8 Tips For Finding Your First Home
The following post comes from Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty, Inc. agent, Kim Knapp. Kim is an experienced agent in Northern Florida and has a great team who has worked with countless first-time home buyers.
Here are her 8 tips to help make finding that first home go as smoothly as possible:
1. Research before you look.
Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you’d be willing to spend each month for housing.
2. Be realistic.
It’s OK to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.
3. Get your finances in order.
Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender and get prequalified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can’t afford.
4. Don’t ask too many people for opinions.
It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own. You will be the one that will be ultimately living in the home and paying the mortgage payment.
5. Decide your moving timeline.
When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move.
6. Think long term.
Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.
7. Insist on a home inspection.
If possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects for one year.
8. Get help from a REALTOR®.
Hire a real estate professional who specializes in buyer representation. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer’s representative is working only for you. Buyer’s reps are usually paid out of the seller’s commission payment.
Please call if you are looking for a home in Stamford or Fairfield county. My cell is 914-215-2025.
DON’T SHOP FOR HOMES ALONE
Written by Blanche Evans
Homebuyers are increasingly shopping for homes with a real estate agent. Eighty-eight percent of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, up from 69 percent in 2001, says a new report from the National Association of REALTORS®.
That means your competition has professional help. Do you?
When buyers were asked where they first learned about the home they purchased, 43 percent said the Internet. That’s up from 36 percent in 2009. Thirty-three percent learned about their home from a real estate agent. That’s pretty impressive odds.
So in the age of home buying apps, why are more buyers using a real estate agent? A number of reasons. First, the bubble and implosion in housing values made buyers more cautious. Then the housing market rebounded, leaving many buyers unprepared for bidding wars, investors, and a tighter mortgage market. Last, buyers have been on the sidelines so long, that they’re entering the market with more maturity than buyers of past generations.
There’s no reason not to use all the help you can get. Licensing laws allow agents to work with both buyers and sellers as both fiduciaries and non-fiduciaries, depending on state disclosure requirements.
When an agent contracts with a seller to sell their home, the agent contracts commission fees with the seller to cover the costs of paying the buyer’s agent. Buyers may not realize that most agents are paid at the closing, and that they won’t be out any upfront money to hire their own agent.
Having an agent multiplies the buyer’s chances of finding the right home at the best price. The buyer’s agent networks with other agents to find the right home and they learn which homes are coming onto the market before the general public. Many homes are bought and sold without a sign ever going into the yard.
But, if a buyer goes to open houses, or builder model homes without registering their buyer’s agent’s name, or calls on a listing without mentioning their agent, the listing agent or builder’s agent has every right to assume the buyer is unrepresented. They may refuse to pay the buyer’s agent commission.
Today’s agents are like today’s buyers and sellers. They’re more technology-savvy and willing to work hard to please their buyers. They know that buyers eventually become sellers, and sellers become repeat buyers.
That’s how good agents build their businesses, through repeat business and referrals. They are highly motivated to do the best job possible for homebuyers.
Why wouldn’t any buyer want to take advantage of that?
Chris Maroc-As your professional real estate adviser, I will focus on your satisfaction. My business is about service and I am not happy until you are happy. I will share in-depth knowledge of the area, recent sales comparisons, market data, and strong negotiating skills. I will find you a home that will best suit your needs and budget. Please call me at 914-215-2025
by Blanche Evans
When your home is marked down from its original price, it’s a sure sign that your marketing plan failed. Not only have you missed the critical first two weeks when buyers and real estate professionals are most interested, but there’s no way for your home to compete with other homes that are better priced.
No one wants to waste time trying to deal with an unreasonable seller, so lowering the price may not help as much as you may think. Buyers may think something is wrong with the home, or they may decide that there’s room for even more discounts. Real estate professionals won’t get excited when your agent relists your home at a lower price because it’s not a new listing.
Current fair market value means your home favorably compares to recent listings and closed sales of homes most similar to yours in size, finishes, amenities and location. It also means your home is on target with price trending. If homes are dropping in price in your area, you may want to set your original price under current fair market values in order to generate more interest from buyers. If prices are trending upward, stay current – don’t price ahead. That only works in the strongest sellers’ markets when banks are more comfortable about rising prices.
Next, make sure that buyers see your home in the best light. Among real estate professionals, the most important considerations is how your home looks from the curb and how it looks online. First impressions require that you spend particular time and attention on curb appeal, from keeping your walks and drives swept, to painting the front door a fresh new color, to putting out a new welcome mat.
Photography can be your home’s best selling tool when it’s done correctly and professionally. Stage the rooms that will be photographed by removing clutter. Fluff the pillows, clear tabletops and countertops, and remove the dog’s water bowl and your children’s toys out of the viewfinder. Take a few digital shots and look for flaws – the rumpled bed, the wastebasket full of paper, or the closet bulging with clothes. Once all the flaws are removed, you’re home is ready for the professional photographer who has the right lighting and equipment to help you market your home.
In homeselling, less is more. You want the home to come forward and your belongings to fade to the background. If you have too much stuff, put the excess in storage. As little as $50 to $250 for short-term storage could make the difference in the buyer’s offer price.
When buyers come to your home, they will be looking for flaws, so make sure the little details are done, especially small repairs. The less that needs to be fixed or replaced, the better maintained and the more move-in ready the home appears to the buyer.
Buyer-friendliness is a factor that can’t be underestimated. If you want a certain price for your home, make sure to give the buyer something extra to make it worth paying full price. Offer to pay closing costs up to a certain amount, or offer to leave the washer, dryer and refrigerator.
It’s not just the home that needs to be attractive. As the seller, you’re part of the whole package. You should appear buyer-friendly, just as your home should appear move-in friendly.
A home that is priced to reflect current market conditions and shows well in person and online will always sell for more than homes that aren’t maintained and marketed as well.
Please call me, Chris Maroc at 914-215-2025 for a free market evaluation.