Posted by Tom Mahedy on 4/16/2021

If you want to quickly find and acquire your dream house, it generally is beneficial to narrow your property search. Because if you focus on available homes in a select group of cities and towns, you may be able to speed up the process of buying your ideal residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you locate your dream home.

1. Consider Your Short and Long-Term Aspirations

Think about where you want to be in the next few years. Then, you can map out your home search based on your short- and long-term goals.

For instance, if you currently work in a big city and intend to stay with your company for many years, you may want to search for a residence in the city itself. Or, if you plan to start a family soon, you may want to focus on houses near parks and schools.

You should try to be flexible as you begin a home search too. Remember, even the best-laid plans won't necessarily come to fruition. But if you maintain flexibility, you could find a home that will suit you perfectly both now and in the future.

2. Create a Budget

The homes in large cities tend to be more expensive than those in small towns. Fortunately, if you craft a homebuying budget, you can determine where you can afford to reside and plan accordingly.

Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you meet with banks and credit unions, you can learn about myriad home financing options. Next, you can select a mortgage and enter the real estate market with home financing in hand.

If you have concerns as you pursue a mortgage, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ expert mortgage specialists, and these professionals are happy to provide you with the insights you need to make an informed home financing decision.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you are uncertain about how to approach a home search, there is no need to worry. In fact, you can hire a real estate agent who can help you identify your dream residence.

A real estate agent is dedicated to client satisfaction, and he or she will work with you to make your homeownership dream come true. First, a real estate agent will help you narrow your house search. This housing market professional then will keep you up to date about available homes in your preferred cities and towns. Once you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence. Finally, when you are ready to close on a house, a real estate agent will help you complete your home purchase.

Dedicate time and resources to find your dream house – you'll be glad you did. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can accelerate the process of locating your ideal residence and acquire a house that can serve you well for years to come.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Tom Mahedy on 4/9/2021

Photo by Designer491 via Shutterstock

If you’re new to homeownership, one of your first expenses is homeowner’s insurance. Not to be confused with mortgage insurance, your homeowner policy protects you in the event of a catastrophe.

Factors that Impact the Cost of Home Insurance

The cost of your home is only one factor in an extensive list of how insurance companies calculate premiums. Just like with car insurance, location plays a big part, as does age and construction. Then there’s your credit score and claims history. Here’s a breakdown of the factors that most determine the cost.

  • Location, location, location. Living in a coastal area drives up the price of the home and the price of insurance. If there’s a chance a tropical storm or tidal flood can impact your home, you’ll pay extra to cover. The same is true of homes in tornado alley. However, living next to certain first responders may lower parts of your homeowners insurance. For example, living close to a firehouse usually reduces the cost of fire coverage because fire personnel can get to you sooner. Likewise, living in areas that may be higher risk, such as a high crime area, may increase factors of your homeowners insurance, like damage and theft.
  • Construction materials is another consideration. Brick, stucco, fiberboard, or stone exteriors improve your home’s chances of surviving a fire over wood shakes or wood siding. That old Victorian is lovely, but wood burns quickly, so you’ll pay a premium to cover it.
  • Roof age and composition. Roofs are expensive. A flat roof costs more than a sloped roof, and a roof older than twenty years carries potential storm damage replacement costs. You’ll pay for that. And, just like with siding, you’ll pay more for a wood shake roof due to its potential to catch fire.
  • Homes older than about 40 years cost more to fix when damaged. And, they have older major systems that can break inside walls and under floors causing thousands in needed repairs.

A few other things impact the premium too. If your credit score is low, typically the insurance company asks for more money upfront and a higher premium. You’ll also pay more if you made multiple claims within the last five years. Of course, if you’re a first-time buyer this wouldn’t apply to you. Coverage for your personal property increases with the value of that property. If you own expensive jewelry, several computers or electronics, plan to pay more to cover them.

You can reduce premium costs by installing a security system, taking care of maintenance items, replacing major systems (wiring, plumbing, HVAC) and updating the roof. For more ways to learn how to reduce your insurance costs, ask your real estate professional for advice. Be certain to shop and compare prices and coverage too.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Tom Mahedy on 4/2/2021

Buying a home is an extensive process that comes with a bit of a learning curve. For first time buyers, this process involves making mistakes and learning from them.

While we can never be 100% sure of our home buying decisions, there is a way to increase your chances of making the best choices when it comes to buying and maintaining your first home.

In today’s post, we’re going to do just that. We’ll take a look at some of the biggest things that homeowners wish they knew before buying their first house.

1. Forgetting to research the neighborhood

It’s easy to become so enamored with your dream home that you barely look beyond its fence. However, the neighborhood your home is in can have a huge effect on your daily life. Having local parks, safe sidewalks to walk on, and road infrastructure that doesn’t drive you crazy on your daily commute are all important aspects of choosing the right home.

2. Getting pressured into making a decision

Many times, a seller will want to portray their home as being highly sought after to encourage higher and more frequent offers. Similarly, you may find that your own family has time constraints and want to make a quick decision to buy a home.

It’s when we’re under pressure that we can make choices that we aren’t happy with in the long run. So, in these situations, make sure you don’t make any snap judgments on a home. If it seems like you’re being pressured into making a decision without enough time to consider all of the possibilities, there’s a good chance you should pass on this opportunity.

3. Forgetting that you might someday have to sell this home

Sometimes homes can be difficult to sell due to things like their location and surroundings. For instance, a home that is remote or one that is located in low-scoring school districts may not matter to you if you don’t plan on having children. But, they likely will be important to a lot of your potential buyers when it comes time to sell the home.

This lesson also holds true for what you do with your home once you buy it. Making renovations or design choices that won’t appeal to the average buyer can make your home more difficult to sell and harder to get top dollar for.

4. Didn’t consider all financing options

There are several steps and several options when it comes to financing a home. Not only are the several mortgage lenders to choose from, but there are also many different types of loans available.

While there may not be one “right” decision when it comes to financing your home, it’s a good idea to do your homework and browse carefully all of the lenders and mortgage types.

Consider ways to increase your credit score or save for a higher down payment before buying if possible, so that you can secure the lowest interest rate possible.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Tom Mahedy on 3/26/2021

If you're building your own home, chances are you'll come across the blueprints at some point early in the process. This can be frustrating for many homeowners as they might not have an architect's background. However, you don't need to be an architect to understand the basics. We'll look at the various components of blueprints so you have a better idea of how to read them.

Types of Views

Most people think of blueprints as essentially a large piece of paper. However, there are different perspectives contained in these plans, including views from above, to the side and of a section of the home.

A plan view will show a birds-eye perspective from about 30 inches from the floor. It gives you a good idea of the full width and length of the structure. For elevation views, the perspective is usually from the side of one of the cardinal directions. As the name suggests, it's all about scaling the height dimensions. Section views will show you what the building would look like if you cut through it. So it might reveal the details of the building's envelope or the location of your basement pipes.

Blocks, Notes and Legends

The title block tells you the technical details of the blueprints. This can include the vendor, site specifications or approval signatures. It also identifies if there are related drawings to the blueprints. For instance, if you had an accessory dwelling unit (e.g., a guesthouse), this might be included in a second set of drawings.

The notes tell the builder if you have any specific requests about how the home is to be constructed. For instance, if you didn't want to pay for overtime under any circumstances, you might specify the hours in which the builders are allowed to work. The legend identifies the symbols and numbers that are used throughout the plans.

Scales and Grids

An architect's scale will be different from that of an engineer's scale. So if you're looking at plans that detail the size of the walls, it will likely be in fractions of an inch, such as 1/2 inch is equal to 1 foot. With an engineer's scale, it's usually a whole number (e.g., 2 inches is equal to 100 feet). There are no standards for scaling parameters so be sure to check the prints.

This is also a good time to take note of the grid. The goal of this feature is to assign numbers and letters to different areas of the home. This way, if you wanted to discuss a section of the basement with someone on the phone, you can direct them to D3 of the blueprints, instead of describing the section and risking confusion.

Line Varieties

There will be plenty of lines in your blueprints, and they each have their own meaning. A double line will indicate the wall. If it's a thick wall, the lines will be set further apart from one another. So an exterior wall will have more space between the lines than an interior wall because an exterior wall will have more insulation.

Thick single lines are object lines, while dotted lines are hidden lines. These two lines represent what you can and can't see. So the object lines might show the front of the stove and a hidden line might show the back of the stove (because you won't be able to see it from against the wall). Short, solid lines with arrows are dimension lines, named because they show you the distance between one object and another.

What to Look for

There are so many details in building a home and many go overlooked in the name of convenience. Learning to read blueprints gives you the chance to review the builder's works and potentially raise red flags now instead of when it's too late.

Again, you're not expected to have the same working knowledge as a professional. However, what you can do is try to spot any anomalies within the construction plans. For instance, you might see that the height of the upper floor's ceiling is lower than you expected, or that the refrigerator being too close to the stove. You can also check the materials being used for the home to ensure they're up to your standards.

If you're still unsure of the plans, try talking to a real estate agent, contractor or inspector. It is always a good idea to get a professional opinion from someone who has seen the perils of poor construction in the past.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Tom Mahedy on 3/19/2021

Looking to add your condo to the real estate market? Ultimately, you'll want to set a "fair" price for your property. By doing so, you can stir up plenty of interest in your condo and boost your chances of a fast property sale.

List your condo at a price that meets the needs of both property buyer and seller – here are three tips to ensure you can price your condo properly.

1. Study the Housing Market

How does your condo rate against similar properties? Examine the housing market closely, and you can understand what differentiates your property from others that are currently available.

Check out the prices of comparable condos that have been added to the real estate market recently. That way, you can learn how other condo sellers are pricing their properties and map out your condo pricing strategy accordingly.

Also, evaluate the prices of condos that have sold over the past few months. This will allow you to identify real estate market patterns and trends and may help you establish a competitive price.

2. Hire a Property Appraiser

A property appraiser understands what it takes to assess a condo both inside and out. Therefore, if you conduct a condo appraisal, you can learn about your property's strengths and weaknesses.

During a condo evaluation, a property appraiser will identify problem areas across your residence. Then, he or she will provide a report that you can review to understand how you can enhance your property's value.

Take the results of a property appraisal seriously. If a property appraiser finds minimal problems with your condo, you may be good to go to establish a fair price for your residence.

On the other hand, if a property appraiser discovers a wide range of condo issues, allocate the necessary time and resources to mitigate these problems. In this scenario, you may need to lower your expectations for your condo's asking price based on the current state of your property. Or, you can perform assorted property improvements to bolster your condo's value.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Want expert insights into how to price your condo competitively? Work with a real estate agent, and you can receive comprehensive support as you prepare to add your residence to the housing market.

A real estate agent can make a world of difference for a condo seller, and for good reason. This housing market professional will teach you about the current real estate market and help you determine the right price for your condo.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent will provide throughout the condo selling process, either.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive help with condo showings, negotiations with condo buyers and much more. And if you ever have condo selling questions, a real estate agent will be able to provide instant responses.

Set the right price for your condo – use these condo selling tips, and you can move one step closer to maximizing the value of your property.




Categories: Uncategorized