The real estate market today is busier than ever and home buying in a competitive market has its challenges. With limited inventory, sellers are often presented with multiple offers over asking price. The competition for a single home can leave buyers feeling frustrated and often times rushed into making big decisions including pushing their budget comfort level. A home purchase is a huge financial commitment, therefore the decision to buy should never be made in haste. Patience, a well planned approach, and a keen eye are key to home buying success.
In a competitive housing market, obtaining loan pre-approval is an essential first step. A pre-approval sends a message to the seller that the buyer is well qualified and a serious buyer. A loan officer can help guide the buyer through the details of the loan process, educate them on down payments, and if needed advise on credit repair. Most importantly, the first step in a crazy real estate market is setting up a meeting with a trusted mortgage broker.
Find the perfect real estate agent
Just like finding the right home, finding the right real estate agent will make the home buying experience less stressful. As a result, working with an experienced agent who has a good sense of current market trends and the ability to educate the buyer through the process is key. Having an agent who is a savvy negotiator doesn’t hurt either.
The home search
Getting pre-approved, finding a trusted real estate agent, and the examination of long and short term goals are the first steps in the home buying process. Therefore, once these things are in place, it’s time to have some fun and search for a home! Current market conditions coupled with low inventory and historically low interests rates means multiple buyers are competing for the same home. It is not uncommon for buyers to waive inspection or for the buyer to order a pre-inspection. Knowing as much as possible about a home will make the purchase less risky. Here are some helpful tips (not a complete list) on things to look for when viewing a home.
What to look for in a home
- From the street, visually inspect the roof. Does it appear clean and in good repair? Find out how old it is and if there is a warranty. Replacing a roof can be quite costly. If it is on the older side a roof is something a buyer should budget for.
- Inspect the electrical panel. Many homes may have cosmetic updates but it is important to know if the home’s electrical system has been updated. Some older homes may have something called Knob and Tube wiring while not unsafe it might need to be updated for insurance purposes.
- Look for misaligned doors, sloping floors and cracks in the dry wall. These things might signal foundation issues.
- Is the home clean and tidy? A messy home might indicate that care has not been maintained in other parts of the home.
- Check the age and condition HVAC system. An older system might need to be replaced soon especially if not maintained.
- Check for leaks around windows and walls.
- Examine the siding. Is it in good repair with no noticeable soft spots or decay?
- Check the drainage. Does the water disperse away from the home?
For more info on home inspections visit:
Successful home buying in a competitive market
Issues found through quick visual inspections by buyers however, should not replace an inspection by a qualified home inspector . In addition, it should also not dissuade a buyer from making an offer on a home. So many variables factor into choosing the right home and each buyer has unique needs. Location, size, floor plan, style and price are a few. Is it move in ready? Does it need updating? Does it meet current and long term goals? In conclusion, buying a home in a competitive market doesn’t have to be trying. So, with the right team in place to assist and a little diligence, a multiple offer situation can turn into a winning offer for a happy buyer.
Check out our buyer book for more information about the buying process:
Written by Rondie Martin
Realtor® ABR® e-PRO SRES®
Windermere Senior Transition Specialist
Should you upsize your home? A question almost all homeowners have at some point. When it comes to housing, each stage of life brings a variety of needs and some wants too. Todays homebuyers looking to upsize are no longer just the young family needing more room. A surprising trend, is among those who would normally be looking to downsize are in fact upsizing. Upsizing your home has many benefits in whatever stage of life you are in. Here are some benefits and tips on upsizing and finding the perfect home.
Consider these benefits to owning a larger home for a growing family or creating space for multi-generational living.
- More space to spread out, creating more opportunities to entertain and host family gatherings.
- The additional square footage might allow you to start that business or hobby you have always dreamed of.
- The ease at which to care for and spend more time with an aging parent.
- Multiple generations could share living expenses which would benefit everyone.
- Sometimes, it’s just a matter of being able to finally afford the home you have always wanted.
There are some things to consider before making that final leap of buying a bigger home.
- Owning a larger home comes with larger bills such as higher utility bills, a larger mortgage and tax payments.
- A larger home may require more maintenance and more furniture to fill the space.
Finding the perfect upsized home
- Find a home that not only meets your immediate needs but also future needs. For some that might be a master on the main floor or a mother in law apartment that can also be used as rental income. To make room for a growing family a 4 bedroom might be a better choice than a 3 bedroom.
- Consider location. Do you desire a home close to parks or trails for an active lifestyle? A home near a golf course? Or, do you prefer a home close to shops and dining. Whatever your lifestyle, finding a home close to things you like to do is always a plus.
- Consider the long term maintenance required on the home. Is the home a project or is it move in ready? What do you have the time and resources for? These things could be the deciding factor.
- Pick a real estate agent who gets you. Someone who listens and takes the time to understand your needs and wants. An experienced real estate agent can counsel you on the right time to sell your home, and if you should sell before you buy. They will help you navigate the process smoothly and efficiently.
Should you upsize your home? The move to a bigger home can be scary and exciting at the same time. The possibilities are endless in creating a living space that is larger than your current one. Once you are aware of the pros and cons you can move forward knowing that your decision is a good one. To get started on your search, checkout our current office listings http://windermeremillcreek.com/listings/office-s-listing
Written by Rondie Martin
Reator® ABR® e-PRO SRES®
Windermere Senior Transition Specialist
Should you continue to rent or should you take that giant leap and buy a home? As Real Estate Agents we LOVE selling homes and there is nothing more exciting than when a buyer closes on their first home. The dream of homeownership is the ultimate goal for many. However, there may be some circumstances in which renting makes the most sense. Here are some reasons to help you decide…renting or buying which right for you?
When renting is the right choice
There are many benefits to renting instead of buying. For instance, if you plan on moving frequently, it is often more cost effective to rent . In addition, you might find renting more appealing because of these perks:
- As a renter you are not responsible for maintenance issues or repairs. Therefore, this is money saved. The cost of home maintenance can add up quick!
- No long term commitment . This is beneficial if you transfer jobs or desire a career change. You remain flexible.
- Oftentimes, utilities such as water or trash are included in the rent.
- Renters do not pay property taxes, homeowners or mortgage insurance. More savings!
- You can get into a rental without making a large down payment.
When buying is the right choice
Are you planning on staying put for a while? Do you dream about painting walls, remodeling and creating the home of your dreams? Then, it might be time to buy a home. There are many good reasons to buy a home and here a are few:
- If you plan on being in your home for more than a few years , and with interest rates at an all time low, you might consider buying. Check out this link to compare your payments for renting and buying~https://www.realtor.com/mortgage/tools/rent-or-buy-calculator/
- Building Home Equity- Home equity is the difference between how much you owe and how much your home is worth. Home equity provides the home owner the opportunity to use the equity, via a home equity loan, for such things as home upgrades or paying off debt. The longer you are in a home, the more equity is built up. When it’s time to sell, the equity can be used to reinvest in a new home.
- Tax advantages- Interest on home loans and property taxes are often tax deductible.
- As a home owner you are free to paint, remodel, and landscape. It is your home, so you can personalize it to your own tastes!
Renting or buying, the right choice depends on your needs
Renting or buying which is right for you? There are tremendous benefits to both. Your choice will depend on where you are in life and your end goals. Therefore, doing what is right for YOU is always the best decision. If you decide to take that first step towards homeownership, and would like some guidance, we would love to be your guides.
Written by Rondie Martin
Realtor® ABR® e-Pro® SRES®
Whether you work full-time at home or occasionally need to conduct business in the evenings or on the weekends, a home office a great way to utilize an extra room. A dedicated workspace in your home can be designed to increase productivity and comfort.
Here are 5 quick ideas to get you started because a little can go a long way.
- Invest in a good office chair. Investing in an ergonomic office chair is essential. You may be spending anywhere from 30 to 50 hours a week sitting in it, so your back will thank you. Purchasing one with multiple adjustments is ideal so it fits you just right.
- Switch up your lighting. Fluorescent lighting has been proven to be hard on the eyes. Make the switch to LED or halogen light bulbs in your home office and try to let in as much natural light as possible. Also, consider finding a desk lamp to reduce headaches and eye strain. Proper lighting, is proper design.
- Keep essentials in reach and organized. Nothing helps maintain productivity like a clean, neat home workspace. Select a desk with a lot of storage options or install creative shelving to keep items like pens, pencils, extra batteries, calculators, notepads, and more stored within arm’s reach.
- Decorate bright. Pick a color you love and use it to spice up the room. Use cheery yellow or red or relaxing tones like green and blue, instead of beiges and browns.
- Aim for the view. If possible, place your desk so you are facing a window instead of a blank wall. Natural light can do wonders for staying alert and it allows you to give yourself a short mental break whenever necessary by looking to the outdoors.
For more ideas and a look a some fabulous office spaces check out https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/home-offices-slideshow
How am I supposed to finance this home renovation project?
Outdated kitchen. Overrun backyard. Unusable basement space. If you’re looking to finance a home renovation, here are some of the most common options to make your dreams a reality.
Paying in cash is the most straightforward financing option. Save up until you have enough money to cover the expenses. This will help eliminate spending outside your budget, however, it can also extend your timeline.
If you’ve been making payments on your home for a few years and your interest rate is higher than current market rates, you could qualify for a mortgage refinance. This will reduce your payments and free up some money.
A cash-out refinance replaces your existing mortgage with a new home loan for more than you owe on your house. The difference goes to you in cash and you can spend it on home improvements. You must have equity built up in your house to use a cash-out refinance. This option is encouraged only when you’re making improvements.
Home Equity Line of Credit
Obtaining a home equity line of credit allows you to borrow money against the value of your home. You receive up to 80 percent of your home’s value, minus the amount of your loan.
Pulling money from a 401K or IRA account is another way even though they aren’t specifically meant to cover a home renovation. This option might incur additional penalties or tax payments. It might be worth it when making improvements that will benefit that will increase the value of your home in the long run.
Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following three things in mind.
Stay up to date
When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (MLS) where real estate agents actively post their most current homes for sale. Many online resources update less often or fail to remove listings that are off the market, making it more difficult to sort through the clutter.
Pictures can be deceiving.
Real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. Many use tools and strategies to boost appeal, such as a fisheye lens to make areas look larger and creative editing to make colors and textures really pop. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
See it to believe it.
Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your real estate agent and schedule a showing. You want to take the opportunity to vet the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of.
Be sure to check out our other articles on home improvement and interior design by visiting our blog.
Search for properties online https://www.windermere.com/
First impressions matter when selling a home. Buyers decide within the first 5 minutes if they want to buy a home. If it is appealing on the outside it will draw the buyer in. Once the buyer is inside, the impression received depends on its visual appeal, organization, and cleanliness. Staging a home defines space and highlights it’s best features. Therefore, making it easy to see the home in it’s best light. According to the National Association of Realtors NAR, Eighty-three percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. This is why you should stage your home.
Staging your home is an important and sometimes overlooked step in the home selling process. Homes that are staged typically sell quicker and for more money. The process is more than placement of furniture, and the first step is to look at your home through the eyes of a buyer.
Improve that first impression
- Paint a fresh coat of neutral paint
- Make sure the home has curb appeal curb appeal-trim bushes and branches that hide the house, mow, edge and lay fresh bark,
- Clean, clean, clean
- Declutter -get rid of the items that won’t be moving with you and put away personal photos and valuables.
- Rearrange furniture- Home should appear spacious and bright.
- Repairs- Hire a professional to inspect the roof, attic and crawl space.
we can help
As a result of staging ~a new look, a new perspective, and a renewed sense of value. This is why you should stage your home. Rhonda and I are here to help you through the home-selling process from beginning to end. Rhonda is an experienced broker with over 13 years of experience, and I am a broker, certified home stager, and a certified relocation/ transition specialist. We strive for excellence and value for our clients and their home buying/selling experience.
For more info on staging check out https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2019-profile-of-home-staging-03-14-2019.pdf
We’d love to help your home become the one that all buyers love!! You can reach us through our contact page!
Written by Rondie Martin