Diane Regan's Blog
If you've set a goal of buying your first home within the next year, there are several things you can begin doing now to set the stage for a positive experience.
While it pays to familiarize yourself with everything from your credit score to mortgage options, choosing a good real estate agent will prove to be an invaluable advantage when navigating through the process of buying a home. An experienced, knowledgeable agent will help keep you on track, prepare necessary documents for you, and answer the myriad of questions that will occur to you.
Should you choose the first real estate agent you talk to? People occasionally find a perfect fit right off the bat, but it's often a good idea to interview a couple agents before you make your final decision. Having one or two points of comparison can provide you with a wider perspective of available choices.
Not only would you want to work with a professional who has a successful track record in helping first-time home buyers, but you also want to make sure your personality is compatible with your agent's communication style and energy level. Unless you stumble on the home of your dreams on the first day, you're probably going to be spending a lot of time with them. Most real estate agents do tend to be knowledgeable, resourceful, and service oriented, but your journey will be a lot smoother and more satisfying if you sign on with an agent who's a good match for your individual needs and personality.
One of the most effective ways to prepare yourself for a real estate search is to create lists of things you need to do, have, and schedule. It's also helpful to prioritize what you want in your ideal house. By identifying and reminding yourself of the features that are most important to you, you'll have a greater tendency to recognize what you want when you see it. You'll also find yourself communicating your needs and wants more clearly to your real estate agent. As is the case with any professional or personal relationship, good quality communication usually yields the best possible results.
As a home buyer, there are many property features and priorities you'll want to ponder and discuss with your significant other. In addition to your future home's square footage, bedroom space, and number of bathrooms, you may also be interested in the reputation of school districts, the character of neighborhoods you're considering, and the amount of privacy each property affords.
Another list worth compiling before you get too far into the house hunting process is a personal budget. By seeing how your income stacks up against your monthly expenses, you'll be in a stronger position to determine a realistic price range for your next home.
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!
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As a homebuyer, you may want to consider the seller's perspective before you submit an offer to purchase your dream house. That way, you can boost the likelihood of receiving an instant "Yes" to your homebuying proposal.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you analyze the seller's perspective.
1. Review the Prices of Comparable Homes
Once you find your dream home, you may want to take a look at the prices of comparable residences in the same city or town. This housing market data can help you narrow the price range for houses in a particular area.
With insights into the prices of houses that are similar to your dream home, you can put together a data-driven offer to purchase. Perhaps best of all, you can avoid the risk of submitting a "lowball" homebuying proposal that misses the mark with a home seller.
2. Assess the Housing Market
The current state of the housing market may have far-flung effects on how much you should offer to pay for a residence.
For instance, in a buyer's market, there is an abundance of available houses and a shortage of buyers. This often means buyers can browse dozens of outstanding houses and won't necessarily face steep competition to acquire the right residence at the right price.
On the other hand, a seller's market favors sellers. It generally features an abundance of buyers and a shortage of top-notch residences. Therefore, if you're searching for a home in a seller's market, you may need to submit a competitive offer to purchase to secure your dream house.
Review the housing market closely so you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market. If you find houses are selling quickly at or above sellers' initial asking prices, you likely are operating in a seller's market. Or, if you find houses linger on the real estate market for many weeks or months and sell at or below sellers' initial asking prices, you may be working in a buyer's market.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who can provide you with housing market insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Plus, he or she can help you evaluate the seller's perspective so you can submit a competitive offer to purchase the home of your choice.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides throughout the property buying journey, either. A real estate agent can help you hone your home search and find your ideal residence in no time at all. Furthermore, if you have concerns or questions at any point during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to address them.
Want to purchase your dream house at a price that matches your budget? Consider the seller's perspective – you'll be glad you did. If you review the seller's perspective, you can craft a competitive homebuying proposal and move closer to acquiring your ideal house at a budget-friendly price.
Interior design can seem like such a daunting task. It is something most homeowners would rather leave to the professionals. While this is entirely beneficial, know that there are simple interior design tips you can apply to transform your home.
These home decoration methods can save you both time and money. It also gives you the opportunity to be creative and exercise more control over the results. Here are six interior design tips to transform your home.
- Smaller rooms and lighter colors Smaller rooms in a home tend to feel crowded even when they hold little items or furniture. Maximize your space and make such rooms look larger by painting them with soft or light colors. Darker colors make any place seem smaller and boxed-in.
- Use mirrors Mirrors can do more than offer reflections in a home. Use decorative mirrors to add beauty and design to a room. They equally make smaller rooms look larger by providing depth and reflecting light.
- Statement rug A statement rug in any part of the home can help the room to stand out. Buy a suitable rug or reposition an old but beautiful carpet in the room. Make sure that when you place the rug in a room, it complements the furniture, sofa, and other objects.
- Mix things up When you are re-designing the home, it may be a relief to understand that you can avoid adding new items. You can do a lot with what you already own by mixing things up. Place that family heirloom next to a painting. Let the old curtains drape over the freshly painted walls or stay in the same room as the new pillows and sofa. There's uniqueness and beauty in mixing things up in the home. It also brings warmth to your living space.
- Green plants Going green is always an affordable and sure way to transform the home. Plants add an unmistakable freshness and attractiveness to the interior of the house. They also absorb pollutants and clean household air.
- Bold and Bright Soft or subtle isn't always the solution. Inject a pop of color that mirrors your personality into the home. Use a colorful sofa, some quirky throw pillows, and so on.
Interior design can be simple and hassle-free with these practical tips and a touch of your creative side. Start decorating your home. If you need help, reach out to a professional designer for advice.