Lynn Rand's Blog
In many communities, homeowner’s associations, or HOAs, provide services to residents of the neighborhood. In fact, as many as 26 million homes are under the guidance of an HOA across the country. These community organizations can help ensure the neighborhood’s homes stay in good repair, residents treat each other respectfully, and agreed-upon rules are followed by all community members. But HOAs are not free. To be a member of a community with an HOA, you will need to pay a monthly or annual fee. So is the HOA worth having? Here are the benefits and drawbacks to consider if you’re shopping for a home in a community with one.
Benefits of an HOA
An HOA will provide amenities for you as a resident of the community. Sometimes, those amenities may include things like community swimming pools or a fitness center. They may be something as simple as enforcing rules about the upkeep of homes so the neighborhood looks nice. This, in turn, can help preserve the value of your property.
HOAs can reduce some of your responsibilities. Depending on the terms, they may cover lawn mowing and snow removal, or they may give you someone to call if your neighbor is letting his dog bark at odd hours of the night.
Finally, an HOA gives you a voice. These associations are run by boards, which are typically community residents, and those board members are supposed to listen to the needs and desires of community members.
Drawbacks of an HOA
On the other hand, an HOA does have some drawbacks. Sometimes, the rules, like rules about fencing in your yard or the color you can paint your home, may be detrimental to your goals. The cost is another factor to consider, as it will increase your overall cost of homeownership.
Depending on the terms of your HOA contract, it may be possible for the association to foreclose on your home if you fail to pay your dues and follow the rules. They can also spring assessments on the homeowners within the association if they lack the money to cover an expense, such as if the community pool needs to be renovated.
Finally, an HOA will often limit the rental of homes within its governance. If you need to move and don’t want to sell, you may not have the freedom to turn your home into a rental. If rentals are allowed, the HOA will have regulations about the rental agreements that you have to follow.
So is an HOA right for your needs? The answer truly depends on your goals for your home and your overall budget. Weigh the pros and cons, and then make a decision that fits you.
Purchasing a home may prove to be an arduous process, particularly for those who fail to plan ahead for the property buying journey. Thankfully, there are many quick, easy ways to streamline the homebuying cycle.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you become a smart homebuyer.
1. Study the Real Estate Market
A smart homebuyer realizes the housing market fluctuates constantly. In fact, a real estate market that favors sellers today may favor buyers tomorrow, or vice-versa. But if a homebuyer reviews the housing sector closely, he or she can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market and plan accordingly.
Oftentimes, it helps to analyze the prices of recently sold houses in your preferred cities and towns. This will enable you to see whether houses are selling at or near their initial asking prices. It also will allow you to find out how long homes are available before they sell.
2. Obtain Home Financing
A smart homebuyer understands the importance of getting a mortgage before he or she pursues a residence. Thus, this buyer will meet with lenders and get pre-approved for home financing to further accelerate the homebuying journey.
Generally, it won't take long to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who can help homebuyers quickly analyze various home financing options. These specialists can teach you about a broad array of mortgage options and help you weigh the pros and cons of different mortgages. Then, once you evaluate all of your mortgage options, you can select a mortgage and kick off the homebuying journey with a budget in hand.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
A smart homebuyer knows that working alone to find and purchase a house can be difficult. Therefore, this buyer will allocate time and resources to hire a real estate agent who can provide comprehensive assistance throughout the homebuying journey.
Typically, a real estate agent is a must-have for a homebuyer, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing sector and is happy to share his or her expertise with any homebuyer, at any time.
When it comes to navigating the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to help you in any way possible. For instance, if you need help finding a residence in a particular city or town, a real estate agent will make it simple to narrow your house search. On the other hand, if you want to buy a new house as quickly as possible, a real estate agent will ensure you can discover your dream residence on your timeline. Best of all, a real estate agent will respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions and help you make informed decisions at each stage of the homebuying cycle.
Enter the housing market as a smart homebuyer – use the aforementioned tips, and you can increase the likelihood of enjoying a successful homebuying journey.
Ready to acquire your dream home? Although you might have already located your ideal residence, you may need to negotiate with a home seller. By doing so, both you and a home seller will be satisfied with the final results of a property transaction.
However, a homebuying negotiation sometimes can be tricky. And if you fail to keep your cool throughout a negotiation, you may miss out on the opportunity to purchase your dream residence.
What does it take to remain calm during a homebuying negotiation? Here are three tips to help you do just that.
1. Take Your Emotions Out of the Equation
Don't take it personally if a home seller wants to negotiate. Instead, view it as an opportunity to ensure all parties involved in a home sale get the best results possible.
In many instances, it's easy for homebuyers to let their emotions get the best of them. But if you feel overwhelmed by stress and frustration, it is essential to take a step back and assess the situation. That way, you can avoid making any rash decisions that could put your chance to purchase a top-notch house in danger.
Try to maintain a positive outlook throughout a homebuying negotiation. Also, don't hesitate to reach out to family members and friends for support, as these loved ones likely can help you analyze any homebuying hurdles and find ways to overcome them.
2. Know Your Options
You may invest many hours in a homebuying negotiation, and you might even make various concessions along the way. But despite your best efforts, there are no guarantees that your homebuying negotiation will be successful.
For homebuyers, it is important to remember that there are plenty of houses available in cities and towns nationwide. Therefore, if a homebuying negotiation goes sour, you can walk away and start a new search for a terrific home.
3. Consult with Your Real Estate Agent
When it comes to negotiating a home purchase, a real estate agent can make it easy to streamline the process of acquiring your dream residence. This housing market professional can serve as a liaison between you and a home seller. As such, he or she will do everything possible to deliver exceptional results for all parties involved in a homebuying negotiation.
Your real estate agent can take the guesswork out of a homebuying negotiation. This real estate expert can respond to any concerns or questions you may have throughout a negotiation. In addition, he or she will provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help you make informed homebuying decisions.
Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent can help you alleviate stress during a homebuying negotiation. He or she will provide you with world-class guidance, enabling you to stay calm, cool and collected as you search for your ideal residence.
Don't let your emotions overwhelm you during a homebuying negotiation. Conversely, use the aforementioned tips, and you can maintain your composure throughout a homebuying negotiation and boost your chances to acquire a first-rate house.
Although you might have entered the housing market with a strategy to help you streamline your search for your dream home, it is important to remember that even the best-laid plan may need to be changed. And if you fail to discover your ideal residence after a comprehensive search, now may be a great time to revise your homebuying strategy.
Let's take a look at three tips to help you revamp your homebuying plan.
1. Consider Your Home Must-Haves and Wants
Creating a list of home must-haves and wants may be done at the start of a house search. Over time, however, this list may evolve. And if you update your list, you may be better equipped than ever before to reenter the real estate market with a fresh perspective.
Think about where you want to live in the foreseeable future too. Then, you can narrow your home search to specific cities and towns and accelerate the homebuying journey.
2. Review Your Budget
If you recently paid off your student loans or eliminated your credit cards, you may want to reassess your homebuying budget. That way, you can hone your house search and explore residences that fall within your up-to-date price range.
Of course, if you have yet to get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can still do so. Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about all of the mortgage options that are available. This will enable you to gain the insights you need to select a mortgage that matches your finances.
3. Learn About the Housing Market
The housing market may favor buyers or sellers. And if you have been searching for your dream home for several weeks or months, the market may have changed.
It does not take long for a buyer's market to become a seller's market, or vice-versa. As you consider your homebuying options, you should study the local real estate sector closely to determine whether the current housing market favors buyers or sellers.
Evaluating the prices of recently sold houses in a particular city or town usually is a good idea. This housing market data will enable you to find out whether sellers are receiving offers at or near their initial home asking prices.
You also should find out how long current residences in a particular city or town have been listed. If houses linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time, you may be operating in a market that favors buyers. Or, if homes are selling quickly, you may be operating in a seller's market.
Lastly, hiring a real estate agent often is helpful, particularly for homebuyers who are struggling to identify the perfect residence. A real estate agent can offer lots of tips as you conduct your search for your dream residence. Plus, if you need to revamp your homebuying strategy, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to do just that.
The process of buying a house may prove to be long and complicated. Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take before you pursue a home to streamline the homebuying cycle, and these include:
1. Create a Homebuying Checklist
It helps to start the homebuying process with a homebuying checklist in hand. This checklist will enable you to differentiate between home must-haves and wants, resulting in a fast, efficient homebuying journey.
Think about what you require from a home. For example, if you need a house that is located close to your office in the city, you should include this information in your checklist.
Also, if you want a house that features a built-in swimming pool, you can include this information in your homebuying checklist. But keep in mind that a swimming pool likely is a non-essential item. And if you find a home that is virtually perfect but lacks a swimming pool, it may still be a good idea to pursue this house.
2. Establish a Budget
How much can you afford to spend on a house? This question frequently plagues buyers as they proceed along the homebuying journey. Luckily, you can determine how much money is at your disposal if you develop a budget.
To budget effectively, it helps to meet with local lenders. Banks and credit unions generally offer a wide range of mortgage options and can help you make an informed mortgage decision.
In addition, it often helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage prior to entering the real estate market. Because if you have a mortgage, you can pursue houses that fall within a specific price range and reduce the risk of overspending to acquire your dream house.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
If you want to enjoy a quick, seamless homebuying experience, it is beneficial to have a homebuying expert at your side. Thankfully, real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals will do what it takes to help you discover a great house at an affordable price.
A real estate agent understands housing market patterns and trends and can help you plan ahead for a buyer's or seller's market. He or she will teach you about the real estate market and respond to your homebuying queries as well.
Furthermore, a real estate agent acts as a guide throughout the homebuying journey. This housing market professional will set up home showings, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and help you finalize a home purchase. By doing so, a real estate agent will take the guesswork out of buying a house, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.
When it comes to purchasing a house, it helps to prepare. If you employ a real estate agent today, you can get the support you need to plan ahead for the best- and worst-case homebuying scenarios. That way, you'll be able to identify and address potential homebuying hurdles before they escalate.
Ready to buy a house? Follow the aforementioned steps, and you can move closer to pursuing your dream residence.