Katie McBride's Blog
Ready to launch a search for your dream home? Ultimately, you'll want to do everything possible to streamline your home search to boost your chances of getting the best possible results.
There are many best practices for conducting a successful home search, and these include:
1. Define Your Homebuying Criteria
The definition of the "perfect" home varies from property buyer to property buyer. This means that your definition of the perfect home is unlikely to match that of a friend or family member.
Think about what separates an ordinary home from a can't-miss residence. Then, you'll be able to narrow your home search and map out a successful homebuying journey.
As you consider the perfect home, make a list of homebuying "must-haves." For example, if you want a garage where you and your wife can park your cars, a two-car garage is a homebuying must-have. Or, if you want a home that's close to high-quality schools that your kids can attend, buying a house in a great school district is a must.
2. Get Home Financing
Although your ultimate goal is to acquire a top-notch residence, you'll likely need financing to help you transform your homebuying dream into a reality. Fortunately, many banks and credit unions are available to teach you about a wide range of mortgage options.
Meet with several banks and credit unions – you'll be glad you did. These lenders can educate you about the different types of home loans and help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.
After you receive pre-approval for a mortgage, you're good to kick off your home search. In fact, with a mortgage in hand, you can tailor your search to homes that fall within a specific price range.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
Regardless of your homebuying goals, it pays to work with a real estate agent. That way, you can receive expert assistance as you search for houses in various cities and towns.
A real estate agent is happy to teach you the ins and outs of purchasing a house. By doing so, this housing market professional can help you become a real estate expert in no time at all.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses that become available and help you submit home offers. This housing market professional is committed to your homebuying success and will do whatever it takes to assist you along the homebuying journey.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is available to respond to any homebuying questions that you may have. No homebuying question is ever too big or too small for a real estate agent, and as a result, this housing market professional will make it simple for you to make an informed homebuying decision.
Launch a successful home search today – use the aforementioned best practices, and you can increase the likelihood of discovering your dream home.
Buying a luxury penthouse isn’t just about finding one perfect thing about it. Several other factors come into play when deciding where you might live for many years. If everything isn’t just right, you may end up with buyer’s remorse. Buying a penthouse is different from buying a house in that you have to share several features with others.
The most important part about finding a great luxury penthouse is the location. You could have a luxury penthouse in a part of town that isn’t the best. While you might be safe in the building and your penthouse, your vehicle might not be quite as safe. And, when you have guests, you don’t want the outside of the building and the area around the building to look trashy, even though the inside is ultra-luxurious.
The view goes right along with the location. You are paying top dollar for the penthouse. You should have some benefits for the price you pay, even if money is no object. A building might have a great view on one side, but if your penthouse is not on that side of the building, you won’t get the view. Be sure the view isn’t overlooking a bad part of the city. Not only will you be looking at an eyesore, but the sounds and smells could keep you from enjoying the penthouse.
Your penthouse should have a good-sized balcony. If you want to grill out or just sit outside and get some fresh air, you won’t have to go all the way downstairs to do it. The balcony should have a sturdy railing, the cement or wood should be in good condition and it should not smell. Previous owners could have let their animals out to do their business on the balcony instead of walking them.
The Floor Plan
As with buying a house, a penthouse should have a floor plan that is perfect for you. If you enjoy entertaining, pick a floor plan that has enough space, preferably an open plan for the living room, kitchen and dining room. A split floor plan is also nice, as it separates the master from the other bedrooms and gives you privacy whether you have kids or have guests that stay over. If you have guests that stay over, you might look for a floor plan that includes more than one master suite.
In some cases, a penthouse may not have convenient parking, whether the parking is outside or in an adjacent building. The penthouse you choose should have parking in your building. Also, management should allocate plenty of parking for guests. You would need at least two spaces for yourself if you have a family and drive two vehicles. Guest parking should also be in the same building.
For a first-time homebuyer, it is important to realize that a home seller's acceptance of your initial offer provides no guarantees. In fact, a homebuyer will still need to complete a home inspection before a home sale is finalized.
A home inspection is a valuable opportunity to learn about any potential issues with a house. After the inspection is finished, a homebuyer has the opportunity to submit a counter-proposal, rescind a proposal or keep his or her current offer intact.
Ultimately, hiring the right home inspector can make a world of difference for a homebuyer. With an expert home inspector at your side, a homebuyer can gain insights into a house's pros and cons and determine whether a house is a viable long-term investment.
So what does it take to employ the right home inspector? Here are three tips to help a first-time homebuyer do just that.
1. Conduct an Extensive Search
Search far and wide for a home inspector – you'll be glad you did. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to locate a skilled home inspector in your area, you can boost your chances of identifying potential home problems before you complete a home purchase.
A first-time homebuyer can begin a search for an expert home inspector online. A simple web search is sure to provide plenty of results, and a homebuyer then can perform an in-depth review of local home inspectors' credentials.
Furthermore, don't hesitate to ask family members and friends for assistance. If a loved one recently sold a house and had a great experience with a home inspector, it may be worthwhile to hire this same professional to perform your home inspection.
2. Look at a Home Inspector's Background
How many years of industry experience does a home inspector have? What are past clients saying about a home inspector? And how does a home inspector approach each job? These are some of the questions that a first-time homebuyer should consider as he or she assesses a home inspector's background.
In addition, a homebuyer can always reach out to a home inspector directly to learn more about this professional's experience. A face-to-face or phone conversation with a home inspector may require only a few minutes to complete and can help a homebuyer make an informed decision.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent can help you discover your dream house as well as put you in touch with the top home inspectors in your area. As a result, this housing market professional will ensure you can purchase a first-rate house that matches or exceeds your expectations.
If you're uncertain about whether to hire a particular home inspector, it never hurts to consult with a real estate agent. By doing so, you can gain honest, unbiased tips to determine whether a home inspector is the right person to evaluate your residence.
Employ the best home inspector prior to completing your home purchase – use these tips, and a first-time homebuyer should have no trouble hiring a superior home inspector.
If you’re looking for the perfect location to live but can’t quite afford the neighborhood that you’re vying for, a good option is to look for what’s deemed a "up and coming" neighborhood. These areas are where buyers can find the perfect house in a place where property values are only going to increase in the coming years. Buyers may feel that this is a gamble. How can you really tell if a neighborhood is one of these areas? There are a few vital signs that you can find below which show a city or town is on the up and up.
New Concept Businesses Are Moving In
If you hear a new grocery store is going in an area, co-working spaces, or vegan restaurants are coming to town; it’s a good sign that the neighborhood is going to be a happening place very soon. Think organic, Millennial minded ideas that are trendy. The key is to find the things and places that people want most. If you can move into one of these areas before it becomes popular, you have struck property gold.
Public Transportation Is Nearby
In any urban area, being near public transportation is a huge plus. Being near any major transit is great for property values. Even homes near major routes are attractive. People will always want easier access to work and the things they need.
Think About How An Area Is Perceived
Cities across the country have flipped from having negative connotations to being an area of luxury. It happens slowly, but it starts with how desirable people believe the area to be. What’s considered “hip” can really affect the way an area is perceived.
Are The Homes In The Neighborhood The Same?
There’s often much potential in neighborhoods where all of the homes have the same design. If you see homes in a place where properties could use some TLC, it may be an opportunity for you. Other buyers or house flippers may have the same idea. It will be like a domino effect, and the neighborhood will turn around quickly.
How Long Have Homes Been On The Market?
If houses in an area have been on the market for an extended period, it could be an opportunity for you to get a bargain. Buyers may shy away from a home just because the area is less than ideal. Your real estate agent can help you to determine places where homes have been on the market for awhile.
Buying a house is arguably the most expensive purchase most people will make in their lives. With real estate prices steadily rising year after year, many Americans are finding ways to save on housing.
At the same time, rent prices too are increasing, especially around metro areas where many young Americans are entering the workforce. With costs rising and wages stagnating, it can be hard to find an affordable place to live while still building equity that can be used later on down the road.
One option that many Americans are considering is the fixer-upper route. However, it takes know-how and a lot of hard work to make this method a good choice to save you money. In this article, we’ll tell you how to make certain buying a fixer upper is a good idea and what costs you can expect along the way.
Adding up the costs
Buying a house that needs work means you’ll need to spend a good amount of time calculating costs and getting quotes from professionals. Even if you’re familiar with several home maintenance tasks, there are some jobs that are safer if left to the pros. This isn’t only a matter of physical safety, however. If you start a job that you aren’t qualified to finish you could end up paying much more than if you had just hired a licensed professional to do the job in the first place.
When estimating costs for reparations and renovations, aim high. It’s better to plan for it to be more expensive and have more left over than to underestimate your projects and go over budget.
Get an inspection report
If you aren’t sure whether or not you want to go through with a deal, make sure you have an inspection contingency clause in your contract. This will enable you to back out if the home inspector makes you aware of any costs that you weren’t told about by the seller.
Don’t forget added costs
There are several closing costs you’ll be responsible for as a buyer. Make sure you keep tabs on how much you can expect to spend closing on the home. If you’re going through a mortgage lender, they are required to give you an estimate of closing costs.
Once you know the purchase price of the home and the closing costs, make sure you account for other aspects of your renovations, such as getting required permits.
If you do plan on taking out a loan to cover the cost of renovations, be smart with how you get and pay back that money. One option is the FHA 203(k) loan or renovation loan.
Renovation loans help you save on closing costs and simplify the lending process by giving you one loan that accounts for the cost of the renovations and of the home itself.