Sabrina Carr's Blog
Ready to kick off your search for the perfect house? You may need to find an expert real estate agent first. By doing so, you can streamline the homebuying process and discover a house that meets or exceeds your expectations.
However, selecting a real estate agent can be tricky, especially for first-time homebuyers. And if you make the incorrect choice, the risk increases that you may encounter problems as you conduct your search for the ideal residence.
We're here to take the guesswork out of finding the right real estate agent to guide you along the homebuying journey.
Now, let's take a look at four questions that every homebuyer needs to ask a real estate agent.
1. What is your real estate experience?
Learn about a real estate agent's housing market experience – you'll be glad you did. With this information at your disposal, you can find out how a real estate professional has helped past homebuyers achieve their goals.
Also, ask a real estate agent about how he or she deals with homebuying challenges. This will enable you to find out whether a real estate agent can help homebuyers through tough times, or if a real estate professional struggles when he or she is faced with homebuying hurdles.
2. How do you communicate with clients?
As a homebuyer, it is essential to find a real estate agent who is readily available. This real estate professional will keep in touch with you at each stage of the homebuying journey and ensure you can make informed decisions along the way.
A real estate agent who prioritizes communication will keep you informed about open houses and new residences as they reach the housing market. As such, this real estate agent may help you accelerate the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
3. Can you provide client references?
Typically, an experienced real estate agent will be able to provide client references at any time. If you get in touch with these references, you can gain firsthand insights into what it might be like if you select a particular real estate agent.
If a real estate agent cannot provide client references, this is a surefire red flag. In this scenario, you may want to consider other real estate agents who have proven they know how to deal with potential roadblocks on the homebuying journey.
4. Why should I hire you?
When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, it is important to understand how a real estate professional stands out from the crowd. By asking a real estate agent why you should hire him or her, you're sure to receive a unique response that gives you a better idea about what this real estate professional is all about.
Spend some time reviewing multiple real estate agents in your city and town. And if you use the aforementioned questions, you can boost your chances of hiring a real estate agent who can help you discover your dream residence quickly and effortlessly.
If you plan to purchase a house in the foreseeable future, it generally is a good idea to plan ahead for all of your potential homebuying costs. That way, you can secure the funds you need to purchase your dream house.
Now, let's take a look at three costs that every homebuyer needs to consider during the property buying journey.
1. Credit Report
A lender likely will request a verified credit report before it provides you with a mortgage. The fee for a credit report usually is minimal, but it is important to note that this fee adds to the overall cost of purchasing a house.
Oftentimes, a homebuyer can get pre-approved for a mortgage and pay a credit report fee prior to conducting a house search. On the other hand, if a buyer wants to secure financing from a lender after he or she discovers the perfect house, the cost of a credit report may be incorporated into this individual's home closing costs.
2. Home Inspection
A property inspection is crucial, as it ensures a property expert can analyze a house and identify any underlying problems with it before a buyer finalizes his or her home purchase. As such, it is paramount to account for home inspection fees to ensure you have the funds available to hire an inspector who can perform an in-depth evaluation of a house.
The cost of a home inspection varies based on the size of a residence. Meanwhile, there is no need to forgo this evaluation. Because if you ignore a home inspection, you risk encountering costly, time-intensive problems after you buy a residence.
3. Pest or Mold Inspection
A pest or mold inspection is not a requirement if you purchase a new house. Conversely, if you purchase an older residence, it typically is beneficial to inspect it for pests and mold prior to finalizing your house purchase.
Pest or mold inspection costs vary based on a home's size and location. And if you feel a home may be susceptible to pests or mold, you should pay the necessary fees to conduct a pest or mold inspection. Otherwise, you could encounter home pests or mold that may cause major problems down the line.
As you prepare to pursue your dream residence, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. If you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive comprehensive guidance as you navigate the homebuying journey.
In addition to teaching you about homebuying costs, a real estate agent is happy to educate you about all aspects of the housing market. Plus, a real estate agent will respond to your homebuying queries and help you make informed decisions as you search for your ideal residence.
When it comes to purchasing a house, it helps to budget accordingly. If you consider the aforementioned homebuying costs, you can craft a homebuying budget and speed up your quest to discover your dream house.
Homeowners associations (HOAs) exist to maintain the cleanliness and appeal of a community. Whether a home belongs to a HOA is a major consideration for home buyers. Some see it as a benefit, others a deal breaker. Here's what to consider before going with or without a HOA.
If privacy is a high priority, a HOA may not be ideal for you. Homes that are part of a HOA are usually connected or have very little space between them. If you're looking forward to meeting and becoming friends with your neighbors, you may not mind. In fact, most HOAs will organize community activities to foster cohesiveness between residents.
Monthly HOA fees can range anywhere from $200 to $600. Just as with rent, more desirable locations like New York City and Los Angeles will fall in the higher end of the spectrum, while small towns and rural areas in the lower end. The upkeep required for older homes and more populated communities will also demand higher fees. Amenities such as golf courses, fitness centers, and gated security will also add dollars to your dues.
HOA rules vary widely and are voted on by the community's residents. You'll be restricted on what colors you can paint your home's exterior, what decorations you can place, how late you can use the fitness center, where you park, etc. Some HOAs also have rules on the size and number of pets you can have. You can vote on new rules in the meetings, but don't expect midnight parties to become a thing.
One of the premier benefits a HOA offers is resolving disputes. You won't have to write a passive-aggressive letter to your neighbor about their barking dog or parking in your assigned space. Bring it to the HOA, and they should address the issue directly with the offender. On the other hand, if you happen to have petty neighbors, you may find yourself being reported for actions that may or may not be against the rules.
Another big selling point of a HOA is the convenience. You'll never have to mow your lawn, rake leaves, or clear snow. Most HOAs will cover general maintenance such as HVAC and plumbing repairs, pest control, and landscaping. Again, the quality of these services depends on the HOA itself, so be sure to do your research beforehand.
The pros and cons of a HOA all come down to your individual values, plans for your home, and the price and quality of the services rendered by the HOA. Read online reviews and talk to your potential neighbors to get an idea of what to expect.
Let's face it – most homebuyers have limited time and resources at their disposal. As such, it is crucial for buyers to do everything possible to optimize their time and resources throughout the property buying journey. Because if a buyer maximizes his or her time and resources, this individual can boost the likelihood of enjoying a successful homebuying experience.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help a homebuyer get the most out of his or her time and resources.
1. Craft a Homebuying Strategy
If you know you want to buy a home, you should develop a property buying strategy. That way, you can map out the steps you'll need to take to find and acquire your dream residence.
A typical homebuying strategy should account for your budget, timeline and other property buying factors. If you analyze these factors, you could streamline your quest to discover your ideal house.
2. Narrow Your Home Search
You plan to buy a house as soon as possible, but you still have no idea where you want to reside. Fortunately, if you hone your house search to a few cities and towns, you may be able to quickly and effortlessly find a great home in an area you can enjoy for years to come.
As you get ready to start a home search, consider your long-term plans. For instance, if your ultimate goal is to work in a big city, you may want to focus on houses in or near major metros. Or, if you want to raise a family, you may want to search for residences near outstanding schools and parks.
In addition, perform lots of research into various cities and towns. If you conduct plenty of research, you can find out whether certain areas match or exceed your expectations and tailor your house search accordingly.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a property buying expert who understands what it takes to find a terrific residence at a budget-friendly price. Thus, if you hire a real estate agent today, you can get the help you need to reap the benefits of a seamless home search.
Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with you, learn about your property buying goals and craft a personalized homebuying strategy. He or she also will respond to your homebuying concerns and questions throughout the property buying journey. By doing so, a real estate agent ensures you can receive expert support as you try to find your dream house.
A real estate agent will make it simple to search for houses that fall within your budget and correspond to your homebuying criteria too. Plus, if you want homebuying recommendations or suggestions, a real estate agent is happy to provide them.
Want to enjoy a fast, successful homebuying experience? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble making the most of your time and resources as you search for your ideal house.
A seller's market poses a challenge for any buyer - when there are more buyers competing for homes than there are homes in market, you have to be ready to move swiftly when you find a home you like. Since the inventory of luxury homes is usually small when compared with more conventional homes on the market, a seller's market could make it more difficult to get the home you want, even if your financial details are in order and you're ready to buy.
What is a Seller's Market?
A seller's market simply means that there are more people who want to buy a home than there are homes for sale. When this happens, homes can move very swiftly -- some will sell within days of listing -- and buyers need to be able to offer appealing contracts to secure a home. While the luxury market often contains a smaller inventory, there are also fewer buyers competing for homes, but the market can still favor sellers.
Tips for Buying a Luxury Home in a Seller's Market
Visit in Person: Your real estate agent can help narrow down the possibilities and you can even send someone ahead to take a first look for you -- but you should view the home sooner rather than later if you want to see it in person before you buy. Luxury homes in high end vacation destinations can go very quickly in a sellers market, so you may not have the amount of time you are used to for viewing the property.
Streamline the Process: Work with your luxury real estate agent to prepare a compelling offer that is free of contingencies, or as free as it can be. The fewer conditions you have and the easier you are to deal with, the more likely it is the seller will accept your offer. Offer a swift and easy closing, request no contingencies and be ready to go swiftly when you find the home you want.
Have Financing in Place: If you need a mortgage, you should have your details worked out and ready to go. A seller with an advantage will be reviewing multiple offers and yours should indicate there will be no delays in closing. If you are a cash buyer, the funds should be available in time for closing; make preparations early and assume you will need to close within a month.
Be Prepared to Pay Full Price: The most common impact of a seller's market is that homes sell for the asking price -- or even more than the list price. Your agent can help you determine if a full price offer is right, or if you should even consider offering above the selling price. This is most likely in a hot market where homes are selling as soon as they list. If the home is still available after a week on the market, a full price offer may not be needed, if everything else is in order.
Make the most of the process by working with a skilled agent who is familiar with the complexities and demands of the luxury market. They will be more adept at helping you find and secure the property you want than a conventional agent. When you do find a home you like, be ready to act quickly so it does not get away; these steps will help ensure you don't miss out on a property you love.