Vision Of The Future Is Clear

Those who know where their life is headed in the near future are in a great position to buy a home. If the future is clear, you are ready for the responsibilities of homeownership.

Call your trusted real estate professional today to discuss the options for homeownership in your local marketplace.

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