Avoid Making a “Lowball” Offer on a Home

After a thorough review of the real estate market, you’ve found your dream home. Now, you just need to submit a fair offer that the home seller will accept.

Regardless of whether you’re shopping for a home in a buyers’ market or a sellers’ market, you’ll want to avoid the risk of submitting a “lowball” offer, i.e. an offer that a home seller will turn down immediately.

Remember, if you want to land your ideal home, you’ll likely need to submit an offer that is attractive to a home seller. And if you know what it takes to minimize the dangers of submitting a lowball proposal, you’ll be better equipped to secure your dream house quickly.

Making a fair offer on a home is simple – here are three tips to ensure you can avoid the dangers of submitting a lowball offer:

1. Review the Real Estate Market.

As a diligent homebuyer, you’ve probably checked out dozens of residences in your search for the perfect home. Along the way, you might have even noticed that home prices vary depending on the size and condition of a residence.

The real estate market remains in a constant state of flux, and what a home is worth today is unlikely what it is going to be worth in five years. However, a homebuyer who evaluates real estate market trends as well as prices of similar homes in a particular area should have no trouble submitting a fair offer on his or her dream house.

2. Evaluate the Condition of the Home.

Keep in mind that the condition of the home may impact its short- and long-term value. Thus, you should try to submit an offer that accounts for the overall condition of a residence.

For instance, a home’s old furnace may need to be replaced in the near future, and doing so could prove to be both costly and time-consuming. But if you consider the cost of a new furnace installation in your proposal, you may be able to justify submitting an offer that is below a home seller’s initial asking price. Or, in some cases, you may be able to convince the home seller to repair or replace this furnace to seal the deal.

3. Understand Your Budget.

You’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage and know your budget for a new home. When you submit an offer, you should keep your budget in mind and ensure you’ll be able to make the mortgage payments if a home seller accepts your proposal.

A homebuyer who understands his or her budget can explore residences within a set price range. And ultimately, this homebuyer will be able to eliminate the chance of submitting a lowball offer on a house that he or she may be unable to afford down the line.

When in doubt, don’t be afraid to discuss your options with your real estate agent, too. This professional can offer insights into how much similar homes in an area have sold for recently, along with other housing market resources and tips to help you secure a house at a fair price.

Avoid the dangers of submitting a lowball offer on a home, and you’ll be better equipped to land your dream residence without delay.

Three Scary Things That Could Take Your House

It may be the last thing that you want to hear. But, keeping up with your mortgage payments may not be enough to keep you in your house. Homeowners living in major cities have been faced with these three scary things that could push  you out of your house.

Why you could lose your home even if you’ve been making mortgage payments

At the top of the list of scary things that could force you out of your home are property taxes. Penalties for making late property tax payments vary from state to state. Depending on where you live, you could be hit with interest on property taxes that you owe.

The interest may accrue monthly. This offers good incentive to catch up in your property tax payments as soon as possible. Fall behind on paying property taxes for a year or longer and local government could send someone from the sheriff’s office to your house to serve you papers.

A lien might be placed on your house. If you don’t resolve the issue in time, you could watch your house get sold. Even if the local government doesn’t sell your house after you fall to far behind in your property tax payments, your name could be published in a list of delinquent property tax payers.

More scary things that could take your house

Should you decide to sell your house and move out of an area that has high property tax rates, the fact that you’re on the delinquent list could scare away potential buyers. You also might decide not to put your house on the market, choosing instead to argue with local government officials about the injury that rising property taxes could cause to thousands, perhaps millions of people.

Rising interest rates and failing personal health could cause you to lose your home. Let your health fail and you may not be able to generate enough income to pay homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance or interest rates.

You might only have enough money to cover the principal on your mortgage. Similar to property taxes, rising interest rates could force you to spend $100 or more extra money to keep your house. To keep up with these costs, you could start falling behind in your mortgage.

Paying your mortgage may not keep you safe

Falling behind in your monthly mortgage payments isn’t the only thing that could cost you to lose your home. Rising property taxes, interest rates and health challenges could also see you get forced out of your house.

Buying a house in a jurisdiction that sharply increases the amount of property tax that you owe could also cost you a house. Changes in interest rates and your personal health could also significantly impact your ability to stay in your house. The only way out of the tight spot might be to sell your house, bring in a renter or start building a savings that you can fall back on should one of the three scary things that could take your house occur.

Homeowners and Interested Buyers Can Benefit from These Free Online Courses

Online courses are gaining popularity as a way to learn new skills and subjects without enrolling in expensive certificate or degree programs. They’re also great for working adults and parents who don’t have time to leave the house every night to go to a class after work. Better yet, many online courses are free (or come with a free trial), so you don’t have to worry about losing money if you don’t like the course.

You might be wondering, “What can I really learn from an online course that will benefit me as a homeowner?” There are a number of courses relevant to homeowners when it comes to things like the home buying process, budgeting, interior design, and more.

In this article, we’re going to introduce you to some of those courses in case you have some free hours in the evenings and want to learn something new. Read on for our list of the best free online courses for homeowners (or soon-to be homeowners).

Buying a home

Unfortunately, many of us go into the home-buying process knowing little about what to expect. This can be cause for stress and anxiety as you navigate the complicated steps of building credit, getting preapproved, and making an offer.

Udemy offers a one-hour course on home buying that can help you with this process. First, A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Your First Home will help you prepare for a down payment, understand the housing market, and teach you about things like home inspections and appraisals.

Personal finance

I often wish that kids were taught more practical finance and budgeting skills in high school so they have an idea of what to expect once they graduate and enter the workforce or apply to college.

Making financial decisions is stressful at any time of your life, whether it’s taking out student loans, buying your first home, or deciding when is the right time to retire. Fortunately, edX has you covered with this free personal finance course from Purdue University.

You’ll learn about retirement savings, the different types of investments, how insurance works, and the role credit plays in your ability to make healthy financial decisions.

Interior design

Decorating and designing the layout of your furniture is often something that we just guess at. Maybe you saw layouts and colors that you liked on Pinterest and tried to emulate them, or perhaps you just buy decorations and furniture just because you like them and not because they fit the style of your home.

If you want to gain a better understanding of basic interior design and decorating, this series of video lectures from Howcast is a great place to start. With 53 short videos you can watch whenever and wherever you want, you can browse and learn at your leisure, then try some of these methods in your own home.

Factors for Homebuyers to Consider Before They Make an Offer

The real estate market is filled with many high-quality residences, and after a comprehensive search, you’ve found a residence that fits your personal needs and budget perfectly. However, you may need to think twice before you submit an offer on this residence.

There are many factors that homebuyers should consider before they make an offer on a house, including:

1. Neighborhood

Ideally, you’ll want to find a home in a community filled with friendly neighbors. But in many cases, homebuyers may focus exclusively on a residence and ignore the neighborhood entirely.

Taking a walk around a neighborhood often allows you to get a better feel about what it is like to live in a neighborhood and may give you a chance to meet some of the neighbors as well. Also, a simple walk around the block will provide you with a better idea about whether a house’s value may rise or fall in the foreseeable future.

For instance, a neighborhood filled with houses with well-maintained front lawns, nearby parks and schools and other local amenities may prosper for years to come, and home values may rise in this neighborhood over the next few years.

2. Crime

No one wants to live in an unsafe area, and you can learn about crime near a prospective home before you submit an offer on a residence.

Contacting a local police station usually is a great idea for homebuyers who want to find out about crime statistics in a particular area.

Furthermore, your real estate agent can provide insights into crime in a specific area and help you determine whether a particular house is the best option.

3. Traffic

Although your dream home features all of the amenities you want, it might fail to provide you with quick, easy access to your office day after day.

For example, traffic can be a problem if your house is located in or near a major city. And if you need to travel to work every day, it is important to understand how traffic could affect your daily commute.

To better understand traffic patterns in a particular area, try driving to a residence at different times during the day. By doing so, you can learn about traffic patterns near a house and be better equipped to make a more informed decision about whether to submit an offer on a residence.

4. Taxes

You’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage and have established a monthly budget for a new home, but taxes may vary depending on where you move. Thus, you’ll want to learn as much as possible about potential taxes that you could face at a new residence before you submit an offer.

Taxes may add up quickly, but homebuyers who budget accordingly can minimize the risk that they’ll fall behind on tax bills. And with support from your real estate agent, you can learn about taxes that you may encounter if you purchase a particular residence.

If you’re fully satisfied with a residence after you consider the aforementioned factors, you’ll be ready to submit an offer and move one step closer to moving into your dream house.

How To Sell Your Home Fast

If you want to sell your home quickly and provide the appeal that buyers are looking for, there are a few things that you should know about in relationship to what buyers are looking for. Buyers look for clean, inviting properties that they can see themselves in. Below, you’ll find the tips to help you create that appeal.   

What Does The Home Look Like From The Curb?

The first impression that buyers will get from your home is what it looks like from the curb. Your yard should appear neat and inviting when potential buyers pull up to the home. This means that before an open house, you should rake up the yard, add some colorful plants or flowers if you don’t have any, and be sure that the lawn has been mowed. 

Stage Your Home


As much as you think that lighting candles and organizing the inside of your home just so is slightly over the top, do it. Everything in your home should be neat. Don’t leave unsightly papers laying around or furniture in disarray. Prepare your home for an open house as you would for a magazine shoot.

Photographs Matter

The first place most people start their home search is online. If the photos of your home on the listing aren’t high quality and fail to give a good visual of the home, buyers will scroll right past it. You can even integrate video tours with the listing as well. To get people to attend an open house, you need to get them virtually interested first. 

Make Updates If You Know That You’re Selling 


There are certain changes that just look great on a home. These include updated appliances, new cabinets, bathroom updates, and new flooring. Updating these things also can facilitate a big return on your investments. Buyers love homes that don’t need a whole lot of work- especially in the kitchen and the bathroom. They are willing to pay for these luxuries. 

Know The Market

Hiring an agent who knows the market is one step in the right direction to selling your home fast and easily. Your agent will help you to price your home appropriately based on many factors including the neighborhood, the size of your home, and the demand that is present in the market. Price a home too high and you’ll leave the home sitting on the market for an extended period of time. If the home is priced too low, you could end up in the middle of a bidding war. Worse, buyers may wonder what’s wrong with the home that it is priced so low.

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What Color Should You Paint Your Home’s Exterior?

Your home’s exterior will be the first thing any prospective homebuyer sees when he or she visits your house. As such, you’ll want to do everything possible to help your home’s exterior stand out for all the right reasons.

Cracking or fading paint throughout your home’s exterior can be problematic, especially for those who want to sell their residences as quickly as possible. Fortunately, painting your home’s exterior remains a viable option — all you’ll need to do is find the right color to help your residence impress prospective homebuyers consistently.

For those who want to revamp their home’s exterior, there are many factors to consider when choosing a new color, including:

1. Your neighbors’ homes

If you decide to paint your home a bright or dark color, how will this make your home look in relation to the rest of the houses in your neighborhood?

Take a walk around the neighborhood to see if you can find a common color palette before you paint your home’s exterior. This enables you to consider how your house will look relative to others in your neighborhood prior to painting.

If you notice your neighbors’ homes include a mix of light or dark colors, you may want to stay within the same palette. However, try to avoid using the same color as your neighbors’ homes – because no homebuyers want to live in a neighborhood filled with cookie-cutter houses that look identical.

2. Your home’s style

Do some research to find out what type of home you currently own and how similar residences have been painted in the past. This will allow you to discover a color scheme that matches the style of your home, and ultimately, may help your residence generate interest from homebuyers.

For example, a Victorian-style home may feature distinct features that you should try to showcase using a bright color. On the other hand, a stuccoed Spanish colonial-style residence may appear distinguished if you utilize a neutral color.

Devote the time and resources to learn about the style of your home, and you should have no trouble finding the right color for your residence’s exterior.

3. Your home’s current color

What did you think of your home’s exterior when you initially bought your home? The exterior color may have been one of the standout features that drew you to your house, and restoring your residence’s original color may help you transform your home into a must-buy.

When it comes to painting your home’s exterior, your best choice may be to leverage the same color. This may help you speed up the process of improving your home’s appearance, as you won’t need to evaluate numerous color options for your house’s exterior.

Painting your residence’s exterior is a must for those who want to enhance their home’s appearance and value. A new paint job enables you to boost your house’s curb appeal as well – something that is exceedingly important for home sellers in a highly competitive real estate market.

Work toward revamping your house’s exterior today, and you’ll be able to improve your chances of selling your residence.

3 Tips to Become a Smart Home Seller

Getting the best price for your residence can be easy, particularly if you allocate the necessary time and resources to become a smart home seller.

What does it take to become a smart home seller? Here are three tips to help you do just that.

1. Analyze the Housing Market Closely

The housing market can be tricky to navigate, especially for a first-time home seller. Fortunately, those who spend some time reviewing the real estate sector closely can identify housing market patterns and trends and plan accordingly.

For example, a home seller should check out the prices of comparable houses in his or her area. This will enable a property seller to understand how his or her home stacks up against the competition.

A home seller also should review the prices of recently sold homes. This will allow a home seller to differentiate between a buyer’s market and a seller’s market.

2. Take a Look at Your Home – Both Inside and Out

When a homebuyer views your house for the first time, will your residence make a positive first impression? If you’re unsure, you may want to conduct a home appraisal as soon as possible.

A home appraisal allows a property inspector to examine your residence both inside and out. That way, you can identify any potential problems with your residence and make home improvements as needed.

There are many quick, simple ways to enhance your property’s appearance without breaking your budget too.

For example, mowing the front lawn and trimming the hedges can help you transform an ordinary home exterior into an exceptional one.

Or, if you want to upgrade your house’s interior, eliminating clutter usually is a great idea. Removing unwanted items from your house will help you free up space so you can show off the true beauty of your residence’s interior.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

No one should be forced to navigate the home selling journey alone. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available who can help you seamlessly add your home to the housing market and optimize your residence’s value.

A real estate agent will meet with you to understand your home selling goals. Then, he or she will help you map out a home selling journey, one that guarantees you can generate plenty of interest in your residence as soon as it becomes available.

Usually, a real estate agent will help you get your home ready to add to the real estate market. He or she will offer honest, unbiased home improvement recommendations so you can upgrade your residence in no time at all.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will set up home showings, promote your residence to homebuyers and negotiate with property buyers on your behalf. And if you ever have home selling concerns or questions, a real estate agent will be happy to respond to them instantly.

Take the guesswork out of selling your home – use the aforementioned tips, and you can become a smart home seller.