Melissa Kaspern's Blog
A home showing represents a valuable opportunity for a property buyer. However, there may be instances in which a buyer is unsure about whether to attend a house showing. Lucky for you, we're here to help you weigh the pros and cons of scheduling a home showing.
Now, let's take a look at three questions to consider before you attend a house showing.
1. Is a home the right size for me?
Take a look at a home listing and find out the square footage and number of rooms in a house. That way, you'll be able to determine whether a house is the right size for you without setting foot inside the residence itself.
Of course, you should consider your immediate and long-term plans as you evaluate a home's size. If you plan to start a family soon, for example, you may want to search for a home that offers sufficient space for you, your spouse and your children. Or, if you intend to retire in the foreseeable future, you may want to pursue a small home that requires minimal maintenance.
2. Is a home located in one of my preferred cities and towns?
Think about where you want to reside. Oftentimes, it helps to make a list of preferred cities and towns and narrow your home search to these areas. And if you find a home you want to check out in one of these cities or towns, you then can schedule a property showing.
In addition, it is important to remember that a big city home may prove to be more expensive than a comparable residence in a small town. If you decide to pursue a house in a big city, you may face increased competition for city homes in comparison to small town residences too.
3. Could a home be my dream residence?
Ultimately, if there is even a small chance that a home could be your dream residence, it may be beneficial to set up a showing. If you attend a showing and find a residence is your ideal house, you can submit an offer to purchase this home. On the other hand, if you attend a showing and find a residence falls short of your expectations, you can simply continue your pursuit of your dream house.
As you conduct your search for your ideal residence, it generally is a good idea to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional will set up home showings, keep you informed about new residences that become available in your preferred cities and towns and much more. Plus, if you ever have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.
Consider the aforementioned questions before you schedule a home showing – you will be glad you did. And if you decide to attend a house showing, you will be better equipped than ever before to determine whether a particular home is right for you.
Federal law allows you to get your credit report free once per year. To do so, go to annualcreditreport.com and request your report. You need to do this at least once a year so that you can correct any errors or missing information.
Differences Between Credit Report & Credit Score
You typically have more than one credit score depending on its use. Two of the most common are the Vantage score and the FICO score. The Vantage score uses a different algorithm from the FICO score. Places such as your employer, auto insurance company or landlord typically use the Vantage score or one similar to it. Housing lenders more often use the FICO score. FICO has as many as 60 different scoring algorithms, as does Vantage scores.
How Are FICO & Vantage Alike?
Currently, both scores range from about 300 (low) to 850 (best). In general, both Vantage and FICO use your payment history, the age of your accounts, balances versus available credit, type of debt you hold and how frequently you seek credit based on recent applications.
Types of debt can be revolving, such as a credit card; secured, like a home or auto loan; personal debt as when you take a consolidation loan, medical and education loans.
How Often Should You Check Your Scores?
While your credit report is free once a year, your credit scores from the three leading suppliers (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) are not. But frequently, your bank, credit union, credit card providers and other financial institutions offer the opportunity to get them free. You should utilize these promotions as often as you can to keep on top of your score.
Each car payment you make — or when you pay off a credit card — changes your score. It could change by several points overnight too. Since credit “age” affects your score, don’t close old accounts. Periodically make a charge and then pay it off to keep that account active and in the mix.
New laws make it easier to see which score a lender uses too, so if you’re denied credit or offer a higher interest rate than you think you should be getting, you can check it out. When the two scores (Vantage and FICO) differ by a lot, you need to check your credit report to see what might be wrong. While it could just be the closing day of a credit card accounting cycle, it could also be something more serious like identity theft.
The closer you get to purchasing a home, the more you need to be on top of your scores. Don’t wait to review them because a problem can take a while to fix.
Fireplaces are often seen as a necessity for homebuyers. It adds charm and decorative as well as physical warmth to a home. More than half of new homes have a fireplace. If your home doesn’t have a fireplace, you may wonder if installing and maintaining a fireplace is worth it. Will it add value to your home? There are a few things you need to consider before you decide to take on this project.
Keep in mind that fireplaces are not directly accounted for during a home appraisal. Yet, they add value to a home. Home buyers will pay more for homes that have fireplaces. Depending on the location of your home, a fireplace can increase the value of the property by a significant amount- up to thousands of dollars.
The location of a home really has a direct effect on how much value it adds it a home. When added to other amenities in your home, a fireplace can compound to make the home appear more luxurious. A fireplace is a must in a higher end home.
On the flip side, more modest homes may not need fireplaces. If a home needs many other improvements, a fireplace may not add much to the property. The amount of value a fireplace adds is very much dependent on the type of property it’s being added to.
It’s possible to add a fireplace to just about any home. The cost will vary by a large amount ranging anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Specific requirements may exist within your city dictating how fireplaces must be installed. Keep in mind that everything from the type of fireplace that’s being installed to the height of the chimney must be considered. Look into things like:
- Emission limits
- Chimney height
- Construction requirements
- Type of installation
Each requirement will add a bit more cost to the project, so it’s best to do some research beforehand.
Getting The Maximum Value
If you decide that adding a fireplace is the right decision for your property, there are a few ways to get the maximum return on your investment. First, you should build the fireplace in the room of your home that’s most used. This space would most likely be the living room or family room in most cases. Keep in mind that adding a fireplace can drastically change the look of a room.
Whether you’re adding a fireplace or putting in an initial one, you can be sure that it will add value to your home in the form of attraction and home price.
There has been a lot of concern about the state of rural America and how it's being affected by large businesses. Big box stores like are said to destroy local businesses, causing an economic drought in small towns. But despite the statistics, there's a bigger picture to consider. We'll look at how big businesses cause big and small changes alike for the rural homelands of America.
Many people living in a small town will tell you that big business destroys it from the outside in. In Winchester, IL, one local lawyer met serious challenges in trying to get a local market off the ground, largely because his main produce supplier backed out of their original deal.
His concern is that if neighbors can't even buy a banana in their town, what exactly is their incentive to stay? There are about 5 million people living in rural areas that need to travel at least 10 miles or more to purchase fresh (not prepackaged or frozen) groceries.
Real Estate in Rural America
The story of grocery stores is an important one when trying to understand the larger effects of what big businesses do to small towns. These anecdotal tales support the larger real estate trends in America, in that there are few people moving to small towns. This lack of interest has caused very few property owners to improve or modernize properties in rural areas.
The scarcity of well-maintained homes has caused their value to increase. So while the average cost of a home in rural America may seem very affordable, it's likely because the home is in a state of disrepair. In addition, financing may be difficult to obtain, due to the lack of available lenders in the area.
The Good News
The people who still live in rural America are not prepared to let their communities fall by the wayside. Across the country, residents are creating (and supporting) local markets that offer everything from fresh food to homemade crafts. Other communities are offering everything from utility credits to free swim passes for families.
There are also government programs available that incentivize people to move to rural areas and invest their efforts into the forgotten properties. USDA loans offer extremely reasonable interest rates and lending terms to buyers who want the chance to own their own home and participate in their community.
Most Americans dream of owning their own home. The size of that pictured house is often spacious. As the housing market gets tighter, the prices of homes go up. The bigger the home you wish to buy, the larger the price tag. Keep in mind that the bigger the house you buy is, the more everything else will cost. That means you have to look deep into your budget and far beyond the list price of a home to understand what you have to work with financially. Some things that a more prominent home might bring are:
Higher utility bills due to more space that you have to heat and cool
Increased property tax
Higher insurance premiums
More expensive repairs
More expensive renovations
Bigger yard to landscape
These are all additional costs that you should consider before you take the plunge to buy a larger home. The longer you live in the house, the more these expenses can add up. Many things like flooring, carpet, concrete, and roofing materials are priced by the square foot. While living large can be a great decision, the additional expenses can really add up.
If You Have Kids, Reconsider
Raising children is expensive. While you may want your child to have a large room and a lot of amenities right inside their home, there are so many other things that kids need. Consider your child’s hobbies. How much of your budget do you devote to those? Do your kids hope to attend college? How much extra money in your budget do you have for vacations and other activities that you may want to do as a family? Buying a bigger house could mean that you have less money in your budget for these things. Understand all the ways that you need to stretch your money before you have your eyes set on a larger home.
Consider The Rest Of Your Needs
A more massive home means a more substantial monthly mortgage payment. That leaves less for you to save for things like retirement, rainy day funds, and other financial goals. Don’t let the fact that you have your eyes set on a big house shadow the rest of your life and your needs. A large part of buying a home is planning ahead. It will be a smart decision all around for you and your family to buy a home that’s affordable.
Buying a larger home fulfills a dream for many homebuyers, but don’t let that idea become a singular goal.