Ann Bennett - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY / Metropolitan

Posted by Ann Bennett on 9/7/2017

When youíre searching for a house, the location is often key. Maybe you have found homes in your desired city or town. Yet, all homes are not created equal. Locations arenít created equal either. Thereís advantages and disadvantages to the type of street that a home is on. If youíre on a main road, you may have more accessibility to what you need, but traffic noise could be a negative aspect of this living situation. Living on a cul-de-sac gives you the best of both worlds. You can be in your desired location, but also enjoy some peace and quiet. Your kids will even have a fairly safe space to play on without worry on your part about traffic conditions. Hereís some of the best reasons to find a property on a cul-de-sac:

Thereís No Through Traffic

No one will be using your street as a shortcut for anything, since itís a dead end! This provides a safety net for you as youíll know the types of vehicles that should be on the street at any given time. Neighbors can be mindful if they happen to see strange people or vehicles lingering in the neighborhood. This allows streets with dead ends to have lower crime rates. Everyone is more alert, because thereís generally so little happening on the street that any activity is noticeable. Criminals also tend to shy away from these types of neighborhoods due to the fact that people are much more aware.  

Itís Better For Children

You always need to watch your children and teach them basic safety rules. Living on a cul-de-sac may actually help relieve a bit of the burden in allowing your children to play more freely. Cars that are traveling down the street wonít be doing so as fast. Your children will be visible right form your home as well.  

Also, since everyone lives so close together and basically in a visible range of one another itís easier to develop neighborhood friendships. Children will be able to play with other kids their own age and have a common meeting spot- at the end of the street! Even as a parent, youíll have a better opportunity to get to know other parents and meet up with those in the neighborhood. Thereís just something about living on a dead-end street that allows for a more tight-knit community.

Home Values Rise

All of the positive things that we have emphasized here about living on a cul-de-sac are part of the reason these properties keep their high values. With better curb appeal, more safety, and a strong sense of a community, itís hard to pass up a chance to live on a cul-de-sac.

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Posted by Ann Bennett on 8/31/2017

Ready to submit an offer on a house? Not so fast. First, you'll want to consider a few key questions, including:

1. Can I afford to buy a house?

If you find a house you like, make sure you can afford the monthly mortgage payments. By doing so, you may be able to avoid costly, time-consuming problems down the line.

Ultimately, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can make a world of difference, particularly for a homebuyer who is ready to submit an offer on a home.

With pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer will understand exactly how much money is at his or her disposal. As a result, this homebuyer can avoid the temptation to overspend on a house.

2. Should I submit a "lowball" offer?

For many homebuyers, it may seem like a good idea to submit a "lowball" offer on a house. But doing so may be problematic for a number of reasons.

If you submit a lowball proposal, a home seller is unlikely to take your bid seriously. As such, this home seller may dismiss your offer and move on to other proposals quickly.

In addition, a lowball offer may cause you to miss out on the opportunity to acquire your dream residence.

When you locate the perfect residence, there is no need to leave anything to chance. If you submit a fair proposal that meets or exceeds a home seller's expectations, you can avoid the risk of losing your dream house to a rival homebuyer.

3. How much should I offer for a residence?

We've already established that a lowball offer is rarely, if ever, a good idea. Now, you'll just need to determine what differentiates a fair proposal from a lowball one.

A fair proposal accounts for the needs of both a homebuyer and home seller. It should be based on the current state of the housing market as well as the condition of a home.

For instance, if you're operating in a buyer's market, there is likely to be a broad assortment of homes available. This means a home seller may need to lower his or her expectations due to the sheer volume of quality residences currently on the market.

Don't forget to study the prices of recently sold homes in a particular city or town too. This housing market data will help you better understand how a residence you're considering stacks up against comparable houses so you can submit an appropriate offer.

4. Do I need a real estate agent?

A real estate agent will take the guesswork out of buying a home, and for good reason. This real estate professional can help you prepare an offer and will negotiate with a home seller on your behalf. That way, you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Hire a real estate agent before you submit an offer on a house Ė you'll be glad you did. A real estate agent will guide you along the homebuying journey and ensure you can secure a great house at a price that fits your budget.

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Posted by Ann Bennett on 8/27/2017

Investing in a starter home is a great way to become a first time homeowner. Although starter homes generally donít have as many amenities as more traditional homes,they give you the chance to learn whatís involved in owning a house. Youíll experience the house shopping as well as the closing and financing process firsthand without taking on too much debt.

Amenities you get with starter homes

With a starter home, youíll also understand the types of repairs that are needed to maintain a house. Rather than guessing at how much you need to budget for house repairs and general maintenance, youíll see those numbers firsthand. This gives you the knowledge to know if you truly are ready to take on a bigger house investment several years from now.

Amenities and features that generally are built into starter homes offer convenience. Modern starter homes are designed with open floor plans. Youíll have the option to choose hard wood or carpeted flooring. Vaulted ceilings can help your house appear larger. So too can kitchens that have long counters along one side of the kitchen.

Through homeowners associations, you can have someone else mow your lawn, shovel snow and cut away dead trees. You wonít have to clean the community pool or worry about calling to have your garbage removed. Fees that you pay your homeowners association will cover these services. Depending on where you buy your starter home, you may have to share a back yard with a neighbor.

Older homes as starter homes

Older homes that work well as starter homes are built with two to three bedrooms, an unattached garage, basement and a dining room. Bathrooms in these starter homes may be small. Additionally, older starter homes can yield costs savings upfront but require a larger maintenance investment.

Think about your personal needs and wants before you buy a starter home. Avoid buying a starter home because a lender tells you that a down payment is not needed. This step will get you a higher monthly mortgage. Approach buying a starter home similar to how you start out in secondary school before heading straight to college.

Look at the investment as a learning opportunity. You can get the skills to negotiate a great deal on an upscale house down the road. You can also learn what to look for in a neighborhood and community without signing a pricey mortgage.

As a new home buyer, it may make sense to begin with a starter home. If you fall in love with the house, you can invest in upgrades and renovations when your budget allows. Choose a starter home thatís centrally located and you could take shorten your commute to work or even take public transportation. Starter homes are also located near major shopping, business and entertainment hubs. Itís a reason why starter homes are a great way to transition from apartment living to home ownership.

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Posted by Ann Bennett on 7/16/2017

We know that location matters when youíre trying to find the right home to buy, but why?  First, buying a home you like in a location that matches your needs is a sign of a solid, long-term investment. Finding the right home isnít always the answer to your property search woes. Many times, finding a house that needs a little TLC in the right neighborhood can give you a better return on your investment than finding a move-in ready house in the wrong neighborhood. You want to think in terms of finding a home that will be easy to sell if you so choose to sell it. Most importantly, you want to feel comfortable in your home and in your surroundings. What are the signs of a good location? Below, youíll find the most important things you should look for when searching for a home. 

Safe Neighborhood

Everyone wants a safe neighborhood, and you certainly know a sketchy neighborhood when you drive through it, but what denotes a neighborhood as ďsafeĒ? First, if you see people up and walking around a place, you know itís a good start to finding a safe neighborhood. People who are outside, interacting with one another give a neighborhood a community feel. You will feel like your neighbors have your back in a neighborhood like this. 

Quality Schools

the better the school district is, the higher the property values in the area are. If you donít have kids, this may not be much of an issue for you. However, if youíre thinking that you may want to sell your home anytime in the future, keep in mind that a less than reputable school district can really dip into property values. 

You Can Easily Access The Things You Need

If you can access the shops, restaurants, and other conveniences easily from your neighborhood, thatís the sign of a good location. No one wants to have to drive 45 minutes in order to get to the grocery store. Many people who are looking for homes like to be in or very close to the action and have easy access to the things they need. Think in terms of convenience when it comes to location. 

A View And Nature

A home with a view is always a sign of a great location. whether youíre near the water or near the mountains, itís nice to have something scenic and peaceful near your home to enjoy. Property values near the water are also always a bit higher than those further inland.


Access to public transportation is key in many neighborhoods. You want to be able to easily get to and from where you need to go without waiting around. If the area is more suburban or rural, access to freeways and main roads is key. Adding precious time to your commutes is never pleasant. Many times location and commute times come down to a simple matter of balance and planning when searching for a property.        

Posted by Ann Bennett on 5/21/2017

If youíre looking for a bargain on a home, there are ways that you can tell a seller is ready to give you a great price. 

The Vocabulary Is Right

Sellers who really want to get rid of their property will never say it directly on a listing. Yet, thereís so many different keywords that can help you to distinguish which sellers are in a rush to sell. These words can be found in the listing and include:

  • Motivated seller
  • Priced to sell
  • Needs TLC
  • Bonus offers for closing within a certain timeframe

These keywords and phrases signal that a seller truly is ďmotivated.Ē

Your Agent Gets The Inside Scoop

Sometimes, a sellerís agent will tell a buyerís agent outright that their client is looking to sell in a hurry. This can help you and your agent to work together to make a good offer and get a good deal on the home. 

A Home Has Gone On And Off The Market

If a home has been on and off the market for some time, itís a good bet that youíll be able to get a good deal on the home. If a buyer backs out, it can really put the seller in a bind. If this has happened several times over a period of time, you may have a good shot at getting a good bargain on a home. Your realtor will be able to research the property history and help you find out exactly what happened to the home in the past. This way, youíll know what youíre getting into with the property and if you have a good shot at making a deal.  

Choose The Right Season

At certain times of the year, such as winter where there are fewer listings, sellers are generally more motivated. Thereís less competition along with less buyers. Anyone who is looking during these times may be able to get a better deal on a home they love because of the low supply and demand.  

A Really Good List Price

If the listing price for a home is a real bargain to begin with, you may have a motivated seller on the other side of the listing. A seller who needs to make a quick sale will often put the home on the market at a great price right from the start. This is all in hopes that the home will fly off of the market. 

A low price can also be a bit of a red flag. The seller may have listed the home at a bargain price in hopes of a bidding war between buyers. If you donít want to get into the competition of trying to outbid another buyer, you may want to avoid homes listed at seemingly too-good-to-be-true prices.   

If youíre looking for a hidden bargain on a home, you can see that there are ways that you can find it pretty easily. Happy house hunting!