Write Down Your Dream!
- Take yourself on a visual journey throughout the home which would fit your needs. It all gets down to what is important to you, your lifestyle, and your overall temperament.
- Imagine meeting guests at the front door. Is there a convenient coat closet nearby? A bathroom nearby? Or, would you have to have them use the master bathroom or the one the kids keep their rubber duckies in?
- Grocery shopping is a regular task. After completing your shopping, do you need immediate kitchen access or does that matter to you?
- Do you tend to congregate in the kitchen? A dinette-size area most likely will not do!
- If you have a family or intend to start one, is the floor plan laid out to make keeping your eye on toddlers an easy task?
- How many bathrooms MUST you have?
- Love those shade trees, eh? Do you have the tolerance for bagging leaves?
- WRITE DOWN WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU! This will serve you well when you begin your search!
How YOU Make Your Dream Take Shape!
There are certain characteristics which make home buyers less anxious when they get ready to buy, and these characteristics which interestingly coincide with the degree of positive preparatory time in which they have invested in themselves. In other words, LESS "GETTING READY," the higher the stress level; MORE "GETTING READY," more confidence and far less stress and frustration.
How do you gain this confidence? What are the attributes of a confident home buyer?
They have already established a pattern of attending to the following:
- They have taken strides in saving money, regardless of the amount. It's the discipline that counts!
- They have monitored their credit card spending, and paid extra toward the credit cards with the highest interest rates.
- They have set a budget, and after a few ups & downs, stuck to it!
- They know where their money went and where it's going…tracking it in writing.
- They have some type of retirement savings started, whether a 401(k) at work, an I.R.A., or alternative investment instrument(s).
Haven't started yet? You can begin today!
Stepping into Your Dream
Remember, there is NO SUCH THING as a stupid question! We live in a world of specialization. In fact, writing down your questions as they come to you is the best way possible to do your research. Our answers will help you put it all together in a cohesive manner!
It is said that the number "8" is the number of "New Beginnings." Here's 8 "GETTING READY" New Beginning Items to start with:
- Get your FREE EZ Prequal by e-mailing or calling us; this puts you in a power position at the very beginning! Sellers will know you're a serious buyer and that there won't be any last-minute surprises for them. As a plus, you'll find that sellers are far more amenable to flexible negotiation with a buyer who has an EZ Prequal in hand.
- You've written down your dream…those features in a home you can't live without. If you haven't done so, before you start on your exposure to the marketplace out there, write this list in stone. It will save you much in the time and energy department.
- View prospective properties with "the eyes of possibilities." Can it be improved to accommodate the customizations you would want?
- Your FREE EZ Prequal has established your price range. In looking for your home, make certain it is not the "top of the market" in your area of interest. We'll assist you with resale information in your neighborhood of choice.
- If you have children or are planning a family, you may want to pay special attention to good schools and branch out your search from this vantage point.
- Tell your family and friends you're looking. Many buyers have found just the right home by expanding the "Look Force."
- Tendering a flexible purchase contract is critical. You must have the flexibility therein to negotiate any problems which should arise as a result of a Home Inspection which you will wisely have done on any home which is not new construction. If you choose a realtor to represent you, it is always a good idea to enlist a "Buyers' Agent" to represent you.
- Most importantly: As you hunt for that perfect home, keep in contact with us. You will be excited and with the excitement comes even more questions. Call us for the answers!
The Hieroglyphics of Real Estate
Now that you know your DTI and the LTV for which you qualify, how do you translate the information sheets which come your way on properties for sale? You'll find them on the internet, in realtor brochure placement boxes, periodicals…and they are all written in the same foreign language. Here's an alphabetical of some of them with translations!
A most important designation appears as X / X / X . Here's an example: 3/2/2 translates as THREE BEDROOMS, TWO BATHS, 2 CAR GARAGE. Bedrooms are listed first; bathrooms secondly; and the garage's capacity for vehicles as the third item. You'll save yourself a lot of time and energy in checking this out first!
- AC or A/C = Air Conditioning
- BR = BedRoom
- CH/A = Central Heat and Air Conditioning
- FHA = Federal Housing Authority
- FP = FirePlace
- FSBO = For Sale By Owner
- Full Bath = A bathroom with a bathtub, commode, and sink
- 3/4 Bath = A bathroom with a shower, commode, and sink
- 1/2 Bath = A bathroom with a commode and sink
- LA = Living Area (Not the Home of the Dodgers!)
- SF = Square Feet
- VA = Veterans' Administration
- WBFP Wood-Burning FirePlace
"Location, Location, Location"
The home of your dreams situated in a high-crime rate area will soon turn into the home of your nightmares. How close is the nearest market? If you have small children and there is a busy, traffic-congested street nearby, get ready for constant monitoring. How far do you have to drive to your workplace? These are just a few of the considerations which should receive priority evaluation over an ideal floor plan with just the right kitchen!
One way to overcome these frustrations is to "Think Neighborhood." Here's some questions to ask yourself:
- How long does the drive take to the prospective property from work during rush hour? Can you live with the distance you have to travel?
- What if one child would attend a nearby school and another's is further away?
- Do you have a morning drop-off at day care?
- Is the area quiet at night? Check it out!
- What about your Place of Worship? If you are active in church functions, calculate how much driving time you would have.
- What's the pride of ownership throughout the neighborhood which you are looking? Drive around and "feel" it out. Does it feel like a neighborhood you could easily consider home?
- How close is the fire department? This will have an effect on your Homeowners' Insurance rates.
- Have you talked with prospective neighbors? What are their impressions of the neighborhood? Have they found any nearby public transportation timely and accessible? What about public facilities in the area? Have taxes been consistent or have there been recent increases?
- Is there a medical facility and police station relatively close?
- Any active neighborhood groups? Crime watch?
See you and your family in a particular neighborhood…trust yourself…and when it feels right and the instinct is good…make your home there.
Your IDEAL Home
Checklist these property characteristics:
- Accessibility in and out of your property.
- Energy-efficient Central Heat & Air Conditioning with adequate insulation throughout.
- Cul-de-sac properties have minimal traffic.
- Roomy kitchens, walk-in closets, and cathedral ceilings are quality pluses.
- A must is a 2 car garage.
- Schools you would love your children to attend…nearby.
- Upgraded appliances means you don't have to upgrade!
- Accessibility to municipal services, medical services, work, and church.
- A 3 bedroom, 2 bath home resells more readily than a 2 bedroom, 2 bath.
There exists a definite bias for the plus factors in both of these choices, depending on the buyer and their requirements.
Here's some reasons to buy a Resale (or, used home):
You most likely will be acquiring more square footage in the purchase of a Resale as they are not marketed "per square foot" as new construction homes are.
Greenery has had time to grow. Further, the property has grown in personality over the years. You'll spend less time nurturing the property than you would cultivating a newly-seeded construction site.
Your money may go further in a Resale; flexibility in new construction pricing is rare.
Home Improvement made to a Resale over time is usually of higher grade materials than in new construction.
Flexible financing exists in Resale properties. Builders set a price with little deviation in the pricing.
The neighborhood is in place in a Resale neighborhood, whereas the neighborhood is not yet established in a new development.
Here's some reasons to buy a New Home:
Certain buyers are convinced that the greatest amount of value is experienced in appreciation with new construction.
- The history of the home begins with them, not as in a Resale.
- Choices of interior can not be underestimated as an overwhelming requirement of some buyers; they sense they are creating a custom home.
- Amenities are considered to be much more than in a Resale home.
- Up-to-the-minute energy-efficiency is priority with some buyers, especially buyers busy with their careers. They want assurance that the they have both low cost maintenance and delight in a "repair-free" home.
- Some buyers believe that the warranties granted on a new home far outweigh the worry of possible Resale defects.
Whatever camp you're in, Pro-Resale or Pro-New Construction, it is your property…your home.
Some buyers get "fixer-upper" mania, thinking that if they do the work themselves on a property which needs lots of work, that somehow their labor will pay off handsomely. Maybe. Maybe not.
Most fixer-uppers are older home homes with features that are antedated. Many lack proper ventilation; insulation; and have water damage. Old-fashioned single-glaze windows work against the concept of energy-efficiency; there may be lead-based paint; and mildew may have lived there for years.
We all look for high value at a low price; however, before you commit to what may be years of restoration, have a serious discussion with yourself if this is the way you wish to spend most of your free time. Some take delight in the entire process. That's great! Before moving forward with this option, do get detailed estimates on all the work to be done, and value your time in calculating how many months or years the project will take.
While you're doing this, look carefully at your finances, as many older homes have "deferred maintenance," which means that structural and/or functional problems exist which must be corrected prior to securing a loan on the property. We have said for years that "Your Appraisal is the heart of your Mortgage," as it establishes the amount of mortgage for which you qualify. The best mortgages are not made on defective proper
Get a reputable Home Inspector to complete an extensive general analysis of the structure, including crawl space inspection and roofing. As a result of these findings, you may wish to enlist specialty inspectors in the areas of soil, pest infestation, and safety.
Whatever your decision, do your homework before you start work on your home!
- Any noisy area…near railroad tracks, high traffic streets, & airports/industry.
- A 1-bathroom house due to resale difficulties.
- A 1-car garage or a carport.
- Slow-appreciation areas.
- Absence of Central Heating & Air.
- Undersized bedrooms.
- Neighborhoods with lax code enforcement; you'll find parked boats, RVs, and oversized vehicles attracted to these areas.
- Stay away from nearby business zoning.
- The overbuilt home in the area. This crunches your property value.
- Lower elevation properties which may flood during the rainy season; check it out during a rainstorm.
- "Problem" schools which would be your childrens' place of learning.
- Unusual structural designs which may present you with a future resale problem.
- Give attention to travel routes to and from your property; steer clear of having to drive through crime-ridden areas.
- Do not buy in a primary rental area; property values suffer and pride of ownership is lacking.
Here's a random assortment of Important Things to Remember related to your home search!
- Acquaint yourself with THE LEARNING CENTER'S Section 7: "What's Out There?…An Overview of Mortgage Loans, as well as Section 8: From Start to Finish…The Process Simplified. Remember to return regularly to your Calculators above which allow you to input different scenarios.
- In the world of real estate and home-hunting, remember that A WRITTEN CONTRACT ALWAYS TAKES PRECEDENCE OVER A VERBAL CONTRACT!! Make sure what is conveyed verbally to you is committed to writing!!
- Be aware that sellers are oftentimes most receptive to paying part or all of a Pre-Qualified buyer's closing costs. Do not be shy in this regard.
- Remember that you have the absolute right to seek the mortgage of your choice wherever you wish!
- If you are represented by a Realtor, make certain that it is a Buyers' Agent. The seller incurs this commission cost; make certain you're represented by your agent.
- If you are committed to finding a "For Sale By Owner" property, review For Sale by Owner…BUY & SELL to gain an understanding of the "FIZBO" world.
- Back to Verbal: Never buy a Resale home of any vintage without having a Professional Home Inspection; being told that any defect is corrected is NOT the same as KNOWING that it's done…and having it in writing.
- Review with your Mortgage Consultant all final aspects of your mortgage prior to loan documents being drawn for Closing.
- Upon your contract being accepted, start shopping for homeowners' insurance. Do not leave this item until the last moment.
- Strategize your move to be as stress-free as possible! Do not expect it to be completed in a day or two; give yourself some breathing room.
Make sure to do your "walk-through" prior to closing to make certain there are not any inadvertent items overlooked that are in your agreed Purchase Contract