Joseph D. Federico's Blog
Finding the house of your dreams is a process that requires a lot of clarity, diligence, and patience. While it is possible for the first house you look at to be the ideal choice, it's a lot more likely you'll have to look at a dozen or more houses before finding the one that matches your requirements and feels like home.
Whether you're searching for your first home or your tenth, your decision will primarily be based on four factors: affordability, practicality, emotional appeal, and prevailing market conditions.
Affordability is a vital element in the mix because it's difficult to enjoy a beautiful new home if you're always stressed out about whether you'll be able to make the next mortgage payment! Developing a realistic and well thought-out budget is one of the first preliminary steps involved in launching a full-fledged search for your next home. In addition to being able to cover your current expenses and the cost of mortgage payments, you'll also want to ensure that there's a cushion in your budget for things like home maintenance, repairs, improvements, HOA fees (if applicable), property taxes, school taxes, and homeowner's insurance.
As far as practicality goes, your new home should -- at the very least -- live up to your basic needs and expectations. Ideally, all systems should work properly and be in good condition. Proximity to key locations, such as your job, shopping, and essential services can also have a direct impact on your quality of life. Long commutes, cramped quarters, or being buried by an avalanche of repair bills can definitely take some of the pleasure out of home ownership!
The majority of houses you'll look at will probably need some degree of updating, decorating, or repairs, but ideally, you'll want to tackle those projects over the next couple of years, rather than the immediate future! Having an experienced home inspector do a thorough inspection of the home you're interested in will help ensure you're not buying a home riddled with flaws, headaches waiting to happen, and other problems.
Although cost and practicality are vital aspects of buying a new home, you can't (and wouldn't want to) ignore factors such as aesthetics and emotional appeal. If you can't imagine you and your family living in and enjoying a house you're considering buying, it might be time to continue your search elsewhere! The house you ultimately choose should support your lifestyle, provide sufficient space for your family to grow and thrive, and be situated in a neighborhood in which you feel comfortable and safe.
To make the most of your available time and money, find an experienced real estate agent who's responsive to your needs and knowledgeable about the local real estate market. They will help you streamline your search, find houses that meet your criteria and negotiate the best possible price on your behalf.
Ready to purchase a home this fall? To land your dream house at a price that fits your budget, you'll want to know exactly what it takes to browse the real estate market in autumn.
Ultimately, securing a home in fall can be quick and simple, particularly for homebuyers who understand the ins and outs of the autumn housing market. Here are three tips that every homebuyer needs to know to find a house in fall:
1. Examine the Autumn Housing Market Closely
In many instances, a home seller may list a house at the beginning of summer in the hopes of a quick sale. However, a home seller who fails to generate significant interest in his or her residence may be more likely to lower the price of the house to sell the property in autumn.
Homebuyers who study the fall real estate market may be able to identify bargains. These homebuyers should look at factors such as how long a home has been available and the prices of comparable houses in a specific area and plan accordingly.
Furthermore, don't forget to consider your personal budget as you search for homes in autumn. By doing so, you can avoid the temptation to overspend on a residence.
2. Submit Competitive Offers
In fall, if you find a home that you like, you should submit a competitive offer. This may enable you to secure your dream home and accelerate the homebuying process.
Ideally, you should submit a data-based offer, i.e. a proposal that takes into account the current state of the real estate market and the condition of the home. With this proposal, you'll be able to minimize the risk that a home seller will decline your offer or submit a counter-offer.
Although a home may have lingered on the housing market throughout summer and into fall, there is no need to submit a "lowball" proposal, either. Remember, if you submit an offer that is well-below a home seller's asking price, you may miss out on the opportunity to purchase your dream home. But if you submit a competitive offer from the get-go, you can avoid this risk entirely.
3. Collaborate with an Experienced Real Estate Agent
For homebuyers who want to avoid stress as they explore the real estate market, there may be no better option than hiring an experienced real estate agent.
An experienced real estate agent will be happy to help you find your dream home in fall. This real estate professional can set up home showings, provide you with in-depth home listings and help you prepare to submit an offer on a home. Plus, your real estate agent knows how to handle tough negotiations and will work on your behalf to help you secure your dream home at the best price.
Employ an experienced real estate to help you go from homebuyer to homeowner this autumn. With a real estate professional at your side, you can accelerate the homebuying process.
If you want to buy a home in the near future, you’re going to need to really focus on the goal. Buying your first home is no small feat. There are a few habits that you’ll want to start right away once you decide that you’re ready to take the plunge into homeownership.
Make Savings Automatic
If you’re going to start saving for all of the expenses that buying a home brings, the best thing that you can do is automate your savings. The down payment is usually more money than most people can even plan for. If you have a small amount of each paycheck go into a dedicated account for the house fund, you’ll be in better shape financially. You can never start saving too early or too much. The goal is to save as much as you possibly can. Put the money in a place where you won’t have easy access to it. If you don’t see it, you won’t spend it!
Check Your Credit Score
Your credit report is one of those things that can’t be magically fixed. It takes some time and a little work to keep your credit score up. You’ll need to make sure that you make on-time payments each and every month. If there are any glaring mistakes on the report, you’ll need to fix them, as it could take some time for any changes to show up. The most important thing is to keep your credit record clean by making on-time payments, refraining form opening too many new accounts, and paying down any outstanding debt. Once you check your credit score and see what you have to work with, you’ll be in good standing in no time.
Become A DIYer
When you move into a home, there’s a lot that may need to be done. If you can do some of the work yourself, instead of hiring contractors and other people, you may be able to save some money. This wouldn’t include anything dangerous like electrical work or complicated plumbing issues. There are plenty of projects that you can safely take on in a home that will save money and keep your home in great shape.
Learn To Budget
Owning a home can actually be cheaper than renting in some cases. If you learn to budget, factoring in things like food, utilities, and how much you spend on entertainment, you’ll see how much you have to work with. See how much you’re spending and then decide where you can cut down costs from there. You’ll find more money that you can be saving towards a home. The best part about buying a home is that you own it! There is no middle man telling you what you can and cannot do in a space.
If you’re hunting for a new home, it can be tempting to make an appointment to view as many as possible. However, it can be a better use of your time to narrow down the search beforehand and eliminate houses from your list based on some at-home research. That way you can use those extra hours for fine-tuning your home search and make sure you visit only the houses that will suit your every need.
In this article, we’ll teach you some ways to research a home, neighborhood and town before you take the time to visit.
Things to Research about Your Potential New Neighborhood
So you’ve found a listing that looks nice. Your next step should be to find out as much as possible about the area the home is in to make sure it suits your needs.
A good first step is to head over to Google Maps to find out which amenities are in the area. Schools, banks, grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, parks… the list goes on. This is also a good time to map out how long it will take you on average to drive to work from this house and to see if it will lead you through any high-traffic areas that might affect your daily schedule.
You can also research other homes in the area to see if the house is selling higher or lower than average. This will give you a question to ask the real estate agent if you choose to reach out for further information.
Another step to take on Google for this home is to look up statistics for things like neighborhood crime, ratings for the school district, and the state of local businesses.
Is the area up-and-coming with healthy businesses and low crime? If so, it could be worth pursuing further.
If you’re planning on having children or already do, the quality of the education could be of importance to you.
Finally, get an idea of the local tax rates so you know how much you’ll owe the government for your property and excise taxes.
Researching the house itself
If you’re comfortable with the town and neighborhood, there’s still some research you can do online before you schedule a showing.
See if you can find out if the house belongs to a homeowner’s association. Look up their rules and fees to see if they’re agreeable to you and your family’s lifestyle and plans for the future.
Look up the sale history for the home. If there are several recent sales, this could be a sign of problems with the home or neighborhood. Similarly, if the price has increased or decreased dramatically more than nearby houses, consider asking the real estate agent why this is.
Finally, see if you can view the number of days the home has been on on the market, commonly abbreviated as “DOM.” This will give you some insight as to how desirable the home and neighborhood are.
Once you have all of the information at your disposal, you’ll be in a position to decide whether or not to schedule an appointment to view the home.
When you find a house that you love a lot, your main concern may be that other people really love the home too. How can you make your offer stand out? You might want to write an offer letter to go long with your proposed purchase price for the home. While making the highest offer s typically the best way to secure a bid on a home, if sellers get a few similar offers, they may be enticed by an extra bit of effort on the part of the buyer.
There are certain ways that you can craft an offer letter to help a seller be intrigued a bit more and accept your offer. Many times, sellers have a certain type of attachment to a home. They want someone who loves the home as much as they did. Most sellers who have taken pride in their homes want to pass that on to the next owner. Be sure you tell the owners that you appreciate the care that they have taken to keep their home nice. You can also mention that this home will be a great place for you and your family to grow. If you let your enthusiasm stand out, you’ll be able to shine among other offers.
Give Your Backstory
If you happen to be expecting your first child, or maybe your family is expecting another addition, you may want to note that in your letter. Getting personal with a stranger may seem kind of odd, yet sharing a bit of your story can help a seller feel more comfortable about accepting your offer as opposed to any others. If you have family or good friends that live in the neighborhood, let the seller know about that as well. Sometimes, sharing your story gives that extra touch that you need to have a winning offer.
Just as you would praise the seller for taking good care of the home, you also want to point out any specific updates that will make your life easier. If there’s a newly landscaped backyard, mention it. If the new roof looks great on the house, include it in your letter. If you notice that the sellers have dogs, let them know how much your dogs will love being in the house as well. You’re not brown-nosing, you’re just giving the sellers a little something to be proud of, letting them know that you took notice!
Don’t Be Afraid To Get Sentimental
If the home happens to be in the same neighborhood that your family grew up in, then by all means include that in your letter. If your mom lives a few blocks away and is hoping to be closer to the grandkids, it doesn’t hurt to tell the seller about it. The bottom line is to get a bit personal and let the seller know why you want the home. From the home itself to how it will suit your needs, a seller will feel good accepting an offer that they have a connection to.