One of the questions buyers often wonder is whether it is necessary to have a buyer’s agent when purchasing new construction. The answer is a resounding yes! Some don’t even think about it or realize you can and should use a buyer’s agent when considering building.
As with any home purchase, there are too many potential pitfalls, hidden risks, and complications involved in the process to guarantee a good result unless you have experienced help.
It is vital to have a list of questions to ask a builder before moving forward. The answers to these questions could have a dramatic impact on whether you enjoy your home building experience or end up a frustrated mess!
Your agent can help ensure you hire the right builder. With new construction just about anything can go wrong. You are, after all, building a home that takes a while to construct. There are a number of things that can cause problems including weather, labor shortages, as well as issues with materials.
While you can choose to work with any real estate agent, having someone in your corner with experience selling new construction can be a huge asset! A buyer’s agent can guide you on appropriate upgrades and plan modifications, as well as choosing the right neighborhood and lot location. Many buyers do not realize when they drive by a new neighborhood and see “Homes Starting At” what is not included in the base package price.
Real estate purchases involve a lot of paperwork, documents that can be confusing and overwhelming. Your agent will make sure all the paperwork is filled and filed correctly. They will also ensure you are fully educated on the warranty policy offered by the builder and will address questions you may not think to ask.
The agent at the builder’s site represents the builder, not you. You do not want to go directly to the listing agent in most circumstances, so why would you not consider a buyer’s agent for new construction? When buying any home it is always wise to have an exclusive buyer’s representative in your corner working hard for your best interests.
Most households acquire a host of cherished items over time. Eventually, you may find yourself surrounded by more possessions than you can handle. Whether you are considering retiring in your own home or moving to a new space, it is important to create a plan to live comfortably. There are many issues that arise that can make the upkeep and maintenance of the home a challenge. Preparing for a new “rightsized” space can be an overwhelming prospect, especially when you have a home full of memories and keepsakes to go through.
5 tips to help you prepare to “Rightsize” for whatever comes next in your life.
Don’t be ashamed to get rid of items that belong to other people.
Quite often, the first place you can begin to clear is where other people’s items gather. Have you held on to your children’s old furniture or stored items for family and friends? If your answer is yes, start clearing their items. Contact family members and friends to find out if they want their items back or no longer have use for them.
Reduce your inventory of seasonal décor items.
Seasonal décor is often difficult for many of us to part with because of the sentimental value and memories attached to the items. Unfortunately, many of us end up with more memorable decorative items than we have room for. This is a sign to declutter before you decorate! Decluttering can save you time and money while allowing you to take inventory of all the wonderful items you want to preserve.
Dispose of broken and outdated items…..things that no longer fit.
In most cases, broken items are no longer useful or functional, but a hazard. Consider discarding well worn, old, holey, or torn clothing, bed linens, and towels as well as chipped or broken dinnerware. We all have those jeans in our closet that we will get back in to some day or clothes our kids have simply outgrown.
Start the process by identifying items you absolutely love and need.
Experts say the purpose of this process “is to create a new living environment that reflects a meaningful, comfortable lifestyle for the years ahead. Personal possessions that have purpose and meaning are honored and preserved for the new home.” After deciding what items are you need to live safely and comfortably, such as a bed, place for clothes or eating utensils, you can then consider which items you love most that are not essential to daily life or comfort.
Be patient and prioritize
In a world driven by immediacy, we often want instant results. Remember that Rightsizing is a process that works best with a plan and lots of patience.
For every milestone in our lives, we use space differently. Re-evaluate, adjust, and modify based on your needs in the present and for the future at a length of time you are comfortable with.
In our market we definitely have our fair share of multiple offer situations, especially in the heat of buying and selling season. How do we handle them as a buyer and seller?
Buyer: You have found the perfect home, but so have 3 other people and after putting in your offer, your REALTOR delivers the news that other offers have been received as well. You may have even been notified of this up front before putting in your offer. One of the first things I do as an Agent representing a buyer is verify status of the property to ensure I am in tune with the interest level. If a property has been on the market for a bit of time, chances are multiple offers are not in the equation, but the potential is always there. There are some factors that will determine how you will compete with others in this situation. How strong is your financing, down payment, length of time to move, do you have another home to sell in order to move forward with this purchase, just to name a few, AND how much do you LOVE the property? In a multiple offer situation, sometimes people get caught up in the competition and intensity of it, so they are willing to pay more for the home than they would in a less tense negotiation. How can we try to avoid competing with other offers? First, consider the time of year you are shopping. If you have a very strict budget and are shopping in a competitive price range, if possible, try to avoid shopping for a home when the majority of other people are. If this is unavoidable, we will discuss, in length, the strategies we will take.
Seller: You have prepped well to list your home. Your REALTOR feels strongly that you have a product that will be in high demand, however nothing is guaranteed to bring multiple offers once you hit the market. But they come and you are SO excited! In most situations, multiple offers tend to come very quickly after a property is marketed, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possibly after either. Trust in your Agent’s experience and expertise to evaluate each and every offer received to determine if: A) you want to select one to move forward with or B) you want to request that each person who has interest is given the opportunity to submit their highest and best offer by a certain day and time. There are a few factors to keep in mind while driving the price up. Will the property appraise for the agreed purchase price and if it does not, then what? What is the circumstance of the sale with each and every buyer…..is it contingent upon another sale, what are their financing terms, can they close when it is convenient for you, so on and so forth. Selecting the highest price is not always best.
In any negotiation, your REALTOR will provide you with the best advice possible, but the ultimate decision is yours!
Too often clients planning to sell their home confuse the difference between deferred maintenance and updating. When was the last time you had your furnace maintenance? Cleaned your duct work or carpets? How about the paint chipping on exterior trim? While many homes that are “updated” tend to sell faster, do not ignore maintenance and upkeep of home ownership. When it comes time to sell, some of my clients are surprised at the cost of to take care of deferred maintenance.
Being you live in the home daily, dirty siding, cracked mortar joints, or paint touch ups may not be as noticeable to you, but they are VERY important for the next buyer. I try to help my clients understand the cost and obligation associated with the musts in order to move on to what we need to do in terms of updating. The cleanliness of your home is also a representation of how well you may have, or may not have, taken care of other aspects of the home. I am speaking in terms of return vents, blinds, base boards, interior of appliances and light fixtures, etc. being cleaned…the things you don’t think about regularly when you put in a pair of earbuds and go to town with the vacuum or Swiffer on a Saturday afternoon.
Transforming your house from a home to a product (to sell) can be a challenge for some, especially those with a busy lifestyle, children, two full-time working adults, pets, etc. Planning ahead is key to avoid stressful crunch time. I offer very helpful and easy to follow guidelines for all of my clients in terms of prepping to sell, being ready for inspection, and staging your home for showings.
I would be honored to help you!
The cool temps have arrived and there are armies of pests busy looking for ways to infiltrate our homes. We can take steps to avoid the bands of bugs and vermin hoping to claim our dwelling for themselves.
Seal It Up
While this tactic is relatively time-consuming, expending the energy to seal up your windows, doors and foundation is definitely effective. Without easy entry, pests hoping for a new home will have to go next door. As an added benefit, you will also increase your energy efficiency, thus lowering your heating and cooling bills, while also protecting your home against water damage resulting from leaky foundations. There are DIY options out there for the aspiring handyman, but plenty of companies specialize in this type of work, as well.
Keep a Clean House
It’s easier said than done, but keeping your home clean is a great way to help prevent pests. Understanding that a lot of common household nuisances are attracted to food (think ants and mice), it is essential to keep your non-perishable items in airtight containers and promptly clean up spills and kitchen messes. Maintaining a tidier home can alert you to potential problems much sooner, too, as bugs have fewer places to hide, helping you avoid an all-out infestation by catching the issue early.
Make Fleas Flee
Fleas are right up there with bed bugs and head lice when it comes to the amount of work it takes to rid your home of infestation. Because of this, prevention is your best bet. Pet owners of both indoor and outdoor animals should be vigilant with monthly anti-flea meds. Use of these products is encouraged throughout the winter months, as well, since unforeseen thaws and warmer temps are all it takes for eggs to hatch. A few bucks a month will save you a huge hassle and extermination bill down the road – not to mention hours of itching.
There are several products at various retail stores that will stop pests and insects from wanting to enter your home. Utilizing these at key times throughout the year is very beneficial. There are also Professionals who offer a regular routine service to take care of this for you.
Home is where you often go to relax and de-stress after a long day. Sometimes though, home can be the cause of our stress. This happens to a lot of us when our house is cluttered or unorganized.
There are many steps you can take to eliminate the clutter and start creating a stress free environment for yourself. Here’s just a few of them:
IDENTIFY YOUR STRESS TRIGGERS
Does it drive you crazy when you get home from work and there are ten pairs of shoes by the door? Do you hate opening your overstuffed pantry cabinet and getting a can of green beans straight to the face? Whatever your top stress trigger is, remove it immediately! It may seem small but your irritability will begin to diminish by removing even one of your stressors. The more stress triggers you remove, the better you’ll feel.
TAKE A WEEKEND TO ORGANIZE
None of us feel like cleaning when we get off work, so make the effort to set aside a weekend and get everything in your home cleaned and organized. By doing this once you can maintain the cleanliness by simply picking up the house 10-15 minutes every couple of days. Closets, storage areas and pantries seem to get the least attention but we are reminded each time we view those spaces that they may need some organizing. Choose small projects here and there so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
FIND YOUR HAPPY PLACE
With your stress triggers eliminated and your house clean and organized, you can begin to find what relaxes you. Create a space where you can go to feel your best. Whether that be the living room you designed or your bedroom that always brings you comfort. By taking even a couple minutes to yourself in this setting you can reduce some of the stress picked up throughout the day!
While there are many other steps and strategies to reduce stress at home, these are a couple that can be done quickly and easily (and even provide some instant gratification).
You probably spend the majority of your time at work and at home. You have the ability to control the stress levels at one of these places, use it!
One of the first things home buyers comment on is all of the paperwork that a mortgage company needs to process, underwrite and approve a loan. While it may seem like they’re taking everything short of a DNA sample, everything has a purpose.
There are different required documents whether you’re buying your primary residence, a lake home (with a second home mortgage), or refinancing your current mortgage—there are different requirements and they all serve a purpose. The following are some of the most essential documents you will need to provide.
BANK, RETIREMENT, AND INVESTMENT
The most common requirements from mortgage companies are 2 months (or the most recent quarterly) of statements. If you provide an activity printout, it needs to be stamped and signed by a teller at your bank. This certifies that you didn’t just create something on your computer.
The two-month window is used to confirm that “your money” that is being used to buy your house is actually your own earned money. One tactic of loan fraud is when “Person A” has a substantial amount of cash, but doesn’t qualify because of either bad credit, low or undocumented income, etc., so they give “Person B” that cash to buy a home for them.
The typical time frame required for pay stubs from your employer is the past 30 days. Most pay stubs show total hours worked, hourly/salary/commission wages, and also year-to-date earnings. They can also inform the lender of other things that may have been forgotten by the borrower to claim as income or debt—including withholdings for child support, 401(k) loans, and other situations that will affect your usable income.
Lenders can use “claimed” income from your tax return (gross income – deductions = claimed income). People who are contractors, self-employed or union workers who write off business expenses or other union dues can report less income on their mortgage file than they actually earn. This is the only way to actually see that information in any detail.
DIVORCE DECREE AND CHILD SUPPORT
The court documents are the only certifiable source to document what you pay/receive in child support or alimony. This is an additional factor in determining your income.
Mortgage companies need to contain the necessary information to pass an audit from any of the federal regulators. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two such regulators, have guidelines that must be followed in order to keep both the homebuyers and the mortgage lender safe from potential risk.
Different loan programs, borrowers, and scenarios will all have different requirements. It’s the responsibility of the mortgage company to paint the clearest picture possible to get your file approved.
Some people don’t like the notion of digging so deeply into your personal and financial lives but keep in mind that this part of a reputable mortgage company’s due diligence because they are lending a lot of money. If you were going to lend that much money to a complete stranger, wouldn’t you do your fair share of research too?