Melissa Kaspern's Blog
Before you launch a home search, it helps to prepare for the property buying journey as much as possible. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to get ready to find your dream house.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep for a home search.
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
If you know you want to buy a home, it generally is a good idea to define your ideal residence as well. That way, you can streamline your house search.
Consider where you want to reside. For example, if you work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you plan to return to school, you may want to search for a home near top colleges and universities.
Think about what features you want in your ideal home, too. If you have always wanted to own a home that boasts a luxurious outdoor swimming pool, for instance, you can map out your home search accordingly. Or, if you want to purchase a residence that features a state-of-the-art kitchen, you can search for a home that offers this amenity.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A mortgage typically is a must-have, regardless of where and when you search for a home. And if you enter the housing market with a mortgage at your disposal, you will know precisely how much you can spend on a residence.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be simple. If you meet with banks and credit unions in your area, you can review your options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.
If you have concerns about home financing, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, diligent mortgage specialists who can respond to your home financing queries. As such, you can work with these specialists to gain the home financing insights you need to make the best-possible mortgage decision.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
As you get set to conduct a home search, there is no need to work alone. If you hire a real estate agent, you can collaborate with a homebuying expert who can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing a house.
A real estate agent is happy to provide guidance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can find a terrific home at a price that matches your budget. Plus, a real estate agent will simplify the process of setting up home showings. Perhaps best of all, if you are uncertain about whether to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent is ready to provide insights to help you analyze all of your options.
Dedicate time and resources to prepare for the homebuying journey. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with the insights you need to succeed.
Ready to negotiate the purchase of a new home? Ultimately, employing a real estate agent may help you avoid the stress and anxiety that is commonly associated with a homebuying negotiation.
There are many reasons to hire a real estate agent to handle a homebuying negotiation, including:
1. A real estate agent understands the art of negotiation.
A negotiation is a high-pressure situation, one that may be difficult to navigate on your own. Fortunately, a real estate agent understands what it takes to help a homebuyer get the best price for a house – without exception.
With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive support from an experienced negotiator.
A real estate agent possesses extensive skills and know-how, particularly when it comes to homebuying negotiations. This housing market expert will be able to negotiate with a home seller and ensure all parties are satisfied with the end results.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will dedicate the necessary time and resources to complete a successful homebuying negotiation. He or she will go the extra mile to negotiate with a home seller to help you acquire a home that matches or exceeds your expectations.
2. A real estate agent will keep you up to date at all times.
If you employ a real estate agent, it is important to know that this housing market professional will keep you informed throughout a homebuying negotiation. Lucky for you, a real estate agent will provide updates as you try to acquire your dream residence at a price that matches your budget.
A real estate agent acts as a liaison between you and a home seller. He or she will keep you up to date at each stage of a homebuying negotiation and will require your approval on any homebuying decisions.
Also, a real estate agent will provide suggestions during a homebuying negotiation. As a homebuyer, you always have the option to accept or reject this housing market professional's suggestions.
3. A real estate agent is unafraid to be honest with you.
Although a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you streamline a homebuying negotiation, he or she will provide honest, unbiased recommendations as well.
For example, if you want a home seller to drastically lower the price of a home after a property inspection, a real estate agent will handle your request. And if a home seller rejects your proposal, this housing market professional will provide you with feedback and help you map out your next step accordingly.
A real estate agent will be able to respond to any concerns or questions that you have during a homebuying negotiation too. As such, he or she can provide a valuable resource and offer homebuying insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.
Don't let the complexities of a homebuying negotiation overwhelm you. Instead, collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can speed up the process of purchasing your ideal residence.
Purchasing a second home should be a fun, exciting experience. Yet homebuyers who fail to consider where they want to pursue a second residence may struggle to achieve their desired results.
If you know you want to buy a second home, it often helps to narrow your house search to residences in a select group of cities and towns. Then, you can evaluate available residences in your preferred cities and towns and boost the likelihood of finding a house that you can enjoy for years to come.
Of course, determining which cities and towns where you want to pursue a second house can be difficult. Yet there are lots of things you can do to hone your house search, including:
1. Evaluate Your Homebuying Budget
Your finances likely will play a major role in your ability to pursue and acquire a second residence. As such, you should examine your finances closely so you can establish a homebuying budget.
If you have paid the mortgage on your current house, focus on the mortgage costs associated with a second home. For example, if you want to find out how much you can afford to pay for a second home, you can meet with bank and credit union mortgage specialists. This will allow you to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you can enter the real estate market with a budget in hand.
Comparatively, if you still have a mortgage on your present house, you should consult with your lender. This will allow you to determine if you qualify for a second mortgage. Also, you can get financial guidance so you can figure out where to search for a second house that falls in line with your finances.
2. Establish a Homebuying Timeline
Think about when you want to acquire a second residence. Next, you can create a homebuying timeline to help you achieve your desired homebuying goal.
A homebuying timeline should remain flexible. If you want to purchase a second home in the mountains, for example, you should account for the time it may take to transport various personal belongings to this residence. And if problems arise that delay your efforts to acquire a second home, you should be ready to adjust your homebuying timeline as needed.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
Let's face it – buying a second home is rarely simple, regardless of your property buying expertise. But if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive extensive assistance as you search for a second residence.
A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market. He or she will share real estate market insights with you, along with providing tips and recommendations. As a result, a real estate agent will help you find a second home in your preferred city or town as quickly as possible.
Take the guesswork out of finding and buying a second home in the city or town of your choice – use the aforementioned tips, and you could streamline your quest to acquire a second residence that matches your expectations.
Before you commit your hard-earned money to a luxury home, make sure you know what you're purchasing. Just because a house has a high price doesn’t mean it’s truly luxury. A luxury home is built better and has more space and amenities in it than other homes. Even a home with the same number of bedrooms as other houses could be a luxury home, but the bedrooms are going to be larger, plus they will have more closet space – usually walk-in closets – and each bedroom might have its own bathroom. Other signs that a home is really a luxury home include better appliances, the best fixtures and additional amenities as space allows, such as a pool, an external game room and a larger garage.
Check the Neighborhood
If other homes in the neighborhood are in the same price range, you are likely buying a luxury home. However, be careful as some neighborhoods are just more expensive than others, but that doesn’t mean the homes are luxury homes. It’s easier to tell a luxury home that is in the suburbs because those homes usually have more space for pools and additional out-buildings.
Check the Interior
In addition to the items mentioned above, check the quality of the materials. Flooring, including carpet, should be top quality. Cabinets should be wood cabinets. If the house has crown molding, it should be good quality – and more than just a strip tacked where the wall meets the roof. Countertops should be of high quality if not marble. Look at window frames and door jambs to see how well they are put together. And the windows should be at least double pane windows, if not triple pane.
Be prepared to jump through some hoops to get financing. If the price of the home is above a certain amount, you’ll need to qualify for a jumbo loan. That amount changes depending on your location. It may also change every few years. Your real estate agent and mortgage lender will be able to tell you what the conforming loan limit is for your area.
Get it Inspected
Just because you are buying a luxury home, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have problems. Always hire a well-respected inspector to inspect the home before you close. The inspector will check for plumbing, electrical and structural issues, will make sure everything works properly, will let you know if he or she sees signs of wood-destroying organisms and other problems. In addition to a home inspector, always have the home inspected by a pest control company for termites and other critters that could damage the home.
Home prices are always negotiable, especially if the inspectors find problems. Ask your real estate agent for a list of comparables so you know if the property you're considering is priced appropriately.
If you are ready to move into a luxury home. You'll find options in most locations in any state you desire. Before you choose, especially if you plan on moving to another state, you should first tackle some other questions.
Do you need to keep working to enjoy the lifestyle you have now? If you do, can you find work that will provide you with a similar income? If you own a business, how hard will it be to get that business going in another state? If your business is conducted online only, that is one less thing you will have to worry about — but you do have to find out how businesses are treated in the state you choose to move to. It is not beneficial to run a business in some states because of the extra taxes and regulations that some states have.
Urban, Suburban or Rural
It’s no secret that you can get more house for the money in certain states, and, breaking it down further, more house for the money in certain areas of the state. For example, to get a luxury home with at least five bedrooms near or in a large city, you’re going to have to shell out much more than you would if you picked the same house 100 miles away from the city, as long as the location is not near another large city or a tourist area.
Are you looking for something that doesn’t take a ton of maintenance? You might prefer a luxury home in the city with a small yard. If you like the idea of spreading out, having a large pool, hot tubs, stables, riding trails, ATV trails and other amenities on your property, you’ll have better luck finding that in a rural area.
Commuting and Schools
If you have school-age children, check the rating of the schools. Just because you live in a luxury neighborhood doesn’t mean that the schools for that neighborhood have a good rating. Additionally, you might have to take your children to school if you live too far out for the school bus. And, on the subject of commuting, if you have to work to maintain your lifestyle, you’ll have to commute if you choose a rural luxury home. How long is the commute? Is it something that you can manage or will that commute take too much time away from your family?
Nightlife and Attractions
If you like to go out a lot, living an hour out of town might not be for you, as much as you like a property. If you have to be in the thick of things, you might prefer a luxury neighborhood in an urban or suburban setting. If you want peace and quiet, and prefer connecting with nature, then you might choose a rural luxury home, such as a large ranch or a home with large acreage.