Weekly Real Estate

Welcome to our weekly blog, dedicated to the wild world of real estate! We've had many different adventures with our clients as we've helped them to achieve their real estate goals. Without a doubt, we've encountered some unique situations! We hope you enjoy our posts and that you will share your experiences with us, too.

 

Nov. 20, 2019

How To Save Enough Money To Buy A Home

         

It is possible to buy a house even if you have a lower income by using some effective strategies. Don’t think that it is impossible although you have to be honest with yourself, then you'll be able to accomplish whatever you want.
The following are some strategies to save money if you want to own a house.

Tighten your budget:
The people who are already facing lower incomes have learned how to cut down on their expenses. So the people who want to save money need to have a look at where they are spending their money and are they spending on necessary products.

 

Make a list:
It’s a great idea to make a budget for the whole month and then remove the unnecessary items from that budget list. In this way, the impulsive buying of products will be controlled which will help you in saving more money from getting wasted on unnecessary items.


Build your qualifications:
Undoubtedly, this is a long-term solution to make and save money for your dream home but certainly the most accurate and sustainable opportunity to build wealth. If you become more qualified with better credit scores, income and reducing debt, there is a chance that you will get a better home loan. The more you can reduce your debt, generally, it will help improve your credit scores and allow better opportunities.

Rent out a room, or a garage:
If you have a spare room or garage in your house, rent them out for some extra income. In this way, you'll create extra income to put towards your new house. If you live in a busy area, you'll likely be able to earn more by renting a garage.

 

         

Sell unnecessary stuff:
Often we have items that were bought with good intentions but we did not end up using. These items can be sold to cluttered and also provide extra money that you can put towards your new home fund or paying off debt.

Make second income:
Almost everyone can generate a second income for themselves. You can live on your current income and save all the secondary income for your new house fund. You can create a second income by using your talents or you can do other businesses such as reselling of retail products.

Some other very basic strategies which you help you save money in long-term include:
• Eat at home:
Eating at home can save you a lot of money. If you go to a restaurant you have to bear their charges and additional tip. So when you calculate your spending on restaurant food, a considerable amount of money is spent there compared to eating at home. Also, try to bring your food to work instead of eating out every day.


• Always use a shopping list:
Avoid going to the store without a shopping list. According to studies, when you bring your shopping list to the stores, you usually spend less because you avoid taking unnecessary stuff which is not present in the list of necessities. In this way, you will spend less money on impulse purchases and narrow down your expenses.

         


• Use cash for buying
bring the amount of cash you need to buy the products you need and do not bring extra money that may tempt you. Go to the store and do not take any credit or debit cards along with you.


• Don’t use credit cards
if you want to save more money to own a house you need to avoid using credit cards because they encourage overspending and can get you into debt quickly? This will also affect how much you can be approved for if you carry a debt balance on your credit cards.


• Create an account for your new home fund:
If you want to save money for your dream house, open up a separate savings account so that you don't use the amount of money you're saving for your home. Out of sight, out of mind.

Saving for a home is the biggest and most expensive item most people will purchase in their lifetime. It’s important to take the time to set yourself up for success and create a long term wealth plan that can be handed down for generations. If you are looking to buy a home and want to put together a game plan, let me know and I’m happy to see what we can do!

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
Nov. 6, 2019

Tips To Sell Your Home From Aaron Lewis

If you are thinking about selling your home, what condition do you plan to put your home on the market in? I am here today with Aaron Lewis who is a fantastic home inspector with BPG inspections and one preferred inspectors when inspecting our homes. He will share useful tips to follow before the home inspection part of your home selling process.

I believe one of the main things to focus on during your home selling process include the things that can potentially hang up your transaction and a big one for that is just access. If we, the realtor or home inspector, are not able to access something in the home for inspection it that can potentially scare the buyer and get them nervous. This will result in delaying your transactions because you will need to provide them an access and will have to come back out to reinspect that area, so make sure to address this kind of problem ahead of time,” Aaron said. “When we have clients buying homes we often run into areas we are not able to access such as garages, certain rooms or storage areas which greatly limit what we can inspect.

“Take attics, for example, sometimes these are located in closets where personal belongings are or any part of the home where you are storing a lot of personal belongings. If we are not able to get a ladder in there to access it, then space needs to be cleared ahead of time. We are not going to move personal belongings for risk of a liability. Another example are garages. It is a common place we use when trying to get ready to move. You store a lot of boxes and personal belongings there and frequently in many garages, we find the water heaters, the furnaces, and then some of the newer homes we had had the main water shut off in there and other things. If we are not again, able to inspect these critical components of the home, things can be delayed.

Another big one is the access to particular rooms of the house that might be locked for some the reason. Secondary structures are also of concern. If there is a detached shed or a guest house, a lot of times people won’t think about having access to them ready. So just make sure that everything is unlocked and speaking of locks themselves, keeping them unlocked on electric panels and any other access panels that we might need to get into it should be taken care of before the actual home inspection.” Aaron added.

If you are looking to list your home make sure that you keep an eye out for those specific items just make things a little bit smoother. They are small items that can be unexpected but make a huge difference in time and convenience. I look forward listing your home as well and help ensure you have a smooth escrow!

 

 

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
Oct. 17, 2019

How Do You Count Experience?

When you are looking to hire someone to represent you, you want to make sure they are experienced. What exactly does that mean in real estate? One of the main things many folks ask is: how long have you been in the business? Well, if you’ve been in the business for 10 years and you sell an average of 6 homes a year; you’re looking at 60 homes that have been sold in their career, which is great! If you look at other agents that are selling more homes and let’s say they are selling around 20 homes a year, they have that same amount of transactional experience in 3 years compared to 10 years.It really does make a significant difference for you as a client and how they’ve managed their business. How often are they working for their clients with attending inspections on a regular basis, marketing a home, negotiating for your home and other qualities that can make a huge impact in the long run? These all need to be done regularly to keep all of your negotiation skills sharp, you are knowledgeable about current trends and make sure you’re doing the best you can for your client.

When asking an agent about their experience, also make sure you’re asking how many transactions they have personally closed. I can promise that will tell you far more than how many years they’ve been in the business! I often ask this to home inspectors and other vendors that we contact when purchasing or selling a home in order to make sure they’ve been hands-on in their trade and have been working with a lot of clients. This also helps ensure they are not just doing this as a side gig and may or may not work out for my clients in the long run. One of the most important things to me is that you have a good experience. I want to make sure that happens! Make sure you ask the same questions of the real estate agent you are considering and hire the best agent for YOU!

It is vital for you to meet with potential real estate agents and ask them about their experience and track-record of success before you hire someone for likely the largest purchase or sale of your life. While knowledge counts for a great deal, ultimately only real-world experience will give an agent the tools required to generate speedy, profitable sales. One of place that you can look at that is helpful to be able to independently look at agent status in terms of how many homes that they’ve sold, the price points that they work in, how many buyers or sellers they work with and the actual reviews from clients are all going to be on Zillow. Make sure you’re working with a quality agent and I look forward to being able to interview for that position soon.

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
Oct. 3, 2019

What is an open house?

What’s an open house about anyway? Generally, when you're going to an open house, the seller is not going to be there. You have an opportunity to view the property at your own leisure, and it gives you a little bit more time to look at the property more thoroughly. There are a few things you may want to aware of when viewing properties. Some of the things we're seeing currently with today's technology are that sellers are putting in audio or video in their home to be able to record what is happening in their home while they're not there. Sometimes this is to protect belongings, sometimes they just want to know what's going on. Most importantly, as the buyer, you need to be aware and know of this.

 

Sometimes your comments, things that you may say about the home or the decor can ultimately go back to the seller and may not have a positive opinion with them when it comes down to writing your offer. So, when you're out doing an open house, always be respectful of the home and keep in mind that you may be on audio. Therefore, you can always talk about these things once you leave the property and freely talk amongst yourselves.

 

When you sell your home there are also a few things to consider with an open house. A few things you can do for your open house with your agent are to remove a lot of your personal belongings that may not necessarily be the best idea to leave out for everyone. Make sure you're putting away any jewelry, firearms, medications, etc to make sure that it's safe for people to view your home. So, make sure that when you're preparing your house for the open house, put those belongings away in a more secure spot or even better if you're able to just remove them from the property altogether.

The last piece of advice you also want to consider is this will be the first impression for home buyers. You'll have a little bit of time to prepare for that open house so really make your home stand out. Make sure you do that last cleaning before you leave the property for your agent to hold the open house, just so that your home really shows its best. There's nothing worse than when you walk into an open house and you can tell that they left in a hurry and nothing has really been prepared. Whereas, if you walk in and everything is neat, orderly and looks nice, it really makes a significant difference to a buyer and gives a better opportunity to sell your home.

 

 So, if you are looking to go visit an open house or you're going to be holding an open house that your property, make sure you take these tips into mind.

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
Sept. 25, 2019

Your Zestimate

When we talk about real estate, one platform that commonly comes to mind is the online real estate company called Zillow. Zillow has been a leading real estate and rental marketplace for millions of renters, home buyers, and sellers. However, an online company that gives out estimate prices of a physical property might turn out not as reliable as an estimate given by a professional.

“How much is your home worth on Zillow?” I get this question a lot. Well, Zillow says my home is worth this much. It's often tough to work with Zillow because they actually have in their own Zillow disclosures that their estimates are off. I’ve had seen some within a realistic ballpark but typically the will say it is a little bit higher or sometimes lower. We do see them off, quite a bit even from home to home when they are right next to each other with no significant differences. The main issue is nobody from Zillow is coming out and viewing your home, seeing the upgrades and the condition it's in and any differed maintenance. Those items plus many more can have a significant impact on the value of a home. Therefore, when you're looking at Zillow's estimate, it's really not that accurate for your home is actually worth. On the other side, we often have clients who want to make an offer on a home, they say that it's listed at this price and then Zillow has it at another price. The only thing is that it is still going to be off unfortunately and as a seller you want to get the most amount of funds you can and as a buyer you want to not overpay for a home.

What you really want to do is either rely on either real estate agent or appraisal to be able to put together an analysis of recent home sales in that specific area. They'll give you a better idea of what the homes are worth in that direct area depending on the condition and upgrades that the homes have completed and they will give you a better idea of the overall price range.

If you're looking at doing a Zillow's estimate, if you're looking at using that as a list price for your home or thinking about using that for the price that you'll use to purchase a home, you should speak with a real estate agent first to ensure you are not leaving more on the table when selling or overpaying for a home when buying. We will help you get to us in the right direction and give you a much more accurate idea. If you do have questions, make sure you reach out to me I'd be happy to give you a better idea on some of the values in the area.

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
Sept. 11, 2019

What's an EMD (Earnest Money Deposit)

What is the earnest money deposit anyway? It is the good faith deposit that you'll submit typically within three business days of an offer being accepted on a home. Typically this deposit is roughly 1% of the purchase price, sometimes a little bit lower, sometimes a bit higher depending on the individual situation. Generally speaking, the higher we make it, the more aggressive we're trying to be with our offer and it helps really stand out to the seller in general. Now, what happens with those earnest money deposit funds though? It's an important thought.

 

The point of having a deposit when we submit an offer is to safeguard the process of bidding and the time and resources spent during the process by all. If this is not done, any bidder will withdraw at any stage and the offer process would be taken much less seriously. With no such financial guarantee, the home buyer would not take the bidding process seriously in terms of time, process, offer and conditions. After the offer process is over and the contract is finalized, the home buyer also has to start working at their time frames noted in the contract. In short, an EMD is one type of guarantee that once the home buyer enters the offer process and the owner accepts the offer, the home buyer can neither withdraw nor change any terms of the contract of the bid and has to perform per the contract terms unless all parties agree.

 

Once the offer is finalized, escrow is opened and the funds are held by escrow. Escrow is a neutral third party. They do not work for the seller nor the buyer, they work for both. If anything were to change with the contract or anything changed with the finances, they need to have mutual instructions from both parties before they release any funds or make any changes. While they hold your deposit funds, we continue through the escrow period. If we end up canceling on the transaction and not proceeding with that home, then the deposit is actually returned back too you shortly after cancellation assigned.

Should we proceed forward with that home, let's say we put down a $5,000 deposit. You'll be required to come up with $5,000 less of your total out-of-pocket cost to purchase the home once we close. Let’s say you owe $40,000 for the out of pocket costs, you’d now bring in $35,000. All your final costs are going to be at the end. This is when you need to bring in the final funds for the home and at that time your deposit amount will be reduced from those.

 

If you do have questions, if you are looking to submit an offer, make sure you reach out and be happy to point in the right direction on how to best handle the deposit portion.

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
Aug. 24, 2019

When Is The Right Time To Buy A Home?

Buying a home requires a lot of time and attention because it is a major financial commitment in which you have to consider some factors before rushing into the property market. When is the right time to buy a house? Is it now? Six months from now? A year? Five years? Has the time already passed? I'll be honest with you, there's no real “best time” to buy or sell a home. Right now we're seeing the interest rates increasing for home loans and your overall loan environment has been changing in terms of the loan programs, interest rates as I mentioned, different guidelines, and the home values have also been increasing.

However, if we do see the prices decrease, which sounds better to a buyer, then your monthly payment will likely increase due to the interest rate still increasing, meaning your monthly payment will actually still be higher. Sometimes you're not really getting a whole lot of bang for your buck in that regard, you may be paying less for the home but you're still paying about the same in the long run for the home.

When you're looking at home prices and waiting for them to come down, is it always the best strategy to also watch the interest rates and loan programs available. When is the best time to buy a home? The time is typically right when it makes financial sense. If you're renting right now and the rent has just gotten too high, then it may be time to purchase a home. If the monthly payments of purchasing a home are less expensive than that of renting, buying a home will make a lot more sense. However, if you have a rental that has a lower rent amount and it’s below market value, then it may not make sense to purchase a home.

When you're also looking at selling your home, it may be more beneficial to try to wait for the peak of the market so you can get the most money you can on your home, which makes sense to most people. However, if you have to purchase a home at the same time as you’re selling one, the market is still going to be a bit challenging since you are balancing both. You are still going to have different interest rates and different loan programs for you use compared to when you first bought your home.

Many factors create a different environment overall in the real estate market which makes it tougher to say: "This is the best time to sell" or "That will be the best time to buy." If you're thinking about when is the best opportunity to buy or sell a home, you should really consider time--the time that makes the most sense to you, to the loan programs available to you, and ultimately to your goals.

If you do have questions if you're trying to decide where you are, where the markets are at, or what programs you can available, make sure you reach out. I'll be happy to help out and will give you a little bit more direction!

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
Aug. 10, 2019

How Many People

Generally speaking, when we think of buying a home, we often think of just a few people that we may talk to or work with. A few days ago, I was talking with a client and we were discussing how many people are actually involved in the real estate transaction as a whole, starting from the beginning until the end—everything from the buying side to the selling side, from the time that we start the process and the time that you get the keys.

A real estate transaction is actually quite a lengthy process to have only a few people involved in it. You can expect there will be several people included in it.. Actually, there are going to be, on average, 21 people through the entire escrow process that may only last thirty days or so. These individuals can include the buyer or seller themselves, the real estate agents, a loan officer, an insurance agent, the appraiser, inspectors, escrow companies and much more depending on the situation and type of transaction. It is pretty crazy to think there's going to be that many people involved but there really will be that many, even when you are not speaking with them all directly or at the same time.

Each of these professionals plays a different and important role in a real estate transaction and have different skills and expertise that are needed to ensure that the buying and selling transaction goes smoothly, on time, and staying within our contractual agreement. Whether you’re planning to sell or buy a property, it’s a must to be familiar with some of the people who may work directly with you or behind the scenes because each person has an important role in the transaction in order for it to be successful.

Being informed about how these professionals can help you is useful whether you are buying or selling a property. Keep in mind though that even when working with these professionals, you are still the decision-maker in your real estate transaction. These professionals are not there to make decisions for you but rather to provide you information and advice that will help you make educated decisions which will result in a more fruitful, stress-free, and satisfying real estate transaction for you.

Real estate transactions can become stressful processes that require full cooperation and due diligence from all individuals involved in the transaction to bring a successful closing. If you want to learn a little bit more about what the process is like to purchase a home and who those people are that are involved I'd be happy to help out feel free make a call and talk this out thank you.

 

 

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
July 20, 2019

Planning Your Picnic

 

What are you waiting for? That is my question for a lot of people who are waiting to purchase a home. Many folks want to ask “What is happening in 5 or 6 months?”, “What is happening in the year down the road?” “What is happening 5 years down the road?”

Really the main thing to consider is: what is happening right now! What we are seeing in the market currently can be a lot different than what we are seeing down the road and we have no way of predicting what the market will do in the future. A lot of people who are waiting to purchase a home or waiting to sell their home may not see home values at the same they are seeing them now. We may not see interest rates at the same rate or the flexibility in home loans programs that we are seeing now. There are going to be regulation changes that affect how much you can actually borrow in purchasing a home which we are already seeing that change. So if you do decide to wait, it oftentimes can increase your monthly payment and it will reduce how much of a home you are qualified to buy.

I had a client recently who is looking around the $400,000 price range that had their monthly payment increased by $250 over the past 6 months from just the increasing of interest rates, nothing else.

So if you are looking to buy but want to wait or you thinking about selling and you want to wait, the main thing you need to consider is, “It is great to wait but what is the future going to be like?” You can choose to have your picnic and wait to buy a home or wait to sell your home but you cannot choose the weather, or the environment it is going to be in with home loans, rates or home values. Whether it is going to be a rainy day and the market is not going to be so great or there is going to be a sun on the market and we will do fantastic, we truly never know. There are some good things that really need consideration when you are on the fence and if you really don’t have a reason to not wait, you really need to look at what the future will hold.

There are several factors and strategies that need to be well thought out when buying a home or selling your house. We do have interest rates increasing, that is going to increase your monthly payment as well as reducing how much you are able to purchase, which will have an effect on the type of home and quality of life that you want to have in that regard. Aside from the interest rates, we also have to tackle the pros and cons of buying or selling a home, the right home loans and timing. If you do have questions and would like to better understand the interest rates and programs, feel free to reach out and we can make sure you are making a smart move!

 

 

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
July 6, 2019

Which Loan Type Is The Best Fit For You?

        

Are you looking to buy a home? When you begin the process and learn about different types of properties and loan options, you'll probably find that there a few different types of real estate mortgage loans available for you.

We will discuss types of loans and things to be aware of when it comes to your home search. Your final decision the type of mortgage you get will depend on your financials and the property you are buying.

FHA Loans:

The Federal Housing Administration, a government agency in the Department of Housing and Urban Development is responsible for FHA mortgages. With the FHA loans, borrowers pay for mortgage insurance built into their monthly payments and this will increase your monthly payment without a huge benefit to the borrower.

These loans are convenient because they involve smaller down payments of 3.5% of the homes price. Also, the lending standard is friendlier compared with other loans with looser requirements to qualify for the loan.

When searching for a home, if you will be getting an FHA mortgage, you will want to look for homes that are more move in ready and do not have a lot of major issues. In my experience, I most commonly see what heaters not being strapped to the wall, exposed electrical wiring and cracked/broken windows have been the main items I’ve seen these items can prevent an FHA loan from closing.

        

Conventional Loans:

Conventional loans are loans that are insured by the federal government and are one of the more common loan types that we see clients use. While these loans do require a higher credit score, they typically allow for lower down payment options starting at 3% of the homes price and go up. 

One benefit is that the loans are less restrictive with the home in regards to the overall condition. This will allow you to make offers on properties that need work and not have the concern of the loan being able to close.

VA Loans:

These loans are for individuals who have served our country and offer a few benefits that make these loans stand out. With the VA loans, they will have a no down payment option or low down payment if you prefer so you have less out of pocket expenses. They will also not have mortgage insurance like an FHA loan, this will decrease your overall monthly payment to make things still affordable. 

One drawback that we do see with these loans is the restrictions regarding the properties condition. They require that the home is in move in condition and will not allow structural issues with the home.

        

USDA Loans:

USDA loans are designed for rural homebuyers and are meant for folks that are living further out in the country compared to being closer in town. 

Getting a home is a great feeling, but considering the financial side of things is very important. When choosing a mortgage, make sure you select one that is a good fit for you and your financial future. Each loan has different benefits and drawbacks to consider but understanding these will help you make a better decision. If you have questions regarding your options, make sure to reach out!

Posted in Weekly Real Estate