Sabrina Carr's Blog
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.
Purchasing a home in a seller's market may prove to be difficult. Fortunately, we're here to offer expert guidance to ensure you can find the best house at the lowest price, regardless of the present real estate sector's conditions.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready to pursue a home in a seller's market.
1. Assess the Housing Market Closely
A seller's market likely features a shortage of high-quality houses. As such, you'll want to analyze the local real estate sector closely so you can identify your dream home faster than ever before.
Take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. This information can help you understand the average price range for homes of all sizes in your area. You also should find out how long these homes were available before they sold to understand the current pace of the real estate market.
Furthermore, you should make a checklist of home must-haves and wants. Once you craft this checklist, you can assess the houses available in your city or town and map out your homebuying journey accordingly.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
In all likelihood, you'll need to act fast to acquire your ideal residence in a seller's market. If you have a mortgage in hand when you submit a home offer, you may boost your chances of receiving a "Yes" from a seller.
A home offer that is contingent on a buyer's approval for a mortgage often is far from ideal. If a seller receives this type of offer, he or she may be reluctant to accept it, as there are no guarantees a buyer will be able to obtain the necessary financing to acquire a home.
Comparatively, a buyer who gets pre-approved for a mortgage can enter a seller's market with a budget in hand. And if he or she finds a great house, this buyer can submit an offer without having to worry about getting financing at a later time.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of lenders. These financial institutions can teach you about a wide range of mortgage options and help you find the right mortgage based on your finances.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A seller's market can be tough to navigate, regardless of whether you're a first-time or experienced homebuyer. Thankfully, real estate agents are available who can guide you along the homebuying journey.
Typically, a real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals. He or she then will keep you up to date about houses that meet your criteria, set up home showings and help you submit offers on residences. And if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them at any time.
Prepare to buy a house in a seller's market – use the aforementioned tips, and you can move one step closer to acquiring your dream residence.
As you move forward with your home purchase, your real estate agent may recommend that you have your home inspected. Sometimes the inspection is required by the lender or insurance company, but sometimes it’s an optional step. Buyers who have the option sometimes consider skipping the inspection to save a little cash. Before you say “no” to the inspection, consider these reasons that it may be an important safety measure to take.
1. The Ability to Walk Away
When buying a home, you want to be completely sure that you’re not buying a home with problems that will cost you thousands after closing. Making an offer contingent on the results of an inspection allows you to legally walk away from your purchase contract if the inspector finds a serious issue. Without an inspection and this contingency, your offer is legally binding, and walking away is a costly choice.
2. Ensure Your Home Is Safe
Home inspectors know how to find problems that aren’t clear to the naked eye. From electrical wiring problems to hidden mold or problems with the home’s structure, knowing about these issues will protect you from buying a home that’s not safe to live in.
3. Improve Your Negotiating Position
If the inspection finds something wrong with the home that will be costly to fix, you can still buy the home if you wish. Armed with the information from the inspection, you can ask the seller to make repairs or give you a different price to cover the problems found. For instance, if the roof is in need of major repair, you can make a new offer that requires the seller to make those repairs, or you can offer at a lower price, using the difference to cover the repairs. Your real estate agent will help you understand the requests that are reasonable as you craft a new offer.
4. Enjoy Peace of Mind
A home inspection gives you peace of mind that you are buying a quality home. When the inspector gives it a stamp of approval, you can know that you are unlikely to have serious surprises when you move in.
5. Find Pest Problems
You don’t want to move in only to discover termites or roaches in the home. Pests can often go undetected until a serious infestation is present, but an inspector knows how to find the hidden signs of pests. Finding pests doesn’t mean you need to avoid the home, but it does mean you should ask the seller for professional pest control measures before you close on the property.
An inspection is an important step when buying a home. The cost of the inspection is small in comparison to the peace of mind and protection it brings. Even if it’s not required, make sure you request an inspection on your next home purchase.