Gail DuBois' Blog
When you decide to make an offer on a home, your mind may be flooded with dozens of questions and concerns -- several of which may involve money matters, while others are about the condition of the house.
However, if you've had the house professionally inspected and made sure your income is sufficient to absorb monthly expenses, than you've already taken steps to prevent or at least minimize future challenges.
Since buying a home is such a big investment and there are so many emotional factors that could influence your decision, it's essential to stay focused, adhere to a budget, and be aware of what you need in order to be satisfied with your purchase.
The Financial Side of Things: Even though a mortgage broker or loan officer may approve you for a large mortgage, only you can determine whether you'd be comfortable making those monthly payments. In addition to the cost of your mortgage, property taxes, and school taxes, there are also other expenses to consider and include in the equation. If you're moving into a larger house, for example, the cost of heating and/or cooling your home may be higher than you're used to. Poorly insulated houses can also have a negative impact on home energy costs.
Another key factor to think about when you're figuring out the affordability of a potential new home is property maintenance, the cost of HVAC service, and miscellaneous expenses, such as appliance repairs, plumbing leaks, and electrical services. Some neighborhoods, residential developments, and condos also require a monthly Homeowner Association (HOA) fee, which can potentially put a burden on your cash flow situation. A good rule of thumb, of course, is to avoid spending beyond your means. While nobody would dispute the logic of that advice, it's often a lot easier said than done -- especially on an ongoing, consistent basis.
Non-Financial Priorities: The only way to know what you truly want and need in a new home is to clarify your goals, requirements, and wishes. Making lists, discussing it with your partner, and visiting lots of homes for sale will help give you the ideas, the inspiration, and helpful points of comparison you need. Online real estate listings and home improvement websites can also provide a wealth of practical ideas.
In addition to having enough bedrooms and bathrooms to meet your family's needs, it's also important to feel comfortable with the quality of the school district, the amount of noise in the neighborhood, and the traffic level on nearby streets. Proximity to recreation, shopping, and other amenities can also make the difference between your ideal home and one which doesn't quite make the grade. Privacy (or the lack, thereof) is also a major issue which can impact your satisfaction with a real estate purchase. While it's good to approach home buying with a sense of optimism, the best time to weigh all the pros and cons is before you sign the final papers at the closing table!
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Browsing through the kitchen gadgets or perusing the tech isles for the lasts and greatest little gizmos to make your life more comfortable you will find all sorts of items that make you wonder if they are worth the money. Maybe you wish you were living in the real-life version of some futurist cartoon you grew up watching where the robotic maid does all the chores, and the house itself provides your meals. While that scenario may be a bit out of reach as of yet, it may soon be available.
Little Things, Big Help
The kitchen, known to be the "heart of the home," is one place you can find many useful gadgets to help create that feeling. Some items are daily use and others, just once in a while, but all need to be stored and sometimes space is limited. Americans love their morning ‘cup of joe,' so coffee makers seem to be the standard operating procedure for most households. Programmable coffee makers have been on the market for a while, but now they have an app for that coffee maker. So, if you have an urge for a coffee on your way home from work with certain tech coffeemakers, you can simply order one up, and it will be ready as you walk in the door. If coffee is not your thing, maybe having your bar-b-qued burgers cooked just right is more your speed. There are now meat thermometers, that with an app on your phone, will tell you when that meat is at an optimal temperature. No more opening and closing the BBQ lid and messing with the heat levels, Bon Appetite!
What about smart tech for appliances, like your refrigerator? A fridge with an internet connection can keep track of the food inside, but some can also connect to other smart technology throughout your home. Some smart refrigerators can allow you to communicate with your smartphone while you are out and about, thus enabling you to check on how many eggs you have left or whether you need pickles. Some models have whiteboards so you can leave messages, or screens that can keep schedules to help you and everyone stay in the loop. Command Central, located in your smart refrigerator, making the kitchen indeed the heart of the home.
Check out some model homes and see what technology is being built into today's homes.
If you plan to sell your house and need to declutter quickly, hosting a yard sale may prove to be ideal.
Ultimately, a yard sale enables you to get rid of excess items and earn extra cash at the same time. It also may help you connect with neighbors and lay the groundwork for long-lasting friendships.
When it comes to hosting a yard sale, it is important to sell the right items to the right buyers. By doing so, you can increase your chances of transforming an ordinary yard sale into a successful one.
Now, let's take a look at three items to sell during your yard sale:
If you're moving from a warm-weather climate to a cold region – or vice-versa – you should sell clothing that you no longer need.
Wash any clothes that you plan to sell as part of your yard sale. This will ensure all clothes are stain-free.
Furthermore, consider the buyer's perspective as you determine which clothing to sell. And if you find that some of your t-shirts, turtlenecks and other clothes are faded or ripped, you may want to dispose of these items altogether.
TVs, video game consoles and other electronics often prove to be popular yard sale purchases. As such, if you have excess electronics, you should sell these items at your yard sale.
If you plan to sell an old desktop or laptop computer, make sure to clear the hard drive. This helps eliminate potential cybersecurity headaches down the line.
Also, test any electronics to ensure they work properly. If electronics are battery-operated, install batteries to make it easy for yard sale shoppers to test these items. Or, if electronics require an electrical outlet, set up a power source that allows potential buyers to try these electronics.
If you are moving to a new house that already has a refrigerator, washer, dryer and other appliances, a yard sale provides an excellent opportunity to sell your current appliances.
Be realistic when you set prices for your home appliances. Check out the prices of brand-new and used appliances, and you can establish a price range for your appliances based on their age and condition.
In addition, don't hesitate to negotiate with buyers on appliance prices. Because if you fail to sell your appliances at your yard sale, you may be forced to move these big, heavy items on your own.
Those who understand which items to sell at a yard sale should have no trouble stirring up plenty of interest in any yard sale, at any time.
Lastly, if you want extra help as you plan for a yard sale, a real estate agent can offer expert assistance. This housing market professional can provide home decluttering tips to ensure you can sell the right items during your yard sale.
Start planning for a yard sale today, and you can move one step closer to decluttering and selling your house.
Purchasing a home should be fun, memorable process. However, many homebuyers struggle with fears as they embark on the process of acquiring their dream homes.
Some of the most common homebuying fears include:
1. I will pay too much for a house.
Overspending on a house is a common fear among homebuyers nationwide.
If you pay too much for a house, you may struggle to afford the monthly payments for the duration of your mortgage. Perhaps even worse, your house may lose value over time. And if you eventually decide to sell your home, you may be forced to accept less than what you initially paid for it.
Ultimately, an informed homebuyer will understand the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's one. He or she will be able to determine whether a home is affordably priced and proceed accordingly.
An informed homebuyer also will know the importance of getting pre-approved for a mortgage. With a mortgage in hand, this homebuyer will understand exactly how much that he or she can spend on a house.
2. I'll wait too long to submit an offer on a residence.
If a homebuyer is uncertain about buying a particular house and waits too long to submit an offer, he or she risks missing out on this residence altogether.
Fortunately, there is a simple way to avoid this problem.
A homebuyer who knows what he or she wants to find in a dream home can narrow a home search. Then, if the homebuyer discovers a home that matches or exceeds his or her expectations, this individual can submit an offer right away.
Don't forget to submit a competitive offer, i.e. one that accounts for the needs of both a homebuyer and home seller, as well. A competitive offer will stand out from other proposals and increase a property buyer's chances of securing his or her dream residence.
3. I'll buy a home that will fail to maintain its long-term value.
What you pay for a home today is unlikely to remain the same over the course of several weeks, months or years. But a homebuyer who employs an expert home inspector can learn about a house's strengths and weaknesses and ensure a property is a viable long-term investment.
A home inspector will conduct an assessment of a house after a property seller accepts a buyer's proposal. At this point, an inspector will examine a house's interior and exterior and identify any potential issues. Lastly, a home inspector will issue a report with his or her findings, and a homebuyer will have a final opportunity to modify or rescind an offer on a house.
For homebuyers, it is important to work with a trusted home inspector – you'll be glad you did. This home inspector will go above and beyond the call of duty to evaluate a house before you finalize a home purchase.
Working with an experienced real estate agent may benefit a homebuyer too. With a top-notch real estate agent at your side, you can get the support you need to acquire a first-rate home that will maintain its value both now and in the future.