Kathy Zeamer's Blog
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.
Have you ever made a move across the country? While this is a huge step, it can be extremely rewarding. Whether you’re moving for a job or you just want a fresh start, the whole process can be stressful and very expensive. However, there are some tips to consider that can help to ease the stress and simplify the process.
Timing is Key
While you may think that you can move at any time, you should be strategic on when you move—if you want to save the most money. Holidays, weekends and at the end of the month are the busiest — and most expensive — times to move, so choose wisely in this regard. To score the best savings, try to move during the week and before the month of May or after the month of September. These are the times when moving is extremely common, so the moving industry will ramp up costs during these times. You want to also ensure that you are 100% ready by the time of your move. Try to think about everything that needs to be done, then set a time for your departure.
Lighten Your Load
When preparing for your cross-country move, it’s also very beneficial to get rid of junk that you don’t need. Consider your necessities and throw away things that you never use. This step can be the deciding factor between renting a truck or taking your own car across the country. Renting a vehicle for a long-distance move can cost over $1,000, so it’s important to cut costs if possible. Be sure to go through boxes, throw away junk, and compact your belongings as much as possible.
Pack Your Own Food
Driving across the states for your move can take days. And if you’re driving a moving truck with all of your belongings, then this journey can take even longer. That being said, you’ll need to make eating and sleeping arrangements. Unfortunately, these expenses can really add up quickly, especially since you’ll need money for multiple meals and multiple nights on the road. Therefore, to save a little cash, be sure to pack food for the drive. Not only can this help you save as you’re adventuring from state to state, but it can also help you save on time. Rather than stopping every few hours to get a quick bite, you can conveniently eat while you drive or pull off the road for a few minutes.
Moving across the country can take a toll emotionally, mentally and physically. And if you’re doing it alone, this journey can be even more stressful. But by focusing on the three tips mentioned above, you can rest easy knowing that you’re well-prepared for this life-changing adventure.
After a home seller accepts your offer on a home, the next step usually involves a home inspection.
At this point, you'll hire a home inspector who will walk through the home you'd like to buy and offer expert insights into the residence's strengths and weaknesses. Then, you'll be able to assess potential issues with a home and determine whether to move forward with a home purchase.
A home inspection can be stressful, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of home inspections.
Ultimately, there are many questions to consider after a home inspection is completed, including:
1. What did the home inspection reveal?
A home inspection offers unparalleled insights into a residence. It enables you to look beyond a house's surface and find out whether major repairs will be required both now and in the future.
Hiring an experienced home inspector is paramount for homebuyers. With an experienced home inspector at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than others to identify "hidden" problems within a house.
Also, don't forget to review a home inspection report closely. With this information at your disposal, you'll be able to understand whether a residence meets your expectations.
Be sure to consider the long-term value of a property as well. Remember, a home that you plan to purchase should be able to serve you well for years to come. But if you encounter myriad home issues during a property inspection, you may want to consider rescinding your offer on a residence and restarting your search for the ideal house.
2. Are there major home issues?
As a homebuyer, it is important to be able to identify the differences between major and minor home issues.
For example, if there are tiny cracks and chips in the paint on a kitchen's walls, these issues are minor. In fact, you may be able to repair such issues quickly and effortlessly.
On the other hand, an old, inefficient furnace can cause major headaches. Without a properly functioning furnace, you may struggle to heat your home in winter. Meanwhile, it may cost several thousand dollars to replace this furnace.
If you encounter problems with a residence during a home inspection, consider the costs associated with these issues. By doing so, you'll be able to determine how much you may need to spend to correct such problems and can proceed with a home purchase accordingly.
3. What should I do next?
An informed homebuyer will be equipped with the knowledge and insights needed to make a great decision.
Consider the problems that were discovered during a home inspection. If you can fix home issues without having to commit substantial time and resources to complete various home maintenance projects, you may want to consider moving forward with a home purchase.
If you encounter major home issues, you can always ask a home seller to perform home repairs. Or, you may want to remove your offer on a home altogether.
Working with a real estate agent is ideal, especially for homebuyers who want help with home seller negotiations. With assistance from a real estate agent, you should have no trouble determining how to proceed after a home inspection.
Ready to purchase a condo? No worries, as there are many terrific condos available in cities and towns nationwide.
As a condo buyer, you'll want to do everything possible to ensure you can buy a top-notch property quickly and effortlessly. Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of acquiring your dream condo.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you simplify the condo buying process.
1. Know What You Want Out of the Perfect Condo
Are you looking for a condo in a small town or a big city? Do you want a condo that features a community swimming pool, tennis courts and other deluxe amenities? And how close is a condo to your workplace? These are just some of the questions that you'll want to consider before you kick off your condo search.
An informed condo buyer will know exactly what to look for in the perfect condo. As a result, this condo buyer may be better equipped than others to accelerate his or her property search.
2. Understand Your Price Range
You know that you want to buy a first-rate condo, but what can you afford? With a condo buying budget in hand, you'll be able to estimate your monthly property expenses and plan accordingly.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage may prove to be a great idea. If you meet with several banks and credit unions, you'll be able to learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal. Then, you can select a mortgage that will enable you to establish a price range for your condo search.
In addition, don't forget to consider any homeowners' association (HOA) fees before you choose a condo. HOA fees cover property maintenance costs and will vary depending on the condo community. Therefore, if you fail to account for these fees before you purchase a condo, they may cause you to exceed your monthly budget.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
Take the risk out of finding a condo that meets or exceeds your expectations by working with a real estate agent – you'll be glad you did.
A real estate agent with condo experience understands what it takes to speed up the search for the perfect property. This real estate professional will go above and beyond the call of duty to help you find a property that you can enjoy for years to come.
Typically, a real estate agent will set up condo showings and keep you up to date about open houses. He or she also will help you submit offers on condos and negotiate with condo sellers on your behalf, ensuring you can manage any challenges during the condo buying process.
A real estate agent will even respond to any condo buying concerns and queries. That way, you can receive expert guidance as you navigate the process of going from condo buyer to condo owner.
Use the aforementioned condo buying tips, and you should have no trouble securing an amazing condo in the near future.
Whether you are buying your first home or are upgrading, consider buying a larger home. Even if you are just planning on starting a family, a larger home allows you to grow into it. And, you don’t have to put up with the pesky chore of moving when it’s time to go bigger. If you are upgrading, you should still go bigger than what you think you need because you’ll eventually run out of space. As long as you can afford it, going bigger has more benefits than downfalls.
Save Money When Your Family Grows
Instead of trying to sell a home and buy a larger home when your family starts growing, you’ll already have the larger home. If you plan on two kids but often have relatives or friends visit overnight, you’re better off with the extra bedrooms: one for each child, the master suite and at least one guest bedroom. When you have more than one guest bedroom, you’ll be able to make one into an office or a library if you decide to work for yourself later in life or if you decide you just want a quiet place to escape to once in a while.
A home with at least one extra bedroom and bathroom commands more money on the market when you decide to sell it. Instead of a three-bedroom, two-bath house, you might consider a five-bedroom home with at least three bathrooms. You’ll get more for a sale than you would for a three-two. While you might pay more for the house, depending on how the market is when you sell, you could see quite a bit more appreciation than in a smaller house.
Generally, larger homes also have larger living spaces in addition to the extra rooms. You’ll have a more spacious kitchen and a larger living room that won’t feel as crowded when you entertain. You might find a new hobby later in life and will have the extra space to accommodate that hobby. And, because you have more space, your home will look less cluttered because you won’t have to “find” room to store your stuff.
Finally, you can get the furniture you want, instead of settling for something just because it fits in your living room. If you’ve always wanted that big-screen TV or even a room with movie theater seating, you can have that when you go bigger.
What You Can Afford
Look at your debt-to-income ratio as that determines what you are able to afford. If you can go bigger, the benefits outweigh the larger utility bills and the amount of extra time it takes to clean. And, look for a house that is on some acreage so that you can create a large outdoor living area and won’t be on top of your neighbors.