Sharon Simmons' Blog
In the internet age, we’ve all seen dream homes on Google, Pinterest, or Instagram that seem to encompass everything we’ve ever wanted in a home.
Sometimes, obsessing over dream homes can be detrimental to us--making us feel bad about our own living situation or discouraged about ever being able to afford the home we truly want.
However, dream homes can serve a purpose when it comes to identifying what we really want out of a home.
In today’s post, we’re going to use the idea of a dream home “wish list” to help you narrow down what really matters to you and your family in your next home.
Step 1: Start by making a list of your dream homes
This is the easy part. If you’re like me, you probably have a Pinterest board or bookmark folder just for home inspiration.
Put all of the dream homes on your list. The order doesn’t matter, and you’ll find out why below.
Step 2: For each home, write down one or two of your favorite things
Is it the square footage? The location that’s perfect for your commute or for trips to your favorite places? Or, is it just the color scheme of the kitchen?
No aspect is too small for this list--it all depends on what you like, not what the price tag is.
Step 3: Go over your list and try to put the items in order of how much they matter to you.
An example would be:
A cheerful, bright colored kitchen
A cozy office to wok quietly in
A two-car garage
A playroom for the kids
A location that’s close to the water
Looking over these five things, there are only two items that can’t be found in most houses, a two-car garage and a location that’s near the water. And, this house-hunter didn’t even list those items as the most important.
So, what can we learn from this exercise? Oftentimes, the things we’re looking for the most in a home can be things that we can do later, like interior decorating or designating spare rooms to serve as an office or playroom.
Step 4: Use your top 3 when house hunting
Now that you have the top three things that you’d find in your dream home, take this list with you on your house hunt. Try to seek out a home that has a combination of these items and one that will be the most practical for your family.
You might find that these conveniences, such as being closer to your work for a shorter commute, will pay off in the long run, as they’ll let you spend more time with our family and make each day a little bit easier.
A homebuying budget can make a world of difference, particularly for those who want to streamline a house search. If you have a budget at your disposal, you will know approximately how much you can spend on a residence. Then, you can narrow your house search accordingly.
Establishing a homebuying budget can be simple. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you do just that.
1. Evaluate Your Finances
Your income and savings can have far-flung effects on your ability to acquire your dream house. If you perform an in-depth review of your finances, you can find out exactly how much money you have available before you launch a house search.
It often is a good idea to consider your long-term finances as you prepare to kick off a house search, too. A house usually is a long-term investment. And if you account for your long-term finances in your homebuying budget, you may be better equipped than ever before to conduct a successful home search.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Banks and credit unions are happy to teach you about different types of mortgages. Plus, they can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage without delay.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with several banks and credit unions. Of course, if you have mortgage questions, you should address them before you submit a mortgage application. Once you have a mortgage in hand, you can establish a price range for your house search.
3. Examine Your Potential Closing Costs
Attorney fees, house inspection expenses and other closing costs may surprise some homebuyers. Yet if you understand your potential closing costs, you can plan ahead for these expenses.
Closing costs generally range between 2 percent and 5 percent of a house's purchase price. They also may be incorporated into the overall cost of a house. However, if you evaluate potential closing costs early in the homebuying journey, you can account for these expenses in your property buying budget.
As you get ready to launch a house search, you may want to hire a real estate agent, too. This housing market professional understands what it takes to find and acquire a terrific home at a budget-friendly price. Therefore, he or she will do everything possible to help you accomplish your homebuying goals as quickly as possible.
If you want to purchase a house close to your office in the city, for instance, a real estate agent will offer tips and recommendations to help you find a first-rate house in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you aspire to own a home that boasts multiple bedrooms, a real estate agent will help you hone your house search to residences that fall in line with your expectations.
Ready to launch a successful home search? Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can prepare an effective homebuying budget. As a result, you could speed up your quest to discover and purchase your dream house.
Contingencies on a contract to buy a home are there to protect both the buyer and the seller. The contingencies give the buyer the right to back out of the contract if any of these contingencies aren’t met. There are many reasons that buyers back out of deals including financial issues and problems with the home. Below, you’ll find a break down of some of the most common contingencies and what they mean for you as a buyer or a seller.
Most home contracts come with what’s called a financing contingency. This gives you the ability to walk away from a deal if the financing falls through when trying to buy a home. Usually this is due to a credit reason or some other financial reason. You can’t rely on financial cracks to help you to back out of a deal on a home. Lenders will only deny a loan for real financial reasons. There’s no way to ask a lender to lie for you so you can get out of buying a home! This is why you need to make your decision about a home purchase wisely.
This gives the buyer the right to have an inspection on the home within a certain time frame which is usually 5-7 days. If something is really off with the inspection that you as a buyer don’t feel comfortable with, you have the right to back out of a deal without repercussions. While seller disclosures are important, the seller can’t disclose what they don’t know about. That’s why the home inspection is so important. The seller’s disclosure cannot protect you from hidden damages that may cost half of a home’s worth to repair.
If homes are selling fast and you want some secure way to back out of a deal you should consider an appraisal contingency. If the home you want to purchase doesn’t appraise at a price high enough to meet your mortgage requirements, you have a legal way to back out of the deal. For example, if you put down 20 percent of the purchase price of a home and the home doesn't appraise for the value of that purchase price, you’d need to come up with the remainder of the money in cash. An appraisal contingency protects you from having to face this. You’ll still need to have a home inspection done on the home to search for any problems, but an appraisal contingency protects you from any problems with financing and your own disposable amount of cash that could arise due to a home appraising low.
While contingencies aren’t necessary as a homebuyer, they’re highly recommended. Without contingencies, you could be left with a number of expenses such as damages that are extremely costly to fix.
If you’re a first-time homebuyer you might be worried or anxious about the process of making an offer on a home. After all, negotiating isn’t something most of us look forward to on a day to day basis and we try to avoid it when possible. When it comes to buying a home, however, negotiating is usually part of the process.
One of the benefits of working with a real estate agent is that they have the knowledge and expertise to help you out through the negotiation process. Not only will they help you formulate your offer, but they’ll also present the offer for you and handle the in-person negotiations.
Buyer’s vs seller’s market
Whether or not the odds are in your favor depends on many things. One important factor is the state of the real estate marketing. In a seller’s market, which is what we’re in right now, there are more buyers looking for homes than there are sellers trying to sell them.
However, you can still edge past the competition in a seller’s market if you plan accordingly. This is when negotiation comes into play, and when effective negotiation can get your offer accepted where others are declined.
Time is of the essence
When you’re shopping for a home in a seller’s market, you’ll need to be swift with your offer and counteroffers to stay ahead of other prospective buyers. However, being too hasty with your offers can seem imposing or reckless. It’s better to take a day longer to come up with a more effective offer than it is to make an offer that looks bad to the seller.
Be clear and concise
Just as you’re nervous making offers on a home, sellers are usually nervous fielding them. So, if you want to make things easier for you and your seller, make sure your offer is simple and straightforward.
This involves removing unnecessary contingencies and sticking to the contract basics--inspection, appraisal, and financing. If the seller receives another offer that is riddled with contingencies, they might prefer to work with you since you presented them with a simple contract.
Having your paperwork in order, getting preapproved, and making yourself available as much as possible will go a long way in the negotiation process. Now more than ever it’s important to be well-organized.
Do your homework on the house and neighborhood you’re interested in. Make sure you know if there is a lot of interest in the area and the house in particular. This will let you know how much breathing room you have.
Getting preapproved will not only help you know the limits you can offer but it will also signal to the seller that you’re a serious buyer.
If you have been looking for homes online for some time, you may be tired of viewing them on a screen. While online home searches are helpful and a perfect starting point for finding a home, you need to see a home to get a feel for it. Whether you are attending open houses or have set up private showings with your real estate agent, there are certain things that you can do to make the most of touring potential homes. You only have a limited amount of time to see a home. Your agent won’t wait around for you all day while you explore every nook of a house and people still live in the house. There’s a good chance someone may need to come back in at some point! Read on for tips on how to use your time and resources wisely when it comes to searching for a home to buy.
Don’t Waste Time
First, you should select the right homes to view. Don’t waste your time looking at properties that you can’t afford or aren’t the right size for you. From your online search, make a list of properties you’d like to see in person. You can narrow down your search quickly by doing the following:
Carefully read property details
Check out the photos of the home in detail
Find out from your realtor if there are any comparable properties for sale
Know What You Can Afford
If you can’t afford a property, don’t waste your time looking at it. Be realistic in your home search, finding the properties that will suit your needs and your budget. Remember that many factors go into a listing price for a home including the location, the size of the house, the neighborhood, the amenities, and more. The bottom line is to stick with homes that fall in your budget to make your search much more manageable.
Work With Your Realtor To Schedule Home Showings
Make use of your agent. They can schedule private showings for you or alert you to upcoming open houses. You can send your agent a handful of listings that you’re interested in, and they can make a schedule for you to maximize your time seeing properties in specific locations.
Hiring a real estate agent is an essential step in buying a home. They can help you to find and view the properties that could potentially come your next home.