Home Buying Myths You Need to Stop Believing

Most first-time home buyers tend to seek advice from their family and friends about the process. As a result, a number of home buying myths may have found refuge at the back of their minds.

Here are 4 home buying myths you need to stop believing.

Buying is always better than renting

This actually depends on a number of factors including the price of the home and how long you intend to stay in it.

Generally, it takes 5 to 7 years to break even with the cost of buying, owning and selling a house. So, if you are planning to buy a house, make sure that you intend to stay for at least that long.

A 30-year fixed rate mortgage is always the best choice

Fixed rate mortgages come with a low foreclosure rate, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always the best choice. Mind you, the longer you stay in debt, the more interest you pay.

Paying interest over a span of 30 years, this can easily translate to hundreds of thousands of dollars. That said, there is a great chance that you may not be able to prepare for your retirement.

You need perfect credit to buy a home

It is a well-known fact that your credit score can have a great impact on the mortgage loan approval process. But, you don’t need to have a perfect credit in order to secure an approval. Keep in mind, though, that the higher your credit score, the more likely you are to get the best deal.

Choose the lender with the lowest interest rate

For most people, cost is always a factor to consider but in this case, your lender’s reliability is what matters most. In a competitive buying market, this could make a big difference.

Also, you’ll want a lender who can work well with your real estate agent. So, don’t hesitate to ask your agent for referrals.

 

House Hunting Tips to Help You Make the Right Choice

House hunting is one of the most exciting parts of buying a house. After all, you are on your way to finding your dream home. But house hunting can be stressful and overwhelming if you don’t stay focused and organized.

In this blog post, we listed down some tips to make the house hunting process easier and more effective. Use these tips to help you find your dream home.

Research before viewing

Most sellers would list their properties online. This would be the best place to start the home buying process. Browse through the online listings and list down some of the properties you’re interested in.

Use online resources to research before viewing. Look for houses that have features you want, fits your budget, and looks nice. Also, plan your route so you can visit a few houses within one drive around.

Identify your housing needs

Before you go out there and start looking at houses, you need to decide what features you want and need in a house. Make a list of these features, and make sure that you bring this list with you.

It can be easy to get swept away with features such as hardwood floors, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances. This is actually fine if it’s within your budget. But if not, then you need to let go. There is no point in buying a gorgeous house with top-of-the-line appliances if you can’t afford it. No house, no matter how perfect it is, is worth being house poor over.

Make sure you’re free the entire afternoon

Some people fail to realize this, but house hunting can be time consuming. So if you are planning to look at a few houses, make sure that you free up at least a few hours of your day. Otherwise, you may find yourself rushing.

A house is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make. If you find a house that you like, it is best to linger for a while and look closely at every aspect of the house. You want to take notes and take photos of each house you look at. This way, it will be easier for you to compare the properties later on and make a more informed decision.

House Hunting Tips for Parents with Young Kids

House hunting is one of the most exciting parts of the home buying process. You get to look at different houses while searching for your dream home.

If you have kids, it is always best to leave the children at home when you’re house hunting. But there are some instances when you really need to take the kids with you. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to make the process as stress-free as possible.

Here are some house hunting tips for parents with young kids.

Keep the kids busy

Most kids get bored easily, especially when they have nothing else to do. They would ask you again and again if it’s time to go. Younger kids may even throw a fit. To prevent this from happening, we highly recommend that you bring your child’s favorite toy or an iPad. This way, they’ll have something to keep them occupied while you go around and look at the property.

Most kids can play for hours on end on their iPad. Just give them the iPad and let them sit on one corner. By keeping them busy, you can maximize your time on the property and have time to really look at the property.

Time it right

Choosing the right house is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. You want to really look at the property. You also want to list down the features, so you can compare them later on. But you can’t do that if you have tired and cranky kids in tow. This can ruin your house hunting experience.

If you really need to take the kids with you, it is best to go schedule the viewing early in the morning or late afternoon. You want to make sure that the child is well rested. Otherwise, he/she may start throwing a temper tantrum.

Bring some snacks

Kids can get grumpy when they’re hungry. Before heading out for the day, make sure that you pack some snacks so your kids have something to eat when they get hungry.

Choose snacks that healthy and kid-friendly. Granola bars, sandwiches, bananas, and cookies are great options for kids. Don’t forget to bring water as well. With the weather getting warmer, you want to make sure to keep the kids hydrated.

Look at the neighborhood

House hunting can be boring for kids. After all, they have no business being there. After looking at houses, you may want to drive around the area to see if there are parks, playground or sports field in the area.

This will give you an opportunity to observe the neighborhood. Plus, it’s a great way of showing the kids how amazing your new neighborhood is. They’ll feel less anxious about moving and feel more at ease in their new home town.

4 Smart Tips to Make Moving in Winter Easier

Winter is a great time to move. Since most people are out on vacation or busy with holiday get-togethers, you can get great deal with moving companies. However, moving house during the winter is not without challenges. Snow, ice, and freezing temperatures can make the moving process even more difficult.

Here are 4 smart tips to make your winter move easier.

Keep an eye on the weather

Winter weather can be unpredictable. Even if the sun has been shining all week long, a blizzard may suddenly pop up just as you’re pulling away in your car.

Check weather reports from time to time and make sure to follow it up until the moving day. Keep the radio on until the movers arrive so you get the latest updates. Anticipate any weather challenges and adapt to them.

Keep the heat on

You might be tempted to have your utilities disconnected prior to moving day, but please resist the urge to do so. On moving day, you’ll be opening and closing the door many times as the movers carry your boxes. This will send cold air into your home. Without the heat, everybody will feel cold and uncomfortable. You’ll want to keep the heat on on moving day.

Protect your belongings

Some items are especially vulnerable to cold temperatures. Electronics and other cold-sensitive items should be kept indoors for as long as possible and should be transported in a heated vehicle to avoid damage. Objects that are made of wood should be insulated during a move. These items can warp when exposed to freezing temperatures. Books and other documents will also need additional care. Place them in waterproof bins and make sure that they are sealed tight before they get loaded onto the moving truck.

Clear snow

We understand that you have a lot on your plate right now, but make sure that you shovel snow prior to moving day. Snow and ice can be slippery. Clear the snow to prevent anyone from getting hurt. You may also spread rock salt on the ground to slow down the re-icing process. If snow is falling, we suggest that you mix calcium chloride with the rock salt. This will make snow and ice melt faster.

Things to Look for When Buying a House

House hunting is one of the most exciting stages of the home buying prices. You get the chances to dozens of gorgeous homes while shopping for your future home.

If you are in the market for a house, then this blog post is for you. Here are 4 things to look for when buying a house. Hopefully, this list will help you get your search off on the right foot.

Home’s exterior

Let me guess. You liked how the house looks like from the outside that’s why you requested to view the property. But buying a house goes beyond the appearance. You want a house that doesn’t just look good. You want a property that is in great condition.

Before you enter the house, try to pay attention to the exterior. Look at the paint on the walls, the porch, driveway and walkway. Also, try to look up and see if the roof is in good shape. This will give you an idea how the owner takes care of the house.

Size and floor plan

Most buyers have a good idea about what they want in a house. But it’s easy to get swept away once you start looking at houses. You might be tempted to get a property that is bigger than what you need, but please resist the urge to do so.

We understand that you need a bigger space, but do you really need a house with 5 bedrooms? Think about it. The bigger the house, the bigger your expenses will be. You’ll need more furnitures. You’ll pay extra on utility bills, property taxes, heating and cooling cost and maintenance.

The neighborhood

The house is absolutely lovely. You fell in love with the house that you’re contemplating making an offer outright. But before you do, we suggest that you investigate the neighborhood first. Walk around the area to assess the neighborhood. Are there restaurants, schools or park near the house? Is it accessible to public transportation? How about the neighbors? Do they seem nice?

You need to understand that the neighbors and other amenities in the area are part of the package. It may be easy to get rid of the dingy carpet or paint the walls a different color, but there is nothing you can do with the location and the community. Be sure to take this into consideration when buying a house.

Home inspection

Buying a house is something you shouldn’t take lightly. Before putting your hard earned money into that property, you want to make sure that the house you’re investing in is in pristine condition. As such, we highly recommend that you get a home inspection.

A home inspection is a visual inspection of the property. Here, you’ll have a good idea about the overall condition of the property, as well as the flaws and issues that are present in the house. This will help you make a more informed decision.

Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a House in a Seller’s Market

The real estate market often fluctuates. Sometimes it’s a buyer’s market. Other times, it’s a seller’s market.

During a seller’s market, the demand for homes is high while the inventory is low. Because of this, a lot of sellers find themselves in a bidding war. It is possible to get the home you’ve always wanted, but you need a plan in place to avoid making mistakes.

Here are 3 mistakes to avoid when buying a house in a seller’s market.

Overpaying

In a hot market, most buyers find themselves in a multiple offer situation. It is not uncommon for buyers to lose out on home after home. Because of this, some buyers end up offering more out of desperation.

Desperation has no place in a home buying transaction. Given that buying a home is one of the biggest transactions you’ll have in this lifetime, you don’t want to spend any more money just because you were desperate to land your dream house. There are a lot of properties out there. You are sure to find your dream home at the right time. If you failed to acquire that property, then it’s not “the one”.

Financial fogginess

Buying a house is the big leagues. It’s not enough to ballpark your income or run the numbers in your head. You need to be crystal clear and decide how much you can afford.

Sit down and do the math. Use an online money app or keep an income/expense journal. Your goal is to get a clear picture about how much money you can spend on your home on a monthly basis. This is especially important in a hot market, where you may need to make a decision about whether to increase your offer price on a relatively short notice. If done wrong, it may lead to financial regrets that may last a lifetime.

Hesitating

In a hot market, great homes come on and off the market at a lightning-fast pace.  Hesitation can be costly in a hot real estate market. Some buyers would window shop for ages or sit on the fence because they believe that something better would come right along.  But if you do so, you may end up losing out on a property you truly like. While there are hundreds of lovely homes that would meet your needs and specifications, we highly recommend that you act fast and check out the property if you find something you really like.

 

How to Make a Home Offer That Can’t Be Refused

Summer is one of the busiest times of the year for the real estate market. People are hoping to move in to their new home before the school year starts once again. In the hopes of buying their dream house, a lot of homebuyers find themselves head to head with more experienced buyers who tend to be in a stronger position.

Here are some tips on how to make an offer that can’t be refused. These things can go a long way to making your offer standout.

Include an escalation clause  

As the real estate market starts to heat up, multiple offers become the norm. Before shopping for a house, you already have an idea how much you can afford. If you are serious about buying the property, let the seller know by including an escalation clause with your offer.

An escalation clause means you are willing to go over the highest offer up to a certain amount. In a hot market, this gives you a good opportunity to be the selected offer.

Make a larger down payment

Let’s say you’re the seller, and you received offers from 2 buyers. Both of them made an offer for $200,000 –  one with a 3.5% down payment while the other offered to increase the down payment to 15%. Which offer would you choose? Of course, you’d choose the latter.

If you can, try to make a larger down payment. The larger the cash component of your offer, the more attractive it is to the seller.

Offer above asking price

Let’s face it. One of the most common reasons why a house gets multiple offers is because it is priced low. If you find yourself in a multiple bidding situation and you try to offer a low price, chances are you won’t get the property. If you think you have found your dream house, then step up your game and offer above the asking price.

Write a letter to the sellers

Most sellers are emotionally attached to their homes. After all, they have lived in that house for several years, and have built a lot of memories there. Many of them are looking for buyers who would take good care of their home.

If you are serious about buying the house, then go ahead and write a letter to the buyers. Let them know how much you love it, and how you envision your family living in that house. They are likely to choose a buyer who would take good care of their most prized possession.

4 Things You Need to Know About Second Mortgages

Your home is an asset and it gains value over time. A second mortgage is a type of home loan that allows you to borrow against the value of your home.  Most homeowners decide to get a second mortgage to pay off large debts or for home improvement purposes.

Here are 4 things you need to know about second mortgages.

Home equity line of credit vs. Home equity loans

There are 2 types of second mortgages – home equity line of credit and home equity loans. With a line of credit, the borrower knows exactly how much money they need. They would borrow a small amount of money and then repay the line of credit later on. They can continue to borrow as many times as they wish.

The home equity loan is a great option if you are looking to borrow a huge sum of money. This is similar to your first mortgage. It is a one-time loan and requires borrowers to repay the loan by making fixed monthly payments. Determine what kind of second mortgage you would like.

Why take a second mortgage?

A second mortgage, when used for appropriate reasons, can actually help you realize your financial goals and dreams. Laying the ground work for increased income and increasing the value of your home are 2 of the best reasons to use a second mortgage.

Since a second mortgage is based on your home’s equity, it is a good idea to use the money to do certain improvements, which will help increase the value of your home. Kitchen and bathroom renovations often yield the biggest returns.

How much money can you borrow?

The amount of money you can borrow will depend upon a number of factors, including the loan to value ratio of your current home, your credit score, and the amount of equity you have in your home. Most lenders will allow you to borrow as much as 85% of your loan to value ratio of the 2 loans combined.

Understand the risks involved

A second mortgage works much like your first mortgage. Even though banks consider second mortgages safe, they certainly come attached with some large risks. For one, the interest rates are slightly higher than that of your first mortgages. Plus, it will be piled on top of existing home loan, so you’ll end up acquiring massive amounts of debts. Since it taps into your home’s equity, it means your home is on the line. If you fail to keep up with the monthly payments, your home will be at risk of foreclosure.

Before you take out a second mortgage, make sure that you carefully consider whether the benefits outweigh the risks before you take out a second mortgage.

Signs That a Home Seller is Ready to Negotiate

Every home buyer wants to get the best deal possible. But most of the time, it seems like the seller has the upper hand. They get to choose whether or not to accept your offer. In some cases, they even choose from a pile of competing offers. But some sellers who tend to have a hard time selling their house are willing to negotiate.

Spotting a seller who is ready to negotiate, and using some negotiating strategies, will help you get the best price and terms.

Here are 4 signs that a home seller is ready to negotiate.

The seller offers extras

Some sellers are so eager to sell their house that they are willing to offer other inclusions like closing costs, home warranty, termite clearance or appliances. This is a clear sign that the owner is motivated to sell the property.

A rock-bottom price

Most owners believe that their home is more special as compared to other properties. As such, many of them are tempted to sell their home at a higher price. But if the house is being sold at a rock-bottom price, this could be an indication that the seller is desperate to sell the house. Perhaps the house has been on a market for quite some time. Or maybe, they have already bought a house and needs to sell their home fast.

Nobody is home

Most sellers stage the house before putting the house on the market. But if the house is vacant, that means that the seller has already moved to their new house. Or if the seller’s stuff are already packed in boxes, it means that they are preparing to move. There’s a good chance that the seller could be open for bargaining.

Buzzwords in the listing

Most people pay special attention to photos when browsing through online listings, but you may want to check on the listing description as well.

Certain words in the listing can clue you in on what the seller’s state of mind may be. Watch out for words like “needs to sell”, “priced to sell” or “motivated seller”. These are subtle hints that the seller is open to discussion.

How to Make Your Home More Attractive to Millennial Buyers

More and more millennials are entering the homebuying market for the first time. In fact, studies suggest that millennials now account for one in three buyers. The number is expected to rise in the next few years.

Millennials now represent the fastest-growing generation of consumers in the country. If you are looking to sell your home fast, it is a good idea to adapt your marketing strategy to millennials. Otherwise, your home may stay on the market for several months.

Here are some tips to make your home more attractive to millennial buyers.

Embrace technology

Millennials like to gather information online, and are considered to be the most competitive. They browse the internet for home listings before they decide to see the property in person. Many of them have already done their research about the neighborhood, the schools and establishments in the area before they even step foot in your home. If they do schedule for viewing, make sure that your home looks exactly as it is on your online listing.

Move-in ready

Millennials are busy individuals. They don’t have time to paint the walls, tackle repairs or remodelling projects.  They want to spend the free time they have with their family and friends. If you are selling your home to millennials, make sure it’s move-in ready.

Open floor plan

Millennials are a lively group. They love to entertain guests. As such, younger buyers are in search of homes with a large open space that is big enough to accommodate their guests. They are interested in houses with fewer walls and partitions.

Be responsive

Patience was long considered a virtue. Living in an age of modern technology, milllennials feel the pull of instant gratification.

When selling to millennials, you want to make sure that you respond to text messages and emails as quickly as possible. Many of them don’t have the patience to wait. They have high standards when it comes to customer service, so make responsiveness a priority.

Small and practical

Not too long ago, most people dream of having a big house with formal rooms, an oversized Jacuzzi and large basements. Today, however, younger buyers are interested in smaller homes. They live a busy lifestyle, so they want a house that is easy to clean and maintain. And since many of them have no solid plans for the future, most of them are looking for small, economic properties to escape to from the busy city.