Lynn Rand's Blog
Buying a house is never a simple decision. Aside from all of the financial aspects of purchasing a home, there are numerous life-related considerations you’ll need to think about. So, it comes as little surprise that diving head on into the house hunting process can be stressful and taxing to the home buyer.
With all of the different numbers to keep track of--a down payment, closing costs, credit scores, interest rates, and so on--it’s easy to get lost in the finer details of your budget. This can lead to even more stress as you try to navigate your way through getting approved for a mortgage and shopping for the perfect home.
In this article, we’re going to give you some tips on how to maintain your budget and reduce stress throughout the home buying process. That way, when you do finally find the house you’ve been waiting for, you’ll be able to move forward confidently.
Trust the process
Many first-time home buyers enter the real estate market with little knowledge or experience of how things work. Any newcomer to such a huge and complex industry is bound to be flustered with all of the different options available to them.
However, much of the home buying process is relatively standardized. Real estate agents all make roughly the same commission, lenders use similar algorithms to decide how much of a loan you’ll be approved for, and real estate contracts contain legal safeguards and contingencies to ensure that you and the seller’s interests are protected.
When shopping for a mortgage or getting pre-approved, it’s a good idea to ask friends, family, or read reviews online to find someone you know you can trust. From there, rely on the experts to lead you through the process.
Have a long-term plan
Much of the stress and anxiety around buying a home comes from the uncertainty of the future. Sitting down with your family and significant other and deciding your long-term goals for homeownership is a good way to build confidence and know that you’re making the right choice.
Determining things like location, the number of years you want to live in a home, and what priorities are the most important (school districts, neighborhood safety, etc.) will help you make that plan a reality.
Use the tools at your disposal
If you’re reading this article, you already have started to take advantage of one of the most important resources you have, the internet. Look up real estate terminology you’re unfamiliar with, read up on the different types of mortgages, and take advantage of free online calculators to create what-if scenarios to find out what you might end up paying in closing costs and interests.
It’s also a good idea to check your credit score for free online. You can check your official reports once per year, but for simple credit checks you can look it up each month for free.
Knowing that you’re in good hands with a lender and agent, that you have a basic understanding of industry terms, that you have a long-term plan, and that your finances are in order will all help set your mind at ease and give you confidence as you move forward toward homeownership.
If you're in the process of preparing your home for the real estate market, get ready to roll up your sleeves and make your home as irresistible as possible!
While this may sound like an enormous undertaking that you don't have the time or energy to tackle, remember one thing: When you put your home up for sale, there's a lot at stake!
Generally, the longer your house stays on the market, the less marketable it becomes. If potential buyers learn that your house has been on the market for longer than, say, a few months, one of the first questions they'll ask or think will be "What's wrong with it?" Once questions like that start arising, the overall appeal of your home begins to decline. As you can imagine, your ability to get the highest possible price for your house also weakens over time. That's why it's important to do everything possible to enhance the look and feel of your home.
Home Staging Counts
Although effective home staging can be a crucial aspect of selling your house quickly, there is a point at which diminishing returns may come into play. Few home sellers have unlimited time and money to invest in staging their home, and it's easy to go above and beyond what's actually necessary to secure a buyer.
There are dozens of variables that affect a house selling strategy, including the real estate market and the condition of your home. If it's a "buyers' market" and there are a lot of comparable houses for sale in your neighborhood, then you might have to work a little harder to make your home stand out and attract offers. If you're fortunate enough to be in a desirable area and not facing a lot of competition from other home sellers, then the law of supply and demand should work in your favor! However, it's still important to make the most of your property's curb appeal and the overall appearance of your home's interior.
The cost of home staging can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, but your real estate agent can provide invaluable guidance on how to cost-effectlively maximize the "eye appeal" of your house and property. While perfection is generally an unattainable standard in home staging (or anything else), optimal results only come from putting your best foot forward.
Several words to remember and be guided by when preparing a house for sale are "immaculate", "spotless", "manicured" (lawn), "fresh" (looking and smelling), "updated", "well-maintained", and "charming". If prospective buyers are using those words and phrases to describe your home, then you know you're on the right track! Your agent can provide you with helpful insights and suggestions for making a great impression on potential buyers -- without having to spend more on home staging than necessary!
Decorating your home as an adult can be a taxing task. Transitioning from a college student to a professional can take some time. Once you buy your first home, you may find that your tastes for decorating need an upgrade. Those old posters and funny magnets have got to go along with your more sophisticated lifestyle. The decor in your home should make you feel comfortable in your surroundings. You should express your own personal interests through the artwork that’s displayed in your home.
Pieces of artwork shouldn’t just be run-of-the-mill. You need something that will let your personality shine through. You can collect unique pieces in your travels, use personal photographs that you have taken, or simply find things that have meaning for you.
It can be sort of intimidating to dive into a more mature way of decorating but, it can be very rewarding. You’ll also learn a lot about your own style and yourself. Through this self-discovery, you’ll find artwork that you can continue to grow with in your home. Below, you’ll find some tips for choosing the right artwork for your home.
Set A Budget
Buying artwork can be an investment. If you’re a new homeowner, you may need to hold back on getting expensive art for a few years. Set a limit for how much art you want to buy and what you can afford. There are plenty of ways to get decorating pieces for your home for less money. Many stores offer artwork that can add some character to your walls. Even if these aren’t Picasso originals, they can certainly add some flair to the emptiness of a new house. Everything that adds personality to your home isn’t hanging on a wall either. Your decor includes the small figures on your tables, statues, plants, and more.
Have Goals In Mind
If you begin hanging artwork without some reason, your decorating scheme could end up being a disaster. Map out a plan for each room. Think of themes, colors palettes, and the vision for the space. You don’t want to make a serious investment in artwork only to find out that it doesn’t fit with your wall color or furniture. When choosing artwork, it’s important to consider each room as a whole.
Know That Tastes Change Over Time
If you do invest in an expensive piece of artwork, know that it may not suit your needs forever. That’s OK! You can always sell artwork and find replacement pieces over time. It’s not expected that whatever you hang in your home when you move in will stay there for the next 20 years! Artwork very much flows with our lives, so go with the flow.
Pursuing a house can be difficult, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. Thankfully, homebuyers who plan ahead may be better equipped than others to enjoy a quick, seamless and successful homebuying experience.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to prepare for buying a house, and these include:
1. You can determine where you want to live.
A homebuyer who knows where he or she wants to live can tailor a home search accordingly. As a result, this buyer can speed up the process of acquiring his or her dream residence.
When it comes to planning ahead to buy a home, it generally helps to know where you want to go. If you make a checklist of home must-haves and wants, you may be able to hone your home search to specific cities and towns. Then, you can pursue residences in these areas and find your dream house faster than ever before.
2. You can enter the housing market with a budget in hand.
You know that you want to buy a house, but you still have no idea how you will pay for a residence. Fortunately, if you plan ahead for the homebuying journey, you can get your finances in order and enter the real estate market with a budget at your disposal.
Generally, it is a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage prior to pursuing a residence. A mortgage provides you with a set limit that you can spend on a house. Thus, a mortgage can help you minimize the risk that you'll spend beyond your means to acquire your dream residence.
Obtaining a mortgage can be quick and easy too. Meet with banks and credit unions, and these financial institutions can teach you about a broad array of mortgage options. Next, you can choose a mortgage and kick off your home search.
3. You can find an expert real estate agent to help you along the homebuying journey.
If you plan to enter the housing market, you may want to hire an expert real estate agent sooner rather than later. With an expert real estate agent at your side, you can streamline the homebuying cycle.
A real estate agent knows exactly what it takes to purchase a superb residence at a price that fits your budget. He or she first will learn about your homebuying goals and provide insights into the local housing market. This housing market professional then can customize a home search to ensure that you can achieve your desired results.
Let's not forget about the comprehensive support that a real estate agent delivers throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent will set up home showings and offer homebuying recommendations at each stage of the homebuying journey. And if you discover your ideal residence, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer.
There are many great reasons to plan ahead for the homebuying journey. And if you start planning today, you may be able to enjoy a stress-free homebuying experience.
What does it take to acquire a top-notch home in a seller's market? Ultimately, it may prove to be a lot of work, especially for first-time homebuyers.
In a seller's market, there is an abundance of homebuyers and a shortage of home sellers. As a result, high-quality houses sell quickly, and homebuyers who lack real estate insights may miss out on an opportunity to purchase their dream residence.
Lucky for you, we're here to teach you about the ins and outs of a seller's market and ensure you can secure a first-rate house in any housing market, at any time.
Now, let's take a look at three tips for homebuyers who want to purchase a house in a seller's market.
1. Understand Your Homebuying Needs
Know what you want to find in a dream home before you start checking out properties. That way, you can narrow your home search and pounce on new homebuying opportunities as soon as they become available.
Creating a list of must-haves for your dream home may prove to be a great idea. This list will enable you to refine your home search and accelerate the homebuying process.
Also, consider your immediate and long-term home needs. If you plan to raise a family in a new home, you may want to consider exploring houses that are close to schools. Or, if you don't own a car but work in a major city, you may want to assess properties near public transportation.
2. Examine Your Finances Closely
Let's face it – the temptation to outbid rival homebuyers can be overwhelming in a seller's market. However, homebuyers who understand what they can afford can map out their home search accordingly.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking at homes in a seller's market – you'll be glad you did. With a mortgage in hand, you'll know what you can spend on a new house and tailor your home search based on your budget.
Don't forget to meet with several banks and credit unions to explore all of your mortgage options as well. By doing so, you can learn about different mortgage options and select the right one based on your finances.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent understands that buying a home in a seller's market can be exceedingly difficult. As such, he or she will do everything possible to help you purchase a great residence at an affordable price.
Collaborating with a real estate agent is a must, especially for homebuyers who are operating in a seller's market. A real estate agent can set up home showings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. Plus, he or she can keep you up to date about new houses that will meet or surpass your expectations.
Buying a home should be a fast, easy process, even for homebuyers who are searching for a residence in a seller's market. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you should have no trouble navigating a seller's market and acquiring a superb residence.