Deborah Deschamps' Blog
Although statistics may not be reflective of your individual real-estate buying habits, the "typical" homeowner tends to stay put in their home for around a decade -- give or take.
One of the few "drawbacks" of being a long-term homeowner is that, over time, you tend to forgot many of the details of the home-buying process.
However, an advantage of buying a home in the Internet Age is the availability of instant information on everything from interest rates and real estate agent reviews to house hunting tips and choosing a moving company.
Your Real Estate Journey
Buying a home can be an extremely satisfying experience... or it can be filled with frustration and disappointment. However, by having a basic understanding of how the house-buying process works, you'll be more effective at preparing yourself for what's to come, anticipating what you need to do, and creating a clear picture in your mind of your requirements and ideal living environment. As various thought leaders have said over the years: If you're not clear on what you want, you'll probably end up with something else!
The cornerstones of a successful real estate search are knowing your credit score, having enough money on hand for a sufficient down payment and closing costs, enlisting the help of an experienced real estate agent, and being proactive about meeting with mortgage bankers and shopping for a competitive interest rate (and terms).
Staying organized, creating priority lists, and continually educating yourself about the nuts and bolts of buying a home will help ensure that your real estate experience will be a positive one. Even though there may be a few bumps and detours along the way, taking the time to be organized and well informed will help you stay on track and produce the type of results you and your family are looking for.
Although it does pay to read articles from credible online sources, you don't have to achieve "expert status" as a house hunter and real estate buyer. If you choose your real estate agent with care, they should be able to provide you with the expertise, advice, and professional guidance you need to clear the hurdles and make it all the way to the finish line!
How does one choose a great real estate agent? The ideal way is to get a referral from a trusted family member, friend, coworker, or neighbor. If someone you trust can attest to the service level and results a particular real estate agent has produced, then chances are good that your experience would be comparable. If more than one person you know recommends a top-notch agent, then that creates a "multiplier effect." In other words, it increases the likelihood that you'll be satisfied with the service and results this agent provides. If you don't know anyone personally who has worked with a great agent, there are well-known websites that post reviews, years of experience, and relevant sales information on licensed real estate agents.
If buying a home is something you’re considering, you might be curious about the different types of mortgages that are available to you. After all, the interest rate on your loan could have a huge impact on your finances over time, saving you thousands of dollars.
In today’s post, I’m going to demystify the home loan by explaining the most common types of mortgages. That way, you’ll be able to approach a lender with a bit of context and knowledge to help make the best mortgage decision for you and your family.
The most common types of home loans in the United States today are fixed-rate mortgages. A fixed-rate mortgage has the benefit of stability in terms of its interest rate--year after year, or the lifetime of your loan, you know exactly what percent of interest you’re going to pay.
Fixed-rate mortgages most frequently come with repayment terms of 15 or 30 years. However, some lenders offer different repayment periods.
As with any debt, paying off a mortgage in a shorter term typically amounts to paying less interest over the lifespan of the loan. For this reason, buyers who can afford higher monthly mortgage payments often opt for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.
If you can’t afford higher monthly payments, a 30-year loan will typically have lower mortgage payments, but at the expense of paying more interest over the life of the loan.
The 30-year option is the most often in the United States, where first-time buyers typically have too many other monthly bills to afford a high mortgage payment.
Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) were once an ideal option for first-time buyers who could purchase a home at a very low interest rate and then refinancing once that rate was set to rise. However, after the housing crisis of 2007, trust in the housing market drastically declined.
In recent years, ARMs have begun to make a comeback. However, they currently still only account for around 5% of home loans.
Adjustable-rate mortgages come with one important advantage and one huge disadvantage over fixed-rate mortgages. The upside is the ability to borrow money for a home at a lower interest rate than other mortgage types. The down side? Your interest rate isn’t locked in for the length of the loan, meaning your rate could, in theory, rise dramatically before you sell or pay off the home. This is exactly what happened to borrowers during the subprime mortgage crisis.
There are a number of special loan programs that have been sponsored by the government over the years. Among them are USDA rural development loans, VA loans for veterans and their spouses, and FHA loans offered by the Federal Housing Authority.
All of these loans make it easier to buy a home with little or no down payment or a credit score that’s less than perfect. That makes these options great for first-time homeowners.
If you’re moving into a new place and own little to no furniture, you may wonder what’s really essential to purchase as you furnish each room. Read on to discover what you really should be looking for when you head out furniture shopping.
These tables are incredibly useful in the home. Whether it’s in the living room, the bedroom, the bathroom, or a family room, you’re going to need these tables. They come in different shapes and sizes and are used for placing beverages on, storing small items in, or showing off pictures and decorative pieces. The most important aspect of side tables is symmetry. Make sure that each table is slightly taller than the sofa arm and that they are the same height. It really helps to buy matching side tables and not purchase them as individual pieces.
A Love Seat
Loveseats are much more versatile than sofas because they can fit more places. Loveseats can exist on their own, or be a part of a bigger picture furniture set up. You can place a love seat just about anywhere in your home from the bedroom to the living room, to a dining room. It provides cozy, comfortable seating that’s out of the ordinary from the rest of the room’s features.
Flexible Seating Chairs
These chairs are also referred to as “occasional chairs.” They bring an unexpected piece into any room. Use them in your entryway, dining room, office, bedroom, or breakfast nook. The only requirement in these chairs‘ design that you should look for is that they are easy to move and lightweight.
These chairs also referred to as “slipper chairs,” are versatile and easy to sit in. They’re great for everyone from children right on through to the elderly. You can use one of these chairs in just about any room from the living room to the dining room to the bedroom. The smaller size you get one of these chairs in, the more versatile it will be in your home.
A dresser can be used in more than just your bedroom to store clothes in. These incredibly useful pieces have a place throughout your home in every room from the bedroom to the dining room, the living room, or the bathroom. The reason bureaus are so versatile is that they provide a type of “hidden” storage in style. Often, the dresser appears as if it were a part of the room, to begin with. You can use more than one bureau and use them for multiple purposes.
The bad news about selling your home is that there are dozens of mistakes you might make that could result in a lost sale, unnecessary price reductions, and delays in finding a buyer.
The good news is that the vast majority of seller mistakes are completely avoidable -- especially when you have an experienced real estate agent guiding you through the process and providing you with ongoing advice and marketing assistance.
Pricing and Perception
Setting too high of a price for your home is a common mistake -- one that's often difficult to recover from. Since "the clock is ticking" from the moment your home officially goes on the market, it's important to make the most of those first few weeks.
House hunters are often strongly attracted to homes that are advertised as being "just on the market." Those words can be very compelling because they imply newness, a limited opportunity, and scarcity. As the advertising industry has known for generations, consumers are drawn to products and services that are new, fresh, and in demand. However, just like yesterday's news or day-old bread, the longer a house is on the market, the less appealing it becomes.
According to a Zillow study, homes for sale priced around or slightly below market value are almost 50 percent more likely to sell within 60 days than those priced 12 percent or more above market value.
Working with a knowledgeable real estate professional can help make sure you don't lose that initial out-of-the-gate momentum by pricing yourself out of the market. They'll base their recommendations on a number of factors, including a comparative analysis of recently sold homes in your neighborhood .
Here's a house-selling mistake that most people probably don't know about: You might be losing potential buyers because you've chosen an "odd selling price." The National Association of Realtors points out that listings may sometimes be excluded from Internet search results if the asking price is just a few thousand dollars above a typical pricing range. "Buyers search real estate websites for price ranges, such as 'homes between $250,000- $300,000.' If you set an odd price to make your listing stand out, say $302,499, you may miss some of your best potential customers."
If you realize after a few weeks that you've incorrectly priced your house, it not only becomes necessary to lower the price, but you also have to contend with a lower perceived value among prospective buyers.
A few other words and phrases that tend to whet the appetites of prospects searching for their next home include "move-in condition," "landscaped," and "updated." Many people also like the sound of granite countertops, maple hardwood floors, and gourmet kitchens.
While it pays to know a little about pricing, home staging, and buyer psychology, getting advice and guidance from a seasoned real estate agent is usually your best bet for producing the fastest and most satisfying results in selling your house.
For home sellers, it is essential to dedicate the necessary time and resources to streamline the process of adding your property to the real estate market. In addition, you should prepare for any challenges that you may encounter after your home is listed. By doing so, you can avoid many costly mistakes.
Ultimately, there are numerous costly mistakes that may prevent a home seller from optimizing the value of his or her residence, including:
1. Underestimating Your Closing Costs
Closing costs may put a major dent in how much you obtain for your house. Fortunately, you can calculate your closing costs before you sell your home.
Consider all of the expenses that may be included in your closing costs. From attorney and other professional fees to excise tax expenses, you'll want to account for any and all costs that may impact how much you'll earn for your house.
Also, if you ever have concerns or questions about closing costs, be sure to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can explain how closing costs work and help you plan accordingly.
2. Guessing Your Home's Price
What you paid for your home several years ago is unlikely to be what the same as what your house is worth today. Thankfully, you can meet with a home appraiser to determine the true value of your property.
A home appraisal offers a great first step to determining the right price for your home. Meanwhile, a home appraiser may be able to help you identify home problems that you can correct prior to adding your home to the real estate market.
Furthermore, don't forget to check out the prices of comparable homes that are available in your area. This will provide you with the housing market data that you need you to price your home competitively from the get-go, boosting your chances for a quick home sale.
3. Letting Your Emotions Get in the Way
Let's face it – listing your home can be stressful, particularly for a first-time home seller. However, it is important to do whatever you can to prevent your emotions from getting in the way of selling your home.
Setting realistic home selling expectations may enable you to remain calm, cool and collected after you list your property. Luckily, real estate agents are available to guide you along the home selling journey and ensure that you are fully supported at every stage.
Your real estate agent will offer expert tips and recommendations, allowing you to understand the ins and outs of the real estate market. He or she also will negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf, keep you up to date about offers on your residences and host open houses to promote your residence to a broad array of homebuyers. Thus, your real estate agent can help you avoid the stress and anxiety that is commonly associated with selling a home.
Avoid the aforementioned home selling mistakes, and you should have no trouble maximizing the value of your residence.