Ann Bennett - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY / Metropolitan



Posted by Ann Bennett on 3/7/2019

Becoming a home owner for the first time is an exciting milestone for Millennials! Going from renting an apartment to owning your own property represents a big transition from dependency to independence.

For many people, it even symbolizes making the leap from childhood to adulthood. Once you're a homeowner and a property taxpayer, there's often a newfound feeling of being more established and successful.

While home ownership may bestow upon you a boost in status, the added responsibility of paying for your own repairs, maintenance, and upkeep can take an unexpected toll on your budget. With a little extra planning, however, you can avoid many of the pitfalls of home ownership.

Looking at the Big Picture

Here's a misconception that sometimes creates a financial strain for first-time homeowners: "If we can afford to pay $1800 in rent, every month, then we should be able to afford monthly mortgage payments in that same amount!" While that premise may sound logical, there are a few crucial "missing pieces" from that equation -- pieces which could throw your household budget out of kilter!

In addition to the costs associated with purchasing real estate, such as a down payment and closing costs, there's also the matter of home repairs and property maintenance. Depending on where you decide to live, there could be other fees to absorb, too, including garbage collection, yard waste removal, and water usage. Other expenses that first-time homeowners may overlook include the cost of buying a lawnmower, a snow blower, yard maintenance supplies, tools, and furniture. That's why creating a detailed estimated budget, based on your income, debts, and anticipated expenses can help you determine whether you're truly ready to take the plunge into homeownership.

Enlisting Professional Help

A mortgage broker or bank loan officer can provide you with assistance in calculating your financial readiness for purchasing a home. A good real estate agent can also offer insights and guidance into the process of finding, buying, and owning a house you can comfortably afford. They should be able to provide you with vital information about school taxes, property taxes, average utility bills, homeowner association fees (if any), and any issues revealed in the seller's disclosure form.

One way to avoid -- or at least be prepared for -- costs that often accompany home ownership is to have a qualified property inspector take a close look at the condition of everything in the house from the basement and attic to major appliances and structural features. They can generally tell you whether there are any concerns about mechanical systems, water in the basement, foundation damage, issues with property drainage, the electrical system, potential plumbing problems, and dozens of other vital checkpoints

Whether you're a first-time house hunter or a seasoned homeowner, it pays to understand, anticipate, and budget for the many costs of being a property owner. While owning your own home can be a rewarding and satisfying experience, a guiding principle to keep in mind as you consider available homes on the market is "caveat emptor" (Let the buyer beware)!





Posted by Ann Bennett on 1/31/2019

Ready to make your homeownership dream a reality? In some cases, you may need to submit a home offer that surpasses a home seller's initial asking price, and these cases include:

1. You've fallen in love with a house.

Once you've found your dream residence, you'll want to do everything possible to secure this home as quickly as possible. Therefore, if you fall in love with a house, you can submit an offer that exceeds a home seller's initial asking price in the hopes of streamlining the homebuying journey.

Of course, before you submit an offer on any house, it is paramount to understand what differentiates an average home from a great one.

A great residence is one that you can enjoy both now and in the future. It likely will require minimal initial repairs, and as such, will be worth your time and resources.

2. You are facing steep competition.

For homebuyers who are competing for a high-quality residence in a buyer's market, it often pays to submit a home offer that surpasses a homebuyer's initial asking price. By doing so, you can guarantee your offer will stand out from others and boost the likelihood of securing your dream residence.

In a competitive real estate market, there is no need to hesitate to submit an above-average home offer, either.

A home offer that impresses a homebuyer may set the stage for a quick home sale. And if you put your best foot forward with a home offer, you should have no trouble acquiring a terrific residence, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.

3. You have substantial financial resources at your disposal.

A diligent homebuyer may choose to get pre-approved for a home loan. As a result, this homebuyer may be better equipped than others to submit a home offer that is higher than a home seller's initial asking price.

For example, a homebuyer who receives pre-approval for a home loan can start the homebuying journey with a budget in hand. This homebuyer then can check out houses that fall within his or her price range. And after this homebuyer discovers the perfect house, he or she can make an above-average proposal to acquire the residence.

To get pre-approved for a home loan, a homebuyer should meet with multiple lenders. Next, this homebuyer can review various home loan offers and select one that corresponds with his or her finances.

Lastly, if you need extra support during the homebuying journey, it pays to collaborate with a real estate agent.

A real estate agent will help you evaluate a broad array of houses in your city or town. In addition, this housing market professional can help you put together the right offer on a house to ensure you can secure your dream residence in no time at all.

Take the next step to acquire your ideal house Ė reach out to a local real estate agent today, and you can move closer to finding and purchasing your dream residence.




Categories: Buying a Home   house prices  


Posted by Ann Bennett on 12/27/2018

If you plan to buy a house, you may want to host a yard sale sooner rather than later. That way, you can sell items you no longer need and won't have to worry about moving these items once you find a new residence.

Ultimately, there are many reasons why it may be beneficial to host a yard sale before you kick off the property buying journey. These reasons include:

1. You can earn extra cash.

Let's face it Ė purchasing a home can be expensive, regardless of where you decide to live. Fortunately, if you host a yard sale, you can earn extra cash that you may be able to use to cover assorted homebuying and moving expenses.

Whether it's the costs associated with moving supplies or the closing fees on a new home, expenses can add up quickly during the homebuying cycle. Thankfully, by hosting a yard sale, you can simultaneously cut down on unwanted items and earn cash from these items.

2. You can start packing.

As you separate items you want to keep from those you want to sell, you can start packing for your eventual move. Thus, hosting a yard sale may help you kick off the process of moving from one location to another.

Of course, as you start packing, you also may want to reach out to local moving companies. This will allow you to learn about local moving companies, find out their rates and determine whether a moving company is a viable option for your eventual move.

3. You can move one step closer to finding your dream home.

Hosting a yard sale provides a great opportunity to connect with community members and tell them about your plans to search for a new house. In some instances, community members may be able to help you accelerate your search for your dream residence too.

A yard sale may prove to be exceedingly valuable for an individual who wants to start a house search soon. And if you are ready to explore the local housing market following your yard sale, you may want to consult with a real estate agent.

Typically, a real estate agent streamlines all stages of the homebuying journey. He or she will help you pursue houses in your preferred cities and towns so you can find your dream home. Then, a real estate agent will ensure you can submit a competitive offer to purchase your ideal residence. If your homebuying proposal is accepted, a real estate agent next will help you finalize your home purchase.

A real estate agent is an expert resource throughout the homebuying journey. If a homebuyer has questions as he or she searches for the right house, a real estate agent can quickly respond to them.

Host a yard sale before you purchase a house Ė you'll be glad you did. Because if you host a successful yard sale, you can take the next step to find and buy your ideal home.




Tags: Buying a Home   yard sale  
Categories: Buying a Home   yard sale  


Posted by Ann Bennett on 12/13/2018

Buying a home that works for both seniors and young children can be complicated, if not impossible. When searching for a new home, itís important to keep in mind the special requirements for every member of your family both now, and as they continue to age.

Parents or other older relatives may need assistance getting upstairs or in and out of a tub. Even if they are fine now, aging is a tricky thing and mobility issues can crop up at any time. Planning for them now can save you money and stress in the future.

At the other end of the spectrum, child-proofing a home is important for small children or new infants, so keep an eye out for sharp edges and remember youíll have to bring strollers, high-chairs, car seats and more so plan for easy-to-open doors. Donít forget that as your kids get older, their needs will change as well: plan for privacy and personal space where you can to save on upgrading your home in the future.
For the best home search, make sure to let your real estate agent know who all will be living with you. He or she can assist in finding homes with the features you need and can provide advice about what things are feasible to change yourself, and what will make a house cost more than your budget in the long run.
Some important features to look for include:
  • ?Need help affording a home that meets all your needs? What if you just want to upgrade your existing home? Government agencies offer financial grants and assistance to retrofit your home for the elderly. Check with your agent to see what you might qualify for.
  • Ready to find the forever home for your entire family? We can help! Talk to your agent about the best way to search for your new home.
  • Wide Doorways: A door without a turning requirement (and those that open wider than a right angle) need to be at least 32 inches wide to ensure that wheelchairs and walkers will fit. Right angle doorways or those that require turning to enter or exit should be at least 36 inches wide.
  • Wide Hallways: For comfortable use by strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs, look for hallways that are at least 42 inches wide. That much space gives you the option of installing handrails on one or both sides. Handrails can help both small children learning to walk, and elderly people with mobility issues.

Thatís the easy part. The hardest room for both the very young and the elderly is the bathroom. Itís a good idea to ensure that your home has a minimum of 2 full bathrooms to allow you to accommodate the needs of all members of your family. Seniors need ADA toilets (also called comfort height) and grab bars, while your small child would need an extra-tall stool to use the taller toilet. Large showers with floor level entrances, seats and grab bars are best for the elderly, but its often easier to wash your kids in a tub, especially when theyíre young. With two bathrooms, you can satisfy the needs of everyone in the family.

Last, but not least, pay attention to faucets, handles, and knobs. Rounded ones can be difficult for both the old and young members of your family. Look for a single handle, lever and touchless options for the best results all around. Donít forget to test cabinets and drawers for weight or friction pull closers since those are more difficult than soft close or magnetic options. Itís okay if the home doesnít come pre-fitted with the knobs, handles, etc. you want, a quick trip to your local hardware store will solve it.

Need help affording a home that meets all your needs? What if you just want to upgrade your existing home? Government agencies offer financial grants and assistance to retrofit your home for the elderly. Check with your agent to see what you might qualify for.

Ready to find the forever home for your entire family? Talk to your agent about the best way to search for your new home.




Categories: Family   homebuyers  


Posted by Ann Bennett on 9/13/2018

Ready to discover your dream home? With help from your loved ones, you may be able to accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to include family members and friends in your search for the perfect home, including:

1. Loved ones are happy to help you in any way they can.

Loved ones have your best interests in mind and will do whatever they can to assist you. That way, you can get extra help as you embark on the homebuying journey.

Before you begin your home search, it may prove to be helpful to meet with loved ones so that you can explain your homebuying goals to them. This will allow you to describe what you'd like to find in your dream home. Plus, meeting with loved ones gives family members and friends an opportunity to ask you questions about your home search.

If you and your loved ones are all on the same page, you'll be able to get ample support as you prepare to kick off your home search. Then, you and your loved ones can check out a broad array of houses and find one that matches or exceeds your expectations.

2. Loved ones can share their homebuying experiences with you.

For those who are entering the real estate market for the first time or have not purchased a house in several years, it may be beneficial to involve loved ones in the property buying process.

Loved ones who have recently purchased homes can provide real estate insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. They can respond to your homebuying concerns and queries and help you prepare to enter the housing market.

Also, loved ones may be able to help you avoid potential pitfalls as you search for the ideal residence. Although some family members and friends may have made mistakes when they bought homes in the past, your loved ones can help you learn from their errors and ensure you can avoid various homebuying pitfalls.

3. Loved ones can help you make tough homebuying decisions.

Let's face it Ė the decision to buy a home is one of the biggest that an individual may make in his or her lifetime. As such, the decision to purchase a home is not one that should be taken lightly.

Loved ones are happy to listen to your homebuying concerns time and time again. They can offer suggestions and recommendations as you explore homes and help you remain calm, cool and collected at each stage of the homebuying journey.

Of course, if you want additional assistance during the homebuying journey, it never hurts to hire an expert real estate agent. This housing market professional can set up home showings, negotiate with home sellers on your behalf and provide comprehensive homebuying support at any time.

Reach out to loved ones for support as you get ready to search for your dream home. By doing so, you may be able to speed up the homebuying process.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  




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