Best Practices for Creating a Homebuying Budget

If you want to purchase a home, it pays to establish a homebuying budget. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand and narrow your search for your dream house.

Now, let’s take a look at three best practices to help you create a homebuying budget.

1. Look at Your Finances

Your finances will play a major role in your ability to purchase a home. Thus, you should evaluate your current financial situation closely so you can map out an effective homebuying journey.

Request a copy of your credit report – you’ll be glad you did. You are eligible for a free copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) annually. Take advantage of this complimentary perk, and you can gain deep insights into your outstanding debt.

If you have outstanding debt, try to pay this down as much as possible. That way, you can boost your credit score, which ultimately will help you improve your chances to acquire your ideal residence.

2. Meet with Banks and Credit Unions

When it comes to buying a home, meeting with banks and credit unions usually is a great idea. That way, you can learn about your home loan options and get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Apply for a mortgage from several banks and credit unions. Then, you can receive various mortgage quotes and select one that suits you perfectly.

Also, don’t hesitate to ask plenty of questions during a lender consultation. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage professionals – all of whom are happy to help you make an informed mortgage decision. Therefore, if you’re unsure about whether to proceed with a 15- or 30-year mortgage or can’t decide between an adjustable- or fixed-rate mortgage, you can ask these mortgage professionals for expert advice.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A homebuying budget is tricky to establish on your own, especially if you are entering the real estate market for the first time. Fortunately, a real estate agent can help you plan ahead for all stages of the homebuying cycle.

During a real estate agent consultation, a housing market professional will learn about your homebuying goals. Next, this professional will help you establish realistic homebuying expectations and ensure you can discover a great house at a budget-friendly price.

Of course, let’s not forget about the world-class support that a real estate agent provides after you kick off a home search, either.

A real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you informed about open houses and offer homebuying recommendations and suggestions. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can negotiate with a seller’s agent on your behalf to help you get the best price on a house.

Ready to begin your search for your dream home? Use the aforementioned best practices, and you can craft a homebuying budget and start your homebuying journey.

How to Be a Responsive Homebuyer

Do you have what it takes to be a responsive homebuyer? Ultimately, your ability to respond to requests from home sellers and others may dictate your homebuying success.

Becoming a responsive homebuyer can be easy – here are three tips to ensure you can do just that.

1. Learn About the Housing Market

A responsive homebuyer understands that he or she has a lot to learn about the housing market. As such, this individual will allocate the necessary time and resources to analyze the real estate sector.

Typically, a responsive homebuyer will perform comprehensive online research. This will help a homebuyer assess a broad range of residences so he or she can tailor a home search accordingly.

Let’s not forget about a responsive homebuyer’s diligence, either.

A responsive homebuyer may work with an expert real estate agent, i.e. a housing market professional who knows what it takes to land a top-notch house at a budget-friendly price. By doing so, this homebuyer can boost his or her chances of streamlining the homebuying process.

2. Be Available

Are you ready to check out houses as soon as they become available? A responsive homebuyer should have no trouble tracking the housing market and staying up to date about new residences. That way, this individual can act quickly if he or she discovers the perfect home.

An informed approach can make a world of difference, and in most cases, separates a responsive homebuyer from an ordinary property buyer.

Usually, a responsive homebuyer will study the housing market closely and track new houses daily. This property buyer also may collaborate with a real estate agent who will keep him or her informed about new houses that become available.

Perhaps most important, a responsive homebuyer will be ready to accept phone calls, emails and texts throughout the homebuying cycle. He or she will even be open to communication with a home seller – something that may help this homebuyer acquire a first-rate house.

3. Offer Positive Responses to Feedback

Although a responsive homebuyer is eager to learn about the real estate sector, he or she won’t pretend to be a housing market expert. In fact, this individual often is happy to receive feedback throughout the homebuying cycle.

A responsive homebuyer may consult with a real estate agent who can offer homebuying recommendations and suggestions. This homebuyer may not always agree with a real estate agent’s advice, but he or she also will listen to everything that a housing market professional has to say.

Becoming a responsive homebuyer may seem like an uphill climb. However, with support from a real estate agent, you may be able to accelerate the process of transforming your homeownership dream into a reality.

Real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide and serve as homebuying guides. These housing market professionals can help homebuyers find residences that they can enjoy for years to come.

Take the next step to become a responsive homebuyer – use these tips, and you can move one step closer to securing your ideal residence.

3 Signs That Now Is the Right Time to Buy a Home

Ready to enter the housing market and find your dream residence? Ultimately, there are many signs that indicate now may be the perfect time to buy a house, including:

1. Your family is growing.

If you recently got engaged to the love of your life, tied the knot with that special someone or have kids on the way, now may prove to be an ideal time to buy a house.

A home offers plenty of space, ensuring that you and your entire family can reap the benefits of a superb living space. Plus, many affordable mortgage options are available, making it easy for you to purchase a house without having to worry about breaking your budget.

Before you begin your home search, consult with a real estate agent – you’ll be glad you did! Your real estate agent can help you determine exactly what you’d like to find in a home, ensuring that you can purchase a house that meets or exceeds your expectations.

2. You’ve secured a new job.

Now that you’ve landed your dream job, you may want to consider pursuing your dream house as well.

With a new, high-paying job in hand, you may be better equipped than ever before to make monthly mortgage payments on a residence. Also, you can work with a credit union or bank to secure a mortgage that matches your budget.

Furthermore, if you’ve landed a job that is several hours away from your current location, you may need to relocate. And if you hire an experienced real estate agent, you should have no trouble finding a great residence quickly and effortlessly.

An experienced real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market. As such, he or she can help you narrow your home search and discover the perfect home.

3. You’re ready to make a change.

Are you getting tired of your current neighborhood or living situation? Or, do you want to relocate from a cold-weather climate to a warm-weather region? If you’re ready to make a change in your life, now may be a wonderful time to purchase a house in a new city or town.

Buying a house represents a life-changing decision and should not be taken lightly. However, those who are ready to make a change may want to buy a home in a new city or town so they can settle down and enjoy life in a different part of the country.

For those who are considering a change, meeting with a real estate agent is paramount. Your real estate agent can offer housing market data to ensure that you can secure a terrific house at a budget-friendly price. In addition, your real estate agent can serve as a housing market expert who will be able to answer your homebuying concerns and questions at any time.

Employing a real estate agent can make a world of difference for a homebuyer. Collaborate with a real estate agent today, and you can explore a wide array of homebuying options.

Three Things to Consider When Buying a Home

One of the worst mistakes you can make when looking for a new home is to allow yourself to become discouraged. Once that happens, your energy level drops, your optimism wavers, and your standards slide.

Searching for just the right house for you and your family may take longer than you expect, but success is often right around the corner! In the mean time, persistence and mental focus will help you get past the rough spots and detours. If you decide to work with a real estate buyers’ agent, they will help keep you motivated, encouraged, and updated on new listings.

Although a certain amount of flexibility is necessary when you’re in the market for a new home, there are advantages to having a clear picture in your mind of what you’re looking for. There are a lot of factors that can play a role in your degree of happiness and comfort in a new home, and it’s vital to recognize exactly what those key features and characteristics would be.

Here are a few things to mull over as you visit homes for sale and compare the pluses and minuses of each.

  • Location: In addition to seeking out a neighborhood that’s convenient for shopping, commuting, and meeting your family’s needs, it also pays to keep investment value in mind. While nobody can look into a crystal ball and say with absolute certainty that property values will increase in the foreseeable future, there are educated guesses and projections that can be made based on trends and available data. An experienced real estate agent can be one of your best resources in determining whether a neighborhood is growing or declining. Very often there are telltale signs that are worth paying close attention to when evaluating different homes for sale.
  • Architectural style: While many house hunters are only interested in features like square footage, lot size, and the quality of the school district, you may have preferences for specific architectural styles. Finding a house that conforms to your architectural preferences can make a big difference in your level of satisfaction. Although there are more than thirty different styles from which to choose, many people lean toward Colonial houses, Craftsman style homes, Contemporaries, Ranch houses, Tudors, Victorians (Queen Anne, for example), Cape Cods, Art Deco houses, Split Levels, and Bungalows. Other style possibilities include Dutch Colonials, Georgian-style houses, and Spanish-influenced architectures , such as the Monterey, Spanish Eclectic, and Pueblo. While some styles tend to be mostly confined to certain areas of the country, most communities have a wide array of architectural styles available to home buyers.
  • Condition of the Home: Some of a house’s flaws are easy to spot, while others may require the expertise of a certified house inspector. The extent to which you’re willing to make repairs, updates, and renovations to a new home will be one key factor that will determine which house is best for your needs, goals, and budget.

There are literally dozens of features, characteristics, and quality standards to keep in mind when shopping for a new home, but location, structural condition, and style are three factors that are well worth including on your priority list.

Struggling to Put Aside Money for a House? Try These Simple Ways to Save

For many of us, it can seem like our paychecks are gone before we even get a chance to see them. With seemingly endless bills and expenses, both recurring and unforeseen, saving up for a house is a daunting task.

Fortunately, there are ways you can prepare yourself for those intimidating down payments and many closing costs.

In this article, we’re going to walk you through how you can start saving for a home right this moment. After all, every day is another day you could be contributing to your savings and taking another step closer to owning your own home.

Use a Budgeting Tool

The first step to saving and determining how much you can save is to start budgeting. Many people hear the term “budget” and get nervous thinking they’ll have to start counting the number of coffees they buy. However, there are less anxiety-inducing ways to budget.

From your phone, tablet, or computer you have access to a large number of free budgeting tools. Mint, You Need a Budget (YNAB), and PocketGuard are three of the top budgeting tools that will get you started.

With apps that integrate with your bank accounts and loan balances,  there is little work required on your part. Just set an amount to save each week or month, and direct the funds into your savings account.

Set up a dedicated savings account

Speaking of savings accounts–now is a great time to set up a new one. It’s almost always free to open a new account with your bank. What’s more, it’s a lot less tempting to pull from a savings account when it’s labeled something like “HOUSE SAVINGS – DO NOT TOUCH.”

Once you have your budgeting app and bank account set up, it’s time to dig into some of the ways you can save money without skipping meals.

Cutting Monthly Expenses

Rather than telling yourself you can’t buy any more fancy Starbucks drinks anymore until you have a house (don’t torture yourself), make a list of all your monthly expenses. That can include anything from Netflix and Spotify to haircuts and car washes.

A great way to make this list is to go through your credit and debit card transactions. If you have autopay set up, you might not even realize how many services are withdrawing directly from your accounts each month.

For each item on your list, determine if you can either eliminate the expense or spend less on it. Maybe you go for the deluxe car war rather than the basic. Or, you might pay for services you don’t use as much as you used to.

If you’re worried about having no entertainment if you drop Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, you could try out your local library system. Most of the time you can have books, movies, and music shipped for free from all around your state.

When it comes to cable, cell phone plans, car insurance, and other monthly bills give your provider a call and tell them you’re thinking about switching over to a cheaper competitor. They’ll likely offer you a discounted rate. If they don’t, follow through on your promise and call other providers to see if you can get better rates.

Move to the Best Neighborhoods

You’ve checked your credit scores and reviewed data that’s on your credit reports. You’ve also contacted an experienced real estate agent, a realtor who knows the ins and outs of the neighborhoods you want to move to. The real estate agent has worked with you to find the right home size and home price. There’s just one last thing to do before you buy a house.

Find out if you’re moving to the best neighborhoods

Check out these signs to see if you might be getting ready to move into a great neighborhood. Consider your passions, interests, lifestyle and work arrangements while you review the signs.

  • Neighboring properties are well maintained in the best neighborhoods. Lawns are cut; hedges are trimmed. If you’re house shopping during spring or summer, you spot sprinklers watering lawns.
  • Area businesses are thriving. A thriving business district is a sign that a neighborhood is relatively safe and home to residents who care about the community.
  • None of the houses in the neighborhood is in foreclosure. If as few as two houses in the neighborhood are in foreclosure, it could be a sign of trouble. For example, if new homeowners discover that their house has mold or sewage issues, they could move out or refuse to continue making mortgage payments. Foreclosures could also be a sign that area businesses are conducting layoffs.
  • Zoning laws protect the neighborhood from transportation departments building highways through the neighborhoods. This may not stop construction, but zoning laws could slow the build of new roadways in the area.
  • Walkability scores for the neighborhood are good. Safety isn’t the only factor considered when assessing neighborhood walkabiliity scores. Ease walking to malls, schools, hospitals and shops also factor into neighborhood walkability scores.
  • Liquor stores, bars and clubs are out of sight.It’s not that you just don’t see adult entertainment facilities. These businesses are not within walking distance of the neighborhood.

Neighbors are a big part of home satisfaction

  • Neighborhood residents organize positive community events like holiday expos, charity fundraisers, educational events and youth sporting activities.
  • Landfills are nowhere near the neighborhood. In addition to being eye sores, landfills can also pose health hazards.
  • Residents show that they respect each other.They don’t play loud music, especially at night. They also don’t incite altercations with other people who live in the community.
  • Schools in the neighborhood have high local,state and regional ratings.
  • Crime is low. That doesn’t mean that you don’t practice home safety after you move in. It could be a sign that neighbors know one and look out for each other.
  • Pets are trained and properly secured. The last thing you want is to move into a neighborhood that is home to an aggressive dog that jumps the fence or breaks off its chain one or more times a week.

Moving into the best neighborhoods makes home buying rewarding. It’s so important to the home buying process that checking out a neighborhood is a top house shopping priority. As tempting as it might be to think that you can be happy as long as you love your home, get to know your neighbors before you move. After all,buying a house is about more than gaining new living space. It’s also about the new people you are inviting into your life.

How to Sell and Buy a House at the Same Time

Trying to buy and sell a home at the same time can be tough. Sometimes these buyers and sellers are referred to as being in a sandwich because they are in the middle. The reason this can be difficult is because there is no guarantee that your new home will close at the same time as your old home.

Selling and buying a home at the same time is possible but you will need help. Here are a few tips on how to get into your home while closing on your own home:

1. Hire a real estate professional. This is almost an impossible task without having a seasoned professional by your side. There are lots of details that go into selling and buying and an experienced real estate professional will know just what to do to get you to both closing tables.

2. Sell first, and then buy. This is probably the easiest and safest plan. List your home for sale and secure a buyer. You can either close on your home before purchasing another one, or ask the buyer for a contingency to allow you time to find a new home before closing on the previous one. There are many advantages to selling first, it allows you to know how much you can spend on a new home, and you don’t have to worry about temporary financing.

3. Try to schedule the closing date on the purchase of your new home on the same day, but after the closing on the home you are selling. This way, you can stay in your present home until you move into your new one.

Bottom line, when it comes to selling and buying a home use the expertise of your real estate professional. Your plans may change depending on your circumstances and your local market.

Owning a Home is a Good Investment

Year after year, study after study, good market, down market the story is always the same…owning a home is a good investment. Not only does it build wealth but it also provides many psychological benefits too.

A survey released earlier this year by the magazine Better Homes and Gardens found that eight in 10 respondents said homeownership is still a good investment and believe owning a home is a smart financial move and a source of pride.

Here are some results of the 2,500 people surveyed online:

  • 86% of home owners still feel owning a home is a good investment.
  • 85% feel “owning a home is one of their proudest accomplishments.”
  • 69% of Americans who don’t currently own a home agree with the statement, “No matter what happens in the U.S. housing market, owning a home is still an important goal in my life.”
  • 68% of Americans plan to spend money on their homes in the next six months, with roughly half (49%) expecting to pay up to $1,000.

 

How to make money flipping homes

Flipping a house simply means buying and then selling a home quickly for profit. There are different ways to do this, but if you are interested in buying and selling houses, or just want to find a good deal to invest your money in. You will want to follow some tips on how to make sure you make money and not end up busting the budget.

1. KNOW THE AREA

It is not just about the house you want to buy but also the area. Focus on buying homes in an area that holds value and where homes sell quickly. The golden rule of a home, location, location, location, applies here as you will want the home to be able to be sold quickly. Get to know the average costs and days on market for homes in that area. The more information you have about the market you have chosen, the better decisions you can usually make when it comes time to buy.

2. DO NOT GET EMOTIONAL

This is a business venture; your goal is to make money. Emotions and money rarely mix well. Do not get emotional about house flipping. When choosing colors, fixtures and carpets go neutral, you will not be living in the home. Be careful of becoming too attached to the flip. Choose a price to sell the home, do not overprice the home. Overpricing typically leads to you holding the flip longer thus reducing your profit.

3. KNOW YOUR LIMITS

If you are new to flipping homes, it is important to know your financial and work limits. The budget will always be more than you anticipate, plan for unexpected problems. Start with homes that mainly have cosmetic problems. Look for houses that need new, modern paint or updated fixtures. Homes where the outside yard and landscaping are unappealing are usually a great buy and can yield more profit. Curb appeal is usually a problem that can be fixed very easily and relatively inexpensively while greatly increasing the value of the home.

4. HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY

The point of flipping is to get in and out as quick as possible. Every day that you own the homes costs you money. Have a plan and know exactly what you’re going to do with the home before you buy. Make a schedule of when work will get done and drop dead date of the house going back on the market. If you don’t know if you can sell it quickly, don’t buy it.

Buying a Home or Renting a Home

Living in an apartment can sometimes be a frustrating experience. Paying rent every month makes you feel like you are throwing money away.

Today’s housing market makes it a great time to buy and in some cases you can buy a home for less money than you are paying in rent. Living in an apartment with tenants above or below you in some older apartments can be noisy. Single family homes do not have this problem, as none of the walls in your home will be attached to any other home in your neighborhood. This in turn means that you will have more privacy, and more importantly, there will be less noise coming from your neighbors, no matter what time of the day it is.

Another reason why owning your own home is so great is because you will generally have your own yard, allowing you to have outside furniture, gardens and entertain which can be harder to do in an apartment

When it comes to shopping for a home, it is important that you do a good amount of research beforehand. While single family homes do have a lot of advantages, you have to make sure to take your time and find that perfect home for you. Some things to think about is location, neighborhood, schools, and being close to amenities like shopping, restaurants or other places that may be important to you.

One of the best ways to research for homes is on this website. This website is updated every 15 minutes with new listings, price changes, back on markets and open houses. This will allow you to easily browse through homes for sale until you find the perfect home for your needs.

Bottom line is buying a home today can be a great invest down the road and can come with a lot of benefits over renting. Feel free to call if you would like help in buying or selling your real estate.