Archive for Tips For Buyers

Home Shopping? Ask the Right Questions

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When shopping for a new home, it’s easy to fall in love. You can find yourself dazzled by the sprawling backyard, trendy kitchen, or sky-high ceilings, and want to make an offer right then and there.
But it’s important to take a step back and take the time to evaluate the perhaps less-exciting details. These often overlooked details may ultimately lead to significant, costly issues. Here’s what to look for and how to get beyond the WOWs:
  • Windows: Does every window open? For emergency reasons, every room needs a window that can be opened. Do they close and lock securely? Is the glass intact? Is there a tight thermal seal (which is important to regulate temperature)?
  • Flooring: Look for cracks, stains, holes, and warping. Ask if there’s another layer of flooring under carpet, tile, or laminate. Is the floor level? If not, it might be an indication of water, or worse, structural problems.
  • Basement: That beautifully finished basement could be hiding a plethora of problems, from leaks to mold to holes to critter infestations. Use a powerful flashlight to carefully examine corners and walls and look behind and under finishings.
  • Roof: Roof replacements are costly. Find out when the roof was last addressed, and whether it was a patch or a replacement. Look for signs of damage from the street.
  • Neighborhood: Look beyond the obvious into the details: Is local traffic a nightmare in rush hour? Is there reliable transit nearby? Is the home near green space, schools, and recreational facilities?
  • Parking: If the house doesn’t have a garage, will the driveway accommodate your vehicles? Is there good on-street visitors’ parking?
Even after you’ve checked the details, make your offer contingent on a home inspection. A reliable home inspector can dig deeper into the details. Isn’t your peace of mind worth it?

To Buy Or Not To Buy?

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The decision to buy a home is a complex one with many factors to consider, some of which may differ from person to person. But whether you’re a recent graduate, newlywed, single or single again, married with children, or an empty nester, there are common factors we can all take into account. Don’t just roll those dice!

There are many benefits to home ownership. For starters, it’s a great long-term investment. Although you’re unlikely to see significant appreciation in price in the short term, an increase in value is almost certain over time. But remember: real estate is not a “liquid” investment. Should you find yourself wanting or needing to sell, it could take some time to find a buyer and close the sale, depending on market conditions at the time. Owning a home also offers a number of tax benefits. Interest and closing costs paid on a mortgage as well as property taxes are deductible if you itemize deductions on your federal income tax return.

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In addition to financial benefits, home ownership offers other advantages. Many people experience a sense of pride and satisfaction in owning their own home. For some, it gives a sense of stability, of “setting down roots.” And when you own your home, you enjoy the freedom to improve your property according to your own wants and needs, which usually isn’t possible when renting.

With the great power of ownership, however, comes great responsibility. Maintenance and upkeep tasks that you may be accustomed to your landlord handling will fall squarely on your shoulders. In addition to the time it takes to care for your home properly, you’re likely to encounter both routine and unexpected expenses. It is important to anticipate these occurrences and prepare for them.

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How do you know if you’re ready to buy a home? Do your research. Make a plan. Prepare a budget. Here are some questions to consider in making your decision:

1. How long do you plan to live in your next home? Does your job or lifestyle dictate frequent moves? Remember that home values increase more over the long term, so if you’re moving more often than every few years, you may not see significant gain when you sell your home. You will, however, gain equity in your home as you pay down your mortgage, while rent money is gone for good.

2. How healthy are your finances? Do you have money for a down payment, closing costs, insurance, taxes, and a buffer for unexpected expenses that can occur when you own a home? If not, talk with a mortgage lender to learn what steps you should take to put yourself in the best situation to purchase a home. You can use Guidance Realty Homes’ free online tools to help make your decision, including our Rent or Buy Calculator, our Affordability Calculator, or our home valuation tool.

3. What is the real estate market doing in your area? How are mortgage rates? What kinds of homes are available in your price range? Are they located in areas that suit your lifestyle? If you are not able to buy a home as nice as the ones you could rent, consider your willingness to live in a less desirable environment for a time. The equity you’ll gain can help you upgrade sooner than you could if you continued renting and tried to save the additional money. A licensed Guidance Realty Homes agent can provide you with valuable market information and help you evaluate your options.

How an ‘Open House’ Can Sell Your Home

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With the popularity of online shopping and virtual tours, some people are of the opinion that an open house is a waste of time. However, sellers should think twice before discounting this time-tested strategy. Here are some things you need to know about hosting an open house!

 

What Is an Open House?

Unlike an individual showing, an open house allows anyone to view the home, whether they currently work with an agent or not. It’s an excellent way to attract buyers new to the market or just beginning a search, those without an agent, and even sporadic buyers who aren’t necessarily in the market but share the information with family and friends.

Who Should Host an Open House?

Hosting an open house is not for the novice. Real estate agents not only provide the marketing, scheduling and even security advice, but make sure the home is properly presented to prospective buyers who decide to drop in and see the home.

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How Do Open Houses Sell a Home?

Higher-Priced Homes: An open house is often effective in helping to sell homes priced above the median average for a given location, especially when used in combination with the Multiple Listing Service and online listings.

Tough Market: In 2005, more than 50% of sellers used an open house, with various degrees of success. However, that rate has declined in part due to the numerous foreclosures on the market. Unfortunately for sellers, trying to compete on price alone is difficult – and costly. Instead, use an open house to showcase the property and the neighborhood. It’s one more way to help your house stand out from the crowd in a buyer’s market.

Unique or Uncommon Features: Without doubt, one of the most important reasons to hold an open house is to showcase a unique property or special features that are difficult to communicate or conceptualize. Sometimes it really is necessary to see a property to believe it, and an open house allows the buyer to fall in love at first sight by experiencing it firsthand.

Small Homes Are Trending with First-Time Home Buyers

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According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), first-time homes are coming in smaller packages.

The Association recently released the NAHB Home Builder Preferences Survey, indicating that smaller homes are selling well, primarily to first-time buyers, especially to the latest cohort – millennials. The home builders interviewed for the report suggest that many people now prefer to purchase small. And U.S. Census Bureau figures support that position: the average home built in 2016 was 2,634 sq. ft., down from 2,689 sq. ft. in 2015.

“2016 marked the end of an era that began in 2009, when homes got bigger and bigger with more amenities,” said Rose Quint, NAHB’s Assistant Vice President of Survey Research. “I expect the size of homes to continue to decline as demand increases from first-time buyers.” Smaller homes are finding favor with other groups as well. Retirees who enjoy traveling find that smaller, lock-and-leave residences fit their on-the-go lifestyles, and economic realities mean that they now have to think small.

While both the downsizing and millennial buyers are comfortable with less space (and the resulting savings on utility bills), they still expect the luxurious finishes and modern amenities available in larger homes. Millennials, because that’s what’s trendy now, and retirees, because they don’t want to feel they’re settling for less.

As a result, home décor magazines and TV network programs are touting the benefits of small homes and showcasing elegant space-saving solutions designed for those who want to scale down their homes without changing their lifestyles.

Call one of Guidance Realty Homes‘ agents who can show you how to maximize your space and find the perfect home; not too small, but not too big either. Guidance Realty Homes was founded with one goal in mind – to simplify the process! Check us out online to search our top-notch listings so you can find your ideal home.

Which Comes First…the Buy or the Sell?

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When a hermit crab decides it’s time for a new home, it scopes out a new shell before vacating its current accommodation.

But for homeowners, the process is not so easy.

Whether you buy a new home before selling your current one – or the other way around – the choice of what to do first comes down to which option makes you the most comfortable.

Both have pros and cons, and here are some to consider:

Sell first

  • When you know what your current home has sold for you can zero in on exactly what you can afford in your next one.
  • Because you already know the conditions of your own home’s sale, such as the closing date, you can make informed offers.
  • The downside: If you can’t get possession of your new house before leaving your current one, or even worse, can’t find what you’re looking for, you’ll need temporary housing. Can you afford a short-term rental, and what will you do with your possessions while you’re waiting?

Buy first

  • If you’ve found a home with unbelievable features in a great neighbourhood at an awesome price, the pressure is on. You really want this dream home, so in this case, you may have to buy before selling.
  • If the local real estate market is hot, you might feel safer buying first.

It’s probably a safe bet your home will sell fast, unless it’s out of step with its neighbours; if it’s a fixer, or if it’s the best home in the neighbourhood, it may languish or sell below asking

  • The downside: If you buy first and your home does languish, the worst case scenario is you’re stuck with double mortgage payments. And double stress.

Some families handle risk better than others. What kind and how much depends on your circumstances.

Whether buying a home, selling a home or both, working with a professional real estate agent from Guidance Realty Homes is a smart choice – one that will make your experience easier and less stressful.  Contact one today at https://www.guidancerealtyhomes.com. To find out the value of your current home, go to http://www.guidancehomevalues.com then call one of our Guidance Realty Homes’ agents who will show you a variety of choices that fit your unique needs. Buyers who use our agents receive a commission rebate off the purchase price plus an additional $350 appraisal credit when financing online with our affiliate Guidance Residential. http://www.guidanceresidential.com 

What’s in a Name? Ask Residents of Country Club Drive

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Residents of Wisteria Lane, USA might have found their property values rising during the long run of the Desperate Housewives TV series, but they’ve got nothing on the people who live on Country Club Drive.

According to a University of Georgia study, the value of homes with “country” in their addresses is 4.2 percent greater than similar properties located on streets that aren’t “countrified”. As for those lucky people on Country Club Drive, this posh address increases the value of their homes by 9.3 percent.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal’s blog, Developments, the study found that Country Club Drive sounded prestigious to those looking to impress: Unlike the intersection of Lonesome and Hardup Roads, as WSJ writer Robbie Whelan points out.

But it’s not necessarily all in a name.

As listing site Point2Homes suggests, it’s also the ad listings that draw buyers to your Open House. A fancy address obviously helps, but so do the descriptors “exquisite,” and “private” when applied to luxury properties – those listed for $5 million or more.

For the rest of us, there’s always the “dream home,” which comes sixth in a list of top 100 home descriptors developed by Point2Homes in its scan of 300,000 US homes. And, of course, features such as hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances.

So, for those looking for the perfect home, scan the ads for stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and spa bathrooms, but if it happens to be located on Country Club Drive, so much the better.

Find an address to call your own with the help of a Guidance Realty Homes agent today. Contact one in your area at https://www.guidancerealtyhomes.com. Buyers who use our agents receive a commission rebate off the purchase price plus an additional $350 appraisal credit when financing online with our affiliate Guidance Residential. http://www.guidanceresidential.com

Young Buyers Are Driving the Luxury Real Estate Market

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Generation Ys, who have always fancied the finer things in life, are bringing this mentality to the real estate market by rapidly acquiring high-priced real estate. And they are not stopping at one purchase; this generation is more likely to buy several properties as investments.

So what’s behind this trend? It comes down to economics. The low interest rates and lower real estate prices of recent years have made it easier for Gen Ys (now in their 20s and 30s) to extend their love of luxury into the real estate market. Not for them the starter bungalow of their grandparents’ generation. This group brings the same enthusiasm they have for designer duds to million-dollar condos.

We also have the tech boom to thank. Many young tech titans have become wealthy, now owning stock in various technology companies. With extra cash and high-powered jobs, many are seeking to diversify their portfolio. And how better than by purchasing REAL real estate?

Finally, social media has helped developers and brokers promote their products to this highly tech-savvy generation of buyers. One new condo development in Manhattan reached out through Instagram, the photo-sharing website. When it hit the market, the 24-unit development sold out within a month.

Gen Ys know what they like and have what it takes to get it. And as a result, they’re shaping the real estate industry now and into the future.

Working with a Guidance Realty Homes real estate agent is a smart decision that will make the search for your new home simpler and less stressful. Contact one today at https://www.guidancerealtyhomes.com. Buyers who use our agents receive a commission rebate off the purchase price plus an additional $350 appraisal credit when financing online with our affiliate Guidance Residential. http://www.guidanceresidential.com

Why “Comps” Are a Home Buyer’s Best Friend

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Comps are comparisons between one property and other similar properties. Age, location, amenities, and the general condition of the home are all used to compare one property against others in the same general vicinity in order to establish a price or fair market value.

Do Not Make This Mistake

Many sellers mistakenly look at the asking price of homes in the immediate vicinity when trying to establish a listing price, but that is often a major mistake. Actual sales data is a much more reliable indicator of value, since some sellers can be overly optimistic when it comes to setting an asking price.

Buyers benefit from obtaining accurate comp data in order to determine what amenities, upgrades, and other items are included. Even homes that superficially look exactly the same in terms of square footage or floor plans may have substantial upgrades or extras that dramatically impact the price of the home.

Get the Most Accurate Data

Insist upon accurate and up-to-date comps when buying a home, and do not confuse true comparables with estimates or other inaccurate sources of data. Many popular websites use estimates based upon self-reported data or generalized insurance replacement rates.  While these may be useful for rough guidelines, they may cost you tens of thousands of dollars when buying or selling a home.

Working with your Guidance Realty Homes agent who provides the latest information specific for the area you are considering will be a much needed help.  Age, condition, maintenance, upgrades, amenities, landscaping, appliances, energy efficiency, attractiveness, and even whether or not your dream home is a corner lot can make a tremendous difference in the desirability and price of a home.

 

Why Smart Home Buyers Work with an Agent

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When it comes to selling a home, almost everyone understands the value of working with a knowledgeable real estate agent. But buyers can often benefit even more than they might expect.

Find out the top reasons more buyers than ever choose to work with a Guidance Realty Homes agent when searching for their next home or investment property.

Saves Time

Undoubtedly one of the most commonly cited benefits of working with an agent when buying a property is the ability to save time. Real estate agents do the hard work for you by obtaining all the details and then showing you only those properties that meet your preestablished criteria.

Saves Money

Not only does working with an agent allow you to focus efforts on properties that meet your needs, but research also shows that it actually saves money in the long run. Sellers view agents as more objective during the negotiation process, and buyers that work with agents have access to the best deals. Remember, even in a buyer’s market, the best deals go fast. Many properties are already under contract by the time they make it into the magazines or online MLS listings, whereas many agents send out weekly or even daily updates of newly listed properties and can keep you informed.

Reduces Stress

Real estate agents are able to work with the financing provider, appraisers and others to streamline the entire transaction and keep things moving along by providing a single, reliable point of contact. Should anything go wrong, agents are able to access their network of contacts and expertise to assist every step of the way.

Access

Some of the best buying opportunities never even make it to the MLS listings; instead, foreclosures, bank-owned properties and even government repossessions are often handled by specific agents. Likewise, agents are often aware of creative finance options or specialized programs that may benefit veterans, first-time buyers, investors or even small-business owners.

Your professional real estate agent from Guidance Realty Homes can help you navigate the pitfalls and joys of home ownership. Buyers who use our agents receive a commission rebate off the purchase price plus an additional $350 appraisal credit when financing online with our affiliate Guidance Residential.

 

How to Buy Your Dream Home…Even If It’s Not for Sale

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Have you ever driven through a new neighbourhood only to turn the corner, and there it is … your dream home?

But, darn your luck, this dream home isn’t for sale. While the majority of us drive away, saddened, some people leave determined to make this home theirs – whether it’s for sale now or not.

And often, with the help of a great agent, they’ll do just that.

For real estate agents, it’s a form of cold calling: The clients point out an unlisted home they love, and the agent plays matchmaker, contacting the homeowners to see if they’re prepared to sell.

Some homeowners won’t budge, but for others, there may be incentive to sell. They may have considered selling but haven’t started the process. The house may have been on the market previously. Or, maybe the owner decides to jump at the opportunity.

If you’re interested in a property that isn’t for sale, here are some strategies:

  • Research both the property and its owner; public records or old real estate listings can give you an idea of value.
  • If you decide you’re serious about approaching the owner, your best bet is to ask your agent to do so on your behalf. It will show the owner you’re seriously interested. Consider sending or having your agent give the owner a handwritten letter, expressing why you’re interested. It will help personalize the process.
  • Be aware that you’ll likely end up paying a premium for a house that isn’t officially for sale.

A professional real estate agent with Guidance Realty Homes can assist you in the process of finding and buying your dream home! Call one today and get started. Buyers who use our agents receive a commission rebate off the purchase price plus an additional $350 appraisal credit when financing online with our affiliate Guidance Residential. http://www.guidanceresidential.com