Deborah Keenaghan's Blog
Figure out your financesYou should be an expert at you and your significant other's personal finances if you are thinking about buying a home. The first thing to look at is your income and expenditures. Put the following information in a spreadsheet:
- Total monthly income
- Total monthly expenditures (bills, gas, food, etc.)
- Total monthly savings
- Total savings and assets
- Credit and FICO score (request both of these online)
Lock Down Your FinancingThere are several types of mortgages that you'll need to choose from, and you'll want to learn about fixed and adjustable mortgage rates. This information should be informed by your long-term plans. Are you looking for your first home or your forever home? If you don't plan on fully paying off the home you might look for a low, adjustable rate while you earn money. But if you want to stay in your home until it's paid off, a fixed rate might be better for you.
Finding and buying your homeOnce you've determined your price range, start thinking about things like location and the kind of home you can afford. If you're handy with tools and have the time, it might be in your best interest to buy a home than needs some work at a lower cost. If you'd rather put in more hours at work, go with the home that needs less work and save money that way. Depending on whether or not you're in a buyer's market or a seller's market, the ball can be in your court or the seller's. In a seller's market, which is more likely today in many parts of the country, the seller will have more leverage in negotiations, including closing dates and move-out dates. Due to high competition, you should also be prepared to miss out on some offers. But be patient, and you should find the home you're looking for.
When prospective buyers stop by to see your house, they're going to be barraged by a variety of sights, sounds, and smells. Some of these sensations will immediately capture their attention, while others may register on a subconscious level.
The encouraging thing to keep in mind is that you can control many aspects of how visitors experience your home.
Here are a few quick tips for making your home as appealing as possible:
Flower arrangements can add a touch of freshness and eye appeal to both the interior and exterior of your home and property. They can also infuse the air with an appealing fragrance, which can make a positive impression on potential buyers. One cautionary note is that wilted or tired-looking floral displays are not going to have the same positive impact as fresh, vibrant ones. Also keep in mind that some flowers smell more appealing than others. Most people generally prefer subtle fragrances, rather than overpowering smells! If the season and your climate permit it, placing hanging baskets of colorful flowers on your front porch and other locations can add immensely to the visual appeal of your property.
Make sure all surfaces are sparklingly clean! Imagine a prospect reaching for a house flyer or information sheet about your home, and finding that the paper was stuck to the kitchen counter! You also don't want them feeling a sticky or wet sensation when they touch or lean their elbow on a counter, tabletop, or refrigerator handle! The same rule-of-thumb can be applied to floor surfaces. If there are sticky spots, stains, or visible spills on the floor, you can be sure that's going to negatively impact a prospect's opinion of your home. It's not easy to keep your home spotless when it's on the market (or at any other time), but if you prioritize areas like floor, countertops, and sinks, then you'll be much less likely to overlook common problem areas. Eliminating pet odors, laundry smells, mold, and mildew will also make your home a much more inviting and appealing place for house hunters, real estate agents, and other visitors.
Reduce household noises whenever possible. Noises, such as squeaky hinges, loud HVAC systems, or rumbling garage doors can imply several things to prospective home buyers -- all of which are undesirable! Low-cost, DIY solutions to these problems are often available, although in some cases, it might be necessary to call a repairman or service person to check out your operating systems and make needed adjustments.
There are a lot of things to be aware of when you sell your house, but if you approach different tasks in a systematic, methodical way, you'll be much more likely to remember the important stuff and avoid sticky situations that could undermine your chances for getting your house sold quickly!
Although a home seller has already accepted your home offer, you'll want to employ a diligent home inspector to examine a residence before you finalize a purchase agreement. By doing so, you can identify any potential home problems that you might have missed during an initial house showing. Plus, a home inspection will allow you to find out if a home requires extensive repairs or maintenance and if you'll need to modify or rescind your original offer.
Hiring the right home inspector can make a world of difference for homebuyers. However, finding the ideal home inspector sometimes can be difficult, particularly for homebuyers who want to speed through the homebuying process.
So what does it take to employ the right home inspector? Here are three tips to help you do just that:
1. Review a Home Inspector's Qualifications
Learning about a home inspector's experience and skills is paramount. And if you devote the necessary time and resources to understand a home inspector's qualifications, you'll be able to find out if this individual is the right person to assess a residence.
Typically, you should try to find a home inspector who boasts construction and building maintenance expertise. Depending on where your home is located or your residence's condition, you also may need to find a home inspector who understands how to deal with asbestos, lead-based paint and other potentially hazardous conditions.
Be sure to conduct an in-depth evaluation of several home inspectors before you make your final decision. This will enable you to hire a top-notch home inspector who can help you identify and resolve any home issues before you conclude your home purchase.
2. Evaluate Sample Reports from a Home Inspector
Ask a home inspector to provide samples of past home inspection reports – you'll be glad you did! By getting copies of past home inspection assessments, you can better understand how an individual approaches a home inspection.
For example, does a home inspector provide clear information in his or her reports? And does the inspector offer notes that highlight home problems? Take a close look at a home inspector's past reports, and you can find out whether this individual takes a basic or comprehensive approach to his or her work.
3. Get Home Inspector Insights from Your Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent may prove to be your best resource throughout the homebuying process. As such, your real estate agent can put you in touch with home inspectors who have your best interests in mind and will do everything possible to conduct a thorough inspection of a property.
In many instances, your real estate agent may be able to offer multiple home inspector recommendations. This professional also can provide details about what to expect during a home inspection and how to handle any home problems that you might encounter as part of a home assessment.
A home inspection may seem like a tall task, but with a great home inspector at your disposal, you can improve your chances of obtaining the ideal residence.