Our Real Estate Blog
When it comes to finding your dream home, your vision is going to be both unique and personal.
For many people, their idea of a dream home may be a composite of the home they grew up in and other mental snapshots they accumulated over the years.
In some cases, the house of your dreams may bear little or no resemblance to the image you conjured up in your mind. Sometimes, you just instinctively know the right home when you see it -- even if it's not exactly the one you originally envisioned.
A good starting point for launching your home search is to develop a detailed priority list. It should consist of both "must have" characteristics and "wish list" items. Hopefully, you and your spouse (or partner) will be in full agreement on most of the important features of your next home, such as whether you want a ranch house or colonial. Being on the same page in terms of location can also make a big difference in how satisfied you both are with your real estate purchase. As an example: Someone's going to less than thrilled if, let's say, you want a townhouse in the city, while your spouse has their heart set on a Craftsman-style home in the suburbs!
Trends in Home-Buying Preferences
If you're a member of the so-called "millennial" generation, your top priority in a new home would probably be the quality of the neighborhood. That's according to a "Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report" (2015) compiled by the National Association of Realtors. In order of importance, factors influencing home purchasing choices are: the convenience of the home to one's job(s), overall affordability, access to friends and family, and the quality of schools in the district.
Many buyers in that same demographic are also leaning toward homes that are energy efficient, ones that offer "smart home" capabilities, and dwellings that include a space that can be used as a home office. Since nearly 40% of Americans telecommute for their jobs on at least a part-time basis, more and more home buyers are adding that requirement to their priority lists. Surveys have also shown that prospective homeowners in their twenties and thirties are opting for low-maintenance surfaces, such as flooring, counter tops, and backyard decks. Updated interiors are also a strong preference for many in that age group since they don't have the extra money, time, or inclination to get involved in major renovation projects.
Other factors which belong on house-hunting priority lists include square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the size of the yard. If privacy and noise levels are concerns, then key factors to consider would be fencing, trees and hedges, and the amount of space between houses.
While it's not always possible to find a home that includes every single item on your wish list, an experienced real estate agent can help you find what you want and match your requirements with the available listings in your desired neighborhoods.
If you recently moved to a new town or city, you might be feeling a little lost when it comes to finding your place in the community. In a time when many of us gather digitally rather than in-person, it can be particularly difficult to find ways to get to know your neighbors and become involved in local affairs.
In this article, we’ll talk about some ways you can discover and engage yourself in your local community.
Even if you’re interested in meeting your townsfolk in person, the internet is still a good place to start. You can use Facebook and MeetUp to find local groups and events. Trying looking up groups for things you’re interested in, such as a hiking or cycling meetup, a book club, or knitting group.
While you’re online, see if you can find your town’s website, including sites for the local library, museums, or historical societies. All of these sites probably have mailing lists or notification systems you can join to receive alerts for upcoming events and activities.
If you’d rather spontaneously meet some people in your area, check out some of the popular bars, cafes, and restaurants on Yelp to see where people like to hang out.
Get a library card
Public libraries are an amazing service that is offered free-of-charge. Where else can you go to get free books, movies, music, and games?
On top of that, libraries also tend to offer passes to local museums, another great way to meet people and learn about the area you moved to. Be sure to stay in the loop with upcoming events at the library, as they often play host to interesting presentations, classes, and meetings.
Classes offered through your local library are often free or highly affordable alternatives to those you might take at a private school or local college. Man libraries now even host yoga classes and “paint nights” so expect to find a lot more than books and readings on their calendar of events.
Start something new
If your town doesn’t have something that you’re interested in, why not start it yourself? One rising service in urban and suburban communities across the country is the community garden.
Community gardens are owned and operated by members of the community. You can rent a space in the garden or join up with others and share space.
A community garden is a great way to get outside, enjoy fresh produce, save money at the grocery store, and meet your neighbors at the same time.
A good way to bring up ideas like this is to attend your town meetings. You don’t want to seem too overbearing or industrious, so try to just sit-in on a meeting or two before bringing up any new ideas.
Say “hello” to the neighbors
One of the oldest and easiest ways to learn about your new neighborhood is to simply stop and talk with the people in your neighborhood. Aside from making friends, getting to know your neighbors can be beneficial. Neighbors watch out for each other’s houses when someone is away, and look out for each other’s well-being. It’s good to have a kind neighbor on your side.
As a first-time home seller, it can be tough to establish a competitive price for your residence. And if you set a price that is too high or too low, you risk alienating potential homebuyers or missing out on an opportunity to maximize the value of your house.
Ultimately, there's a lot to think about as you determine the price for your residence. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of pricing your home, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.
Let's take a look at three tips to help first-time home sellers set a competitive price for a residence.
1. Study the Real Estate Market
How does your residence stack up against similar houses that are currently available in your city or town? Study the real estate market, and you can find out how your residence compares to the competition.
Evaluate the prices of currently available houses in your city or town. With this housing market data in hand, you can learn how your home ranks against the competition and establish a price range for houses that are similar to your own.
Also, examine the prices of recently sold houses in your area. By doing so, you can find out whether you're about to enter a seller's market or a buyer's market and map out your home selling journey accordingly.
2. Perform a Home Appraisal
A home appraisal can make a world of difference, particularly for a first-time home seller who is uncertain about how to upgrade a residence.
During a home appraisal, a property inspector will examine a home's interior and exterior. After the appraisal is finished, this inspector will provide a home seller with a report that outlines his or her findings.
Take the results of a home appraisal seriously – you'll be glad you did. The appraisal enables a home seller to learn about a home's strengths and weaknesses, and as a result, discover the best ways to transform assorted weaknesses into strengths. Then, a home seller can perform myriad home upgrades and may be better equipped than ever before to optimize the value of a house.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent analyzes housing market patterns and trends closely and is happy to share home selling insights at any time. Thus, this housing market professional can help a home seller establish a competitive price for a home from the get-go.
Moreover, a real estate agent will promote a home to the right groups of homebuyers and work with a home seller at each stage of the property selling journey. He or she will even negotiate with homebuyers on a seller's behalf to increase the likelihood that a seller can get the best price for a residence.
When it comes to selling a home for the first time, there is no need to leave anything to chance. Use the aforementioned tips, and a first-time home seller can set a competitive price for a house and increase his or her chances of a quick home sale.
When you make the decision to buy your first home, you should be certain that you’re ready to make the leap into homeownership. There’s many different things that you should do as a buyer to get ready before you even set out on the search of a perfect home.
Choose An Agent
You may think that one real estate agent is the same as any real estate agent that you’ll find. This is far from the truth. Some agents have certain specialties. The knowledge that an agent will bring to your house hunt is often invaluable. You are making one of the biggest purchases that you’ll ever make in your lifetime. While many buyers think that they can simply do an online search themselves to find a home, your realtor will have many more resources to assist you in finding exactly what you’re looking for.
Figure Out The Financial Portion Of Buying A Home
While knowing how many bedrooms you need and where you hope to live is important, understanding your finances is even more important. You’ll need to talk to a lender to get the process started. After looking at your own personal budget, you should get pre-qualified. Getting pre-qualified allows you to see a general number of how much house you can afford. That can help you start the process, however, there’s still a few more steps.
From here, you can do what needs to be done to get your entire financial picture ready to buy a home. This includes saving for a downpayment, improving your credit score, and continuing to keep up bill payments and consistent work history.
Next, you’ll want to get pre-approved. This allows your lender to dig into your financial picture. Everything from your credit score to your income and employment history will be considered. Your lender will then give you a more definitive number of how much you’ll actually be able to get for a loan when you buy a home. To get pre-approved, be prepared with 1099 forms, pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements. You’ll then have the concrete amount that you’re approved for along with the interest rate that you qualify for.
Once You Have Applied For A Home Loan
Once you find the realtor to assist you and secure the home of your dreams, you’re not free to head out and buy all the furniture that you need to fill up your house. The home loan must go through the underwriting process and until that is complete, your finances are essentially on lockdown. If you start opening new credit cards, decide to buy a car, or fall behind on payments, you could end up in a lot of trouble. You want to keep your credit score stable throughout the process of buying a home for smooth sailing.