Tag Archive for Homebuyers

What to Know About Finding a Good-Value Home


One thing that should always be at the top of mind when home shopping is how to get the most bang for your buck. Buying a home is the biggest investment that you’ll probably make your entire lifetime so it’s important to know what actually makes a good-value home.

To some, a good value home may mean a high-cost home; however, that’s not always the case.

Here are some essentials to keep in mind to get the maximum value at a minimum price for your home.

Bigger Isn’t Better: Bigger spaces are associated with higher utility bills, increased property taxes, expensive insurance and even more maintenance concerns. Instead of picking the largest house you can afford, search for the one with the amenities that your family will truly use.

Good Neighbors in Great Hoods: Friends, family and wonderful neighborhoods are major attractions. In fact, research shows that homes located in top-rated school districts routinely fetch 10% or more than do similar-sized homes in less desirable districts. Family-oriented neighborhoods with parks and other amenities are highly desirable, while empty-nesters can save thousands by searching for similar homes outside of popular school districts.

Fruit Trees and Gardening Are a Big Trend: Throughout the nation, high-maintenance lawns are giving way to eco-friendly (and budget-happy) gardens, fruit trees and other down-to-earth activities. Ask about HOA restrictions and the cost of water bills prior to buying with the intent of starting a garden.

Going Green Is Bigger Than Ever: From energy-efficient appliances to environmentally friendly building materials, green is not only “in” but bigger and better than ever. Save thousands of dollars by searching for homes that have already implemented upgrades like LED lighting and Energy Star appliances.

Entertaining: As the economic excess of recent years continues to drive down the market, people are interested in entertaining, exercising and even eating at home more. Focus on properties that support your interests and lifestyle for today and tomorrow. Remember, the average person remains in a home for seven years, so buy right to make sure that your next house truly feels like home.

Home Shopping? Ask the Right Questions

Family In Hallway Returning Home Together
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?

Q&A with Featured Broker: Tariq Saleem


Tariq Saleem is the Broker Manager of the Orlando, Florida office for Guidance Realty Homes. An award-winning broker and designated Realtor®, Tariq has serviced the real estate industry of Central Florida for more than a decade. A Florida native, Tariq is very familiar with the local communities around the Orlando area. He has helped hundreds of buyers and sellers throughout the Greater Orlando Area purchase and sell real estate. Read our interview with the man himself, Tariq Saleem.

What advice do you have for first-time homebuyers?

The process of transitioning from being a renter to a buyer involves some important steps that a first-time homebuyer should consider:

1. Talk to a Realtor who knows your area well and can give you some insight on the process as well as prices in the area you are looking to buy.

2. Talk to a mortgage lender who can help you determine how much home you can afford based on your income and other liabilities.

3. Get an idea of your monthly housing cost which is not just a mortgage payment but also includes taxes, insurance and any home owner association dues. Make sure you are comfortable with the monthly housing expense.

4. Find out your upfront cost for purchasing the home which includes a down payment and closing costs to ensure the funds are in place.

5. Owning a home is a big part of the American Dream. Maintaining home ownership is more important though. Prepare yourself for this important step of your life. Set up a free consultation with us and we’ll help guide you through every step of the way!

What is it about working with buyers and sellers that excites you the most?

Real estate is all about helping people. Although real estate transactions are very complex, being able to guide buyers and sellers through the process is very rewarding in and of itself. In addition, you get to develop excellent relationships which turn a career into a truly rewarding profession.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about selling their home?

List your home with a real estate agent. There are many people that will attempt to sell their home all on their own but their efforts are unsuccessful. It’s best to use an agent because you can avoid the additional stress and most importantly any legal issues.

A Realtor® can provide the experience and local knowledge to guide you through the entire process all while selling within your ideal timeframe and at the best price possible.

If you’re thinking about selling, call my team today to setup a free, no obligation in-home consultation!

Can you describe what a successful sale means to you?

A satisfied customer exudes success to me. It means that I was able to bring joy and happiness to the buyer or seller and their entire family by assisting them in achieving the American dream – home ownership.

Can you describe a situation in which you informed a potential buyer that a home was not right for them?

As a Realtor® my job is to protect my clients’ interest at all times. A Realtor® is more than a real estate agent, Realtors® have training in ethics for both their dealings with the public and with the real estate community.

It has not been once or twice, but on several occasions throughout my career, I have had to share my honest opinion about a property and advise against pursuing it. One of the most recent situations involved a client who was looking for a property in North Orlando. We looked at the property, it was priced right and apparently very well maintained. We made an offer and it was accepted by the sellers. I always advise my clients to get a home inspection done. Surprisingly when the inspection was done, the inspector found the property had previous termite activity, which was not visible with a glance over. This was a great house and the buyers’ spouse had already fell in love with the property. However, after looking at the inspection report, I had to advise them against buying this property and they took my advice. Due to low inventory in the market it took us two months to find another property but the new property was better and they were glad that they took my advice. Another satisfied family!