You wouldn’t pick out shoes before choosing an outfit, right? Or buy car accessories without first deciding if you want a truck or a sedan?
Well, house hunting should be treated the same way.
You shouldn’t search for a dream home without vetting neighborhoods or experiencing the new area for yourself.
If the area doesn’t meet your needs, the property may not provide a dream scenario. So how do you make sure you’ve found the right neighborhood? Keep these details in mind:
Cost of Living
Are the property taxes and HOA fees trending upward? Are there mostly trendy boutiques and high-end businesses in the area, or does it have a good mix of local and national retailers?
Planned commercial development could affect the long-term affordability of the area. However, having more access to retailers and entertainment could enhance your lifestyle.
Commutes and Social Life
How close do you want to be to the friends and family you visit the most? How far are you willing to drive to get to the restaurants, theaters or stores that you frequent?
It’s understandable to prioritize your work commute, but keep in mind the other places you visit on a daily or weekly basis.
How does the community fit into your future goals? Are there good schools, parks or sports leagues for your family?
A thriving community adds to your quality of life. And it’s a good sign for future home values.
Want to try before you buy? Where possible, consider renting a unit in the area for a few days through a short-term rental site. Experiencing the neighborhood like a resident can help you to decide if it fits your current and future needs.
Are you looking for a new home? Get in touch if you’d like to see a neighborhood report.
You’ve decided it’s time to sell your home. Your neighbor just sold for a pretty penny, but they also spent a lot on remodeling and renovations. Does that mean you need to upgrade your home to sell?
Is it worth trying to sell as is? Or will your home be passed up and stuck on the market?
Fortunately, full-scale remodels aren’t required to sell your home. Sure, a home reno might fetch more money, but it’s not always worth the time and effort.
So how do you know what’s worth fixing up? Here are the do’s and don’ts of pre-listing home renovations:
A few repairs and upgrades can certainly make your home more marketable. But a full-scale remodel? That’s not necessary in most cases.
Are you ready to sell? Get in touch today for a comprehensive review and marketing plan for selling your home.
View blog post here as well.
Want to take the pain out of homebuying? Keep your lifestyle priorities top of mind.
If you’re planning to buy a new home, there’s great news: More houses have hit the market in recent months. This means you’ve got more options to choose from.
Choice is always good, but it can also be overwhelming.
The key? Careful, disciplined prioritization.
Let’s go beyond square footage or the number of bedrooms and consider how the property fits your life. By focusing on what matters the most to you, we can refine your search to the closest matches.
Here are the three questions every potential homebuyer should ask themselves:
Where do you want to live?
Think beyond your commute. Do you want to be in a specific school district? How much street noise can you cope with?
Are you looking for an established neighborhood or one that’s up and coming? That could affect future home values.
What does the future hold?
Think about the next 10 years. Are you planning to have kids? Will your aging parents move in?
If you plan to stay for the long haul, you might want a property to accommodate your family today, and in the future. If you know your career will have you on the move, will you want to sell the property or rent it out?
How much work are you willing to do?
When considering condition, be honest with yourself. How much work are you truly willing to take on?
If the home needs cosmetic updates, will you want them completed before you move in? If you fall for a fixer-upper, do you have a budget for renovations?
Communication is a critical element of your home search. The more information you share, the better we’re able to match you with a home that fits your life.
Got your priorities in order? Let’s find your dream home. Reach out today.
TV shows make finding a profitable fixer-upper seem easy. But in the real world, there are real challenges and decisions to be made.
Whether you’re buying an investment property or a starter home for your family, there are dozens of factors to consider. How much will it cost to renovate? Are home values rising or falling in the neighborhood? How in-demand is the area?
Want to make sure your purchase isn’t a money pit? Ask yourself these four questions:
1. Does it have good bones?
We want to avoid expensive repairs that would eat into your bottom line. It’s vital to have structural elements like the roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical and HVAC system inspected.
2. Is the price comparable to the area?
The property may come at a fixer-upper price, but how does it compare to others in the area? Let’s also take a look at new developments or zoning laws that could influence future home values.
3. Does it need special inspections?
Fixer-uppers need to go beyond standard inspections. Things like sewer lines, septic systems and pools age with the property, so it’s important to have each evaluated.
4. What does your contractor think?
Bringing a contractor on board early is essential when creating your renovation budget. We need to estimate the cost of any aesthetic changes or upgrades to avoid overimproving the home.
Remember, it’s not just the sticker price you want to consider when buying a fixer-upper, but the cost of the entire project.
Do you need help finding the fixer-upper of your dreams?
Together, we can evaluate the purchase price, factor in repair costs and determine the future resale value of the home.
If you’ve already got your eye on a fixer-upper, or want help finding a contractor in our area, get in touch today.
Who doesn’t love getting a tax refund?
It’s exciting to know that your bank balance will get a boost. But remember, a refund isn’t a bonus -- it’s your hard-earned money, which is why you should make the most of it.
If you’re thinking of buying a new home this year -- whether it's your first home or the one you plan to retire in -- financial planning is critical.
Expecting a refund? Make a bigger impact on your home purchase with these tips:
1. Lower Your Mortgage Rate: Did you know you can pay “points” up front to lower the interest rate of your mortgage? If you plan to stay in your home for a long time, this could result in significant savings over the life of your loan.
2. Pay Closing Costs: Closing costs average about 2 to 5 percent of the purchase price. Many buyers roll it into their mortgage and pay it off over the life of the loan. But you could use your refund to pay it up front and avoid paying interest.
3. Save for a Down Payment: In some cases, your refund could cover your entire down payment. Some loans only require 3 percent down, so this is more realistic than you might think.
4. Boost Your Credit Score: Paying down your debts can have a significant impact on your credit score and the mortgage rate you’ll qualify for.
5. Renovate or Update Appliances: Many buyers are tempted to open a line of credit to pay for these purchases, but that could negatively impact your mortgage loan. Using your refund is the smarter move.
Remember, a tax refund is only one factor to consider in your homebuying budget. Get in touch today for a referral to a financial planner or mortgage lender if you need help preparing your budget. Let’s work together to plan your path to homeownership.
Buying a home is a big undertaking. From finding the right property and negotiating to sorting out the legal details and moving in, there are dozens of important steps along the way. And for many first-time buyers, it can seem overwhelming.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make the process easier, even if you’re still in the planning phase. If you know buying a home is on the horizon, you’ll want to tackle these tasks before you get too far into your search:
1. Get preapproved for your mortgage.
Research lenders, choose your mortgage company and apply for preapproval. This will give you an idea of what you can afford so we can point you toward homes in the right price range.
2. Give your budget a test run.
Once you have a rough estimate of what your monthly payment will be, give that budget a trial run. Are you still able to afford all your monthly bills and expenses? If not, let’s have a chat with your lender to see what the monthly payment could look like if we target a lower price point.
3. Start saving.
It’s never too early to start saving up for your down payment and closing costs. Cutting out unnecessary spending and setting up automatic deductions from your paychecks are two easy ways to give your savings a boost.
4. Create a wish list.
What do you want in your future home? Jot down your must-haves concerning size, location and features. You can also include some deal breakers to help guide you in your search.
Are you looking to buy your first home soon? With the right help, the process will be less overwhelming. Reach out today for step-by-step guidance or a referral to a trusted lender in our area.
What if you want to keep the seller's furniture?
When you buy a pre-owned home, do you know what will come with the house? Do you get to keep all the appliances, the art on the walls or the outdoor pizza oven on the patio?
Determining what will stay with the home and what will go with the previous owner will vary by seller and contract. Here’s how to determine what conveys with the home you’re considering, as well as tips to safeguard yourself when negotiating those extra items.
1. Check the listing. Start at square one and look at the original listing. Hopefully the seller specified the items included in their home’s asking price.
2. Know the screwdriver rule. For the most part, if it takes a screwdriver to remove, it’s considered a part of the home. This includes shelves, light fixtures and even curtain rods. But, if it’s hung on a nail, it’s removable and likely not included in the sale.
3. Negotiate with the seller. If there’s something you’re interested in that isn’t part of the listing, we can negotiate with the seller.
4. Talk to your lender. If the seller agrees to include big-ticket items, you’ll want to tell your mortgage lender. Depending on the type of loan you have, it could affect the appraisal or change the value of the property.
So, unless the seller specified the washer and dryer in the listing, you should assume they’re not included. As for the pizza oven? If it’s built into the patio, it’s probably already built into the listing price.
Have more questions about what’s included with a home? Get in touch today.
5 Tips for Competing With Cash Buyers
In today’s hot market, bidding wars have become the norm. With many out-of-state buyers and property investors looking for a great deal, all-cash offers are also becoming common.
A cash offer can seem tempting for sellers since it offers the possibility of a faster closing. But despite this perk, cash buyers don’t always win. Many times, they make low offers or demand costly extras, both of which will mean lost cash for the seller.
Want to boost your chances of getting the home you want when competing with cash buyers? Here are some things to consider:
Did you know you can buy your dream home while paying off student loan debt?
It’s true and even quite common. While student loans are factored into your debt-to-income ratio, they shouldn’t prevent you from becoming a homeowner.
And fortunately, there are many programs and options available to prospective buyers, some you may not be familiar with. Here are four ways people with student loans achieve their homeownership goals:
1. Co-buying With Friends or Family
Purchasing a home with a roommate, significant other or sibling allows you to combine multiple incomes to qualify for a better mortgage rate. This can help lower your monthly payment and make home maintenance more affordable.
2. Receiving Financial Gifts From Family
You can also accept gift money from your parents, grandparents or other family members to put toward your home purchase. Some loan programs have a cap on how much gift money can be used, so make sure you know the limits first.
3. Choosing Low (or No) Down Payment Loans
There are many low down payment options, including FHA, HomeReady and Home Possible loans. For loans with no down payment, VA loans may be available to veterans and military members as well as USDA loans for those purchasing in rural areas.
4. Using Assistance Programs
Down payment assistance programs can cover some or all of your down payment costs if you qualify. These programs vary by location, so talk with a lender to learn about potential options.
Working on your credit can also help you buy a home. Pay your credit card bills on time every month, aim to pay down your debts and never let an account go into collections. It also helps to get preapproved for a mortgage so you know how much you qualify for.
If you’re ready to make homeownership a reality or would like a referral to a trusted lender, get in touch today.
One house you’re looking at has the wraparound porch you’ve fantasized about, but it’s on a high-traffic street. The condo you like has a doorman in the lobby (you can order online now!), but it has no dedicated parking. What to choose?
It’s not every day that you buy a home and make decisions about the next three, five, or 10 years of your life. Since you can’t exactly take a home on a test drive, how do you decide? That got us to thinking about real estate pros. When they’ve seen practically everything on the market, how do they choose?
Four pros who’ve seen it all share their advice and their stories of hunting for just the right home.. See full article by HouseLogic here
Interested in learning more? Here's an article on Open House Etiquette
Hawaii Island Realtor Broker, Arabel L Camblor, Owner of Arabel L Camblor REALTY