When Is the Right Time to Buy Your First Home? Use This Easy 4 Point Checklist

When Is the Right Time to Buy Your First Home? Use This Easy 4 Point ChecklistAre you growing tired of renting? Or perhaps you’ve recently graduated from college and are looking to set down some roots?

Whatever the case, buying your first home is an exciting prospect. Let’s take a look at a quick and easy four-point checklist that you can use to determine if you are ready to buy your first home.

#1: Is Your Credit In Good Shape?

How is your overall financial health? Once you have your down payment saved up, you should turn your attention to your credit rating.

If you are going to borrow a mortgage to help cover the cost of your home, your lender will be doing some digging into your credit history. It is best to ensure that you aren’t late with any payments and have cleared off any black marks from past credit problems.

#2: Can You See Yourself Living In This Community?

Do you love the area you live in? Or are you thinking about moving to a community that you like a bit more than your current one?

Perhaps it’s the local shops, the amenities, the walking trails or just being closer to work. It is always best to ‘love where you live,’ so ensure that you are buying your first home in a community that you can call home.

#3: Is Your Job Situation Stable?

Another factor to consider is your job or career situation. Are you likely to switch companies or be transferred to another division within the next few years? Be sure to give some thought to this as it will be inconvenient to have to move shortly after buying and furnishing a home.

#4: Are You Planning To Have Children?

Finally, have you considered what your family might look like in the future? Are you planning to get married, or if you are already married are you planning to have a family? If you have children now, do you expect to have any more of them?

Keep in mind that as your children grow older, they will need a bit more space. If you have a couple of young kids sharing bunk beds, each will need their own bedroom soon enough.

When you’re ready to buy your first home, our friendly real estate team is here to help you find the perfect home. Give our offices a call and we will be happy to meet with you to discuss your needs.

When Is the Right Time to Buy Your First Home? Use This Easy 4 Point Checklist

When Is the Right Time to Buy Your First Home? Use This Easy 4 Point ChecklistAre you growing tired of renting? Or perhaps you’ve recently graduated from college and are looking to set down some roots? Whatever the case, buying your first home is an exciting prospect. Let’s take a look at a quick and easy four-point checklist that you can use to determine if you are ready to buy your first home.

#1: Is Your Credit In Good Shape?

How is your overall financial health? Once you have your down payment saved up, you should turn your attention to your credit rating. If you are going to borrow a mortgage to help cover the cost of your home, your lender will be doing some digging into your credit history. It is best to ensure that you aren’t late with any payments and have cleared off any black marks from past credit problems.

#2: Can You See Yourself Living In This Community?

Do you love the area you live in? Or are you thinking about moving to a community that you like a bit more than your current one? Perhaps it’s the local shops, the amenities, the walking trails or just being closer to work. It is always best to ‘love where you live,’ so ensure that you are buying your first home in a community that you can call home.

#3: Is Your Job Situation Stable?

Another factor to consider is your job or career situation. Are you likely to switch companies or be transferred to another division within the next few years? Be sure to give some thought to this as it will be inconvenient to have to move shortly after buying and furnishing a home.

#4: Are You Planning To Have Children?

Finally, have you considered what your family might look like in the future? Are you planning to get married, or if you are already married are you planning to have a family? If you have children now, do you expect to have any more of them? Keep in mind that as your children grow older, they will need a bit more space. If you have a couple of young kids sharing bunk beds, each will need their own bedroom soon enough.

When you’re ready to buy your first home, our friendly real estate team is here to help. Give our offices a call and we will be happy to meet with you to discuss your needs and share a variety of beautiful homes that are available today.

Down Payments 101: Is It Worth It to Put More Than 20 Percent Down?

Down Payments 101: Is It Worth It to Put More Than 20 Percent Down?Are you thinking of buying a new home this spring or summer? If so, you’re not alone. Many thousands of individuals and families alike will become homeowners this year. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned veteran of the housing market, you probably know there are significant choices to make. One of the big decisions you will have to ponder is how much you want to invest in your down payment.

With that in mind, let’s try to answer the question of whether or not it is worth it to put more than 20 percent of the home’s price in your down payment.

Ask Yourself: How Liquid Are You?

Before you can decide how much to put down, you first need to determine how liquid your finances are. That is, how much cash do you have access to? For example, if you are considering a $300,000 home, a 20 percent down payment is $60,000. If you have more than $60,000, fantastic. However, if you have less than that, you might have to do a bit of work to save up the remainder.

Even if you do have enough available cash now, you won’t have access to it once you take possession of the home. It is important to leave yourself with some cash in case of emergencies or for other uses.

Higher Down Payment, Lower Interest Rate

If you do choose to invest more than 20 percent in your down payment, it’s possible that you will gain access to a lower interest rate for your mortgage. Many lenders look favorably on homebuyers that are investing more of their own money and borrowing less. Be sure to check with your mortgage advisor to find out if you qualify for lower rates.

Lower Monthly Payments Await

Finally, choosing a down payment higher than 20 percent means that you will have lower monthly mortgage payments in the future. You are borrowing less so you will owe less. This can provide a nice boost to your monthly budget moving forward as you will have more free cash flow each month.

Try to keep in mind that there is no perfect answer to the question of how big your down payment should be. Choosing the best course of action means taking a good, long look at your current financial situation and deciding what your goals are. When you’re ready to discuss buying a new home contact us. Our professional real estate team is happy to share our experience!

Curious About Homeowners’ Association (HOA) Fees? Here’s What You Need to Know

Curious About Homeowners' Association (HOA) Fees? Here's What You Need to KnowIf you are thinking of buying a condominium or a home that is part of a planned community, you have likely come across the term “homeowners’ association” or HOA. In short, the HOA is a coalition of local homeowners who have banded together to manage the needs of the local community. Let’s explore the concept of the homeowners’ association, why they charge fees and what you can expect from your HOA if you buy a home that is part of one.

HOA Fees Are Meant To Make Things Easier

HOA fees are meant to make your life easier. Common sense dictates that all homeowners won’t be able to commit to investing some of their time in community upkeep. So the HOA charges a monthly fee to everyone to cover the costs of keeping everything in order. Of course, some HOAs can make mistakes or foolish investments that don’t benefit all equally. But most are well-intended and do positive work.

What Do HOA Fees Cover?

Your HOA fees will be used to pay for needs that benefit all homeowners’ in the community. If you live in a building, this will be everything from elevator maintenance to keeping the doors in good order. If you live in a townhouse complex or planned community, this includes landscaping, gardening, road maintenance and more. As long as your HOA leaders are doing their job, they will use fees to maintain and improve the community for everyone.

Some Pros And Cons Of HOA Fees

The main benefit of paying HOA fees is that you are offloading your share of the responsibility for building or community upkeep. In essence, you are trading a monthly payment so that you don’t have to vacuum the common areas, change the light bulbs or worry about repairing the gate when it breaks. The main downside to paying HOA fees is that you only have a single vote as to how they are spent and you may disagree with other homeowners about the HOA’s priorities.

All things considered, whether or not you have a favorable view of your HOA generally comes down to you. If you are the type that likes to share their opinion and is willing to commit the time to improve your local community, you may want to join your HOA. However, if you are less interested in having someone spend your money, you might disagree with their approach. Whatever the case, when you are ready to buy or sell your next home, contact our professional real estate team. We’re happy to help you find the right home – HOA or not.

Looking to Buy a Home in 2018 and Don’t Know Where to Start? Here’s a Few Tips

Looking to Buy a Home in 2018 and Don't Know Where to Start? Here's a Few TipsAre you a renter that has become tired of paying someone else’s mortgage and not building any equity? Or a homeowner who has a growing family and is in need of more space? Whatever the case, if you are in the market for a new home there is no time like the present. Let’s explore a few tips that will help you to prepare for the home buying experience.

Tip #1: Prepare For A Busy Spring Season

First, it should be pretty obvious that you aren’t the only house hunter on the market. Other local individuals and families alike will be searching for a new house to call their own. As you may know, the spring is generally when the local real estate market starts to heat up. So, if you are looking to buy, you may want to address your needs earlier in the spring rather than later. The sooner you can get the paperwork signed, the less of a chance you end up in a bidding war.

Tip #2: Mortgage Rates May Be Trending Up

While this is in no way a prediction, there have been some indications that mortgage interest rates may be trending higher in 2018. If this does end up being the case, the cost of buying a home is going to be a little bit more. So if you can move quickly and get your mortgage pre-approved now, you may find that you end up with a better deal than those families who wait until the summer to make a move.

Tip #3: Prepare Your Finances And Credit In Advance

Finally, it’s a great best practice to ensure that your personal finances are prepared in advance. Your real estate agent will be able to assist you with which documentation you will need to have ready. You should also check in with one of the major credit reporting agencies. They will be able to advise you as to whether you have any issues with your credit rating or FICO score.

Buying a home is always an exciting experience – one which can be relatively stress-free if you are prepared. When you are ready to discuss buying your dream home or to view available listings in the local area, give our offices a call. We are here to help you find the perfect house, condo or apartment to suit your needs.

Buying a Rental Property? These 4 Key Tips Will Ensure You Buy One That Turns a Profit

Buying a Rental Property? These 4 Key Tips Will Ensure You Buy One That Turns a ProfitAre you starting to grow bored of watching your money go nowhere sitting in a bank account? With today’s interest rates doing little to encourage saving, many individuals are looking elsewhere for new investment opportunities. In today’s blog post we’ll share four essential tips for buying a profitable rental property. Let’s get started.

Buy A Property With Year-Round Potential

Many real estate investors agree that the best rental properties are those that generate income every day of the year. The most straightforward situation to manage is one where you have stable, long-term tenants in place that aren’t going to move or change often. Browse local property listings around schools, colleges, and large employers to see if there are any suitable homes for sale.

Once you gain experience and invest in other properties, consider branching out into vacation or short-term stay homes. But to get started, aim for stability.

Predict Your Income And Expenses

Next, you will want to craft a budget. Have a look through rental listings in your target communities to see what renters are currently paying. This will give you some idea of your potential rental income for a similar-sized home. You can then compare this to your estimated monthly mortgage payment, taxes, utility costs, and repairs. It is impossible to predict precisely how much you will need, but this exercise can quickly prove whether this area is likely to be profitable.

Treat Your Rental Properties Like A Business

Since you have already taken the first steps with a budget, you might as well continue down the path to a full business structure. Most real estate investors set their portfolio up in an incorporated or limited-liability company, which reduces personal exposure. It can also be an efficient way to manage any legal issues that arise as your investments grow. Also, there will be significant tax advantages, including being able to write-off expenses such as repairs, contractor work, and renovations.

Work With Experienced Professionals

Speaking of contractors, it’s worth reminding to only work with experienced professionals who are licensed, certified and have references. Paying for quality work up-front ensures that you won’t have to deal with hefty repair bills due to shoddy workmanship.

When you are ready to invest in rental properties, give us a call. Our professional real estate team is happy to share listings that are perfect for investment and rental income generation.

Wrapping It All Up: Don’t Forget These Important Tasks After Closing on Your New Home

Wrapping It All Up: Don't Forget These Important Tasks After Closing on Your New HomeThe negotiations are over. The seller has accepted your bid and the paperwork has been signed. Shortly, you’ll be handed the keys to your new home and you can start moving in. But of course, the work doesn’t end after the real estate closing process. In fact, it’s just beginning! In today’s article, we’ll share a few essential tasks that you’ll want to get to work on after the closing process is over.

Backup And Copy All Of The Paperwork

If you haven’t bought a house before, you’ll soon discover that there is a lot of paperwork involved in getting the deal done. From title deeds to tax documentation, the sheer number of forms that need to be read through and signed may seem endless. Once the closing process wraps up, it’s a good idea to make copies of all of the paperwork. Store these backups in a safe place where they can be referred to later if needed.

Change All Of The Locks

Next, you’ll want to change all of the exterior locks on the house. It might seem a bit overkill, but securing your home is important. Re-keying the locks is a one-time cost that can end up paying significant dividends should anyone attempt to break in. It’s also a chance to upgrade to stronger, more secure deadbolts. If you have a home alarm system or any keypad-style locks, be sure to change the codes on those as well.

Inspect The Water Heater

While it was almost certainly checked during the home inspection, take the time to have a quick look at the water heater. You’ll want to check the temperature setting to ensure it’s reasonable. Don’t forget that maintaining a high hot water temperature can be expensive over the long-term.

Give The Gutters A Quick Check

Finally, it’s worth getting out the ladder to give all of the gutters a quick inspection. Clogged gutters can end up causing significant roof damage if left unchecked. You’ll want to ensure that both the horizontal gutters and the vertical drains are clear of leaves, twigs and other debris. As long as rainwater can drain out smoothly, you’re all set. Note that safety should be your priority here. If you don’t have a suitable ladder or you aren’t comfortable with heights, consider paying a professional.

The closing process is always an exciting time. If you’re in the market for a new home or would like to know more about real estate opportunities in the local area, contact your local real estate professional.

Getting Tired of Renting? Here Are the Top 5 Reasons Why Young People Prefer Owning a Home

Getting Tired of Renting? Here Are the Top 5 Reasons Why Young People Prefer Owning a HomeAt some point in their lives, every renter thinks about home ownership and whether or not it’s worth it. Let’s explore the top 5 reasons why young individuals prefer the idea of owning a home over renting.

It’s All About Control

It’s unlikely to come as a surprise that having control over their living space is the number one reason that younger buyers prefer owning over renting. Living in a home owned by someone else limits your ability to customize your home. Want to expand a room or rip out the kitchen cabinets? Good luck with getting your landlord to pay for that!

Privacy And Security Are Key

More than 90 percent of millennials reported that having a sense of privacy is an important factor when choosing between buying and renting. And this makes a lot of sense, especially in areas where a landlord has the right to enter the premises on short notice. It’s tough to imagine feeling secure when a landlord can demand access to their home for whatever reason they so choose.

Your Own Space Is Just Nicer

Take a look around your home. Is it as luxurious as you’d like it to be? While you can furnish a rented apartment or house however you want, in many cases, renters just don’t put the same amount of effort into it. 81% of young renters shared that one reason they want to buy is so that they can live in a nicer place.

You’ll Be More Engaged In The Community

If you want to feel more engaged in your local community, buying a home is an excellent idea. More than 75 percent of young and first-time buyers reported that community engagement is a key reason that they want to be a home owner. Not only are you more likely to care about the area around your home if you’re responsible for its upkeep. But as the value of your home is influenced by the surrounding area, you also have a financial incentive to staying engaged in the health of your community.

Owning Gives You Flexibility

Finally, consider that owning your own home will offer flexibility that you can’t get from renting. Not only will you be able to customize your home the way you want, but you’ll also have a productive financial asset. And that can be a huge help in securing additional credit if you want to make significant investments or other financial moves.

When you’re ready to expand your freedom by purchasing your own home, contact your trusted real estate professional. We’re happy to help.

Go Big or Go Home: 3 Reasons Why Your First Home Should Be a Spacious One

Go Big or Go Home: 3 Reasons Why Your First Home Should Be a Spacious OneBuying a home for the first time? One of the key considerations you’ll need to make is just how much ‘house’ you want to buy. While going minimal might seem like a good idea to save on costs, having a smaller living space can end up cramping your lifestyle in many ways. Let’s take a look at three great reasons why your first home should be roomy, spacious and luxurious.

You Might End Up With More Family Than You Think

Have you considered whether or not you want to have a family? Whether you’re a single young professional or part of a newlywed couple, there’s always a chance you’ll end up with more kids than you think. If you’re buying a home for the long haul, you’ll want to ensure that you have enough bedrooms to contain a growing family. It’s much easier to make other use of a spare room than to invent an extra bedroom if you end up with one or two more children than you had planned. Even if you don’t have kids, you may end up welcoming other family members into your home for extended periods.

Small Spaces Limit You In Just About Every Way

As you might imagine, small living spaces will limit your options. Whether you want to build out a new media room or just want more luxurious furniture, much of the time living small means living without. Buying a larger home from the start will give you all of the space needed to build your dream home. And over time, you’re far more likely to enjoy living in a home that you can tweak and customize to suit your changing tastes.

You Can Always Monetize The Extra Space

Don’t forget that extra space can always be put to good use. If you have a finished basement, you can possibly rent the suite out to a tenant. Or, you can host guests in your extra bedrooms using apps like Airbnb. If you’re more of an entrepreneurial type, you can start a small business out of one of the spare rooms.

These are just a few of the many reasons why buying a larger home is an excellent idea. For more information about luxurious homes that are for sale in the local area, contact your trusted real estate professional today.

Yes, You Should Take the Plunge and Buy a New Home in 2017. Here’s Why

Yes, You Should Take the Plunge and Buy a New Home in 2017. Here's WhyAre you thinking about buying a house, apartment or condo? In many markets across the country, there’s never been a better time than now to become a homeowner. In this post, we’ll share a few reasons why the conditions are right to jump into the market and buy a new home.

Interest Rates Are Heading Up

If you’re like most home buyers, you’re probably looking to make use of mortgage financing to help spread out the purchase cost over a longer period of time. If so, you’ll want to make a move in 2017 so you can lock in a low interest rate. The Federal Reserve has indicated that interest rates are going to continue to rise over the next year or two. If that prediction holds true, mortgage costs will continue to grow along with rates. Buying in 2017 means that you’ll be able to secure a lower mortgage rate which in turn will save you money.

It’s A Buyer’s Market In Most Areas

Depending on the community that you’re looking to buy in, you may find that it’s a bit of a buyer’s market. There are a number of individuals looking to sell their homes to lock in the price appreciation that’s taken place during the recovery since the 2008 financial crisis. More listings on the market mean that sellers will be open to negotiation as they won’t want their home sale to take weeks or months. If you’re pre-approved for your mortgage financing and are serious about buying, you may be able to convince a seller to take a lower offer than they normally would.

You’ll Start Building Real Net Worth

Of course, one of the best parts of buying a home is that it’s a significant financial investment. Properly maintained, your home should continue to increase in value over time. As you continue to invest in upgrades and renovations, you’ll build more and more equity that can be used as leverage for additional credit or just pocketed when you eventually decide to sell. Even though every market has its ups and downs, owning real estate is a far greater path to prosperity than renting.

When you’re ready to get into the market and find your dream home, we’re here to help. Contact us today and we’ll be happy to introduce you to some beautiful new homes that suit your tastes and budget.