Prep your Home for Winter

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Winter is fast approaching, and if you’re a homeowner, that usually means now’s the time to tackle key maintenance tasks — at least if you want to ensure a warm and comfortable season.

There are appliances to check, inspections to complete and exterior tasks to do. 

Are you ready for the incoming colder months? Want to make sure your home is too? Here are five steps to take ahead of the winter months. 

  • Weatherproof your doors and windows. Cracks and gaps can let in cold air. Reseal old caulking and fill in any holes, splits or openings you find.
  • Get a roof inspection. Replace any damaged or missing shingles. Also make sure your roof is protected from leaks that could result in moisture- or mold-related problems.
  • Tend to your yard. Heavy storms can weigh down branches, causing them to fall on your roof or car. Check that all trees and foliage are cared for and well-trimmed.
  • Insulate your attic, pipes and walls. Better insulation can mean lower energy bills and a more comfortable home. Take some time to evaluate yours, and consider adding extra if needed. 
  • Check the water heater. Make sure your water heater is operating effectively and efficiently. You might also want to flush the system to remove any sediment that may be at the bottom of the tank.

Completing this essential winter maintenance can set your family up for a cozy, relaxing season at home. It’ll also help you identify any potential issues before they have a chance to turn into costly repairs. To learn more home upkeep tips, reach out today.

Posted in Life Real Estate Stuff by Being BOB. No Comments

5 Myths About Selling a Home Right Now

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Are you curious about the state of the housing market? Like many homeowners, especially potential sellers, you may be hesitant to make a move because there’s a lot of uncertainty and speculation these days. 

But you don’t want to let false assumptions keep you from reaching your goals, now or in the future. 

Let’s clear up some common myths about what’s happening in real estate right now and what we’re likely to expect going forward.

  • Myth: Buyers are waiting to enter the market.

    Record-low mortgage rates mean it’s a great time to purchase a home, and buyers are actively engaging in the market.
  • Myth: Fall is the wrong season to sell.

    You’ve probably heard that it’s better to list in the spring or summer. But this fall is a seller’s market — and a highly active one at that.
  • Myth: Home prices are decreasing.

    Nearly every metro region saw price growth this year, with trends outpacing expectations. In fact, historically low mortgage rates could allow people to afford higher-priced homes, encouraging them to buy now.
  • Myth: You won’t be able to show your home.

    You can show your home safely by following the recommended precautions. Virtual home tours and private showings are also options. 
  • Myth: The real estate market is going to crash.

    It’s a common concern, but what’s happening today is different from the financial crisis of 2008. Experts are optimistic, as the economy remains fundamentally strong. The housing market looks solid for the foreseeable future, and there is no reason to abandon your plans. 

It’s easy for the truth about selling to get lost in the shuffle. If you’re curious about what else is happening in real estate, especially our local market, reach out today. 

Getting Your Home Ready for Winter

Winter weather, especially in northern parts of the country, can cause major damage to homes. Roof leaks, lack of insulation or foundation issues can all have a massive impact on your quality of life and the ability to resell the home in the future. So how can you winterize your home?

Here are a few simple steps to get you started.

Add Attic Insulation

Many of us don’t consider the efficiency of our home’s insulation, but it can make all the difference in the winter. Before the season sets in, check out your attic to see whether there are any improvements you can make. There are a variety of products to choose from today.

Caulk Any Cracks

Inspect the inside and outside of your home. Look for cracks that might let cold air into the home during the winter months. You can repair these by using the right caulk to seal them and help keep your home better insulated.

Install Storm Windows and Doors

If your doors or windows are old, chances are they aren’t the most efficient option. Today there are plenty of environmentally friendly and insulative options on the market. Consider replacing your windows and storm doors with newer products.

Change Furnace Filters

Every season, before you run the furnace, it’s time to change the filters. They get clogged up from regular use and will affect the efficiency of your HVAC unit. Look at the furnace model to find out the best furnace filters to use.

Do you want to be in a new home this winter? Call us now.

Is This Your Situation: Looking for the Right Destination to Enjoy Your Retirement Years?

It’s tempting to go where most retirees decide to live out their golden years, but that may be the wrong decision for you. Of course, there are good reasons why places like Florida, North Carolina and Arizona are popular locations, but there are other factors to consider besides weather:

#1:  Nearby Care Facilities

It may be years away from now but when choosing a retirement home, you should think about finding one near high-quality care facilities. You are likely going to live in that home until you can’t live on your own any longer. If your health starts to fail or if you already have medical conditions, finding a place with nearby care facilities may be a higher priority than climate for you. 

#2: Amenities

Amenities make living the retirement lifestyle that much simpler. It is why so many retirees choose to purchase homes and condos in 55+ communities rather than investing in a new single family home. With a retirement home in one of those communities you could enjoy:

  • On-Site Activities
  • Entertainment
  • Fitness Centers
  • Swimming Pools
  • Tennis Courts
  • Party Gazebos
  • And More

#3: Proximity to Family

If something bad happens and you live thousands of miles away from your kids and grand kids who will be there to help you? Think about finding a home that is close enough to a nearby relative so that you have an emergency contact within an hour or so from your retirement home.

#4: Lifestyle

When choosing your retirement home, think about the type of lifestyle that it affords. Maybe you have always dreamed of living on a ranch out in Montana. But how will the lifestyle suit you? Will a ranch be too hard to maintain as you age? Will seclusion eventually wear on you? Spend time in your prospective retirement community to get a feel for the lifestyle to see if you would actually enjoy it long term.

#5: Affordability

Finally, affordability dictates most things. You can find really good bargains on real estate no matter what part of the country you choose to retire to. However, in more pricy markets, will your mortgage gobble up all of your incidental income?

Factor in your monthly expenses before settling on a house. You want nice but not so expensive that you will find yourself struggling to pay your bills once you get there.

These are just some of the factors that go into deciding which retirement home is best for you and your situation. Just remember, weather is not everything. For more information, feel free to contact me now.

5 Ways to Prepare to Buy or Sell Later

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Summer is usually the perfect time to buy or sell a home. And for some people, it still is. After all, there are few things more welcoming than warm weather and fresh flowers blooming in the front yard.

But maybe you’re waiting to enter the market. That’s okay too. There are plenty of ways you can use this time to your advantage.

If you’re considering buying or selling later this year or next, here are five things you can do in the meantime.

Get your finances in order. Take stock of your accounts, assets and debts, and pull your free credit report. Make sure you’re in good standing to qualify for a loan and make a down payment.

Watch the market. Keep an eye on local home sales where you’re considering buying. This can give you an idea of what you might spend on a home — or how you should price yours when you list it.

Save up for moving expenses. Moving isn’t cheap — especially if you’re going a far distance. Start saving for your movers, trucks, packing supplies and more.

Talk to a mortgage lender. Start zeroing in on which lender you might want to go with, and make sure you understand the requirements you’ll need to meet to get a loan. You may also want to get preapproved before beginning your home search.

Prioritize your needs. If spending more time at home has made you reconsider your living space, take the time to figure out exactly what you’re looking for in a new home. Then we can discuss your options together. 

For more ways to prepare for buying or selling a home, get in touch today.

Essentials to Keep in Your Emergency Kit

Let’s face it: You can’t predict the future. That’s why having a fully stocked emergency kit is so important. No matter the time of year, it’s always better to play it safe.  

Would you and your family be prepared, just in case?  Putting essential supplies together doesn’t have to be a chore and can even be done fairly quickly. You just need a list and a plan.

Need ideas? See below for useful items in any situation. 

  • Communication: Stay connected even if you lose power. Try a hand-crank or battery-powered radio — preferably one with charging ability to keep your devices running. 
  • Lighting: A flashlight and batteries are a must. Get a few different types, like lanterns, floodlights and key chains. You never know how much light you’ll need or where you’ll need to take it. You can also stash a few candles and some matches.
  • Food and Water: Pack at least three days’ worth of water, nonperishable foods and canned goods — and don’t forget the can opener. Think beans, nuts and seeds, protein bars and dried fruit.  
  • First-Aid Supplies: You’ll want a first-aid kit, complete with bandages, gauze, burn cream, antiseptic, sterile gloves, safety pins and more. Pain relievers and an extra supply of prescription medications are important, too.
  • Clothing and Bedding: Every family member will need a few changes of clothes and portable bedding like sleeping bags, blankets and pillows.
  • Miscellaneous Items: Cash, personal documents and paper maps might not seem essential now, but they could come in handy. Other nice-to-have items include duct tape, cleaning products and a multi tool.

There’s no telling what the future may bring, so it’s important to be prepared for anything. Get in touch today for more home safety tips.

Tips for Choosing the Right Neighborhood

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Finding a home that suits you is only part of the journey. Another big part? Choosing the right neighborhood.

The number of bedrooms and square footage are certainly important when buying a home — but the community might be even more vital. 

After all, it’s where you’ll likely exercise and socialize, where your kids will grow up and go to school and, ultimately, where you’ll put down roots and build a life.

Are you ready to look for a new home? Here’s how you can find the right neighborhood:

  • Know your needs. If walk ability is high on your list, make sure the neighborhood offers plenty of paths to explore. Is your commute to work a big factor? How long will it be? What are your thoughts on homeowners associations?
  • Do some research. Take some time to look into the community. Check out school district ratings and look at nearby listings to see home values. Reach out to learn what else the community offers.
  • Check out online groups. Pull up any neighborhood groups you can find on social media. Does the online community seem friendly? You can also search for a neighborhood newsletter or local events.
  • Take a self-guided tour. Drive around the neighborhood at different times of day to get a feel for its character. Can you see yourself living there? If you’re buying from out of town, you can hop on Google Maps and take a virtual walk. 

And if you’re ready to take an online tour or see a home in person, get in touch today. Together we’ll find the right home and neighborhood for you.

Posted in Events Life Listings Real Estate by Being BOB. No Comments

Is the highest bid the best bid?

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An offer on your home moves you one step closer to the finish line in the selling process. And if you’re lucky, you’ll receive multiple offers from a range of bidders. 

The highest bid is the obvious choice, right? Not necessarily. Here’s what to consider before moving forward on an offer:

Focus on your priorities. Take this step early, before any offers roll in. Make a list of what’s most important to you in the sale of your home, like a tight moving deadline or your financial needs. Are there any requests that would make an offer a deal breaker for you? 

Review the contingencies. Now that you’ve established your top priorities, determine your bidders’ conditions for the sale. Common contingencies for potential buyers include a property appraisal and a home inspection. 

Compare earnest money amounts. People who are interested in purchasing your home need to show you that their offer is made in good faith. An earnest money deposit proves the buyer is serious about the transaction. The more money they put into the deposit, the more likely they are to be able to back it up with financing.

Be aware of unusual requests. A bidder could ask you to make unnecessary repairs or leave all your appliances in the home for them. Their offer might be high, but if something unusual interferes with your top priorities, it might be best to move on to another option. Together, we’ll carefully read over their requests and discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Are you ready to get a great offer on your home? Get in touch today.

What to Know About Replacing Kitchen Appliances Before Selling Your House

should you replace appliances before selling your home

While selling a house can pad out your pocketbook, depending on how much equity you have invested in the home, it’s an unfortunate truth that it can also cost you money in the short term to make the sale. Items like home renovations and staging may need to be paid for upfront before you’ve even received an offer from a buyer. 

Savvy home sellers will consult their real estate agent before making any big changes to their home. Why? Because not all home renovation investments are worth it! In fact, in some cases, you may lose money! 

Replacing appliances may not be a full-on renovation, but it’s still a major expense and should be considered carefully before proceeding. After all, if you purchase appliances and they don’t add to your home’s ultimate sale price, then what’s the point?

How to Decide Whether the Appliances Stay or Go

The first decision you’ll need to make is whether or not to leave the appliances when you move. If you know you’ll need appliances in your new home, you may be tempted to take them – which can be a viable option, but you’ll want to make sure your real estate agent knows so they can update your listing accordingly. 

The second factor to consider when determining if you’ll take the appliances is who your potential buyers are. Large homes in great school districts may attract lots of families. If you think that’s the case, you may consider leaving the appliances. Families will likely attach value to having a home that’s fully move-in ready and won’t require a major expenditure upfront. 

However, if you think your home is more appealing to young couples and professionals, appliances may not be at the top of their wish list – in which case, you might consider taking them and not replacing them at all. 

Finally, you should think about the overall look of your kitchen. If the current appliances are dated, but so is the rest of the kitchen, a potential buyer may opt to remodel the entire space – in which case, removing the appliances may actually represent an expense for the buyer. 

You should always check with your real estate agent before making a major decision such as whether to take your current home’s appliances. They’ll be able to guide you toward a choice that makes the most sense for you, while also helping you get the most money for your home.

Tips for Replacing Appliances

If you do decide to replace appliances, you’ll want to follow a few guidelines to make a smart purchase that adds value to your home. 

Match the Appliances to Your Home

If the rest of your kitchen is finished luxuriously, make sure the appliances are just as high-end! Likewise, overly luxurious appliances in an otherwise dated kitchen may simply call attention to the fact that the kitchen hasn’t been renovated since the early 1960s. Matching the quality level of the appliances to the quality level of the kitchen is critical.

Purchase a Set

In general, you’ll want to ensure that any appliances that are staying (stove, refrigerator, built-in microwave, dishwasher, etc) form a matching set. If you can’t or don’t want to purchase a matching set, consider the quality level and styling of the appliances. A white refrigerator in a kitchen otherwise outfitted with stainless steel will stand out. 

Value-Add Appliances

You want to choose appliances that add to your home’s overall value. In some cases (for example, if the existing appliances are very old or non-functional), simply replacing your appliances with clean, working, energy-efficient versions will be enough. However, if your home is in a higher-end market, chef’s quality appliances may be required to add value. 

Selling Your Home – With or Without New Appliances

While the appliances in your home’s kitchen can definitely have an impact on whether or not your house sells (and for how much), the real determining factor in selling a home is working with a great real estate agent! An agent who’s a neighborhood expert will be able to tell you more about the types of buyers you might attract, the quality and condition of other kitchens in comparable homes, and so much more. 

Before you start thinking about updating your home for sale, we recommend talking to a Howard Hanna real estate agent. We’re local experts who value deep neighborhood knowledge. Get started – find a real estate agent near you today.

How A Home Inspection Helps Buyers Evaluate A House

You’ve found the home of your dreams and you’re ready to make an offer on it – congratulations! After celebrating the moment, it’s important to prepare for the work needed to complete the purchase. This includes completing any inspections on your possible future home.

A basic home inspection provides a general overview of the condition of a house, especially its key components such as household appliances and systems. This basic inspection of a house might reveal red flags. In these cases, you’ll want to schedule additional tests and get a deeper look into a house before making a final offer on it.

To ensure that an inspection is thorough and helpful, you will want to work with your real estate agent as you determine what needs to be evaluated. Then, as needed, you can follow up on these potential results:

Furnace Inspections and Repairs

During a standard home inspection, an inspector will review the overall condition of the boiler or furnace. They will also review any previous service tags, which reflect the history of maintenance conducted over time. In many cases, a furnace will just need a good cleaning and a simple tune-up as part of a sale. However, if an inspector discovers defects such as cracks or heating issues due to system deficiencies, they will typically recommend a specialist come to conduct a more in-depth analysis. If this recommendation is made, follow up on it to protect yourself from a potential system failure later on.

HVAC System Inspections and Repairs

One thing you always want in great condition is a home’s heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system (HVAC). During a standard home inspection, the inspector will review this system to ensure it is in working order. They will then report any signs that the equipment is not performing at its peak efficiency. As with all other parts of a home inspection, any recommendations for repairs should be considered as you and your agent negotiate your final offer on a house.

Water Heater Inspections and Repairs

When a water heater malfunctions, the results can become dangerous. Home inspectors aim to avoid this by checking a water heater for problems such as valve installation issues, clogged discharge lines, and corrosion and rust. Depending on the condition of a water heater, as well as its age, the inspector will make recommendations for any necessary next steps, which could range from simple repairs to a full replacement. Be sure to bring these recommendations to your real estate agent! That way, they can be discussed as you continue to negotiate on your offer to buy the house.

Home Appliance Inspections and Repairs

A malfunctioning appliance, like a water heater, can contribute to damage or dangerous situations in a house. That said, only some appliances are covered during a home inspection! Specifically, “built-in” appliances that are permanently attached to the home will be examined.

While things such as microwaves and refrigerators are not typically covered, you can expect an inspector to review a house’s wall ovens, ranges, surface cooktop appliances, built-in microwave ovens, dishwashers, and food waste disposals. An inspector will also provide specific recommendations as needed for each individual appliance.

Electrical Safety Inspections and Repairs

While electrical safety is a bigger concern in older homes, electrical issues can develop in any house at any time. Ensuring that all electrical systems are properly grounded to prevent fire, shock, and damage to appliances is an essential part of every home inspection. Inspectors will also take a look at circuit breakers, wiring, light fixtures, ceiling fans, and outlets to make sure they’re working and aren’t potential fire hazards. Any next steps recommended to address electrical issues will be specific to each inspection. Whatever recommendations you receive, take them seriously and review them with your agent.

Structural Inspections and Repairs

The structural health of a house is what will help that house continue to stand – quite literally! That’s why inspectors will take the time to review structural components for obvious signs of damage. From cracking in the foundation to rot damage in the walls and deterioration in the floors, there are many ways an inspector can determine if any structural damage exists. If it does, you’ll want to review that information with your agent, as well as review it at the negotiating table.

Roof Inspections and Repairs

The roof of a house is exposed to the elements every single day, so it’s not uncommon for a roof inspection to reveal some degree of wear and tear. However, minor issues can become big issues that lead to damage inside a house. Finding out exactly what damage exists is important so that it can be repaired in a timely manner. Home inspectors will also often check to ensure that the roof structure is able to handle the stress associated with snow and other natural occurrences.

As a home buyer, your priority is to find out from your inspection whether or not a full roof repair will be necessary in the near future. If the answer is yes, you and your agent will need to discuss the issue and how it could affect the amount of your offer as you negotiate the final details surrounding the purchase of the house.

What To Do With All Those Recommendations

A home inspection is a big deal. That said, it’s OK if a house that you love doesn’t score 100% on a home inspection checklist! Instead, aim to have an experienced home inspector provide detailed and accurate information about the property you are planning to purchase. That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re purchasing, and can plan for your future more confidently.

Don’t forget that you can also bring all of your home inspection questions to your real estate agent! Agents are trained to help you with every part of the buying process, and will not only help you evaluate the house you want to buy, but will help you use the information from its inspection to negotiate your way to the best deal possible. Agents can also help you purchase additional protection plans for your house, including insurance and home warranties – allowing you to fully prepare for the big move into your new home.

No matter where you are in your buyer’s journey, it’s never too late to begin working with an agent. Contact us today if you’re looking for assistance finding the perfect home!

Kitchen Hacks to Love

Kitchen design, organization and ease of use are at the top of our minds. Your kitchen might even be the most used room in your house and a lot of activity happens there. It’s not just about meals. It can be a gathering space or a place to work or study. Which of the following tips can make working in your kitchen even easier?

Otherwise Unusable Spaces

If you want to maximize your kitchen’s storage potential, tap into your unused spaces. Is there a gap between the refrigerator and the wall? Put in a rolling storage cart for spices. Do you hate those false drawers under the sink? Create a pull-out for your sponge. Use toe-kick drawers near the floor for thin or flat items.

Helpful Magnets

Magnets can help in a lot of little ways. A magnetic spice rack can keep your spices organized and out of the way. A magnetic knife hanger is a great way to store your knives while still having them at your fingertips without taking up precious counter space.

Labels for Everything

Good storage is about organization and identification. Label things you use all the time. Do you have a container for tea and coffee? Create decorative labels or buy clear containers that can help you identify contents at a glance.

Over-the-Sink Cutting Board

Is your counter space at a minimum? Create or buy an over-the-sink cutting board. This surface not only will provide valuable space to work but also will make cleanup a breeze when you can just toss the food waste into the sink and garbage disposal.

Hanging Pots and Pans

Pots and pans often are large and in the way. Think about storing them vertically. Create a wall-hanging structure, if you have the wall space. If you have an island or other overhead area, you can install a hanging pot rack that is suspended from the ceiling.

Raised Storage

On your counters, consider raised storage to keep the space clear from clutter. For example, use a cake stand to store your salt, pepper and olive oil. This can provide a decorative solution and a useful way to access these items when you’re cooking.

More Shelves in Cabinets

Has it ever frustrated you that there is a lot of unused space in your cabinets? You can store your dishes using half the space by installing a free-standing platform shelf over your existing shelf. This is something you can easily make or buy and will prevent you from having to stack different-size plates on top of each other.

If you are dreaming of a more organized kitchen, call us today.

Decorating with Fall Color Schemes

What does autumn represent to you? For a lot of people, fall is their favorite season. The world is open to new colors and textures that represent comfort and coziness. The colors most associated with this season are brown, red, orange, and gold. The season is also all about textures, like cable knit, dry grasses, and crunchy leaves. You may not want to bring the forest floor into your home, but you can easily incorporate a fall color scheme.

Rustic Reds

Red is often considered a bold color, but that usually depends on how it’s used or what it’s paired with. For example, if you keep red limited to accessories, it actually can add a bright accent to a neutral room. If you paint your walls red, you’re creating a dramatic landscape for your entire design aesthetic. Red is a great choice if you’re not afraid of color.

Warm Oranges

Similarly, many people avoid orange in their homes. It really can add warmth to your design. Stay away from bright neon colors and instead try softer tones with a more autumn aesthetic, such as burnt orange. Orange is ideal for kitchens and living spaces and can even create a warm and comfy bedroom oasis.

Brilliant Golds

When we talk about gold in terms of autumn colors, we don’t mean bright metallic colors. A golden-hued paint that you would find in nature like fallen leaves or goldenrod can add richness to your room and design. Think along the lines of a camel color when you’re selecting furniture and accessories. Gold can function as part of a neutral color palette as well.

Decadent Browns

Although you may not choose to paint your walls brown, brown color tones make great accents in furniture and other accessories around your house. Brown pairs well with all of the fall colors to create a warm autumn look. Brown can be light, such as beige, or really rich and decadent, such as chestnut.

If you love working with fall colors year-round, let us know how you plan to incorporate these colors into your design. For other ideas about a color scheme for your home, contact us today.

Things Everyone Needs To Know Before Buying A First Home

Millenials are getting ready to buy their dream homes. Image Via: Wettling Architects

Right now, millennial’s might have a reputation of crazy twenty-somethings not quite ready to settle down. But, a recent report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University found that “the number of households in their 30s should increase by 2.7 million over the next decade.” Ready or not, the millennial boom is coming.

Whether you count yourself in that demographic or are just a first time homebuyer. There are some topics in the buying process that are essential to know before taking the plunge.

We’ve compiled a list of the ten most important things that everyone new to the housing market needs to know. Look them over and keep them in mind as you start your housing search. You only buy your first home once, so let us help you make it count.

1. Hire a Professional Realtor

Let’s all admit it. Real estate agents often get a bad rap as swindlers. It’s because of that stigma – and the thought of saving a few dollars – that keeps many people from using them. However, listening to the hype may cost you more in the long run.

Your first time in the real estate market can get confusing. There’s lots of legal negotiation and large sums of money are often involved. There is no reason to add on the stress of having to navigate through the transaction alone, especially since if you decide to go it alone. Hire a professional to assist you.

A qualified professional can help you sort through the industry terms that make up the majority of contracts and inspection reports. They do the leg work of setting up showings and act as your advocate during the transaction so that you’re free to focus on preparing for your move. In the middle of all that craziness, you’ll appreciate the extra assistance.

2. Look Realistically At Your Budget

Your budget is the first thing that you need to look at when getting ready to buy a home. After all, it determines which properties you see and you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you miss out on the perfect house because you’re not sure how much you can spend. Or, worse yet, find yourself falling in love with a dream home you can’t afford.

Budgeting is the way to make sure that you only look at houses that you can feasibly and comfortably. Doing so will help you save time and help you get into your new property much faster.

Sit down and budget your income versus expenses. Try to settle on two amounts: One figure that shows the amount you’d be comfortable spending monthly and another that shows your absolute maximum. You can use a budget calculator to help, if necessary.

Try to figure out exactly how much space you can afford. Image Via: Allen+Killcoyne Architects

3. Prioritize Your Wish List

We all have a wish list for our for our future dream homes. Whether it’s a gourmet kitchen or fabulous outdoor pool setup, odds are you know what you want and exactly how it should look. We’re happy to tell you that can take some your wish list with you when looking at properties, just not all of it.

When it comes to looking at real estate and especially when you are looking at starter homes, prioritization is key. You may not get every item on your list, but if you narrow it down to the features you absolutely need, you’ll likely end up happy with the result.

So make two lists. One with items that are absolutely necessary like the number of – bedrooms and bathrooms in a home – and another for nonessential items that would make you happy to have in a home. Focus on finding properties that check off all of the items on your first list and think of items on the second list as added benefits.

Decide which features - like layout - are necessary in a home. Image Via: Flow Home Staging & Design

4. Focus on Location

As for what should top your wish list, location is absolutely key. If you think about it, it is the one feature of your new home that absolutely will not change. Since you’re unable to alter it in any way, take the time to make sure that it will suit your needs for many years to come.

Before putting an offer in on a property, do your homework. Map out how long it will take you to get to work or school. Check the proximity to all essential spots like grocery stores and pharmacies. Make sure you’re happy with the amount of nightlife in the area.

It may be a good idea to have a few target areas in mind before meeting with your real estate agent. That way, he or she will be able to target your home search to properties that fit your needs.

Make sure you're home's location is one of your favorite features. I'mage Via: Chioco Design

5. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Once you’re finally get to start the showing process, it’s exciting and overwhelming. You’ll be seeing a lot of houses rather quickly. Sometimes it can be hard to separate one property from the other and to pick out the features you like the most.

In an effort to keep everything straight, many first time buyers have a tendency to identify properties by focusing on the small details – a wallpapered dining room or some vinyl flooring in the kitchen. But, continually focusing on the small details can hurt in the long run, if you decide not to move forward on a house because of them.

Instead, every once in a while, try to force yourself to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Is the house structurally sound? Does it require any monumental repairs? As long as those things are okay, small details like wallpaper can be fixed later down the road.

Don't let small details like a lack of upgrades turn you off a house with the perfect footprint. Image Via: A+B KASHA Designs

6. Go In With Your Best Offer

Real estate is one of the few areas where sale price is still up for negotiation. Unfortunately, this means that many people, especially those like first-time homebuyers who may be working on a lower budget, go in to the buying process with the mindset that they can try and score a deal on their new property.

However, by doing so you may actually be setting yourself up for disappointment. If their is another offer on the table, submitting an offer that is far below the sale price will almost certainly put you out of the running. Even if there is no other competition for the property, a super low offer may insult the sellers and they could decide to reject it as a result.

When you’re thinking of what price you’d like to put forward, ask yourself how you would feel if you received the same. If you would turn your nose up at an identical offering, consider going in a little higher. This particular piece of advice comes with one caveat. If you absolutely love the property, go in with your best foot forward. However, if you feel lukewarm about the house, feel free to try and score a deal.

7. Gather All Your Inspection Information

It’s true. Home inspections are optional. Some people choose to skip them to avoid paying the upfront costs. However, especially when it’s your first time buying a home, we do not recommend skipping them. In fact, we suggest you gather as much inspection information as possible.

This is because inspections can often reveal hidden issues like expensive repairs. Plus, since buyers are still able to walk away from the transaction during their inspection timeframe, if you find that the repairs are too much to handle, you will be able to move on to another home that better suits your needs.

However, if you opt out of your inspections, you are essentially agreeing to take the home in its current condition, whatever that may be. If you happen to find a major issue later down the road, it will be your responsibility. Whenever possible, get the information upfront.

8. Keep A Level Head When Negotiating

Once you’re under contract and headed to the settlement table, every decision becomes a negotiation – who will shoulder the cost of repairs, what items will get left behind, even when settlement will be. The best thing that you can do in these situations is to work at keeping a level head.

It can be easy to get over invested in getting your way, particularly when making a decision that you are truly passionate about. But, remember that successful negotiations work on a system of give-and-take.

Stand your ground when you believe that you have a cause and try to do so in a polite and respectful manner. However, don’t underestimate the power of striking a compromise or ever conceding on issues that aren’t so important to you. You never know when that act of good will may be returned by the sellers.

9. Don’t Tackle Every Improvement At Once

This is the biggest mistake that many new homeowners make. While it’s sounds like a great idea to get all of the annoying construction out of the way at one time, taking on too many improvements at one time is a sure way to become overwhelmed with your new home before you’ve even truly had a chance to unpack.

Instead, only focus on the repairs that are absolutely necessary to make your home livable. Then, live in the space for a few months before taking on any cosmetic fixes. Living in your home may open your eyes to better repair scenarios than you had originally envisioned.

Then, when it’s time to tackle those upgrades, take on one project at a time. Remember, presumably you’ll be living for at least the next few years, so you have time to make your mark.

Update the rooms in your home one at a time instead of all at once. Image Via: Jason Arnold Interiors

10. Aim For Resale Value

Let’s be honest for a second: It’s very unlikely that your first home will end up being the home you live in until you become old and gray. In a few years, you may need to relocate for a job or your family may grow.

That’s why when buying your first home you should focus on resale value. While it’s obviously important to find a home that you love, you should also focus on finding one that will appeal to others, if you need to sell it in the future.

As for what counts as resale value, think about things that appeal to the younger generation – first-time homebuyers. Things like proximity to shops and restaurants, curb appeal, and neutral upgrades tend to have mass appeal.

Focus on making improvements that will add resale value to the property. Image Via: Axis Mundi

Buying your first home is exciting, nerve-racking, and downright terrifying all in one. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we are here for you every step of the way. We’ve compiled a list of all the thing’s that millennals – and those who love them need to know before entering the housing market. Keep them in mind as you search for your first home and beyond. After all, you never outgrow good advice.

Millennial’s, what questions do you have about the housing market? What are you looking for in a home? Let us know in the comments below.