Sharon Simmons' Blog
Finding the house of your dreams is a process that requires a lot of clarity, diligence, and patience. While it is possible for the first house you look at to be the ideal choice, it's a lot more likely you'll have to look at a dozen or more houses before finding the one that matches your requirements and feels like home.
Whether you're searching for your first home or your tenth, your decision will primarily be based on four factors: affordability, practicality, emotional appeal, and prevailing market conditions.
Affordability is a vital element in the mix because it's difficult to enjoy a beautiful new home if you're always stressed out about whether you'll be able to make the next mortgage payment! Developing a realistic and well thought-out budget is one of the first preliminary steps involved in launching a full-fledged search for your next home. In addition to being able to cover your current expenses and the cost of mortgage payments, you'll also want to ensure that there's a cushion in your budget for things like home maintenance, repairs, improvements, HOA fees (if applicable), property taxes, school taxes, and homeowner's insurance.
As far as practicality goes, your new home should -- at the very least -- live up to your basic needs and expectations. Ideally, all systems should work properly and be in good condition. Proximity to key locations, such as your job, shopping, and essential services can also have a direct impact on your quality of life. Long commutes, cramped quarters, or being buried by an avalanche of repair bills can definitely take some of the pleasure out of home ownership!
The majority of houses you'll look at will probably need some degree of updating, decorating, or repairs, but ideally, you'll want to tackle those projects over the next couple of years, rather than the immediate future! Having an experienced home inspector do a thorough inspection of the home you're interested in will help ensure you're not buying a home riddled with flaws, headaches waiting to happen, and other problems.
Although cost and practicality are vital aspects of buying a new home, you can't (and wouldn't want to) ignore factors such as aesthetics and emotional appeal. If you can't imagine you and your family living in and enjoying a house you're considering buying, it might be time to continue your search elsewhere! The house you ultimately choose should support your lifestyle, provide sufficient space for your family to grow and thrive, and be situated in a neighborhood in which you feel comfortable and safe.
To make the most of your available time and money, find an experienced real estate agent who's responsive to your needs and knowledgeable about the local real estate market. They will help you streamline your search, find houses that meet your criteria and negotiate the best possible price on your behalf.
Buying is home is a lengthy and, at times, stressful process. So, it can be discouraging when your offer is rejected.
If you’ve recently had a purchase offer rejected by the homeowner, don’t worry--you have options.
In this post, we’re going to cover some of those options so you can start focusing on your next move and potentially even make a second offer that gets accepted.
1. Reassess your offer, not the seller
You could spend days guessing the reasons the seller might not have accepted your offer if they didn’t give you a straightforward answer.
However, your time is better spent addressing your own offer. Double check the following things:
Is your offer significantly lower than the asking price?
If so, is it lower than comparable sale prices for homes in the neighborhood?
Does your offer contain more than the usual contingencies?
Once you’ve reassessed, you can determine if a second offer is appropriate for your situation, or if you’re ready to move onto other prospects with the knowledge you’ve gained from this experience in hand.
2. Formulate your second offer
So, you’ve decided to make another attempt at the house. Now is the time to discuss details with your spouse and real estate agent.
Out of respect for the seller’s time and their timeline for selling the home, you should treat your second offer as your last.
So, make sure you’re putting your best offer forward. This can mean removing those contingencies mentioned earlier or increasing the amount. However, be realistic about your budget and don’t waive contingencies that are necessary (commonly appraisals, inspection, and financing contingencies).
3. Consider including a personal offer letter
In today’s competitive market, many sellers are fielding multiple offers on their home. To set yourself apart from the competitors and to help the seller get to know your goals and reasoning better, a personal letter is often a great tool.
Don’t be afraid to give details in your offer letter. Explain what excites you about the house, why it is ideal for your family, and what your plans are for living there.
What shouldn’t you include in your offer letter? Avoid statements that try to evoke pity or guilt from the seller. This seldom works and will put-off most buyers to your offer.
4. Moving on is good time management
If you aren’t comfortable increasing your offer or if you receive a second rejection, it’s typically a good idea to move onto other prospects. It may seem like wasted time--however, just like a job interview that didn’t go as planned, it’s an excellent learning experience.
You’ll walk away knowing more about the negotiation process, dealing with sellers and agents, and you might even find a home that’s better than the first one in the process!
Having a high credit score is one of the most important and helpful things you can achieve before buying a home. A solid credit history will give you a better chance of being approved for the home loan you want and getting a lower interest rate so that you know you’re getting a good deal on your first home.
But, as any renter can tell you, it can sometimes be difficult to lift your credit score when you’ve got so many other things to worry about.
In today’s post, I’m going to cover the best ways to build credit while renting an apartment so you can lift your score to an amount that will help you achieve your goal of homeownership.
1. Take over the bills
If you live with roommates or with your family, one good way to start building your credit score is to simply put more bills in your name.
If you’re certain that you’ll be able to make on-time payments on them each month, this can be a way to boost your score without much thought.
Keep in mind, however, that not all utility companies report your payments to credit bureaus, so it’s a good idea to check that yours does before putting the bills in your name.
2. Become an authorized user
If taking out new credit isn’t an option for you, becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit account can help you increase your score.
Be sure to find out whether the credit issuer reports payments for authorized users before taking this step. And, once you’re sure that they do, you can be added to the account without changing anything about your spending.
3. Convince your landlord to report your rental payments
In most cases, rental payments aren’t reported to the credit bureaus. However, it is becoming more common. Check to see if your landlord uses a service like PayYourRent or RentTrack. If not, consider asking them to try it out.
4. Solving the “no credit” problem
Since we all start off with a blank slate in terms of credit history, some renters have the issues of not having enough credit information to start building their score.
If this is the case, it might be a good idea to open your first credit account. But, wait! Before you start racking up debt on your first credit card, take a minute to make a wise plan.
First, don’t change your spending habits just because you have credit. Pick a card that offers rewards in the form of cash back, and only use your card for things like gas and groceries that will help you earn points.
Then, set your card to auto-pay in full each month so that you never start accruing interest. This way, you’ll build your credit score and earn money (in the form of rewards or cash back), making it a win-win.
Confidence can play a major role in the homebuying journey. If a homebuyer is confident in his or her ability to evaluate a house, this individual may be better equipped than others to complete a successful home purchase. Conversely, a homebuyer who lacks confidence may struggle to identify his or her ideal residence, resulting in a long, arduous homebuying journey.
Becoming a confident homebuyer may be easier than you think. In fact, there are several key attributes of successful homebuyers, and these traits include:
A confident homebuyer makes the most of the time and resources at his or her disposal. By doing so, this buyer can identify housing market patterns and trends and map out a successful homebuying journey.
Typically, a confident homebuyer performs deep real estate market data analysis. By obtaining comprehensive housing market insights, this buyer can take an informed approach to purchasing a residence.
A confident homebuyer is willing to do what it takes to acquire a home. As such, he or she will take a conscientious approach to the homebuying journey, as well as ensures that both a buyer and seller can achieve the optimal results.
For example, a confident homebuyer may be willing to negotiate with a seller to determine a price that works for both sides. This buyer also may make sacrifices along the way to guarantee a home sale is a seamless transaction for all parties involved.
A confident homebuyer has a no-quit attitude and will go above and beyond the call of duty to purchase a terrific house at a price that fits within his or her budget. Therefore, this buyer displays persistence throughout the homebuying journey.
With a persistent attitude, a homebuyer can boost the likelihood of discovering his or her dream house. This buyer will keep track of new houses in cities and towns where he or she would like to live. And if the right home becomes available, this buyer won't hesitate to submit a competitive offer on it, either.
When it comes to buying a house, it helps to enter the real estate market with plenty of confidence. If you consult with a real estate agent, you can build your homebuying confidence in no time at all.
Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with a homebuyer and learn about this individual's goals. A real estate agent then will help a buyer plan for the homebuying cycle, ensuring he or she is fully supported at each stage of this process.
A real estate agent also is an expert resource to a homebuyer. And if a homebuyer has any questions throughout the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is happy to provide responses.
For those who are ready to pursue their dream home, it helps to become a confident homebuyer. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can enter the real estate market with the confidence that you need to thrive.
If you want to buy your dream house in the near future, you likely will need to put together a competitive offer to purchase. That way, you can boost the likelihood of receiving an immediate "Yes" from a property seller after you submit your homebuying proposal.
Ultimately, it helps to know what differentiates a competitive homebuying proposal from a lowball one. If a homebuyer understands what to offer for a residence, he or she should have no trouble purchasing the right residence at the right price.
To better understand how to acquire your dream house at the lowest-possible price, let's take a look at three tips to help you determine what to offer for a residence.
1. Study the Housing Market Closely
The housing market experiences ebbs and flows. Therefore, a real estate sector that favors homebuyers one day may favor home sellers the next. And if you fail to learn about the current state of the real estate market, you may struggle to put together a competitive offer to purchase your ideal residence.
Analyze the prices of available houses in your area, the prices of recently sold houses in your preferred cities and towns and other housing market data. With this information in hand, you can find out whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market. Then, you can craft an offer to purchase your dream residence that accounts for the present state of the real estate market.
2. Weigh the Pros and Cons of Your Dream Home
No house is perfect, and even your dream home may have its fair share of flaws. Fortunately, a homebuyer who assesses the pros and cons of a house may be better equipped than ever before to submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
If you view a house multiple times, you can learn about all aspects of this home and assess any property damage. After you obtain these home insights, you can create a competitive offer to purchase that accounts for the house's current condition.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to purchasing a house at a price that matches your expectations, it generally is beneficial to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional will do everything possible to help you buy your dream home at a price that fits your budget.
A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the real estate sector and can help you map out a successful homebuying strategy. He or she first will offer insights into available homes in your preferred cities and towns. Next, when you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive homebuying proposal. And if your offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will make it easy to navigate the final steps of the homebuying journey.
Ready to streamline your quest for your ideal house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can improve your chances of acquiring your dream home at a price that you can afford.