Deborah Keenaghan's Blog
Believe it or not, fall may prove to be an ideal time to buy a home. Many homebuyers exit the real estate market after summer, which means the number of home sellers may surpass the number of homebuyers in autumn. Thus, homebuyers who are ready to pounce may be able to browse many high-quality houses at budget-friendly prices this fall.
What does it take to explore the fall housing market effectively? Here are three tips to discover the ideal home in fall:
1. Check Out a Wide Range of Houses
Fall often serves as a buyer's market, and as such, there is no shortage of first-rate residences available. Therefore, homebuyers should check out a wide range of houses to find the right residence at the right price.
Remember, you can always set up a home showing to view a home at your convenience. You also can visit open houses, which commonly are held on weekends and provide pressure-free opportunities to take a close look at a home's interior and exterior.
If you find a home that you like, don't wait to make an offer, either. The longer that you wait to submit a proposal, the more likely that it becomes that another homebuyer may swoop in and buy your dream residence.
2. Consider Your Finances
Getting pre-approval for a mortgage is a great idea, particularly for those who plan to buy a house in fall.
Purchasing a home before the end of the year may enable you to capitalize on various tax benefits. Meanwhile, many banks and credit unions are available to help you evaluate all of your mortgage options and map out your finances accordingly.
Ultimately, you'll want to purchase a home that you know you'll be able to afford both now and in the future. If you examine your finances closely, you'll be able to browse properties without having to worry about exceeding your budget down the line.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent understands what it takes to purchase a residence in fall. As a result, he or she will go the extra mile to ensure that you can buy your dream residence without delay.
Working with a real estate agent provides you with expert support throughout each stage of the homebuying journey. Your real estate agent will keep you up to date about new properties as they become available, set up home showings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. Plus, your real estate agent will respond to your homebuying concerns and queries, ensuring that you can make informed decisions at every step of the homebuying process.
Employing a real estate agent is a must for homebuyers, and for good reason. With this real estate professional at your side, you can navigate the autumn housing market quickly and effortlessly and streamline the process of obtaining your ideal residence.
Take advantage of the aforementioned homebuying tips, and you can make your homeownership dreams come true this fall.
Online courses are gaining popularity as a way to learn new skills and subjects without enrolling in expensive certificate or degree programs. They’re also great for working adults and parents who don’t have time to leave the house every night to go to a class after work. Better yet, many online courses are free (or come with a free trial), so you don’t have to worry about losing money if you don’t like the course.
You might be wondering, “What can I really learn from an online course that will benefit me as a homeowner?” There are a number of courses relevant to homeowners when it comes to things like the home buying process, budgeting, interior design, and more.
In this article, we’re going to introduce you to some of those courses in case you have some free hours in the evenings and want to learn something new. Read on for our list of the best free online courses for homeowners (or soon-to be homeowners).
Buying a home
Unfortunately, many of us go into the home-buying process knowing little about what to expect. This can be cause for stress and anxiety as you navigate the complicated steps of building credit, getting preapproved, and making an offer.
Udemy offers a one-hour course on home buying that can help you with this process. First, A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Your First Home will help you prepare for a down payment, understand the housing market, and teach you about things like home inspections and appraisals.
I often wish that kids were taught more practical finance and budgeting skills in high school so they have an idea of what to expect once they graduate and enter the workforce or apply to college.
Making financial decisions is stressful at any time of your life, whether it’s taking out student loans, buying your first home, or deciding when is the right time to retire. Fortunately, edX has you covered with this free personal finance course from Purdue University.
You’ll learn about retirement savings, the different types of investments, how insurance works, and the role credit plays in your ability to make healthy financial decisions.
Decorating and designing the layout of your furniture is often something that we just guess at. Maybe you saw layouts and colors that you liked on Pinterest and tried to emulate them, or perhaps you just buy decorations and furniture just because you like them and not because they fit the style of your home.
If you want to gain a better understanding of basic interior design and decorating, this series of video lectures from Howcast is a great place to start. With 53 short videos you can watch whenever and wherever you want, you can browse and learn at your leisure, then try some of these methods in your own home.
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Reality is hard to beat when it comes to house selling and relationships. Artists know this well. Years ago, the song "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing" came out that expounded the advantages of real connections with a romantic partner. Throughout the hit song, being with a romantic partner was shared as being a lot more powerful and rewarding than trying to connect with a partner via memories alone.
Reality encourages honesty and introspection
The same applies with house selling. Although a house is not a person, approaching the house selling process from the perspective of striving to connect a potential buyer to a house takes healthy doses of reality. That alone can help to ensure that realtors and independent home sellers are forthcoming.
A focus to be as real as possible takes the legs out of the aim to do whatever it takes to sell a home. It's impossible to be real and strive to conceal the fact that the roof is leaking. Another thing that will wash away as you focus on being real is the effort to sway home buyers to the point that home buyers give into your verbal or emotional pushes instead of trusting their own instincts or inner guidance.
Try these real home sell approaches
Even though an outgoing and engaging personality helps with nearly any sell, it's not required to sell a house and earn an attractive profit from the sell. You do need tools to make the house sell as real as possible. Tools and approaches that you could use include:
- Audio tapes of homebuyers talking about specialevents that they enjoyed at their house
- Videotaped walkthroughs of a house
- Videos of existing landscaping, including recent upgrades made to the exterior of the house
- Ability for home buyers to view the interior and exterior of houses using virtual reality headsets
- Live drives through the neighborhood that houses that are for sale are located in (Drive by schools, restaurants, shopping centers and other facilities.)
- Links to reviews on apartments and other area residential facilities
- Website URL of the real estate agency that is representing the home seller
- Brief bio on the home seller (There's a reason why people pay more for celebrity homes; they feel like they know the celebrity because they know the celebrity's name, what the celebrity does for a living and some of the celebrity's passions.)
Home buyers appreciate real, smart information
Home buyers can tell when realtors and home sellers are being honest with them. That honesty is appreciated even if the house is not perfect. In fact, home buyers might be more open to buying a house if they sense that realtors are being upfront with them.
They might think that realtors have their best interest in mind, not just the best interest of their clients. The fact is that many houses develop repair needs after several years. From flooring to roofing to plumbing, houses generally experience at least one maintenance need after they have been in existence for 10 or more years.
By being honest about recent repairs and maintenance that's been performed on a house,realtors can arm home buyers with smart information, the right information to make a wise home buying decision. Videos, pictures, data analysis and live home walk-thrus help to present smart information. So too do real life stories shared between current homeowners and potential home buyers.
Houses located in emerging or progressive areas under development could yield a rewarding financial return. These houses could also yield social rewards. During the early years of development, you might have to endure construction sites and noise. Several months or a year or two might pass before houses in the community fill with neighbors, people who may quickly become among your closest friends.
Hidden costs of buying a house
A place to call your own, great neighbors and a community that is growing and increasing your house's value can make buying a house a solid financial and personal decision. To truly be advantageous, you need to know everything that you're taking on when you buy a house.
The principal is the largest part of your mortgage. It's also the part of owning a house that you might pay the most attention to. What you don't want to do is make the mortgage principal the only part of the owning a house that you focus on. In addition to the principal, when you buy a house, you will likely have to pay expenses like those listed below:
- Loan interest - Mortgages with adjustable rate interest can start low, but may not stay that way. A variable rate mortgage and a tracker mortgage are other types of mortgages that could increase should interest rates hike. A fixed rate might be higher, depending on when you buy a house, but a fixed rate mortgage could keep your monthly output steady.
- Closing costs - Items included in closing costs are the first month's homeowners association fees, prepaid interest and points.The more points that you pay upfront, the more you could lower your monthly mortgage installments.
- Mortgage insurance - Depending on the lender,you may have to pay mortgage insurance that covers 10% or more of your total mortgage. A way around the insurance or a way to lower the insurance is to invest more in your down payment.
- Homeowners insurance - Mortgage insurance and homeowners insurance are different. Mortgage insurance protects the lender.Homeowners insurance protects you and the lender.
- Homeowners association fees - Although homeowners association fees might be included in your closing costs, you will generally have to make these payments monthly. Don't overlook homeowners association fees and rules when you start looking for a house.
- Property taxes - The value of your property, the age of your home and the jurisdiction that your house is located in impact property taxes.
- Mortgage broker or realtor fees and commissions - These fees are higher in some parts of the country.
- Home inspection - Factor in the costs of getting a thorough home inspection.
- Home appraisal - You'll also need to get your house appraised to realize the actual value of the property.
Because there are additional costs that you must generally be responsible for after you buy a house, shop for property that you can easily afford. In other words, don't buy a house that leaves you with only $100 or less left each month after you pay your mortgage. After all, there are other costs involved in owning a house that you will surface during and after closing.