Heather + Stephanie, Real Estate's Blog
House hunting can be enjoyable but becomes overwhelming pretty quickly. After looking at many different houses, they can all start to look the same. It’s hard to remember what homes had what features. In order to make a right decision on which home to make an offer on, you’ll need to remember the details of each house. Read on for tips to help you house hunt like a pro.
Keep Track Of The Homes You Have Looked At
Whether you’re doing simple online searches or touring open houses, it’s easy for your mind to get jumbled as to what you have seen. It’s a good idea to keep a record of homes with their addresses as to where they are located, the color of the house, and the desirable features contained within the home. This way, you can have an overall picture of what you want.
Know What Features Are Important
You should make a list of everything you’re looking for in a home before you even start searching. Include things like:
- The price range
- How big of a house you’re looking for
- How many bedrooms
- How many bathrooms
- Additional features like walk-in closets
- Eat-in kitchen or dining room
- What type of home you’re looking for
- How many stories you want the home to be
You can then branch off from the essentials on the list adding other desirable features in a property like a pool, a jacuzzi, a large backyard, or a fireplace. Then, you should make a list prioritizing what is the most important to you in your home search. Things like the number of bedrooms and the size of the home will be a higher priority than a jacuzzi tub.
Look At Your Commute
One of the most significant factors in finding a home is how far it is from your workplace. The closer you are to work, the less stressful your life will be. If you take the train or a bus to work, it may be easier to live close to a station or stop. On the flip side, to be closer to work what are you sacrificing? Are you close to schools, parks, stores, and other regularly visited spots? See what locations suit your lifestyle.
Review What You’ve Looked At
Once you have done your research and decided what you need and want, it’s time to make comparisons. Look at the prices of each home and see what they have to offer for the money. Once you decide the price and amenities are on par with your original wishlist, the house is a good candidate to put an offer on.
A showing enables a buyer to walk through a residence and envision what life may be like if he or she purchases it. And if a buyer crafts a home showing strategy, he or she can make the most of this opportunity.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you plan ahead for a house showing.
1. Review the Home Listing
A home listing may include details about a house, as well as images that depict different areas of a residence. It also may feature information about various attractions and landmarks near a house.
By reviewing a listing prior to a showing, you can double-check to ensure a home falls in line with your homebuying goals. Plus, you can use a listing to understand what you may see during a showing and establish realistic expectations for a residence.
2. Make a List of Questions
There is no reason to enter a showing without a list of questions about a residence. Because if you attend a showing without questions in hand, you risk missing out on valuable insights about a house that otherwise could help you determine if a home is right for you.
As you create a list of home showing questions, consider what you want to know about a house that you were unable to learn from the residence's listing. For instance, you may want to ask why a seller has decided to list his or her house. Or, you can craft questions about utility expenses and other home costs so you can get the information you need to analyze a house.
3. Prepare Your Home Showing Essentials
A home showing is a learning experience unlike any other, so it often helps to put together a bag of must-have items for the event.
For example, you may want to bring a pen and paper so you can take notes during a house showing. Meanwhile, some buyers carry a camera with them so they can capture photos of a house and review them after a showing.
As you prepare to attend a home showing, you may want to consult with a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can take the guesswork out of planning for a showing and help you gain the insights you need to assess all aspects of a residence.
Typically, a real estate agent will meet with a buyer prior to a showing and offer insights into a house. A real estate agent and buyer then will attend a showing together and walk through a house. After a showing is complete, a real estate agent and buyer next will discuss the house and weigh its advantages and disadvantages. At this point, if a buyer wants to submit an offer to purchase a particular home, a real estate agent will help him or her craft a competitive homebuying proposal.
Want to maximize the value of a house showing? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can plan ahead for any home showing, at any time.
If you are in the market for an FHA loan, you are probably happy to get many benefits from the loan like a good interest rate along with the need for a low downpayment. While these loans can be very helpful on the path to homeownership, they can be complex. It’s a good idea to hire a realtor who is well-versed in the ins and outs of FHA loans and standards. A real estate agent can help you to find the right property to suit your needs and meet the standards the FHA loan will require.
Do you know what you’re getting into when it comes to shopping for a home? The FHA sets the rules for how homes get approved for an FHA loan and under what standards. These rules exist because the FHA is insuring the loan, but the organization is not directly funding the loan itself. This insurance protects the lender if the loan is defaulted on. An inspection appraisal report must be completed on each property. The appraiser is required to be an FHA approved appraiser to complete the job.
There are limits on how much of a loan you can get when it is FHA-backed. This is because the FHA will only insure a loan amount up to this limit. This means that you won’t be looking at high-end homes because the limits are usually quite restrictive as to the type of property you can get. This holds true unless you can afford a larger downpayment than the standard 3.5% required by the FHA.
Condition Of The Home
FHA-backed home loans can be rejected due to the poor condition of the home. If an appraiser says that the home is unsafe or hazardous to occupants, the loan will be denied. The assessment of the home’s condition is very important to the lender’s decision to grant the loan. The lender may even require that certain improvements be made before the loan can be approved. These improvements can include pest treatments, fixing leaks, or other damages that are deemed hazardous.
The Property Itself
The FHA also sets guidelines for the type of property that you can get. A condo must be in a HUD approved complex, for example. If you want to research FHA-approved condo complexes, you can search right on the HUD website. Each complex meets the Department of Housing And Urban Development’s standards for financial stability, hazard, and liability insurance. If you’re looking at manufactured homes, these are also held to certain standards. The manufactured home must be permanently attached to the foundation, have the ability to be taxed as a real estate property asset, and have been constructed before June 15, 1976.
Sweeping, dusting, and moppingLet's face it, the Swiffer is a great invention. It mops, sweeps, and dusts without the mess of a bucket of water. Plus it's lightweight and versatile making it useful for many surfaces around the home. The down side? Having to buy all of those expensive replacement pads. If you're like me, you feel a twinge of guilt whenever you throw out at item that seems wasteful. For me, cleaning supplies are the epitome of wastefulness. So, instead of using the throwaway pads you could do a a few things. First, you could buy a reusable pad online. Some are designed to fit various sweepers. Alternatively, there are some cloths that you can buy at your local dollar store that will fit onto your sweeper just fine. Once one gets dirty, put the next one on and sink wash them all when you're done. The other option is to knit or crochet your own sweeper cover. There are lots of patterns online that will help you get started, plus a hand-made cloth adds more meaning to the mundane work of sweeping the house. For those spots you don't dust with your sweeper-duster (like a TV, or the tops of picture frames), you could always dust with your used dryer sheets that you'd otherwise just toss in the trash. Keep them in a bag in your cabinet so you remember to use them.
Go paperlessPaper towels and napkins are always expensive and seldom on sale. Plus, all that paper usage does a number on the environment. Instead of reaching for a paper towel at dinner, keep a stack of microfiber cloths, handkerchiefs, or hand towels. When this isn't possible, like in the case of a big cookout, use choose-a-size paper towels to get more usage out of a roll. And speaking of choosing a size, the next time you buy sponges or "magic erasers," cut them in half to double the length of time you can use them.
Cleaning solutionsMaking your own cleaning solutions has many benefits. First, you get to save money because the supplies tend to be cheap, household items. Second, you get to avoid all of the harsh chemicals that are often added to commercial cleaners, helping your health and the environment. Third, you can make them in bulk and not have to worry about them running out. Recipes for homemade cleaning solutions and air fresheners are abundant online. In general, however, they rely on a few simple ingredients: water, vinegar, baking soda, and some type of citrus like lemons, limes, or oranges.
The amount of money you will need to ensure you can purchase a house varies based on a number of factors. For example, if you want to purchase a house in a big city, you may need to save more money than you likely would require to buy a residence in a small town. Meanwhile, your decision to choose a fixed-rate mortgage over an adjustable-rate mortgage – or vice-versa – can impact your monthly housing costs. And let's not forget about the costs of home utilities like electricity and water, either.
Ultimately, it helps to put together a homebuying budget before you embark on a house search. Because if you know how much money you have at your disposal, you can map out your house search accordingly. And as a result, you can minimize the risk of spending too much to acquire your dream residence.
Let's now take a look at three tips to help you craft an effective homebuying budget.
1. Evaluate Your Current Expenses
An in-depth assessment of your current monthly expenses is key. If you conduct an expense evaluation, you can find out how much you spend on various must-haves and wants. You then can take steps to reduce your monthly expenses and increase your savings for a new home.
It also never hurts to consult with a financial planner. If you have a financial planner at your side, you can gain expert insights to help you evaluate your current expenses. Plus, you can work with a financial planner to determine the best course of action so you can eventually buy your dream residence.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions and explore your mortgage options – you will be happy you did. If you assess your mortgage options closely, you can find one that complements your finances. And once you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will know how much you can spend on a house.
Generally, it is beneficial to meet with as many banks and credit unions as you can. If you consult with myriad lenders, you can receive extensive insights into many mortgage options. Best of all, you will be better equipped than ever before to find the lowest-possible interest rate on a mortgage.
3. Consider Your Down Payment Options
The down payment required for a home purchase varies, but it commonly ranges between 5 percent and 20 percent of a house's total price. If you account for a down payment as you craft a homebuying budget, you can use this total to plan ahead for the property buying journey.
Lastly, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent as you prepare to launch a home search. In addition to helping you find your dream residence, a real estate agent can put you in touch with potential lenders and offer plenty of guidance throughout the property buying journey.
Ready to pursue a home? Use the aforementioned tips, and you create a successful homebuying budget.