Monthly Archives: September 2018

Helpful Hints for First-Time Home Buyers

Buying a house can be a daunting task, even for someone who has
owned several homes. My husband and I recently purchased our first home together, and it was hard to find good advice that we truly found useful. We had to learn a lot on our own, but at least now we feel comfortable and knowledgeable about the whole process. Here are some helpful hints we picked up along the way:

1. Use your online resources.

Almost every state and local government has a website where you can research real estate information. The data on home sales, taxes, and neighborhoods is invaluable when you are shopping for a home. We were able to find out the most recent sale prices in the neighborhood we selected, and we didn’t have to rely on a real estate agent to get the data for us. Doing the research yourself will make you more knowledgeable about the market, which is key to making a good purchase.

2. Be realistic about how much you can spend.

Try to buy a home in a price range that allows you to put down 20%. If you put down less than this, you will have to pay PMI (private mortgage insurance) to protect the lender in case you default on the loan. I know that 20% is a lot, but it’s not unrealistic. You may not be able to do it on your first home, but hopefully you can on your second home. The profits from the sale of my condo enabled my husband and me to have more than enough for the 20% down payment on our home. But we didn’t put it all down on the home – we saved some of the profits for the unexpected expenses that come with buying a home. We suggest that you do the same.

3. Shop for a home in the winter, preferably around the holidays.

Since most people just aren’t interested in buying a home when
they are trying to deal with the holidays, you can pretty much be one of the few buyers out there. We bought our home right before Christmas, and it was definitely a buyers market. We had our pick of homes and were able to underbid on the asking price, even though we live in one of the hottest real estate markets in the country.

4. Use a smaller mortgage company that can offer personal service.

People tend to go with large, well-known mortgage companies, since that’s all they know. But the smaller, regional companies provide excellent customer service, and can often give you better rates than the big companies. Since they don’t advertise and instead rely on word-of-mouth, they have to be good in order to get your service. We started off with a big-name company, but in the end, we went with a regional company because they had better rates and better customer service.

5. Always have a home inspection.

I think most people know this fact already, but it is really
important in areas with a hot real estate market. It can be easy to get caught up in bidding wars, and to want to get a house at all costs. Some friends of ours wanted a house so badly that not only did they overbid, but they also waived the home inspection. They got the house – and right along with it they got several thousand dollars worth of damage that would have been found in an inspection.

As a final note, try to remember that buying a home doesn’t have
to be scary. It’s very exciting to own your own home, so think ofall the good things that will come once you have made it through the home-buying process. If you follow the advice above, then you should be well-equipped to make it through unscathed.

Should First Time Home Buyers Have an Appraisal, Survey, and Home Inspection?

There are lots of reasons for first time home buyers to skip the appraisal, survey and home inspection, and all those reasons are in the form of dollars. But keep in mind that all three of these services can save you time, money and heartache in the long run. To fully understand, take a look at what the home buyer will get for the money and how it can help you get great loan options – and a great home.

If you are looking for a first time home buyer home loan, you may be having some trouble with the entire process. You’ve probably seen advertisements for low loan rates, but when you become the home buyer, you may have been surprised by the rates and terms of loans you’ve been offered. Having an appraisal can help assure the lender that the property is worth the amount you’re borrowing and that their loan is secure.

Many home buyers confuse the appraisal, survey and home inspection. An appraisal is an expert’s opinion on the fair market value of a piece of property, home, building or combination of these. It’s defined as the amount a “willing buyer would pay a willing seller” for that property on the open market. While the property may be worth much more than that to you as a home buyer for some specific reason (it’s next door to your mother, has wheelchair accessibility or is simply your dream home), that’s not what determines an appraised value.

If you’re looking at a particular first time home buyer program, a home inspection may be required. The appraiser will make an inspection of the home and property, but remember that appraisers are generally not trained in home inspection. The appraiser will typically note that he assumes all mechanical systems (electric, heat/air, and plumbing) to be in good working condition.

A home inspector will crawl under the house, examine electrical wiring and look for problems and potential problems. After the home inspection, the home buyer will know if there are things that need to be fixed and you could even have some ideas of what repairs will be needed in the near future. Many first time home buyer grants also require both home inspections and appraisals. Again, the purpose is to protect both the home buyer and the lender.

The survey is done by a licensed professional and his goal is to assure the home buyer and lender that the property exists as it’s described. A survey may not be required in an urban area because boundaries are typically very small and are usually well established. But in rural areas and especially with large tracts of land, surveys are very important. Most people can’t tell the difference between 10 acres and 12 just by looking, but a surveyor can determine that the property lines are where the descriptions indicate, and that the amount of property actually available is consistent with what the home buyer is paying for. This can also indicate when there are encroachments – other buildings, fences, etc. that are on the property but shouldn’t be there.

First time home buyers may be thinking that the requirements like appraisals, surveys and inspections make the process less than appealing, and you may very well be right. But keep in mind that this is a big financial investment – the biggest most people will ever make. Even if you have a perfect credit rating, a lender is taking a chance on a first time home buyer. Having appraisals, surveys and inspections cane make you as the home buyer and the lender more confident that you’re making a good decision.

What Are Modular Homes?

Have you been interested in looking at modular homes but want to learn more first before diving headfirst into the investment? Well, you’ve reached the right place. In this article, you will have a chance to learn what a modular home is, as well as the pros and cons of buying one and where you can go to find more information if needed.

What are Modular Homes?

A modular home is a home that is built in sections at a factory or plant and then is later delivered to a construction site where it is pieced together on location. This process of construction is quite the opposite of general on-site construction, which starts and finishes at the location. Modular homes are prepared in an assembly line fashion and are then transported when completed. This process is said to save customers time and money – a major selling point.

These unique homes have the look and feel of a traditionally-built house and meet all building and local zoning codes. They can be built to be hurricane-resistant or hold a sturdier frame for an earthquake prone area. No matter what specifications the owner and local zoning area have, most modular home manufacturers have learned to make adjustments that will meet the needs of those specifications.

Pros and Cons

One of the pros of buying modular homes is the process of prefabrication and indoor construction. The pre-fabrication process at an indoor location is beneficial for two reasons. One, the mess of fabrication that would have been accumulated on site is now handled before the home ever reaches your property, which results in less time spent cleaning up after construction. And two, by working at an indoor facility to get it partially constructed, your home is not susceptible to all of the outdoor elements including rain and animals that can adversely affect construction time and cause weather wear and tear to your home before you move in.

Another pro is the strength of modular homes. Many manufacturers claim that these homes are built to be stronger than traditionally-constructed homes – initially, at least. This is because many of the homes are built with screws instead of nails and add glue to the joints to enable an easier transport to the site. While they are said to be initially stronger, it has not yet been determined that they are stronger over a long period of time.

The major reason, however, that people say they love these homes is because of their lower price tag. Builders claim that because they are large manufacturers they can bargain for discounts on materials with the suppliers, which can cut the cost of the home considerably.

And now for the cons:

The first con of the modular home is that they are often compared to a cardboard box. In other words, you are said to be living in a boring carbon copy of tons of other homes built in the same facility if you buy one of these homes. However, many manufacturers have stepped up their game and are now offering custom options that homes look more original.

The second con is the financing issues that the home can present. Because these homes are still new on the home lending scene, many lenders are apprehensive about financing them; and if they do decide to finance one it will be for much less money than the traditional, on-site home. This can cause a problem for both the manufacturer and buyer as they don’t have as many resources available to create a nice home.

And the third con is the challenge of site access. One issue that on-site constructors do not have to contend with is the idea of driving a large home through narrow streets; but a modular home builder does. It may be that the customer wants to place their home in a remote area, and when the builder drives to the proper they realize that a low overpass, gated community or narrow road may cause a problem when trying to deliver the home.

Should I Buy a Modular Home?

Of course, I cannot determine your specific situation to say “yay or nay” to you buying a modular home. It is up to you to determine the obvious pros and cons and then look at your personal and family situation to see what works best for you. But if you are interested in more information on the ins and outs of buying modular homes, then you might want to visit the following websites for more information.

Homebuying.about.com

This website accumulates several different websites that tell you the advantages and disadvantages of buying modular homes as well as where you can find manufacturers and builders in your area to get started. Not a bad resource.

Modularhomesguide.com

Modularhomesguide.com is a website that tries to give you access to “the best modular homes, dealers, home builders, communities and new home builder web sites” in the country. They claim to be the largest database on the Internet for these homes, and with their high ranking in the search engines, they just might be.

Through their site you can find information about homes in your area by selecting your state, price range, manufacturer, floor plans or builder, and home type. Once you’ve conducted the search, you will be taken to a list of homes that fall into the criteria you pre-selected. In addition to searching for homes on the site, you can find informative articles that can help you make your decision.

Modular homes have become a nice alternative to people who are interested in paying less for a nice home. They’ve found that the benefits can be plentiful when they consider the cost reduction, lack of extended construction time, reduction in mess at the site, and sturdier home to live in. However, these modular homes do run the risk of having a “cooker cutter” beige box look, so it is important that you do your research before committing to buying one. The more you learn about the pros and cons of these homes, the more likely you are to make an informed decision that you won’t later regret.

Exclusive Report – 8 Steps To Success – How To Sell Your Home Fast & Make Maximum Profit!

When you sell your home, it will be the largest transaction you ever participate in (other than buying a new home). You need to inform yourself and get educated with the facts before you sign on the dotted line.

This report will teach you how to not only sell your home more quickly, but how to get top dollar in the process. We will examine 8 critical steps to success and how you can apply them to your situation.

Tip #1 – How to Maximize Profit

Ever heard the old saying ‘There are three factors in selling Real Estate – location, location, location’?

While this may hold true to a certain extent, location isn’t everything. No matter where your home is located, there ARE things you can do to get maximum profit upon selling.

First, you need to make your home sparkle and shine. Imagine that you are in a contest called ‘The Cleanest Home in America’ and you are trying to win a top prize. Well, you don’t need to imagine, because you are in a contest. There are hundreds of other sellers in this area who are trying to get YOUR buyer to purchase THEIR home and you WILL lose out if your home isn’t spic and span.

Fix every problem, no matter the size. If a door squeaks when you open it, use some oil on the hinges. If the paint in one room has some minor peeling, re-paint that room. Potential buyers will look at everything.

Tip #2 – Act like a Home Buyer, think like a Home Buyer

How hard is it for a potential buyer to obtain information about your home? Do they have to jump through hoops to get a return call from your Real Estate Agent? Do they have to come to an open house just to find out about all of the amenities your home offers?

Never make it hard for a buyer to do business with you. Sound simple? It’s not. You would be amazed at the amount of buyers who simply move on and give up on a certain home because they can’t get the info they want and need in an efficient manner.

Do yourself a favor. Before selecting an Agent, call up the Agent acting like you are a buyer and want information on one of their listings. Then, see how long it takes for them to return your call. The service you receive will be a good indicator of the service and response time your potential buyers will receive. Also, if your agent is running an ad for your home in the local homes and land magazine, make sure they insert plenty of info about your home and its amenities. Buyers want to know the sq footage, the price, and main amenities right off the bat. Do the legwork for the buyer and make it easy!

Tip #3 – Find the Best Real Estate Agent. the Easy Way

Trying to find a great Real Estate Agent can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. Every agent in town will try to convince you that they’re #1 for this or that. All of them will promise you the moon, but few will be able to deliver. We participate in many Real Estate transactions each month and, as a result, we are very familiar with the top Agents in this area. We would be happy to introduce you to a top agent, at no cost to you. To sign up for our NO-COST, no obligation ‘Agent Locator Service’, visit our website.

Tip #4 – Always Sell First

There are a number of reasons we advise you not to move out before you sell. The main reason is that vacant homes take longer to sell. Did you know that scientific tests have proven, time and time again, that vacant homes are more difficult to sell, because they appear to be lonely, cold, forgotten places?

Tip #5 – Dot your ‘i’s’ and cross your ‘t’s’

Even if your Agent has assured you that the purchase agreement / contract is complete and correct, always double-check it yourself to make sure. It’s important that you read and understand the contract the buyer will sign. Make sure that everything has been properly disclosed. A good buyer discloses everything, including any repairs the home will require, as well as all terms and additional costs. All of these should be spelled out clearly in the contract.

Tip #6 – Learn How to Negotiate Properly

When you are done reading this report, make sure you check out our No-Cost Report entitled ‘Negotiating Tips of Top Sellers’. Visit the Home Seller section of our website and click on the link there.

Tip #7 – The Price is Right. (Or is it?)

Price is the most important item to consider when selling your home. If your home is priced too high, your home will languish on the market for months. If the price is too low, you will lose thousands of dollars in hard-earned equity needlessly.

Remember – It’s not what your house is worth, but what someone is willing to pay. You need to gauge market conditions properly for your area, and then set your price a bit lower than the average. If you price your house according to the market, it’s not likely to sell quickly. That’s because the top 10% or 20% of houses with the best prices are selling each month in this area. If your house isn’t in that lower 20% range, then it isn’t likely to sell as quickly.

Tip #8 – Get Prepared and Do Your Homework

If you are selling your home, statistics say that you will likely buy a home here or somewhere in this state. You will soon be on the other side of the deal when you become a home buyer. You’re going to participate in the largest financial transaction of your life the next time you buy. Are you ready? Have you done your homework?

Are you aware of the supply and demand statistics of home inventory vs. sales made this year? Are you aware of what % of total homes listed for sale actually sold last month, and more importantly, how that statistic can positively affect how you structure your purchase offer? Have you assessed the best use of your cash and planned to maximize your leverage?

In short, have you prepared a Home Purchase Strategy? We participate in many real estate transactions every month. Over time, we’ve learned a thing or two. Our staff would like to help you develop your personal strategy and consequently help you save thousands of dollars in the process.

Home Selling: How To Set The Right Asking Price

Many homes remain unsold for a long time because they’re over-priced. Pricing your home right is essential if you want to sell your home in quick time. Expecting more for your home than the rates that prevail in the market will only delay the sale of your home, unless your home has something more to offer than other homes. When it comes to pricing your home for sale, you need to consider that your home is going to be competing with other similarly priced homes in your area and unless there’s a short supply of homes for sale, you’re going to have to set a competitive price.

All that said, some homes do sell for more as do some homes for less. It all comes down to how you set your asking price, how you go about negotiating and what are your costs involved in the selling process. Here, we’ll discuss how you can determine a fair asking price for your home in prevailing market conditions.

Real estate agents – Whether you intend on using the services of an agent to sell your home or not, they will call you to offer their services so you may as well get them to provide you with some information. Agents will usually offer to give you a free “Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)” of homes recently sold and presently on sale in your neighborhood. This data should be useful in helping you set a reasonable asking price, keeping the features of your home in mind and how it compares with the others.

Internet Listings – Browsing internet home listings will give you a fair idea of how much homes are priced in your neighborhood and how much you can sell it for. There are plenty of ‘by owner’ sites with many internet listings and there is also realtor.com which offers MLS listings.

Driving by the neighborhood – Surveying the area yourself and visiting homes presently on sale will give you a good idea of how much you can quote for your home.

Home Appraisal – Getting a real estate appraiser to put a value on your home, based on its condition and recent home sales in your neighborhood, should give you a fair price range in which you can sell your home. The appraisal can also be used to help justify your price when negotiating with buyers. (Get a free home appraisal done here.)

So set your price after investigating two or more sources, so that you can justify for the price you set. Your home will sell fast as long as there’s a reasonable amount of demand for homes in your neighborhood and you don’t overprice your home when compared to other homes in your area.

Best of luck with the selling of your home!