Janet Laughead's Blog
In the quest to find a new home that you love, there are two fundamental things you must know: how much you can realistically afford to spend and what you need to be happy.
Qualifying for a mortgage is one of the first hurdles on the road to home ownership, but loan approval doesn't necessarily mean you can comfortably afford a house you have your eye on.
There are other expenses to factor into the equation, such as closing costs, the down payment, school and property taxes, possible HOA fees, and maintenance costs.
If a house you're considering needs a lot of repairs, updating, and decorating, for instance, those projects could take a big bite out of your bank account and household budget. First-time home buyers and growing families moving into larger homes often have to consider the cost of furniture, new window treatments, and painting supplies. People moving from an apartment or condo to a house may also need to buy a lawnmower, tools, and property maintenance machinery (weed whackers, leaf blowers, snow blowers, etc.)
Once you've determined that you can absorb all those costs without being "house poor," the next step is creating a list of requirements, preferences, and lifestyle goals. For example, if privacy is important to you, you'll need to narrow your search to homes that have a sufficient amount of frontage and space between neighbors and streets. Fences, privacy hedges, and mature trees could also help provide you with the kind of living environment you're looking for.
While the emotional appeal of a house is an important aspect of home-buying decisions, the location of a property and the amount of living space it provides will play a central role in your level of satisfaction. In addition to having enough bedrooms, bathrooms, and storage space, you may also want to consider things like the home's architectural style and whether the floorplan is to your liking.
Many families prioritize the quality of the school district, the look and feel of the neighborhood, and the distance from shopping centers, recreation, and needed services. Also highly desirable is a daily commute to work that isn't too grueling or time consuming!
Since everyone has different goals and needs when it comes to finding the ideal home, there's no one-size-fits-all strategy for zeroing in on the house of your dreams. Although there are a lot of websites that provide great ideas on everything from flooring and countertops to cabinetry and room color, having your real estate agent show you houses that match your specifications is the most productive thing you can do.
Getting out there and physically viewing and walking through houses in your price range will eventually lead you to the home that's just right for you and your family. It's a process in which you need to immerse yourself, but with a little persistence and a clear idea of what you want, you're sure to find the home that checks off most (if not all) of the boxes on your priority and wish lists!
When buying a house, especially your first home, it's all too easy to make impulsive decisions and fail to "see the forest for the trees."
Although it's impossible to ignore your emotional reactions to a house for sale, it's vital to look at the big picture and make sure there are no red flags being ignored or glossed over.
For example, if the foundation of the house looks unstable or the surrounding neighborhood is showing signs of deterioration, it's ultimately not going to matter how much you love the layout of the kitchen or the convenience of a first floor laundry room. Major problems can overshadow the desirable features of a home and have long-term implications on your finances (and sanity).
Even though the future marketability of a house may be the last thing on your mind when you're searching for your next home, it's a factor worth giving some serious thought to. When that aspect of home ownership is overlooked, it could result in headaches and possible financial loss down the road. While real estate generally has a tendency to appreciate in value over time, there are exceptions.
The good news is that many potential problems can be prevented by combining common sense with the advice of qualified professionals, such as an experienced, certified property inspector. If you're wondering what's covered in a typical home inspection, the American Society of Home Inspectors offers this overview: "The standard home inspector’s report will cover the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components."
So while inspectors can't look behind every wall or accurately predict the remaining lifespan of an existing HVAC system, they can provide you with a lot of valuable tips, recommendations, and insights into the condition of a house for sale. Working with a top-notch real estate (buyer's) agent will also help you avoid many of the potential pitfalls of buying a home.
While nobody wants to move into a "money pit," the likelihood of finding a home that's absolutely perfect and doesn't need any repairs, updates, or improvements is extremely low. Home buyers who are too focused on perfection may eventually realize that their standards are unattainable. A successful search for a new home hinges on the ability to distinguish between a minor cosmetic problem, such as an unappealing paint color, and a major problem, like a basement that floods regularly or a roof that's been compromised by storms, falling branches, or long-term neglect.
Although home buyers have differing expectations when it comes to repairs, remodeling, decorating, and renovations, one thing's for sure: Everyone wants to add their own personal touches to a new home and make it feel and look like their own!
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Moving from one state to another is stressful enough for adults and children. Often pets are doubly confused. Your home may be the only world they've known. They don't understand why you're leaving or if you're coming back. Boxes are piling up and moving people, family and friends are everywhere. This may increase your pet's anxiety and find them acting out or running away more than usual.
We've compiled five of the best expert tips for moving cross-country with your pet.
1. Prepare yourself for the move
We love this one from the New York Times. Often pets pick up on your own frazzled, sad or angry emotions. If you're frantically sorting boxes or searching for items, your pet will feel equally frustrated.
If this move is causing you stress, take time to slow down and do something you love. Remember, this is temporary. Whether it's an upgrade or a downsize, you're going to love your new home.
2. Put them in a quiet room
All the boxes, shifting furniture and people are disorienting. On top of that, the front door may be propped open for extended periods. Put your pet in a room as far from the commotion as possible. If they're prone to gnawing or scratching, put them in a crate and play some white noise, pleasant music or a TV program they'll associate with you to ease the stress.
3. Acclimate your pet to their carrier
If your pet is afraid of the carrier they'll travel in, leave it out in the room for a few weeks before your move. They can walk in and out of it on their own and know that it's not a trap. Put some treats and a blanket they love in there. Help them make positive associations with that safe traveling crate.
4. Assess the new surroundings
If you're moving cross country, you may encounter unfamiliar hazards like:
- Poisonous plants
- Feral animals
- Busy streets close to your home
- Rat traps or bug-control pellets
You know your pet best and what may be a risk to them. Inspecting for hazards will help you prepare for their safe arrival.
5. Let them adjust slowly
Don't give your pets a whole new world to explore all at once. Instead, start them in one room like a laundry room or bathroom with food, water, bed and litter box (if applicable). Spend a few hours with them there. Then introduce them to the rest of their new home.
For more tips on moving, buying and selling your home, follow our blog.
If you're selling a home, hiring a real estate agent who acts as a comprehensive marketer is essential – and perhaps it is easy to understand why.
For home sellers, an ineffective marketer may struggle to promote your residence to the right groups of homebuyers. This may cause you to miss out on opportunities to highlight your house to potential property buyers, resulting in a prolonged home selling cycle.
Ultimately, there are many signs that a real estate agent understands what it takes to market your residence effectively, including:
1. A real estate agent is ready to host home showings and open houses.
Home showings and open houses enable property buyers to get an up-close look at your residence. That way, property buyers can envision what life would be like if they purchase your house.
Typically, a real estate agent will want to host as many home showings and open houses as possible This housing market professional will be available to set up home showings at property buyers' convenience. Meanwhile, he or she also will promote open houses via social media and other channels to stir up plenty of interest from potential property buyers.
2. A real estate agent knows how to showcase your residence online.
A real estate agent may insist on hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your home's interior or exterior. This ensures you can provide homebuyers with crisp, clear images via myriad online channels to show the true beauty of your house.
Moreover, a real estate agent may use Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to promote your residence. Social media enables this housing market professional to reach thousands of potential property buyers and may help you generate significant interest in your home quickly.
3. A real estate agent allocates the necessary time and resources to track his or her marketing efforts.
What good is a marketing campaign if a marketer is unable to define its success? A real estate agent who is a great marketer understands the importance of metrics and will measure his or her marketing successes and failures.
A real estate agent should be able to keep you informed at each stage of the home selling cycle. He or she can provide updates about whether homebuyers are interested in checking out your home and any feedback from homebuyers as well.
In addition, a real estate agent is unafraid to adjust the way that he or she promotes your home. With the right metrics in place, this housing market professional will be able to find out whether homebuyers are interested in your property and modify his or her marketing efforts accordingly.
When it comes to selling your home, working with a real estate agent who knows the importance of effective marketing can make a world of difference. With a successful marketer at your disposal, you can boost your chances of speeding up the home selling process and getting the best price for your house.