Carla Ness' Blog
Where do you start when you first consider purchasing a home? Buyers who are new to the real estate market may not know exactly what they want in a house or where they want to live. While the dream homes found online, in magazines, and on your favorite television show are great resources for design and style, visiting open house events will help you to hone in on features that will best serve your household.
When visiting open houses, follow these tips to make the most of your time:
Allow plenty of time for each house on your list. If the home appeals to you, take a few moments afterward to drive or walk around the neighborhood.
Create a list of must-haves’, likes, and dislikes to help you evaluate each property. Add ideas that appeal to you during each open house experience.
Sign in when you arrive but let the hosting agent know if you’ve already selected a real estate agent.
Dress comfortably. You might climb stairs, descend into basements, visit attics, or walk from house to house in the neighborhood so be sure to wear appropriate clothing and shoes.
As you tour, create a list of questions for your real estate agent to address with the selling agent if you plan to submit an offer.
Do not peek into closets, cupboards, pantries, or drawers if the hosting agent indicates are off-limits. Your agent can arrange an in-depth viewing if you’re the property is one you’d like to pursue.
Take note if you smell deodorizers and air fresheners. They could be masking pet odors or could indicate something more serious. If you’re interested in making an offer, ask your agent for help identifying the source before moving forward.
Respect the seller's privacy by not taking photos without the host’s permission.
Questions related to making an offer and other negotiations should be funneled through your real estate agent. If you’re interested in the property, ask your agent to arrange a follow-up viewing. Make a list of all your questions and follow up with your agent as soon as possible especially if you want to make an offer on the property.
A home-buying wish list may sound like a cathartic way to imagine a dream home that's dripping with luxury everywhere you turn, but it's really a practical way to help homeowners narrow down their options. When buyers look at too many homes, they may find that each property starts to run together. Use this tool as a means of viewing just a few homes that will meet all of your criteria.
Questions to Ask
Wish lists start with the answers to the following questions:
- Would you be willing to purchase a home that's more than 10 years old? More than 70?
- Do you need to live near a bus or subway line?
- Can children be driven to school or will they need to walk?
- How much effort are you willing to put into repairs and renovations?
- Do you need a formal dining area or can a table be placed in the kitchen?
- Will you need to prepare for the home for those with physical disabilities?
If you're planning to host your elderly parents at some point, you may need to look for a one-story ranch for maximum accessibility. Similarly, if you're planning to have children, you may want to buy a home with carpeting to provide extra traction for unsteady feet. While a lender will have the ultimate say in how much you can afford, you have plenty of control over the home you choose within your budget.
As buyers sketch out their wish list, they should separate it into the absolute deal-breakers. For example, you may prefer a full two bathrooms but you'll settle for one full plus a half bathroom. Consider how large of a yard you want, the ideal type of HVAC system, and the type of home that will work best for you Some people prefer smaller homes so they can cut back on the amount of cleaning and maintenance they have to perform.
Room for Flexibility
If there aren't many homes that are meeting your minimum criteria, be prepared to be a little flexible along the way. You can always install carpeting or central air if you absolutely need to. You may also need to compromise on the age of the home, which is highly encouraged as long as the home passes inspection.
A wish list doesn't have to be the defining document for a home, but it can keep you from seeing homes that are absolutely not right for you. The more you can streamline your home buying journey, the less stressful the transition will be.
As a first-time homebuyer, it is easy to feel plenty of optimism as you search for your dream residence. And if you find your ideal house, it may seem likely that a home seller will accept your offer on the residence right away.
However, it is important to remember that a home seller might reject a first-time homebuyer's proposal, regardless of whether this homebuyer submits a competitive offer. In this scenario, a homebuyer needs to know how to move forward and continue to pursue his or her perfect residence.
What should a first-time homebuyer do if a home seller rejects an offer on a home? Here are three tips that every first-time homebuyer needs to know.
1. Learn from the Experience
If a home seller rejects an offer on a house, there is no need to worry. In fact, a first-time homebuyer may be able to resubmit an offer and find out why a home seller rejected his or her initial offer.
For example, a first-time homebuyer may lack financing at the time that he or she submits an offer on a house. But if a homebuyer gets approved for a mortgage and returns with a new offer, he or she may be more likely than before to gain a home seller's approval.
On the other hand, a homebuyer should be ready to move forward with a home search if necessary. Thus, if a home offer is rejected, try not to get too emotional. Instead, a homebuyer should be prepared to reenter the housing market and start his or her search for the perfect home from stage one.
2. Don't Dwell on the Past
For a first-time homebuyer, it can be frustrating and annoying to conduct a home search, find the ideal home and receive a rejection after a proposal to buy the house is submitted. But there is no reason to dwell on the past for too long, as doing so may force a homebuyer to miss out on opportunities to pursue other residences.
Remember, the housing market often features dozens of outstanding houses to match all homebuyers' price ranges. This means if you receive a rejection on one home proposal, you can always restart a home search. And ultimately, a diligent homebuyer should have no trouble discovering a terrific residence, even if his or her initial offer on a residence is rejected.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a housing market expert who understands what it takes to submit a competitive offer on a house. Therefore, he or she will help you prepare a fair offer on a home before you submit it.
If a home offer is rejected, a real estate agent can help you alleviate stress. This housing market professional may be able to explain why the offer was rejected and help you plan your next steps in the homebuying journey.
Don't worry if your first offer on a house is rejected – conversely, use these tips, and you can move one step closer to acquiring a stellar residence that matches or exceeds your expectations.
Once you have found the home that you want to live in, put in the offer, and start the process of closing on a home, you may feel like you’re “home free.” The hard part may technically be over, but there’s one more important thing that you need to think about before you get the keys to your place: Closing costs.
A few days before you head to sign all of your paperwork to close on the home, your lender will send you a detailed report of different closing costs that you need to pay upon the settlement of the property.
Closing Costs Defined
Closing costs are what you pay to the lender and third parties. These are due at the time of closing on the property and must be paid up front. You should estimate that your closing costs will be between 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price of the home.
Everything Included In Closing Costs
Closing costs cover both one-time and recurring fees that are a part of your home purchase. The one-time fees are things that are generally associated with buying the home. These would include attorneys fees, lender fees, home inspection fees, document prep fees, underwriting fees, credit report fees, and realtor fees. You’ll also need a bank issued check for your down payment at this time.
At closing, an escrow account will be set up. This is like a forced savings account that will be drawn from to cover things like taxes, insurance, loan interest, and title insurance. These are all very important costs that are a part of buying a home.
Do Your Homework Ahead Of Time
The best way to deal with closing costs is to be prepared ahead of time. Talk to your lender in order to get an estimate of the closing costs. From there, you’ll need to decide if you need to finance your closing costs or simply pay them up front. There are advantages to both approaches. Sometimes, lenders will look at you as less favorable if you need to finance all of your closing costs. It all depends on the terms of your loan. This is why research is vital.
Compare Rates And Lenders
It’s important not to go with the first lender you talk to. Get some recommendations from your realtor and friends to see who might be a good fit for you. Every lender specializes in something different, so you want to be sure that who you chose is a good fit for you.
The most important thing that you can do with closing costs and the financing of your home is to get educated!
A homebuying negotiation may cause your stress levels to rise. However, as you work toward purchasing your dream house, there is no need to worry. In fact, there are many ways that you can limit stress as you finalize a home purchase, including:
1. Discuss Your Homebuying Concerns with Family Members and Friends
Family members and friends offer plenty of support. Thus, these loved ones are happy to listen to you and help you in any way possible, no matter what happens during a homebuying negotiation.
Don't be afraid to ask family members and friends for homebuying advice, either. These loved ones may be able to share their past homebuying negotiation experiences with you. And by doing so, your family members and friends could provide you with valuable insights that may help you move one step closer to acquiring your ideal residence.
2. Consider the Big Picture
Buying a home likely will be one of the biggest transactions that you'll complete in your lifetime. At the same time, it is important to note that there are plenty of fish in the sea. Therefore, you should try to remember that even if a home purchase agreement falls through, dozens of high-quality houses are still available in cities and towns nationwide.
Sometimes, it helps to take a step back during a homebuying negotiation. If you can inhale and try to relax, you may be better equipped than ever before to stay calm, cool and collected during a negotiation. With a fresh perspective, you could boost the likelihood of coming to terms with a seller and finalizing a home purchase agreement.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to purchasing a house, there is no need to embark on the homebuying journey alone. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert support as you navigate the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent understands the stress associated with purchasing a house and will do everything possible to help you alleviate your homebuying worries. He or she can explain the homebuying process and respond to any concerns or questions. Plus, a real estate agent can negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf to help you get the best price on your dream residence.
Furthermore, a real estate agent provides support after a seller accepts your offer to purchase a residence. A real estate agent will help you set up a home inspection, conduct this inspection with you and ensure you can complete a full review of the inspection results. In addition, a real estate agent can help you prepare for a home closing and ensure you can finalize a home purchase as quickly as possible.
There is no need to let stress get the best of you during a homebuying negotiation. By using the aforementioned tips, you can keep your stress levels in check as you negotiate a home purchase and accelerate the process of purchasing your dream home.