Posted by Betsy Graziano on 7/9/2018

Buying a house is never a simple decision. Aside from all of the financial aspects of purchasing a home, there are numerous life-related considerations you’ll need to think about. So, it comes as little surprise that diving head on into the house hunting process can be stressful and taxing to the home buyer.

With all of the different numbers to keep track of--a down payment, closing costs, credit scores, interest rates, and so on--it’s easy to get lost in the finer details of your budget. This can lead to even more stress as you try to navigate your way through getting approved for a mortgage and shopping for the perfect home.

In this article, we’re going to give you some tips on how to maintain your budget and reduce stress throughout the home buying process. That way, when you do finally find the house you’ve been waiting for, you’ll be able to move forward confidently.

Trust the process

Many first-time home buyers enter the real estate market with little knowledge or experience of how things work. Any newcomer to such a huge and complex industry is bound to be flustered with all of the different options available to them.

However, much of the home buying process is relatively standardized. Real estate agents all make roughly the same commission, lenders use similar algorithms to decide how much of a loan you’ll be approved for, and real estate contracts contain legal safeguards and contingencies to ensure that you and the seller’s interests are protected.

When shopping for a mortgage or getting pre-approved, it’s a good idea to ask friends, family, or read reviews online to find someone you know you can trust. From there, rely on the experts to lead you through the process.

Have a long-term plan

Much of the stress and anxiety around buying a home comes from the uncertainty of the future. Sitting down with your family and significant other and deciding your long-term goals for homeownership is a good way to build confidence and know that you’re making the right choice.

Determining things like location, the number of years you want to live in a home, and what priorities are the most important (school districts, neighborhood safety, etc.) will help you make that plan a reality.

Use the tools at your disposal

If you’re reading this article, you already have started to take advantage of one of the most important resources you have, the internet. Look up real estate terminology you’re unfamiliar with, read up on the different types of mortgages, and take advantage of free online calculators to create what-if scenarios to find out what you might end up paying in closing costs and interests.

It’s also a good idea to check your credit score for free online. You can check your official reports once per year, but for simple credit checks you can look it up each month for free.

Knowing that you’re in good hands with a lender and agent, that you have a basic understanding of industry terms, that you have a long-term plan, and that your finances are in order will all help set your mind at ease and give you confidence as you move forward toward homeownership.





Posted by Betsy Graziano on 7/2/2018

Searching for a new house that will meet your needs without breaking your budget can sometimes feel overwhelming! There are dozens of factors to consider and countless details to handle at any point in time.

Fortunately, there are strategies for getting it all done, maintaining your sanity, and being satisfied with the final outcome.

If you feel like you're getting off track (or can't even find the train station), here are a few tips for getting organized:

Create a priority list. If you haven't clarified and discussed with your spouse what you want and what's important to both of you, then there's a good chance you won't get it. You do not have to go it alone, though! A top-notch real estate agent can help you create a working list of priorities and preferences that you can use as a measuring stick when evaluating homes for sale. Better still, once you develop this list with your agent, he or she will have the information they need to efficiently locate properties that conform to your wish list and requirements. Your priority list will be based on a lot of criteria, including your desired lifestyle, the size of your family, and proximity to good schools, recreation, and shopping centers. If may also be important to you to live within a short drive to work, childcare facilities, or houses of worship. One of the best ways to organize your wants and needs is to get a copy of a homebuyers' "wish list" from your Realtor or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Key factors to consider when developing your list may include items like architectural style, the amount of remodeling you're prepared to do, and the size of the yard. Privacy, space between neighboring houses, and distance from busy highways are also important factors to weigh.

Choose the right real estate agent: The ideal way to find a real estate agent you'll be pleased with is to get recommendations from family, friends, and trusted business associates. If someone you know well has had a favorable experience with a specific real estate agent, chances are good that your experience would be similar. Since most real estate agents value referrals, a smart agent will strive to make a positive impression on both you and the person who referred you. It's often advisable to talk with more than one real estate agent before making your final decision, though. That way you'll be in a position to compare qualities like experience, knowledge, personality, rapport, and energy level. It's vitally important that you feel comfortable with the agent you decide to work with, and that they're responsive to your questions, concerns, and requirements.

While a "wish list" and a "must have" list are essential components of a successful real estate search, the process unfolds much more smoothly when you remain open minded, flexible, and realistic.





Posted by Betsy Graziano on 5/28/2018

A real estate agent is a must-have for homebuyers, particularly in a highly competitive housing market. However, it is important to understand what it takes to work with a real estate professional to ensure you can enjoy a fast, seamless homebuying experience.

What does it take to get the best results from the homebuying journey? Here are three rules to follow so that you and your real estate agent can work together to find your dream house.

1. Establish Realistic Homebuying Expectations Before You Begin Your Home Search

Buying a home can be a long, costly process if you're not careful. But with the right real estate agent at your side, you can simplify your house search.

Ultimately, you should work with a real estate agent to establish clear-cut homebuying expectations before you embark on your search for the perfect residence. This will enable you and your real estate agent to work together to achieve a common goal.

With realistic homebuying expectations, you'll be able to help your real estate agent understand what you'd like to find in your dream residence. Meanwhile, your real estate agent can get to work and keep you up to date about available homes that will meet or exceed your expectations.

2. Understand Your Real Estate Agent's Role in the Homebuying Process

A real estate agent should define his or her role in the homebuying process. That way, you'll know exactly what to expect as you go from homebuyer to homeowner.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with home sellers on your behalf and offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. He or she also should be available to respond to your questions throughout the homebuying journey.

Your real estate agent will be happy to assist you in any way possible. By doing so, he or she will make it simple for you acquire to acquire your ideal residence at a price that matches your budget.

3. Ensure That Both You and Your Real Estate Agent Are Comfortable Working with One Another

Communication plays a key role in the success of a homebuyer and his or her real estate agent. If you keep the lines of communication open with your real estate agent, you should have no trouble staying on top of the housing market.

In most instances, a real estate agent will be able to keep in touch with a homebuyer via phone, email and text. At the same time, you should try to remain available to your real estate agent as much as possible.

With ongoing communication with your real estate agent, you'll be able to stay informed as new properties become available that fit your homebuying criteria. Furthermore, your real estate agent can help you alleviate stress by listening to your homebuying concerns at each stage of the homebuying journey.

Many real estate professionals are available in cities and towns nationwide. Start your search for a real estate agent today, and you can move one step closer to discovering your dream home.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Betsy Graziano on 5/21/2018

If you intend to buy a house in the foreseeable future, it pays to prepare. That way, you can enter the real estate market as an "extraordinary" homebuyer, i.e. someone who knows exactly what it takes to find a great house at an outstanding price.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help any homebuyer go from ordinary to extraordinary.

1. Learn the Ins and Outs of the Housing Sector

The real estate market is complex, particularly for someone who is pursuing a house for the first time. Fortunately, plenty of housing market data is available that can help you gain the insights that you need to make an informed home purchase.

Take a look at homes that are currently available in your city or town. By doing so, you can better understand the prices of houses that match your expectations. Then, you can tailor your home search accordingly.

Furthermore, don't forget to assess the prices of recently sold residences in your area. This housing market data will help you determine whether you're about to enter a real estate market that favors buyers or sellers.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about your mortgage options – you'll be glad you did. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can begin your home search with a budget in hand, thereby reducing the temptation to spend too much on a house.

Lenders are happy to provide you with information about a broad range of mortgage options. Also, if you ever have mortgage questions, lenders employ friendly, professionally trained mortgage specialists who are ready to respond to your queries.

In addition, it usually is a good idea to evaluate your credit score prior to applying for a mortgage.

You can obtain a free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). If you review your credit report closely, you can identify and resolve any potential credit problems and increase the likelihood that you can obtain a favorable mortgage.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to becoming an extraordinary homebuyer, it is important to note that it can be difficult for even the most diligent homebuyer to succeed on his or her own. However, if you employ an expert real estate agent, you can streamline the process of acquiring your dream residence.

A real estate agent is committed to your homebuying success, and as such, will do everything possible to help you find the perfect residence.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. This housing market professional will even help you alleviate homebuying stress and ensure that you can quickly go from homebuyer to homeowner.

Ready to embark on the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can become an extraordinary homebuyer in no time at all.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Betsy Graziano on 4/30/2018

Let's face it – buying a home can be difficult, particularly for those who are exploring the real estate market for the first time.

As a homebuyer, it is your responsibility to learn about the ins and outs of the housing market. By doing so, you can understand what differentiates a high-quality house from a subpar residence and proceed accordingly.

Furthermore, an informed homebuyer will know how to evaluate a home's exterior properly.

What does it take to conduct an in-depth assessment of a house's exterior? Here are three questions that every homebuyer should consider as he or she examines a home's exterior.

1. How do I feel about a home's exterior?

For many homebuyers, finding a house with an awe-inspiring exterior is a top priority. However, it is important to consider how you feel when you see a home's exterior for the first time.

A home's exterior should impress. At the same time, you need to evaluate a house's exterior in conjunction with other home features.

For example, a home may boast a massive kitchen and other dazzling interior features. On the other hand, a home's exterior may leave much to be desired.

Consider the pros and cons of a home's interior and exterior as you determine whether to submit an offer on a house. And if you need extra help along the way, be sure to consult with a real estate agent.

2. Will home exterior repairs be needed in the near future?

Examine a house's driveway, walkways and lawn as you conduct a home exterior evaluation. This will allow you to review the condition of these home exterior areas and determine whether repairs may be needed sooner rather than later.

Home exterior renovations sometimes can be costly and time-intensive. Thus, if you notice home siding that is cracked or other exterior issues, you will want to consider the time and expenses that may be required to fix such problems.

3. How much time will I need to commit to home exterior maintenance projects?

A home may have a beautiful exterior. In order to keep a house's exterior looking great, you'll need to conduct regular maintenance.

Consider what you will need to do to maintain a house's dazzling exterior as you explore all of the options at your disposal.

Will you need to hire a landscaping company to mow the lawn and trim the hedges? Or, are you willing to commit the time and resources necessary to perform assorted home exterior maintenance tasks on your own? These are just a few of the home exterior maintenance questions to consider as you review a property.

Of course, if you need guidance during the homebuying process, real estate agents are available to provide expert assistance.

A real estate agent possesses comprehensive housing market knowledge and can offer real estate insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble examining a house – both inside and out – and making an informed homebuying decision.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips