Four Things Homeowners Wish They Knew Before Buying Their First Home

Buying a home is an extensive process that comes with a bit of a learning curve. For first time buyers, this process involves making mistakes and learning from them.

While we can never be 100% sure of our home buying decisions, there is a way to increase your chances of making the best choices when it comes to buying and maintaining your first home.

In today’s post, we’re going to do just that. We’ll take a look at some of the biggest things that homeowners wish they knew before buying their first house.

1. Forgetting to research the neighborhood

It’s easy to become so enamored with your dream home that you barely look beyond its fence. However, the neighborhood your home is in can have a huge effect on your daily life. Having local parks, safe sidewalks to walk on, and road infrastructure that doesn’t drive you crazy on your daily commute are all important aspects of choosing the right home.

2. Getting pressured into making a decision

Many times, a seller will want to portray their home as being highly sought after to encourage higher and more frequent offers. Similarly, you may find that your own family has time constraints and want to make a quick decision to buy a home.

It’s when we’re under pressure that we can make choices that we aren’t happy with in the long run. So, in these situations, make sure you don’t make any snap judgments on a home. If it seems like you’re being pressured into making a decision without enough time to consider all of the possibilities, there’s a good chance you should pass on this opportunity.

3. Forgetting that you might someday have to sell this home

Sometimes homes can be difficult to sell due to things like their location and surroundings. For instance, a home that is remote or one that is located in low-scoring school districts may not matter to you if you don’t plan on having children. But, they likely will be important to a lot of your potential buyers when it comes time to sell the home.

This lesson also holds true for what you do with your home once you buy it. Making renovations or design choices that won’t appeal to the average buyer can make your home more difficult to sell and harder to get top dollar for.

4. Didn’t consider all financing options

There are several steps and several options when it comes to financing a home. Not only are the several mortgage lenders to choose from, but there are also many different types of loans available.

While there may not be one “right” decision when it comes to financing your home, it’s a good idea to do your homework and browse carefully all of the lenders and mortgage types.

Consider ways to increase your credit score or save for a higher down payment before buying if possible, so that you can secure the lowest interest rate possible.

3 Questions to Consider Before You Ask a Home Seller to Complete Repairs

For homebuyers, a home inspection is paramount. This inspection enables you to look closely at a house and identify any problem areas. It also may force you to rethink your decision to buy a house, particularly if you discover a wide range of problems during the inspection.

Ultimately, it pays to consider your options following a home inspection. In fact, if you take an in-depth approach to potential home repairs, you can determine whether to ask a seller to complete these repairs before you finalize a purchase agreement.

Before you ask a seller to perform home repairs, there are several questions that you should consider, and these are:

1. How much will it cost to complete assorted home repairs?

A damaged roof is much more expensive to repair than a defective light fixture. Fortunately, if you assess the costs of potential home repairs, you can differentiate major home repairs from minor ones and plan accordingly.

If a home requires thousands of dollars in repairs, it may be worthwhile to ask a seller to complete these repairs. Otherwise, you’ll be responsible for allocating the necessary time and resources to perform costly home repairs after you finalize your house purchase.

On the other hand, minor home repairs may be easy to handle on your own. If you feel comfortable completing minor home repairs, you may want to avoid submitting a request to a seller to perform these repairs. Because if you ask a seller to complete myriad minor home repairs, he or she may walk away from a potential home sale.

2. Are there any required repairs that must be completed right away?

Required repairs, i.e. repairs that will address hazardous conditions in a house, sometimes will need to be completed following a home inspection. These repairs include water penetration issues and local code safety violations.

If required repairs go unaddressed, your lender is unlikely to provide you with the financing that you need to acquire a house. Thus, you should request a seller complete these repairs as soon as possible.

3. Is it worth my time to ask a seller to complete home repairs?

There is no right or wrong answer to the aforementioned question, as every homebuyer and home seller is different. If you are uncomfortable with a house following an inspection, you should examine the inspection report and determine the best course of action. And if you feel that asking a seller to perform home repairs is essential, it is important to do just that.

Lastly, if you need assistance throughout the homebuying journey, it helps to work with an expert real estate agent. This housing market professional usually will attend a home inspection and help you assess a house. Plus, an expert real estate agent is happy to provide recommendations and suggestions to ensure you can make an informed home purchase.

Take the guesswork out of evaluating a house following an inspection – consider the aforementioned questions, and you can determine whether to ask a seller to complete home repairs after an inspection.

Reasons to Negotiate with a Home Seller

If your initial offer to purchase a home is countered, there is no need to stress. In fact, there are lots of reasons why you should negotiate with a house seller, and these include:

1. You can speed up the homebuying journey.

The homebuying journey may prove to be long and complicated. If you find a house you want to buy, however, there is no need to wait to submit an offer to purchase this home. And if a seller wants to negotiate with you, it may be worthwhile to work with this individual so you can acquire your ideal house.

A homebuying negotiation enables you to try to reach a house purchase agreement with a seller. Plus, if you and a seller cannot come to terms, you can always reenter the housing market and continue to search for another home that matches your expectations.

2. You can find common ground with a home seller.

When it comes to buying a home, it is important to avoid submitting a “lowball” offer to purchase. If a buyer submits a lowball property buying proposal, he or she risks alienating a seller. Worst of all, a seller may be more likely than ever before to reject the buyer’s proposal and move forward with other offers to purchase.

Thanks to a homebuying negotiation, you can come to terms on a home purchase agreement that works well for both you and a seller. As a result, both you and a seller will be satisfied with the final terms of a home purchase agreement.

3. You can pay the lowest price for your dream home.

If you feel a seller’s initial asking price is too high, negotiating with this individual offers an excellent opportunity to get the best price for your ideal house. And if you open up negotiations with a seller, you could acquire a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.

Of course, it is crucial to consider the seller’s perspective during a homebuying negotiation. If you maintain constant communication with a seller, both you and this individual can work together to finalize a home purchase contract.

Negotiating with a home seller may be stressful, regardless of whether you are buying a house for the first time or have purchased residences in the past. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert support as you negotiate a home purchase.

A real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a house seller on your behalf. He or she will keep you up to date throughout a home purchase negotiation. Best of all, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you purchase your dream house at the lowest price.

For those who want to achieve the optimal results during the homebuying journey, it generally is a good idea to negotiate with a seller. If you are willing to negotiate with a seller, you could acquire your dream home faster than ever before.

Buying A Home With A Yard

One of the perks of moving out of an apartment into a home is having your very own outdoor space. Depending on how close to the city you live, you may not get much of a yard with your home. If you’re looking for that perfect outdoor space to dwell in, read on for some tips on buying a house with a yard. If you check the yard out, you could save yourself from facing problems further down the road. 

Are The Trees In Good Condition?

While mature trees in a yard are a sure fire way to have privacy and shade, the trees must be safe. You want any trees in your yard to be healthy. Otherwise, during a storm, you may have an issue with falling trees. If you have a lot of trees in your yard, it may be a good idea to hire an arborist who can tell you if the trees are safe. Tree removal can be costly, so you’ll need to plan for this expense if your yard has many trees.

How Safe The Outdoor Living Areas?

You should check out any outdoor living areas the yard has. If the home comes with a patio, or gazebo the soundness of the structures should be checked. Any cement should be free of cracks or crumble.

The Layout Of The Lot

There is more to a yard than the size of a property. You should keep in mind where the home is situated on the lot. Is the front yard more prominent than the backyard? Is the home on a slope? Is there a chance water will pool near the foundation of the house? All of these questions are important for the long-term health of the property. 

How Much Yard Are You Willing To Care For?

You need to know how large of a yard you’re actually willing to care for. For many buyers, a small yard is just enough. Other buyers aim to care for a large lawn the many flowerbeds. The larger the yard, the more possibilities you have. If you are willing to take the extra time and incur the additional expense that a large yard will cost, it could be a good feature to look for. Yard size may also narrow down your home search considerably. 

Buying a home with a yard can be a great decision, all you need is to understand your own preferences and ability to care for properties of different sizes.        

Should You Buy a House? Key Factors to Consider

Purchasing a home is a life-changing decision. As such, it is important to consider a variety of factors as you decide whether to pursue a residence, and these factors include:

1. Your Finances

Although you may want to buy a house as soon as possible, it is paramount to have your finances in order before you launch a home search. That way, you can avoid the risk of trying to spend beyond your means to purchase a residence.

Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you embark on a home search. These financial institutions can teach you about home financing and explain how mortgages work. Plus, they can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage so you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand.

2. Your Short- and Long-Term Goals

Consider your short- and long-term aspirations before you launch a home search – you will be happy you did. If you analyze your goals, you can see how buying a home helps or hinders your ability to accomplish these aspirations.

For example, if you want to work in a particular city, you may want to pursue homes in or near this city. This will eventually allow you to enjoy convenient access to a job in the city of your choice.

On the other hand, if you want to start a family soon, you may want to consider buying a house that offers immediate access to top schools and parks. You also may want to search for a home that offers a spacious backyard and other family-friendly amenities.

3. Your Family and Friends

If you want to reside close to family and friends, you can map out your house search accordingly. Houses are available in cities and towns nationwide. As a result, you should have no trouble finding a great residence near family and friends any time you decide to launch a home search.

For those who are ready to start a home search, you may want to hire a real estate agent. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can quickly and effortlessly conduct an in-depth house search.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to search for houses in any city or town. First, he or she learns about a buyer’s expectations and establishes a personalized homebuying strategy. A real estate agent next helps a buyer search for houses in his or her preferred cities and towns. This housing market professional then sets up home showings and keeps a buyer up to date about open house events. And if a buyer wants to submit an offer to purchase a house, a real estate agent will help him or her do just that.

The homebuying journey sometimes is complicated, but people who consider the aforementioned factors may be better equipped than ever before to determine if now is a good time to purchase a house. And if an individual decides to launch a home search, he or she can work with a real estate agent to achieve the best-possible results.

Should You Submit Multiple Offers to Purchase at the Same Time?

If you find lots of great homes are available and cannot decide which residence to buy, there is no need to stress. Rather than submit multiple offers to purchase various houses, you should hone your home search. By doing so, you can discover the right residence, at the right price.

Now, let’s take a look at three tips to help you narrow your home search.

1. Define Your Dream Home

Think about the features you want in your dream home. Then, you can make a list of “must-have” home features and search for residences that offer these features.

Furthermore, consider where you want to reside. If you prefer big city living, for example, you may want to focus exclusively on city houses. On the other hand, if you want to reside in a small town, you can search for residences in myriad small towns.

2. Conduct a Preliminary Housing Market Review

Let’s face it – searching for a home can be overwhelming, regardless of whether you are a first-time or experienced homebuyer. But if you perform a preliminary housing market review, you can get a good idea about the volume and quality of available residences. Next, you can use this real estate market information to map out your homebuying journey.

Of course, it may be beneficial to attend open house events as well. These events enable you to get an up-close look at assorted residences. They also can help you understand the features you want in your dream house so you can further refine your home search.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to navigating the housing market, it helps to have a real estate expert at your side. Thankfully, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market experts are happy to help you acquire a superb residence at an affordable price.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to help you find a quality home that won’t force you to break your budget. First, he or she will learn about your homebuying goals and teach you about the real estate market. A real estate agent next will help you analyze the real estate market and explore a broad range of houses. And once you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence.

Let’s not forget about the guidance a real estate agent provides throughout the homebuying journey, either. Purchasing a house is no small feat, and a real estate agent will take the guesswork out of the homebuying cycle. Best of all, a real estate agent can respond to your homebuying concerns and questions at any time.

If you want to discover a home that matches your expectations, it helps to plan ahead for the property buying journey. By taking advantage of the aforementioned tips, you can streamline your house search and find your ideal home faster than ever before.

How Many Open Houses Should You Attend?

Attending open houses is common for property buyers in cities and towns nationwide. However, there is no set number of open houses that a homebuyer will need to attend to discover his or her dream residence. In some instances, a buyer may find the ideal home after attending his or her first open house. Or, a buyer may attend dozens of open houses and fail to find a residence that matches his or her expectations.

As a homebuyer, it is important to do everything possible to make the most of an open house. Lucky for you, we’re here to help you get ready for an open house and ensure that you can maximize the value of this event.

Now, let’s take a look at three tips to help you get ready for an open house.

1. Create a List of Home Questions

You may have learned about a home from a listing. Yet a listing only offers a limited amount of information about a residence. And if you have additional questions about a residence, an open house provides you with a great opportunity to receive responses to your queries.

Craft a list of questions before you attend an open house – you’ll be glad you did. With this list in hand, you can ask questions about a home and gain the insights you need to help you decide whether a residence is right for you.

2. Perform Research

Try to collect as much information as you can about a home prior to an open house. That way, you can have a good idea about what to expect when you attend this event.

Also, you may want to put together a game plan before an open house. This plan allows you to prioritize different areas of a residence that you want to check out. Plus, it may help you conduct an in-depth review of a residence.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is happy to help you plan ahead for any open house. If you employ a real estate agent today, you can receive comprehensive assistance as you conduct your house search.

Typically, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about open house events in your preferred cities and towns. This housing market professional can attend an open house with you and offer immediate feedback as well. In addition, if you want to submit an offer to purchase a residence after an open house, a real estate agent can help you do just that.

Let’s not forget about the expert housing market insights that a real estate agent can provide, either. A real estate agent can offer insights into housing market patterns and trends. By doing so, a real estate agent can help you narrow your home search and ensure that you can find a great house at a budget-friendly price.

Ready to attend an open house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can attend an open house and learn about all aspects of a residence.

Set the Bar High for Your California Luxury Property Search

If you intend to pursue a luxury home in San Francisco, Los Angeles or anywhere else in California, it may be beneficial to set the bar high for your house search. By doing so, you can increase the likelihood of finding and buying a Golden State luxury residence that you can enjoy for an extended period of time.

Now, let’s take a look at three tips to help you transform your California luxury homeownership dream into a reality.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

You know you want to buy a luxury home in California, but you are still unsure about what features you want to find in your dream residence. Fortunately, you can hone your Golden State luxury homebuying criteria to streamline your house search.

Think about your California luxury home “must-haves” and include them in your homebuying criteria. You also can include your Golden State luxury house “wants” in your homebuying criteria. It is important to prioritize your California luxury homebuying criteria too. This means your California luxury home wants should be lower priorities relative to your home must-haves.

2. Narrow Your House Search

Once you have California luxury homebuying criteria in hand, you should focus on where you want to reside in the Golden State. That way, you can search for luxury houses in a small group of California cities and towns.

Luxury houses are available across California, so there is no need to worry if you narrow your property search to select areas. For example, if you want to reside near the upscale boutiques and shops on Rodeo Drive, you may want to focus on luxury houses available in Beverly Hills. On the other hand, if you want to live close to family members and friends in San Diego, you can search for luxury houses in the city itself.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Searching for a luxury home in Malibu, Cupertino or any other California city or town may prove to be a long, arduous journey. Thankfully, you can hire a real estate agent who will take the guesswork out of finding and acquiring a Golden State luxury home that matches or exceeds your expectations.

A real estate agent will learn about your California luxury homebuying goals and help you plan accordingly. Thus, if you want to buy a luxury home in Sacramento as quickly as possible, a real estate agent will help you accelerate your house search. Or, if you want to purchase a luxury house that provides convenient access to Disneyland, a real estate agent will help you pursue deluxe properties in the Anaheim area.

As you get set to kick off a California luxury home search, you should try to plan ahead. With the aforementioned tips, you can go above and beyond the call of duty to discover your ideal Golden State luxury house. Then, you can buy a California luxury house that you’ll be able to enjoy both now and in the future.

Steps to Close on a Home

After you buy a house, it may be only a few weeks before your closing date arrives. At this point, you and the home seller will finalize your transaction. And if everything goes according to plan, you’ll own a new home.

Getting to closing day, however, sometimes can be difficult. Lucky for you, we’re here to help ensure you can enjoy a quick, seamless home closing.

Now, let’s take a look at three steps to close on a home.

1. Complete Your Mortgage Application

A mortgage is a must-have for a homebuyer to close on a residence. Fortunately, it often can be simple to obtain a mortgage that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Consult with several local banks and credit unions. By doing so, you can learn about all of your mortgage options and select a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.

After you complete a mortgage application, a bank or credit union can provide you with mortgage options. Then, you can make an informed decision about which mortgage suits you perfectly.

2. Perform a Home Inspection and Appraisal

A home inspection is paramount, as this assessment will enable you to identify any underlying home problems and address them before closing day arrives.

During a home inspection, a property expert will assess your residence both inside and out. This expert also will provide an inspection report that details his or her findings.

Review the results of a home inspection report closely – you’ll be glad you did. If you assess a home inspection report, you can review a home inspector’s findings and determine whether you still want to purchase a house.

If you accept the inspection results and decide to move forward with a home purchase, an appraisal may follow.

Like a home inspection, an appraisal requires a property expert to visit your home. This expert will evaluate your home’s interior and exterior, as well as comparable houses in your city or town. Following a home appraisal, you will receive a property valuation.

Oftentimes, a property valuation may match or exceed the price that you intend to pay for a house. If it does not, there may be instances in which you can still walk away from a home sale or ask the seller to lower a house’s asking price.

3. Buy Home Insurance

Home insurance safeguards your residence and personal belongings against loss, damage or destruction. As such, it is essential to purchase home insurance before you close on a house. Because with home insurance in place, you’ll be good to go to protect your house and personal belongings against myriad disasters.

The closing process can be long and complicated. But if you work with a real estate agent, you can receive plenty of support leading up to closing day. In fact, this housing market professional is happy to provide tips to ensure you can streamline the closing process.

Get ready for closing day – follow the aforementioned steps, and you can speed up the process of acquiring your dream house.

Conduct a Successful Home Inspection

A home inspection is a key part of the property buying process. If you fail to allocate the necessary time and resources to conduct an in-depth inspection, you may struggle to identify various home problems before you finalize your property purchase. And if you cannot identify such issues, you risk buying a home that may require costly, time-intensive upgrades in the foreseeable future.

Ultimately, there are many things that you can do to ensure that a home inspection provides you with the insights you need to determine whether to proceed with a home purchase. These include:

1. Hire an Expert Home Inspector

A home likely is one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime. As such, there is no need to leave anything to chance, especially when it comes to conducting a house inspection. But if you hire an expert home inspector, you can get the support you need to conduct a comprehensive property inspection.

Look for a home inspector who possesses extensive experience. Also, you may want to ask a home inspector for client referrals before you make your final hiring decision. If you get in touch with a home inspector’s past clients, you can find out what it’s like to work with this professional and proceed accordingly.

2. Attend Your Home Inspection

You are under no obligation to attend your home inspection. But in most instances, it is beneficial to attend an inspection.

A home inspection usually requires just a few hours to complete, but the benefits of attending an inspection may last a lifetime.

For example, during an inspection, a home inspector may be able to provide you with property repair insights that otherwise won’t be included in your inspection report. Meanwhile, attending a home inspection allows you to ask questions and gain the insights you need to make an informed decision about a home purchase.

3. Analyze Your Home Inspection Results

Spend some time reviewing a home inspection report – you’ll be happy you did. If you assess a home inspection report closely, you can use all of the information at your disposal to decide whether to continue with a house purchase.

Furthermore, if you have questions about a home inspection report, don’t hesitate to reach out to the inspector who conducted the evaluation. This inspector can respond to any report questions that you may have and provide you with information that could prove to be exceedingly valuable as you make your final decision about a house.

As you get ready to buy a home, it certainly helps to have a best-in-class real estate agent at your side too. This housing market professional can offer recommendations and suggestions about what to do following a home inspection. Plus, he or she can provide plenty of guidance at each stage of the property buying journey.

Take the guesswork out of a home inspection – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of completing a successful property inspection before you finalize a home purchase.